Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Bartow, Founder of Wanna Date?, located in New York, NY, USA.

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

Wanna Date? is on a mission to satisfy the world's sweet cravings naturally with dates! Date spread provides a vegan, paleo, low calories, added-sugar-FREE alternative to honey, Nutella, and nut butters. Wanna Date? started in my dorm room in 2017 as a solution to my own frustrations with cravings for sweets but want to avoid all of the added sugars in the market. Shortly after graduating from NYU in 2019, I appeared on ABC's Shark Tank, landed a deal with Mark Cuban, and launched a second product line of delicious, flavorful, "Just-Add-Water" Date DOUGH mixes! Date Dough offers an easy-to-make, grain-free/paleo-friendly alternative to edible cookie dough. Date Dough is a dry mix of FOUR INGREDIENTS: ground dates, coconut flour, almond flour, and one flavor component per SKU (cocoa powder for Chocolate Brownie, cinnamon for Snickerdoodle, and vanilla for Birthday Cake). Simply follow the instructions provided on the back of every pouch; add 2 tbsp of water to a serving of date dough, mix it, and in moments you have ready-to-eat dough! No baking is necessary, although customers can certainly get creative. Date Dough can be used in a variety of ways: Bake cakes, make chocolate brownies or vegan cookies, snickerdoodle banana bread... the ideas are endless!

Date Spread is unmatched by any other product out there when it comes to nutritional profile and taste. Not to mention it comes in a variety of flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, Original, and Cookie. All of our date spreads are best enjoyed atop pancakes or toast, stirred in oatmeal, yogurt, and things like chia pudding. You can blend it in smoothies, bake in breads,  brownies, and treats, or top it on acai bowls... you can even put date spread in the freezer - it'll turn into FUDGE! My favorite way to eat Wanna Date? is simply by the spoonful. Guilt-free. Date spread is 25 calories per tablespoon serving; it is paleo-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, and contains no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It truly tastes like indulging & satisfies every sweet craving.

Tell us about yourself

I had my first date (the fruit... I'd been on dates before) when I moved to New York City for college, and it was love at first bite. Dates are SO sweet and SO good for you! Better yet, dates have kept all of my unhealthy sugar cravings away. Over time I found myself feeling so much happier and energized from eating foods that were so natural (and freaking delicious) that didn't leave me feeling guilty. Food guilt was something I struggled with for years. Now at 26 years, I continue to lead a 100% paleo, naturally sweet life devoid of added sugars WHILE satisfying any/all of my cravings - thanks to dates!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Landing a deal on Shark Tank!

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

Literally everything. If it were easy, everyone would be a business owner.

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

  1. Don't look to start a business; Look to solve a problem or gap in an industry.
  2. Always go with your gut.
  3. If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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