Meet Kesha Stickland
PAOW! (standing for People And Our World) offers a delicious, diverse and sustainable alternative to animal protein with flavors and textures that substantially mimic meat-based counterparts. PAOW! strives to educate and inspire a lifestyle and protein shift by providing a fantastic versatile product without ever having to compromise.
Ormond Beach, Florida
When did you launch the business?
What led you to where you are today?
First and foremost, I am and have always considered myself a foodie. I’m a native of the NYC metro area and after graduating from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, I dabbled in the foodservice industry via various public accounting roles and was lured to Florida by a company named Shoes for Crews, a global leader in slip-resistant footwear and supplier to 90 of the top 100 restaurant chains in the country. Through the years as the Controller, and later the VP of Finance, I found myself leading divisions from all over the world and dealing with all kinds of financial and operational challenges, but never lost my interest in the food industry. In 2018, I was approached by Future Foods, and upon tasting the product realized that I had found my calling. I recall exclaiming “This should be in every freezer in this US!”
What do you wish you knew before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey?
As someone initially more familiar with coins than conversation, I wish I’d known how valuable it is to highlight the people — from co-workers to consumers. I’m grateful to have learned this over the years, and that’s why I’m so proud to now be at PAOW!, a product that desires to lead a plant-protein shift for the people and our world.
What is the most difficult decision you've had to make regarding your business so far?
The day I joined the company, I was told that our European supplier had cut us off. We immediately had to determine a way to bring production to the US without disrupting our customer base so we decided to create an in-house facility as quickly as possible. It was a difficult decision to make that was not made easier when COVID hit. We literally had to start our sales process from scratch! We persevered, pivoted and now not only do we sell to our food-service customers, we are also launching a retail e-commerce site.
What can you help the VEGPRENEUR community with?
To be a guide on leading this plant-based shift into more of the mainstream. Plant-based products don’t need to compromise on flavor, nor do they need to have complex ingredients. I hope to showcase PAOW! as a leading example that educates and inspires this lifestyle movement.
How can the VEGPRENEUR community help you?
We would love to make PAOW! a mainstream protein. With the versatility, texture, and limited ingredients, we hope to make it a mainstay and help reduce the unsustainable impact that consumption of animal proteins has made on the planet. Plant-Based without compromise!
Fun fact about you:
I have two kids, I love family and enjoy playing competitive beach volleyball!
Anything else you would like to share?
We all know that the plant-based protein shift has begun and it’s all about having… Good product, Sustainable product, Healthy product! I can’t tell you how many people I’ve served that don’t believe that PAOW! is plant-based and it is such an A-HA moment. Let’s keep up the momentum!Connect With Alex Apply To Get Featured on Founder Spotlight Join the VEGPRENEUR Facebook Group
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