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What was the seed that grew into what is now your food business?

I started TotallyNutz in December 2017. The idea came from living a healthy lifestyle whilst I was travelling with my boyfriend in New Zealand. We fell in love with a runny, tasty peanut butter that had no added oils or sugars. We used it as part of almost every snack and meal during our travels. When I came back, I realised I couldn’t live without peanut butter and especially one that was actually healthy and super smooth. I started experimenting and trying to blend my own at home with no oils or anything added to it just roasted peanuts and Himalayan salt. During my experimenting I trialed the nut butter on family and friends taste buds and then decided to see what they though and if it would sell.

The name “TotallyNutz” occurred randomly one day when my boyfriend came into the kitchen. Myself and Mum were I was blending peanuts and he said “you two are TotallyNutz” and that’s where the name came from.

From there I had to register my business name, speak to environment health to see what I needed to bring my idea to market, find a commercial kitchen to produce the nut butter in, sort packaging, find a designer for the labels, printers and source quality nuts in bulk.

What has been the biggest hurdle you have overcome or lesson you have learnt as a female food entrepreneur?

There have been and are a few hurdles I face day in day out.

Firstly, there were a lot of extra costs required to set up my business so I continued to work my 9-5 job in a local restaurant in Galway – Ard Bia. Where I still work to this day as it enables me to live my life whilst running a business, as I not only have business costs but also have to run a car, pay rent, eat and gym etc. 

Secondly, my time is precious and also a challenge. Making sure I manage my time between my day job and my business is very important for me but also super challenging. I find myself frequently going to bed at midnight as I have so many things to balance between working 9-5, doing TotallyNutz tasks after work and other normal day to day activities.

What is your best piece of advise for other aspiring female food entrepreneurs? 

Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown, if you have an idea, stick with it, work at it, improve it every day and jump straight in because you never know what may come of it.

Take risks but make sure you enjoy every day. You will have good and bad days but as long as you’re happy in what you do then you will succeed. 

Also don’t be afraid to take advice and criticism, this will grow you and your business. I would recommend continually seeking guidance from your peers and mentors which whom will give you guidance, honest opinions and help you learn and grow.

If there was training available for you before you set up your business would you use it, or did you do any training.

I did not do any training I just set up the business by registering the name, spoke to environmental health about exactly what I needed for my set up and went from there. Learnt as I went along. If there was free training I would definitely do it, the expense of courses meant that I followed my nose instead of spending money on a course.

If you had access to training what areas do you feel would help you and your business?

I would love to have training in marketing as I feel it would really benefit my business.