Nicola Kok: Owner, Founder, Granolamaker - Building A Business From The Ground Up!

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

Photograph By Basque Imagery


Industry: Retail Home Base: Somerset West, South Africa

What is your passion?

There are a number of things that make me excited in life and that I really feel passionate about. I know that I’m a very happy version of myself when I’m helping and serving others. My love language is serving and whatever shape, size and form that takes, it makes me happy to my core. Extra miles are my jam. Following a fit and healthy lifestyle (with a good slice of indulge on the side, cause #life please) is really important to me and something I prioritise and find great joy in. I cycle with my husband and love to train as often and as hard as possible.

What lead you to this point in your life?

Hmmm…. It’s easier to define this path from a retrospective point of view. But I guess there was a big part of me that craved freedom (without really knowing that freedom was the itch I was trying to scratch). Freedom to be available to others, freedom to have more time with my husband, freedom to really decide how each day is shaped and sized.

On a practical note - Simply Granola was (quite literally) the result of a colleague hovering over my breakfast ;) Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a childhood staple in our house would turn into a fully fledged business.

Like. ever. But after that initial sharing of my granola a very slow/organic journey kinda took its course and here we are today.

Photograph By Basque Imagery

What did you study?

I started with a BA degree, switched to BComm 2 weeks in (it took one philosophy class to make me realise that a BA degree is way too grey for my blue personality) and then finally qualified with CIMA as a Chartered Management Accountant.

What did you sacrifice to follow your dreams?

I can honestly say that I really don’t think I sacrificed that much… Minor things like not having a phenomenally exciting social life for more than a year while I was doing a full time job and building Simply Granola at night/over weekends but I had incredible support along the way so there really isn’t anything to complain about. Sometimes I do miss the corporate world, simply from a mental stimulation point of view, I really enjoyed my role as an analyst but I know that the industry (and the very specific parts of my job that I used to love) doesn’t exist/has changed since I left.

What do you love about what you do?

The dynamic nature of my day-to-day. The fact that I get to be there for when life happens to those around me. I appreciate the fact that Dries and I have more time together and that we get to spend more moments in the sun (or snuggled under the covers). I work damn hard, but I appreciate the fact that I get to choose to live too and that when I feel like I need to take some time out I can.

My personality thrives under a variety of tasks, so this has never bothered me, challenged me yes, made me cry too :) But wearing multiple hats is something that I enjoy and I’ve come to love the extent to which it challenges me and forces me to grow.

Photograph By Basque Imagery

Photographs By Basque Imagery

What advice do you have for girls trying to follow their dreams?

Don’t be scared to try. Try with everything you've got and then some. Ask for help (shameless amounts of times). Lean on your girlgang, tap into your tribe. They want to see you succeed as badly as you do.

What is the most important thing you have learnt?

That quite literally, you can do anything you set your mind to. You just need to be brave enough ( or stupid enough :) ) to try.

What do you think being a #Girlboss means?

Being all sorts of brave while paving your way and showing up for yourself in a way that no one else ever will.

Photographs By Basque Imagery

Where do you go for inspiration?

Out. Quite literally I most often just need to take a break from what I’m busy with and where I am. The times that I feel I can least afford to stop and get some air, I ALWAYS come home with fresh ideas, new solutions and views I quite frankly didn’t have the ability to see while I was sitting in the middle of everything. Although not inspiration in the common sense of the word, this is inspiring to me.

To know that somewhere in me lies a magnitude of ideas and solutions that I really just need to give a little space.

(from there I know I also need a whole lot of help from a kickass tribe with the skills to execute whatever I have in mind!) Those who know me well will know that I don’t really think of myself as terribly creative, so my inspiration might look a little different to your inspiration. I'm not always sure I would know what to do with the 'typical' idea of inspiration.

What excites you about your life?

That I get to live it, in a way that is unashamedly of my own choosing. In addition to that - growing older and wiser. It’s incredibly liberating to know who you are and to learn to be so okay with every fibre of your being.

What is the best thing about your day?

Waking up without an alarm. The worst part is figuring out what to do next. Having your own business means a whole lot of lists as well as endless areas which you want to work at/change/improve. Sometimes that can be a vastly overwhelming thing.

Photograph By Basque Imagery

What challenges have you had to overcome?

Growing a business is tough when you’re a one (wo)man band. Sometimes it’s tough for me to accept that ‘average’ will have to be good enough. That my best attempts at social media marketing or newsletter writing or website coding will have to do.

You don’t have the luxury of having everything perfect (or the funds to get in external help), and I’ve also realised that no one out there will think that it is average.

In general the world thinks it’s phenom so we can quit while we’re ahead on that trying to be perfect road.

What is your support system?

I have a husband that is a real good egg in more ways than one. He provides on all levels and then some. And peeps, he cooks, like it’s nobody’s business. In addition to that I have the most epic group of girlfriends that are friggen rockstars. You can take these girls to war and we’ll win.

What’s next for you?

Ah, some exciting stuff that’s still a little under wraps :) I’m currently busy with a packaging project that will take Simply Granola to retail shelves nationwide. The past two years have been a crazy number of lessons rolled into one sweet mountain of how-not-to’s and the one thing I needed to address before I can (confidently) put my product on a retail shelf, is to address the packaging challenges I have experienced to date. So we’ll be moving from our loved brown craft bags, to a custom designed range of boxes, which I am very excited about. If all goes according to plan we’ll have those live in August.


Instagram: @simplygranola


#SouthAfrica #Entrepreneur #Retail #Founder