Every Friday, we send out a weekly roundup of what’s new on Blood & Milk along with articles you may have missed from the archives. We also include an interview with an inspiring woman, and this week we’re excited to feature Nayana Ferguson. To get the newsletter, sign up here.

Nayana Ferguson is the first black woman in the world to co-found and co-own a tequila company. She is a pancreatic and breast cancer survivor, cancer awareness advocate and tequila lover!  Nayana’s goal is to educate people on the benefits of tequila and change the stereotypical thought of what tequila is. 

Though we don’t often associate spirits with wellness, what is it about your own wellbeing that inspired you to start your tequila company?  

The inspiration for starting Anteel Tequila came from several things, one of them being the positive attributes of me being able to drink tequila.  As a pancreatic and breast cancer survivor, I have to watch what I put into my body, especially while drinking. Tequila is made from the agave plant; therefore, it is naturally gluten-free, is extremely low in sugar, and has no carbs due to the distillation process.  As such, I am able to drink tequila, neat, without it raising my glycemic index and keeping my wellbeing at the forefront. 

How has battling cancer (twice) changed the way that you take care of yourself? 

Battling pancreatic and breast cancer has taught me to appreciate life more and to learn how to manage my stress responses to challenges and everyday life. I am more aware of how everything that I put into my body affects it. Because of this, I practice meditation and yoga to help me keep my mental health in check and to combat stress.  

What lessons have you brought into your business?  

There are several lessons that I have brought into my business from my experiences of dealing with pancreatic and breast cancer. Patience and perseverance are definitely two lessons that I use daily while building my business. For any business owner, there are always challenges to face and doubts that come with building a brand. In those times, I continue to persevere by revisiting my reasons for starting my own business and I practice patience when things are not always working out in the way that I want.  

What are some ways you’ve been taking care of yourself this year? 

As there are many stressors right now due to the pandemic, there are several ways in which I have had to implement more self-care this year. I make sure to spend time away from my business and give myself a mental break from everything that it entails. I also make sure to listen to positive audiobooks, listen to calming music, and indulge in steaming baths. I believe everyone needs to take even more care of themselves with everything that has been going on this past year.  

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