Have you ever wondered how you can produce your own authentic product? In this episode, Camille welcomes Stephanie Painter, the co-founder of Painterland Sisters, a high protein, lactose-free yogurt that is sourced directly from their family farm and can be found in over 2,000 stores across the United States.
Stephanie shares how she and her sister Hayley co-founded Painterland Sisters as a way to make their family farm sustainable and to create a farm to table product that would connect people with their food. She shares their best practices on how to source and produce a product, how to run a business as co-owners, and how to incorporate family into business.
If you’re interested in learning more about building your own product, tune into this episode to hear Stephanie’s advice on how you too can create an authentic product that speaks to your values.
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Invest in Painterland Sisters: www.wefunder.com/painterland.sisters
STEPHANIE PAINTER [00:00]
Just keep your eyes open and your heart open and your spirit open and move forward. And as you're going about the motions in your journey, things will open up to you, and you have to realize that and grab it.
CAMILLE WALKER [00:21]
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is Camille Walker, your host of Call Me CEO, here where we celebrate mothers building businesses and what they overcome and how they figure out how to make their dreams happen. And I am so thrilled that we have Stephanie Painter on the line with us today. Hey, Steph.
Hi. Thank you so much for having me on.
Yeah, thank you for being here. She is the co-owner and co-founder of the organic line, Painterland Sisters, which is in 49 states now. And it is lactose-free yogurt. And it is phenomenal. It is packed with protein. I had some this morning that I absolutely loved, and it is taking the yogurt land by storm, so to speak, because it's really about farm to table. Where is your food coming from? What are the sources?
And I love that it's revolutionizing that because I know especially for my kids, they think food comes from the grocery store and products come from the Amazon truck. And so, I love that this is really coming back to the root of farming and good organic nutrition. So, I'm so thrilled to have you on here. And to mention your sister, Hayley, who is your co-owner and co-founder, she's not with us today. But thank you so much for being on the show today.
Yes, great intro. Thank you. I feel like we don't even have to go through it. You just nailed all of it.
Hey, that's passion. That came straight from my heart. Okay.
Thank you. Yeah. So, please tell us where do you live, a background about who you are and this business, where did it all come about?
Yeah. So, I'm originally from Northern Pennsylvania, Tioga County, Westfield, to be specific where I grew up with more cows than people in my town. And so, my sister, she's 27 and I'm 29, we've always known that we wanted to do something with our family farm. We grew up barefoot running around in the fields on the dirt roads. Ouch, literally barefoot.
But we grew up on a farm. We're farm girls. And we always had that in our hearts. And we saw our parents working, our grandparents working, our uncles, our aunts, our cousins, everyone was working together. And that inspired us to want to continue their work and really show people how special this place was and show people how special farmers are and why they're so important for our everyday lives.
Every single person should think of farmers every time they eat because that's where our food comes from. And we were just mentioning, our food doesn't come from a grocery store originally. It starts with the soil. And so, anyways, my sister and I, we're so excited. We have an organic, regenerative dairy farm in Northern Pennsylvania. I currently live in Southern Pennsylvania about 60% of the time with my 6-year-old stepdaughter. I have a 2-year-old daughter and a 3-month-old baby boy, Savannah, Meadow, and Wilder. As you can see, I'm really connected to the farm. I got all my natural nature names.
Yeah, so we're really excited. I live at the farm part of the time. My sister lives there full-time. We're able to connect to consumers in a different way because we can literally go outside and take pictures of our cows, which is where the milk that is put into our yogurt comes from. So, we show people not only that we have a great product, that we're not adding all this funky stuff and fillers into it, but really the source of their food.
Yeah, that's so inspiring. I love that it's a generational history, that it's something that has been built before you and something that you want to continue. And I think that more than ever, especially during the pandemic, which I know I want to talk about that, because a lot of that was born possibly during that time, is that we really were brought to the surface of what we rely on in our day-to-day living and where our food is coming from.
And when the stores were empty and the shelves were bare, it came to, at least I know for me, there seemed to be a collective panic of like, oh, no. What are we going to do? Is this the end of times? How do we even manage this? And I think it became much more of an awareness of really what the infrastructure we have around us and how we're living our lives and what we're consuming. Can you tell me about what it was in the year 2020 that changed your life, and how that gave route to this new business?
Yeah. So, we always knew we were going to start a business utilizing the plentiful resources from our family farm. And we just didn't know what. And I traveled to 20-something countries, almost all 50 states, my sister has traveled, just to get ideas of what that could possibly be. I'm pretty like, hey, if it's meant for me, it'll cross my path. And I just have to open my eyes and grab it. And so I'm like, just do that.
Anyways, as soon as the pandemic hit, we had honestly a problem with selling our family farm's milk to the coop. They said, "Hey, we're going to close the coop, and then we're not going to have a place for your milk." And we have had these cows, the same cows my grandpa bought way back when raised, and then their offsprings and their offsprings. This line has been in our family forever.
And so, my sister and I were like, hey, we have to start taking our destiny in our own hands. This obviously means that we have to do something with our milk. This is what it is. And this is happening now. We always knew we were going to come back, but we didn't know when, what, or where. And so, now we had this tangible thing, this North Star. And so, we're like we have to do something with the milk.
And we called around to a bunch of places to figure out where we could sell the milk, and no one was buying milk because there was no place to process the milk, because of everything that was going on. It wasn't that the farmers didn't have the food. It was that these big processing centers were shut down because the workers couldn't be together. And so, all these raw materials, all this food was just some people were burying it, some people were just putting it basically in big digesters, and I don't think some people knew that. There wasn't a lack of food. There was a lack of processing for the food.
Yeah. I hadn't thought of it like that, but that makes sense because if the manufacturing or the emulsification and all of this, creating the product, if that's not operating, then, yeah, how's it getting done? Makes a lot of sense.
Yeah. And the truck drivers, even the cold storage facilities that are holding the final product to get to the distributors are all about the people, what you mentioned before, our food chain is so long. It takes so many steps to get our food from the farmer to the table. And we really noticed that during COVID because every single step of the way, things were shut down.
And so, what's really cool about our yogurt and what we've accomplished, but what we really want people to understand is that there's really good food right around the corner from you. You just have to look for it, but people don't understand that because only 2% of the United States population is the ranchers and farmers, only 2%.
So, of course, me being from a farm, I'm like, hey, just go up the road. But we're so used to going to the grocery store, even me. I have three kids. It's hard for me to go down a dirt road two miles, and then take a left, and then get my milk. It's so much easier for me to Instacart. You know what I mean? Milk if I need it.
And so, what we're able to do with Painterland Sisters is one, utilize our family farm's milk so that we can be in control of our destiny and our family's destiny, but also, we have a short supply chain, our milk, our cows, our farm is from Northern Pennsylvania. We are manufacturing the product in Central Pennsylvania. We're storing the product in Southern Pennsylvania, and then distributing it all over the country from there. And so, we're able to keep that map pretty short when it comes from the raw material to the final product and distribution.
And that's able to go on. We're in over 2,000 stores nationwide. So, you can go on Instacart and still get a product right from a farmer. And that's what really makes Painterland Sisters special because we are the farmer. And that doesn't happen with a lot of consumer product goods. People are just disconnected from our food.
Wow, that's incredible. You're in this situation where you don't have the resources to be able to send the product where it needs to go. How did you facilitate connecting all of those pieces so that it was so close and you were able to do that?
Like I said, I've always led and my sister as well, just keep your eyes open and your heart open, and your spirit open, and move forward. And as you're going about the motions in your journey, things will open up to you. And you have to realize that and grab it.
So, we started with calling people, anybody that we knew that had any inclination of what to do with milk. You know what I mean? And we just asked, "Hey, what are your ideas? What do you think could be done? Hey, you have a yogurt company. We didn't even start off with yogurt. You have cheese. You have a processing facility on your farm. What can you do?"
So, after a lot of phone calls, we got to the Center for Dairy Excellence in Pennsylvania. We really tapped into our agriculture community. And we applied for a grant. We received our first grant in 2019 or 2020. I'm not sure, something around there, I think 2020. And anyways, we got our first grant, and then we hired a consultant agency named Kitchen Table Consultants. They help farmers basically bring their food to the consumer.
And we thought we were going to have a little farm store. We're like we want a little farm store. We want to be able to ship some of our milk, ship different products. We're thinking cheese, raw milk, just different things. What can we do?
So, we started there. We built the business plan for about a year. And then, we hired an architect. We built a manufacturing facility with the architect, went and toured tons of different farms and manufacturers basically to turn raw milk into a finished product. Anyways, then when finally we're about to go to the bank and basically present our findings, ask for a loan. So, yeah, we hit the end of our business plan, 100 and some pages with the Kitchen Table Consultants that we got the grant from the Dairy Center for Excellence.
