Local Entrepreneur Gives Ginger Juice New Flavor
By Lyn Sheppard
Have you ever wondered about the benefits of Ginger Root? Well, there is no need to wonder any longer. Illiyaas Muhammad, a 36-year-old entrepreneur along with his wife, Hadia, are the proud owners of Really Reel Ginger, which is a healthy juice that comes in three tasty flavors: Ginger with lemon and mint, Hibiscus with lemon and mint, and Tamarind with ginger and mint. All three drinks come unsweetened or sweetened with cane sugar.
Muhammad explains that “Ginger has been known throughout history to have many benefits such as an anti-emetic/anti-nausea, anti-clotting agent, antispasmodic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antitussive, analgesic; as a circulatory stimulant, carminative, expectorant and as a root that increases blood flow, promotes sweating, and relaxes peripheral blood vessels.”
Muhammad sells his products in the Philadelphia area, and parts of New Jersey. He does not have any employees, “We do everything, we do it all, and we do it by hand; we have a commercial kitchen,” he said. However, when he needs extra help, his family and close friends provide their services. Muhammad said the winter is the busiest because they sell (body-warming and healing) ginger juice. He advertises his product through social media, Facebook, Instagram, email and by word of mouth.
Muhammad graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Psychology with a Business option. He said, “While I was in Mali, West Africa serving 44 months as a Peace Corps volunteer, I learned a great deal about the rich history of Africa, its people, and traditional recipes. I realized that aside from ginger-ale, which has little to no ginger in it, there were few real ginger beverages in the U.S. market. Once I returned to the U.S., I decided that entrepreneurship was the best avenue to become financially independent. After testing a number of business ventures, my wife encouraged me to revisit working with ginger.”
Muhammad said that the top three skills needed to be a success in business is persistence, drive, and ambition. He said, “Drive is your energy that pushes you,” and ambition without action in nothing. It’s not the falling down, it’s the staying down. Are you going to stay down or get back up?”
If he could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out with their own business he would say, “Keep going, at times you feel like you are failing, but that doesn’t matter. If you don’t stick with it and you don’t keep going, you’ll never know how far you can go.”
When asked about some of the biggest mistakes he has made in the business, he said, “I don’t call them mistakes, I call them learning opportunities. You don’t want to be stuck in an analysis- paralysis. You need to take action once you make a plan. You have to take the initiative when you are an entrepreneur.” Muhammad said he sees himself in ten years as having received “a buyout with the business by a big corporation.”
If you would like to purchase Really Reel Ginger, you can pick some up at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, or you can contact Muhammad and Hadia through social media.
Lyn Sheppard is earning her BA in Journalism at Temple University. Her passions are food and politics and she is grateful to FunTimes Magazine for giving her the opportunity to share her interests.