Monday, July 14, 2014

Getting to know the makers of Nothin' but Nola

Hi y'all! We're Leslie and Lauren Rhew, mother-daughter duo and creators of Nothin' but Nola! We started this beautiful business venture together about 9 months ago and boy, has it been a fun (and crazy and hard and exhilarating) ride so far! We love what we're doing and stinkin' love granola ... and food, in general! But we want to be more than just another granola brand.

We want to be real. We want to be authentic. We want to be a way of life -- a way of life where you are able to do good, give back, and change the world by eating good food! There is something powerful in knowing that you're helping others by doing the things you would otherwise do on a daily basis. Like topping your morning yogurt with some granola. For us, we're not only chasing our passions but we're building careers and a company, while giving back and helping others.

We are just as much a part of our brand as our scrumptious granola is, so we thought it only fitting for you to have the chance to get know us a bit. So here goes!

Tell us your story (give us the juicy details but keep it short)! 

Leslie: Well ... I am a mother and a wife. I am married to a wonderful man and we will celebrate 30 years together this year. I have 3 beautiful children and two grand-children. I am an oncology nurse and am very passionate about oncology and cancer treatment. I have been an oncology nurse for 30 years this year. Wow, this year is a big year! I'm passionate about what I do because cancer is an illness that affects an entire family. It's very rewarding to help people through that journey. It helps me to appreciate every day.

Lauren: Hmm, I can be a little long-winded so I'm not sure I can be as concise as Mom! I was raised by two amazing parents that showed me what true love really looks like. It's not always pretty. It's not always easy. But it sure as hell is worth it! That has made me so much of who I am today. I was born and raised in the south and North Carolina is where my heart is (and probably always will be). I grew up with some of the most amazing friends a person could ask for. Some of the friends that I met during Kindergarten are to this day my very best friends. As a little girl, all I wanted to do when I grew up was become a teacher. That changed when I went to college and became fascinated with the wonderful world of business. I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and shortly after, I moved out to Colorado to follow my heart (the love of my life). Colorado has stolen a little piece of my heart. So now I'm working from afar on this beautiful business and handling all of the behind-the-scenes sort of stuff (like this blog).

What's a fun fact we should know about you?

Lauren: I have a chocolate addiction. I love chocolate. Everything chocolate. Or well, everything sugar. It's probably not a good thing!

Leslie: The first time I ever played golf it was my with father and my now-husband (we weren't married yet!) and I hit a hole-in-one on a par three!

What's the story behind Nothin' but Nola? Why did you start the business?

Leslie: I had been baking this delicious homemade granola for several years that everyone loved. I would take it to work and let the ladies try it there and share it with family. Lauren and I have both always been very passionate about food. We love cooking together at holidays and celebrations. So when she was exploring opportunities and looking for a new career, I told her to market my granola. And she said, "well help me!". That was when the business was born.

Lauren: Yeah, pretty much! Mom was making this amazing granola and for awhile it was just another great recipe she made (there are a lot ... like her Chocolate Lovers' Pie!). Then everyone started telling her she should sell it. She'd been telling me for about a year that I should market and sell the granola. It took about a year of convincing and me hopping around trying to find "the right job" before I finally took her up on the offer. For years I've known I wanted to start my own business one day. I just didn't know what that was. I also have an insane love of food -- everything food! So I knew that I wanted to work in the food industry. Last August, I was leaving my job to start working in the food industry and trying to gain some experience. It was about that time that Mom once again pitched the idea of me marketing her granola. The rest is history!

Aside from making granola, what are you good at? Got any talents?

Leslie: Hmm.. I'm a good swimmer. I can do a mean butterfly stroke! That's where my biceps come from! I like to think that I can sing :) And I've recently learned to knit and just finished my first prayer shawl!

Lauren: I don't know that I have any of your "normal" talents (what's normal anyways?!) like singing, painting, sports, etc. I'm good at cooking ... well I at least like to cook. I love experimenting and trying out new, random recipes. I'm also pretty good at talking. I probably talk a little too much sometimes! Oh, and I'm good at being loud. I can be very loud if needed! :)

Who does all of the baking?

