DONNA Twycross has a love for the outdoors, art, music, reading and simple clean living.
She and her three children, Sarra, 29, Jamal, 25, and Skout, 11, live a life with a close connection to nature and a holistic approach.
It was this belief of slowing down, being present and eating mindfully that led to Donna’s healthy snack business, Carob and Hare.
The Shelford woman’s range of treats, that harness the flavour of carob, a bean similar to cacao, has been extremely popular since the business launched in 2015. The healthy aspect of the product, paired with the moreish flavour, has put Donna’s creations on the map.
The idea came to the 49-year-old after searching for her next adventure when acting work became scarce.
“I had a burning desire to be creative, be my own boss and somehow make a difference,” she explains.
“On a visit to my mother’s in the countryside I dropped into the local library book sale.
“I happened to stumble on some health food cook books I loved from when I was a teenager.”
As she turned the page and reminisced about some of her favourite healthy recipes, Donna came across one for carob slice, a treat she remembers making as a teenager. She purchased the book for $1.
“This was a defining moment for me, I was sure this was a sign,” she says.
She started experimenting with the recipe, and giving some to family and friends to taste.
“It seemed everyone was enjoying my carob slice and no one even twigged it was totally healthy, sugar free and made from carob, they just kept asking for more chocolate hedgehog,” she says.
This inspired Donna to start Carob and Hare.
The line-up of balls comes in seven different flavours using natural, organic ingredients, from the original, which has hints of hazelnut, to orange and almond.
“Carob was chosen instead of cocoa or cacao as an option for those wanting a caffeine free, refined sugar free, chocolate treat, as it has high calcium, vitamin and mineral content,” Donna explains.
Sarra and Jamal have used their talents to help with the branding and marketing, encapsulating the playful vibe that was swirling around in Donna’s mind. Using the word “hare” in the branding was a nod to the whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland, drawing inspiration from the March Hare character.
To align with Donna’s passion to make a difference, all Carob and Hare’s packaging is fully biodegradable with 100 per cent recycled paper.
Stockists in Geelong and beyond have embraced Carob and Hare, from the Pivotonian Cinema to The Pickers Union.
A career highlight for Donna was receiving a call from Singapore from a prospective stockist.
“I could not believe it,” Donna says of her success internationally.
With a wealth of stockists, Donna can often be found in her kitchen covered in carob, chatting to her distribution partners or working on her marketing.
She says there is definitely more to come with the Carob and Hare story.
“I love dreaming up new ideas,” Donna says.
“I love that my life is my passion I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Carob and Hare is stocked in a number of eateries and stores across the region. For more information visit carobandhare.com.au