Functional Food and Business with Leslie Danford

Functional Food and Business with Leslie Danford
“You are going to be out of your comfort zone, so just embrace it.” - Leslie Danford

Don’t see the product you want on the shelf? What if you create it? That’s what Leslie Danford did. She’s a nutrition junkie with a corporate background in beverages and consumer products. In 2020, when her job disappeared, she started fiddling and founded Vitaminis.

One of the first things Leslie did was hire a babysitter. With four kids at home, she needed the dedicated time to do the work of starting and running the company. That gave her time to do interviews and play with ideas before investing more in a beverage formulator.

Her initial product idea had to do with gut health, but she was launching during covid and what everyone wanted was something for immune health, so she started there. Her interviews — market research — helped her find the right product to lead with.

We talk about: 

  • how she moved in and out of corporate while she launched her business
  • mixing her passion for clean food with her professional experience
  • knowing when to call in help and how she found it
  • some of her yummy, healthy product options
  • shifting from an online presence to retail sales and what that entails
  • the growth outlook for her business


Calling all women balancing wellness, work, family and self… Learn a 15-minute daily practice and go to bed each night proud of what you got done.


    At the end of every episode, we share three doable changes, so you can take what you’ve heard and put it into action. Action is where change happens.

    Even though we want big change, it’s really little things done over and over that make the difference. So pick a doable thing. Put it in your calendar. Weave it through your days for a week and then move on to the next one. It will have a snowball effect.

    Here are three Doable Changes from this conversation:

    • GET CHILDCARE. If you have young kids at home, childcare, even a few hours a week, makes a difference in your business and even your selfcare. See what happens when you invest in a few hours (or more) for yourself.
    • DO MARKET RESEARCH. Set up conversations with people you know or friends of friends or people in groups you are in who are potential customers. Ask them questions to help them see which of your ideas have legs. It may not be what you think, but when you respond to a real need, you have a stronger start.
    • TAKE THE NEXT STEP. Sometimes things don’t work out. Instead of quitting, try taking a break. See if you get a new perspective. Take the next step, even if you are discouraged or not motivated. The next step, even if you aren’t sure about it, may move you in the right direction or help you see what you should do next.
    From Overwhelm to Ease


    Leslie Danford, founder and CEO of Vitaminis, a clean-label functional food and beverage brand. She has always been passionate about nutrition, but she is not a foodie. For her, it’s like a math equation, and it’s important to cover all of your nutritional bases. In 2020 she combined her personal interests with her formal business training to launch Vitaminis. Previously she worked in beverages and consumer products at large corporations. She earned her MBA from Harvard University and her BA from the University of Chicago.


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