In this episode of The 5D CFO podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Caroline D'Amore - the founder and CEO of Pizza Girl.
Caroline shares her journey of self-discovery and how owning her identity helped her overcome the call of the party scene and build a successful business. She emphasizes the importance of being honest with oneself and embracing who you are. She also shares with us lessons she's learned in business along the way.
Caroline also talks about her experience on the reality show "The Hills" and how it brought both positive and negative attention to her brand. She also shares exciting news about her upcoming appearance (on 5/24) on Gordon Ramsay's new show, "Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars."
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Angela (00:00:00) - Hello and welcome to the fived C F O podcast. My name is Angela Marie Christian, and my mission is to help entrepreneurs and thought leaders rise to the 5K where we can find wealth in all dimensions, in all areas of life. Enjoy.
Angela (00:00:18) - Welcome to the fived CFO F O podcast. I'm your host, Angela Marie Christian. Today I have an exciting guest joining me, Caroline Diare, also known as Pizza Girl. Caroline grew up in Malibu alongside the likes of many reality star friends such as Paris, Hilton, and the Kardashians. During our interview today, I love that she's honest about how this actually affected her and it wasn't as glamorous as people made it out to be. Caroline has been a model, a dj, an actress trying hard to run away from the nickname of Pizza Girl for many years. But when she finally embraced that name and what went with it, her whole life shifted. Now as founder and CEO of Pizza Girl, she's doing what she was meant to do. Caroline's grandmother taught her the value of the sauce as the secret to all Italian cooking. Caroline took what she knew best and made it her own to share with new generation of home cooks. Her story of life and entrepreneurship is raw, beautiful, and authentic. Let's get to it.
Angela (00:01:21) - So welcome to the show, Caroline. I'm really excited for you to be here and share all about Pizza Girl.
Caroline (00:01:28) - Yeah, I'm so happy to be here. That was so cool of you. Just to re reach out, DMing does work. Um, it works with me anyway. I'm the one on my social media, so, um, whenever someone reaches out, I get excited.
Angela (00:01:40) - Yeah, definitely. Um, and first of all, I have to tell you this, um, I actually got your vodka sauce because I'm just like super partial to the vodka sauce. Um, and I put it over rice and it was so amazing. I love it so much and I know my kids are gonna love it too, so Oh my
Caroline (00:01:57) - Gosh, that makes me so happy just putting it over rice. That sounds so good. There's so many things you can do with these sauces and the response has been so incredible with people just wanting something better than what they've been offered. So thank you for sharing that. That's so exciting.
Angela (00:02:12) - Yeah, and it remind, reminded me of my grandmother came over from Italy when she was 16, so it, like, it definitely reminded me of her cooking. So that
Caroline (00:02:21) - Makes me so happy. That's like the best compliment I could possibly get, so thank you .
Angela (00:02:28) - Um, so I loved the recent story that you shared on Instagram ab about how you just went into Air One, I think you had said, and just asked like, who do I need to talk to to get this on the shelves? And it's just like super scrappy, which is how I am too, and I think that's the best way to be in business. Um, but I'd love for you to first like go back to the beginning and kind of tell us about the influence you had in your life that led you to creating Pizza Girl.
Caroline (00:02:52) - Definitely. Um, you know, I grew up, my mom, uh, passed away when I was five, so I had a life with a single dad, um, an Italian, um, pizza man. And that's why my company's called Pizza Girl cuz I just never lived the name down. Everywhere I went, everyone was like, Hey Pizza girl, where's the pizza at? Because, you know, with a single dad without, you know, the ability to just have nannies and this and that, you know, we were, we were tight on budget and stuff growing up, so I had to go to a lot of the catering gigs with my dad after school. My little sister and I, he'd put us in these shirts that said Pizza Kid, and they were like horribly embarrassing. And I just remember being on sets like of 9 0 2 10 and all these different really big productions and um, like suddenly Susan and you know, meeting all these actors and, um, producers and being on the set and just running around these sets and serving people.
Caroline (00:03:53) - You know, I started working at a very young age. Um, my dad instilled a work ethic in me that's just, um, I'm coming to find out now. Not a lot of people have that. Um, it's less common these days to have that kind of like really, um, grassroots kind of just labor intensive, um, work ethic. And I understand the people that don't want to do that. And I, I get it both ways. I personally love it. So, um, I think it's just because I was raised that way. I mean, my dad, you, he, you'll still, if you still go to a Desmos Pizza, that's our family pizza shops. Um, there's two in Malibu. My dad never kind of gave up control, so over the 35 years span that he's been around with DEOs Pizza, they've come and gone in different locations. Um, cuz that's kind of where we differ, which I'll dive into.
