Episode 96
March 8, 2022

Blends with Benefits

with Zoë Sakoutis, Co-Founder and CEO of Earth & Star

About this episode

Today, Lee chats with Zoe Sakoutis, the Co-Founder and CEO of Earth & Star, a functional mushroom company bringing powerful immune-supporting benefits through ready-to-drink lattes, coffee, chocolate, and gummies. In this episode, Zoe shares with us her journey from growing up in Northeastern, New Jersey, to working as a dog groomer, to becoming a raw foodist, and starting her first company, BluePrintCleanse which was acquired in 2012. She talks about how the DMV messed up her driver's license in a good way, the challenges she faced in fundraising for her new company Earth & Star, and what she would’ve done differently to launch the company.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • What it was like growing up in Northeastern, New Jersey as the youngest of four to a single mother, growing up as a tomboy hanging out with her older brothers 
  • Her first job working as a dog groomer at the age of 12, setting her own hours and rate
  • The funny story of how the DMV messed up her driver's license, making her 21 at the age of only 16
  • How her hippie ex-boyfriend introduced her to being a raw foodist and over the years came up with the idea for her first company, BluePrintCleanse
  • How going to Puerto Rico to learn more about being a raw foodist inspired her to help more people and come up with a juice cleanse 
  • How BluePrintCleanse was acquired, and years later her partner and her decided they weren’t done doing business together 
  • How noticing the positive effects of functional mushrooms gave her and her partner the idea to start Earth & Star and enter into the white space with RTD beverages
  • What its been like bootstrapping the business during COVID, to now raising funds
  • The key things she’s learned in building her companies, and how its important to adapt from your original idea
  • The challenges of fundraising, and how pushing through the difficulties is hard, but having someone take a risk is rewarding 
  • How she’s grown personally as a leader, and how sometimes it's all about not taking things too personal 
  • Her full transparency in how she feels about the beverage space, and what she would’ve done differently to launch the company 
  • What’s next for Earth & Star, trying to establish themselves as a leading functional mushroom brand

To Find Out More:

https://earthandstar.com/ 

Quotes:

“I always appreciated the sort of hustle of the restaurant and hospitality world, because there’s a direct line of what you earned because that’s how hard you worked.”

“I just thought, we’re supposed to have access to so many things, and these people don’t know about this until their last method of trying.” 

“We wanted to take the everyday products that people use, all the habitual products, and make them super-premium, very delicious, very consumer-friendly, and then beautiful packaging, and then boost everything with functional mushrooms.” 

“We’re presenting a product that is so powerful when it comes to health and specifically your immune system, during a time when everyone needs that more than ever.”

“I think this business will end up looking quite different from how we started, to where we’re going, but that’s part of being an entrepreneur.”

“Part of being an entrepreneur is having a business idea and it usually evolves into something else based on the circumstances and you have to figure out how to navigate and not be afraid to change up your strategy or offerings.”

“Don’t think you have it all figured out from the beginning.”

“I wish I would’ve known or realized that the functional beverage space and the beverage space, in general, is beyond crowded and somewhat impenetrable.”

Read the transcript

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