Zady Lady: Meet Sophie Milrom, Founder of EatPops
The #zadylady interview series highlights some of the brilliant and accomplished members of the Zady community. Submit your own on Instagram—tag us @zady and include the hashtag #ZADYLADY for a chance to be featured on Zady’s Instagram or Chronicle.
Summer and popsicles are the perfect pair and #Zadylady Sophie Milrom has created the frozen treat we have been craving throughout the heat dome. All natural and without sugar, EatPops is a healthy dessert with zero sacrifice. Sophie had just graduated from law school and was studying for the bar when she realized a juice bar was neither convenient nor cost-effective, and other snack foods she could get at the super market were too artificial to fuel her review. By making blends of fresh fruit and vegetables and freezing them, Sophie created a natural, refreshing and energizing snack, and transformed how we think of popsicles. Sophie works and lives on both coasts, and we caught up with her while she was in New York at the Essex Street Market, a local establishment that has brought fresh food to the Lower East Side for 70 years.
You started Eat-Pops by making popsicles in your own kitchen with an industrial freezer. How has the business evolved since then, and with its continuous growth, where do you see it going?
The first EatPops I made were for myself in my own kitchen. I was studying for the bar exam and was frustrated by the lack of truly healthy snacks available to me. Everything in the grocery store seemed to be filled with sugar or chemicals, and I didn’t have time to grab a fresh juice every day. I realized that by freezing fruit and veggie blends I could extend the shelf life and lower the cost of the juices and smoothies that I love.
I used my savings to manufacture a small batch of EatPops for stores in NYC. Now we’re available in most of the country. My hope is to see EatPops in the frozen dessert section of most food stores and, hopefully in doing so, change the landscape of frozen treats. Until now, things have been loaded with sugar, chemicals and allergens.
Life as an entrepreneur is non-stop, but your daily routine also includes meditation. How do you incorporate this into your busy schedule and why is it important for your day?
Growing up, I went to a Jewish day school. A teacher once asked me if I would leave the house without brushing my teeth. I said no, thinking that would be gross. The teacher then explained that it was important to view prayer the same way, as a non-negotiable. If you had the option of being two minutes late to your first meeting of the day or showing up without brushing your teeth, you would show up late (hopefully, you would also learn your lesson and wake up earlier the next day). What I learned from this analogy was that it’s up to us what we make non-negotiable in our lives. For me, it’s been important to make meditation a non-negotiable (and regretfully I do still mess up and skip from time to time!).
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about wellness is that you can selectively apply it to certain areas of your life but not others.
With flavors like Detox, Cleanse, and Glow, your popsicles are all natural and healthy- something unusual for desserts! How did you want EatPops to be different from other frozen options?
Before EatPops, the ice pops available in grocery stores - even natural stores - were basically water, sugar and then a drop of fruit juice or flavoring. EatPops was unique because we flavored and filled our pops with actual fruit and veggie blends. We didn’t use cheap ingredients and then call it a fruit bar. We also introduced vegetables and superfoods to the frozen dessert section of the grocery store. Until EatPops came along, you would have never seen the word kale anywhere near the ice pop section.
Sophie is wearing The Zady Collection Organic Silk Sleeveless Blouse.
EatPops solved a problem you had by providing a natural, healthy dessert alternative in a similar way that The Zady Collection is creating a natural, healthy option for clothes. How do you extend your wellness perspective to other areas of your life outside of the kitchen?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about wellness is that you can selectively apply it to certain areas of your life but not others. For instance, if I eat well and exercise but deprive myself of sleep, I don’t feel healthy. Wellness has to be holistic or it isn’t wellness. For me, feeling well emotionally, physically and spiritually are all essential. To achieve that I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night (emphasis on try), go to yoga a few times a week, read and listen to things that help me feel connected to things bigger than myself, and spend time with loved ones. My wellness routine also includes oil pulling, a vitamin regimen, face masks and dry brushing.
You are from the New York area and have been living part time in LA as well. What has surprised you about the West Coast?
I always knew that LA was health focused in the sense that everyone does yoga and drinks green juice. What surprised me the most, though, is how deeply the folks there also understand that happiness is a huge part of wellness. From taking a hike, to a walk on the beach, to a Sunday BBQ, I find that the West Coast really knows how to enjoy life and appreciate the simple things. There’s less anxiety and a greater sense of ease, which is crucial for health.
Since becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve had the room to figure out my own personal style. I place a large emphasis on comfort and versatility.
What are your go to outlets for style and business inspiration?
For business advice, I have a few specific people I go to. I’ve found that it’s not always good to get too many opinions and to be selective with whose advice to seek out. The founders of Sweetgreen are very close friends and they were the first people I went to when I had the idea for EatPops. They’ve given me great advice every step of the way. Later on, Daniel Lubetzky (Founder of KIND Bars) became an investor, so I now have him as an amazing resource. He’s not only an amazing businessman but a true mensch. I also turn to my fiancé and father quite a bit - they are my rocks, especially when I need perspective.
One of my favorite podcasts is called From Scratch. The host Jessica Harris interviews entrepreneurs, and her interviews bring out the most fascinating stories and insights. I actually had never heard of Daniel (my investor) until I listened to a From Scratch episode with him. I cold emailed him shortly after because I was so moved by his story. When I want to escape thinking about work and business, I listen to podcasts of lessons from the Kabbalah Center. There is one teacher there in particular who really “speaks to me” and when I need perspective and a shift in energy, I find that his lessons really do the trick. I also listen to Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin and Serial.
Sophie is wearing The Zady Collection Organic Silk Sleeveless Blouse.
For style inspiration, I look to my friends. One of my best friends Rachel Strugatz is an editor at Womens Wear Daily. Rachel took me under her wing (we joke that I’m her protege) and showed me how to invest in a few versatile items each season. At this point I normally get her approval before buying something!
Sophie’s Bi-Coastal Healthy Restaurant Tips
I don’t eat out often, but when I do there is an 80% chance it’s one of these places!
Cafe Gratitude: On the few occasions I do eat out, I usually go to Cafe Gratitude. The food there is super healthy and tasty at the same time. My go to dish is the macro bowl with extra kale and extra dressing.
Kreation Kafe: Kreation is known for its juice bar but also has amazing food. I think the grilled salmon there is one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever had in LA. My fiancé really loves their matcha drink!
One Life Natural Foods: This tiny health food store on Main Street in Santa Monica doesn’t seem like much, but it’s one of the oldest juice bars in LA (and best in my opinion). I love getting my green juice there because they make it on the spot with unique organic ingredients.
Sweetgreen: Sweetgreen has the best salads in the world. Whenever I order a new salad, I crave it for the next few weeks. I have eaten there for lunch and dinner in the same day. It’s amazing food in an awesome atmosphere at a reasonable price (basically heaven on earth). They recently added fish to the menu, which was a very big deal for me since I don’t eat meat.
Souen: The macrobiotic menu at Souen has many tasty and healthy options. I love going there really hungry and then just feeling so nourished afterwards. Their vegetable curry and iconic macro bowl are two of my favorite options on their menu.
By Chloe: Although I’m not a vegan, By Chloe is an amazing option for anyone who is. From their salads to their baked goods, everything tastes too good to be true (or too good to be vegan - but it is)!