Kristina Francillon was one of the few social entrepreneurs I met during this year’s Entrepreneurship Summit. Although I was nervous approaching someone whom I had never spoken to before, Kristina immediately put me at ease. Just a few moments into our conversation, I knew I was going to leave the event happy that I had the chance to speak with her. She was so willing to share her thoughts and her entrepreneurial experience. Authenticity and perseverance are words that come to mind when I reflect on the conversation I had with Kristina. She told me that you have to carve your path; if there’s a will, there’s a way. Kristina isn’t about all talk and no walk: she left her corporate job, jumped straight into working for a chef, and started Savert! Kristina clearly dives into the deep end, and it seems like she’s been swimming steadily so far!
Comments from Kristina Francillon, ILR ’11:
How did you feel about this year’s Entrepreneurship Summit?
I was happy to be among like minded people who made me feel that I was not facing challenges alone. In addition some of the speakers reinforced the need to persevere and the likelihood of failure. Nonetheless they confirmed that failure led them success, which was what I needed to hear.
What was your favorite take-away?
The Chobani conversation blew me away. My take-away was that if you really want it, just do it! You will make mistakes but eventually it will work out.
Can you speak a little about Savert and why you started it? What aspect about the business makes you “come alive”?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs; therefore, I see the glass half full when it comes to entrepreneurial risk. The fact that I value my product and the possibility of extreme success make me tick. Of course things may not work out, but what if they do?
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned so far?
Failure is inevitable. But failure is good because you learn quote a bit when you start over with the next business. I an currently researching a new food business which would operate out of Haiti, and I am much more confident now then when I first started Savert. Starting a business is feasible now.
What were the greatest challenges you faced and what would you have changed to overcome those challenges more easily?
Money. Next time I will put more time into fund raising. I cannot do it alone.
What experiences/skills/knowledge were you able to leverage in building Savert?
I started Savert at 23 years old and would go to meetings with middle aged men, who expected me to be of their age after speaking over the phone. I have gained more confidence than ever facing people who expect nothing from me.
Where do you see Savert in the next 3-5 years?
Savert Foods was built as an overall food company and will be used at a platform for other foods. The seasoning itself will be put on hold for now because we will be focusing on grains instead. In 3-5 years, we expect to sell processed grains in large quantities to distribute in Haiti, as a nutritious and cost effective alternative to other starches.
Do you have any words of wisdom to students aspiring to be social entrepreneurs?
It’s not easy. You have to really want it and not be scared of failing multiple times. But if you really have the itch and the drive. Dive in! I don’t think people become wealthy by punching in, they do by pursuing amazing yet crazy ideas. It can be such a high. And what if it does work?
With what started as a family recipe, of herbs, to facilitate everyday cooking, Savert emerged. Savert is an all natural blend of herbs and spices, including leeks and garlic, with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. At Savert, we are focused on providing fresh ingredients to encourage healthy and flavorful cooking. Savert may be used on meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, pastas, rice, casseroles or anything else. Just as garlic is versatile, so is Savert. Just add 1/2 Tbsp per serving to your recipes and bring your dishes to life! Savert uses the freshest products and absolutely no artificial preservatives, colors, or additives. This family recipe makes cooking simpler and more flavorful. It is also convenient and health conscious, as there is no sodium and only extra virgin olive oil touches Savert’s herbs.