Ashi Jelinek earned an undergraduate degree in theater and communications at California Institute of Art and then started her career in theatre in New York City. She practiced yoga and meditation, and worked hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. After becoming a stay-at-home mother, however, she knew her greatest role would be to assure that her children could follow in her footsteps.
Living in Los Angeles at this time, she was frustrated by the lack of healthy and innovative products for children. In 2017 she founded the Luving Company with a mission to make available the type of products she knows are best for children.
One of the dilemmas faced by most parents is how to keep children hydrated, especially if they aren’t fond of plain water. Juice packs are a popular item, just the right size for small hands, and easy to carry in a shoulder bag or backpack. Unfortunately, though, many of them contain an unhealthy amount of sugar. Jelinek wanted to provide children the same type of healthy, enhanced water drink that is available for adults.
KidsLuv contains 12 essential vitamins and organic fruit and is sweetened with Stevia, a sugar alternative that is calorie-free and does not have negative effects on blood sugar and insulin levels. The beverage is packed in an 8oz Tetra Pak carton that is 100% recyclable, straw-free, and can be resealed. The two flavors are Fly-Flamango and Starstruck Coconut, both non-GMO verified, vegan, kosher and gluten-free.
Jelinek promoted her new product through Facebook and by attending several food summits and food conventions. KidsLuv was chosen as one of three participants in the Trailblazer Challenge that was part of Foodnavigator’s 2018 Food for Kids Summit in Chicago, and participated in the Natural Products Expo West in 2019. Forbes included KidsLuv in an article by MeiMei Fox on February 19, 2019, as one of eight mission-driven companies that are “reinventing the packaged food industry.” At that time the company had grown from two to five employees, had launched in 36 retail stores and two online retailers, as well as initiating work with an overseas distribution company.
When asked by Fox what advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, Jelinek replied that it is important to remain curious and open to new ideas. “By being tenacious and thinking outside the box, I have learned that you can change people’s minds,” she said.