NEW CLIENT - Talking with Natalie Vanderick from 'I Just Love Breakfast'

This week is all about female businesses. Natalie Vanderick, the founder of ‘I Just Love Breakfast’ creates crunchy artisanal granola in funky flavors for your instant happiness effect in the morning. Created, produced and wrapped in Antwerp. Before creating ‘I Just Love Breakfast’, Natalie worked as an architect. During her one year stay in New York for work, she tried granola at a flea market and that was most tasty and crunchy one she had ever tried. She started creating granolas herself and left her job as an architect to become a creator. Instant breakfast happiness. We had a chat with founder Natalie Vanderick, just like do for our section WWW's where we dive deep into the WHO, WHAT and WHY of their brands. Result? An inspirational chat with Natalie and a talk about her road to success. Happy reading!, @ijustlovebreakfast, #ijustlovebreakfast

Hi Natalie! Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your background and education? My name is Natalie. I’m an always smiling woman, '50 and fabulous' (sounds way better than just 50) and born and raised in Limburg. By training I'm an architect and this has already brought me to many inspiring places, such as New York where I lived for about a year, followed by a three year stay in Rotterdam. As you can see, design has always been my passion. At the time, I was given the opportunity to become the head of the design school in Brussels, a challenge which I accepted with great honor. Today you can find me in Antwerp, Ruisbroek, where six years ago I started my story with 'I Just Love Breakfast'.

What intrigues us is that you are an architect with a granola business! Do you sometimes make the connection between the two? I think every architect wants to make people happy. As an architect, you try to go beyond your client's dream and surprise them with a project that transcends their expectations. Unfortunately, the process of execution is grueling since in the construction world, hardly anything goes according to plan. As a client, you go through this once, maybe twice in a lifetime. As an architect, you experience it permanently. It was time for me to make a switch.

Granola development is actually not that different from my previous job as an architect. It's about making someone else happy. But without all the hassle ;). It also starts with a 'sketch', a test that can be adjusted. This process takes time. Our Strawberry Mango Granola had been on the test shelf for two years because there was 'something' missing. The recipe finally came together, thanks to a really good mango I found at a fair. Finding the perfect rose petals of our newest flavor #4 was also a real challenge. Organic qualitative rose petals are hard to find, trust me! The same goes for our design and packaging. I developed all the packaging myself and a graphic designer helps us look at the graphic aspect. Several times, printers and packaging machines have been put to the test by us as we like to experiment with things that have not been done yet.

‘I Just Love Breakfast’ is about homemade flavorful crunchy granola. In what way are the products and your business future proof? We only make products that we fully support. Our strength is definitely that we prefer to surprise with something unexpected, rather than follow the trends. This explains the conscious choice to produce our products in house. Genuine artisanal granola with a tasteful experience that fundamentally differentiates itself from others, that's ‘I Just Love Breakfast’. Our biggest fans are people who occasionally bake granola themselves, they really taste the quality and the difference. Creating a high quality organic product in a warm authentic team, that's what works for us.

Starting a sustainable and future-oriented business is not always easy. Do you have good tips for the next generation of entrepreneurs? From the start, I defined a number of values for myself that I didn’t want to differ from. These help me to stay focused on my own company, because sometimes you feel pressure from stories of other entrepreneurs that leave you confused about your own approach. In my opinion it's crucial to build your story from your own point of view and above all, stay close to yourself and your values. I've become much more aware of my own path by setting up my values.

- My family
- 'I Just Love Breakfast 'as a great place to work for myself and my team
-Transparency in nutrition and working with only pure natural ingredients.
- Granola as a fresh artisanal organic bakery product
- Sustainability, from a critical informed search for what seems to be the best options for us right now.
- And last but not least, sharing the joy of the morning!

In addition, as an entrepreneur, it is important to realize that Rome wasn’t built in one day. In my case, it was essential to keep reminding myself to take one step at a time in which selling organic granola was more important than aiming for that organic certificate at day one. In an ideal situation we would like to visit all the plantations where the ingredients come from, but realistically speaking this way of working is still far off. However, being allowed to purchase the needed ingredients was already one step in the right direction, followed by another improvement in which we’re able to order directly from the farm.

How do the flavors of the granola take shape? Are there new flavors on the way? By working on it daily, new ideas come naturally. The Roseberry Granola is our newest flavor, created because it is fun and above all, very tasty! See the press release about our fresh new flavor.

As a final question, which flavor is your favorite? I do have a habit of eating a new flavor for months once it's launched, so now you'll find the Roseberry Granola in my bowl every single morning. I combine this flavor with vegetable yogurt, no extras needed to start my day!

Thank you Natalie, for the inspirational talk! We wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!
Intrigued and want to know more? Check out I Just Love Breakfast and get inspired.

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