Qnola | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

Qnola – Third Cohort Export Champion


Nourishing food products

Location: Bath
Company website: www.qnola.co.uk
Sectors: Health & Manufacturing

Founded by leading model Danielle Copperman, Qnola are dedicated to helping people to Wake Up Well™ – developing nourishing food products and creating a lifestyle brand to educate and assist people in their quest to improve their life experiences by starting each day better.

Qnola’s range of nutritionally enhanced breakfast products are made from wholly natural ingredients with the aim of developing a truly healthy alternative to commercial cereals, which are often highly processed and high in sugar, gluten, additives and preservatives. Although many of these products are advertised as ‘skinny’, ‘light’ or ‘low fat’ this doesn’t make them healthy. Qnola’s nourishing ingredients are all wholesome sources of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and sustainable energy. All Qnola products are paleo, vegan and free from refined sugar, wheat, gluten and grains.

As the only purely quinoa-based granola in the world, Qnola have a very unique point of differentiation and no direct competitors. They therefore have a large and rapidly expanding base of potential customers as health and wellbeing products continue to grow in popularity.

With target markets all over the world, CommonwealthFirst looks forward to supporting this ambitious business to find distributors that can help it realise this potential.


Apply now to become an Export Champion.

Danielle Copperman, Founder

Danielle Copperman, Founder

Tell us about the Wake Up Well™ concept.
We are passionate about encouraging and supporting people to wake up well, but not just through a good breakfast. To us, whilst natural nutrition plays a large part in ensuring you feel and live well, there are many other things which can help to reduce the stresses and strains of modern day life, and particularly how we start each day. How you start the day has a profound impact on how the rest of your day unfolds, and through mindfulness and meditation events, online content, and other products, we are passionate to help people enhance their lives and get the most out of them, one morning at a time.

How did the idea for your business come about?
When I began to make changes to my diet I cut out gluten, grains and refined sugar and this left me, a former granola addict, without much choice for a quick, healthy breakfast in the mornings. I began experimenting with other psuedograins such as quinoa and buckwheat, and that’s how Qnola was born. There was nothing truly healthy on the cereal market and I wanted to change that.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Being a small business with a small team, there are many difficulties but overcoming them is just part of building the business and expanding. I see all difficulties and important lessons and guidance. To begin with, I made all the products by myself as well as distributing them to suppliers and individuals, and this was by far the biggest struggle to overcome, but it got me to where I am today and has made me more involved and more appreciative of the process!

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
Taking on staff was a big turning point in the beginning and has helped drive the business further. Also, doing limited edition products online I think has also helped to keep the brand fresh and innovative and grow our customer base, supplying varied needs and preferences.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
The fees of exporting and shipping are a huge issue as it is hard to make our products cost effective when selling overseas. Also some of the legal documentation and insight on the processes are difficult to understand at times, and it would be great to have extra guidance and support in this area.

What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
Help exporting our products across the commonwealth and introductions to export organisations that can help distribute our products.

What is a typical working day for you?
It differs every day. Some days I will have meetings and others I will be testing recipes or working from home on admin and planning marketing campaigns as well as events.

What is your most popular product?
The cacao and cashew Qnola.

Do you have any exciting projects/products in the pipeline you wish to share?
I am releasing a recipes and rituals cookbook in January, and we are also launching an online wake up well platform with plenty of amazing content to do with natural and sustainable wellbeing. We also launched a new range of our quinoa based granola at the end of the summer, as well as re-releasing our popular winter editions – SniQkers and Vanilla Chai.

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
I would like our business to expand beyond just a food product, to a platform which will inspire people to take control and responsibility of their health, with the help of our products but not exclusively. I hope to be exporting across the world, perhaps with licenced franchises in some countries, and hope to launch a few new products in the breakfast, beverage and snack sector.

What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
I would advise them to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and to only set something up they feel truly passionate about. Setting up a business purely for monetary rewards is stressful and also is less authentic, and consumers will notice that.


This interview was conducted as part of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champion interview series. Apply now to become an Export Champion.