Hi everyone and welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here, your host and hype girl! If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur listening to this episode - you probably know how hard it can be to generate revenue - it's bloody tough! you might have just started and made a few sales… you might have made a few thousand dollars in sales or maybe even a few hundred thousand - hell maybe you’ve made multi 7 figures in sales! Now imagine scaling your business to hitting $200 million in revenue. Imagine what that would look like from a supply chain point of view, a product development pov, the investment point of view.
That’s what Kristel de Groote did - all while she was in her 20’s. I know. Wild. Today’s episode is a reminder that when you stick it out for the long run, when you have a real purpose and drive to change the world - magical things can happen. Kristel built her company, Your Super, alongside her partner Michael in their early 20s after Michael battled cancer. They built it to $200m in revenue and then sold it to the Healing Company in 2022 for an undisclosed amount. This story starts with humble beginnings and it ends with so many brilliant learnings, I hope you love it as much as I do!
I particularly love the part of this episode where we talk about the bottleneck in your business. Your flailing SEO strategy? The manufacturer that just won’t get back to you in time? Problems with shipping delays? Practical complications can cause a headache, but when we get to the crux of it it’s you as a founder who determines the real cap. You are the bottleneck of your business. Some of the greatest growth that you will see happen in your company comes at times when you work on your personal growth. And by personal growth, I don’t mean having all the answers. It’s knowing that not knowing is your superpower. It’s knowing that you don’t need to know step 100 when you’re at step 1. It’s wholeheartedly finding peace with yourself when you are: on a seat at the table that you have built yourself.
And before we jump into today’s episode I want to quickly mention the Girl Code that we introduced in our recent episodes! The general gist is that it’s a very loose and casual deal where if you love Female Startup Club and what we’re doing over here, you take a tiny action every time you listen to one of our episodes. Whether that’s by leaving us a review, or sharing this episode on social media - basically anything that helps us reach more ears and keep growing. It’s a weird time right now and I’m in need of my hype girls. And to everyone who already does this - I appreciate you more than you know.
Please note, this transcript has been copy-pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Kristel. Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here. Me too. I'm so bloody excited. I feel like it's pretty rare. We get to interview women who have gone through the entire journey, start to finish wildly successful exit type moment. So I'm excited to hear your journey, especially, you know, the ups and the downs. Where do you like to start your entrepreneurial story? I actually feel like in my teenage years, it already started. Um So I always joke that I was this weird teenager um sitting at the dining table with my parents every night and just be like, you know, why does this not exist? Why does this not exist? And every week I had other business ideas. Several. And I say, I sometimes think like, what must they have been thinking? Like, what is wrong with this girl? Like why is she only talking about all the businesses she wants to start? And I had all the ideas and do you remember any of those ideas? I, one was very random. Like I want to have uh I want to personalize my own calendar, right? You know how you for school all always bought your own calendar. And I was like, I just want to personalize it. I wanna have my own pictures in it and this and this and I don't want to just get a random one from this. It makes total sense. I love that. Yeah. So those, those kind of things and um it's, I think that's already where it started and then I, I actually played a lot of tennis and I had a string machine. So I started, you know, stringing records for other people. So I was always, like, doing little things to make money and, um, then there's this and I actually never talked about this, but in Holland you have something called King's Day. And, um, that is a day where everyone goes on the street and kind of just sells their stuff and drinks a lot and parties and all those things and wears only orange clothes. Orange, right. Great day to go. If you ever want to see it, it's, it's kind of thing. But as, as a, when I was young, what you used to do is, you know, you get all your stuff and you would sell it and I also, what I would do, I would make, I would bake pancakes. So I would like, get the eggs, I would get the flour and kind of, you know, figure out what were my cost and then try to sell as many pancakes as I could. Um, so I just like those kind of moments, I think in my upbringing that really, like, I don't know, this kind of spark, that idea of like, I like to sell something. Did you get that from your parents or was it just intrinsically inside of you? I, I don't know. So my dad does have his own business. He has a pharmacy and he got that from his, you know, from his parents. My mom didn't necessarily have her own business. My grandma, I learned did have her own business. Um, so I'm like, you know, she had a store back in the days, which is pretty cool. I'm, like, very, pretty cool grandma. Yeah, she's Ebola. Yeah. Um, so, you know, maybe just seeing it around me. Yes, a little bit. But then at the same time I think it's something that also was just in me. I love that. So how do we transition from you selling your pancakes at King's Day and selling whatever you could sell and, and your startup ideas to creating Your Super. So I actually, I studied in the US. Then I, so I'm Dutch studied in the US and then I did my master's in London. And then during that time, my boyfriend, uh, who I met actually in college in the US. He's German. Uh, he got cancer and that was just such an aha moment I think for both of us. Um, you know, you're, I was 22 he was 24. He just finished college and it, it was just like, uh, you know, you're like, ok, I thought I was on top of the world and then you're not. And I watched a movie for several nights, I turned plant days. The next day I was always already kind of this health nut. I, because