Heidi Ho originally entered the Shark Tank on November 17th. They make plant-based vegan cheese alternatives created from sustainably sourced ingredients. Their products do not contain any additives, fillers, or unnatural preservatives, and are gluten-free and many are also soy-free.
That episode is rerunning on April 3rd.
Heavy interviewed founder Heidi Lovig to see how the company is faring since getting a deal.
1. Vegans & Non Vegans Are Both Heidi Ho(mies)
Lovig became a vegan in 2010 after 25 years of fluctuating in her diet. She was freelancing at Jazzkats in the Hollywood district of Portland, Oregon, when they asked her to create a vegan menu. And that’s when the idea for the vegan cheese was born.
When asked what the percentage of customers who are vegan versus non vegan are, she said, “Surprisingly, it is pretty equal. There are over 60 million lactose intolerant people in the United States! A lot of our fans are foodies, heath conscious, and interested in plant-based eating.”
The name that fans of the cheeze have taken on is Heidi Ho(mies). “We have the best fans on the planet,” she said.
2. Lori Gave Them a Deal
Lovig runs the company with her partner, Lyssa Story. Their website details Story’s role as being that she “basically runs the show and is the brains behind every facet of its operations. She handles everything from HR to business plans and projections, to law, licensing, accounting, banking, and more. Lyssa is responsible for the money, the organization, and for keeping Heidi from floating away in her dreamy cloud of creativity.”
When asked what the pros and cons are to working with her significant other, Lovig answered, “I would say that I love working with Lyssa every day and getting to ride the rollercoaster of building this business together. We are each others’ best friends, biggest fans, and greatest assets. Well, she is my greatest asset. I can be quite a handful!”
After the Tank, Lori Greiner entered the company as a partner. Lovig gushed about Lori’s involvement, saying she is a “gem” why is truly an active part of their company. As a result, they have become friends in addition to business partners.
She is super accessible when I need advice or assistance. She is so active with us. She jumps on calls, in meetings, answers emails, texts, and picks up her cell when I call. She helps to troubleshoot challenges and help find solutions! She has become someone I admire deeply and feel a have a strong sense of gratitude that I can call her my friend.
3. Their Bestseller Is Creamy Chia Cheeze
The cheeze is made of vegetables from local organic farms in Oregon, Washington, and California. Organic nuts and seeds from South America are added in.
“Our best seller, hands down, is our Creamy Chia Cheeze! It is super versatile, kid-friendly, and super fun to cook with,” she said.
4. They Are in Whole Foods
In the summer of 2011, Heidi Ho started their partnership with Whole Foods. The supermarket discovered them at the Portland State University Farmers Market. “Within six months I was delivering product to five local Whole Foods with an ice chest out of the back of my partners 2002 Honda,” Lovig said.
5. ‘Shark Tank’ Discovered Them Through Kickstarter
They debuted on Kickstarter in March of 2011.
They raised $12,586 with 132 backers. It was through this campaign that the company caught the eye of the Tank. Lovig explained how it all went down. “They had seen our kickstarter and reached out for an update on how business was going! Next thing I knew I was making an audition video! It all happened very quickly!”
Also on this episode: