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The Goal is to Change the Way America Bakes with Loren Brill, Sweet Lorens

Loren Brill is a 30 year old New York City lifestyle advocate. She is the founder and CEO of Sweet Loren’s a cookie company founded on the promise of delicious taste and only natural ingredients. Loren is committed to building a brand of better for your treats while inspiring young women to lead healthy balanced lives.

The goal is to change the way America bakes @sweetlorens #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Loren launched her business and got free press.
  • How Loren connected with Hoda Kotb and got her cookies (and herself!) on the Today Show
  • If Loren believes in balance and how she manages it.
  • Her best advice to new entrepreneurs just starting out.

To subscribe to the Blissful Bites Podcast and listen in iTunes click here! 

Tell us a little bit about you and your company Sweet Loren’s.

I grew up in New York and I grew up in a family where both of my parents were entrepreneurs so they were crazy busy running around. Family dinners were really important. I think they really grounded our family. My whole family has a big sweet tooth so desserts were really important. At 18 I was a Yoga instructor so I started really getting interested in health and wellness and then I went to college in California. Right after I graduated, I was 22 years old, I got sick. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma which is the most common cancer in young adults. They had no idea why I’ve got it. I got to come back home and it just totally changed my life. I stayed in nutrition to keep my body as healthy as possible and I basically felt like I had this year off of my life so I was going to use that time to follow my passion.

I used that time to enjoy life as much as possible. I started to take cooking classes and baking classes because I love good food. I felt like there is such a disconnect between what I feel is good for you and what’s in most baked goods. If you have a sweet tooth it’s just really hard to satisfy it.

There’s nothing better than a warm cookie and so I decided to make my own. I couldn’t find it in the market place. I have a younger sister and she became my taste tester and we started working at it. I just started changing a chocolate chip cookie recipe that’s was done millions of times.  I made it whole food based, more unprocessed and actually had an improved flavor and taste.

Anyone I’ve spoken to really wanted a healthier cookie and loved the concept. At 22/23 years old I knew there was a business potential there and really a need internationally for people.  I was young. I wasn’t ready to jump in just yet. I started managing a restaurant in New York and then when I was 26 years old I entered a baking contest and won.

The judge came up to me and was like, “You need to do something with this.” And this switch went off and I just was like. I’m supposed to do this. I really feel like everything in my life has lead up to this. I feel incredibly passionate about better for you food and especially sweets and snacks. I just felt like I had spent all this time creating this recipes that I would needed to get them out and make it easy for other people to be able to bake like this at home.

That was really the concept of Sweet Loren’s. I quit my job, lived at home for 6 months and basically my family was like, “You’ve got 6 months to get this off the ground. This can’t be a hobby.” I jumped in a hundred and ten percent in and really haven’t looked back since.

A month after I launched Whole Foods we won a contest called, ‘The next Big Brand for Food.’ This is big New York City contest and we won the Next Big small Brand Award and also People’s Choice Award and it was really validating.

There was a lot of press there and they asked me, without me even thinking about it, they were like, “Why did you start this company?” I never knew anyone want to hear the story. I thought it was really in the past and it was also a hard time in my life. I wasn’t excited to talk about it but I realized that it was so authentic and it was the truth and that everyone on this point can resonate in some way because they know someone who has been affected by cancer and how it really can change your life.

I got very empowered to tell the story because it started to inspire people and connect people. I just started to grow the company and I moved to a different factory, we changed our packaging again and then about a year and a half ago we switched to our factory that we are presently in and launched as a refrigerated cookie dough.

We are now sold in Whole Foods, Fairway, the Gelson’s, the Fresh Market, Hannaford and Publix in a month. It’s exciting because we really growing and growing our team and I really feel that we are growing a brand that has a positive impact and stands for progress and better products.

loren brill sweet loren

How did the Next Big-Small brand contest propel you forward and what did the PR do for your brand?

I just learned a ton about branding, I just learned about packaging design. I learned that this is my story, these are my recipes and so I really need to hone in on what I believed in and what I wanted the brand to feel like because that translated into packaging.

I think the press, that’s where I learned how important was to tell the story and to tell the story to as many people as possible because that’s what really connected with people. I got national press over the next year and a half, I was voted top entrepreneur by Marie Claire, it was live on the Today Show and on a cover of the U.S.A Today.

Can you tell us a little bit about getting to the Today show as one of Hoda’s favorite things?

