Anyone Can be an Entrepreneur with Danielle from Nuttzo

When Danielle started Nuttzo she wasn’t thinking small. She thought why not blend a bunch of nutritiously dense nuts and seeds together to maximize the vitamins, minerals and protiens that these little bodies need? Nuttzo’s mission is to inspire a new way of eating, living and being on this planet. Plus sales of every jar of Nuttzo help support Nuttzo’s nonprofit of choice, Project Left Behind helping orphaned children around the world.

Tell us a little bit about you and Nuttzo

We adopted 2 boys two different times not biological but of course they’re brothers. The first little boy we adopted was in 2002 and Romania closed down unfortunately so you couldn’t adopt internationally. We went into Ukraine and we said that we wanted a child that was under the age of 4.  Greg was 3 and half years old. He spent his entire time in an orphanage. I’d heard about different scenarios and he didn’t seem to any of those. He wasn’t a hoarder. He actually didn’t like to eat. It was this big stressor because he was in the 5 percentile in height and weight. He would refuse to eat and so he would just chew, chew and chew. Being a lover of food I was trying to wrap my brains on how to create these flavorful meals where they would be super nutritional and as well as giving him all of his minerals and vitamins. The hardest one for me is protein because he didn’t like anything. I got this idea because my sister and I loved Jiff when we were growing up, we would eat it so much that we would have a stomachache afterwards. I never saw a nut butter that I did not like and I got into organic and the natural nut butter. I knew that if I combine peanuts because they have an amazing source of protein, almonds and Brazil nuts and other nuts and seeds it would have a wide variety.

I was creating this masterful piece of nut butter spread in my food processor. I was making it frequently in my food processor and one day my husband was like, “Danielle, why don’t you just buy this stuff?” I would make these great meals and he would do the dishes. I guess cleaning a food processor, nut butter out of a food processor is quite lengthy. So anyway that was the “Aha!” moment because I was like, “Of course you can’t find this seven nut seed butter. It doesn’t exist.” So that was the kind of the “Aha!” moment and really catapulted us to start my company.

How do you think having that strong why helps your company?

For me, like it has to be more than just making nut butter or like making money. We can put it all into one thing but you have to love what you do. For me such a bigger purpose because when we launched Nuttzo, my husband and I had this tax guy actually try to deter us from starting our own 501C3, but we really wanted to take that on because we wanted to really be able to control that 100% of the donations from Nuttzo would go to the kids. I wanted to create a nonprofit so we could go in and help 50 children with their education, with food, with primary things but education being the key component to help them lift themselves up to the next level and kind of break that cycle. Project Left Behind and helping orphans is what I’m meant to do.

If anybody comes to me and says they don’t have a passion, they do. They just have to dig deep. What makes you on fire during the day? What makes you just want to go out and call ten people and tell them the story. For me it’s helping orphans because I think they don’t have a voice. It’s a shame and we’re all just lucky where we were born.

I read on your website that you brought your sister on to work with you. How did that kind of come about and how does that work for you?

It’s just my sister and I we grew up on 140 acres together and survive. We’re extremely close and what’s awesome about working with somebody that you’re that close to you don’t even have to worry about things. I don’t even have to worry if she working, I don’t have to worry what is she doing, she’s always got my best interest at heart and what’s awesome when we’re so much alike it’s almost like having myself on the east coast because she lives in Philadelphia as well and when we go to events because we have some big expose that we have to go to it’s like a force.

What has been your most proud moment so far?

There’s nothing that can take away the Dr. Oz moment.That was pretty phenomenal and I was really blessed by that. It was in 2011. It was just a lot of tenacity on my part and kind of big dream thinking because I had reached out to Dr. Oz in 2009 before he even had a show and kind of connected with him. I had big idea thinking and then I reached back out to him 2 years later because he had his own show. I saw that he was featuring items on the show and he featured it on September of 2011. I didn’t know what it was going to be, how big it was going to be featured and it was phenomenal. It blew us up and put us in the east coast because he was doing a feature that was the top 10 things you can’t live without. They kept teasing the show of the number one thing you can’t live without and that was Nuttzo.

It's all about your tenacity and willingness to succeed @eatnuttzo #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

What do you we can learn from you actually just reaching out to someone?

Don’t be risk adverse, for sure.

Danielle from Nuttzo

What has been your biggest flop or disappointment to date?

