The Badass CEO

Filling a Void in the Wellness Industry with Lisa Odenweller

October 28, 2021 Mimi MacLean
The Badass CEO
Filling a Void in the Wellness Industry with Lisa Odenweller
Show Notes Transcript

Lisa Odenweller has always been an expert in filling a void in the market. She started out with Beaming, one of the most respected wellness companies in SoCal, and in 2018 exited to start Kroma Wellness, an effortless and curated nutritional program. Kroma Wellness is a functional health and superfood company that Lisa started with the goal of helping people form healthier habits.

Tune in to hear Lisa talk about founding one successful company and exiting to start another, filling a market gap, and breaking into the nutritional industry.



 Mimi MacLean:
Welcome to the Badass CEO podcast. This is Mimi MacLean. I'm a mom of five, entrepreneur, Columbia Business School grad, CPA, and angel investor, and I'm here to share with you my passion for entrepreneurship. Throughout my career, I've met many incredible people who have started businesses, disrupted industries, persevered, and turned opportunity into success. Each episode, we will discuss what it takes to become and continue to be a badass CEO directly from the entrepreneurs who have made it happen. If you're new in your career, dreaming about starting your own business, or already an entrepreneur, the Badass CEO podcast is for you. I want to give you the drive and tools needed to succeed in following your dreams.

Mimi MacLean:
Before we get started today, I wanted to tell you about a great company I've found that takes the stress out of all the legal stuff we hate to do. Corpnet helps me out with all my incorporation documents, trademark searches and filings, and keeps me compliant for state and federal filings. Corpnet makes it super easy and is reasonably priced. I even have my own Corpnet representative to call on when I have questions. I wish I'd found this company sooner. I would have saved money and slept better in knowing that I filed all the right forms for my company. To learn more, go to thebadassceo.com/corpnet.

Mimi MacLean:
Welcome back to the Badass CEO. This is your host, Mimi MacLean. Today, we have on Lisa Odenweller, and she's the CEO and founder of Kroma Wellness. It's a premium functional health and superfood company delivering nutritional wellbeing through simplified superior, nutrient-rich, and delicious products that deliver proven results by helping you from healthier and adaptable habits. After founding Beaming, one of the most well-respected and fastest-growing lifestyle on this companies, with multiple cafe locations in Southern California and over $4.5 million raised in capital, Lisa successfully exited in 2018 and turned her expert entrepreneurial instinct to focus on filling a void in the market for an effortless nutritional program that prioritizes flexibility, flavor, curated expertise.

Mimi MacLean:
To get your Top 10 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know, go to thebadassceo.com/tips. Lisa, thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate your time and I'm excited to hear about your journey. You're like a two-time CEO of starting your own ventures. So thank you so much for coming on.

Lisa Odenweller:
Yeah, I'm so glad to be here. I'm excited. I love this conversation. I'm very passionate about wellness. Obviously, my last two ventures, I've had four, but my last two which were more of my bigger endeavors have been in wellness. And as much as I'm passionate about that, I'm really passionate about entrepreneurship, and especially supporting female entrepreneurship. And so, this is conversations that I really enjoy. There's a lot of stories behind that that I just feel compelled to want to share.

Mimi MacLean:
Yeah, same thing. I don't know if you know I have a whole separate podcast for wellness. It's called Lyme 360 because I've been dealing with Lyme. So wellness has been my passion as well. It's kind of like a combination of both.

Lisa Odenweller:
Yeah. We should do another conversation on that too.

Mimi MacLean:
So your venture before this one was Beaming and you had a successful exit in 2018 or whatever, what made you decide to leave that and start a whole new one? At what point were you like, "Okay, it's time to move on"?

