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Meera Bhogal helps people to understand how food can nourish our body and mind to support optimal health, using a holistic approach via her website, products and services Meera’s Made From Scratch.

EPISODE NOTES

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This week’s guest is Meera Bhogal, or Meera’s Made From Scratch. Meera helps people to understand how food can nourish their bodies and mind to support optimal health using her holistic approach. Meera offers all kinds of products and services, which work seamlessly together to support your health, from memberships, bespoke programs and 1to1 services to selling her products, food made from scratch.

I wanted to find out more about how Meera combines all the aspects of her business, and the unique challenges that creating and selling food products brings from legislation and compliance to the fact that all your products have an expiry date.

Listen in to hear Meera share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (02:05)
  • How she came to start her business (02:45)
  • How the different parts of her business evolved including products and services (04:25)
  • How she grew and educated her audience (06:13)
  • The link between food and wellbeing (08:19)
  • How she got interested in food, and its impact on her health and wellbeing (10:35)
  • How she transitioned from making food for family and friends to it becoming a business (15:50)
  • How she grew her audience (17:50)
  • How she practically manages making everything at home (21:16)
  • The challenges of delivering fresh food (25:21)
  • The certification you need in order to be able to make and sell food (26:01)
  • The challenges of having a product which rapidly expires (29:56)
  • The services she provides alongside her products (33:29)
  • Her future plans for the business, including kids subscription boxes (37:46)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (40:25)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Meera’s Made From Scratch Website

Meera’s Instagram

Meera’s Facebook

Food Standards Agency Website

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Transcript
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Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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So today we have an interview with Meera Bhogal from Meera's Made From Scratch.

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This is a really fantastic and interesting interview.

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Um, so Meera helps people to understand how food can nourish their bodies and

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mind to support optimal health using her holistic approach, which includes balance.

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So Meera offers all kinds of products and services, which in my mind, anyway,

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work really seamlessly together.

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When I was preparing this interview, I went over to look at Meera's

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website and I was just blown away by everything that she has and offers.

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Um, so as well as free recipes for people to download.

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She also sells her own food products, that she makes from scratch.

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We talk about that quite a bit in the interview.

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I haven't actually had anyone on who makes food products before.

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So I was really keen to find out about any legislation and

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compliance issues around that.

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Um, and we also talked about the services that Meera offers so her membership

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and some programs that she runs and how her products and services in my mind

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anyway, work together really seamlessly.

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So I think you're going to get a lot out of this, it is a really interesting chat

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and I really hope that it just gives those of you who perhaps offer services, some

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inspiration around products that might compliment what you do and vice versa if

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you're selling products now, um, are there any services that you can offer that help

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people to get more out of your products?

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Um, I think this is definitely an episode that will make you think.

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So having said all of that, I would love to introduce you to Meera.

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Hi Meera.

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Thank you so much for being here.

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Thank you so much for inviting me Vicki

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Oh you're so welcome.

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So let's start by you giving an introduction to yourself, your

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business and your products.

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Okay.

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So my name is Meera Bhogal and my business is called Meera's Made From Scratch.

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Um, it is a, uh, business which pretty much operates online and virtually.

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So we have a, um, a website where we sell our products, which are all

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gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free.

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And we also have a range of teas that we hand blend ourselves and everything

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is, as it says, made from scratch.

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Um, uh, and we make them actually at home at the moment that's where our kitchen is,

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and that's where our office is as well.

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Thank you so much.

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Um, so let's start at the beginning if that's okay.

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And talk about how and why you started up the business and when as well, perhaps.

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Um, okay.

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So why did I start the business?

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Well, it actually started off as a passion project or something that I was

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doing for myself for my own wellbeing.

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I was making my own herbal infusions and different blends of different

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foods that I was eating myself.

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And actually I had friends who were saying, oh, that looks nice.

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Can I try that?

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Or I've got aching joints.

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And I'd say, oh, try some of my turmeric blend of you know, I want

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something that's refined, sugar free.

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And I'd say, I would try one of these, you know, biscuits and

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that's really how it started.

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Um, and then it just became more and more popular.

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And I realized that there was a, uh, a market, a really niche market, because

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we really are very niche, um, where we have gluten free refined sugar-free

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dairy-free and some vegan products, but none of them use um, a substitute,

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we use whole grains and whole foods.

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We don't use any kind of substitutes that mimic another product.

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So for example, we wouldn't use margarine or a vegan margarine.

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We would only use either coconut oil or avocado oil or olive oil.

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So that's kind of a comparison.

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Um, so that's really where the business kind of stemmed from.

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And it's just grew, um, through people wanting more and more.

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And, um, yeah, we went through a bit of a rough patch with the pandemic

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and it did sort of change shape a little bit during the pandemic.

