What inspired you to start your business?
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was six years old and have spent my life looking for zero sugar options and kitchen hacks. In addition to craving a zero sugar drink myself, I knew how bad sugar was for everyone and how it leads to Type 2 Diabetes. Knowing that Type 2 Diabetes is preventable for so many by making changes to one’s diet, and specifically around their drinks (sugary drinks are the top source of added sugar in most people’s diet), I started Swoon (along with my partner) to help people make those small changes so that they can avoid the major negative health consequences. Swoon is a line of delicious zero sugar beverages that allows you to enjoy the sweetness, without any of the bad stuff.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Listen to your customers. This has been the primary reason that we’ve developed the products that we have today. When we launched our zero sugar Swoon Simple Syrup, we tested it on customers by making a lemonade (with equal parts Swoon Syrup, fresh squeezed lemons, and 4 parts water) and got such amazing feedback. We had customers asking us where they could buy the lemonade and that gave us the idea to package it ourselves. A year later, we launched Swoon Lemonades in a can!
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
Being a beverage, we work with a lot of retailers and distributors and being a WBENC-Certified WBE has opened doors and conversations with a lot of top retailers that we might not have had otherwise. A lot of major retailers are doing a big push to make sure that they buy from women-owned businesses and, in turn, give discounts and promotional help that we wouldn’t otherwise get if we weren’t WBENC-Certified.
What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?
A lot of industries can be thought of as old boys clubs and that can be very intimidating to young female entrepreneurs who might not have experience in the space. But instead of thinking of it as an obstacle, try to think of it as advantage. Because you aren’t part of the “club” you don’t necessarily know how things are “done”, and that can be a good thing because you are more apt to try new things and innovate in ways that others didn’t think to.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Although not from a woman, my dad always told me to find something that you love and are passionate because then it doesn’t feel like work. When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine what that would be but I believe that I’ve really found that with Swoon. Having a product that is such a part of my every day life, that also helps bring about bigger change (by reducing sugar consumption and all of the health complications that go with it) gives me endless motivation.
What’s your favorite career moment?
This is an early one but the very first time I was shopping in a grocery store (Whole Foods) and saw our product on shelf. It was really a pinch me moment to see something that we had created from scratch sitting on the shelf for real customers to buy.
What’s the best way to start your day?
I listen to the NPR podcast “Up First” as I’m getting ready because it’s a great and concise way to get all of the relevant news.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A firefighter — but that was very short lived.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
I’m embarrassed to say it, but I like to watch bad TV on my couch. It helps me just really not think about anything and unwind.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I… think about what I’m really trying to achieve and then go through different ways to get there.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… it’s not that big of a deal (with pretty much everything that I thought was the biggest deal).
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my phone (which I think many would say), but I’ve also connected my insulin pump and glucose monitor to it so that I have a “virtual pancreas” of sorts, so I REALLY can’t live without it!
By this time next year, I will be… getting ready for new product launches.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… my sister had a baby.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… take a shower — I end up doing my best thinking in there.
Swoon is on a mission to help people be happier and healthier by giving the joy of sugar, without the flaws. This starts by replacing your favorite sugary drinks - like the lemonade you enjoyed as a kid and the cocktails you love as an adult - without sacrificing sweetness. Swoon creates beverages that reflect your favorite flavors by combining a love for the classics with a commitment to plant-based ingredients, delivering delicious, refreshing drinks that always taste great. Unlike other zero sugar drinks, Swoon doesn’t use artificial sweeteners or ingredients to achieve great taste.