My story begins in 2012 when I bought a one-way ticket to Spain and decided to pursue two of my biggest dreams in life – to travel the world and to become an entrepreneur and business owner!
Undiscovered Kitchen is a digital farmers market for local, artisan food from makers across the country! Discover new and unique products and shop by lifestyle for foods that fit your health and diet needs (ex: vegan, gluten free, raw, etc..) You can also find fitness fuels and power snacks for athletes and active lifestyles!
Our core mission is to support and empower small batch makers across the country and to help passionate artisans grow their businesses! Every purchase made on Undiscovered Kitchen DIRECTLY supports our small batch maker so you can EAT good, FEEL good and DO good!
MEET THE FOUNDER
Hiya! My name is Evona Niewiadomska and I am the founder of Undiscovered Kitchen. My story begins in 2012 when I bought a one-way ticket to Spain and decided to pursue two of my biggest dreams in life – to travel the world and to become an entrepreneur and business owner!
Since 2013 I’ve been working tirelessly to bring my “digital farmers market” idea to life and sharing the stories and products of small batch, specialty food companies in the US. I realized that I’ve never actually stopped to tell MY story and the story of how and why I created Undiscovered Kitchen.. so here it goes!
I have been an entrepreneur since as far back as I can remember – thinking of ways to make money and how to make my business ideas a reality! Besides numerous lemonade stands and paper routes, I remember at the age of 7 setting up a store front in my living room, running my shop and selling goods to anyone who was around. In middle school I had a business selling sour candy in the cafeteria and later convinced my mom to let me set up a mini stand at the local flea market selling the necklaces and bracelets I made out of yarn.
I moved to Boston, Massachusetts after University and had the opportunity to take a very active role in the startup community – I spent 3.5 years helping create and manage Workbar, a coworking space in the heart of Boston. I was able to work directly with the founders in every aspect of the business to build it from the ground up. As the community grew, I was surrounded by hundreds of passionate entrepreneurs and business owners on a daily basis!
Over the years I saw people come in and say “I just quit my job and I need a space to start my new company!” – WOW! The community of entrepreneurs at Workbar inspired me and gave me the motivation and support I needed to go out and pursue my own dreams. I realized that I too had what it takes to throw myself into the ring and become an entrepreneur!
Of course no story can be complete without a love story – It was at Workbar that I met my partner-in-crime and fellow entrepreneur, Mike Rheaume, co-founder of SnapKnot. He was already working remotely which made it relatively easy for him to pick up and go anywhere.
The two of us set out on the adventure of a lifetime and bought a one-way ticket to Alicante, Spain with one backpack and laptop case each and a rough idea of which countries we wanted to see not knowing how long we would stay or what to expect!
I spent the last few months before leaving thinking about what I would do to make money on the road and what skills I could put to use as a freelancer. Having never truly worked for myself, it took a while to really understand and internalize the concept and figure out what my valuable and marketable skills were. Finally, I decided to pursue a freelance career as an infographic designer.
One of my favorite parts of this story is that I didn’t have an ounce of background in graphic design. When people ask, I stress this point because I want to inspire others to follow their dreams even if they sound crazy and even if it’s something they’ve NEVER done before.
So how did I do it? I looked into online tutorials and taught myself the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator, discovered my creative talent translated digitally, and that I was actually pretty good! Luckily, I had the support of, and gained many of my first clients from, my friends, family and the extended network I had built over the years in Boston.
Two months into our travel adventure I was searching for a road race – I was used to running all kinds of races in Boston and missed the camaraderie of an organized run. I tried to find a 10k or a half marathon but the only race I could find was a full marathon in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.
I had never run a marathon before, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I could. But at this point, and once you start doing things you never thought you could, you realize you CAN do a lot. You start saying “Ok, sure, yeah, why the hell not!” to all kinds of things you never thought YOU could do or that you were good enough for!
So, I signed up for my first marathon and had the best 5 hour run of my life!
Each “YES!” led me closer and closer to saying “YES!” to Undiscovered Kitchen!
As I trained for the marathon and I started running longer distances than ever before – as a result I was super hungry throughout the day! I also started craving cookies ALL THE TIME… lots and lots of cookies. Now the story would end here if I could go to the store, grab an arm load of cookies and sit on the couch eating them all night long but I had a problem – I was 100% vegan at the time – which made it practically impossible to go out and buy vegan cookies (in Europe, especially in Croatia).
