Mia McCarthy is an excellent example of a woman who started on one pathway (studying BA Dip Ed Primary), but ended up on another after discovering a gap in the market. Mia jumped on the opportunity to fill this gap and embarked on her entrepreneurial journey…
1. Tell us your story:
During my final year of university (age 22, studying BA Dip Ed Primary) I saw a gap in the market for a ready-to-go bircher muesli products available in the retail environment. I then went about testing this concept on family and friends.
Once I saw there was a gap I started trying to gain some market traction in my local area. From there the company grew to a a small commercial kitchen where all the products were still being made and packed by hand. The response to Yummia was overwhelming and I knew for this product to work we had to transform the manufacturing process to a more scalable model.
In 2013 I partnered with a large manufacturing factory in Victoria. From here we have been able to achieve a higher quality product, consistence and shelf-life, as well as having the infrastructure to produce large batches at a time and machine pack the product. We are now a supplier for leading retailers such as Woolworths small format stores, as well as independent grocers, cafe’s, restaurants etc. in both the retail and food-service environment.
I’m personally based in Sydney and production is based in Victoria. I travel back and forwards between the two depending where I’m needed. We are in the process of expanding distribution channels both nationally and internationally so at the moment there is a bit of travel involved.
2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I never really sat down and set out any goals, although lots of them have happened incrementally. At first the goal was get the product stocked in a few shops. Once you achieve a goal it’s easier to reach for the next one, so the goals we look to achieve are all in response to current circumstances and opportunities presenting themselves at any given time. It’s much easier to move forwards when you look at the little goals along the way rather than the big picture.
3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?
I work best with lots of little goals, not necessarily one big goal. So different goals will require different a deadline and skill set. Although depending on the goal I’m working on I do need to plan and be organized to work to achieve that. For example at the moment we’re launching two new products. So I need work backwards from launch date. The most important thing with Yummia is shelf life, so once this testing comes through we can then work to the goal of organizing packaging for print, generating new sales, accounting and inventory that is associated with a new product and once this is all planned we can establish a launch date.
4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
There have been so many. One of the biggest was the commercialization process of essentially a hand made product into a factory. I learnt so much during this process – both about product and also personally about problem solving and never giving up to seeking a solution to push forward. It was really testing although luckily we achieved the goal and now have a great product as a result.
5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
At the moment I don’t want to be doing anything else. I’ve found something I’m really passionate about and love working on a product that is so close to me, so until I lose this drive I’m inspired to make it work.
I also have a bit of a guilt complex about Yummia, there have been so many people who have helped and supported me along the way that I guess I am more afraid of failure and letting others down than I am with achieving success.
6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Never have one ultimate goal. If you have lots of little goals along the way they are easier to achieve and more encouraging to keep going. I try to compartmentalize every aspect at Yummia, so there are lots of different goals to achieve, which keeps it fun and interesting.
7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
Consolidating business growth and establishing Yummia as a household brand and product that is part of daily or weekly consumer habits.
Check out www.yummia.com.au for more info on Mia and her brand…