Erica Huss and Zoe Sakoutis – Co-Founders of BluePrint Cleanse and Earth Star

Episode 165

Today on The Kara Goldin Show, we have two incredible founders! Erica Huss and Zoe Sakoutis share their inspirational journey in founding one of the first DTC juice companies, BluePrint Cleanse. So many valuable gems in this interview as they take us on their journey, together, to hear what it’s like to develop a company in the wellness space and then sell it. Now in their second venture together for another round with an exciting company in the fungi space with Earth & Star. Hear how an entrepreneurial journey in the wellness industry always comes with lots to learn! Listen now on #TheKaraGoldinShow

Resources from
this episode:


Erica Huss 0:00
You have to know what people want. And you have to give it to them in a way that makes them realize that like they can’t live without it.

Kara Goldin 0:07
I am unwilling to give up. That I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be, I want to make sure you will get knocked down, but just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control, control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show. So join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started.

Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, its Kara golden. And I’m so thrilled to be here today for the Kara golden show with my next guests. We have Erica us and Zoe surcoat. us here. And they are both the co founders of one of my favorite brands from a little while ago. So some of you may not be familiar with it. But there’s many of us out there that looked at them as kind of this cultish, super cool, disruptive innovator Randall, just share what it is blueprint. And you may know it also as the blueprint cleanse and some of those other things that people talked about it as and today, they are founding their second company called Earth and star which we’re going to get into that as well. As you know, we talked to founders, entrepreneurs and CEOs and really get kind of the the journey, the down and dirty lots of fun stuff that they’ve learned along the way. so thrilled to have them. And like I said, this is their second entrepreneurial venture that they’ve done together. And their new company is also about health, wellness and functional mushrooms. So if I piqued anyone’s interest there, then you definitely need to listen more as we talk a little bit more to Erica and Zoe and really hear much more about them. They also have a great podcast that is called highway to well, which if you haven’t listened to that also, definitely give a listen to that. And like I said, they’re pioneers in the wellness space. Super, super cool, ladies, and I’m thrilled to have you guys here. So welcome. Thank you. Introduction. All right. So whoever wants to go first, tell me a little bit about how you know who were Zoe and Erica, as little kids.

Erica Huss 2:56
Okay, well as kids. Yeah, we didn’t know each other. I know, you can’t tell by our youthful appearances. Childhood seems like it was so recent. But we will I will speak for myself. I don’t know if I was necessarily a born entrepreneur, we had this conversation recently, whether you’re born or made. And I think I’m sort of the hybrid of the two, I came by it honestly, both of my parents were worked for themselves. In New York, I grew up in, you know, the 80s in New York City. And my parents worked in advertising, they both had their own businesses. So I guess to that, and I did kind of have it predestined that I was going to end up running my own thing I started out working in, you know, my early professional career was in theater and show business. And I did some behind the scenes stuff and worked a lot in production, which ended up I think, actually, really coming in handy when it when it becomes about building your own company, because all it is is production, taking elements and different pieces of all of these kind of different categories and areas and putting them all together to create the show. So went from there into really headfirst into hospitality, Zoey, and I actually met in a bar working in a bar. flinging a different kind of beverage, I guess you would say back in those days in New York, in in the year 2000, at the Hudson hotel. And at that point, you know, I was really interested in the hospitality business. And so I kind of dove into that and wanted to learn all the different elements of it, you know, between service and management and PR and the kind of more you know, the bigger world around it. And so I kind of carved my path and I felt like you know, I worked in some office settings for a while and really realized that I don’t necessarily have a problem with authority, but I definitely prefer to I set my own pace and answer to myself or in this case to a friend who I, you know, genuinely treasure and respect and whose opinion and vision is very aligned with mine. So I will stop there because I know that was just a quick question.

Kara Goldin 5:16
I love it.

