July Recap 2023

Written by: Kaylee Franklin

Welcome to another monthly recap. I can’t believe we are more than halfway through the year, time has truly been flying by. Today we’ll be taking a look back at the incredible episodes that were published in July, covering our amazing guests, highlighting key points from each episode, and more! We’ll also be taking a peek into what’s coming in August.

1. Michelin Dreams and Gourmet Themes

To begin the month of July, we launched an episode with Julie Nguyen, Co-Founder and CEO of Methodology

 Julie shares her journey of building a sustainable gourmet meal prep service. Tune in as Julie breaks down her career journey and explains how her personal health struggles inspired the genesis of Methodology. You’ll also find out why she decided against the venture capital route, focusing instead on product quality over scale, and gain some insight into her greatest challenges thus far. Finally, Julie emphasizes the benefits of planning, and making your business your mule (not the other way around)!

Best piece of advice:

“The business is a mule to us and not the other way around. Once we started running the business like that, everything transformed. The business was more successful. I was healthier and happier.”

If you haven’t listened to Julie’s episode yet, you can tune in HERE!

2. Pro Planet and People, Period.

In the second week of July, we got to hear from Katie Diasti, Founder and CEO of Viv.

Katie is changing the world of period care as the Founder and CEO of the non-toxic and sustainable period brand Viv! She joins Lee to share her story of growing up as a first-generation Egyptian-American in Tampa, Florida, before a college project sparked her idea for the brand, with staggering data to fuel her passion. They touch on the early stages of growth at Viv, leveraging affiliate marketing to reach a wider audience, and fundraising as a young woman building a period care brand, before Katie shares what surprised her on her business journey, challenges her three-person team has faced with 2000 retail doors, and what’s next for Viv! In closing, she shares a word of advice with listeners.

Best piece of advice:

“It’s about finding investors that believe in you. You never want to be begging someone to believe in you because that’s just not a great fit, either. It needs to be a two-way street in terms of interviewing the right fit for you.” 

To hear more of Katie’s great advice tune in to Episode 166!

3. A Clear Win for Clear Skin

On the third Tuesday of July, we had the incredible Danielle Gronich, Co-Founder and CEO of CLEARSTEM.

In this episode, Danielle joins Lee to share her journey to becoming the Co-Founder and CEO of CLEARSTEM. She shares her story from growing up as a tomboy in Southern California with dreams of traveling the world, to working at ADP where she met with all types of business owners and built the confidence to start her first company, the San Diego Acne Clinic. She talks about her experience at beauty school, the root causes and foods that can cause breakouts, how she met her Co-Founder, Kayleigh Christina, and how they bootstrapped the business and grew it to over $8 million in revenue in 2022.

Best piece of advice:

“Being able to stick to the control of the ingredients and the ethos – was always something that was important to us. We swore we never wanted to have an investor because we never wanted someone to tell us, ‘Make this cheaper.’” 

 Don’t forget to hear more about Danielle’s story in Episode 167!

4. From Cooking Class to Condiments 

Closing out the month strong, we had Alison Cayne, Founder and CEO of everyone’s new favorite condiment brand, Haven’s Kitchen!

Alison Cayne, New York native, mother of five, and Founder and CEO of the revolutionary cooking school turned fresh, squeezable sauce brand, Haven’s Kitchen. In this episode, we discover how Alison combined her love for cooking, teaching, and entrepreneurship to create Haven’s Kitchen and what inspired her versatile range of sauces for home cooks. She sheds light on the product incubation process and the lack of fundraising opportunities for underrepresented founders. Tune in as Alison shares her inspiring story of becoming a leader, and the philosophies she stands by as she guides her team (and her brand) to new heights.

Best piece of advice: 

 “It is very important to have a network of people early on who can write checks. Banks don't do it. You will not find a VC to do it. You need to have angels.” 

If you’d like to learn more about Alison and Haven’s Kitchen, tune in to her episode!

Stick to Your Guns

Throughout the month of July, we heard a lot of good advice from our four amazing Founders and CEOs. One of the common themes was to stick to your guns while raising funds. When raising funds it's important to make sure your vision and mission for your company is always at the forefront and aligned with potential investors.

This Month: August 

Stay tuned throughout August to hear from amazing CEOs such as:

  • Francisco Pergola, Co-Founder of Cheddies
  • Bruce Smith, Founder and CEO of Hydrow
  • Michael Broukhim, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of FabFitFun
  • Vanessa Pham, Co-Founder and CEO of Omsom
  • Curt Vander Meer, CEO of Endangered Species

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, follow us on Spotify, or tune in wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Have any guest suggestions, comments, or questions about Stairway to CEO? Drop us a line here!

Kaylee Franklin


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