July 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to LivWell Foods
After careful consideration, we’re happy to announce the $10,000 July Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Olivia Napoli, founder of LivWell Foods. Olivia is the eighth qualifier for the $25,000 year-end Amber Grant.
LivWell originated on the notion that mothers are overwhelmed with unhealthy food choices. Crafted with nutrient dense superfoods, LivWell sauces seeks to solve this problem. You can read much more about LivWell Foods in our interview below.
WN: Tell us about Livwell Foods and what inspired its launch
ON: As a young mother, I’m always looking for new and innovative foods to feed my kids, while also sneaking more nutrient-dense foods in their diet. And as a Nutrition Coach, I realized I wasn’t alone. Many of the families I was helping were experiencing the same challenge. Did you know it’s estimated that 4 out of 5 children aren’t getting the nutrients they need?
LIVWELL was birthed on the insight that mothers are overwhelmed with unhealthy and supposedly healthy food choices. They want something fresh, healthy, and flavorful but don’t have time to cook it from scratch. Additionally mothers are struggling to get more nutrients into their family meals but are unsure of how to do so.
LIVWELL sauces, with nutrient dense superfoods, will seek to solve this problem. In addition, LIVWELL sauces slogan will be “Pasta Sauce, Reimagined,” with three plant based recipes featuring unique ingredients like butternut squash, zucchini, and roasted red peppers. This will create a sub-category within the pasta sauce category and start a food revolution that the market has never seen before.
Our sauces are authentic Italian recipes that have been passed on for generations. We created them using fresh ingredients and traditional cooking methods, just like our grandmothers used to cook. As a result, our Vegan and gluten-free family of sauces are loaded with plant based superfoods, antioxidants, and vitamins, healing you from within and empowering you to live well.
LIVWELL sauces not only pair with pasta, but create a variety of exciting meals and help solve a common motherhood conundrum of “what’s for dinner?” This sauce can also be used to create a variety of inspired recipes beyond pasta, including: Zucchini Crusted Chicken Cutlets, Creamy Butternut and Spinach Lasagna, Romesco Flatbread with Burrata and Toasted Pine nuts. I’m hoping to inspire cooks of all levels to create easy, delicious meals.
Lastly, LIVWELL is crafted from clean, pure, and traceable ingredients, taking the guesswork out of label reading, and making nutrition easy for parents and families.
WN: Do you have an educational background in entrepreneurship?
ON: No formal education in entrepreneurship, but I come from a long lineage of entrepreneurs in the farming, retail and culinary industry. My father and his brothers own a farm and retail grocery store in rural Massachusetts that has been passed down for generations since 1898 when my great grandparents first immigrated from Italy.
On my mothers’ side, there is a long lineage of Italian cooks that were continually creating new family recipes based on the ingredients that were seasonally available in Italy, and in the United States.
In 2016, I opened up my own Nutrition Coaching, Corporate Wellness, and Healthy Cooking private practice (www.olivianapoli.com). From there, I knew I wanted to launch my own food brand, which inspired the launch of LIVWELL (www.livwellfoods.com coming soon).
WN: Where are you planning to sell your products?
ON: Retail grocery stores. We already have three retail grocers that are interested in carrying LIVWELL in fall of 2020 and beyond.
For Phase 2, we will sell direct to consumer on our website, set to launch later this year.
WN: How would you describe the competition in your space. How do you differentiate?
ON: LIVWELL competition is mostly shelf stable sauces. Some of these competitors do have unique flavor profiles utilizing ingredients like butternut squash, but most of these sauces are tomato based. As you know, tomato sauces are widely available in a heavily saturated and competitive category.
In addition, all of these sauces are heated to a high degree to enable pasteurization and shelf stability. This also in turn kills important enzymes and reduces nutritional power.
Lastly, many of these sauces are loaded with vegetable purees, heavy dairy, concentrates, salts, sugars and other preservatives to drive shelf stability and optimal taste. These heavy ingredients take a toll on the body and produce negative side effects.
Currently, there aren’t many sauces like LIVWELL that are freshly made and in the refrigerated aisle. This sets us apart greatly from current competition. LIVWELL will bring a fresh take on the category with new and innovative flavors and clean ingredients that families can feel good about.
WN: What are your goals for LivWell Foods over the next few years?
ON: This is a very exciting time for LIVWELL, as we are nearing the end of our pre-launch phase. Our plan is to first launch local market pilots across 5 different retailers to test consumer’s level of acceptance. After the retail pilots conclude, LIVWELL will approach national distribution with the right retailers that customers look to be inspired by. I also aspire to do live cooking demonstrations and sampling in stores across some of these retailers to connect with consumers on a more meaningful level, educate on the health benefits of a superfood nutrient-dense diet, and encourage trial and sales of LIVWELL and featured seasonal ingredients.
We’re also looking to explore a philanthropic element of LIVWELL; a percentage of sales would be donated to a charity or organization that resonates strongly with our brand. We have a lot of heart for Feed the Children, No Kid Hungry, and The Lunchbox Fund, whose mission is to provide nutritious foods to children in need.
WN: What advice do you have for others who are interested in applying for a grant?
ON: My advice would be to keep an honest and open approach, speaking from the heart. The more authentic and vulnerable you are about your business and goals, the better.
Additionally, you should have your Business Plan draft complete so that you have a good understanding of your brand, the market, and your competition. The more prepared you are, the greater your chances are of consideration.
WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur
ON: Follow your heart and what lights you up. Don’t chase the money, recognition, or the praise (although those will all come in time). Do it for you. If you work from a place of passion and life purpose, the rest will fall into place and the Universe will grant you the resources to make it happen. This is also a huge reason why I’m launching LIVWELL. I love to inspire others to live a heart-centered purpose-driven life. Everything in this article was written from my heart, and I truly believe that’s the key to success. If I can launch this brand successfully, I hope to inspire and empower others to do the same, finding their true passion and launching a business or be in a career that really lights them up.
Also, surround yourself with your dream team; people that compliment your skill-set and lift you higher. There is power in numbers, and when times get tough you can lean on each other to pull through.
Lastly, create a vision board. I believe you can speak things into existence. This is the basic law of attraction. Write down specifically what you want and meditate on it every single day. Continue to work on your goals and vision, and trust that there are higher powers orchestrating it all behind the scenes. You have everything within yourself to make your dreams happen. You just have to believe. Thank you WomensNet for believing in my business, and congratulations to all the Amber Grant recipients so far, and to the future winners.
Good luck and go for it!