I had eczema growing up. So like I knew from a young age, ok, I either get a rash when I eat this or I don't get a rash when I eat this. So the connection between health and my body was something I was like, ok, I get that, you know that it's there. So, yeah, turned plant days. He, for him it was really after. So he went, he had surgery, he had for chemo. And it's interesting. Right? Because you go for chemo, you're cancer free then. Uh but he was any, you know, he was not healthy and that was such a interesting turning point for him because then he was suddenly open and I was like, ok, we're gonna do a detox. I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you all the juices, I'm gonna give you this and this and I, you know, I was a crazy superfood lady. I had this cabinet full and you know, I know there are more people like me out there where I had 30 different bags and every morning I was scooping like a maniac. I was like party grass, wheat grass eats this, this and you know, it was fine for me. It was like, I mean it was a lot of scooping and I kind of just dragged him to Whole Foods and it's like, ok, you need uh wheat grass, he needs Garlina, you need this, you need this. And he was like, ok, wait a second, what are all these names? Uh This is really expensive and no, thank you. Um So what I did instead I had this empty jar and just kind of scoop all, you know, a bunch of green things, especially for him to get her. And he said, whatever you do, just take this every single day. And he just like after the detox and using the superfoods, right? He was very skeptical because he was just meat eating German. He really started to feel better and he was like, oh, this is very interesting, like I feel so much better. And from there, you know, like it's um you start to research, then you actually look into superfoods, right? Because people are always like, oh, such a trend is it gonna stay? And it's just like nothing, it's nothing new, right? Yeah, these are ancient practices. Exactly. If you look at, if you look at these medicine, if you look in, you know, South America, these ingredients have been used for thousands and thousands of years. So I also always say if you're super, it's not that we do anything new. We just look at, you know, like some of those traditions and like how these ingredients have been used and how we can kind of just resurface them um and make it a little bit easier for people, you know, to use them. So, but basically, at that point, we realized, ok, there are a lot more Michaels in the world, right? I talk to friends and they're like, yeah, I'm very interested and you know, they're using as A E but, but is it actually how do I use it? And from there we, you know, we, we kind of just started and how we started. And so we had a small little place close to Amsterdam. Uh We had a certified organic room in that little apartment which we somehow created and it got, it got actually certified, which was really funny uh just in our own apartment and we started ordering superfoods from initially from a wholesaler um because we ordered like five kg bags and mixed everything by hand together. And uh this is really how your support is born, right? But really the goal on our mission has always been how do we help people improve their health power of plans. And superfoods are just a very easy and convenient way to do it. And basically we develop these mixes with 56 ingredients and that's it. No Stevia, no feathers, nothing else. It just, you know, very simple plant based organic ingredients uh that are really powerful and pick, you know, pick a punch and we then develop these different benefits, right? So we beautiful for, you know, for your skin, we have a super green with your greens. Um But then also other ones now we really popular on this Moon balance for hormone balance, right? So really looking at like what is the benefits you need and what are some of the ingredients that can can support with that. I love that. I love that so much in that early time when you have to think back to kind of like the money piece of the puzzle. You know, were you thinking about savings? Did you take a loan, a credit card, friends and family? Like how did you get started? And how much did you invest to get to that kind of launch point of selling these products? Yeah. So we Michael still had a job. So we sometimes joke, his only job he had, which was one year at accenture. So we sometimes joke accenture was the first. Yeah. Um I, I didn't, I never actually had a proper job, which is also funny. And the whole, the whole, it's, I actually, we were just talking about it during breakfast. It's like, it's almost good to be naive. I think it's superpower because I didn't know anything. I didn't know how to manage people. I didn't know anything but really about margins. I did, I just didn't know anything and I think there's a beauty to that as well. Um Because if I now, you know, go back 10 years and I'm like, I know everything I know now would have started the business again. I'm like, I don't know. Right. So it's, it's so interesting. But the money piece, I think we had a couple of things going for us. I think we were very young. I was 23. I was not used to the income. I lived a very, you know, simple basic life in that sense. Yeah, you can be frugal at that time. Right. I didn't have kids. I didn't have a mortgage. So I think that helps. Right. I didn't have that pressure of like, oh, I need to make money right away because I have all these expenses. So, I think that was one advantage just starting that young. And then I think the other piece of it, what I did do over at some point was so at first it was kind of Michael's salary. Um I lent a little bit of money for my parents. Uh I think it was around, I think 30,000 and something else who paid back afterwards. Um And that's kind of how we started the first year and basically what we did, we would buy very small amounts. Superfoods would mix in my head together and then go to farmers markets on the weekends. And we did that for a year where we just like mixed, you know, during the week. And then we went to Holland and in Germany as well, we went to different, you know, veggie markets, health markets, all kinds of different markets. Um and just started to selling the products. And it was very interesting because she learned so much by doing this because we started to talk to potential customers, right? And then the questions they were asking and it was very interesting because people