Heather Scott is the founder and CEO of Purple Plant Smoothies, an organic smoothie company. I first met Heather at a Summit Series event in Seattle in the fall of 2011 and had a chance to catch up with her over coffee (Ritual Coffee, if you were wondering) on a recent visit to San Francisco. Her smoothie company serves delicious blends using all natural, locally-sourced ingredients to support local farming communities and a healthier lifestyle. This is her story.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the bay area. I was born and raised on the peninsula and moved to the East Bay for high school. I was a division one athlete in cross country and track throughout my childhood and college. So I was always trying to nurture my body to its highest productivity, which is how my connection to food came about.
After I graduated, I worked with startups. I realized there were no healthy food options when I was sitting at my desk all day. During the afternoon I would go get a pastry or a coffee and then just feel really bad afterwards. I realized there ought to be a better way. So I got a vitamix for Christmas one year and started making smoothies for my boyfriend that were healthy and had lots of greens in them. He would take them to work and people on the street would stop him to ask where he had gotten it. Then I started making them for my friends and their friends, and that’s how it started. I was able to serve a mission that I was passionate about, educating people about local food and how much better it can be for them.
How was your time working with startups?
My first job out of college was at a law firm. That was the track I was on and realized it wasn’t for me, so then I moved over to the startup world. One was a law and finance startup where I was an analyst and learned about what it takes to start a company from scratch. The second startup I worked for helped high school athletes get recruited to play sports in college which connected me back to my roots. I ran a business unit for that company, and in the process of doing that, I realized I could work the same amount of hours and do something more meaningful to me where I could impact more people than just that small demographic of athletes. Open up the idea of good health to everyone.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We source from local farmers. Spinach and kale are available year round here in San Francisco—which makes us very lucky. So we just change our menus to include strawberries, oranges, tangerines, or whatever else happens to be available.
Where can people find you?
At UCSF (University of San Francisco). It runs three full days of the week. Anyone can walk into the university, but something else we do is put the smoothie recipes on our website for people to get some inspiration, or we’ll go to companies and make smoothies onsite. That’s how we’re growing right now. Eventually we’d like to have public retail locations.
How large is your team?
We have about eleven people. We just hired our first, full-time operations person who is a registered dietician. She runs all of our catering events, which is a big operation because we’re working with big companies like Square, EventBrite, OpenTable, Optimizly, and we were just recently contacted by Box, so word is spreading quickly, which is fun. She can go in there and make smoothies for these people while simultaneously educating them about nutrition. For us, we’re always looking for how to best serve our customers; that’s our main goal.
What is the ideal diet you try to promote with Purple Plant Smoothies?
Diets should be obsolete and people should just eat real food that is sourced and grown locally. Just by doing that, you are eliminating a lot of fats, sugars, and processed things that aren’t good for you. So if you’re always sticking to that philosophy, you are always going to be enjoying a healthy diet.
What’s next for Purple Plant Smoothies?
We’re partnering with Bon Appétit Management Company and we’re working on building out Purple Plant locations within the locations they serve. That would be companies, corporations, universities, and colleges around the country. We’re starting in UCSF now, but our big vision is to be able to provide a quality product while supporting local farming communities globally.
To learn more about Purple Plant Smoothies, visit them online. Photography credit: Sasha Photography and Aaron Olson.