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So we, we really did initially we were a lot more in markets and looking to go into

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retail, but we actually physical shops, but we ended up really focusing online and

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creating our website and our shop really that's, that's kind of the big focus.

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Okay, thank you so much.

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And I've obviously had a really good look through your website.

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And I mentioned before we spoke, there's just so much on

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there in terms of your recipes.

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And I know you have a membership as well.

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So should we just talk a little bit about, um, how all the elements of your

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business, you know, the different elements of your business perhaps how and when they

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started and how they work together because

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I think that'll give us a good basis if that's okay

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I think that the thing with me is that, um, I've grown organically.

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So I've literally been, um, I sort tried to really get a lot of feedback from my

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customers and my clients, and really look at what their needs are and through those

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needs, we've then evolved and developed.

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So the range that we now have in our shop has really grown because of the

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demands of my clients and my customers.

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Um, the services that we offer have actually stemmed from

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again, the needs of my clients.

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So if we take, for example, uh, my menopause program, um, which I created

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again, because I'd gone through something myself, I've gone through it myself.

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And then I had a whole heap of people coming to me and saying,

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you know, can you help me with lifestyle choices and changes?

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We then created the program, but actually realized that in order for

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if people really wanted to make those changes that I had made then they needed

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to eat the food that I was eating.

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So, yeah.

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It then, then the products came into the service and that's how

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we offer it as a whole package.

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And that's kind of really where the services and the food, the actual

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products come into play and, and, and really that from then on you then

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build a loyal customer base base who then come back to you again and again,

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because they've enjoyed those foods.

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They can see the difference that it makes to them.

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Um, and then, uh, you know, and then they stay with you.

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Yeah, that totally makes sense.

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And obviously they've got to really know and trust you as well.

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It sounds like if they're coming to you and say, I have this specific

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problem and you know, how could I change my diet to help that?

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So that's fantastic as well, but you've built up that relationship.

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And is there anything other than.

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Listening, which it sounds like you've done a great job.

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Is there anything other than the listening to customers, you feel you've

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done in order to build that because that's quite a thing that you have

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that they're actually talking to you and say, Meera, I have this problem

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here, Meera can you help with this?

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Um, I'm sure there are lots of people listening and thinking.

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I wish my customers told me exactly what they wanted.

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Was there anything in particular that you think you did?.

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Well, I do a lot of free webinars.

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I do a lot of free content.

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Um, you know, I will host a webinar on sugar, for example, so

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that there's education out there.

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So I think education is key.

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So if you can educate people into why you're doing what you're

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doing, but more so just giving them understanding of, you know, what might

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work for them and what might not.

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So giving them factual information.

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That's the first thing from that it then links into.

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Uh, for me, it links into my product.

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So why do I not use certain fats?

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And I would do a webinar on, you know, fats and that kind of thing.

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And then I would do another webinar maybe on, on sugar and just explain

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what sugar is and all the rest of it.

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And then that links into my products and why I've created

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these products in particular.

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Um, I think giving free content is really, really, really important.

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I think a lot of business owners think, well, if I give free content,

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it means people just won't come back.

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And actually it's quite the contrary.

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If you give free content, people will keep coming back.

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And eventually there are some who will never take a bite and never,

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never come to you for your products.

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But there are some who will then, and once you've got them, they then become these

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very loyal customers that stay with you.

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Thank you for that.

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And I think also is a great way of sort of demonstrating your expertise as well and

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helping people to establish trust in you.

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Because especially when it's something people actually eat it, I guess they have

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people like to know where it's come from, how it's made, what it contains that's

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all really, I guess, for your customers, that's something that's really important.

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So I guess it really helps them as well.

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And speaking about your expertise, let's talk a little bit before we move on about.

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Um, food and wellbeing and the link between the two.

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I think that that would also be really good.

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Yeah.

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Thank you.

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The well, food and wellbeing.

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I mean, they are just interlinked aren't they?

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I mean, they're just totally, totally interlinked.

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The food we eat is information for every single cell in our body okay.

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It's information for the new cells that we're producing as well.

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So if we think about what we're eating, actually having an impact on

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every single cell that is produced and how our cells behave as well.

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It's actually huge.

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It's totally huge.

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And yes, there are different factors as well.

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So, you know, you've got to remember, there are factors such

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as kind of lifestyle choices, moving, exercising, sleeping well.

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Um, reducing stress.

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All of those are completely working in hand-in-hand with, with food, but if the

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food we're eating, isn't being absorbed.

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Um, isn't being assimilated well enough, you know, um, it's simple thing like

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chewing, if we're not chewing our food well enough where it's sort of swallowing

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it, we're reducing the first stage of that chemical breakdown of food.

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So food is a vital, vital link in, uh, mental and physical wellbeing.

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And the reason as I said, it's, that is because food is that information.

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So, you know, when you are looking at a plate of food and I was saying this to

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somebody the other day, it's for me, I've now got to that point where I'm looking

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at, I don't know, don't get me wrong.

