Today we meet Anna LeRoy, head of growth for nomz, a healthy energy snack brand from Toronto, Canada. Starting back in 2013, nomz has grown from a one-woman show into a snacking powerhouse, providing nutritious products with wholesome, minimal ingredients to healthy people on the go. Despite the impressive growth, nomz have managed to keep a lean team and achieve an effective work/life balance with the help of automation tools, thriving even on a 4-day week!
Hello! I’m Anna – I head growth for nomz. Although my responsibilities change regularly depending on the needs of the business, I am currently focused on our ecommerce presence across direct to consumer and wholesale channels.
Previously I received my BSc. in Genetics and Biotechnology from University of Toronto in 2013. Since then, I’ve worked with a number of local food and distribution companies. I joined Nomz in 2019 with a passion to help grow Nomz into an industry leader both online and in store by leveraging technology and industry knowledge.
Jana Zaibak created nomz in 2013 as her first business. A full-time effort 🙂
Jana witnessed first-hand the negative impact of an unhealthy diet, having been addicted to sugar herself. As she unlearned harmful habits, she became determined to help others change how they eat, for the better.
Jana’s journey began when she was completing her Master’s in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, and learned about a program called Whole30 from one of her classmates.
Through elimination and reintroduction, Whole30 empowers people to eat more intuitively, helping them develop an acute awareness of how certain foods make them feel. Almost immediately, she felt a positive impact on her physical, mental and emotional well-being, simply by shifting her diet to whole foods and eliminating refined sugars.
During Jana’s reset, she was confronted by the challenge that would propel her to build Nomz: there simply weren’t any convenient, on-the-go snack options delicious enough to satisfy cravings and sustain energy levels, while maintaining a clean ingredient list without refined sugars, grains, dairy, alcohol, carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
Jana decided to take matters into her own hands, making the first batch of energy bites with natural, whole ingredients. She was in awe: they were decadent — tasting better than her favourite dessert — and nourished her body, too.
When Jana shared a batch with her mom for the first time, she loved them so much that she insisted Jana start selling them, confident that she had found a niche yet unfulfilled by the market. Jana’s brother helped name the business “nomz”, and, just one month later, she had secured local retailers who would carry our bites in their stores. Nomz was met with so much love and support that Jana knew it was possible to take it to the next level.
Jana launched a Kickstarter campaign, with the goal of securing enough backers to prove market relevance, while fundraising for a commercial kitchen, personnel, and equipment. With the support of 126 backers, nomz quickly exceeded our target, raising nearly $20,000.
Nomz has grown a lot since conception. Including a manufacturing facility with truck level loading! Each year we seem to grow at a sustainable pace. We currently work with a team of a dozen production specialists.
We are currently working on expanding our product lines, growing into new markets. Our goal is to be an industry leader in the snacking space.
Like many companies, we’ve seen verticals of our business completely shutter as we navigate this new normal. In January we began a comprehensive sampling program for boutique fitness studios, a large investment for a business our size. We received amazing feedback and excitement. In March we saw most of our independent business halt, including the momentum we had built with our sampling program.
We’ve built out quite an ecosystem using tools to help with automation where we can. As a lean team this has been crucial to keeping business running smoothly.
Burning out is not a requirement for success. At nomz we really value work/life balance. You’d be surprised how effective a 4 day work week can be!
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