New Jersey is home to many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, career, and home. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the balance of work and family. At NJMOM, we want to highlight these extraordinary women who build businesses in New Jersey, and learn the secret to their success.
Founder of Jersey City Veggie Burgers
& NJMOMpreneur: Liz Migliore
Nothing opens your eyes more than having a family member with dietary needs that differ from your own. That’s exactly what happened when Liz Migliore started dating her now-husband, who is vegetarian. Although Liz isn’t vegetarian herself, she was surprised at the lack of options and low-quality “indiscernible ingredients” that they were faced with whenever stepping out for a bite together. This sparked her idea for Jersey City Veggie Burgers, with the goal to create veggie burgers for everybody, not just vegetarians. As an added bonus, all of her burgers are 100% vegan. The irony is not lost on Liz that most of her culinary skills were learned from her father, who is a professional butcher; it’s her ability to appeal to all tastes that have made the company such a success. Today, her creations (made only with wholesome ingredients) can be found in restaurants throughout New Jersey – even spots best known for their juicy, mouthwatering burgers.
NJMOM was able to catch up with Liz about her ideals as an entrepreneur, her family’s wide variety of food preferences, and their favorite things to do together in New Jersey.
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Liz: I make a damn good veggie burger! They’re made with vegetables, beans and grains. Every ingredients is wholesome and recognizable. I make veggie burgers for everyone, not just vegetarians, and I’m out to prove that vegetarian food can, and should, be satisfying and delicious.
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Liz: My husband is a vegetarian (I’m not). Veggie burgers weren’t really on my radar before I met him. When we started dating, I was surprised at the lack of the options he had in the supermarket and at most restaurants. Most veggie burgers were salty and weirdly textured, with indiscernible ingredients. It really felt like there was a gap in the market for something hearty and flavorful.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Liz: I love the flexibility that it offers. It’s a lot of work, but I’m able to be home with my toddler son most days and I really value that.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Liz: My resume includes summer camp lifeguard, film industry intern, and travel agent. I don’t have any formal culinary training, but learned most of my cooking skills from my dad who is a talented home chef and – wait for it – a professional butcher!
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Liz: I am very proud that I have evolved and grown my business after becoming a mother.
A few people assumed that I’d give up my business after having a baby, but that thought never once crossed my mind.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Liz: When I’m home by myself I like to listen (and sing along) to Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and June Carter.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?
Liz: We’ve just begun supplying veggie burgers to Diesel & Duke in their New Brunswick, Montclair, and their future Jersey City locations. I’ll also be available soon on the Amazon Fresh local marketplace.
NJMOM: What cause are you most passionate about?
Liz: I’m passionate about organ donation. It’s as easy as checking a box on your drivers license and it saves lives. Living donation is also vital for the 100,000 people in the United States waiting for an organ, the vast majority of whom are waiting for a kidney. Living kidney donors do not have to be related to the organ recipient and the right match can give someone a new chance at a healthy life.
NJMOM: Who is your role model?
Liz: My brother is my role model. Three years ago he was unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was successfully removed, but it permanently damaged his vision. He’s taken everything in stride and just kept moving forward. Whenever I’m faced with something that scares me, I think of how strong he is.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Liz: There are no specific words I can think of, but my parents always encouraged me to “go for it.” They always had faith in me, which gave me the courage to try new things and take on challenges.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Liz: As an entrepreneur, you absolutely have to recon with this idea:
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
I would never have gotten started if I expected my business to be perfect right out of the gate. You just have to do what you can and keep striving towards making it better.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Liz: My son loves the water, so we’ve been having a lot of fun at the beach this past summer. We especially love Asbury Park and Cape May.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Liz: It makes me so happy when I can share something I love with my son. We have always spent a lot of time in the kitchen together. Recently, he got a play kitchen set that’s set up in the corner of our kitchen. The first morning he had it, he pretended to crack eggs and cook breakfast. My heart nearly burst, it was so cute. That said, he’s a very fickle eater and he flatly refuses to eat any identifiable fruits or vegetables. Hopefully one day his interest in cooking will translate to an interest in eating.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Liz: I love Cape May Brewing Company! Their beers are so innovative and delicious. We’ve been visiting the brewery since it opened, around the same time I launched my business. It’s been so inspiring to see their business grow and evolve. Jersey City also has a fantastic small business community. Left Bank Burger Bar has been a longtime partner and is great for both adults and kids.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Liz: We live in Jersey City, where there are always fun things happening: farmers markets, music, arts events. Every weekend there’s something interesting going on. Jersey City also has fantastic food! It’s amazing that we can travel from Colombia to Thailand to France and never leave our neighborhood.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Liz: Do what works for you. If that means going slowly or doing things part time, then do that. Find the balance that’s right for you.