Oct. 18, 2022

Creating Wake Up and Read the Labels with Jen Smiley

Nutrition and entrepreneurship were a right of passage for Jen Smiley. Growing up, she practically lived in her parent's grocery store, stocking shelves, and watching brand reps quarrel over shelf space.

After Jen became a stay-at-home mom, she wanted an outlet and she knew she wanted to start a business. When a social media consultant encouraged her to get uncomfortable in front of the camera and share her clean eating journey, things started to align. People started asking for help clearing out their pantries and shopping for groceries with cleaner, simpler ingredients. 

Jen’s “freak food” wasn’t always understood by the people around her. But nearly three years later, she’s helped improve people’s lives through Wake Up and Read the Labels along with her husband Seth. She also has a book on the horizon.

In this episode, the roles are reversed and Sarah Persich, Head of Operations at Wake Up, interviews Jen about her clean eating journey, how Wake Up and Read the Labels started, and what motivates her to keep the company going. 

Key Takeaways

  • [01:26] - Jen’s grocery store upbringing.
  • [04:10] - When Jen realized product placement was important.
  • [04:53] - The beginning of Wake Up and Read the Labels.
  • [09:40] - The unexpected impact of Jen’s business.
  • [10:20] - How Jen’s friends and family reacted to the food she was eating.
  • [11:59] - What Jen likes about her job.
  • [14:02] - Jen’s experience working with her husband Seth.
  • [16:38] - Three motivators for Jen when she falls off track.
  • [18:36] - Upcoming plans for Wake Up and Read the Labels.
  • [19:28] - Jen’s Wake Up moment.


[10:08] - “It feels like the food industry is criminal and people don't understand what they're doing, and we're all confused. So I feel as though it's a void that needs to be filled.” ~ Jen Smiley

[13:00] - “There's a lot of things I like about my job, but I would say probably the best thing is hearing the results, hearing the transformations, because that is what feeds me to keep going.” ~ Jen Smiley

[18:13] - “I know that the food industry is capitalized, it's out of control. They have made the quality so terrible. They're trying to get you to eat more, make it addictive, all these things. So it's feeling empowered and being able to overcome it that allows you to stay in control, feel good, reap the benefits, and eat the foods you love.” ~ Jen Smiley


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