Suzanne and Sasha questioned why they cannot have easy access to natural baked products that taste good. So, they decided to it themselves. This is how L’Nando(formerly Nan & Do) Bakery was founded, and eventually had a presence at Whole Foods locations.
We had an open conversation with Suzanne about the story of L’Nando, the inspiration behind their products, and how COVID19 affected local businesses. A truly inspiring conversation!
Can you tell us about the story of L’Nando Bakery? How did it start?
I grew up in the US. 14 years ago while I was traveling abroad, I met Sasha. We got married and returned to the US together. When we returned, Sasha noticed -as a foodie- he can not find the foods he grew up with. He says: “If you don’t start the morning with the good food that you grow up with then nothing is good after that.”
Sasha just couldn’t understand why a simple item such as bread or ice-cream should have this many unrecognizable ingredients. At the same time, I had some serious health issues related to digestion. I had to change my diet and lifestyle to get better. We knew it had something to do with our food system here in the USA.
As I was getting better, I pushed Sasha(knowing his love for creating food) to create a baked products business. Baked goods that are wholesome, free from preservatives, and any artificial flavors. Like the ones, we grew up with.
As a matter of fact, I should give credit to our moms, especially my grandma. She cured many people in her village by natural herbs and foods. After sharing our baked products with family, friends, and neighbors, this business started. The rest is history.
You rebranded Nan & Do as L’Nando Bakery. Can you mention the reason behind this?
We changed it to L’nando because people constantly thought our products are Naan. Especially, during the demos at Whole Foods. Not that it is bad, but our products are just so much different. We really did not want the new name to be so far apart from the old name. Our customers know us with that name for years.
Also, I think it just sounds so much better! 🙂
What has been your proudest moment?
It was when we noticed we created something that is in demand. Especially when Whole Foods was interested in all of our products. For us, it meant a lot.
Who are the key people behind your brand?
Sasha and I basically are the main people in terms of branding. I have a background in fashion, art, and design. Sasha’s background is in science and graphic art. In the beginning, Sasha’s oldest brother was our silent founding partner. It has been a year that he is no longer with us. So, you could say our company is family funded. But it is obvious that building a community is the key to our success. We believe food is one of the best community connector.
What is the inspiration behind your products/food?
Great question! 🙂
Initially, Sasha created foods for himself but with my and family and friends persuasions, and only after sharing, we decided to move further with the idea. Our core purpose has always been to share and try to introduce real healthy natural food. Build the community and little by little change the current state of the food system and save lives. I got my life back. Now we would like to help and educate many other people to provide and eat healthy food.
We used both our skill sets and our creative backgrounds to help our bakers create natural baked products without compromising the taste. Healthy community through good natural food. Knowing we have a positive impact on people’s health is enough inspiration for us.
What is your flagship product? Do you plan to offer any new products?
When we started working with Whole Foods, we only had three items. Mostly artisanal flatbread. Now, we have many more products such as three different types of pizza, cookies, Gluten free items, and many more.
Some are a good fit for retail, others are good for foodservice and wholesale.
We are constantly developing new products but that does not mean we market every product we develop. Sometimes it is just for pure pleasure or we just share it with friends and family.
From your perspective, how did COVID19 affect local food makers?
I think we all know the answer! It has been really hard for many businesses as they are struggling to survive. We are also somewhat within the red zone as we were about to open our retail showroom door on March 1st. Due to COVID19, we were not able to do it. Thankfully, that is only one portion of our business. Wholesale has been more immune from COVID19 and thank god for that revenue stream!
When lockdown started, we -just like many other food businesses- had to quickly adapt our strategy by partnering up with delivery companies. Before the COVID19, we never thought about this as an option. We just have to go through this. A failure after this many years of hard work is not a desirable option!