Leslie Silverglide on Unstoppable with Kara GoldinMy guest today, Leslie Silverglide, is an eco-entrepreneur and conservation expert who takes it to the next level as the CEO and co-founder of MIXT restaurants.

Leslie knew that she wanted to pursue eco-entrepreneurship after grad school when it was clear that she wasn’t meant to be a conservationist. So as young entrepreneurs in their mid-twenties, she and her husband started MIXT salad restaurant in 2005 (the same year as Hint!). They sold MIXT to Nestle a few years later, but ended up buying it back.

Today on the show Leslie dives into what it was like to start her second wellness-based company with her best friend from business school, how her employees influence her business decisions, what it is like to be a mom amongst all her entrepreneurial endeavors, and much more.

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Unstoppable with Kara Goldin on Apple Podcasts

“I realized that I was not meant to be a on-the-ground conservationist at all, and if I wanted to make a big impact then I’d need to do that through business. And seeing that business utilizes most of the world’s resources, it seemed like a pretty interesting fit.” – Leslie Silverglide

Show Notes:

  • What is eco-entrepreneurship
  • What is MIXT
  • Why sell a business and buy it back
  • How to sell your company
  • What is Wello
  • How to start a company
  • How to acquire a business
  • Why being a mom makes you more efficient
  • How to work with a co-founder

“When I was running Wello, we were working basically 17 hour days and I couldn’t fathom how I could possibly fit in having a baby. But it got to the point where I knew that it was something that I wanted to do and I said, ‘like everything else, I’m just going to have to figure it out’.” – Leslie Silverglide

Links Mentioned:

  • Connect with Leslie Silverglide:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | MIXT

“You have all these people who are counting on you, and they’re counting on you for their paycheck and to support their family. And so that has really become my number one driver in being successful and making sure the company is thriving.” – Leslie Silverglide

Transcript:

Kara Goldin: Hi everybody, it’s Kara from Unstoppable with Kara Goldin. Super, super excited to be here this morning. We are here with Leslie Silverglide from Mixt. Very, very excited to have you here this morning, Leslie, super psyched. If you are not familiar with Mixt, Mixt is this amazing, amazing … Well, most people know it by Mixt Greens, but an amazing, amazing restaurant that I stumbled upon actually more than a few years ago. And anyway, I love, love, love.

Kara Goldin: It’s really a place where you can go and just create your own salad and overall just healthy meals. I hesitate when I say just salads because I had a nice, warm chicken the other day, it was amazing. So and it’s just super, super quality food. And now they have one right around the corner from us off of Union Street on Fillmore. So anyway, we asked Leslie come over here this morning and tell us a little bit about her and her why and why she’s unstoppable. So Leslie, thanks so much for taking time.

Leslie S: Absolutely. It’s great to be here.

Kara Goldin: So we’ll just start off just by hearing a little bit about you, where you from and where did you grow up, and just to give people some background on the entrepreneur that you are.

Leslie S: Absolutely. I was actually born in Nashville, Tennessee, but my parents moved shortly after I was born. So I was just a toddler and we eventually landed in New Jersey when I was seven and so that’s where I spent the majority of my childhood until I went to college in Baltimore, Maryland. I always like to say that I love having an East Coast personality, but living here on the West Coast.

Kara Goldin: So where did you go to school?

Leslie S: I went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. So I really thought I was going to go into the Foreign Service. I wanted to be potentially a diplomat or something like that and obviously life has taken me in a very different directions, but that’s how I initially wound up at Hopkins.

Kara Goldin: So why a diplomat? What do you think it was about being a diplomat that you really thought was going to be the inspiration?

Leslie S: When I was younger I had this idealized version of myself being some kind of a female Indiana Jones/secret CIA agent or maybe something in between, female James Bond. And so I thought that would be the path to get me there, but when I was in school, so I studied international relations, but I stumbled upon classes in the department of geography and environmental engineering and it just really clicked for me that I really wanted to do something good for our planet and I just really dove into my classes there. So I ended up majoring in both international relations and geography from the School of Engineering and decided to go down more of environmental sustainability path.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. And didn’t you cross over the ocean and go somewhere else to school too?

