Your support will help to build our shared journey. Your money will realise -
- The Happy Tummy Co. Lab
- Production and kitchen fit out
- The relaunch of our "magic poo bread" subscription service
Going forward we want to be a centre for food education - one that encapsulates the health of our soil, the health of our guts and how through working in tandem these can be the force for change needed for the health of our communities mindset.
This will be TEACH SCOILE (irish for school). Based in the heart of Westport.
Future proofing our health depends on grain to such a large degree as over 20% of our nourishment on a daily basis comes from cereal product alone.
When I was 10 years old I had this vision out in my parents nursery, planting another beach sapling that one day I would create a brand that stood for preventative medicine. A food brand that prevented sickness or at the very least managed it.
In 2014 that vision began to become a reality. I had spent nearly 2 years recipe developing a way out of my chronic IBS symptoms. The result? A bread, better than any medicine, any laxative. And now my job was to share this new form of bread with the world.
The Happy Tummy Co. began life as a subscription based bakery business delivering customers throughout the UK ‘bread better than medicine’ on a weekly basis to eradicate IBS symptoms and enable better digestive health. It did so successfully retaining customers for a year on average. 48 weeks above the typical 4 week retention span at the time for subscription based companies. We were in cafes, fitness studios, retail stores and catered events at the BBC, NIKE, the Evening Standard, Saatchi Gallery, Liberty London, Sweaty Betty, The Soho House Group and more.
The Happy Tummy Co. not only penetrated the bowel health of our users. It quickly began to impact our customer’s mental health, physical stamina, immune health and sexual wellbeing. A cult like movement had well and truly begun and our signature loaf - the 48 hour Soaked Wholegrain Chia Teff Loaf became known as the “magic poo bread”!
A huge amount of education was needed in marketing what we were doing at the time. We were essentially becoming an educational practice that made bread. Once educated, our customers were fully bought in and are still invested today. Word of mouth alongside events and talks and press articles were the 3 elements that would combine to grow the community.
“I’m literally so so so grateful to the universe that I found your company and fab products!!! I’ve struggled with constipation and bloating related to IBS for over 13 years! I’ve seen numerous doctors and tried countless things - from extra fibre to less fibre, figs and prunes to psyllium husks. And your vegan teff bread is the only thing which has an astounding and reliable effect! I feel like a different person! It has helped me more than words can describe! And it isn’t a laxative meaning it’s not harmful! I can’t thank you enough for making such an amazing product! I 1000% recommend your course!” Charlotte Adams, subscription customer and bakery student
"Leading a one-woman mission to make gut health part of the national health agenda, her loaves proved popular with health-conscious individuals throughout the UK and Ireland not to mention a plethora of A-listers.” Phoenix Mag
Circa 2016 the wellness industry was in full flight and was tapping into the very core of consumerism that had led to problems with society’s gut health in the first place. Over promise, under deliver, create more waste and add to a thwarted psyche around what it means to be healthy. Society grew further away from the truth which is that food is simply reconstituted soil and what is made in a lab or petri dish can only take us so far. Science is irrelevant when paired with a lack of dialogue and intuition.
We started as activists for fibre but we were quickly becoming activists for the soil and the people who farmed it.
In 2014 the company mission was to eradicate people of their IBS and we did so by establishing food, in particular bread as preventative and prescriptive medicine.
From 2015 - 2018 the mission to eradicate as many people as possible of their IBS symptoms with bread better than medicine saw our subscription service grow 400% year on year.
"Karen passionately believes the war on carbs has been a disaster for many people's gut health." - Refinery29
Alexia Inge, CEO & Founder of Cult Beauty "Karen from The Happy Tummy Co. is bringing both Teff and amazing fermented breads to the people of the U.K. to heal our unhappy, irritable, inflamed guts. Fantastic entrepreneur with a healthy sense of humour, great social conscience, without a teff-sized grain of boring worthiness."
Named The Gut Health Guru of the year in 2018 by ELLE magazine and the Gut-fairy-godmother by DOSE, with Laura Craik of the Evening Standard declaring “her zeal would put Jesus to shame” it’s with a careful hand and an evidence based approach that Karen brings science based truth to our tummies for a longer and happier existence.
Throughout 2018 the HTCo. was quickly spending more time as an educational practice that made bread on the side. It was time to reach more people through an education based approach.
