Healthy All-Natural Cookies, Wellness and Happiness with Loren Brill of Sweet Loren’s
Healthy All Natural Cookies, Wellness and Happiness with Loren Brill of Sweet Loren’s
I had a chance to talk with one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Loren Brill of Sweet Loren’s. Loren, the Queen of healthy cookies is one of those people whose optimism, passion and drive resonates so strongly that just by being in her orbit you become a better person and a better entrepreneur. After being diagnosed with cancer her life changed, but her craving for succulent, delicious desserts did not. Loren was always aware of what she was eating and maintained a healthy lifestyle (she started teaching yoga at 18!) however, this new diagnosis required her to have an even more heightened awareness of overall health.
No surprise to Loren, the first thing that would have to be reevaluated was her sweet tooth. Ultimately Loren decided that she could have her cake (or in this case, cookies) and eat it to, it would just require a bit of ingenuity.
Loren began testing recipes in her kitchen seeking the perfect combination of health acceptable and tasty. Soon after testing her creations on friends, she started getting calls asking for custom orders… She knew she was on to something.
Now, Loren’s award winning all-natural cookie dough can be found on grocer shelves all over America! Loren is redefining what it means to have a sweet tooth and an eye toward health.
Watching Loren take on big business over the past 6 years to help provide us all with healthier alternatives to satisfying our sweets needs has been a privilege, check out my interview with her and get yo’ self some cookies!
Look for Sweet Loren’s in Your Local Supermarket.
David: Hi Loren.
David: How are you?
Loren: Really good. How are you?
David: I am doing really well. Thanks for making the time to talk with us.
Loren: of course.
David: So Loren Brill of Sweet Loren’s, the incredible success that people are seeing across the country in grocery stores everywhere. One of the reasons that I wanted to talk to you as one of the first conversations we are going to have is just because your story is amazing and in particular how you came to create Sweet Loren’s and now the success that you found that we are just talking about you know you are an overnight success after, how many years have you been at it?
Loren: We have been nationally distributed for two years but you know I have this concept for you know at least six. So it’s been like a iterative process. You know won a baking contest, you know slowly started to get into the business, you know tested the products I couple whole foods, you know it’s been a growing process but yeah everyone thinks like it happened overnight but I have been at this for years now.
David: So what led to like the process of you creating Sweet Loren’s?
Loren: So I created Sweet Loren’s really because I was starving for better food, I mean that’s really what happened. It’s kind of a crazy story; I grew up in New York City and was a yoga instructor when I was eighteen. You know just kind of health and wellness has always been part of my DNA and then I went to college in California, went to USC and right after I graduated, 22 years old I got sick. I was diagnosed with cancer and it was very shocking, it was two months after graduating college and you know I had to instead of starting a job like all my friends I had to come back home to New York and start treatment and it was just shocking and devastating, and basically thankfully I was totally cured after year of treatment but I also during that time just fully dedicated myself to health and wellbeing to make sure I was going to get through it and be healthier on the other side, and food so important to be you know the way that I ate and how natural the product and food was directly related to how much energy I had, how positive I was thinking, how good I felt and I just has such a sweet tooth, and I couldn’t find anything in the supermarket that was just really fresh and of my taste and delicious and easy, and made of ingredients that I actually felt good about eating. So you know processed food just wasn’t appetizing anymore, I didn’t wanted to eat junk food. So I cut out refined flours and hydrogenous oils and anything artificial and any preservatives, and any chemicals, anything weird, and I was just so grossed out really by so much of the ingredients that are really put into a lot of packaged food and it’s just not food anymore to me. And so out of that personal need I started making my own recipes, you know I was like if no one has done this then I am going to do it for myself.
So I just started baking in my mom’s kitchen and just started trying make the healthiest and most delicious cookies in the world and so the concept was using whole grain flours and you know just real organic cane sugar and just cleanest ingredients. Everything was non dairy and then I started make gluten free and vegan cookie recipes and when I knew that there was just such a need for this and it’s really exciting business concept. I was baking for myself but it was like friends, family certified for me and they would talk about it and I would hear from relatives and friends of friends that lives in different states that why are you not selling this in my local supermarket, until a product, an all-natural product you know it’s not sold in supermarket near me I think we need to buy processed. You know products on the shelf and I am going to buy what’s convenient. I am busy, I don’t have time, I don’t want to make from scratch. So that’s when I just had this aw moment of… I really think everything in my life had led me to Sweet Loren’s. So I really approached whole food couple of years ago, they brought it into the New York city stores, I won a baking contest and got national press and was live at the today’s show, [unclear 04:45] big fan and you know so it’s just been an awesome kind of series of events where I just kept seeing more national you know need and so my goal at Sweet Loren’s is to change the way America bakes. The goal is really to break into the cookie dough category where you know there is really a monopoly. Most of the category you know is owned by larger companies and by the time I have kids one day I want them to grow up on something better and if you have a sweet tooth like me then you have a great product you know sold on the shop that you can buy and it just make people lot happy. There is lot of happiness with this product and that feels really good that [unclear 05:29], we are just getting started. We’ve got ton of new products that we want to work on as well.
David: I mean it gives me the chills like very sincerely. Not just because of obviously the success that you created for yourself, right and kind of listening to where you felt like there is a need but also because the passion that you had for helping people to live a happy-healthy lifestyle, it’s just like that to me it right now, and one other thing about your story that always resonates is you recognize the fact that the people still want to be able to do the things that they want to do and that we need to figure out as businesses how to make it fit into their lifestyle, right, in a way in which is continuing to push kind of [unclear 06:13] to help for. I am kind of curious like one of the things I love to ask people, especially people who recon that know is what are a few of the things like one or two or three of the things that you wish you would’ve known or when somebody is like hey Loren like I am just on this journey like starting my health you know in a better trajectory, what are like the one or two or three things that you always share?
