From humble beginnings to a booming business, Rebecca Brady, a native New Zealander and founder of Top Seedz, is changing the scope of “entrepreneurship” one box of crackers at a time. These crackers aren’t just any old run of the mill snack, they are artisanal organic crackers packed with nutrition and hand-crafted flavor using simple, natural ingredients. As the grand prize winner of the 43North pitch competition in 2021, Brady’s unstoppable momentum is making her the real top seed right here in the Queen City. What started as a passion project, has now become a product that is selling out in grocery stores everywhere.
Since the beginning, food has always been a major source of enjoyment for Brady. From early childhood with her parents’ garden to living in multiple different countries each with their own unique cuisines, she has cultivated a passion for not just flavor, but also nutrition. By combining those two things with one lightbulb moment, Brady set out on a journey that would ultimately change her life forever. At this time, she had moved to Buffalo after years of travel, raised a family, and figured going back to work was the natural next step for her life, but her ten year career gap proved to be a bigger issue for employers than she had originally thought. Instead of allowing this to discourage her, Brady did what any true entrepreneur would do- she began to think outside of the box.
“You know, there’s that old saying, ‘do something you love and you’ll never work a day’?”
So I thought, I love great food, I love nutrition and I’ve been making these crackers for everyone- everyone loves them! I was playing a lot of tennis at the time and I remember going to a match and someone asking if I’d brought ‘the crackers’ and I hadn’t! They were so upset and joked saying, ‘we don’t really care if you’re here, but where are the crackers? So I said to myself, ‘maybe I could try that’.”
And so, Top Seedz was born! She began producing crackers in a commissary space known as Quaker Bonnet on the West Side of Buffalo, and selling at farmers markets and other local spots. Alongside perfecting a killer product, she was also hard at work creating packaging that caught the eye.
“Like I said, I really had no idea what I was doing, but the one thing I really did get right from the beginning was creating the brand. It’s really something that I love, and creating the logo was really exciting.”
While she was doing loads of hard work, she commemorates much of her early success to the open and accepting arms of Buffalonians all throughout the city who took a chance on her product. From places like the Lexington Coop, to the owner of White Cow Dairy’s Farm Shop, Patrick Longo, her crackers began showing up on shelves everywhere. These small steps gave her the confidence and determination that led to larger market wins like Wegmans and nationwide Whole Foods- two giant successes and continued credible partners. The winning doesn’t stop there. Despite Brady’s self proclaimed fear of public speaking, Top Seedz was the recipient of the 43North pitch competition’s 1 million dollar grand prize just months ago.
“Well, first of all, I would rather go to the dentist than make a public speech, and the competition was a lot of Zoom pitching, which you’d think would be easier, but I’d still be sweating buckets. I was scared, but you know, I would pitch to one group and then get through and I’d call my husband and go, ‘oh my god, I made it through the next round!’ I just had to put my fear to one side and just think this isn’t for me anymore because you know, at that point I had 15 employees, and I can’t let my fear in a way because this isn’t really about me anymore. This is the whole team and we’re doing this together and I’m just doing this for us! It’s not just my little project anymore.”
Since moving into the Seneca One tower and becoming part of Buffalo’s tech and start-up ecosystem alongside 43North, Brady and her team have felt the continued warm embrace that Buffalonians have shown her all along. With a growing team of support, she feels all the more equipped to continue to expand larger than ever imaginable.
“People don’t want to see you going through what they went through, if they can avoid it. I’ve been running nonstop for the past four years and really haven’t planned anything, I’ve really just been running, trying to produce enough crackers. By doing the pitch, you’re being forced to sit and think, what are your future plans? How are you gonna grow? What do you want to do? It was all so valuable.”
With Brady’s electric personality and unrelenting willpower leading the way, there is no telling what Top Seedz can do, including making their way into all 107 Wegmans stores nationwide- yep, they just did that too.
With a success story like this, Brady is creating a new kind of legacy in Buffalo by encouraging others to take their own leaps of faith, and trust that the seemingly impossible mountains are much easier to climb by taking one step at a time.
“I remember when I finally went into my own manufacturing space being so overwhelmed and thinking, ‘I really don’t know how I’m gonna do this-I don’t think I can.’ But, when I broke it down into little steps, it wasn’t such a mountain anymore.”
To be exact on where to find Top Seedz at your local grocery store visit their website. Follow along with the team on their Instagram @topseedz to keep track of all the company’s exciting announcements.