Leslie S: Yep. So after I graduated from college I ended up traveling for about a year, just experiencing the world and getting to see all different cultures and countries and the way people live. I ended up after that at Oxford studying Biodiversity Conservation and Management.

Kara Goldin: And what is that?

Leslie S: It’s basically environmental sustainability and thinking about our planet and the biodiversity on it and how we can best protect that and sustain it. And it was through that, during that time that I realized that I was not meant to be an on-the-ground conservationist at all, and that if I really wanted to make a big impact, that I would need to do it through business. And seeing that business utilizes most of the world’s resources, it seemed like a pretty interesting fit.

Leslie S: So I ended up writing my dissertation on Eco Entrepreneurship. So it was how you take this idea of being good for the planet, but also still having a viable company and enterprise. I did research on all sorts of different industries and I knew coming out of that, that I wanted to start a business that first and foremost was bringing and off product or service to the market, but then the way we operated was completely sustainable and so really dissecting every aspect of our footprint and how we could do it better and hopefully set a mold for a different type of business.

Kara Goldin: I’ve spoken on a ton of college campuses and I would say that, doing something in eco sustainability is like the … It seems like it’s almost like a catchphrase right now in colleges and I mean, I’d love for them to hear from you because I really think that it’s like, you’ve actually taken that concept and maybe a little earlier than where they are today, but it’s like I’d love to see in colleges people highlighted like you, that are taking these trainings internally and turning it into a real business and that’s really what you’ve done, I think, with Mixt Greens.

Kara Goldin: So Mixt Greens was actually founded the same year as Hint in 2005. And then I remember you telling me about Nestle came calling a few years later. How did you decide to sort of like think about that conversation?

Leslie S: Well, it was interesting because when we opened our first restaurant it was in 2006 and at the time especially in fast-casual or quick service, no one was really focused on serving better, more sustainable, really good, healthy, high quality meals. It was more about convenience and fast and being very crave-worthy. Most people told us when were starting Mixt that we were crazy, we absolutely should not do it, that salads at the time or still just considered an appetizer, no one was going to eat a salad is just a meal and no one was going to buy into this idea that quick service or fast-casual could be higher end.

Kara Goldin: This is how the best companies get founded, by the way. They are always like the crazy ones, crazy ideas and nobody believed in them. I think it’s like, the ones that have a mindset or maybe in the case of you, a partner that is able to also say like, “We’re not crazy. We were like maybe stupid.” My husband and I both, when we were starting Hint, it was the same conversation. So anyway, so keep going. Sorry.

Leslie S: Yeah. I mean, and the other thing I mean we were in our mid-20s and what do we have to lose? And so we just thought that we could really do something better and see if this would resonate with customers. So we found a location right in the heart of downtown San Francisco. We convinced the landlord to take a chance on us and go ahead and sign a lease and we did a lot of construction ourselves for the first restaurant and we opened our doors, having given the staff one day of training and said, “Okay, here we go.”

Leslie S: We really were just praying that someone showed up, and before we opened our doors at 10:30 we already had a line down the street and wrapping down the block and we had no idea what to do. So we just opened our doors and let people flood in and the first day was absolutely mayhem. We completely ran out of food. We realized that we needed to increase our staff to X and basically spent that first month redoing the operations every night until we started to find our groove.

Kara Goldin: Was this your first restaurant that you had ever … I mean, had you worked in restaurants before or?

Leslie S: I had dabbled in it. I mean, I had been a hostess when I was in high school, but no, I hadn’t. Our third partner was my brother who was a fine-dining chef. And so he’s the one that brought the culinary expertise and then also the restaurant operations to the team.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. Is he still involved?

Leslie S: He isn’t.

Kara Goldin: No, he isn’t involved anymore. Interesting. So Nestle, you ended up selling it and then buying it back. Is that very common for … I’ve actually heard that a couple of times. I think it’s really interesting. I think when people think like, “Okay, I’m going to go sell my company.” They think like, “Okay, that’s done.” But I’ve now heard it happened a few times where the company gets sold and then they’ve ended up buying it back and it actually does better.

