Buffalo Boss Babe: Soda Kuczkowski
Today’s Buffalo Boss Babe is Soda Kuczkowski! She is the owner of START WITH SLEEP, an integrative education resource center and retail boutique that focuses on both behavioral and medical sleep challenges right here in Buffalo. She is committed to addressing sleep concerns and questions by providing sleep consulting + coaching, facilitation of medical sleep testing, health workshops, and community programs. She is certified in maternity, child and adult sleep health. We chatted with Soda about her goals and aspirations of expanding sleep education.
What made you start or brought you to where you are today? Tell us your story and what makes you a Buffalo Boss Babe.
I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. The people, the city, its history and architecture are all close to my heart. There is no other place my family would want to call home. I believe I have always been on a path to starting my own business and being a “ Boss Babe”. There were many pivotal markers along the way that made me want to create and be part of something meaningful. My past work experiences and education include roles in teaching, business development, marketing and graphic design, but it was when I started working in healthcare, specifically sleep medicine that I was introduced to a world that allowed me to not only pursue my love for education in new and exciting ways, but also fulfilled my desire for serving my community. My inspiration for my business came from what I saw lacking in our healthcare system and what I still feel comes down simply to education and communication. I spent many years working with patients who suffered from medical sleep disorders and supporting physician offices and local hospitals to identify high risk patients. It led me find a lot of disconnects, the largest being the tie between lifestyle behaviors and sleep challenges. I created START WITH SLEEP to help support and educate others how to get a good night’s sleep naturally and to be advocates for their own health. People are often quick to dismiss the importance of sleep and it can cost them in not only creating health issues but affecting their overall quality of life. My mission is to re-shift that focus and mainstream the importance of sleep in health as a lifestyle brand. I want people to understand that to get a consistent good night’s sleep means to be a happier, more focused, healthier and successful version of themselves. We can maximize our days when we take care of our night.
What does being a Buffalo Boss Babe mean to you?
Perseverance! I think it means pursuing your dreams despite obstacles that you may face. It means being passionate about your work in the city you love!
Have you experienced any challenges from being in a STEM career? If so, what did you learn from them?
What we know about the science of sleep is constantly evolving. There is a lot we know about the role sleep plays in our health but a lot we still do not completely understand. Some of the challenges include health literacy and the history of wearing sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. Sleep health education is starting to move towards the forefront but is still the most overlooked factor when it can be the most significant in managing overall health. I am still learning to navigate the misconceptions people have about sleep and teaching them ways to embrace it as the foundational pillar of health.
Who are your favorite people to follow?
Instagram Locally: @716health @healbflo @buffalony Online: @iamwellandgood, @powerofpositivity @we_are_the_clique
What are your favorite things to do in the area (Buffalo and greater WNY)?
I love this city. I grew up in the Delaware District and North Buffalo so I have always enjoyed strolls down Elmwood or Hertel Avenue to now the rejuvenation of the Waterfront and Canalside. There is so much to do. The great thing about Buffalo is that you never have to pick just one. We are lucky enough to be 15 minutes from anything. My favorite thing to do is to drive around the city and look at everything that is happening, catch lunch at the newest restaurant and shop at small local businesses. We have so many great ones!
Tell me about your favorite collaborations or a dream collaboration?
My business is based on an integrative health concept so I enjoy collaborating with both the medical as well as the holistic community. Some of my local favorites include working with Root and Rise Ayurveda, we host "Yoga for Sleep" classes together. I also love Word Art Studio. She creates one of a kind hand calligraphy items to motivate and inspire people. Nationally, because there is a retail component to my business I work with some of my favorite brands including Vitruvi, Happy Sprtiz and New Moon Tea. Dream collaboration would be to get my "Sleep Better Tonight" boxes recognized by a global retailer.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world who would it be?
My celebrity crush - Robert Downey Jr. Not because he is just a great actor but I consider him the comeback king. He has seen the highs and lows of life but still he finds the humor in the world and the confidence to be himself.
What are your hopes, dreams, goals? Big or Small.
To make a difference. I am a big believer in "Don't talk about it, be about it". I want my daughter to know she has a voice and can make a difference. I think life is all about energy, giving good energy to those around me, so I think something as small as your daily attitude can affect bigger things around you. I hope that I am able to scale and build my business to expand it to other parts of the United States and even internationally.
Tell us about your family? ( 2 legged, 4 legged)
I am the proud mom to the brightest, most energetic 4 year old daughter. Her smiles lights up my world. I am also the mom to a 14 year old yorkie, whom I consider my first born. I have been married for 6 years to the most self-less man who supports my work and loves me unconditionally. I do not know what I would do without him.
Feel Good Five :)
Vegetarian Pad Thai
Season of the year:
Favorite thing about Buffalo:
Everything - It is home.
We loved chatting with Soda and cant wait to see what the future holds for her! Follow along at …