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“Focus on quality.” with Abby Kircher

The government needs to acknowledge the problem with our food system — the fact that the USA has the least amount of restrictive policies on ingredients in the world. As well as acknowledgment of the companies that are mass-marketing lies about what they are selling and determining what’s healthy and what’s not. Society also needs […]

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The government needs to acknowledge the problem with our food system — the fact that the USA has the least amount of restrictive policies on ingredients in the world. As well as acknowledgment of the companies that are mass-marketing lies about what they are selling and determining what’s healthy and what’s not. Society also needs to focus less on the “fad diet” trends and more on overall quality of ingredients and foods.

As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Abby Kircher, Founder & CEO of Abby’s Better.

A young female entrepreneur and health enthusiast, Abby Kircher combines her passion for innovation and nutrition to create a new way of healthy snacking as the CEO and co-founder of Abby’s Better.

Raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Abby has always been known to take on a leadership role, even from a young age. In 2015, when Abby was just fifteen years old, she became invested in her health and creating a healthy lifestyle. It was during this time where she couldn’t help but notice the lack of options for foods that were both delicious and nutritious. With a drive to bridge the gap between taste and health, Abby took out her food processor, nuts, a few natural sweeteners, and began making an array of nut butter flavors and bites to create what is known today as Abby’s Better.

Today, Abby is even more passionate and ambitious than ever to share her creations with the world. To those seeking a healthier path, Abby offers the cleanest snacks made with all natural ingredients with a promise to never sacrifice taste. Abby continues to inspire other young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, even if it means taking the road less traveled. Abby’s brand and products can be found anywhere from local farmers markets to major food retailers around the East Coast and Midwest.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

Iwas born in Orlando, FL but moved to the Charlotte area when I was 9. I was homeschooled (went to a variety of co-ops), and have always had a passion for learning! My favorite subjects were always any type of English or history class. I have two older brothers, Aaron who now works with the company, and Elliot who goes to college at Samford University. We have always been a very close family. When I was younger, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. At one point I thought of being a freelance writer for (hopefully) National Geographic! Crazy how things change.

You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

My inspiration behind Abby’s Better was to create a one stop shop for healthy snacking so that people would not have to sacrifice taste for health while striving to change their life for the better. We are a trusting brand where you don’t have to guess the purity of the product.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

When I was 14 year old, I was overweight and unhappy with my body. I knew I needed to make a change in not only how I ate, but also how I treated my body in general.

I started to focus on the ingredient labels of the foods I was eating and one of my favorite foods at the time was peanut butter! I ate it on pretty much everything. However, the peanut butter I was eating had tons of artificial sweeteners, peanut oils, and general ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce and knew couldn’t be helpful.

So, I decided to make my own! I was 15, it was the summer of 2015 and I started mixing different nuts with different natural sweeteners, like fruit. I eventually came up with 5 flavors of nut butters: Coconut CashewDate PecanHoney AlmondStrawberry Cashew, and Coffee Almond. After hearing what friends and family were saying about the healthy BUT delicious products, I approached my mom and said “Let’s start a business. We can call it Abby’s Better and it can be a hobby to look good on the college resume.”

Little did I know that making that decision that day would lead me not to college, but far from it into a world I was totally unaware of at the time. I soon realized that Abby’s Better was about a lot more than just nut butter, but about creating a clean label snack brand that could be a one stop shop for healthy snacking.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

Initially, the “aha moment” came after receiving the feedback that I did from friends and family about the products. The people seemed to be enjoying it so much I just had a strong urge to do what I needed to do to sell what I had made — at any capacity possible! In the beginning I had no idea it was going to grow into what it has, and part of me feels that it helped me step out in full confidence even more. I made each decision as it came, learning and adapting as I needed to be successful with what I was doing.

Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

I had no idea what it looked like to start a business, so the only option I had at the time was to research! I researched the business licensing, the FDA regulations for selling food, I researched other products in the “category” I was getting into: Were my butters unique? Would they stand out amongst the rest? What is the purpose and motivation behind starting my business?

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

An incredibly interesting and amazing opportunity that comes to mind would be when I had the pleasure of introducing Howard Schultz in a food innovation summit in Milan, Italy. I got to meet so many amazing entrepreneurs and inspirers. It was an absolute honor to be a part of that experience.

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

The amount of time we spent hand jarring each of our butters is insane. Hours upon hours because we didn’t know how to find the other option. That kind of “grind” in the beginning is good though. It taught me perseverance and to do the hard work that needed to be done even when it seemed insurmountable.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

My mom, and Abby’s Better COO, has always been a huge inspiration for me. We have very different skill sets, different outlooks and opinions, and that helps us complement each other in a work environment. I am also IMMENSELY inspired by all of the other successful female entrepreneurs in a variety of different industries who have paved the way for me to be able to do what I do.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Two specific people come to mind. The first individual emailed us a year ago expressing gratitude because her son was allergic to peanuts and gluten, but was a very picky eater! She had such a difficult time providing a well-rounded diet for him with his restrictions and food preferences. She ordered a jar of our Date Pecan nut butter to give it a try hoping he would enjoy it and he did! She is a frequent customer now and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

The second was a woman whom we received a letter from this year during COVID. The letter was very simple — she had been hospitalized and was very sick, but found great enjoyment in consuming our butters and bites as her hospital snack. She thanked me and the team and I will always keep that letter to remember the reason I started this company. That is the impact that I want to make.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

The government needs to acknowledge the problem with our food system — the fact that the USA has the least amount of restrictive policies on ingredients in the world. As well as acknowledgment of the companies that are mass-marketing lies about what they are selling and determining what’s healthy and what’s not. Society also needs to focus less on the “fad diet” trends and more on overall quality of ingredients and foods.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Two things come to mind — I wish I had been aware of the capital needs more clearly. I did not have a finance background, so that whole world of investing was so new. I’ve learned so much about it, but it would have been nice to have more experience in that area. Secondly, I wish someone had made me aware of how difficult it would be to “detach” and “compartmentalize” when you’re running a business that matters so much to you. It’s hard to find balance.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Bottom line, it comes down to what we’re leaving behind for the people who are coming after us. It’s important to remember that what we do does matter and that we do leave an impact whether positive or negative. I would hate to look back on my life when I’m older and see that I’ve done nothing of any true substance with my life, when I could have changed a few of my decisions and been proud.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

This is no surprise, but Oprah Winfrey! She has overcome tremendous adversity and obstacles and has become one of the most powerful women in the world. She is such an inspiration and it would be such an honor if I ever get the pleasure of meeting her.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can stay up to date on all things Abby’s Better by following the brand on Instagram @abbysbetter, as well as my personal Instagram page at @abby_kircher!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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