Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacoba Gundle, Co-Founder of Mindful Proteins, located in Vancouver, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Mindful Proteins is a start-up with a mission to create a family of high-protein, functional foods, and beverages made from healthy and simple ingredients. Our reason stems from working in the crosshairs of climate change and how alarmed we are at home that modern agriculture is depleting soil health. Increasing levels of carbon emissions being absorbed by the planet's plants and crops are causing a drop off in natural protein production.

Farmers are encouraged to grow crops regardless of current supply, demand, environmental consequences, or ability to actually nourish Americans. While American diets should consist of a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy products, the heavily subsidized commodities have assumed an outsized role in most Americans' diets, contributing to obesity levels and high blood sugar levels.

Our first product is TATU Protein Water. Each 12-ounce can has 15 grams of the best whey protein isolate, 0 grams of sugar, and only 60 calories. TATU is ideal for hydration and muscle recovery post workout. Our target customers are those looking to get more out of their workout while caring about what they put into their bodies. By ingesting protein after a workout, muscles recover faster and build more lean muscle mass. TATU is a clean, convenient source of high-quality protein.

Tell us about yourself

I have been active my whole life, participating in everything from soccer, to yoga, to long-distance running, weightlifting, and so much more. An important part of living an active lifestyle is tailoring your nutrition to meet the needs of your body. Protein is a huge part of this, and while abundantly available, I had trouble finding a source of added protein that isn't full of added chemicals, hormones, and sugars. That is where TATU comes in. Each can is packed with 15 grams of the best whey protein isolate on Earth and without any artificial additives or sugars. I know how important nutrition is and how big of a role it can play in seeing any success in your workout routine. Why would you spend hours in the gym getting healthy and ruin that progress with unhealthy protein sources?

My motivation each day really lies in helping people get healthier. TATU is such a great addition to your workout routine with only better-for-you ingredients. Not only is TATU a clean, convenient source of protein, but we also run the company as sustainably as possible. We are a member of 1% for the Planet, where 1% of our revenue is donated back to nonprofits fighting climate change. We chose an aluminum can for TATU as that is the most eco-friendly option and is 100% recyclable. We use local vendors and ingredients whenever possible. Mindful Proteins aligns with the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we are a Certified Benefit Corporation for Good.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

So far, since we have started Mindful Proteins, our biggest accomplishment has been creating an innovative clean-label product to bring to market. This involved extensive formulation trials, consumer testing, pilot production runs, securing our first retail client, and establishing an online presence. We've had this idea for a long time, and seeing it become something tangible has been very exciting!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about owning and starting a business is the uncertainty of the future. There are a lot of ups and downs in starting something new, one step forward, two steps back, and that can be difficult to overcome. It is important to keep working towards your goal, even if everything does not go to plan. There is progress that is being made, even if you don't see it every day. Knowing that less than perfect moves you forward more than waiting for perfection.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Give yourself more time than you think you need to complete a task. Everything takes longer than you would like it to.
  2. Have a backup plan. Things go awry quickly, and without a backup plan or another option, you could lose a lot of time or money.
  3. Always follow up. Follow up with anyone that you speak to, and continue following up and updating important partners. There is a lot of value in the connections that you make while starting a business. Some of our greatest connections come from places we did not expect.

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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