There’s a bold new cracker on the block and budding young businesswoman Eve Laird crafts them with love right here in Whistler.
In Laird’s search for a snack that delivered both crunch and flavour, without a feeling of being overstuffed and undernourished, she spotted an opportunity — a serious crack in the snack industry.
“I couldn’t find a cracker that was wheat free and also yummy enough to snack on by itself,” she explained.
Taking matters into her own hands, Laird began experimenting with different recipes using only wholesome ingredients. “Many cracker recipes later and I had finally crafted something that was delicious, crunchy and nutrient dense,” said Laird.
With flaxseed as the main ingredient, the crunchy crackers are high in fibre and protein. “People are often surprised to find out that my crackers are free from wheat, dairy, eggs, refined sugar and added oil because they are so yummy and as some say, addicting,” said Laird.
With conscious snackers calling for recipes that crack down on harmful ingredients, these artisanal small batch crackers hit the spot as a smart alternative. Eve has amassed an army of local ambassadors who are going crazy for her crackers and her healthy enterprise is on the rise.
Going to market
Laird introduced her creations at the Whistler Farmers Market. The move put her product in the hands of locals and global summer resort visitors.
With discerning palettes sampling her new snacks, she was able to gather direct feedback and valuable insight.
“The exposure I have gotten from farmers markets has been great,” she said. “Being able to test out my product in the farmers market is really a dream come true for a new business.”
As a tasty testing ground, the markets showed Eve that her product was a hit and ready for retail. The snacks are now stocked on the shelves of 10 retail locations and counting. Whistler spots include Nesters, Olives Community Market and Purebread. While locals can drop by her bakery in Function Junction, fans near and far can now order from the online store which just launched last week on evescrackers.com. Plus she’s back at the bustling Whistler Farmers Market every Sunday.
Laird also credits the success of her savoury startup to a lot of “local love,” an extra special “only in Whistler” secret ingredient.
From the army of supportive “taste testers” who she worked with at the Lululemon Whistler store while experimenting with different cracker concoctions, to fellow solopreneurs who are creating meaningful self-sustaining businesses, the community has been incredibly motivating to this budding entrepreneur.
“Whistler is such a supportive community filled with inspiring creatives and do-ers chasing the entrepreneurial dream, looking to help and collaborate with others along the way,” said Laird. “I would never have started my own business if it wasn’t for the encouragement of my family and community in Whistler.”
This business plan has baked in a hefty serving of collaboration, development and networking. By exploring a variety of avenues to grow her business and hone her entrepreneurial skills, Laird has learned a lot.
“Throw yourself into the community of makers and shakers that work in your industry,” said Laird. “I have stumbled across wonderful opportunities and connections in the food industry by participating in food startup courses, being a vendor at markets, and introducing myself to those I look up to in the industry.”
Laird also received a government grant that allowed her to enroll in a food industry mentorship program. With this enthusiasm to learn, it would seem this baking business is only just heating up.
When asked for her own words of wisdom, Laird humbly replied, “the day a 26-year-old gives ‘words of wisdom’ will not be today! I am still learning as I go and rolling with the punches. I love receiving words of wisdom from leaders in the food space, but I don’t think I am quite seasoned (pun intended) enough to do so.”
Make business easy — tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber of Commerce showcasing a Whistler business innovating in their sector.