Episode 110
June 14, 2022

Bellies and Billboards

with Katie Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO of BelliWelli

About this episode

Today Lee welcomes Katie Wilson, the Co-Founder and CEO of BelliWelli, the first lifestyle food brand that creates bars specifically designed for people who suffer from IBS and gut issues. In this episode, Katie shares with us her journey from growing up in Portland, Oregon, to her time working at Three Day Rule and match.com, to struggling with gut issues and starting BelliWelli in 2020. She talks about the results she received from a survey, how she fundraised while pregnant during COVID, and what it feels like to have a billboard of her company up in Times Square.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • (2:30) What it was like growing up in Portland, Oregon with two younger siblings and having family in aviation
  • (8:30) How she followed the dream of being a matchmaker to cold calling for internships, and the go-to questions she asks to match someone
  • (14:30) How she landed her dream job and became a matchmaker at Three Day Rule and later became Chief Dating Expert at Match.com
  • (25:00) How she learned of IBS after diagnosis and approached doctors for an honest answer, that more and more of the population is suffering from gut issues
  • (26:30) How a survey to 500 people unlocked the realization that the majority of people she surveyed suffer from IBS in silence
  • (28:00) How her husband spent five months trying to perfect the perfect chocolate chip cookie that followed the Low FODMAP diet
  • (30:50) The three goals they set for BelliWelli to get out of their home kitchen turned business
  • (44:45) Why she’s strangely obsessed with customer feedback and experience, and why she views it as building a company along with thousands of new friends
  • (49:30) What inspired her to get a billboard with their slogan, “Hot Girls Have IBS” and how the trademark slogan began to blow up
  • (1:00) What’s next for BelliWelli and the advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs

To Find Out More:

https://belliwelli.com/ 

Quotes:

“There's something humbling about going from startup back to corporate”

“I was a yes person, right? I was the person who said, let me go to LA for a summer and intern for a professional matchmaker, and here I was saying no to opportunities due to stomach issues”

“I was scared that everything I was going to do or eat was going to hurt my stomach.”

‘I was shocked by the number of celebrities or wellness gurus who could relate to stomach issues”

“I logged in to Facebook and joined a couple of groups, and like a week later, these groups had four times as many members.”

“One thing was sure there was no magic pill, and the really sad thing about gut issues is there's really no fix.”

“We launched a really scrappy site, called it IB Simple and we woke up to hundreds of orders, and so three months in, we were doing $10,000 in sales from our home kitchen.”

“I kept thinking it's not possible to do what I want to do at the same time. I think every woman thinks that at some point.”

“I didn't understand the complexity of getting a product into consumers' hands.”

“Our mission was to be low-FODMAP gluten-free and vegan, and that we've got to stay laser-focused there.”

“​​I kind of view this as building a company alongside thousands of new friends.”

“We want it to be a community that is in it with you, I'm in this with you, I speak your language. Let's all stick together in this.”

“We have every intention and plan of meeting every person at seven or eight points in their day at some point. So this will expand beyond bars.”

“It's more important to build a smart business than to just have an epic, awesome story.”

“The barrier to entry is less than you think.”

“I'm a huge believer in if you want to do it, you definitely can do it. It doesn't mean everyone should sign up to go be an entrepreneur or a founder, because I think the struggle is real, but you can get started if you want to get started.”

Read the transcript

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