Gooder
Danielle Laubenstein - Leaders, Brands and the Hawaiian Value of Kuleana

Danielle Laubenstein - Leaders, Brands and the Hawaiian Value of Kuleana

February 8, 2021

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Danielle Laubenstein, The Director of Global Marketing for Mauna Loa. Danielle is overseeing the future and legacy of the company's direction into becoming Hawaii's wellness brand. She believes product development and holistic marketing looks at beauty as a combination of qualities of paradise, creating brand culture and products that empower the mind, nourishes the body, spirit, and evokes emotional health. Join us as we take a deep dive into the health and wellness industry and explore how brands should strive to serve their customers with healthy products.

“If you're Hawaii brand, then you're a brand from Hawaii.” -Danielle Laubenstein

In this episode we learn:
- About creating a brand community and how to make it be authentic.
- The difference between a Hawaiian brand and a Hawaii brand or Hawaii owned brand.
- How Mauna Loa is leading the naturals industry in staying true to its purpose of caring for everyone's needs.
- The concept of giving back and social responsibility or reciprocal responsibilities, where that comes from, and how it affects Danielle’s leadership style.
- About how Danielle is mentoring women, especially women of color, and why it’s important for her.
- What the word Kuleana means and the importance it has within the Hawaiian culture.

About Danielle Laubenstein:
Danielle has worked in CPG Health and Wellness, as well as in the global travel luxury confectionery space for over a decade for companies such as Chocolove, Godiva and DFS.

Guests Social Media Links:
LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniellelaubenstein/
Website: https://www.maunaloa.com/

Show Resources:
Chocolove is a chocolate manufacturer with headquarters and a manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado, founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Timothy Moley. The company produces all- natural and organic chocolate bars. Chocolove imports chocolate and cocoa butter from Belgium to produce its chocolate.

Godiva Chocolatier is a Turkish-owned chocolate maker that is jointly owned by Turkish conglomerate Yıldız Holding and MBK Partners. Founded in 1926, it was purchased by the Turkish Yıldız Holding in November 2007; then MBK Partners bought a stake in 2019. 

DFS Group is part of the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), and a pioneer in luxury travel retail.

Hawaiian Host is the original chocolate-covered macadamia. Hawaiian Host is also the largest manufacturer of chocolate-covered macadamias in the world, as millions of boxes of our treats are shared all over the globe.

The Hershey Company, commonly known as Hershey's, is an American multinational company and one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world.

Project Potluck is a professional community founded by People of Color with a singular mission: to help people of color build successful companies and careers.

Lei Day is a state-wide celebration in Hawaii. The celebration begins in the morning of May first every year and continues into the next day. Lei day was established as a holiday in 1929. Each Hawaiian island has a different type of lei for its people to wear in the celebration.

Siete is a Mexican-American food brand, rooted in family that makes delicious grain-free products.

Books Mentioned:
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

Ayeshah Abuelhiga - Inspiration Built From Grit

Ayeshah Abuelhiga - Inspiration Built From Grit

February 1, 2021

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Ayeshah Abuelhiga, The CEO and founding partner of Mason Dixie Foods, the fastest-growing frozen baked goods company in the US. Ayeshah has thrown out the rule book, to excel in a male-dominated industry. Through sheer grit and tenacity, Ayeshah is pursuing her vision of flipping the comfort food industry on its head. In this episode, we talk about how growing up in a multi-culture family influenced Ayeshah’s view on the importance of healthy food and inspired her to start her own company. She also discusses the history of Mason Dixie Foods, why she built the company, and how she’s grown it into a wildly successful brand.

“When you’re an emerging brand, you’re a startup and you’re creating an identity for yourself, it’s important to really think functionally about who you’re trying to be.” - Ayeshah Abuelhiga

In this episode we learn:
- The origin story of Ayeshah and Mason Dixie Foods and how she landed on the name.
- Why immigrants have the fire to achieve their purpose, and how immigrant culture gives them strength.
- How powerful it can be when men and women work together, rather than being set against each other.
- The importance of choosing the right partnerships, customers, and agencies for her business.
- About the hurdles that women, people of color, and other minorities often face in business and how to overcome them.
- Some fun facts about bread, and advice for the customers.

About Ayeshah Abuelhiga:

She is the CEO and founding partner of Mason Dixie Foods, the fastest-growing frozen baked goods company in the US. She was voted one of Entrepreneurs Magazine's 100 powerful women in 2020, as well as one of the top 100 women in grocery 2020 by Progressive Grocer and a top 10 D.C. innovator in 2017. She has worked front of the house positions for major fine dining restaurants and hotels, while also consulting and managing, marketing and business development projects for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Toshiba, and Audi. One of her biggest professional accomplishments is hiring an incredibly diverse team of 15, each of whom shares her commitment to providing the best frozen baked goods in the world.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajabuelhiga/
Website: http://www.masondixiebiscuits.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ayeshahabuelhiga/?hl=en

Show Resources:
Mason Dixie Foods: makes the most buttery, crumbly, gooey baked goods by taking the highest quality natural ingredients out there and mixing them with ice-cold butter and fresh-from-the-cow buttermilk. There’s nothing artificial in the biscuits, scones, or sweet roles and zero prep.

Project Potluck: is a nonprofit leadership and mentoring program founded by people of color with a mission to help people of color build successful companies and careers in the CPG Industry.

