From the first meeting of Casey, you could tell she was a go-getter, and then she started telling me about Casey’s Krunch. Casey’s Krunch is homemade, gluten free granola that is packaged in these amazing adorable bags that are the perfect snack after workouts, paired with yogurt and for on the go! Learn more about Casey, her vision and her krunch!
1. Casey’s Krunch is delicious and gluten-free granola! What inspired you to create this grab and go snack?
There is no denying that the gluten free trend has been growing for years now but before all the hype, in 2010 I was one frustrated, confused and mystified girl as to why I was having these crazing digestion problems. I never thought that eating steel cut oats, protein bars or whole wheat bread would be poisoning my tummy and leaving me feel like I had a balloon in my stomach! After numerous doctor’s visits and multiple test, it all came clear to me when a premier food allergist diagnosed me with a gluten allergy.
I took it upon myself to take control of my “new” eating lifestyle and began to re-create all of the delicious foods I once was able to enjoy. From all the home baking and cooking, the one product that I found to be the most versatile and convenient for my busy and healthy lifestyle was GRANOLA! Whether it be breakfast with berries, a snack in between work meetings, my saving grace on long plane rides, a post work out snack or even a late night treat on the couch- granola was my go to food!
I soon realized that aside from my homemade granola, there really wasn’t an on the go, conveniently packaged granola that could conform to the multiple facets of my lifestyle and I knew I wasn’t alone out there. So after months of just baking in my kitchen in Chelsea, I decided to take my product further and I joined an incubator program at Hot Bread Kitchen in Harlem, which has now allowed me to take Casey’s Krunch to the next level!
2. During the day you work a demanding fashion job, when do you find the time to make Casey’s Krunch and where do you make it?
Casey’s Krunch is my passion so I make time! Even though I do enjoy my 9 am – 6 pm job at a trend forecasting company, I still make the time to continue my passion and inch closer to my dreams. I leave my office in Bryant Park around 6 pm and head up to Hot Bread Kitchen (a share kitchen space- think WeWork for food start ups) in Harlem to bake twice a week from 6:30 pm – 11 pm. I love being in the kitchen so to me, it is my stress reliever after a long day in the office. Some days are really long for me as my husband, Tom, and I teach a boxing bootcamp class twice a week at 6:30 am to fellow members at the New York Athletic Club. I know it might sound crazy hectic to some people by my entrepreneurial grandfather once told “The moment you sit down is the moment your competitor is two steps ahead of you!” I am not pursuing Casey’s Krunch to be competitive but if I want to be the best I can be and take the brand to the next level- you got to hustle or someone else is going to beat you to it!
One of my good friends jokes to me that she is my CSO- Chief Sleeping Officer- she sleeps for me!
3. What advice do you have to side-hustlers straddling the corporate and start up life?
Be strategic and use all the resources you have at your fingertips! No one is an expert in every area of life or business so leverage those around you that can help you in areas that you might be weak or struggle in. AND it is okay to admit when you need help or are not good at something. It is better to admit your weaknesses rather than continuing to fail by trying to figure it out on your own. Also, starts up love to barter! When most of us don’t have tons of cash floating around- use those negotiating skills by trading services, products or wisdom rather than actual money- believe me I have gotten along way with bags and bags of granola!
4. What’s been the most exciting thing that’s happened since you started the brand?
Actually the most exciting thing is about to happen in a few short weeks when my brother, Chas, my husband, Tom, and I are opening up a pop up shop at Hunter Ski Mountain for the ski season! Chas is a barista in the city so we have paired up to open up a cafe/bakery on the first level of the ski lodge at Hunter! Tom is an amazing husband and super supportive of anything I do so he will be right by my side behind the counter every weekend! Casey’s Krunch will be the leading food vendor where we will be offering skiers BUILD YOUR OWN GRANOLA BOWLS as a healthy and fulfilling meal pre or post slopes. My dream is to have my own permanent store one day so this is one big step in that direction. The name of the cafe will be called BASE CAMP so if you come up to the mountain be sure to check us out for some premium coffee and granola!
5. Where do you want to see Casey’s Krunch in the next 5 years?
As I just mentioned, my goal in the next year is to have a flagship Casey’s Krunch cafe in NYC. We are using the pop up this winter as a test run in hopes of having a cafe in the city by next fall. Over the next few years we would love to expand and open up more stores in the city or tri-state area. The premise around the cafe is to offer a healthier and more versatile option to the already existing soft-serve frozen yogurt. Customers would pick their base granola then add yogurt/milk, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and drizzle toppings. Granola is a great way to start the morning with a fulfilling breakfast, a great afternoon snack or even a late night little indulgence- depending on what toppings you throw on there!