"Meet Karin Campion | Founder of Sonoma Syrup Co." - Shoutout LA

We had the good fortune of connecting with Karin Campion and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
About 19 years ago in Sonoma I had just finished restoring a 1911 church schoolhouse on Lovall Valley Road and started a garden with rows of Provence lavender, Meyer lemon trees and a big mint patch. We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area, so I thought how can I bottle these botanical flavors and share them with others. I couldn’t understand why companies were using artificial flavors and colors in syrups and thought there must be something better to serve with amazing iced sweet tea and natural soda. Plus I am a mom of amazing sons and thought these natural syrups would be much better with real fruit juice and botanicals. In 2002, I was living in beautiful Sonoma and creating jams from the garden with wild plums and blackberries, designing some amazing “heart of the home” kitchen spaces, and celebrating many birthday parties for my sons with natural sodas, when this creative idea came together. I began thinking about how I could bottle a better-for-you all natural, real fruit and botanical based simple syrup and share with others the quintessential flavors of this beloved valley. Plus, I loved iced sun tea and was tired of having the sugar fall to the bottom, hence easily blended simple syrup was born.

Actions get you there, to change the world or your life, act and just do it, do the work one step at a time. The best advice I ever received was from Don Sebastiani, I told him I had no idea what I was doing, and he said that is the best way to do a business – to figure it out! From that day forward I continued with confidence and resilience. After 19 years, we remain true and devoted to infusing flavor from fresh juice, botanicals, actual vanilla bean seeds, and lavender flowers. We embrace the idea of “Farm to Flavor” and after all these years, we are more than just simple syrup –we’re innovating and striving to inspire cooks, baristas, mixologists, and bakers, every day.

What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
The most important factor behind our success is our feminine factor of entrepreneurship. We lead with curiosity, ingenuity, and master project planning – our hard work turns into results. It’s how we’ve made our company a profitable and sustainable business from day one and it has continued for almost 20 years. We are a simple syrup company with the tagline “Infusing Flavor. Infusing Happiness.” Keeping it simple is a guiding mission of ours. We also have a continuous goal for 100% customer satisfaction and to provide inspiration to our community. We will celebrate our 20th year in business in 2023.

I love mentoring young talented teams – how can we simply not just work through lockdowns or supply chain issues, but instead make it incredibly interesting, embrace bold innovation and keep everyone learning, achieving, growing, happy and figuring out ways to outsmart any challenge. Critical thinking is the key to it all. I value hard work and independent thinking …these are the people I am inspired by. Tackling work step by step and actually thinking it all through. I also taught my sons to critically think for themselves. We contribute to our community in meaningful ways. That could mean keeping employees employed, contributing to the local economy through multiple facets from supply chain items to local farms for botanicals. We strive to be the best community partner we can be every day.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many amazing views and experiences within Sonoma and Napa Valley. I would definitely eat at Farmstead in St. Helena for their amazing grass-fed hamburgers and amazing grilled artichokes. We would hang out in Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley equally. For a new fun experience, Stanley Ranch is an Auberge property in the Carneros district. It has a country-cowgirl vibe and the food is next-level farm to table. I would have to spend time at the Sonoma Mission Inn for their pool and spa. I would absolutely visit Sarah Anderson at Chateau Sonoma, the hottest spot on the square with French antiques and I would make sure on Saturday to visit her French marketplace with local artisans and treasures. I would take them to see a movie at Sebastiani Theatre, an old-fashioned cinema. I would have a picnic to enjoy the amazing sights on the square, maybe at the Tuesday night farmers market. For views, I would take the amazing hikes of Overlook trail in Sonoma and the many Napa wine trails. I’d visit Buena Vista first then Scribe and Three Sticks in Sonoma and Frogs Leap, Corison, Sinskey and Trefethen Family Vineyards.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A major shoutout to all the remarkable friends in my life who acted as my marketing and sales team when we first met with Chuck Williams in 2002. The kind experts in Vanilla beans, flavors, botanicals, production, my food technologist who taught me everything in a world that I was just learning, the SBA in Sonoma for business acumen, other entrepreneurs with shared advice, Jon Sebastiani, all of these incredible individuals were there when I first started with no idea of what I was doing and are still here today with the addition of fresh tremendous talent with a collective purpose. My immense and unending gratitude is shouted out on the hilltop to all of these gifted people.

Image Credits
Jordan Galindo

Read the article: https://shoutoutla.com/meet-karin-campion-founder-of-sonoma-syrup-co/