Zoe Sakoutis 5:20
Okay, as a child, let’s say I did not grow up in the city, sadly. But I would have loved to I grew up in Pennsylvania, Northeastern PA, definitely the sticks to not have a lot of money growing up as the youngest of four kids like single mother work two jobs, their school definitely like a very scrappy upbringing. And yeah, I mean, I definitely grew up with this kind of mentality that is, you know, if you want something, you have to earn it like there was never any, any anything given to me. I never had, like, you know, an allowance for school. I mean, like, really basic thing, like, I had to have a job. Like, I think I’ve been working as long as I can remember. So actually, my first I was in my first business was when I was 1413. And the really nice optometrist in my town gave me she she ran a kennel was very weird. I mean, this is like Northeastern case, like some where people, but she had she, she had an optometry Center, which all of my siblings went to because they needed glasses. And I was the only one who didn’t. So I’d always be in the waiting room, like the shy kid, and she had this like, random Cat Dog count in the backyard. She also showed dogs. And so she said, like, Hey, I’ll give you a dog if you learn how to show it and groom them and all the rest. So she, she gave me the basement to the optometry center. And she let me set up shop and start my own, like grooming company. So it was kind of amazing, like, first brush with like, I set my own hours. I like organize my clients. I like lock up and mock out, you know, like, it’s kind of like an amazing experience to have that sort of autonomy at such a young age and be like, I just made 40 bucks an hour. So it’s pretty awesome. So yeah, I mean, I think my childhood was very scrappy is probably a good word. And then I just sort of, inched my way closer to the city, went to high school in New Jersey, went to pencil, or went to college in New York City. So I’ve been in the city now longer than I, since I was like, 17.

Kara Goldin 7:36
Amazing. And so you’re so you mentioned actually, Erica mentioned the Hudson. So you guys are working at the Hudson? Oh, yeah. And did you were you just dreaming of like, you know, starting your own company together from day one, or what was what was the moment that you guys said, Oh, my gosh, we should go do this.

Zoe Sakoutis 7:57
Um, well, I was very much in I was not I did not move up the the hospitality rungs to manager, the manager level, because I have no place in any kind of Corporation. But I know I was Erica did but I, I was very much interested at that point in the sort of raw food space, this idea of healing yourself with food and nutrition in general, which was introduced by at the time a very hippie boyfriend from California. So I kind of went down that rabbit hole. I was, you know, graduating school, again, I was studying like production, communication, stuff like that. But I really made a sharp turn once I discovered this world, and it was like, headfirst, kind of like, once you know these things, you can never unknow them. And so I was really, you know, starting to study and take it pretty seriously, on my own while working at the Hudson. And, you know, I went from like carnivore like to raw foodist overnight, and got a lot of weird looks. But a lot of time eating lunch by myself and like the one no one raw food restaurant at the time in Manhattan. And so, Eric, who is at that time, I think, you know, probably more interested in PR. I mean, what was what would you say like that moment, that moment was where we kind of went different different ways.

Erica Huss 9:27
I think it was Yeah, I mean, I sort of moved away from actually working in the bar setting to moving into working in a PR firm to work with chefs and restaurants and hospitality clients just to kind of learn all the sides of the industry. So I was getting a little bit more of like a corporate, you know, polished training, I suppose. And Zoey and I were still, you know, very friendly and hung out together a lot. And when she started telling me about this, you know, this project that she was working on, and she had the framework of this, like, I mean literally the blueprint of what this concept was with, you know, the initial product concept and some test clients that were available. And you know, she had kind of been getting feedback and seeing that this thing really had legs. It was this moment of, you know, needing to take it to the next level. And the first thing I need is this, this and this, and then I need this. And I think I need a press release. And I think you know, what a press release says, and I was like, I do know what a press release says. And so, you know, I think it was maybe six, eight months into where she had come with it, that it looked like, Okay, this is actually something that really does have the potential to, to go. And I was certainly not, you know, tethered by any means to sitting at a desk in an office full of 55 other women. And so it was like, Alright, this doesn’t feel like a risk, this feels like the thing that just makes sense for me to do. And certainly for Zoey, it didn’t feel like a risk. It was like this was her calling. So it was kind of just like, Well, you know, you know, stuff that I don’t and I know stuff that you don’t and this totally makes sense. So let’s just do it and see what happens.

Kara Goldin 11:01
I love the Yang and Yang, right, that you guys just really naturally and organically got to I think that part of you know, the problem. I’ve met many founders over the years. And I think as you know, Erica, that my husband is actually my Yang or Yang, however you want to look at it. He’s our chief operating officer. And it was very clear early on that we both like appreciated each other’s kind of skill sets on, you know, on the business side of things. And it was, I feel like, you know, the two of you knew that as well, you didn’t sit there and figure out who’s gonna really do what it just came very naturally, which is a great sign. And frankly, when I see two founders get together, maybe they met a business school, and they’re like, Oh, we have this great idea. And we’re going to do it. And so often, there’s so much like, right, and that’s where the problem starts, where, you know, it’s especially, you know, if you even have an ounce of competition, then you you don’t intend for it to go in that direction. But it just seems to you for some other reasons. So I love I love hearing that. So you found a blueprint back in 2007. And how did you like, how did you manage to build this business? And were you guys ever talking about stores? Or was it really kind of servicing clients? Was that kind of the initial blueprint, I guess?