were asking us not even like what our superfoods, they were just like, oh, what is this movie? How do you make a smoothie? And I was like, oh, we have a long road ahead of us. This is gonna be kind of an education piece here that I need to focus on. Yeah. So that was like something we learned right away then obviously about taste, you learn and you just like you learn so much by hearing what they're asking. Um And we started selling online right away as well. Like we had a little Shopify shop 10 years ago that we build up. Um and we, you know, we used to ship right away um worldwide uh which was really funny. Oh, well, they were like, we're shipping worldwide and it's funny because in the end, it really helped us. So basically what we did is that we saw uh that quite some orders over time were coming from the US, like 5 to 10%. And that, that really actually helps us to make the decision to then say, ok, hey, we're also going to shift to the US. It was a very small amount, right? Like the total orders were not a lot. Um But it always gave us a sense of like, hey, where is the product resonating? Hey, we have some customers to call up. Um So I think that really, you know, again, very naive and didn't make any money on those orders. Absolutely not. But maybe a loss, maybe a loss if you have to think about those kind of early years, those that handful of years, you know, getting to your 1st 1000 customers, getting to kind of proven proven concept, you know, the ball is rolling. What are the key things that shifted the needle for you or what are those key pivotal moments where you were like, holy shit, we're on to something really good here, I think. Um So one of the earliest things because it always comes down kind of to marketing, right? So from the farmers' market, we then did our first, we did raise a little bit money then for friends and family. Um and it was really funny, I think we raised 100,000 and we thought we're set, we never have to raise money again. This is it. We did one production run. Uh And we started, by the way, we started with seven products, seven skews, which is crazy. And anyone starting a business, I would highly recommend not starting with seven S K s, start with one, start with three maybe. But like that's it. Uh because the more skews, the more you need to produce and then you know, the more you need different products you need to actually ingredients, you need to buy packaging, packaging, it just makes everything so much more expensive and complicated. Uh And again, we just didn't know. Right. So you know, we use seven products and um from there, we, you know, we, we raised a little bit of money and then we really focused on, on those early days of Instagram. We just, you know, did barter deals. So we would just send products to like Instagrammers. And that's also actually then how it's, I think spread to the US, the golden days, I mean the golden days. But I have to say it's funny we just uh brought out a book, right? And I kind of just went back to thank you, you're super life that he wants to check it out. Um But I kind of just went back to the grassroots where I was like, OK, I just want to send this book to as many people as possible, right? And I know maybe not everyone posts about it, but like I still think I can get like, you know, let's see to how many people I can send it without having to pay each month money. And funny enough, there's still a lot of people out there with big followings who if they're truly interested in a book or in a product, they're still gonna, you know, take your free product and post about it, but it's tedious work, right? You have to write a lot of people and a certain percentage is only gonna write back and then an only certain percent is just gonna give you their address. Um So it's, you know, it's, it just takes a lot of work to just write hundreds and hundreds of people and then follow up after you send the book. So I think those are the pieces where it's still possible. Right. Um, and like, what is your messaging? Like, what are you writing them? Is it like super impersonal or is it like a very personal message? And they have a feeling like an actual person versus an agency is writing them? I think those things all make a huge difference. Oh, yeah, absolutely. The human touch relationships, like it's gonna be much more impactful to take that personal touch with someone and connect with someone on a, on a genuine level. So you said you raised the 100,000 friends and family, you got a bigger kind of product order, you were doing their influencer marketing. What was your vision at that point? Because you're still kind of in your mid, mid twenties, early twenties. Could you have envisioned where you got to? Um No, I think my vision was actually to lay on the beach. I I don't know why. Like I started this business and a year later, I'm and I'm laying on the beach and I'm just like something I'm like, what was I thinking? Um You know, they say that you work more when you start your own business. It's like by the way, it's true, right? You work more hours, you work harder. Obviously, you, you know, you get to decide. Um, and it's your own choice. I still think it feels different. But you, you know, like, I think from, especially when we hired even interns, right. That hired the first employees, I think there was a sense of responsibility that I never felt at that age before or I was like, I am responsible for their salary. Right. And they're, you know, they're living and I think that those kind of things like make you grow up very quickly. Ok. I'm responsible for this. Um, and I, I think from there, it really, I mean, we made so many mistakes but so many funny things too, right. That hilarious stories when we were mixing uh at our house, we used to order these canisters. So we still use the same canister, which is now, you know, another recycled paper paper label around it. Uh They back then they just used to look like toilet rolls basically. But we, you know, they would come to our house, tiny little street somewhere in Amsterdam with a huge truck and you're like, where's the loading dock? I'm like, no, no loading dock, it's here and it's with me, this is the door. Um And this is where the pellet needs to go through, which obviously and this is the worker. So it's, it's those kind of things that just completely went wrong. Um You know, we raise money, we ran out of money very quick and it's often not even that you're, uh, I think in the early days it's only thinking that we