Loren: Well I think everyone is different and I think it’s really important that you just get to know yourself really well and just honor yourself. So I think physical activity and working out is super important like on a daily basis and it just had to be part of your regime and there are so many things happen between the blood flow and oxygen and endorphins and just keeping your body like at like all optimal level of like strength and health but everyone is you know not… running isn’t great for everyone you know I love yoga but I love to mix things up like yoga, I run, I swim, I cycle you know so I just think everyone need to find what lights you up. If it’s a dance, if it’s yoga, it’s running you know find something that you love and make it a habit and then I think you know really fall in love with feeling good and I think when you fall in love with feeling good it’s really easy to like not get so tempted to overeat or undereat or eat too much of you know junk food because when you love feeling good it’s like you just want to stay in that zone.
David: Yup. And you know I think that’s such good advice, right and it’s one of those things that’s been coming up a lot in my life lately just in you know both physical practices and lifestyle changes and emotional things like meditation or whatever it might be and the reality is that it’s all just practice, right at least for me.
Loren: It is. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in starting Sweet Loren’s, just running a business, building a brand is I’ve never done this before, I’ve never you know this is all new.
David: You are doing great.
Loren: Thank you. But you know as you grow it’s like everything is new; new products, getting into stores are new, you know everything is moving fast. Learning how to market our products digitally, everything is just new and so I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is everything is just a muscle that you have to grow, and so you know maybe you are intimidated to start a new type of exercise or eating regime or whatever it is and people get so scared because they are not used to it that they push it off but the reality is you just get a step into it and get used to it and then all the sudden it becomes you know if you build a muscle and once you build that muscle you know doing whatever it is, it just becomes like a nature. It’s like brushing your teeth you know so I think that we all need to be brave and face our fears and just fall in love with something at the end of the tunnel that just drives you to jump out of bed every morning, drives you to do those things that you know take energy and strength and focus. And so but I think if you are not passionate, if you can find I think the goals that you are passionate about and what care that is at the end of the tunnel is, if you find that it lights you up so much every day. To me this isn’t work, I just get to do what I love and you know and it’s definitely a lot of hours and you know lot of things to figure out but it’s not you know work that… working on your passion, you are working at yourself, so that feels really good.
David: So that also brings up another question which I think that insight is so spot-on; like everything is a muscle and it’s everything from in introducing a practice of going to the gym to getting up earlier like it’s just something that you get to work on and your sensitivities on things get heightened the more that you do that and honestly more you appreciate that. I would be curious to now like one or two things… I would like to ask three things but I guess a lot of the times which is what are some of the things that you are seeing as trends that you think are really positive like in the health and wellness space or just in general like what’s got your eye right now? What are you excited about?
Loren: Well specifically in food I am excited because I feel like we are starting… although there is always going to be trendy food kind of out there and things that kind of come and go in a big way, I think that the majority of people I talk to are just really passionate about real food and that’s just really excites me because to me that’s what sustainable. Like to build a lifestyle like never feel like you are on a diet, you never feel like you are depriving yourself, feel great you know it’s here to stay. I think like to me that’s eating whole natural ingredients and having a balanced diet so there is room for some deserts and most of your diet is really wholesome. And so I think I am excited about people just wanting to get away from anything artificial, anything hydrogenated and just real ingredients and homemade is possible, it’s just happens to be in packaged form because we knew how busy people are. So I am really excited about the real food movement , we want to really be part of that and lead that into baking category and then I am really excited about using more sustainably sourced ingredients. All of the oil we use is sustainably sourced, so just I am excited about people taking more responsibility about the effect that ingredient of food has on the environment and like the whole food supply system. I think that’s really exciting and then you know I think what’s exciting … to me the most exciting thing is taking away the guilt of food. So you know in the desert category and cookies, you know cookies aren’t going away and I don’t think cookies are bad for you. I think part of the balanced diet you know what your body is craving it and [unclear 12:36]control, it’s part of just well-balanced healthy diet you need you know to have a balance between everything; between protein in vegetables that you eat and leveled activity that you have. And so I am just excited to get people away from feeling guilty about acknowledging because you know when you have desert, it’s you know when you eat a warm cookie out of the oven it’s like the highlight of your day, you know there so many memories associated with it and so just really I like the concept of feeling good about what you eat, so no guilt because I don’t think that’s healthy and so …
David: And I agree with you. You know I think it’s so interesting because especially in the context of Sweet Loren’s it’s like we are talking about A. giving a better product that we know people want, so that’s the most important thing but also that it isn’t an indulgence, it’s something that you should enjoy because that value that you get emotionally from the enjoyment and the time that you get in the kitchen with your family or whatever it might be, the far out ways anything else that you are going to get and my thesis is always eighty twenty, right. Everything is eighty twenty.
Loren: If you told people you can never eat chocolate or sugar like good luck with [unclear 13:53] you know. I think like we have to recognize like we are human beings and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Yeah I love the eighty twenty concept which is you know most of your diet, all of us. We are on the same boat, we are all humans. We need to be really you know wholesome vegetables and proteins, the grains that you eat or maybe you know and then desert you know pick god products that you can rely on like Sweet Loren’s and then you know you get to really enjoy it. Life is so short to not feel good about you know just not good about every day. Just surround yourself with great choices and feel great about it.
David: And I am so appreciative that you are doing this and just seeing you light up when you talk about cookies, the only person that I’ve ever seen do that same way is my dad. So just the fact that you light up like that makes me so happy and I am so appreciative for you making the time to talk with us and hopefully we will do it again soon.
Loren: Yeah we would love to. Check out Sweet Loren’s, check out new Gluten free line.