We’re excited to introduce you to this RD power couple – The Compstons. You probably recognize them from social media and we’re excited to get to know them and share more about their experiences working with brands. Below Elise and Stephen share more about their career path, experience with brands, and advice for you.
- Tell us a little about yourself, how did you get started as a dietitian and what do you do today?
Elise: Hi! We’re the Compstons. Husband and wife registered dietitians and recipe developers as well as parents of two young toddlers. We love creating simple, affordable, plant-focused recipes with tasty twists on classic dishes and tasty new favorites. Our primary focus online is developing recipes for social media, fellow RDs, and brands.
Growing up, I always had an interest in all things nutrition, but saw it more as a hobby than a possible career option. It wasn’t until I left for college that I really saw food in a new light. I moved from my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada to the heart of the Midwest and was immersed into a new world of food and traditions unlike any I had experienced before. I began to see food as more than just a source of nourishment, but also having huge social and cultural importance in people’s lives. It was there that I realized my passion for learning and teaching others about nutrition.
Stephen: For me it all started when I began to see food as medicine. I saw firsthand with a family member how nutrition played a large role in disease management, and wanted to learn more about its impact on our overall health. Today I serve as Compston Kitchen’s head taste tester, assist with recipe development, and serve as a Clinical Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, working within a pediatric endocrinology clinic.
- What is your mission as a dietitian?
Elise: Our mission is to take the pressure off of healthy eating and show people how easy it is to eat to nourish their bodies in a way that works for them. We develop recipes that provide the foundations of balanced eating in an inclusive, non-judgmental atmosphere that translates into their own preferred way of eating. We take pride in the fact that our follower base includes vegans to omnivores to those with all kinds of dietary restrictions. Everyone is welcome in our kitchen!
- What do you look for when choosing new products to buy or recommend to your clients or audience?
Stephen: We always aim to work with brands whose products we’re already using FIRST! Those are the tried and true and we stand by them. We’re big on simple ingredients and products without gimmicks. 9 times out of 10 we’ll leave alternative sweeteners, “guilt free” claims, and fancy additives for basic, whole foods ingredients. Affordability, ease of obtaining, and convenience are key as well.
- What is the value of working with brands to both you and your audience?
Elise: We’re always on the hunt for new products and love trying the latest items to come on the market. Food innovation is rapidly growing and there’s so much to explore! We love finding new products that support and nourish our family and make healthy eating easier –and more fun- for our clients as well! In a world where everyone has different tastes, preferences, and ways of eating, we love providing our audience with options for everyone.
We work with a lot of commodities as well – from produce to proteins. We think it’s pretty special that we can teach our audience why including their favorite foods in their diet is so important while debunking common myths.
- How did you start working with brands?
Stephen: We compiled a list of all of our favorite brands whose products we regularly purchased and began “cold direct messaging” brand marketing managers and shooting emails to anyone/everyone we could. Our first professional partnership was so rewarding because it was a produce brand our family has enjoyed for years. We fully stood by the recipes and products we were promoting and felt proud that they chose us to represent them!
- What are some of the more unique ways in which you’ve partnered with brands?
Elise: One of our favorite projects was partnering with a brand to create out-of-the-box Halloween recipes and family-friendly tips for their website. Lately we’ve been developing recipe ebooks for fellow dietitians’ online courses, which has been a ton of fun. Locally, we’ve partnered with businesses, including a grocery chain, to promote their grand openings in our area.
- What advice do you have for other RDs who want to connect with brands?
Elise: Just take the first step! As Stephen always says, “You’ve got to shoot your shot”. You never know what opportunities are out there unless you try. We have had some brands not have availability to partner for one reason or another only to come back later with amazing opportunities. Also, remember that there’s no “right” way to work with brands. You can find a number of ways to collaborate – from promotions, to recipes, to lives – the possibilities are endless! That said, it’s easy to jump at any/every opportunity that comes along when you first get going. Decide if it really is a product and brand you want to align yourself with.
Stephen: Exactly. It’s also important to accept partnerships that compensate fairly. That doesn’t necessarily mean matching rates brand to brand, but ensuring the pay is appropriate for the time, energy, and expertise you bring to each project. We’ve turned down (really well known) brands that were not willing to offer flexibility around timelines or budget and also accepted lower rates from small starters we were passionate about.
- Do you have any advice for brands who want to connect with RDs?
Both: RDs are excited to work with brands and help them promote the products they already use and love! Just like many brands, we are small businesses too and find it off-putting to be offered discounts or free products as compensation for our work on a brand’s behalf. Willingness to offer some financial compensation or negotiate rates is better than nothing at all.
- Just for fun, what is your favorite kitchen tool?
Elise: Our cast iron pan. We use it for everything!
Stephen: The KitchenAid Mixer. Elise makes the best ice cream with it.