Tiffany Wise knows good nutrition, so she started The Healing Kitchen to sell her healthy food

It's about 'knowing where your food comes from'

CINCINNATI -- What's The Healing Kitchen all about?

In the words of founder Tiffany Wise, it's about "knowing where your food comes from, and knowing it's not full of crap."

The startup creates small-batch, made-from-scratch food, using ingredients supplied by local farmers. All the products are organic, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and non-genetically modified.

"This kind of food is all over the West Coast," the Covedale resident said. "It takes a while to get here … but the demand is there. People need it. There are so many people with digestive issues."

Why this business?

After working as a massage therapist for 15 years, Wise decided to study nutrition because she loved to cook. She earned an online degree from the New York City Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2011.

She began coaching other women about their health, but they kept asking her if they could buy food from her because they didn't have time to make the recipes she was giving them.

She applied to use the Findlay Kitchen, a nonprofit whose mission it is to build a community of food entrepreneurs locally, and was accepted. She started baking there in April 2016.

It's been an enormous help to her business, she said, because it not only gives her a place to work and store her products -- it enables her to sell them at Dirt: A Modern Market, a retail store owned and operated by the Corporation for Findlay Market.

Wise was one of the founding members of Findlay Kitchen, which now has 47 members, said director Marianne Hamilton. The kitchen has helped her both expand her product line and her production capacity, Hamilton said, and it's been great to see her success story.

How are sales going?

Wise makes three products, all of which she packages herself -- crackers, nut butters and fermented vegetables. In addition to Dirt, she sells them through Ohio Valley Food Connection, a wholesaler of local foods.

Last year, she said, she made enough to get by, and hopes to do better this year. So far, she and her husband have put about $5,000 into the business.

What's next?

Completing the Aviatra Accelerators (formerly Bad Girl Ventures) Launch class program. She's hoping the Cincinnati accelerator for women-owned businesses will help her get better organized.

She needs to learn more about business, she said, and can't get her own business to grow until she does.

What's most challenging about owning a business?

Patience.

"A lot of times, you have to hurry up to get something done, and then you have to wait … like getting licenses," she said.

Also, to make sales, she has to constantly put herself in front of people, and call on them repeatedly. That's hard for her, she said, because she's "not particularly a pushy person."

Her business is well-positioned to take advantage of the trend toward healthful eating, Hamilton said.

People assume that such food can't possibly taste good, she said, but The Healing Kitchen products prove that's not true.

"These are delicious products, first and foremost," Hamilton said. "But you should also feel really great about eating them."

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