Wondering what it's like to be a dietitian with a start-up company? A few fun stories from my first week in Chicago and at dailyServing.
Day 1: I don't have access to the building. Or a desk. Or internet.
I'm a bit of a type-A on-time freak, so I arrived approximately 20 minutes before I was supposed to be there. I tried the call box. No answer. Tried a few cell phones. No one was at the office yet. So I did what any scrappy individual would do - stalked the entrance, and waited for someone else to go inside.
The space is this awesome open-concept think-tank area with rows of desks for all the start-ups in the space. Lucky for me, one member of my team was on his honeymoon, so I had somewhere to sit. Not sure what next week will bring, but there's always Starbucks.
The weekly staff meeting ended around 11 am, and it was time to get to work. Except there was a snag with the wireless. What was that about Starbucks?
Day 2: The bee sting
I was sitting at my desk (wireless still snagging) when I heard Austin get a little agitated. I looked over to see a bee on her computer. INSIDE at our DESKS. Austin is braver than I am, and she delicately squished the bee with her boot. But then she started rubbing the back of her neck. She was in pain, and itching. Austin had never been stung by a bee before, and wasn't sure about allergies. We sent her home, with clear examples of what it might feel like if she were to go into anaphylactic shock.
Day 3: Stickers!
One of the fun parts of a start-up is that job descriptions are fluid, and everyone pitches in where and when it's needed. Including getting demo product ready for a big trade show. My aforementioned type-A personality was let loose to put stickers on our product.
Lots of beautiful colors and beautiful foods. Still a prototype, but you get the idea. Oh, and for those of you wondering, Austin's bee sting is doing just fine - thankfully, she's not allergic.
Day 4: Grocery shopping!
I was given the chance to dream about a line of all dry goods. The cold-pressed juice concept doesn't work for places that lack refrigeration or are looking for a longer shelf-life. I thought about the flavors in the juices, and tried to find a comparable dried product. Unfortunately, many of the amazing flavors that were originally put together can't be found in dry form. Or if they can be found, they have tons of sugar or oils added to them.
Another thing to consider when drying fruit is that it can alter the nutrition information. For instance, vitamin C is heat-sensitive, so depending on the dehydration process, the vitamin C content of the dried version could be significantly less.
You have no idea how hard it is to find unadulterated dried fruit. But I did enjoy my time browsing at Whole Foods and Trader Joes, along with general internet research. Watermelon jerky is apparently a great option to make at home, but not available for sale. Note to self: this is an untapped market.
Day 5: Good internet. Dry food demo products. Enjoying the unlimited coffee.
As I wrap up the week, I can say I'm starting to get settled. The internet is now working all the time. I made up some demos of my dry product line. And I'm enjoying a nice cup of coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon. This makes me a happy girl.
My favorite part of the week has been the amount of R&D I have been able to do. I got to taste-test potential products and play with flavors, while also spending time being nerdy about the science of the nutrients. All in a day's work.