Nola Baking Co. is the playful and nutritious Toronto-based granola brand operated by founder Julie Mitz, a lawyer and mother of three who decided to leave corporate life behind to pursue her passion: healthy eating.
“I was looking for something more fulfilling than contract negotiation. So, when I started working part-time, I began exploring my other interests,” said Julie.
Julie is passionate about the great outdoors, as well as healthy eating.
“While training for a marathon in 2017, I began looking for snacks that could fuel my run and couldn’t find many. So, I started to make a nut-based granola that was high in protein with no refined sugar,” she said.
Few granola options on the market offered the protein and low sugar she craved, so Julie made her own. Seeing her granola so well received by friends and family, combined with the lack of nutritious options on shelves, Julie saw her opportunity and in 2019 she launched Nola.
Custom Pouches for the Win
Understanding the importance of a great granola package, and great design, Julie launched Nola straight to digitally printed packages so her product could stand out from traditional granola brands.
“I decided to print the bags digitally because I wanted to differentiate from the boring or ordinary bags on the market and stand out,” said Julie.
Julie says she began working with another digital printer but moved over to ePac when a colleague introduced her to the team.
“ePac seemed very professional and knowledgeable, and had better pricing. They explained all of the materials and packaging options,” described Julie. “Plus, they have their own facility and thus have more control over the timeline. I felt there was more transparency in the relationship. And the turnaround time is really attractive. As a new company, orders ebb and flow. When we find a new customer, we really need new packaging quickly… ePac helps us meet production goals and deadlines.”
With digital printing packaging, brands of all sizes are able to print small runs as they launch or relaunch products. This way they can order just what they need. And if a design or certification changes, as Nola had experienced, brands can make a quick design change and do another production run, without facing obsolescence.
“The most attractive thing about digital printing is that we don’t have to commit to a plate― we can easily make changes to the design on each production run and can order smaller runs if we know that changes are coming,” said Julie.
It’s All About the Packaging
To launch the brand, Julie understood that the right package was necessary for retailers to get excited about the brand and take the start-up seriously.
“When I first started out, I went to all the independent grocery stores and dropped off samples. I got such a positive response, and I got great placement. A large part of that was due to the packaging… retailers want their stores to look pretty too. You can’t have an amazing product in an unattractive package design,” said Julie.
Today, Nola prints its colorful packaging at ePac’s new Toronto office. The granola is sold at over 200 locations across Canada, including stores like Whole Foods, Healthy Planet, and IGA, as well as online. The brand sells eight SKUs in mini and full-sized resealable stand-up pouches featuring vibrant colors and an image of the delicious granola inside. The colorful and playful pouches stand out from the busy granola shelf by offering a more creative approach to the segment.
“I don’t think we would have gotten where we are today without the packaging we have. Granola is a saturated category― you need something to draw customers in. Digital printing can help you look more professional… more established than you are. It gives you credibility up front,” said Julie. “ePac helped get our product packaged beautifully so we could attract customers to our product in an exciting way.”
And the brand is only at the beginning of its journey. Julie says she is working on a new product line designed for children and families to satisfy the challenge of finding nutritious snacks for kids.
“We want to expand our business beyond granola to become a healthy food company for the entire family,” said Julie.
With digital printing, brands like Nola can leverage short runs & flexibility to order just what they need and then order more as the brand grows. Plus, they can make changes on the fly, update the stand up package before each run & take advantage of variable data printing to create new and unique designs all year long. Curious about how ePac can help you launch or grow your brand? Call us today.