Naomi Tolbert, Goddess Good Food

Naomi Tolbert, Goddess Good Food


Frozen Cauliflower Pizzas

Organizations: Allies for Community Business, The Polsky Exchange

Services Utilized: Create Business Plan, Price Products, Improve Marketing, Develop Partners

Naomi Tolbert didn’t anticipate becoming an entrepreneur, let alone the founder of the frozen cauliflower pizza line Goddess Good Food. “I was raised by my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother would always bake cakes and pies for church,” Naomi shared. “If I’m passionate about anything, it’s baking.” Naomi remembers helping her grandmother ice the cakes for church, and that time spent learning from her grandmother was the driver of her passion.

Naomi started selling mini desserts from a wagon in 2020. Since then, she’s had a few evolutions in her food business, first creating pre-made meals for health-conscious consumers and then experimenting by offering variety of healthy options in a ghost kitchen to see which items customers liked best. Naomi realized that there was a growing demand from customers with food intolerances. She began selling cauliflower pizzas, and the pizzas alone made up fifty percent of the profit margin for her business. Given the pizzas’ popularity, she decided to pivot to focus on getting her frozen pizzas into grocery stores.

After a year of selling to local grocers in Chicago, Naomi realized that she needed to learn more about business operations and create a business plan. A University of Chicago graduate, Naomi reached out to the Polsky Exchange, a resource at the university for entrepreneurs throughout Chicago. She connected with Abigail Ingram, Executive Director of the Polsky Exchange, who connected her to Rowan Richards, Director of Business Coaching at Allies for Community Business.

Through the A4CB coaching program, Naomi learned about business operations and got connected to other entrepreneurs who served as mentors. She worked on her business plan and financial projections, and she created new packaging materials for her frozen crusts. She hopes to move into an industrial kitchen space at The Hatchery and expand her team through the workforce development program at ICNC.

When asked what her favorite thing is about being an entrepreneur, Naomi says, “The constant evolution and growth as an individual, but also as a business professional.” As Naomi has grown her business, she’s become passionate about equitable food access and hopes that her healthy pizzas can contribute to people getting healthier while still enjoying delicious options. Reflecting on her journey as an entrepreneur, Naomi says, “It’s thrilling to [have been] walking with my wagon a few years back, and now I’m seeing my product in stores. And this is only the beginning.”

Develop Your Idea – Goddess Good Food

  1. Identify the Problem

What problem am I trying to solve?

“Having more options for individuals who are gluten intolerant. But also people who are health conscious. Even though [our crust] is gluten free, it’s also a low-carb meal option.”

What is my product?

“Frozen cauliflower pizzas.”

How will I price it?

“I played around with [pricing] in the sense of how much I was paying in terms of ingredients and also getting to the point of making a profit. [One of my mentors] was very clear that you have to have a certain amount, like 40% for revenue generation and paying yourself.”

  1. Define Your Ideal Customer

How would I describe my customer?

“Middle class men and women between 20 and 40 who are health conscious and identify with sustainability.”

  1. Prepare to Sell Your Product

How will I market my new idea?

“One thing I’ve noticed that has led to increased exposure and awareness has been doing sampling events and demos at stores. I try to do at least one [event] per month at stores. I think people appreciate that and want to support something that’s growing and ‘up-and-coming’ as opposed to these large-scale organizations that have no personal connection.”

How will I make my first sale?

“I went into grocery stores and approached the managers of independent grocers. I gave them some samples and had my sales sheet. I told them ‘This is the product. This is the price. These are the varieties. Tell me what you think.’ I got some “No’s” but a few “Yeses” and from there I was able to fill orders.”

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