And we were like, oh my gosh, if we process, we have about 1,000 cows on our farm. And we milk roughly 400 twice a day. And that's a lot of milk. And so, we're like if we process this, we built this $8-million facility, how do we know that we're actually going to be able to sell this product? And it just dawned on us at that moment, when we're about to present, we just worked a year on this, a year and a half, and we were like, we have two companies. We have a manufacturing facility. And we have a CPG company, a brand, Painterland Sisters. We don't have just one.
And so, then somebody told us about co-packers. And so, we totally shifted. And we were like, oh my gosh, we can hire somebody, look around for somebody that we can truck our raw milk down to. And they have the know-how. We make the recipe. And basically, we come out with a final product. So, we were like, okay.
So, anyways, a lot of different calls again. Just calling people, "Hey, do you know anybody that does this?" We found a great co-packer in the middle of Pennsylvania. He's a 10th generation Icelandic skyr producer. Really we've never really heard skyr. This was before it started becoming popular. We were like, this is great. The heritage and the quality of this dairy product is just premium. There's no fillers. The process through ultrafiltration leaves a very high protein naturally. So, a lot of different yogurts, they add protein powder into their yogurt, leaving it gritty. And it's this foreign entity that's in something that if you do it the right way is just good and pure and nutrient dense naturally.
And so, we're like, this is great. So, we then hired a food scientist because we didn't know how to develop a yogurt recipe. And so, we essentially built a really good team that could help us get through this by just asking and being open. And having the humility to say, "I don't know, but I want to know. Can you help me?"
That is so powerful. "I don't know, but I want to know," and asking for people to help you. I think that that could be the brand on a shirt for any entrepreneur. "I don't know, but I want to know," because it's that gumption that gets you the results, where it's like we're looking for these pieces. And it's going to take time, but it's going to be so worth it.
And I can tell you from eating the yogurt this morning, it was shipped to me I think about four or five days ago, I need to know where to find it locally, because it was just this morning that I ate it for the first time. And it was so creamy and incredibly tasty. I had the blueberry lemon, which I mentioned before that I've never had a flavor like that. So, I said I want to do something or eat something that I normally wouldn't have had, but it was so good. And where you're talking about the creaminess, I'm salivating thinking about it right now.
Heck, yeah, that's exactly what we want.
Yes, other brands where maybe there aren't as many calories, but they do put the protein in after, there's a quality difference, there's a taste difference. And man, it is worth it. It is worth the calories because you can just taste the difference. And it really does taste so different.
We actually stayed at a little small dairy farm Airbnb, their parents owned a dairy farm. And in the guest fridge, there was, "Please enjoy our yogurt on us." And it was a yogurt that came straight from the dairy farm. And it was that same thick, creamy, naturally-occurring protein that you're talking about. And I was like, this is insane. It just tasted so different.
That's real food.
It was real. It just tasted so real. So, number one, what stores are we finding your yogurt in? That's my first question.
So, we launched in March of 2022 into retail. And since then, we're now in 2,000 stores nationwide, some of the bigger stores are Sprouts and Natural Grocers. We're in the Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic section, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey. And we are in Kimberton Whole Foods, MOM's Organics. We're in Kings, Balducci's, D'Agostinos in New York. We worked with NCG in National Co+op Grocers to get to all the independent national stores because we don't necessarily have to explain the quality of our yogurt.
They've already vetted. Yeah.
Yeah, they have an eye for natural, premium, what real food is. And that's what we're really trying to educate people on the difference. Like you just said, "Oh my gosh." The difference is knowing the source of the raw ingredients, whatever materials you put into when you're cooking, if you have better ingredients, the outcome's going to be better. And we have a good milk source from our family farm and other family farms. So, it's good for you and it's real food. So, where are you located?
Utah. Okay. See, I will tell you a lot better like three months ago, but I just have such mommy brain right now.
No, you're fine. I can Google this. I can figure it out. Yeah, no, we can figure that out. And we'll link to it in the show notes below, so people can find it. But what's so cool about this is, hello, you launched last year. Literally, it's a baby and you've grown so much.
Yeah. It is a baby.
In fact, I just saw this morning that you reached 900,000 in investments today, which is just huge.