Lisa Odenweller:
Yeah. I mean, what I would say is, and I might have to redefine successful. What we did successfully is build a beautiful brand that people loved that was changing lives, and it was something that was born out of my house while I was going through divorce, didn't have a dollar to my name. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into giving birth to this brand, Beaming, that started with a cafe in San Diego that opened in 2012. We did cleansing, if you will, for a year prior to really help people wake up to the power of food as medicine. My kids were involved in the whole thing. And that was very successful and we grew it to 10 locations, most of which were in LA. We partnered with Equinox. We opened one in LAX Airport. And I should mention just by nature of this conversation, I mean, I had no experience in any of this. I wasn't a chef, had never worked at a restaurant.

Mimi MacLean:
Wow. So you just learned as you went like fire?

Lisa Odenweller:
Yeah. I mean, I didn't have any of the skill sets to do this. What I had was the passion for food as medicine, what we eat matters, your health starts with what you eat, drink, and think, the changes that were happening in my own family's lives, and what I saw and was living firsthand that led me to having that moment of truth that you have as an entrepreneur that says, "I have to do something. I have to do something with this information." So the birth, and we can go back to that but I want to make sure I answer your question, the birth of Beaming really was founded upon that, and some of my own hormonal challenges that I was having at the time, my daughter being on ADD medication and hating that she was on medication and wanting solutions. All of the premise of what Beaming was built on was really beautiful. It just had this cult following, people loved it, people really felt connected to it. They love the food. We really elevated the whole smoothie juice bar, healthy grab-and-go experience, which is what allowed us to open 10 cafes.

Lisa Odenweller:
What I did wrong is I had the wrong partners and I had never raised money before. I raised $4.5 million. This plan really took on all of the things that, again, without any expertise in doing it and did that very well, but I didn't know the power of a board, didn't know the influence of having partners that maybe are not in alignment with you. So that really answers the question of why I left. It was a very difficult part of my life. I say it was the most traumatic experience in my life because it was something I was so passionate about. I loved Beaming. I was so committed to the work we were doing and to the lives that we were changing. And it was an incredibly difficult thing to go through where you realize you're so not understood by the powers to be within the company.

Lisa Odenweller:
And even though we were having such great traction and the brand was so loved, the partners I had were very much about scarcity and really sucked the soul out of it. So by default, I left. I had a great exit. I wish I could tell you that I had this great exit and that was like my launching, but it really was my teacher. And it was my best teacher. And I really had to hit bottom and I had to really go deep inside and understand how did I get here, what's my responsibility in this, and how do I never get here again?

Lisa Odenweller:
I did a lot of things really, really well, and that was my MBA, for lack of better words, but you couldn't get in school because when you build something that successful, but so not on the inside, that was killing me because of the people I had involved. And of course, I made mistakes, all entrepreneurs do, but it took me about two years to recover and go through, I call it, my darkness, my post-Beaming darkness to really just learn what I was supposed to learn and then go from there to recreate again and to feel confident. I used to call it like, "Am I a one-hit wonder?" Maybe I'm a failure, maybe I'm not as creative as I think because it was just one of those things. I hope you don't mind if I go on this path a little bit, but-

Mimi MacLean:
Mm-mm (negative). Please do.

Lisa Odenweller:
... I feel very passionate about the conversation because I think it's very analogous to life, right? And there's just so many moments in life where things don't go as planned and we can all relate to that, whether it's a business that failed, whether it's losing a job, whether it's a divorce. And in those moments where it just feels so dark, when is this going to end?" Really being able to go through that process, but also we don't just get to snap our fingers and it's all better, right? It's not like you just go, "Okay, I'm done now. I've done my work. Can it all be okay?" I wanted so badly to snap my fingers and make it stop and make it go away, but I had my own personal path that I needed to go through to really, again, learn what I had to learn and find the humility in my experience so that I could create again.

Lisa Odenweller:
It took a lot longer than I had hoped, but it was my greatest teacher and it really led me then to building Kroma and being able to approach how I raised money and the partners and everything that I learned from Beaming, obviously being able to reapply it here with Kroma. And I always joke and say, "I will make all sorts of new mistakes with Kroma, but I will certainly not make the same ones that I made with Beaming."

