We had the good fortune of connecting with Cori Sue Morris and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cori Sue, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Retreat Foods is actually my third business—I’ve been building companies and brands for 10 years. I started with a cheeky little media company, Bitches Who Brunch, which I started, scaled and sold in 2018. Then, I ran a marketing agency helping women-led, early stage brands scale and grow.

But, back to Retreat. I was living and working in New York City, and I lead a very health-conscious lifestyle. During a particularly stressful time at work (I was working at WeWork during the failed IPO drama), I started experiencing severe, debilitating pain and inflammation. I just couldnt get out of bed in the morning—my whole body ached, I was perpetually exhausted, and swollen all the time. It turns out, my stress (cortisol) levels were off the charts—my stress was literally manifesting as physical pain in my body.

I discovered adaptogens, a category of herbs and mushrooms (like turmeric) that help our bodies adapt to stress and inflammation—particularly relevant for modern-day and COVID-life. With consistent use of adaptogens, I was able to regulate my hormone (cortisol, estrogen and testosterone) levels.

The problem is: adaptogens are only available in esoteric pills, teas, and funky-smelling tinctures. I wanted to make adaptogens accessible to everyone by putting them in delicious, easy-to-enjoy snacks.

Two years later: Retreat, the first company dedicated to fighting stress and inflammation, has launched! We offer 4 flavors of nut & seed spreads: BALANCE, CALM, FOCUS and BOOST, each with a functional dose (pill’s worth) of adaptogens in each spoonful!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
ABOUT RETREAT: Retreat Foods mission is to help people reduce stress through healthy snacking! Retreat Foods takes “food as medicine” a step further by adding a functional dose of healing herbs (adaptogens) into popular everyday snacks, starting with nut butters. Our functional snacks are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, Whole 30 approved, allergen- and kid-friendly.

We’re a mission-driven, women-owned company committed to improving health and wellness, creating products free of animal products, using sustainable packaging, developing a sustainable supply chain, and diversity in our board, consultants and hiring practices.

Our business is unique because it fills a gap in the market for health-conscious customers seeking functional ingredients. Customers are actively seeking solutions to stress and inflammation, and current options are only available in pills, teas and complicated tinctures. Adaptogens, a category of superfood herbs used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, can provide these health benefits. Retreat Foods is the first company to make adaptogenic superfoods easy and accessible by making them into peoples’ favorite snacks.

I’m a brand-builder and third-time founder with one successful exit under my belt. I started, scaled and sold a digital media company all about food targeted to millennial women with 1 million monthly hits. Then, I ran a marketing agency helping direct-to-consumer health and food brands rapidly scale and grow. When I haven’t been running my own business, I’ve been founder- adjacent as a Director of Marketing at early stage, venture backed companies (Havenly, WeWork).


Running a business is never easy—though it may seem fun and glamorous on the internet, it’s not. Failure and challenge is a regular, almost daily part of the game. Particularly these days, when launching a business during COVID means supply chain and shipping delays.

Personally, I’m not amazing at anything—but I’m fiercely resilient, adaptable and hard-working. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to seek out answers, find solutions, and build without a clear roadmap. That’s one of the biggest differences between true entrepreneurs and the rest: are you willing to get knocked down multiple times, and jump back up to find a solution to something you’ve never dome before?

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Miami is the best city in the world! You can’t beat Miami’s energy, culture, and food—every day I feel alive, vibrant and full of energy!

To explore, you can’t beat the beaches, sitting poolside at the Edition, One Hotel, or Soho Beach House, or the art! Personally, I love the Perez Museum, the Rubbell and de la Cruz collections—I always leave feeling energized and inspired.

For a night out, I’d suggest sushi at KYU in Wynwood, dinner at Stubborn Seed on South Beach, or the back patio at Mama Joon.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shout out is to my friend, Meggie Palmer, the founder of PepTalkHer. Meggie is on a mission to close the gender pay gap, with an app, coaching program, free online courses, and amazing social media community to give women the courage and support they need to advance in their careers, get the pay they deserve, and get the support they need.

Meggie is always an advocate and sounding board for me, and I’m grateful to have her, as well as so many other strong women, in my community. Follow Meggie at @PepTalkHer on Instagram!

Website: www.retreatfoods.com

Instagram: @retreatfoods

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corisuemorris

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/corisuemorris

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/retreatfoods

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