Find out how Pate launched the business out of her desire for flavored coffee during the COVID shutdown
Daysie organic simple syrups are available in three flavors: Madagascar vanilla, salted caramel, and coconut almond.
Any entrepreneur will tell you the best products solve a problem or fill a need. For Tara Pate, the dilemma arose during the COVID lockdown when she couldn’t find ingredients for her favorite indulgence: high-quality coffee with flavored syrup. The result: her company, Daysie. “We were in the process of building a home coffee bar because our favorite local shops had shut their doors. I was getting my coffee from Stumptown, and I called The Daily up and asked them if they could sell me some syrups. Then, I thought, ‘Gosh, why can’t I get this at Whole Foods?’ I looked, and the number-one syrup comes in these big plastic bottles. The ingredients don’t pass Whole Foods’ ingredient integrity standard, so they don’t sell it. That was the tipping point for me.”
Pate’s entrepreneurial instinct sparked to fill the gap. Before moving to Charleston from the San Francisco area, she was executive assistant to the CEO of snack box subscription service NatureBox and went on to become one of the first four employees at electrolyte drink start-up DripDrop.
When Pate’s husband ended his military service and her sister in Florida became pregnant, the couple decided to move closer to family and chose a city they’d lived in twice during his career: Charleston. Pate started over, providing marketing for Butcher & Bee. She’d been on the job two weeks, when COVID closed businesses.
In her downtime, Pate wrote a 20-page business plan for simple syrups made with natural, organic ingredients and no preservatives and asked Butcher & Bee owners Michael and Melody Shemtov whether the syrups could be under the umbrella of their coffee shop, The Daily. “They called me the next day and said, ‘This is genius, it’s way bigger than a single coffee shop.’ They were the catalyst, and they said they’d support me and even wrote me a $5,000 check,” Pate says, adding, “I never cashed it. I framed it as a token of somebody who believed in me.”
Tara Pate created the Monkey Business, featuring her Daysie coconut almond syrup, for The Dewberry hotel.
Pate hired a beverage formulator and sought USDA Certified Organic approval, a process aided by her contacts with DripDrop. Development wasn’t always easy. “I would be lying if I didn’t say it was the scariest thing I have ever done,” Pate says. “We spent our savings; I sold all of my Lily Pulitzer dresses and Tory Burch shoes online. For two years, I didn’t have a social life, but people weren’t going out with friends during the pandemic anyway, so all I did was work on this.”
Today, Daysie sells Madagascar vanilla, salted caramel, and coconut almond flavors online and in a dozen local markets. A Spicy Coconut Milk Margarita, made using Pate’s Madagascar vanilla syrup and locally based Red Clay Spicy Margarita Salt, can be found on the menu at The Dewberry hotel.
This year, she’s planning to introduce a pumpkin spice syrup and hopes to expand into national retailers, including Whole Foods, bringing the grocer a syrup whose label meets its ingredient integrity standard and filling that consumer need she discovered during the pandemic.
BY THE NUMBERS