We recently had the chance to share time with Karen, a wonderful woman, full of great ideas. Her life experience brought her to develop her own project, full of good bacterias, everything we like.
HI KAREN,COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF? WHO ARE YOU IN A FEW WORDS ?
Hey! I’m Karen and I’m obsessed with ceremonies surrounding food. Since I could walk I’ve been experimenting with bread recipes and today I feel honoured to be able to help people and their gut issues through bread!
I was born with genetic IBS. In my mid twenties it got really bad. I had tried various herbal remedies and there were times when travelling that I’d take half a box of laxatives to relieve 3 weeks of constipation! My IBS was really really chronic. The debilitating pain and how it effected my confidence was something I couldn’t ignore any longer. And so aged 25 I looked to bread to become a source of relief for my lifelong IBS symptoms. For about 18 months I experimented with different formulations of grains, nuts and seeds with the Happy Tummy co. Chia Teff Loaf becoming the first freshly made, fermented product that relieved me of my symptoms for good!
AND COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
The Happy Tummy co was set up with the intention of relieving as many people around the world suffering with IBS as possible. That mission has since widened to include enabling as many people as possible into better gut health. Currently we are HQ’d in Hackney fermenting our signature product over 2 and a half days before delivering it directly to our customers. However very soon we shall be launching a larger range of products for better gut health with a focus on relieving IBS symptoms in those who suffer with it. These new products we shall also be taking international which we’re hugely excited about!
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GO FOR IT?
I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. Since the age of 10 I always knew I would need to work in the field of preventative medicine – helping people be happier and healthier through good food. The event that made me go for it was a talk I did at Shoreditch House back in 2015.The reception to my Chia Teff Loaf and everything I spoke about was so overwhelmingly positive that i knew the time and the product was right to go out into the world and make a change for the better. The day after that talk I began planning the grand plan for The Happy Tummy Co.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR CONCEPT?
It works. I don’t mean for that to sound pompous but so many food products are labelled with promises that simply aren’t true. Because my recipes are developed mathematically based on gut health science we know to be true as opposed to balance sheets, our product is very unique when compared to other freshly made foods. Before I launched The Happy Tummy Co no on was taking gut health and IBS seriously outside of pharmaceutical companies.
Making food medicine is still something that I believe is unique to us.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE FOR LUNCH IN LONDON?
Brawn on Columbia Road. Best seasonal cooking in the best atmosphere with the best wine menu and the best light in sunshine and wonderful staff. I have enjoyed many a long lunch there! It’s a place I bring people I love!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENT IN YOUR ENTREPRENEURSHIP DAY ?
Probably the morning time now. Earlier in my journey I had to wake up at 3am to do the baking myself. I did that for a year and it really burnt me out. Now with a team of people helping me I use mornings as a chance to feel positive about all the wonderful things we have planned. And I of course eat my Chia Teff Loaf for breakfast every morning with an Ethiopian brew. So for me mornings have become my quiet time, my appreciation time where I get to feel like a Happy Tummy customer and enjoy the ceremony of our food nourishing my tummy pushing me into a place of happiness and proactiveness.
WHAT MAKE YOU THE PROUDEST ?
There is one customer we have in the North of England who for 10 years has only been able to eat 2 tuna salads a day to manage the pain she suffers with through her IBS. She nervously introduced the Chia Teff into her diet to see if it might relieve her of her symptoms. It did! She went from having one bowel movement every 2 weeks to one every day within a week! Stories like this one make me proudest. The fact that a loaf of my fermented bread can have this kind of impact on someone who saw the top consultants in the country to relieve her of her IBS to no effect makes me feel I did the right thing in working so so hard and spending years researching and developing products of value and real taste!
WHICH PRODUCT IN GALLINEE RANGE DO YOU PREFER? AND WHY?
I adore the whole range! It has made such a noticeable difference to my skin and I have tried EVERYTHING having suffered with rosacea my whole life!
Pushed, I would have to say the moisturiser. That is the one skin product i will never ever be without going forward!!
Thank you so much Karen,