Melissa LaCarruba


Jennifer Izzo


It was behind my demo table around 2014 that I realized that I was heading towards something bigger. Personally managing Northeast demos for a few brands for some years, I knew there was a way to do it more efficiently and effectively to help my small natural food clients gain exposure and grow their business.  

I went gluten free in 2011 after discovering I was extremely sensitive to gluten. I had been getting pretty sick and doctors did a bunch of tests on me but had no answers or they would diagnose it as IBS. Frustrated at this diagnosis, I knew there had to be a better answer to my problems. As it got progressively worse and my daily life was being affected, I stumbled upon the term gluten sensitive after doing my own research. While I did not necessarily have celiac’s, consuming any gluten would make me extremely sick very quickly. Luckily, for me, all it took was eliminating gluten from my diet to feel better and have my life back. 

I remember the medical doctor’s I saw over months at the time were not really open to me saying that gluten was making me ill. Instead of wanting to get to the root of the problem with me and discuss nutrition, they wanted to prescribe medication and mask my symptoms. This difficult time in my life was instrumental in reviving my passion for everything natural and made me want to learn more about why something like gluten had wreaked so much havoc on my body.  Soon I became obsessed with learning everything I could about the role that food plays on your health and began taking on more natural food brands. Pursuing a career in teaching high school Biology at the time, my friends and family thought I was crazy when I left the field to “set up small table and hand out samples at supermarkets.”  

Fast forward to the end of 2014, while doing my food demos, I was approached by Sorbabes, a local sorbet company. They needed someone to manage some of their demos and their summer Farmers Market in Bridgehampton, NY. Knowing all the in’s and out’s of the demo field and having a ton of contacts, I began managing their demos using two other demonstrator’s and myself (I still remember how I managed their schedules using index cards back then).   

It was in April of 2015 when Pipsnack’s approached me at a demo, after recently making a deal on Shark Tank, that I knew that I was going to start a demo company. I found my partner in Jen, who I had worked alongside doing demos for years. Through her, I found the perfect compliment to me and we shared a desire to work hard and be the best demo company out there. We merged all of our contacts, experience and knowledge and Starter Up Demo Team was born. Our goal from the start was always to provide exceptional demos to our clients while understanding and finding ways to solve their unique challenges.   

In 2016, while writing our business plan, when asked where we wanted to be in 10 years I responded “I want to go national.” Today, 4 years later, we are in more than 10+ states, executing over 300 demos a month, with a team of about 100 demonstrators. We pride ourselves in being an extension of you and managing the demo side so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. Between our passion for everything natural and our dedication to be the best, we hope to be the demo company that you can trust to help build your brand and grow your business. 

Yours in health,

Melissa and Jennifer