were unprofitable. Right. It's just cash, right? Like you, you buy inventory and I think those kind of things, like, really managing your cash, I think is something, uh, not necessarily easy and I think it is going go really, really quick and I think we always had this really, I think the one thing we kind of, we're done at that point where we're like, also before you start to raise money. And I think that's for everyone, something you know, really to think about because I don't think you need to raise money, right? And it's just a, it's a choice like what type of business do you want to build? Um I think the moment you make the decision to raise money, right? A you're not only working for yourself anymore. I think that's something really important to realize. Um, and two, they just come, it comes with certain expectations, right? People invest the money and they want actually to see a return and um they also want to see faster growth. Um So there's so many of those pieces and I remember that Michael and me were kind of sitting together and we were like, ok, like, what do we want? Do we want a smaller business be 100% in control and like, grow slower or do we want to actually have a, a bigger business and actually have to and this is really what's for us. What's the decision of like, hey, we want to go this route we just had in our minds. We were like, we want to just reach as many people as possible. We want our impact to be as big as possible. Uh Because we wanna help as many people as possible to be healthy. So we're like, ok, let's just go all in. Um And that was really at that time what felt right for us. Um But again, I don't, I never want, it's not the only way to build a business and I don't think it's necessarily the right way. I think for everyone it's different and I think there's also a beauty now having gone through this, right? I think there's also a beauty in moving a little bit slower and finding more your attraction in a more, you know, um organic way. So just something to think about and, and to know that they're, you know, it's really a choice to make for yourself and to figure out, ok, like what is it that I want? Yeah, it really requires a personal audit, an audit of yourself, your life, your strength, your weaknesses, everything really. At what point was this in the timeline? Like what year are we talking when you're kind of like, let's go for it. So we started uh that was 2/5 what was it? 2 14, we started 2 15, we raised friends and family. And then in, I think it was 2 16 when we raised money from 500 startups. So I wanna say like that was really in the moment you start taking like more V C money in and then it's just different and that changed things. Yeah, for the good or like, sorry, the good only or also some of the worst. I think it's both. I think uh one of the cool things we did with 500 startups and I think that really helped me along with my journey is that they, and that's always, it's always easier said than done, right? But what other things can P CS give you than just money? Um So basically with them, we had a month where they called it a Jojo where we had basically a month long ecom training. So we learned about all your K P I si learned about how to run my own Facebook ads, Google ads, um essay like I literally everything and uh you know, email marketing and also just even just someone explaining you, what are the metrics to be looking at? Like, how, what should you should you optimize if you optimize the landing page, what is kind of the percentage of, you know, traffic you're looking for? So it was a lot of those kind of things and I think there was a lot, but I didn't start that month. I was just kind of like, ok, there was a lot of real spinning in my head. Um But it's interesting because like about nine months after that, that is kind of where we, you know, started to crack down Facebook and how we could actually run that. Uh and very simple things, right? Like our A U V was always too low, right? So therefore, it was very hard, you know, with our care of, you know, an acquiring customer in a low A U V to just like even just break even. And actually our goal was always on the first order. Can we break even? Because right then at least we don't lose money. And from there, we can actually then scale um instead of just acquiring and only relying on future customers somehow that just never really made a lot of sense in our head. So what we learned then is that we started to bundle more for products, create programs around it, you know, create it, for example, the detox bundle and really started to advertise more of that. Um And you know, it was the funnel really focus on the bundle and suddenly your A O V went from 50 to like a, you know, 100 $120. It's like, oh, this is kind of an, this works, this works. Um And I think in other piece that we really learned, um So we went to the US beginning to 18, I'll, I'll come back to that what I wanna say one other thing we really learned is that we really started to talk about a personal story. So before 2018, we never talked about Michael's cancer story. We never talked about our personal journey. We're just focused on product, product, product because we're like, we love our products. They're the best. Let me tell you all about the benefits, right? But we never talked about our own story and somehow we came across several people. Uh and someone helped kind of interviewed us and helped us to shape our story and just put it in clear words instead of, you know, just all over. Um And you know, we started to actually, we had this one interview on Cheddar TV and I started to run that as an ad and it just kind of just, it worked so good. And I was like, oh it's powerful. I was like, I need to talk about her story like I get another unlock, yeah, major unlock and yeah, but I want to say that. So we in 2 17, we um we were only in Europe still basically and we were really struggling. Um We as a business in Europe, I think we were extremely early on the market. Um Again, I, like I said, people didn't even have lenders at home, didn't know how to make smooths. And there were we trying to sell superfoods and we actually met uh someone else in a fair. Um Actually one of the founders from, for funny enough. And they're like, yeah, you know, we were way too, you know, no one want to buy mushrooms in Europe. So we just went to the US and that was like, kind of this moment for us. We like, wait a second, you're from Europe and you went to the US. They're like, if you can