Hi! My name's Melissa. I enjoy long walks down the aisles of Whole Foods and eating my body weight in fruit. Dates especially- they're my absolute favorite of all fruits. I had my first date (and I'm talking about the fruit- I'd been on dates before) when I moved to New York for college and it was love at first bite. Dates are so sweet & they are SO good for you. Better yet, dates kept my sugar cravings away. Overtime I lost weight, became more energetic, and felt a whole lot happier because I could finally eat yummy food that didn't leave me feeling guilty. Food guilt is something I struggled with for years.
My junior year I began working at a smoothie & acai bowl shop so I could eat endless fruit all day long. During my first shift I was shocked to discover that the acai we served was sweetened with sugar- over 15 grams per half cup! As if that wasn't bad enough, we were instructed to then pour peanut butter, honey, or even Nutella on every bowl. This place was supposed to be healthy, but there was added sugar, fat, and/or sweeteners hidden in almost everything!
One day I wondered why we didn't just sweeten our products with dates. Dates are healthy, they taste really good, and maybe there was a way we could drizzle the dates on the bowls like a nut butter... it turned out that there wasn't.
A crowdfunding campaign
I experimented with my food processor & blended the first batches of date butter by hand in my dorm room. Weeks later while I was running on the treadmill (where I do my best thinking) I had my next ah-ha moment: "Wanna Date?" would be the name!
My ideas kept flowing, everyone loved the name/taste of the product, so I decided to keep going with it. I sketched some designs, printed a dozen labels, and asked a few friends to taste "Wanna Date?" on camera. Then I launched that video as a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo just to see if there was any outside interest.
Lots of late nights & Googling
While I didn't raise much money, the response I got from that Indiegogo video was enough reassurance to know that "Wanna Date?" could be something. Since going at it full-force I've learned just how hard it is to develop food product. I've probably Googled my way to a food science degree at this point. Each day I figure it out as I go, learn something new, and problem-solve. Beyond the small daily struggles I always remember to sit back and think about the big picture. "Wanna Date?" is my passion. I love it. It's a way for me to express my creativity and share my love of dates, puns, and food with the world! I honestly wake up with excitement every single day to open my laptop and work on "Wanna Date?"
Started from the dorm room now we're here.
Thanks for reading my story! I seriously love what I do and am happy to share my 21-year-old wisdom with the world. Meanwhile I'll be here, finishing school, day dreaming and sharing "Wanna Date?" with the world!