We’re fortunate to work with amazing entrepreneurs; true partners building brands for a new generation. A recent Forbes article on female Food & Bev Entrepreneurs led us to reflect on all of the driven, innovative and overall badass women that we’ve been fortunate to encounter in our work. These individuals are responsible for bringing wildly innovative products to the forefront of the industry. Each with their own unique voices and stories.
Women are underrepresented as entrepreneurs, making up only 36% of new business owners since 2012. (Source) But as Beyonce once said, “girls, we run this mother” and today we shine a light on that beautiful 36% percent in the hopes of inspiring others to make it 50-50! While most of the individuals we mention here are founders and CEO’s, we also work with countless female brand managers, marketers, strategists, creatives, account managers and other roles that are fundamental to the success of a business.
Founder and CEO Kris Buchanan C.N. opened the GOODONYA deli with a passion for serving up locally sourced, organic and delicious food. Over the years she’s overseen launches of even more locations, landed the GOODONYA bar in Whole Foods, and helped formulate the 1051 Organic Sports Drink. Her unwavering commitment to quality of food and kindness as a lifestyle have set a shining example for entrepreneurs everywhere.
Sometimes, brilliant companies need a leg up – especially in the food and beverage industry. Jordan Gaspar (a former corporate lawyer) and Lauren Jupiter (previously an investment banker) co-founded the incubator AccelFoods to launch innovative natural food startups to success. Both bring their solid backgrounds in the food and bev world to the business, as well as product accelerators – particularly relevant is Jordan’s experience working with Golden Seeds, a female-focused early investment firm.
As CEO of Alpine Start, Alex Hanifin showcases her robust experience in the natural CPG world. Recognizing that the instant coffee options on the market are subpar at best, she partnered with climber Matt Segal to create a product that outdoor enthusiasts have been lacking – a coffee that can be made on the go and actually tastes great. The company has centered itself around providing the comfort of coffee for early backcountry mornings, and the convenient single serving coffee packs have made their way onto shelves at REI and Whole Foods.
Kelp is quickly gaining traction as an organic and highly sustainable food source. Founder and CMO Courtney Boyd Meyers is responsible for much of the leg work of launching this powerful sea snack into the spotlight. After working with Greenwave – an initiative which promotes sustainable sea farming – she was inspired to found Akua, a company that would bring consumer friendly kelp products to the market. Additionally, Maine native Morgan-Lea Fogg brings her kelp connoisseur skills to the table in her role as Founder and Director of Supply.
B’More uses skyr, an Icelandic style yogurt, as a base for their line of sugar free, high protein smoothies. Amanda Sains gained her role as the Director of Marketing by executing intelligent strategies to elevate the brand. Working with founders Andrew and Jennifer Buerger, she’s spearheaded marketing efforts to promote the beverage and the nonprofit through which the company donates 1% of its sales to breast cancer and MS research. The company started with a unique founders story and product, but Amanda helped propel it with her social media savvy.
Hannah Kullberg carries on the legacy of her father – Keith Kullberg – through Better Bean. Keith founded the company with his freshly made beans, and introduced a new side of the bean category by selling them fresh in the refrigerated section. As co-founder and marketing manager, Hannah brings her education and expertise of food systems. She also oversaw the company’s gain of a non-GMO certification.
Bobo’s Oat Bars were born in a Boulder kitchen, a warm pocket of shared time between a mother and daughter. The hearty, gluten-free snack found its way into the community and the business bloomed. Since her humble days of selling home baked bars to local coffee shops, Owner and Founder Beryl Stafford has launched the company into a long standing example of success in a crowded category.
An Indian food tradition has been reinvented as the “free-spirited snacking” movement, in the form of Bohana popped water lily seeds. Cofounders Priyal Bhartia & Nadine Habayeb are practitioners of Ayurveda (an ancient health and wellness promoting life science) which lent inspiration for their decision to bring this product to the masses. Recognizing the power of snacking, they took the opportunity to introduce a satisfyingly popcorn-like munchie that packs in plant protein, amino acids, and antioxidants while leaving out allergens, corn and grain. Additionally, they take pride in ethically and sustainably sourcing these seeds from Indian farmers.
Cousins and co-founders Ashley and Brittany Boeckle set out to fulfill a desire for satisfying and healthy snacks for a fitness conscious demographic. They initially launched Buff Bake with a line of protein packed baked goods, but quickly became known for nut butters. These better-for-you spreads have seen huge success with their array of unconventional yet indulgent flavors – something new and unique to that particular category.
Emma Frelinghuysen is an absolute powerhouse of food and beverage expertise. Having marketed and managed a wide range of clients over the last 15 years, she’s now the Vice President of Cultivate Ventures – an investment company of the Hain Celestial Group. In this role, she has dedicated herself and her team to shedding light on small, sustainably focused and innovative brands that have the power to disrupt the category.
Sisters Ali and Lauren Borowick grew up building memories of indulging in an unconventionally sweet and salty snack. As adults, they’re keeping this tradition alive by co-founding Fatty Sundays – a line of playfully delicious candy coated pretzels for all occasions. Together, they have built a business that is rooted in family and tradition.
Having experienced the discomfort of motion sickness first hand, Renee Louis-Charles was driven to formulate a nausea soothing aid made from wholesome ingredients like pineapple, lemon, ginger and cayenne. This alternative to over-the-counter medication is not only intended to provide nausea relief, but promote energy and vitality for adventurers of all types.
Maya French and her co-founders created this plant-based protein drink company with the intention of bringing a low sugar, high protein drink to the market. Formerly known as Raw Nature 5, Koia has been formulated and rebranded to perfection. As a proponent of healthy living, she represents the brand with vibrant positivity.
Minus the Moo was created in the spirit of empathetically recognizing a dietary restriction; this one in particular being lactose intolerance. Unimpressed by dairy alternative ice creams, Katy Flannery found a way to remove the lactose enzymes from ice cream without sacrificing the creamy, textured quality of real ice cream. Her best friend Gwen Burlingame was on board to help boost this product to market and the two co-founders have been bringing lactose-free dairy goodness to the masses ever since.
Wonder is a Boulder favorite known for its fresh pressed juice and its thoughtfully inviting space tucked away on the Pearl Street Mall. Affectionately known as “The Juice Girls”, co-founders Cecily Runge, Robyn Knowlan & Brooke Jordan have always upheld high standards of quality – using 100% organic ingredients for their juices and local produce wherever possible. They’re also committed to sustainability, selling drinks in reusable glass jars and donating unused pulp to Boulder’s Mountain Flower Goat Dairy for the goats to enjoy.