Faces of Entrepreneurship: Coulter Lewis, Sunday

2021-11-22T16:52:02-08:00 November 22nd, 2021|Developing a Product/Service|

Coulter Lewis is the co-founder and CEO of Sunday, the simple way to grow a beautiful lawn that’s safe to play on every day. Rooted in science, Sunday analyzes your weather and soil data to determine exactly what your lawn needs and ships a tailored nutrition plan directly to your door each season, taking the guesswork out of lawn care. As a first-time home buyer with little gardening or lawn care experience, Coulter had never taken care of a lawn before so he turned to the internet for guidance. Instead of finding instructions, he found warnings. Coulter knew that if these chemicals were on his lawn, they were also in his home, and as a mechanical and aerospace engineer, he set out to create a product that would be both safe for his family and easy to use. Prior to Sunday, Coulter co-founded Quinn Snacks with his wife, Kristy Lewis, to give families the choice to snack mindfully, with only sustainable ingredients used in production. Through this experience they developed a network of growers and suppliers that emphasize transparency and remove unnecessary chemicals and artificial ingredients, which ultimately served as a resource for Coulter as he pursued building Sunday and transforming lawn care.

What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Coulter Lewis: Entrepreneurship to me means creating new products and experiences that make people’s lives better. I do what I do because I like making things. The fuel that keeps me going is creating something that has a positive impact.

How did your company come to be?
CL: When I started Quinn Snacks with my wife, Kristy, we worked directly with sustainable growers and learned how to build a transparent snack brand. The farmers we worked with were changing agriculture.

The a-ha moment that led to Sunday was being a dad of three, buying a home, and having to figure out how to take care of my own lawn. I ended up in an aisle in my home improvement store that I could smell before even walking down it. Looking at the shelves, it felt like it was all from another era. There was so much room for improvement.

I started digging in and learned that our lawns add up to our third largest crop and the way we’re told to take care of them is totally broken. That was it. I had to do something.

What is the biggest experience or lesson gained on your journey so far?
CL: Know your blind spots and build a good team by surrounding yourself with people who are good at what you aren’t good at.

How is your company changing the landscape?
CL: Current lawn care practices have us laying down 90 million pounds of pesticides every year. It’s somewhere around 5 times the rate used on industrial farms. It’s bad for the environment and bad for your health. We’re helping people transform their lawn into a space that’s better for people and the planet.

What advice/credo do you live by as you grow the business / what is your professional and personal mission statement?
CL: Build a strong business that builds a better planet. We focus on meeting the needs of our customers in new ways. First and foremost, Sunday works. Our customer’s lawns look great. Our sustainable approach is a bonus.

What’s it like to work alone or with your partners? What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs about building and leading teams?
CL: In the early days I worked by myself A LOT. I had to reach out to get outside perspectives. Bounce your ideas off as many people as possible. It’s impossible to do it alone. Talking to others opens new windows and doors you would have never come to on your own.

Where do you find inspiration when faced with challenges?
CL: I’m inspired by our mission and what we’re trying to accomplish. We have 40 million acres of lawn. That’s a lot to change and it’s not going to happen overnight.

What does “success” look like for you? What do you think will help you achieve it?
CL: Building confidence and ability to grow things across the US. Through our products, services, and free tools we’re creating a new wave of green thumbs.

Connecting with the land is a powerful force for good. It’s not just about less chemicals, although that’s huge. It’s about creating a shift in how we think about and care for our land and the world, so we make better choices across our life, not just in our backyards.

What is your proudest and darkest moment so far?
CL: Customer reviews are my key high. The first year was just one big hold your breath moment to see what customers we’re going to say. It’s more than the fact that people get Sunday in their hands and like it. They are sharing heartwarming stories and pictures of their kids and pets and their life.

A stressful challenge was having to learn how to evolve quickly and address operational challenges early on to meet the high demand we saw right out of the gate.

Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
CL: I spend time with my kids and family. That keeps me grounded. To be honest, I don’t really have time for myself, but that’s okay. Coming to work every day, being with my team, it all fuels me and keeps me going.

What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as, as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
CL: The best impact would be to challenge people to imagine a different solution and to create new things and experiences that impact people’s lives.

Do you have someone you’d like to nominate to be profiled in our Faces of Entrepreneurship series? Please let us know by emailing media@thecenter.nasdaq.org or submit your nomination using this form.

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