Beyond the Pitch
Video: The Toasted Oat Successfully Growing a Business from 350 to 3,000 Stores
Erika Boll, Founder and CEO of The Toasted Oat, started her brand of gluten-free granola after a successful corporate career that began in public accounting and progress to marketing and merchandising at L Brands’ Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret.
“I thought of myself as a corporate person; I never thought I would start my own company,” Boll told her audience of entrepreneurs and investors at Rev1’s November Founder’s Story.
But when Boll took a break from the corporate world, she decided to go in a new direction. After brainstorming about what type of product could be packaged and sold across the country, her inspiration came from her grandmother’s recipe for gluten-free, soft granola.
Boll made up a batch and took it in baggies to her local Whole Foods Market. The granola buyer was in the store and sampled Boll’s recipe on the spot. “She told me it was the best granola she had ever tried,” Boll said, “How fast could we get it on the shelves?”
From that moment to selling and delivering orders from the back of her car, to inking national agreements with leading distributors, including a world-wide agreement with Whole Foods corporate, Boll and her team have taken The Toasted Oat through a complete rebrand, from shelf placement in a few Columbus groceries to displays in 3,000 stores.
With candor, Erika shares the ups and downs. She talks about losing a significant contract immediately after the company received its first venture capital. Her best advice—never quit. When you get knocked down, get back up. Resilience and keeping the end goal in sight have led to The Toasted Oat growing from 350 stores to more than 3,000 in the last 18 months.
The Toasted Oat believes in real food and treasure hunts for well-loved family recipes, and that sharing those treats brings greater joy than baking them. (View the online recipe book.) The Toasted Oat handcrafts heritage recipes with the same artisan ingredients you choose when baking in your kitchen.
About Erika Boll
Erick Boll is the founder and CEO of The Toasted Oat. Her love of baking started when she was a little girl hanging out in her Grandmother Margaret’s kitchen. At the age of 33, Erika was diagnosed with Celiac disease & her avocation underwent a seismic shift. All those cookies . . . all those cakes . . . all those amazing baked goods she had learned to bake, & perfect, & love . . . all had to be completely recreated to be gluten-free or never be enjoyed again. Since to Erika the latter option was, quite simply, unthinkable, she took to the kitchen & The Toasted Oat was born. Made from exceptional, real ingredients, every Toasted Oat item is free of additives, free of anything artificial, & completely & totally free of gluten.
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