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On a mission to build a clean-eating lifestyle community, with Base Culture founder and CEO
Jordann Windschauer believes everybody deserves to have quality food made from pure, nutrient-dense ingredients. Here, the CEO and Founder of Base Culture sits down with Women on the Move host Sam Saperstein to talk about her journey from making paleo-friendly baked goods in her apartment to running a 44,000 square foot facility producing items for national distribution.
Beginning with a gym challenge
Jordann was just out of college when she joined a CrossFit gym that was running a paleo challenge. Looking for ways to clean up her young adult lifestyle, she signed up for the challenge. She recalls that she didn’t know one thing about paleo eating at the time, but she soon found that she was attracted to the simplicity of the ingredients—and she was a huge fan of the way it made her feel.
Soon she was experimenting in her kitchen, trying to bake the perfect paleo banana bread and brownie. Her motivation was that she wanted to treat herself to something that was good for her and not just okay-tasting, but delicious. “It took me six months, because it's extremely different baking with seeds and nuts as opposed to flour and yeast and sugar and all of these traditional baking elements,” she recalls. “I was just doing it for my selfish wants and desires. I never really had a business in mind at this stage.”
After those six months of experimenting and perfecting, her gym began its next biennial paleo challenge, and Jordann started bringing in her baked goods to share with friends. She still wasn’t thinking of a business, but the reaction from her gym friends helped her along that journey. They loved the baked goods and they really loved the idea that they didn’t have to bake them themselves—they could pay Jordann to bake extra for them. "I started a business on Facebook and would post online when I was going to make something and the people would place their orders and I would make everything at night and deliver it on the weekend,” she tells Sam.
After her small business took off, scaling up seemed only natural. She began by naming her brand Paleo Box but after less than a year she landed on Base Culture. “We are trying to lead this global revolution around nutrition culture, to honor that and do it so that we're creating the best for you baked goods, that are held to our mammoth standards,” she says. “And how we describe our mammoth standards are essentially a bar that you cannot rise above. It's the highest bar possible. And we did that by creating our own manufacturing plant. We built a 44,000-square-foot plant to bring these products to life. We weren't just adding a product to a category that already existed, but doing it a little bit differently.”
Ambition and embracing challenges
While Sam notes that ambition is not always perceived as an admirable quality in women, Jordann embraces the label. “I would say that sometimes I'm blissfully ambitious and keep away those dark voices that come up,” she says. “We are in a stage of the business where those scary voices come in saying, ‘What if this isn't going to work?’ Or, ‘What if I let everyone down and what if I lose everyone's money who's invested in this? And what if I fail?’”
Her advice for staying on track while also heeding your ambition is to stay true to your purpose. She notes that there is an “insane” amount of pressure on entrepreneurs to build an empire and do the impossible. Recognizing that so many decisions involve uncertainties and unknowns, Jordann says that knowing that you won’t always have the answers is critical. When you do need to make a decision, she says you should be able to say a full-bodied, unqualified yes.
“When I look back at some of the things where we took a misstep here or there, I really know in my gut that there was something telling me at that point that something's not right and I ignored it for one reason or another,” she says. “So when you're making a decision, have the full body yes. And if you have any inkling of doubt, lean into that and explore it and either that doubt will subside or it will get bigger, and then listen to it even if it's not the easy choice.”
Founder & CEO, Base Culture