Today, we shine light on Eloise and Jamari of Oat Canada.
Give us your elevator pitch — tell us a bit about yourself. We want to know what you and your company Oat Canada is all about.
We’re Eloise and Jamari Ambursley the founders of Oat Canada. Oat Canada is helping the planet by fuelling people with one of the most sustainable crops – oats. We leverage the properties of oats to create nutritious food & beverage products that take the stress out of building healthy eating habits. The risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes continues to grow in Canada. The main contributor of this is the overconsumption of sugar. 36% of Canadian sugar consumption comes from beverages – milk sits at second to soft drinks! Our 0g of sugar oat milk provides Canadians with the opportunity to optimize their health without disrupting their lifestyles. Our mission is to help Canadians make big changes in small meaningful ways.
#LocalLove is all about showing love to small businesses and disruptors like yourself. Can you share with us what made you decide to start Oat Canada?
Oat Canada was fundamentally built on small good habits. We believe that when you make one good habit, it has a rippling effect, influencing other areas of your life. When my husband and I got married, we had started a simple habit – save 25% or more of our monthly income. By the end of the year, we ended up saving more than 50% of our annual income. Because of one simple change, our entire lifestyle changed as well. We started meal prepping and cooking more meals at home, exercising daily, journaling regularly, and reducing our sugar consumption. As we optimized our lives in small ways, we became more aware of how we cared for our health as well as how we treated the planet. Fast forward to 4 years of marriage, these good habits culminated into what is now Oat Canada.
Change doesn’t happen overnight and so we hope to inspire and share with other Canadians how one simple habit could change their life in a big way – we’re hoping to do that starting with our 0g of sugar oat milk.
How did you get into this line of work?
We had a simple need that wasn’t being met and we felt that we were the best people to solve our own problem. Milk is considered by most to be a staple product, it’s used in nearly everything. Given that Jamari is lactose intolerant and Eloise has a nut allergy, dairy milk and nut-based milk alternatives did not suit either of our needs. We eventually discovered oat milk and immediately fell in love. However, we quickly realized that it did not complement our lifestyle change to reduce our sugar consumption. We found that some oat milks were as high as 130 calories and contained 14g of sugar per serving. To give some perspective, that’s nearly half of the sugar found in a can of coke. We then started researching and experimenting out of our kitchen like mad scientists until we had constructed a formula we were happy with. We then started working with actual mad scientists for about a year to develop a process that gave us the product you have today.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (career or otherwise)?
The best advice we’ve ever received was “do the hard things when it’s easy.” So, we’ve tried to maximize our 20s by saving more than we spend, eating healthy, exercising, and taking risks.
How about the worst?
“Once you find your passion, you’ll never work another day in your life.” We don’t entirely agree with this. In fact, we believe you’ll end up working even harder and longer once you’ve found something you’re passionate about. You won’t love what you do 100% of the time, but you have to ask yourself, is this something you’re willing to suffer for or go through really tough times for?
If you could paint your ideal life, what would that look like in 5-10 years from now?
We envision a Canada where plant proteins become the norm and Oat Canada becomes Canada’s trusted source of plant proteins. This is our ideal life, a legacy we can leave for our future children.
What are your favourite resources that you’ve come across over the years (e.g., email extensions, design apps etc.)?
Jamari and I both enjoy reading. We really enjoy studying together. Some of our favourite books are Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, The Courage To Be Disliked, The Richest Man In Babylon, and Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder. These books and many others have become guiding directives of our lives and have helped shape who we are and how we run Oat Canada.
Who are 3 of your favourite Canadian entrepreneurs that our readers should absolutely be in the know about?
Some of our favourite Canadian Entrepreneurs include:
Elon Musk: because he doesn’t stop building despite the criticism he regularly receives. He also proves to everyone that you don’t have to have an in-depth knowledge in the startup you decide to build.
Anna Bediones: She’s one of the most down to earth and sincere people we’ve ever met, a true supporter of local businesses – she’s a large reason a lot of people know about Oat Canada. We also admire how Anna stands up for what she believes in, she doesn’t shy away from doing what’s right. She has this unique gift to draw light and attention to matters she cares about – a real influencer.
Catriona Smart: She’s a really strong woman, an individual we really admire. She amplifies voices and uses her platform to raise others, especially women. She embodies “consistency.” She’s built a community through her blog over the years and from this consistency, she’s founded Halo PR Group agency and now new podcast “Conversations with Coco + Friends.”
Michelle Romanow: She too, started out in the food industry. Her first venture was a zero-consumer-waste-cafe. She eventually ended up in the tech industry where she continues to thrive today. Something we appreciate about Michelle is that she never says “no” to an opportunity even if failure is a high probability.
Amin Todai: His background is in design and advertising, it’s because of these skills he was able to make two viral food companies we admire – La Carnita and Sweet Jesus. We believe that designers make for great Founders because designers at their core are problem solvers. “Design is as much a method of sifting out a business problem as it is a method of execution.” Amin is a great example of a Designer-Founder.
Betsy Campos: Betsy, owner of Unika Swim, focuses on customer experience and that’s what we admire about her. She thinks about her clients first. Shopping for swimwear can be intimidating but Betsy focuses on providing a customized experience for any and all types of shoppers. She’s kind and a great example of a customer-focused entrepreneur.
What’s next for you and Oat Canada?
We will be launching our Oat Canada chocolate oat milk with less sugar than our competitors as well as an ice cream line soon. (Wow, we can’t wait!)
Explore our #LocalLove highlight here.