While at college in Melbourne, Australia, Carolyn Creswell supported herself through school by working part time at a business that produced muesli for a few local shops and cafes. At the time, however, the small mom-and-pop shop thought that they were going to put the business up for sale, subsequently leaving Carolyn without a job.
Then only 18, Carolyn was passionate about salvaging a job she enjoyed and decided to invest her savings along with a co-worker who felt similarly--a total of 1,000 Australian dollars. They made their offer, and hoped the company's owners would accept it.
They did, and Carolyn and her co-worker, Manya van Aker, renamed their new, fledging business "Carman's" to start anew. Although at first, business was a bit hard to come by, profits really started to roll in when major supermarkets began carrying the girls' muesli brand. Now, the company is worth approximately 83 million Australian dollars, and more than 3,000 outlets nationwide stock Carman's products.
This rags-to-riches story was definitely not without its customary struggles, of course. Says Carolyn, "People look at Carman's now and think it's been this overnight success, but it's been 20 years, and a challenging 20 years. For the first 10 years I was literally trying to sell enough product to survive."
While finishing up her bachelor's degree at university, Carolyn took on multiple jobs just to make ends meet--making deliveries before class or balancing Carman's budget while on campus. The incredible then-18 year old made a number of mature sacrifices to keep her business going while her peers were concerned with things like having fun.
Carolyn worked almost around the clock while her friends at school were off partying, and she struggled to convince banks to lend her business money. Carolyn shared that her appearance--as a young female--garnered her a fair share of discrimination from suppliers, banks, and other men who refused to take her seriously. She was even subjected to sexual harassment.
At the end of the day, however, Carolyn feels that her current success was well worth the trials and tribulations it took for her to get where she is--at her rightful place in the throne as Australia's "Muesli Queen."
Her company's homemade, authentic feel, wholesome appearance, and the story behind its founding show incredible promise for it to keep growing. Who would've known Carolyn would be here now when she was 18?