Goodness Gracious…

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Devon selling her granola at the Fife Food Festival this year. Photo: Kathryn Cherkas
Devon selling her granola at the Fife Food Festival this year. Photo: Kathryn Cherkas
Devon selling her granola at the Fife Food Festival this year.
Photo: Kathryn Cherkas

Fourth year student Devon Williams hit the sweet spot with her wholesome blend of local business and social entrepreneurship 

As a healthy yet delicious breakfast option, it is hard not to love granola. Devon Williams is the brains behind Goodness Gracious Granola (GGG), a local student business launched in 2014.

Why granola? 

Having said that she is “not a team sports kind of person,” Devon, a fourth year Social Anthropology and Art History student, said she wanted to find something she could really be passionate about. She was already regularly making granola for herself when a few friends tried it and commented on how delicious it tasted. When they joked that she could sell it, Devon wondered why not?

After all, Devon was not only experienced in making granola but she also has a strong interest in eating healthily. It seemed like a natural and sound business idea to launch a product that was unlike anything that was currently being sold in the surrounding area. Devon even mentions that the timing was just right because it seemed as though 2014 was “the year of the start up!”

A business acumen and determination

Goodness Gracious Granola is not the first company Devon has been inspired to create. In the wake of the Japanese tsunami in 2011, Devon and her brother founded a t-shirt company. She was still living in the US at the time, but her brother was based in London, meaning her first business was transatlantic.

“So many things went wrong,” Devon laughs. “There are still t-shirts in my parents’ basement!” She adds that it was important to make these mistakes initially, because it meant that she was able to avoid repeating the same basic errors when she created Goodness Gracious Granola.

Having said that, things have not always gone to plan with GGG. For example, the time when Devon both “ran out of jam jars” and lost her original recipe. These misfortunes turned out for the better, however. She was forced to change her packaging, which smartened up and became more professional in the process. Additionally, the granola recipe also improved since Devon decided to experiment and alter the ratio of ingredients. Devon selling her homemade granola at the Fife Food Festival early last month.

Launching Goodness Gracious

The 2014 Fife Food Fair, sponsored by the Fine Food and Dining Society, was instrumental for Goodness Gracious Granola. Voted the Best Student Entrepreneur, Devon found that the Fair was the perfect platform from which to launch her company. It provided the perfect opportunity for her to transition her business from one supported by friends and family to one supported by customers.

The Fine Food and Dining Society also put Devon in touch with local suppliers, who now provide many of the ingredients in the granola, including oats, honey and rapeseed oil, all of which come from the Fife area. “During Raisin weekend,” she says, “a local farmer drove into town to deliver 12 kilograms of oats!”

More than a business

The slogan of Goodness Gracious Granola is: ‘Good for the body and good for the soul.’ This is appropriate for a nutritious cereal that contains natural sweeteners like homemade applesauce. Part of the company’s ethos is that half of the profits are donated to St Andrews Families First, a charity that provides support to local families with children aged five to 16. Devon decided to give back to the community because it had been instrumental in helping her set up. Goodness Gracious Granola truly a local business. Any ingredients that can be produced locally are, and those that cannot, namely coconuts, are sourced from co-operatives so as to adhere to the business’ mission statement.

What’s next for Devon?

Devon says that the business has really helped her to gain insight into the world of social enterprise, and even though she does not know what she plans to do in the future, founding and managing her business has taught her invaluable skills.

As to what’s next for Goodness Gracious Granola, Devon graduates this year so the future of her business is uncertain. However, until then there is plenty of granola to go around. Those who attended DONT WALK last weekend received a sample in their goody bag. Hopeful customers can place orders via the Goodness Gracious Granola Facebook page or can purchase jars of the stuff at The Old Cheese Shop on South Street for £4 apiece.

Devon can be contacted at: dpw.gggranola@gmail.com.

Granola for sale! Photo: Devon Williams
Granola for sale!
Photo: Devon Williams

Calling all student entrepreneurs: The Saint hopes to feature more stories like Devon’s in upcoming issues. If you or someone you know has started a business while studying at St Andrews, please contact features@thesaint-online.com to discuss sharing the story behind it.

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