We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittany Fuisz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brittany, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, having my own business was always a priority. I saw how hard my parents worked and loved that they were in charge of their own schedules. My father always told me that I should strive to have a career where I’d be making money while I was laying in bed at night or on vacation. My mother showed me that working and being a mom was possible. I worked for a large company for a long time while I thought about what type of business I wanted to start. When I came up with the idea for malibu mylk, I could feel it, I knew this was going to be my business.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career has evolved in a way I could have never predicted and yet I feel I’ve followed my path.  I feel I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I worked at Hillstone Restaurant Group as my first career after I graduated from Georgetown. It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. I was in the manager in training program and it was grueling. Plus, I was dealing with some family issues. I worked 80+ hours per week, I was working weekends, and it was psychically exhausting work, but I did learn a lot. I mostly learned that I did not want to work in restaurants! I was there for a few months but ultimately realized it was not for me and walked away from a great paycheck because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Meanwhile, I had also started a food blog and was busy reviewing restaurants and travel. I ended up writing for a magazine, as a food and travel writer part-time. I remember looking for full time jobs and my mom telling me I probably wasn’t going to find my dream job and may need to settle for something. But, I didn’t want to settle. I was 25 and I knew I wanted to combine my passion for food and business. Eventually, I saw that Yelp was hiring community managers in LA. I applied online. I had always used yelp when looking for a new place to eat. After a fairly rigorous interview process I was offered the job that I’d have for the next 7 years. I grew the Yelp LA community to be the largest in the world for the company. I hosted events with 2,000+ attendees. I got to be creative. I met a ton of people and I learned what it was like to work for a big company. Towards the end of my time at Yelp, I wasn’t feel challenged anymore. I loved that I was meeting business owners, but I wanted to be a business owner myself. I’d been toying with a few different ideas from pureed pouches for adults on the go to gourmet frozen dinners, but nothing seemed to stick. Then, the idea of flax mylk struck me and I knew this was something I had to pursue. The next phase was scary because I needed to take the leap put the money I had saved during my time at Yelp behind this new idea. What if it failed? What if I couldn’t do it? How do I begin to manufacture a beverage and how do I get it into grocery stores? What I learned was that every day, you take tiny steps and ultimately you will see progress.

I started slowly in May of 2018. I went to networking events where I met other founders and I asked a ton of questions. This was really helpful in the beginning and is how I found my copacker. I bought a lot of coffee for other founders and would just pick their brains. It took time, but I had my first production run in December of 2018. I produced a few thousand bottles and launched in grocery stores in January. I was on my way! And while I had come a long way, now the real challenges began. I needed to raise money, I needed to find distribution and I needed to learn about the cold chain. Perseverance brought on a whole new meaning for me. It was stressful, it was hard and I constantly felt like I was running out of money, because I was. But I fully believed in what I was doing, so in a way, there was never a doubt that I would keep going.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
There is so much to see and do in the city of angels! I’d start with a day in the West Hollywood area. I’d take them on a walk in my neighborhood. I live in the West Hollywood hills and love to walk around the neighborhood and see the houses and the views of the city. I’d take them for lunch at E Baldi in Beverly Hills. It has the best Italian food in the city. After lunch we’d head to Tomoko Japanese Spa for the best massages in the city! Then we’d go for a stroll down Melrose Place and do a bit of shopping. For dinner that night, we’d go to Chi Spacca and indulge in their focaccia de recco, a paper thin focaccia filled with a special cheese with one of their incredible salads and the rack of lamb. We’d order Magpies Softserve to be delivered to my house for dessert. Their softserve pies are unbelievable!

The following day I’d take them out to Malibu and show them where I grew up. We’d start the day with smoothies from Sun Life Organics. We’d take a morning hike to Escondido Falls. We’d have lunch at Nobu and walk around Cross Creek. We’d have an early dinner at Cholada Thai Beach on our way back into town and stop at Sweet Laurel in Brentwood for a piece of their gluten-free, dairy-free dessert.

On their third day we’d head out to the Santa Monica and Venice area. We’d start with lunch at Gjusta and take a long bike ride along Venice beach. In the afternoon we’d stroll up and down Abbott Kinney and we’d end up at Elephante for the sunset and cocktails paired with their eggplant dip and grass fed steak! On our way back into town we’d stop for my favorite vegan ice cream at Frozen Fruit Co. on Montana.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Padma Lakshmi has been a mentor to me for over 10 years. I ran into her in a department store a decade ago and asked if she would give me some advice, as an aspiring food and beverage expert. She told me to go to culinary school. So a few days later, I quit my job and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu. Thanks to her, I was able to develop my palate and my knowledge of all things food and beverage and also gain life long culinary skills.

Website: www.malibumylk.com
Instagram: @malibumylk
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brittany-fuisz/

Image Credits
Greyson Tarantino