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Meet the Founders

Meet the Founder: Lauren Mariel of Live Love Pop

 Lauren Mariel of Live Love Pop throwing popcorn

Lauren created Live Love Pop to make a delicious difference with her favorite childhood snack. Reminiscent of her family’s stovetop popcorn, Live Love Pop is available in four different flavors, each of which donates proceeds to a different charity. Truffle Salt benefits breast cancer research, Sea Salt benefits hunger relief efforts, Cheddar and Sour Cream benefits New Friends New Life, and Salt and Vinegar benefits veteran health programs. 

Each bag contains non-GMO popcorn that has been coated in clean oils and tasty seasonings, making Live Love Pop a healthy snack that gives back. 

Recently, we caught up with Lauren to learn more about her journey and hear her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.     

Lauren Mariel of Live Love Pop

1. Why did you start Live Love Pop?

I honestly never imagined or planned on being in the food industry, let alone starting a popcorn company…but here we are! Life is crazy, right? Growing up, my sisters and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with our mom, and one of our favorite things to make together was healthy and homemade stovetop popcorn — it has always been a snack staple in my family. Fast forward to 2013, my mother, who is my best friend, was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. I was distraught with the news and felt alone and helpless. I knew I needed to channel my sadness, anxiety, and fear into something positive. I decided to quit my job to help my mom through her journey of chemo and radiation treatments, and during that time, I had the idea to start a healthy line of popcorn. 

From the beginning, I wanted my brand to exude love and hope, creating a better tomorrow by making a positive impact in our world. This led to the creation of our Selfless Snacking campaign (which is attached to every bag), where we donate to a different charity with each different flavor. My mom’s favorite flavor is Truffle Salt, so that one of course donates back to breast cancer research. Today, my mom is in remission, and Live Love Pop is poppin’! 

2. What obstacles did you face along the way?

One of the biggest obstacles for me was learning to trust my gut and believe in myself. I didn't have any industry experience when I started and encountered a lot of people telling me not to pursue this path, saying there were already too many popcorn brands and that Live Love Pop would never succeed. What I learned is that you can't let fear or negative feedback hold you back. Starting a business is scary, but if you surround yourself with good, like-minded people, your hurdles and obstacles become much less daunting. 

girl with giant bag of popcorn

3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to be an industry disruptor! You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s about thinking differently and creatively…like finding back doors and keys to locks that other people can’t see. It blows my mind to remember just how many people rolled their eyes at me and told me NO! Your biggest asset is that you’re not like anyone else — use that to your advantage! And lastly, NO doesn’t always mean NO. See failure as an opportunity and surround yourself with people who can do things you can’t! Being able to recognize your strengths, but more importantly, your weaknesses, is essential to growth and success!

4. What’s on the horizon for Live Love Pop?

We're thrilled about what's on the horizon for Live Love Pop. We're launching new, exciting, and unique flavors that continue to focus on health and deliciousness, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy. In addition to expanding our flavor lineup, we're proud to support new charities that align with our mission of selfless snacking, making a positive impact in various communities. 

We're also committed to empowering women and promoting diversity in business through our involvement with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Being a certified women-owned business, we actively participate in initiatives and programs that support and uplift women entrepreneurs. Our goal is not only to grow our brand but also to inspire and empower other women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

popcorn mosaic

5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?

Maintaining a work/life balance is crucial for me, and it requires a conscious effort to prioritize and manage my time effectively. I have three kids four and under, so I make sure to set clear boundaries between work and personal time, allowing me to be fully present with my family when I'm at home. Usually, that means shutting my phone off when my kids get here. Multi-tasking doesn’t work in my world, so I have had to learn to separate work life and family life. I believe in the importance of self-care, so I love carving out time for activities that help me recharge — being with my mom, dinner dates with my husband, taking long walks, reading, and spending time outdoors with my kids are some of my favorite examples. 

What drives and inspires me is my family and the mission behind Live Love Pop. Seeing the positive impact our brand has on people's lives and knowing that we're contributing to important causes keeps me motivated. My mother’s journey with breast cancer and her resilience are a constant source of inspiration, reminding me why I started this venture in the first place. Additionally, the support and encouragement from my team and our customers fuel my passion to keep pushing forward and making a difference.

Meet the Founder Snacks