Kroma Wellness Founder Lisa Odenweller on Breaking Into the Nutrition Industry

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Kroma Wellness Founder Lisa Odenweller
Image courtesy of Kroma Wellness

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Lisa Odenweller opens up about her superfood nutrition company, Kroma Wellness, and the difficulties of breaking into the wellness industry.

Odenweller began her career in the wellness space in 2011 when she opened a chain of superfood cafes around Southern California called Beaming Wellness.

Healthy eating has always run in Odenweller's family, she said, but it wasn’t until she began feeling that she was losing hair and getting exhausted quickly that set her on a course to becoming an entrepreneur.

She remembers being outraged that her doctor dismissed her health concerns as “just getting older.” Around the same time, her daughter was diagnosed with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and put on several medications.

Odenweller felt that something wasn’t right.

“And that led me to really dive into food as medicine,” she said. ”And through that journey, I went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I read every book that I could and I started just playing at home with food and kind of realized this is not as complicated as we make it.”

She started by taking inflammatory foods (sugar, wheat, processed foods, etc.) out of her diet. Then she made it a game to get her kids to do the same. Two weeks later, she said, her daughter no longer needed her ADHD meds.

Beaming Wellness evolved out of that effort, beginning as a culinary-forward food cleanse out of her own home. The success of the cleanse led her to open a cafe concept in Del Mar, California in December 2012.

“And it worked,” she said. “And so that really [where I thought], ‘This is working, I think people really want it.’ And at the time, San Diego only had Jamba Juice.”

Starting a business was hard. Odenweller said the path was very lonely and things never happened as planned. She said having a mentor to pick her up when she was down was crucial.

“Being able to have those people that just give you that push and nudge to believe and know no matter how successful you've ever been, it is so hard.”

Beaming eventually closed because of Odenweller’s struggles with the financial and legal side of owning a business — lessons she said she’s incorporated into her new company, Kroma Wellness.

“The partners that you bring together, they have to be with you through the good and the bad. Because the bad is inevitable,” she said.

Kroma Wellness sells nutrient-rich foods and herb-based products as preventative medicine directly to consumers online. They come in the forms of lattes, soups, tea, snacks and smoothies and are sold one-off or by subscription. The company is backed by heavyweight celebrity investors including Jessica Seinfeld, Amy Schumer and Gwyneth Paltrow

Odenweller said she had an investor lined up who was ready to go all in, before COVID hit. Then, she said, he ghosted her and disappeared. Odenweller looked at fundraising differently after that, but her luck hadn’t run out yet.

“I couldn't be the leader that I am today, if I hadn't gone through what I went through,” she said. “Instead of being a victim [...] understanding how, how can I use those experiences to just really evolve who I am in the world and how I can best contribute.” Engagement and Production Intern Gitanjali Mahapatra contributed to this post.

This podcast is produced by Behind Her Empire. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

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LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder
Photo: provided by LAV

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Bold Capital Partner Emilio Diez Barroso talks about his entrepreneurial journey, what led him to become an investor and shares the qualities he looks for when investing in companies.

Bold Capital is a Series A fund that primarily focuses its investments in deep tech and biotech companies. But, like other funds, they make excuses to invest in other companies every now and then.

“We're always interested in things that have the potential to truly transform how things are done and uplift humanity,” he said.

In his experience with investing in early stage startups, Diez Barroso said “humility and vulnerability are assets and qualities in the journey, and you don’t feel like you have to have it all together with your investors.”

Which is why he looks for people who have “this capacity to take full responsibility for how they show up and they have a vision and they have the willingness to go and execute it.”

In addition to his work at Bold Capital, Diez Barroso also runs two family offices which provide him with a surplus of knowledge in the investment space.

“I wear two very different hats,” he said, “and I invest very differently when I'm investing for myself, when I'm investing for my family, and when I'm investing for LP’s.”

But before becoming an investor, Diez Barroso got his entrepreneurial start when he arrived in Los Angeles. He admits that he failed plenty of times because unlike in Mexico, where Diez Barroso grew up, he didn’t have the same access to the contacts or resources of his family business.

“I would say yes to every opportunity that came my way,” he said, “I had started or partnered with someone and co-founded and most of them I had no idea what I was doing, so most of them really failed and a few got lucky enough to succeed.”

After learning how these startups worked and investing his own capital into several companies, he soon realized he was a much better investor than an operator.

“I think we're not all cut out for the journey,” he said, “and I don't think we should all be cut out for that journey. I think that it takes a very different character to start something from scratch.”

Throughout his own journey, Diez Barroso acknowledged that he struggled with his own identity and need to feel like the smartest person in the room. Once he better understood his own motivations, Diez Barroso was able to see that he was chasing the next reward, the next carrot.

“It's fun to close the deal and it's fun to grow the business,” Diez Barroso said. “But what I hadn't been in contact with is how much of my fuel was derived from trying to outrun the idea of not feeling good enough.”

Of course, he’s not alone. “I see a lot of entrepreneurs, activists all across fields and I can tell the difference when they're running from this fuel that is sort of very quick burning because there is an anxiety that oftentimes makes us narrow minded,” Diez Barroso said. “We are so attached to what we think should happen that we leave very little space for the possibilities.”

dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast is produced by L.A. Venture. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs
The United States transportation sector is rapidly adopting electric vehicle technologies at every level. From aircrafts, to tractor trailers, to sedans and bicycles, no means of locomotion is off limits…even armored trucks.
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