With just one look, you can tell that Brightland Olive Oil is something special. And, after hearing Aishwarya Iyer’s story, you’ll know why the company’s co-founder is equally exceptional. With a background in tech and venture capital, Aishwarya didn’t set out to reinvent the olive oil industry. But, that’s exactly what she did – one beautiful bottle at a time.
01 Why did you start Brightland?
I started researching the industry and quickly discovered the difficulty in finding pure, unadulterated olive oil. When we moved to California from New York, we were able to get closer to the farmland and we saw a better way—the time was right to start Brightland.
We set out to provide consumers with high-quality, honest, traceable olive oil made in the U.S. We all deserve to know where our food is coming from and who is making it from start to finish.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
I would have never guessed ten years ago that I would be where I am today. Running my own business has been challenging, but so rewarding. I’ve learned that there will always be unanswered questions and many, many problems that need to be solved (and more that pop up every day). For example, right before launch we discovered that our labels were defective – we had to hustle to sort it out and we ended up with an even better solution than our original plan. Facing problems one step at a time is so important.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur, you need to be nimble, adaptable, and extremely resilient. For me, it’s always been about putting my head down and doing the hard work necessary to get the job done. That’s the most important thing.
04 What’s on the horizon for Brightland?
I’m always thinking of creative ways to make Brightland a delicious and beautiful experience for our customers. Our original blends AWAKE and ALIVE were created to encapsulate those exact feelings. When we introduced LUCID – our lemon blend – and ARDOR –our chili blend – it was humbling to see the excitement from our community. We’re definitely going to continue to create intentional and creative combinations through special blends and collaborations, and anywhere else this journey leads us.
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
I really try to focus on living a life of joy. For me, that means always living with gratitude, being comfortable with discomfort, and finding charm in the tiniest of things. Unplugging from my phone for a few hours every weekend and walking my dogs, cooking with my partner, and entertaining my friends help me maintain perspective and balance. Remembering mortality helps me too – our time here on Earth is short, so let’s make the most of it.