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The Oats of Success

Challenges

Rachel Joseph did not have any intention of starting a company. She was unhappy with the existing oatmeal products, and she began experimenting with different ingredients. Feedback from both her friends and family suggested she may have a marketable product. With no experience in bringing a product to market, she reached out to the El Camino College SBDC for assistance.

Solutions

Rachel first met with Larry Johnson, a Senior Advisor at the center. She dropped a pouch of oatmeal on his desk and asked what she needed to do to bring this product to market. One of his suggestions was to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. This turned out to be a groundbreaking event for her company. She was able to showcase her product to large retailers and get feedback from buyers on packaging requirements.

Rachel had been making the product at a commercial kitchen, sourcing many of the ingredients from the supermarket. Larry suggested she change production methods in order to lower costs. Rachel established relationships with manufacturers and a co-packer. In January 2017, Rachel formed an LLC under the name Rachel’s Brand. Afterward, she secured a second loan for $30,000, and earlier she had established a line of credit $25,000. Rachel also met with Laura Lara, another advisor at the El Camino College SBDC. Laura helped Rachel establish her accounting processes. Dan Hancuff, another advisor at the El Camino College SBDC, assisted her with legal contracts and trademarks.

Results

Today, Rachel’s Overnight Oats sells in Lazy Acres, Erewhon Market, Jimbo’s Naturally, and Bristol Farms in Southern California. The Oats are also at Market Street, a division of Albertsons in Texas and New Mexico. They can also be found at Kings Food Market and Balducci’s in New Jersey. In 2020, her product will be launched in Jewel in Midwest Chicago and Whole Foods North East in New York and New Jersey. An amazing entrepreneurial story that all began with a pouch of ingredients dropped on the desk of an SBDC Advisor! Rachel says, “The SBDC offers a wealth of information and support to new entrepreneurs!”

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