I love granola and I sharing stories about women that have turned their pain into triumph. I met Kortina a few years ago and she told me about her amazing granola. I told her that she had a business on her hands but she insisted that it was something she just did for fun. Well, just a few months ago she changed her mind and is taking the granola world by storm. Read more about Kortina and her mission to help bring healthy food choices to families worldwide.
Name: Kortina Smith
Her Business: Happy Granola LLC
Location: Atlanta, GA
4-time stroke survivor and mother of 5 beautiful children, Kortina Smith, has been able to turn her tragedy into triumph. She is the founder of Happy Granola, a company that lives by the motto “Eat Good. Feel Good. Be Happy!”
What products does your business offer?
We make granola that is made for the soul. Our granola is made with 10 ingredients or less and contains no preservatives or additives. We believe healthy food should taste amazing!
We love when non-granola lovers are willing to try a sample. They have such low expectations, but once they taste Happy Granola their eyes light up and for the first time they can say they LOVE granola!
Why did you start your business?
Making granola was something that came while I was recovering from 4 strokes two years ago. I had to learn how to eat clean and on a budget (hard to do with kids!). One of the things I loved was granola, but buying it at a store was not an option. It was too expensive and had way too many preservatives and unnecessary ingredients. I started searching online for recipes and never found anything I liked. After a few weeks of playing around in the kitchen, I came up with a recipe that was a winner! And Happy Granola was born!
Why did you enter this industry?
I entered into the specialty food business to create a snack that is not only healthy but delicious. We live in a world that moves so fast. Because we are constantly moving we are looking for fast and easy foods. The problem is fast and easy usually, means unhealthy. I had my strokes because of what I was feeding my body. Partner that with stress and it’s a recipe for disaster! If I can make a snack that is easy, and still healthy, maybe I can stop one person from having a stroke.
What challenges did you face launching your business?
Oh, the challenges! LOL! Well, I knew nothing about business when we got started so that opened the door for lots of mistakes to be made. But those mistakes have also become learning lessons. The biggest thing for me has been to learn that entrepreneurship is a lovely roller coaster. It has highs and lows but in the end, it is one heck of a ride!
What helped you transition from corporate to full-time entrepreneurship?
FAITH!!! I was put in a position in my former j-o-b that had my back against the wall. What it meant for me was either close my business or leave my employer. I chose to leave. My business meant way more to me than what any j-o-b will ever mean. I jumped without a safety net because I knew God put me on this journey and it was time to fully trust Him.
What corporate experience helped you with your business?
There were two things I learned from Corporate America.
1. Listen to people. You will find out everything you need to know about your target audience just through listening. While I can’t physically hear my customers, I and listen through how they interact on social media, where they shop, and what values are important to them.
2. Be Transparent. We all know how Corporate America hides what is really going on. It seems like there is always a hidden motive. It makes people feel as though the company cannot be trusted. I didn’t want that for my company. We are open and honest about where our ingredients are sourced from, and how our product is made. We want to build trust with our customers. We want our customers to know what you are putting in your body is exactly what we said it is.
What tech tools & processes do you use for your business?
Too many to count! Well, I use Shopify for my e-Commerce, and numerous apps within Shopify to run the business. Gmail or work for email. Asana for project management with my marketing firm. Active Campaign for leads. And the list goes on!
Morning/ Evening Routine:
Getting up before the kids get up! Seriously, I generally get up (or at least try to) around 5:30 am to do my devotional (www.shereadstruth.com), and dive into my personal development reading.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
“We are all just a bit stronger than we believe”
3 Things in your purse you cannot live without:
My red pen because it is fierce! My phone (I would die without it) and Happy Granola of course!
Advice I would give to my younger self:
Forgiveness is the key to happiness!
Decide to turn tragedy to triumph!
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