Mimi MacLean:
It's great that you're being so vulnerable because a lot of people don't want to talk about mistakes, whatever you want to call it. And so, by you being vulnerable and wanting to talk about it, it saves other people from going through it or making sure that they know that... It's very easy to look at people who've done well and be like, "Oh, it's easy for them. They did it." They don't see the dark side. They don't see the struggles. They don't see what they had to give up. And you just makes it look like, "Oh, we just did it. I raised $4 million, and now I'm onto my next." So to just see the underbelly of it, it makes it real for people because it is hard for everybody.

Lisa Odenweller:
And I think that as we go through these experiences, I mean, one, I'm very protective of women because it is different for us. I'm happy to dive in some viewpoints on that if relevant. And as moms, I mean, I'm a single mom with three kids. I built Beaming when I was going through divorce and didn't have a dollar to my name and had moved employees into my children's rooms because I couldn't afford to pay them, and my children moved in my room. My kids were labeling bottles. I mean, we've got those great entrepreneurial stories that we all have, but those are also some of the most magical moments, right? That is like that, whatever it takes.

Mimi MacLean:
You roll up your sleeves and get it done, yeah?

Lisa Odenweller:
Whatever it takes. We're going to do this. And I think that having those more vulnerable conversations is necessary. I also feel like I looked at it as like I got to go through what I went through so that I could help others maybe avoid that and-

Mimi MacLean:
That's great.

Lisa Odenweller:
... I can be that teacher and that inspiration. And again, whether it's starting a company, a job, just starting over in life, kids off to college, and now what? What's my purpose? Whatever those moments are that we are challenged in life and being able to break through those, I think it's important to have those conversations.

Mimi MacLean:
I don't even know if you know this, but I just launched a book, How to Be A Badass Female CEO. It's like a compilation of the past year of talking to different female CEOs and why are we, as women, only 1.7% hit $1 million in sales and why is only 5% of women ever reach C-suite status.

Mimi MacLean:
I look at the trends of what's happening, and one of the points I brought up which I think it's what we're talking about now is women don't want to be vulnerable. They don't want to show their cards because then it shows weakness and we don't want to ask for help and we don't want to have mentors. Men do all of that. They have no problem walking in and asking for mentors, or walking in and just showing their cards because they have this more of an arrogance about them or a confidence that women feel like we can't show because then it shows our weakness. And I think we're not willing to help each other as much as we should be because we feel like we're a little bit like you don't want to show your cards because then...

Lisa Odenweller:
That is so, so, so true. I know it was part of my problem with Beaming, right? I didn't know how to ask for help and the people I was surrounded with weren't helpful, and I didn't know where to go. That's also why going through my learning to get to now how I've approached Kroma, and I think what I feel so grateful for everyday is that I'm surrounded by so much support. I am not afraid to ask for help. In fact, I asked for it every day, all day.

Lisa Odenweller:
I know we have a very large cap table intentionally with passionate people who are excited to be part of this journey with me and with us and want to roll up their sleeves and help in any way, but I set that precedence, right? I tap into it and I learn about these investors and like, "How can I leverage you? How can I learn from you?" I had a three-hour meeting on Saturday with one of our new investors and sat down with the husband and wife and wanted to understand who they are, what their background is, how can we, Kroma, really-

Mimi MacLean:
You want it to be smart money. You don't want it to just be money. You want it to be able to tap into their-

Lisa Odenweller:
And some people, I'm going to tap into more than others, but I probably talked to 5 to 10 investors a day even through text, just on a brief little thing. It might be a quick ask, whatever it is, and I love that. It's actually, I think to your point, women, we have to ask for help and support, right? I mean, look at all that we juggle, right? We're masters at it, but we also have to be vulnerable and humble, and guess what, people want to help. When you're able to ask for that help, they're much more engaged. That's something that I think about, and I've really just tried to wrap my head around about the investors that we have. They didn't just write a check. They are all in it with me, whether it's one of the celebrity investors or it's a woman in the community. I don't know if you know, but we're 90% funded by women-

Mimi MacLean:
That was great.