Yeah. So, okay, I'm going to back up one. Go to our store locator on our website, and put in your zip code. Yes, that would be perfect. You can find a store near you. And then, the other thing is, we thought we were going to have a little farm stand. We were like, wouldn't that be awesome if we could ship yogurts in Pennsylvania, have a little farm stand, do everything from our family farm? And now, we're in these 2,000 stores working with national distribution companies for natural foods and these big retailers. It's amazing. And it took a lot to figure out how to do that. But what was your question again?
I think you answered it. The first question was, where do we find it? And then, following up with that, I know one of the number one things that just from doing this podcast now for three years, has it been three years? I launched it at the end of 2020. Yeah, it's been three years. That's crazy.
Thank you. That's really crazy.
Yeah. My favorite part is hearing people's stories and what motivated them and how they found the gumption to do it. And female funding is difficult. That's one of the number one things that I hear. I just went to the Entrepreneur of the Year event in Palm Springs just last month in November.
And one of the number one things was female-founded and getting funding for a big company like this. What would be some advice that you would give to female founders that are listening to this and wondering how they too can find success in that?
Yeah, definitely. That's been very interesting for us. And so, we are a certified women-owned business through WBENC. And that's been a great network. And the other, it's really about, again, just not being discouraged by the statistics. Okay, why would you start a yogurt company? We don't need any more yogurt on this planet. There's already brands that are doing that, and people are doing that. And we had an open heart. And we just continued to view our North Star and go from there and believe that we would figure it out.
And I think it's the belief that if it's for you, it'll come to you and continue to press down on that. And we have a great team that's really helped us basically have the deliverables that are needed to close some of those big investment deals. So, of course, we have a Wefunder. We want to be in control of our company because we have a mission that's tied so closely to the future of our family's farm, but to other family farms that can do something similar. We don't just have our milk in it, but we have other people's farms right in our local area, and to give the consumer something they can get off the shelf,that's from a farmer.
So, we don't want that mission to be deterred because maybe it's cheaper to produce a cheaper yogurt. We don't have a cheaper yogurt. We have a real premium yogurt. And we feel like we need to have that on shelf. And so, we've passed up on some opportunities that would have been probably easier. But we went with Wefunder, a crowdfunding campaign because we believe in our community, and our community believes in us. And so, they have our backs, we have theirs.
It's about really having that openness about what we're doing. And people are looking for a transparent company, and people are looking in, we've gotten told a lot, yes, of course, we need the deliverables, we need to have the numbers. So, we hired a real good numbers guy. You know what I mean? And we laid that all out. And we can give that, but really what it comes down to when somebody presses confirm on an investment, it's about believing in the founders and the people that are running the company. And so, that's what we've gotten a lot of like, yes, everything looks great when it comes to your projections. But I believe in you, I believe in you and your sister. And so, if you have a good mission and you just network and tap into your community, you'll find it there.
I love it. One thing that we talked about before the call started was being a busy mom. We're talking and listening. We're sharing these stories with people who are balancing a lot, as are you. You just had your third baby three months ago. She said that this is the first podcast she's done since having the baby. So, thank you, I really appreciate it. And how have you been able to navigate the waters of self-doubt and overcoming negativity?
So, I'm just having an open heart and realizing that if something doesn't go the way that I thought it would, which happens a lot with owning a business, you have to pivot constantly. And when one door shuts or you feel like you're in a hole, don't dwell on it because you're just going to go deeper into that hole. You can figure out ways. How do I get out of this hole? How do I open the door? This wasn't meant for me. So, what am I supposed to do next? And look around and you'll find it.
But when you put energy into the thing that's restricting you, that's what it will be. If you put energy in moving forward, that's what it will be. And so, it's just constantly about putting energy into the things that you can move forward on.
And really, my sister and I are certified yoga teachers as well, even though we put that on the back burner. We did have a yoga and yogurt event this summer. That was another side dream that we'll get to. But anyways, it's really about like, hey, I need to leave my phone as a mom. I owe it to my kids, too. I could constantly be working, constantly. I'm sure you know that. Yeah, I can constantly be doing something on my phone to better my business. And what I've learned is that I have to literally put my phone away physically and be in the present moment with my kids. And that's been really important for me to balance the mom-work life.
Because when we launched, literally when we launched, I gave birth, my baby and my business in the same year, really, in 2021 is when we had the business plan, presented to the bank to get our first loan, that kind of thing. And then, yeah, my baby boy, Wilder, was born three months ago, right as we're scaling up so quickly. It feels like we're just holding on our pants all the time.
