Parents in Business: Michaela Of Nutmad

After years of creating and craving activated nuts, Michaela now offers them to other passionate snackers who want to eat healthy without compromising on taste.

My name is Michaela Hardt and I am the founder of Nutmad. I’m 41 years old and live in SW London with my husband and twin daughters, who are almost four years old. Before I started my healthy snack business I worked in PR in Germany. After moving to London and having my children I decided to start my own business, which I hoped would give me the opportunity to work, but also the flexibility to spend time with my young children.

The Business Idea

The idea was to create a product that not only tastes delicious but also offers a whole spectrum of health benefits. Healthy food is commonly considered to be bland or boring compared with less healthy food options, and snacking is often considered to be a guilty pleasure.

Since trying activated nuts they’ve been my favourite snack. I have been making them at home for family and friends and was impressed by how much better nuts taste after they’ve been activated (soaked in water) and that they didn’t leave me feeling bloated or heavy as other nuts did.

I discovered that this is because nuts contain natural chemicals which help them to sprout at the right time, trouble is the same chemicals can put a strain on our digestion and make us feel bloated or uncomfortable. These chemicals also effect how our bodies absorb the healthful nutrients found in nuts. Activating the nuts solves all of these problems to create the perfect nutritious and delicious snack.

Together with positive feedback, the growing demand for healthy snacks gave me the confidence to turn my hobby into a business. At the end of 2017 I launched Nutmad with just two products – plain and salted almonds. A year later I added three more products to the range, and all five now make up the Nutmad healthy snack box.

The Challenges

I am not a techie person, so building and maintaining a website was something I had never done before. Finding the right people to help me wasn’t easy at first. Just two weeks after going live my website went down, which was a disaster! I didn’t have any idea what the problem was or how to fix it and so had a few days of enormous stress until it was sorted.

Social media is the shopping window of any online business. Creating meaningful and engaging content for my audience is very important. It’s an ongoing learning process for me, it can be fun, but can also feel overwhelming sometimes.

There was a period of time when I struggled, not finding a free minute for myself. It made me realise that I needed to pace down and that health comes first.

The Good Part

One of the things I love about building a business in London is the small business community, which is very supportive. There are lots of opportunities for networking and meeting likeminded people to be inspired and motivated by.

Working in a completely new industry means a lot of learning, which makes the entrepreneurial journey very exciting. My biggest achievement this year was receiving the Great Taste Award for one of my products.

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