Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Domb, founder of Rooted Living, located in Boston, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Rooted Living is an eco-friendly, plant-based snack company that uses compostable packaging instead of single-use plastic and no refined ingredients, allowing you to snack with an impact.
Tell us about yourself
As an athlete, I found myself relying on snacks to fuel my active lifestyle. But I was frustrated by the sheer lack of sustainability in the snack industry, which relied on single-use plastic as packaging. This inspired me to learn about the world of plant-based plastics (bioplastics) that won't stick around on our earth for hundreds of years. Out of this, my mission to develop snacks that are both good for you and the planet began.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting my business at 19, I had to push past many internal limiting beliefs about what I could accomplish. It became a journey of self-growth just as much as business growth. A few years into starting Rooted Living, I won the regional competition for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards and was flown out to Chicago to compete in Nationals among 20 of the top student entrepreneurs. Thinking about where I started, that competition meant a lot to me and showed me how much I was capable of achieving with the right mindset.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Any solo founder can understand the sheer sense of overwhelm and imposter syndrome wearing all the hats that a business requires to run successfully. At 19, I had to learn how to build a supply chain, make financial projections, conduct unbiased market research, and so on. I had no prior business experience, so doing all this the first time involved pushing past a lot of mental blockers and insecurities.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a strong pitch deck. It takes practice and won't be necessary to look perfect immediately, but creating a pitch deck is a great practice in learning how to communicate your idea concisely. I also have many pitch decks for many occasions (ex: one more story-focused, one for investors, one for pitch competitions, etc.).
- Think about what your personal limiting beliefs might be. The things in the back of your head that are trying to convince you why NOT to start the business. Maybe they come from yourself, maybe they come from society or what others have told you. Some of mine were, "I'm only 19, I'm too young to start a business," "I have no funding, there's no way I can start this," and "There are much bigger companies, why do I think I'm the right one to solve this problem?" Listen to these voices and try to challenge them. Once you understand the narrative that might be holding you back, it's easier to know what you're fighting against.
- Make sure to have an enticing and clear mission statement or one-liner that explains who you are and what your business does. You'll use it ALL the time. Example: Rooted Living is an eco-friendly, plant-based snack company that uses compostable packaging instead of single-use plastic and no refined ingredients in our snacks.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We're hiring! If you'd like to be part of the Rooted Living team, we're offering full-time, part-time, and internship positions in the following categories: Operations, Marketing, and Sales. If you're interested, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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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