Campfire Interview Series features innovative startups that are not current investments of Campfire Capital’s Venture Capital Fund.
By Monique Loveless, Writer at Campfire Capital.
Every bar is still baked by the founder, making Nola Bar a delicious handmade snack.
A nutrient dense bar made with pumpkin seeds, almonds, quinoa, chia, with a date, honey and coconut oil base makes the Nola Bar the epitome of Paleo perfection. The Nola Bar was created by former FASHION magazine editor Jordan Porter who is a self-professed lover of spending time in the kitchen baking. Now based in San Francisco, she still makes every single bar that is shipped out with the aid of two kitchen helpers that assist with the baking, packaging, and shipping.
Jordan’s passion to source fresh, good-for-you ingredients is infections and has allowed her to create a company that she is proud to call her own. Her story is an inspiration to other entrepreneurs who have found their passion, and have decided to take the rewarding risk of creating their own startup. Now, working out of a shared kitchen Jordan gets inspiration from different ingredients for her growing business. Yes she is still very much in love with her 220 calorie original bar, but the bigger question was if she could market them to the public. So far the reaction has been amazing – but how could it not when the product is delicious (we tried it and can attest to how amazing they truly are!) and surprisingly versatile bars which are great for a midday, pre or post-gym snacks.
Campfire Capital spoken her about sourcing the right ingredients, making the perfect bar that she still loves to eat every single day!
M: How did the company start?
J: About five years ago my husband introduced me to the Paleo diet. I had struggled with digestive issues since I was a child and it just got worst as I got older. I would give up bread or meat or dairy for a year and nothing would ever work. I tried the Paleo diet and it was a dream! I have not had a stomach ache in five years. It changed my life. The one drawback was it was great when I was at home, cooking was easy, but when I wanted a snack I could never find something that worked. It would always have one ingredient that I couldn’t have. So I started making my own. I began making them for myself and my husband while we were still living in Toronto. Then we moved to San Francisco for his job and I found myself with a lot of time while I waited for my work visa to be approved. I saw this time as the perfect opportunity to start something new and rewrite my past.
M: That is a huge change! How did you take on the challenge?
J: I just dove in. I went to work on perfecting the recipe. It was fine for home consumption, but in order for the bar not to fall apart I needed to rework the recipe. Though my favourite way to eat them is crumbled into smoothies and eating it with a spoon, I needed to think about portability and packaging.
M: A lot of the bigger companies are looking into making healthier options. How is Nola Bar different?
J: It was a really big thing when I started the company every single bar and granola said they were healthy. But I had to think about my point of differentiation from these so-called “healthy” bars. Every other bar wants to get on a grocery store shelf. We don’t! We have absolutely no interest in it. That is way we went with a direct to consumer model.
M: Since you have no desire to be on store shelves, are you going to exclusively stay e-commerce as you grow?
J: I would love to stay an e-commerce business. We do that currently in two ways: our one off orders and then we have subscriptions based orders. Right now office subcriptions are a big thing, especially in San Francisco. Out here companies are really amazing for providing super healthy snacks to their employees.
In terms of retail I love working with other companies – we are in Earth Bar, which is in all the Equinox gym locations in San Francisco and throughout Los Angeles. I love Earth Bar because of what they stand for. They are also happy with small batch orders so I do weekly deliveries to ensure the bars are not sitting on the floor in the back for months and months. This way their customers are getting something that is fresh and tasty! We are also at a lot of Barry’s Bootcamp locations. This is a great match because after the workout you need something super good to help re-energize. The bars are not low calorie so they give you a good amount of energy after such an intense workout!
M: How do you source your ingredients?
J: San Francisco is incredible! I get different ingredients from different places. It took a lot of research – from calling different farms and distributors. I have been really lucky with distributors making exceptions as many won’t work with companies unless they are a certain size. We source our cherries, which is an ingredient in our original bar, from a family farm just north of the Bay Area. They sun dry their cherries – there is not sulfur dioxide, no preservatives and no sugar added. It is amazing and a really great family business.
M: It sounds like you are building really great relationships as well with the companies your source from.
J: Yes we are. We use this incredible organic white quinoa in our bars. The company we get the quinoa from is called Andean Naturals, which is run by Sergio Nuñez de Arco, who was called the “King of Quinoa” by Times Magazine . I called them and he happened to pick up the phone. Now they donate the quinoa to me as a small startup business.
M: Any products in the works?
J: The grain-free granola is in the packaging stage. It (granola) is having a moment – well it is having another moment.
We also had a wonderful Kickstarter campaign with four different options for a new flavour: Dark Chocolate Banana Bread, Apple Pie, Chocolate Coconut Crush, and Blueberry Cardamom. The Kickstarter let people vote for the flavour they think should be next in our product line. People who pledged then got a box of the winning flavour and the early bird pledges received a box with all four flavours.
Nola Bar currently ships to the United States and Canada.
For more information and to see what flavour won the Kickstarter campaign visit Nola Bar.