An Interview Hannah Andersson and Clare Stager, the Ladies Behind Motha Butta + Ground Breaking Bread

Posted on May 08, 2018 by INFO WM GOODS | 0 comments

We’re super excited to be hosting local makers and business owners Clare Stager and Hannah Andersson in-store for a special pop-up on Saturday, May 12th. Clare is responsible for the best bread you've ever had, Ground Breaking Bread, made without gluten, flour, dairy or yeast.  Hannah is the creator of Motha Butta, delicious coconut butter that comes in a variety of flavors (gimme all the espresso cacao please).  We sat down with Clare and Hannah to get to know them and their businesses a little better. 


Hannah and Clare.
 
Let’s start at the beginning: tell us about yourself, what inspired you to start your business.  Did you find that something was missing in the marketplace? Was there a personal motivation behind starting the brand?
 
Hannah: 
I started making coconut butter for myself, after not wanting to pay the expensive cost at the grocery store, but going through jar after jar.  One thing led to another and I realized that it was a product rich in health benefits, versatile in use and straight up addictive for it's sweet, creamy texture, which launched my hobby into a side gig.  I was working at Nike for six months simultaneously, and when I found that the demand for my product required me full-time, I made the call to take this side gig and turn it into a full-time.  I found that there were and still are minimal coconut butter options in terms of flavor, quantity and price range - but also little exposure or education on the product itself, which what sparked my drive to not only make this a business, but a movement - or at least become part of the wellness industry as a pioneer for this superfood.  At the start of my business, I was discovering issues within my own gut health and that's when I had my 'aha' moment, that moment of realizing your passion is no longer just for you anymore, but for others and my quest to exploit the gut healing superfood was on it's way.

Clare: 

I initially started Ground Breaking Bread as a solution to my own stomach issues. My stomach has been through a lot, from struggling with a parasite from years of traveling the world, getting SIBO last year, and largely having a sensitive body from a few years of poor treatment.  The binging and purging kind that a lot of people struggle with as a result of societal pressures, high stress and a need for control. In my opinion, everyone deserves to eat bread. Bread making and consumption dates back to the first humans on this planet, and I think the connection and community that comes with that is critical.  After not being able to eat most breads on the market, even most gluten free breads, as they are usually full of yeast and preservatives, I thought "If I can't eat any kind that is available to me, I'll make it myself!" and Ground Breaking Bread was born. 


 
Sometimes, when things become “on-trend” it can create as many challenges as it does benefits. How has the health and wellness movement, and it’s rise in popularity inspired your product and ultimately your business?  
 
Clare:

I am forever grateful for the people of Portland. I truly believe this city to be the leaders of the health and wellness movement in America.  The community of small business owners, local farmers, and people willing to put their money where their mouth is has been the only thing making my business possible.  People here want to eat REAL food, and for that I am grateful to be starting this now and full of hope for our future.

Hannah: 
The exposure through social media - Instagram specifically has brought so much support, community, education and opportunity for collaboration - keeps you pushing through those slower months of business.  It also keeps me on my feet as the curator of my own product; I get to see the day to day use and demand for the product itself, and of course how I can improve the process + product as we move forward.  However, IG is only one platform.  It's inspired me to use coconut butter as a platform to educate people on gut health and inspire health and wellness in others lives. 

Nutrition is obviously super important to both of you, what is one easy thing that we can all do to incorporate more nutritious food into our lives if we are just starting our wellness journey.
 
Hannah: 
The easiest thing anyone can do is go into their cabinets or refrigerators and read the label, if you don't understand what the ingredients are, toss it.  That is step one, step two is replacing what you just threw out.  That is where a product like coconut butter comes in as a dairy free, sugar free, gluten free and non-gmo product that acts as a creamy additive - i'm sure you're already thinking of all the ways to use it - similar to other nut butters in the way of alternatives. 

Clare:

I would say it is less about what is trending or a new "superfood" and more about YOU. Know thyself to love thyself! By this I mean, get to know your body, track what foods make you feel good and which do not, as no two bodies are the same. I use this same principle when I teach a yoga class. Once you can identify with a diet that is specific to you and no one else, you can thrive! 

Sometimes it feels like the whole-foods movement started here in Portland.  How has living in PDX helped you in your journey?  Are there specific challenges you find building your business here?
 
Clare:

As I mentioned previously, Portland is the only place I could have done this. A thousand thank you's to this community and the people that make it so special and supportive. 

Hannah: 
Of all the things Portland has offered my business, it's the access that has built this business the most.  Access to resources, opportunity + supply.  I would say for any small business, we're the perfect size city that you can grow with the community and have easy access to most of what you would need to scale.
 
Where do you hope to see your business in 5 years?
 
Hannah: 
TAKING OVER THE WORLD.  Kidding.  Hopefully, with a fully developed product line incorporating coconut butter, but another product + service, definitely in majority of the US (and possibly other countries).  I would love to join a non-profit and partner with an organization to aid in countries where malnutrition is at a high.

Clare:
I have always struggled with future projections in my personal life, and I can tell you that the struggle is that much more difficult when it comes to my business. Ground Breaking Bread was born as a solution to a problem, and I imagine it will continue to evolve along that same trajectory in the future. Our community will always need a binder, something to bring us all together to celebrate and recognize that being different is a gift not a hinderance. I believe that everybody and every BODY is different, and as we continue to learn and grow as a community and society, I only hope that my business can continue to become more integral to the connection between what we put into our bodies and how that fuel is part of the critical equation of how successful we are at relating to others and pursuing our dreams as a whole. Over the next five years, I hope Ground Breaking Bread can be more widely recognized as not just bread, but an innovative way to eat, connect, and nurture your own self in order to nurture those around you.


 
Any other favorite whole food makers/brands you love that we should know about?
 
Hannah: 
I just started munching on Birdseed granola from Bend, OR and it is pretty tasty if you ask me.  I'm always on the hunt for a low sugar granola for my smoothie bowls, and so far, this one has my heart. 

Clare:
I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for Miffy from Miffy's Muffins and Amy from aMYLK. These two women have redefined how to run a business, wear a thousand hats, and still make all the time in the world to help others. I am constantly inspired by the women in this community making real food for real people. We all know what "fake" food is, with preservatives and ingredients you've never heard of. I am so proud to be a part of this culinary movement in Portland where the real, whole food options are plentiful and the people behind them are even BETTER.

Also, if you know me, you know that coffee and nut butter are the actual glue that hold my life together. Huge shout out to Ground Up PDX for dropping some serious flavor bombs and helping employ homeless women in our community. What a concept. And of course, my favorite, Proud Mary Coffee over on Alberta. All Australian's have a special place in my heart and you can actually TASTE the sustainable and community oriented practices behind their coffee.

And lastly, what’s your ultimate indulgence?

Clare:
Well, since it's my ultimate indulgence, I'll have two. My morning indulgence dream would be an extra hot Ethiopia Blend Proud Mary coffee pour over, casually sipped while playing around on my yoga mat for a few hours. My evening indulgence is definitely eating dinner in a very hot bubble bath while watching a show (yes, it is possible). 

Hannah: 
Dessert.  Of all sorts.  Treats galore and a side of vino, say no more + I'm there.


Thank you to Hannah and Clare, and come by the store on 
Saturday, May 12th to meet these inspiring ladies and sample their goods. 

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