Image by Katie Kozar/TheDigitel
Some of the best (and tastiest) things in life are just meant to be shared. Charleston's own Nicole's Nutty Goodness is a perfect example of that.
When Nicole Rager's mom stumbled upon a recipe for a delicious, health-conscious snack at a raw foods seminar six years ago, Nicole never thought a dehydrated fruit and nut bar would one day make her a living. It was a light, sweetly good-for-you treat, and Rager loved it so much she confesses to having her mom send it from Nebraska to Charleston.
Once her mother got tired of making the snack, Rager decided to hit the kitchen herself. She changed the recipe a bit and made it her own, appropriately naming it "Nicole's Nutty Goodness."
Although Rager didn't set out to be an entreprenuer, her college degree in biopsychology and spanish provided a good foundation for her business. "I was thinking of heading to med school or grad school for psychology. I began making the goodness for fun as I waited tables trying to decide on a career path." Nicole's 'fun job' started getting busier and busier, and eventually she decided to quit her job and make the goodness full time.
"I shared it with people because I thought it was the most amazing stuff," explains Rager, and she received rave reviews from family and friends. Eventually Nicole got a few local coffee shops to carry her product, and the Nutty Goodness buzz grew and grew.
This decision proved as a smart move, as now four years down the road, Nicole recently launched her own online store. Not to mention, Nutty Goodness can also be found in Whole Foods, Earth Fare, local farmer's markets and coffee shops all over Charleston, and beyond.
With delightful flavors such as Cherry Chocolate Chip, Whey Good, Espress Yourself, Peaches 'n Cream, and more, this is one scrumptious treat you won't (and can't) stop eating. And better yet, you don't have to feel bad about giving into it's temptations. Each bar is made locally with plenty of raw and organic ingredients, and is 100% good for you, even if it doesn't taste that way. Most flavors are vegan-friendly, others are infused with whey protein for extra goodness.
Nicole keeps her recipes fresh by listening to her customers. "I hear a lot of suggestions on business and recipes, and I just try to let them roll over me and see how they feel. Some stick, some don't. If they stay with me and ignite excitement rather than stress, I usually pursue it." And it's that creative drive that fuels Nicole. "For me as a business owner, I have to let that creative part of me play every now and then or I will forget why I started my business in the first place."
Nicole also thanks Charleston and it's support for keeping Nutty Goodness going. "I Love Charleston for the support they have given me and the goodness! I am verbally encouraged all the time by strangers, other business owners, friends....everyone! People rave about the product, yes, but they also make me feel like I am doing a great thing."
Future plans for Nutty Goodness include meeting a few sales goals, and moving into more stores, but overall Nicole is going back to the mindset she had when she first started Nutty Goodness. "I started my business with 'Well, lets see what happens...' and I kind of feel that way now. I want to keep doing what I'm doing and do it better, more efficiently and with more fun and see what happens. If I keep having fun, keep making a product that makes people happy, and can keep food in my belly, a roof over my head (maybe an occasional pair of new high heels) then I'll keep on slingin' the goodness."