do this, like, we can do this too. And if you think that there are not a lot of European businesses that go from Europe to the US, right? It's very often the other way around. Um We're also not that we were so successful in Europe, right? So because even the, you know, our early investors were like, you're not gonna go to the US, like you first need to be a proper business and bigger in Europe before you're allowed to go there. And we were just kind of like, well, they did it and we're like, it feels right. We both studied there. We're just gonna figure it out. We're gonna raise money in the US. It was funny. Every time we tried to raise money in Europe, we uh talked to investors there and it's very different environment. They only were talking about risks. And I think we were at the time trying to raise like 500 K and they were like, why, why do you need this money for? And then in the US, we started to raise 2 17 also in the US at the same time. And it was so interesting because if we would say we raised 500 K, nobody wanted to talk to us, we needed to raise a million, them a million. So we started to raise their 1.5 billion because otherwise nobody wanted to talk to us and they only wanted to talk about all the opportunities and how big the market is and, you know, all the upside. And I was just like, isn't this so fascinating? How different the mindset is, you know, between those two uh places? Wow. So, yeah, a lot of, a lot of things have happened and we kind of went then. Uh we, so we were raising money in the US. Um We were still living in Berlin at the time and it was funny because we, we would say we also would live in L A and work at the co-working space. Uh But we would just be flying back and forth, back and forth. We did have to be fair. Our fulfillment was set up in the US, but we didn't live there. We, you know, we just kept flying back and forth. But no, for a meeting tomorrow 100 percent. Yeah. No, that's literally what happened. Oh, oh, you wanna, you know, we're in L A. We would love to, we did a couple of pitch competitions. We started to build up a little bit of network, meet some people. They're like, oh, we want to meet with you uh, in L A because that's where you are and we're like, hm. Yeah. Ok. We'll see you next week. Yeah, in your office, I'm like, no, the coworking space is a little loud. Um, so a lot of funny stories. But right, if you, it's interesting because us, investors don't want to invest, um at least at that time, right, if we would not be based in the US, they didn't want to invest in US. So like I think to and obviously we, we did move to the US, right? Once we were new, ok, we're gonna raise this round. We moved actually to the US to really be there and build a business. But it was, it was a really funny experience and yeah, we're like, you know, you just sometimes you have to be a little smart with like we're like, ok, we're just gonna, we know we're gonna live here but you know, we're not there yet. You've got to take the calculated jump. Yeah, I read that at some point you reach the 200 million revenue mark and that's what prompted you to start looking for an acquisition or an exit. And I want to kind of shift gears a little bit to talk about what happened next? Like when was that? When did you start being like, right, we've hit this number. What does that look like? Now, why now do we sell and Yeah, just what that time was like for you. Yeah. So um so it was 200 accumulators. So we basically, we got to like, I just want to clarify it for anyone. This thing. Uh we got to around 60 70 year uh revenue. And um it was actually a really interesting time, I think at some point. Um a I got tired because the business skilled really, really fast and that's kind of what I said in the beginning, right? There are advantages and disadvantages and um obviously there's this beauty, we, you know, the, we were able to skill so fast with Facebook ads so fast. Um But that's just the selling part, everything else right from our team skilled from, you know, where we were 15 people at some point, we were 100 people and this is all in the time span of like two or three years. Um You need to learn how to manage. I had a team of 50 people under me. Um So, you know, so many things you need to, we were producing uh products in Europe as well as in the US. And it's funny as the US started to scale, it's almost like Europe slowly a year later started to catch up and they suddenly knew what superfood. Well, what smooths were that they wanted the superfoods, right? So we have a blended now. You have a blender now. Um And it's just, it's interesting because obviously, we had teams in Berlin, we had teams in, in L A. Um How, you know, how do you build the or structure? I think there were so many things that we kind of had to figure out. It's such a short period of time that we were just sprinting, sprinting and sprinting. Um And I'm forever grateful for all the lessons learned because there were a lot of them. Uh but so many, um I learned by the way that I don't want to manage a team of 50 people because it's not for me. So, again, back with the self audit, what you thrive in doing and what you don't thrive in doing. Yeah, I really learned about myself that I love being creative, right? So I actually like writing a copy. I like working on in the team, working on the ads and like really be in the creative, you know, doing the formulations of products and thinking about the branding like that's me, but that's not your job when you're, you know, a CMO with a team of 50 people. Uh because my job was, you know, to set the vision, the goals and to empower the team to do all those things. And I was just like, I want to do that myself, let me get in there and do it. Um So that's just like one thing. Um I think so so many more. I think it's, you learn a lot about yourself and I think that, that peace is really, really important. But how do you know if you don't do it? All right. So I'm also a huge fan of sometimes it's ok to just, like, kind of just do it all and, and feel what, you know, what feels right. And I kind of the, it's a beauty that I got to learn of. Like, oh, this is what I like. This is what I don't like and I, I didn't know before. So it was uh it was good. Um But yeah, a lot, a lot had happened. Uh we skilled very quickly, right? When we went to the US, we only did like 500 K in sales. Um Then we kind of went to like five, I think it was five million to 30,000,070 right? So it went super fast. So crazy. Yeah, it was