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I have an odd thing here or there, but I literally look at a

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plate of food and I'll be right.

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Okay.

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There's zinc.

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There's potassium.

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There's magnesium got some proteins there.

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I've got complex carbohydrates.

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And you know, for me, it's now become something that's very

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normal way of looking at food.

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Cause uh, you know, like I, I know my body needs that fuel at that point in time.

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So there is a, you know, if there is one thing that you can start to do in my

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eyes is to reduce the amount of processed foods that you have, and just start

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to increase the number of vegetables, plants, um, you know, and, and variety of

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foods that you have eating the rainbow.

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That is an absolute kind of really basic, fundamental thing that you can just

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start to do straight away without any prior knowledge or expertise in anything.

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That's brilliant.

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Thank you.

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And what was it maybe that got you so interested in, in

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food and how it can help us?

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I've had, I've had a really interesting journey in terms of the, my body

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responding and letting me know that it's not happy with whatever it is I'm doing

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at the time, at what point in time.

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So I've suffered with IBS many many years.

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So I was in my, um, you know, I would say late teens, I probably had it way before

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then, but it was in my late teens, early twenties that I, um, it was my brother.

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Who's a, who's a doctor who sort of thought no, you've

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yeah, you've definitely got IBS.

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And it wasn't even heard of, I didn't even know what it was then.

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Um, but his remedy was to give me fiber and that's what they did at that time.

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And, you know, things, didn't really, things didn't really improve, but I

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then carried on and then I ended up getting migraines, really severe, severe

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debilitating migraines after my children were born again, you know, doctors were

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giving me lots of really heavy medication.

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And if I went to, I tried alternative.

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Nothing really seemed to fix it.

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And then I ended up realizing now that in my early forties ended up

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going through, um, uh, menopause, so perimenopause and then menopause.

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So it kind of, at every stage, my body has been telling me something's wrong.

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And the only thing that I've learned that I have to resort back

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to is the food that I'm eating.

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That's the thing that I can just about control, but my journey has evolved

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from an, I see many people go on the same journey that they go through.

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Right.

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We're going to go free from, so we'll go dairy-free

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gluten-free but they substituted.

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Foods that are harmful to their body with foods that are

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even more harmful to the body.

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Cause they've got this list of ingredients that, you know,

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who knows where they come from.

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And so I've kind of come full circle to, and I'm still learning to where I am now,

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where I realized that actually you need to eat food in the most simplistic form.

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Um, and you need to be as you know, the simpler, the food, the

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wider, the variety, um, the easier it is for your body to digest.

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So food for me, um, literally controls how I feel, how I, how much

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energy I have, how well I sleep.

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It has a significant impact on me.

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Um, and that's really why food is just totally my passion.

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Well, thank you for explaining that.

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And yeah, that all makes total sense.

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And I love how your products make it a bit easier for other people

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to eat like that as well, because I think it it's obviously, well, not

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obviously, but it can be more effort.

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I think sometimes to eat the right food, even something as simple as

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chopping up a salad for your lunch.

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I know it's a really silly example, but actually it's.

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It's a bit more effort not, lots but a bit more effort than

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putting some bread in a toaster.

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Let's be honest.

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Um, and I know it's a really silly example, probably only I

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could think of because I've just cut up a salad to my lunch.

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Yeah, you're totally right.

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Because, and also it's habits.

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So you, you, you totally right in that habitually.

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We'll grab a slice of toast and think it's quicker and bang it in

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the toaster or whatever, and have it with something or we'll open a tin of

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soup or we'll do something like that.

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Rather than, as you said, get that salad and chop it up and have maybe some eggs

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or something with it, if you, if you eat eggs and literally, but the things that

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I really, um, when we do our programs and when I work with the clients I work with.

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We do talk about preparation.

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We do talk about a different mindset when you want to really

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invest in your food and yourself.

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So it's a case of actually on a Sunday or whatever day it is that you have

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happen to have off because everybody works very differently nowadays.

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Um, or a few hours that you have off, you literally get all your salads and

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you chop them up and you have everything bags of lettuce bags, of cucumber, bags

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of whatever, everything ready, uh, boil up a few eggs and you've got those ready.

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So that actually, when you do fancy that salad, It's even easier.

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You just grab it, but with my product, some of the products we created and

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we've just had another list of lists from our, our customers again, to

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say, do you think you could create, and they've given us another list.

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So things like the Thai green Curry sauce and the saute sauce and the soup,

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really, and quite a few of those kind of ready-made quick and easy to go to

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things were really created because our clients were saying exactly what you were

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saying, you know, Meera, I love this.

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I love everything that you do, but I, I don't have the time to

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make the soup the way you make it.

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So I was like, okay, but it's really quick.

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No, no, no, no, but I just don't have the time.

