It’s not every day that we get to chat with the change makers in the food and beverage startup space. Blumers, meet Emily Elyse Miller, the Founder/CEO of OffLimits and Author of BREAKFAST: The Cookbook! To help celebrate our collaboration with OffLimits, we wanted to get inside the head of this epic entrepreneur and cereal connoisseur. Want to learn more about plant-based realness and the ins and outs of the breakfast industry this World Vegan Day? Look no further.
What is OffLimits?
OffLimits is a defiant cereal brand here to break the rules and prove that cereal can be both fun and healthy. All with offensively delicious flavors, moody mascots, exclusive toys, and thoughtful ingredients that parents would approve of.
What is your morning ritual?
My morning routine varies based on my mood and closely resembles the personalities of the OffLimits cereal mascots. Sometimes I feel like DASH and wake up with intense motivation to power through work. Other times ZOMBIE takes over and I choose another hour of sleep. FLEX brings out a 7am workout vibe and a SPARK morning probably means I'm hungover. Regardless of my mood, I'm the person who thinks about breakfast as I fall asleep.
What motivated you to start the brand?
I've spent my career straddling food and design, but my niche became breakfast through a global event series I started called, BreakfastClub as well as BREAKFAST: The Cookbook, my 380 recipe book featuring traditional breakfast from around the world.
After years of talking to people about breakfast, I wondered why cereal had such a strong culture decades prior, from characters to commercials, but its affinity was dwindling. Consumers lost trust in the brands they loved because we found out all these years big cereal corporations have been deceptive with ingredients and health claims. I wanted to take back cereal culture for a modern generation with a new world of inclusive mascots and whole ingredients. OffLimits was created to give everyone permission to enjoy cereal again.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for Women entrepreneurs?
Female entrepreneurs are held to a different set of standards. Intentional or not, the weight of bearing industry biases through the fundraising process, to dealing with "old-school" suppliers and manufacturers is exhausting. These biases might seem intangible but result in real life consequences, like women-founded businesses only receiving 2.3% of venture funding in 2020.
Tell us how OffLimits is shaking up the cereal industry.
Decades spent without change has left cereal culture craving newness, inclusivity, and transparency. OffLimits is rethinking cereal culture, from moody cereal mascots to exclusive toy drops, and custom art boxes. We created American cereal's first ever female-identifying mascot and are one of the few entirely plant-based cereal brands on the market. We also support youth art programming as I vehemently believe in encouraging creative entrepreneurship from a young age.
You can only eat one plant-based meal for the rest of your days—what would it be?
Absolutely it would be plant-based nuggets with a side of honey and tahini... Oh and OffLimits cereal for dessert 😉
What has been the biggest surprise or learning for you since starting OffLimits?
The biggest surprise for me in starting a better-for-you brand, has been observing the ferocity of diet culture perpetuated by companies in the health food space. OffLimits has always been about breaking free from what you "should" be eating and enjoy what feels good for you and your body. Our tagline, "We'd never put you in a box. Boxes are for cereal" is there to remind us all that just because an ingredient claims to be healthy does not mean it's right for us.
Why was it important to you to create a plant-based cereal?
In my research, I learned that most of the legacy cereals we grew up with are not vegan. This really creeped me out... So, I made a cereal I wanted to eat. That happened to be plant-based, gluten-free, and filled with thoughtfully sourced ingredients.
What do you want OffLimits to be remembered for?
I want OffLimits to be known for creating an inclusive culture around cereal with lasting connection to flavor and characters that are just as moody and complex as us.
If you could share a bowl of DASH with anyone, who would it be and why?
Clancy Gilroy from The Midnight Gospel would make a great cereal-eating buddy. He could interview me for his spacecast while we go on an adventure to a planet made up of only breakfast foods.
You’re hosting breakfast for your closest friends—what three plant-based items are guaranteed to be on the table?
Everyone is definitely eating cereal while I'm making breakfast. Then I'm putting out a tray of super crispy hash browns topped with cashew crema, avocado, and pickled things. I'm a huge soup for breakfast person so there would likely be some kind of miso-based soup with a bunch of seasonal veggies.
What’s your number one tip for someone looking to get involved in the plant-based food and beverage space?
It's not all or nothing. Living plant-based is about intention and finding a balance that works for you. Try not to overthink it and only do what feels authentic.