I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My father is an entrepreneur in the motorcycle industry, my mother had her own successful interior design company and my father-in-law has started multiple tech companies here in the valley. You could say that entrepreneurship runs in my blood.
As most of my readers know, I've been a health and wellness coach and blogger for about two years now. Taking the leap to do what I love full-time was terrifying, but something I knew in my heart I was called to do. My mission in the work that I've done over the last 2 years has been to help women repair their relationship with food and their body. It's beautiful and fulfilling work and I feel truly honored to work with so many incredible women.
Over the last two years I had been lucky enough to grow my practice to the point where I could no longer really expand my clientele and had reached the limit on women with whom I could directly work. With only so much time to offer clients, I began looking for alternative ways to have a greater reach and impact in the world of health. Then, last June, I had my "aha!" moment :)
In my sessions with my clients, I had started to notice a very clear pattern. Within the first or second meeting nearly every woman would ask, "What's the best thing for me to have after my workout?" All of the women I was working with were very busy, with little time for a proper, sit-down meal post-workout. So, as their health coach, my recommendation was always, meal prep! And meal prepped work... for about three quarters of a week. Clients would diligently spend Sunday night making healthy on-the-go meals and snacks for the office, only to call me Wednesday to say, "Darby, this is too hard! What can I do that's easy and on the go?". In theory, meal prepping is a great and effective habit, but as it turns out, realistically, that habit is extremely tough to establish and maintain. Thus, I began devising different strategies to help clients in their busy, on-the-go lifestyles. I didn't feel comfortable recommending any of the ready-to-drink protein shakes out there, given that the ingredients weren't close to being up to my standards and not to mention that most of these women wouldn't be caught dead holding a MuscleMilk post SoulCycle! No offense MuscleMilk. I also do not believe in meal replacement drinks. So, I'd recommend they grab a green juice after their workout, but pair it with some kind of protein and healthy fat (i.e. almonds, a hard boiled egg). The recommendation was intended to satisfy them in the post workout moment and buy them time until their next proper meal. The last thing I wanted was for them to be elbow deep in the office candy jar two hours later because they hadn't had something satisfying post-workout.
I began to clearly see this major hole. Nowhere in the market existed a post-workout drink that spoke directly to health-conscious women that was not intended as a meal replacement. Then, as if my thoughts had been heard by the gods themselves, I was presented with an incredible opportunity.
In June of last year my blog serendipitously reached the eyes of someone far from my target yoga-pant wearing, barre class attending, green juice drinking demographic. In stepped Sonny McCracken (pictured cheesing hard above). Sonny is the brilliant mind behind the initial concept of this new venture we've created. His "aha!" moment arrived when his fiancè asked him for a post-pilates snack recommendation to help tone-up and curb in-office snacking. He recommended that she consume a protein-based drink, and she responded with the common aversions: "I don't want to bulk up... I can't pronounce any of the ingredients... I'm not a bro." Light bulb! Where was the protein drink that truly spoke to her, and was tailored to her needs? NOT THERE!
Here's where the story get's really good (and tasty!)
Sonny's fiancé, Courtney, read and followed my blog and had seen a couple of my television segments on KTVU. So, when Sonny came up with the initial idea of building a women's post-workout drink, she recommended he get in touch with me to talk over the concept. Long story short, Sonny and I met up in Berkeley and he pitched me his idea. Within minutes, I was jumping up and down. THIS was IT! I no longer had to hack together a solution for my clients to help bridge the gap between their workout and next meal.
Today, roughly 7 months after that meeting over coffee, Sonny and I, and the team (we have grown) are so excited to announce APRÈS! APRÈS is a post-workout drink that is fully differentiated from anything else out there via its nutrition, functionality, ingredients and packaging. APRÈS is plant-based, organic, non-gmo, vegan, gluten free, low sugar, soy free and dairy free; essentially everything health-conscious women require of food and beverage products.
We are so excited to announce that we have finished our formulation (it tastes BOMB) and will be launching the product in late spring/early summer of this year!! We have just launched our website, drinkapres.com, as well as all of our social channels, @drinkapres . I'd love for you all to check out the site and follow us on Instagram!
So, what does this mean for health coaching and this blog? All of my clients know this, but my readers don't: over the last few months I've moved completely away from health coaching to dedicate all of my time to APRÈS. While I LOVED working 1 on 1 with my clients, APRÈS allows me to access and utilize all of my talent and passion in one place. My health coaching career was truly incredible and has lent invaluable experience to building Après (and literally intro'd me to Sonny!). But now, I get to write, create, brand build, network and truly bring this baby to life! In terms of the blog, don't worry, I'll still be here! Writing, sharing my health and wellness journey and building this community with all of you is something that I love and will continue to do. So, don't fret! I'll be writing more about APRÈS and what it's like to start a company on top of the usual health and wellness tips! If you have any entrepreneurial or brand building advice or stories for me, please share!!!
This post has been a long time coming and I'm ecstatic that I'm now able to share everything my team and I have been working on over the last 7 months! Please, check out our site, follow us on Instagram and Facebook and don't hold back your thoughts below or via email!
Darby and Team Après
P.S. Here are some more photos from our shoot, because I'm totally obsessed with how amazing they turned out! Major credit to Ashley Batz. If you need an incredible photographer, check her out.