Lisa Odenweller:
... which is pretty rad and something I'm very proud of, but the men and the women are all like, "Let's do this." And at any point in time, I can call on them for support in whatever way is needed. So I do think that that's something that I highly encourage other entrepreneurs to whether it's through their investors or through advisors or whoever it is to really learn and tap into people. People want to be part of it. It's a win-win situation.

Mimi MacLean:
So let's go back to you left Beaming, you were like, "What should I do next," and you decided to start this wellness supplement. It's not even supplement, it's even bigger than that. Where did you come up with that idea? How did you know that? I mean, because there are a lot of supplements. I mean, I'm not going to deny it. I won't say it's saturated, but how did you figure out what your niche was? How did you know, "Okay, this is where I'm going to take this," and stand out and be different than what's being offered?

Lisa Odenweller:
I would say it didn't all happen like... It wasn't like the vision dropped in and it was like, "This is it." It happened as a bit of an unfolding. When it was the it, I knew it. And I think entrepreneurs can really relate to that. You're dabbling and playing, and then it's like when it's so clear, you're off and running.

Lisa Odenweller:
I'll go back a little bit. So with Beaming, the same mission that Beaming was built on and the same vision is really the same being applied here with Kroma. The difference is the delivery system. So Beaming was we were ahead of its time in this new healthy grab-and-go, make healthy taste amazing, speak to a bigger audience, delicious salads and soups and smoothies and snacks and gluten-free things. Just elevated it to just new culinary, sexy experience, right? It's hard to believe that 2012, when I first opened the first cafe, San Diego didn't have anything but Jamba Juice at the time, right? We've come a long way since, but we were way, way, way ahead at the time. And only in New York-

Mimi MacLean:
But even the East Coast where I am now, it's so far behind from California.

Lisa Odenweller:
Yeah, there's still so much opportunity. We just-

Mimi MacLean:
I can't find anything gluten-free out here. I'm like, "What is going on?" It's really hard whereas at every place in LA.

Lisa Odenweller:
So I think to that point is there is still such an abundant opportunity. And so, my vision for Beaming was how do we take all the good of what we're doing and all of the impact and the lives were changing, and that the fact that kids are coming to Beaming after school or in between soccer practice to get an acai bowl instead of McDonald's, right? That's a huge one. How do we keep doing that? And really giving people the tools to thrive, but make it simple because people don't want to think like we're all overwhelmed.

Lisa Odenweller:
And so, so much of what Kroma was founded upon is like my own personal need. I'm crazy busy. I don't have time to think about food. I know how to eat. I don't have time to make it. There's not a lot of food options in San Diego, and so I don't have Erewhon and Goop Kitchen and things like [inaudible 00:16:32], so I needed to create Beaming for me, I needed to create Kroma for me. Kroma's delivery system is all powder-based functional nutrition, is what I call it. So we're much more than supplements. We're actually food.

Lisa Odenweller:
I've been in the industry now for 14, 15 years. I've been playing with superfoods since I read about maca and spirulina and chia in Oprah Magazine 15 years ago, and I was like, "What is that? Tell me more." And so, I started playing with all these crazy things. And really, the vision was if we could take what Beaming does so well like ship it all over the country, make it non-perishable, make it so that it's sitting in your pantry at any moment in time, you don't have to think you could just add hot water or some almond milk and you've got a beautiful meal or beverage that's going to just rock your world with nutrition and the right energy and all the good things, and there's no thinking involved but you just know that you're putting the best in your body. And that's really the birth of Kroma.

