Small businesses fascinate me.
Perhaps it's has to do with my childhood aspirations. I had no dreams of grandeur such as creating state policy being a senator, saving lives as a police officer or making millions on Wall Street. All I wanted was to be able to create, to produce something that beautify people's lives or at least made them happy for a moment.
Yet, I have no idea how to do so and I'll admit I still don't. I went to college for art and business where I learned more outside of class than in. After that, I've stage in a restaurant for pastries, worked in an architecture firm and am currently designing in a studio. While I enjoy what I do, there's a gnawing feeling that I still haven't found my niche.
One thing is certain though, I love to learn about how small businesses get started. In fact, interviewing them and figuring out design can help push them forward is the best part of my job.
Even outside of design, whenever I visit a cool store or a nice eatery, I can't help but to engage them in conversation. It's just inspirational to hear about a problem they decided to tackle and how their product/service is able to help.
One such company is San Franola Granola. Started by friends Matt Teichmann and David Miskie, they took on the challenge of creating a healthier granola. After finding them at a party in San Francisco, I got to learn more about their story through Matt.
12 years ago, David's dad was dealing with health issues due to an unhealthy diet. It was clear he had to overhaul his lifestyle so he worked with David to start exercising and to eat better. From that, he created his own granola recipe.
There's a common misconception about granola. Its name may paint a picture of health but the product is anything but. That's because the rolled oats are individually coated with a thick layer of sugar and butter, rendering the initial health benefits useless.
So, David's dad started experimenting in the kitchen. After hundreds of batches, he landed upon the winning formula: roasted almonds, maple syrup, flax seeds, rolled oats, whey protein, canola oil, molasses and a touch of cinnamon. Using all-natural ingredients, he was able to lower the sugar content per serving significantly as well as provide fiber and protein, making it his go-to snack after his work-outs.
With the combination of a healthy diet and exercise routine, David's dad was able to shed 40 pounds and feel even better.
Wanting to share this granola with others, David and Matt left their full-time jobs and bootstrapped to launch San Franola together. It's only been a little over a year, but they're spreading throughout NorCal. And most excitingly, starting to get carried in Los Angeles.
Here's to healthy eating!