Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sydney Karmes-Wainer, founder, and CEO of French Squirrel, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

French Squirrel is a French-inspired, good-for-you snacking company with two primary product lines - Berets, vegan and gluten-free protein bites shaped like French hats, and Bateaux, nut-butter stuffed organic Medjool dates shaped like boats, both coated in pure 100% unsweetened chocolate without preservatives, stabilizers, soy lecithin, etc. At French Squirrel, we do not focus on numbers but on ingredients. Because real, whole food is about how it makes you feel – on every level.

Tell us about yourself

I have always been passionate about food and cooking. In an attempt to rediscover my love for food after falling trapped in diet culture, I began my food Instagram, @french.squirrel. Inspired by my late French grandmother, Sarah, and my time living in Bordeaux, France, I began sharing my meals, recipes, and favorite restaurants. What started out as just a food Instagram has now turned into a business, with Berets, nutrient-dense, vegan, and gluten-free refrigerated protein bites, and Bateaux, nut butter-stuffed organic Medjool dates, both coated in 100% pure, unsweetened chocolate.

I am also a Certified Hormone Specialist, specializing in blood sugar management and female health from a nutrition perspective. After experiencing hormone imbalances, I discovered a natural and holistic approach to healing my hormones through diet, exercise, and powerful adaptogens and herbs. What motivates me is my passion for food and sharing it with the world, but more importantly, my purpose. I wake up every morning feeling grateful for the community that French Squirrel has cultivated. I am so blessed!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The organic growth - I have not invested in paid marketing because the loyal following I have built has allowed French Squirrel to blossom organically.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

24/7 concentration. There are so many moving parts, so to be able to turn on and off certain parts of my brain for different tasks is definitely a challenge. Being a solo female founder can be tough at times, as I operate my best by talking things out loud. Having a community of fellow CPG founders has been huge for me and the business. I am so appreciative of all my founder friends and family.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't overthink; just start (the beauty is in the process, not the destination).
  2. Stay focused on your niche!
  3. Have fun with it. If you aren't enjoying it, your audience will feel it.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I truly dove into the deep end with French Squirrel - meaning I made (and continue to make) mistakes along the way, but with action. So many talk about ideas, but making them happen is another thing. Do not fear the mistakes -- it is where the growth happens! If anyone wants someone to talk to about business or anything related to personal health & wellness, I am here as a resource :)

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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