Lisa Odenweller:
I would say that the pebbles along the way were... And again, so I exited Beaming. I was like, "Okay, what's next?" I'd played with so many different ideas and I was like, "It's this, but not that." And so, it took a while. And one of the biggest inspirations was actually my love for matcha. I was trying to transition from my morning coffee latte and I was like, "Okay, matcha is better for you. I really need to transition. Coffee is not good for my adrenals. It's making me anxious. It's making me irritable. I've got that zzz and then you've got that crash," and I really liked my morning coffee. And then, I was trying to transition to matcha and really struggled because most matcha tastes terrible and it tastes like dirt, and you're like, "Ugh, how am I going to like go there?"

Lisa Odenweller:
I really started to get into the concept of matcha because it's so good for you and I wanted to learn to like matcha and because it's helps with mental clarity, it helps with your mood. It's got this stable caffeine where you don't get the zoosh and you don't get all the buzz and it's better for everything. It's not as acidic, et cetera, et cetera. So once I started to understand that, I started drinking it. I transitioned. I immediately felt better and I was like, "Whoa, the world needs to drink matcha. This is big."

Lisa Odenweller:
And then, I started adding all my favorite superfoods and I started adding collagen and turmeric and ginger and maca and spirulina. I would travel back and forth to LA carrying 10 superfoods with me in my hotel room, mixing these 10 things. And of course, the light bulb goes off and I was like, "Hey, what if I create products like this?" And so, I created a whole collection. And I'm getting to a punchline that I think is really important, which is I didn't have the full path completely articulated, but I had enough information that was like, "Let me go get this out in the world and then see and learn." Because I know so much of the time for entrepreneurs, we get stuck in the how and we get stuck with having to have it all figured out, and rarely is that the case and almost definitely you're going to pivot. If you don't pivot, you probably aren't asking the right questions because the idea is only as good until you have that proof of concept.

Lisa Odenweller:
So we launched what I call Kroma 1.0 two years ago, and we launched with four Adaptogens Super Lattes. One was matcha-based, one was like a coffee mushroom type instant latte, one's a golden milk with mushrooms, and one other. I put that out in the world right away. This was really risky because I had raised money, right? And immediately two weeks into it, I was like, "This is not right. There's something bigger. There's something much, much bigger." And where I found that it was necessary for me to do that is I needed to learn supply chain because I was going from perishables to non-perishables and working with powders. I needed to understand manufacturing of powders very different than having a big commercial kitchen, which is what Beaming was. And I needed to understand direct-to-consumer, which is a whole different beast, right?

Mimi MacLean:
It is.

Lisa Odenweller:
I mean, my Beaming cafe isn't bricks and mortar. People loved it. They knew about it. That's a different world, and you go on D2C and that world is changing every day now.

Mimi MacLean:
Yeah, the digital marketing world is different.

Lisa Odenweller:
So different. Everything is pay-to-play and it's just in the influencer world, and I just quickly realized that the roadmap didn't make sense to me. I really felt like there was a bigger story. There's two points that stood out for me. One is I couldn't, in good conscious, raise money to throw a ton of money at digital. That's a separate conversation, but I just felt like there's a different method or path here. And the other was my why didn't feel strong enough. It wasn't in my soul and my gut. And I think that's, again, something that entrepreneurs can relate to. It's like when you feel that sense of why that nothing's going to stop you, nothing's going to stop you. And I didn't have it for Kroma 1.0. I was like, "Yeah, lattes are cool, and I'm really passionate about matcha and mushrooms and all these great things, but I'm not doing what I know I do when I'm all in."

Lisa Odenweller:
And so, a couple other messages happened along the way that, again, you just open yourself to what is this bigger thing I'm really trying to create. And right in the middle of launching 1.0 Kroma, I pivoted and I went back to the roots of what may be being so successful, which was a five-day wellness program. That's how I launched Beaming. It was a five-day cleanse. It changed people's lives. It helped them feel and look amazing, and then they wanted the products all the time. And I went back to that same thesis because I know it works and understanding the psychology, if you will, of the consumer. I wanted to create a new version of what, and I'll call cleansing. It's not a cleanse, but it's not eating your everyday food. Whatever category we want to put that in.

