Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren Berger & Marla Felton, Owners of REAL Cookies, located in Greenwich, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We’re REAL Cookies! We crafted a plant-based, gluten, and grain-free, better-for-you cookie made with only clean, real, and thoughtfully sourced ingredients such as almond and coconut flour, pure maple syrup, vanilla, real fruit, and dark chocolate. They’re also dairy-free, vegan, kosher, and paleo-friendly. You won’t find a long list of ingredients that you cannot pronounce on our labels. 100% delicious! 0% junk. Just totally nourishing ingredients for body and soul. Not to mention, they actually taste DELICIOUS! REAL Cookies come in a variety of mouth-watering flavors: classic chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, and fresh lemon blueberry. A semi-soft cookie with a slightly crispy edge and that gotta-have-it flavor inside you know and love. While we crafted these cookies with those with food sensitivities in mind, REAL cookies are for adults, kids, grandparents, and all active people. They represent the possibility of balance—the healthy and the delicious—in our everyday lives.
Tell us about yourself
We’ve been best friends now for over 20 years. Together, we bonded over our kids and also a shared love of healthy, wholesome food. We often struggled with coming up with desserts that satisfied everyone at our tables. Cookies, especially! Over time, our family’s food sensitivities and own changing dietary needs inspired a mission to create the best healthy cookie on earth! - an anytime treat that would be satisfying and indulgent for those with or without restrictions and made with only clean, sustaining, and thoughtfully sourced ingredients. The lack of options at the grocery store that actually taste good left both of us wanting to create an intentional product that would make everyone feel good. The whole idea behind REAL Cookies was to create a snack that tastes great and makes us feel energetic and healthy. It’s a better world when we can all eat cookies that taste good!
Creating something tangible from an idea is very exciting and motivates us each day. We are also passionate about educating our community about nutritious foods while also making people feel good about their choices. By creating a nutritious and satisfying snack option, we hope to spread awareness in our communities about the importance of putting clean, wholesome foods into our bodies.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Most recently, our Lemon Blueberry Cookie won the 2022 Good Housekeeping Healthy Snack Award for “Best Grain-Free Cookie.” We’re extremely honored and excited to have been selected out of thousands of products. Even the little day-to-day accomplishments really matter to us. Problem Solving. Getting it done! As entrepreneurs, every day is packed with items to accomplish, and at the end of the day, we always figure it out! That is one of the beautiful things about working with a best friend. We rely on, trust, and respect each other. We have a unique rapport that allows us to make quick decisions.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Lack of time to get everything done and also have a bit of life balance. To be successful as humans, we need to ensure we include mind/body work into our week. At a minimum, we try to fit 5 to 20 minutes of mindfulness into the day. We make this a top priority so that we can be more effective in the long term. Sometimes we just need to let things go. We can ultimately only control our own actions and responses. We both know that on any given day, we give it our all. On days that we can’t, we lean on each other. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people you can rely on.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Love your product: you need to be passionate!
- Build a great team: Surround yourself with people who work hard, are reliable, and love to laugh!
- Know your own strengths and weaknesses, so you can seek help where you need it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The importance of community. We should all work to lift each other up. It is very fulfilling to give a helping hand when you can. At some point, we all need it. Pay it forward when life allows. Smile! The impact can be very far-reaching.
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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