This week we interviewed Kara Landau, Founder of Uplift Food, and maker of prebiotic fiber cookies. Kara talks about her brand, how she got to the point of launching, and making it through the low points on your entrepreneurial journey.
What problem are you solving with your brand’s products?
As a dietitian who specialized in prebiotics, I noticed there were so many “better for you” snacks and on the go breakfast options popping up that were devoid of the actual gut healthy nutrients people need in their diets, and that would truly nourish them. I felt an obligation to bring to life a new category of good for you functional foods that both nourish the gut and fit within many of the specialty diets people are trying to follow, such as low sugar, plant based or grain free. Uplift Food Gut Happy Cookies™ offer both convenience and functionality for those that are looking to get their gut health nutrients from a trusted source in levels that actually offer a true digestive and gut health benefit through food instead of solely supplements.
What are you most proud of with your products? (like a certification, giving back component, etc.)
I am most proud of the combination of innovation in regards to product and category development creating the first ever sandwich creme gut health focused cookie that offers a true functional health benefit, blended together with the clinical research study we undertook to support the science behind our cookie and the unique blend of prebiotic and probiotic rich ingredients that proved to have a positive effect on gut health in less than a week, when consumed in the levels provided in just one serve of cookies per day.
Uplift Food Gut Happy Cookies™ are not merely another better for you snack product, they are a truly functional good for you food that you not only feel satisfied and nourished by, but that you can consume knowing you are actually doing something good for your body, with proven digestive, immune and gut health benefits.
What do you do to replenish/renew your mindset on a daily/weekly basis?
Almost daily, I take part in some sort of group fitness class first thing in the morning to give myself time to prioritize my mental and physical wellbeing. As someone originally from overseas I actually have a whole network of friends, family, colleagues and mentors back in Australia who I also make sure I am in contact with throughout the week - I find that by having people in my aura who not only are detached from the business, but who know me from another version of my life, it helps my mental health and reminds me of the world I have been a part of and can be a part of beyond the day to day pressures of growing a young brand in a high pressured environment.
Tell us about a low point in your entrepreneurial journey. What happened? How’d you make it through?
Getting the new cookie line to a point of successful processing through the manufacturing equipment has been no easy stint - trying to reinvent the wheel and both leave out ingredients that would typically be used inside cookies whilst also simultaneously keeping the good-for-you nutrients up at very strict nutritional criteria left me 4 production runs in and no product to show for it, months behind a business plan that my investors were expecting, and me trying to push a manufacturing plant to keep trying with me.
To say I didn't feel like I had every sign staring me in the face telling me to quit would be an understatement. There were points where my manufacturer just stopped replying to my emails for weeks, and I needed to somehow keep finding a way to move the business forward and not let things fall; I even had a distributor who had taken a chance before anyone else and placed orders for cookies that I had to ultimately apologize and say I couldn't meet the expected delivery date on.
So, how did I make it through?
I just kept going. Every day I tried again, every day I connected and was transparent with someone who was influential and who I knew believed in both me, and the business vision. I didn't shy away from sharing my issues with my investors, business partners, peers or social audience. I felt that by allowing others in to see how much I was trying and how much I trusted their input, that together we could create the force that was ultimately going to be necessary to achieve any sort of true innovation and category disrupting new brand that I saw Uplift as having the potential to have.
It’s only early days now, but I wouldn’t change the transparent approach I have taken, it is this approach that led me to having my strategic investor allow me to spend a month on site with their top developers to work through processing issues and even send one of their staff to the manufacturing plant for a trial run following on my behalf. It is this approach that led to one of my agency partners reducing their rates significantly to help me through a few months of uncertainty. Possibly even more so than any of this, it has been the emotional support I have received that has been the pillar of what has assisted me in the days that I have had to dig very deep to reminding myself the mission of the company, how much I truly believe in the message that this brand is here to spread, and how I have a duty to see this through not only for myself, but for everyone that has now, or it yet to, come in contact with myself and Uplift Food.
Favorite quote that hangs in my office (or is on repeat in my brain) is
“You’ve totally got this!”
What’s the most important thing people should know about YOU when they buy your products?
As a prebiotic gut health expert dietitian I personally formulated these cookies based on the knowledge that I have been promoting for over a decade (even before Uplift Food existed), I personally consume the products daily, and I genuinely believe they are not only a good option, but a valuable way of ensuring you not only get the nutrients that people often look for in snacks such as protein, fiber or fats, but also get the nourishment of a blend of diverse prebiotics + probiotics that support your gut health, digestive health and immune health too simultaneously.
Help us get to know YOU. Lightning round:
- Fave workout? barre
- Best vacation ever? Thailand..I’ve been back 10 times it is that good!
- Last book you read? Jack Delosa - Unwritten (a must for all entrepreneurs)
- Podcast you keep up with? VMG Unfinished biz - another must for food entrepreneurs!
- TV series you keep up with? YOU..can I share that?!
- One word you hope your employees use to describe you? Leader