DADA snacks are definitely the most aesthetically pleasing pantry item to hit your shelves or Instagram feed. Each snack (think Matcha Latte Bars and Cheesy Cauliflower Florets) is vegan, gluten, dairy and guilt-free, while still indulgent. Merging art, style, and wellness, the brand aims to inspire customers to host, to invite friends over, to have a cocktail hour… even if that means they are just hosting themselves in their cubicle.
Before starting DADA, Claire Olshan was making her mark in the fashion world as the founder of the curated Upper Eastside boutique, Fivestory in NYC. When asked about the decision to make the shift from fashion into the health food industry, Olshan says, “I think a lot of the shift has to do with the passage of time both literally and figuratively. Literally 10 years had passed since I started Fivestory. I went from being a 23-year-old single girl living and breathing fashion and everything that came with it, to a 33-year-old wife and mother who loves style but has definitely pushed it lower on the totem pole of priorities.”
As for the similarities between the two worlds? Olshan explains they are both a choice one has to make every day.
“If you celebrate elevating that moment (of choice) to something joyous, delicious, and chic, then you can infuse joy and happiness into typically mindless moments.”
Growing up, Olshan was very aware of what she put in her body, citing health food stores as a place of discovery. Since she was lactose intolerant, she adopted and used alternative milks before it was commonplace. She found herself experimenting with vegan protein powders, almond milks, and began an obsession with seaweed.
“My journey has been long, and I’ve built on it for two decades,” shares Olshan. “I would say I am the healthiest now that I have ever been, but that has a lot to do with patience, education, and listening to what was right for me, and not necessarily reading a book on ‘What Makes You Feel Good’ by someone who’s never met me.”
Prior to opening Fivestory, the native New Yorker worked in art. The brand’s name is an ode to the DADA art movement.
“The DADAists of the movement of the early 1900’s were about breaking the rules and I wanted DADA as a company to break the rules of what people thought a health brand should be,” remarks the founder.
It’s the same DADA mentality from which she conceptualizes ideas for new products. In addition to snack offerings from decadent truffles to Almond Butter Brussels Sprouts, DADA also offers beautifully designed lifestyle items. (A crowd favorite being the “Light My Fingers” candle, a wax hand with wicks on only four of the fingers, so when they burn down you’re left with a cheeky middle finger standing.) It’s these fresh and playful items, but also real and human ideas, that ultimately make up the brand.
Olshan applauds the current attention to whole food, farmers, and the educated consumer as a trend in wellness that she is excited to see more of. “For so long we were being spoon fed fat-free diets, South Beach diets, Atkins diets, all about looking a certain way. So many processed foods were consumed, so many chemicals, so much garbage put into our bodies,” recalls the entrepreneur. “I love that people are now looking at ingredient lists and asking questions about how their food is prepared.”
Committed to making good-for-you products, DADA is taking steps to be more sustainable, while also launching new products and snacks. As everything else is moving forward, Olshan is always seeking inspiration from the past, citing modern art paintings and uniforms that have been eternal for centuries, as well as her draw to the lifestyles of past royalty. She finds there to be great richness in consistent design, not unlike the richness in her product offerings.
Sable Massingill is a writer, creative connector, and entrepreneur exploring the intersection of wellness, beauty, and travel. You can find her in the window seat on her next flight, on Instagram at @sablemassingill, or at sablemassingill.com.