“The Hole is Way Deeper” Words of Wisdom with Camila Alves-McConaughey
I had the pleasure to interview Camila Alves McConaughey Camila is Partner & Chief Brand Director for Yummy Spoonfuls. Yummy Spoonfuls is frozen baby food made from fresh, organic and wholesome fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and pastured meats — no preservatives, additives or fillers.
What is your “backstory”?
I was born and raised in Brazil and come from a family of farmers — my dad still lives on the farm today. With that being said, understanding the difference between real food versus over-processed food and how it impacts your health and wellbeing — was always very clear to me.
When I became a mother for the first time, it became even more clear that changes needed to be made in the baby food industry — especially for the most important beings in the world. That’s where my journey started — trying to find a solution.
Before that journey, I owned a handbag company with my mother, and sold to boutiques, department stores and QVC. I also hosted different primetime TV shows, modeled and created a lifestyle property, Womenoftoday.com. In addition to the many business hats I was wearing, I also was and still am very involved with my husband’s and my charity JKLivin.
I had little experience or background in the food industry, so the first step I took was reaching out to friends who had experience in the field so I could learn and understand what the next steps would need to be. I was determined to do this on my own, but then one of my friends introduced me to Agatha, who shared the same passion as me and had founded Yummy Spoonfuls. We decided to join forces to change the industry!
Which person or which company do you most admire and why?
I can sit here and give you a whole list of companies and innovators that I admire, from big companies all the way to mom and pop shops, but to summarize, the ones I admire the most are the innovators. The ones in the industry trying to change the world for the best. The ones that can combine business success with fundamentals that positively impact their communities and change their industries for the best.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to do that on a daily basis. Whether it is raising awareness for different organizations, working on my and husband’s foundation JKLivin, delivering Thanksgiving dinner for Meals on Wheels or donating Yummy Spoonfuls baby food to the Today Show Toy Drive and Capital Area Food Bank. The most impactful thing that we at Yummy Spoonfuls are doing is to make the purest food without any of the bad stuff that our children should not be having.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
The five things that I wish people would have told me when Agatha and I joined forces to make Yummy Spoonfuls accessible to the most number of parents in the nation are:
1. “The hole is way deeper” — let me explain to you why. I knew the industry was bad through my simple gut feeling and understanding as a mother of what is good for a child. Once we started to really dig in with scientific research, I learned the current baby food industry was far worse than I imagined and found myself on a journey that as a parent I could not turn my back on.
2. If you’re going to disrupt an industry, people will not always accept at first. It will take a while. People are so used to do things in a certain war, it will still take time for them to fully embrace you. So, you must stay persistent if your mission is important.
3. That trying to fit in a new and healthier way of making baby food on a larger scale is harder than anyone can image. See……when I first started, I thought that we would just get better ingredients and we would need to purchase a freezer since our food is frozen. The reality is and as I learned firsthand, most baby foods don’t start from fresh ingredients, they start from already over processed purees. Most facilities that are making the food from the companies that you all have fed your kids and I once fed my kids with, could not even have LIVE/fresh food in their facilities. Now, how absurd is that? So, Agatha and I had to go to the drawing board and create our homemade way of making food in the industry LIVE world. We got a lot of funny stories on that including getting equipment from the Netherlands — two ladies that have never bought these kinds of equipment before!
4. If you’re as passionate as we are about a mission you’re going to work more hours in a day than you ever have in your life. I am always ready for work but, for example to get our launch into Target nationwide, the hours in one day is not enough. That, combined with 3 kids and family life, meant I had to press pause on any other ventures and jobs I had before I started with Yummy.
5. It’s okay to accept “no’s.” We are told as entrepreneurs to “never take no for an answer” but when your standards are as high as ours, we can’t compromise. We need to forge ahead if someone says no, to find the right partner who can say “yes.”