About this episode

Denise Woodard started Partake Foods because of an incredibly scary situation involving her daughter and an allergic reaction to food. While Denise’s daughter is now perfectly fine, that event revealed to her the challenges that exist in the food space today. What makes Denise’s story so interesting is the complexity involved with navigating the food industry, which we unpack in this episode.

Denise drops so many truth bombs in this episode, including the idea that you don’t need to jump ship from your stable 9-5 job in order to pursue your entrepreneurial endeavors. She also talks about taking small incremental steps towards bringing your venture into existence.

I love Denise’s story because it is such a great example of not getting caught up in the overwhelming details it takes to start a business. Instead, her journey points to the opportunities that come when you just choose to start! This is Denise Woodard’s startup story.

In this episode, you’ll hear

  • Her childhood and seeing how hard entrepreneurship was by watching her dad and her early childhood aspirations of becoming an orthodontist
  • Graduating high school and deciding to pursue a degree in biology, she soon realized it was something she enjoyed and how in her sophomore year she changed majors and graduated with a degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications
  • Getting her first job selling for Philip Morris, and how the job taught her how to listen to customers, and understand their pain points
  • Moving on to a career at Coca-Cola and how she worked on some of their emerging brands
  • About her daughter’s severe allergic reaction to corn and how in that moment she learned just how scary food allergies can be
  • The beginnings of her idea for Partake Foods and the moment someone suggested she submit her idea to a pitch contest
  • All about how she won the pitch contest without making a food product, without knowing if she could make a product that would be enjoyable and address food allergies
  • How she came up with the name of the business, Partake Foods
  • Her experience cooking and testing various products her daughter would actually eat, but yet what she ended up creating wasn’t viable for commercial production
  • The importance of getting customer feedback and the ingenious way Denise went about getting early feedback for her products
  • Running a Kickstarter to help with brand awareness where she raised $30,000
  • The struggles and successes of pitching investors
  • Making products, getting it into stores, handling sales and all of the many complexities of running a food business where the focus is allergy-free foods

“If you’re working a 9-5, you can still get started. You don’t need to quit to go ‘all in’ right away. There are many small baby steps that you can take to start making progress.” – Denise Woodard, Partake Foods

Resources from this episode

The Startup Story LIVE Dallas! May 7th in Dallas. Tickets on sale now → https://startupstorylive.com

Partake Foods: https://partakefoods.com/
Partake Foods on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/partakefoods/
Denise Woodard on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denisegwoodard/

The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory/
The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/

Share the podcast

The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.

First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you!

Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us.

With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.

He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.

Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory

Special Guest: Denise Woodard.

Listen Now

March 03 2020
Denise Woodard, founder of Partake Foods

More Startup Stories

All Startup Stories