Mariana’s journey is a blend of passion, resilience, and collaboration. Her story is a testament to the power of a clear vision and the right partnerships.

Hailing from the vibrant city of Portland, Mariana is one of the driving forces behind ingarden, a health & wellness company that champions sustainability. In her words, ingarden offers “sustainable, countertop indoor gardens to grow your own superfoods at home!” It’s not just about growing plants; it’s about adding nutrition to your diet with nutrient-dense, real food.

Mariana’s inspiration for ingarden stemmed from a desire to provide real food alternatives to vitamins and supplements. She wanted to offer solutions that are not only beneficial for individuals but also for our planet. Funded by angel investors, 3 of whom are Mariana and Christian’s previous bosses ingarden has carved a niche for itself by selling its innovative products on its website and Amazon. They’ve also introduced a robust subscription model, which has been well-received by their customers.

Reflecting on her journey, Mariana considers the change of strategy in early 2023 as the company’s biggest win. These pivotal decisions have set ingarden on a path to profitability much sooner than anticipated. However, like all entrepreneurs, Mariana has faced challenges. She candidly admits to over-purchasing inventory in the past.

Being a founder has its highs and lows. For Mariana, the ability to swiftly turn ideas into action plans and see them come to life is exhilarating. Yet, she also acknowledges the loneliness and overwhelming responsibilities that come with the role. Her secret to managing the demands? “I love biking, hiking, yoga. I commit to doing some sort of physical activity daily. And, yes, it sounds cheesy, but my dog is also a huge emotional, unwavering support!”

Before ingarden, Mariana was part of a direct-to-consumer brand incubator that witnessed rapid growth until its acquisition. Her advice to budding founders is clear: prioritize mental and physical health and aim for profitability from day one. Mariana credits Startup Haven for providing valuable connections throughout her journey. She wishes for more in-person meetups in Portland, emphasizing the importance of community and one-on-one connections over webinars.

As for her “ask”? 

Mariana is on the lookout for more angel investors and an advisory board member with experience in scaling a company to 15M ARR or more. On the flip side, she offers her expertise in product development, from brainstorming to development and go-to-market strategies

Mariana’s partnership with her co-founder is a testament to the power of collaboration. Having met at a previous company, their combined expertise and lack of ego have been instrumental in ingarden’s success. They invest time in regular monthly sessions with a leadership coach, ensuring open communication and continuous growth. It’s like couple’s therapy, for founders.

In Mariana’s words, “Invest in the people in your business and those you work with. That’s the #1 thing that can boost or bump you.”