University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumna Jennifer Nowicki ’19 (Business Administration) has been an entrepreneur almost her entire adult life. She has worked in the tea industry for 25 years and is Wisconsin’s only certified tea specialist (Specialty Tea Institute ’09). In addition, she has co-owned a coffeehouse, owned a tearoom in Milwaukee, and has been a representative for the United States Tea Industry in two world tea conferences.
Nowicki is currently taking on a new challenge. Hers was one of three “pop-up shops” to be announced as a finalist in the Two Rivers Pop-Up Shop Contest, recently. Her shop, “Cultivate Taste,” a specialty tea shop, opens Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019. It is located near the “Field to Fork” restaurant at 510 S. 8th St. in Sheboygan.
After obtaining a minor in business, Nowicki returned to UW-Geen Bay to major in Business Administration and was encouraged by UW-Green Bay entrepreneurship lecturer, Ryan Kauth (Cofrin School of Business), to get involved in business competitions. “I think the contests help validate my experience and education,” said Nowicki.
With her knowledge and years of experience in the tea industry, Nowicki would like to own one physical retail location and eventually have a tearoom again. “I enjoyed having a physical location when I had my tearoom in Milwaukee and developed quite a few loyal customers,” said Nowicki. “I see this as part of my business.” In addition to her pop-up shop, Nowicki sells her tea online and wholesale, a side of the business she also hopes to grow.
Kauth says Nowicki has what it takes to be an entrepreneur: “Jennifer has grit: passion for what she does and the perseverance to see her business ownership goals through. No matter what,” he said. “She also is a lifetime learner. It helps if entrepreneurs are curious and ask a lot of ‘Why?’ questions. Jennifer coming to UWGB to finish her degree and pushing herself in competitions is what got her where she is. That’s also why the Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs invited her this past spring.”
Being an entrepreneur has seemingly always been in Nowicki’s DNA. Along the way, she said it has been important to have the courage to try new things and consult the advice of others.
“I think I always had an entrepreneurial mindset and even asked small business owners what it took to be one in my 20s,” said Nowicki. “If I do not know something, I am not afraid to get the education I need to succeed or figure it out if formal education is not there.”
Photos submitted. Story by Marketing and University Communication Student Assistant, Joshua Konecke.