Caroline (00:04:54) - But like he just, you know, refused to give up any sort of control. And I, um, so now there's two in Malibu that my brother's running and there's one in Thousand Oaks that my sister's doing an incredible job running. And then there's one in Camarillo. So it's, it's smaller now, but it's still all family owned and just, um, it's just, it's the way my dad is happiest. So, um, I kind of always knew that, you know, I always wanted it all as a kid. I wanted it all in some sort of a way that I couldn't wrap my head around. Like I didn't know if it was, you know, uh, fame or entrepreneurialship or, I mean I, growing up in LA I just ended up trying so many things and be having so many like, inspiring people around me and interesting artists around me. Um, so while um, I didn't come from that, I just kind of saw it all around, you know, people come from all over the country to come to Los Angeles or Hollywood or Malibu and, you know, I did get lucky to, to grow up here I think because I love just the creative arts and you know, I find that I now am using all of those things in Pizza.
Caroline (00:06:12) - Girl, it's so weird to think that my time, you know, trying to act or trying to model or trying to, you know, do all the things that I thought I was supposed to do because all my friends were doing that. Um, you know, it was a really weird upbringing because magical in so many ways, but also, so like I thought at the time disappointing because I grew up around so many, I mean, I grew up around a lot of nepotism to be honest. , you know? Right. A lot of people I know were handed a lot of things because of who their parents were. And a lot of people would say things to me and compare me to my friends growing up like, well, why hasn't Caroline made it? You know, why hasn't Caroline made it? Um, all of her friends have. But all of those people, now that I look at it from a much broader older perspective, um, you know, they had a lot of help and I just want the people out there who don't have a lot of help to, when you're looking at your Instagram and you're feeling less than in some way, just know that those celebrities children and this and that, that did it overnight, they had a lot of help.
Caroline (00:07:32) - And yes, some of them work very hard and some of them I really admire for not ending up in that way, but, but where you just don't do much because you don't have to. And some of them are really, really talented, but it always left me feeling less than and like comparing myself because the media was comparing me and this and that. So I think in my teenage years I ran from the Pizza Girl concept, I didn't want anything to do with it because it made me feel, um, just not good enough. And that's sad to say and I hate that young kids are, are made to feel that way based on just, you know, social media and our surroundings. So I know I went down a whole rabbit hole there and you were just asking me
Angela (00:08:24) - , I think people need to hear that because it's, you know, it's very inspiring and there's so much influence now with kids. I mean, I have kids and it's like all about social media, so like to hear people actually speak the truth is really great.
Caroline (00:08:39) - Yeah, absolutely. And that's, that's my, that's just who I am and a lot of people will say to a fault and I just, I'd rather be uncomfortable and speak truth, um, than continue to fake it, you know, and fake it till you make it. And a lot of people, cuz I have been posting my true journey, um, with Pizza Girl and how hard it's been and I've had a lot of people reach out and be like, oh, well sometimes it just seems like, you know, you're a little, you know, desperate and you wanna pretend like you're already there. And I'm like, well no, because that's not the truth. You know what I mean? And if you look back on every major success story that didn't start with a bunch of nepotism, , let's be real, um, they were desperate at a certain point. They love what they did so much, believed in it so much and nobody around them got it believed in them and they had to have this kind of blind faith in themselves, um, and just kind of block out what everybody else is saying. Yeah. And that's what I think makes a real entrepreneur. It's not going to business school, it's not, you know, um, you know, learning just by reading books or this and that. It's really just like not knowing how to do it and doing anything you can every single day to get there.
Angela (00:10:12) - Yeah,
Caroline (00:10:13) - Exactly.
Angela (00:10:14) - And I actually went to business school and it helped zero with being an entrepreneur. It's like they teach you Yeah. How to be an entrepreneur. So yeah. Yeah.
