May 24, 2022

Amy Lacey (Cali’flour Foods) - How she created a cauliflower pizza dough that exploded online and the changes she had to make for retail

Amy Lacey (Cali’flour Foods) - How she created a cauliflower pizza dough that exploded online and the changes she had to make for retail

Our guest today is Amy Lacey, founder of Cali’flour Foods. Cali’flour makes craveable comfort food that’s always low carb. With simple fresh ingredients and no fillers. That includes pizzas, crusts, flatbreads, crackers and full on entrees. We discuss why Amy became an entrepreneur, how she created a cauliflower pizza recipe that wasn’t brittle and didn’t fall apart, even with incredible ecommerce sales, why she decided to partner with a retail-minded investor as opposed to an ecommerce minded one, their approach to packaging when they entered stores and much more.

What was your attraction to entrepreneurship?

  1. What led to the founding of Cali'flour Foods and better for you alternatives for pizza?
  2. How did you first make cauliflower pizza since cauliflower is so brittle?
  3. What was the first step to starting your company?
  4. How did you go about developing your supply chain?
  5. Where was your first point of distribution?
  6. What was the initial reaction?
  7. At what point were you looking for investment?
  8. What were some of the differences in the business when you raised capital?
  9. Did you packaging change to fit into retail?
  10. How did you approach scale?
  11. Was it tough scaling in retail and also trying to continue to scale online?
  12. Mike Anderson came in as CEO. What was that transition like?
  13. It seems like using cauliflower as a substitute ingredient in other products has become the standard. Do you feel like you've led the charge here?
  14. What's one thing you would change about fundraising?
  15. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
    1. Personally - Four Agreements
    2. The One Thing
    3. Storybrand by Donald Miller
  16. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?
  17. What's the best piece of advice for any entrepreneur?
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:12.439 --> 00:00:17.039 Hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, Michael but 2 00:00:17.120 --> 00:00:21.199 and on this show we talked about the world adventure capital and innovation in both 3 00:00:21.239 --> 00:00:25.960 consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, you could subscribe 4 00:00:26.000 --> 00:00:31.160 to by newsletter the consumer VC DOT sub stackcom, to get each new episode 5 00:00:31.199 --> 00:00:35.200 and more consumer news delivered straight to your inbox. Our guest today is amy 6 00:00:35.280 --> 00:00:40.679 lacy, founder of Califlower foods. Califlower makes craveable comfort food that's always low 7 00:00:40.799 --> 00:00:46.000 card, with simple fashion ingredients and no fillers. That includes pizzas, crusts, 8 00:00:46.000 --> 00:00:50.880 flatbreads, crackers and full on entrees. We discuss why amy became an 9 00:00:50.960 --> 00:00:55.799 entrepreneur, how she created a cauliflower pizza recipe that wasn't brittle and didn't fall 10 00:00:55.840 --> 00:01:00.560 apart, her approach to brand and sales early on, why she decided a 11 00:01:00.600 --> 00:01:04.280 partner with a retail focus investor as opposed to any commerce focus one, how 12 00:01:04.319 --> 00:01:08.040 they change their packaging when they entered stores, and much, much more. 13 00:01:08.079 --> 00:01:18.400 Without further ADO, here's amy. Amy, thank you so much for coming 14 00:01:18.519 --> 00:01:22.079 on the show and for being here. How are you? I'm doing great. 