Posted by Mike McDermott on February 8, 2019
By nature, Michelle Mazzara is a salesperson. With 25 years of experience selling national “A” brands to a diverse customer base, Michelle suddenly found herself unemployed when the company she worked for went under. She was in her mid-40s, unemployed and wondering what to do with her life. An idea hit at 3:00 am, launching Michelle into entrepreneurship.
Michelle was single and looking for a change. She had a passion for food and beverage. Why not start a website for singles that shared her same foodie passion? Researching her idea, Michelle couldn’t find anything else like it. However, she also found it inappropriate for the owner to be on the website looking for a match. So in August of 2014, Michelle set out to create a website for those in the same boat she was—single foodies. Although it was a great idea, within six months, Michelle found herself fighting against huge dating websites and realized she really didn’t have resources to make it work. Instead of a dating site, Michelle went back to what she knew best; she came out with food products she could sell. Her first creation, caramels, was a huge hit, so she developed more products. Michelle introduced a line of gourmet spices under Luvafoodie brand, followed by Belgian chocolates and drink mixes. Her consumable brand soon phased out the dating site.
In 2016, Michelle experienced chest pains that would not go away. Her doctor misdiagnosed her with costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage. Friends and family told Michelle her chest pain was due to stress. She continued to live with the pain, as it continued to worsen for 10 months. Michelle returned to her doctor, and he ordered an angiogram with contrast. An 80% blockage was found in her left anterior descending artery. Michelle had a stent inserted to open her artery. During surgery, some plaque traveled to a neighboring artery causing Michelle to have a heart attack while in recovery. “This changed my life and my perspective of what I really wanted to do with the brand and my vision for the company,” Michelle stated.
Due to living with heart disease, in January 2017, Luvafoodie launched a salt-free spice line and a new Happy Heart Dark Chocolate Belgian Bar. In May 2017, Michelle added spiced cheese curds from Metz’s Hart-Land Creamery, using Luvafoodie spice blends.
As a survivor of heart disease, Michelle was selected to be a Brand Ambassador for the Twin Cities’ American Heart Association Go Red Women 2018 Ad Campaign in Minnesota. Michelle states, “Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and it is the most misdiagnosed in women. My mission is to help increase awareness and to inspire other women to take charge of their own health. My mission is to make a difference in peoples’ lives and help prevent heart disease.”
In January of 2018, Michelle’s beloved 14-year old dog, Lucy, stopped eating and was diagnosed with cancer. Michelle researched different types of food and supplements that would help her with Lucy’s nausea and cognitive loss due to brain cancer. In her research, Michelle found that there are many herbs that may help boost the nutrition for a dog or a cat, especially aging dogs and cats who suffer from cancer. Luvafoodie’s new Dog Lovers and Cat Lovers spice blends are meant to supplement a dog and cat’s diet through adulthood by boosting it with nutrition derived from natural herbs.
So what’s next? Well, Michelle shared with me that she has written a new cookbook, Luvafoodie Eat Clean, Be Well and Stay Well Cookbook, with salt-free recipes. Her cookbook is now downloadable on Kindle, or can be purchased on her website. She has also come out with a new gift of hope chocolate bar “Touched by Miracles”. In 2019, Michelle will be looking for investors to help take her brand national.
As Michelle’s life evolves, so does her company, Luvafoodie. We can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter of Michelle’s life and brand—rest assured, whatever happens, it will be close to her beautiful heart.