From citybizlist –
Working “like a charm”
Sometimes, entrepreneurship for its own sake isn’t the goal. Instead, it’s the result of a quest to solve a problem.
Debbi Ascher had been on a 20-year journey of trial and error managing her ulcerative colitis and its considerable challenges. She discovered that eliminating gluten, grains, dairy, hormone-disrupting soy and refined sugars from her diet enabled her also to eliminate all prescription medicine, including steroids. Still missing, though, were ready-made, portable options that met her needs among the myriad “health and energy bars” on the market.
Debbi and Jen Burnstein – neighbors and friends, now business partners – mobilized to fill that void for consumers. CharmedBars in “Cashew Butter Apple-rageous” and other flavors came to life at their proverbial kitchen table.
They got traction immediately. And, just one year later, Jen and Debbi have been scouted for a “food reality” show. They have bragging rights to a Food Factory segment that aired in Canada for the Food Network. The chart topper, though, in the young life of this company is the seal of approval from the Autism Hope Alliance, the first non-profit foundation for autism to emerge from the natural foods industry.
Q. What space does CharmedBar occupy? Meal replacement . . . energy boost . . . healthy snack?
A.CharmedBars are fruit and nut bars that are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, refined sugars, preservatives and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They are sweetened only with honey. They are a healthy snack that can be eaten anytime of day.
Q. Why are CharmedBars being marketed specifically to women?
A.Women tend to be on the go a lot and need something portable to pop in their purse or keep at their desk. Two of the top selling bars marketed to women contain hormone disrupting soy and additives that cause gastric distress. CharmedBars are free of soy and additives. Most bars on the market are wrapped in boring packaging. We wanted CharmedBars to sparkle. We wanted women to feel good about what they put into their bodies, and carry around . . . like the perfect accessory!
Q. Is there any concern that you’re limiting your company’s success by marketing to women, when in fact the product is equally beneficial for men?
A.It’s funny . . . men are very drawn to our bars as well as women. We like to say, “Real men eat CharmedBars!” There are men who buy them who are super conscientious about what they put into their bodies. They know that eating soy is not good for them (soy is one of the main ingredients in most bars on the market) and are happy to find out that our bars are soy-free with no refined sugar. Then there are men who buy them just because they taste so good.
Q. Why do you think your product has been met with such an “emotional” response?
A.Big food companies market bars to women that are loaded with ingredients that no one – not just women – should put in their bodies. Women are insulted that they can’t find a healthy bar to eat. They literally thank us for creating CharmedBars.
We know our customers appreciate our bars because (they tell us) they are not loaded with allergens, hormone disruptors (such as soy), artificial ingredients, additives, preservatives and refined sugars.
Q. Can you reveal the reality show you were recently scouted and auditioned for?
A.We can tell you that it’s a food invention show, but that is all that we are allowed to reveal at this time.
Q. What was the feeling when you decided to embark on this venture together?
A.Pure excitement! We’ve always wanted to do something together that would help people and change their lives in a positive way. Failure was not an option, so we turned on our favorite 80’s music, popped open a bottle of Merlot, toasted to our new journey and dove in. We have been pouring our souls into this ever since.
Q. Had you considered there might be entrepreneurship in your futures?
A.Yes! We’ve been talking about it for years, but it had to be the right time and that wasn’t until last year.
– See more at: citybizlist
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