Bulletproof Coffee- These Female Founders Have Something Better!
Our Female Founders for tomorrow's giveaway ROMY RAAD a.k.a. RAD and NATALIE NEUMANN a.k.a. NEU are the founders of METABREW.
We were able to get some insight on how they came up with their concept, obstacles they have had along the way and what they are up to now.
What/who inspired you to start your business?
Natalie and I met at the Parsons School of Design, and we immediately bonded over our shared love for food, and food culture. We moved to New York from Lebanon (Romy) and Germany (Natalie), places where you don’t really need to worry about what you’re eating, because the produce is almost always fresh, and the meat comes from a farm you’ve probably driven by. In New York though, we found that a lot of what we were eating didn’t agree with us. We felt sluggish, unproductive, and groggier than ever before, and it was clear the culprit was this less-than-wholesome food. We pored over tome after nutritional tome trying to find solutions to our individual problems, and apart from discovering loads of great recipes and healthy living tactics, we also stumbled on buttered coffee. We each had our individual dilemmas with caffeine: I am especially sensitive to the effects of caffeine, and am really unable to drink just one cup of drip coffee because it throws my stomach situation out of balance in a big way. Natalie’s issue is almost the polar opposite: because she has a naturally slow heartbeat, caffeine is an indispensable tool for keeping her awake and active. The thing with caffeine though is that it stops working about an hour or so after you’ve had that cup of coffee. As a result, Natalie would begrudgingly drink more than a pot of coffee a day. When we found buttered coffee (that is coffee with grass-fed butter and MCT oil), something truly remarkable happened: I was able to drink a certain amount of it without feeling the usual ill-effects, and Natalie had solid energy levels all day without having to go back to the Mr.Coffee time and again. It was clear to us that if something so simple could help us both in such dramatic fashion, that there were definitely people everywhere that could benefit from it as well. We incorporated Metamenu LLC seven days after graduating from Parsons, a functional beverage startup, leveraging the power of clean ingredients to nourish the health-conscious. We launched in NYC in summer 2016 with Metabrew, a tasty nut-buttered coffee, as our company’s first offering.
Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?
R: I grew up in Lebanon, a country famous for its flavorful food, passionate people and warm hospitality. My family truly celebrated food, and I learned how to cook from my mother and grandmother. The love and the power of their food inspired me to start my own food business.
Tell us a story/incident that happened while operating your business that may have made you feel defeated. Now tell us how you overcame that.
When we first started our business, we needed to secure commercial kitchen space in order to produce the brew safely. After a couple months of searching we hitched our horse to an East Village restaurateur who was opening a restaurant in October, and promised us use of his kitchen space. As we moved closer and closer to the agreed move-in date, excitement began to mount, and we couldn’t wait to start producing Metabrew commercially. Suddenly, we couldn’t get in contact with the guy. The man vanished. No warning. No reason. Just gone. High and dry, we were left to collect ourselves, lick our wounds, and start searching for another kitchen. In November 2015, we were lucky enough to be accepted into a brand new food incubator, Brooklyn Foodworks, an interesting new concept in the food industry set to open a month after our East Village fiasco. One morning we were met with a most agonizing episode of déjà vu -- the incubator was delaying its opening by three more months. We were down, but refused to give up. We used our new-found time to iterate new formulas of Metabrew that we tested on people close to us, making Meta better and better with each run. We also beefed up our online presence and started to form relationships with industry-insiders so that we could hit the ground running once everything was in place. Within three months of our first production, we were featured in Foundermade’s discovery lounge (alongside shark tank contestants, and companies that had taken years to build their reputation), at the Food + Enterprise Summit, and at numerous pop-up markets around the city. Within six-months, we were able to launch a fully-fledged, (more) shelf-stable product that’s been selling out at stores all over New York City.
Tell us something fun/unique about you that most people don’t know.
R: I used to host cooking shows and arts & crafts shows at my parents home in Lebanon when I was a kid. Every Friday after school I had a date with my imaginary fans and I would set up the kitchen table according to the ingredients needed for that day.
Have you ever been underestimated simply for being a girl/woman?
Tell us how. R: As the sales & marketing maven, I am in contact with beverage buyers nearly every day. In the early days of selling Metabrew, I wasn’t sure how to approach buyers/managers (who are always men) -- in the beginning, a lot of our interactions were colored with outright disrespect, and a good amount of them wouldn’t take me seriously simply because I’m not a man. But, when I introduced myself as the co-founder of the company, they first acted surprised, but quickly changed their tune. Slowly I learned to build more confidence, be straightforward with them, and to be fearless in my negotiations with them, cause I knew I was being heard.
What are you doing currently and what are your goals?
Recently, we made our way past a major milestone in the growth of the company: we successfully wrapped our first co-packed batch of Metabrew. It took adjusting the formula slightly, namely replacing hot brewed coffee with cold-brew, but almost everything went off without a hitch, and the new batch is on store shelves across the boroughs. At the moment, we’re seeking our first major round of funding from angel investors. In addition, our most immediate goal is to start stocking Metabrew on store shelves outside NYC, and we’ve started conversations with a handful of stores on Long Island, and as far east as Montauk. WE CANNOT WAIT UNTIL META BREW IS AVAILABLE ON THE WEST COAST! - TOO PRETTY
IF YOU WANT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR METABREW AND OUR NTP RETRO LEGGINGS, GO TO OUR INSTAGRAM TOMORROW AT NOON. Details on how to enter will be on the post. You have 24 hours to enter!