Progressive Grocer: is the voice of the retail food industry for nearly 100 years by providing the latest news, consumer trends, data and insight.
Better For You Foods: is the creator or award-winning natural food products for retail and private label consumers.

Partake Foods: creates delicious, real and healthy snacks, free of the 8 most common allergens.

Females in Food: helps foodpreneurs experience exceptional business and financial growth.

Key Takeaways:

0:00 Intro

2:24 Ayeshah share a little history of Mason Dixie Foods, why she build the brand and why it exists outside of the product

7:12 Ayeshah explains that there is a bigger, broader issue than just what everyone's labeling innovation especially in the food industry

9:58 Ayeshah talks about where she gets the fire and the strength to keep on doing what she does and how that helps in her decision making

11:21 Ayeshah talks about the importance of making major decisions based on facts but not the gut feel in business

12:56 Ayeshah shares her point of view on why the society sees women as if they will fail in what they do but see men as victorious even if they fail and if that is changing

16:10 Ayeshah also explains the amount of power there could be when men and women work together than being against each other

17:53 Ayeshah talks about why immigrants have that fire to achieve their purpose at all cost and how they get the strength by being in the immigrant’s culture

22:08 Ayeshah talks about partnership and shares tips on how to find a customer that is right for you, and also how she came up with the name of her company

27:50 Ayeshah also talks about the importance of choosing the right agencies that are transparent and honest and can tell your story

30:27 Ayeshah talks about Project Potluck, what it is, its mission and how it’s progressing since it was formed and the challenges they are facing

36:12 Ayeshah encourages people that it is not hard to start your own company especially in the natural industries

37:45 Ayeshah talks about the most common hurdles or things that most women, people of color and the minority in business keeps crushing on and how to overcome them

41:06 Ayeshah talks about the woman that she admires due to how she conducts herself and the business

42:52 Ayeshah talks about the Biscuits Jam and what happened to it and the anniversary they had

45:24 Ayeshah shares what she feels is a fun fact around breads and the advice she gives the consumers

47:15 Ayeshah shares some of the trends that she is focusing on at the moment

49:53 Ayeshah shares some tips on what she does to keep herself sane nowadays

Karuna Rawal - Food Tech’s Role in Expanded Food Accessibility

Karuna Rawal - Food Tech’s Role in Expanded Food Accessibility

January 25, 2021

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with Karuna Rawal, Chief Marketing Officer for Nature’s Fynd, a food tech startup where she’s commercializing a new-to-the-world, sustainable alternative protein that can help feed the world. We discuss the incredible origin story of
Nature’s Fynd, how the food tech industry has widened the funnel of food accessibility, as well as the importance of mentorship in empowering women leaders.

“To me mentoring is about being more open, vulnerable and sharing, and being able to offer perspective or insights.” - Karuna Rawal

In this episode we learn:

- The origin story of Nature’s Fynd, what it does and what the company is up to now.
- How the pandemic has positively and negatively affected the business.
- How the food tech industry has contributed to the accessibility of food to many people around the world.
- Karuna’s thoughts about consumer adoption and how consumers in the market are responding to their products.
- The importance of two-way mentoring and Karuna’s advice for being a good mentor.
- Karuna’s thoughts on how she wants Nature’s Fynd to define food tech’s role in the world.

About Karuna Rawal:

Karuna Rawal is the Chief Marketing Officer for Nature’s Fynd, a food tech startup where she's commercializing a new-to-the-world sustainable alternative protein that can help feed the world.

Karuna brings over twenty-five years of experience in brand management and shopper marketing across CPG, retail, and healthcare industries. She also serves on a number of nonprofits and is dedicated to supporting and mentoring women leaders.

Guest Social Media Links:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karunarawal/
Website: https://www.naturesfynd.com/press-release/cmo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarunaRawal
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thekarunarawal
Blog: https://medium.com/@KarunaRawal

Show Resources:

Mentions

Miyoko’s Creamery - Miyoko’s Creamery is the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research.

Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs, and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. 

The Good Food Institute’s (GFI) conference is the world’s leading event focused on accelerating the marketplace for plant-based and cell-based meat.

Farmers Fridge is a service that makes meals from scratch, packed with care, and delivered overnight by our dedicated team of drivers.

Leo Burnett Company, Inc., is an American advertising company, founded on August 5, 1935, in Chicago by Leo Burnett.

Articles

https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2019/09/11/Sustainable-Bioproducts-gears-up-for-2020-launch-of-consumer-brand-built-around-new-to-the-world-protein-source

 

Key Takeaways:

0:00 Intro

2:15 Karuna share the origin story of Nature’s Fynd, what it does and what the company is up to nowadays

5:27 Karuna talks about how the pandemic positively and negatively affected their business and how they dealt with the negative impacts

8:39 Karuna talks about what accelerated them to moving to the market that they are in and how

10:49 Karuna also talks about how being a foodtech company has contributed to accessibility of food to many people around the world

12:45 Karuna also talks about what has catapulted the naturals to the mainstream consumer and how foodtech has helped in that too

16:15 Karuna explains how foodtech is bridging the gap between people who are uneducated and maybe unwilling to try something because of its foreignness to the naturals

17:52 Karuna shares her thoughts on how she’d want Nature’s Fynd to define Foodtech’s role and what it should be about

19:11 Karuna talks about consumer adoption and how consumers in the market are responding to their products that are in the market

24:19 Karuna talks about the shift that is happening of people shifting to the natural foods and being a vegetarian or a vegan and what’s caused that shift

