Business Spotlight: Intelligently Nourished
Intelligently Nourished Serves Up Adventures in Vegan Desserts
Calgary's entrepreneurs are known for their ingenuity, as evidenced by Carol Pierce, owner of Intelligently Nourished. When she, like so many others, were laid off during the energy downturn, Pierce turned her baking talents into a business — but she didn't create just any bakeshop. She created a company that delivers vegan baking kits so Calgarians can eat healthfully while still indulging in sumptuous desserts.
"I am a professionally trained chef and spent several years working as a pastry chef for restaurants and hotels long before I began working in the energy industry. While I still use many of the skills learned during those years, my focus is on creating whole food, plant-based desserts that that are as beautiful to the eye as they are to the taste buds," says Pierce. "The integrity of ingredients is a cornerstone of everything we do at Intelligently Nourished. We create our kits with health-conscious shoppers in mind. As much as possible, all of the ingredients are organic, and all of our recipes are oil-free, vegan, and low in sugar. Some of our dessert kits are also gluten-free and all of ready-to-eat cookies and gift boxes are gluten-free too. That said, we do not work in a gluten-free facility and cannot guarantee that our products are free from cross-contamination."
Her experience, and moxie, meant she had a leg up in getting started.
"I had the skillset for this line of work — everything from large scale volume baking, recipe development, packaging and presentation allowed me to take an entrepreneurial leap and know that I would create a good product. I had the confidence to start, even though I didn't have everything figured out at the beginning. I was willing to take the risk. Managing all aspects of a business is daunting and I knew I would have to become comfortable with the lack of financial security."
Even with all of her experience and drive, there was a sharp learning curve. Pierce explains, "I'm not a trained marketer and I've had to learn what works (and what doesn't) each step of the way. In fact, I am still learning. Even now, I can spend a lot of time spinning my wheels figuring things out. If I were starting over, I'd focus on just one marketing channel at a time, be it a blog, vlog, or social media platform, and get each one working well before adding another."
She continues, "What I wouldn't change is choosing a business I was passionate about. I truly love what I do and can't imagine not doing it. That doesn't mean that the business won't evolve or change over time, it just means that I have a deep sense of fulfillment doing what I do, and I am rewarded every time a customer tells me how much they enjoyed one of my products."
Pierce loves that she gets to be creative every day. "Baking is fundamentally a science, so I have become a bit of a kitchen alchemist because I don't use conventional ingredients and leaveners, such as dairy, eggs, oils or butter when I create new recipes for my kits. I also minimize the amount of refined sugar; some of our recipes have no refined sugar at all. I absolutely love developing recipes that are profoundly healthier than anything you can buy on the market today."
Although the kits are vegan, Pierce finds the term a bit subjective.
"I prefer to call myself "plant-based" or "whole food vegan" rather than "vegan," because I haven't adopted a fully vegan lifestyle," she says. "Veganism is about more than food — it's a way of living, as much as is possible, without food, clothing or products made from the exploitation or cruelty to animals. My focus is solely on food. I love the way my body feels eating oil-free, minimally processed whole foods. The fact that a plant-based diet is consistent with compassion towards animals and benefits humans, and environmental health is a bonus."
Clients from all food lifestyles love Intelligently Nourished's healthier options, especially the signature cheesecake and chocolate cake.
"We recently added a line of ready-baked gluten-free cookies for people who prefer to buy our products ready to eat. We bake these cookies using the same high-quality vegan ingredients that you'll find in all of our kits and we are overwhelmed with the positive reviews and comments that they have received," Pierce says happily.
If you have yet to try Intelligently Nourished confections, you have plenty of options for your first treat, including some new offerings. "Consumers can look forward to us rolling these out locally in higher volume very soon," concludes Pierce.
Learn more by visiting intelligentlynourished.ca.
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