Stacey Schlaman, a busy mother from Alabama, had to become a business entrepreneur when her young daughter was diagnosed with a difficult medical disorder and needed special foods to manage her disease. Since it was hard to find such foods in the market, Stacey and her husband Jeff took matters into their own hands and started a business, Liberated Specialty Foods, that today addresses the needs of families like theirs and that Stacey is the president of.
Stacey recalls the hardships that lead to the creation of her business: being scared and confused is an opportunity to learn and affect change. “Being a mom of a child who goes through life in pain, embarrassment or ridicule is unbearable. When my daughter experienced this firsthand, my husband and I were called to action. We had to do something about it. Liberated is our answer to the suffering caused by autoimmune conditions that seem to be plaguing so many children and adults in the past decade.”
She continues: “I’ve been blessed in this life. That doesn’t mean that things have come easy for me or my family. I’m grateful that I live in a country that covets choice. When my family’s choices were being taken away for the health of my daughter, I felt paralyzed. I felt like a bad mom, unequipped to make important decisions regarding my daughter’s medical conditions. My instincts were in conflict. I wondered why no one ever mentioned nutrition as a possible means to heal. It was here, in the absence of information, that I began to learn everything I could about nutrition and its impact on our bodies.
Over the next three years, I scoured the internet, connected online with other parents in private social groups for answers in search of a miracle formula that made sense. It wasn’t until a random Google search landed me on a website called Breaking the Vicious Cycle and introducing me to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that my world and my daughter’s future was changed forever.
Upon implementing the principles of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet the results were profound. I never dreamed of experiencing such dramatic results so fast. My daughter had been plagued with the symptoms of psoriasis, epilepsy, celiac and thyroid disease for years. How could something so simple be working only weeks after implementation?
The more research I did, the more I began to see that there is literally no risk in leveraging the power of food to gain favor in one’s health.
Being sick is expensive! Co-pays, doctor’s visits, long-distance travel to see specialists, hospital stays, and a very a long list of daily prescriptions can wrack up some bills.
What’s so disheartening about it all is that this is a fact of life for many. So many of us want to eat better, but it can be hard to do with 40+ hr a week jobs, commutes, school, family and life it doesn’t leave much time for kitchen work, to prepare foods that comply with autoimmune protocols like SCD, Keto and Paleo.”
Stacey admits: “I know how hard it is for busy families to implement such a diet because I tried and failed. This is the reason we started our food company. Liberated is my contribution to everyone living with an incurable diagnosis.”
Liberated, growing as a company
Liberated products are currently available in many stores around the USA, but now they have reached a point in their business cycle where more money is needed to sustain and continue their accomplishments. They are currently looking for investors who believe in healthy foods in order to continue the Liberated Foods mission.
Businesses like Liberated require strong support from customers on multiple levels. Purchasing Liberated products locally at a brick and mortar store or purchasing online directly is how they prove to retail buyers and the food industry that SCD, Keto, Paleo, and grain-free food options are important. Another huge impact consumers can make is by recommending Liberated products to others in person or via social media likes and shares. Advertising is extremely expensive and not something a small business can afford, especially on a national level.
Size matters especially for a small business. Small manufacturers that produce commercially sold products independently are at a greater disadvantage as compared to large manufactures. Liberated manages 12 annual facility audits and maintains certifications for Kosher, Non-GMO, Gluten & Grain Free and Women Owned–that’s a lot for a small manufacturer! Liberated’s operations also manage the entire food chain from sourcing, receiving, manufacturing, storage to transportation. It seems imperative that companies like Liberated are supported to continue in our customer’s requirement to support nutritional protocols they follow.
Opportunities to invest in companies like Liberated are personally fulfilling and have a potential to be financially rewarding. Liberated is currently seeking potential investors who are able to help continue this pursuit and help provide access for safe foods and greater freedom for patients. Stacey Schlaman is offering to send an investment memorandum to those who are interested in being a part of the new food business landscape, where honest and healthy food companies thrive. You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How is Liberated different than other food manufactures?
Stacey shares details about the unique operation that she manages:
“With all Liberated products, ingredients are paramount. I don’t have to defend the rationale of why this is so important, but allow me to elaborate on this a bit more because I think it’s important for customers to know how “in the details” Liberated gets in the procurement and manufacturing processes–it’s not as simple as it may seem. Ingredients are sourced only through single source providers–this is important for many reasons: cross-contamination/allergen control), traceability, freshness and quality. A good example of how this applied in our production looks like this:
- Cross Contamination and Purity
- Raw Cashews are purchased direct from the manufacturer and prepared for shipment. Upon verifying that the cashews match information provided on the Certificate of Analysis (COA) and Specification Sheet, product is transferred to storage for processing into butter. Why not just buy cashew butter in bulk? Believe me would if we could! We can’t send cashews to a roaster and processor to make into butter because doing so places our customers at risk due to the potential for cross contamination with other nuts/allergens. Roasters and processors, oftentimes two separate operating businesses, handle all kinds kinds of grains, nuts or seeds. Liberated believes wholeheartedly in a fully inclusive and specific label and employs preventative controls in our sourcing and manufacturing to give our customers the confidence they deserve and can expect.
- By processing cashews at our facility, we avoid the use of starches and other additives commonly used in making nut butters. Most commercial roasters and processors add ingredients that just don’t jive with our strict guidelines or certifications (anti-caking agents, oils and preservatives).
- Each of these steps add additional cost, but we feel it’s something that adds value and gains consumers trust, confidence–a requirement with specialty consumers.
- The elimination of starches
- Processing aids and anti-caking agents are not allowed in our facility. Traditionally speaking, commercial manufacturing relies heavily on “GRAS” aids that are not required by the FDA to state on a food label as the amount needed to use as an aid is not considered to be an “ingredient” if it falls below 1% of the total weight of the product. We feel like is not very truthful to the consumer and have decided to not use them or source ingredients that may contain them. We are proud of our processes and ingredients and want our customers to know
- All ingredients must be GMO Free and verifiable from manufacturers
- Liberated maintains several certifications. Vendors that outsource their manufacturing would not need to maintain these independently like Liberated
- Small Women Owned Business Certified
- Paleo Certified
- Keto Certified
- Non-GMO certified
- Grain and Gluten Free Certified
- FSMA and HACCP certified facility
- Liberated does not outsource transportation and handles all scheduling internally as all our shipments are less than truckload (LTL) a challenge for any small manufacturer
- You have to walk before you run. Our customer’s demand influences everything! This means we have to have a dedicated space to hold and process products awaiting shipment details
- Our distributors and some retail customers we sell to require specialty software to process orders and schedule freight. Even though we are a small manufacturer, we are held to all the same requirements as large companies. This comes with a heavy price tag, but as our customer base grows, costs will be justified making it more of a level playing field!
- Liberated baked products are solely made in our company owned facility located in Madison, AL
- Sourced, Made, Warehoused and Shipped from Madison, AL
- Our breads, crusts, waffles, donuts and crackers are made by people, not automated equipment.
- Why? Automated equipment relies heavily on processing aids or disallowed (non-SCD compliant) ingredients
‘It isn’t always so easy to convey the value of a product when there are so many moving parts that go into making a truly transparent ingredient labeled product for an emerging brand like Liberated. With consumer help we can move mountains in the food industry.”