Meet Emily Griffith of Lil Bucks

tell us about your products. where they are made. who makes them. favorite product features.

Lil Bucks are a buckwheat-based superfood crunch available in three flavors: Cacao, Matcha and Original. High in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium, these sprouted buckwheat seeds transform the health power of a yogurt, smoothie bowl, snack or salad! They are available in 6oz and 3oz bags right now, with 1lb bags being released in December. Lil Bucks are currently being made in Kitchen Chicago in Fulton Market. I’m Emily, the founder, and was inspired by a smoothie bowl I had in Sydney, Australia. I came back to my hometown, Chicago, and started growing the Lil Bucks brand from my home in West Loop! I have flown to NYC a few times to experiment with a facility in Brooklyn, NY that has a GIANT food dehydrator (the size of a room) so I can start make tons of bags of Lil Bucks at once!!

tell us about your connection to Chicago. your neighborhood.

I am from Chicago and live in West Loop. After living in Sydney Australia and discovering this unique and delicious use of sprouted buckwheat to replace granola and cereal, I became obsessively inspired and came back to Chicago to build the Lil Bucks brand. I live in West Loop now, and aim to breathe "Sydney vibes" into this brand!!

what do you love about your business, your industry.

There isn't a better time to be in the food industry - so much innovation and diversity unlike anything I've seen. The best parts are meeting other food entrepreneurs, helping each other out, and learning from each other. I also love being able to talk passionately about other wellness lovers and this brand has allowed me to do that!

tell us about your design inspiration - space, smells, colors, textures.

Through the Lil Bucks brand I hope to convey more than the experience of eating a high protein superfood crunch - I want Lil Bucks to radiate the inspiration of a diverse, healthy diet and balanced lifestyle like the one I experienced so vividly in Sydney. Design inspiration is completely inspired from my time living in Sydney, Australia. When I think of where Lil Bucks fits in, it's a cozy, airy cafe by Bondi Beach, surrounded by bright blues and light colors, a smell of the ocean, listening to the waves and Aussies walking by with their surfboards, enjoying an insanely healthy, delicious and beautiful breaky. I love the crisp design found not only in Sydney's beach scene but general design/music/fashion scene. Hence the block font and periwinkle blue I use for Lil Bucks.

what advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?

Nike said it best - Just do it!! Once you get started your creative juices will flow. Don't measure where you're at compared to someone who's been pursuing their creative business for 1, 3, 5, 10 years. Just start creating, connecting with others, get feedback, and your business will evolve into your vision.

share a favorite quote, a mantra.

“Respond to every call that ignites your spirit.” - Rumi (this is what inspired me to move to Sydney, and what inspired me to actually start Lil Bucks - I couldn't ignore these calls!!)

surprise us with your secret talent, fact, etc.

Despite my obsession with superfoods and clean-eating, nacho Doritos are a real weakness for me. I don't even like pizza or burgers, but Doritos will always be tempting (luckily have found some better real food alternatives!

what's the most common question you get about your business?

What is sprouted buckwheat/does it actually taste good???!!

tell us about your process for making + creating.

I disconnect to reduce distractions and carve out hours or a day that's specifically for a focus on creation, improving the business, and dreaming of new ideas. This keeps me connected to the original business idea and my inspiration, reminds me of how far I've come, and reinvigorates me to innovate for the future.

name 3 local makers/brands that inspire you and why.

1- Sacred Serve Gelato - This owner (Kailey) is the ultimate GIRL BOSS and their functional vegan gelato is so unique and tasty. I can't wait to see her grow and I've already learned so much from her. 2 - Ingrained Granola - Sydney is an incredible superfood queen, she radiates pure passion and never wants a recipe to be the same. She's truly in it for the passion not the $$, and her product (particularly the raw bars) are AMAZING!! 3 - Kombuchade by Matt and his team - total focus on local, not overly competitive or stressed, he is making a great product and people love it!

what is the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped you and your business?

RXBAR and Think Jerky CEO's have both essentially said this: Stop thinking - create the product and get out and SELL. Your goal is not just getting your product in as many hands as possible, it's more about creating REPEAT customers. Once you have repeat loyal customers, you know you have a good product and should start growing your brand.

is there a new item you will debut at Covet?

I am going to debut my holiday flavor - gingerbread at this event! Perfect for topping on holiday treats (both 'clean' treats and indulgent ones) like pie, cheesecake, ice cream, and for having that comforting ginger spice flavor satisfaction during the holidays in your regular breakfasts like oatmeal and yogurts.

Connect with Lil Bucks

@lovelilbucks on Instagram

Jessica Cohen