Zoe Sakoutis 12:27
Yeah, the original blueprint, I think, you know, it was definitely an interesting time, because it was, I mean, obviously, social media was not certainly not what it is today, but then also the brick and mortar kind of rules. And there was no real direct to consumer channel. I mean, it just didn’t realize before Amazon, really, I mean, this is kind of, it’s kind of amazing to look back and see how insanely it’s changed in such a short time. So at the time, you know, we were not used to getting packages delivered like we are today, we weren’t used to getting things like, really at our doorstep doesn’t, you know, from like, juice to perishables, whatever it is. So anyway, at the time, the structure was really, it was meant to be it was born out of like an actual hub and spoke kind of idea, right? So we had this production, commissary kind of juice bar to start. And we had, we had a group of women that were likely to test it on. And so it started very locally, we were literally making the product in a test kitchen. I guess we’ll call it a test kitchen. It’s a very, we really, we really like elbowed our way into some some very generous people’s kitchens anyway, they were kind enough to give us like a foreigner in the back. We eventually, like took over the whole kitchen, but we, you know, we built we built up our clientele very organically. It was like a local group of women in Darien, Connecticut, who were kind of like super early adopters. They were like bingeing on cleanses every week, they loved it, they couldn’t stop talking about it. I mean, that was the beauty of this product was that it was so experiential. I mean, you were essentially going on a cleanse for an extended amount of time between like one and five days. So of course you feel like a superior human and you want to share that everyone around you so grew very quickly. But basically, we would make it it was made to order it was paid for before we made it, which is a really nice model. And so we would then pack it up, deliver it in the beginning. I mean, we’re literally delivering it ourselves and like zip cars, if anyone can remember what those are. But yeah, I mean from there, it sort of grew to be delivered to your door in Manhattan and then eventually delivered nationwide. And so the direct to consumer piece of it was really nice. It gave us a lot of feedback consumer We’re willing to pay a premium because it seems a specialist you know, then, but to have something like that delivered to you, we got a lot of feedback. And then eventually, you know, the biggest problem with what we were doing at the time was that it was a perishable product. So we couldn’t necessarily put raw juice on a shelf, it was literally is not legal, unless you’re, you know, you’re making yourself. So we, you know, we had to figure out a way once Whole Foods literally came knocking has figured out a way how to treat the juice without compromising the integrity of the product by heating it, because it’s first and foremost or obtuse. And that was all around nutritional integrity. So we were also the first people to crack the HPP code, which is how you treat this type of product without heating it. So we basically stands for high pressure pasteurization or processing, but basically, you know, we we pressurize the juice, and that allowed us to enter with retail. And so, you know, once that happened a couple of years later, it was just explosive growth. But that model, I mean, you know, we were doing quite well direct to consumer, but eventually the retail just completely eclipsed it, which is very exciting.

Kara Goldin 16:16
Yeah. Oh, interesting. Well, for those of you who maybe weren’t around during that time, I mean, I remember, I was in e commerce early at America Online. And, you know, I built out the American lines kind of shopping mall in the very early days. And so I understand, like the picking and packing and perishable and I always pointed to Omaha Steaks as being you know, the boldest person in the world like to actually put the stuff in a box and send it out. And when I saw you guys doing it, it was a I really huge kudos, admiration for you. And as I mentioned to Eric, I was a huge fan customer. Never had a bad bottle. I mean, I was like always telling people, you know, I kept thinking one of these times, it’s gonna stay out too long. And it’s gonna be a math and you know, I’m in the food industry is I get it and but it wasn’t, it was like, always terrific. So I really think that you guys did an amazing, amazing job. So then you just so then you sold the company successfully sold it. Do you want to talk a little bit about what year was that? You sold it?

Erica Huss 17:28
2012 and 2012? Yeah. And if 2012 shows year five of the business, and who did you sell it to? To hain celestial?

