The Squamish-based entrepreneur started Chiwis out of her home kitchen
When Sarah Goodman started dried fruit chips maker Chiwis, she wanted to get authentic results from the people closest to her. So the former tech executive designed bags for her snacks (initially two different flavours of dried kiwi chips) and told her friends to try this snack she got at a grocery store.
“It wasn’t just, here’s a Glad bag full of this snack I made, be nice to me because I made them,” Goodman recalls. Thankfully, her friends liked the chips (or they’re just overly nice).
Back then, Goodman was serving as the chief operating officer of VitalSines, a Vancouver-based health tech mobile app for which she still serves as a board member. “I was running it for 10 years, and just felt pretty over it,” she recalls. A former nutritionist, Goodman had been making her own kiwi chips for awhile before she had the idea to merge her passion and her work life.
“I thought I needed a change, so I started spending evenings and weekends doing research on how the food business works. I did a lot of digging and, after I got a bit of confidence, had a prototype bag made.”
After pausing the idea for a good chunk of the pandemic, Goodman started selling her product some 18 months ago. Back then, she was in zero stores across the country. By the end of this summer, she thinks Chiwis (which now has five flavours, including orange and pineapple) will be in around 1300, mostly in B.C. and Ontario. It's already in close to 200 Save-on-Foods locations in Canada. And earlier this week, the company opened up a manufacturing and packing plant in its home base of Squamish.
“I’m pumped to be able to play around in the test kitchen. Our products are 100 percent natural, we don’t add any preservatives or anything like that. And if we go into vegetables or anything else, we’ll do the same thing,” says Goodman who notes that the focus on health, as well as the women-owned business label (Chiwis is currently a team of three women, as well as a bevy of contractors), goes a long way with the company’s target demographic of 25-to-45-year-old women.
“We’re doing a little digital trial into the U.S. Pacific Northwest—that whole area of Cascadia, we have a lot of the same values,” she says. “We want to grow this company in the rest of Canada and the States and be a well-known brand. We think we can do it. We’ll probably grow 500 to 800 percent from last year. Last June, we did just over $9,000 [in sales]. And I think this month will be our first $100,000 month.”