Meet the Founder: Kristy Mangia of Giddy Up Nuts
With a focus on all-natural and local ingredients, Kristy Mangia’s Giddy Up Nuts is changing the way people snack. Who needs run of the mill flavors when you can have Coffee Chocolate or Brazen Buffalo Wing almonds at the ready?
Recently, we caught up with Kristy to learn more about why she started Giddy Up and how she’s overcome every obstacle on her adventure.
01 Why did you start Giddy Up Nuts?
I love being in the kitchen because that’s where I’m at my most energized and creative. And, the only thing I love more than cooking is a great adventure. In that confluence, Giddy Up Nuts was born.
I was on my way back to Los Angeles after a weekend of exploring up in Mammoth Lakes when I stopped for some food. The store was filled with not-good-for-you snacks and I thought that there must be a better way to snack on the road. I wanted something that was full of flavor, good for you, and made by a brand that I felt connected with. On that five-hour drive home, Giddy Up Nuts was born.
We’ve always strived to be “fuel for your everyday wanderings,” whether that’s something to munch on the way to work or keep you going on an epic adventure.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
Oh, goodness. Starting a business comes with so many obstacles, but tackling them is part of the fun! Learning about the different permits and licenses we needed based on where we were doing business – that was tough to navigate. Then, as we grew, finding suppliers that could fit our needs as a small business was also a challenge.
We had to find partners that were able to give us ingredients in the quantities we needed. People that could give us better prices than retail without winding up with three tons of lemons. Finding the right almond supplier was a long and serendipitous process. I called every listing on the California Almond Board’s website – about 250 farms and processors – and discovered:
- a) There are many different types of almonds and
- b) Everyone had a minimum of a “truckload,” or about 40,000 lbs.
When I lamented about this to a friend, he introduced me to one of his friends who had an almond orchard. Years later, we’re still working with them and they’ve been a great partner for us along the way.
Eventually, we reached the point where we needed a commercial kitchen. Luckily, we met the lovely ladies behind The Art Of Caramel at a joint pitch for a high-end gourmet store in France. We kept in touch afterwards and we now share a kitchen together. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
It is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s so easy to get ahead of yourself and compare your company to all of the other “overnight successes” around you and wonder why you aren’t there yet. I firmly believe that slow and steady wins the race.
Scale in a manner that makes sense, do extensive homework on every new venture, and remember that it’s okay to say “no” to some opportunities when the time isn’t right.
Also, having a day job can help take the pressure off. Sometimes, it’s a lot, but my 9-5 has allowed me to take my time in growing Giddy Up. That also means I don’t have to say “yes” to everything in order to keep the lights on.
You may question whether you can keep both up, and there will come a time when you will have to take the leap. But, to quote one of my mentors: “As long as you are sleeping every night, you can keep doing both.”
04 What’s on the horizon for Giddy Up Nuts?
We are working on wider-spread distribution, so that we no longer have to ask where someone lives when they ask us where to get Giddy Up Nuts. With that said, we also want to be very thoughtful about who we work with.
Getting into more Bristol Farms stores has been a dream come true! We are so excited to work with a store that closely aligns with our values as a company. We also just launched our almond butter, so we are excited to scale that and get it out to our customers.
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
I have a golden retriever who makes me get outside and enjoy nature every day. I’ll hear it from him if I don’t. That hour or so each day is sacred to me and keeps me grounded.
I am someone who can find inspiration everywhere, but I’m especially inspired on road trips. I love visiting new towns, trying their local coffee spots, checking out the independent shops, and staying in places that have a lot of soul. I want to experience as many new things as I can – I think that brings a uniqueness and authenticity to my brand.