Name: Juli-Anne Royes PhD
Business/Location: Juli-Anne's Tropical Kitchen, East Orange, NJ
Specialty: Our small batch, granolas are 100% all natural and gluten-free.
The problem your business solves: We provide women with simple and nutritious snacks that come in delicious flavor combinations. Our products are packed in four-ounce, resealable pouches that are convenient for those that like to snack on-the-go.
What makes your business unique: Juli-Anne’s Tropical Kitchen granolas have a flavor profile that reflects my Jamaican heritage — raw ginger to aid digestion, almonds for protein, dates for energy, flax seeds for omega-3 fatty acids and coconut for fiber. And unlike some “good for you” snacks on the market, our tasty granolas are low in sugar and sodium.
What’s your story: Like many women, I went back to work soon after my son was born. I no longer had the time to exercise and prepare nutritious meals. As a result, my health rapidly declined. I gained weight which led to high blood pressure and a prediabetes diagnosis. I knew I had to change my lifestyle.
When speaking with my work colleagues and other busy mothers, I realized that I was not alone in my quest to get healthier. So I decided to use my skills as a scientist and senior food product developer to create a food business that could provide women with healthy and delicious snacks.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it: My biggest challenge has been not having enough working capital to grow my business. I’ve overcome that challenge by running and successfully completing my first crowdfunding campaign at the end of last year. I will use the funds to hire staff and upgrade product packaging. My goal for 2018 is to continue to crowdfund and to enter food competitions.
What are you most proud of about your business: This is my American dream. As a naturalized citizen from Jamaica, I am most proud that I started with very little financial resources and have built the company from an idea into a reality. I created all the recipes and I have worked in all areas of the business from baking to packing, marketing and selling.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? I love meeting and collaborating with other food entrepreneurs.
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