The tequila industry is dominated by men. And when women have ventured into the sector, they are often White women. D.C. native and Maryland resident Tiffany Hainesworth has, however, risen to the challenge and is now the first Black woman to solely own her own tequila brand, T-Capri Tequila.
Hainesworth became an entrepreneur after a car accident forced her to quit her successful career in criminal justice. “I was in a car accident, and, you know, things were bad for me, I wasn’t working … I wanted to do something different, something fun,” she told NBC Washington.
Owning a tequila brand has always been part of Hainesworth’s plan. But she needed to start from scratch. She started making gummy bears and wine and other gourmet treats.
In 2018, she began researching into the tequila industry and all the processes involved, including the regulations. She found a distillery in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“It was important to me to pay homage to a product that I was producing,” she said. “I didn’t want to just slap my name on a bottle and say I have a liquor brand.”
Her brand is now on store shelves across Maryland and plans to have in stores nationwide. “It makes me feel like anything is possible for women, anything is possible for minorities,” Hainesworth said. “You just have to focus, put your mind to it and stay at it.” The tequila producer credits her grandfather and aunts to teaching her and imbibing in her good work ethic.
Hainesworth was among other successful entrepreneurs who were recently hosted by Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Nene Leakes. According to the Miami Times, the purpose of the meeting was not only to expose the selected entrepreneurs to people with the resources to help them grow but also to provide a space where connections can happen.
“I never wanted this to feel like the traditional conference or summit. I wanted this to feel personal. I wanted this to feel like you are rubbing elbows with women you can actually touch,” said Leakes.
Leakes hailed Hainesworth and the rest of the entrepreneurs for their courage and dedication to their crafts. “Basically these were women that you don’t know,” Leakes said. “They started at the very bottom and brought themselves up to million-dollar status. That takes a lot for a girl that just had an idea, but isn’t known or even educated.”
Hainesworth now joins a handful of Black women in the alcoholic beverage industry in the U.S., including Nayana Ferguson, who is the first Black woman to co-own a tequila brand.