Behind Her Empire: Margaret Wishingrad On Creating A Low Sugar Cereal Brand

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Behind Her Empire: Margaret Wishingrad On Creating A Low Sugar Cereal Brand
Provided by BHE

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Three Wishes founder and CEO Margaret Wishingrad talks about creating brand awareness and shares the key component to running a successful business.


Three Wishes is a New York City-based company that produces a line of healthy breakfast cereals made from high-quality ingredients.

The inspiration for her business came at a time when Wishingrad was looking for cereal options for her son as a first-time mom. She realized that there was a gap in the market for breakfast cereals that were both healthy and delicious.

“I hadn’t consumed it (cereal) personally in so many years because of how crappy cereals got for you,” Wishingrad said. “And so I revisited it again through my child’s eyes and realized there’s been no real innovation in this category.”

Wishingrad grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, but admitted that she never saw herself as one.

“I was used to family businesses and being maybe a number two at a company,” she said. “But when I met my husband, I really watched him so naturally be this leader and know how to speak to people. I picked up a lot of that from him over time and applied this confidence to myself because the biggest thing is, if you're confident, whatever you're selling or doing, that's more than half the battle.”

Despite not having any experience in the food industry, Wishingrad and her husband asked people around them about their cereal consumption and the consensus was clear - most people stopped eating cereal because of the lack of options with quality ingredients.

“That validated our idea that we need to create a solution for this,” she said.

While she had the passion and drive to make Three Wishes a reality, she still had to convince the right co-packer to believe in her dream.

“It just takes the right people that are gonna give you the right opportunity,” Wishingrad said. “But as important as it is for these people to vet you, it's important for you to vet these people as well.”

A year after trying to find the right manufacturing solution, Wishingrad found the co-packer and is still doing business with them to this day.

Wishingrad credits her business sensibility to her prior career in advertising.

“When you work with really small clients, and they have a whole lot to accomplish and prove with very small budgets, you learn to get really scrappy, ” Wishingrad shared. “Seeing these incredible operators that were able to talk about their innovation or position themselves to retailers…I think there were a lot of little tidbits we took from that.”

Given her experience in advertising, Wishingrad said that she and her husband utilized the two years of product development to carve out a strategy around their launch.

Early on in the business, they received many phone calls from retailers who were interested in the product, but she turned them away because “what retailers provide first and foremost is real estate.”

“They give you a shelf to put your product on,” she added. “They're not directing a customer to your product. They're not there to educate anybody.”

Wishingrad and her husband knew they had to position themselves with retailers that aligned with their product, like Sprouts and Wegmans.

“The power of no is huge and it’s really difficult than it is to say yes to something,” she explained. “In those moments, I knew it wasn’t right for the brand to be in these massive retailers that would be capital intensive.”

While making it onto the shelves of these large retailers is no easy feat, Wishingrad said the right introduction can go a long way.

“You realize that this entire industry is all relationships,” she said. “And finding someone that will either endorse your product and your brand, or you find them directly. So whether it's LinkedIn or seeing that you're connected with someone that knows them and asking them for that introduction.”

Once their products hit the shelves, the next step was to create brand loyalty. During the first year, Wishingrad said she and her husband would demo the cereal in stores on the weekends.

But when COVID hit, she had to put her advertising and marketing hat back on to find creative ways for consumers to purchase their products. She and her husband decided to host a drive thru taste test.

“This was the era when everyone was aimlessly driving just to not sit at home within their four walls,” she said. “Ian just grabbed some content, and we sent it to our local papers and eventually just hiked its way up to USA Today. Then it went to Fox and we had a three minute hit on Fox News National during the heat of the pandemic.”

While Wishingrad understands that going into the retail space is capital intensive, she expressed, “it doesn’t mean it’s for every business.”

She decided that after the first fundraising round, they would stop seeking capital from investors.

“I’d rather run it a little tighter and be more considerate on how we spend the capital,” she said. “As we see a lot of people raise a lot of money, corporate governance becomes a real thing. The larger you get and the more money you raise, you then have a board of directors that you answer to and then you have to think of it as a shot clock. You have X amount of time until these people feel like they need to see a return out of your brand. So you start to get pressured to make decisions that you otherwise may not have had to make.”

Wishingrad is proof of how capital isn’t the end-all-be-all to success.

“I think it has been a journey of 1000 little wins,” she said. “We’re at a really fun stage now where we’ll see random celebrities that we love post the product organically. Like seeing Lizzo eat this product over the weekend.”

dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.

This podcast is produced by Behind Her Empire. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

Hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

Image Source: Discover LA

A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
Image Source: Paramount

Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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