Member Spotlight: Shauna Blair, Founder, Heavenly

May 31, 2022

We catch up with WTCD Member, SHAUNA BLAIR, founder of Heavenly who provide healthy organic snacks for babies, toddlers and older kids...

Heavenly is the award winning brainchild of Shauna Blair, a mum to four children, and a lover of all things organic and nutritious. Shauna has created a guilt-free range of organic baby weaning meals for the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland market, and now Heavenly has moved into snacks, with stockists across the UK, Ireland, Europe and the Middle East.

Tell us a little about your background before setting up Heavenly?

When I started my business, I was working for my father’s engineering business as an accounts administrator. Growing up in a family business encouraged and instilled my dreams one day owning my own business.

What do you enjoy about running your own business?

As a mum of 4 children, my life is very busy, and I love the fact that I can work my own hours, and always be there when my children need me.

Tell us about Heavenly and how it came to fruition?

Having my own children with serious food allergies was the driver for starting Heavenly. I started the company initially as an allergy friendly frozen baby food company and we were the first company of our kind in Ireland.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey so far?

Being a frozen baby food presented its own challenges in where to locate the product in stores. This presented huge challenges to us as we were a small team with a limited marketing budget. Whilst many parents understand the process of making and freezing their own baby food at home, the retail environment is not set up for selling frozen baby food.

The baby aisle, where baby food is traditionally located, is not near the frozen section of stores, and so parents are not in the ‘shopper need state’ of baby food, when shopping the frozen category.

In 2015, after reviewing our product offering and the retail environment, we launched our ambient baby snacks which we continue sell today. This was a defining change for the Heavenly brand.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business and what do you think will be the long-lasting affects for Irish business and consumption trends?

Covid-19 has not been good for our business. As people spent more time at home, they were able to scratch cook for the family. For us there were less opportunities to reach new customers in store.

I feel that consumer habits have changed in the sense that they are more open to healthier eating, and seeking out products that contribute to the wellbeing of them and their family.

Heavenly are committed to using organic ingredients can you tell us a little about sourcing these ingredients and the importance of choosing organic?

Our Heavenly range is certified as organic by the Soil Association UK to EU standards. These standards are among the highest in the world, and we use only the finest organic ingredients in our products, through certified suppliers

Consumers can be assured that our products are part of a very strict supply chain which is audited every year. Organic ingredients are now almost expected as a given by parents when purchasing snacks for their baby.

The quality of organic ingredients, and their nutritional value are proved to exceed that of non-organic.

That, alongside the fact that organic food is grown without the use of pesticides, means parents are giving their little ones the best start by choosing organic.

You distribute your products across the world. Has international business changed in the face of BREXIT?

International business has remained the same for us thankfully. Brexit created a lot of issues for us in terms of our supply chain from EU-UK, and UK-EU, however we are thankful that our international customers have not experiences the same issues in their supply chain.

How do you find juggling the work life balance? What advice would you offer to readers thinking about setting up a business?

I think anyone who is a parent and trying to work will find the juggle is very real. I don’t think anyone has the answer to getting that work-life balance right.

I guess its about whatever works both for you and as a family, and what your priorities are. For me, ensuring I am always able to work around my family is important, and so working for myself, means I am able to do that. It’s still stressful and busy, but I get to be flexible in my working hours which means the world to me at this point in my life.

What are you ambitions for Heavenly over the next few years?

Our main focus is on international markets and continuing to expand our reach across the globe.