Success is oats so simple for Joanna
Joanna Jackson-Smith never expected her home-made granola to be an instant sell out. When Lindos first stocked her Oatbelievable Premium Granola, she thought it would take weeks to go.
She was amazed when she got a call a few days later.
“Lindos said they needed to restock,” she said. “I was absolutely surprised how fast it sold out.”
Ms Jackson-Smith, a foreign language teacher, and her husband, Tyrone Smith, “fell into making granola”.
“I was teaching French and Spanish at Bermuda High School,” Ms Jackson-Smith said. “They held a holiday bazaar last December. I wanted to make something for the bazaar but I didn't want to compete with the other vendors there.”
She decided to try selling the granola she had been experimenting with. It was a hit and business has been booming ever since.
The couple started with four flavours but expanded to 11. Their granola is $8.50 a bag and some flavours have Bermuda names.
Spice Hill has cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, while Gombey Smash has papaya, kiwi and a hint of chilli mango. Tempest Isles has spiced rum and crystallised ginger.
The most popular offering is Harvest Crunch with cranberries, raisins, almonds and coconut.
Ms Jackson-Smith always loved baking. She said: “I get that from my mother.”
Her mother, Juliette Jackson, has baked wedding cakes for more than 50 years.
Mr Smith is a security guard at Rosewood Tucker's Point.
He said that between his wife's delicious baking and that of his mother-in-law he has put on a few pounds since getting married in 2009.
“I can bake but I don't think I could ever do what my mother does,” Ms Jackson-Smith said. “I wanted to start a little business on the side doing cookies or brownies.”
But it turned out competition was fierce in those areas.
She said the hardest thing about running Oatbelievable was the time required.
She will be teaching French and Spanish at Saltus Grammar School in September and is the mother of a four-year-old son, Salem.
At first the cooking was all hers.
“My husband started taking Oatbelievable to his job and getting feedback,” Ms Jackson-Smith said. “Then all of a sudden people wanted it.
“I was off on vacation and had to pull him into the kitchen. Orders would come in when I wasn't home.
“He said, ‘Print those recipes off and I'll make it'. He has been on board for quite a while. If I am busy he gets it done.”
She said granola was a fairly easy item to cook but running a home business could be time-consuming.
Mr Smith said the payback came from seeing the satisfaction on customers' faces.
“At the end of the day it is very worthwhile,” he said.
But he admitted running a business from their home has been challenging.
“We bring in as much oats as we can,” Ms Jackson-Smith said, “maybe 50lb at a time”.
“Our house looks like a storeroom, basically,” laughed Mr Smith. He was proud that their oats are both organic and gluten-free. Ms Jackson-Smith was reluctant to give away the secret to perfect granola.
“I can't give my secret away,” she said. “Nice try! I have managed to perfect it to our liking and to meet the needs of the general public.”
She said the business had exceeded all their expectations in just a few short months. They have even had some international exposure.
“We have shipped some off to the United States,” she said. “Some of my friends and colleagues have bought it and taken it with them on holiday and given it as gifts in Denmark, Spain, and Wales.”
Oatbelievable is also available at Urban Cottage, the Bermuda Fudge Company in Dockyard, at the Sense Spa at Rosewood Tucker's Point and at the BermyFresh Market in Warwick.
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