3 weeks before launch — Katarina joins to help people get what the Stockeld cheese is all about
At Stockeld Dreamery, things are moving along laser fast (yes laser!) and the timing for new people joining is never perfect. Having pulled through our big re-naming project without her was pretty heavy for me. But now, with three weeks to launching our first product, Katarina Szostak has finally joined the Dreamery to run Product and Marketing. Her job is basically to help make the world’s most ambitious cheese (product) and make sure people get what it’s all about (marketing) — no pressure!
Katarina’s background speaks for itself after 10+ years at Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Mars and Lantmännen. She knows the world of FMCG (CPG) really well. But what got us to really want her on the team was her energy and the passion she radiated badly wanting to be part of our journey. Welcome to the team!
One week into the new job, we did a short check-in today.
Hey Katarina Szostak — how’s your Monday going?
It’s going great! Just had my first customer meeting and it was quite nerve wrecking. They tried the product in development phase a couple of months ago and were not entirely sold — but today they absolutely loved it and wanted to jump onboard. Success!
What a relief! What changed from last time?
A lot! The team is continuously improving the product, which is by the way one of the coolest things with Stockeld — half of the team is working in R&D. Our first vision is to make the world’s most ambitious cheese and that requires many hours of cheese making and challenging ourselves over and over again.
3 weeks from launch — what is your plan?
My mission is to show the world what I see — a delicious cheese which is kind to our planet. Trust me, I was skeptical at first too: Can a plant-based cheese really taste good enough to make a cheese lover do the switch? The answer is yes. So my plan is basically to reach out with our identity and make sure people understand why they should care about who we are. And of course make sure that as many as possible try it!
Sounds like an ambitious plan, what is it you find intriguing with the product?
First of all I love working with food as it’s super engaging. The plant-based food industry is evolving at rocket speed and the interest is only increasing. Cheese has huge impact potential. Actually, producing conventional cheese creates higher greenhouse gas emissions than producing things like pork, poultry, and fish, per unit produced. To really drive an impactful change I believe we need to lower the emotional barriers and encourage everyone to try, and move towards, plant-based alternatives without making sacrifices on taste, quality and nutritional values; this is where Stockeld will lead the way! If that’s not intriguing tell me what is!
You’ve worked for large organizations like Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Mars and Lantmännen; what are you most looking forward to, now that you’re moving into the startup world? What made you chose Stockeld?
Moving from the big corporation world into a startup will of course come with many new perspectives but definitely also numerous challenges. I’m equally excited as I’m terrified as this is new territory. Well, almost new territory; previous roles when working with brands such as Skittles, Coca-Cola, Extra and Kungsörnen have set me up for solid retail expertise and good understanding of why consumers engage in products — knowledge which I will definitely bring to the table. Stockeld combines two things I find very important and intriguing; a true purpose and an entrepreneurial ’challenging status quo’ mindset.