Lisa Odenweller:
We call it a reset, but it's a five-day all-inclusive program that's all about nourishment, not about deprivation and starvation, changes the conversation for women that we don't have to starve ourselves to look and feel good in our body, delivers the result of weight loss if that's what you're going for, feel good, lower inflammation, gives your digestion a break, your energy, your mind, everything is just like optimized, right? And so, I took, and because I've been in the industry so long, and watched the trends and are so... Not just the trends, but also understand the business economics of it, which I think is an important thing for entrepreneurs is that it's really important to be a visionary, but you really need to understand is there a viable business here. And through that, created this new five-day, we call it, lifestyle reset, which is a completely different format in really helping people look and feel great and feel like they have the tools to really thrive.

Lisa Odenweller:
And also saw that there was an opportunity where the bigger issue was that you do these programs, and I'm sure anyone listening has done a cleanse of some sort, and then they're like, "Okay, now what? I lost a couple of pounds. Now, what do I do?" I've really always come from the mindset of lifestyle and how do we set people up for longterm success. How do we help you thrive in your every day, not just 5 or 10 or 15 days a year. So the program itself sets you up such that you have these routines and then you continue. You choose your favorite products, you add them to your life.

Lisa Odenweller:
I have Kroma six to eight times a day. I live on it. I start with my Beauty Matcha that has the collagen, the turmeric, and the matcha, and ginger, and all these great superfoods. And then, I have our porridge, and I have at least one of our bone broth today, and I have our cookie butter that's perfect snack before I go for a run or workout or whatever that might be. I have our elixirs, our Supergreens Elixirs, our hydration powder, our magnesium. So every day I have Kroma, like I said, at least six to eight times a day, and it simplifies my life and I feel great. I can work at the pace that I'm working, which is intense as we just launched the company 10 weeks ago, right?

Mimi MacLean:
That's it. Wow.

Lisa Odenweller:
10 weeks ago, three years in the making. Probably maybe 15 years in the making really, but really three years in the making. So we're on a bullet train right now and trying to keep up with all the things that need to be done at this stage of a company having very limited resources. So Kroma is my everything, but I think all of us can relate to just how with everything, whether you're in a startup or you're just dealing with kids or you're just dealing with life or whatever it is, we all just want to simplify it and we want to feel good and we want to put good stuff in our body and have a brand that you trust and that you feel how good you feel when you put good stuff in your body.

Lisa Odenweller:
So that was really a long answer to your question, but that was the pivot that growing and coming out of Beaming and really pondering what was next. I thrive in impact. I thrive in making a difference and knowing that I and whatever brands that I create are really changing lives. And so for me, this is the best way I know how to do that today.

Mimi MacLean:
That's great. Are you only direct-to-consumer at this point, or have you gone into retail locations?

Lisa Odenweller:
Just direct-to-consumer. We have a couple online retail partnerships that are in development. But no, we're not in any grocery.

Mimi MacLean:
I know we touched on this a little bit. How did you get around that pay-to-play, like putting all your funds into digital marketing?

Lisa Odenweller:
Yeah. Obviously, we still invest considerably. So a five-day wellness program, it's not a highly saturated market, right, so I also looked at who's in the market and who's got traction and why, and how do we approach this differently. And again, I think that's just what we all do as entrepreneurs. You have to understand the market landscape. And also then, again, understanding the consumer. We all want a quick hit. We all want to feel better fast.

Lisa Odenweller:
I joke about this, but if I walk into a room with a bunch of women and they find out that I have a new cleanse, I am the most popular person in that room. They want cleanse tomorrow. They don't care what it is or how much it costs. They just know they have to have it. Now, if I walk into a room and I say, "I have a new matcha or a new protein powder," great, cool.

Mimi MacLean:
Yeah, I want that.

