A young family turned a simple idea into a successful business venture, and all it took was thinking outside the cereal box. The Wishingrads (a.k.a. The Wishes) started their cereal company Three Wishes out of their home in Scarsdale, New York at the height of COVID to fill a gap in the market for a healthy brand of breakfast food. Luckily for co-founders Margaret and Ian Wishingrad, their inspiration to launch a business began with simply wanting the best for their family.
“When I became a mom for the first time, I started reading about exactly what I should and shouldn’t feed our first born, Ellis,” explained Margaret Wishingrad. “I was very picky. Once we were recommended cereal as an introductory finger food by our pediatrician, I had my aha! moment. There was no clean, truly better-for-you cereal on the market that I was excited to feed my son and also consume myself. I decided that if I couldn’t find it, I’d make it.”
The company has a personal connection to The Wishes, both in its name and the mission to create a new kind of cereal that isn’t boxed in by any existing categories. “The brand’s name, Three Wishes, stems from our last name, and at the time of launch represented the three members of our family,” said Ian. “We were three then, but we are four now. Three Wishes also signifies the key differentiators we wanted for our cereal: grain free, high in protein, and low in sugar.
“Our 100% vegan cereal is made from nutrient dense ingredients, not commodity grains like wheat, rice, corn and oats. It tastes incredible, so you can enjoy the deliciously nostalgic cereal flavors you love without any of the bad stuff.”
Three Wishes offers seven flavors on its website, from strawberry, cinnamon, honey, cocoa, fruity, frosted and unsweetened. The Wishes dug into their childhood memories to come up with their cereal flavors, with a nutritious twist.
“For us, developing flavors means we get to come up with the cereal of our dreams,” said Margaret. “Our whole team meets frequently to brainstorm the wildest and most delicious flavors we can imagine, inspired by nostalgia, trends and more. For instance, we recently launched a limited-edition chocolate strawberry flavor for Valentine’s Day, and a delicious marshmallow flavor for Easter. We use a touch of organic cane sugar and pure monk fruit to nail that subtly sweet flavor. Our natural flavors are made of natural essences and oils, which are vegan and non-GMO.”
Three Wishes was set to launch in retail stores just weeks before COVID hit. The pandemic put an unpredictable pause on their plans, but the Wishingrads instead found an opportunity to keep their business going despite the odds. They began by sharing samples of their cereal out of their driveway during lockdown.
“While many competitors pivoted to sell directly to consumers, we chose to double down on retail, helping grocery stores keep the cereal on their shelves,” said Margaret. “There were definitely bouts of panic. I reminded myself why we created Three Wishes to begin with – for new parents looking to feed their families something wholesome and nutritious.”
Since then, Three Wishes has grown to a successful business with more than 8,000 retail partners nationwide, including a recent launch at Costco. The Wishingrads still run the company out of their home and are constantly innovating to deliver cereal filled with healthy, delicious ingredients.
“My advice for entrepreneurs who truly feel like they’ve found a solution to a real problem: just press Go,” said Margaret. “Don’t listen to the inevitable no’s faced along the way. As long as you truly believe in what you’re bringing to this world, go for it!”
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