Project description

Business Owner: Olivia Lui
Business: O Made granola
Location: Spotswood, New Jersey

Meet Olivia Lui
Olivia always knew that she wanted to own a business. This dream motivated her to gain all the experience she could from her family of experienced entrepreneurs and her time in school. The classes she took in college led Olivia to obtain a corporate job in digital marketing that provided hands on experience in the business industry. “I’ve always wanted my own business, the hardest part was narrowing down and focusing on the one idea that made most sense. I had crazy ideas from food trucks, to a popsicle business to even franchising a UFC gym!

The Start of O Made Granola
Establishing her growing business was no easy task. Olivia struggled like many eager entrepreneurs to discover a need that she could provide a solution for. As she continued on with her career she kept her eye open for startup opportunities. With the encouragement from her family and friends, Olivia discovered that her homemade granola was the a perfect recipe for a successful business. Olivia said, “I was already making granola and got great feedback from friends and family. I launched at a local farmers market and had such great success. After that day, I knew I was onto something and here we are, almost a year in and we’re in 4 retail locations (with more to come) and multiple farmers markets throughout NJ.

Secret to Success
O Made Granola isn’t your ordinary granola. Olivia sets her product apart from others in the industry by using quality ingredients and is devoted to creating an exceptional buying experience for her new and returning customers. “The O Made difference is the process of making the granola, combined with using 3 quality ingredients that really make my product stand out from the rest. Our granola is handmade in small batches using cold-pressed organic extra-virgin coconut oil, pure Vermont grade B organic maple syrup and organic Ceylon cinnamon. We use as little as 7 ingredients to make a really great tasting granola. I also focus on my customers. It is so rewarding when you know you’ve got a quality product that customers love and they keep coming back for more! That’s enough to motivate me to keep on going.”

Lesson Learned
Like other business owners, Olivia had to learn hard lessons in the infancy of her startup. She highly encourages everyone to be cautious when it comes to opportunities presented to you in the beginning of your business. Take the time to do your research on business opportunities. Making the wrong decision in the beginning can be expensive and set you and your business goals back. Olivia said, “The biggest challenge is knowing when to say ‘no’ to certain opportunities, and when to table that opportunity for a later time, perhaps when the business is not in its infancy stage any longer. I learned the hard way, which was a costly one too, to not jump into every opportunity. Really spend the time researching and getting advice from other small business owners and friends/ family before making a decision. It’s perfectly fine to say ‘no thanks’.”

Olivia also shares that it’s okay to make mistakes. She said. “When you know you’ve made a bad decision, learn from it and move on… I’ve spent countless nights losing sleep over a bad decision. It kept me from moving forward, so just shake it off and plow forward. I now spend a lot of time reading articles from Entrepreneur to get more insight on general small business knowledge. Every entrepreneur wants their business to be successful but there is no need to rush into anything. Have fun with every experience.”

Granola Goals
With her business being so successful in the first years, Olivia has many goals planned out for the O Made Granola future. Making daily realistic goals keeps Olivia on track for a bright future. Olivia shares, “I still have many short-term goals I need to accomplish before I sign up for bigger goals. I would love to have a few employees to help me scale and grow this business. I also have plans to redo my website to allow for e-commerce. I’m really having fun with my business, it’s exciting and rewarding despite the hard work it requires!”