The wellness industry is expanding at a breakneck pace, and women are leading the charge. Our series profiles the brand founders and influencers who are breaking the mold. Follow along as we learn about the ins and outs of their daily gigs, how they're looking to change the collective conversation, and what they envision for the future of wellness.
Not all startups are born of thunderbolts and aha! revelations. "I didn't exactly wake up and have a eureka moment as some entrepreneurs do," says Jessica Young, who was fully immersed in her work as chef and head of product at the wildly popular meal delivery service Daily Harvest when she began laying the groundwork for her latest venture, Bubble.
To that point, it might be more accurate to say that the groundwork laid itself. "I was approached by a ton of brands—big and small—who were all asking me the same thing," she says. "'How do I open up direct-to-consumer shipping for my food company?' 'How do I get customers to my e-com site?' 'We have amazing sell-through in Whole Foods or in our own shop, but we have no clue how to do this online.'" Which is when Young realized she could offer more than advice. "I knew I had a business," she says.
Young then teamed up with marketing whiz Erin Starkweather (previously of CAP Beauty) and buyer Emilia Musacchia (who cut her teeth at Barneys) to launch Bubble, an e-commerce platform that aims to serve as a direct-to-consumer marketplace for wellness brands. "Think Farfetch meets Erewhon, but available to everyone in the USA," she says. That last element is perhaps Bubble's biggest selling point, since the cream of the wellness market tends to limit itself to L.A. and New York.
Just a few weeks in, Young and her team are already well on their way to disrupting an industry that continues to move at a breakneck pace. Below, Young talks about taking the leap and gives us a look inside a typical day at a brand-new startup.
On the moment she decided to go for it…
"I wanted to be my own boss someday, but I also knew I had a lot to learn. After taking the ride with Rachel Drori in starting Daily Harvest from the ground up and closing $43M in our Series B, I knew I was ready to launch my own thing. Having the confidence and experience in myself and from my peers made the leap that much easier."
On what her day-to-day looks like…
"A typical day lately involves a ton of meetings and late nights. We just moved into our first office here in SoHo, so I've been trying to have as many meetings as possible here to minimize travel time! Today, for example:
8:30 a.m.: A conference call with a distribution center
9 a.m.: A meeting with Babba Canales to talk partnerships (while drinking smoothies)
10 to 11:30 a.m.: "Head-down time"—the name I use for sending emails, reviewing paperwork, etc.
Noon to 2 p.m.: A meeting with Claire Olshan [of luxury retailer Fivestory] to talk final steps on something big we're helping her launch in time for fashion week (top secret right now, but you'll see soon!)
2:30 p.m.: Call with a potential investor
3 p.m.: Call with another distribution center (while eating Sweetgreen—thank god for the mute button!)
3:30 p.m.: Meeting with Bubble's product dev team to talk about a project we have in the works with Cha Cha Matcha
4 to 6 p.m.: Emails and prepping an update to the vendors who are selling on Bubble
7 p.m.: Meeting with a potential new hire
7:30 p.m.: Team happy hour with drinks by BeMixed and hanging some things in our new office."
On hitting the "pause" button when things get stressful…
"I'll walk around, make a coffee, or call a family member to catch up. Or I'll talk to someone on my team who's dealing with something completely different than what I'm dealing with to take my mind off the stressor. I don't like to live in a state of chaos or stress (I actually find it to be extremely unhealthy), so I actively take steps to remedy things ASAP—for myself and everyone around me."
On building something people want to be a part of…
"Luckily I was pretty seasoned in getting into the startup game, but the most unexpected for me has been how eager everyone is to want to help and see Bubble succeed! I have a harder time trying to funnel all of the people wanting to be involved right now than anything else! I feel extremely lucky."
On what she envisions as the future of wellness…
"The future of wellness is balanced, pure, empowering and FUN. Bubble factors into that because it is everything we stand for. No crazy diets, no body shaming, no opinions, no woo-woo, over-the-top wellness. Just doing good and being good. Simple."
Next up: Ban.do's Jen Gotch talks crying at the office and the beauty of oversharing.