From the Source: Gwell by Fawziyya Sugai
Find out how Fawziyya Sugai created a plant-based wellness brand that incorporates functional foods into everyday snacks for people with special dietary needs from diverse backgrounds.
Please provide a brief bio about your company.
Gwell is a plant-based wellness brand that incorporates functional foods into everyday snacks for people with special dietary needs from diverse backgrounds. All Gwell bites are designed to support immunity, energy/focus, stress relief. Made with therapeutic quantities of functional ingredients, our plant-based, gluten-free, and non-GMO snacks live up to the phrase ‘snacks with Benefits.’ Gwell includes cookies, granola, and fruit and nut bites, all designed with wellness benefits in mind. Whether on the go or relaxing at home, we have the most indulgent treats to power your everyday life. Our flavors reflect the diversity of the community we serve, inspired by our founder's diverse background from growing up in Trinidad and Atlanta to being raised in the Muslim community and living abroad. We pair these bold flavors with common snacks to create a more approachable indulgence for all to enjoy.
What inspired you to start your business?
Gwell started as a solution for me. I was struggling to juggle a demanding fashion career in NYC and PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis. Outside of medical care, I needed options that helped me to navigate my life despite my debilitating day-to-day symptoms. Because of my inflammatory and hormonal conditions, I had to reduce my gluten, dairy, and sugar intake. Gwell bites are what I created when I need focus, energy, relaxation, and so much more. With over 50% of Americans living with chronic illnesses, something had to change. I quickly realized that everybody wants to feel their best, but it is not always easy. Our goal with Gwell is to help people looking for convenient and delicious solutions feel like they are one step closer to feeling better.
How did you decide on your mission statement?
Our mission for Gwell is incredibly personal for me. Having experienced the impact of chronic illness on my life and the disparities in care, it is not something you can easily forget. Our mission is to help people to feel better by creating energizing, mood-boosting snacks that reflect our diverse community and its unique dietary needs. Knowing how many other people are experiencing the same challenges daily, our vision for Gwell was always bigger than me and bigger than snacks. The healthcare and food ecosystem in America consistently underserves minorities and women. Our vision is to reshape what snacking looks like for Americans by creating high-quality, accessible snacks supporting well-being and promoting healthcare and community services, prioritizing prevention.
What does being a women-owned business mean to you?
My first thought was that I was not really sure. The first things that come to mind are all of the extra hurdles women face when building a business. When I peel that back, I remember that every choice I make as a founder helps to move the needle to more representation for women founders, better and more inclusive working conditions for people in general, and the opportunity to truly improve food and health equity. It's lofty, but you can't do this without a bigger purpose, it's simply too hard otherwise. This is my north star.
What inspired you to give your company a Welsh namesake?
We initially started with the word better but wanted to also register the focus on wellness. When we started researching the word better in other languages, we found Gwell. It means better in Welsh, but it reminded us of many things like wellness or getting well. For us, it seemed like the obvious choice to represent our personal and customer wellness journeys.
How have Gwell products improved your health and made life more enjoyable?
For a long time, it felt like I was losing something or couldn't enjoy things because of how they made me feel. Creating Gwell snacks made everyday life easier and tastier while helping to improve my well-being over time.
You can find a Gwell products either in store or online. Visit us in store Monday through Friday, 10:30am - 6pm and online shopping is available. Online orders are typically available for pickup within 1-2 hours.