Inspiro Tequila with Mara Smith feature #29 of Together Talks
Updated: Oct 25
"Together Talks" feature # 29: Inspiro Tequila presented by KLS, freight company
Some Background on Inspiro Tequila
For this edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview Mara Smith, owner of Inspiro Tequila. Inspiro Tequila is a thoughtfully crafted, 100% agave, additive-free tequila redefining what it means to enjoy tequila. Their Luna Blanco is uniquely rested creating an incredibly smooth, sophisticated, and sippable blanco tequila. Every detail in the process has been meticulously designed with customer in mind. The company is owned, created, and inspired by women, and they champion other female-founded brands and initiatives.
Be Inspired · Live Inspired · Drink Inspired
Reentry into workforce
Mara was previously a lawyer working at a large law firm in Chicago. She then transitioned to work in corporate strategy at a Fortune 500 Company. However, she decided to leave the corporate world when she became pregnant and had premature twins. While raising three children, Mara always envisioned starting her own company. She knew that when she reentered the workforce she would want to both “innovate with a consumer product and do something that would make an impact." She was willing to bet on herself and jump back in, this time as an entrepreneur.
As she went back and forth on possible products she kept coming back to one in particular, tequila. “Tequila is my drink of choice, and I kept hearing so many women tell me that tequila was also their drink of choice. I began to research the category and discovered that almost half of tequila drinkers are female. More significantly women in general make about 80% of all purchasing decisions. So, I couldn’t figure out why this consumer is generally overlooked in the spirits industry.” Mara thought who better to speak to this consumer and understand this consumer than someone who is the consumer.
Upon founding Inspiro Tequila in 2020, Mara knew her objectives. The first goal was to create an additive-free tequila, ultra-premium that was really easy to drink and approachable that not only her primary female consumer would enjoy but that would appeal to all consumers. Additionally, Mara wanted every detail to be thought through from the custom packaging to the unique resting and aging process. The bigger initiative was to provide another female voice to the spirits industry. “Women are underrepresented in the spirits industry as a whole, and I wanted to have women involved in every aspect of the company to provide a different perspective." The creation of Inspiro Tequila wouldn't come without challenges, but Mara knew one thing would always allow them to overcome any obstacles - maintaining high quality standards in everything they do.
In addition to be a Women-Owned company, Mara sought out an award missing female distiller from Mexico to bring her vision to life. During Mara's research she also discovered that a vast majority of Tequila on the market use additives. Mara wanted to work with a master distiller that could create silky, smooth taste profiles without using additives. Inspiro Tequila is confirmed additive-free.
She wasn't done with the innovation there however. She had an idea to age their reposado in rose wine barrels. She told us, "I like rose wine, but I don’t like how I feel after drinking wine, so I thought it would be interesting to age tequila in former rose wine barrels." Innovation indeed! She told us that it gives the product a gorgeous rose-gold hue which is very eye-appealing. “Not only is the color naturally a pinkish hue but the notes on this profile are incredible. There’s a lot of floral on the nose and it’s really unique on the palate." Mara told us that every component of the business goes through a meticulous process, "no corners are cut."
The aspect of building a team of mostly women was key for Mara. She wants her brand to represent the consumers she is speaking to. She looks for opportunities to engage with this consumer organically and to have them try the product.
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Designing the product created its own unique challenges. One aspect was the bottles being glass, trying to have the transparent logo perfectly mesh and meet up on the bottle neck required multiple attempts. "It was just learning curve after learning curve, but we knew the look we wanted and we were going to get it just right. The product tasting amazing isn't enough, we needed our brand to look amazing as well." Attention to detail, through and through.
The other aspect that caused an obstacle was her idea to age the tequila in the rose wine barrels, she shared with us that as a newcomer to the beverage alcohol industry, she didn’t know that generally rose wine is a young wine that is not aged. She searched everywhere to find former rose wine barrels. It took persistence but she finally tracked them down in the south of France.
As mentioned, the company has had great growth due to being able to build their brand and exposure. Mara identified organic advertising as the greatest generator including trade shows, social media, and any and all articles, podcasts, and even television shows. We learned from Mara that she wasn’t necessarily expecting that she would be front and center, but she understood the necessity. She told us, "I joke this brand and journey has pulled the extrovert out of an introvert. At first, I was hesitant to promote myself and my company, but along the way someone told me that no one knows your company better than you do. That gave me extreme confidence. Now I relish any and every opportunity I get to share what makes Inspiro Tequila so unique."
Mara also told us how much she craves these special opportunities where she can have her product tried in a more intimate setting. She can watch the consumers try it, see their reaction and share the story behind the brand. The story resonates with many other women, whether reentering the workforce like she did, or transitioning from a legal career, or a fellow entrepreneur, it brings her pride to develop these connections.
The company currently ships to 45 states through e-commerce. They also have presence in Illinois and Michigan. Mara told us the goal for 2023 is to continue driving the retail growth in both of these two markets. They are in the process of opening another five states this year. Each year she wants to add a handful more states to the reach, but scaling at the right speed and strategically is paramount. One big focus is on retailers, as this is where her targeted consumer is shopping and many retailers are looking for some diversity on their shelves.
One of the first things she did was connect with every female founder she could find in the spirits industry. She was like a sponge getting any and all information she could as she entered a completely new industry. She is grateful for the help she received and it has never been lost on her as she gives back both as a company and individually.
The company has an initiative called "The Purple Bicycle Project". The goal is to inspire and support other female founders through grants and mentoring. Read the entire story and meaning behind "The Purple Bicycle Project" here. One of their grant initiatives is the Community Connections Grant that Inspiro Tequila just sponsored through the Enthuse Foundation. Mara shared with us that she read 78 applications to narrow it down to 8 grant interviews. The winner will be announced in June.
Mara says the best part of the journey has been “the community of amazing female founders and leaders that I have built.” She relies on her community for support and encouragement and she tries to give back to them as well. She’s a big believer in sharing resources and collaborating with other women-owned brands. The connections she has made have been incredibly rewarding, check out her LinkedIn Profile to see some of the amazing networking events she has been a part of!
We asked Mara if there was a particular moment that has been her favorite in the 4 years so far of Inspiro Tequila. She told us about the connections she has made, the difference and impact the company is creating, but there was a singular moment that hit a little closer to home for her. "Recently I was walking in a grocery store with my 10-year-old son. Walking through the aisles we came up on a display and there was our product. He told me, 'You've done so much in a short amount of time.'" She gathered herself on our video chat and said how special it was to hear that. It wasn't that she was gone all the time building this company from the ground up, or how he misses her, but instead, he was able to recognize the incredible job his Mom has done and continues to do. Kids are the best!
Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
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Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
KLS wants to thank Mara Smith for allowing us to present this week's "Together Talks" campaign featuring Inspiro Tequila. We enjoyed our conversation so much with Mara. Keep following along on the journey of Inspiro Tequila at their website. You can also find them on the following social media platforms:
Inspiro Tequila has also been featured in numerous media channels including:
And Mara has been featured on the following podcasts as well:
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Inspiro Tequila with Mara Smith feature #29 of Together Talks
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST Customer Service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign "Together Talks" if you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
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We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
What makes KLS different?
There are thousands for freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.