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Meet Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle, the beautiful dynamic duo behind Sakara, a healthy meal delivery service that started in New York City that has now expanded nationwide. Sakara is not only a brand, but it is a cool, sexy lifestyle that promotes a healthy, positive community that empowers its members. In today's featured interview, we sit down with the co-founders to discover the stories and faces behind Sakara.
Please introduce yourselves! How did you both come together to create Sakara Life?
Whitney: Sakara didn't start out as a business—it was the solution to our problems. I started my career on Wall Street, which is a fast-paced, high-stress environment that doesn't promote healthy eating. I ended up quickly gaining 15lbs, had cystic acne all over my face, and just felt bad. I tried everything from Accutane to acupuncture to cure my acne, and the only solution the dermatologists had was another round of Accutane or a mega-dose of antibiotics (that kills both good and bad bacteria in my body). I decided to take my health into my own hands and went on a search to find the root cause of my acne rather than just treat the symptoms. Danielle and I have been friends since the 7th grade—we grew up together in Sedona, AZ, which is a very wellness-oriented place. We both always had an appreciation for the power of food as medicine so we joined forces to create a nutrition program that would heal and nourish our bodies. In the early days, we cooked all the meals ourselves in our tiny kitchen and delivered them to clients all around NYC on our bicycles!
Danielle: I studied biochemistry in undergrad and went on to study nutrition and became a certified Holistic Nutritionist. My journey with Sakara began because I struggled with body image issues my whole life. I had a terrible relationship with food and was always counting calories, points, pounds, and carbs all to try and find the one diet that would finally give me the results I was seeking. The problem was that one extreme diet would lead to the next extreme one until finally, I had yo-yo dieted so much that I had lost all sense of balance. My compass could only point in the direction of less food and more dieting. I hit rock bottom after a 21-day water fast (just water, no food!) and that was the "aha" moment I needed to decide to end my battle with food finally. It was in nutrition school that I re-learned that food is nourishment and that if I could get back to whole, healthy and nutrient-dense foods, I'd be on track to heal my relationship with food AND finally get the results I wanted. Sakara was born out of that struggle and was the one way of eating that eventually taught me how to stop looking at food as the enemy and begin looking at it as nourishment.
What does your roles encompass?
DW: As founders, we've done every job within the company at some point: cooking, delivery, marketing, social media, customer service and more! As we've grown, we've hired a team to take on those different roles, and our roles have evolved to focus on driving the business, innovating recipes and products and so on. A typical day might include an investor meeting, taste-testing new recipes, recording a Facebook Live and hosting an event for the Sakara community at our NYC loft.
Your branding is so beautiful and fun! How do you plan creative, social and marketing content that is "on brand?"
DW: We're very hands-on when it comes to creative and social content. As founders, it's a big part of our job to be culture carriers for the brand, teaching our growing team what it means to live the Sakara Life so that they can carry that spirit into everything they do on the company's behalf.
Does Social Media play a significant role in Sakara Life's success?
DW: Something that sets Sakara apart from other food delivery companies is our community. And Social Media is a good way for us to stay connected with that community and for our Sakaralites to connect with each other. Also, we deliver nationwide, but we have a lot of fans all around the world; we use social media as a way to inspire more people to live the Sakara Life, wherever they are!
What advice do you have for business partners and aspiring entrepreneurs?
DW: Don't be afraid to break the rules and do things your way. Building a successful business is different for every business and every entrepreneur. Just because there's a "normal" way of doing things doesn't mean you have to choose that path. Act in a way that inspires you and you'll inspire others around you. And no matter how tough it gets, just keep going and don't give up!