crazy. It was crazy. It's funny when you're in it, it felt kind of normal. But now looking back, I'm like that was, that was crazy. And I think I don't want anyone to listen to this and compare yourself to it. I think it's really, I would even recommend to go slower, right? Because I think we, we had, we made more mistakes in the end because it was going so fast as well. Um And I think like I said, like I, I was getting tired, right? Because like that speed of growth and like I was working so much and it's funny. Right. I'm running a house in one of those business and I was like, I had a hard time taking care of myself at the same time. Um and it was not that I was super unhealthy but I was, yeah, I was just working too much. Um So, yeah, a lot of, a lot of lessons there and I think that's kind of where Michael we were like, hey, do we, is this, is this the right time to sell? I think the other piece of it, you know, investors will start to demand it too. Um We had a hard time also with the I OS. So like what, you know, if the I Os changes, we saw that like, we're like, oh, we cannot keep skating like this. We did launch then in retail, right? So we actually only were D to C business, only 5% Amazon, 95% our own uh our own website and then started to actually start to focus more on Amazon went into retail as well. But then it was also where like investors were like, hey, you kind of it's time, right? Because you, you can ski as fast. And I think that's kind of where the piece comes in from. You have to, you know, it's, it is a choice and you're not 100% in control anymore. Um And I think that's a decision you have to make. It's like, hey, what, you know, and it, if you start getting fey money and the expectations that you sell at some point too, so it's, it is different in that sense versus like building something you're gonna hold on, you want to hold on to the rest of your life. Absolutely. For sure. Absolutely. I guess it's like it's hard to know at the beginning of the journey. But then in hindsight, you're able to look back and have so many, so many learnings, obviously, how long did the process take when you were like, ok, maybe we should sell this. The investors are also wanting to sell to actually kind of like contract is done. Things have been transferred over. Uh Yeah, it, it like I would say like 1.5 years, it's a long process and um I was pregnant at that time too. Um Wow, super woman. So, so I wasn't actually, but Michael was really good. Um So I really, at that point, actually, I did kept working but I started to slow down because I really felt that being pre like a being pregnant is great, but you're also more tired already. And I didn't want to be one of those. And I, you know, everyone makes their own choice. I this was a decision for myself. I was like, I don't wanna, you know, be the person who is in a call while I'm in labor. Like I'm not that person. It's like if I do something, I'm truly doing it right. So I was like, if I'm pregnant that person. Um So I actually let really go more there, um whether that was, you know, within the marketing, but also like with, you know, really trusting Michael to like, actually more in the process and um we didn't talk to so much today about it, but like, we were very good actually, also in splitting task. I was very much in like more marketing, product development side. And marketing really means, I mean, we're D to C right? So I was like, I was selling and Michael was actually then supply chain finance hr but also all investor relationships. And it's interesting because I think as we know, women raising money is so much harder. Um And I've experienced it too right where we were both sitting in the room, we would have a conversation and people would literally like only look at him, talk to him. I would say something that would repeat the question to him and like, it's crazy, right? And you just kind of feel it sometimes where they're like, oh yeah, she's just like, she's just a great person, but he's actually the business guy. So we're gonna talk to him. Uh It's horrible. Um I think I, I can't, we just, I just saw how much easier it was for him and I'm always a huge fan of this, like, let's use our strength where they are Uh So, yes, I talked to every investor that ever invested, you know, first kind of as a gut check. Um And I think by the way, that is our superpower as women, our intuition is so powerful and I think we just kind of got taught not to listen to it, right? Because we need to be rational and we just kind of need to use our writing and be logical. And I'm a huge fan of really learning and trusting your intuition because it's powerful, whether it's with hiring, whether it's with investors, if something feels off and, you know, I've made those calls where I'm like, yeah, but then I start to racialize in my head that this is a great person. I on paper and this and they're gonna be great, but something feels off right. And I ignore it. Never worked out. So listen to your intuition and it's always the case and, you know, in hindsight, you're like, damn it. I knew that. Yeah, I knew it. I knew it. But I was hoping it, it's too much in that hope. Like it's gonna be fine. Yeah. Yeah. And it's just so interesting. Right? Because your mind just starts to take over and make up all the stories, why it's gonna be great and all those things. And I, I, if I learned one thing and it's, I sometimes feel like it's not really talked a lot about, but it's like your intuition is such a powerful tool in this as it is in life. Right. And I think it's just, like, really use it. Hm. Mhm. 100% totally agree. I'm wondering what life is like for you. Now? Are you guys totally out of the business? You've had some time to de, like, decompress dero, what's happened over the last, almost decade? Well, I'm, I'm a lot of time mom actually. So I don't know if I really relaxed but you went from this to that. Um, now I'm really enjoying that process actually. And it's um, yeah, I mean, I have a little one. He's like eight month old now and I think it's a whole new learning in itself. Um I'm the more the obsessive type I think so, like, even when I was pregnant I read, I think 15 books I know about everything there is to know about natural birth, about the pregnancy process, postpartum. I know everything about plant based baby food now. So it's, it's really fun actually to just like dive into new topics again and, um, really doing that. We're still in the business. Um So we're still, um I'm not full