Val Rodriguez is a 3pm cafecito lover and foodie enthusiast digging deeper into the intersection of wellness and joy through their work at benni - a plant-based functional beverage brand making small-batch wellness shots. After experiencing burn out at just 23, they're on a mission to champion accessible wellness organizations and strip the curtains off the wellness industry by emphasizing the preventative self-care practices that are the launching pad for any wellness journey. Val lives with her partner and pupson in Jacksonville, FL.
Tell us more about your journey starting benni!
As a Latinx, I had a lot of unpacking to do around "wellness." Growing up as a chubby Boricua baby, I was convinced wellness just wasn't for me. I didn't fit the mold of lean yoga bodies with my large hips and was raised following toxic diets that left me associating health with physical appearance. I didn't see anyone who looked like me in these spaces and felt like I didn't belong.
In the last few years, I've realized my wellness routine is an opportunity to discover joy in being alone or out for margs with my BFFS, celebrate the process not just the victories, and own the un-glamorized routines that make me feel balanced and at peace. 'Wellness' doesn't have to be associated with toxic beauty standards, unrealistic 5-hour skincare routines, or ingredient fads you can't pronounce. With our influence, we plan to inspire a cultural shift that reclaims the narrative around traditional wellness philosophies and invites all types of people to find a wellness lifestyle that works for them that can inspire joy.
Tell us more about the benni.
benni makes plant-based wellness shots that promote fundamental self-care practices that are the launching pad for any wellness journey (like hydration, restful sleep, and relaxation). We're 100% LGBTQ+ founded and owned and proudly belong to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
- Immunity -- Potent, refreshing, and delicious -- this isn't your average ginger shot. 'Immunity' gives your immune system and your senses a boost. 'Immunity' is formulated with Whole Organic Turmeric and Ginger extract and combined with potent black pepper, zinc, minerals, and adaptogens for a powerful immune-supporting shot that can be enjoyed chilled or room temperature.
- Sleep -- An organic floral-berry flavored sleepy-time shot that will put you to bed. Sleep is filled with non-habit-forming natural herbs and adaptogens that help you fall asleep and stay asleep all through the night. How? Through a small batch formulation that includes the sleep-promoting ingredients like valerian root and melatonin. About 30 minutes before bed, shake it, sip it, and enjoy your slumber.
- Relax -- To unwind and be present, we drink Relax. Relax is brewed with 25mg of 3rd party tested broad-spectrum organic hemp CBD in tropical berry flavor.
How do you use benni to champion accessible wellness?
We donate a % of our net-proceeds to Yoga 4 Change -- an organization providing trauma-informed yoga programming to incarcerated individuals, at-hope youth, veterans, and people struggling with substance abuse. In short, the people who stand to benefit from the most from these practices but have the least access to them.
This month, benni is donating 10% of all sales to Women for Political Change. -- A multiracial organization holistically investing in the leadership & political power of young women and trans & non-binary folks in MN.