Bisera Urdarevik is a young maker from Michigan who has mastered the art of keeping family recipes a secret. A few years ago, she created "Lush Gourmet Foods" a small business that handcrafts nuts - peanuts and almonds, and we are hooked. Besides how delicious her nuts are, the beautiful packaging makes "Lush Gourmet foods" even better.
Never would we have thought that nuts could taste even better, but you somehow have perfected it using the best ingredients. Talk to us about your family, because your recipes are a family secret! Who was the one who started mixing batches?
You are correct; the recipes sure are a secret! My mom and her father created the Original family recipe that has now been adapted into nine flavor combinations. They experimented with the recipe many times before perfecting it with only two simple ingredients: peanuts and sugar. I added the hint of sea salt to offset the sweetness and to also enhance the flavors; just something that I learned at pastry school.
As a small business owner, what is your daily routine like if there is no set 9-to-5?
Well, there’s rarely [if ever] a day that is set 9-5. It’s both great and hard at the same time, but ultimately I love that each day brings something different. For example yesterday was strictly production and emails, tomorrow is filled with meetings and traveling up to Grand Rapids for some deliveries, and this weekend will be spent on the east side of the state sampling at a couple stores. As you can see my days are jam-packed, but most of it is fun and doesn’t feel like a job – pretty lucky I must say!
How do you stay motivated doing what you do? Because we understand that sometimes, things get hard for a one-person show!
This is a great question because there definitely are those days where it might be hard to find the motivation or drive to keep going. I find there are a couple times in the year when it gets super quiet and I have a mini breakdown, but soon realize that it’s a blessing because I can use that time to refocus and concentrate on creating a new flavor or product line; something that my customers have been asking me about. Soon enough that quiet time will disappear and it’s back to reality where it’s 10-12 hour days!
Has there ever been a day where you felt like giving up on your journey? What do you tell yourself as a reminder to keep going? What is a life motto you stick to?
There are always struggles when owning a business, but I think the biggest pitfall for me is self-doubt. I fully believe in my products (they’re delicious!), but putting myself out there is a whole other story. So, whenever I’m not feeling the most confident I take a look at the following quote to get me back on track: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Karim Seddiki
Do you think the entire economic industry is welcoming to women in this day and age? Have you ever faced any issues as a female entrepreneur? Because we know, many industries have yet to keep up with the contemporary time and we want to learn about your field!
I’d say that in general my field is very accepting of female entrepreneurs, both young and old, though it seems to be more favorable to those that are younger. It’s probably more so the fascination in that such a young person has been able to start a business on his or her own and people want to support that growth. On a day-to-day basis I don’t face any bias based on my gender or age, but I have absolutely come across people that have tried to take advantage of me based on those two attributes. Just have to learn to deal with those certain types of people!
Well, your nuts are absolutely delicious and will certainly make for a great holiday gift! Are you planning for some new flavors?
Well, thank you very much! There is a new flavor that I’ve been dying to release, but it is more of a Spring/Summer flavor profile so it’ll have to wait until then. As for the holiday season, though there isn’t a new flavor, there is some new packaging! We will be offering grab-and-go gift packs of our almonds that will feature a Mad Lib on the back so there’s no need to purchase a card. These will be sold exclusively to our vendors or by special order.
Currently, Michigan is stocking up on your products. Any idea about expansion to other states?
My motto has always been to grow organically, meaning that you won’t find Lush Nuts on every corner. That said, there’s still plenty of room for LGF to expand into other markets, with Chicago being a recent one. Other than the brick-and-mortar stores, Lush Nuts are available on our website and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S.!
What are your next goals for your company? What do you hope to achieve by the end of this year?
I always have a rolling set of goals, but the biggest one in the near future is to complete the build-out of our new production space and get that in operational mode. Once that’s set I’d love to start bringing in interns and employees! It’s been hard with the current space and I’ve been itching to get some in to help out, especially with the holidays right around the corner.