Coworking community, Coworking, Cleveland Coworking, LaunchHouse, Co op work space, LaunchHouse, PureFoods, Red Lotus Foods

Meet one of LaunchHouse’s coworking community members, Gabby Regalbuto. After leaving her previous job she set off to put her creative mindset to work. She has found the perfect outlet in developing marketing and social media with PureFoods. Gabby’s bright and bubbly personality has been a wonderful addition to the LaunchHouse community.

What services do you / your company offer?

PureFoods offers food services that sell dairy free products. They are currently working on Red Lotus Food which is a dairy free substitute to cream cheese and sour cream, along with various other toppings and spreads.

What is your role in the company?

I am the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator.

What inspired you to start (or join) this company?

I loved the whole concept of Pure Foods. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, but I feel there’s a need for cutting red meats and dairy. I think this is an awesome company due to their idea of not targeting veganism or vegetarian diets, but targeting people who want to have a healthier lifestyle. I tried the cashew spread after my boss introduced me to it. Once I tried it I fell madly in love with it. I think this company has great products and an awesome plan for the specialty food industry.

What inspired you to join the LaunchHouse Community?

I came into the LaunchHouse community during the remodel. I was wandering around when I encountered a fellow LaunchHouse community member, Jay Apple (of Tenant Magic). I was confused as to where I should be going, he asked who I was looking for, and then directed me. Just meeting Jay impacted my visit right off the bat because he was very sweet and helpful. Before interviewing here I had never seen a place like this before. At my previous job I had my own office that made me feel lonely. It was sad and depressing. After I interviewed with PureFoods they told me I would be working out of LaunchHouse. Once I started I realized it was a super open environment. If i wanted to be social I could sit with people, and if I needed to work on my own I could go to a more private area. If I needed help or an idea for a project I could collaborate with other community members. I love the free coffee and dog friendly environment. I’ve been offered a more secluded office space, but after experiencing what LaunchHouse has to offer I couldn’t imagine working somewhere else.

The best advice you ever got?

Being told to “Just do.” At my previous job my boss saw that I had this creative mindset and he encouraged me to just go do. When I decided to leave he was more than happy to let me go because he knew that wasn’t the place where I could put my skills to full use. Being part of a creative industry can be frightening. Older, established people would often encourage me to use that mindset and eventually I learned to just do.

What has been your biggest learning experience?

I’ve learned a lot about self-maintaining my work. I’m not micromanaged, my bosses want my opinions and ask for them. I’ve learned how to manage myself and make myself accountable.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

I’ve never thought about being an entrepreneur. I never thought about having my own business or owning something myself. Being here around all of these creative people, all of these different companies, I feel like they’ve been the ones to give me advice. It’s really cool watching everyone, especially the young people around here have an idea, implement it, and make it happen. I’m not an entrepreneur, but since working here I’d like to be.

Did you always have aspiration to become an entrepreneur? Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.

I studied journalism in school, but I always knew maybe I’d be a freelancer one day. After working here and thinking about what I would like to do with my future, I have done a lot of research. I’ve never been the type of person to just sit down, research, and go with my idea. The LaunchHouse community encourages me to go with that and pursue my entrepreneurial mindset.

Knowing what you know now, what would you change or do differently when starting a business?

I haven’t started a business but I’ve been part of the experience of PureFoods buying Red Lotus Foods. I think my bosses did an amazing job. Their taking this brand and doing great things with it. Watching them, I can’t say I would do anything different.

How do you define success?

I think success is truly just being happy with where you are.

What have been the challenges in marketing a dairy-free product?

It’s been pretty tough. The previous owner had a specific target audience in comparison to who we’re trying to reach. Our product is dairy free, it’s also plant based which means vegan. The dairy free market is about 75% of the population, the vegan market is between 3-4%. Obviously there is a much larger target audience when you’re measuring dairy free people. It has been difficult even coming up with a way to transition into the idea of what we’re about. We’re looking to promote a healthier lifestyle by substituting healthier options without stepping on anybody’s toes and losing portions of our audience.

How do you handle your social media critics?

At about a month in of starting marketing and social media for Red Lotus Foods I was experimenting with Instagram stories. I explored how our participation would increase with stories and daily instagram posts, for which I got quite a bit of backlash. I got direct messages saying I was influencing eating disorders, which I would absolutely never do, so that was a tough one. I definitely took input from my bosses and community members at the LaunchHouse to help me figure out how to go about responding to the criticism. We learned to not use specific words, and to not talk about celebrities. It’s hard coming into a brand that has already been established because due to its previous ownership it has already been established as organic and vegan. We’re not trying to solely target those two markets. I like to take the time to respond to both negative and positive responses about our posts. We had a poor review from a few years ago so we decided to find the woman who wrote it, and see if we can’t change her mind. We told her that we’re under new ownership, and that we’ve implemented many changes. I like to take a step away from negative criticism and consider how the previous brand probably contributed to that.

What tips do you have for delivering high quality social media posts on a regular

I think it’s really important to establish what social media platforms have the best interest for your business. Instagram is obviously huge right now, but it doesn’t pair well with every business out there. I’ve noticed we get a ton of traction on Instagram, Facebook, then Twitter. People aren’t really interested in us on Twitter because they would rather see pretty modern looking Instagrams. Prepping content is really important like drafting posts. Don’t write an Instagram caption on the spot. Take the time to write it, refer back to the picture, and use the entire brand. Make sure to be light, fun, and personable with your posts. We like to make jokes about ourselves, and I think people really resonate that. It’s also important that when you make a post, you’re putting up a clean picture. Another important area is paying attention to the engagement such as hashtags. When I hashtag something I look at other posts with that hashtag and comment on their feeds. By following those tips you can begin to grow your products fan base.

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