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Source: c/o Sweet Addison's

Exclusive: Addison LaBonte's Sweet Venture — How the Entrepreneur Went From Being a Division 1 College Athlete to Starting Sweet Addison's

Mar. 25 2024, Published 5:28 p.m. ET

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At 22 years old, Addison LaBonte's life quickly flipped upside down: she went from being a Division 1 college athlete to being unable to run all in a matter of minutes.

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"After graduating from the University of Maine, I began distance running in the hopes of running a full marathon. After three or four miles, my legs would start to lose feeling. If I continued my run, my legs would be completely numb. A sports specialist diagnosed me with Compartment Syndrome and told me I could either quit running or get invasive surgeries on both legs," LaBonte exclusively tells Morning Honey.

"I knew there had to be a better way. I quit gluten cold turkey. I went from eating fast food every week to reading every single ingredient label. Within a week, my life was changed. No more numbness while running, no more weekly headaches, no more brain fog. Instead, I had an increased focus, clearer skin and a newfound love of healthy foods."

addison labonte
Source: c/o Sweet Addison's

The baker started her own business called Sweet Addison's.

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LaBonte has always been passionate about "the foods and ingredients" we eat, so in 2024, she decided to take the leap and establish her own business: Sweet Addison’s.

"I created the products that I wish were on the market. Sweet Addison’s revolutionizes desserts. Our products are made with the best in class ingredients – leaving you satisfied knowing that these treats are better for you and the planet. The ingredients are ethically sourced, sustainable and minimally processed," she explains of the venture.

Though there are plenty of options in the sweets world, LaBonte, who is the CEO and founder of Sweet Addison's, says her brand has "revolutionized the way we indulge. These desserts taste like your favorite childhood treats, but they are made with ingredients you know, love and trust. Unlike brands in the market today, Sweet Addison’s is made with the cleanest ingredients and contains absolutely nothing artificial. There are no preservatives and contain nothing overly processed. All of the ingredients are pronounceable, recognizable and trustworthy," she shares.

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She adds, "Each ingredient was carefully hand selected to promote health and great taste. Almond flour, unlike wheat flour, is made from only one ingredient: almonds. It is much higher in protein than traditional flour – each cookie contains 7 grams of protein. In addition, coconut sugar is 50 percent lower on the glycemic index than white sugar, thus preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes. These cookies contain heart healthy olive oil as opposed to butter. Other than flavor, the best part about these cookies is the feeling after eating them! They will leave you feeling satisfied, filled and energized."

sweet addisons
Source: c/o Sweet Addison's

The cookies are actually good for you!

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After adopting a healthier lifestyle, she was "able to eat without feeling groggy and rundown after."

"It really opened my eyes to the way I wanted to live. Going from eating fast food weekly to eating real, whole ingredients was the inspiration for Sweet Addison’s. The first product, chocolate chip cookies, took me four months and 25 different recipe iterations to get just right. This was a fun process of tweaking, changing and reformulating. The most challenging aspect was creating cookies that could be shipped around the country without crumbling, drying out or breaking apart. I reformulated several times to create cookies that are ultra moist, soft baked and durable," she notes.

To make things even sweeter, no one has to feel bad about indulging.

"These desserts taste like your favorite childhood treats, but they are made with ingredients you know, love and trust. There is a stigma with gluten-free desserts; most of them are dry, boring, and flavorless. Sweet Addison’s has brought you the flavor and texture of your favorite childhood bakery style cookies. They have a nostalgic feeling made from modern ingredients. For the first time, you can enjoy cookies without choosing between flavor and health," she says.

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sweet addisons
Source: c/o Sweet Addison's

Addison LaBonte always loved to bake.

From a young age, LaBonte has "loved to bake" — something she would frequently do with her mom and grandmother, who is also an excellent baker and cook. "When I became gluten-free, I vowed that I would never let it hold me back in the kitchen. I set out to make all of my favorite recipes gluten-free. Although it was a steep learning curve, it made me fall back in love with baking," she says.

Despite being diagnosed with Compartment Syndrome, she remained positive, and now her life has changed "for the better."

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For LaBonte, starting her own business has "exciting, challenging and sometimes terrifying," but she wouldn't change it for anything.

"Putting my name and brand out into the world takes courage. I love that I am able to choose my own schedule and structure my days. There is no boss to report to. With that comes the need for constant discipline. With my background in college athletics, I am naturally very disciplined. With a start-up, there are no days off. It’s round-the-clock time and effort. I can truly say that I am having the time of my life!" she says.

"The best part has been the feedback from customers. After 25 recipe variations, I knew that the cookies tasted great. I was not expecting to receive messages from strangers in the first two weeks stating that these were their favorite cookies ever. I’ve also had some customers send these cookies to cancer patients who aren’t able to eat white sugar. Knowing that these cookies bring joy to people is what drives me every day. If I can make more people happier and healthier, I will be fulfilled. The most challenging part has been doing so many new things for the first time. It feels like I am building the plane as I am flying it. I am not always able to foresee challenges and different circumstances," she continues.

As for what the future looks like, LaBonte is excited for what's to come.

"I hope Sweet Addison’s is a household name in 5 to 10 years. My goal with starting this business is to bring joy to as many people as possible while encouraging them to live their happiest and healthiest life .I draw a lot of inspiration from Mrs. Fields. She was a pioneer in her time and her cookie brand is very well-known. I hope and pray that Sweet Addison’s revolutionizes the dessert industry. You no longer have to choose between enjoyment and health – with Sweet Addison’s, you can have the best of both worlds. In addition, I want Sweet Addison’s to make those of us with food allergies feel normal and included. Having a food allergy or intolerance should not make us feel left out, excluded or different!" she declares.

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sweet addisons
Source: c/o Sweet Addison's

The entrepreneur hopes her cookies are in retail stores soon.

LaBonte also hopes Sweet Addison's will be in retail stores soon since being gluten-free is not always convenient. "It oftentimes means that I am packing my own snacks and desserts when I’m traveling or on the road. Being able to walk into a store and find a healthy option would truly be life-changing. It would allow me to live in the moment more – which is something I want to extend to everyone. Someday, I’d love to have baking shops around the country so anyone can enjoy a freshly baked Sweet Addison’s dessert!" she notes.

"My journey has taught me many life lessons, but the biggest is to never give up. It would have been easier to get surgery to fix my health issues or to quit running altogether. It would have been easier to continue eating gluten and fast food. It would have been easier to accept the circumstances. I encourage others to persist and be relentless. Life is too short already, why should we spend our time feeling sick and tired?Be bold. Be courageous. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You don’t want to look back on your life and realize that you let fear hold you back. Additionally, I hope to inspire others to advocate for their own health and to prioritize their well-being," she concludes.

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