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Luvafoodie with Michelle Mazzara, Founder, feature #103 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #103: Luvafoodie presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on Luvafoodie

Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to speak with Luvafoodie and Founder, Michelle Mazzara. Luvafoodie is a fast growing foodie brand for people who love to eat and drink. It is a brand for people who are passionate about food and beverage. Luvafoodie brand connects all people together who share a love for food and beverage. Luvafoodie is certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Luvafoodie was a vendor at Super Bowl 52, VIP Tail Gaiting Event on Super Bowl Sunday.

 

Dating site?

While Luvafoodie is an emerging, clean, CPG brand it originated as a dating site. Michelle told us that she woke up at 3 A.M. and wondered, what if I created a dating site. She pondered what she would call it and advised us it came right to her. She then pursued creating a social website for singles who are foodies, Luvafoodie. She created a platform to connect people who share a passion and could have an instant connection.


The company launched on TV on FoxNews. While there was some real traction, Michelle was realizing the uphill battle she was facing. A few short months later she had come to the realization that her creation would not be feasible due to the amount of resources it would require. Michelle was at a crossroads contemplating what she would do next. Prior to creating her dating platform she had worked in CPG her entire life. She bet on herself with her next move. She decided that the brand had a cool name and logo. Michelle decided she would create a product and transition Luvafoodie to a CPG company.


Health event

The company just hit 10 years in August! Circling back to after the transition from the dating site to her food company, Michelle began with a line of gourmet homemade caramels. Michelle told us that she was receiving great feedback and reception. A mere year after exiting the category of dating, she had morphed her company into a consumable brand and a successful pivot.


In 2016, Michelle found out she had heart disease. She had been misdiagnosed and it was discovered she had a 90% blockage. She was treated and had a stent put in, but during the recovery she had a heart attack. Michelle was able to overcome and properly heal, but with her life-threatening situation she ended up becoming a brand ambassador for the American Heart Association. She once again was at a crossroad and decided she wanted to fully embrace her brand and have the mission of the company evolve. January 2017, it was a full transition to all natural products only. Michelle debuted 4 salt-free spices and made the commitment to tell her story.


Starting with the spices, Michelle was fully invested in good for you products. In 2018 her dog was not doing well, she began doing research. She quickly developed a spice for dogs and a spice for cats to help stimulate appetite in the animals. Fun fact, the dog on the can was her dog, Lucy! 2020 was the next iteration of creativity from Michelle. During the Pandemic she debuted all natural cold brew iced tea with 4 flavors. All are naturally flavored, no chemicals, and sugar-free. The final creation for Luvafoodie was in 2023 which Michelle released 2 salad dry seasoning mixes with plans to release one more this year. Michelle shared with us, "Our brand is so enriched in me. We are creating salt-free lines that are a solution to a problem I was having, but so many others can benefit from."

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Good for you

Transitioning to a clean and healthy brand made it even easier for Michelle to believe in growing the brand. She was able to pair the incredible product lines with her own personal story. Her story resonates with people it was a unique situation that propelled her to create solutions. And as a result she developed products that burst with flavor and taste while remaining good for you. Michelle was adamant that it is not just a brand, but a lifestyle. Luvafoodie is focused on enjoying what you are eating and drinking.


Michelle shared with us that one of the most difficult periods for her company was during the Pandemic. She couldn't demo in stores due to restrictions which severely impacted her ability to grow and reach new consumers and markets. Once again she was faced with a tough decision. She realized she needed to pivot and grow her ecom business. This new arm of her company would provide the biggest accomplishment in Michelle's opinion.


She reached out to the VP of Merchandising for Lowes.com. In charge of the grilling section, Michelle explained the benefit of her spice line and also shared her story. Remarkably she was told yes and her spice line is now available for purchase online with Lowes. She said this is not only proof of concept, but such a fulfilling moment for her. "Getting an opportunity with them opened so many doors for other retailers for Luvafoodie. Not being a national company yet, but getting accepted in this manner brought a lot of validity for us and helped our reputation."

 

As evidence by their multiple product lines, Michelle stated her favorite aspect is creating and developing new ideas and products. Prior to creating her company she had won cooking contests, painted, always doing some form of creativity to scratch that itch. Initially creating a site for fellow foodies to find love and then evolving into a CPG brand allowed her to create while zeroing in on her true mission of Luvafoodie. She also attributed to engaging with customers that help build the organic brand support as a huge component. One aspect of building a brand that Michelle suggested as paramount is doing as much press as possible, she is constantly on local TV to get the awareness out. She shared with us that her goals for this year are to take the brand national while partnering with investors.

Creating the switch

We asked Michelle why she kept the name and created a second company after she exited the dating platform, "There was such support and love from the community. I had to keep it. I knew once I changed my mindset I could rely on my past experience to get our new products into various markets. Then I was diagnosed with heart disease and the portfolio had to match my mission and the mission of the company." This was the pivot from the gourmet caramels as Michelle believed that shelf-stable was the right move for her numerous product lines over perishable items.


3 years ago was the moment that Michelle felt she could breathe finally. She got into a DC and calls it her AHA moment. Getting that level of distribution had the brand perceived in a new light. She said it was a pivotal moment for her and the company and she specifically celebrated her partnership with Hy-Vee. Michelle said they have been an exceptional partner and has laid the foundation for other retailers to observe how successful the Luvafoodie line can be. Another big moment was getting into Molly Stones in Northern California, Michelle elaborated to us.


Running a company as a solopreneur is exhausting and extremely challenging. We asked Michelle to reflect on a moment that brings her immense joy. She told us about in 2017 she was able to be involved with Super Bowl 52. After 10 months of applying, she was chosen as part of a number of local vendors. Considering she had only had her company for 3 years, she was amazed at the opportunity. She said it wasn't just that opportunity, but that period of her life as a whole she is most proud of. When things get tough she remembers who companies believed in her, "Between working the Super Bowl, being a brand ambassador for American Heart Association which included having billboards up of just me across the city, when ever will this happen again?!", Michelle explained. She told us that there was fear of quitting after the dating platform ended and then again transitioning to hosting product lines. Michelle mentioned that the feat of the brand being sustainable is gone, now the feat is will she be able to take it national. She closed with her ultimate goal is to publish the book she has been writing for the last 10 years. The last chapter is already titled, "Brand went national". Michelle will continue to create clean eating and drinking products and possibly cobrand with other brands in the future.

Piece of Advice

The conversation with Michelle ended with her sharing her piece of advice.

"If you have an idea and are an entrepreneur-spirited person, go for it. But you have to have a huge drive and passion for what it is. Everyone fails, so don’t be afraid to fail. My past experience and knowledge has helped propel me to succeed in growing the brand. Huge passion is required because more days that aren’t rewarding, then days that are. I've realized I have to be my biggest cheerleader."




Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
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Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
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In Closing

KLS wants to thank Michelle Mazzara, Founder, of Luvafoodie. for today's "Together Talks" feature. Check out their blog here. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with Luvafoodie feature #103 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Luvafoodie feature #103

*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!


Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.


Our Process?

Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.

Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.

The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.

Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.

Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.

You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.

For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.

This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.


Services offered?

Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.


Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth

LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).

Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.

FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.

Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution

What makes KLS different?

There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand when ever we can.

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