Sarah Michelle Gellar wanted to take charge and gain more control of her career path when she decided to go into business for herself less than a year ago.
The actress and cofounder of Foodstirs, an online company that sells baking kits through its site and now in select Gelson’s Markets in the Los Angeles area, was seeing changes in the entertainment industry and the way people consume that content, identified a hole in the marketplace and felt it was time to try something new.
So she, along with Galit Laibow and Gia Russo, launched Foodstirs last year, bootstrapping initially before going out to raise a $1 million seed round.
“This was a new world for us and it was not something we were really familiar with so it wasn’t so much about raising money, but raising strategic money with people who have experienced that, who can help us with the roadmap that have experience—whether it was the food, the retail [or on] the e-commerce side,” Gellar told WWD.
The actress keynoted a morning session at an annual gathering of bloggers and other influencers, called #BlogHer16. The event, taking place in downtown Los Angeles, runs through Saturday.
The process for finding investors was a tough one that “redefines singing for your own supper,” Gellar told the crowd. It was a learning experience that made her look at the fundraising process differently.
“Right now, because I’m also an investor in Foodstirs financially, if I was ever in a financial place to where I could really [be on the investor side], I would love to do specifically female funded [companies] because I know how difficult it is to get your foot in that door,” she told WWD. “And people can say they want more female founders, but it’s still a boys club. I would love to really be able to invest in female founded companies.”
Foodstirs is fundraising again as it builds out its wholesale business. The company is set to launch in 30 Whole Foods stores on the East Coast, but Gellar said there’s potential beyond supermarkets in places such as Target or even toy stores since the baking kits could be purchased as gifts.
As more born-online brands explore company-owned brick-and-mortar, Gellar said Foodstirs also sees the potential in having its own stores.
“That’s definitely something we’ve talked about,” she said. “There’s certainly a DIY aspect. I think what’s really interesting and what people haven’t experienced is how retail and e-commerce can actually work together as opposed to cannibalizing. It’s a food product right? You have to try it. You have to taste it.”
Still, the online component will remain crucial, she added, in terms of building the brand and cultivating followers. It’s that social aspect, she pointed out, that is what legacy brands within the baking industry have long ignored.
“I think more of the purchases will come from [brick-and-mortar] retail,” she said of her business, “but I think more of the experiences will come from online.”