News & Insights

Meet Our Founders: Ashley Haywood

Ashley Haywood

Embrew Tea – MICRO Fall 2022

Published January 11, 2023

As part of our ‘Meet Our Founders’ series today, we introduce Ashley Haywood, Founder and CEO of Embrew Tea based in Asheville, NC. Embrew creates high-end, lightly-sweetened, tea bags so that tea time (and me-time) is easy and inspiring without the hassle of an infuser or sticky honey.

Q: What problem are you trying to solve and what influenced you to start your company?

A: I went looking for a sweetened tea bag 14 years ago because I needed an easier and faster way to get a balanced cup of really great hot tea just the way I wanted it—and the loose leaf tea brewing process with added time for clean up just sabotaged my quest for true self-care and “me-time”.

After having two kids in less than 18 months, I was tired, but also desperate for a low-fuss, amazing cup of tea to get me through those days. Once I took my product to market, I learned quickly that I wasn’t the only one that needed something like this.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?

A: I’ve grown more than I could have ever imagined after taking the leap into entrepreneurship after 16 years in the corporate world. There is no more feedback loop, no more talking over the cubicles about ideas, no more “great job” from the boss. Now, I have built my own sense of success without the constant external validation from others. While this journey has been extremely hard, with a lot of self-doubt, I’m enjoying what is happening now that I’m through the transition and more self-motivated because I know what I’m doing is right.

Q: Who do you look to for advice and mentorship?

A: I’m always hoping to connect with people smarter than me who can teach me something new and also get excited along with me in my business. The mentors in the Venture Asheville Elevate program have stood where I stand, pushed through issues and solved problems like mine, and help guide me to scale in big ways with their deep experience. I’m grateful for the mentors who give their time and advice to me tirelessly—it’s absolutely carrying me forward.


While visiting Asheville, Ashley recommends:

  • Get out on a hike in DuPont or Pisgah National Forest to work up an appetite and then cruise back in for a bite at The Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village or Curaté in downtown. This is a foodie town, so those are just two of the bazillion amazing food (and drink) spots around town.

Support Ashley and Embrew Tea by:

  • Is there a gourmet food store that you visit often? Please ask them to get in touch to carry Embrew Teas. We are always on the lookout for a warm intro to a restauranteur, boutique hotelier, or retail buyer, which gives us a huge help in connecting with the right person in the industry as we grow.