For more than a decade, Sakara Life, founded by Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle, has been serving consumers plant-rich meals and health-boosting supplements and powders.
Now, the brand is venturing into the premixed drink category with Metabolism “Latte” Cellular-Energy Boost, $14, which is launching exclusively at Erewhon on Monday.
While Erewhon has been a key partner for Sakara Life over the years, with the health food store stocking limited-edition collaborations and its powders and supplements, the new latte will be a permanent fixture at the retailer in the grab-and-go drink aisle. DuBoise and Tingle attribute the brand’s success with the retailer to their overlapping consumer base.
Erewhon, which currently operates nine stores across California with openings on the horizon, is a favorite of influencers like Hailey Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian Barker, who both partnered with the store to create custom smoothies. The Erewhon hashtag on TikTok totals nearly 325 million views.
“They’re [Erewhon] really in the cultural zeitgeist at the moment, and so is Sakara Life. We really get to influence the way people consume products and get introduced to the brand,” said Rebecca Angus Smith, chief marketing officer at Sakara Life. “Erewhon’s target audience and our target audience is extremely aligned.”
“It’s almost like having an introduction through a friend,” said Tingle, of introducing customers to Sakara through partnerships with like-minded brands. “With the change with the iOS and targeting becoming more challenging, partnerships are a great way to know that you’re targeting a consumer that likely would be interested in what you have to offer.”
The brand also recently partnered with Bella Hadid and Kin Euphorics, a non-alcoholic spirit company.
“These brand partnerships are a way to infuse joy and not only remind a whole new set of eyeballs but remind everyone within our current orbit that when we say joy is a nutrient we really mean it,” DuBoise said.
Aside from infusing joy, these brand collaborations are key drivers for the business, as the brand has turned down most retail partners to date, according to DuBoise.
“That’s not to say that will forever be the case but to date, that’s been the case and something that we’ve been really focused on because there is so much education,” DuBoise said. “One of the pieces of education that is hard in direct-to-consumer is convincing people that nourishing and taking care of yourself can actually be delicious as well.”
While consumers are now flocking to stores like Erewhon for nutritous foods, Sakara Life came to fruition during a different era.
“I remember when we started and we had to tell people what wellness meant and what plant-rich meant. We’ve come a long way,” said DuBoise.
Now, as consumers are more health conscious than ever, nutrition is a key pillar. The healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss sector accounts for $702 billion of the global wellness economy, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
Sakara Life has tapped into that growth, with a slow and steady approach since its launch in 2012. While the brand is a private company and doesn’t share sales figures, industry sources estimate it will close 2023 with $150 million in sales. The brand attributes its growth to a mission-driven approach to creating the business.
“We say it’s our job to seduce people into taking care of themselves,” DuBoise said.
While Sakara Life was built on nutrition through its signature subscription meal plans, the team dove into supplements and ingestibles with products like its Metabolism Super Powder, $90, featured in the Erewhon latte. This is still a key pillar for the brand, but DuBoise and Tingle view it as an element of Sakara Life’s bigger picture instead of a separate vertical.
“For a chapter we were really thinking about [non-food] products as another growth engine. What we’ve learned is we don’t have to choose. They serve an incredible purpose each of them individually for very different clients,” DuBoise said. “Some people come to us only for our prenatal, some come for only our food, but what we were forgetting is that the combination and the synergy between the products is extremely powerful.”
To harness this synergy between supplemental products and meals going forward, Sakara Life launched its systems last year, which allow consumers to try out several of the brand’s offerings in a targeted program — Cleanse, Metabolic Reset and Gut Health to name a few. Not only does this approach allow consumers to try out Sakara Life’s broad offerings but it’s a place where the brand can launch new programming based on customer insights. For example, there’s been an uptick in consumers asking about perimenopause and menopause, leading Sakara to develop a new system for women in this stage of their life, according to DuBoise.
This open, highly engaged relationship between Sakara Life and its customers has been a driver, especially as education is key for the business. Since founding the brand, DuBoise and Tingle have harnessed multiple platforms to educate and connect, including Sakara Life’s social channels, The Sakara Life podcast, S-Life Mag and their personal channels — DuBoise noted their social manager recently got her a ring light to create higher quality content.
“We have a large audience, just under 500,000 on Instagram. We’ve had close to a million downloads now on our podcast, a large email list and client base,” Tingle said. “We’ve garnered a lot of trust with our client base and with our audience, and so it’s bringing in the right experts and sharing our point of view of what we know and what we’ve always known about health and nutrition and food.”
With partnerships and education at the forefront of the business, capital is not top of mind. Over the past 10-plus years, Sakara Life has raised more than $19 million in funding. “We’ve always been very deliberate with capital raising. When we have a need for additional capital for a specific purpose, we’ll go out and raise that capital,” said Tingle. “There’s potential that we’ll raise money again in the future for a specific need and with the right investors that support Sakara’s mission and vision and ultimate success.”