Kara Goldin 17:37
And then did you guys stay on at that point? Or for a little while? You guys spoke?

Zoe Sakoutis 17:44
Yeah, we stayed on? Well, we, for most of our for most of our contracts, we left a little bit early,

Erica Huss 17:52
which was, you know, always leave before the party’s over. Yeah, for a couple years, or

Zoe Sakoutis 17:57
Yeah, we’re on we were there for like a year and a half. I think we’re supposed to be there for about two. But we stayed Yeah. It was a very interesting corporate experience. And I think neither one of us was too interested in continuing. And yeah, we went right. You know, we never took out any took on outside investment. We literally bootstrapped the whole thing. And so we just went, we just went right to acquisition. So yeah, that was I don’t I didn’t realize at the time how, how lucky were We were to be able to have done that. Until now. I understand the pains of having lost money. Yeah,

Erica Huss 18:31
I think lucky. But I also think, you know, I mean, it was well, it was hard earned, you know, like, that was no, no, not be taken away from any any hard work. No. But we put ourselves in that position. I think we never realized really how unique it was. Until now, when we’re raising money for our business. And people are learning that we never took on outside capital for a blueprint. Or like, really, you guys did that? Really? Yeah, we did. And I think it’s actually good that we didn’t realize it at the time, because I think it might have altered our attitude a little bit.

Kara Goldin 19:04
Well, I love just the hustle of you guys doing it and the scrappiness of just you know, and the model the upfront money and then you shift like the whole model of it was just just you guys should be really proud and it is really fun, I think is the best word to say like to look back and actually see kind of what you accomplished and and it’s I think everybody should do that. Whether you’re a founder or whether, you know, you’re you’re thinking about being a founder looking back on some of those challenging times and I even saw Zoey laughing a little bit about taking a little space in the kitchen. I’m sure there’s a lot more backstory. We have those as well. I part of the reason I decided to write my book was you know, I wanted to really share some of like, you know, not only the funny stories, but the warts and all along the way that it’s just you couldn’t make some of those stuff up, then. Yeah, I think that if you haven’t done it before, you just can’t even imagine that that’s how this stuff goes down. And and it’s so interesting. So now your new venture you two got back together now, were you ever apart? Or were you guys still hanging out and chatting? Not really? Yeah.

Erica Huss 20:20
I mean, we, you know, we we took a little bit of time in between blueprint and figuring out our next move to kind of, you know, take a small victory lap. And so we made some humans and I did some traveling and got married. And I think, you know, we, we were a little bit conflicted as to like, do we just sort of sit back and you know, just figure something out eventually? Or do we do we stay focused and stay at least with one foot in the door, because we felt like, you know, there is a, there is a window of opportunity and have relevance for you and your name and your brand. And we didn’t want to see that window close. So I think we we took, we found the right balance of how to kind of spend the time we did a little bit of some small projects on our own, you know, some investments and things like that. And then, you know, we decided to start the podcast, partly because, to your point, Karen, what you were saying earlier about why you wanted to start yours. We were just having conversations and feeling like, you know, the wellness landscape had changed so dramatically, even in the few years, since we had started blueprint until that time, that we felt like, Okay, well, our voice at the table is actually super, you know, meaningful, because we’ve been here since the beginning. And I think what was also a bit unusual, because we started about three years ago, as well, was there were a lot of podcasts about, you know, starting a business. And you know, the how I built this kind of thing. And there are a lot of podcasts about wellness, in like the sort of boot camp, but this was even before goop, but very few hosted by founders of those types of businesses, it was either kind of one or the other, and even fewer hosted by women. So we were kind of like, Alright, well, there’s not a whole lot of voices in this female wellness founder, you know, circle that we’re in. So let’s just kind of keep the conversation going. And, you know, we were able to really make some great relationships and foster some great, you know, relationships and contacts that some of them carried over from blueprint days, and some of them are relevant to us now. But yeah, we kind of felt like, in the same way that we wanted to take, you know, the concept of juicing and bring it to a mass audience in a way that felt approachable. That’s what we wanted to do with just information about the wellness world and bring it in a way that felt not super preachy, because that does tend to happen and felt like we could actually really help people who maybe think, Oh, I’m not really into wellness, I’m not a health person. But first of all, you know, on some level, at this point, everybody is whether you know it or not. And secondly, like you don’t have to be the sort of, you know, live the cleanest life and your body is your temple 150% of the time. And every move that you make is with wellness. And like that’s not what it’s about for us. And we wanted to make sure people understood that like, and feel like it can still feel inclusive. So

Kara Goldin 23:11
no, I love sort of, so your your new venture is Earth and star. And you said at some point that the future is funghi fungi, how do you how do you actually pronounce? Is it funghi? Or a fun guy or fungi? fungi? Okay, no third way that to say that. So yeah, how did

Erica Huss 23:33
well moongate is the Italian so actually You are right.