Lauren: Mom does!

Leslie: Yes, I do the baking! It's my quiet time to recharge. I love smelling the delicious cinnamon and vanilla from the granola while listening to K-LOVE.


If you could travel to one country you haven't been to before, where would it be and why?

Leslie: I think it would be Australia. It seems like a very interesting country with beautiful beaches, The Great Barrier Reef and all of the animals. I've just always wanted to go there!

Lauren: Italy, for sure. It is such a beautiful country with so much to explore, but truly I want to eat and drink non-stop. The food and the wine. That's all I want. I would be happy spending my days on the patio of various restaurants eating, eating, and eating with a glass of wine. And learning Italian! Oh, and biking the countryside too. And a few visits to the Italian beaches would be nice! I think I would need a month to do it all!

What's your favorite southern dish?

Leslie: This is a tough one. I have lots! Mama Rhew, my mother-in-law, was a great southern cook. She made the best potato salad in the world and the best biscuits and gravy. My mother loved to make casseroles. She made delicious squash casseroles and other vegetable casseroles. I also love homemade ice cream!

Lauren: Oh, good ol' southern food. It's a blessing and curse. It's delicious and it fills your soul but it usually expands the waistline too! I have to say I love biscuits and gravy. My fondest memories as a child are waking up at my grand-parents house and smelling bacon, eggs, and biscuits and gravy. My grand-mother did indeed make the best! Now my Dad makes them and it feels like she's right there in the kitchen! We only eat them for special occasions now, though! Maybe once a year! I also love chicken fingers. Love them. My heart is sad that there aren't any great chicken places in Colorado like there are back home. Sweet tea has my heart, too!

What's the story behind the name (NBN)?

Leslie: When I was baking the granola for family and friends I would take some to my grand-daughter, Lilah, when I would visit. She was 18 months old at the time and just learning to talk. So she called it "nola". I started referring to it as "Nana's Nola"(my grand-children call me Nana). So when we first decided to start selling the granola we wanted to name it "Nola" but when we did research that name was already taken.

Lauren: So we had to get creative. The granola was already "Nola" to us. We'd been calling it that for quite a while. So we played around with various names using the world nola and decided on "Nothin' but Nola". We think it's pretty catchy!

Your mission is to change the world, one bag at a time. What does this mean and why is it so important to you?

Lauren: For every bag we sell, we donate on healthy, nutritious meal to a person in need. To me this means that anyone can change the world, which is exactly what we believe. When YOU buy one bag of our granola, YOU're helping us to give a meal to someone who would otherwise go without. You're changing their day and you're changing their life. This is how we can change the world, one small step at a time. Our mission is of utmost importance to me. Without it, I wouldn't feel the same about selling our granola. I don't think there is any reason why we shouldn't be building this one-for-one model for ourselves. You need food. You like granola. Why not buy a bag that gives a meal to someone else who needs food but has a much more difficult time getting it. We live in a world of excess. How much food does your family throw away every week? Probably too much. Me too. If we're throwing away perfectly good food day after day, no one should be going without. So when we have the opportunity (and ability) to give to those who are less fortunate than us, I think we must.

 Leslie: I became passionate about hunger in this country when a gentleman spoke at church. He talked about volunteering at the kids' cafe at the Second Harvest Food Bank (where Nothin' but Nola donates). He told a story about a young boy who came in one day very irritable. The gentleman spoke with the young boy to find out what was wrong. The little boy eventually told him he was hungry because at home "it wasn't his turn to eat that meal" so he hadn't eaten yet that day. In this country no one should go to bed hungry. There is bountiful food everywhere. We are a country of excess. We throw away and waste too much.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know us! We would love to get to know you! So comment below and tell us a little bit about you! And if you would like to learn more about our daily shenanigans you can follow along below:

Lauren's Instagram
Lauren's Twitter
NBN's Facebook
NBN's Instagram
NBN's Twitter

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