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Meet Sophie Melamed of EatBrands in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophie Melamed.

Sophie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Right after graduating law school I launched EatPops, a line of healthy frozen desserts. The idea behind EatPops was that we could make the juicing craze more accessible by freezing “green juice” products (fruit and veggie juices) by extending the shelf life and thereby lowering the cost. The average fresh juice has a shelf life of 2-10 days, whereas our pops have a shelf life of 18 months. We use ingredients like kale and acai to offer customers maximum nutritional value and also removed the harmful ingredients often found in frozen desserts such as sugar, food coloring and other chemicals.

Several years after launching EatPops, I started to think about other nutritional and convenient products we could offer our customers. I love when my meals have a lot of flavors, so on my dining room table, I have a lazy susan full of spices and condiments. After developing health and digestion issues, several doctors told me it was important that I take certain vitamins my meals, including probiotics. I would constantly forget to take my vitamins so, I started to keep them on my table with the spices. Yet, somehow even though they were right in front of me I would sometimes still not take them! On the other hand, I never forgot to add salt to a dish that didn’t have enough flavor. One day I thought, it would be great if my supplements were already in these spices because then I would never forget to take them! That’s how the idea for EatSpice was born. The final product was a line of spices that each have their own benefits (for instance, Pink Salt is great for staying hydrated and Cayenne helps boost your metabolism) and also contain a probiotic that supports digestive health, protein utilization and immune function. The product is so simple but makes such a huge difference for customers who are trying to make healthier choices!

We are currently working on some new products which also combine nutritional value and convenience!

Has it been a smooth road?
I could have never imagined how difficult it would be to launch and scale a business. Even though I had friends and family members with their own companies who constantly told me about their struggles and pressures, it wasn’t until I was at the helm of a business that I realized the intensity of the challenges they described. For instance, we originally launched as Innocent Ice Pops. I had even paid a lawyer to research any potential trademark issues and register the name. After launching, I found out that the lawyer had done neither of those things (despite taking my money) and that Coca-Cola had a trademark on the word Innocent! I remember just sitting on the floor crying, thinking that my life savings had just been flushed down the drain. Although stories like that are more entertaining, the mundane day to day obstacles of running a business are equally challenging, from dealing with trucking and freight issues to rejections from store buyers. Sometimes I joke that the hardest part of my job is just making sure I get a response to every email I send!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the EatBrands story. Tell us more about the business.
EatBrands has two current product lines: EatPops and EatSpice. All of our products are vegan, paleo, gluten-free and made with non-GMO ingredients. I would say that our specialty is healthy and convenient alternatives to products that people are already buying, like popsicles and spices. My proudest moments are when I hear from customers who love our products. Being caught up in the day to day of a business, sometimes I forget that we created something that people use and enjoy in their homes. Every reminder of that is so inspiring! It makes me so happy to know that I created something that didn’t exist before and now improves peoples lives.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The food world is constantly seeing new trends. Three years ago, no one knew what bone broth was and now there are ten brands at every health food store I visit! I think that paleo and vegan diets are two trends that are very popular right now and will continue to endure and that products that cater to those audiences will spark new crazes. The way that we buy food has also changed. Between Instacart and Amazon, so much of the food I order is now on my phone. I think that’s really amazing because it allows smaller brands to launch without having to fight for shelf space the way that I had to five years ago. By just launching a simple website, a brand can attain national distribution overnight whereas to achieve national distribution through retail stores it can take many years!

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