What was the inspiration for your business, and what inspires you daily?
Shari Leidich: In 2004, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I’m a mom of three and wanted to be able to raise my family and be an active parent. Conventional medicines didn’t work for me, so I set out on a path of natural wellness that has a foundation in raw food, along with acupuncture, massage therapy, rest and exercise, and am thriving. My raw food diet is key because raw food preparation preserves the potency of the enzymes and biological benefits of the food, maximizing its healthiness.
As I continued on my personal journey to wellness, I couldn’t find any tasty, satisfying raw treats to have on the go. After experimenting in the kitchen, I created delicious granolas, savory sea crackers, crunchy nut bars, decadent truffles and yummy cereal. My friends and family liked them, so we started selling at farmers markets and grew from there. People want a great tasting snack, and if it tastes good and is good for you, then that’s even better.
Marsha, my mom, is the other Mom. Her support has helped make Two Moms in the Raw what it is today.
My goal is to make Two Moms in the Raw snacks available to everyone. This goal provides daily inspiration to keep growing and innovating.
What’s been your road to success and critical success factors along the way?
SL: I knew I had a good product when I made a batch and my kids ate it all. Then friends and family wanted more, which really was the beginning of it all. The first places we retailed our product were the Boulder Farmers Market and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. They have both been supportive as we've grown. Getting into Whole Foods Market was key. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but they were very helpful and have been partners in growing the raw category.
One day Starbucks called and requested our products after seeing us at Expo West. It was a little surreal to get that request, but it was great. We had to ramp up production quickly to make it happen. We were sold nationally, and it was a great boost for brand awareness. People still tell us they tried us at Starbucks.
I have the best people supporting me and helping run Two Moms in the Raw. I have a lot of super stars in my family.
How has the natural products industry enabled your success?
SL: We are very fortunate to live in the Boulder area with a group of like-minded people who we can ask questions and discuss ideas. One person in particular who stands out is Beata Pabian [VP of retail sales, The Jackfruit Company]. She's an industry veteran who has been supportive of Two Moms in the Raw from the beginning and we really appreciate it.
What do you wish you’d known early on in your business?
SL: I’m actually glad I went into this business knowing nothing. I took a lot of chances and didn’t follow too many rules. This approach worked out for Two Moms in the Raw.
What’s on your iPod right now?
SL: Ask my children. I am usually listening to a book on tape.
How do you spend your free time?
SL: As a mom, my free time is spent with my family. We live in Colorado and have great access to the outdoors. We hike, bike and enjoy local activities. My kids are active in sports and theatre, so we go to their events, too. I’m also a big movie buff and enjoy catching a show as often as I can. We love comedies!
What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?
SL: Hmmmm. Staying in bed and reading? Sneaking out to a movie with my kids when there are a stack of dishes or a pile of laundry to fold.
What’s a personal pet peeve?
SL: Put the dishes in the dishwasher when it’s empty. How hard is that?
What's the inside scoop on yourself?
SL: I like my privacy, even though my story is on all of our products. I’m a homebody at heart.
Editor's note: Two Moms in the Raw became Soul Sprout in October 2016. Shari Leidich left the company later that year.