YUM Granola - telling it like it is

Sarah Hedger doesn’t eat dry cardboard.  Sure, it works well as packaging, but masquerading as breakfast food in the cereal aisle is a definite, ‘no thanks’.  But cardboard is exactly how Sarah describes many of the cereal options on the market.. Since she happens to love creating food recipes so much that she ‘pretty much does it in her sleep’ the logical next step to her aversion to what was on offer, was to make her own.  Yum, she called it and ‘yum’ friends said when they tasted it.

“I wanted to come up with a recipe with ingredients that I knew I could digest and make me feel good when I ate it, and it and didn’t burn off in just an hour like the carb cereals that are out there… I love Yum and the good that it does and the way that it makes people feel so I quit my normal job and as soon as I could put all my attention to it, it really took off.”

The Yum tale is your classic farmers market to supermarket story except world domination is still a work in progress and some days are tougher than others for a woman who divides her day between task juggler and toddler wrangler.  But Yum is definitely heading in the right direction, helped in part by people like Sandra Crone at the Chamber.  Sandra manages Regional Business Partnership (RBP) funding, providing financial opportunities for local businesses to receive subsidised attendance to seminars and workshops. An opportunity Sarah Hedger did not say no to.

“I’m a business owner right on the edge of being in the black sometimes, so every bit that helps you get there makes a huge difference.”

She found Sandra was ‘super helpful’ with suggestions and contacts and saw this sharing of knowledge as quite powerful, especially with the doors it opens.

“Once I got hold of Sandra it was quite amazing to know all the connections that she has that can be made.  It’s still more than I can get my head around.  Whenever we need something, we contact her.  The resources are quite limitless which has been really nice.  And just to feel that support here as a business has been amazing and so much more than we could have hoped for.”

Sarah is just back from a two-day workshop assisted by funding from the RBP capability voucher. The funding did not just subsidise her travel costs, it gave her the impetus to go in the first place.

“It was super valuable.  The panel and presenters were unbelievable; real heavy hitters. If you had access to one of them would have been special but to meet all of them was phenomenal.  Looking back on it and the hindsight of 20/20, I would easily pay for it again in full but when you haven’t been you just don’t know the value and so it’s just really hard to know whether or not it’s worth it. If it weren’t for the funding, I probably wouldn’t have made the decision to go.”

From one woman wanting to make her own breakfast cereal, Yum now employs four staff, has a product range of six granolas, offers a provide-your-own-packaging ‘Honesty Box’ and has piqued the interest of overseas distributors.  Now she has not just one, but several good reasons to leap out of bed in the morning.

If you’d like to access funding, get in touch with Sandra Crone, sandra@commerce.org.nz or 021 870 442.

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