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Meet Alison Velazquez of Skinny Souping in River North

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Velazquez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Originally from Mexico City, I was raised eating all natural foods. There was no such thing as processed food in our house, my mom made everything from scratch. As I got older and my schedule grew busier, I realized what a luxury eating all naturally actually was. Eating fresh took time & planning. Additionally, it was difficult to find real food that I could eat on the run, that accommodated my on-the-go lifestyle. At the time, I was working training clients in pilates and I found that my clients were experiencing the same dilemma. Although access to healthy, non-processed food was becoming more prevalent, there was still not a portable option. It was at this point that I decided to pivot and the concept for Skinny Souping was born. In my eyes, soup is the original health food – it’s a nutritionally balanced meal which satisfies. However, this originally healthy meal had been tainted by being filled with excess salt, dairy, fat, etc. I decided to bring soup back to its roots of being a nutrition-dense meal with no preservatives, but package it for today’s lifestyle.

I launched Skinny Souping originally as a direct to consumer business online and what we quickly found was that people loved our soup. In order to give customers more access to our soups, we launched into a handful of Whole Foods stores locally in Chicago in 2017 and have had a tough time keeping the product on shelf! Today we are in all the WFM in the Midwest, along with all Fresh Thyme stores and in all Mariano’s, Amazon Go ( Chicago) and launching into select retailers on the East Coast next month. Our line of drinkable soups makes a healthy, delicious portable lunch option that can be consumed hot or chilled. All of our soups are made from just a handful or simple, real ingredients and feature trending ingredients to satisfy your hunger on-the-go.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not a smooth road – I don’t think that exists for any entrepreneur. First of all, going into retail was a huge challenge to begin with. That was never my original plan and I have no background or experience with it. It’s been a day by day learning process where I am constantly learning from my mistakes. Having a refrigerated product with no preservatives creates many challenges in itself from production to distribution. However, I refused to compromise my values just to make it “easier” – instead I thrive on figuring out how to make it work. Of course like any business, attempting to grow & scale with little money & people is always an on-going battle. However, we raised our seed round of capital in February which has enabled us to really start our growth plan.

Skinny Souping – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Skinny Souping is a line of drinkable soups. All of our soups are made from a handful of simple real ingredients that have been thoughtfully combined to create a delicious & satisfying meal. Our flavor profiles feature trending ingredients and each of our soups was designed to be tasty hot or chilled so you can enjoy our soups any time of the year. I’m most proud of the fact that the company embodies all of my values – transparency, simple real nutrition and innovation. We’ve reimagined soup and are making a category which has seen increasingly declining sales in store relevant again.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
While I have very specific milestones that I target and evaluate my business by, my personal idea of success is much more fluid. Being able to throw yourself into something that you personally connect with, that is in line with your values, that motivates, inspires and teaches you on a daily basis is a broad idea. Being able to help people live a healthier life truly feels like a win for me.

Pricing:

  • Our line of soups retail for $6.99 each (16 oz of deliciousness)

Flavors:

  • Broccol Lemon Arugula
  • Red Pepper Chickpea Basil
  • Carrot Lentil Turmeric
  • Spicy Super Greens
  • Tomato + Ancient Grains
  • Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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