And building a great team, like we would not be able to continue to level up without having people on our team that we can trust that just rock and roll in their special areas. We have a great director of operations now. We just hired a director of sales. But we hired originally a VP of sales, we hired a lot of consultants to begin with and contractors because we weren't sure. Again, we didn't know, but we wanted to know. So, we hired people who did know, and they helped us get to where we are presently.
And so, we didn't know how to enter the retail market on a national level or even just a local level. So, we hired somebody to help us do that. My grandma calls mistakes, tuition expense. And so, yes, we've paid our fair share of tuition expenses, but we also paid for professionals to help us to get where we are so that we didn't have to pay more, a bigger percentage of tuition expenses just from failing and failing and failing. We wanted to figure out how to do this the right way. So, we built a great team.
I love that you call them tuition expenses. And tell me about your grandma because this sounds like an incredible woman. Obviously, she's been doing entrepreneurial life for a long time. What have you learned from her?
Oh, my goodness, I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about my grandma. So, in 1941, the farm started essentially. We bought our first land. The Painters bought the first land, and that's why it's called Painterland Land is literally the land with the Painters up there. All my cousins and uncles and everyone, they're living on top of the hill. But anyways, my grandma, her and my grandpa really flourished the farm to what it is today.
So, we have about a 5,000-acre organic dairy and crop farm, 1,000 cows, we have crops, we have a little bit of everything. My grandpa was constantly finding innovative, creative ways to just try things. And so, obviously, we got a lot of that from him. My grandma would make those ideas happen and make sure she was facilitating all of the books and making sure she was working with the banks. And she just did it. And I think that's something very important we learned from my grandma is there was just no excuse, she just did it.
And that's what we do. Hey, we just got to do it. And we grew up mucking stalls and milking cows. And if you didn't milk cows, the cows would hurt, they'd be in pain. There was no choice not to milk the cows because you didn't feel good that morning. You woke up and you milked the cows. And so, just that do it and get it done attitude, but always with a sense of just pride, humbleness, and positivity. She's a very positive person.
And so listening to, "We'll figure this out, I know we will." And she always has a pie and a cup of coffee waiting for everybody. So, making it fun and being real. It's not all about work. It's about love and family. And that is what a family farm is. So, we learned a lot from that. And that's what we try to instill in our own business like, hey, yeah, this is work. But it's also, we're doing something so cool here. And we're working with people that are great. And my sister and I work together and that's really amazing to be able to do something every day with your family members. So, yeah.
I want to meet this woman. I can just tell from the way you're talking about her. My mom grew up on a ranch, and there was always so much work to be done. And I feel like that is something that is lacking from the generation of my own or even my children where there isn't that sense of urgency as much to get this work done like physical labor where they are dependent upon you, and it has to get done. And that sense of pride that comes with that.
Yes, pride. Exactly. I think that is what's missing. It's like pride for your work. Pride for your family. Pride for your heritage. Pride for the health of your animals. And then, you feel growing up and having the pride for everything else, it instills a sense of pride in yourself. And thus, a sense of confidence in your abilities. Hey, I have no idea. My dad put me on tons of farm machinery when I was 16 on. And it was like, "Hey, I don't know how to drive this." And he's like, "You'll figure it out." I'm like, "Okay."
And so, just having the sense of just trusting yourself and leading with that sense of pride that's instilled with you because you work, because you know you can do it. My kids, we're not on the farm. I didn't want to milk cows for the rest of my life. And that's why my sister and I are helping with the farm in our own way. I'm primarily on my computer getting stuff done. And that's totally different than how we grew up.
But my kids, we had to feed calves, we had to muck stalls, we had to stack firewood, we had to milk cows in the cold, in the hot heat, it did not matter. We had to pick rocks out of fields, but I try to include them in the physical labor that I'm doing. Even if it's cooking dinner, even if it's doing laundry, even when we're at the farm, just including them to be included. So, they feel a sense of one teamwork.
That's so important. Teamwork, family, what a family can do together to get something done, and just pride in themselves. My little girl, we were making cookies the other day. And I was like, "Hey, do you want to crack these eggs?" And she's like, "I don't know how to crack eggs." I'm like, "Just try, you can figure it out." And she tried, and she was so proud of herself. And then, we made a mess. And then, she went and cleaned it up. And she was so proud that she cleaned it up. And that shows kids that I can do it. And I can be a help. And I'm important. And I'm not just here to chill. I am an important, integral piece of this family that is part of the collective. And that's really what I'm trying to instill, even if I don't have a cow for them to milk.
