Written By: Ronald Sklar
“I’m one of those crazy, overachievers,” says Healthy Momma founder and CEO Flossie Hall. “I’m one of those ‘can’t sit still’ kind of people.”
This is truly an understatement. The San-Diego-based Navy spouse is a mother of four and has started a company that provides busy individuals and families with good-tasting, healthy, affordable meals. Since its humble beginnings in 2015, it has become a seven-figure venture (and growing), with 45 employees. What’s more, it’s providing jobs for other military spouses.
“This is a tough life,” Flossie says of the fate of military wives, “but we are tougher. If I can do it, they can do it.”
In this case, necessity was the momma of invention.
“A light bulb went off in my head that there really wasn’t anything [nutritious and affordable] for families,” Flossie says. “It was so expensive. There was no way with a family of six on a military budget that we could afford these $15 meals that are just chicken and brown rice and broccoli. They’re bland and they’re gross. I just want good, delicious, healthy, affordable food.”
Meal prepping was an activity she did for years because of her own weight issues. She was going to school full time while raising her kids, so she cooked all of the family’s meals on Sundays. She applied to medical school in 2015 while her Sunday ritual expanded to prepping for friends and for extra money.
“I’m not a ‘bored’ kind of person, so I was like, challenge accepted,” she says. “I posted [my service] on social media and my inbox just exploded. So many people were saying, ‘I can’t believe you would actually do this for me.’ So I was meal prepping for dozens of people out of my house.”
She learned as she went, trial and prepping by fire.
“I decided to put aside my med school application and start a company and run a commercial kitchen,” she says. “I never took a business class in my life. I never cooked commercially, and never even cooked anything outside of my house. So I figured I’d give it a shot.”
While Flossie was educating her growing customer base about good nutrition, she was educating herself about the world of business.
“My first year of business was super successful from a sales standpoint, but it was exactly not how to start a business,” she says. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to hire people or fire people; I didn’t know the labor laws; I didn’t know how to read a balance sheet; I didn’t know what cost of goods were; I didn’t know how to scale a fresh-food product. Every day, I was literally winging it, and reading and Googling and YouTubing and asking questions and looking to mentors.”
Eventually, the venture began to come together.
“I learned by doing it all the wrong ways first and then somebody telling me, ‘here’s the right way to do it,’” she says. “So it does come back to bite you quite a bit, and obviously having some knowledge base will help you, but I just go through the fire. I failed every day and I did something wrong every day, but every day I asked myself what went right, and what went wrong, and tried to fix it.”
With a mantra of “how do I fix this?” and offering healthy, affordable options like turkey meatloaf, broccoli and quinoa for a far lower cost, Flossie was able to bring the logic and benefits of nutrition to those who may not have the time or the patience to make it a lifestyle choice.
“I grew up extremely poor,” she says. “We were welfare kids. We didn’t know what healthy food was. So I had to learn as an adult what actual food meant; that it shouldn’t come in a box; that most of your food should be fresh. You should cook your food; it shouldn’t come from some factory that added tons of chemicals and preservatives.”
Flossie realized that, for many people, there are mental barriers to healthy food, or that it is perceived as gross, bland, or expensive.
“We’re trying to break down those barriers and say, ‘listen, healthy food can taste really good,’” she says. “It can be satisfying, and cheaper and easier than fast food. So, essentially, we are just trying to open those doors to people who think all of those things, which aren’t true.”
Healthy Momma has donated 10,000 meals to a veteran charitable organization, and continues to do so. Flossie’s goal: to have a location in every city where people can stop in for fresh, healthy, affordable food. Until then, the company has provided nearly half a million meals in San Diego since 2016.
“Anything is possible as long as you are willing to put in the work,” Flossie says. “You have to be mentally tough to own a business. You have to be willing to fail. You are going to get kicked down every day, but you have to always get back up. And when you do get back up, you have to identify those things you did wrong. Ask yourself: what happened, and then how do we fix it? And the best way to move forward is to surround yourself with the best people. You can’t know everything. I can’t Google everything. You have to be willing to say, I don’t know. I need help.”
Flossie’s husband, Michael, is a Seabee, a Navy CM1 construction mechanic, and has been a great part of her support network. But the news came as a surprise to him at first.
“I didn’t know how to cook when we met,” Flossie says. “He is flabbergasted that I own a huge food business. He came home from deployment and I had a commercial kitchen and almost 12 staff members. When he left, I was just cooking out of the house for a few friends. So he was like, what did you do? Even today, he is the biggest support system that I have. I couldn’t do any of this without him.”
Healthy Momma meals are available in individual or family style portions. All meals are made from scratch, using healthy, clean foods: lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy; no processed or chemically made options.
Written By: Ronald Sklar
Ron Sklar is a business blogger based in Brooklyn, NY. He writes blogs and related content for businesses and ecommerce sites all around the world.