Why I Started Purely Elizabeth
Earlier this week I had the rare opportunity to hear Whole Foods Co-Founder and Co-CEO John Mackey speak at Whole Foods Tribeca. He gave a wonderful presentation about Whole Foods vision for improving the health of our country. After the talk, my dear friend Heather (from Nibmor Chocolate) and I had a chance to share a few minutes with Co-CEO Walter Robb. Walter was so personable and genuinely interested in what Heather and I have experienced as young natural food companies in his stores. “What have you learned so far?” he asked. It took me a minute to think of some grandiose response but instead I truthfully told him how I felt. “It’s a lot harder then I thought, there are a lot of ups and downs.” I said. “But being here today and listening to John Mackey reminds me why I started Purely Elizabeth in the first place.” I continued. “That’s it! That’s what you need to remember on a daily basis. Write it down and remind yourself. It will help guide you along the way.” He said. Walter could not have been more right, or planted that idea at a more perfect time.
Purely Elizabeth has been growing and with growth come some growing pains. It’s no doubt that I’ve experienced sleepless nights (how will we fill that huge order, will our new bags be printed on time, and the list goes on). I’ve traded in after work runs for a soak in the bathtub to de-stress from the day (I started a no email policy in the tub but recently mastered how to read Inc. on my iPad without getting wet, ugh technology). Ofcourse, there’s also celebratory nights when we land big new accounts and enjoy a delicious meal with champagne toasts. But over the past several months I admit I’ve let the day-to-day chaos get the best of me and forgotten why I started.
Why did I start Purely Elizabeth? The answer is simple, I wanted to change the way people eat, I wanted to provide healthier food alternatives and in turn make people feel better. After all, you are what you eat. And our packaging says just that. I also wanted to educate our customers about healthy food, because I learned first hand how crucial nutrition education is in making the right food choices. In 2007, I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and became so fascinated by our current food system (or lack thereof), the effects that food has on the body and the decline of our countries health, that I wanted to make a difference. It didn’t make sense to me why these big food companies were making crap and marketing it to consumers as healthy. I knew there had to be another way. Business has always been in my blood and from a very young age I knew I wanted to start my own company. So in 2009, I set out to create products that not only included the most nutrient-rich ingredients but also tasted absolutely delicious. But creating healthy food products was just the starting off point, while starting the company I also outlined the core values for Purely Elizabeth, which will remain the backbone of what we do:
Over the next couple of months there will be many exciting changes happening with Purely Elizabeth (I wish I could share them with you now). I hope to update this blog monthly with our latest news. In the meantime, I must take a step back and pinch myself for a second. Three years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be writing this post because the Co-CEO of Whole Foods suggested I write down why I started my business and that Whole Foods would be carrying our products in 5 regions across the country. So when days get tough, and our coconut sugar is delayed in customs, I must take a deep breath (thank you Dr. Weill for lessons on this) and remind myself why I started this journey and how much we have already accomplished so far.