85 million people suffer from food allergies, so why is it so dang hard to find a snack that’s allergy-friendly AND actually tastes good? Enter: PREVAIL. Using 100% grass fed beef from New Zealand, it is surprisingly tender and free from the top 8 allergens. PREVAIL is currently available in four flavors: Original, Spicy Beef, Umami and Lemongrass. Snag a bag or two for yourself from their online shop!

Ashely Kohn, co-founder of PREVAIL Jerky, spoke with Foodboro about her philosophy that food is medicine, how she manages a growing business, and her advice for other founders with children. Now, let’s get snacking!

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How did you get started with entrepreneurship?

I’ve had health problems from a young age and as I grew older and took my health into my own hands after years of just being prescribed medicine for the symptoms- I found that food was the answer for me. We were making most if not all of my food and then when I had kids, it became even more important because they share my same food allergies. When planning to go anywhere it was just daunting to make sure that we brought all of our own food and I always thought, why aren’t there more real food products out there. Sure new brands started popping up, but many claimed to be healthy and were substituting with fillers and other ingredients I was allergic to. My husband was an amazing at home cook and was making jerky for me to travel with and we kept thinking that we should sell it. So one day we took a leap and PREVAIL was born.

What were you doing before PREVAIL?

I was in the fashion industry.

PREVAIL has really grown this past year, how do you plan for scalability?

Having a roadmap has really helped us plan for growth. We are lucky to have great advisors that can help us make solid decisions. Goal setting is huge for us and helps keep us on track.

Ingredient sourcing: how do you identify partners?

We network. We really try to find vendors from other CPG brands that we know that have a good reputation- do your due diligence. Plus we really look for companies where we can build relationships with. We love working with family owned businesses because that is the foundation of PREVAIL.

Retail relationships: do you sell mostly DTC?

We are growing our retail footprint and are constantly finding ways to increase our volume on ecommerce. We love interacting with our customers on our own site, it gives me so much joy when I get a customer that has found our jerky that has food allergies and LOVES what we are doing.

What inspires you? Who in the industry do you turn to for inspiration?

We love the entire allergy food community and all the good that is going on out there in the food industry. I love what Partake is doing.

Any other brands in the industry that you think are killing it?

Siete. Enough said. We use their products as a family and even my husband who doesn’t have food allergies loves so many of their products. From top to bottom, we love what they stand for.

As a founder, what do you do to take care of your health, “turn off” work?

Exercise. Even if I can only grab 20 minutes it is a great way to clear my mind and helps me be a better CEO and a better mom. It’s fun to do it with my kids-challenge them to a contest doing exercises on YouTube is a blast.

Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

What advice do you have for early-stage entrepreneurs? Especially those with kids!

Don’t be the smartest person in the room. Surround yourself with people who have been there, done that and listen and learn. If you have kids~ try not to let the business consume your conversation. Have times where you just put it down and make the kids the center of the conversation.

What can we expect next?

We have some exciting things in the works so stay tuned!

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