Caroline (00:10:22) - I was very embarrassed to admit that I am a high school dropout. I, my last completed grade was ninth grade school. I had a really hard time in school. I had a really rough upbringing. My dad did the best he could, but I was around a lot of just excess and drugs and alcohol and I didn't really, you know, my mom died so young and when I was young it gave me this, um, you know, live fast, die young, enjoy what I got right now. I don't give a f about what anybody has to say. I was very, um, rough around the edges, you know, people were scared of me and I liked it, you know, it was like, it kept me, it was like this protection from the pain that I re am realizing now that I just masked for so many years of losing my mother, you know? Um, and Mother's Day actually kind of just brought that all out of that up for me. So, um, I definitely was just a rebel without a cause and it was my identity and it was false. Mm-hmm. , it was all just a protection. Yeah. Um, yeah. Mm-hmm. ,
Angela (00:11:42) - My teenager's going through that right now, so I can definitely relate .
Caroline (00:11:45) - Yes. Well, you know, um, it's common and it's okay. Like, kids gotta go through what they gotta go through. And I think as parents, if we can just try to understand it and kind of try to relate a little more rather than tell them that they're bad or make them feel shame, not that I'm saying you do, but just in general, um, you know, I kept rebelling because people kept telling me I was wrong, you know, and like where it came from and, you know, the older generation, especially the boomers, I'm sorry, but they have a very different way of thinking than we do as millennials and then, you know, the Gen Zers even, you know, um, yeah. So I, my job I think is a parent is going to be, and this doesn't come from a book because I don't like to read them, it doesn't come from mommy blogs or groups or anything. It's literally just me thinking about what I needed when I was a teenager and when I was a kid and didn't get, and that is that I'm gonna try to evolve with the times and I'm going to try to be as accepting and loving and not fearful and not come from a place of fear and just be accepting. Um, I think that that's my main goal.
Angela (00:13:00) - Yeah. As a, yeah. Yeah. I like that. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm like, okay, she just needs to go through this. Like, I was way worse actually. So I'm like, yeah. To her it's like, yeah, nothing. But, um, yeah, it's kinda
Caroline (00:13:12) - Hard where kids can Google us and, you know, be like, ah, you were way worse mom. Like, I actually don't know how I'm gonna explain some of this stuff out there, partying on tables, you know, I'm doing all kinds of crazy stuff, so. Yeah.
Angela (00:13:26) - Well, and I'm sure some of that like spunk and Fire actually help you as an entrepreneur though. I mean, I, I think I've heard you say on an interview like say Yes and then figure it out, or something like that, which I really loved. Yeah.
Caroline (00:13:37) - Yeah. It's c some people think that's insane, but for me it's like I know that now I have this deadline, I have to figure it out and I'm going to figure it out. I have this, I, I am a major procrastinator, I've realized. And, um, I don't like to do a lot of things unless I really like it and I'm enjoying it. And that's not good cuz you, you know, you leave the scary stack of bills over there. You leave all the stuff you know your taxes for, you know, for too long and then it comes to haunt you and you can't really enjoy your time. So that's something I'm just now at 39 reworking in my brain and rewiring and figuring out how to handle. I actually read this great book that I wanna let your audience know about, it's called Eat That Frog.
Caroline (00:14:24) - And my business partner sent it to me and it's a great, the analogy is, is that if you had to eat a frog, you wanna eat it as fast as possible because it's disgusting. Right? So you don't wanna sit and dwell and eat it forever. So now I won't even look at my emails unless I know I'm gonna respond and deal with it. Yeah. So it's almost like my emails are a to-do list. Like I'm not just gonna look cuz I normally look at it and then put it away and then almost like, forget about it and not deal with it. And then it's here and it's haunting me. And while I'm trying to do the thing I'm enjoying, it's still here, you know? So, um, I think that that's super important and valuable and for an entrepreneur or for anybody really, like, get the stuff done that you don't care about and don't wanna do so that you can do the stuff you love with an open, clear, calm mind.
Angela (00:15:15) - No, it's so true. And I have a mentor who, um, actually said that when we avoid something, it actually tells our unconscious mind that it's like threatening to our survival. So then the more we avoid it and ignore it, then the scarier it gets like an are unconscious and it's just like a Yeah. Like you said, just do it and get it done with and stop avoiding it . Yeah, totally.
Caroline (00:15:36) - But then back to the whole, like, just do it and then figure out how, I mean, that's how I've done my whole life. That's how I've survived my whole life. I think it's also like I've been like a survival mechanism. Um, you know, I never was taught the things that a mom teaches a kid. Um, I definitely had a very masculine, uh, centered father. Um, and it was very difficult at times. Um, you know, um, so I just had to figure things out like, like tampons and like, why is this happening to my body? And really weird things that are very simple for most people, but for me, I had to just like figure it out. And this was before we were googling everything and had our, you know, access to all these beautiful women on social media that are very supportive. So it was just a, it was like the wild wild west.