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Can you make me the soup?

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And I'm like, okay.

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So, you know, we now do our soups and our soup only contain the ingredients.

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That you can see that is in the soup.

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And there is, there are no preservatives.

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So, so they have a very short shelf life, but our customers are, are

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willing to compromise on that freshness.

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Um, and to get rid of those preservatives.

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That's great.

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Thank you.

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And I you're right.

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It is about convenience.

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I mean, I mentioned I've just chopped up the salad to my lunch.

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We're recording at mid day.

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The reason I chopped up the salad before we spoke.

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Cause I know when I'm going to be finished recording, I'll be hungry.

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And if I don't have a salad cut up in the fridge, I am going to reach

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for a sandwich or something quicker.

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And it's just about, yeah.

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Making it as easy as possible isn't it to make good decisions around food.

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So let's talk a bit about, um, you mentioned at the outset, you were

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making these foods for yourself and then you were sharing them with friends

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at what point did it become, okay.

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This could actually be a business.

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What was it?

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A sort of a conscious thing or did it evolve?

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That's such an interesting point actually.

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When we first started and we would, you know, when, when I first started

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doing it, it, it got to a point where I suppose my husbands had turned

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around to me and said, do you know how much money you're spending, giving

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everybody these things for free?

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So, uh, Nope.

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Got no idea.

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He was you can't keep doing this.

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You're kind of feeding everybody else and we've got a budget in our house.

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Um, and it literally was as simple as that.

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And I did have to then say to people, look, I'm so sorry, but I

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am going to, and it, and I'm not.

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It's really interesting whilst I, um, even with my, my other business, my

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nursery business, you know, I'm great at ideas and I'm great at kind of seeing

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how things are going to work and putting things into action and creating the money

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side of stuff and I, you know, I know a lot of business owners can be like, this

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can often be a little bit tricky for me, I've got better as years have gone on.

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Um, but kind of asking for money is, is difficult.

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But I did get to the point where I said, you know, I can't keep I'm so sorry.

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I can't keep giving you this.

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I will need you to pay me even if it's just cost.

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Um, and they were like, no, some of them were like, oh, okay,

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well I'm not going to do it.

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And some of them were like, no, this is great.

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You know?

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Um, and then it just kept, kept going.

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So the more and more we realized that people were interested.

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We did have to take a risk, um, because you know, we didn't have a huge client

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base of everybody wanting to buy from us.

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So we did have to take a risk and say, right, okay.

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We're either going to stop doing this, or we're going to invest some money

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and, you know, into the website and really put some time and energy into

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this and make it into a proper business.

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Um, which I suppose is the stage we're at.

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And, you know, we're still growing and we're still wanting

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to go to that next stage.

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Um, but.

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Yeah.

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It's, it's very much a case of sort of growing organically.

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Definitely.

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Yeah.

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That's really interesting.

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Thank you.

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But as you say, I guess at a certain point, you did have sort of put

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the website together and start looking a bit wider for customers.

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So how did you go about that from selling to people that presumably knew you so

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friends and family and acquaintances to reaching a bigger audience.

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Can you cause.

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It's hard sometimes to think back isn't it and think, well, what did

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I do, but can you think of anything particularly that you did to kind

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of start attracting more people?

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the first thing, one of the first things I did was, um, well we looked at the

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website and really tried to focus on that website in terms of how, because

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we did have a website before it was very clunky, you know, kind of just kind of,

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and it was one of those websites where we were just adding bits on the whole time.

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This has now outgrown itself.

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So we need to, uh, you know, and it literally was a huge jump at

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that point where we were just like, okay, how much do we have to invest?

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Um, you know, I needed to invest in that.

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So that was the first thing was investing in a website that looked like

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the products I sold and looked like we were professionals at what we did

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and we were experts at what we did.

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So that was, that was the first thing I needed.

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I wanted that because for me, when you land know your landing page where

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you, what you see initially, and we all, we all kind of, you know, by,

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with our eyes, don't, we, it sort of how glossy it looks and how nice.

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So that was the first thing.

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And then really what I had to do, and I realized I had

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to do this was I couldn't be.

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I can be lots of things.

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And in your own business, you do, you have to be everything.

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You know, I've literally been back to the nursery today to cover for the cooks.

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I've got two cooks, both are off ill.

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Um, so the first time in about nine years, I'm actually in the

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kitchen cooking or 150 children.

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Um, but you know, you do have to do everything, but you, you

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need to also learn to let go.

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Give away expertise to different people.

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And that is something that I always very keen on.

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So I, I took on board a, um, a PR person, a person who helps me with PR and somebody

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who helps with my socials as well.

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So this is somebody who can produce stuff and generate things and really great

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ideas in minutes where it would take me hours to sit here on Canva and do a

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little post, or, you know, what, what market, what could, how can we market this

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and what should we focus on this month?

