The Courage to Become | Sarah Rioux
The Courage to Overcome Fear and Grow Mentally, Spiritually, Professionally
Ciao! My name is Sarah Rioux and I am the Owner, CEO and Co-Founder of Ladybird Provisions, and we make Coffee Bombs. I am the daughter of an Italian immigrant who has shown me what it looks like to be brave, dedicated and, perhaps most importantly, to chase after a dream no matter how hard it seems.
Coffee Bombs are a pre-made Butter Coffee supplement made up of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Grass-fed Butter, Collagen Protein and other medicinal spices that help different aspects of the body and mind. Each ingredient is meticulously chosen and each of the five flavors are intentionally crafted to stimulate the mind and jump-start the metabolism. We are still a new company (only five months in) but the overwhelming response to our product has been amazing so far.
I moved to Austin in August of 2015 to marry the man of my dreams, Jon, who I fatefully met over five years ago. I am a person who strives on security so quitting a safe job that I loved to move to a new city, get married and essentially start over was challenging for me in many ways. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and recently went back to school for a Master’s Degree in Business. I had spent the last nine years working in Child Nutrition; as the Dietitian for Pasadena ISD in the Houston area and the Assistant Director of Child Nutrition for Fort Worth ISD. My safe career was rewarding in many ways, but there was always a part of me that didn’t feel fully content. I worked hard and I cared about what I did. I felt content and- here is that word again- safe.
I knew that moving to Austin would challenge me and force me to take the time to reflect on how I wanted to “dance” into this new phase of life, and explore what I really wanted to do professionally. My career was something that I had no idea how badly I wanted to change until presented with the opportunity…
How did it feel getting started?
Scary! It’s so funny to reflect back on but when Jon and I first met, I told him about this dream I had to open a healthy bakery. He loved the idea and constantly pushed me to pursue that dream. He used to tell me “Sarah, you work so hard for other people. If you worked half as hard for your self you’d be amazingly successful”. I loved his encouragement and the fact that he wanted to push me to be and do more than I thought I could, but I was scared. I was scared to leave my safe job that I was good at and comfortable doing to start something that was just a dream and so…unsafe.
Fast forward (or rewind) to August 2015 when I moved to Austin. I was forced into a naturally uncomfortable position (personally) of living in a new city and being unemployed. Jon was quietly but persistently whispering in my ear, telling me that it was the perfect time for me to start my own business, but I still wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared to walk into the “unsafe zone”. So, I naturally spent my time looking online and applying to jobs. I wanted to find another safe job that would make me feel content. I had a plan for my life but it seemed that my life had another plan for me. Door after door was closed on me which tested my faith and mental strength over the course of a few months. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me at the time but now, of course, I do.
After those few months of rejection, I took a part-time job as the Dietitian for People’s RX, a local wellness pharmacy in Austin. I did not like the job (in fact I was miserable there!) but as fate would have it, it is where I met Nicole, my current business partner and the other Co-Founder of Ladybird Provisions. She is a drugless practitioner (among other things) who started advising her clients years ago to add grass-fed butter and coconut oil to their morning cup of coffee. She put these fat bombs in a mold so it was easy to add to hot coffee and forget about it. I did my own research on the Butter Coffee phenomenon and was overwhelmed with its multitude of health benefits but underwhelmed with the process of making it. People NEED something fast, easy and healthy in the morning that they don’t have to think about, right? I went to bed that night thinking about this and couldn’t sleep. I got my first “Ah Ha” moment that night and this fire inside me that said “THIS could be a business and it is something that I think I can do”! I couldn’t wait for the morning to tell Jon what I was thinking and that I wanted to start a business making Coffee Bombs- the first pre-made Butter Coffee additive (with protein) on the market. I went to Nicole and told her that I thought we could make a business out of this idea and she was on board! Together, we started playing with recipes, analyzing the nutritional panel and sourcing ingredients accordingly. The more we practiced and perfected the recipes, the more serious and excited I became. I quit working at People’s and decided to dedicate all of my time to Ladybird. Best. Decision. Ever.
Oh man! There were so many. I had finally found something that I was passionate and excited about and felt as though it was just meant to be. But, having a great idea and creating a business were two entirely different things so I had a lot to figure out. I’ve never been in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) world before so I had to learn everything on the fly. Like how to form a company, name it, trademark it, research commercial kitchen space, health permits, cost analysis, ingredient sourcing, branding, packaging, logos, insurance, marketing, social media, finances, getting into stores (that was/is a BIG one) and the list goes on, and on, and on…. As daunting as all of this was, I was still having fun and enjoying the work I was doing and how much I was learning. And, for the first time in my professional career, the amount of work I put into Ladybird directly amounted to the productivity of the business. Figuring out how to grow is the next step. One with a whole new set of challenges to figure out and overcome. :)
What motivates you?
Fear. In all of this, I have realized that fear is a huge motivator for me. I want to show Fear that I can overcome it and that it won’t keep me down. Fear is such an inhibitor and stops so many talented, motivated people from reaching for their dreams (me included). I’ve overcome some of my fear-based obstacles but many are still there and surly more are still to come. Fear is a constant challenge to overcome but certainly, for me, a motivator to keep going for it, whatever “it” may be.
Which living person do you admire?
There are many people that I admire but none that I appreciate more than my mom, Patrizia. Like I mentioned before, she moved to the United States from Italy when she was just 22 years old to follow her dreams. She started off in New York where she became a Nanny and learned how to speak English. Then ended up in San Antonio, TX where she met my dad. She put herself through art school and has spent her entire life dedicated to her own emotional and spiritual growth and to helping others. She is a healer, a yoga teacher, an artist, a wife and an amazing mom. <3
What is your most marked characteristic?
I really love people. I have the ability to accept most people for who they are and where they are in the moment- even if it is not who I would want to be or where I would like to go. I try to appreciate everyone for their individual strengths rather than focus on their weaknesses. I guess you could say that I tend to see the best in people (for the most part anyway).
What is your motto?
Keep Truckin’. Life throws you curve balls and tests your dedication to the path that leads to your highest potential. Keep truckin’ when things get tough and have faith. It always works out if you let go. :)
What are some things that you are proud to have accomplished?
I am proud that I had faith and overcame my fear and started Ladybird. It was a HUGE step for me and something that I know had a profound impact on my psyche and confidence (even if I’m not totally sure exactly how).
I am also proud to have such a wonderful husband and great group of friends who I couldn’t imagine living without. Their support through this and the crazy rollercoaster we call life have been invaluable.
I am proud that I care about myself enough to eat right, exercise and sleep. Well, most of the time. :)
What are some hopes you have for your future?
I want to continue to grow emotionally and spiritually. I want my business to grow too, of course, but that’s not my entire focus. I think it’s important to work hard for what you want and even harder to keep what you already have. Without my friends, my husband and my health, there would be no business to work on.
Jon and I are also expecting our first baby in May, 2017. It is such an amazing and special time and the perfect opportunity to create something that I can be proud to tell this amazing child that is joining this world and our family in May.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to women who are about to embark on the journey you are on?
Go for it! Don’t let fear hold you back, let it motivate you to move forward. Make a plan, be prepared and go for it! Keep truckin’ when it gets hard. You will never know what could’ve been if you never tried.
Good luck out there!
I'm Catia, a woman, wife, mama, sister, sister friend, you know -- I wear a million hats just like you.
One of my biggest whys is that I want people to feel good about ALL of who they are. Including you.
If I could choose ten words that best describe me I would say: honest, welcoming, giving, curious, loving, earnest, empathetic, spiritual, playful, and sassy. Let's add: adventurous. That's 11.
Nice to meet you!