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Inspiring Conversations with Samantha Weiner of Wellness By Samantha

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Weiner.

Hi Samantha, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My background is in the arts and sciences. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology and I am a licensed psychotherapist specializing in anxiety and depression in young adults. I also have a certification in “Food Therapy from The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC where I learned all about ways to transform the kitchen into a pharmacy & about the power of adaptogens. I practiced counseling for many years but have always been incredibly passionate about nutritional psychology – how food impacts our moods and behaviors. We are what we eat, and when we eat well, we feel well, both physically and mentally. My time spent in the mental health field highlighted the absence of education and conversation around nutrition in correlation to mental health.

When the pandemic started, like the rest of the world, my clinical practice turned virtual and I was able to pursue some different creative outlets. I began teaching healthy cooking classes online for The San Vicente Bungalow and had more time to experiment in the kitchen making my own creative & healthy recipes. One day, as I was experimenting in the kitchen, I made a batch of gluten-free, vegan, and adaptogenic chocolate chunk cookies to bring to my best friend Kim’s house for a dinner party. The entire party was drooling over my healthy creations and asking me if they could buy the cookies! With that reaction, I decided to take a leap of faith. Without any real plan or strategy, just a mission to create healthy and healing treats that taste good and are good for you, I went to my instagram and posted about this new venture. After some incredible sales, reviews, and interest, 6 months later I was approached by a very popular healthy grocery store called Erewhon Market. I then moved from my home kitchen to an industrial commercial kitchen in Van Nuys. My operation began to grow as demand went through the roof. I have been in all Erewhon markets since October 2021 and have consistently been ranked #3 in their category of “Cookies and Baked Goods” (against big competitors like Siete). It’s crazy to think that a business I started in my home kitchen in November 2021 is now available in supermarkets!

This has been a whirlwind of a year and a half. If you were to tell me 2 years ago this is where I would be and what I would be doing in my life, I would have never believed you. I am just so incredibly passionate and excited about what I do and I really believe in the future of my business. WBS to the moon!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been a wild and incredibly interesting road to say the very least. I have learned so much as I’ve gone, and while at times I wish I did some things differently, I honor and appreciate the journey I’ve had.

Since my background is in the arts and sciences, I didn’t have any experience in running a business. I’ve had to learn as I go. I also had zero experience in the food CPG (consumer packaged goods) space, but have had some amazing mentors who have helped me navigate the complexities of the industry, namely David Greenfield from Dreampops! He has been so supportive, insightful, and kind. He has helped me with food distributors, food scientists, product analysis, and more!

As we’ve been experiencing some growing pains (which is exciting because it means the business is expanding), the greatest challenges at the moment are scale and operations. I recently hired the most amazing business strategist who has been incredibly instrumental in helping me organize, navigate, and solve some of these problems.

Last, and most importantly, not least, I have had the privilege and honor of having some amazing resources in my family to help guide me through this venture. My father, Michael Weiner, a fellow Angeleno, is an incredibly successful businessman with over 40+ years in the finance and investments world and has been nothing short of supportive of my dreams and passions. He has been a constant shoulder to lean on and continues to offer support at every turn. Additionally my sister, Alana Johnson, a recent USC MBA graduate, and fellow Angeleno as well, has provided me with insightful knowledge in the marketing and business development of my company.

While I’ve faced many challenges, and at times learned things the hard way, I really believe the best way to learn is by doing. And that is exactly what I’ve done here. I’ve never let any setback or challenge deter me from following my dreams. I truly jumped into the deep end with this business and learned all kinds of things from my mistakes along the way, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

As you know, we’re big fans of Wellness By Samantha. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Wellness By Samantha (WBS for short) is a wellness and health food brand!

I started this company because of a strong desire to educate people about the power and impact of their food on their mood and general wellbeing. I truly believe that food is medicine and is the backbone of good health. I also believe that adaptogens, ancient medicinal herbs, are an extremely underutilized resource in western medicine. I wanted to create something that could be both a vessel for teaching and for making healthier habits.

So I made a wellness cookie that is gluten-free, plant-based, and Adaptogenic, because who doesn’t love a cookie! I love recreating familiar favorites using simple ingredients and the power of plants.

I am committed to making products with ingredients you can pronounce and recognize. I refuse to use any preservatives, additives, or chemicals. I offer a variety of flavors including chocolate chunk, lemon poppy seed, rainbow sprinkles, s’mores, matcha white chip, and carrot cake!

I use the adaptogens Ashwaganda and Maca in my cookies for their potent versatility. Ashwaganda is known to improve brain function, reduce anxiety and depression, increase immunity, and reduce the risk of diseases (just to name a few).

Maca root has been shown to provide sustained energy throughout the day without the jittery crash of caffeine. Maca also helps improve mood, reduce anxiety, and increase libido.

I am proud of staying true to my ethos, even if that means that my ingredients are costlier and my margins are smaller. I am committed to making healthy and healing treats that not only taste good but are good for you. I just feel so grateful to be doing what I love and I think you can taste that in every bite.

NO BS, JUST WBS.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
As a born and raised Angeleno, I am incredibly grateful and passionate about my city. I truly believe LA has influenced and shaped a lot of my interests, habits, and passions.

I love that I live in a city that prioritizes and encourages a healthy and happy lifestyle. A place where juice stores can be found on almost every corner and Erewhon Market is as popular a place to dine, as Dan Tanas. LA is truly the epicenter of health and wellness, from its famous hiking trails, beaches, fitness studios, and healthy restaurants.

As someone who has suffered from some autoimmune and health issues, as well as a chronic injury, having access to healthy foods has been instrumental to my healing. I’ve seen firsthand the power of nutrition and its positive impact on my body and my mind.

To be approached by an institution like Erewhon Market is a true Angeleno’s dream.

Since expanding my business, I’ve opened a commercial kitchen in Van Nuys. As many of you know, LA traffic is not for the faint-hearted. I guess that would be the one thing I like least about this city. But getting to keep my windows down year round definitely helps to ease the pain.

Pricing:

  • $5 for individual cookie
  • $30 for box of 6
  • $58 for box of 12
  • $85 for box of 24

Contact Info:

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