Just call them the wellness twins.
Miki and Radha Agrawal finish each other’s sentences, and that’s just the beginning. The two went to Cornell together, live blocks from each other in Manhattan, and are now helping each other start businesses that focus on healthy living.
In 2005, Miki started Slice, the Perfect Food, an organic pizza joint in New York City. The restaurant offers a different kind of pizza —one that is not for grease-lovers. Slice come with organic mozzarella, free-range chicken, honey whole wheat crust and chicken sausage infused with fresh herbs.
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It’s target audience? Anyone looking for a healthier, but just-as-tasty, version of a New York tradition: the pizza pie.
Radha was the creative director at Slice when she had her own "aha! moment" while designing the menu.
“I drew these illustrations on it. There were these little super power vegetable characters and kids came in and they were coloring in it and loving it, asking where they could get books like this,” explained Radha. "I started to do research and I was like, there is nothing out there in the pre-school space that teaches kids about nutrition and vegetables.”
So Radha decided to start Super Sprowtz, a multimedia company that will have DVDs, books, online games, and iPhone apps all centered around the super-powered vegetable characters she created.
Clever names include Colby the Carrot, who has “super sight” and Erica Eggplant, who is “super smart.” In the back of each book the nutritional benefits are made clear for kids, explaining why, in fact, the carrot character can see so well or why the eggplant character is so quick-witted.
The two are gearing up for the Super Sprowtz launch in November and are excited about opening two more Slice stores in the New York area. If things go as planned, they’re just getting started. And with all of their enthusiasm, you can’t help but believe them.
“We would both love to have a show on the food network or somewhere that shows how to build a restaurant, how to build a business, how to lead a healthier life… essentially what we’re doing here [with Young Guns]” said Radha. “We are best friends and really want to take it to the next level!”
Six Shooter with Radha Agrawal of Super Sprowtz and Miki Agarawal of Slice
1. What do you wish you had more of: time or money?
Radha: Is it okay to say both? There are only 24 hours in a day and only so much time to build a multi-media social enterprise and fund-raise all at the same time. With just a small friends and family round, and with the help of an incredible creative team, we have developed a multi-platform brand with four books and 24,000 books printed, a line of apparel, iPhone apps, a hundred-page website with e-commerce, five music videos, online games, two partial DVD episodes, development of plush toys, development of a school curriculum around our books in just the product category alone. We have stretched each dollar a mile using our relationships and favors, but with more time and capital, we could leverage those even more
Miki: I think I would say both as well…. There is only so much time in a day to be productive [and develop] profitable ideas. If I had more money, I would be able to hire proper strategists to help me with the growth of my company, hire better PR people who could help me garner press, and I would be able to open up more locations in many more cities where I think the Slice concept would flourish.
2. Who is your biggest inspiration?
Radha: My parents are my biggest inspiration. My father came to Canada from India with five dollars in his pocket and my mother came from Japan without speaking the language and they made a life for themselves in a foreign country. They've sacrificed so much for us and while the occasional "it's not too late to be a doctor or lawyer" line slips into conversation, they are our biggest supporters and they inspire me to see this through.
Miki: My biggest inspiration are my parents. My dad came to this country with no resources and together with my incredibly patient mother, in one generation, managed to put three children through Ivy League schools and make the most of what they had, and with a smile on their faces. They taught me how to keep a budget and be truthful and to be the best I could possibly be, always.
3. What is your biggest tip to other wannabe entrepreneurs?
Radha: Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. No one is going to do anything for you unless you lead by example. Just because your title is "Founder/CEO" doesn't mean you can't take out the trash. The other tip is to ask as many questions as possible and find mentors who are willing to take you under their wing, whether it's a successful entrepreneur or a leader in your field.
Miki: Business is ever changing and as long as we adapt, we will remain on the right path. So I would say the following: Understand the marketplace. If it's changing, find out how it is changing. What can you do to adapt to the changes? And pick something that means something to you. Figure out what it is you're passionate about and focus on that. And, work hard. With that, I would also say learn to take breaks when you need them. You don't want to burn out and lose passion either. So work your butt off when you are feeling passionate and take a break when you need it.
4. Radha, why will Miki succeed as an entrepreneur?
Radha: She is my biggest inspiration truth be told. She is a force of nature and relentless. I've watched her for five years beg borrow and steal to grow Slice, and she blows me away with her devil-may-care attitude and iron will to see the company to success no matter what it takes. She tiled the restaurant herself, general-contracted the second restaurant, personally flyered the neighborhood and 2000 apartments, tirelessly goes around doing tastings at gyms, events, etc and still has time to have a life and work out and be my best friend. She is pretty amazing.
Miki, why will Radha succeed as entrepreneur?
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Miki: Radha will succeed as an entrepreneur because she has taken all the skill sets that she has incurred over the course of the last 10 years to start this company. This is exactly what she is meant to be doing. She also has worked harder than I have ever seen her work on this project and her passion for Super Sprowtz is absolutely endless. Radha has an incredible ability to surround herself with brilliant folks who are willing to help her because they believe both in her and in the concept. I think this idea is a runaway hit and she is delivering an excellent product.
5. What is the future for Slice and Super Sprowtz?
Radha: Regarding Super Sprowtz, I think we have a lot of work ahead of us in terms of proving our brand, building a community who cares about the future generations of our country starting with the first bite, and scaling our brand globally since this fight is a global one. I want to prove that one can build a thriving and scalable business around an idea that benefits society at large and have fun while doing it!
Miki: Ideally, I would love Slice to grow to several more locations and partner up with a bigger company who have more resources to scale this to a level that is nationally known. I think our brand and all its touch points (better ingredients, creative toppings, in-store experience, packaging, menu design, website design) are one of a kind and we see a great future for Slice. Sprowtz I see blowing up and surpassing Little Einsteins.
6. What does the future hold for the Agrawal twins?
Radha: You'll have to tune in to find out! I learned a long time ago that I can't predict the future and it never goes as planned. Besides, where's the fun in that?
Miki: For me, a boyfriend? Lol. I don't know. Who knows. I simply want to lead an extraordinary life, and I will continue to push the envelope to ensure I do so.