081: Olamide Adeboye (Wakava)

Olamide Adeboye on Innovation City

“A business without a community is a business of your own. A business with a community is a business for all.” — Olamide Adeboye

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Olamide Adeboye, Founder & CEO of Wakava Food & Beverage. Wakava is an organic health conscious company that provides better-tasting, healthier food and herbal drink options by using herbs from Africa. Olamide joins the team to discuss creating Wakava to bring in healthier food and drink options from Africa to St. Louis, the challenge of breaking into the St. Louis business community on his own, building a community before building your business, his entrepreneurial drive to always want to work for himself, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Moving to St. Louis 2 years ago
  • The abundance of bread and heavy foods but lack of healthy foods in St. Louis
  • He created Wakava to bring in healthier food options from Africa to St. Louis
  • He’s found that St. Louisians are not as open to networking/building relationships at first as other cities have been
    • He has had to put in a lot of networking time start building his own “community”
  • St. Louis’ business community is different than other cities
  • His challenge of breaking into the St. Louis business community on his own
  • Foods in the US and STL have a lot of preservatives
  • American’s obsession with calorie counting and the misconception that calories are bad
  • The Wakava drink is traditional antioxidant herbal-infused cold brew
    • Lemon Grass, Camomile, & Mint flavors
  • His choice not to sell Wakava in stores until he has the product perfect
  • He wants to build relationships with the people who enjoy his products
  • Using his community of customers/partners to help refine the products and continuously optimize
    • “It’s a beverage of the people”
    • Focus groups to taste test
  • He wants his products to taste like something new no one has ever had before
  • Being self-taught in business and having no experience in the beverage industry
  • Going into a new industry requires a lot of patience, hard work, and learning
  • If you want to go into something new, take time to research and understand what you’re going into
  • His entrepreneurial drive to always want to work for himself
  • He started his business journey as a teenager when he started a movie rental business for his community
    • He soon moved into selling other products (pool boards, clothing, etc.)
  • Working on his next beverage product, new breakfast foods, baby foods, dairy-free products, and more
    • All his new foods will provide a healthier alternative to what is currently on the market
  • Reach out to Wakava on their website