“I saw my own health become stagnant… I looked at colleagues who were ten years older than me and saw the end game. I wanted my life to be a healthy one…”
Activities: Soccer, weight lifting, running
Q: When I asked you to be a part of MCBMI, you mentioned you played professional soccer. How long did you play professionally and with what team(s)?
I played soccer professionally in Europe for Iceland’s Breiðablik Futbol Club. This was after four years of playing at Brown where I was named an All-American.
Q: Did you know you wanted to play professionally as a little girl?
To be honest, I didn’t think playing professionally was an option. But I grew up watching Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers on the US Olympic Team and attended the 1994 World Cup, which was one of my most favorite memories growing up.
Q: Why soccer, of all the sports to play?
I started playing soccer at a very young age, probably because my brother did. I grew to love the sport – I truly believe it is one of the most challenging sports out there. It’s the perfect blend of strong endurance, strength, quickness, agility, and finesse.
Q: Why did you stop playing professionally? Would you ever join a league just to stay active in the sport?
I’m not sure why I stopped playing! I wish I still was! A large reason was because I had a great professional opportunity and wasn’t sure if an opportunity like that would always be there. I do still play in a league occasionally with a lot of my old teammates from college, which is a lot of fun!
Q: So you went from doing big things with soccer to doing even bigger things with VROU. Tell us what it is? How did you come up with the concept?
As a professional athlete you prioritize health, fitness, nutrition — each of these have a big impact on AND off the field. After my career was over I began working in finance where I was stuck behind a desk like so many others out there. I saw my own health become stagnant and knew many of my friends were feeling the same way.
I looked at colleagues who were ten years older than me and saw the end game. I wanted my life to be a healthy one so I took this challenge head on. I wanted to make it fun and easy to live a healthy lifestyle. I launched VROU to target two major problems: 76% of Americans are chronically dehydrated and 90% of Americans have nutrition gaps of some kind in their diet.
Our first product, VROU Daily Essentials water, is packed with antioxidants, electrolytes and essential vitamins and minerals (without the calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners/preservatives). Learn more here: http://www.vroulife.com
Q: How did you come up with the name VROU?
The story behind the name VROU came from my experience traveling to South Africa in 2010 – just about 4 years ago exactly for the World Cup. It was my first vacation while working in finance after playing soccer professionally. I left with a renewed sense of purpose; the passion, culture and environment of the World Cup spurred me to realize a big part of my life was missing: health.
The actual translation of VROU in Afrikaans is woman. I was an inspired woman in South Africa and wanted to bring something back from this trip. I want to inspire others…to be healthy.
Q: Was it tough initially getting your product out there? If so, why do you think it was?
It was challenging because I started from square one and had a steep learning curve. When we first began talking with Whole Foods, they were excited about our product because there was nothing comparable on their shelves that offered as many nutrients as VROU. We gained instant traction this way, but the market is competitive. We have to continue to innovate with new concepts that deliver convenient, accessible, healthy products.
Additionally, I think a lot of people can relate to my story. Everyone’s schedules are packed: work, kids, family, friends. Unfortunately for many, health and fitness end up taking a back seat. VROU is an easy option that helps support a healthy lifestyle while people are on the go. We don’t want anybody to ever have to compromise their health.
Q: Where can you buy VROU?
VROU can be purchased at Whole Foods Market in the NYC area, in addition to other gourmet and boutique grocery stores and fitness studios in the city. For those located outside of NYC, VROU can be purchased on our website http://www.vroulife.com
Q: What are your short and long term visions for your company?
Short term, I want to continue building the brand and making VROU available to everyone, inspiring others to live healthy. In the long term, I want to do the same with a family of products that meet additional needs and health voids.
Q: With all that you have going on, how do you stay in shape?
Being an entrepreneur, I’ve learned to make my workouts efficient. Pack the most into a short amount of time — circuit workouts and lifting are my go-to workouts. That said, I am a soccer player at heart and love to get in longer runs to free up my mind and keep my endurance. Some of my best thoughts for the brand tend to come during these workouts.
Q: Obesity is a huge epidemic in the US, especially among women, in your opinion, what needs to happen for this to change?
Awareness and education, there are a lot of confusing messages in the media and too many ‘diet’ trends out there. I hold a lot of manufacturer’s accountable for producing products and targeting the masses with health products, which are in fact not.
I have been in many inner city schools talking with students about healthy living, and many of them don’t even know the difference between what is good for them and what isn’t.
Q: Why did you agree to be a part of MCBMI?
So the new saying goes ‘Strong is the new Sexy’ — cliché or not, I feel good when I feel strong. Being healthy and fit physically and mentally will give you confidence – I want all women to feel this and be empowered to be strong from the inside out!