How did Provenance Meals get started? What was your inspiration?
As a holistic health coach, I was inspired by how great the people in my coaching practice would look and feel when they made simple changes in their diets. I knew firsthand how eating clean had transformed my health, and I wanted to make that experience possible to as many people as possible.
What brought you here?
I think if we go to the root of what brought me here as the founder of a holistic health business, it was the death of my mother and my father in-law within a 2 year period during my 30s. Soon after that, I had my first child. It was an emotional time for my husband and I, filled with grief and joy all mixed together.
I kept thinking about the power of food as medicine and how if only my mother and father in-law had taken better care of their health and had taken more preventative measures, we wouldn’t have lost them quite so young. That, plus with the pregnancy I had all sorts of food rules (no wine, no sushi, no soft cheese!), so I was focused on how good food forms the foundation of healthy cells. A few years later, I enrolled in nutrition school, became a holistic nutrition coach, and began providing the meals that my clients needed to look and feel their best.
Any surprises or key findings?
So many things! As they say, the only constant is change. I’m obsessed with food and really enjoyed creating the menus and recipes initially. I think the best and most surprising thing I’ve learned is how much I enjoy being able to focus on the challenges of growing a business instead of on the daily menus. This was only made possible once I brought on a solid management team.
You’re entering a hot market. How do you handle competition?
Provenance is a company founded by a woman, with an all-female management team, that understands what women want and need. Knowing our customer well because we are our customer really gives us an edge. We not only provide the food that nourishes on a physical level, but also on an emotional level.
Finally, so many meal delivery companies out there are not truly health-focused to our level, still using questionable ingredients and bad oils; they're not creating menus that have enough choice and flexibility that their customers won’t get bored and can adapt the programs to their individual schedules.
To me, food is life and if you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point?
What’s been the biggest challenge when founding your company?
The initial challenge was getting people to see that there was a strong and immediate connection between what you eat and your health. Of course, people have always been told to “eat healthy”. But because of all the conflicting advice out there, people were really confused.
This required us to provide a lot of education initially, about the gut microbiome, that you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, that gluten and dairy sensitivity exist and can cause symptoms like brain fog and anxiety, not just an upset tummy. Now the market and the mainstream content has really caught up with us, and people understand that eliminating certain foods can be really life-changing in how they think and feel.
Perhaps the biggest challenge has been to scale up without losing integrity. I’ve seen products change a lot when they go from being a small local brand to playing on a larger stage. It’s been tempting to say “yes” to some larger deals that would have put us on a bigger stage but would have forced us to cut corners on our ingredient quality. Ultimately, we rely on the strength of our integrity to become the company we know we can be.
What’s your number one bit of advice to founders who are just starting out?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. I believe in taking risks, potentially failing, then getting up and doing it all over again. It’s how I learn and move forward. If at any moment, you can say to yourself that you tried your hardest and did your best, then that’s success.
To me, it’s better to try and fail than to live with the regret of never trying at all.
What’s been your experience as a female founder? Can you share some advice for other women thinking about starting a company?
We have a unique point of view that’s not equally represented in the marketplace. At the same time, women are the largest consumer market and make most of the buying decisions in our homes and for our families. We absolutely need more female founders creating the kinds of goods and services that over half the population needs!
My advice to other women starting companies is to not underestimate yourself and your capabilities for getting s*** done.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is setting and achieving goals. I’m scrappy and determined. When I want something and it really lights me up, there’s no stopping me.
What’s your kryptonite?
Early on, it was comparing my company to others. I’d read about what other companies were doing and fall into a bit of “compare and despair” that I wasn’t at the same level yet. Then they’d go out of business and I realized a lot of it was smoke and mirrors!
Do you have any other hobbies/things you like to do?
Travel, travel, travel. I travel the globe to experience new flavors, colors, sights, and sounds. And I can geek out about the points and miles game for hours.
Are there certain apps or gadgets you can’t live without?
I’m super reliant on my travel apps, like TripIt and the JetBlue app. I also use fitness instructor Kait Hurley’s app to move and meditate, and Life360 to track my kids’ whereabouts on the streets of NYC. I also love to read so I have to have my Kindle app.
If someone wanted to learn more about nutrition, what are the books or apps you recommend?
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, to learn why the provenance of your food is so important.
The Expanded Podcast, with To Be Magnetic, to learn that true health and happiness comes not just from the food you eat, but also from your sense of self worth.
What’s coming up soon that super excites you?
The launch of Provenance Meals in Los Angeles, coming this Spring!