Interview with Kara Rosen – Founder of Plenish
This week we caught up with Kara Rosen – Founder of Plenish. Kara talks about why her ill health led her to create Plenish, what makes Plenish nut-milks different to those on the market and much more.
What inspired you to create Plenish?
I was born and raised in New York City – and in my previous career, spent 10 years working at Conde Nast across magazines like Conde Nast Traveller, Wired, Men’s Vogue and House & Garden. NY in my 20’s was incredible as was all the travel I was doing for work – but flying and travelling a lot took a toll on my health. I spent several years battling infections like strep throat which I kept taking antibiotics for.
Fast forward 2 years of this and I felt broken. Exhausted, depleted and had no energy to be the active, social, travelling and creative person I had once been. I started seeing a nutritional therapist out of sheer frustration with the medical system being unable to help me – and with some simple but significant changes to my diet, I completely transformed my health. We’ve all come a long way with awareness about gut health, but I was pretty naïve back then. Turns out, I had completely destroyed the delicate ecosystem in my gut by taking all of those antibiotics and it killed my nutrient absorption and immune system. No wonder I was getting ill regularly and feeling low.
On the recommendation of my Nutritional Therapist, I came off all antibiotics and started juicing lots of green organic vegetables. They were high in nutrients, low in sugar and an easy way for my body to access the nutrients. I also cut out dairy which was causing further inflammation in my body. Within a few weeks I was feeling myself again and I have never been more empowered to share the new knowledge I gained during this period of illness & recovery. I wanted to live my life proactively – hence where the name Plenish was born. Using plant-based, organic and pure ingredients to fuel up for a full life so the tank never runs empty. The name Plenish and the proposition of delicious and convenient ways to nourish yourself came way before I knew which products I would launch.
What makes Plenish milks different to the dairy alternatives out there?
I can proudly say we are SO different and offer the best value to a consumer. Our products are uniquely organic, free from all additives, oils (I challenge you to find a plant-based milk out there without oil in it!), gums and added sugars. With our nut milks, we tend to use 2-3x more of the main ingredient like almond or cashew, which is why they taste so good.
Plenish promises to be healthy for you and the planet – we source our ingredients carefully and as closely as possible and have worked very hard with the UN to become the first carbon negative business in the category.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Not giving up! It’s been one of the great joys of my life building Plenish but it’s not come without tremendous sacrifice. There have been so many times when things got tough or I had to sacrifice things or moments in my personal life and I wanted to throw the towel in – pushing through those moments to find solutions, funding, new manufacturers or whatever challenge gets thrown your way is key to keep growing and the bit I’m most proud of.
Are you currently working on any new products?
I sold Plenish to Britvic mid last year and as part of that sale included a pipeline of incredible products which their talented team of product developers are working on. I’m not at liberty to share yet – but yes is the short answer. Expect more organic, clean label products from Plenish very soon!
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one, people love to give advice (I think the key is to hear it all, process it and take the advice that feels true to you!). I always pass along one piece of advice which is to stop occasionally, especially with your team and appreciate the view. Quite often, you are so busy looking ahead, trying to reach the next goal that you forget to stop and appreciate how far you’ve come.
What would your ideal day in London be like?
I have so many things I love to do in London and would likely not cram this all into one day, but thanks for the poetic licence to share some of my favourite activities and spots in London!
Have an early breakfast with my daughters at home and see them off on their school bus. Then, I love to get moving before responsibilities start. It’s my time that I cherish and sets me up for the day. Head off to Kensington Park, with a pit-stop for a coffee at Layla on Goldborne road. If they have their tahini banana bread, I will get one for the road! I usually meet a friend for my walk, if not – an audio book. I recently LOVED “Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah. I’m now listening to Gabor Mate’s ‘The Myth of Normal’.
If I’m not walking, the weather is bad or I’m stressed and want to get out of my own head, I head to Soul Cycle on Portobello Road. The combination of great music and inspiring teachers that push you to push yourself helps change my energy and I feel amazing after! I then head home for a shower and to start my day – I have a mix of meetings for Plenish or Ocean Saver, a beautiful new business I’ve invested in which creates highly effective plant-based home cleaning products with zero plastic – just little sachets that you hydrate at home. I also meet with a lot of Founders in the Women’s health space for investment opportunities or just helping to add value where I can through my recent experience building Plenish.
Here are a few more of my local West London places:
101 West on WB grove, bagels, challah, salads, smoothies.
Flowers – Scarlet & Violet on Chamberlain Road
The West Village for fun T-shirts, jumpers and jewellery
Farmacy for delicious plant-based fare
Prezzemolo & Vitale – Westbourne grove – a great Italian grocer with the most delicious olives, antipasti and ingredients that are perfect for entertaining
For more information on Plenish visit: www.plenishdrinks.com
Photography courtesy of Plenish