Bold and Confident with a Dream
What started as a woman with a dream, hand rolling gluten-free bagels and going door to door to local shops and cafes, is now a brand selling in over 500+ retailers along the East Coast as well as a rapidly growing online empire.
The doubts lead to fear, the fear ….
“The doubts lead to fear and the fear kept me frozen”, words many women know, and words known all too well by Michelle Carafagno, co-founder of The Greater Knead. With a sister and grandfather diagnosed with Celiac Disease and seeing the many challenges, Michelle decided it was time to take action and push past her fear. Michelle made it her mission to recreate their favorite food, NY style bagels, but in gluten-free form and without the top 9 common allergens.
The last 9 1/2 years have been quite the roller coaster ride but the hard-fought wins have been all the sweeter. Michelle wanted and needed something different in her life. She knew control in production were the keys to her future success. Stepping away from industry norms, Michelle took the giant leap and built her own manufacturing facility.
Discouraged, challenged, ignored in a man’s world
This leap of faith was met with criticism and scrutiny from peers. Women are a rare commodity in manufacturing. Michelle ventured down the arduous path of finding machinery to scale, visiting facilities, learning about the regulatory side of food manufacturing – all the while being discouraged, challenged, and ignored. “Where is your (non-existent male) partner”, was a frequent question.
Think differently, question everything
A decade later, brimming with success, in a male dominated world, Michelle has found confidence and strength that were elusive in her younger years. Adversity and challenges continue, but Michelle continues to scale and grow her business. “Think differently and question everything”, words that Michelle lives by today.
Learn More About Michelle
- What healthy routines and habits do you follow to keep you strong?
I make time for myself in the morning. I used to think I needed to force myself to wake up super early so that I could get to work on answering emails. I found myself completely out of balance, feeling like I had no time for anything else or myself. I started a new routine during COVID-19 to make time for me. I wake up between 5:30-6am, get a work out in, get ready for the day, make breakfast, read my affirmations, set some goals for the day and then sit down to start work. I also set what time I will stop working each day and I make it a point to close my computer and spend time with my family. This routine has helped me have more happiness in my life and feel like a more balanced person.
- Do you have an affirmation that you use for confidence building?
I follow a technique I learned from a course I took by Jack Canfield. At the end of each day I look at myself in the mirror and tell myself something I am proud of myself for. I always end it with “I love you”. Gratitude and love for myself has helped build my confidence.
- What is your favorite thing about Italy?
I love that in Italy things move slower. Eating at a restaurant is an experience, you aren’t rushed from the table, rather is a slow comforting process where you are expected to truly spend time connecting with the people you are dining with. I enjoyed that experience to make time for one another and just move a little slower to really take life in.
- What do you think about when you’re alone in the car?
If I am alone in the car I am usually listening to a podcast, currently “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. I am always working on my ideas for the future in the car, letting all the possibilities swarm in my head and making voice memos to listen to later.
- What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn online?
I have a wide range of hobbies from skiing and fishing to teaching myself how to play piano, I am always working on learning something new. I spend a lot of time with new recipes and currently am working towards my goal of learning how to do woodworking.