You went into the exact question I was going to ask because I was thinking that exactly. You're not on a farm, which most of us listening are not, that's 2%. But I love that you're looking at ways to instill the sense of pride in work and also to not be afraid to try new things. I think that sometimes I've done this before where I think I can do it more quickly on my own, or they'll make a mess if I do this or that.
And it's interesting when you give your kids permission to make mistakes as they're learning. And what an effective life lesson that is. Recently, I watched a tutorial on how to properly clean a toilet. I know this is so bizarre, but we're all moms here.
I get it.
So, I watched this tutorial. I found the exact products that they were using. It's like a five-step situation with different brushes and wipes and reusable wands and all of the things. And I went through and did a step-by-step tutorial with all of my kids. And we have four bathrooms in the house. And they're responsible for one of those toilets. And we call it a toilet soak that we do once a week. I'm not perfect at doing this.
But what I found really interesting is that my 7-year-old was thrilled to learn the proper steps. And I have found now that I have teenagers, my older ones, I have a 10, 13, 15-year-old, my youngest is 7. And what's interesting is younger kids generally have a more innate sense of wanting to be involved in helping, and it's exciting because it's new to them where then you get the teenager, and they're like, "I don't want to do this," because it's a chore to them. Where for the younger kids, it's more exciting.
But what was really cool is that my 7-year-old then taught my 15-year-old because he was gone when I was doing it for my other three kids. And it has been so important to me, too, that my children, I have three sons, one daughter, that the work in the home is a shared responsibility because you are a person that lives there and uses it.
And I love that you're saying that, too, that there's work to be done in a home, whether it's the cooking or the cleaning or we make a mess, we clean it up. But it's okay to make mistakes. It's okay that the egg breaks and that you get shell in it or whatever or that you put the toilet together wrong or whatever the things are. I just love that you have that instilled in you and you'll figure it out because I think sometimes we can take life too seriously.
It's so serious.
Yeah, where it's like it has to be perfect or not done at all. And I think that that's the mentality that's really hurting our kids of today is the fear of mistakes and failure and needing to be perfect. And I love that your approach is so opposite of that.
Exactly. You nailed it. And your 7-year-old, is that your daughter?
My son actually.
That's your son. Yeah. So, he has now this sense of pride. And that's what you do, you teach. When you learn something, you teach someone else. And you're proud of yourself. And so, that then increases basically the collective of your team, which in that sense is your family. And it's so important. We're never ever going to do everything perfect.
And, yes, it takes at least twice as long, if not three times as long, to cook with my kids. But the thing is, now I'm teaching them a valuable skill. We're really teaching them to be the people that we know that they can be, and we have to believe in them first for them to believe in themselves. And it's just been really interesting.
And, of course, every single step of, as you know, raising a child is so different. And I've evolved now having my third kid to raise, it's different. I've noticed since raising the first one to my third one, I've learned things. And that's what we all have. Even as parents, we make mistakes, and we have to say, okay, I'm not going to handle that situation like that next time. I'm going to handle it in a different way because that wasn't the outcome that I think was needed.
And so, if we aren't perfect and we have to try and make mistakes as parents to be better parents, we can't expect our kids to be perfect at everything and leave them out of things. It's so important for us to teach them skills. I think that's one of the best things that growing up on the farm taught me. We were always at the kitchen table, when my grandpa, my grandma, they would have business, they would have attorneys coming. And then, they would have somebody up the road that's selling some sort of garlic or something like that. It didn't matter if the person had $1 million in their pocket or $1 in their pockets. Us watching them deal with people in all ways and walks of life was a huge lesson.
And if they told us, "Hey, why don't you go in the other room while I have an official business meeting?" Then we would have never been able to see that. I went to school for business, but that is not where I learned business. I learned business at my grandma and grandpa's kitchen table while they were conducting it.
And as you mentioned, you're like, "Hey, this is a really relaxed podcast. We're just conversational." That's how my sister and I do business. And that's how my grandpa and grandma did business. And that's how my dad does business and my mom. It doesn't have to be what everyone thinks it is in the movies. We're just sitting here, we're trying to sell some yogurt, we're just trying to save our family farm. We're trying to raise good kids. We don't have to be what everyone thinks a business person looks like.