Leslie S: Yeah. I think it’s more common than people would expect, once people hear our story then there was like, “Oh, I’ve done that too.” Or all these people kind of come out of the woodwork. And for us, it was an interesting situation where it was 2009, we had three stores open three additional ones under development, the business was running really well and getting approached with a group that was a private equity firm that was backed by Nestle, seemed pretty attractive and we were also very uncertain of the economic times. And so things kind of were getting-

Kara Goldin: Yeah, 2009 was crazy for sure.

Leslie S: And it just kept getting worse and so as being positioned is the higher-end quick service place we just didn’t know what the future was going to look like. And so now we’re still in our 20s and we just were hesitant whether or not this is the best that was ever going to come and we’re going to kick ourselves. So we ended up doing a deal and I went back to business school at the time. So I realized that I had been pretty much flying by the seat of my pants and going from a company was 0 employees to over 100 and just learning everything on the fly because I hadn’t taken one business class in my life. And so I felt like going back to business school is the best thing that I could do for myself. And so that’s that’s what I did.

Kara Goldin: And so did that you were going to go back to business school part of actually selling the company or were you?

Leslie S: I had started to put it into the plan. I had been thinking about … We had debated raising money or not, continuing to bootstrap, and we had decided we were going to continue to bootstrap. And so we already had our next three deals signed. So we knew what basically the next year and a half was going to look like. So I said, I can still go to school and continue with my role and run the company for the next couple of years and then come out of school and then really hopefully be at a good place where we were going to really start growing.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. And you co-founded the company with your husband?

Leslie S: Yes.

Kara Goldin: And your brother?

Leslie S: Yes.

Kara Goldin: And what was your husband doing before this too?

Leslie S: My husband actually had done his MBA at Oxford. So he had the business acumen, I had the sustainability piece and my brother had the culinary piece.

Kara Goldin: But no operational experience?

Leslie S: Dave had never worked in a restaurant.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Leslie S: But he also … His background was in technology and so he had worked for data networking companies. So he came at it from a very process-oriented way and it was actually, I think part of our success is because you had two people that weren’t restaurant people. So we were able to look at everything with completely fresh eyes and think about how we could do things differently. And I think-

Kara Goldin: This is where I was going with this. I really do think that that’s like such a key component when I … I get asked all the time like, “How did how to do this?” And I think if you really believe that you’re smart and you’re willing to view the problem as a puzzle and that you’ve got to go tackle it, I think most people can do it, but there’s this doubt and this feeling like … And I think it’s also, brought up by when you tell people that you’re doing this business they’re like, “Have you ever done a salad business? Have you ran a restaurant?” Have you ever done this? Have you ever done this?

Kara Goldin: I mean, I was the first person to say, “No, no, no, no, no.” And ask why constantly, which I know, sounds like that that’s where you were at as well. That’s super, super cool. So do you think if you’re going to sell your company, if there’s people like thinking about selling their company, do you think that there’s something that … Is there something you should have in the documents that say like, “If this doesn’t work out …” Like you built this brand, you sell it, is there some like few lines and they’re just saying like we have an option at some point or?

Leslie S: Definitely. I mean, I think that-

Kara Goldin: That’s a good point.

Leslie S: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. If you can negotiate it in, I think it’s always worth the try to do it because you never know. One of the biggest learnings for us is that. You don’t appreciate something until it’s usually gone, right?

Kara Goldin: Yeah, totally.

Leslie S: So that was also our situation. We didn’t really truly appreciate how amazing the business was and what we could do with it. And so having that perspective and coming back into it is something that we’re just very thankful for every day and I think helps us be better.

Kara Goldin: Well, you guys were really smart about that because I know, I’ve talked to founders, the flip side of it too, where they’ve sold their company off to people and their companies and then they watch it just basically erode. And I think it’s like especially when you sweat it out, you exchanged basically making no money for sweating a lot and then all of a sudden you see somebody wrecking something. It can just like kill your soul and it’s hard and I think it’s like you guys really did it right.

