Some Background on Oat of the Ordinary
Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview Chara Krangle, Co-Founder of Oat of the Ordinary. A gluten-free, vegan, superfood, high protein oatmeal. OTO comes in 3 delicious flavours, Cacao Coconut, Raspberry and Blueberry Cinnamon that utilizes real food and ingredients to provide a delicious flavour you can feel great about.
Oat of the Ordinary can be enjoyed instantly by adding hot water or overnight style by soaking the oatmeal in your favourite plant based milk. Oat of the ordinary are a women-owned and operated business on a mission to provide healthy convenient products.
Gap in quality, nutritious options
The company launched in October 2020. At the time Chara had been practicing as a holistic nutritionist. She advised that due to her schedule and lack of options she had created a recipe previously that she was bringing with her to her classes she taught. This quick solution was the epitome of efficiency while also checking off the boxes for nutrition and body fuel needs. Over time she started to receive feedback from her students that they were experiencing the same difficulties. "They would leave class and head to a cafe, bakery, or coffee shop and consume a quick food item that was high in sugar. The body would work to process that and receive an immediate surge in energy followed by a crash shortly after. Then they'd be on the hunt for another high sugar option to replenish the energy depletion they just experienced. It was a vicious cycle.", Chara explained to us.
She had the formula in front of her as she was consuming it often, but had not considered it to be anything more than her solution to a problem. But over time she realized the problem impacted many individuals. Rarely are there quick options that are designed to fuel the body intentionally, focusing on nutritious benefits, and tasting good. Then Covid hit and Chara's outlook changed.
We asked Chara what made her make the jump and create Oat of the Ordinary, "Without Covid, I'm not sure I ever would have started our company. To be honest, I was so busy with what I was doing, I don't think I could have convinced myself to step away from any of my responsibilities to jump fully into this. But at that time everything slowed down and we all had time to reflect on ourselves and our lives." Chara had a change in perspective, a desire to help, a calling to serve. She continued, "I realized I had created a unique solution to a problem so many faced. I was already helping individuals chase their goal of a healthy life, but I had a product that could assist so many more. I decided to jump in."
Chara credits her career path to her ability to develop and grow the brand of Oat of the Ordinary. She started off going to school for acting. This has enabled her to be extremely comfortable in front of the camera. Chara also mentioned the importance of rejection and how valuable it can be. "In acting you're being rejected almost every time. It taught me not to be scared. And that rejection doesn't mean you aren't worthy or it is a bad idea, sometimes it just isn't the right time", she told us. Then she gave us one of the favorite quotes we've heard to date...
"Rejection, no...redirection, yes"
She also learned over time how critical it was to stay on top of nutrition while on set potentially all day. It was around this time she really took an interest to nutrition. She told us she always had a unique relationship with her body and nutrition, claiming not only did she want to fuel her body but enjoy what she was consuming as well. She then went to school for nutrition. During this time, she realized there was so much pertinent information she was learning that was not available to the public, especially women.
Soon after Chara connected with Almost 30 podcast as their community manager. She planned and executed a lot of their events. It was around this time that she came up with the recipe while she was constantly traveling. Little did she know that recipe would lead to the creation of her own company!
Chara credited each career journey as integral contributors to the growth and success of OTO:
Confidence and comfort being in front of the camera from acting
Nutrition background from school
Community building from managing events for Almost 30 podcast
Separation, Bankruptcy, Supplier Switches
Oat of the Ordinary tackled the gap in available options from the beginning. Quick and easy items are out there, but rarely are they designed for the body. Chara exploited this, setting out on a mission to provide true fuel for the body. She shared with us that in Canada there is only 1 other company that provides oatmeal with this level of protein in it. That company has a different demographic than OTO. Chara said compared to oatmeal options in general, her company excels in being low sugar, while providing protein and fiber. To provide so many nutrients and flavor and doing so in such a quick manner is the proof of concept. And that has allowed Oat of the Ordinary to create such a strong community with a backing that Chara is so incredibly grateful for. However, there have been many hurdles behind the scenes for the company.