Kara Goldin 23:36
Okay, so or mushrooms? And so how did you? How did you guys get interested in this?

Zoe Sakoutis 23:42
Well, I mean, I think it’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of supplements, superfoods, powders, potions, and both of our cupboards. And I think we’re always kind of keeping an ear to the ground. And, you know, seeing what’s out there, seeing what’s new, seeing what works, and then trying it for ourselves. And this was just one area where we were both kind of shocked a couple of years ago, just casually talking about it in passing. And, you know, we have been consuming functional mushrooms for however long and noting the difference that it made, you know, overall to each other. And we were using it for different reasons. But I was like, Oh my god, I stopped taking it for like, you know, a few few weeks or whatever. And I really feel the difference. And we’re just, you know, there’s so much efficacy there. And there’s so much science and in this space, and it’s sort of undiscovered, and it kind of blew our minds if something was powerful, like an entire kingdom that is yet to be discovered by the Western world can can have such a huge impact on your health.

Kara Goldin 24:51
And what’s the most surprising thing about mushrooms that most consumers don’t know?

Zoe Sakoutis 24:56
So I mean, well, there are a lot of things that they don’t know but I feel like you know, the better It’s so soon you start to rattle them off you set it sounds like you literally like they’re literally magic. It’s insane. I mean, I would say the common denominator, functional mushrooms, which by the way, functional mushrooms, for the most part fall under the umbrella of adaptogens, which maybe people are a little bit more familiar with right now. But, you know, first and foremost, they’re all immunomodulators, which means that they’re basically constantly working to either increase or rev up your immune system or calm it down, if it needs to come down, they’re constantly trying to balance and support your immune system, which could not be more critical right now, on a global scale. So, but beyond that, they have individual sort of superpowers and properties, you know, depending on the mushroom, everything from increased energy, calm relaxation, you know, there’s beauty benefits is literally endless. But, you know, we took a look around, the landscape was a little scarce, there was really not much out there, there are a handful of brands, basically, everything existed in a pill or powder format, or like an instant coffee did not taste particularly good. I think the wellness community is very willing to choke things down, if they know that there’s a promise and you know, whatever the benefits are, but you know, we just thought like, okay, we don’t need to sacrifice taste or convenience to consume this type of thing. And then that way is very similar to, to blueprint in that we just saw this, this sort of Kingdom blueprint, it was a plant kingdom now. It’s the fun guy kingdom. And so like, how do we take this super fringe concept and bring it to the masses in a way that’s delicious and convenient, and, you know, consumer friendly, so that it’s not, it’s not dogmatic, it’s not preachy, it’s not really sciency, which a lot of these these areas tend to get. So knowing what we know, which is beverage, we decided, like, why don’t we take this you know, change the format, put it in a ready to drink format, make it super delicious, with a very clean label, maybe the squeakiest out there, and, you know, and present it in a way that’s like sexy, and not like nerds in the woods, you know, like something that is a little bit more mass. And the same way that we did with blueprint, which was, you know, you don’t have to be like a hippie in the juice bar with like, whatever your gray braid is today. Like your Birkenstocks, which have all kind of like, come back in fashion. But, um, but yeah, so I mean, it’s all comes full circle. But that was the idea. So

Kara Goldin 27:48
I mean, we’ve been, we’ve been working on this project for about two years, just on like the r&d piece, just so everybody’s clear. And so the actual format is in a coffee, nice little can but total, I just haven’t, I just happen to be drinking

