Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori on entrepreneur life and the importance of female leaders

You’ve probably heard of Daily Harvest through a friend’s recommendation or your coworker’s rant about how great the products are for the workin’ girl’s quick breakfast or lunch. Or maybe you heard about Daily Harvest when your favorite celebrities  (looking at you, Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams, and Bobby Flay) invested tons of money in this women-run direct-to-consumer meal-delivery service.

Regardless of how you heard of the subscription-based delivery service, it’s no doubt that Daily Harvest is changing the way working individuals plan their days, eat their meals, and stay healthy. Ladders spoke with Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori to find out her thoughts on busting frozen food myths, being the top boss at a rapid-growth startup, and the importance of the rise in female entrepreneurs. (Click here to learn more about Daily Harvest.)

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What’s the most surprising aspect of being a CEO?

“How much that title changes in meaning as your team grows and your business scales.”

How would you describe your management style at Daily Harvest?

“My management style is direct and empowering so others can do their best work. I remove obstacles and help my team see around corners. I also believe in giving people a little more than they think they can handle.”

How did you learn to delegate?

“It has evolved as Daily Harvest has grown at an explosive rate. In the beginning, I made every decision and had my hands in everything, but that wasn’t sustainable long term. As we’ve grown, I’ve hired people who are specialists and better than me in their respective fields. These subject matter experts have built out their own teams within Daily Harvest. I still work closely with each team, but they can run autonomously, while also working cross-functionally towards our common mission.”

What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you?

“The best advice I ever received is to aspire for the upwards slope. As an entrepreneur, every day is filled with ups and downs, and you never know what you’re going to face in any given week. Scott Belsky created an amazing graph (below) that shows the day in the life as an entrepreneur, and it’s volatile. On average if you’re heading towards that upward slope, then you’re doing okay.”

Is your morning routine an important part of your day?

“Yes, between running a business and raising two kids, every minute is precious and that means maximizing my mornings (even though I’m not a morning person). My two sons are basically roosters and wake me and my husband up EARLY. After we make the boys breakfast and get them ready for the day, I squeeze in Pilates or Naturally Intense, which is an eight-minute, trainer-led weight workout. It originally sounded a little too good to be true, but actually helps me feel strong and is do-able with my schedule. I’m in the office by 8:30 am and have a Daily Harvest matcha, smoothie, oat bowl, or harvest bowl as I head into my morning meetings.”

What do you look for when adding a new member to your team at Daily Harvest?

“The three A’s: authenticity, ambition, and adaptability. Having a team that is just as passionate about your mission as you are is the key to growing a brand that solves the right problems and stays nimble. I also look for team members that can take initiative and quickly maneuver through the rapid changes of a startup.”

What’s the interview tip you give out most often?

“The most important thing you can do is show your passion and hunger! Also, do your research and come with a POV.”

What’s the most exciting thing happening in your industry right now?

“I’m excited about all of the female entrepreneurs who have bubbled up recently in the health and wellness space. Women make over 80% of purchasing decisions in the U.S., yet only 4.8% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. This disparity has led to generations of men creating products and services for women that miss the mark. It was through this disconnect that I started Daily Harvest – what started off as a solution to a personal problem has grown into a business that’s changing how we take care of ourselves. I believe that women, when given the opportunity, can make the world a healthier and happier place.”

What’s the most exciting thing happening at Daily Harvest right now?

“At Daily Harvest, we are on a mission to take care of food, so food can take care of all of us. We are continuing to expand our offerings to meet our devotees’ needs for every craving, dietary preference, and time of day. We are turning every freezer into a replenishing pantry of delicious, nourishing food that fits the needs of life today. It’s a big ambition, but we are committed to our mission!”

The direct-to-consumer meal-delivery service industry is starting to get way more crowded. How does Daily Harvest differentiate itself from competitors?

“We recognize the challenges people face today. We work, we socialize, we’re tied to our phones and the pace of life forces us to always be on. People no longer have the time to care about what they eat or where it comes from, and they’re not taking care of themselves.

Daily Harvest allows consumers to have it all. We painstakingly source every ingredient and are incredibly thoughtful about the organic fruits, vegetables, and ingredients that go into our cups. We have developed strong relationships with our farmers to ensure that every fruit, vegetable, leaf, and legume is as good as we can grow it. We are also adamant that our produce is picked at peak ripeness and then frozen on the farm within hours of being harvested to ensure they’re as nourishing as what you find in the farmer’s market. When your box arrives at your door, just pop your food in the freezer and it’s ready whenever hunger strikes. Our recipes take only one step to prep and are ready in minutes.”

Has Daily Harvest had to combat the negative connotation of frozen food?

“The frozen category hasn’t evolved since the industrialization of food and suffers from the stigma associated with hyper-processed frozen pizza and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

Daily Harvest is different; our food is what frozen should be rather than a leftover relic from a point in time 70 years ago. We offer unprocessed, unrefined food with no additives or preservatives. If you source the best organic fruits + vegetables, allow them to reach their nutritional peak by ripening on the vine, and then freeze within hours of harvest, you don’t need these things.

Our farm-frozen fruits and veggies are also healthier than what you find in a grocery store. Grocery supply chains harvest produce when it’s still green (before it reaches peak-nutrition) and use chemicals and preservation methods to help it mature and remain ‘fresh.’

We’re committed to educating consumers that frozen offers the perfect solution to their busy lives – more convenience, superior nutrients and flavor, and less waste.”