Caroline (00:16:30) - We were like just trying to figure everything out. And I do, I think part of that is really amazing that I'm able to, you know, the first thing I did to start my company Pizza Girl was I just googled like how to make a product. Oh, you know? And how to, how to get your product, like your product, make your product, make your idea. And like, just started Googling. Um, and my dad doesn't know anything about the supermarket packaging world. You know, we know Red Sauce, we know pizzas, we know all of that, um, and how to make it in a restaurant, but on a grand scale, that's a whole nother story. Packaging, f d a organic approval, you know, like all of that is just a whole new world that I've had to just take one step at a time and you just have to start.
Caroline (00:17:17) - And I know so many people that just won't start. They go in, in this year, next year, I, I have this plan, I have this great idea. So many people have come to me with great ideas, but great ideas are a dime a dozen. Everybody's got 'em. You know what I mean? And, and it's just about doing it. And I couldn't believe when I went to buy the name Pizza Girl for my domain name and for the trademark that nobody had it, nobody had Pizza Girl. I was like, wow. That was clearly just a sign that it was waiting for me to step into this space. Yeah. That, um, and I just knew I had to do it right then and there.
Angela (00:17:57) - Yeah. Yeah. Now that's , they gave me the chills. Um, , when did you, like, what year did you start? Did you just decide like, okay, I'm gonna do this?
Caroline (00:18:06) - So I started at about now almost five years ago, which is crazy to think, um, because I still feel like such a small company with such a ways to go. Um, but when you look at some of these major companies, it was like 10 years in the making, you know. Um, and I, I just kind of started by working on my formulas mm-hmm. , um, getting my trademark and in order and getting my website domain name. Um, and, um, finding my first, you know, person to help me put it together, which was a company that I found. And they literally, they take your idea and they will hook you up with food scientists and people to help you make your labels and your packaging. Um, I did that process, spent a, a lot of money to me, which I can't remember exactly what that number was now, but maybe like 10 grand or something, and then didn't use any of it.
Caroline (00:19:09) - Right. Didn't use any of it. But what it did get me to was my very first co-packer, which then was a, ended up being a disaster, that co-packer. Um, they were very small, a mom-and-pop company, and we made some of the best sauce in the world. And, and they're very good at that. They do jams and things like that, and they can really help in that way, but they had never done an organic certified product, so we had to like basically certify their entire little operation, um, which was insane. And then when my store started growing, they couldn't keep up with capacity and they still wanted the business and tried, but, so instead of doing it my way, they did, it just threw every ingredient in, heated it up to the regular, you know, regular the legal limit and then jarred it. And it was some of the grossest sauce I've ever had in my life.
Caroline (00:20:06) - And I thought in that moment that I was going to lose everything. And I had to go, luckily I only had like a hundred stores at the time, and that's, so some people, that's a lot. Maybe I had like 60, I had to go, I had to get some money, which I borrowed from a friend who I'm so grateful for and I had to go, I didn't even know how to fight them on it and how to say, this is your responsibility, not mine at the time. Like, I didn't know how to do that. And I actually just went through a situation recently where I wasn't liable for the disaster the actual coaker was, but um, back then I didn't know how to handle it. So, you know, they almost took my whole business down and I had to go and buy up every jar that I could find before anybody tried it.
Caroline (00:20:54) - And it was so bad. And one of my friends actually tried it and he was like, I'm surprised. And I was like, oh my God. Like that's the bad batch. And I was chasing around this bad batch. It was nightmare. Um, but I will tell you, it taught me how to put together my formula. It helped me in that time get the proper f d a approvals. So I was a, a large step moved forward, right. Even though it felt like a nightmare after nightmare after nightmare. But then when I look back to when I was just sitting there Googling and had nothing, I technically was much further. Right. So you figure out you're gonna have a ton of disasters, and I continue to have a ton of disasters wait till I tell you my latest disaster. Right. But it's about getting the bad news and yes, your, your heart's gonna flare and you're gonna lose sleep and it's gonna be awful, and you might need a day to wrap your brain around it and then getting to work and solving that problem.