Zoe Sakoutis 28:03
a little love it is. So coincidence, my afternoon, my afternoon, little chocolate. So this is the cow flavor. So everything is plant based. It’s all oat milk. And we have a blend of four of what we think are maybe the most powerful and relevant mushrooms in terms of their benefits to like a daily routine. So we took a blend of four mushrooms, which is lion’s mane, Reishi, cordyceps and Chaga. And, you know, and then we’ve, we’ve created a line, we started with four skews, we’ve got cacau, matcha, turmeric, and we have a cold brewed black coffee. And everything has the same blend of two a whopping 2000 milligrams of functional mushroom extracts, which is generally a therapeutic dose. They sound like an infomercial. Yeah. A little bit. No, no, I mean, yeah, so we wanted to find I mean, the idea is basically like, take the habitual products that people are already consuming every day, like your coffee, your latte, and just enhance it with functional mushrooms, like don’t ask people to change their habits to like, incorporate yet another beverage into their daily routine. I mean, the beverage aisle is like, daunting these days. So many options. But like we all know that, you know, or habits or coffee and lattes, things like that. So that’s what we’re focused on.

Erica Huss 29:31
But then beyond that, also, the idea is really to roll it out into a larger platform. We started with beverage because that’s the world that we come from. We have a dark chocolate bar, we have more dark chocolate bars coming out. And again, to those point, it’s just about finding those moments in your day your habits. So if you’re not, you know, looking for another cold beverage in you know to work into your rotation, then we have something different for you. Because the whole point is, however you’re going to consume functional mushrooms or however you’re going to consume, you know, your your your habitual things, whether it’s your afternoon, you know, sweetfx, with a little bit of dark chocolate, or you know, ground coffee, or whatever it is, we want to be there to kind of elevate what you’re already doing.

Kara Goldin 30:16
I love it. So you mentioned this actually, the fundraising and how people are doing are you fundraising on this time as compared to last time, you didn’t fundraise what it? What do you, I mean, what, what was sort of the idea behind that I mean, fundraising early versus financing it on your own,

Erica Huss 30:34
it’s just a totally different model. And make no mistake, we are also financing it. We’ve we joke that we have accidentally self funded our seed round. Because, you know, it did take quite a bit to to get things going. The r&d was not an inexpensive process. For a product and a category like this, there’s no way around that. So it’s a different model, you know, blueprint and the juice world in general, I mean, literally, anybody could basically start a juice company from their kitchen and kind of scale it and see how it goes. And you know, but then you find out very quickly, who actually has what it takes, and who doesn’t. But something like this, that does really require some major, you know, food science in order to find the right formula that actually is palatable and delicious, not just palatable, but actually delicious, was not easy. And, you know, we’ve felt for a long time that this is a category that is still a bit untapped, and it is on the eve of just explosive growth. So we feel like we’re not interested in mom and popping this thing, we definitely want to create, you know, see some major velocity as early as possible, because we want to stay at the kind of the forefront of what is about to happen. And that requires some serious capital. So yeah, it’s hilarious that this is like, you know, your, whatever it is 16 of us working together, 1314, I can’t do the math. And this is like our real first, you know, first of all go at fundraising.

Kara Goldin 32:05
I love it. So what do you feel is like, the biggest learnings that you have taken from, you know, being together for this long in terms of just building a business? I mean, what would you do differently this time? On second go around? Obviously, it’s a different category. But I always tell people that, you know, I don’t think you could launch a pick on Red Bull, I pick on a lot of different beverages, but I don’t think you could launch Red Bull today, because no one ever thought that Red Bull tasted great. Right? They did it because it was, you know, functional, right? I mean, a different type of functional, but it was functional. And people got addicted to it, because it had that, you know, boost, and it had that sweet, but it wouldn’t be able to make it today. Like I think you really have to have a great tasting thing. Even if you have cricket chips, or, you know, whatever it is it has to taste good. If it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter. You know, how functional it is. And you know, your products obviously taste good. You guys know that. But where do you? What else do you think you’ve learned along the way?

Zoe Sakoutis 33:11
God? Um, well, I’ll just hold on to that question. And that statement, sorry, around, if it doesn’t taste good. And you know, I’m, I’m pretty much a firm believer, and if it doesn’t taste good, it’s not going to obviously work, you have to have a flavor. But there are certainly a lot of, you know, we’re talking about Redbull. But I can say today, there are quite a few functional brands out there that are Can I pick on a brand that allowed her not really picking on them, but it’s quite, it’s really a question mark, in my mind as we grow, which is, you know, you have you have brands like super coffee, which is like the key to brand that is is, you know, coffee, very, very chemical label a lot of like, not great ingredients. But it’s functional, because that’s like MCT oils that are but like the flavor it’s is is so really not good. And you know, I’ve been truly amazed at how they’ve grown. I mean, they are,

but does it have a lot of sugar? No, but it has like sugar caught, you know, so it’s not it’s not like a I mean, that’s their whole they’re sort of like bunch of like sort of workout brothers and like, yeah, they haven’t various because we’ve got it anyway. But I guess his brain is just it’s confusing to me sometimes which brands actually make it because they don’t actually taste that good. But learning going back Well,

