“Get your heart racing every day.” With Dr. William Seeds & Irene Rojas

Get your heart racing every day. I don’t mean run a marathon, but even on the days I can’t go to the gym, I walk a mile to the office and another one back. I also take the stairs when available. It really adds up. As a part of my series about the women in wellness, […]

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Get your heart racing every day. I don’t mean run a marathon, but even on the days I can’t go to the gym, I walk a mile to the office and another one back. I also take the stairs when available. It really adds up.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Irene Rojas Stanbury, CEO and Founder of LEMONKIND.

Irene founded and created LEMONKIND in 2016, with a mission to make 100% natural beverages that are not only both delicious and better-for-you but also, accessible to anyone ready to build on beneficial, sustainable self-care.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Thank you so much for having me! Well, I have been surrounded by health and nutrition for my entire life. Both of my parents are doctors, my grandfather is an agricultural engineer, and I got my career started in manufacturing.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

At one point right at the very beginning, everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong and I was 100 feet from crashing — I had no money in the bank, I maxed out my credit cards, I had a lot of perishable inventory and for the life of me I couldn’t get Amazon to approve the product listings. Somehow I managed to convince an Amazon webinar instructor to activate my account. Following that, I spent endless days and nights making sure the listings were perfect. Then I watched the products go live and danced in my living room when I made my first sale, then my second, then my third… then… oh my gosh! I went out of stock in 5 days! To summarize, by the end of the year I had not only sold the inventory, but actually ended up breaking even (and with a modest profit I should add). The takeaway? No matter how absolutely hopeless the situation may look, never ever give up.

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

Oh gosh, I know exactly the one moment — the mistake that almost cost me everything. I made a size adjustment of my final packaging without thinking it all the way through. It was late, it was impulsive, and worst of all the logic and the math were wrong. The lesson has been simple: never be afraid to make changes but when possible, sleep on them, re-evaluate, and then run it by your partners (vendors, suppliers) as they may be able to point out obstacles you may have missed due to exhaustion or even inexperience.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes, my parents. My mother taught me to persevere no matter what since a very young age. My dad has been my rock, and the person behind all that makes me an entrepreneur. My dad and his wife put all of their faith in me when I started LEMONKIND. In fact, LEMONKIND was started with my savings and their retirement. Woah! Talk about taking a huge chance and believing in me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

LEMONKIND makes functional, ready to drink, shelf-stable juices with the highest-quality plant-based ingredients. Shelf-stable means less food wasted, our packaging has less carbon-footprint than glass or rigid plastic bottles, and our beverages offer a convenient delivery method of nutrient-dense ingredients to everyone, whenever, however and whoever they are.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Get your heart racing every day. I don’t mean run a marathon, but even on the days I can’t go to the gym, I walk a mile to the office and another one back. I also take the stairs when available. It really adds up.

Learn something new every day. I listen to podcasts on my way to work and it helps to disconnect and refocus.

Get your fruits and veggies in. Really, beauty starts from within. I respect those following keto diets but to me, fruits are earth’s most precious candy (I don’t know what I would do without blueberries!).

Stretch daily. It doesn’t even have to be for long but a good stretch in the morning and at night can help prevent injuries in the long run.

Drink plenty of water. I know this is nothing new, but you will never find me anywhere without my reusable water bottle.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would push world leaders to provide assistance so it was possible to grow everything (fruits, vegetables, botanicals, you name it) in a socially and environmentally responsible way. That means, organic and non-GMO, complete democratization. This way everyone would have access to pure, clean-label, better-for-you foods.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

I wish someone had told me to never choose partners (vendors, suppliers, copackers, agencies) solely based on price. Why? Sometimes, when things go wrong (as they usually do) these partners won’t have enough skin on the game to care enough to fix it.

I wish someone had told me that being an HR manager would be the most difficult task to deal with. Why? Because when you are already overextended, a great hire can be a blessing, while the wrong hire can be extremely detrimental both to the company and even your mental health.

I wish someone had told me to treat every product line, launch and production as if it was your first one. Why? Because they are, they simply are. It is great to gain confidence as you grow but success doesn’t always inherently transfer from one product line to another, or one production to the next.

I wish someone had told me that what I am good at does not necessarily mean it should be what I focus on. Why? I would have hired an operations person so I could focus on branding and strategy a lot sooner than I did.

I wish someone had told me that it never gets easier. Why? Because we put out fires, constantly. That is what we do. Once you become comfortable with it, frustration has no place in being a part of that reality.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Environmental changes are dearest to my heart. I am constantly communicating with partners about the latest developments in recyclable packaging, as we can’t have a future as a race if our planet cannot survive. Of course, all of our products are vegan and most contain adaptogens known for their positive anti-stress benefits, so it goes without saying that all of those are dear to my heart.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

We are on Instagram and Facebook @drinklemonkind.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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