This week on my Mums in Business series I’m really excited to be introducing Parul who is the face behind Wholey Moly alongside her husband Meenesh. The business was set up when Parul and Meenesh became frustrated by the post 3pm slump. Instead of relying on sugary treats they wanted something that would be healthy, quick to eat and provide that much needed boost, and so Wholey Moly was born.
Since then dreams have been achieved with Wholey Moly now being stocked in Selfridges. But that hasn’t been without the dreaded imposter syndrome taking hold, hard work and the constant juggling of family versus business life, all of which have been overcome as the business has progressed. I loved interviewing Parul for my series and you are sure to enjoy reading her business story.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Wholey Moly?
Hi, I’m Parul, I’m mum to a one year old boy and with my husband Meenesh founded Wholey Moly.
By trade I’m a management consultant at Ernst & Young, although for the past year I have been on maternity leave, juggling being a new mum and supporting Meenesh with launching Wholey Moly.
At Wholey Moly we are on a mission to prove healthy doesn’t have to be boring, we do this by making healthy cookies which are made from 100% natural ingredients which have all the taste, loaded with nutrition but without any of the junk.
It wasn’t easy to create, we ripped up the baking manual and started from scratch, you won’t find any of the usual suspects in our cookies… no butter, refined sugars, empty calories or guilt, just honestly good cookies. This means our cookies are vegan friendly and packed with nutrition. They are also high in fibre, have as little as 5g of sugar which is 50% less than your average healthy snack bar and a source of protein. Plus the cookies are made from superfoods such as cacao, coconut oil, hemp, seeds and nuts, loading the cookies with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants.
What were your motivations for setting up your own business?
Meenesh and I had the idea for this business two years ago when we were frustrated by the 3pm slump being met with a bombardment of sugary treats on offer in our corporate offices. We still wanted something that tasted sweet but why couldn’t it also be good for us?
When we looked in the market for alternative healthy snacks and all we found were sugary snacks claiming to be healthy that actually aren’t that good for you.
So we decided to make our own nut and honey bars at home to take to work, work colleagues started asking what we were bringing in and after trying it asked for more themselves, it eventually evolved into a flapjack and then a cookie, and demand at both our workplaces were growing, at which point we had a light bulb moment – if there’s nothing in the market satisfying this problem and people are demanding it why don’t we turn this into a business and so Wholey Moly was born.
We’ve always talked about having our own business and was a chance to make it happen no matter what obstacles come in our way. If anything it will be a great story to tell our little cookie monster when he grows up as he has very much been part of our journey so far.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
With great difficulty! It’s a constant battle juggling priorities and sometimes feels like I’m taking on too much. Since starting a business and having a baby I have learnt to be more organised and efficient. This means setting aside time on a Sunday morning to plan the week, including meal plans, to-do lists for work, Wholey Moly, my son and our social calendar! Meenesh and I also set aside 2 or 3 evenings in the week to catch up on Wholey Moly and couple of evening which are completely free from work, and we make sure there is at least one day on the weekend we spend together as a family.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
When we started out we set ourselves goals of where we wanted to take the business, they were mostly just wild dreams, one of which was to launch our cookies into Selfridges. At the time we had zero experience in food retail and these goals seemed unrealistic, something which you set your sights on but never in a million years believe it will actually happen.
But low and behold, 2 years later that’s exactly what happened, we launched into Selfridges in July 2018 – our very first stockist and that was quickly followed by Whole Foods, As Nature Intended and Sourced Market. We are still rubbing our eyes when we see our friends and family sending us pics of them in Selfridges purchasing something we created in our kitchen.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
It’s never a good time to launch your own business, just get started. We found out we were having a baby 6 months after having our idea but still went ahead with setting up Wholey Moly and haven’t looked back since.
Some other tips that are more specific below:
Find your tribe, whether that’s other mummies, start-up communities or specialist networks that give you space to connect with like-minded people that will support you.
Stick to your guns and persevere, there will be moments when you doubt yourself and your choices but that’s where you should lean on your tribe for support. Accept that there will be rejection along the way, just stay persistent.
Imposter syndrome is real, it’s ok not to be an expert in your field if you are starting something new just make sure you know your business inside out and get stuck into the detail. If you don’t know, enlist some expertise that can help you. (The only saving grace for me is that my husband is an ex-accountant that who can also bake!).
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Octopus’s Garden Seaweed, The Honeymoon & Holiday Fixer and Pink Spaghetti