Kara Goldin: So I think the other thing that’s really unique that I know about you Leslie is that then you went off like … And Leslie is not like the face of the brand only. She’s actually in there icing your salad, making it, definitely in there every day and working with her employees, which is awesome. But also then you decided to co-found another company because you weren’t busy enough and you’ve got, how many kids, two or three?

Leslie S: Two.

Kara Goldin: Two. Two kids, yeah. So just not even busy even slightly, but then she goes and tries and succeeds in founding another company. So tell me a little bit about that. It’s called Wello.

Leslie S: I started this I started Wello in business school with one of my best friends. We realized that … I obviously have this passion for health and wellness and having been on the food side I was also very curious about the fitness side. There was a group of friends that while we were in business school we decided to do the Shaun T Insanity workout video together. So we’d wake up super early in the morning before classes and meet and do these videos. We had fun doing it.

Leslie S: It ended up being kind of a disaster because it wasn’t right for anyone and so people were getting big muscles where they didn’t want them and it just, it wasn’t really his success, but we had so much fun doing it. It just got us thinking, how can you design a fitness program for someone so it’s completely personalized, but also have it be accountable where they stick to it because at the time there was apps coming out where they would give you a personalized fitness plan, but there was just no accountability to it.

Leslie S: So we said, what if we take this magic of the guy leading our workouts who’s talking to us through a TV, what if we made it alive and had him really talking to you where’s really correcting your form, he’s making sure that he knows your goals and he’s developing a program just for you. And so at the time this was 2010 and the rise of video technology was just really coming about.

Kara Goldin: It was early, yeah.

Leslie S: It was early, but I mean, Skype had been around and it just … There was something that clicked and it was like this is a way that people should work out. They should have the ability to have live videos that they could become and bringing people into their home to make fitness more accountable, more fun and more personalized. So we started running with that idea and started testing it with all sorts of different fitness professionals and customers just using Skype and saying, “Okay, we’re going to connect you to, now we are going to do a half an hour workout at home and this person can be across the country.”

Leslie S: And people were just blown away. They were like, wow. First of all, the effectiveness of it. If you’ve ever worked out with a personal trainer, they just make you work harder. You want to impress them. It’s just human nature and you’re going to show up when you have a real person there waiting for you. And then the personalized aspect, to know that okay, we push you to your limit, let’s now do something else. There was so much magic in it.

Leslie S: We started building a technology team to build a product so we could have a full market place where you could find and schedule a workout and then the live video connection for it to happen. I would say that we were hoping to ride this wave of video technology and when we first started it was still, there’s choppiness and connection wasn’t always great and getting people’s computers or even when we launched an app, it was still, there was a lot of technological issues.

Kara Goldin: Did Ann have a technology background or was she?

Leslie S: No, she was actually a consultant from Bain & Company. Neither of us did … We did find somebody to come in and be our CTO who had a deep technology background and was a partner with us and was amazing. So he was able to lead the engineering components and the technology components of it. As we were building this, our expectation too was that we kind of built this for ourselves and thinking okay, we’ve been busy professionals. It’s been hard for us to get our workouts in, especially her as a consultant on the road. And so we thought we were building this for busy professionals or stay-at-home moms that could do this why their kids were napping.

Leslie S: What we found was that the people that were doing it every day and loved it were typically people that were actually looking to lose a substantial amount of weight and didn’t feel comfortable working out in public. So we realized that this was all set in this great product where it was bringing fitness to people who would typically go and buy your DVDs or buy your fitness equipment and then it would just collect dust, but this was really working to help them change their lives. So we were about four years in, we were talking to Weight Watchers about doing a partnership and then it evolved, the conversations evolved and all of a sudden the discussion was being had about them acquiring us.

Kara Goldin: That’s amazing.

Leslie S: Yeah.

Kara Goldin: And so you got acquired.

Leslie S: We got acquired by Weight Watchers in 2014 and it was the first acquisition that Weight Watchers had ever done since they were founded in the ’60s and it was really an amazing experience because we spent a lot of time during the acquisition discussions planning out what this would look like and what we were going to do and what it would mean with a company headquartered in New York, we’re obviously based here in San Francisco and where they wanted to take their product. It really was, I think, such a great match and that our team became the West Coast technology hub for Weight Watchers and has been a very, very successful part of the company.

