Lark Ellen Farm started “sort of serendipitously” out of the home kitchen of Ojai, California local Kelley D’Angelo.
Kelley was “having some health trouble and… was playing around with the foods that [she] was eating to try to figure out what was causing [her] trouble and [she] learned that she can’t tolerate eating grains. So, [she] took them out of [her] diet… but was really bummed because [she] loved cereal.”
Instead of letting her limited options get in the way of enjoying a life filled with yummy cereals, Kelley started making her own granolas and cereal bites in small batches in her kitchen.
With the encouragement of her family & friends, Kelley took her product to the Ojai Farmers’ Market and began to slowly take-off through word of mouth, tourists coming to the valley and wanting to take the product home, and the expansion into a website and grocery stores from local in California to as far away as Manhattan.
The transition, from making grainless, paleo granola in her kitchen, to a business owner with a product in over 300 stores nationwide, was spurred on by Kelley’s indefatigable attitude and genuine care for quality.
Once she decided to make her hobby her business she spent time curating the brand of Lark Ellen Farm (determined to bring more “grainless goodness” to the market, soon Lark Ellen Farm will be expanding to include more products) and researching how to properly prepare food in order to deliver the highest quality of health possible.
She says, “As a business owner I strive to create the best product I can for the consumer, but we also strive to create a brand that our customers can relate too. As a brand, we strive to create a product that is super nutritious and nutrient-dense and created in a way that I would want to feed my family and in a way that I would want to eat myself. With real, whole, food, that hasn’t been overly processed. But we also strive to be kind. We believe in being kind to ourselves and to each other and we believe that good health comes from the inside out. So, it’s not just what you eat, it’s how you feel about yourself and how you are to other people.”
The brand is about more than just quality food. It is also about quality people and caring for everyone who goes into making a bag of Lark Ellen Farm granola and then everyone who opens one. The name Lark Ellen is derived from this same sense of stewardship to people and to the natural beauty of Ojai, California.
Kelley named the company after her little farm on Lark Ellen Ave in Ojai. However, Lark Ellen was a famous Southern California resident, an opera singer at the turn of the century, who was known for her beautiful voice and her genuine care for the community. Lark Ellen Farm works daily to continue this legacy through genuine food and people.
With a brand that thinks this big, it can be difficult at times to handle all the components of business operations. While this experience has taught Kelley that she “can do a lot of different jobs” it has been, at times, a challenging experience raising Lark Ellen Farms from the ground up. “When I started out,” she says, “I was just making granola in my kitchen [and] now [I find myself] having to understand financials and how to raise capital, and how to properly report things on my financial statement, to understanding manufacturing laws, and the certifications required to produce food, and how to deal with distributors and shippers… all that has been greatly been challenging but it has also been very exciting.”
The multitudinous jobs of a business owner, especially one that grows from the ground-up, can be challenging and rewarding.
As Kelley has grown she has also partnered with Accountix to help facilitate that growth and says that “I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy working with Accountix. Accountix has taken the time to really understand my business and the processes that are required to run my business properly.”
The partnership has been particularly beneficial in the terms of inventory where “we have implemented a system to track inventory and our sales… to ensure that the information going into the system is accurate so that when we pull reports and need it for certain financial decisions that the information is correct and that we can rely on it.”
With the help of Accountix, the spirit of Lark Ellen, and a product worth buying, Lark Ellen Farms has quickly grown. To order a bag of your own Grainless Goodness shop here.
Learn more about the Lark Ellen Farm and Accountix Partnership here:
We met with Kelley D’Angelo of Lark Ellen Farms at her Ojai, California offices just 3 days before the start of the Thomas Fire. The next few weeks were tumultuous for the team at Lark Ellen Farm, but they persisted and made it through the fire safely.