Vegan Mofo Day 25: Interview with Paula Bellavance from Basic Roots

With the interest in raw foods constantly growing, many people are in search of yummy treats that are not only raw but packed full of their favorite super foods. Lucky for them, wonderful companies like Basic Roots exist! Basic Roots is a Calgary-based (yay!) raw foods company  that focuses on creating an ever expanding menu of delicious raw snacks. With creative items such as Fig Bars, Choconut Bars, Macaroons and Big Cheese Crackers, you’ll be doing double takes of the ingredients label just to make sure these creations really are raw. I have to admit that it took me a while before I finally decided to try some of their items for myself, but after doing my own personal taste test I can see what all the hype is about. They were even featured in recent article from VegNews! Paula, the owner of Basic Roots was kind of enough to answer some of my questions about what inspired her to get involved with raw foods.

When did you open Basic Roots? And how did this business idea come about?

I have always had whole foods in my life as my mother was very much into the life style before it was popular, so I was blessed to have a great start into the world of good food.  My thirst for information is what lead me to the raw food world. My passion, (I have had a few) is making raw foods that people wouldn’t know were raw unless they were told.

Basic roots has been operating for about 3 years. I did not set out to do basic roots as a commercial business. We did the David Wolfe event at the university of Calgary the first time he came here. We were selling pre-soaked and sprouted raw foods at the time, and decided to make up some cookies, and a nut mix so people could taste how good raw food can taste. We sold out the first day and a few stores asked to carry product. I kept resisting, mostly because of the labor intensity of the products. We started with a couple stores just to see and now here we are.

When you aren’t devoting time to your business, what do you do in your spare time?

Yes, there’s not much spare time these days. Mostly I like to spend time with my family and friends, read and walk.

How did you get your business off the ground? Were there many obstacles you had to face to get it started?

As I said, this really wasn’t a planned business, more of an evolution that had a life of its own. I think one of the biggest obstacles was making the decision to move forward with actually producing raw food.  Finding a kitchen was a big challenge as well.

Being a unique business, did you find you had a lot of success upon opening or was it more gradual?

It was pretty successful from the start, in the fact that we had a lot of great feedback and the products were selling. It is gradual in the sense that as we grow, we have to be careful not to take on more than we can deliver so we gradually add new ways of how we do things in order to accommodate new customers.

What did you do before you opening Basic Roots?

I have a Probiotic and couple of enzyme products  that I have produced which I continue to sell. I just got a little diverted with the raw foods while waiting for the NHP numbers to come through on them.

From your experience of running a successful business, what advice do you have for others wanting to embark on a similar path?

If you have the passion, go for it. You must also have the drive and be willing to put in the hours and ride the many bumps and curves along the way and love what you do.

Why did you decide to use all organic/raw/vegan ingredients in your products?

For us it was never even an option to consider using anything other than raw, organic ingredients as that is who we are as a company. Especially as a raw food company, it is even more important to keep our ingredients as pure as possible as they are consumed in their raw state.

What are your most popular items?

The moon cookies are number one for sure. The chocolate gogi macaroons and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and fig bars are way up there. The Big cheese crackers and cashew cheeses would be next.

Who are some people that inspire you?

I would have to say that David Wolfe was my first inspiration to raw food. I also love  Mathew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis they are so incredibly talented at making amazing raw foods.

Basic Roots popular has grown, and you were even recently featured on VegNews.com. What can we expect to see in the future for Basic Roots?

Hopefully in the near future, you will see basic roots products across Canada and we are working on an online store.

Thanks Paula!

Happen to be in the Calgary area? You can pick up Basic Roots delicious treats at any of these retailers. For everyone else, in the meantime you can follow Basic Roots on Facebook and keep an eye out for updates on their online store!

2 thoughts on “Vegan Mofo Day 25: Interview with Paula Bellavance from Basic Roots

  1. Oooh, awesome, I love hearing about stuff like this in the prairies! And I’ll be visiting Calgary this year so I’ll definitely have to hunt down these snacks, they look delicious! Especially the crackers. :)

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