Kara Goldin: So how much are you working in that company now?

Leslie S: Not at all.

Kara Goldin: Not at all, you just … Yeah, you’re totally focused on Mixt at this point.

Leslie S: Yep. So I stayed for about a year-and-a-half through the transition, but then realized that once my husband had acquired back Mixt and was running a few other businesses himself, that he needed help and to come back and that we could kind of just restart again and take our initial vision for the company and continue running with it.

Kara Goldin: That’s super, super awesome. Well, I love how we talked about you have two kids, you run this with your husband. How do you feel about being an entrepreneur and also being parents too? I get asked that question a lot too. I have four teenagers now.

Leslie S: That’s amazing.

Kara Goldin: It’s crazy, chaos, [inaudible 00:21:56] but I get asked that a lot as well, that it’s like … I mean, it’s interesting because it’s kind of all like I didn’t have my own business when I didn’t have kids. Then all of a sudden I started this business and then … Well actually, I had a couple of kids and then I started this business and I don’t think my kids know anything different. I mean, it’s like, definitely I think that you work really super hard, but the flexibility is there too if you need to run out and do something.

Kara Goldin: And then also I just think as my kids have gotten older too, I’ve really seen that they’ve seen things like women can actually run companies and also that they can do stuff that they’re really interested in and passionate about and the parents can work together. So I’d love to hear your experience on that as well.

Leslie S: When I was running Wello we were working basically 17 hour days. I couldn’t fathom how I could possibly fit in having a baby, but it got to the point where I knew it was something that I wanted to do. And I said like everything else, I’m just gonna have to figure it out. And I know this seems insane and have no idea how it’s going to work, but I know that we’ll be able to figure it out. And so I was full steam ahead, start a technology startup, grinding away when I got pregnant with my daughter Tegan and I just assumed that I would be back at work probably a week after she was born and that was going to be the way it was.

Leslie S: We actually, the acquisition happened when I was 5 months pregnant and so I was very fortunate and then I could have a proper maternity leave and really I didn’t fully appreciate how much having a child would just rock my life in such a wonderful way. And it really did and so I’ve just been … It creates a different perspective and everybody always kind of says that, but I didn’t know what that meant until I had experienced it. It changed my focus and that then it couldn’t be just about work and there was a lot more at stake.

Leslie S: I think what it’s actually done is it’s made me a lot more efficient and a lot more judicious how I spend my time and what I dedicate myself to, but then, like you said, it’s also thinking about how you can be a role model for these little people and how what you’re doing every day, how they get to have it infused into their lives and how that can hopefully have some sort of influence on them.

Kara Goldin: And I think the mission too. I mean, I want to talk a little bit about that too. I mean, it’s not just like people think like salad, but I think there’s a lot more that you guys were thinking about from using some of the knowledge that you had while you were probably in school, but also just your interest around making things better. I mean, talk to me a little bit about that, like how … I mean, it’s not just about going and buying a head of lettuce and cutting it up and giving it to people like your typical restaurants, right?

Leslie S: Yeah.

Kara Goldin: So talk a little bit about your sustainability and stuff that you’re doing around that.

Leslie S: Yeah, I think one of the very surprising consequences of starting Mixt for me was initially when we were planning it and getting it ready and building it out I was super excited by the opportunity, I wanted to try something, I wanted to see how customers responded. That was more of my motivation, but the day that we opened, it completely shifted where now all of a sudden we had a staff of 20 and their livelihood was completely dependent on the decisions that we made. That just changed my perspective so much and thinking about you have all these people that are counting on you and they’re counting on you for their paycheck and to support their family.

Leslie S: So that’s really becomes my number one driver and being successful and making sure the company is thriving and we’re making good decisions because I don’t ever want to jeopardize their jobs and their careers and I want to make sure that we can always be a place where people can thrive. So that is a huge part of our DNA and just-

Kara Goldin: That’s amazing.