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And that kind of thing.

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So we looked at Facebook Ads.

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Um, we definitely look to kind of promoting it on Facebook.

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We've now moved away slightly from that, but learning more about our

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demographic, learning more about our customers and clients learning more

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about where we could get them from all of that was so the analytical side of

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stuff was actually quite important and more important than, uh, I suppose I

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realized or um, knew in the beginning, but I knew we needed to do it.

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You know, I knew I, it was a very different business to the nursery,

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which is a building, you know, and children come in, this was a

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virtual and you could be, my customer could be anywhere in the country.

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So, yeah, that was definitely some of the things that I did to sort

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of try and get a wider audience.

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That sounds great.

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Thank you.

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And it's yeah, you're right.

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It must be quite a leap of faith as well.

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I know it is a leap of faith isn't it to go from?

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You know, I'm doing this as a hobby or I'm doing, this is a saying in

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quotes, small business to actually, okay this is going to be a real thing.

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I'm going to start seeking expertise and paying other people to help me.

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That is a huge step to take.

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Um, so then that's talk a little bit about actual the sorts of

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practicalities, because I'm always interested in this stuff.

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And I know the funny thing is, is as well.

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Um, I guess the first question I have is, so obviously you mentioned you're making

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everything at home and in your kitchen.

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So do you make to order, or do you make up batches?

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How do you manage it?

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Cause I know you have your nursery business as well, and you know, all

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of the other things you're doing, how do you physically make everything?

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The thing that we realized.

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So initially when we were just, I mean, we're still sort of small, you know, we're

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not big, but initially when I was just making for one person or two people or

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five people, it would be whenever Mira, could you give me 10 energy balls Meera?

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Could I have that Meera?

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Can you give me this tea?

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And I would just, yeah.

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Yeah, that's fine.

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It's fine.

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But you get to a point where you realize, hold on a minute, I can't actually do.

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So that means I'm stuck every day and I don't know what stock I've

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got and I don't know what's going, you know, so suddenly you realize

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actually this isn't going to work and that's where systems come into play.

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Some, I'm definitely one for systems I love having, um, I love

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being systematic and logical about the processes that we're using.

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So we had to establish the fact that actually we needed because of the

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range of products we had, we needed a cutoff point in the week where

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that was it from that point on.

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You then started to make the products that were up that had been ordered.

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And then you had a system to get them delivered and out now

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because our products aren't fresh.

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So I mean the biggest, biggest challenge for us because our products aren't,

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they are fresh, they don't have preservatives and they, they can, they

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spoil very quickly and quite often they need refrigerating it was our

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packaging costs and our delivery costs.

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That was where we stumbled quite a few times and have had to replace

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products with people and customers.

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And that's been really deflating because they received their cost,

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their order, and it's all upside down.

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The delivery people have just thrown it about all over the place.

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You know, it's just all it's gone off where it hasn't reached there until,

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you know, three days afterwards.

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So that was one of the biggest challenges, but in terms of actually cooking,

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producing, and doing all the rest of it, we have a kind of date on a Sunday.

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Now we've established that, that works for us.

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The last order is placed anything after that follows into the next week.

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And then we start our process of, um, Activating our nuts and seeds getting

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our our products actually ready.

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Um, so we don't, for example, we don't use almond flour, which just is bought in.

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We buy organic almonds, we activate it, which requires 24 hours.

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We then dehydrate it, which requires another 12 to 15 hours.

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And then the almond is ready to use.

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So we have to sort of pre-think that.

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Um, and then.

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We produce, we, we cook, we have a whole system going, we then have, um, deliveries

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going out in two different stages.

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So we have a local delivery, which just, we have a chat with lovely chap

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works with us and he delivers locally.

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So we package.

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Delivered locally, that's on the Thursday.

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And then on the Wednesday, we actually have the postal deliveries

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going out and we've found a company who now it's been reliable.

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They've been able to get the products there the next day,

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which has been brilliant.

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Um, but yeah, that's kind of how it works.

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then we start again.

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So Thursday, once the orders have gone out, we start again with the kind of,

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uh, anticipation of how many orders we may or may not get, um, in a week.

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And it's grows.

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It's sort of been growing gradually.

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Thank you for explaining all of that.

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I love how organized you are.

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I think I know, I think it makes total sense to have a system I can't see

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with like the range that you offer.

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Um, I can't see how you could operate actually, without

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having a system in place.

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And I'm glad you got your logistics issue sorted as well, because.

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Sometimes it's easy to underestimate.

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I've had in the past with my own business, logistical issues as well.

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I want to, sometimes it's easy to underestimate the importance

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of just packing things in the right box for example.

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Um, yeah, it's, it's, it's these things that you don't think about it until

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you do it and it goes horribly wrong

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and the cost, you know, and it's really customers do get quite upset

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sometimes when we talk about the cost of that delivery and we do pass it

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on because we, you know, our margins in the food business are ridiculous.