Angela (00:21:57) - Yeah, exactly. I mean, entrepreneurs are always going to face those challenges. And then some people just give up and then they just say, oh, it's not for me. And it's so sad when that happens. So, you know, it's great that you just kept moving forward and that just shows how connected you are to this. So, but see,
Caroline (00:22:14) - That's the entrepreneurial spirit, um, which is a spirit. It is a, I even my own boyfriend will say, he's like, I couldn't do it. You know what I mean? Like, I have people who are like, I couldn't do it, and I get it. I, I don't know why I can do it. Like, you know what I mean? Like, it's something that I was just born with because I have such a ability to withstand fear and terror, I guess, because, you know, there were night, there's still days when I don't know where my ne like how I'm gonna make money. Like, thank God, all of a sudden my company can start to pay its own bills mm-hmm. , because do you know, like everybody trying to raise right now is a nightmare. Like, it's always terrifying. So you really just have to have that ability to like endure suffering and terror. Yeah. Um, which a lot of people don't wanna do. They're very comfortable in their, in their jobs. And even though they complain about them a little bit, it's still a safer feeling than being $200,000 in debt and, um, not seeing your sales really kick in for the first several years. I mean, it's terrifying.
Angela (00:23:25) - Yeah, no, it is. And that's, it's true. Uh, some people I feel are just born, like, I was born knowing I was gonna be an entrepreneur too. And it's like, you're just willing to withstand that because you can see that there's something at the end, like you can feel it, so you know it. Yeah, totally. Yeah. And so how many stores are you in now?
Caroline (00:23:45) - So now I'm in about 1500 stores, so it's not, you know, the goal, like a lot of my friends are in like 20,000 stores, right. So I'm in about 1500 and, um, we are keeping it small and for now, and here's why. Um, we have had huge supermarkets say that they wanna take us nationally. Um, and we've turned them down. And here's why. It's because it, the amount of capital that I would have to raise to go national, um, based on also the brand awareness that I currently have. Mm-hmm. , I would just be running around the state trying to plug up holes, right? Like that analogy of like the boat where you're just trying to, and a lot of these companies do not get it. I'm going to give you an analogy. So there's this, I was doing a demo. I do all my own in-person demos right now, which nobody does, which is weird as the founder.
Caroline (00:24:52) - Um, I, I just took one of my store buyers to dinner in Utah and he said, I gotta tell you Caroline, nobody does this. I go, what do you mean? I go, founders don't go out there and, you know, pound the pavement and, and talk to all the customers and do this. He goes, maybe they'll do localized demos to where they live. He goes, but none of them are traveling all over the country, um, to satisfy their, their brand partnerships. Right. And the ones that don't, they either fail or they have a ton of marketing dollars that they are blowing and they are not profitable and they are blowing y money year after year after year until they finally have so much brand awareness that they sell to a company that knows how to make it profitable. Pretty much, um, is what I'm finding and what I'm learning.
Caroline (00:25:46) - Um, so when I went out there and was like trying to raise on a very small valuation, because I realized all these chargebacks that you get in the CPG world from, uh, you know, your big distributors that you, that you need, and they know you need them, and then they charge you like crazy and you're just like, how did this happen? Um, I realized two things. I could either be desperate and beg everybody for money, or we can reorganize our entire business to where we don't need to raise. Um, and that's what we did. We'd rather have a smaller company with genuine love and customer, uh, retention and customers coming back and, um, just solid. Actually, one of the big distributors said to me, he's like, Caroline, you can, when I started talking about wanting to do it this way rather than all these founders, they wanna go national next year, and then they don't realize that their chargebacks, um, are gonna crush them.
Caroline (00:26:49) - And the little store in Idaho doesn't know crap about you and your sales are tanking and they're gonna drop you. Right? I'm watching this happen all over the sauce community. I'm deep in the numbers of all these other companies and these companies that get funding, they're just going wide so fast and I'm watching as they're falling off their sales each month are in the red and pizza girl is slowly rising in all the stores that we're in. And we're just now seeing all of this really, really, really work. Um, so now we don't need funding desperately We can't grow tomorrow across the country. Right. But we're not gonna lose our business. So, like I said, I was doing a demo at Ewan recently and this girl walks up to me and she might hear this and I don't really care because I'm just kind of blunt like that.
Caroline (00:27:39) - Um, I'm honest. And she walks up to me and she goes, oh, cute. I used to do these like a demo. Like it's cute, right? And I was like, oh, cool. You know, I was like, so what's your company? She went and brought me over, it's like a, a another milk that you know is not milk. And, um, she's like, yeah. She's like, but I don't know if I'm gonna be around next year. And I go, well, what do you mean? Why wouldn't you be around next year? And she was like, well, babe, I got a raise. Like I've got a raise. And I was like, well, how much have you raised so far? And she said, 4 million. And you have one skew of a flaxseed milk and why did you, why you should be able to run your entire company forever, right off of 4 million.
