A Cereal Entrepreneur.
‘the unexpected guest is a boutique company based around ‘extraordinary breakfast experiences’ says proud owner Juniper Wilkinson who started the business in her sunny Bondi kitchen 18 months ago. Based around her Canadian style granola recipe that she has been making for years, Juniper started the business after friends and neighbours began placing orders and demanding she make more. ‘the unexpected guest concept was created around our own open door policy. We have had loads of visitors over the years and really love to embrace the philosophy of ‘the more the merrier’’. Soon local café’s were ordering and the unexpected guest was born.
Hand baked with five different types of nuts, seeds and premium Australian rolled oats, Juniper decided to call her distinctive granola recipe ‘freestyle granuesli’. ‘Granuesli is a breakfast experience so unique we had to invent a name for it. Freestyle granuesli is exactly that, freestyle. Each batch may vary slightly so your taste buds won’t get bored.’ Her belief in using the best possible ingredients available has also led to establishing the product (and company) as certified organic. With the branding and packaging Juniper decided to steer away from brown paper bags, hessian sacks and the stereotypical image perceived around organics. With a love for design, she has used her unique and irreverent charm to move the perception into a more contemporary field.
Positive feedback around the granuesli led to demand for an organic gluten-free product, which saw Juniper go back into the kitchen to create her second product, which has now matched the granuesli in popularity. Protein packed puffed grains like quinoa and amaranth make up the base of what they call ‘thank goodness it’s gluten-freestyle’, but it was the addition of lots of nuts and seeds, shredded coconut, sun-dried cranberries and maple roasted almonds that really turned heads. ‘The gluten-freestyle sales have almost matched the granuesli which has been really amazing for us to see. Lots of people who buy it are not even gluten-free, they just love the taste.’
These extraordinarily delicious breakfast experiences they say ‘will make you want to literally leap out of bed and run to the table’ are now being produced in the beautiful NSW northern rivers hinterland in order to meet surging demand from breakfast and organic food lovers around the country. Six months ago, Juniper and her fiancée Adam decided to take a leap of faith and move up the coast permanently. Adam left his role in media and joined the unexpected guest full-time to focus on growing the business and managing the 80+ retailers across Australia. Juniper’s has now moved her focus towards marketing and new product development with plans in the pipeline for more food products as well as a line of homewares, based on her background as a ceramicist and an artist. ‘We are excited to collaborate with other creatives in the future in order to keep the designs fresh.’ she says ‘the emphasis will always be ‘the more the merrier’’ in true unexpected guest style.
‘We are extremely proud to be creating authentic and original hand-made Australian products using the highest quality materials we can find. We are also committed to supporting small businesses, organic and fair trade practices and having a great time doing it. Our aim is to be able to say “wooooo!” at the end of everyday.’