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There's, there's, there's, you know, very little, if any.

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Um, so we have to cut pass on the cost of delivery.

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Um, and we do absorb the packaging cost to a certain degree, but the

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delivery, we, we, you know, we will.

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Outside of a local area, we will pass that on and they're actually paying whatever

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it is that the company is charging us, which sometimes can be absolutely,

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you know, ridiculous amount of money.

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Um, but sadly that, because it's a fresh product that it needs to get there in

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the next day, you have to pay for that.

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Yeah.

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And are there any other challenges.

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I mean, I say are there any,.

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I'm sure that are involved in selling food.

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So for example, I guess you must need food.

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I'm guessing food hygiene certificates.

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Um, so if anyone who is interested in making food products at home, what

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are things that need to be considered.

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Yeah.

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So really, really important that you, you get your food hygiene certificate

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for you and anybody else who's going to be working with you in the kitchen.

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Um, it's also, once you do that, you'll see that actually, they give you a lot

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of advice through there as well, but you need to also contact your local authority,

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environmental health, um, and they will arrange to visit your property as well.

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So they'll arrange to visit your property and, and, um, will go through kind of all

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the food safety standards that you should be meeting, um, that you're required to

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meet in order to produce the business, to produce food and to sell it as well.

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So that's kind of one aspect and then you do also your insurance, make sure you've

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got your insurance in place as well.

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Um, and also if you're thinking about selling it a market or selling, you know,

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selling outside of somewhere, there's a difference between packaged foods.

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So if you're packing your foods at home and then selling them at the market,

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there's a difference between that and if you're going to then, um, and actually

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making fresh food at a market, so, you know, if you were going to actually make

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some soup right there and then, or make a stir fry or something, you know you

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see all those stands that requires a slightly different sort of insurance level

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and, and also, um, inspection and, um, hygiene level food hygiene level as well.

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So if you're thinking of.

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Packaging producing and selling real basics are definitely get your food

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hygiene and then contact your local, um, um, uh, council and, and, and

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get them to come and inspect you.

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And that, and that applies to whether you have a food business at home or

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somewhere where you've got a unit and you're operating out of that.

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The, the, the requirements are still very much the same.

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Thank you that's really useful.

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It sounds like your local authorities, that should be fairly helpful in terms

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of explaining what you are required to do as well, which I think might

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be reassuring cause I'm sure there's lots of things, but it sounds like

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you do get a bit of guidance there.

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I think if you go to the food standards agency on, on, on, uh, online on

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the website, you'll get a lot of information on that and councils.

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So officers and inspectors aren't generally supposed to kind of help

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you, um, there there's there to inspect, um, but you can speak to

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them and say, I'm opening up business.

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What do I need to do?

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And they will direct you, but the food standards agency

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website is really helpful.

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Um, and they've got a better food, um, say for food, better business, uh, File or

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document, which is again, really, really useful for any food business as well.

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That's something that people will need to become familiar with.

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Perfect.

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Thank you.

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And that was a great point.

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You made about the insurance as well, because I think that's something else

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that can obviously be overlooked, but knowing the kinds of insurances you

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need is obviously really important.

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Um, I know for example, if you are doing stalls, I think you also need

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public liability insurance, don't you?

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okay in case somebody tripped over your cable.

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So there's a lot to consider actually.

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Yeah.

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And I'm stall market holders market.

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Um, organizers are usually very, very thorough about asking

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for these bits of information.

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Um, and during COVID times, you know, we had to have a whole COVID procedure

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that we would have to write up and, and signs and things like that as well.

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So usually if it's a good market established market, um, they usually

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have guidance for you as well.

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Thank you.

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And you mentioned that markets were something you did sort

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of in the days pre COVID.

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Is that something you're still doing now or thinking of going back to,

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or is it just online at the moment?

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We actually now focused online we did.

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Um, we really actually mainly started doing markets during COVID

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and that was because, uh, you know, nobody knew what was going on.

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No one could kind of get to anywhere.

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And it was all very, very quiet.

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So as soon as markets opened up, we then started to do the markets.

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And we found that because it was outdoors, people were actually able to come out

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and buy the foods that they needed.

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And because food was an essential item we were okay.

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We were able to sell, um, and that really kept us going a little bit,

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but it wasn't really fruitful.

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And the reason for that is because our products don't last.

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So I can't, you know, if I don't sell the biscuits they go in the bin or I

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eat them, which I didn't want to do.

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Um, but, um, so, you know, I, I ca I couldn't predict whether I

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would, I would need five packets of biscuits or three packets of

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this, or, or, uh, what I would need.

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So I would go in hit and miss, and they go, well, that did really well

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that last week I'll produce that.

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And then not a single one would go, and then it go to the bin.