time, so I'm, I'm helping like, basically I'm face of the brand and like helping really with where I can. And actually my favorite part is just connecting to customers. Uh because that's always been my favorite part. One of the things actually we did in the past. Um, I used to do calls with customers and just video calls random just to like, talk to them and understand what they need, who they are, how they live their lives. Um And I think that is the piece that really helped me truly understand them, right? Because in ecom it's so easy to just kind of, you think, you know, your customer, it's like, do you really know them? Um So we had this Facebook group and I did a lot of, you know, just zoom calls and I would even record them to hear their story. So I could share it also with the team and some of those pieces we even used in ads when I got permission, right? So it went from not just sharing our story, but also sharing stories from customers. Um And yes, there were not 3d videos, but they were real, right? And I think there, there's a beauty to that. Yeah, absolutely. Again, back to the storytelling in, in your story as well. It's so powerful to hear from real people, real people experiences um that you can relate to really with everything that you've learned in the last almost decade. What is your kind of key learning takeaway piece of advice, piece of wisdom that you can pass on to other early stage founders or women who want to start a business who are listening in to this episode, I think just do it right. I was actually talking to my sister yesterday. And she's thinking about, you know, maybe starting something and I saw the hesitation I was just like, because you have to try really trust yourself. You have to really have that kind of just like you're betting on yourself. Right. And I just wanna, you know, like, trust yourself, you don't need to know everything. You don't need to know step 100 if you're not at step one yet. Right. Just take it one step at a time and just know by not knowing it's actually your superpower, right? It's a good thing that you don't know yet. Just start and you just kind of figure it out. We never had a business plan, by the way, we just kind of started and just, you know, figured it out along the way, you make mistakes, you make a decision and then you make another decision to, you know, of course, correct and just trust yourself, just do it and have fun with it. I think that's my one thing that I could have, I wish I could have fooled myself 10 years ago is that I think sometimes it took it too serious and just like go, go, go. Um And it's really the journey that is actually I look back at some of those moments and I'm like, oh, this was so much fun. Um But I think I was the moment that was highlight I was already like with the next step, right? But like had those and really enjoy the ride as well. Mm. Yeah, I love that. Cherish the day to day. Yeah, there were a lot of tips in one. I mean, I'm here for it. I loved it all. I'm like, give me more.
So question number one is, what's your why today? Why are you waking up every day and still putting your time and energy into your super? My, why has never changed? Uh My, why is really to improve people's health with the power of plants? And I think that's something uh I know it's the same for Michael and we even feel that whatever we were doing even afterwards. The why is the thing that always will stay constant? It has never been the why of the company. It is the why, you know, that's kind of in our heart and we're gonna like bring that forward. Um And think of other ways to do that, right? Like the book is kind of the was for us also. That is part of our why we're like, OK, we wanna do the book like your Super Life that is actually not using your super mixes, but really just about plant based eating and um how we basically live our lives. And yeah, we're thinking about other ways. So we're like, how, what are other ways, how we can inspire people to eat more plant-based. I love that question. Number two is what's been your favorite marketing moment so far? Um That's a good question. Oh, I actually know my favorite campaign that we ever did was for Moon Balance, uh which is a hormone balancing mix. And I just remember when we made those ads and we, I shared my story why we created to mix like I had, you know, P MS and P MS actually signed. right? It's not, your hormones are out of whack, it's not something that should be normal. And we talk like we kind of just shared, right? The journey of hormones and like the ads were like a talking for all women were like, yeah, I have this or I'm in para menopause, I'm experiencing this and it was just like such a where it's like, oh by me sharing and talking about hormones, every woman is actually going through something and wants to also talk about her hormones and share it. And uh you know, aside from the selling part, like, just to have that moment to like see all women opening up and kind of just coming together and confirming what they were experiencing. I was like, wow, this is powerful. Oh my gosh. I love that. It's funny because as you said, that I was thinking like about my own experiences and troubles that I've had with my like hormonal health. And so I can immediately see how that, that discussion just always needs to be open and there and present for women to be able to be like this is what I'm experiencing and that to me it's normal, right? So one of the things that we did in the company is we started uh moon days and moon days are a day where a month, right? Where you do what you can. So if you have your period, you basically can take a day off, you can cancel your meetings. You can, we always say you do what you can do. And it's so, I actually did a ted talk on this and it has been so fun because like, it's so interesting to see the reactions on both ends. And some people are like, this is completely unnecessary. If I do that, all women need an extra holiday. I'm like, this is not a holiday. I'm just like, God giving up like a sick day. I'm like, they're not sick, they have their period. You're not sick. It's actually a sign of health. Um So so many of those things. Right. And it's that, that is so cool and it's so interesting where you can think of like, oh, do women actually misuse it? And what we have seen is like, absolutely not. There's some women who really need it or so grateful that it's there and then the women who don't need it, they just don't use it. Right. It's just really that simple. 