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Ann Withey

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Ann Withey is an American entrepreneur, businesswoman, and advocate for natural, organic foods. The Founder of Annie’s Homegrown, a natural and organic producer and retailer of pastas, meals, and snacks, Withey was born in Connecticut but later relocated to Berkeley, California to pursue her dream of healthy, organic food. The daughter of two schoolteachers, Withey majored in English at the University of Connecticut, Withey started Annie’s Homegrown with her husband, Andrew Martin, in 1989. Prior to founding Annie’s, Withey and Martin started Smartfoods, a white cheddar cheese-flavored popcorn company that intended to fill resealable packages that Martin and his partner were trying to market.

In 2002, Withey and Martin launched a national advertising campaign for Annie’s, with the intention of raising awareness about the importance of natural and organic foods and proper practices. While Withey originally thought of Annie’s as a New England-only company, the direction she set for the company - sustainable agriculture, organic ingredients, and no artificial ingredients that offer support for farmers and communities - caused her to move to California. One of the main missions of Annie’s to to create and promote a healthier, happier world through foods that are good for you and do not harm the environment.

In 1995, Withey completed a direct public offering that raised more than $1.3 million. Since then, Withey has grown Annie’s, even opening their very own bakery manufacturing plant in 2014.

Companies and Investments

Annie’s Homegrown (Co-Founder), Smartfood (Co-Founder)

Lessons Learned

Pay attention to the market and, when you see a whole or an opportunity, jump on it.

Your original idea may change, and that’s OK.

You don’t need deep pockets to find success. If you have a great product, you are on the right path.

Believe in yourself, your brand, and your product. In doing so, you will be starting off on the right foot.

If you find yourself committed to something, continue to foster this passion. If you work hard, you may be able to turn your passion and commitment into something wonderful.

Know your strengths, but also understand your weaknesses. By refusing to let your ego get in the way and instead bringing in a team of others with the strengths you are missing, you will be much better off.

Don’t lose touch with your original vision.

It’s OK for your idea to be transformed and change, just make sure you aren’t selling yourself short.

Inspiring Quotes

Ann Withey's Quotes

It is important to cultivate a healthier, happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods, honest words, and conduct that is considerate and forever kind to the planet.

Ann Withey

It wasn’t my strength to manage people, so I chose to do the consumer, marketing thing. It was a deliberate choice.

Ann Withey

I have lived a modest, simple life and still do. I guess it’s who I am.

Ann Withey

Influential Books