Nadja Piatka has appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and other international media.
Oprah highlighted Nadja’s life about losing everything and coming back to create a successful food company with only a $100 investment and becoming a supplier to McDonald’s, Subway, and retail grocers in North America.
After 20 years of marriage, Nadja found herself an unemployable single Mom raising two children. During one low point, while her 13-year-old daughter was home from school for lunch, a bill collector came pounding at the door and peering in the windows. Nadja had her daughter hide with her under a table from the bill collector. That humiliation prompted her to gain the strength to move forward and write down her goals, the majority of which she accomplished within one year.
Since no one would hire her, she decided she would hire herself. Nadja believed the world needed better-tasting healthy food so she began experimenting with recipes in her kitchen and testing them on her children. She started her business by waking up in the early hours to bake and deliver her baked goods in her car to local coffee shops.
When her customer base grew, she outsourced her production and within a year became a supplier to McDonald’s Canada. The healthy cranberry/orange muffin she created in her kitchen is still on McDonald’s menu. This success in the food industry grew her company to manufacture in the US and Canada and become a supplier to Subway and other large restaurant chains and retailers in the US and Canada.
Today she is the CEO of Holista Foods USA, a company that is dedicated to changing people’s lives through “better for you” foods. Holista Foods mission is to support the global fight against diabetes and obesity by delivering healthy low glycemic food.
As a leader of the “good carb revolution”, Holista Foods is promoting a consumer shift to consider the blood sugar impact, as well as nutritional content, when making food choices. Scientific evidence proves that managing blood sugar through food, is “key” to managing weight, sustaining energy, and living vitally.
Nadja and her team have developed the first line of clinically validated low glycemic pasta/noodles which are sold globally and to major grocery retailers in North America. In collaboration with Costanzo’s Bakery of Buffalo NY, they launched the world’s first low glycemic white bread.
Nadja is a bestselling author and the recipient of numerous achievement awards in Canada and the United States.
Along with her daughter, she created an annual event to empower women and has sponsored 32 Women Survivors of War throughout the world.
Her amazing professional and personal story of building her business, surviving leukemia, setting goals, and helping others achieve their goals is an inspiration to anyone who dares to dream big!
Where did the idea for Holista Foods come from?
I have always been passionate about healthy eating and providing better food choices. Scientific evidence proves that managing blood sugar by eating low glycemic food, is “key” to managing weight, sustaining energy, and living vitally. Holista Foods is promoting a consumer shift to consider the blood sugar impact, as well as nutritional content when making food choices. The idea for my company came from learning and working with health professionals.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day with a pilates workout or going for a run. It energizes me for the day ahead.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I first visualize the idea.. Once you see it – you can do it! That’s the fun part. Now the work starts. Research the Market. Is there a need for the idea? If you are a food product, local farmer’s markets are a great way to test consumer response to a new product. List the roles everyone involved will play, and who will be responsible for what. Don’t mortgage your house or use all of your savings. Look for investors. They are looking for great ideas. Outsource your product to start so you are not investing in buildings or expensive equipment.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The low glycemic diet and the science behind it truly excite me. For the first time, we are getting a global consensus by health professionals that this is the way to combat obesity and the diabetes tsunami.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I take time out every day to be active. Exercise is vital to personal well being and mental clarity,
What advice would you give your younger self?
You don’t have to be perfect and it’s Ok to make mistakes. I have learned my biggest lessons from my mistakes.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m a good singer.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read, read, read. There is much to learn from business and self-help books.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
N – never say never
E – expect success
X – xerox principal – don’t copy. Make sure your product has a point of differentiation,
T – try, try, try your best
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started the food business, I didn’t properly test one product before putting it on the market. I got excited to make a product available since there was a customer ready to buy but I found it’s better to say you need more time.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The most successful business ideas come from a “need” that you can’t find.
I started my business by creating great-tasting healthy muffins because I couldn’t find any healthy muffins that tasted as delicious as traditional ones. Once you can provide something of value that is missing in the market – you have a great business idea! Most important of all it needs to be something YOU believe in and not an idea someone has handed you.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
When I started my first company many years ago I was basically broke and all I had to spare was $100. I used it to buy ingredients and business cards.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Quick books. The person in charge of our operations and accounting uses it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill. It was written decades ago but many of the principles still apply.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you did all the things in life that you are truly capable of, you would literally astound yourself” by Thomas Edison
- Dream big. Whatever you dream, whatever you visualize – you can do!
- Don’t be afraid of competition, even the giants. I’m a great believer in David vs Goliath.
- Make sure your product/idea brings value to people’s lives.
- Be prepared to work. Use your sweat equity and investor funding.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.