Caroline (00:28:23) - And then the revenue that you bring in and the cash flow that you can bring in from that makes no sense to me. And you're too good to be doing demos. I don't get it. I go, what did you spend your money on? She goes, babe, I have an office and employees and marketing. And I was like, this doesn't make any sense. You're, you're blowing investors money. You are doing it just to look cool. I don't need an office. I don't need a million employees. We're running this company lean. Um, we are starting to see enough capital to continue to run the company, and we're working on really incredible partnerships. I haven't taken a salary in over two years. Um, and I'm, I'm about to again, because I'm gonna be able to thank God, but it's scary and you have to be able to do whatever it takes, not just be comfortable and cool. Yeah. You know, walking through your air, through the air one acting too good to do a demo. It's like, these people just don't get it.
Angela (00:29:20) - Yeah, exactly. Well, and it's probably, she sees it as like, that's someone else's money. She doesn't really like connect it as like her company's like money, you know? And
Caroline (00:29:29) - I'm more scared of other, of spending other people's money than my own. Right. You know what I mean? Like I, yeah. That's why I'm like, let's only raise the bare minimum if we need to, you know, we're talking about maybe doing a we funder campaign where everybody who just really loves pizza girl can invest. Right. Um, so we might do something like that, but, um, yeah, I just think it's ridiculous to be an early stage company, raised that much money and not know how you're gonna pay your bills next year.
Angela (00:29:59) - No. Yeah. I mean, she should be going to store to store like you and doing the demos and Oh
Caroline (00:30:04) - Yeah. You get your numbers and if you're only selling, you know, a couple per per unit, you know, per skew per week, per store, you gotta get in there and get those velocities up, you know, otherwise the only way you're getting into more stores is because you're paying to play and then you can't support those stores. And it's just like, you'll have the, the, a couple good months of sales and then there's no sell through and return by, and then you're gonna slowly fall off everywhere. It's crazy.
Angela (00:30:31) - Yeah. So are you still traveling around right now or do you do it in like, spurts of the travel?
Caroline (00:30:37) - So, because I am a single mother, um, I have, but luckily when I say single mom, I still have an incredible ex, I mean an incredible father for my daughter fa father figure for my daughter. So sh so, um, yeah, he is a great father. So we have now, um, split it up. We're 50 50 custody, and while in the beginning it was very, very hard for me to be away from her. Oh my God. Like, just absolutely gut wrenching. Um, it's really forced me to just dive into Pizza Girl when I don't have her. And I, so I, we've rescheduled my entire life around my schedule with Bella, where when I don't have her, I'm either on the road doing demos, doing local demos, doing talk shows, doing TV shows, like the one we we'll talk about, um, and stuff like that. Um, but then when I have her, my business and everybody knows this is my Bella time, so it's pretty, pretty great. Um, but yeah, no, I'm still traveling. I just got back from, I'm like, where was I? Oh, I was in Seattle all week. Great. Um, I went out there to kick some butt and we sure enough we're the number one sauce now after that demo, which is incredible. Beat out Rayos and all these big, big money sauces, sauce companies. Um, and I'm just gonna keep on going. I'm like the Energizer bunny, so they should all be very scared.
Angela (00:32:00) - Nice. It gives you a little break and then you're with your daughter and recharge and then go back out there. That's awesome. Yep.
Caroline (00:32:06) - Yep. My next trip is, uh, I'm going to NorCal. Um, ok. That's
Angela (00:32:10) - Where I'm where are you, which location are you going to?
Caroline (00:32:13) - Um, so do you know Nuggets? Yeah, nuggets. I'm gonna all the nuggets.
Angela (00:32:18) - Oh, okay. So like in Marin?
Caroline (00:32:20) - Yep, yep. Exactly. Yeah. Nuggets is a great store. I went up there and I just checked it out and I just love it. It reminds me of Bristol Farms and its just has like all the amazing, um, it's just all organic and just delicious. They have such great quality stuff and the stores are beautiful. Um, so yeah, we reached out and I was like, let's really build this together. And, um, yeah. So I'm gonna go to all the nuggets coming up. Yeah. Oh, nice.