100 percent. I feel like, that's the kind of stuff that strengthens loyalty in a team. Like, you know, that's just so key. That's what every company needs and that's just wimped, are powerful. Right? We don't, we don't even really, we just pretend we go to work, we pretend we don't, you know, even have a period where they actually show that period. Friends are actually as painful as having a heart attack. I just, like, imagine a man at work having a heart attack. You think he's gonna pretend he's fine? Like, I don't think so. Oh my God. Oh my God. Women are super super heroes. Question number three. What is your go to business resource? Where are you learning or upskilling or consuming great content at the moment? Um Great question. My one of my favorite ones was um and still is, is how I built this uh the podcast I think from Guy Ross. I think that's something I really enjoyed. Also always listening to all the stories there. I think another piece is just like, actually I, over the years I always switch like whether it was then certain books, then it was um uh Russell Branson, then I was Tony Robbins. And I think the one piece that I want to remind everyone of is that it's not just your practical skills, right? Of like building a follow your Facebook ads. Um I think some of the most growth in a company happened because I worked on my own mindset, right? When I worked on my personal growth and really changing, just like working on me and what's happening on the inside. Um because I think we're always our own as a founder and as a business owner, you are the cap, you are the bottleneck of the business. So you really need to work on yourself in order to kind of just open up, change your perspective and to keep growing. I love that. Thank you so much. That was so cool. Um Question number four is how do you win the day? What are your AM and PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated? Love this question. So uh I'm a huge morning routine person and for years, every mom was always screaming at me like just wait until you have kids. Just wait. Don't you have kids? I have a baby now and I have slightly adjusted. Basically, what I do is that I have a list of like 8 to 10 things that I know make me feel really good, right? So that can mean going for a walk. That means that means drinking water, that means meditating, that means taking a bath, a massage, like just things that I know drinking this movie in the morning. And basically what I do is that I'm nowadays, I just know I need to be flexible, right? Sometimes it depends who is watching Neo. Sometimes it depends when he wakes up what he needs. Um So I just try to take off as many as I can throughout the day of things that I know make me feel good. And if I have a day where I don't feel as good, I try to take off more. Right. So I think that's really the piece that I really focus on now because I know I cannot always just have time for myself right away, but I make sure I hit those moments throughout the day. Oh, I love that. Another cracker. You're crushing these answers. I love it. Question number five. What's been your worst money mistake in the business? And how much did it cost you? Oh, um, ok. Well, the first, I don't know if this is the worst one. It's probably not, but um one was, we were like, we need a professional looking at, we need to invest in like high production versus, you know, our iphone stuff. And uh we shot the ad, I think it was 100 K and it actually didn't do anything. Nothing. I was like, ok, back to the iphone. We call, oh my gosh. So that was one and I'm sure there's a ton more. Um, from another really funny one is that we, we did sell those cans but we on the front of a new packaging uh instead of it. So it was a little spelling mistake for I think foreign designer or whatever, whatever happened. And I I know she will never forget this one either. And it was just so funny because then you would suddenly get like influencer videos that or like talking as experts about, you know, the product and the ingredients and they're like, and there's here and I was like, oh no. So there's so many funny things and, you know, in the moment they always feel like it's life or death and you're like, oh my God, we're never gonna survive this. This is so bad. Like you're kind of just like, you know, under the table and now I look back and I'm just like, it's just funny at this point. So it's a long moment. Yeah. Last question, question number six. And you've shared so many already. But what is just a crazy story? Good or bad you can share from building your business. Um I think uh maybe just a really good 11 of my favorite things that we did in the business is that we used to visit farmers and we basically because sourcing was such a big thing for us. And I think it's important for everyone if you, especially if you sell food, right? Because we learned pretty early on that wheat grass from China is very different from wheat grass from Germany. So what we used to do is that we, you know, a we only work with um basically at some point, we didn't buy some wholesalers anymore, but we bought directly from people in uh where the country, from the country where the ingredients were originally grown and we only would work with them if we were allowed to visit. So we went, for example, to Peru, we went to Brazil and we got to meet with like often the co-ops and then actual farmers and see how they live, how they used ingredients, right? So as a e you know how we have this amazing is very sweet, very delicious. All these things as a is very bitter and they actually have it next to their rice as kind of like juice and it's not sweet at all. It's just a bitter purple kind of thing next to their rice. And I was just like those things to learn how they use it, how they actually. And for so many years I write and the traditions around ingredients from, you know, from the farmers themselves and hear their stories and why they grow organic and all those kind of things. It's there's already highlights because actually you don't even think about it, right? But like the impact you have and can have if you source the right way is massive. Wow, that is blowing my mind. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time. I've loved learning about your story and your journey and what you've been up to. This was so, so much fun. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you for having me and it was a lot of fun stories. A lot of ones I haven't talked about yet, so it was amazing.