This Entrepreneur Said Jumping from Cozy Corporate to Risk-Taking Entrepreneur Was the Best Decision for Her Well-Being

Working for another person usually comes with stability and safety. But as a administration marketing consultant, Kate Flynn was slipping additional away from her core need: time with household and associates. She additionally discovered the work unfulfilling and sometimes logged lengthy hours.

In 2017 she drove just a few hours south of her San Francisco workplace to Esalen Institute, a retreat middle in Large Sur. Redwoods towered above her and the Pacific Ocean shoreline’s hovering cliffs had been a balm to her frenetic thoughts.

It’s additionally the place Flynn heard, for the primary time, what she wanted for a happier, calmer life. On the finish of a guided yoga and meditation class, the teacher requested contributors to stroll to the tip of the bridge, gaze on the waterfall and exhale out the whole lot that doesn’t serve you. For Flynn, it was the job. After that, she stop her job in San Francisco, moved to Santa Barbara and have become an unintended entrepreneur, launching Solar & Swell Meals, a line of wholesome and natural snacks.

“It’s actually frequent to come back out of an expertise like that [retreat] and be amped however not pull the set off,” Flynn says. “I by no means thought I might be a founder or an entrepreneur. I didn’t consider in myself. I appreciated the soundness of a company job. I by no means thought I would go away the company world.”

Regardless of years of expertise serving to grocery shops and retailers with their shopper methods, the Harvard Enterprise Faculty grad by no means thought-about working her personal firm. However in a latest quest to eat more healthy, she’d seen a deep gap within the market.

“I used to be consuming a whole-foods, plant-based food regimen and located it not possible to seek out snacks,” she says. “I used to be experimenting with making my very own merchandise at house and thought, Gee, these ought to go to market.”

What if she launched an organization centered on wholesome, natural snacks and pantry staples?

Solar & Swell Meals launched in 2017 with date and cashew bites. In 2020 the road expanded to incorporate pantry staples, issues like quinoa, rolled oats, brown rice, spices and seasonings, and occasional and tea. Nearly all of the merchandise—corresponding to dried peaches, figs and pears—come from household farms.

“Our objective is to help you inventory your pantry with wholesome meals,” Flynn says. They’re distributed nationally at health studios, espresso outlets and Complete Meals Market shops.

Two years in the past, Flynn deepened the Solar & Swell Meals mission past wholesome consuming. What about additionally treating the planet with love? Including single-use packaging to landfills didn’t jive with this. She rolled out compostable packaging as an trade first. It failed within the market. The longer baggage had been on cabinets, the extra they wrinkled and the coloring pale, which made them unattractive to potential patrons.

“As customers, we aren’t educated to search for that and comprehend it’s eco-friendly,” she says. Now compostable packaging is bought solely by way of Solar & Swell on-line orders as a result of it takes much less time to get to the patron.

Clients also can buy a return mailer for $10 that’s solely compostable. Holding as much as 40 baggage and enclosed with a pay as you go return label, these may be returned again to the corporate for correct composting.

In February, Solar & Swell launched its model refresh, together with a brand new web site. All through the corporate’s development, it’s been essential for Flynn to construct a model with built-in authenticity. She factors to Patagonia as one instance of an eco-minded firm: “They don’t sway from that and so they keep it up.”

Utilizing compostable tape and containers to bundle up orders and choosing carbon-neutral transport helps shut the loop. Solar & Swell Meals can be a licensed B-Corp enterprise, which testifies to its minimal environmental impression.

Flynn’s husband, Bryan, handles gross sales and operations (following a profession working with Silicon Valley startups and tech firms) whereas she sticks with what she is aware of greatest: branding and advertising and marketing.

“That’s the place we naturally gravitate to,” Flynn says, about their considerate division of roles. “We additionally collaborate nicely collectively, however we’ve needed to make it clear that on the finish of the day it’s one among our choices.”

Though extra time with household and associates is now doable and weekends are for his or her two youngsters, a toddler and a new child, Flynn continues to be busy. “I actually suppose I’m spending as a lot time on the enterprise as my final job,” she says. “However I’m doing one thing that’s fulfilling.”

This text initially appeared within the Could/June 2022 Subject of SUCCESS journal. Images by Ali Beck and Solar & Swell Meals.


Hansen is a Wisconsin-based author who loves aged cheddar cheese.

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