How to Turn Your Lifestyle into a Business

Lessons from Lynnette Astaire of Superfood School

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE RULE BY TRAVERS JOHNSON. IT IS REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION. 

Lynnette Astaire is a true Renaissance Woman.

In the decade that I’ve known her, I’ve watched her move seamlessly throughout successful careers as a photographer and most recently, food entrepreneur. As the founder of Superfood School––a plant-based meal prep program that helps everyday eaters get more plants on their plates––Lynnette has tapped into the same creative spirit, insatiable curiosity, and authentic voice that have been the common themes throughout all of her endeavors.

I caught up with Lynnette recently to learn more about her company’s new product, Secret Sauce: Superfood + Spice Cooking Kits, and along the way she shared: 

  • How solving a problem for herself sparked the idea for her company 
  • Why taking a step back from her business was the key to moving it forward
  • How focusing on her strengths, not her weaknesses, helped her business
  • and Why you shouldn’t sleep on business-to-business (B2B) sales

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Solve for yourself

“This is a lifestyle that I turned into a business.”

Photo courtesy of Lynnette Astaire

Lynnette has a long history of being the change she wants to see in the world. At age 11, disgusted by the processed salisbury steak on the menu at her school cafeteria, she began making her own lunch for school. This move culminated in her launching her first food business selling Rice Krispies treats to fellow students and teachers.


She kept that same energy when launching Superfood School. When she began to suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) she made it her mission to heal herself through healthy eating. Along her 15-year journey of plant-based cooking, she encountered two main problems: 1.) how to properly prepare plant-based meals, and 2.) how to make them taste good. In finding creative solutions to these two challenges, she realized that she could build a business around teaching others how to get more plants on their plates, easily and deliciously. 

“This is a lifestyle that I’ve turned into a business,” she said.  And a very successful one, at that. Since launching Superfood School in 2018, Lynnette has cooked up an organic community, hosting more than 100 retreats and plant-based cooking events for top companies including WeWork, MAC Cosmetics, Citibank, Soho House, and Summit Series. 

Chef Lynnette has hosted Superfood School pop-up classes in cities across the country (i.e. Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, and Atlanta), and has partnered with companies including MAC Cosmetics and WeWork. (Photos courtesy of Lynnette Astaire/Superfood School)

Step back to move forward

“At the end of the day, I had to follow my own intuition and curiosity.”

As Superfood School’s events gained some traction, the pressure to conform to the startup trajectory popularized in the media––form a team, build a groundbreaking product, raise money from investors, scale the company into a multimillion-dollar business, etc.––grew. 

As a result, Lynnette began to explore that path.  “I basically got an MBA last year learning the ins and outs [of startup world],” she said. But somewhere amidst all of the pitch decks and spreadsheets, she began to lose sight of the heart of her business––and herself. 
 
“I spent the last year, learning to be something I’m not,” she explained.
 
After launching the kits over the holiday, Lynnette took a pause to regroup. For her, that was a mix of rediscovering her artistic roots at Art Basel in Miami, long distance running as a form of therapy, morning visualization sessions, mid-day meditation to recharge, and lots of journaling. After trying to conform to the typical startup “rules,” she reconnected with her creative spirit and returned to her business refreshed.  
 
“At the end of the day, I had to follow my own intuition and curiosity.”

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Focus on your strengths

“Superfood School isn’t just data-based, it’s Lynnette-based. I am the algorithm.”

One of the biggest lessons she’s learned is that there is power in focusing on your unique strengths. “People often want to do things they are not equipped to do,” she said. “But one of the most important things about being an entrepreneur is really knowing who you are and what your voice is.”

So she tapped into her knowledge of self and used it to triple down on her product. That meant ditching (most of) the data and following her intuition. “Superfood School isn’t just data-based, it’s Lynnette-based,” she explained. “I am the algorithm.” The same personal characteristics that have helped her succeed in the past ventures––authenticity, creativity, and curiosity––are the strengths that would propel her forward in this one.

From there, the Secret Sauce: Superfood + Spice Kits came together. The kits delivers flavor, function, and fun straight to the doors of everyday eaters to help them get more plants on their plate, no matter their diet.   

Each kit comes with six superfood + spice sacks and six recipe cards, and includes access to online content and a meal prep course. Additionally, every kit offers three meal plans designed to meet customers wherever they find themselves on their plant-based journey: 1. SuperFlex (for “flexitarians”––people new to a plant-based diet); 2. SuperVeg (best for practicing vegans); and 3. SuperHero (advanced plant-based eaters).

The Secret Sauce: Superfood + Spice Kit is available at www.superfoodschool.com (Photo courtesy of Lynnette Astaire/Superfood School)

Don’t sleep on B2B

“I’m best talking to bosses.”

The rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies was one of the biggest trends of the last decade, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. You’re probably familiar with large brands like Warby Parker (eyeglasses), Casper (mattresses), and Blue Apron (meal kit delivery), but DTC as a business model has been especially viable for Black-owned online businesses who often lack the capital and access to be carried in traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Some of the most successful Black-owned consumer goods companies like Bevel, The Lip Bar, Scotch Porter, and True laundry detergent have significant DTC sales. 

That said, the best business model is the one that works for your business. In the earliest days of Superfood School, Lynnette and team were successful in building relationships with brands through experiential events (e.g. WeWork, MAC Cosmetics, Summit Series). So they tapped into this same business-to-business (B2B) sales channel with the launch of the kits, which are a scalable version of the events.

Photo courtesy of Lynnette Astaire

To be clear, there is a DTC sales component for the Secret Sauce kits––anyone can buy a kit on the Superfood School website. However, some of the first sales have come directly from companies who have purchased the kits to distribute to their employees as part of their wellness perks program or as one-off gifts. 

This B2B approach is beneficial from both a sales and marketing perspective: 1. it brings in revenue from bulk orders, and 2. the distribution from the purchasing business to their employees helps Lynnette and team reach potential new customers.

“I’m best talking to bosses,” Lynnette said, explaining how her experience in B2B sales in the past prepared her for selling the Secret Sauce kits to other businesses. “Whether it’s been an art director for a magazine or a sales director at a company, I’m used to working with the decision-makers.”

To learn more about Superfood School and to get your own Secret Sauce kit, visit their website and follow them on Instagram.

Written by theRule