Meet Mo Clancy, Co-Founder at Five Suns Foods/Black Acorn Ventures and Founder of Seed + Salt Restaurant.
You're such a creative entrepreneur. Can you tell us about your career and what led you there?
I’ve pretty much zig zagged my whole career. I guess the common thread was that I have always focused on things that held a sense of unlimited possibility and allowed me to express myself creatively. I have done everything from working with influencers to beauty/fashion to most recently food (because it is one of the most important and pleasurable things we do!). My career choices have not always been the easiest or most obvious ones. Maybe it was insatiable curiosity, a thirst for wonder or just plain fate that led me from one to the other but looking back I now see how they all fit together.
[image-caption caption="My career choices have not always been the easiest or most obvious ones. Maybe it was insatiable curiosity, a thirst for wonder or just plain fate that led me from one to the other but looking back I now see how they all fit together." type="highlight"]
What made you decide to start your newest venture?
Five Suns Foods is another twist on the road of serendipity!
In 2014, I opened the first completely clean, plant based restaurant in the US, Seed + Salt. It was born out of my own experiences with food and finding the right way to eat for myself. I wanted to eat in a way that made me feel good but also satisfying on a sensory level.
Although Seed + Salt was a little place it ended up having a bigger impact than I ever anticipated. We only used whole, real foods, never added processed or GMO ingredients, and were always honest with our customers about what they were eating. People started coming from all over the world. Chefs would visit to get inspiration. Folks with food sensitivities would show up every day because they knew they could actually eat and enjoy our food. And I started realizing that I wasn’t alone – that humans were starting to understand the power of plant based and clean foods – and that they could actually TASTE good.
During that time my business partner, Stephen, and I took our families to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. There we were introduced to an amazing food – an Andean Lupin (Chocho) that is the highest plant based protein on earth. Lupins are amazing in general but this Andean Lupin is really special – neutral tasting, high in protein and fiber, low in carbs and glycemic index, and unlike other legumes it is easily digestible. We couldn’t believe it – it seemed like it was too good to be true but we have spent two years verifying its amazing qualities and they are all very real.
I then needed to make the hard decision to step away from the restaurant to focus on this full time. At the end of the day, my whole team wants to be part of this massive shift in culture toward plant based eating and we wholeheartedly believe that this could be something that could change how humans consume protein. And so here we are…
What does your typical day look like? Tell us about how you incorporate wellness into your everyday life.
I believe it is the perfect time for the word wellness to transform. It is a time when every day is the chance to regenerate yourself and the world around you. I wake up every day and do one hour of meditation – I never miss it. My wonderful boyfriend always brings me parsley tea – which is detoxifying and makes my heart happy. I then have a smoothie with lots of fruits, veggies and I add my Chocho powder to help give it the nutrition of a whole meal. I go to my office – which right now is kind of this Willy Wonka version of food development. I meet with my developers and my team – I am so grateful for all of them. We are all working on this vision and there is a pure feeling of exhilaration and anticipation. (They also make us lunch every day – usually a plant based protein and vegetables…lucky girl!) We are also working on a film about Chocho so I am spending a bunch of time with the filmmakers and creatives. During the day I also meditate for another 15 minutes! I work until 6 and leave to be with my son, Magellan. We have dinner each night and I usually cook. He has recently declared himself a flexitarian, so we have been experimenting with Chocho. He loves it in hummus and crackers – but there is so much more to try!
What is your number one beauty tip?!
Actually my number one beauty tip is to understand the magic your body holds and treat it that way. Eat more plants, drink more water, use coconut oil and appreciate that image in the mirror – you are beautiful!
What does "clean living" mean to you?
I think clean living is about more than food. Of course part of it is plant-based eating – I think that everyone from Tom Brady to the Wu Tang Clan are adopting this philosophy – it’s amazing. But it is also about the whole ecosystem of living – food, products, intention, humanity, energy.
More and more people are adopting an wider awareness and the tide will turn through continued inspiration and dialogue. Living clean is about going to bed every night knowing you’ve done the best you can for you, your family and the planet – even if it wasn’t perfect.
What advice would you give to female founders who are just starting out?
Stay curious and open. Have fun and don’t be too serious – it closes your mind and keeps it narrow. And appreciate being a woman. So many women get stuck in male energy because that is what they think they need to do in order to succeed. The reality is that our feminine energy and intuition is more powerful than any spreadsheet. Celebrate being a woman – it will elevate and regenerate everyone and everything around you in the process.
What is the best business lesson that you've learned in your career?
Approach every challenge with a sense of wonder instead of a sense of fear. When you do this with issues, you can see all that you face as possibilities instead of obstacles.
Do you have a large network of female founder friends? How important has this support been for you?
I am fortunate enough to have formed deep relationships with a bunch of female founders. I kind of view them in the same way that trees interact in a forest – when one tree is suffering, the others’ roots reach over to help support the one in need. For female founders, including myself, this is part of what can help push us all forward and allow us to be the positive planetary voice that we need to be right now.
What can we expect from you next and when can we hear more?!
As I mentioned, the company I co-founded, Five Suns Foods, is now bringing this Andean Lupin into the US. Over the upcoming months we are hoping to help spread the word about Lupins and the incredible possibilities – especially in terms of offering a plant based high protein alternative. We are working on a line of delicious, next level nutrition products, including our powder, that will come out next May. When we launch we will initially have only a limited supply so we have a place where people can register to learn more and preorder (or get on the waitlist when we hit our limit) on our website at fivesunsfoods.com.