27:35 Karuna also talks about leadership and mentorship and why it is important to her that that she leans mostly in mentoring women

31:25 Karuna talks about two way mentoring and why it’s important for a mentor to understand the situation and mentor based on the situation and not on the fact that he or she knows something

34:21 Karuna shares where she gets the interest to mentor people from and also her life experiences that grows her desire to mentor even more

38:50 Karuna also shares the common blind spot or weakness that she has noticed through all the women that she has mentored that holds them back

42:14 Karuna shares the kind of women that she admires in terms of their leadership

44:35 Karuna shares what she thinks are fun facts about Nature’s Fynd that she feels are really compelling

45:52 Karuna talks about the brands and trends outside of Nature’s Fynd that she has her eyes on

47:26 Karuna shares tips on how she’s keeping herself sane and strong to do what it is that she does

Miyoko Schinner - Mentoring the Next Generation of Leadership

Miyoko Schinner - Mentoring the Next Generation of Leadership

January 18, 2021

Meet the Tesla of the natural foods industry, the queen of vegan cheese, epicurean activist, and mentor of entrepreneurial rock stars .

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with Miyoko Shinner, Founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry. She’s on a mission to empower aspiring and established food and beverage entrepreneurs alike to manifest their dreams, think outside of the box and simple - get out of their own way on their road to success. We discuss her own personal journey of exploration, changes she’d like to see in the naturals industry, and the overall need for mentoring and professional support communities for all levels of entrepreneurs.

“ The biggest obstacle to success can be ourselves.” - Miyoko Schinner

 

In this episode we learn :

  • Why it is important for entrepreneurs to understand corporate leadership behavior.
  • How the lack of diversity of leadership in the Naturals Industry impacts our ability to deliver on the needs of consumers.
  • The importance of balance in diversifying leadership.
  • Tips on how to create company cultures that allow women to openly express ideas.
  • Common missteps women make while climbing the corporate ladder.
  • Miyoko’s wish for women leaders as they embrace their professional journey.

 

About Miyoko Schinner:

Miyoko Schinner is founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry. An epicurean activist and leading voice in the future of food, Schinner is known as “the Tesla of the natural foods industry”. Guided by her principles of compassion and justice for all living beings, Schinner pioneered the plant-based dairy revolution by leveraging her vast experience as a chef, former restauranteur, best-selling cookbook author, and a founding board member of the Plant-Based Foods Association. An animal rights advocate, Schinner co-founded Rancho Compasión, a nonprofit animal sanctuary in California that provides home to over 70 rescued farm animals.  

Guests Social Media Links:

Website: https://miyokos.com/pages/story 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miyoko-schinner-6a47204 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/miyokoschinner?lang=en 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miyokoschinner/?hl=en 

Show Resources:

Miyoko’s Creamery - Miyoko’s Creamery is the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry. Led by epicurean activist Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s has cracked the code to plant dairy by combining old-world cheesemaking artistry and traditions with whole food technology to craft world-changing cheese and butter from plant milk, not cows. Today, Miyoko’s products can be found in more than 15,000 retailers nationwide and in Canada, including Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Kroger and Safeway.

The Plant Based Foods Association: is the single most important trade organization representing the interests of plant-based food companies. We are proud to partner with PBFA in creating a more level playing field for plant-based food companies.

SWEET EARTH Foods: it's their mission to inspire a modern culinary movement powered by food that's good in every sense of the word.

Rancho Compasión: they provide a home to previously neglected, exploited, and abused farm animals.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A brand development firm that builds, grows and evolves brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

RaeJean Wilson - You Can’t Do Good In The World By Yourself

RaeJean Wilson - You Can’t Do Good In The World By Yourself

January 11, 2021

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with RaeJean Wilson, Director of HR/Communications of GloryBee - a supplier of natural and organic ingredients to manufacturers, bakeries and consumers for decades. We discuss the how the naturals industry has changed (and stayed the same) since the company’s founding in the 1970’s as well as how the brand has evolved from a simple expression of love to one of stewardship for the greater good. Along the way we discuss the efforts GloryBee is making to ensure the future of honeybees, and to make sure the brand continues to stand as a leader and information source for farming practices as they relate to pollination, general food production and the overall health of our planet.

“It isn't about one business or one company; it's about all of us doing things together to make this world better.” - RaeJean Wilson

 

In this episode we learn:

  • The challenges and joys of leading a brand through the evolving naturals industry.
  • How farming practices have evolved and how the introduction of food science has affected the honey and sweetness industry.
  • How RaeJean and her family have managed transitional leadership change.
  • Why food is considered a love language.
  • How bee propagation is instrumental in the success of and industry that is leaning more and more heavily into plant based diets and products.
  • Why leadership doesn’t need to be heavy handed to be effective.

 

About RaeJean Wilson:

RaeJean Wilson is the daughter of GloryBee Founders Dick and Pat Turanski. RaeJean has served in the family business in several capacities for 25+  years. After earning a BA in Public Health at the University of Oregon, her focus was on sales and building GloryBee’s customer base. RaeJean now serves as GloryBee’s Director of HR and Communications, overseeing marketing, human resources, safety, sustainability, and community outreach.  

RaeJean is married with two adult sons and a daughter. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, wine, and travel.        