We're walking into these meetings when everyone else is in black and blue suits with cowboy boots on and flowy dresses, and I'm going to nurse the baby in 20 minutes. Everything is just us. We're just being authentic. We just want to have an authentic yogurt. And I think that's really important. You don't have to be like everyone else, because we're not. We're just ourselves. And we have to exemplify that in every move we make. I don't know.
No. I love it. I feel like you and I are fast friends. I just think that this has been such a fun conversation. And one question that I want to ask before because I always love to hear the answer to this, especially if there's a team involved or a partnership. What are some ways that you were able to help navigate, and from what you've said so far, it seems like it's a pretty cut and clear operations and behind the scenes and right in the middle of it, so to speak, but how did you and your sister divide and conquer and define your roles?
Oh my goodness, it was not cut and clear.
Okay. Good. Let's talk about that. How did you figure it out?
Yeah. No. We went from being just sisters to being co-CEOs of now a national yogurt company that we just hit over $4 million in revenue this week, it's like 3.5 million yogurts sold, which is insane because how do we go from stealing each other's shirts when we're 15 to figuring out how to do this? And it was that we were really with each other every single step of the way. We didn't give up on each other even when we have high emotions. And we really tried to say, hey, take a deep breath and say, hey, we didn't handle that the best way. What can we do differently? And we were just really honest with each other. And we still are.
It's not like we're perfect. We still go back to our 15-year-old selves sometimes. We're just like, "Why did just say that? Oh my gosh." You know what I mean? "You didn't approve that by me. What's going on?" And we still revert to that. But every single day, again, it's about we make mistakes as sister co-CEOs. And every single day, we figure out how to just do it a little bit better. And sometimes, it's a lot better. And sometimes, it's just a little bit better. And so, just really figuring that out, and like, "Hey, what do you want to do? What do you want to do? What are you good at? What are you good at?" And not making it a competition, because sometimes with siblings, there's always that sibling rivalry. It's just natural growing up, that's what it was.
And I see it in my own kids now. And, of course, that happens with building a business with your sibling, but it's noticing it and just being honest and saying, "Hey, we're just acting kids right now. Let's take a step back and let's figure out how to conquer this together." But it's a mutual respect. It's I respect you, not only as my sister. And I don't only love you as my sister, but I respect you as a business owner now. I respect your decision making. I respect your abilities. I respect that you're better at this than I am in specific areas, and she respects it the same in certain areas with me. We respect each other and love each other. And sometimes, we don't like each other in the moment, but we still love each other. And so, knowing that is okay sometimes. You know what I mean? And taking a step back.
And it was about not just us doing that work, but it's like you're a better parent for your kids. We're better leaders for our team. That's what we try to say. So, as we brought more and more people on our team, it's like, hey, we have to continue to get this together a little bit more, because we have other people that are taking our lead on this.
Yeah, I love that. Clear communication and ownership is essential. And so, you hit that on the head I think with finding that success and being willing to be wrong and really appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses. This has been absolutely incredible. I cannot wait, oh my gosh, with how far you've come already, I'm just on the sidelines. So excited to watch and cheer you along. I am just so impressed with what you've been able to build.
Thank you so much. It's so cool. I just have to throw in this little thing. Do you know, The Salmon Sisters? So, they were on Forbes 30 under 30. And when we started, we're like we want to be on Forbes 30 under 30. And we finally did that. And I'm 29. And she's 27. So, we just did that, I don't know, two weeks ago or something like that. So, I took my kids to New York with me. My breastfeeding baby, I was like, "Hey, you guys stay in the hotel room. I'm going to go to this for a couple hours. I'll be right back."
But anyways, just celebrating with family and doing that together. And people didn't think that that was going to happen. And we weren't focused on that. But that would be really cool if we could do that. And we did it together. And it's just exciting moments to celebrate with your sister and your family, but yeah.
Oh my gosh. That is incredible. In fact, that was the email that I got to my inbox was that you have reached that milestone. And I was just like, "Yes, get these women on my podcast." That is so incredible. What an incredible feat to do it at such a young age and to do it with your sister. There's so much about that that I love and that you really are leading with your heart and with an open mind and being very authentic with who you are and your product. It's just really exciting to see that.
It's really exciting to be on this call with you. Thank you so much. We're excited to have the opportunity to do this. And it's been so much fun talking to you.