Erica Huss 34:41
I would say a learning there is even taking the super coffee example like they’ve they’ve capitalized on a movement which you know, the keto movement. It started with a very kind of different, you know, idea around how to get your body to a certain place for optimal performance, and you can definitely take shortly cuts which are adding all sorts of weird sugar alcohols and flavors and things like that to create like a super sweet palette with no sugar. So I would say, you know, what they’ve done is kind of a learning for us as well, which is like, you have to know what people want. And you have to give it to them in a way that makes them realize that, like, they can’t live without it. And I think that you know, but I think also to that point, for us, it’s, it’s really, you have to go where your people are, at least to start, because that’s where you really create the evangelists. And once you find the people who are already kind of excited, and and really, genuinely authentically committed to, to what you’re doing, it feels very, it feels very easy. It feels much more like, you know, that there’s a poll rather than a push. You cannot be everything to everybody. I mean, that’s something that, you know, I don’t think that I’m not the first person to say that, you know, in the last 10 minutes, let alone about business. But yeah, I think you have to, you have to be respectful of your audience and listen, so that you can understand how to create something for them. And, you know, there is this sort of Steve Jobs attitude of like, just tell the people what they want, but I don’t know, I don’t know that that applies when you’re especially when you’re talking about, like something that you consume.

Kara Goldin 36:17
Yeah. And, and frankly, I mean, first movers are not necessarily the ones that win, right? It’s, it’s really, you know, as as this category to your earlier point expands, it’s really, I think, taste wins with this consumer. And as you start to, you know, expand beyond, even, you know, the keto and and some of those groups, definitely, I think that taste becomes really, really important and feeling and, and, etc, is, is definitely there. But But I think taste is super, super important. And I think so often people are really, frankly, hiding behind sugar no matter what it’s called, whether it’s diet sweeteners, or, you know, whatever. And it’s pretty easy to create a product that has, you know, taste good with a lot of that in it, you know, but I think it’s much harder if you’re not, if you’re not doing that. Yeah, I think it’s easy to take shortcuts. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah,

Zoe Sakoutis 37:13
I think I would just add that a lot of the learning it for me, just personally, is that this idea that you can’t, you know, you come up with an idea, you know, it’s going to evolve, and you can’t sort of hold too tightly to any, any one sort of first version of that idea, like it’s going to evolve, I think you have to allow it to sort of get to where it needs to be. And it will eventually be molded into something by you know, the input that you’re getting from consumers, basically, everyone around you. So it’s not just like, come up with an idea that now go, it’s like we might find, you know, with our new product line extensions that are coming out the online days, we’re ready to drink format, like, we might find that the chocolate bar line is actually what people are responding to, like, we just don’t know. So I feel like it’s like you have to just let things evolve and be very willing to pivot and and be very fluid.

Kara Goldin 38:10
Yeah, no, absolutely. So this is amazing. You guys, I’m so excited to get everybody to try this product. Where do people go to find Earth and star products,

Erica Huss 38:22
they can go to our website to order it, which is Earth and star calm. We’re on social at Earth and star Co. But then also on our website, you have a store locator, which shows all of the retail locations that we’re in. We’re in about 150 locations across the country right now primarily in New York and LA, but quite a few in Chicago and Texas. So yeah, there’s lots of different ways to get your get your mushrooms.

Kara Goldin 38:51
I love it. So Zoey, and Erica, thank you so much for joining me today and and sharing your journey and your story and I I love second acts and and I’m super, super excited to see what you guys do and how you grow and scale the business. And thanks, everyone for listening. This is the Kara golden show. We’re here every Monday and Wednesday. And check us out and give us five stars on Apple podcasts and Spotify or your favorite platform. And also if you haven’t already pick up a copy of my book undaunted, and definitely give me a shout and say hello and let me know what you think. So thanks, everyone. before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where buy new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of Fear overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time, you’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight? send me a tweet at Kara golden and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara golden golden thanks for listening