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Women We Love: Kakki Teodoro of Diet Diva

Diet Diva has been bringing healthy and economical meals to people's doorsteps since 2012. The brainchild of actress and sought after host, Kakki Teodoro, she came up with the idea after struggling to prepare her own meals while balancing a packed schedule. Realizing that there weren't many options available for a healthy AND affordable meal delivery service, Kakki consulted a Nutritionist friend while working with her Mom who makes really delicious home cooked meals. Now on its tenth year, Diet Diva not only serves a wide variety of meal plan options to about 200-300 clients every week, it also diversified into delivering fresh goods like fruits, vegetables, and quinoa- an opportunity Kakki was compelled to pursue when the pandemic led to office closures and lessened the demand for daily meal plans.

What is it like to run a business for 10 years? STA spoke to Diet Diva Founder and CEO Kakki Teodoro to find out.

1. What inspired you to create diet diva?

DietDiva was actually something I needed for myself. I needed help for my meal prep because of my busy schedule (juggling work as a theater actor & television host). Back in 2012, there was no food delivery online portal/app from restaurants, we had one "diet" food service, and only fast food joints provided the most convenient delivery system. I realized the need for healthy, convenient, and affordable daily baon in Metro Manila, so I decided to create the service.

DietDiva was planned in between shoots and with the help of friends (my first clients), text messaging, Facebook and my mom's kitchen.

2. How has the mission/purpose evolved since you first started it?

Our mission continues to evolve as we learn more about nutrition, the needs of our clients and our ever changing bodies. DietDiva’s purpose from “healthy baon” evolved to being the Filipino’s leading partner in living a healthier lifestyle that fits the urban schedule and budget. DietDiva has since then brought meal plans and products that complement any lifestyle at every stage of life, to satisfy the Filipino’s craving for a life well-lived.

Healthy baon initially seemed like a simple concept when we started our signature calorie-counted meals (all nutritionist-approved), yet we also understand that food is not calorie-focused. Plus, what works for some bodies may not work for another--or what worked for you in your 20s will not work for you in your 30s. So while most of our clients initially needed our help for weight-loss, our meal plans now serve many other health goals-- like getting stronger with exercise, having daily delicious meals at work onsite or at home, gaining weight/muscle, having better food options for those who cannot cook, breastfeeding after a baby, adjusting to hormonal issues or new dietary restrictions, saving money, supporting one's mental health, recovering from sickness or adapting with the pandemic, etc.

So we ask: What constitutes a healthy meal? How can we continue to keep healthy food affordable--with the rising prices of ingredients and gas? Can we still deliver meals conveniently to our clients with all other food apps available? Who are our clients now? How have their lives changed and can we support them in every stage of their life? Who is the next generation of DietDiva clients and what is their relationship with food? How do they define healthy? What is their understanding of the word diet? How can we support them in taking care of their bodies?

Then of course, I have to ask myself too: How can DietDiva help me and my own health goals now? How do I personally define health? This really helps me when I get overwhelmed with the business-side of things, to bring me to my center and why I started this in the first place.

3. What has been the most fulfilling part about running DietDiva for ten years?

It is most fulfilling to see that after ten years, we have continued to grow with our clients, still able to support their needs in every stage of their life.

We'd have clients buying meals for themselves at their first jobs, who have developed in their careers and would now purchase for their siblings or their parents with dietary requests. We have clients who started with us for their own meal prep, then later on needed meals for & her fiancé to prepare for their wedding, and we still serve them now as newlyweds. Clients who are now mothers, and how DietDiva also helped them post-partum. We also have food for their children to enjoy. Clients who even turned into ambassadors because they've really now built an active lifestyle-- the glow-up is real!

It feels amazing to know DietDiva can be there for you every step of the way, year after year.

4. What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

a. If you have an idea, just go for it. If you recognize a need in your life or your community now that no one is providing for yet, create the solution.

Things move at an even faster pace now, so if you'd like to get started on something, just do it.

I had no business or nutrition background (coming from the arts & entertainment sector), but I knew I had a great concept and I knew I wanted to make things happen, so I did. I also believe with this attitude, you start attracting the help and support you need, doors will open up, and you meet the right people at the right time. This happened for me: within a week I found a rider, a cook, our 1st nutritionist-dietitian, and my first set of 12 clients, and quickly this "raket" turned into a DTI-registered business.

Also, while you should be ready to everything when you start, it is okay to ask for help. Hire the right people & collaborate with like-minded individuals.

b. Make sure your product is great, and that it stays great. The food business in the PH has so many ups-and-downs but one thing is for sure: If people love your food, if masarap siya and affordable, and your service is good, your clients will take care of you. They will do the marketing for you, they will recommend you to others and they will continue supporting your business. When I started, all I had was Facebook and the virtual word-of-mouth was incredible--we kept doubling the client numbers every week and even had to put a limit for our weekly clients. We were always overbooked on our first two years. This is also why we are still here after 10 years.

c. Know that you will work the hardest in your life as an entrepreneur, and the rewards are great! Just remember to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

As women we always already take more responsibilities in our household and we have so many things on our daily checklist, so we tend to put our own needs last and skip on proper sleep. For me, I took on being the breadwinner, while continuing my passion as a theater actor and TV/Events host with the business (to this very day), so I barely slept during the first two years of DietDiva and I survived on naps. Knowing what I know now, I would never recommend losing sleep for the business. When your stress levels get so high--find ways to reduce it with exercise, meditation and sleep talaga! Too much stress is never worth it.

You are a better entrepreneur (and person!) when you get enough rest.

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