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Alisa Pospekhova of Kindroot: “Betting On Yourself”

Actually, it was a literal three word phrase when a friend told me that I should think of my entrepreneurial journey as “Betting On Yourself.” Those three words really puts things into perspective and shifted my thinking from “I might fail” or “What happens if” to “I believe I can handle this.” Later, this actually […]

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Actually, it was a literal three word phrase when a friend told me that I should think of my entrepreneurial journey as “Betting On Yourself.” Those three words really puts things into perspective and shifted my thinking from “I might fail” or “What happens if” to “I believe I can handle this.” Later, this actually became one of Kindroot’s taglines. We use “Root for Yourself” as a way to encourage our consumers to be sweet to themselves, so they can inspire others to do the same.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alisa Pospekhova.

Kindroot™ was founded by Alisa Pospekhova, a health and wellness enthusiast, avid yogi and an aspiring herbalist. Having felt the transformative power of holistic nutrition and plant-based supplements for management of her own auto-immune condition, she set out to develop a line of fun, and accessible supplements that people would actually look forward to taking.

Prior to serving as CEO of Kindroot, Alisa spent 15 years building and managing healthy food, wellness and beauty brands across the globe, having held senior-level marketing positions at Unilever, The Wonderful Company, Nestle, and Manduka Yoga.

Alisa lives in Manhattan Beach, California and in her free time, she continues her education in holistic treatment, herbalism, and yoga.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/ef52bed8f1bc5c49f74ee07cebf6f3f8


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Since childhood, I’ve had respiratory issues where I would pick up any cold or flu that was going around. Inevitably, it would lead to asthma, and lots of coughing, so needing lozenges has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

About two years ago, I was in Walgreens, looking to buy lozenges and all of a sudden, it hit me how uninspiring, and commoditized the category was. The aisle was full of old, stale brands featuring boring, and unpleasant flavors (cherry, herbal, lemon), with irritating ingredients (menthol). And each option included lots of sugar or artificial sugar substitutes with a rough texture that would disintegrate in my mouth and irritate my tongue. I wanted to launch a much better lozenge with natural ingredients, a silky smooth texture, and pleasant flavor options.

At the same time, I started taking herbs to improve my immune system, support my adrenal health, and manage stress. I used to travel a lot for work, so taking powders with me was super annoying. This is where the idea to merge the two by creating a functional lozenge came together- each addressing a common modern need. I wanted to disrupt the lozenge category by offering a new delivery form to commoditized gummies.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I’m working on merging two categories that people don’t normally associate with one another. As I mentioned earlier, the lozenge category is super stale — I’m actually surprised at how little innovation or energy has gone into it. It’s almost as if the category has been forgotten. On the other hand, the supplement category is robust, but how boring is it to just swallow another capsule or mix another powder into your drink — nobody ever looks forward to that.

My goal was to create a new category of supplements with active ingredients, but in exciting forms that will drive people’s daily rituals.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There was a lot of trial and error during the early stages. I was actually trying to make the lozenges at in my own kitchen, which proved to be a bit “alarming” to say the least. I learned that the syrup had to be heated to about 300 degrees, but I couldn’t figure out when exactly to put the herbs in. There were many, many instances over the course of a number of months when I actually set off the smoke alarms in my apartment. It was happening so often that I started to notice various forms of funny, weird glances in my direction and saw whispering from my neighbors upon entering and leaving my apartment. I can only imagine what they must have thought was going on!

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

We talk a lot about entrepreneurs, and it has become a very glamorous topic/thing to be, but the truth is that there are a lot of people around me, without whom this would not be possible. As I mentioned earlier, I had a hard time in the beginning coming up with the recipe. I couldn’t figure out how to reduce the sugar. I conducted research online about how to use different syrups and found an article about it. I actually contacted the author and she referred me to my candy scientist who turned out to be a big advocate for start-ups. And luckily for me, she was interested in what I was trying to accomplish and was willing to work with me.

Also, one of my very good friends joined me every weekend at the warehouse where the lozenges were being produced and she did whatever needed to get done. From wrapping the lozenges to putting them in the bags to packing and shipping the product. The two of us were basically the assembly line. She was by my side from start to finish, and always with a smile on her face and a hand on my back supporting me every step of the way!

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

In my opinion it is generally a bit of both — when you are disrupting, whether it is a new product, a new process, or a new way of doing things, you’re always displacing something that is established, and that may have negative consequences for those you’ve relied on in the past for doing things.

For example, within the food industry, there’s a big shift towards offering healthier and more organic options, which is great for our health. However, it definitely puts a strain on existing companies and those who rely on them to change and adapt, which is generally tough, especially in the beginning. Overall, I think once the initial disruption is over, things tend to balance out and everyone adapts to some degree and hopefully we all come out better and more resilient in the end.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Actually, it was a literal three word phrase when a friend told me that I should think of my entrepreneurial journey as “Betting On Yourself.” Those three words really puts things into perspective and shifted my thinking from “I might fail” or “What happens if” to “I believe I can handle this.” Later, this actually became one of Kindroot’s taglines. We use “Root for Yourself” as a way to encourage our consumers to be sweet to themselves, so they can inspire others to do the same.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Too often, I think people get caught up in labels and I’m often asked if Kindroot is a candy company or a supplement and you know what I don’t think it needs to be one or the other. I just want Kindroot to be known for its innovation. My plan is to continue to bring new and exciting delivery mechanisms of beneficial herbs and actives to consumers in exciting and unexpected ways. I want to keep making herbs accessible to people in surprising forms. There are so many powders in the marketplace, and I think that stops some people from trying it because it can be an intimating way to try adaptogens . How will it taste, how will you fit it into your daily routine? But with my lozenges you pop it and go.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think male counterparts still enjoy the benefits of established systems much more than female disruptors or people of color etc. — mentorship, advice, access to capital down the line etc., Generally, our search is longer, and we have to work harder to prove our case, we have to be more diligent. On the other hand, I’ve recently seen a strong emerging community of both female and minority entrepreneurs and business owners who are starting to form groups from the ground up and I’m very inspired by all of it.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I really like the work and research of renowned professor, author and podcaster Cassandra Brene Brown, and what she has done in the areas of shame and how that limits our own progress.

Cassandra talks about failure and the idea that we’re afraid to fail. For women especially, the idea of disrupting a category and being a success is all about shedding the idea of construct and putting limits on one’s self. And for me, a big part of the entrepreneurial journey has been letting go of that thinking structure and learning to be bold in my choices and pursuits with much less regard to what others might think about what I am doing and whether or not it will be a victory or a catastrophe. It’s about setting that goal and seeing it through.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want everyone to focus inward and cultivate their self-confidence and resilience. I truly think if we started working with children early on, it would be world changing (and probably especially with girls, because we are constantly sending so much negative feedback their way that I think it ends up holding so many women back). It is no doubt that we would all be happier, and in-turn be better to one another, animals and the planet.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I approach everything with “How hard can it be?” motto, which is how I got myself into this entrepreneurial journey! But in all seriousness, I think that about 99% of the solution to most problems is just telling yourself you can do it!

How can our readers follow you online?

Kindroot can be followed on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kindroot/ and I am active on LinkedIn. And of course, visit our site www.kindroot.com to sign up for our newsletter, we have a really exciting editorial series launching very soon!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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