- is not just a polite way to ask for a condiment.
My husband told me I needed to up my headline game, so there you go. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you either really love ketchup or just want to see if I’ve totally lost my mind.
Maybe both. Regardless, you might be wondering…
To answer the question, I’ve got a ketchup story.
My husband and I were out to dinner with some friends recently, and somehow the topic of ketchup came up. (It probably was the fries.) At any rate, the couple we were with told a story about the son of a friend of theirs - a kid named Evan Lampsa, who underwent open-heart surgery in 2015 to fix a congenital heart defect. After his surgery, Evan started to think about the need to create healthier options for people with dietary restrictions. He was used to being careful with food because of his heart condition, and he was motivated to create healthier foods for people. Since ketchup is a product that often contains a great deal of sugar and unnecessary ingredients, Evan saw it as an opportunity.
(pictured below are Evan Lampsa, and Evan with Reed Kastner-Lang)
Evan set out to clean up ketchup and came up with “Ketchup Please” - a non-GMO ketchup that contains no added sugar and has less sodium, carbs, and calories than mainstream ketchup. Oh, and did I mention Evan co-founded Ketchup Please with his friend Reed Kastner-Lang for an FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) high school project? Pretty remarkable. You can order Ketchup Please here or find it in various Wisconsin stores & restaurants.
So this week, What I’d Rather Be Talking About is how sometimes the hard things in life can actually be opportunities for us to do great things. It’s amazing what we can do in the face of adversity.
And while this won’t be the newsletter equivalent of Shark Tank, I do have a few stories of products, ideas, and super cool creations borne out of necessity and through sheer determination.
Here are some great podcasts with stories of cool products, foods, or ideas inspired by adversity or challenges:
How I Built This with Guy Raz talks to Jasmine Crowe-Houston, an entrepreneur who set out to help solve the hunger problem in America. Did you know that 34 million Americans don’t have enough to eat every day and 40% of the food produced in the U.S. gets thrown away? Jasmine wanted to do something about the hunger problem, so she founded Goodr, a company that works with businesses to take unused food and deliver it to those who need it.
Just the Good Stuff with Rachel Mansfield talks to Jason Karp, CEO and Founder of HumanCo, about the clean eating and functional medicine principles that helped him win his battle with an autoimmune disease. Hear how Jason figured out the key to health and used HumanCo to “Help people get back to human.”
On this episode of So Money with Farnoosh Torabi, sisters Elena Zienda and Christina Dorr Drake talk about Willa’s Organic Oat Milk - the company they launched during the pandemic and while Christina was navigating early-stage breast cancer. When Christina learned of her cancer, she was determined not to let it get in the way of their launch and googled like crazy to find other stories of founders who’d gone through cancer treatments while launching a biz. When her search came up dry, she was more determined than ever to prove it could be done. Well, she made it to the other side - Willa’s Organic Oat Milk is on the market.
“There are no dress rehearsals in life. This was my one shot to have a net positive impact on people and on the planet, and Willa’s was my ticket to doing that. I put everything into figuring out what I needed to take care of myself so I could be there for this brand and we could launch it.”
- Christina Dorr Drake, Co-Founder Willa’s Organic Oat Milk
Next, let’s hear about Purely Elizabeth, a grain-free, gluten-free company that makes cereal, oats, and snacks. Purely Elizabeth began fifteen years ago while studying holistic nutrition when its founder (you guessed it, Elizabeth) learned about the powerful effect that nutritious food has on the body. Learn about Elizabeth’s story here, or give her podcast a listen.
ON A SERIOUS NOTE
I started this issue with a story about Evan and Reed, who created a ketchup company while in high school. I’m going to end by telling you where I was this past Saturday night. My husband, sister, and I went to a Rotary wine & craft beer tasting at the Wisconsin Auto Museum, which is part of the Schauer Arts Center (in Hartford). The event was really amazing, and the place was buzzing with people. (Shoutout to my Rotarian brother Tim for the invite!)
Before we left, we were just sort of lingering in the lobby, which also leads to the Schauer Arts Center - an amazing non-profit regional center for the arts offering local and national musical and theatrical events, the Schauer School of the Arts, and space for weddings, special occasions, and business functions. Hartford is lucky to have such a center.
But do you want to know the coolest fact about this place?
It exists because of much community support and thanks to the relentless efforts and dedication of two very smart, creative, and innovative women who were part of the steering committee that brought the center to life.
And…both of these women were in their 70s when they helped shape what was to be the center.
One of these women was my mom, Dorothy Algiers.
My mom spent her life raising five kids and maintaining a beautiful home and life for us, and then, in her 70s, put her lifelong interest in architecture, art, and design into action for the greater good of the community she loved.
She didn’t let age stop her, nor did her friend and fellow committee member Faith Quandt (also in her 70s).
As my mom said…
I was chosen by the mayor of Hartford to be on the steering committee for the Schauer Arts and Activity Center. As part of this experience, I took trips around the country to visit art centers and theaters. I went to Boston, DC, and Pittsburgh. I was on a team of 3-4 people and really enjoyed working with them, especially one woman - Faith. She was about my age. We became good friends, and together, we more or less directed the creation of the cultural center in Hartford.
The moral of this story?
Whether we’re 17, 27, 75, or 99… we can impact the world with our talents and ideas.
It’s all about taking action.
And taking action doesn’t have to be something huge, like starting a company, building a brand, or creating a center. Action can simply be supporting local businesses. Trying out new products and writing a review. Spreading the word about a new restaurant in town. Buying lemonade from a kid. Or, it can mean telling others about our struggles and sharing our secrets to overcoming them.
The possibilities are endless. So let’s get to it.
Pass the ketchup.
P.S. Thanks so much for reading! If you haven’t already, would love it if you’d hit subscribe and share with a friend! Have a great week, and see you next Thursday!