15 00:01:22.079 --> 00:01:25.319 Thank you so much. I'm honoring to be here. I've been enjoying 16 00:01:25.359 --> 00:01:30.879 listening to pass yes, I'm so relating to people that you've interviewed with, 17 00:01:30.959 --> 00:01:34.200 so I can't wait to get started and talk about the journey that califlower foods 18 00:01:34.200 --> 00:01:37.920 has been on. First of all, thanks so much for listening. Really 19 00:01:37.959 --> 00:01:40.680 means a lot. I know we've been trying to get you on the show 20 00:01:40.719 --> 00:01:42.760 for the past few months, so I'm so excited that we were finally able 21 00:01:42.840 --> 00:01:46.920 to make it happen. Yes, this is going to be great and really 22 00:01:46.959 --> 00:01:49.560 fun to chat thank you. Started from the very beginning, a Mey. 23 00:01:49.959 --> 00:01:57.359 What was your initial attraction or start in entrepreneurship? So when I was fourteen 24 00:01:57.439 --> 00:02:00.599 I created my own babysitting service and swim lessons, and that's where it really 25 00:02:00.640 --> 00:02:06.280 started and I got a taste of what it's like to market to people and 26 00:02:06.319 --> 00:02:10.240 be your own boss. And then after that I worked for corporate after college 27 00:02:10.319 --> 00:02:14.319 and then when I had my kids, I was a stayathome mom, but 28 00:02:14.360 --> 00:02:16.680 I was still having the itch to have my own business. So I did 29 00:02:16.680 --> 00:02:22.719 an online children's store in two thousand and two and that really gave me the 30 00:02:23.360 --> 00:02:28.439 creative desire to keep doing things on e commerce. I love being the flexibility 31 00:02:28.560 --> 00:02:31.479 that that brings and being able to reach a lot of people. So I 32 00:02:31.560 --> 00:02:37.479 swayed away from a little bit about ten years later and I actually brought some 33 00:02:37.560 --> 00:02:40.919 medical lasers over to New Zealand, which is where my husband's family's from, 34 00:02:40.960 --> 00:02:45.960 and what I just saw in need, and I knew the the entrepreneur that 35 00:02:45.960 --> 00:02:49.599 had created the lasers and I saw in need over in New Zealand for those. 36 00:02:49.639 --> 00:02:52.719 They were actually lasers to treat on income. My Pass. Do you 37 00:02:52.759 --> 00:02:57.240 know what that is? I do not. Actually it's tone help on is. 38 00:02:58.360 --> 00:03:04.199 Wow, is really gross. New Zealanders are very active and a lot 39 00:03:04.240 --> 00:03:08.479 of them get toenail fungus and the only thing at that time that was available 40 00:03:08.560 --> 00:03:14.919 is a prescription drug that really had terrible side effects. So I saw a 41 00:03:15.000 --> 00:03:17.039 need there. I had a friend that created the laser and so we bought 42 00:03:17.080 --> 00:03:22.759 a couple lasers. I've partnered with my cousin by marriage and we ended up 43 00:03:22.840 --> 00:03:28.560 working with the pediatrist that had ten different locations in New Zealand and really just 44 00:03:28.680 --> 00:03:30.919 killing it, doing really well, and then I sold that off to her 45 00:03:30.960 --> 00:03:35.439 because the kids were little it was too hard to go back and forth from 46 00:03:35.439 --> 00:03:40.400 New Zealand and after that I became sick. Actually, I got really sick 47 00:03:40.479 --> 00:03:46.039 and I became a life and health coach to really heal myself, and that's 48 00:03:46.080 --> 00:03:51.759 where my journey into eating grain free gluten free foods came about. That's amazing. 49 00:03:51.800 --> 00:03:55.159 Talk to you a little bit about baby, your nutrition journey and when 50 00:03:55.199 --> 00:04:02.080 you started to think about cauliflower or doing some experimentations with cauliflower and pizza. 