Welcoming our January #BuildHerUp nomination: Nina Holland, @ninaholland.toast @toast_sandwich_shop! Nina is the CEO of the brand t o a s t where she bakes the most delicious gluten-free breads free of dairy, eggs, soy, oils, gums, corn, sugar, and nuts. It’s now turning into a sandwich shop!
Set to open their doors any time now, Toast, which appears as “t o a s t” spelled out in a timeless typewriter font on its storefront on 7 Shapleigh Road in Kittery, Maine, is Holland’s dream come to life. Check out her Instagram to see more footage of her sandwich shop renovation coming together!
✨”It’s ok to be a beginner and it’s ok to not have all of the answers. Allowing yourself to feel that discomfort and working through the apprehension, will be worth it in the end. Just on the other side of that fear…is something so much better and so much bigger than you could have ever imagined. I feel that it’s also important to let go of all the negative stories you have told yourself ABOUT yourself. They don’t serve you and they probably weren’t even yours to begin with. Fiercely pursue your dreams! You are capable. You are smart enough. You are Worthy.”
Holland, a former hairstylist who was working at her daughter’s elementary school in North Berwick at the time, decided to leave her job to pursue Toast full-time. She launched a website, established a pre-order system for loaves of bread, and set up three pickup locations in Exeter, Berwick, and South Berwick.
Holland turned her ambition into reality by acquiring a camper with her partner, Rob Gnirk, and attempting to bake bread, though she confessed she “failed badly” several times. During Covid, she faced the challenges of not being able to sell products from her camper because no events or farmers’ markets were taking place. Holland continued to bake bread, which was becoming a popular pastime for many at the time of the epidemic. Looking to spread a little cheer, she began doing what she referred to as “drive-by ‘t o a s t’-ings,” leaving loaves on the doorsteps of folks in her town, entirely unprompted.
Thanks to social media users, the sweet gesture immediately spread, and more requests for Holland’s bread began to stream in. Holland began to get an abundance of praise and orders, which proved hard to keep up with because each loaf is baked individually. As a result, she decided to develop her brand as well as open her own shop. We can’t wait to see all that is in store for Nina and t o a s t!