10 Questions for Local Food Entrepreneur: Emily Lagasse
This interview was originally published on Examiner.
Emily Lagasse is a total Babson entrepreneur: last year, she was a member of the Summer Venture Program, Women Innovation Now (WIN) Lab, and took the 2013 prize at Boston’s Women Business Conference Female Entrepreneurship Challenge.
She’s also a food entrepreneur… just not for people. Emily is feeding dogs. With her gorgeous Kickstarter [launched yesterday and already over the halfway mark] and compelling mission, she makes an excellent case for why the world needs Fedwell.
Q: What was the seed for what is now Fedwell?
A: Seeing my dog get really sick on traditional food and realizing there wasn’t anything on the market that was up to my standards.
Q: What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
A: Just one? Laughs. I guess it was finding the right partners to bring the products to market in the way that I wanted. Especially in terms of manufacturing, making sure that the manufacturer wouldn’t compromise on making a product that I wanted to be outstanding.
Q: How do you define success?
A: I think success is when people really listen to their inner voice, and take action that allows them to have an impact in an area that they feel passionate about.
Q: How do you manage failure?
A: That’s tough because I don’t really see negative feedback or challenge as failure. I think that all the obstacles that came my way with this venture helped me to put my company and my product in a better position. For instance, if a manufacturer said “we can’t work with you, you’re too small,” it ended up being a positive because they clearly weren’t the right vendor for me.
Q: How do you cope with pressure?
A: Exercise, time outdoors, and leaning on friends.
Q: What are you going to do next?
A: Right now I’m putting together a proposal to raise a round of funding from friends and family that will allow us to reach a broader geographic region.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in the past year?
A: I get a lot of good advice… One thing that has really stuck with me and has been really helpful was when someone told me: Talk to everybody. [Doing so] forces you to interact with people you normally wouldn’t who can lighten your mood and reenergize you. Also, you never know who will be able to provide an insight or connection that can really help you personally or professionally.
Q: Give us your advice for aspiring food entrepreneurs… in 6 words or less.
A: Get it out there and adapt.
Q: You win the Oscar equivalent for your industry.When you take the stage, who will you thank and for what?
A: First and foremost I would have to thank everyone who spends a significant amount of time around me because some days are really tough… and everyone who has provided me feedback and encouraged me, especially professors, mentors and peers at Babson.
Q: What about Fedwell most feeds your soul?
A: The thing that really gets me going in the morning is thinking about the level of quality of product out there now and what a disservice we are doing to our dogs when we feed them something so below standard, and knowing that I have product that will improve the health and longevity of dogs.
The Fedwell Kickstarter closes on November 7. Check out Emily’s mission to feed dogs well.