51 00:04:02.120 --> 00:04:04.599 Like I told you, I was a life and health coach and I was 52 00:04:04.639 --> 00:04:10.199 really I had gotten myself healthy and I was really trying to pay it forward 53 00:04:10.319 --> 00:04:14.439 and just coach people on how to do things. I wasn't a nutrition or 54 00:04:14.479 --> 00:04:19.199 exercise coach, I just literally was teaching people how to use food as medicine 55 00:04:19.240 --> 00:04:25.000 and we were doing these healthy happy hours every Thursday night, which doesn't mean 56 00:04:25.000 --> 00:04:29.680 happy hours with alcohol. It meant like healthy foods, healthy smoothies, and 57 00:04:29.720 --> 00:04:32.160 I I found I used to do Friday family fun night, which was either 58 00:04:32.399 --> 00:04:36.800 Games and pizza or a movie and pizza with my kids. I have three 59 00:04:36.879 --> 00:04:41.240 kids. And when I got really sick, I wasn't able to eat the 60 00:04:41.240 --> 00:04:45.000 pizza. I could tell that I was really inflamed on Saturday morning. So 61 00:04:45.040 --> 00:04:47.720 that was the first thing I was looking for was a healthy pasta and a 62 00:04:47.720 --> 00:04:54.759 healthy pizza and I came across a recipe that I found online for this cauliflower 63 00:04:54.800 --> 00:04:59.040 pizza cress and I was very skeptical because I didn't eat cauliflower. I didn't 64 00:04:59.040 --> 00:05:01.720 even really like cauliflower. And, as you know before the cauliflower craze, 65 00:05:01.879 --> 00:05:06.120 cauliflowers like the last loan ranger standing on a Veggie tray at a party or 66 00:05:06.160 --> 00:05:11.839 a Super Barrow Party or wherever you're at. We nobody eat ate the cauliflower 67 00:05:11.920 --> 00:05:15.240 and at the grocery store it was just a had a cauliflower. Nobody was 68 00:05:15.240 --> 00:05:19.199 doing cauliflower rice or any of that. So we experimented. People, my 69 00:05:19.240 --> 00:05:25.800 clients and my other health coaches clients love the cauliflower pizza cress and the Zucchini 70 00:05:25.879 --> 00:05:30.680 noodles, so we were serving those at every healthy happy hour and that's how 71 00:05:30.720 --> 00:05:35.959 I discovered cauliflower. And the amazing thing about cauliflowers it's so bland it takes 72 00:05:36.000 --> 00:05:40.959 on whatever flavors you put with it. So I was really impressed with the 73 00:05:41.040 --> 00:05:45.079 vegetable when I first started working on it, but the first couple pizzas I 74 00:05:45.079 --> 00:05:49.680 made fell apart probably about nine of them and then I discovered actually my daughter's 75 00:05:49.800 --> 00:05:53.959 like, why don't you try the juicer? We had a juicer. We 76 00:05:53.959 --> 00:05:57.480 were making juices and stuff, and I saw that's a great idea, because 77 00:05:57.480 --> 00:06:00.199 we weren't able to get enough of the water out just using cheese cloth and 78 00:06:00.240 --> 00:06:05.120 it was falling apart. So we used the juicer and it was consistent every 79 00:06:05.160 --> 00:06:09.959 time and it was amazing. I was just about to ask how were you 80 00:06:10.480 --> 00:06:14.720 had you first when you were thinking about turning cauliflower into dough like when it 81 00:06:14.759 --> 00:06:16.879 came to a pizza, how are you able to work with caullifier because it 82 00:06:16.959 --> 00:06:20.319 is so brittle? So the juicer was really like the mechanism that actually be 83 00:06:20.360 --> 00:06:24.959 able to get the water out and then be able to actually use it as 84 00:06:24.959 --> 00:06:29.279 proper dough. Yes, and you can add things to it. I wasn't 85 00:06:29.319 --> 00:06:30.959 doing this at the time. I wasn't adding almond flower, but I was 86 00:06:31.000 --> 00:06:34.639 adding cheese as a binder and egg as a binder. So really the egg 87 00:06:34.720 --> 00:06:40.079 was the binding ingredient to make it more dough like. And you're just doing 88 00:06:40.120 --> 00:06:43.600 this kind of experimenting. Were you would all thinking about that? This could 89 00:06:43.600 --> 00:06:46.600 be a business or just something