Kate Flynn

Building an online, plastic-free health food store.

location: Santa Barbara, CA

Company: Sun & Swell

Role: Co-founder & CEO

On Sun & Swell.

The grocery industry today is in need of a disruption - it largely relies on bad food (low quality ingredients) and bad packaging (single-use plastic). We are passionate about fixing this broken food system, and building a new kind of store that puts people and the planet first.

On being a founder.

As a founder, I feel like I can play a large role in changing the world for the better. As a female founder, I also get to inspire girls and young women out there & reassure them that they can be the ones leading the way to a better world in the future.

While running Sun & Swell, imposter syndrome has definitely been my biggest obstacle. It's a real thing, and my confidence escapes me when I feel like I don't belong. To push past tough moments, I’ve had to ditch my inner voice telling me "I can't…" I don't think I really started thriving as a founder until I started believing in myself and my capabilities. To aspiring young women entrepreneurs, remember that you are the only person who can limit your greatness. You need to believe in yourself and dream big.

My biggest femme power role model is Sara Blakely of SPANX. She hustled her way to the top, and wouldn't take no for an answer.

The best part of being a female founder is that (generally) female founders are ecstatic to help each other! We are rooting for each other, and lift each other up.

Difficulty in raising money has definitely surprised me most in building Sun & Swell. I didn't start learning about all of the crazy stats until I started fundraising, and I'm shocked at the disparity between investment dollars that go to male founded vs. female founded companies.