Sara Polon, 39, founded Soupergirl, a vegan soup delivery/restaurant, with her mom in 2008. Soupergirl’s soups are on the shelves at health food stores and Costco. She lives in Cleveland Park.
You used to do stand-up. Is it a coincidence that you became a vegan and stopped being funny at the same time?
I think becoming a vegan made me funnier.
I hope. There’s something about finding comfort in yourself that allows you to be funnier. And laugh at yourself with greater ease.
A lot of people have a vague dream about entrepreneurship. Like, “I’ll make healthy, locally sourced soups with my mom! And we’ll make a fortune!” But I think very few people do it, and very few people are still doing it eight years later. What did you make happen that worked?
I always say the best decisions I ever made in my life I didn’t think out very well. If I had really projected it out, no way I would have done this. I haven’t really slept in eight years. It’s been indescribably hard, but yet I have also — the past eight years are the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I also know I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. I dragged my mother out of retirement! No woman should ask of her mother what I asked of mine. However, when it was just the two of us, the laughing that we did is — you don’t have that with anyone else. We miss it, even though they were hard times.
How many employees do you have?
Look at you! Job creator!
I go into the fetal position every payroll.
What’s the weirdest soup you sell?
It’s not the weirdest, but the one that customers can become obsessed with is our beet gazpacho. People are very weirded out by beets. They don’t know what to do with them. They’re kind of a pain to cook; they stain, and people have beets in cans and they look gross. People are wary. But once they try it. ... I had someone email me last night. The wind was blowing, it was 20 degrees. He was asking why he couldn’t get the beet gazpacho. I was like, Dude, that’s a cold soup.
Not if you heat it up.
Please don’t heat up gazpacho. Oh my gosh.
Really? What happens?
It’s just gross. It’s tomatoes and cucumbers. Never eat a hot cucumber. I’ve never heated it. I don’t know what would happen. I can’t answer that.
What is your worst soup experience?
Flying peanut soup! We were loading the soup into the refrigerator, and I don’t know if a gust of wind hit or what happened, but I’m holding a pint of my carrot peanut soup and it just lifted up into the air and poured all over my head. My mom just stood up and started applauding and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Soupergirl!”
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