First off, I want to apologize for my summer hiatus from writing. Though I have not been active on the blog, I’ve been keeping up with my instagram daily as it’s all I’ve had the capacity for! To be honest, my creative juices have been exhausted through instagram posts and cooking, yoga, and…well, my new business I started back in May. Yep, you heard it here first! I’m finally ready to share my latest endeavors, from leaving my job back in November, to starting my own food business. It’s been quite an interesting journey and until now, I haven’t felt ready to share it with you all. If I’m being completely honest, I kept a lot of what I was doing on the down-low, even to close friends and family. Why? Mostly out of the fear of failure.
Failure is a scary thing. Especially when you spontaneously take the leap of faith and leave your stable income and structured 8-5 desk job. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something. But it’s even scarier to actually take action on that and make an idea come to life. Myself and those close to me had doubts, and for good reason! I was about to enter into a world of the unknown. Who am I to declare myself an entrepreneur in the food business? I’ve had 0 experience with any of the above. So, what was the biggest motivating factor knowing that so much could go wrong with this dream? Living with Regret. The fear of living my entire life in regret vs. the fear of losing 1-2 years of my young 20’s as a Sr. HR Generalist greatly outweighed the latter. So here’s my story on the WHY, the HOW, and WHERE I am now in the midst of this crazy new chapter of my life…
To keep this story from becoming a short novel, I’ll try and break things down as easily as possible. I was working as an Human Resources Business Partner at one of the largest information technology companies. I started as an intern there, quickly fell in love with the company, the people, and my opportunity to grow and progress as an individual. My transformation from an intern to where I was just just 10 months ago never seizes to surprise me. I worked with fearless and empowering females, who quickly became role models and mentors in my life. This company shaped me and equipped me with the interpersonal tools, business mindset, and confidence I now have today. Like most companies in the technology industry these days, we were bought out by yet another large tech company. It was at this point when my role changed and I had to take a step back to assess my future with this company. The same excitement I used to have waking up in the morning and coming into work was lost. I began to evaluate my current situation. Was having a stable desk job and salary worth my happiness? It sounds like an easy answer, but there’s more to it. There’s risk. There’s doubt. There’s fear of walking away from something that became “comfortable” to me. Where was I going to go next? What would I do? Will I be happy in yet another desk job?
It seemed as though all of this came at a right time in my life. I like to look at situations like this as a sign from the universe (as hippy-dippy as this may sound, I firmly believe it). Our company being bought out was truly the extra push I needed as part of this self-realization I was experiencing. It all seemed to come at the right time. I began to turn what was initially an extremely negative situation into something that could open up so many new possibilities for me. I thought to myself, this is the perfect time in my life to truly follow my passions, which have always been in the health and wellness world. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what I would do next. Obviously there were some important questions I had to address, the biggest being can I financially support going off and starting my own business? After some serious conversations, a lot of break-downs and crying on the phone to my mom, dad, and fiancé about how un-happy I was, and a little bit of soul searching, I had a plan (well, to some my plan was just a vision, but to me, it made sense, in it’s weird, fractured way).
My “plan” certainly didn’t make sense to some, but to me, it all seemed to fit together like a puzzle. My last day at my company was on November 30th, 2016. On that same day, I took off on my travels to Mallorca, Spain for my 17-day intensive 200HR yoga teacher training. Before you ask, yes, this was ALL part of the plan. Yoga teacher training somehow all aligned with where I wanted to go next. I knew I wanted to do something for MYSELF, mostly to clear my head, detach from reality for a bit, and like most who set off on this journey, I had hopes that in the midst of this training, I would realize what I was meant to do. Though I didn’t come out of the training with a clear vision on where the next 10 years would bring me (wishful thinking LOL), I did come out of this with a greater sense of self-realization, which ultimately, is what yoga is about. Union, bliss, oneness. You can read more about my yoga teacher training journey on my post, here. Before I move on, one thing that surprised me most was that on the first day of our arrival, as we went around a circle and introduced ourselves, I was extremely relieved (and pleasantly surprised) to hear that a number of us had literally just left our jobs. I thought to myself, GREAT! I’m not the only crazy one here! Not that I needed any kind of confirmation…but this certainly helped to ease my mind. We were all here for a purpose.
