Whatever you do, don’t call it granola. You may think it looks like granola, and that it even tastes like it. But Klara Charvatova and David Filipi hope that once you get the swing of perusing and choosing from the more than 100 ingredients at MixMyOwn.com, customizing your own blend of muesli will keep you from ever making that cereal faux pas again.
“People [in Europe] know there’s sugar in granola, that it’s made differently,” explains Filipi, a 31-year-old former software developer who in April 2012 moved to Las Vegas from the Czech Republic with his business partner and fiancé Klara Charvatova. In Europe, several companies promote mail-order muesli online, he says. And while the couple was inspired by DIY muesli’s success back home, Charvatova (which sounds like “car-VAH-toe-vah”) says she and her love are now “trying to do it our own way” on Western soil, catering to America’s bounty of specialty-foods consumers.
Hot or cold, mixed with yogurt, dairy or nut milks (and sometimes even baked), muesli is a European breakfast staple, a raw, unsweetened mish-mosh of dried fruits and grains, but mostly oats. Swiss doctor Maximillian Bircher-Benner invented muesli about 1900 as part of a raw, clean-eating diet to help heal his patients of what ailed them.
Launched in July, MixMyOwn.com’s concept is simple: Within minutes of landing on the site you can be selecting components such as puffed rice, oat flakes, raisins, apricots, cacao nibs and hemp—variety for even the pickiest eater. Cinnamon powder and the whole vanilla bean are two of the most popular ingredients, along with chia seeds, matcha, quinoa puffs and flakes, açaí powder and all 13 freeze-dried fruits, especially berries. But with 100 ingredients from which to choose, there are close to a million possible combinations!
Doing it “their own way” has meant Charvatova and Filipi ensure for health-conscious Americans that MixMyOwn.com’s ingredients are organic, not genetically modified, have no added sugars or preservatives, and are healthy … with the possible exception of the bitty marshmallows you can add. Nutritional labels give all the necessary information, and cost can be controlled by adding or subtracting ingredients as you go along (a 1-pound bag might run you $10-$20, depending on your taste).
And if all of this sounds like way too much like work, there are a variety of premade mixes: One is gluten free, and future plans include adapting a mix for Paleo diet followers, which Filipi and Charvatova have noticed is popular in the U.S.
Although the couple’s plan was to launch the business in California, Nevada’s tax structure for startups (i.e., there is none) made Nevada a no-brainer. And after a decade of vacationing here and loving it, they’re far from disappointed to be creating one of the city’s newest exports. However, there is just one little occupational hazard to packing and shipping in the desert. So if you had your heart set on lacing your breakfast cereal with some rich, chocolate chips, you might have to stick to Cocoa Puffs. They just can’t take the heat.