Each month in 2014 I will feature a female entrepreneur from Northern Ireland. I find these smart and creative women inspiring and I hope you do to. Last month I featured owner of online lifestyle brand myluxe.com, Lynn Woods. This month it’s Jill Crawford, the businesswoman behind luxurious homemade granola brand ‘Just Live a Little’.
You started making granola to sell on a small scale in 2011 and you’ve now built up a business selling a range of granola goodies through large supermarkets. What made you want to make granola?
My husband David had been working for a yogurt company at the time and had a stall at St George’s Market in Belfast and I had the idea that a really nice granola would make a great on the go breakfast. The granola took off in a big way and people were asking to buy it to take home and so I began selling it in sandwich bags and the rest, as they say, is history!
What has been the most challenging aspect of growing your own business?
Cash flow and time are the age old problems for most small businesses. It is so true that cash is king and if you want to grow your business it really is up to you and you have to really be prepared to work 24/7!
You live on one of the most beautiful places in Northern Ireland – Strangford Lough – with your husband and two children, and that’s where you run Just Live a Little. How do you juggle family life and professional life?
Running the business from home does give me some flexibility, I am able to take the kids to school everyday. However I am on the roads of NI most days and sometimes on the red eye to the UK or further afield so it wouldn’t work without team work and being very organised. I am also very good at making weekend plans.
What did you do career-wise before Just Live a Little?
I was the Community Director at Business in the Community which although was totally different to my world now it was good grounding for multi-tasking!
What do you love most about the work you do?
The variety. I get to meet lots of different people every day – from buyers to customers to other producers. There is no such thing as routine! I am also getting to go to lots of exciting places with the brand, including San Fransisco, Paris and Mexico, so I never get bored
Do you have a motto that you live by, and if so what is it?
It has to be “Just Live a Little”. This is how I came up with the name of our company. I am passionate about working hard but also enjoying life’s simple pleasures – hitting the beach with the kids whatever the weather, having picnics, sleeping under the stars and making the most of every day.
How do you like to unwind?
I am an avid holiday booker! I love going away with my family and enjoy looking forward to a trip as much as the actual trip itself. I love entertaining friends and having a large glass of sauvignon and some good laughs. I also try to fit the odd run in to balance the excesses, plus the exercise usually leads to some new ideas!
Whilst the Just Live a Little website will soon be live, you can visit the JLL Facebook page.