We're excited to introduce you to an old friend of Arthur's, Rip Pruisken, cookie trailblazer and founder of Rip Van. Rip’s company is an outlier among the snack community, a minority owned business started on the lawn of a New England college, they strive for low sugar alternatives as one small way to improve people’s lives.
Q: How did you start your business?
Rip: I started the business with a bake sale in college. After perfecting the Rip Van Wafels recipe V1 in my dorm room I set up a little stand on the college green and that was the beginning of Rip Van.
Q: At what point did you think this was something you needed to share with everyone?
Rip: I had a hunch that stroopwafels would be loved in the US similar to chocolate chip cookies or sandwich cookies, but it was the positive feedback from the students during the bake sale that gave me the confidence that we were really on to something.
Q: When did you think you had a better product than what was already out there?
Rip: We were the first movers of stroopwafels in the US. We established the stroopwafel category and so we didn’t really have direct product competition.
Q: What motivates you?
Rip: To have a meaningful positive impact. With Rip Van we are on a mission to improve people’s lives by inventing better convenient foods. As a company, we’ve decided to really focus on making our products delicious & lower sugar so that people can substitute their existing snacks with truly better options.
Q: How do you stand out as a minority business owner in this crowded space?
Rip: Being a minority business that can truly deliver a growing product line at scale is what makes us special. We are able to ship anywhere from one case to a consumer to nationwide distribution.
Q: What have you learned from the success you’ve had that you think you have to share with other people in your shoes?
Rip: I’d say learnings & wisdom on how to be successful in business is a continual process and more broadly comes from:
- Vision & Perseverance: You need to really define what you want to achieve and keep building the stamina to see it through.
- Experience: internalizing the “do” & “don’t” principles from wins and setbacks makes one a better operator.
- Exposure: learning from competent people within different aspects of business has helped improve outcomes.
- Luck: luck is probably the biggest driver of success, both in being at the right place at the right time and seizing the opportunity.
Q: Why is this important to you?
Rip: We are all connected. We are one planet, one ecosystem and one community. If my experience can help enable the betterment of another person then everyone wins.
Rip Van Wafels are low in sugar and high in fiber. They’re a perfect convenient snack you can feel good about putting in your body.