When I first started Nuttzo, I really had this idea that I was going to put them in single serving packets and that’s was the way I wanted to launch it. I was not doing any 16 oz, no jars, nothing because I really felt like I was always on the go and I wanted to put nut butter in this little to go thing. I did some research and I was little deflated because I found out that Justin’s had been already putting them in single serving packets in Colorado. It still didn’t deter me. I was like, “This is a great idea and he wasn’t that big yet,” and so I found a co-packer but the thing that just couldn’t work out was the minimum and the amount of money that it would take. The product that would be spoiling because it was just a crazy amount, (250,000 single serving packets) that you had to order. I eventually was like, “Well, either I’m not doing it or I’m going to switch gears,”.  I decided to put it into 16 oz jars but I thought about something to do differently. That’s when I got the idea because anyone that knows natural nut butter, knows if you put it upside down in your pantry the oils separates to the bottom of the jar. To make it easier to stir, you store it upside down, so that’s how the label went on, upside down. It was kind of just changing our path but still moving forward.

How did you come up with your sales strategy?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in business, which definitely helped, but my background is really in sales and marketing. I’ve been doing that my whole life before I started my company. I do believe a sales background is huge and it also helps you to be successful. There’s so many elements of being in sales that you have to be able to do on your own business. I honestly think it’s getting good consultants; people that are already been there. It’s brainstorming with likeminded entrepreneurs in the same stage or maybe a little bit above you. It’s a bunch of things but to me the number one thing that was super helpful is sales and being able to problem solve because every day, trust me, is a new problem.

How did you decide to do a co-packer vs. starting your own commercial kitchen and doing it all yourself?

I live in Southern California and to be honest, you can’t ever make food you sell in your home. If you didn’t use a copacker you would have to be in a commercial kitchen and you really need equipment for grinding the nut butters special equipment. Just to do it on a food processor that would just be ridiculously time consuming. The hardest part of finding a co-packer is finding someone that will work with you and be small enough to meet your minimum so that you can actually afford it, fortunately for me I did.

Tell about the moment when it went from hobby to business.

That was probably when I quit my full time job. I still wasn’t on the shelf at all. I was just kind of at my wits end of being able to be mom,  trying to launch my own business and still be doing an A+ job at my sales job. I have a great husband who was supper supportive and he was able to say, “Listen, the worst case we downsize and the other worst case is you’re going to have to go back into your sales position that I knew I could get if I needed to. That was the moment of jumping in 110%.

What would you say your biggest piece of advice is to someone who is just starting out?

My biggest piece of advice is just to try. Just push it forward and be open to changing your ideas slightly but never giving up.

How do you find a way to stay balanced?

It’s kind of like brushing my teeth. I need to do something whether it’s yoga, hiking, I’m big into weight lifting or boot camps or running. Just something almost every day. Just carving out that moment so that I can go and recharge. It’s super powerful because I think as entrepreneurs a lot of times we’re going 24/7 and it’s no joke really. You have to be able to disconnect even if it just for 45 minutes and be able to have me time.

What has been a successful marketing technique for Nuttzo?

Partnering with company is always fun. It kind of introduces your consumer with somebody else’s product that probably has the same integrity.  The one thing that we’ve seen a lot of success with is when we have followers tag a friend on a giveaway. The other thing that’s really been super popular is to have ambassadors.

Share one thing you want your customers about you that you think they don’t know.

Just the fact I came from this place with my sister and my parents on 140 acres on a mountain top, spending my summers barefoot and daydreaming big and climbing trees and look at me. This is where I am now. My point is those experiences helped me to be able to be where I am now.

Find Danielle and Nuttzo:

Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi is revolutionizing the nut butter category, Danielle has developed and implemented the strategic rollout of the NuttZo™ brand, as well as, managed NuttZo™’s rapid growth over the paste 6 years.  Danielle has more than 20+ years of sales and marketing experience. Previously, Danielle held the position as Senior Account Manager and Director of New Business where she Founder of Nuttzomanaged station accounts in advertising sales. Danielle is also the Founder of Project Left Behind; a project-based 501-c3 non-profit that supports the educational endeavors and health/nutrition needs of orphaned children worldwide.  She is an avid runner, health nut, traveler and yogini and resides with her family in San Diego, CA.

Click to listen to Danielle Dietz LiVolsi on the Blissful Bites Podcast in iTunes.

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