Vivi’s Life: An Allergy Free Cookie Company Making Moves

“I could not find healthy, allergy friendly snacks for Vivienne,” Vivi’s Life founder Denise Woodard tells JCI. Woodard’s daughter Vivienne has a rare condition called FPIES, a type of food allergy affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

Woodard first became aware of her daughter Vivienne’s severe food allergies after an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. And then, Vivienne broke out in hives after eating bananas. When she had eggs, she vomited until she went into shock. To stay safe, and to eliminate other concerns that may also have been related (such as eczema and difficulty sleeping) Woodard eliminated gluten, corn, and rice from her daughter’s diet. It seemed to work.

Energized, Denise took her revelation one step further. Cognizant that other parents would be having the same troubles, she poured her energy into Vivi’s Life, an allergy friendly kids food company.

“Our first products are three flavors of mini cookies, and they are free of the top eight allergens, non GMO, Kosher, free of refined sugar, and made with real fruits & vegetables,” says Woodard. “The recipes are being developed by Shauna Ahern, who won a James Beard Award in 2014 for her gluten free cookbook.

Denise Woodward, founder of Vivi's Life, an allergy-free cookie company and winner of Rising Tide Capital's Start Something Challenge, 2016.

Denise Woodard, founder of Vivi’s Life, an allergy-free cookie company and winner of Rising Tide Capital’s Start Something Challenge, 2016.

Just several months into the business, Vivi’s Life won first prize in Rising Tide Capital’s Start Something Challenge. “This award has provided the capital needed to get my company off the ground. It will help with our first production run so that we can have a tangible product to sell,” Woodard explains. “It’s also provided the momentum to continue driving ahead to realize my dream of creating an allergy friendly lifestyle brand.

“I hope that our company will be a trusted allergy friendly lifestyle brand, and the market leader for kids allergy friendly products. Our goal is to have an allergy friendly solution for every meal occasion.”

Still working out the details, including narrowing down the options to just three flavors, determining how many to produce in a run, and finalizing packaging, Woodard has already found a production facility in Indiana that has an allergy friendly facility, and hopes to begin sales through her website in January 2017.

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Follow Denise Woodard on Facebook to watch the launch and ultimate success of Vivi’s Life.

Photos provided by Denise Woodard

Additional Coverage

Mel Kozakiewicz

is a writer, performer, and professor. She lives in the Heights section of Jersey City and she is a former editor for Jersey City Independent.