Founder Spotlight: Irene Liu
Tell us a bit about your company
Nouri is the first adaptive meal plan that fuses Eastern food therapy with Western nutrition to help expecting mothers feel their best from trying to conceive through postpartum. While meal plans are our first product, we plan to expand on our Eastern therapy philosophy to become the holistic health “one-stop-shop” for life’s most critical stages.
What inspired you to start Nouri?
The pregnancy journey is uniquely challenging in the US. Nutritional needs become ever more important for nourishing mom and baby, pregnancy symptoms change at each stage and more women are working demanding jobs, living away from their closest friends and family. Other cultures have long relied on therapeutic food rituals to both meet nutritional needs and manage these symptoms… so why don’t we have that in the US?
What about your personal background, experience, or perspective fuels your passion for this venture?
This is a deeply personal problem for me as I look ahead. In the last few years, conversations with friends has gone from how to advance in our careers to how to balance advancement with motherhood. I remember seeing my pregnant or recently back-to-work mgrs eating Cheez-its for lunch and rushing to breastfeed in between meetings. Meanwhile, I also saw my mom send my aunt daily Traditional Chinese Medicine postpartum meals after birth. As I started researching more into these postpartum traditions, I learned that other cultures have long relied on therapeutic food rituals to both meet nutritional needs and manage these symptoms.
What has been one or two of the biggest learnings so far?
Building the right team culture is tough, especially with the quick pace, ups and downs and being remote while building a startup. The right processes and expectations need to be put in place upfront to avoid miscommunication and mistakes down the road!
What are a surprise or two that you’ve encountered as an entrepreneur?
I expected it to be difficult, but I didn’t expect how emotionally turbulent and all-consuming it could become. I’ve really needed to establish guardrails for myself and learn how to manage anxiety over things I can’t control.
What is an obstacle you anticipate grappling with as you continue to build this venture?
My background has always been in strategy, and it’s a whole new ballgame to start a heavy operations business. Making sure you have the right people and skillsets around you where you don’t have expertise is critical.
What are one or two of the biggest wins or most encouraging experiences you’ve had so far?
We’ve delivered nearly 1000 products (meals, snacks, teas & broths) Our early customers have loved our product — We’ve had 100% retention rate of our subscription customers in our first two weeks in market.