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raejean-wilson-9154221ab/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GloryBeeFoods 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/glorybeefoods/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GloryBeeFoods/ 

Show Resources:

GloryBee - With over 45 years of experience in the natural foods industry, we have been supplying natural and organic ingredients to Pacific Northwest natural food manufacturers, bakeries, and shops for decades. It’s likely that you’ve enjoyed our ingredients in your favorite natural and organic prepared foods and restaurant meals! You may even have a jar of our honey, coconut oil or natural sweetener in your pantry at home.

SAVE the BEE: Led by GloryBee, the SAVE the BEE Initiative is a partnership of researchers, beekeepers, businesses and consumers committed to protecting honey bees.

B-Corp - Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Seattle Pacific University: is a premier Christian university that equips people to engage the culture and change the world.

The University of Oregon: is a public flagship research university in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1876, the institution's 295-acre campus is along the Willamette River.

Franz Bakery: is a source for the highest quality breads, bagels, buns, English muffins, cookies and more.

Eugene Mission: We are not a homeless shelter in the traditional sense. While we certainly provide our guests with food and shelter – and do so with an abundance of God's love.

Oakshire Brewing: is a community-inspired, small-batch brewing company founded in 2006. We are locally owned, employ 24 people, and produce a wide variety of fresh, quality beers through our three distinct brewing programs.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A brand development firm that builds, grows and evolves brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

 

Ashley Hartman - Leverage Your Network to Maximize Business Opportunities

Ashley Hartman - Leverage Your Network to Maximize Business Opportunities

December 15, 2020

Finding an investment partner, at any time, is no easy task. It’s not unlike soccer or football. The greater the number of shots on goal, the more likely to score a goal. But for young entrepreneurial brands, many entering business ownership for the first time, a capital raise can be a complicated and grueling task that can make or break a business owner's dreams.

In this episode, I had the privilege of chatting with Ashley Hartman, Senior Principal at Bluestein Ventures, a family-backed venture capital fund that invests in the future of food. Ready to provide insights into a new way of seeing the capital raise. Ashely shares how investment and venture capital firms have taken the opportunity of the 2020 events to re-evaluate how, where, and with who they do business with. She shares how this year has become an opportunity to get better and stronger, meeting not only business but personal goals. Along the way we learn the importance of being a good community partner and how investing beyond a financial commitment has become a cornerstone in her firms’ success.

“People need to be utilizing their network a little bit more and asking a little bit more." - Ashley Hartman

In this episode we learn:

  • The reason why Ashley and Bluestein Venture focuses on helping brands in Seed to Series A stage funding.
  • The ways investment firms are finding and supporting brands during this time.
  • The criteria and evaluation tools that Bluestein uses when courting brand opportunities.
  • The key differences in communicating with serial entrepreneur’s vs the home-grown "Hatchery" style entrepreneur.
  • About diversity initiatives in business and how Bluestein is able to outreach to those communities that traditionally haven’t had accessibility to capital investment.
  • Where Ashley derives her energy to keep on pushing hard to meet her goals and those of Bluestein’s brands.

About Ashley Hartman:

Ashley is Senior Principal at Bluestein Ventures, a family-backed venture capital fund that invests in the future of food. Bluestein looks for game-changing, early-stage ventures across the food industry that redefine how consumers achieve their health and wellness. Our investments span the entire value chain – both B2C and B2B – with a focus on four areas: high-growth consumer brands, proprietary foodtech, next-gen commerce, and value-add digital technology. At Bluestein, we’re active investors, going beyond capital to help its portfolio companies develop, iterate, and implement their go-to-market strategy to achieve product-market fit and set the foundation for scale.

Ashley is involved in all areas of Bluestein, including screening, due diligence, portfolio company support, as well as firm development and strategy. She has extensive experience leading growth strategy and establishing scalable infrastructure necessary to build sustainable ventures, honing these skills throughout her time running and scaling her family’s business, working on new ventures at Coinstar, and her experience in financial consulting. Active in the Chicago food community, Ashley serves on the Selection Committee and Associate’s Board of the Good Food Accelerator and is a mentor at Food Foundry and The Hatchery. Ashley received an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School and a BA in Political Economy, summa cum laude, from Williams College.

Outside of Bluestein, you’ll find Ashley on her yoga mat, exploring Chicago on foot, hiking up a storm when she can escape to the mountains, or at a contemporary art museum. A health & wellness nut, she’s been vegan for nearly eight years, but doesn’t preach!

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyhartman2/ 

Email: ashley@bluesteinventures.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/a_hartman1 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashleyhartmanrobin/ 

Show Resources:

Bluestein Ventures - We invest in the future of food. We’re looking for game-chaigne, early-stage ventures across the food industry that redefine how consumers achieve their health and wellness. Our investments span the entire value chain - both B2C and B2B - with a focus on four areas.

Chicago Food Community - A united community effort working to bring food, dignity and hope to Cook County neighbors.  They act as the hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs which provide food where it’s most needed. 

Good Food Accelerator - The Good Food Accelerator gets emerging Good Food CPG brands ready for prime time, giving them the skills to scale up

Food Foundry - A Chicago-based growth accelerator program by Relish Works built in partnership with Gordon Food Service and 1871. It supports, connects, and propels innovative startups who are reimagining the food industry.

The Hatchery - A non-profit and beverage incubator dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs build and grow successful businesses.

Yerbae - A line of zero calorie sparkling waters that are enhanced with a blend of yerba mate, white tea extract, and guarana seed extract.

