Noosa founder Koel Thomae found her dream in a spoon of yogurt

From Reuters - December 28, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It took just a spoonful of a simple tub of yogurt with passion fruit puree on a trip home to her native Australia to nudge Koel Thomae into a new career.

Thomae, who had worked in various food companies such as IZZE Beverage Company, had no dairy experience before founding her noosa brand of yogurt in 2009, based on that taste from home. But since then, she has managed to grow her Bellvue, Colorado business into a $170 million company that sells yogurt in major grocery stores across the United States.

The path has not always been smooth, however - and Thomae shared some of the lessons she has learned along the way with Reuters.

Q: How did you learn the value of money?

A: From the time I was 9, I was raised by a single mother and given a high level of responsibility and autonomy with respect to money. My mother provided me an allowance and I had to manage all my expenses. From that I learned to budget and prioritize what was important to me, a skill that allowed me to hit the ground running as a young adult.

Q: Did your family teach you anything about running a business?

A: While my mum and dad were not in the food business, they both were successful entrepreneurs in their own right. My dad was a biologist by education and started his own wildlife guiding business and my mum was in deaf education for most of her career. She started a craft business in my hometown later in life.

Q: What was your first job and what did it teach you?

A: My first job at the age of fifteen was working in an ice-cream shop. Most of my jobs through high school into university were service related and they taught me to think laterally, be a good listener and interact with many types of people.

Q: How did you spend your very first paycheck?


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