Okay so here’s the quick & dirty on how a few emotional phone calls with friends and family turned from an idea to a reality. You may remember a few years ago, I was temporarily living in California for work. It was there where I fell in LOVE with acai bowls. Now keep in mind, a few years ago, acai bowls were not a “thing” here in Boston. The only time prior to my experience there of indulging in an acai bowl was on a family vaca in Hawaii (go figure)! I was even more surprised by how popular acai bowls were, when I eventually made my way to San Diego. You’d get lucky finding a cafe on every corner! It was HEAVEN there. Why did I fall in love with these deliciously hearty bowls? They brought me BLISS.
I finished feeling so happy, energetic, satisfied, and full of life. You can bet I had acai bowls up until my last few days in CA. It was a sad day when I moved back to the outskirts of Boston and the only “smoothie” options were Smoothie King or Jamba Juice (no offense to either, but not exactly my idea of a nutritious smoothie). So, from that point, I started making my own acai bowls. I got my fiancé, Justin hooked. I got friends and family members hooked. Slowly but surely, I noticed health food cafes in Boston pop up and begin to serve acai bowls. However, the one thing I struggled most with at these places, was that they were loading them with unneccesary sugars. From the generic sugary granola, to already sweetened acai, to heaping spoonfuls of skippys peanut butter. This wasn’t what acai bowls were, nor were these the bowls that gave me oh so much life back in California.
I went back and forth with wanting to open my own cafe, but was then lured back into the idea of beginning with a food product first. Through a lot of brainstorming with friends and family, the acai pop came to life! This popsicle had the potential to solve a few of the problems I noticed with the food industry. For one, I wanted to created a pop that wasn’t loaded with sugar. A lot of the frozen treats you see at the stores, even Whole Foods for example, are packed with refined sugars and other unknown ingredients. I also struggle with pops that read “90 calories” on the front, yet there’s nothing nutritiously satisfying in the ingredients. In addition to the nutrition factor, I also wanted to put an alternative breakfast, snack, or dessert option out there for those who are on-the-go. These days, we are all moving so quickly, with little to no time to sit and eat proper meals. Now, I don’t think this is IDEAL, but it is reality. My goal was to put something out there that could be eaten conveniently and also satisfy your hunger through hearty, REAL, CLEAN, ingredients.
WHERE I AM NOW
Fast forward to January, 2017, BerryGood Bliss LLC became official. I had taken the first step needed to creating my own company. I wish I could say starting your own company is as easy as that first step, but I’d be lying! There is so much more to it than I even realized. Of course, I reached out to a ton of different friends, family members, and mentors to get advice from those who had maybe done something similar or who had knowledge in this area. This was absolutely a critical step for me. For anyone considering starting their own business, it’s so important to leverage your connections and reach out. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’s so worth it, and for the most part, the people you contact, usually really want to help you and see you succeed. During those winter months, I gathered research, recipe tested, got my logo, found a commercial kitchen, applied for food permits from the city, applied to farmers markets, got my servsafe certificate, designed my tent layout and purchased necessary equipment, built out my website and other social media sources, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things! At the end of the day, I had to accept that things weren’t going to be perfect right off the bat and I really just had to jump into things and improve as I go.
I will say none of the above came easy. I faced a lot of obstacles, the biggest being finding a commercial kitchen in Boston and then acquiring the necessary permits. This process at times drove me absolutely crazy, heightened my anxiety and certainly led me to have a number of breakdowns. But, through some miracle, it all worked out. Through all of these challenges, I did my best to continue manifesting my own outcome through positive thinking, determination, and trying to balance out the high’s and low’s as the came. I had my very first farmers market in June and have been selling my goods locally throughout the summer at various farmers markets.
Since this has turned out to be quite lengthy (I had a feeling this would happen), I will end here and then pick up where I left off sometime in the next week or two to share how things have been going this summer, challenges faced, successes, and next steps/my plan for the fall when things come to an end with the summer markets.
I’m so excited to have finally shared this with all of you! My true hope is that you read this and leave inspired. Perhaps there’s a passion of yours that you’ve always wanted to pursue but have been afraid to take that next step. I can ABSOLUTELY relate to that and would love to be able to connect and chat further if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s so important to support and help one another out. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a DM on instagram!
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