Karen moves deep into the countryside of East Sussex to open her first Bakery School teaching people how to use bread for better gut health and how to bake on fire.
People come from all over the UK and Europe to study the Bread Fundamentals Course and Digestible Bread on Fire.
Her mission to re-establish connection with the earth, our hands and ultimately our health is paramount in her mission to eradicate people of their digestive health issues.
Above, morning breaking before class.
Sonia, the lady to the far left in this picture is now making digestible breads for her community in Germany since coming to study The Bread Fundamentals Course at The Happy Tummy School in East Sussex.
“Karen, what can I say! You’re a bloody genius, the heritage loaf was bloody delicious and left me feeling super sprightly - so light. You have brought light to my life and my digestive system. Thank you.” Founder of Cheese Please, Lewes
"Yesterday's baking class taught me so much about how to look after myself as a whole, let alone how to finally help my tummy. Her information and knowledge is mind blowing!" Samantha Ames, bakery student
In 2021 the company mission is to be a force for change in the Irish community and abroad through education.
In order to deliver our body the nourishment it needs we must first understand the world we live in. The school will be a place where farmers, scientists, doctors and ecologists from all over the world come to share their story, their knowledge to enable our students to make informed decisions based on the full circle of life.
Gut health is the fastest growing condition-specific category tracked by the Nutrition Business Journal with UK sales of digestible remedies in the hundreds of millions each year.
In the UK alone, there is a spend of around three quarters of a billion pounds each year on probiotics to counteract the poor education around how we should eat to stay in good gut health.
Food education for the times we are living in is greatly needed. It is our reconstituted soils that contain nature's greatest and most digestible laxatives, prebiotic fibre and nourishment.
Digestive health issues like IBS as well as conditions like autism are on the rise. We are bringing a food based approach to resolve society’s increasing gut rooted issues.
At TEACH SCOILE we will teach, host events, collaborate with local regenerative farms and activists and create new food products with the community for the community at our Happy Tummy Lab. Karen’s strongest asset is her ability to develop food products that alleviate and manage health conditions. TEACH SCOILE intends to share this approach to food with the people that need it most.
With so many people eating a more plant based diet nowadays, it’s more important than ever to make the cereals we eat count.
There is no school of this kind based in Ireland and we don’t know of a school that creates foods with the community for the community.
Business Model & Current Operations
- Physical Classes at TEACH SCOILE in Westport, Mayo
- Online Classes through our educational platform
- Online Monthly Subscription Learning
- Weekly Bread Subscription
- Retail - handmade products from the West of Ireland including food, equipment, apparel and art.
- Events - Supper clubs & Educational Nights
"I would wholeheartedly recommend Karen’s Happy Tummy Bakery School online course. Karen’s passion and expert knowledge is second to none and she garners enthusiasm from behind the camera. She makes bread making fun, interesting and captivating leaving you wanting to learn more each week. Detailed knowledge is shared on why quality ingredients is important, why the methods are necessary and most importantly - patiently walks us through every recipe. She shares a large volume of fabulous recipes to try, all based around the power of the fermented sourdough. I have loved every one of them and I can truly say my relationship with and view of bread has changed during this course. I now incorporate bread into my every day meals and my stomach is loving it. Thank you again Karen - your videos and regular emails and hints and tips show the passion you have to transform the view of bread and ensure many more people can enjoy these fabulous breads for their better health and enjoyment." Caroline Macinnes, Sky News, online student
Healing in the craic!
Once school's out, we'll climb the magical mountains of Mayo before retreating to the sea for sundowner swims and flatbreads on the beach.
School is as much about the craic as it is everything else! Our in person curriculum will have it in spades!
And Why Mayo?
It's hard to beat the healing coastline of Mayo when you need to reconnect with yourself.
There's something in Mayo I've not found elsewhere. I'd like to introduce you to that.
Westport feels like the best home for a school of global acclaim showcasing the incredible natural resources of the west and how we can tap into its nature for life-long health.
I used to work tirelessly, rising at 3am on bakery days feeling inefficient and insufficient. However, it meant that I was left with a movement intact as opposed to a product with a shelf-life.
I care deeply about helping people and I believe that as a school here in Mayo we can achieve that on a global level together.
It would be lovely for you to play a part in that.
Thank you for reading this. Your support is greatly appreciated. Let's be the change together.
Grá Mór, your Baker Girl, Karen O' Donoghue and Biggie Smalls
To get in touch you can email [email protected]