On this episode of The Foodpreneur, we’re talking the ancient Middle Eastern tradition of the Date fruit with Colleen Sundlie, founder of Date Lady. Hear the journey of how a move to the United Arab Emirates for her Husband’s work, turned Colleen’s passion for entrepreneurship and healthy food into leading the way for dates as a sweetener alternative in America!
Episode 19: Date Lady w/ Colleen Sundlie
Time Stamped Show Notes
- [1:10] — Colleen grew up with a sister passionate about nutrition, who would regularly cook for her and explain the importance of the nutrition she was consuming. “There was always food and education about food going on when I was young.”
- [3:26] — Colleen was a business major in school and took a job at an advertising agency as her first job out of college.
- [4:09] — Colleen sold her small ad business and moved to the Middle East for her husband’s new job where she took on a teaching position at a university.
- [7:05] — Colleen was blown away by the flavor when she tried date syrup for the first time.
- [10:02] — Colleen talks about “date culture” in the United States and in the Middle East.
- [12:15] — Colleen started her business by first purchasing a pallet of date syrup and reselling it at a specialty food store in Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, WA.
- [15:31] — Colleen imports Tunisian dates for her syrup and sugar in hopes to begin manufacturing in the U.S. some point in the next 5 years, once more new date farms begin to bare fruit.
- [22:33] — The cash flow and learning how to spend money has been Colleen’s biggest challenge.
- [23:00] — “If you stick to direct relationships as much as possible people learn about you and request you.”
- [24:22] — Colleen discloses what her goals are for the future.
- [26:13] — Colleen feels that everyone, no matter what socioeconomic status, should have access to clean, organic, “real” food.
- [29:37] — Colleen always has raw milk from her local farmer in her fridge; her kids love it.