Start small but Think Big with Sadie Olsen, Otto’s Cassava Flour

Sadie is the founder of Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour and the mother to the real Otto who is currently 3 years old. With a background of alternative health, Sadie has a strong desire to help her family and others achieve a balanced healthy lifestyle especially those with food intolerances which she can relate to first hand. When not at work, you can usually find her somewhere eating cheese and planning their next trip.

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What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • Sadie’s favorite recipe to make with Cassava Flour
  • How Sadie got the idea to start Otto’s
  • How Sadie figured out how to start an international brand
  • What Sadie’s biggest challenge was as a company
  • Otto’s most successful marketing technique

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Tell us about Otto’s Cassava Flour and how you get the idea.

When I was originally looking at cassava flour, I found this particular grade of cassava flour that was so different from the others on the market. My first thought was I should make stuff with this and sell it at Farmer’s markets. In hind sight that was really not a realistic plan for our circumstances at that time but more importantly I realized and found out that it wasn’t even available at realistic quantities for that kind of application. Their minimum order size was thousands of pounds and it occurred to me that if I couldn’t buy it in a quantity that made sense for our household, then neither could anybody else. That’s when the ‘Aha!’ moment came. I was pretty confident that people would love it as much as I did if they could just get their hands on it and so that’s kind of when the whole thing got started. It took us about 2 years to bring it to market.

What is your favorite all time recipe with cassava?

I have a love affair with Planks Love and Guacamole’s pizza and Fork and Bean’s tortillas. I don’t think I could choose between them.

How did you come up with your sales strategy?

I think we just realized what our biggest challenge was really going to be education. We thought about it and realized that bloggers are really at the forefront of that educational movement. The influential bloggers are successful because they take time to educate and provide their readers with far more thorough information than an ad ever could. Early on we just tried to get it into as many hands of influential bloggers as we could to work and play with and we made sure to let them know that there were absolutely no strings attached, they weren’t obligated to review us just, “Here’s a bag, play with it,” and leave it at that and that was going to be the best way to get a really honest information post out there for it.

We are so thankful with the bloggers we are partnered with, like Planks, Love and Guacamole. That pizza has gone absolutely viral!

What has been your most successful marketing technique?

Bloggers and instagram! Facebook grew very slowly. As soon as we got on instagram, we started having a lot more interaction and started attracting a lot more people. Our reach on instagram has gone far wider than we ever hoped it could!

Otto's Cassava Flour Founder

What would be your biggest piece of advice to someone who is just starting out in growing their food business?

The best piece of advice that we got at the beginning, was the most valuable,  start small but to think big and to make sure that you have your next move to scale in place before you need it.

Do you have a company or business owner that you looked up to?

I’d have to say Epic Provisions definitely. I would probably pay any amount of money to spend the day with Taylor and Katy and just pick their brains. They have done in 2 years what I hope to do in 10.

Where do you see yourself and Otto’s 5 years from now?

I think our main goal right now is to just work towards being as accessible as possible for people in terms of local availability and not just online. I’d love for everyone to be able to just grab a bag of Otto’s at their local store and not have to wait 2 days for it to come in the mail for them to make something they have a hankering for.

Otto's Cassava Flour Interview

What is the biggest lesson you learned in the past year?

To always have a contingency plan in place. Don’t put your eggs in one basket because things, circumstances they can change so quickly. Plan ahead; make sure you’ve got a backup plan for every aspect of your process so that you can roll with the punches that inevitably happened to everybody.

Do you have lessons that you’ve learned that you think are really great to make it smooth to work with your spouse?

I think respect is the key component there and it is a great thing to be able to have those lines and demarkations.

Share one thing that you want your customers and listeners to know about you that you think they don’t know yet.

In the beginning we were getting quite a bit of feedback from people that was like, “A bag of almond flour is like $12-14 in my local store and Otto’s is here at 17.99 and as much as we love it I’m not sure it’s sustainable for my budget,”. What we found is that they were actually comparing a one pound bag price, which is typical in a store to our two pound bag price. In reality Otto’s was actually less expensive than almond flour, like several dollars a pound.

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Follow Sadie and Otto’s Cassava Flour!

Sadie grew up in “The Mini-Apple”… Better known as Minneapolis, MN. but was bound for the east coast where she eventually met her husband, John. She is the Founder of Otto’s Naturals – Cassava Flour and the mother to the “real Otto” who is currently 3yo. With a background in Alternative Health, Sadie has a strong desire to help her family and others achieve a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Especially those with food intolerances, which she can relate to firsthand. Before starting Otto’s Cassava Flour she and her husband John enjoyed traveling the world together. Even living in both Ireland and Honduras for a few years. When not at work you can usually find her somewhere eating cheese and planning their next trip. 

Enter the podcast giveaway! This months giveaway is HUGE. Granola from Blissful Eats, A Love Drop from Love Grown Foods, a smoothie box from Green Blender,  one bag of Otto’s Cassava Flour and bagels from Sweet Note Bakery by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

Blissful Bites Podcast Giveaway


About Nicole

I’m on a mission to help as many women as possible step into their power so they can have a positive ripple effect on the world.

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