If you know me, there's nothing I love more than a little female empowerment. I am so into hearing women's success stories - girl power is SO real. That's why recently, when I had to opportunity to talk to Chicago entrepreneur Brittany Chibe, founder of Paleo Scavenger (only my FAVORITE granola in the WHOLE world) I totally jumped at it. You guys, this granola is FANTASTIC and has quickly become my favorite yogurt topping. I was so excited to chat with Brittany about her granola, her inspirations, and what it's like owning a small business.
Introduce yourself & your company a little.
My name is Brittany Chibe and I'm the founder of Paleo Scavenger, a paleo-friendly granola company. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (Orland Park FTW!), and now reside in the city. I LOVE to bake, and I'm pretty sure the first gift I ever asked for as a child was an easy bake oven. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are in the kitchen with my mom and little brother baking cookies and eating the dough off of the beaters. My enjoyment for baking and recreating gluten-filled treats that I grew up with into paleo-friendly ones led me to starting Paleo Scavenger. We make a better-for-you, soft and chewy granola that's grain-free, low in sugar and filled with healthy fats.
What inspired you to start your business?
I started the business just over two years ago with the mission to make clean eating easy and accessible. At the time, I had been following paleo for a couple years and had overcome a chronic sports injury and reduced inflammation in my body. I felt so good eating this way that I got really passionate about sharing all-things-paleo with others. I've always been a baker, and because it was so hard to find paleo snacks at the grocery store, I made my own granola to take with me on-the-go. As I shared it with friends and family, it turned out to be a huge hit with just about everyone. I had been working in the food industry for several years was ready to do my own thing. After much thought and restless nights, I decided to take a leap of faith and use everything I had learned over the years to launch my own food company.
What have been your biggest challenges in starting your own business? What are you proudest of?
My biggest challenge is asking for help. I've always had the mindset that I can do everything, and if I don't know how to do it, then I will learn how. One night I found myself learning how to write code to fix a small change on my website. After struggling for well over an hour, it finally hit me...why the heck am I wasting my time on this?!?! Hire someone that actually knows what they're doing, dum dum! And so, now when I need help with my website, or graphic design, or marketing, I find someone to help. It is such a weight off of my shoulders and the best part of it is that I get awesome insight from people that are pros in their field.
What advice would you give to other young women chasing entrepreneurial dreams?
Two things - have a partner and ask for help. The one thing I wish I could change about PS was that I wish I started the business with a co-founder. The emotional rollercoaster of starting a business is unlike anything I have ever experienced. The high and lows are REALLY HIGH or REALLY LOW. Plus, I have no one to share the good and bad things with. When I get a new customer or any piece good news, it would be awesome to be able to celebrate that with a partner. And when I get bad news, it would be easier to cope with and move on if I had someone to discuss it with. In terms of asking for help...see above.
Who's your favorite successful lady/role model?
Hmm this one is tough. There are so many successful females that I admire. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be my mom. She put herself through grad school and got her PhD, all while raising three babies on her own. She has always been and continues to be my rock and one person that I can count on for absolutely everything. Right after she retired, I told her that I was starting a business. Well, that took my mom right out of retirement! Sorry, Mom!! She was with me every week in the commercial kitchen baking granola, delivering orders to stores, coming with me to trade shows, and always encouraging me to keep going even when I wanted to give up. I truly believe that I turned into the successful woman I am today because I grew up watching her do it all and always strived to be just like her.
If you could go back to when you were 20, what would you tell yourself?
Ha! I think about this quite often, actually. I would tell myself to relax and enjoy the little things. Spend more time with family. Have more fun. I've always been so serious about school, grades, deadlines, etc., but really, I could have cut myself some slack back then and take more time to enjoy life.
What's YOUR favorite thing to eat with Paleo Scavenger?
If I'm not munching on the granola right out of the bag, I like to use it as a topper on this smoothie. It adds just the right amount of crunch!
Um, pretty cool lady right?! Thank you Brittany for chatting with me - and check out Paleo Scavenger at paleoscavenger.com and at select grocery stores in the Chicagoland area!