“We’ve had great feedback from customers all over the world – from Argentina to the Caribbean to Germany.” There's increasing demand for granola in the capital and abroad - and Hedie Howells, the founder of Husk & Honey, is determined to feed it. She's moved with her business partner, and sister, Verity, to Club Workspace to concentrate on growing her granola empire.
Hedie's passion for granola was both a happy accident and nutritional necessity. She was looking for a break from her work in psychology and spontaneously jumped on a plane to Brazil, soon discovering that there weren't many options for a vegetarian in meat-loving Rio. Apart from one. Hedie found herself eating granola-topped acai bowls for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was delicious, healthy and remarkably aromatic.
When she came back to the UK, she couldn't kick the habit, eating it at work, preparing it for friends and honing her homemade recipe. She admits: "I got completely hooked on these honey baked clusters." But soon she noticed that colleagues, friends and family were clamouring for the stuff too. When a friend asked her to be on one of the stalls at the food market she had set up, Hedie realised there was demand for healthy granola made with 100% organic oats and high quality, natural ingredients.
Since that turning point two years ago, the Husk & Honey brand has grown quite considerably. Hedie stopped working in psychology last year and Verity left her role in investment banking recently to help build the brand. In the typical laidback fashion of someone who is truly ambitious, Hedie accredits the brand and marketing to quick decisions and some generous outside help. A graphic designer friend sent over a few logo options and they have developed it from there. They now have a bakery in Bethnal Green and are continuously expanding their distribution.
We wanted a place where we could work together and an environment which was encouraging to work from.
Hedie Howells, Husk & Honey
Coworking has been key because there are now two of them who make the decisions. Hedie is honest about the benefits of bringing someone else on: "Business isn't my forte, granola is my passion." Verity can now concentrate full time on building the ultimate spreadsheet, getting a financial strategy in place and automating a lot of the administrative processes. But before they did that, they went on a tour of the Californian coast, travelling from LA to San Francisco, because, as Hedie remarks, “they have a vibrant food scene- it’s an excellent place for inspiration!”
They moved into Club Workspace a couple of months ago. "We wanted a place where we could work together and an environment which was encouraging to work from. It's inspiring to be surrounded by passionate individuals from a wide range of industries. For Verity, who has a corporate background, Fleet Street was ideal." Coworking has professionalised their business and given them space for meetings.
Now the sisters are considering taking on investment. Hedie hasn't needed it so far, and she's proud of growing the business with their profits. They were thinking about investment from friends and family, the crowd or angels but are now leaning towards the more "traditional route": people they know with a real enthusiasm for what they're doing.
Husk & Honey cater for parties and breakfast bars, hiring freelancers when it's especially busy - which is increasingly the case. They're now stocked in Raw Press in Mayfair and Chelsea, De Beauvoir Deli in East London and of course Java Java Coffee in Workspace Fleet Street. Husk & Honey are focusing on independent stockists at the moment. They want to maintain the high quality on which they pride themselves - competing "on quality rather than price". Hedie believes that there is enough of a market for high-quality health food - and that it's growing.
Depending on the orders, they make hundreds of kilos of granola a week. I ask her how they've managed the rapid growth. Again, Hedie keeps it simple: "hard work."
Hedie and Verity are offering an exclusive offer on Husk & Honey for Workspace readers. If you want a taste of Husk & Honey, simply enter the code ‘WORKS10’ at checkout to secure 10% off your order anytime in October.
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