Lisa Odenweller:
I like matcha, I don't like matcha. Whatever the reason is, right? And so, I looked at it from how do I create a true lifestyle brand that speaks to the consumer, delivers what they need, it delivers the results, then can really create that longevity. And I think as you look at... I'm going to give all my secrets away, but as you look at as an entrepreneur, if you're playing on D2C, it's one thing to have conversion, right? It's one thing for you to throw a bunch of money at digital and the person buys the product, right? And you've got them excited just to get them to conversion, but then you have to get them to retention and how are you going to hold onto that customer? Do they understand your product? Do they understand where it fits in their life? And that's the hardest part, right? You can get the conversion if you throw enough money at it, but you're changing behavior.

Lisa Odenweller:
That's what the five-day wellness program does, is it changes habits and behavior. It teaches you where it fits in your day. It teaches you how to live the lifestyle. It's an automatic transition into your everyday life. So that was our different lead-in coming to market. Of course, we still have to spend money on visual.

Lisa Odenweller:
But the other thing I would say is part of my fundraising strategy was to have highly influential people on our cap table that would help tell the world. Any one of our investors could have written the whole check. I purposely created this crowdfunding. I call it my own little mini incubator where each one of those investors is influential in one way or the other, whether it's their expertise in business, whether they're a big celebrity with 11 million followers, whether they are highly influential in their community or their schools or people really listen to what they do, or they're an expert at something. I really brought together this incredible group of mostly women, but men and women that have really been instrumental in telling the world. So all we've done so far these first 10 weeks is really organic marketing, that combined with some press.

Mimi MacLean:
So how did you find those investors? Did you already have connections? Did you hire somebody to help you? How did you tap into those networks?

Lisa Odenweller:
So my first check was November 3rd last year, and I was down to my last dollar. I emptied my 401(k), didn't have anything left, couldn't pay rent, wasn't sure if I was going to have to move my three kids and I into my parents' home, and was scared, very, very, very scared. I had had lots of conversations. I had mostly nos. Every venture group turned me down and everyone was intrigued. The hardest check is the first check.

Mimi MacLean:
Yeah, exactly.

Lisa Odenweller:
My first check was from Dick Costolo, the former CEO of Twitter. He put that first check-in on November 3rd. He brought in three other people, the CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, John Callaghan from True Ventures, and Jenny Lefcourt. So those four people really became my first like, "I'm in." Now, the way I got them was because they experienced the beta program. We had created the products. We had created the five-day wellness program and we were making it at home. My daughter who's 23, who works with me and has been side-by-side with me since she was 13 creating these companies, she was in the kitchen with me, not only formulating all the products with me, but then would make all the betas.

Lisa Odenweller:
So the way I recruited these investors was, one, tapping into my Rolodex, and anyone who had talked to me, I was reaching out to. And if they weren't going to write the check, that they know somebody that would. I was on LinkedIn, hunting on my bed. Whatever I had to do. I remember I didn't have a dollar left in my account, so nothing's going to motivate you more. And the beta program had such incredible results and people loved that five-day wellness program so much, they were like, "This has to exist in the market. I'm 100% in on this." And then, they wanted to tell their friends. And so, it just trickled from there, but it still wasn't easy at all and it's just one step left onto the next.

Lisa Odenweller:
Obviously, getting Gwyneth Paltrow involved was a big win. That obviously helped the process as well, but you still have to convince people and you still have to get people to buy in, but they experienced the product and the program and that's really how they all got involved. They believe in the vision, and I think that's something that's so important for entrepreneurs is... I don't have the MBA, right? I do have a business partner who is my rock as far as he's the operational and financial mindset, that I didn't have it, meaning I made sure I had it for this one. So I have a dashboard at all times of the business. It's not my mind, right? I'm a visionary, I'm a brand proliferator, I'm a marketer, render, or whatever. That's not my wheelhouse. So he's like my other half, if you will. So for me, to go and really evangelize the brand and our vision and really what we're here to do and get people excited to be part of that with us was really ultimately how we attracted all these investors.