Instead we had to find all sorts of “this looks like it could work” ingredients and Mike was spending most evenings baking cookies – At least 2 dozen every other day (thanks honey!) I had a problem and my instinct was to fix it! My solution – Vegan Cookie Mix!
Believe it or not these cookie problems were the beginning of Undiscovered Kitchen.
I thought about cookies and how to create my innovative mix anywhere from 1-4 hours a day as I trained for the marathon: what ingredients would go into the mix and what flavors I could create. I thought about the costs and how I would package the mix in cool mason jars (because you must also know by now that mason jars make anything trendy!).
I thought and thought and thought but I found myself getting discouraged at one very important part… how would I sell my product? How would people know about my new and amazing vegan cookie mix? I didn’t know the first thing about getting a product on store shelves. I could create a website for my products but in the big, bad world of the internet, how would people find me and my products? I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.
One day, after about one month of Cookie-Obsessed-Evona, Mike and I were sitting on the beautiful coast of Split, Croatia, doing two of my favorite things; drinking a caipirinha and talking about business – more specifically, my struggles with this Vegan Cookie Mix concept.
Suddenly it hit me. I mean out of the sky just – HIT ME! I had identified a BIGGER problem – way bigger than cookies. I couldn’t be the only person in the world with an innovative food product idea who needed help promoting and selling their product, right!?
In the same breath I started to think about my problem as an opportunity. I could create a way to break down the traditional sales barriers food businesses face, help them gain brand visibility, reach new customers and sell their products. I could feel the excitement shoot up and out of me like fireworks. I realized at that very minute I HAD MY BIG IDEA!
I ran home and in a matter of 30 minutes I bought the Undiscovered Kitchen domain, let my mom know I was going to start my very first company and called one of my best friends, Jessica, who also happens to be an attorney and co-founder of New Leaf Legal, to let her know I needed an LLC ASAP! New Leaf Legal works with entrepreneurs, small businesses and artists – I was in GREAT hands!
I spent the next three days writing down every detail of Undiscovered Kitchen, what it would look like, how it would work, the features, how to market it and mapped out my next steps. Within a week I outsourced and started working with a design and development team and honestly, I have not taken a breath since!
In January 2014 – after 8 months of working on the business, I was back in the US and it was time to hit the streets (sort of). I created branded t-shirts and postcards and flew out to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. I didn’t have much to show but I had a plan, a vision and a story to tell – so I pitched the business to as many food businesses I could and connected with over 80 small batch, specialty food companies!
Undiscovered Kitchen launched on June 26th, 2014 with 88 products from 21 food companies and have been growing every since and excited to now be working with hundreds of small batch makers around the country!
This journey, I can honestly say it’s been the most incredible, challenging, stressful and amazing experience filled with late nights, early mornings, weekends in and a whole lot of emotion!
I love meeting and connecting with innovative food entrepreneurs, learning about their businesses and hearing their stories – they inspire and motivate me everyday! There is so much passion and heart in the businesses I work with (and of course my own!) I love, more than anything, helping them tell their stories, reach new customers, grow their businesses and being (even a small part) in making their dreams come true.
In the past, I would listen to entrepreneurs talk about how building their startup was a roller coaster of emotion and I didn’t really get it – I couldn’t see how or why… it was just business wasn’t it? Oh boy was I wrong – it’s a big ole roller coaster filled with really high highs and very low lows.
I’ve grown as a person, challenged myself to overcome personal fears and insecurities and have learned A LOT! The most rewarding part is hearing from friends, family, and most of all complete strangers, how much they love what I’ve created and to have their support!
So what’s next for Undiscovered Kitchen? LOTS! We’re always looking for new and exciting food companies, partnerships in food, health and fitness (if you know anyone we should talk to, please reach out!), adding new site features, and looking for passionate people to grow the team!
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has supported, added words of encouragement, given valuable feedback, and purchased products from Undiscovered Kitchen – All the highs wouldn’t be possible without you! Remember, this is just the beginning and I sincerely hope you’ll stay for the ride!
WHAT ARE YOU CRAVING?:
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