As an actor, Sarah Michelle Gellar was used to rejection and uphill battles, but co-founding her startup, Foodstirs, has been a challenge like no other.
“I need to make a decision on this,” says Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Her two co-founders, Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman, stop chatting and join in. It’s mid-November, and they’re standing in the center of their Los Angeles startup office: a converted garage half a block from a pot dispensary, with two rows of desks in the back, a shared office-slash-conference room for the co-founders up front and the words what’s up batches?! towering above a kitchen in the middle. This is Foodstirs, their baking-mix company, and in a week’s time, Gellar is going to be on Harry Connick Jr.’s show, Harry, promoting their products by baking…something. But what? That’s the decision.
For Gellar, who wanted to be taken seriously in this new line of work, the experience could be emotionally bruising. “The 20-year-old me would not be able to handle this life — the travel, the noes, the expectation of failure,” she says. “Even the misogyny. I mean, in my other career, I faced a fair amount as well, but it’s just at a different level. And I’m a little more sensitive to this because it feels more personal.” Once, for example, she was on CNBC talking about Foodstirs, and afterward people on set sweetly complimented her on how she talked business. She saw the moment for what it was: They’d expected her to be a ditz. “Sometimes I would ask Greg and Galit, ‘Is it easier without me?’” Gellar says.