You're welcome. Thank you. Before we get off, I know we talked about this really quick. What I'm trying to do in 2024 is to share as women and as mothers what are things that we're listening to. It doesn't have to fit any specific genre, but I would love to hear your top two or three that are things that you're listening to in your commute as you're going back and forth to the farm.
Yes. So, it's a 3.5-hour drive like I was telling you before. So, I have the kids strapped in. I actually have a second to myself, but I love a good fiction novel because I love to get out of my head. And so, I was just listening to Sally Rooney, the author, any of her books. I've just listened to three of them. I listened to Lessons in Chemistry. Oh my gosh, I listened to that book, I could not stop listening to it. I would just sit in my car by myself. And I would just be like, I need some me time for a second. But also, I like listening to just real facts, too. So, I'm listening to Sapiens right now, which is about humans. Hey, what are humans? Because we're animals, and we forget that. But I'm also listening to the Killers of The Flower Moon right now, which is really, really cool. And I think it's important. That just came out on some streaming service, one of the five that I have.
What kind of a book is that?
So, it's actually about the Native American tribe, and I can't remember exactly which one that was right now. Basically the United States government put them on this land in Oklahoma, and then it struck rich with the oil. And then, they were getting killed off, some of the Native Americans were getting killed.
Is that the one with Leonardo DiCaprio, the show that's just coming out with that?
Maybe. I think it might be. It's really cool. I'm right in the middle of it. So, I actually bought the actual book a year ago, but I have not had time to read it. So, I was like, okay, before I watch this, I'm going to get the audiobook. But, yeah, so they're trying to figure out and it was the conception of the CIA. So, because of this and because of these murders, the United States is like, "Hey, we got to have somebody to take control of the things like this." So, that's really cool. And it's factual, obviously. So, it's a cool book. The movie is coming out or the show or something, but I think books are always a little better.
I do, too. We have a very strict rule in our house that we read the book before we watch the show.
Yes, I do, too. Oh, my gosh. I read Where the Crawdads Sing before, and that was so good, too. That's my fiction novels that I just go into off to dreamland and not think about business or every single act has an effect on my children.
Yes. It's so important to have those times where it's just you, you get to escape with your mind someplace else. And honestly, I find a lot of times when I take time to fuel that way, whether it's educational or just for fun, it allows you to come back with fresh ideas and even maybe problem solving or just having a breath of fresh air that isn't consuming with your mind and your business and the to-dos, so yeah.
100%. Also, I just want to put in a little plug for the Calm app. I don't know if you know that. But the meditation, sleep stories, all that, because I have a busy mind at night. I'm thinking of all the things that are going on. So, actually, I put my 6-year-old, she has her sleep stories that she listens to right before bed. And now, I listen to my sleep stories, and it just drifts me off. Or I listen to a meditation before bed, because my brain just does not stop. So, that's been very helpful for me. I actually fall asleep.
I can agree with that, too. Or sometimes, I'll put on Audible and listen to my book, but only listened for 10 minutes. Put a timer on it. So, if you do fall asleep.
Which I always do, yeah.
Then you know you didn't go too far down the road, but I love the Calm app. That's actually how I get a lot of my books read is instead of watching a show at night, I listen to a book or something else so that it allows me to take a step out of my own thoughts and mind and go into a different thought flow, which is super helpful.
100%. So, you can actually sleep. So, you can be prepared to tackle the next day.
Exactly. We are on the same vein. I am the same thing. If I lay down at night, my mind is like dadada, and I have to put it somewhere else. Yes.
So, oh my gosh, this has been so fun, Stephanie. Thank you so much. And please tell our audience where they can find you online and support you and follow along in this amazing journey.
Yes. So, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook, Painterlan Sisters, go to www.painterlandsisters.com. We also still have our Wefunder open until next month. So, if you're interested in investing in Painterland Sisters, this is our first opportunity opening for outside investment. So, we are up to 900 and some thousand. Our goal is 1.2 million. And, like I said, we're going to close next month. So, if you're interested in being a part owner of this crazy journey with us, then please do so.
Amazing. Thank you again.
Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode. If you found it helpful, please like and subscribe. Any review on this podcast will help us to show more people access and resources to women building businesses that are changing lives, changing the country, and changing families. Thank you so much for your support. And if you are looking for coaching with podcasting, or you're wanting to start your own virtual assistant business so that you, too, can be at home with your babies and grow a business, reach out to me at www.camillewalker.co.
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