What inspired you to start your business?
Believe it or not, it started with a text message from my college best friend in January 2018; she wanted to start a food truck. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, been obsessed with peanut butter, and wanted to start my own business. That one text, in that one moment, sparked the realization inside of me that it was possible.
I’m a Gemini. So once I get my mind set on something, I go all in to pursue it. I will give that goal or dream, or whatever it may be, 110%. By April, three months after that text, I had made over 100 peanut butter recipes (choosing recipe #100 as “the one!”)—and three months after that (July), I launched my product and fully operational business at a farmer’s market in Katonah, NY. The crowd went nuts for Noomi peanut butter, and the rest is history.
What three traits define you?
Passionate, ambitious, perseverant.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
Scale. I am a certified commercial food processor, and currently produce every jar (with the help of friends and family), in a commercial kitchen. To effectively scale and grow the business, I will need to engage a co-packer. I have done a ton of research on this, but the reality is that co-packers cannot process whole, pitted dates on their production lines. Even if they do “run” my other ingredients, the dates seem to be a real issue, logistically, that could hinder my ability to scale production.
This is arguably the biggest and most costly challenge I will need to solve for to grow the business. It’s tough because I refuse to change my recipe formula to accommodate the production machinery and equipment that exists today. I’m determined to find a creative solution for Noomi because I believe in my product, and brand’s mission and vision, wholeheartedly.
What do you love about being a business owner?
I get to pursue my passion and love what I do every day. It’s truly rewarding to build a dream into a real brand from the ground up. I also love the sense of ownership and personal fulfillment that comes with managing and running a business.
As a one-woman owned and run company, I’m able to make all of the decisions, and this helps me maintain Noomi’s integrity in everything I do or create. I hold true to Noomi’s vision, mission and values, and our customers really appreciate that level of authenticity and transparency when they engage with the brand.
I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors along my journey, and people who have helped lead me to making important decisions. It’s helped me forge the right path for Noomi and create an honest brand experience for our customers that humbles and inspires me daily.
Picking recipe #100 as “the one” was the ultimate judgment call. The final few recipes were all good; in the end, I had to pick the one that I loved, fall in love with it, and make the world fall in love with it too. I’m glad it worked!
What’s your favorite career moment?
In May 2019, Noomi won the Specialty Food Association’s “New Product” sofi™ Award in the Nut Butter, Seed Butter category. Our peanut butter was one of 148 winners selected by a national panel of 60 specialty food experts, from nearly 2,000 entries across 39 Awards categories.
To this day, I am extremely honored by this achievement that Noomi received in its first year of business. When I got the news, it was like a “Look mom, I made it!” kind of moment. I cried and was overjoyed that Noomi was recognized for this prestigious specialty food award and all that it symbolizes. It validated the glowing reactions I received at farmers markets from every customer who tried Noomi peanut butter. And it made me stop and see that I had succeeded in creating an innovative product that deserved being recognized by the specialty food industry at large.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Wow—so much! I would spend more time training agility with my dog. I’d also write a book. For my business, I would work on new product/recipe development and also hire additional help for production and marketing. Since I currently work full time, and wear all of the hats in my business, I would love having more time to allocate toward longer term planning for growth.
I have a vision and plan, and know where I want Noomi to be—and I strongly believe I can take the company there. I’ve created a product that people truly love, and it’s all the motivation I need to keep going and keep building the Noomi name. There are some critical logistics around scaling, operations and distribution that first need to be addressed to set Noomi up for long-term success.
What’s the best way to start your day?
I love my French-pressed blueberry coffee in the morning. I think I’m the only person I know that loves it so much. There’s that early part of the morning, at least a solid hour, before meetings and calls start, where it’s so quiet and I’m able to focus and get a lot done for my business. I relish that hour with my hot coffee; it’s usually very productive.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Obviously a marine biologist studying beluga whales—which is ironic because I have an irrational fear of the ocean (and sharks). It’s too dark to see through the water, so you never really know what’s lurking beneath there!
I also wanted to be a writer. I absolutely love to write. It’s one of my greatest strengths and one of the things I enjoy most about my full-time job and Noomi—getting the chance to express myself and the brands I support by creating my own voice and storytelling through the written word.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
Admittedly, it’s very hard for me to unwind—but when I do, it involves pizza from my favorite place. I have a lot of energy (likely from all of the blueberry coffee), and I’m always on the go between my full-time job, running Noomi, and training or doing events with my dog.
I kind of thrive on having a lot to do, making lists, and checking things off that I’ve accomplished. A lot of people wonder how I do it all, and I never know what to say. I just give 110% to anything I’m passionate about, and my time, energy, and enthusiasm come along with it!
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I… embrace it and find a creative solution.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… using whole dates will make it very hard to scale production via a co-packer, but it will truly differentiate your product. Choose wisely.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… peanut butter, of course!
By this time next year, I will be… ideally expanding Noomi’s product line, but time will tell!
The best thing that happened to me recently was … Noomi was featured and published in SHAPE magazine’s May 2021 issue!!!
To get my creative juices flowing, I… have a Moleskine notebook, Post-its, and scrap paper in front of me, with various types of writing instruments scattered all around. I’m very visual and hands-on, so I like to rapidly scribble down my thoughts when I’m in a creative mode.
Noomi® [new-me] is an artisan producer of organic peanut butter, lifestyle brand, and mindset that empowers you to create your best life. Using organic and all natural ingredients, Noomi creates nutritionally-balanced, clean label products, free of artificial sweeteners; refined and added sugar; hydrogenated vegetable oils; and palm oil. This allows Noomi to produce a more sustainable peanut butter, and deliver healthy, high-quality products to its customers.