Natali Harea is a bread baker, entrepreneur, mother, and wife.
I started my business – Nat’s Bread Company – in January of 2013, when I was twenty-eight years old. Nat’s Bread Company is a wholesale bread bakery in Ottawa, which focuses on providing high-quality bread products to the wonderful restaurants, hotels, caterers, and retailers located in our nation’s capital.
I am a graduate of the Algonquin College culinary management program. Before opening Nat’s Bread Company, I worked as a chef in many great kitchens across Ottawa. Since taking the plunge into entrepreneurship in 2013, both my business and personal life have gone through waves of change. I married my then-boyfriend of eight years, James, in April 2015. We had to close down the bakery so I could have the Saturday off!
“Nat’s Bread” started very small. We rented restaurant kitchens overnight, when they weren’t in use, and delivered our goods in the morning. In 2017, we finally signed the lease on our very own commercial kitchen space! It was such a big business milestone for me, it had been my biggest long-term goal since the start of the business, and I was so proud of myself for achieving it. I had another big life change in 2017: my first son, Clifford, was born. He joined in on all financing, leasing, and construction meetings for the new “Nat’s Bread” space. I don’t think I know another baby that was as comfortable as he was toddling around our local bank branch.
When the lockdown was initiated in mid-March 2020, we lost 90% of our business in the course of a day. We quickly learned the meaning of “pivot,” and started offering fresh bread, delivered to private homes, safely and without contact. I have never been so challenged and felt so anxious as an entrepreneur. I’m proud that I, and my wonderful team, have been able to keep Nat’s Bread Company afloat, and even help the business thrive through this crazy year. 2020 also brought me more change personally. My second son, Roger, was born in July. A true pandemic baby! Surely to be raised eating sourdough, waiting for mom at the bank.