Coinstar - An American company operating coin-cashing machines

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A brand development firm that builds, grows and evolves brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

 

Key Takeaways:
- 0:00 Intro

- 2:18 Ashley shares a little background of Bluestein Ventures, who they are and what they do

- 5:17 Ashley gives reasons why their company focuses on companies between Seed to Series A stage to fund and the importance of helping them at this stage

- 7:58 Ashley explains the three things Bluestein Venture thinks about when they think about strategy and getting their portfolio companies to product market fit

- 11:34 Ashley talks about ways in which their firm is finding brands that they can support especially in this time of the pandemic

- 13:57 Ashley shares the advantages that has come up due to companies doing their businesses virtually and the importance of a good network 

- 16:55 Ashley also talks about the impact COVID has made to the opportunities that their firm gets and if they are different from earlier opportunities before the pandemic

- 19:26 Ashley speaks about partnership and the process their firm use to partner with their portfolio companies

- 20:29 Ashley talks of how their firm know that a particular portfolio company is a good fit for them and the different criteria they look at to evaluate those companies

- 24:40 Ashley also talks about coachability and if they use it as a criteria to choose who they want to work with or support

- 26:30 Ashley shares a set of questions or concerns that they normally get from their portfolio companies and if they are consistent

- 28:15 Ashley also explains that it’s not a must for a business to have everything for them to invest in them, but what is their go to market strategy and how unique is it

- 32:56 Ashley also talks about the confusion that comes with brands copying other brands and why brands should focus on their own success

- 34:23 Ashley gives key differences in communicating with serial entrepreneurs and the home-grown Hatchery style entrepreneur, and how they choose between them who to work with

- 39:08 Ashley talks of diversity in businesses and how Bluestein is able to outreach to these communities that traditionally haven't had visibility

- 43:37 Ashley elaborates o where she derives her energy to keep on pushing harder to achieve her goals 

- 44:58 Ashley and Diana talk about things that really excites them the most in the industries that they both work in

 

Denise Woodard - Never Give Up

Denise Woodard - Never Give Up

December 8, 2020

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with Denise Woodard, CEO and Founder of Partake Foods: a brand of allergy-friendly snacks inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies.

Denise takes us on a journey of discovery as she tells us the story of tackling her daughters’ dietary restrictions while meeting her sweet tooth “demands”. With a little tough love from her daughter’s childcare provider “Your daughters’ diet is boring.”- Denise embarked on a journey of discovery and perseverance learning to bake, develop product, start-up and run a company and developing it into a beloved industry darling. Along the way we hear about the 86 investment rejections, road trips selling product out of her car, to becoming the first black woman to raise a million dollars in seed capital for a packaged food brand.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis and inspiration of Partake.
  • What is driving the demand for allergen-free foods.
  • How Denise plans to support the growing needs of the allergen-free consumer.
  • How food and beverage brands can improve their listening of consumer needs - beyond product development. 
  • How Denise is supporting other BIOPIC women in the industry.
  • The ways Denise stayed inspired during the early days of fundraising and growing Partake.
  • The advice that Denise gives new food and beverage entrepreneurs.

“Successful people are just regular people who want to solve a problem and are very passionate about it.” - Denise Woodard

 

About Denise Woodard:

Denise Woodard is the Founder/CEO of Partake, a line of allergy-friendly snacks inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies. Since launching in July 2017, Partakes first product - delicious, nutritious, allergy-friendly cookies - can be found in over 2,500 retailers including Target, Sprouts, and Whole Foods Market. The company has been featured by People, Black Enterprise and Entrepreneur and, in June 2019 closed a seed round of funding led by JAY-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners.

Prior to launching Partake, Denise spent a decade in consumer-packaged-goods at various Fortune 100 companies. Most recently, she held the title of Director, National Sales in Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands division. Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and an MBA from Arizona State University. She lives in Jersey City, NJ with her husband, Jeremy, and their 5-year-old daughter, Vivienne.

 

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/denisegwoodard/ 

Website:  https://partakefoods.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PartakeFoods/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/partakefoods/ 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/partakefoods 

 

Show Resources:

Parktake: Our products give delicious peace of mind to those with dietary restrictions... and "how is this so good?" enjoyment to everyone else.

Marcy Venture Partners: Co-Founded by Shawn Carter (JAY-Z), Jay Brown and Larry Marcus. The firm has a passion for building game-changing consumer businesses and mass-market brands that resonate with culture across products and services, media and technology. We combine unique access, instincts, deep networks, operating and venture capital expertise to be long term partners in growth. 

Whole Foods Market : An American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.

Honest Tea: A bottled organic tea company based in Bethesda, Maryland. It was founded in 1998 by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company. The name is a pun on the word "honesty".

Food Equality Initiative: Improving the health and ending hunger in individuals diagnosed with food allergies and celiac disease through access, education and advocacy.

Frito-Lay: An American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets, and sells corn chips, potato ships and other snack foods.

Stacy’s Rise Project: Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders, Stacy’s Rise Project™ has been connecting and empowering women business owners for years.

