It is no question that the world around us is becoming increasingly health conscious. The market for “natural” and “organic” foods is on the rise but many products geared towards those who want to eat healthier, aren’t always what one would expect, especially on some of our more sensitive tummies. Pro-Triathlete Jasmine Oeinck wanted a better solution for herself and now she offers it to us as well, with Bulumu, a truly all-natural granola.
As creator and co-founder of Bulumu, Oeinck and her team offer the only granola line that uses absolutely no oils. With three delicious flavors to choose from (Red, White & Blueberry, Cinnamon Chai & Walnut and Orange Ginger & Cranberry) and a short line up of all natural ingredients (think rolled oats and honey) Bulumu offers the tummy a lighter granola that won’t sit heavy in the stomach.
“I always try to eat healthy as an athlete,” said Oeinck, who would eat bowls of granola each day in between training sessions while living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co. Though she tried to fuel her body with the healthy granolas available to her, she noticed frequent stomachaches and discomfort. “Granolas can be really heavy and saturated so I decided to start making my own.”
It started there, as a personalized solution that soon friends and teammates started requesting Oeinck to share with them, but as a professional athlete, a two-times world silver medalist no less, founding a company was not yet in her sights.
It wasn’t until an injury and illness temporarily sidelined Oeinck from her athletic career, that Bulumu started to take shape.
During her time off recovering, she managed to turn a granola skeptic, now her Bulumu partner Brandon Bailey, with her granola recipe.
“My business partner did not like granola at all, but when he tried it, I saw the light go off in his head. I turned a skeptic into someone who said ‘wow this could be something’,” said Oeinck who finally started to see the potential in her product.
Starting with a very grass roots method, Oeinck and partner Bailey, designed, packaged, labeled and promoted Bulumu themselves to local stores and markets. They marketed their brand as a company that wants to “inspire and support the pursuit of passion” and everything in their product and story reflects that. The name Bulumu is actually an acronym used between Oeinck and her mother in letters and emails that stands for “Buckle Up. Love You. Miss You.”
Eventually the pull between Oeinck’s athletic career and new venture became too much.
“Ever since I can remember I was always doing some sort of sport. It was never something I had to do, it was something I was able to do,” Oeinck said.
“I put my career on hold because I found it was really hard to perform at the top level and run a business at the best of my ability. I still have the passion and love for it, but I was no longer learning from it, not finding the challenge in it.”
“It’s my new biggest passion,” Oeinck said.
About nine years removed from her first kitchen trials, for which she has “lost count” on the times it took to perfect the recipe, Bulumu is now sold in six states and online nationwide through Amazon. Making bounds and leaps in an overgrown market, Oeinck is surprised and proud at where she’s come to, but still her harshest critic.
“I am always saying ‘this could be better’, it comes from being an athlete, you can never be complacent,” said Oeinck, who has not gone to school for business, yet already has the attitude and gusto for it, “It’s learning as you go, I consider this whole process as my business degree.”
With the continued success of Bulumu, they stay on track with their mission to support and inspire, supporting local athletic events and reaching out to those who are looking for a healthier lifestyle. Granola, it seems, may just be the beginning.
“I’m not sold on just making granola, who knows,” Oeinck said. “Life’s too short. Why not just jump?”
Oeinck certainly jumped, proving that not only can one’s body, but also one’s mind accomplish anything.
Article originally appeared in September 2013 Lioness