Mother Essentials: Denise Woodard
Written by Erin Feher
We’ve got a sweet treat for you his week—our Mother Essentials subject is none other than Denise Woodard, the cookie maven who founded Partake Foods (and caught the attention of Jay Z, who recently invested in the company). Denise hadn’t thought much about what was in her cookies prior to becoming a mom, but when her daughter Vivian, now 4, was diagnosed with serious allergies, she learned first-hand the struggle to find safe snacks for her, let alone ones that actually tasted great. Her breaking point was when she found herself stranded in the airport due to a flight delay, and she could not find one single thing for her toddler to eat. So, in 2016, Denise decided to ditch her decade-long career at Coca-Cola and try to make it selling the allergy-friendly cookies she had created for Viv. She ran her business out of her car for six months, and raised more than $30,000 on Kickstarter to initially fund the business. She was so dedicated to her new venture that she even sold her engagement ring in order to raise capital. Jay Z became a fan, and his VC fund Marcy Venture Partners invested, helping Denise secure $1M to run with. Today, the cookies can now be found in over 300 stores, including Whole Foods and Wegmans, but Denise, who doesn’t know how to dream small, is hoping to finish off the year with that number topping out at 1,000. Below, she shares with us her current Mother Essentials for her and her daughter Viv.
S’well Bottle. “The S’well Frozen II line marries one of my favorite things—eco-friendly stainless steel—with Vivi’s favorite—Frozen. It’s a win-win!” Disney Frozen 2 Frozen Quest, $35, S’well.
Clean Deodorant. “I’m working on transitioning to all non-toxic personal care items, and deodorant has definitely been a big challenge, but I’m loving this Routine deodorant.” Routine De-Odor Cream, $27.99, Amazon.
Kimchi. “So delicious and so good for the gut! Fermented foods are full of healthy bacteria and extremely valuable to your digestive tract. My mom keeps our fridge stocked with her homemade kimchi, but Mother In Law’s and Mama O’s are also great!” Mother In Law’s Kimchi, $19.45, Amazon.
Woom Bike. “American made, you can trade up for the next model as your child outgrows, and their method of no training wheels transitioned my 4 1/2-year-old from a balance bike to a ‘real’ bike in 6 weeks.” Woom 1 Balance Bike, $199, Amazon.
The Neat Egg. “An all-natural egg replacement that is derived from chia seeds and garbanzo beans. It’s great to use in place of eggs when baking brownies, cakes, and of course, cookies!” Neat Plant-Based Egg Mix, $6.25, Amazon.
Cocofloss. “Flossing made fun! Cocofloss is infused with coconut oil, essential oils, and aromas for a cleaner, fresher floss. And the packaging is super cute!” Cocofloss Coconut-Oil Infused Luxury Dental Floss, $25 (3-pack), Amazon.
Primary. “All the basics, in great quality and soft fabrics. We’re able to get my daughter’s school uniform needs met, along with fun weekend pieces.” Primary.
STATE Mini Kane Bookbag. “I love STATE’s social mission of giving a backpack to a child in need for every backpack purchased.” STATE Mini Kane Bookbag, $85, STATE.
Partake Snack Packs. “Perfect for an after school snack, on the go, or an anytime treat.” Partake Cookies, $14.99, Partake.
Business Idol. “Daniel Lubetzky of KIND Bar is one of the founders I most admire, and even more so after reading his book: Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately.” Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately, $12.99, Amazon.
Banza Pasta. “Pasta made entirely from chickpeas! These protein-packed, gluten-free noodles come in all different shapes and sizes to fit whatever mood Vivi’s in—we rotate between the shells, spaghetti, and rotini.” Banza Pasta, $3.89, Target.
Chloe’s Fruit Frozen Treats. “Simple ingredients and simply good—just fruit, water, and a touch of cane sugar. The soft serve is free of the top eight allergens and Vivi-approved!” Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Popsicle Bars, $3.99 (4-pack), Amazon.
Briogeo Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System. “An absolute must-have for my thick, curly hair. Just massage the conditioner into your hair, throw on the cap, and voila—super soft, shiny hair!” Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System, $36, Sephora.
Bubbsi Kids’ Skincare. “This coconut oil-based, all-natural line of kids’ skincare has been a miracle worker on my daughter’s eczema.” Bubbsi Coconut Oil Balm, $24, Bubbsi.
Peloton Bike. “With an ever-changing schedule, it’s so convenient to have a Peloton bike at home to sneak in a workout in between work meetings and mom duties!” Peloton Bike, from $2,245, Peloton.
DevaCurl. “The products—shout out to the Coconut Curl Cream and One Condition Decadence—are my favorite for my curly hair and my daughter’s.” DevaCurl, $14.99, Target.
MegaFood Blood Builder. “I was anemic when I was pregnant with Vivi and suffer from super fatigue when I don’t get enough iron, which is not good when you’re a full-time working mama! This meets my needs for B12, iron, and folate, and most importantly, is made from whole food ingredients—not the gross synthetic stuff!” MegaFood Blood Builder, $27.48, Amazon.
Rainbow Light Enzymes. “Amazing for nutrient absorption, digestion, and any digestive discomfort! These lend a helping hand to my digestive system and keeps everything running.” Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System, $23.99, Amazon.
Honest Organic All-Purpose Balm. “A winter essential! Amazing to soothe dry skin and everything in between, from cuticles and lips to cuts and diaper rashes.” Honest Organic All-Purpose Balm, $11.99, Target.
Acupuncture. “This is a non-negotiable in my self-care routine, and I’ve been a fan since before I became a mom, wife, and entrepreneur. It’s helped me with ailments, anxiety, and throughout my pregnancy.”
Flax Seeds. “Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and essential nutrients! It’s a true superfood and so easy to incorporate into our meals. Coat chicken breasts and bake to make chicken nuggets or mix with warm water to use as an egg substitute!” 365 Everyday Value, Organic Brown Flaxseed, $2.99, Amazon.
Corganic Probiotics. “Created as a ‘game-changer’ for ‘the sensitive of the sensitive,’ this probiotic is perfect for those with extremely fragile digestive tracts. This hypoallergenic formula is designed to kickstart the digestive system and aid in maximizing the absorption of nutrients while supporting the entire immune system. These products are also corn-free, which are so hard to find, so they’re safe for Vivi!” Corganic Gut Health Kit, $157.82, Corganic.
For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with designers Rachel Zoe, Cynthia Rowley, and Taylor Jay, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, June & January founder Amy Richardson-Golia, Bubbsi founder Sweta Doshi, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, Shahidah Zareef of Bossmom Nation, Joanne Encarnacion, LaTonya Yvette, Morgan Walker of Make.do, Jeanne Chan of Harlow & Grey, and more!
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