Founder Story: Dré Slaman
Dré Slaman and G. Scott Brown founded Farm to Fit 10 years ago. Today, we sat down with Dré to learn more about her background and passions.
What did you do before Farm to Fit?
I'm an actor, by trade and training. I got a BA in Theatre Arts from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. I studied in New York for a summer then went on to earn my MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University. Which is where I met G. Scott! From Northern, I moved to LA and, eventually, started a theatre company called Momentum Theatre Group. When you are an actor, you almost always have a "survival job"...mine was in property management. I managed anywhere from 800 to 1600 units while I was acting. When I moved to Portland, that was the industry I got into to make a living. You'll still find me acting on camera and on the stage when I am not at Farm to Fit!
What made you pivot from property management to food delivery?
When G [Scott Brown, Co-Founder] and I moved to Portland we were looking for a service like this one and we didn't find anything. Simultaneously, we were looking to do something where we didn't have to work for anybody else - so we could be free to leave for auditions or rehearsals. Then everything just fell into place at the beginning, it was meant to be!
What gave you the confidence to jump from property management to food delivery?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so it seemed natural to me. Between my upbringing and as an actor, I'm comfortable in the unknown space, or grey area, so the risk felt manageable.
How did your family's entrepreneurship prepare you to do this?
Growing up in my parents' businesses, in an environment of entrepreneurship, I learned what hard work looks like. I watched them pivot, make hard decisions, and enjoy the good times, too. It really was a gift and I still lean on them for advice and guidance.
You've been through many difficult times and had to pivot. What is the advice you have for people going through difficulty or setbacks?
Trust your gut. Get the data, understand all the facts, then trust your gut. My instinct is usually more right than anything else.
What makes you passionate about the food delivery business?
When we started Farm to Fit, our most important thing was that the food had to be delicious. Good, healthy, fast food was hard to find 10 years ago. But we knew that eating healthy didn't have to be processed or taste bad. Our vision was: if we create something delicious, a product people really want to eat, with enough variety, they'll be able to stick with it long term and really get the results they want. It's really important to enjoy the food you're eating. And, for me, food made with love is the best food.
Is there any initiative coming up in the next 5 years that makes you really excited?
The idea of expansion makes me motivated and excited. I'm excited to grow beyond what we're doing now. One of our goals is to become a Pacific Northwest's leading meal meal delivery service.
What does your ideal customer look like?
My ideal customer is anyone who will benefit from our service. Simple as that. At the end of the day, I just want to make people's lives better...whether that's through delicious food, giving people more time in their days, or excellent customer service with a friendly voice on the other end of the line. I want to serve the people who really need something to make their lives easier.
It has been 10 years since you started Farm to Fit. If you could advise your younger self, what advice would you give?
Worry less. I would like to advise my older self the same!
Is there any legacy you want to pass on to your daughter?
The only legacy I want to leave her with is to be a good person and do the right thing. And I feel like that's what we try to do in our business. I'd also like her to grow up to know that you can do anything you want to, if you work hard and do good.