Amber Cubitt of Spoon In had the idea to bring healthy, ready-to-eat vegan smoothie bowls to those looking for inclusive food options, and they’ve never looked back. Their smoothie bowls are a delicious blend of fruit and plant-based protein, topped with an assortment of flavorful nutrient packed toppers. The product comes frozen, and can be thawed in under two minutes, for the ultimate convenient breakfast. It’s like ice cream, but better!
Spoon In started in 2017 as a popup store, and soon began showcasing their products at farmers markets – blending and creating their bowls on site. Unfortunately, 3 years into the venture, the pandemic hit, and in person events were no longer an option. At this time Amber realized they needed to bring their products directly to consumers, thus launching the frozen smoothie bowl in August 2020. Seeing a new opportunity in the market, the company began finding success in retail spaces. Realizing it was a product they could scale, Amber started working with Innovation Guelph, first in the Startup program, and then in the Rhyze Ventures program.
Amber says the program has helped the business zero in on what needed focus. “As entrepreneurs,” they say, “you don’t always have the business background, so I was learning as I went.” Being able to work one-on-one with mentors and other entrepreneurs – both within and outside of their cohort – has been incredibly helpful, and has allowed Amber to shift their perspective and take the business in a few different directions. Spoon In currently has three distinct sales channels – markets, an e-commerce site, and through retail locations. With the help of their specialist, Amber says that they’ve been able to capitalize on each pathway, allowing the business to see greater returns.
Connections and support have been at the forefront of Amber’s experience with the Rhyze Ventures program. “The community is huge,” they say, “I’ll run into other people from the program in the region and instantly have that connection.” The vulnerability from participants, and their willingness to share their struggles and successes is important. The ability to talk to people who are going through the same experiences has been a great source of support. Of this unique aspect of the program, Amber says, “I think that sometimes as an entrepreneur you can feel isolated and not always reach out for that support.”
When asked what other benefits there have been during their participation with the Rhyze Ventures program, Amber had this to say: “If anyone is looking for an opportunity like this, if you’re thinking about doing it, just go for it… Whenever I have a weekly meeting with my specialist, it is like my brain is exploding. Everyone is going to get something different out of it and you just don’t know what that is until you’re in it.”
Through various connections and one-on-one time with their specialist, Amber has seen a tremendous shift in their business perspective. The company’s scaling plans for the upcoming year are a great reflection of their hard work and dedication to the program, and all that it has to offer. Just this past year, they were able to hire two part-time employees, and brought on 5 new retail partners. Spoon In can now be found in 18 retail locations across the Halton, Guelph Wellington, and GTA area. In 2021, Spoon In hit another milestone achievement and became a Diverse Supplier with Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC). Through this, they were given the opportunity to participate in the Annual Summit Pitch Competition with EY and the CGLCC, in which Spoon In won. Of the experience,
Amber says, “it was very rewarding to be able to talk about Spoon In in a way that highlights diversity and inclusion, as that’s something that we focus on quite a bit as a business.”
Prospects for the business are only looking up. Amber notes that in time, the goal is to reach all of Ontario. “We started our business locally, and that is how it will grow. We focus on local communities by building brand loyalty, and creating relationships with consumers and trusted retailers. That is what it’s all about.” They emphasize that Spoon In entered the program at Innovation Guelph with their potential growth in mind, and now with a clear vision, are excited to explore future scaling opportunities!