This article is part of the 19th annual women in business series by Mountain Xpress. See the full story here.
Tammy and Mikayla: Bar none
Do More Bars’ mission: “To create a great tasting, wholesome, gluten-free snack.”
“Man, Mom, these things rock!” a preteen Mikayla exclaimed when her mother first handed over a healthy treat. Tammy Woods’ gluten-free cereal bars were originally intended merely as snacks for her daughter, but Mikayla’s encouragement (“People would buy these!”) got Tammy thinking about the business potential.
In the early 2000s, Tammy pulled her daughter out of public school, due in part to dyslexia issues. “I felt like I was losing her,” Tammy recalls, “not just reading-wise but self-esteem-wise.” Committed to home-schooling Mikayla, the concerned mother found a job that would accommodate the new arrangement.
By the time she obtained her real estate license, however, the housing market had crashed. Suddenly, Mikayla’s compliments assumed a new significance, and Tammy decided to go commercial with Do More Bars.
“She was my inspiration for creating it and taking it to market,” the proud mother says. Starting out in convenience stores and other test locations, the cereal bars soon found their way into larger outlets such as the French Broad Food Co-op, Ingles and the UNC Asheville campus. And it wasn’t long before Mikayla was recruited by her mother into the business. At age 12, Mikayla began negotiating her own compensation and took on a more consistent role in production.
“It gave her a lot of pride to be able to do something as well as an adult,” says Tammy, adding that her daughter was the company’s best bagger and labeler. “You have some spectacular conversations as a mother and daughter while you’re working side by side,” she continues, admitting that she also likes to sneak life lessons into delivery days. “To me this is real life, and I think it’s good for her to see that life is a lot of work.”