FOUNDER- Susan O’Brien’s Story
Susan O'Brien’s story started on the island of Maui where she fell in love with Superfoods and the Raw Foods lifestyle. For the devoted daughter, wife & mother of three boys, this new way of living seemed like a natural progression from her decade long yoga practice.
The origin of food is in her DNA given that her grandparents were farmers growing heirloom vegetables and fruits in the small East Texas town of Grand Saline. Her uncle (whom she adored) would continue the family farming tradition growing citrus fruits near the Mexican border town of McAllen, Texas where she frequently visited as a child and has fond memories of picking fresh fruits from the trees.
College would take her to University of Texas at Austin where she studied design and was a regular customer at Whole Foods Market at the original location on Lamar. Her design skills and professional career of designing clinical laboratories would serve her well as the owner of a food company specializing in the unique techniques of food dehydration rather than typical baking.
Upon turning 40 years old, Susan wanted to explore ways in which she could look and feel better as a sort of birthday present to herself, so she adopted the raw foods lifestyle entirely for 9 months and as a result, never felt better. She studied the popular raw food chefs of the time and even trained as a raw food chef in Santa Monica, CA.
In Dallas, she would later turn her home and back cabana into a test kitchen for these raw creations, vowing to make them taste better than what she could find in the market. She wanted her Hail Merry snacks to not only be functional but they had to taste good as well. She sold her products into a few local health food stores and quickly gained a devoted following of people who were also seeking better for you good tasting snacks made with pure ingredients. Susan trained her children’s nanny Lorraine how to prepare the food and package it so that she could spend her time selling and marketing the brand. As the company grew Lorraine quickly became known to all of us at Hail Merry as the "Queen Bee" in the kitchen because of her her astute mixology skills and dedication to quality. Lorraine will always and forever be our Queen Bee.
GAME CHANGER- Sarah Palisi Chapin
Susan would then be introduced to Sarah Chapin now her partner and CEO at Hail Merry while still producing in her home Cabana. Sarah was literally a dream come true for Susan and her husband Steve, who serves as Hail Merry’s Chairman. Sarah brought 30 years of big food company thinking & expertise in investment banking to Hail Merry while allowing Susan to continue pursuing her passion for creating great tasting recipes and marketing the brand to consumers and retailers.
Also joining the Hail Merry team as partner and CPO in the early cabana days was Alison Brushaber. Alison, a food scientist and culinary trained chef, is also a food industry leader with 30 years experience in commercializing food for large brands. The movie, Food, Inc., had a very profound effect on Sarah, Alison and Susan. Together they would vow to use their big company experience and skills to help bring about vast industry wide change to the food supply.
This powerful trifecta of women now leads Hail Merry with Conscious Capitalism as the core of their mission and value system for the company. They also bring their innate skills as intuitive and passionate females who excel at nurturing the company culture to help their own employees find a healthier path in life.
Susan, Sarah and Alison continue to grow Hail Merry so that more people have access to their unique and great tasting products that do not exclude anyone.
WHY: Hail Merry exists to help people achieve higher health.
HOW: By creating truly great tasting snacks using our award winning recipes. Our pure ingredients are consciously sourced and prepared in innovative ways, while also meeting the needs of those with special dietary restrictions.
WHAT: Hail Merry is a category redefining snack-food company born out of the raw foods movement that is owned and led by women who seek to nurture each other, our employees, our partners, our families and our customers.
ORIGIN OF “HAIL MERRY” & THE QUEEN
Hail Merry® is a symbol of purity and the Hail Merry Queen is an artful & cheerful expression of the power that the female holds within to nurture and express love.
When I was first developing the idea of the company and brand, my three boys were playing chess often. I have always loved how much power the queen possesses in the game of chess, thus the Hail Merry Queen is a wink and a nod to the power that all women possess. The Hail Merry Queen icon was designed to resemble a chess piece in the vein of the wooden doll series created by the great American born architect, Alexander Girard.
The name ‘Hail Merry’ is hopefully both memorable and thought provoking. It is meant to be a delicate play on words, evoking a feeling of merriment. Yet also an important reminder to be grateful for the beautiful foods this planet has to offer so that we may live and love longer.
There is of course the Catholic connotation, and being Catholic myself, I respect and admire my faith very deeply. Building any business can be challenging at times, thus the name ‘Hail Merry’ sparks daily inspiration for me.
Hail Merry is ultimately about the journey to higher health and the unique path we each must take to achieve our goals for a happier healthier life with friends and family.
Peace & Light,
Founder, Hail Merry