Kylie Martin (Hollonds), mother, teacher and businesswoman extraordinaire, took out the gold award in the Food and Beverage category of this years Ausmumpreneur Awards in Melbourne.
Martin has since been awarded the winner of the Agribusiness Category in the Women in Business Awards for the Southern Downs Region. Martin has built her brand ‘Gloriously Free Oats’ through two decades of determined hard work. The journey began with a home-based business 20 years ago. After marrying in 1991 in her hometown of Springsure, her growing family all had various food intolerances. With foods such as dairy, corn, soy, gluten and wheat off the table and little specialty food options at the time, Martin began trialing new recipes and alternatives for feeding her family.
In 2000, after moving to the Southern Downs, Martin launched her first range of health food pre-mixes and flours under the name Brighterlife Wheat Free Foods. Determined to provide only the highest quality product in an extremely limited food landscape, the brand focused on gluten free flour, cake and bread mixes. Yet as a true trailblazer in the industry, Martin could not stop there and saw an opportunity to pioneer a new product in an emerging industry. In 2011, Martin sold her much loved Brighterlife brand to concentrate solely on her gluten free oats. However, her breakthrough product did not receive the warm welcome she expected when she ran into the strict Australian food labelling requirements. Unable to label the oats as ‘gluten free’ like her American counterparts, Martin embarked on the arduous journey of building a brand around restrictive challenges. According to her team, family and loved ones, it is unlike Kylie to falter under extreme difficulties and obstacles and this instance was no different. In what Martin refers to as her “ultimate shower moment” the name Gloriously Free Oats was born, an innovative and legal branding move that sealed her business success. After trademarking in 2016, Gloriously Free Oats has gone from strength to strength and Martin’s business has become the largest importer of gluten free oats in Australia and New Zealand, importing an estimated 150 tonnes a year.
After winning the AusMumpreneur award, Martin attributes her success in entrepreneurship to her strict and strong country upbringing. “My upbringing taught me extreme resilience, a super strong work ethic and stirred in me a drive to leave a legacy both for my family and to the community,” she said. As a businesswoman constantly looking for improvements and the expansion of her brand, Martin has big plans for the future. “It really is our 2020 vision to have GF oats grown, harvested and distributed from Australia,” she said, “Through our market research and monitoring of food trends we’ve found there’s a great opportunity to manufacture some more vegan snack food options which we started earlier this year by producing Anzac biscuits using our GF oats.” Martin has achieved much. “From this humble beginning of a concerned mum wanting to do the best for her family we’ve been able to help so many other individuals and families and that’s another real win in my book,” she said.
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