It’s no secret that more celebrities are flocking to tech and venture capital these days. The latest to make the leap into entrepreneurship is Sarah Michelle Gellar, best known for her TV role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and most recently as the voice of The Seventh Sister inquisitor in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
The company she founded with CEO Galit Laibow and COO Greg Fleishman, Foodstirs, is the next generation’s answer to Pillsbury, Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. It mashes up subscription commerce, new media and natural foods to deliver baking kits and mixes in stores and online.
We caught up with the Foodstirs founders, who were ringing the bell at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco today to show support for their fellow startup founders. Sarah Michelle Gellar said the transition from acting to entrepreneurship hasn’t been as easy as you’d suspect. “It’s incredibly difficult. I think there is a novelty in ‘Let’s see Buffy bake!’ I think people see funny headlines and are like ‘Oh great, she’s either a spokesperson or this is going to be good laugh, a good story we can tell at drinks on Friday night,’ ” she said. “Maybe it is easier to get in the door, but you still have to have concept proof to back it up.” Watch the video for more on what inspired her to get in the startup game.
Foodstirs’ products are made for families and home chefs who don’t want to eat chemical dyes and flavorings when they make something indulgent and sweet at home. The company uses all USDA-rated organic, non-GMO and fair-trade ingredients whenever possible. Though the startup only launched in September 2015, its products are already gracing the shelves at Whole Foods Market in the Northeast and Gelson’s stores in California according to Laibow. “We’re really proud to be the first baking mix out there to do this,” she said.
The company also sells a fair amount of its products to subscribers online, who can opt for monthly shipments of baking kits with kid-friendly recipes and tools, like special cookie cutters. “We’re meeting consumers wherever they want to buy baking mixes most,” said Fleishman. “Online they get kits that are a little bit more craft, and offline they get standards like cookie, cake or brownie mixes,” Fleishman said.
The company also publishes recipes on social media, and runs cooking shows on Facebook Live with real people, not just professional chefs, front and center. Laibow said, “We’re all about building family and community so direct to consumer helps with that. Creating recipes and getting feedback online builds deeper brand loyalty.”