Angela (00:32:45) - I'll have to, uh, come, come there and do a demo in person. . Please
Caroline (00:32:50) - Do. Yeah. Come, come check it out. Come try everything. I would love that. Love to meet you. Yeah, that'd
Angela (00:32:57) - Be fun. Um, yeah, so you kind of touched on this already, but um, as you mentioned, you've been in the spotlight throughout the years and people might have this like false sense that that really helped you become a c e o and a business owner. And I know that's not the case, but I'd just love to hear like, um, how you've dealt with that and, you know, any lessons learned.
Caroline (00:33:23) - Absolutely. Honestly, I think in a lot of ways it hurt me . Um, I think like, um, I think, uh, being taken seriously as a business woman, my own father didn't take me seriously after, you know, I was, um, this kind of really well known party girl where people thought, you know, I was this kind of rich socialite when really, I mean, I didn't even know where, you know, we were very paycheck to paycheck in my family. So, um, like, like I've told the story before, it's very weird. Like some of my friends were, are some of the, you know, most famous people and I would be seen with them. And then the media kind of just tells a story because they don't know what to say. They don't know any background on me. They just kind of make up their own story because there has to be a reason why this random girl is with, you know, these famous people.
Caroline (00:34:12) - And, um, they made out that I was this pizza heis. I'm like, what is a pizza heiress? My dad has hole in the wall shops and you're calling me a a pizza heis, you know, and like weird stuff like that. And I, I kind of went with it when I was younger cause I was like, Ooh, I'm now a part of the cool group group and you know, I, I really, um, I struggled to feel like I fit in. Um, you know, I, even when I was with a lot of these girls, a lot of time I didn't feel like I fit in, um, in that world. And then I didn't feel like I fit in, in, you know, school and I didn't feel like I fit in, you know, with all like the beach community people. I was just like an oddball . I couldn't find my, my people really, um, until I embraced who I was, until I was honest with myself and was like, okay, I'm not a socialite, I'm not an actress.
Caroline (00:35:10) - I'm not, you know, this crazy musician dj. Like, I'm not these people. I am the pizza girl. Mm-hmm. . And I shouldn't be ashamed of it and I should own it. And the day I owned it is the day my life came together. The day I stopped harming myself with drugs and alcohol the day, you know, I realized, um, who I was meant to be. And that's when everything in my life just kind of fell into place. Um, it's really weird. It's like I just, if there's anything I could tell the young people, it's just, don't be ashamed of who you are. Um, totally love who you are, embrace who you are and you will eventually, but the sooner you do it sooner you can get on with your life. You know what I mean? , the sooner everything kind of makes sense.
Angela (00:35:57) - Yeah. No, I love that. That's beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. Um, and so what would you say, like for anyone listening, um, like a couple lessons like that you've learned as a c e o, like, or a couple tips, um, that you would share that that's really like, stuck out for you?
Caroline (00:36:15) - Yeah. I mean, listen, I don't, I don't believe in the saying like, any publicity is good publicity. I don't, um, I think that that's not the way I wanna live my life. You know, like I did, I did the Hills and it came at a time where I was very desperate and I needed, um, money. Um, I was going through a divorce and I was really struggling because I didn't have a home and I didn't have time, you know, a a safe place for my daughter to see me. And that was all just such a hard time. And when they called I was like, oh my God. Like, thank you. I, and I am grateful. Um, I'm still working with, uh, Alex Baskin on a new project that I'm just so honored. So I built some really great relationships through that experience. Um, some really great friendships, but also some really talk toxic people.
Caroline (00:37:02) - Um, and I think for me it was good and bad. Some people took meetings with me and I was able to show, uh, pizza Girl on the season, which was positive, but I think some people were like, oh, this is the girl from the Hills. It's just like, she probably just put her name on it. You know what I mean? Like, people don't take a lot of those businesses seriously. Like if, if we're honest about it, whose business is really, really taken off. Only Bethany, Frankels, Wes. Yeah, of course. That's the first one you think of, right? Kardashians is a whole different beast. That's a whole different story. Um, Chris Jenner's just like a genius, but like, um, no one, nobody really has like a, a brand and a product that's sold, you know, na nationwide, um, that is a quality product and isn't like, you know, selling crystals out of their backyard.
