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Mara Smith

CEO and Founder of Inspiro Tequila

What inspired you to start your business?

After leaving the corporate world to raise my children, I always knew that I wanted  to commandeer my own venture.  In early 2020, I started the journey that would become Inspiro Tequila.  My experience in law, corporate America, and at home with my children, all prepared me to start my own venture.

I became a fan of tequila years ago when I was looking for a drink to compliment my active, gluten-free lifestyle.  I searched for a tequila brand that was additive-free with an inspiring look, taste, and aroma.  Since that perfect tequila did not exist, I decided to create one. My team and I crafted a clean, smooth, and sippable 100% Blue Weber Agave tequila without any additives. My goal was not just to create a one-of-a-kind tequila but also to make women feel seen and relevant in a historically male-dominated industry.

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

Entering a new industry as an outsider and as a woman has meant I had to prove myself even more. As a woman entering a male dominated industry my lack of industry experience is called into question more often. I research intensely and over prepare for every meeting in order to gain credibility. I not only studied the industry in depth but I took classes to be certified in the history and production of tequila by the governing agency in Mexico. I really do my homework to be prepared. I listen to all industry webinars and podcasts, and I read all industry related newsletters and announcements. I also find experts to provide guidance and feedback.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

You can innovate in an industry, even as an outsider, if you are willing to put in the hard work and do the research. The more prepared you are the better.   Women often question their qualifications more than men do.  Women should feel confident.  They are probably more prepared than their male counterparts since they feel like they need to prove themselves more.

What three traits define you?

I am  intellectually curious, a perfectionist, and intense. I truly like to learn new things which is why the entrepreneurial journey has been so exciting for me.  There is such a steep learning curve.  I am very meticulous in how I do things.  My standards are really high.  I am actually trying to work on going for done over perfect.  I have  always been very intense in school and at work. I recognized that I need more balance in my life, so a few years ago, I made my New Year’s resolution to watch more television and to enjoy more cocktails.  I guess I’m just not that good at relaxing, because that resolution ultimately took me down the path to starting Inspiro Tequila!

What women inspire you?

Ruth Bader Ginsberg. When I was younger and even going into law school, I dreamt of becoming a Supreme Court Justice. I even knew that you have to pass about eight federal investigations to be cleared so I was careful about all of my actions. I then studied her decisions in law school. She is someone I emulate and who inspired me in law school. I totally agree with her quote that “women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”

Another female inspiration is Kirsten Green from Forerunner Ventures.  She is such an amazing pioneer for women in venture capital. She has invested in some of the most amazing CPG brands like Away, Warby Parker, and The Yes - all brands that I am a huge fan of.

I love seeing women make a significant impact in traditionally male dominated industries.

How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?

The resources available through WBENC have been instrumental in getting Inspiro Tequila off the ground.  I just finished the WeTHRIVE program which provided amazing guidance for a new company.  I have also met so many incredible women through WBENC. Additionally, the women owned directory and gift guide are fantastic resources for a new CPG brand.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

Women and minority owned brands are innovating in the industry and they are starting to make a real impact.  It is really exciting to see innovation in the very traditional male dominated industry.

As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?

Right now the list of things to do keeps me up at night.  We are a very small team and I am wearing many hats, so it’s impossible for me to ever complete the never ending to do list.

What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?

Letting go of control has been my biggest challenge as a business owner.  I recently discovered the Sara Blakely quote, “If somebody can do something 80 percent as good as you think you would have done it yourself, then you've got to let it go.” Initially I was trying to do everything myself, literally from filing for barcodes to drafting contracts. I am trying to live by this message and hand things off more. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m trying to focus on the things that I really enjoy and that I’m best at.

How do you define success?

My success is every woman’s success. As a female founder, my mission is to give back to other female founders; to use my company as a platform to also support and inspire other female founders. I really believe that as women-owned businesses become successful and you have more women to invest back into other female founded businesses, that’s how we can level the playing field and equalize the access to capital. More women who can invest in women owned, that is my long term dream.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

I heard this concept on a podcast recently and it really stuck with me. Be a “learn-it-all” not a “know-it-all.” I truly love to learn new things and that is what this startup journey has afforded me. If I wasn’t willing to take the time to research and learn I could not have thoughtfully brought Inspiro from just a concept to reality out in the market in eighteen months. I listen to tons of podcasts, read and listen to books, reach out to experts and those ahead of me in the process. It has enabled me to take these learnings and apply them and constantly see where we can improve and do things better.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would write a journal to document my entrepreneurial journey.  I have learned so much along the way and it would be great if I had time to document the obstacles, wins and learnings.  I think it would be helpful to share these with other female founders.

What are you reading or listening to now?

What am I NOT listening to right now? I listen to podcasts on double speed  just so I can fit more in.  Some of my favorite podcasts right now are:  Entreprenista, Women Who Own It, What’s Her Story and Founder’s Journal.  Here are some great books I am  listening to and reading now:  Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu, Supermaker by Jamie Schmidt, Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima and Fearless by Rebecca Minkoff.  I really enjoy hearing the stories of other female founders and their journeys to success.  There are really great takeaways and I always feel inspired to keep going. 

What’s the best way to start your day?

I wake up before the rest of my family is up.  I like to workout when the house is quiet and this is the time I indulge in my guilty tv.  I shower and get ready and then I love my walk to school with my nine year old.  Before I get to work, I make a matcha.  It’s my favorite morning boost.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

Of course with a glass of Inspiro Tequila on the rocks, with a splash of soda. 

What do you like about your workspace?

My workspace is my kitchen and it is my favorite room in the house. I launched Inspiro Tequila from the kitchen and I love that it is also the family gathering place.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I… think of the book by Marie Forleo Everything is Figureoutable. That mindset is a requisite to starting your own business. You just can’t get too easily discouraged.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself there is a huge world out there and consider more than just the obvious path.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… candy! I have a major sweet tooth.

By this time next year, I… will be seeing Inspiro Tequila on the shelves of retailers.

To get my creative juices flowing, I… sit with a cup of tea at night when I have some downtime.


Inspiro Tequila is a 100% blue weber agave super-premium tequila. It is gluten-free, has zero sugar or carbs and is confirmed additive-free. Inspiro Tequila is women-owned, operated and created. Every detail is thoughtfully crafted, from its sleek and slender custom glass bottle to its refined silky smooth taste and appealing aromas.

Learn more.

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