In Conversation with Arielle Kestenbaum of Fare Meals

Arielle Kestenbaum_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Fare Meals is an online platform at FareMeals.com offering families free educational programming focused on simple, healthy, and affordable meal solutions.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I decided to take the leap of faith when I saw how horribly COVID-19 was starting to affect everyone’s lives and wellbeing, especially kids who were going to school and depending on healthy, nutritious meals there. I felt with my background as a registered dietitian, and my passion for healthy cooking/eating, and understanding for simple meal preparation, I could really make a difference and help families that suddenly found themselves preparing all meals for children inside the home.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I am a registered dietician with a masters degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from New York University. Prior to launching Fare Meals, I helped create healthy school food guides for nonprofit organizations in the New York City area.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I always wanted to be, but never thought it would happen! It’s truly a dream come true. I am so happy to be able to do what I love every single day.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I initially issued a press release. We had a ton of interest and so much positive feedback from the very beginning. I also networked with other registered dietitians to let them know about my new venture. Many have been super supportive and share the information with their extended networks as well.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I am passionate about and in so many ways I want to help. In the beginning, I was so excited and wanted to do everything. After some time, I realized what’s most impactful is being able to hone in and focus on a few areas to really make a difference.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Launching Fare Meals and getting so much positive feedback from followers and website users. It’s a great feeling when someone tells me they tried a recipe or technique from Fare Meals and that it had a positive influence on their wellbeing. Impacting people’s quality of life through healthy food is what it’s all about.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

It’s important for me to find out what drives someone and what they’re passionate about. As an employer or business partner, I want to know what’s important to the people who work with me and what they value. My go-to questions and conversation starters are generally around those topics.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is actually what’s helped jump-start it. As much as I wish COVID-19 did not exist, it was my motive to start Fare Meals. The mission of Fare Meals is to help busy families who are juggling tons of tasks each day to create easy, healthy, and affordable meal solutions. Nothing has made this need more apparent than the pandemic.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We are in the process of transitioning to a non-profit and are currently awaiting 501(c)3 status. You can expect to see lots of family-oriented, educational programming surrounding all aspects of nutrition.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Don’t wait. Follow your dreams, and act as soon as you can!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

I wish I realized just how pertinent the information Fare Meals provides  would be to the general population. When you think about it, everyone needs easy, healthy and affordable meal solutions no matter where you come from. The more resources available providing this information, the better. There’s more than enough room in the marketplace for my unique voice and approach.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I’ve stayed grounded by surrounding myself with family and friends who help keep me inspired and focused on my goals. Nothing is more important than family and the pandemic has really reinforced that. With their support I’m able to channel my energy into Fare Meals to reach as many people as possible.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Yes, 100% I do. The quality time I spend with my family is where I get rejuvenated and motivated to continue growing and expanding Fare Meals. None of us can work nonstop and it’s not healthy. My platform is all about health, so having a work/life balance is definitely a part of that.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

LOVE foods that may not be considered “healthy”. My favorite food is donuts! I definitely indulge myself every so often. Everything in moderation.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Stay positive.
  • Make a schedule/keep a calendar. 
  • Take some time for yourself in the day.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I think at the core of entrepreneurship is creativity. Being an Entreprenista to me means working hard on accomplishing a dream and finding creative ways to do it.

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