From law to raw: Hayes launches health food company
First product for New York-based business is all-natural, raw-vegan snack bars
Instead of providing consulting services for contracts and government investigations, Hayes is shifting toward her true passion: food.
“Especially chocolate,” she adds with a smile.
Hayes is not into junk food, though. Far from it. In order to steer clear of a family history of diabetes and find a solution to an annoying onset of adult acne, she has adopted a healthier lifestyle that includes all-natural foods. Then, in the midst of career uncertainty last October, she decided to follow her passion for the culinary arts, creating her own business, Raw Planet Foods.
The company’s first product is Raw Luv Bar, a healthy snack bar made of all-natural, gluten-free, raw-vegan ingredients like cocoa, nuts and dried fruit along with chia seeds, pumpkin seeks and hemp seeds. There is no added oil or sweeteners.
“I created Raw Luv Bar in my kitchen at home because I wanted to make a healthy snack for my mother and me,” explains Hayes. “Mom and I are both chocolate lovers but my goal was to make the bars both delicious and highly nutritious.”
She gave them out to friends and associates in the New York area, and the homemade snack bars were a big hit. Hayes then got a little bolder, handing out samples on the street and approaching local retailers.
“The feedback was very strong,” Hayes says. “I began contacting other businesses and within two weeks, I had requests from retailers all over New York City.”
So now she is faced with a rather pleasant dilemma: Everyone loves her raw-vegan energy bars and she has dozens of potential distributors – but Hayes does not have the wherewithal to meet the demand. For starters, she needs to invest in equipment capable of filling large orders and could use some up-front capital to purchase ingredients in bulk.
In order to raise the necessary funds, Hayes has launched a campaign on Indiegogo, a San Francisco-based company that helps small businesses get off the ground through “crowdfunding.” Her goal is $6,500.
Those wishing to make a contribution can visit her Indiegogo page at www.indiegogo.com/projects/launch-raw-luv-bar. Each contributor receives perks such as snack bar samplers, a full supply of bars as well as a vote on the development of the new flavor. Donations of $100 or more also include an invite to a New York City tasting party.
The product should be ready to hit in the market in the spring. “I consulted with one of the largest food labs in the country at Cornell University,” says Hayes, who is also a client of Columbia University’s Small Business Development Center. “I’ve earned my Food Protection Certificate, secured a commercial kitchen and found suppliers for my ingredients.”
In addition, Hayes has been accepted into Union Food Lab’s program as a possible production site for the Raw Luv Bar. “I see Union Food Lab as a vehicle that could put Harlem on the map as a natural food player,” she says.
The rest is up to her backers – friends, family and whomever she can drum up through her social media campaign. “I’m encouraging folks to take a bagel break,” says Hayes. “By that I mean take a break from bagels for a nutritious raw-vegan energy snack or breakfast."
For further information, contact Hayes at email@example.com or 347-856-9760.
Raw Luv Bar
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