From Buffy to Business: Sarah Michelle Gellar Opens Up About How Hollywood Helped Prepare Her for Launching a Company
Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. With a turbulent economy, companies cutting jobs and employees fearful they’ll be replaced by robots, people of all backgrounds are looking to take control of their financial future and pursue their passion, including celebrities.
Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, George Clooney and Victoria Beckham are just some of the stars who decided to transition from La La land to entrepreneurial land.
And now Sarah Michelle Gellar, best known as the star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is also part of the startup world. The actress-turned-entrepreneur joined forces with friends who are also parents, Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman, to launch Foodstirs in 2015. The DIY baking company, which sells kits and mixes, wants to provide parents fun, yet simple desserts for their children, with a focus on organic, ethically and sustainably-sourced ingredients.
“We’re determined to help bakers around the world take pride in their pantries, joy in their treats, and time together in the heart of the home,” is part of their mission.
After raising a reported $5 million, the company has expanded beyond just ecommerce; Foodstirs is now in approximately 7,500 stores, including Whole Foods.
Gellar, along with her co-founders Laibow and Fleishman, will be keynoting our upcoming Entrepreneur Live event, a day-long conference filled with information, inspiration and innovation to help you achieve your dreams.
We caught up with her before the event to chat about finding success, her journey and lessons she learned.
Entrepreneur: Before you got into the world of entrepreneurship, you were best known for your acting. Why did you decide to jump into this world?
Gellar: I always knew I wanted to do more than just be an actor for hire. I thought producing might be enough, but I realized I still desired more. That’s when I realized I could utilize my great existing platform and actually be a part of creating something tangible. It’s been such an interesting process, learning how much of my existing skill set is applicable to being an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneur: Why did you decide to have a focus on food?
Gellar: Food has always been an important part of my life, as it should be for everyone, but that magnified once I had children. Our kids were so interested in baking, yet there was no readily available brand that had the attributes we would want and expect -- organic, ethically sourced, easy and affordable that also tasted amazing.
Entrepreneur: What has been the mantra that has helped you find success as an entrepreneur?
Gellar: The one thing being an actor prepares you for is rejection. I spent the better part of my life facing and dealing with rejection, and I have never let it stop me from achieving something I was passionate about. When it comes to business, for me the word “no” is just the first step to yes. That rejection inspires me to work harder, and prove those nos to be a mistake.
Entrepreneur: What is something that would surprise people about your entrepreneurial journey?
I think people assume that being a celebrity makes it easier to raise money and achieve mass distribution and that is not the case. Maybe it gets you in a door, as a novelty, but then you have so much more to prove.
Entrepreneur: What is one piece of advice you will share ?
Gellar: This piece of advice came from Galit Laibow -- one of my two amazing partners along with Greg Fleishman. Always surround yourself with people who are smarter and know more than you do. We have such an incredible group of advisors with vast experience in all areas of business that we can call on at all times. Their knowledge is invaluable.
Entrepreneur: What is on the horizon for you?
Gellar: Aside from our excitement at being part of Entrepreneur Live, we just achieved wide retail distribution (in over 7,500 stores) so our main focus at the moment is supporting our stores through quarter four and at the same time dialing in our innovation pipeline for 2018.