With TCapri Tequila, Tiffany Capri Hainesworth Is Breaking Up the Boys’ Club
As part of our new By Women series—which spotlights the best women-owned products and companies—we're committed to giving female founders who own 51% or more of their business a platform. This not only allows them to introduce their brilliant products to a wide and potentially new audience, but it also helps you—the reader—discover really cool stuff. Like TCapri tequila, which was created by Tiffany Capri Haineswoth. It's smooth and sippable, and has the distinction of being the first and only tequila created and owned by a Black woman.
It might sound clichéd, but many make a major life change after a near-death experience. This was the case for Tiffany Capri Hainesworth, a Washington, DC, analyst for the SEC who suffered a brain injury following a 2012 car accident. While dealing with its tremendous after-effects—including grand mal seizures—she realized life was too short to not at least try to pursue your passion. “I had given my entire life to the federal government,” she says. “With everything that transpired, it made me say, ‘What do I want to do with the rest of my life?’”
The answer to that question, at first, was to tweak the recipe for her side business, TCapri Gourmet Treats, which included booze-infused sweets like gummy bears. For obvious reasons, this took off immediately, and Hainesworth found herself on morning shows to promote her business. But she still wanted to do more. As she tells it, she started to see the empty alcohol bottles in her recycling bin used for her recipes and said to herself, “I'm using so many people's liquor—I want my own.”
From that moment she began researching tequila, a favorite of hers, and what goes into regulating and creating a liquor brand. In 2018 she took multiple trips from DC to Guadalajara to meet jimadors, farmers who harvest agave plants, the primary ingredient in tequila. She says she used a translator app on her phone because she didn't know a word of Spanish. Five years later—without any partners, bank loans, or investors, just money she borrowed from her retirement plan—she is the proud owner of TCapri tequila.
Read on to discover more about Hainesworth’s biggest challenge, her recent splurge item, and the importance of Black and female representation in the liquor industry.
Glamour: First of all, why tequila?
Tiffany Capri Hainesworth: Who doesn't love tequila? I'm a margarita girl. I didn't want to do wine or vodka because everybody has that. I wanted to do [a liquor that] I drink.
What was one big challenge you faced at launch or after?
I launched in the eye of the pandemic and faced what all businesses did: the global supply chain disruption, which was devastating. My first shipment arrived in the United States in January 2021, and by July, I was off store shelves because I couldn't get access to 750ml bottles. All the bottle manufactures were behind and only taking orders from the larger companies, and even some of those suffered. So I went from making history as the first Black woman to own a tequila brand to no one being able to get a bottle.
Wow. How did you handle that?
I needed to pivot and pivot quick. I asked the bottle company exactly what bottles they did have, which was about 3,000 or so 50ml mini bottles. So I took them all and created a tasting box, I reintroduced my consumers to my award-winning blanco tequila (I won a gold SIP Award, spirit contest) and the reposado, which had been resting in American oak whiskey barrels for six months.
Be honest: Do you think it’s easier for men to launch companies? Why?
Absolutely, especially in a male-dominated industry. I started my business from the ground up, and I'm still going through issues that I know if I was a man or if I had a male partner wouldn't be an issue at all. Then there's the stigma of being an “aggressive” woman, especially as a Black woman. We have to prove that we belong in the positions we're in and require respect to be given to us. In business you have to remove your emotions, which is hard to do.
When you have a white partner, [especially a] white male partner, that's who they want to talk to. When you can stand alone and be assertive and professional, you're allowing them to know there's nobody else they can talk to. I don't have a white partner or a male partner. Being the sole owner and a female, it forces me to be powerful in my tone and my wording. Be strong and secure when you're speaking to a room full of men that think you don't belong here.
Do you think consumers care about who actually owns the businesses they spend on? If not, should they?
I do. It's easy for celebrities to have someone go make a spirit brand or clothing brand for them, but when you realize someone that looks like you did all the hard work themselves, I think people are more willing to support them.
How essential are the relationships with tequila farmers and distilleries in Mexico?
It's extremely important. I started in the agave fields with [the jimadors]. I wanted to learn, to talk to them, to see their daily work.
Learning the culture and being immersed is beautiful. Going into the agave fields was one of the most beautiful experiences that I've ever had. It was majestic—something that you can't even explain.
What’s a book you’d recommend?
The Perfect Day to Boss Up by Rick Ross. That book was amazing. I recommend any entrepreneur get that book. He talks about how you have to keep on keeping on. You have to keep pressing. You can't stop. If one person says no, you have to keep going.
The Perfect Day to Boss Up: A Hustler's Guide to Building Your Empire
What’s your typical morning routine?
I have to start with coffee first before I do anything because I'm not a morning person. Then I log on to three or four computers when I'm checking emails. I check my business and my government emails. I work two, three jobs. I'm responding to people. I'm responding to my staff. Sometimes I don't log off of my computers until 8, 9, or 10 o'clock. My brain doesn't stop working. So I'm constantly up sending messages to my staff.
What item do you splurge on most often?
Shoes. I have a shoe room and I don't even know what's in there. I just purchased a pair of never-worn classic Ellesse sneakers on eBay and I was ecstatic. I also love quality brands such as Bally, Tods, and Diadora.
Women’s MK X Ellesse Monroe Trainers White
What should people mix with tequila?
I drink my tequila straight because TCapri is a sipping tequila. I don't need to mix it with anything. It's certified additive-free and it's smooth. So I can eat tacos and sip on this tequila and I am good to go.
Monique Wilson is Glamour's editorial assistant. Follow her @moneeeeekk.
Originally Appeared on Glamour