Tell us about your business.I am a self-taught baker with a passion for natural foods. I have always loved granola and spent countless hours perfecting my homemade recipe and sharing it with anyone who was willing to try it, just to see the smile on their face when they did! I sold my very first bag in 2006 at a Maryland farmers market and the business has been growing ever since. My granola is uniquely fresh and delicious. The texture is like no other; it's crispy and light with just the right amount of crunch. You can taste the simple, healthy ingredients in every bite. This is what my loyal customers enjoy and keep coming back for! I didn't have a powerful marketing machine behind me when I started; I grew my customer base one sample cup at a time and word-of-mouth has helped my business grow exponentially over the years. As demand for Michele's Granola grows, I am committed to maintaining a small batch, artisanal process and giving back to our local food community with 1% of every bag sold.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Our kitchen is a very special place. It is home to my amazing team of 25 granola makers and packagers who produce over 8,000 pounds of Michele's Granola by hand each week. We are currently busting at the seams of our 3,000 square foot commercial kitchen facility and are looking forward to moving into our new 10,000 square foot space in December 2014, which will house our growing production, sales, distribution and marketing operation.
What inspires you?I am inspired by the opportunity to make delicious food my life's work. My family, my granola team and my local food community keep me moving in a positive direction. I am surrounded by people who bring their very best to their work each day and challenge me to continue to develop the business. I am also inspired by the local food movement, which is blossoming more and more each day. People with a desire to connect with what they consume, and who produced it, have made my business possible! The community food projects we support through our Give One for Good Food program inspire me by providing good food to the community and educating people about nutrition and sustainable living.
What makes your business stand out?Making the very best granola has always been my top priority and we have remained intently focused on the quality of our product. In fact, as we grow our granola just seems to get better! I am also harnessing the power of business for social good. Our Give One for Good Food program donates 1% of sales revenue to organizations that improve nutrition and food security by increasing access to fresh, local food.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?To dream big but stay focused on the small stuff. Be confident in how and what you're producing, and the value it adds to our community, and never compromise on that.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made means authentic, small batch products that are made with love, integrity and a commitment to benefitting our local communities and environment.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.Vote now
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now