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So I ended up making more of a loss than anything else.

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Um, so whilst it was great during COVID kept us, kept our spirits up a little

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bit, um, It wasn't something as soon as we were able to use the website and

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really do that marketing and do all of the things I suggested that I said we did.

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You mentioned earlier, as soon as we were able to do that, I focused on the programs

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and the services as well, which really lead into people, buying the products.

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Um, we then decided it just wasn't worth our while doing, doing a market.

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Yeah, that makes sense.

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I didn't actually think about all these really unique challenges that you have

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because of how fresh your products are.

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So I'm assuming that most of them have a couple of days at best before

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some, some will yes.

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Um, three to four days, but some things have, you know, two weeks, um, Most

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most are sort of within five days.

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Um, but a lot of things you can freeze.

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So, you know, with our products, we always say, we give you really good, clear

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instructions about how to, how to use them and how to store them, uh, because

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that really helps with your experience.

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So for example, our caveman wraps that we make, um, they're dehydrated

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and they're great to freeze and they're actually individually wrapped.

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So you actually just stick them in the freezer when you want to take them out,

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you take one out and they defrosted very, very quickly, but they also stay in the

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fridge for ages, and they're really good for 2, 3, 4 weeks are absolutely fine.

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But then something like say our, you know, coconut cookies or energy balls,

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cause they've got no preservatives in them sort of four to five

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days, um, is probably the maximum.

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Um, but something like almond milk.

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So we make activated almond milk, which has 15% almonds,

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no preservative, literally just water, salt and the almonds.

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And that really is about, again, two to three days in the fridge.

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But again, with something like that, we say do you know what freeze it, freeze

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it into little ice cubes, and then you can use it as you need to use it.

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So it's just really remembering, going back to when we didn't have

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accessibility to really, it's a to food 24/7, and it didn't go off,

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you know, your bread stays out.

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It doesn't go off for weeks or your, your apples don't go off for months, you know,

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something, something strange about that.

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It's something a little bit unnerving about things not going off actually to me.

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Um, so it's just getting used to that way of, of living and thinking again.

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And a lot of people do it and it does work

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yeah, thank you.

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And it sounds like you give so much information as well.

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The sense I'm getting Meera is that as well as your products, you're

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just providing so much information on how to store them, how to use them,

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how to get the best out of them.

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Um, and I am certain that's something else your customers are really

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valuing as well, because it's clearly, you know, you're not just selling.

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I mean, we touched on this, but you're not just selling products.

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And while we're actually on that, let's talk a little bit about, um, some of

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your services, because I think that.

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That'd be nice to mention those as well.

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No, thank you.

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Yeah, no, we, so, as I said, the services kind of evolved from the food

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and from, uh, whatever I was going through and people connecting with me.

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Um, so the services that we offer are we do a couple of programs,

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so we work bespoke, one-to-one we offer bespoke one-to-one programs.

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And really what we do is we take a scientific approach.

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So, um, I have a team of wonderful experts and professionals that I work with.

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So I have a functional nutritionist.

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I have PTs that I work with have yoga instructors, Pilates instructors, and

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we all work together to, and also.

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a coach as well.

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So we all kind of work together with our client depending on

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what the client's needs are.

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So if somebody comes to me and says, you know, I I'm finding, I'm getting bloated.

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I can't do this without the other.

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I'll just say right.

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What we need to do.

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Let's sit down and go through everything and actually, okay.

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Perhaps you should get blood tests with a functional nutritionist and then

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perhaps if you've got issues with food.

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Maybe you need to talk to a coach and let's create a program for you.

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So those are bespoke one-to-one programs.

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Um, but we also have programs like My Don't Pause Menopause program, where it's

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a group of women creating a community.

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I've had 35 women.

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Now go through that a very small group.

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So between five and 10 women, and we literally go through

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education is key for all of the.

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All of any program you do with me, it's all about education.

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And then we use my products to create and build a kind of new way

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of thinking and lifestyle choices that really, really have had kind

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of a hundred percent success rate.

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Um, in making feel people feel so much better.

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I think the aim for me is optimal health.

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Doesn't matter what condition you are presenting with.

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It's how can we get you to live?

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In optimal health with whatever you have you know, going on right now.

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Um, so all of that feeds into the, the, the products, because we use those

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products to help people feel better.

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That's amazing.

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Thank you.

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And I mentioned before we started recording that when I was looking at

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your website, the overall sense I got is that you do a lot and you offer

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a lot, but it's all so integrated.

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And it's a really nice example of products and services supporting each other.

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So rather than being an add on, it really feels like yours integrate though.

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Everything's integrated.

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That was a real clear sense.

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I got when I looked at what you did.

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Um, and I think maybe reflect on why that is.

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I think it does come back again to the education and how passionate you are

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about educating people and helping.

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And you're such an expert in the subjects.

