Meet the Mumpreneur: Shauna McCarney-Blair of Heavenly Tasty
Shauna McCarney-Blair is the business brain behind Heavenly Tasty Organics, an Irish-made range of organic snacks for babies and toddlers. Shauna, her partner James and their three children, Joe (11), Cara (9) and Elsa (2) live in Seskinore, Co. Tyrone.
"Natural, nutritional, innovative, transparent and responsible - those are the words that best sum up my business.
The company began in 2011 after we launched a range of frozen organic baby purees. We were located in the Food Business Incubation centre in Cookstown where we made everything ourselves. I had two young children with severe food allergies and I found it difficult to source products which were similar to what I was making at home, and which catered for their allergies.
Our products are all organic, and are packed with superfood ingredients such as spinach, kale and coconut milk. They are naturally low in sugar and salt and contain no added sugar or salt, additives or preservatives. The feedback from parents saying how much they love our products means more to me than anything.
One of the best things any entrepreneur can have is a mentor of some description. Someone who can come and meet with you regularly to hear your thoughts, someone who can help bring perspective to your plans, and help with business strategy.
Working for myself allows me to be flexible with my time. I'm always there for school plays and sick days, which is extremely important to me.
There are drawbacks however: The business is always there. You can risk never switching off if you allow yourself to get to that point. I try and not to open emails or discuss business at the kitchen table and the evenings are for dinner and the kids' homework. Once they’ve gone to bed then I can catch up on emails and anything else that needs attention in the business.
We have wonderful grandparents who help out with childcare when we need them. My two older children are at school and attend afterschools a couple of evenings per week, and little Elsa attends crèche a few days a week.
I'd encourage my own kids to be entrepreneurs. In fact, I would encourage anyone to try it, although it's not for everyone.
My key advice to anyone starting out would be: Research your product/ market/ business idea as much as possible. Research your competitors. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people.
Right now we're working on building our export sales, creating more employment within the business and building our company to become a global player within children’s healthy snacking.