Meet Toni Desrosiers, founder of Abeego: the first producer of Beeswax food wrap. Toni had a vision to create a product that would preserve food in the same way nature does. By having this living, breathable skin, food stays fresher longer AND the product helps to reduce our eco footprint! Although Toni and her company Abeego have faced significant challenges along the way, she persevered. Read more about Toni and her Journey to make Abeego the successful company it is today.
Tell us about your company:
At Abeego we exist to keep food alive, ending food waste one wrap and one kitchen at a time. Our reusable, beeswax food wrap protects & breathes like nature’s peel & rind ensuring food stays fresh, tasty and alive until the last bite. Our discovery of the benefits of breathable and natural food wrap drives us to lead the way to a living, breathing kitchen.
What/who inspired you to start your company?
Inventing Abeego started as an act of defiance.
The drive to disrupt the billion dollar plastic food wrap industry, and revolutionize food wrap, started in 2008 when I realized the plastic food wrap I was using looked nothing like the peel nature wrapped my fresh food in. Every peel found in nature protects from light, air, and moisture and breathes, yet airtight plastic food wrap had been accepted as the norm in kitchens worldwide.
I decided to invent the food wrap of the future aiming to keep it as convenient as pulling out a box of plastic wrap. Through tremendous experimentation and a trust of nature, I developed the world’s first breathable, reusable, beeswax food wrap inspired by nature’s lemon peel.
Tell us a story/incident that happened while starting or running your company that may have made you feel defeated. Now tell us how you overcame that.
In 2014, I was growing at an incredible speed. I invested heavily in people and production in order to satisfy what I believed would be my most incredible quarter to date. Sadly, I overestimated the market and we fell way short on our sales targets. I was left with piles of Abeego beeswax wrap and a team I couldn’t afford to pay. I was forced to lay everyone off one week before Christmas. It was the most devastating and confidence building situation I’ve faced as an entrepreneur. I pulled myself up, triaged my company, surrounded myself in with the incredible network of women at SheEO and turned the failure into the success we’re achieving today.
Have you had any unique challenges as a woman in business?
Many and I have a secret power as a woman in business: I have a man’s name. On countless occasions, I’ve walked into a meeting and watched the person on the other end try to collect themselves when they realize they’re meeting a woman named Toni, not a man. What I’ve learned is that people (both sexes) prepare differently depending on which sex they anticipate meeting whether subconsciously or consciously. It’s an incredibly powerful position to be in as a woman because before they can settle into their old bias I’ve already had the opportunity to take hold of the meeting.
What is your biggest fear with your company and how do you overcome it?
My biggest fear is that I’m a one hit wonder. While I still have a million ideas a minute I can’t help but fear that nothing I do after Abeego will ever be as successful. So I keep my eye on Abeego for now knowing that what I’ve created proves my ability to succeed again. I remind myself that I invented an entirely new category that’s gaining steam worldwide and started the conversation about breathable food wrap to end food waste. I tell myself every day that it’s something to be incredibly proud of. And I am.
Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.
Start! The worst thing you can do is to avoid doing something because you can’t do everything.
What are your goals with the company?
Making the discovery that food wrap should breathe much in the way a lemon peel breathes was one step into the rabbit hole. Now every time I wrap my living food in my breathable food wrap and then lock, trap and seal it in the giant plastic box we call the refrigerator I can’t help but think there’s a better way. The refrigerator is only the start. My BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) is to show the world what a living, breathing kitchen looks like.
Make sure to join us this Friday on our Instagram for our Female Founders Giveaway!! You can win some cool Too Pretty gear and a gift set of Abeego Products! See you there!!