When you’re a food-allergy mom who has the extraordinary task of learning how to cook and bake without dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and tree-nut, anything is possible – even inspiring your 19-year-old daughter’s dreams to launch her own business, Liv Nut Free, an online bakery that offers made-from-scratch baked goods that are 100% peanut and tree-nut free. That’s the incredible story of mother-daughter team Stephanie and Olivia Moglino, who together run Liv Nut Free in Holmdel which reaches food-allergic customers nationwide. While daughter Olivia is the founder, owner, and face of Liv Nut Free, both women consider mom Stephanie to be the impassioned heart of the business who also keeps the daily operations running smoothly as a whip. NJMOM chatted with Stephanie about what it’s like to be a severe food-allergy mom and how she and her daughter turned a huge negative into a positive, plus comments from Olivia – including who her surprising role model is (besides mom, of course).
VP and Operations Manager of Liv Nut Free & NJMOMpreneur: Stephanie Moglino
(with comments from Olivia Moglino, Owner of Liv Nut Free)
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Stephanie: Liv Nut Free is an online bakery that offers delicious and gourmet, made-from-scratch baked goods that are 100% peanut and tree-nut free. Many of our customers have peanut and tree-nut allergies. It is a very difficult task to find a delicious bakery that is peanut and tree-nut free. There are many wonderful bakeries in New Jersey; however, very few are safe for a nut-allergic individual to consume a single product from. The reason is simply due to cross-contamination. Liv Nut Free guarantees that all of our products are free from nuts and cross-contamination possibilities.
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Stephanie: My daughter, Olivia, had many food allergies as a child that made it difficult to eat much and has since outgrown some. There are some that she hasn’t outgrown and most likely never will. The most difficult allergy to manage has always been her nut allergy. The difficulty always came during birthday celebrations, holidays, special occasions and just plain old dessert time. If it wasn’t something I made for her, she most times had to pass on dessert. She knew she wasn’t the only nut-allergic individual that felt this way so she decided to change this for herself and for everyone else who suffers from nut allergies.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Stephanie: There’s no better feeling than knowing we are making a huge impact on people’s lives with Liv Nut Free and Nada Nut Bakery (Olivia’s first business that she launched at age 16, which offers made-to-order custom cakes, cupcakes and desserts for pick-up in the Tri-State area). Seeing mothers, fathers, and children cry with happiness upon receiving their order of Liv Nut Free products because they are the only safe desserts that can be eaten is a great feeling.
Also, receiving emails from parents and peers thanking us for doing what we do, and other moms writing that they read Olivia’s bio and how they were brought to tears because they too can relate – always makes Olivia and I feel so fulfilled in the work we do every day.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Stephanie: When Olivia was diagnosed with the many life-threatening allergies as a baby, life changed for us. Learning how to cook and bake without dairy, egg, soy, peanut and tree nut isn’t an easy task to accomplish, but as a food-allergy mom, anything is possible. I taught myself how to bake from scratch and use many substitutes for the many common ingredients that we couldn’t use. After doing this for 16 years, you have no choice but to become a little savvier in the kitchen.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Stephanie: When someone calls Liv Nut Free with a question or wants to place an order, I’m the one they speak to. I’m known as “Stephanie the Phone Lady.”
I pride myself on my honesty and empathy to every single person I communicate with via phone, emails, text, and Facebook. I walk the same walk as almost all of our customers. I know what it is like to be in their shoes and to deal with deadly food allergies on a daily basis.
My conversations don’t just consist of taking an order or answering a question about flavor or cake size; my typical conversation is a minimum of 15-20 minutes and some are as long as an hour. That’s okay because the customer isn’t just a customer anymore; they are a partner in keeping nut-allergic individuals safe. Being that I’ve been dealing with Olivia’s deadly food allergies for nearly 20 years, I have learned a lot along the way and have a lot to share with others. When a question is asked of me about food allergies, I pride myself on spreading awareness and education. If I enlighten one person a day with food allergy awareness and education, then I feel proud to be an individual who helped make a difference for someone else.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Stephanie: Liv Nut Free will be launching a dry ingredient line next month so that anyone can bake our products fresh in the comfort of their own home. These products will be available to all 50 states by ordering on our website. By this time next year, I hope our dry ingredient line products will be available on store shelves for extra convenience.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Stephanie: I generally support all charities – even if it doesn’t have a direct impact on me. I’m always that person who never turns the cashier down for a $1 solicitation for charity. The thing that’s more important to me is doing a random act of kindness on a daily basis. If everyone on the planet did a random act of kindness more often, this world would be a much better place. You can never take anything for granted in life. None of us ever know if that charity we donated $1 to or paid a small act of kindness could help us or a loved one someday.
NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Olivia (Stephanie’s daughter and CEO of Liv Nut Free): In life, my role model is my mom. She has taught me to always go after what I want and never give up. She has inspired me to be the strong, independent woman I am today. In business, Kim Kardashian is my role model. I love the way she goes about business and puts her own twist on different business concepts. Her class and calmness is something I admire. Also, being fearless is something I live by and so does she!
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice you received from a role model?
Stephanie: My parents always taught me to believe in myself and to give my all to everything in life. In turn, I have always taught Olivia to stand up for herself regarding her allergies and to never hesitate to speak up to make sure a food is safe before eating it.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Stephanie: “Everything happens for a reason!” I’m a firm believer that everything does happen for a reason. At times when things are happening, we ask ourselves why is this happening to me? Once the dust settles, the reason is usually obvious. When Olivia was diagnosed with all of her deadly food allergies, I thought, “Why?” Well, the reason has become evident. She took a large negative in her life and turned it into a huge positive by becoming an entrepreneur and business owner of Nada Nut Bakery and Liv Nut Free.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Stephanie: The very best part of being a mom is watching my three baby girls grow into beautiful, young ladies that make me so proud to be their mom on a daily basis. Being a mom is the toughest job on earth, however, I am blessed to have daughters that care about me and love me for who I am.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Olivia (Stephanie’s daughter and CEO of Liv Nut Free): My mom loves Rook Coffee. As a family, we also love to go to Barnacle Bill’s in Rumson for a burger… legit, every week! During the summer my favorite thing to do is watch the sunset at the beach while having a beautiful view of New York City.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Stephanie: The biggest piece of advice I have for another NJMOMpreneur would be to follow your heart and your dreams, and never give up on them when the going gets hard. No dream is ever too big to accomplish. Always be the best you can be and give it your all on a daily basis.
My advice is to just follow your heart. You are never too young or too old to start a business. I started my first business at the age of sixteen. Being an entrepreneur, you learn something new about owning a business every day. I didn’t know everything at sixteen years old, especially how to file my own taxes. Everything about being an entrepreneur is a learning process; do not let anything about starting a business intimidate you because it’s the best journey you could ever choose. – Olivia Moligno, Founder and Owner of Liv Nut Free
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Stephanie: Always support your children’s goals and aspirations 100% of the time, no matter what their goals and aspirations are. As a mom, it’s crucial for them to feel fully supported by their parents.