Chara shared with us that in 3 short years the company has gone through extreme challenges including:
Legal separation from her legal partner that company started with
The distribution company went bankrupt
Multiple co-packer switches
Enough to potentially sink any company, let alone a start-up. But not for Chara, she relied on those tools she had acquired along the way and rebuilt herself and her company through each difficult situation. The adversity would indeed test Chara and her company, but she refused to be broken.
I had no business starting...
While Chara had the recipe, then the product, and all those past experiences to lean on, she lacked one important component, operational experience. She shared with us, "I had no business starting this business. I had no experience in CPG. I lack operational experience and are having to learn in real-time while building a business, which is scary and stressful." She credits her ignorance because she didn't know any better. She had to learn as she went and adapt. She had to manage all this new education and learning experiences while trying to balance funding, increase in ingredient prices, managing margins and cash flows for a start-up.
But ultimately Chara remembered the goal of the company, "Embracing where you're at, having grace for yourself in the wellness journey. Trying to feel your best every day. We want our community to own each day, without having to take a massive amount of time and effort from a busy schedule." Because she understands the power of this product, knowing the ability it holds to serve and help is what fuels her. And with that she continued to push forward.
She shared with us, "No one will care about your business as much as you do." Last week her company did something for the first time and in that moment she realized how difficult it is to stand out, be noticed, secure partnerships, and scale your company. "You're just a number, one of thousands...", Chara mentioned.
And yet look at where Chara finds herself now. She just completed Oat of the Ordinary's first tradeshow attending the CHFA East Expo.
Our community and continuing to serve
Not only is Chara thrilled with the community that Oat of the Ordinary is building, but she also wanted to credit another community. The community of fellow entrepreneurs, especially women. Chara mentioned how crucial the support system has been on her journey. "Being in the CPG space, brand new, and as a women, it is incredible how tight knit the community is. Over a short time, I've created a rolodex of incredible women to share info and resources with. It is rare to find this in most industries and I'm so grateful for this luxury. It makes me feel way less alone on a very lonely journey as a founder."
The company loves to serve and as a result partners with a local school district providing heathy breakfast for their hot school program. As OTO continues to grow and expand, Chara plans to grow this initiative as well throughout not only Canada, but the US as well.
The products are found in over 250 retail locations across Canada and are beginning to enter the states here as well through independent channels. She explained to us how as Founders there is so much emphasis put on growth that often times, acknowledgement of said growth is forgotten. An example of this is a goal of OTO to reach Whole Foods, "I thought that would make us, it was such a huge moment for us. Everyone talks about the feeling of walking into the store and seeing your product on the shelf. Well I got to do that, except they had priced my product $5 more than we agreed to." Not the fairytale moment founders are accustomed to! Luckily it was quickly ratified, but Chara's comments ring true, often times it is hard to step back and appreciate the strides a company makes.
This has led her to focus celebrating the wins more frequently no matter how small. We closed our conversation asking Chara what she appreciates most about her company, she elaborated, "The reviews and testimonials. There is no better validation, nothing compares when I get to hear how our product supports their lifestyle. I'll be having a crappy day, then get a message and puts it all back into perspective." Having the community say that the product made a difference in their lives and the opportunity to understand her customers and that OTO is serving a purpose keeps Chara going.
Piece of Advice
Our conversation with Chara ended with her sharing some advice for our readers.
"About a year in to business I had major slap in the face. Even though I had a bad gut feeling, I went with it anyways. Ultimately I had to learn. Most pivotal aspect is having conversations with other entrepreneurs and people in the space. If you are not sure if you should take a deal or make a certain decisions, talk to as many people as you can. Take all that info and sit on it, then shut out the noise. Gathering opinions is great, but remember that every journey is so different. See what the consensus is then make the decision but DO NOT forget to trust your gut."
The company is about ready to relaunch single serves in 2 flavors. They love this option as it emphasizes the efficiency of bringing the product with you wherever you go.
Want to try Oat of the Ordinary? Buy directly from their website and use the code below!
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