Hodge got her start in the plant-based sector in 2006 while working for nutrition brand Vega, where she learned the ins and outs of entrepreneurship from Vega founder Charles Yang.
“I was working for Vega using the product, making 2-3 smoothies a day and realized I had nothing but produce in my fridge and frozen fruit in my freezer and greens on the counter.
And I'd often find that things would go bad because I'd go away for the weekend or my kitchen was a disaster after I made my smoothie in the morning. So I thought to myself, there's just going to be a better way, there's got to be a way to simplify this whole process. So that's exactly what I did,” said the Blender Bites founder and CEO.
Blender Bites’ 1-Step Smoothies and Frappes are frozen cylinders made to simplify the smoothie process. The pucks are made with organic fruits, greens and functional ingredients such as probiotics, adaptogenic mushrooms and collagen. Both SKUs can be made with the use of a blender or a shaker cup.
Hodge credits her background in business and capital markets, but said her success also comes down to the people she surrounds herself with.
“You're only as strong as your network. So really get out there, attend the events, go sit in lobby bars where certain bankers hang out and just build those relationships. I think that's super important-it's paid off tenfold for me building the company. Join groups. There's lots of women founder groups out there, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship groups [where you can] get access to other people and their journeys.”
Another piece of advice? “Bootleg as much as you can in the beginning.”
“I worked full time building Blender Bites. We were manufacturing on the weekends for two years. So keep your full time work as long as you can until you've proven the company and you know that there's a source of investment coming in. And always ask for more than you think you're going to need because building a consumer brand takes an extreme amount of capital, much more than you think you're going to need.”