Apr 25, 2014 7:56 AM
Jennifer Coles started CoCo Gluten-Free Baking Company right in her home kitchen a little more than a year ago. She had to change her diet when she found out she was allergic to wheat.
"I've been gluten-free for over a decade and I love to cook as well. So I just decided to put those two things together to start my business," she says.
Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Many people cut it out of their diet because they have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that causes digestive issues and fatigue when eating foods with gluten. Going gluten-free can also help people who are suffering from other health problems.
"I have some clients that have arthritis or chronic fatigue and they find that cutting out gluten from their diet helps them feel better," says Coles.
Ten years ago it would've been difficult for Coles to start a gluten-free baking business because the products were harder to come by, but that's all changed.
"You can go to a restaurant and request gluten-free goods. You can go to local cafes and usually they'll have an option. At the grocery stores that have an entire gluten-free section," she says.
Coles now takes orders online and also sells her products wholesale to local coffee shops like the Naked Lounge and Bidwell Perk. She was recently forced to move into a bigger kitchen space in Hamilton City to be able to keep up with the growing demand.
"The company's really taking over my home right now, so I can't really separate home life and work life at this point," she says.
Coles is also trying to raise money through the website Kickstarter to fund a mobile trailer so that she can sell her baked goods on the go.