I was hoping I would’ve published a few series for you over the last few months but one thing I’ve learned is, that like myself, every lady boss is a busy lady! Nailing down time to interview and shoot theses lovely ladies is no small feat. In Volume 2 of #TheLadyBossCollection I’m excited to introduce you to a sweet young entrepreneur with big goals and a delicious selection of gourmet oatmeal.
When I first learned of Helping Oats I was intrigued and inspired. Not only was I salivating over the deliciousness of the various oat bowls but I was in love with the message. Most of all I love seeing Anne pave the way, and setting a great example while doing it, for other young entrepreneurs. But why don’t I stop blabbing and let Anne tell her story!
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m from Lincoln, Nebraska. I’m currently a Senior at University of Nebraska Lincoln studying Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I love cats and dogs, FOOD, and meeting new people! 🙂
2. What inspired Helping Oats and how did you get it started?
Helping Oats began in the fall of 2013 while I was attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and playing collegiate volleyball. I ate oatmeal before 6 a.m. weights, after weights and before bed. I was (and still am) obsessed! Then the thought hit me…why isn’t there somewhere I can get gourmet oatmeal in a cool atmosphere? I also wanted healthier and crazier options than the usual brown sugar and cinnamon. In Fall 2015, I transferred back to UNL to focus more on academics and pursuing this idea. When I wasn’t at my day job, Bulu Box, I was doing research and working on Helping Oats.
One of my favorite stories of how I got it started deals with the health department. There was a two week span where I went there five times each week. The first part was them telling me they didn’t think it was possible to sell hot oatmeal at a Farmer’s Market and I showed them how it was possible. The second area of questions were health standard related. It was a lot of pressure from them to make sure I was doing everything correctly. From this, I ended up going there almost every day to ask questions, show them equipment, and get to know the rules better.
3. How did you come up with the name Helping Oats?
The name came from a brainstorm with a friend. I was telling him all I wanted from Helping Oats in the future. Each sentence began with “help”. Later that night he texted me and said, “Anne, just name it “Helping Oats”. It was a very Aha! moment. It was right there the whole time! The name Helping Oats can have many reasons. Here are a few of the key takeaways for the name:
4. How do you come up with your recipes?
I come up with recipes using good ole’ Google and also thinking realistically about what people may want to start the day. However, I will give all the credit for the pretzel crunch topping to my sister, Liz! I was not feeling well before the first Farmer’s Market and she helped me come up with the one recipe that we can’t take off the menu!
5. What is a typical day at work like for you?
Hmm. This is a tough question for me. I don’t really have a “typical day”. I run Helping Oats on top of being a full time student at UNL. This means that some days I have school projects on top of preparing for a catering gig the next day. An example day would include: running to the grocery store, meeting with classmates for a project, answering emails to prepare for an event, and then prepping a few hours at night.
6. What’s your advice for aspiring young female entrepreneurs who would like to start their own business?
My advice would be to believe in yourself and what your are building. One key to success in this area is to surround yourself with people who believe in your product as much as you do. You are building something new and you need to have as much support behind you as you can.
Anne’s story tells me two things: 1) You are never too young to pursue your dreams and passions! 2) Most entrepreneurial pursuits come from solving a problem. Anne did just that! And now we have access to some delicious gourmet oatmeal! Make sure to head over to Anne’s website to check out her recent menu and locations! And don’t forget to give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram as well!
I’d love to know….Have you tried Helping Oats yet? If not, head over to the Helping Oats website and tell me what you’d love to try off the menu? Share with all of us in the comments!
And if you’ve missed any of the previous volumes here are the links:
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