It might seem like a nutty way to start a business, but Amy Brendel is counting on complete strangers to help her make her all-natural granola bars a reality.
Brendel, of Silverthorne, is using the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to help raise funds for her new business, Yello Sunshine. Kickstarter allows donors to pledge money toward the projects they choose to support.
The granola bars are made with simple, natural ingredients, Brendel said, and are left raw — chewy and soft, no baking required.
Brendel makes everything herself, and once the project is fully funded she has a local commissary kitchen lined up to work in. Brendel grew up baking and was always in the kitchen with her mom, Linda, who in her opinion is the world’s best baker.
“After buying everything else that was on the market, I decided to make my own bars,” she said. “The bars in the market weren’t getting the job done when I was exhausted.”
Through trial and error, Brendel created a bar she loved with ingredients from other bars. The original bar is made with peanuts, cashews, gluten-free oats, dates, raw coconut and chocolate chunks. Brendel also uses a natural sweetener and adds cinnamon as well — there’s no soy, something her husband’s sensitive stomach appreciated, she said.
“They are easily digestible because they are made only using nine ingredients,” she said. “They are not processed, baked or made with any artificial ingredients or dyes.”
Brendel is currently working with local vendors to make the granola bars available in the county, in addition to online.
Her project at the moment is a pistachio cranberry bar, and several others. The goal for the project is to reach $10,000 by Jan. 12, 2014; the project is currently $2,530 funded. The funds will go to cover ingredients, packaging, labels, insurance, nutritional analysis, as well as purchasing some equipment and starting up a website. As for the name, Brendel said, she wanted it to reflect her local business in Summit County.
“Considering we live in a place that reports over 300 days of sunny, bluebird days a year, I thought sunshine would be appropriate for the logo,” she said. “And the ‘yello’ is inspired by my grandparents.”
Brendel said she had a close friend who used Kickstarter before as his start-up method.
“It seemed to be the ideal method for launching this product,” she said. “I think we’re lucky technology has advanced in this direction.”
Kickstarter also offers the chance for contributors to receive different rewards for levels of pledging. Project supporters can receive granola bars, T-shirts and even free lodging in Brendel’s condo or a mountain bike adventure.
“It has opened up the opportunity to launch a local business with people from all over the world already in your corner,” Brendel said. “People can become bakers for as little as $5 and the sky’s the limit.”
To learn more or contribute to the Kickstarter, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1320914381/yello-sunshine.