 

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A brand development firm that builds, grows and evolves brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

 

Key Takeaways:

0:00 Intro

2:01 Denise gives a brief overview of what Partake Foods is all about

3:03 Denise share a little bit of her journey and some of her big moments after she left Coca Cola 

4:13 Denise talks about why she choose baked goods and not other shelf stable product

5:17 Denise shares how her nanny was instrumental and how she helped to the development and growth of her company

6:23 Denise gives the reasons why she decided to start her company from scratch

7:34 Denise talks about what she does for her to capture the attention of very high profile investors to come and invest with her

9:31 Denise also shares some of operational struggles that she goes through while growing her company

11:23 Denise shares some tips on what she did to get her initial seed investment even after going through 86 rejections

13:03 Denise talks about how she is the first black woman to have raised a million dollars for a package food company

14:25 Denise talks about how they connected with Emily Brown for the first time

15:14 Denise discuss where the demand for allergen free foods is coming from, why it has increased and if it is a global thing 

17:49 Denise speaks of what other CPG companies are not doing in terms of their production that is not considerate of the consumer 

19:20 Denise talks about her vision for the company in the next couple of years so as to grow her business 

20:46 Denise also shares the advice that she always finds herself sharing with young entrepreneurs who approach her for advice 

24:32 Denise talks about moments or points where young entrepreneurs get stuck or what hinders them from achieving their mission 

25:44 Denise encourages people to keep pushing harder and keep grinding and one day they will get the kind of results that they want

27:00 Denise talks about the trends that are in her industry and why she is excited about them 

28:34 Denise talks about the incubators and why she thinks that they are important 

30:07 Denise also shares some of the things that she’s doing nowadays to keep herself sane especially in the lockdown period 

Thereasa Black - Defining Success Beyond Financial Gain

Thereasa Black - Defining Success Beyond Financial Gain

December 2, 2020

In this episode, I had the privilege of interviewing Thereasa Black, CEO and Founder of Amore Congelato, a start-up gelato brand taking a different approach to treats, community and the definition of success. Thereasa takes us on a journey of being a professionally driven single mom finding a way to develop a dessert that her daughter fell in love with, while Tereasa was deployed overseas, to create a new opportunity for her family and her community. Along the way we explore the hurdles of starting a new food brand with no experience in food or frozen desserts, CPG, or retail.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis and inspiration of Amore Congelato.
  • How Thereasa's military experience influences her decision making and level-headedness.
  • How to stay focused on the mission of a company regardless of challenge.
  • To always have a real plan B, ( and C).
  • How leaning into other people and resources can help at every level of business.
  • How to stay inspired when working through unfamiliar situations.
  • That the real key to success is balancing work life with personal life.
     

She leaves us with a word of advice: “Your drive should be the want to achieve your goals."

 

About Thereasa Black, esq.:

Thereasa Black is an attorney, Naval Officer, and the CEO and founder of Amore Congelato, a company that makes all-natural, nutritious gelato and sorbet that contains zero cane sugar.

In March 2018, a month after she was sworn into the Maryland Bar and a week before her daughter’s 2nd birthday, Thereasa was deployed to Djibouti for a 13-month deployment.  This was Thereasa’s 4th deployment, but her first as a mom. Every day away from her daughter was s struggle because her toddler, who believed that Thereasa had dropped her off and moved to a new home, was suffering greatly.

Thereasa knew immediately that she couldn’t deploy again and that returning home and practicing law working 8o hour weeks was also not an option, so she decided to start her own business. She chose gelato in honor of the last food that she and her daughter shared before their long journey apart. Thereasa had made an ice cream cookie cake to celebrate her daughter’s birthday the night before she deployed. It was the first time that her daughter had ice cream and she fell in love with it.

Thereasa decided to make an ice cream that was nutritious so that she would be happy to allow her daughter to eat it. She removed all of the cane sugar and replaced it with a tasty combination of date syrup, agave nectar, and coconut sugar. It has up to 16 essential vitamins and minerals and 24 grams of protein. Now her daughter can enjoy gelato that has more nutrients than kale and Thereasa will never have to leave her side.

Guests Social Media Links:

Email: CEO@amorecongelato.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thereasa-m-black/   

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amorecongelatofrozenlove/

Instagram: @amore_congelato

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Amore+Congelato&sp=EiG4AQHCARtDaElKT19UdkVqMVB0b2tSLTJXTkdvWjBlU1E%253D

Show Resources:

Amore Congelato: Gelato sweetened with dates, coconut sugar, and agave nectar. Zero cane sugar. 

Stacy’s Rise Project: Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders, Stacy’s Rise Project™ has been connecting and empowering women business owners for years. That’s why Stacy’s is sharing our resources with other female-founded businesses like those founded by these 30 women. Support them by adding their products and services to your cart.

HelloAlice: Step-by-step guides, expert resources, and collaborative communities of fellow entrepreneurs - all for free.

MassChallenge: MassChallenge was founded in 2009 with a singular purpose – to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to launch and grow new ventures. 

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

 

