Auchterarder-based Erika Green is the woman behind Green’s Granola,
which is made using pure Scottish wholegrain jumbo oats, complemented
by a selection of healthy and delicious ingredients from around the world.
Erika’s previous career was in teaching and latterly publishing, and it was
while she was working as a freelance editor and in between editing
contracts that her baking business was born.
Erika explained: “I’ve always loved baking, so less time at the computer
meant more time experimenting in the kitchen.
“I decided to try and sell some of the products that friends and family told me were delicious!
“I particularly like baking with oats because of their taste, nutritional value and versatility, and so I decided to focus on baking granola using my own recipes.
“My granola is freshly baked, genuinely homemade and wholesome. I use pure Scottish wholegrain jumbo oats, generous helpings of nuts, seeds and/or dried fruit, and I sweeten the granola naturally with honey.”
The enterprise journey
Erika started out by taking sample products to local farm shops and delis, and was delighted with the positive feedback they received. Her domestic oven was soon working at full capacity to fulfil the orders that were coming in.
Realising she had to expand, she converted the garage attached to her house into a separate kitchen with a commercial oven so that she could still bake everything at home.
She says that the hardest thing about running a business is also the best part of it: “As a small-scale food manufacturer, I’m involved in every part of the process - sourcing ingredients, baking, packaging, local deliveries, sales, marketing, admin, cleaning, and so on.
“It’s hard work, but it’s satisfying as it’s all my own work. “However, I spent a long time working things out for myself and it’s taken me the best part of three years to get to the stage I’m at now.”
Erika says that she has had good support with her venture, not least of which was encouragement from her family and friends through all the ups and downs.
She also credits her mentor for being “incredibly helpful, encouraging and inspiring”, benefits from feedback from her customers and stockists, and says that “one-to-one sessions with GrowBiz enterprise facilitators, as well as GrowBiz events and learning sessions, have helped me to develop the business in a manageable way”.
Erika added: “My advice to anyone thinking about starting up in business would be to get in touch with a community-based support organisation like GrowBiz right from the start and take advantage of the ongoing free advice and support they offer.
“I first heard about GrowBiz through an advert in the local paper. I attended a few learning sessions, had some one-to-one sessions with enterprise facilitators and went to some Women’s Enterprise Network events in Strathearn.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to at GrowBiz has been friendly, supportive, ready to listen and quick to identify the specific needs of my business. They’ve also given me a lot of confidence to progress.
“Being a sole trader can be lonely at times, so meeting other small business owners at GrowBiz sessions and events is invaluable.”
Looking to the future
As she continues to develop the business, Erika is keen to increase her product range and incorporate more top-quality local produce in to her recipes.
And although she loves making the granola herself and the freedom being a small business gives her, she is realistic that as the business grows she will need to recruit additional members of staff.