New Year, New Blog…and Happy Birthday to Us!
Like the mark of a new year so often makes us pause to stop and reflect, so too do birthdays. At Top Seedz, we’re doing both! If you haven’t caught our story, here’s a quick recap to catch you up: Native New Zealander and mum of three (that’s me!) moves to the U.S. from Japan (more to come on that fun fact…). Job searches fall empty, so said mum decides to try her hand at starting a business selling the homemade crackers and roasted seeds her friends and family fell in love with. Sounds simple enough, right? Cut to four years from that “lightbulb moment,” and wow…just wow. It’s been a fun adventure navigating the ups and downs of owning my own business. Fun fact: It’s a LOT more work than I thought it would be!
Rebecca and her family arrive in the USA, Buffalo Airport July 2015
It all began with a goal of selling 1 box. Just one. With a mix of nerves and excitement, I set myself up at the Horse Feathers Farmers Market here in Buffalo, NY. Then it happened, the first box sold. Then another box, and another—I think we sold 10 that day, which absolutely blew my mind! (They like us, they really like us…oh my gosh, now what?!) There’s that energy of starting something new that rushes through you like a beautiful wave, but then that wave grows bigger and the panic sets in of how you’ll actually be able to ride it and own it. That’s where I found myself when I realized this was going to turn into something real. I knew I’d need to roll up my sleeves and get cracking!
Rebecca at Horse Feathers and Rebecca with her first fans at Horse Feathers.
At the start of this venture, I rented a shared space to bake in, which didn’t require any capital investment—that was a bonus! I worked my tail off, as I rented by the hour. Then it hit me, if I employ people, I could make more crackers—I know, brilliant, right? I was lucky enough to have some great friends who would wake up at 5 a.m. to come and help me bake. And with larger quantities came larger customers, like Wegmans and Whole Foods.
So here we are on our birthday, four years later, and a lot has changed! For starters, we now have our own space with two new ovens that can bake 80 boxes of crackers at once—talk about a HUGE help. The things I thought I’d get out of owning my own business, like flexibility, I have seemed to obtain—cracker lady by day, soccer mum by night. It’s been so much fun seeing this little seed grow into its own, especially as someone who studied business at university, there’s an added level of reward this all brings. And, quite honestly, being able to employ people is such a gift. My wonderful employees are transplants just like me—refugees that found a home here in Buffalo and who I was lucky to connect with through Journey’s End Refugee Services. It feels like such a lovely little circle of hope and gratitude to be able to welcome them to Buffalo, just as I was.
Enormous ovens at Top Seedz Facility
Above all else, I’ve found great joy in meeting customers and talking to them about sharing a common philosophy about food, nutrition, health and wellness. I’ve always been passionate about offering my family and friends good-for-you foods that will fuel them, and now I get to expand that reach—connecting people all over the country with something that’s important to me, and that I know is important to them. Up until recently, I used to write personal notes with every online order, but now as my little business continues to grow, keeping up on that personal touch has become impossible. But I want to keep that connection going! So, welcome to my new “personal note”: my blog. Here, I plan to share with you a healthy, helpful (and maybe sometimes a little hilarious) mix of things, from what’s going on in the Top Seedz kitchen to personal anecdotes, tasty recipes, entertaining ideas…and whatever else may come up that’s worth sharing! I hope you’ll pop in from time to time to follow me on this journey. Let’s raise a cracker (and pile on that cheese!) to the new year!