I believe good food can fuel us to do great things in our lives. I also believe everyone should have access to it; Good food should not be a luxury. In addition to being central to our well-being and sense of self, it’s an integral part of how we engage with the world around us and impact others. As someone with Indian roots, Canadian birth, a New England upbringing, who has spent her whole adult life in NYC, food is mutlicultural. Food connects. Food energizes. Food is even spiritual.
As a portrait photographer and as a woman, I am motivated by the desire to empower. While on shoots or at gallery openings, I often got into passionate discussions about food’s importance in the world and how critical it is for millions of people who don’t have access to food, let alone good food. The decisions we make individually and collectively are vital.
As a food manufacturer, I am motivated by the desire to empower through good food. I started Bija Bhar because I wasn’t finding delicious, quality, affordable, healthy convenient food products on store shelves that I wanted to eat, and was able to prepare when I had the time.
Bija Bhar began with an epiphany. After completing a juice cleanse, I was playing with pantry ingredients, especially superfoods, in an attempt to please my palate and my tummy. Mixing sesame seeds, coconut, cacao nibs, chia seeds and flax seeds together with a little sweet and a little spice – I suddenly knew I had something special – the base recipe for my Decadent Energy Crunch, a healthy snack that eats like a treat!
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
At Bija Bhar, our deliciously innovative organic superfood beverages and snacks are good nutritious handcrafted food that can empower and fuel us to do great things in our lives.
For our first beverage – Resilience Blend, instant turmeric elixir- I wanted to take the ancient Ayurvedic cure-all and put it in a delicious, versatile and convenient form that was virtually as potent as the fresh root, and made better by being perfectly blended with ginger, whole lemon, maple sugar and black pepper. These ingredients not only enhance the potential benefits, they create a blend that is soothing, refreshing and crave-worthy. It took a year of research and testing with various suppliers before I found a farm that all my Turmeric and ginger comes from. It’s grown with love in rich soil and dried with minimal heat then ground fresh, at low temperatures, for every batch.
This shelf stable powder is highly absorbable, full of antioxidants, and has hundreds of potential benefits – like the powerful anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric. It can be used by simply mixing it in hot or cold water, or in smoothies, teas, or even hangover reducing cocktails! It also compliments any number of sweet and savory dishes.
Our seed and cacao snack that doubles as a treat is called Decadent Energy Crunch and it happens to be vegan, gluten free, paleo, nut and soy free, high in fiber, low in sugar while still being absolutely satisfying and full of chocolatey goodness. It’s a great functional snack, and a low glycemic treat that takes you through the afternoon slump, fuels you through workouts but also makes your breakfast or dessert more satisfying! It is available in our original with a hint of Cayenne or in Cinnamon & Vanilla Bean
Bija Bhar offers the best quality, minimally-processed, nutrient dense ingredients in balanced blends that bridge the all too frequent divide between healthy and tasty. They are filler and additive free, and have naturally long shelf lives and are handmade in small batches in Brooklyn, NY.
What is the purpose of this loan?
One of the hardest things in a startup is managing growth with minimal and sometimes no profit. When I have to use every penny to pay rent, insurance and minimum quantities of ingredients I can manage with, time does not get used as efficiently as it could and growth is extremely slow.
A larger supply of turmeric and ginger chips from the farm in Hawaii will ensure that I can continue larger productions of Resilience Blend until the next harvest in 2017.
Professional design work and new labels will communicate the products more effectively on store shelves and new labels will reduce the time I now spend manually cutting different label sizes.
Working capital will allow me to spend time and money on critical-for-growth needs that profit just cannot cover. For example, a Chinese medicine grinder that will speed up grinding with lower heat accumulation and a small depositing machine that will allow me to fill up to 27 times the number of 2 serving Resilience Blend pouches per hour. This equipment along with additional helping hands in the kitchen will improve efficiencies and allow for greater, more cost effective production moving Bija Bhar much more rapidly to the next phase of growth.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years