Thanks for checking out my Food Founder Story, a series of posts that documents my journey as a food entrepreneur and shares the challenges, surprises and learnings I've had since starting my granola business, gr8nola.
After committing to the idea of launching my granola business, the next thing I had to do was nail down my recipe. Making granola at home was very different than making it repeatedly for farmers markets. I had to go from making small, unmeasured batches to a precise formula that could be 1) replicable and 2) scalable. In other words, I had to go from making 2lbs of granola here and there to 20lbs, weekly—all while maintaining quality and consistency.
Fortunately, I started as a Cottage Food Operator, which allowed me to produce and sell my granola out of my home kitchen. This made the “R&D" process so much more convenient and affordable than having to find a commercial kitchen.
But here's the kicker: I had to do all of this while on an extremely strict bikini competition diet, which required me to weigh and measure every single meal—six meals a day—that comprised of very specific foods...for 13 weeks!
During this competition prep, I was granted a once-a-week, 2-hour cheat window, during which I could eat foods outside of my “plan". Even though my granola was healthy, this was the only time I could actually taste test it throughout the entire 3-month timespan that it took me to launch gr8nola at my first farmers market. (I committed to the competition date WAY before I decided to start my business, and I don't back out of commitments) Talk about a challenge!
It’s hard to remember the specific timeframe, but it took me at least 6 weeks to finally nail down all my recipes & baking processes. However, this was definitely Tank’s (my husband, and boyfriend at the time) favorite part—being “Quality Assurance” for all the different granolas I would bake that I had to refrain from eating during the week. It meant more for him! :)
Side note: The bikini competition was a one-and-done, bucket list thing. It was definitely a positive learning experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone, but wasn't fitting for me long-term (much respect to these competitors, though—it takes CRAZY discipline and sacrifice). Today, I still work out avidly and eat clean (~80% of the time), but I don’t measure my foods. I'm not a licensed medical professional (hehe), but I don't recommend anyone committing to a physique competition while trying to launch a food business.
Me on competition day, looking super small and orange.
Don't stop here, keep going!