Mia McCarthy is the founder of Yummia, a company that specialises in a range of ready-to-go bircher muesli products for both the retail and food service trade. All products offer a unique point of difference on current breakfast offerings by being completely ready to go for immediate sale and consumption.
yummia.com.au @yummiaaus facebook
Breakfast is the new black.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
I started Yummia in 2011 during my final year of university completing a BA Dip Ed (primary). I had developed a habit of having bircher muesli for breakfast and wondered why it could not be purchased ready made. Once I saw this blatant gap in the current retail breakfast offerings I decided to start playing around with recipes and testing the product on family and friends. I would trundle up to training, friends houses or babysitting with bircher muesli in hand, gaining feedback along the way. I saw people connecting with the product and going out of their way to come by my house to purchase some, so I knew there could be potential for the product in the retail market. I then went around into shops in my local area and tried to generate some sales and it has kind of grown organically from there.
Please explain your business model.
When I first started Yummia I was a sole trader. I have since brought some business partners on board who have helped with the commercialisation of the manufacturing process. We have a board of directors who each bring a specialised role to the business. We share the profits among the directors once all expenses have been paid.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
We’re working on launching two new flavours into the market which I’m really excited about. This will double our commercial range and hopefully expand our customer base by appealing to a wider range of palates. We also have plans for national and international launches, moving into new states in Australia and expanding into overseas markets.
How do you make ideas happen?
I suppose I have reached a stage with Yummia where I don’t want to be doing anything else. This is really motivating, because it’s my personal desire to keep the business going that gives me the determination to pursue every avenue and keep going. You also need a degree of flexibility to be able to grow, adjust and change. The best way to make something happen is to get started!
What does your typical day look like?
There is no really typical day as each day is filled with different jobs depending on where I am. If I’m in Sydney a typical day is started at the gym, this is a non-negotiable part as it gets me up and ready for the day and also provides the best problem solving time. It’s then back to the office to do emails in the morning, phone calls, orders, sales etc. I then often head out in the afternoon to spend some time on the road with new shops or head to the storage space in Sydney and make sure stock can be ready for the allocated delivery day. Sometimes if really stretched I jump into my car and do last minute orders but try to get it all ready for the driver.
If I’m interstate I try to arrange meetings prior to being there so I know where I have to be and when. I will also try to get around to new shops and do some sample sessions when I’m away.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
There are so many. When starting a business you wear all hats so each aspect of the business presents a different challenge. I also launched Yummia with no industry experience and at 22 was quite young, so that in itself posed a challenge. The commercialisation process of the product was a bit more complicated than I first anticipated, although luckily I have an outstanding production team behind Yummia working to produce the best quality product. Refrigerated logistics will forever be a bit of a headache.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Breakfast is the new black.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
I think the Australian supermarket majors are doing a really good job at changing the face of food shopping in Australia in response to consumer habits changing. Gone are the days of aisle upon aisle of pre-packaged goods on shop shelves. They are offering consumers fresh and healthy alternatives and really changing the whole supermarket shopping experience.
What about internationally?
You can see that Australian supermarkets are looking to the successful habits of overseas supermarket chains, e.g. Tesco Express and M&S food hall.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
I think businesses can advocate for social change by adopting their practices to support the change they desire within their own work ethos and environment. For example, if health and exercise is important to the business then by allowing their workers a healthy work environment and flexibility in working hours to go and work out, they are creating the change within their own walls.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
I would like to support Fresh Tracks, which is a charity that helps the rehabilitation and recovery process of acquired brain injury.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Apart from @yummiaaus ….
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
I would love some help with the PR and marketing side of Yummia!
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
How do you best use social media to direct followers into retail shops and purchase products?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
I love the Botanist at Kirribilli (Sydney) for some drinks, tapas and catch up with girlfriends!
We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?
We could offer a months supply of breakfast (although this does depend on the state the winner is located in as refrigerated distribution can be tricky!).