Key Takeaways:
0:00 Intro
2:21 Thereasa shares a little background of her brand and why she started it
5:54 Thereasa explains the meaning of her company’s name ‘Amore Congelato’ and how she came up with it
6:49 Thereasa talks about location, how to identify that particular spot to set up your business for it to thrive
9:53 Thereasa also talks about inspiration, somewhere you get your strength from that makes you do what you do
11:50 Thereasa advices young entrepreneurs why they should consider doing both the scoop shop component and the CPG in their businesses
14:11 Thereasa also gives the importance of comparing your brand with other brands that are bigger than yours
16:07 Thereasa talks about the importance of focusing on the mission of a company and making sure you accomplish it regardless of the challenges
16:20 Thereasa also speaks of the importance of following the rules and regulations stated by law as a company for you to stay on the safer side
17:15 Thereasa recommends or calls for a change in the society for everyone to be treated fairly for it to grow
20:54 Thereasa shares some tips on how to identify where you get the strength to keep on pushing harder such as giving the people you love a better life
24:30 Thereasa shares her military life story and how it helped her grow and succeed as an entrepreneur
26:35 Thereasa talks about having the right mentality when entering in to the business word of pivoting every time your plan A fails
29:00 Thereasa shares the importance of caring for the other business person because you get to hold each other’s hands
31:55 Thereasa talks about balancing your work life and personal life and why that is important if you want to succeed
35:18 Thereasa talks about Stacy’s Rise, what it is and how she is involved in it
37:41 Thereasa speaks of the importance of having a mentor as an entrepreneur if you want to become successful
40:03 Thereasa also talks in details of some of the trends in her industry
42:28 Thereasa also shares the comparison between Gelato and Kale
45:40 Thereasa talks of how she keeps herself sane especially in this time of the pandemic

Books Mentioned:
Business and investment books
Shows Mentioned:
https://www.stacyssnacks.com/ Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders
https://helloalice.com/
https://masschallenge.org/
Better-for-you, these are foods low in salt and sugar, high in fiber or with added vitamins.

Quotes Mentioned:
“Don’t just stop at where the status quo was.”
“Your drive should be the want to achieve your goals.”
“Don’t just sit there and always talk about your goals, you take action.”
“Being able to pivot is the key to being a business person.”
“We all need to succeed in order to hold each other up.”
“The brain needs a break too.”

Natalie Shmulik - Food and Beverage Innovation, Begins and Ends with People

Natalie Shmulik - Food and Beverage Innovation, Begins and Ends with People

November 24, 2020

In this episode of Gooder I had the privilege of interviewing Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery, a food incubator just outside downtown Chicago. The Hatchery is a powerful initiative that brings a community of innovators along the entrepreneurial path and launches the dreams of owning and running a business to communities that have not traditionally had this access. We learn about the resources The Hatchery provides and how we as a community can provide our expertise, in big and small ways. And why Natalie believes in the power of community.

“Whenever speaking with an entrepreneur, you should always make sure that if you are going to provide feedback or input or a suggestion, that you coach them to believe that the idea was their own.”

In this episode we learn:

* The genesis of The Hatchery and why it is fast becoming a beloved innovation partner to the food and beverage industry.
* The common challenges of budding and small entrepreneurial food and beverage brands.
* Why exciting innovation comes from under-represented entrepreneurial brands.
* About the symbiotic co-learning traditional CPG's and entrepreneurial brands share in their journey with The Hatchery.
* How coach-ability is a make-or-break trait for leaders and how to vet for coach-ability in your recruiting process.
* How to become a Hatchery brand or partner.
* About Natalie’s trend forecasting super-powers and how it supports The Hatchery’s entrepreneurs.

About Natalie Shmulik:
Natalie Shmulik is The Hatchery’s CEO, and go-to resource for everything food business related. Along with an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University, she has a wide range of experience working with supermarkets, culinary publications, consumer packaged goods companies, and food service establishments. After successfully operating her own restaurant, Natalie was hired as a specialty consultant for one of Ontario’s largest supermarket chains where she enhanced consumer experiences through educational initiatives. Discovering her passion for innovation, Natalie was brought on as a brand strategist for the first cold brew tea company and later moved to Chicago to run The Hatchery Chicago. 

With over six years of food incubation experience, Natalie has gained a unique perspective on the industry and what it takes to launch and grow a successful business. Natalie is a regular contributor to Food Business News, was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune's 10 Business People to Watch in 2020 and received the Specialty Food Association's award for leadership in vision. She continues to play a valuable role in branding and marketing for food businesses around the country, with her specialty in trend forecasting.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalie-shmulik-1432313b/ 

Email: info@thehatcherychicago.org

Show Notes:

The Hatchery:  A non-profit food and beverage incubator dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs build & grow successful businesses.

ICNC: Industria Council of Nearwest Chicago offers entrepreneurs an innovative community to grow small businesses through incubation, workforce development, neighborhood planning, and business advising.

ACCION: A nonprofit microlender providing small businesses with loans at an early stage, particularly to support those that aren't bankable yet.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

Key Takeaways:
0:00 Intro
2:46 Natalie talks about the origin of The Hatchery, what it’s about and why it exist
4:37 Natalie talks about some of the major challenges that budding, small entrepreneurs face
7:00 Natalie talks about what made her join The Hatchery and taking care of yourself as an entrepreneur to have good relationships with other entrepreneurs
9:11 Natalie talks about diversity and giving opportunity to people and communities that typically don't have access to resources
12:39 Natalie gives reasons why it’s important for consumers to know the origin story of where a lot of the products they consume come from
13:25 Natalie talks about what it takes to develop a safe and successful food and beverage company to produce nutritionally dense products that meets the consumer needs
14:53 Natalie talks about the program they’ve developed that allows entrepreneurs to connect with one another and to get the information they need
15:45 Natalie talks about incubators and accelerators, what they are and what they do to help small businesses
17:05 Natalie talks about the importance of helping small business operators to grow their businesses
19:45 Natalie talks about the importance of bringing the young startup brands and the old and steady brands together
21:01 Natalie talks about how brands coming from The Hatchery have a distinctive or unique POV
22:49 Natalie talks about the importance of being coachable as a brand and always being open to feedback and suggestions
25:02 Natalie talks about vetting your clients and the impact that has on your business
27:30 Natalie talks about their success story in terms of brands they have helped become a success
29:46 Natalie talks about the type of partners The Hatchery is looking for and the importance of having partners
31:27 Natalie talks about the culinary impact program The Hatchery partnered with Rick Bayless
34:29 Natalie talks about trend forecasting through researching a lot and why it’s an important trait that entrepreneurs should have
38:03 Natalie talks about transitioning from traditional brick and mortar business to a virtual business and the benefits that comes with being virtual

