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Meet Dianna Aguilar and Tanya Major of Élevé

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dianna Aguilar and Tanya Major.

Hi Dianna and Tanya, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
We’re actors who became business owners when we cofounded our adaptogen-infused sparkling water company, élevé. Our friendship began here in LA, and we each travel regularly between Los Angeles for ongoing commercial & theatrical work and Austin – the home base for élevé. We’re both creative people with backgrounds in the performing arts and view entrepreneurship as another art form.

Dianna: As an actress, I’ve always been a visionary, storyteller, and creator. I attended college at a top-ranked performing arts conservatory and our days were long and vigorous. We were taught to respect our craft by putting in hard work, making specific, intentional choices, accepting critique, and collaborating with fellow artists in a judgment-free, creative environment. I believe these tools formed the foundation of my work ethic early on in my career, giving me the confidence to lean into my instincts, make mistakes, and enjoy the journey of bringing something to life – whether it’s a character in a script or an idea for a product.

Tanya: I grew up an athlete and a dancer. My schedule was always very busy but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Even with my intense schedule, I always had a business idea in my head. I made my own clothing and sold it to classmates in elementary school, opened a dance camp in my basement as a young teen and started doing music mixes for other teacher’s choreographies when they saw I was able to create my own. I then switched gears when I fell in love with acting. From the get-go, as much as I loved the artistic aspect of acting, I was also very business-minded. It’s just the way my brain works. A huge part of being an actor is creating: stories, characters, etc and I think the discipline of being an athlete mixed with the creativity of being an artist has helped tremendously in all aspects of my life.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Something we’ve loved about building a business is that many roadblocks result in unexpectedly positive outcomes, oftentimes better than what was planned. For example, we originally wanted powdered adaptogens and spent so much time and money perfecting our formulas, but the powders didn’t dissolve properly in the test batch – they ended up burning and floating to the top of the vessel! So much product was lost and we were completely deflated. We decided to switch to liquid adaptogens and in doing so found an amazing company out of Hawaii that uses organic extracts which blend beautifully with our organic flavors. The taste of the sparkling water is even more refined than our original formulation and we couldn’t be happier with the final result. We’ve learned to deal with every obstacle head-on because every problem solved leads to more experience and growth.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Our sparkling water is made with organic flavors and natural plant extracts called adaptogens, which support overall health and stress reduction. Currently, we have three flavors designed to elevate your day: Fire (pineapple cayenne) for energy, Beauty (strawberry rose) for liver detoxification and cellular renewal, & Dream (blueberry lavender) for sleep. Many sparkling waters on the market include additives such as “natural flavors”, sweeteners, or artificial colors which can result in a bitter or chemical aftertaste. In addition, the high carbonation levels of other brands leave many people with bloating and discomfort. élevé has lower carbonation for a delicate effervescence, and the beautiful colors come from vegetable extracts and the adaptogens themselves. Another thing that separates us from others is the fact that we include the milligrams of each adaptogen on our cans, so consumers know exactly what they are paying for. Some companies list adaptogens for marketing purposes without including the quantity of those adaptogens, therefore leaving the efficacy unknown. The premium quality of our sparkling water is tasted in the first sip. With elegant packaging and unique flavors, élevé offers a nuanced and sophisticated refreshment.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
The internet is a world of information that anyone can use to their advantage. Our idea for a beverage came from the desire for a drink that we couldn’t find on the market, yet we had little knowledge on how to begin. Researching one aspect of the beverage world would take us down a rabbit hole of learning another aspect, which led to more questions and more research. So much of the intimidation that is felt when embarking on a new journey stems from not knowing what to expect, or even what the first step is, but anything can be looked up with a search engine; even “How to start a business from scratch”. It’s ok to get it wrong before getting it right, that’s part of the journey! Embrace the obstacles because every mistake becomes a lesson learned, and every hurdle can lead you down a wonderful path.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
1st picture of Dianna & Tanya – Wes and Alex Photography

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