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29. Sophie Pachella (Anson) (LGB '92)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi, 6 novembre 2015

Sophie PachellaEatStrong

> Founded 2000


1. What is your company’s product/service?
We offer sustainable, realistic health management and fat loss solutions. Our clients are moms, athletes (male and female), diabetics, people with high blood pressure, cholesterol, people who suffer from depression, eating disorders or simply have 10-100+ lbs to lose!

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
The company was founded in New York City. Our office is here in New York but our clients are everywhere: mostly in the US but a few abroad as well.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Number of employees at peak – three! This is a very small company. And now: still three. We are a lean operation.

I have debated with the idea as to whether or not it is scalable and whether or not that interests me: five years ago I launched a yogurt brand, Sophie. We grew to over 400 stores including Whole Foods, but I felt as though we lost the “artisanal” touch. It’s very difficult to compete with industry giants and their limitless marketing budgets. At EatStrong, I’m able to maintain the one-on-one feel, my clients all feel that they are my ONLY client – and I dream of keeping it this way!

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The first time I tried, I was 27 and I failed, so I went back to a corporate job for a year while I made a proper plan. The hardest part is that when you are entrepreneurial in spirit, Excel spreadsheets and forecasting is typically your least favorite activity – but it is so necessary. I always believed that by having this entrepreneurial “bug” I was automatically a business-savvy woman, but that is not so at all. I am all about the clients, not the bottom line. And that is not a smart business model!

You have to have a proper business plan and not (I learned the heard way) simply fly by the seat of your pants. Competition in this industry (private practice) is never an issue if you love what you do (and that's not true in the dairy industry). Your clients will be loyal if you are respectful of them, and get results. I believe the hardest part though was being brave enough to let go of my secure, well-paying job and believing that I could create a following, just by being myself. I am not selling a product, I’m selling guidance. So results are my bar. My only marketing plan is word of mouth.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
As much as the following will lack the “wow factor”, very honestly: I see it as being exactly as it is now. If I grow too much, my clients feel it. They feel that they are one of many – and interestingly, it shows in their progress. My clients sign up for me because they know in me they have an ally, someone who cares, perhaps 5% more than they care themselves, whether or not their goal is reached. That’s important.

Accountability is everything. Any of my clients can go out and buy a book on nutrition for $17.99. But they invest in themselves by coming to me. It’s a commitment, both financial, and well as their time. I can’t rob them of this by getting greedy and growing too much. I love my company as it is today: it allows me the flexibility of being there as a mom for my 9 year old daughter – picking her up from school and such. I’m a single mom (I have an amazing, helpful and smart boyfriend!) but none the less, maintaining balance is essential to me.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
My best friend from kindergarten, Zoa Tomic (LGB '92), is an invaluable sounding board, mentor, ally and support system. We Skype often. Her son is my godson. Without a great friend who provides solid ground, most entrepreneurs would give up from fright. Zoa is far more pragmatic than I, so she balances me well.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I would genuinely say many! Ecolint taught us to be independent and to eschew the trends. We were encouraged to dress, think and even behave differently. When I was at Ecolint there were no cliques – I’m not sure if that remains true. But everyone was great in their own way.

Obviously the multicultural environment teaches ease with all sorts of cultures and clients (my client base is predominantly orthodox Jewish, although I am spiritual but not religious). But my last years at Ecolint I was living alone, which is also unusual for a teen. Ecolint somehow made us all feel responsible and proud to do well. I never skipped class even though I easily could have!




More about the Ecolint Entrepreneurs project.

Tags:  health  healthcare  New York  weight loss 

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