Can I seek advice from a CEO who started a business like mine a long time ago?
Id suggest seeing if anyone in your network can facilitate the introduction first, or see if there is a place you might be able to meet one or more of your industrys leaders at national or regional conferences, or at other venues where they might be speaking.
If not, then pick up the phone and tell the gatekeeper your story. Keep your pitch lean and mean, and ask if they would be willing to chat first (its unlikely that a major CEO will agree to meet a complete stranger without some kind of vetting process or formal introduction.)
Id also suggest looking into the food industry for other well-established entrepreneurs. Go into any gourmet food store and youll find an array of companies to choose from right on the shelves. If you dont already belong to The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT), then make inquiries about joining as they are a great gourmet food organization. The idea is to seek out a few different successful tea entrepreneurs, as they may be more likely to help you sort through your challenges (just in case the CEO you were referring to comes from a major national brand). Another tip: Google tea entrepreneurs and check into what pops up!
Wishing you success!
As president of Pomona, N.Y.-based marketing-advantage and founder of WomenCentric, Pattie Simone empowers ambitious women, companies and entrepreneurs worldwide, sharing smart new media, client engagement, entrepreneurial and communications expertise as a techpreneur, consultant, speaker and video blogger.