Women Who Own It
Irene Rojas Stanbury
CEO of LemonKind
What inspired you to start your business?
I always say that putting healthy, good-for-you products in your body is the best gift a person can give themselves. Unfortunately, the food market in the United States does not operate under that mentality. There are a lot of beverages that aren’t very good for you available on store shelves. Beverages teeming with preservatives, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, and ingredients you can’t pronounce. My goal was to create all natural, delicious juices that didn’t harm our health or slow it down and that would fit into everyone’s busy lives. LemonKind stands behind juice that's not only 100% good-for-you and convenient, but has REAL nutritional value. That’s why our juices are made with 100% natural and non-GMO fruits and veggies, are packaged in shelf-stable resealable pouches, are infused with vegan protein, chia seeds and nutrient-rich superfoods, never chemically treated, and always remain completely vegan, gluten, pesticide, and preservative free. People deserve to have that option, and I wanted to give it to them.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Do not let anyone ever tell you that you can’t have it all. You will have to work harder than your male counterparts but...
- if you are an expert in your field people will listen and respect you
- if you allow yourself to share your experiences and provide guidance to those who seek it, it will come back to you five-fold (even when the best part of giving is not expecting anything in return)
- if you allow yourself to disconnect at least one day of the week, those around you will appreciate it and support you and be there when you feel like the whole world in resting on your shoulders.
What three traits define you?
Kind, Resourceful and Honest.
What do you love about being a business owner?
I love the freedom of been able to choose my own path and to never have to compromise when it comes to my values or morals.
What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
Other than the obvious 24/7 aspect, for me it has been having to grow a thicker skin. It is impossible to not take things personally when it is your business, but if you can’t learn to “pick yourself up and move on” you will spend most of the time dwelling instead of growing and evolving.
How do you define success?
If I can look at myself in the mirror every morning and still like who I have become as a person, as a friend, as a daughter, as a boss, and as a partner then I would say that to me, that is the definition of success.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
- From a random person I shared an Uber once from the airport: “Turnover is for vanity, profit is for sanity”
- From my father: “Never choose business partners based solely on price.”
What’s your favorite career moment?
I was 100 feet from crashing – I had no money in the bank, I maxed out my credit cards, and Amazon denied my seller application 5 times, so I signed up for a webinar. Upon completion I harassed the instructor to which he responded, “happy selling” and proceeded to activate my account. Following that I spent 100 hours setting up the items and making sure the listing was perfect. Then I watched the products go live and danced in my living room when I made my first sale, then my second, then my third… then… oh my gosh! I went out of stock in 5 days! So I rushed to make more and send more and I went out of stock in 10 days, and so on, and on. Today we are Amazon’s choice in our category and the ride has not always been easy but it sure has been worth it!
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Don’t tempt me, I would probably spend it working more!
What are you reading or listening to now?
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
How do you unwind after a long workday?
A nice long run down the Hudson River! The best is during the summer/fall because sometimes we get these colorful sunsets that just take my breath away.
What do you like about your workspace?
We work out of a WeWork and I love the atmosphere, the people and the energy.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... take a step back, assess, dissect, and address each issue at a time.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself... to call my family more often.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is... my taste buds, I love to eat, plus I make food!
By this time next year, I will be... equally as busy or more but with more people to share the load
The best thing that happened to me last week was... getting into Target and The Fresh Market
To get my creative juices flowing, I... go for a run, I usually get my best ideas that way.
LemonKind is an environmentally and socially driven company that makes innovatively delicious juices and teas that are all-natural, preservative-free, superfood-infused and 100% good-for-you.