World-renowned surfer Laird Hamilton wanted a beverage that could boost his energy and help him stay on the waves. When he couldn’t find what he was looking for, he created his very own plant-powered solution.
Laird Superfood is the brainchild of Laird and his wife, volleyball legend Gabby Reece. Together, they’re helping everyone ace life's biggest waves with functional mushrooms, adaptogens, minerals, and more vitalizing ingredients. From creamers to coffee beans, everything in their line is vegan, keto-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, and 100% delicious.
Recently, we caught up with Laird to learn more about his journey and hear his advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
1. Why did you start Laird Superfood?
We started Laird Superfood because we discovered an amazing creamer recipe that we wanted to share with others.
I’m on the waves for hours at a time, so starting my morning with a cup of coffee that can fuel me for the day is essential. Back then, every creamer on the market was overloaded with sugar, oil, and other ingredients I would never put in my body. That’s when I started to experiment with one of my favorite foods, coconuts.
Eventually I developed our original powdered Sweet & Creamy Superfood Creamer. The MCTs and fats from the coconut combined with high quality coffee kept me going all day. As Gabby and I shared this coffee recipe with friends we knew we had something truly unique, and Laird Superfood was born!
2. What obstacles did you face along the way?
Launching this company has been a series of learning moments. One of the biggest challenges has been holding true to our high standards as we scale. Still, we stayed committed to using only real food while avoiding oils and other ingredients that would make production easier. Ultimately, Gabby and I decided that we wouldn’t use any ingredient that we wouldn’t put into our own bodies, and we’ve stayed true to that conviction.
That’s why our flavors — cacao, vanilla extract, and pumpkin powder — only come from real food. We refuse to use artificial or even “natural flavors.” So, even though caramel is an extremely popular creamer flavor, we do not have that option in our line because we cannot create it with real food.
The other challenge has been learning to try new things, fail, and keep moving forward. We are trying to show people the power of food and real ingredients. At times, that has resulted in products that didn’t taste great or couldn’t be produced consistently. In the end, each of those trials has led to delicious products that we are extremely proud to share with others.
3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Remember why you started. And never be afraid to experiment.
It can be tempting to make small concessions along the way. But, if you keep making those concessions, your final product won’t reflect your original dream. That’s why it’s important to hold firm to guardrails, beliefs, and purpose no matter what.
Also, keep experimenting and trying new things. If you’re going to change the landscape of the food industry — or any other industry — you must be willing to push boundaries, seek out new knowledge, and be a constant beginner. I’m always bringing new ideas home. My newest bike, for example, has no seat (It’s standing-only, because why sit when you could stand?). Gabby, meanwhile, uses her podcast to tap into an entire community of health and wellness experts, evolving her knowledge base every day.
4. What’s on the horizon for Laird Superfood?
Laird Superfood will continue to push the limits on what functional and clean food can be. We will continue to bring more delicious products to our coffee and creamers portfolio while entering new retail and public spaces. Ultimately, we want to take something you do every day and make it better. And we see many opportunities for “better” in our future.
5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
We keep balance in our lives by holding firm to our passions and prioritizing them. I have a clause in my company contract called the 20 Foot Wave rule. If a wave, anywhere in the world, is over 20 feet, I will be there! It doesn’t matter if I’ve committed to an event, interview, or meeting.
My life’s passion comes first and the same goes for Gabby. But we’re both driven to share the benefits of real foods and clean ingredients with as many people as possible.
- Meet the Founder