VANESSA DEW, co-founder and CSO of Health-Ade, ON HER #HUSTLE
HUSTLE (H): How did Health-Ade come to be?
Vanessa Dew (VD): My co-founders (Daina and Justin Trout) and I were looking for a higher purpose and something to fulfill us. We knew we wanted to create and be part of the building of our own business that meant something way deeper to us and our community. We had this itch we couldn’t scratch – that entrepreneurial, have to do something feeling and that is where our entrepreneur club started. It was in those meetings we were brainstorming different business ideas and ultimately, this is where Health-Ade was born.
H: How has being a female c-suite Asian entrepreneur influenced you in how you approach business and how has it shaped the culture at Health-Ade?
VD: Being a female, C-suite, Asian entrepreneur does make me unique in the CPG world and it’s that rarity and uniqueness that I choose to lean into to make me stronger as a leader. It’s the individuality we cultivate at Health-Ade, and the prevailing message to Follow Your Gut, that rings true to me. It’s through these distinctions that make each of us exceptional.
H: Trusting your gut seems like a natural response to uncertain situations but it’s not always the easiest. When did you learn to trust yours and how do you continue to follow your gut?
VD: My first crossroads decision to follow my gut was when I decided to quit my lucrative, full-time job in lieu of starting a risky start-up that ferments kombucha (who does that?!) named Health-Ade. Many of my friends and family tried to dissuade me from this seemingly awful life decision. My mom even made a spreadsheet of all my lost dollars, benefits, and future opportunity costs I’m giving up to show me that my decision was a bad one. In spite of all that, I felt something deep that I had to follow and if I didn’t, I would probably regret it. Thus the rest is history, and I started on my journey to build a company in the face of all odds. Continuing to follow my gut is a discipline and an active practice. Checking in with myself, that compass of what feels right and what doesn’t, and being vocal about that to myself and others is really important.
H: What has been the most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
VD: Two things really stick out. First is our team. Those who fight every day and go above and beyond to bring the brand to life from the front lines in sales/marketing and to those who man our manufacturing lines, everyone puts down the grit and the hustle to make it happen and it’s amazing to watch. Also, seeing Health-Ade in the wild never gets old. Seeing that and then taking it one step further to hear that someone is feeling great and it is their ‘go-to’ every day is a dream come true.
H: What does 2020 hold for Health-Ade and for you personally?
VD: Wow, so much goodness is coming in 2020… I’m bursting (literally)! Personally, I’m expecting my first child and couldn’t be more excited for this life milestone. With Health-Ade, we are thrilled to be taking things to a whole new level when it comes to campaigns and product releases. Stay tuned to check out the deliciousness brewing at Health-Ade!
H: What's your pursuit of happiness? Do you have any side hustles people might be surprised by?
VD: I think my pursuit of happiness is through experiences. I believe time is the most valuable asset we all have, but what we choose to do with it is our own choice. I love spending time with my loved ones, trying new experiences as small as trying a new hole in the wall restaurant on the east side of LA or ATV-ing a massive sand dune in Dubai. I love it all and can’t wait to experience more. In my spare time, I love advising and meeting amazing emerging brands who need help getting started, and a future me would love to open a coffee shop…someday!