Mimi MacLean:
That's great. How did you find this other partner to make sure it was the right one this time around?

Lisa Odenweller:
Hilariously so, at a music festival. I was in the middle of the pivot from Kroma 1.0 and all of a sudden, the vision. I told you when the dropdown happens and you're like, "That's it." I think that's part about having flow as a founder, as an entrepreneur, then the right things show up, right? So when I had that vision and then the clarity of where I wanted to take the brand and the mission and the vision, I happened to meet him in a music festival. We became friends first. And then, as I understood his background as a venture person and with McKinsey for years and his MBA and everything else, he was everything that I needed to be that other half of my brain, if you will.

Mimi MacLean:
Yup, that's great. Well, this has been amazing and I'm so thankful for your time and for your honesty and all that. Is there anything that we have not touched on? Maybe close us out with just last advice or tips for any other woman that's thinking about starting a business or in the phase of "Why am I doing this? What did I do? I feel so alone. Gosh."

Lisa Odenweller:
Oh my God, that is so, so true. I mean, there's nothing lonelier than entrepreneurship. It's awful. I mean, I've so many tips. Hopefully, I was able to extend some of those along this conversation.

Mimi MacLean:
Yes, definitely.

Lisa Odenweller:
I mean, I think I hope what some of the takeaways are is that this was not an easy ride. I know anyone that would have seen the Forbes article and all the celebrities that are involved that this was just like somehow I snap my fingers and they all just showed up. No, it has not been that. It is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It is having that passion in you, that why in you that nothing's going to stop you even when you've lost all faith, right? And there's so many times where I was like, "Do I have what it takes to do this?" I mean, I emptied my 401(k). I have no dollar in my name. I risked everything. I have a joke that I don't know why the entrepreneur has to be living out of their car eating Top Ramen, but somehow that's part of our [inaudible 00:34:18].

Mimi MacLean:
Yeah, exactly, because you have to just stick with it.

Lisa Odenweller:
You just got to keep going. But no, I appreciate being able to share this story. So thank you for even giving me this opportunity and always happy to share whatever thoughts or insights I have.

Mimi MacLean:
Thank you. So anybody who wants to check it out for the five-day reset, it's kroma, K-R-O-M-A, wellness.com. Thank you very much and I can't wait to see what you do over the next year with this new company.

Lisa Odenweller:
Thank you. Thank you so much, Mimi. We'll stay in touch for sure and maybe we can talk on the sides too of your other podcast. I think what you're doing, I think, is so needed around Lyme disease and stuff.

Mimi MacLean:
Well, because it's all the same, right? It's all about food is the medicine, right? And I think, especially now with COVID and everything that's happening, it's all about your immune system and building up your health and taking responsibility and putting the junk aside.

Lisa Odenweller:
Well, and I have several friends who had Lyme, and they've all healed through food.

Mimi MacLean:
You have to. I tell people, "Don't even go see a Lyme doctor until you've changed your eating because it truly is that, and you got to give up everything that you love." You got to give up the alcohol, the sugar, the gluten, at least for the time being until you can get your immune system back to fight what it needs to. And then, you can slowly start putting this stuff back or not. Maybe you don't want to, but you're not going to get better until your food is directly related.

Lisa Odenweller:
The power of being empowered, right, I think is really what it's about. I mean, that's what my mission has been with Beaming and Kroma, is really empowering people to really take control of their health and making it easy and approachable and sexy and enjoyable and all those things because, of course, we're going to be more inclined to follow. So your journey, obviously, is one that's really important, and it works, right? We know for sure 70% to 80% of our health, we can control so you need to take control. Thank you so much. Okay.

Mimi MacLean:
Thank you for joining us on the Badass CEO. To get your copy of the Top 10 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know, go to thebadassceo.com/tips. Also, please leave a review as it helps others find us. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them. So email me at [email protected] See you next week and thank you for listening.