Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kari Wordelman, Co-Founder of Vegify, located in Shorewood, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Only 1 in 10 adults are eating the recommended daily serving of vegetables, according to a new study from the CDC. That means 90 % of our population is not eating enough vegetables. Per Harvard Health Publication, not eating enough vegetables can harm your health, putting you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancers, not to mention leaving you at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
Enter, Vegify is the easy way to add veggies to your day! We unite healthy and easy-to-make nutritious eating as simple as Mix, Coat, or Top. Mix Vegify into your meatballs or plant-based burger. Coat your chicken tenders or tofu in Vegify, or simply top your salad, pasta bake, or kids’ mac and cheese with Vegify for a delicious, nutritious crunchy topping. Vegify is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and high in fiber. One serving of Vegify is equivalent to 1 serving of vegetables. Vegify is shelf-stable and very mild in flavor, which gives it much versatility to meld with any food or dish.
Tell us about yourself
Growing up, I always idolized my dad. He was a successful entrepreneur and businessman. He worked so hard for our family, and I wanted to be just like him. He traveled the world sourcing new commodities and ingredients to sell into the US market. During his travels, he found a love for trying new foods. He would travel to Asia and come home and try to recreate the foods he ate there. This instilled in me a love for food and a passion for trying new things. In my college Entrepreneurship class at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, I wrote a business plan for what is now essentially Hello Fresh or Home Chef- the meal delivery kits. After college, I moved to the Twin Cities and accepted a position at CHS Inc., specializing in logistics. I needed an outlet for my passion for food, so I worked part-time nights and weekends at AZ Canteen, Andrew Zimmern’s food truck. I loved every minute of it!
In college and in the first few years of my corporate career, I dreamed of working with my dad to start up a new food business and be my own boss. That dream came to fruition after I had my first child in May of 2018, my son Finn. I made the tough decision not to return to my wonderful job in Sourcing at General Mills and decided to launch a business with my dad.
The opportunity for Vegify came about through my dad’s vast worldwide ingredient sourcing network. We had the opportunity to introduce an entirely new ingredient/product into the US market - together. My dad was the perfect fit to introduce Vegify to the wholesale market. I was leading the charge to develop the consumer Vegify brand and introduce it to the consumer market. I worked for about a year to develop Vegify’s brand, and we launched in July of 2020 on Amazon and our own website www.eatvegify.com. Vegify has seen steady growth over the past two years on Amazon, with many repeat buyers! We have recently started spending more on marketing and advertising. This has proven that Vegify can grow, and there is a market and demand for our products.
I launched Vegify with the purpose of delivering vegetables to consumers in an entirely new, easy, and versatile new format. Our products allow you to keep vegetables in your pantry where they have a long shelf life instead of getting moldy in your fridge in just a few days. I find the most pride and joy with Vegify when I receive positive feedback and reviews, especially from parents saying Vegify products make mealtime easier because their kids love the fun, colorful Vegify products. They can feel confident that their kids are getting their daily vegetables! Here is one of our many positive reviews on Amazon.
“The beet veggie crumbles are yummy! Adds a nice crunch to our foods. With three kids and a picky husband, I’m always looking for ways to get some extra nutrients into their diets. I added the crumbles on top of cheese garlic bread. Told them it was seasoning and everyone ate it! I could see adding to salads for myself. Healthier than croutons or bacon bits. Next, I will try it as a topping for meatloaf or baked mac and cheese.” - Kristin
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Vegify was recently named a Semifinalist in the food and beverage category of the Minnesota Cup start-up competition through the University of Minnesota. I am so honored and grateful for this opportunity for Vegify. The programing runs over the summer, with a showcase in August for the final competition. This program will help us solidify the business foundation, open new opportunities, and accelerate Vegify’s growth.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Keeping your emotions in line and staying positive and optimistic through all of the ups and downs and hurdles.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Believe in yourself.
- Stay optimistic and positive.
- Network and build your village of mentors and advisors to guide and support you.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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