I have a booth at the Westchester Triathlon expo for my health counseling practice. In order to get people to visit my booth I provide hundreds of free homemade gluten-free baked goods. My mom and I debate about giving out the recipe but make a game time decision to keep it a secret. “Maybe I could do something with this?” I thought. Sure enough, the next day at the expo, nobody cared about signing up for a health counseling session all they wanted to know was where they could buy the products. The AHA moment arrives; the idea of purely elizabeth is born.
While at the Omega Institute for an Institute for Integrative Nutrition retreat, we are asked to write down our “impossible future”. I jot down “Start a food biz” and “Move out west” and tell my friend Kendra this is absolutely so far fetched. We throw our ideas in the campfire and let our intentions out to the world.
After a few months of ingredient sourcing, research, product development and packaging and logo design, I decide to launch purely elizabeth with 3 muffin mixes and 1 pancake mix at the upcoming Westchester Triathlon. It will be just be a side project I think to myself ….
I attend Natural Products Expo East and know in my gut this is where I am meant to be. Several samples of organic food later, I speak with as many people in the industry as possible to get some advice. A big thank you to Justin from Justin’s Nut Butter, for planting a seed early on that I could do this.
Purely Elizabeth is a hit at the Westchester Triathlon, selling out of baking mixes. Although we have no idea what “selling out” really means…
Two Weeks Later
I nearly swerve off the road, when I read the subject of an email “purely elizabeth and DailyCandy”. It turns out DailyCandy, wants to feature purely elizabeth baking mixes in their daily email blast later that week. I knew that DailyCandy was a BIG deal and could potentially lead to several online customers. I had no idea however, the extent to which they influenced people. I remember going to sleep the night before the email blast thinking, “If I get 20 orders that would be great”.
October 9, 2009
DailyCandy’s email blast goes out and within 3 hours I had about $10,000 of online orders. After the excitement wore off that night I realized I had to actually fill all these orders! We hardly had enough inventory to fulfill 50 orders, yet alone 400. Over the next two weeks friends and family gathered to help fill orders. We were in business and fast. I learned two things from this: 1. There was in fact a demand for healthy and delicious food products 2. When you dream big, big things happen.
DailyCandy holds their annual awards and consumers vote for purely elizabeth as the winner of their “Sweetest Thing” category. Our first award!
Purely Elizabeth lands on the first store shelves at local retailers in NYC—Lifethyme Market, Gary Nulls and Westerly’s.
With lots of persistence, we land on the shelves of our first Whole Foods Market in the Mid Atlantic Region. Thank you Mom, for not taking no for an answer and for single handedly getting us into every location, one phone call at a time.
We make the big decision to exhibit at our first natural food trade show, Expo East. At the show, we introduce our new cookie mix line and decide the show will either make or break the business. To our delight, the cookie mix is awarded “Top 5 Best New Product” at the show. Sweetened with coconut sugar and made with chia seeds and millet flour, the ingredients in our cookie mixes were about 5 years ahead of their time, starting the trend for ancient grains and seeds.
Finally, after a year of production in a commercial kitchen in Philadelphia (yes, I drove from NYC to PA weekly to produce), we move production to a co-packer in Vermont. Without having to produce a few times a week, we can now focus on sales.
purely elizabeth granola is born! After making the recipe in my NYC kitchen (and not tweaking the recipe from the first attempt), we introduce the new line at Expo West. The granola is an instant hit.
Hire our first broker team for the east coast and get into UNFI distribution. This means that our products are distributed to all natural food stores in the east.
Here we come West! Now in UNFI on the west coast, our products are distributed to all-natural food stores across the country.
We release our first Purely Magazine, a quarterly publication filled with seasonal recipes, entertaining guides + healthy living articles.
I find myself crying on the subway after receiving one of the best emails in my life. Whole Foods is going to push us out nationally . DREAM COME TRUE.
Exhibit at the New York Fancy Food Show, where our granola is recognized as a double Sofi Award Finalist, (think Oscars for the specialty food arena, complete with a red carpet and giant life size gold statue)!
We hit 1 million in sales!
Products land on the shelves in every Whole Foods Market, Wegmans and The Fresh Market nationwide.
Sign a cookbook deal, Eating Purely, coming out Fall 2015.
Launched a new line of Ancient Grain Oatmeals and Hot Cereal, distributed exclusively to Whole Foods Markets nationally.
Move our manufacturing from Vermont to Denver, Colorado.
Sell out on QVC, with all 5-star ratings!
Purely granola lands on the shelves of every Target store in the country, along with Sprouts Farmers Markets.
Purely moves our office headquarters from NYC to Boulder, Colorado!
Release our Ancient Grain Muesli and Ancient Grain Granola +Puffs at Expo West!
for your continued support. We can’t express enough how much we appreciate it. The last 5 years have truly been a dream come true. Cannot wait to see what the next 5 have in store!