On The RISE: Isabelle Steichen
Give us a brief introduction to you -- where you come from, etc?
I grew up in Luxembourg - a tiny little country in Europe - and moved to NYC in 2013. I had met my now husband in college while studying abroad in the US and after graduating from grad school in Paris, I decided to take the leap and move to the States to be reunited with him. I spent most of my career so far working for early stage startups and absolutely love that high energy environment. I also love building things from scratch and problem solving, which is required all the time in early stage companies.
Tell us more about what you do in your work?
I am the co-founder and CEO of LUPii, a lupini bean based snack company that I started with Allie, my co founder. We met in the most fortuitous way in early 2019, went on a few co-founder dates and pretty quickly decided to combine forces to build LUPii together. I feel lucky having found someone who I am so aligned with mission wise, but who also brings incredibly complementary skills to the table, while being an amazing human :)
How did you end up doing what you do?
You know, I like to say, I am a passionate plant eater and have been since 2013. When I saw the connection between food, the planet and animal welfare, I felt like I needed to empower others to make more conscious food choices as well. LUPii is very much the combination of my passion and my early stage startup background. Our goal at LUPii is for people to be able to live more plantiful lives and we do that through this mighty little bean, the lupini, that is SO good for human health and the environment.
Tell us about some of your earlier challenges
LUPii was in market for just 2 months when the pandemic hit the world and we had to quickly refocus our attention from retail and physical distribution in offices and boutique fitness places, to our online channels. We were able to shift and adapt pretty fast. While it can be daunting, it's a huge opportunity to grow and learn new skills quickly.
Any crazy stories?
Yep, when we received our first pallet delivery at our storage facility, we quickly realized that the truck was way too long to be able to back into our warehouse (it couldn't turn in the narrow Brooklyn streets). Then, out of nowhere, a neighbor from down the street showed up with his forklift (we obviously didn't have one) and he helped us get the pallets off the truck and bring them safely to the loading dock. He totally saved us and our first LUPii delivery! The joys of operations and logistics ;)
What do you wish other people knew about your work or your brand?
We are deeply mission driven, aiming at creating a brand that is good for human health, mama nature and all beings on this planet. Both Allie and I believe that what you eat can truly make an impact and that's what we are building with LUPii: a brand with a mission
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
My native language is Luxembourgish and even though I have lived in the States for over 7 years now, I still count and do math in Luxembourgish ;)
What are some of the things you are most proud of?
LUPii recently got into the finals of the Nosh Pitch Slam which was a huge honor for us.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My husband pretty much converted me to developing a huge passion for running during the last few years and I finally completed my first full marathon in Fall of 2019. I also love exploring creative activities like improv and most recently I took a pottery class at a local studio down the street from me in Brooklyn.