What was the catalyst for you launching your business?
At 22 years old, right after graduating from the University of Southern California, I was diagnosed with cancer. After overcoming Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at such a young age, I started to look at the world in a completely different way. I realised how precious life was, and also how powerful we can be as humans.
I realised how important food is to our health and wellness. I saw a void in the marketplace for healthier desserts, and soon realised that everyone I spoke to wanted healthier cookies. There was a need that needed filling, and I had created healthier recipes out of a personal need. I felt a responsibility to find a way to give these recipes to others, making it easy for anyone to bake them in their own home.
I believe that good food is a right that we all deserve access to. I felt that starting a business based on this, Sweet Loren’s, was my calling, my passion, and the best way I could have the biggest positive impact in the world.
What do you love most about what you do now?
I love that I get to live my hobby every day. I love that I get to create something from nothing. I don’t have anyone to answer to, and no one putting me in a box with limits. I get to make my own rules, build my own life. I love that I get to be an entrepreneur because it makes me feel fully alive, it makes me appreciate life, it inspires me to become the best and biggest version of myself, and it challenges me in ways nothing else could. I love that I get to make so many people happy with our products, create great relationships in the food industry, and build an A+ team of all-stars that are aligned with the same mission.
Being a female CEO feels pretty bad ass in a male dominated industry too.
Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?
The biggest set back was launching Sweet Loren’s originally as a frozen cookie dough. I launched as a frozen product because it was the easiest and safest way to launch: I could find a local factory to make it and the product then had a one year shelf life. The problem is that cookie dough in America is really sold refrigerated – not frozen.
So, in order to really compete and be on most supermarket shelves, I was going to need to switch to another factory and switch to refrigerated packaging. There are very few factories that do the kind of packaging that we have now. Through hundreds of emails, phone calls, and true hustle, I finally found a dream factory that specialized in our place&bake packaging. It took one year to build a relationship with them and get them to start producing our product.
Patience, being sweet, perseverance, tenacity, and having a differentiated product is what made them take a chance on me.
Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired - do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?
When I have days that I feel flat or uninspired I do one of three things usually:
- call my best friend or sister and cry my eyes out so I feel supported and get it out of my system
- Take a hot bath full of epsom salt, yuzu oil, and bubbles and then go to bed early
- go for a hard, long run, spin or yoga class.
One of those three is always a cure-all… the next day I feel refreshed and inspired the second I wake up.
What has been your most effective marketing tactic or strategy?
Dripping with passion, being strong and confident, and always cultivating good energy.
What is the most courageous thing you've done in business?
I went on The Today Show live as Hoda Kotb’s “Favorite Thing” with millions of eyes watching me, with no practice or run-through. It was a crazy moment where I had to deliver and not mess up.
The rush was amazing. I remember saying to myself, “Loren, you have this one chance, enjoy every second!”
Words of Wisdom / Personal Quote
“Good people should fight.” – Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani
“You don’t scare me.” – Hoda Kotb, NBC’s Today Show host
“You’ve got to be strong.” – Gail Koff, my mom
“You can have it all.” – Daniella Koren, my mentor
“Happiness is reaching your full potential.” – me