Meet Kailey Donewald, Sacred Serve

Sacred Serve is a conscious creamery proudly manufacturing the Midwest's first and only organic, raw vegan gelato made from whole coconuts. All flavors are handmade in small batches using organic coconut meat as the base and lightly sweetened with unrefined, low-glycemic coconut sugar. Every product is strictly free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, GMOs, stabilizers/ preservatives.

What do you love about your business and industry?

We love the products and culture we've created! We spent 5+ years refining our recipes in order to get the perfect taste and texture without relying on the use of gums and stabilizers. We also love that we have the ability to get creative. We are constantly experimenting in the kitchen and trying out the latest superfoods and supplements in order to deliver a truly functional product to the market - one that doesn't compromise taste for quality and nutrition. We love the industry because it's rapidly changing and start-ups like ourselves have the chance to truly affect change. We are able to connect with consumers on the ground level and get a pulse on what it is they're looking for - and deliver on it. The traditional marketing and distribution channels are being disrupted and it's an incredible time to bring a product to market.

Tell us what inspires you.

Connecting with like-minded individuals and hearing their stories. Sacred Serve has given us a platform to reach people who, like us, care deeply about health and nutrition. Seeing them embrace our product and recognize its value is a feeling unlike any other. When you're working 60+ hours a week and focusing on all areas of the business, it's easy to forget the WHY of how it all started. When we get the chance to connect with consumers at events or get a message on instagram - that is what truly inspires us to keep going. It's thrilling to be building a community alongside a brand.

What advice do you have for other creatives and entrepreneurs?

Trust yourself, humble yourself, and cultivate patience and perseverance. The majority of people are going to be skeptical of new ideas and/ or anything that challenges the status quo.. so it's up to the entrepreneur to not only believe in their idea, but also trust in their own ability to execute it.

What is something surprising about you (secret talent, unexpected fact, fear, etc)?

I re-designed my entire life so I could move to Bali a few years ago (quit a job, sold all my things, went back to school, and built up a location independent business). I lived there for about a year before coming back to Chicago to start Sacred Serve. I've also lived on an ashram in India on two separate occasions to study yoga and meditation.

What is the most common question you get about you and your business?

Where can I find your product? We have since printed out a list of locations to reference at events which is also up on our website under the "buy now" tab.

Tell us about your process for making and creating.

It's always a collaborative effort. Whether it's package design or recipe development - I've found most success in collaborating with others. When I was trying to come up with our package design all on my own, I was hitting a wall and knew I needed to infuse the project with fresh perspectives. So, I bought a last minute plane ticket to somewhere cheap (Slovenia it was!) for a month with the intent of connecting with some local creative forces to give the project new life. Within 2 days I found myself at a coworking space in Ljubljana chatting with two of the most talented designers/ artists in the city. From there - we spent months finalizing the concept for the package design you see today! The same goes for recipe development - it's a collaborative effort between the founders and consumers.

Name three local makers and brands that you are inspired by and why.

1. Nathan Wyse of Arize Kombucha for his dedication to his craft. His product is next level and every time I chat with Nathan I understand why. He's thoughtful and diligent and truly understands the nuances of brewing. He has also established a very high level of integrity in his processes which naturally results in a superior product.

2. Simple Mills is another brand I am inspired by. Using real ingredients to craft products that are uncompromising in their taste and quality while leading the way for the simple foods movement.

3. Keith Alaniz and Kimberly Jung of Rumi Spice for their work with saffron in Afghanistan. The company works to bring sustainably farmed saffron to customers world-wide and employs more than 1900 women in Afghanistan.

What is the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped your business?

The best advice I have received recently came in response to feeling hopeless about the current state of our business finances (which was just a dramatic entrepreneurial low moment). But nonetheless, the advice I got was "just keep practicing and getting better, the results will follow." It's reshaped the entire way I think about the business. It's so simple. Instead of focusing on the sales (or lack thereof) It's put the attention back onto the product and processes and allowed me to cultivate more patience and grace with our traction. Reminding myself that this is new, we are learning as we go, and we ARE getting better and better everyday is enough to squash the feelings of inadequacy that so often accompany a new venture. Since that advice, we continue to see more and more traction with our products and I believe when we focus on making the best product we can, the market will embrace us.

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Jessica Cohen