“It’s funny because this isn’t something that we’re putting our name on,” the company’s co-founder — who partnered in 2014 with entrepreneur, chef and fellow mom Agatha Achindu — tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“It used to be just Agatha and [me] until we got into a position of hiring people,” the Brazilian-American Alves, 34, continues about the process that went into making Yummy Spoonfuls a reality.
“We started with really bare bones all the way until we really got the structure that we have. I can’t tell you how many [24-hour days] we worked straight.”
Cynthia Hauser Five Arrows Photography
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Achindu also shares with PEOPLE that Yummy Spoonfuls started 10 years ago from one small group of moms she used to teach how to make baby food, and how it grew into something much bigger.
“The moms would always come back and tell me that they went and made the same thing, and that their kids wouldn’t like it — that they only wanted to eat mine,” she says. “I figured this could be a business.”
Achindu then went looking for someone who shared her vision, which is where Alves came in.
“I remember the moment it happened for me,” says Alves. “We were in Calgary because Matthew was filming Interstellar, and we were in a trailer — the whole family — and it’s three in the morning and I have bowls of purees everywhere, the kitchen is a mess, the baby is about to wake up for a feed, and I’m like, ‘Why is this so hard for me to go to a store and open a freezer there and pick up the best form of baby food?’ And that’s when one of my friends introduced me to Agatha.”
Adds Alves, “We really shook hands right there and said, ‘Okay, this is what we’re going to do, here are the percentages, no lawyers, no paperwork,’ and it was really the handshake of women wanting to do the right thing.”
For Alves, creating Yummy Spoonfuls was not only a fruitful partnership with Achindu, but a family affair. Her three kids — Levi, 7½, Vida, 6, and Livingston, 3 — all pitched in to help ensure the line’s products were the best they could possibly be.
“All of our kids were right there helping choose every single flavor, testing, telling us what they did and didn’t like,” she says. “We were all working together.”
Another person who has Alves’ back besides her kids? Husband Matthew McConaughey.
“I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t have his support because I had to work very long hours seven days a week,” the health-savvy mom and wife — who makes sure to work in “cheat days” — says of McConaughey, 46, whom she married in 2012.
“If my family wasn’t there to be able to hold the ball when I wasn’t there and be able to really support me, then I couldn’t have done it.”
Considering Alves seems to have mastered the art of not only running but creating a baby-food line on top of being a mom to three kids, one question seems to remain: Will she and McConaughey be expanding their brood anytime soon?
“I’m good for now with three, let’s put it that way!” Alves said Thursday on Access Hollywood Live, noting that her husband “could keep going.”
She added, “But you know, I’ve been pregnant for so many years and breastfeeding and doing the whole thing, so I’m good with three right now.”
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And as far as whether any of their kids are more like Mom and any are more like Dad, it’s a pretty clear-cut distinction.
“Vida is more like me, she’s a little bit more of the troublemaker,” Alves continued with a smile. “And Levi‘s a lot like Matthew, in a lot of ways — we’d be sitting here for hours talking about [their similarities].”
One thing Levi hasn’t started saying yet, though, according to his mom? “All right, all right, all right.”
Yummy Spoonfuls will be available exclusively at Target stores beginning Sunday.
— Jen Juneau with reporting by Nicole Sands