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NPR: How I built this

Podcast NPR: How I built this

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  • Food52: Amanda Hesser (2021)
    In the early 1990s, as Amanda Hesser's college friends were interviewing for their first cubicle jobs, she chose a different path; one that led straight into the kitchens of Europe, where she cooked traditional recipes and learned the rhythm of the seasons from a crusty French gardener. By 24, she had landed a book deal and one of the most coveted jobs in journalism: writing about food for the New York Times. But over time she grew restless, and in 2008, gave up that dream job—and the stability that went with it—to become an entrepreneur. When her first business fizzled out, Amanda took a financial risk by pivoting again to launch a new company: Food52. Part food blog, part e-commerce site for all things kitchen and home, Food52 is now valued around $300 million and achieved profitability for the first time during the pandemic.This episode was produced by Rachel Faulkner, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Daryth Gayles.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at [email protected] Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • HIBT Lab! Saysh: Wes and Allyson Felix
    Allyson Felix is the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time. She’s also a mother. Those two identities came into conflict in 2018 when negotiating a contract renewal with her shoe sponsor, Nike. Ultimately, Allyson broke ties with Nike because the new contract presented a significant pay cut and lacked adequate maternal protections. After struggling to find a new shoe sponsor, Allyson and her brother/agent, Wes, decided to take matters into their own hands and start their own shoe company, Saysh. This week on How I Built This Lab, Allyson and Wes talk with Guy about their journey to the top of the track and field world, the decision to leave Nike, and how they built the iconic shoe that Allyson wore during her gold medal performance at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Plus, why most name brand shoes aren’t designed for women’s feet, and how Saysh is working to change that. This episode was produced by Chris Maccini, with music by Ramtin Arablouei.Edited by John Isabella, with research help from Lauren Landau Einhorn.Our audio engineer was Alex Drewenskus.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at [email protected] Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • Xero Shoes: Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix
    In 2007, Steven Sashen went on a 5K run in his bare feet, an experience that felt so surprisingly natural that it led him to launch one of the best-known minimalist shoe brands in the world. After reading the best-seller Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and fashioning his own, thin-soled sandals that helped him fully feel the ground, Steven noticed he was running faster and having fewer injuries. His friends began asking him to make sandals for them, and soon enough, he convinced his wife Lena to help him launch a do-it-yourself sandal kit business. As their minimalist shoe line slowly expanded to ready-to-wear sandals and closed-toe shoes, Steven and Lena faced every imaginable obstacle for a small business: manufacturing meltdowns, a mountain of debt, anxious investors, a trade war with China, and an appearance on Shark Tank that resulted in an insulting offer. But more than a decade after launch, Xero Shoes are sold around the world, with nearly $50 million in sales and a near-evangelical following. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • HIBT Lab! Too Good To Go: Lucie Basch
    Collaboration is the new competition: that was French entrepreneur Lucie Basch’s philosophy when she approached a group of Danish founders who happened to be working on a similar food waste reduction app. Before long, Lucie and her new co-founders joined forces to create Too Good To Go, an app that enables restaurants and grocery stores to sell leftover items in ‘surprise bags’ at a significantly reduced price. Since launching in 2016, Too Good To Go has raised over $30 million dollars and has expanded to 17 countries, including the U.S.This week on How I Built This Lab, Lucie talks with Guy about her company’s work to leverage the ‘horizontal power’ of consumers to collectively chip away at global food waste. She also discusses the emergence of social enterprises like hers, that fill the gap between charitable and purely profit-driven organizations.This episode was produced by Sam Paulson, with music by Sam Paulson and Ramtin Arablouei.Edited by John Isabella, with research help from Lauren Landau Einhorn.Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at [email protected] Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • Michael Kors: Michael Kors
    As a teenager, Michael Kors filled his notebooks with dress designs and doodles of his own initials—casual sketches that would eventually fuel the launch of a global fashion brand. Michael grew up with a love of fashion; by the time he was 19, his designs were on display on 5th Avenue, and by 22, his collection was getting attention from the fashion editor of New York Magazine, a young upstart named Anna Wintour. In the early days, he designed thousand-dollar dresses in his bedroom and delivered them in his aunt’s car. As the business grew, he launched a new line with an unproven partner that would eventually lead him to bankruptcy; then, after he recovered, he successfully branched out into eyewear, fragrances, and handbags, all branded with his now famous “MK” initials. Today, Michael still heads Creative at Michael Kors, and the brand has grown into a massive company that includes Jimmy Choo and Versace. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

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