Leslie S: … what I believe in. And then from the sustainability perspective, I mean, it was, if we go back in time to when we started this people were talking about things being green or eco-friendly. It usually meant that you were paid more or you were having to sacrifice some sort of quality, joke like you could get something organic in every color as long as it was oatmeal. We really wanted to break that and say, “First and foremost you’re going to get an awesome product that you’re going to love and you’re going to love it for the way it tastes and you’re going to love the experience and oh, by the way, this just happens to be how we think and how we run our business.”

Leslie S: And I think that’s been a very good model for us where you don’t walk into a Mixt and we’re shouting at you, eco this or or organic or sustainable or any of that. It’s just, it’s infused throughout the experience, but we try to do it in a low-key way so that it’s not alienating to anybody and it becomes more of something that you can experience and explore and kind of we give you a little nuggets and can hopefully take you on a journey to have you be more interested and kind of the decisions we make around our sourcing, around energy efficiency, water conservation, how we build our spaces, how we divert 99% of our waste from landfills. So that’s what we hope to take our customer on that journey. And if you just show up for good food, that’s totally fine with us too.

Kara Goldin: Exactly. I think that that’s what your environment really brings in for people. I mean, obviously, just like Hint, has to be a great product first, but I think then the rest of that stuff, that you’re talking about, the information and sort of what you believe and what you do and the ethos of everything that you do, the waste, all of this is really, really what’s critical. So it’s interesting we had one of our guests was this woman Marion Nestle. Do you know Marion?

Leslie S: Yep.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, and she’s really amazing, sort of talking about some of the issues that are out there just around food safety and some of the stuff. One thing that was brought up, I really followed her a lot because there’s a lot of testing that’s being done, especially in the packaged food space where you’ve got big companies that are paying for these tests and then you ultimately never see the test results. They’ll come back as inconclusive or … But the other thing that she really had me thinking and researching more is our water supply. So obviously we have a bottled water company.

Kara Goldin: So it’s something that I’ve started to look into more and more and also been following. Drinking fountains across the US today, in our kid’s schools that affects 35 million kids have too much like arsenic and lead in them, 41%, which is like the recent statistic, which is just absolutely in crazy-

Leslie S: That’s insane.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, so we actually have a whole lobbyist effort going on right now in Washington to try and help change that, which is for our product, it’s not just coming out of the spigot. We actually go through reverse osmosis and then we pasteurize it and so we’re getting, if there were any of those things in there, we’re getting them out. But I think it’s just something that people are becoming more and more aware of too as people are getting sick and there’s recalls of products that I think it really, as a society and as a small business, I think just talking about some of those things that you’re doing to make sure that things are safe, it’s just so critical.

Leslie S: There’s a safe aspect on so many levels. You don’t want something to make anybody sick, but then that’s immediately sick, but that also I think about long-term sickness and I think there’s a lot of environmental factors that are coming into play in terms of long-term health issues for people that we don’t have a good understanding about at all. It’s what are we lining packages with and how does that leech into foods and how does that toxic build-up over time, then lead to potential long-term illnesses. That’s why we believe so much … Everything comes into our restaurants fresh and it comes in that morning, it’s prepped, it’s served that day. That’s a something that is so important for us and knowing that things aren’t sitting in freezers forever-

Kara Goldin: That’s so critical.

Leslie S: … sitting in packaging or coming across from halfway around the world. And I think it really makes a difference.

Kara Goldin: Yes. It’s super, super important. So you guys are in California now. How many stores? Where are they located?

Leslie S: Yep. We have 15 restaurants now between San Francisco and LA. This year we’re making a jump to two new regions, which I can’t publicly talked about yet.

Kara Goldin: But outside of California?

Leslie S: Outside of California. We’re very, very excited just to bring better eating to as many people as possible around the country.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. How do you find locations, by the way? How do you decide where are the best locations?

Leslie S: Yeah. It’s a good question because I always explain, it’s as much science as it is art. And so as much as you want to … There’s all sorts of companies and startups now that are trying to take in all sorts of demographic information and try to pinpoint, this is going to be the best location for you, but it is so much about gut feel and you just show up and you feel out an area, you see who’s walking around and sometimes you have to have a lot of vision.