Caroline (00:37:54) - So, um, , it was good and bad for me. I got some brand awareness there, but when I do demos, I'll tell you, people walk up and they go, where do I know this from? Where do I know this woman? I'm like, praying that they don't say The Hills . So I was grateful because I needed it financially, but I, it was also, I think it hurt, you know, it hurt people taking me seriously. And I think now I'm, I've worked so hard to prove myself, um, you know, as a woman, as an ex-party girl, as this and that as you know, um, to really show that I'm willing to do the work, um, and that I have a quality product with a family legacy behind it, um, and generations of Italian cooks. And I think, unfortunately, I hid all of that for so long with the crap I was into and doing and thought was cool based on my surroundings. Mm-hmm. . But as soon as I realized, Caroline, wake up, be who you are, everything came together. I mean, the fact that now Gordon Ramsey even sees like, who I really am, it just makes me so emotional. It just makes me wanna shake all the children and say, just be who you are meant to be.
Angela (00:39:15) - Right. .
Caroline (00:39:16) - Yeah.
Angela (00:39:16) - Well, and on that note, um, so yeah, there's, you have an exciting show coming up with Gordon Ramsey on Fox, so yeah. Will you tell us a little bit about that and when to expect it?
Caroline (00:39:27) - Absolutely. So Gordon Ramsey just chose myself and Pizza Girl as one of the top food entrepreneurs in the country to compete on his new show. Gordon Ramsey's Food Stars airing on Fox next week, literally a week from today, next Wednesday, May 24th on Fox at 9:00 PM right after Master Chef, and then it'll be on Hulu. So for most of us who don't watch regular television anymore, um, it'll also be on Hulu, which is very exciting. It is, it was the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life. I can say that it was so difficult, so many ups and downs. Um, you know, even being away from my business was really hard, um, but rewarding as well. And, you know, I'm sure it's gonna play out the truth of me, like, is she just this girl or is she this girl? Right. And, and that's okay.
Caroline (00:40:19) - I'm, I'm totally okay with, with being honest about that. Um, and, um, it's basically, it's Gordon Ramsey's. It's such a different show than he's ever done before, which is exciting. Um, you know, he's also not just a chef, he's also an incredibly brilliant businessman, um, entrepreneur more, you know, show shows and restaurants and cookbooks and everything you could possibly imagine. So who doesn't know more about business, uh, in the food industry than him. Uh, and you know, I go on there and I, and I fight people that, you know, graduated from schools like Harvard at like 16, you know, and then I'm like this little Harvard, I mean this little high school dropout. Um, and there were lots of times where I was like, what am I doing here? Like, I, I would feel, you know, I had imposter syndrome and just didn't feel good enough. Um, but then that, that street smart, scrappy girl kind of just came outta me. So I can't wait for everyone to tune in.
Angela (00:41:26) - Yeah, I'm excited. That's really cool. Congratulations. Thank
Caroline (00:41:30) - You. Yeah, it's gonna be a really cool show with or without me. I mean, it's such a cool idea, you know? Yeah. You're fighting for Gordon's investment into one of these incredible companies, so
Angela (00:41:40) - Yeah. . Um, and so for anyone listening if they want to come support you and find you online, where are the best places?
Caroline (00:41:49) - Definitely so you guys can find me, um, on Instagram, either my personal at Caroline des Mok or my company Pizza Girl Official. Um, and that's the, you can check out my website, pizza girl.com. Um, and that's really where, where I live, and if you DM me, it's me. Um, it's not, you know, a, a, a robot or you know, an employee. So definitely let me know how you feel about, uh, your pizza girl sauce. Like I love hearing from all from everybody, so, yeah.
Angela (00:42:22) - Yeah. And I will say if you go on, uh, pizza girl.com, you can put in your location and it'll tell you where That's what I did. It's not in my town, but it was in the town, town over so .
Caroline (00:42:32) - Oh, cool. What, what's your town?
Angela (00:42:34) - Gillsburg up in Wayne Country.
Caroline (00:42:36) - Okay, nice.
Angela (00:42:38) - Just like 30 minutes north of Marin, so, yeah. Okay,
Caroline (00:42:41) - Cool. Well, awesome. Well, we're g we're getting there slowly, but Sure. We're getting new stores. Very exciting.
Angela (00:42:49) - Yeah. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate your time. Thank
Caroline (00:42:53) - You so much for having me.
Angela (00:42:55) - Thank you so much for listening to the 5K C F O Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it and tag me on social media. You can find me at Angela Marie Christian on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. If you haven't purchased my bestselling book Manifestation Mastery yet, it's priced at 99 cents on Amazon for the Kendall version.