I met her at couple events in New York, literally I would be demoing my product with the table and then sampling our cookie dough at Whole Foods and she would walk in just like a customer. Then I saw her in New York on Fashion night out. I went after her and just gave her my card and I was like I would love to give you samples. I really just made a deal with myself at the very beginning that if I was going to get this business off the ground, I only had me to do this, to build this. You can’t outsource this and so I just made a deal that I would talk to anyone and everyone. I always watched her on the Today show and she’s also a cancer survivor, so I just felt that we would connect. Then I went to a book signing of hers when she launched her first book.

She was so sweet, she really listened, she was excited, she has a big sweet tooth and we totally connected and she was like, “Come by to the Today show. I love for you to be a guest.” First she brought me and my sister on just to be like a guest watching as they film the show and then I won the Next Big-Small Contest and I was on the cover of the daily news in New York and I saw her.

Our cookies were at the American Heart Health Association launched and she was getting honored and it was just another coincidence that I just went up to her and was like, “Hoda, remember me.” And she was like, “Oh my God! I just read about you.” We just had this connection and I think it was because of that contest too that she saw that we were really growing and so when we launched our packaging after we worked with that branding agency. I emailed her, it was like, “Hey Hoda, I want to send you samples.” She was like, “I want you to be on the show on Monday,” that was 4 days away.

That’s when the momentum really started because it was just non-stop since then. I didn’t know I was going to be on the show, she said I love your product and we picked it as my favorite things. The studio has all these cameras and it’s live. They put me right next to the stage right before I was going to step up on stage. They baked a ton of the cookies and gave me this platter that was beautifully stacked and they’re like, “You’re going to be on in 60 seconds.”

I was wearing 4 inch heels because I didn’t even know I was going to get to walk on stage. I leaned down to make sure there was nothing I was going to trip on, and the cookies fell on the ground. Luckily they had more cookies and restocked the platter.  We just had a really fun time and I got off stage and my phone didn’t stop ringing for 48 hours.

What would be your best piece of advice to someone who is just starting out?

I think if you find something that you’re so passionate about you will find a way and you’ll connect with something that when you wake up every morning you’ll be excited to jump out of bed and do. I would say don’t just do something that sounds like a good idea just make sure you have so much passionate about it, that bigger picture idea, because the why. That’s going to really help you just be able to create something that’s the best in the world and also it’ll give you that drive to get out of bed every morning because there’s so much to figure out. I would also say really surround yourself with the smartest, best mentors you can. I think that’s the really biggest advice I can give. And make sure you just have that community so that before you make a big decision you have people a) to talk to so that you don’t go crazy and b)that can really help you make sure your on track to meet our goal.

Do you believe in balance and if so how do you find balance?

I think life is about balance. If you don’t have balance something is going to give.

I think that when you are starting something you can definitely hustle and there are times when you are like you need to put so much into something. I think that you can’t forget that this can’t be the only thing in your life. Friends, family are very important and I think it’s important just to take a step back and make sure that you have a personal goal besides your business because I think that the happier you are personally the more that’s connected to your business.

Follow Loren Brill and Sweet Lorens!

 Loren Brill is a 30-year old, New York City-based healthy lifestyle advocate. She is the Founder & CEO of Sweet Loren’s, a cookie company founded on the promise of delicious taste and only natural ingredients.  In her early twenties, Loren was faced with and overcame cancer, which was ultimately the catalyst for the creation of Sweet Loren’s – with the goal of providing wholesomely delicious treats and ingredients you can feel good about eating. Shortly following the start of the company, Loren won The Next BIG Small Brand for Culinary Genius and People’s Choice Award, 2011. She was chosen as Marie Claire’s Top Entrepreneur in the Women on Top Awards, 2012. Additionally, Loren has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, Rachael Ray Magazine, Vanity Fair and recently asked to appear in a Microsoft commercial for use of their products in small businesses. This organic, naturally occurring press has accelerated the launch and growth of the brand while proving the concept that the country is ready for more natural, better-for-you products.

Loren is a food blogger for The Huffington Post and a contributor to AOL’s Kitchen Daily. She is a graduate of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. Loren is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor and tri-athlete. She completed the Master Class in Cooking at The New School and studied with The Natural Gourmet Institute. Loren is committed to building a brand of better-for-you treats, while inspiring young women to lead healthy, balanced lifestyles.

Enter the podcast giveaway! This month’s giveaway is HUGE. Granola from Blissful Eats, A Love Drop from Love Grown Foods, a smoothie box from Green Blender,  one bag of Otto’s Cassava Flour and bagels from Sweet Note Bakery by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

Blissful Bites Podcast Giveaway

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I’m on a mission to help as many women as possible step into their power so they can have a positive ripple effect on the world.

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