What was the seed for what is now your food business?
I started TotallyNutz in December 2017. The idea came from living a healthy lifestyle whilst I was travelling with my boyfriend in New Zealand. We fell in love with a runny, tasty peanut butter that had no added oils or sugars. We used it as part of almost every snack and meal during our travels. When I came back, I realised I couldn’t live without peanut butter and especially one that was actually healthy and super smooth. I started experimenting and trying to blend my own at home with no oils or anything added to it just roasted peanuts and Himalayan salt. During my experimenting I trialled the nut butter on my family and friends taste buds to see what they though and if it would sell.
The name “TotallyNutz” occurred randomly one day when my boyfriend came into the kitchen. Mum and I were blending peanuts and he said, “you two are TotallyNutz” and from there the name developed.
Next step was to register my business name, then speak to the environmental health agency to see what I needed to bring my idea to market. I then worked on finding a commercial kitchen to produce the nut butter in, locate suitable packaging suppliers, find a designer for labels and source quality nuts that could be bought in bulk.
What has been the biggest challenge you have overcome or lesson you have learnt as a female food entrepreneur?
There are always challenges in business and I face many every day.
But initially I found there were many hidden costs when I was at the business set up stage, so I continued to work my 9-5 job in a local restaurant. I still work to this day here as it enables me to promote my product and live my life whilst running a business, as I not only have business costs but also must run a car, pay rent, eat and gym etc.
Secondly, my time is precious and a this is a challenge. Making sure I manage my time between my day job and my business is very important for me. I find myself frequently going to bed at midnight as I have so many things to balance between working 9-5 and running TotallyNutz tasks after work along with the other normal day to day activities life requires.
What advice would you give to aspiring female food entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown, if you have an idea, stick with it, work at it, improve it every day and jump straight in because you never know what may come of it. Nothing worse than the regret of not trying something.
Take risks but make sure you enjoy every day. You will have good and bad days but as long as you’re happy in what you do then you will succeed.
Also don’t be afraid to take advice and criticism, both are important, and they will help you and your business to grow. I would recommend continually seeking guidance and opinions from your peers and mentors.
If there had been (female entrepreneurial) training available to you before you set up your business would you have engaged with it? Did you do any training?
I did not do any training. I just set up the business by registering the name, spoke to environmental health agency about exactly what I needed for my set up and went from there. I learnt as I went along. However, if there was free training I would definitely do it, the expense of courses meant that I followed my instinct instead of spending money on a suitable course.
If you were interested in engaging with training/further training what areas would be of most interest to you?
I would love to have training in marketing as I feel it would really benefit my business.