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I think that's the reason why it all feels like one it feels like

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one offering with separate elements.

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Elements.

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Yeah.

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Thank you.

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If that makes sense.

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No, it does and that's really how it's kind of evolved.

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And, you know, I always think to myself, it's like, uh, the, the website, the

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shop, a bit of the website almost feels like a little supermarket for anybody

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who's kind of trying to do things slightly differently, but it's also one

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of those things that if you're looking for, let's say, if you're looking for.

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Uh, Thai Green Curry Sauce.

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Why would you go for my Thai Green Curry Sauce, if you want

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chocolate, why would you go for my Dark Chocolate, not chocolate

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that says it does the same thing.

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And I think it, it really does boil down to that education.

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So my customers are either people who are really knowledgeable about, about

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the food that they're eating and very particular, um, or they're on that

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scope where they're, they're suffering with some kind of, um, illness or

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whatever it may be condition that's happening and they're actually been

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forced then to look for alternatives.

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Um, and then the kind of third sort of customer basis, just people who

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are really who just, uh, curious, um, you know, experimental, should I say.

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That was really interesting.

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Thank you.

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Um, so before we finish off, I know you have some kids subscription boxes

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that you're working on at the moment.

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Do you want to talk to us about those briefly?

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So this is exciting this is where my, you know, the, the nursery the bit I

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originally started with my original passion in life, uh, looking after

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children and educating children, kind of meets Meera's Made From Scratch.

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So they kind of come together.

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Um, so our children's boxes, our subscription boxes are going to

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be available later this year.

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They basically come in through the post and we have a different, what we're

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going to do is actually make it a little bit more exciting as we're going to

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do different foods around the world.

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So you get a map, your child gets a map, um, and every week they'll get

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of every month they'll get a, um, food which focuses from a different country,

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uh, and one product from that country.

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So if it was a cacao bean , you know, they'd get a cacao bean and

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you'd get loads of facts about it.

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You'd also get facts about the country as well.

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So it becomes a real big sort of general knowledge kind of thing where the

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whole family could get involved too.

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Um, and you know, we learned.

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You kind of bringing in all elements, bringing in numeracy and

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literacy and, and sort of geography and all sorts of bits as well.

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And then you get obviously to create a, uh, a lovely, uh, snack or dish, whatever

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it is, we decide that they T they tend to be the first few ones are definitely the

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things that are easy to make and bake.

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So, cause I think children do really enjoy that kind of baking thing.

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Um, so getting all that, so you get all the ingredients, the dry ingredients,

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and you just have to buy the wet ingredients and recipe cards are there,

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so you can store them and keep them.

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And it's really cute because it comes in kind of once a month and

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you can do it with your children or they could do it themselves.

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It's really up to you.

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Well, that sounds great.

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Thank you.

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Do you know when they're likely to be launching?

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Not yet, but later this year, probably about September, um, a little bit later

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this year, September, October time

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okay, thank you.

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Well, we were going to link to your website in the show notes.

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It, depending on when someone's listening, they might be live or

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they can, um, keep checking back, but we'll link to your socials as well.

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So people can follow you for all of the updates.

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And if any, if you do want to keep updated, actually, I, if you subscribe to

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our news, that's got a nice newsletter.

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We usually, we don't bombard people with newsletters at all.

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They're very irregular, but we literally just, when, when there's something

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new happening or a free webinar happening or something like that.

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Uh, I'm doing a free webinar.

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There are two free webinars in March, so just kind of when those happen,

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we, we post something out to you.

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So if you subscribe, then it's just a lot easier to get information straight away.

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Amazing.

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Thank you.

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I'm going to do that.

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It sounds like there's a lot going on.

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Well, thank you so much for everything you've shared.

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I've got one final question, if that's okay.

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And that is, what was your number one piece of advice be?

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And I know it's probably hard to choose, but for someone else looking

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to start up a products business, particularly perhaps one, you know,

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that they're making themselves, what would your top piece of advice be?

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I think, um, my top piece of advice is don't be put off by people

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saying, but that's already been done.

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It doesn't matter because you're going to do it differently to somebody else.

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So don't, don't, don't go looking out into, to your competitors or get

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overwhelmed by all the people may be doing the same thing because just focus on your

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own uniqueness and your own creativity.

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I put that into your product and that will make your product different

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to somebody else's, don't be put off by however many people are

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doing things in the marketplace.

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There will always be somebody who will be interested in what you are

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doing as long as that product is, is a piece of you um, it will work.

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Thank you so much.

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Thank you.

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Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode.

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If you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and

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do tell your friends about it too.

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If you think that they also might enjoy it, can find me@vickyweinberg.com.

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There you'll find links to all of my social channels.

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You'll find lots more information.

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All of the past podcast episodes and lots of free resources too.

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So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

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Take care, have a good week and see you next time.