That’s exactly how it happened with Beaming (her first company) and Kroma (her second). But she wasn’t the only one following this path. Her daughter, Lexi, turned 13 during the early days of Beaming — and learned a lot by working for her mom. Now they’re driving millions of dollars of sales together.
“I feel like I adopted a lot of her traits,” says Lexi, who’s 26 today, and says she’d rather work with her mom than start her own business. “I see how much goes into it. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m a CEO, I could create my own schedule this and that.’ She literally works 16 hours a day, seven days, eight days a week.”
Lisa’s entrepreneurial journey began in earnest back in 2011, when she founded Beaming as a “healthy grab-and-go” business. She grew it to 10 locations, mostly in Los Angeles. (Lexi was managing three of those stores as a teenager.) Lisa sold the company to Earthbar in 2018, making it a success story by any measure — but the experience taught her that if she wanted to make serious money, she needed a different concept.
Beaming was a retail store, which meant that growth could only happen through new locations. Lisa wanted her next company’s products to travel further and faster — which is why she built the wellness company Kroma in 2020. It makes “highly functional, superfood-rich products” — things like broths, snacks, adaptogen lattes — that can be mailed or carried anywhere. It was a concept she thought investors would like even more than they’d liked Beaming — but because she launched during the pandemic, she also knew the normal fundraising tour wouldn’t work.
So she came up with a new strategy: She reached out to investors just to offer them Kroma’s flagship product for free. It’s an “anti-cleanse cleanse” program, as she calls it: A program of daily meals and beverages to reduce bloating and weight, improve sleep and concentration, and increase energy.
“We literally went to angel investors and said, ‘Here, we’re giving you this, try it. Tell us what you think,'” she says.
The strategy succeeded. She got 130 people to try it — with Lexi hand-making and packaging every order — and raised $4.5 million in the process. (The company has gone on to raise a total of $9 million.) Word of mouth spread. Friends of friends wanted in. By the time Kroma launched in July 2021, the media coverage included photos of Odenweller with Jessica Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow and Amy Schumer.
“I did not know any of these investors before I started the process,” she says. “People assumed that I had access to them. I just one by one by one got to people of influence that believed in the products.”
By the end of its first year, Kroma had done more than $7.5 million in business with only $100,000 spent on paid media — with Odenweller as CEO, and Lexi as senior marketing manager.
The mom-daughter pair spend a lot of time together (and even lived together during the pandemic). Lisa says two of the big keys to keeping their relationship intact were, and are, smiling and compartmentalizing.
“We laugh a lot. We really do. We crack up all the time and laugh at the simplest things, put on music, whatever it is to create an energy of joy,” she says. “Honestly, I would say we’re really good about boundaries. When she and I go out to dinner or whatever we’re doing, we’re out to play. We don’t sit at dinner and talk about business. When we’re in play mode, we’re in play mode.”
Lisa says building Kroma with Lexi by her side has also helped to assuage her guilt about being a single working mom.
“This was always a big whisper in the back of my head that weighed heavily. Was I there enough?” she says. “Lexi started working for me when she was 13. Having her by my side, witnessing her growth into an amazing businesswoman, has not only bridged that ‘mom guilt’ that we seemingly all carry no matter how present we are. It turned it into an incredible journey.”
[Image credit above: Kroma]
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