Leslie S: So our second store I think is a good example of that. So it’s on an alley off of a street in San Francisco and it had been a pretty dare elect alley, but when I saw it for the first time I said wait, we have the potential to create kind of like a Parisian outdoor cafe situation where we-

Kara Goldin: No, that’s amazing.

Leslie S: … put all these tables outside and it could just change this whole area. That’s why I say there’s a lot of art to it and kind of being able to see what you could create even though one, the store that’s right around the corner from your office is here, that was a building that was literally falling down and hadn’t been touched in years. It’s really about just having this foresight that you can create something great and hopefully bring people to it.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, and you guys are jamming it over there. I mean, it’s so busy, it’s great. I have a few ideas as to why you’re unstoppable. I would love to hear from you what makes you unstoppable, Leslie.

Leslie S: As someone on my team will say that I am an internal optimist and I think that’s something that has helped me throughout my life very much so, and especially in business, is that even when things are terrible, because that’s frequently the case, I have a way of looking and seeing, okay, how can we bring the sunshine back up? And I think that makes big difference. And the other thing is that, and this is one my mom always says, is that whenever ever since I was little someone would tell me no, that was just a starting point for me to get them to yes. I think it’s also that I have a very ingrained negotiating mindset.

Kara Goldin: My dad used to say that too. He would say, “No means maybe, maybe means yes to you Kara.” It’s had sort of double meaning over the years, not what he intended to sort of talk about, but I’m very much an optimist too. But your co-founder is balanced. Does it give balance? I mean, I think it’s, really important to when entrepreneurs come to me and say, “I have a friend from business school.” The first thing I want to know like what is it, who are they as individuals? Because I really do think you need that balance too. Do you believe that?

Leslie S: Absolutely. I mean, I think I look at Wello with Ann, I mean, we were such a good balance for one another because I was like, “Oh, of course we can do this.” She was like, “Are you insane?”

Kara Goldin: Yeah, that’s great.

Leslie S: She was such a realist and would help. So we could meet somewhere in the middle, which worked really, really well for us. And Dave is very similar in that he’s more of a realist as well. And we also can call him downer David, but he is that good check-

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome.

Leslie S: … as well. I mean, it’s essential. If you have two people that are just yeah all is wonderful, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes.

Kara Goldin: My husband is our chief operating officer and he is the same way. Actually, it’s funny, when one of our kids were growing up and somewhere along the way he was reading something that said that he was the chief operating officer and he looked and he said, “I always thought, like for years I thought that you were the cheap operating officer. I didn’t know that there was a chief operating officer because you were always saying no or you don’t want to spend the money along the way.” So I was like that is so funny, but it’s true.

Kara Goldin: It is kind of you need that balance inside of somebody saying like … And I think it’s truly important to have both because if you have two of the other kind then you’re never going to get it off the ground because it really does take a little bit of hope and wish and licking your finger and holding up in the air and hoping that it’s going to go right. So anyway, this is so great Leslie. Thank you so much for coming and telling us all your story-

Leslie S: Oh, this has been great.

Kara Goldin: … and a little bit more about you. Super fun. So where do people find you, by the way, besides in the stores? I mean, online? Are you on social?

Leslie S: I am not. So just mixt.com.

Kara Goldin: Just come to mixt.com.

Leslie S: Come, try our restaurants. Come, try our food and let us know what you think.

Kara Goldin: Awesome.

Leslie S: And we’re Mixt on Instagram.

Kara Goldin: Awesome. M-I-X-T.

Leslie S: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kara Goldin: Awesome. Well, thanks again.

Leslie S: We’ve been huge supporters of Hint from the beginning. I think we were one of the first restaurants to-

Kara Goldin: You were. You were.

Leslie S: … to carry you way back in the day.

Kara Goldin: No, it’s super, super awesome. We love working with you guys. Actually, I want to talk to you guys too about putting it on tap, at least in the one location around the corner. I’ve trying. It’s something that we’re thinking about.

Leslie S: That’s awesome. We’re putting tap systems in all the restaurants.

Kara Goldin: Awesome.

Leslie S: Yeah.

Kara Goldin: Very, very cool. Okay, great. Well, thanks so much Leslie.

Leslie S: Well, thank you.