 

Quotes Mentioned:

“The more we come to the table together, the more change we'll be able to create.”
“There’s so much that big brands can learn from startups and there's so much that the startups
can learn from big brands.”
“It’s important to always adopt lean startup methodologies and just get to market as quickly
as possible.”
“Whenever speaking with an entrepreneur, you should always make sure that if you are going
to provide feedback or input or suggestion, that you coach them to believe that the idea was
their own.”
“It’s important to have a drastically innovative brand and a brand that has values consumers
can connect with.”
“We are not experts in everything.”
“Be okay with not being okay.”

Kim Gibson Clark - Leading a Family Owned CPG Through Change

Kim Gibson Clark - Leading a Family Owned CPG Through Change

November 17, 2020

In today’s episode I had the privilege of interviewing Kim Gibson Clark, CEO of Coconut Bliss, a fearless woman and a great leader. Kim takes us on the journey of growing up in a farming family and how those principles translate to her leadership style and apply to the direction she is taking her brand towards.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis of Coconut Bliss - and learn more about Luna & Larry.
  • How Kim’s upbringing impacts the operational and social initiatives of the brand.
  • How the HumanCo partnership allows Coconut Bliss to advance their sustainability and environmental initiatives while evolving and to meet the needs of the modern diverse consumer.
  • How having an open mind and leading with love - allows the brand to have powerful and productive conversations.
  • Why converting the family farm business, from conventional to organic, is a bigger initiative than simply making a better-for-you product.
  • How immigrants are key to the success of farming and ranching and advancing the organic movement.
  • The plans that Coconut Bliss has to expand social and business initiatives.
  • About a fun and new innovative product delivery and product offerings to engage with consumers in a new way. 

About Kim Gibson Clark:

As a leader in local, national and global communities, Kim Gibson Clark has led Coconut Bliss as CEO since 2010. Throughout her time at Coconut Bliss, Kim has influenced real and impactful action in key areas, such as Coconut Bliss’ operations as an environmentally conscious company, creating transparency and insight into food production, and spotlighting the importance of supporting local and family-run businesses. As President and CEO, Kim is proud to have led Coconut Bliss’ transformation from a locally beloved ice cream company to one of the most acclaimed sustainable plant-based companies in the United States.

Kim is a board member of Oregon Tilth and Lane Food and Beverage Sector Strategies, working to make the state’s food and agriculture biologically sound and socially equitable through the initiatives of certification, education and advocacy. She is also a board member of Oregon Support Living Program (OSLP), which works to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, bringing them into the fold of their communities. Prior to working with Coconut Bliss, Kim spent eight years as General Manager of Lochmead Dairy, where Coconut Bliss Pints and Cookie Sandwiches are manufactured. Throughout her career in the frozen dessert industry she has developed an unwavering standard for quality, and a commitment to organic and sustainable business and ingredient sourcing practices.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-gibson-clark-a570066b 

Email: Kim@CoconutBliss.com

Show Resources:

Coconut Bliss - At Coconut Bliss, all of our products contain organic ingredients that are minimally processed, ethically sourced and divinely delicious. Every dairy-free, plant-based pint, ice cream bar, and cookie sandwich is crafted with our signature care and commitment. Even our packaging is plant-based and sustainable! With a belief in quality over quantity, community, organic ingredients, and doing good for the world we try to make everything we do blissful.

HumanCo - a mission-driven private holding company that invests in and builds brands focused on healthier living and sustainability.

WAND Water Agroforestry Nutrition Development Foundation - The WAND Foundation provides social development programs with an emphasis on biodiversity, the environmental and agricultural sectors, and rural entrepreneurship for local communities in the Philippines. In collaboration with Science for Humanity, WAND aims to explore the use of treated household waste as fertilizer for crops and vegetation.

B-Corp - Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Loop - Loop Industries, Inc. is a technology company whose mission is to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable PET plastic and fiber and away from our dependence on fossil fuels. Loop owns patented and proprietary technology that depolymerizes no and low value waste PET plastic and polyester fiber, including plastic bottles and packaging, carpets and textiles of any colour, transparency or condition and even ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and salt, to its base building blocks (monomers). The monomers are filtered, purified and polymerized to create virgin-quality Loop™ branded PET resin and polyester fiber suitable for use in food-grade packaging, thus enabling our customers to meet their sustainability objectives. Loop is contributing to the global movement toward a circular economy by raising awareness about the importance of preventing and recovering waste plastic from the environment to ensure plastic stays in the economy for a more sustainable future for all.

Project Drawdown (Paul Hawkens) - The World’s Leading Resource for Climate Solutions. Founded in 2014, Project Drawdown® is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline.

Monteez - Insanely delicious plant-based dairy staples you won’t want to live without.

Miyokos - Founded on the principle of compassion for all living beings, we’re on a mission to craft dairy products we all love, 100% from plants, making them kinder, greener and tastier than ever before.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com 

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App