that could be helpful to clients. How are 90 00:06:46.600 --> 00:06:48.720 you kind of thinking about it? Just helpful to clients. And then one 91 00:06:48.720 --> 00:06:53.560 of my clients is like, where I lived in northern California, farmer's market 92 00:06:53.600 --> 00:06:56.160 was a really big deal. So one of my clients was like, you 93 00:06:56.160 --> 00:07:00.600 should take this to farmer's market and we did and it blew up at farmers 94 00:07:00.600 --> 00:07:03.680 market and a couple local grocery stores picked us up. Again, nothing's in 95 00:07:03.720 --> 00:07:10.040 the stores anywhere but ahead of cauliflower at this time, and we just discovered 96 00:07:10.079 --> 00:07:15.160 that people really wanted it. I started getting calls before farmer's market to pick 97 00:07:15.199 --> 00:07:17.519 it up at my house, so I was getting a cottage license. I 98 00:07:17.560 --> 00:07:21.600 got so busy we actually spent Christmas that year, that was two thousand and 99 00:07:21.600 --> 00:07:27.240 sixteen, in New Zealand and I had one person helping me, a friend 100 00:07:27.279 --> 00:07:30.319 that was helping me. She was actually my stetition and she was helping me 101 00:07:30.360 --> 00:07:33.360 and she called me while I was in New Zealand and she said have you 102 00:07:33.399 --> 00:07:36.439 seen the sales? And I wasn't really paying attention. I had a shop 103 00:07:36.439 --> 00:07:42.319 of by website. We mostly sold in the grocery store, local grocery store, 104 00:07:42.560 --> 00:07:46.680 local restaurant picked us up, and then farmers market and we just started 105 00:07:46.720 --> 00:07:51.920 selling like crazy from this one ad that we put out on facebook and in 106 00:07:53.040 --> 00:07:57.160 January two thousand and seventeen, we sold more in one month than we had 107 00:07:57.199 --> 00:08:03.439 the entire two years previous with the business. So I knew we hit something 108 00:08:03.480 --> 00:08:07.319 and it just kept building up and by the end of that year two thousand 109 00:08:07.319 --> 00:08:11.519 and seventeen, we had done over five million and had not burned a dime 110 00:08:11.680 --> 00:08:16.879 building the five million sales on e commerce, which we quickly had to put 111 00:08:16.920 --> 00:08:20.879 in systems and find co packers. I mean we just grew so fast, 112 00:08:20.959 --> 00:08:26.480 so quickly. So what came first when you first started? White became califlower? 113 00:08:26.600 --> 00:08:31.279 Do you first start by looking at DDC online channel, or did you 114 00:08:31.319 --> 00:08:35.679 first start in the actual farmer's market itself? So we first started in farmers 115 00:08:35.679 --> 00:08:39.559 market and then a couple grocery stores picked us up and then I said let's 116 00:08:39.600 --> 00:08:43.679 put this online and see what happens. And when we went to farmers market 117 00:08:43.799 --> 00:08:46.840 we had the Zucchini noodles. Nobody was doing that yet. You could make 118 00:08:46.879 --> 00:08:50.480 the Zucchini noodles, the tools were out there, but there was you couldn't 119 00:08:50.519 --> 00:08:54.360 buy them already done in the grocery store. So we did the Zucchini noodles 120 00:08:54.399 --> 00:08:58.960 and we did the cauliflower pizza crest and we had two flavors when we went 121 00:08:58.000 --> 00:09:03.519 to farmers market. We our sweet red bell pepper and then our traditional original 122 00:09:03.559 --> 00:09:07.679 Italian and I was like, okay, I can take one of these products 123 00:09:07.720 --> 00:09:09.679 to e calm, but I can't take both because it's going to take a 124 00:09:09.679 --> 00:09:15.240 lot of money. And so I picked the cauliflower pizza cress because it was 125 00:09:15.240 --> 00:09:18.639 really hard to make and I thought that would be easier to provide to my 126 00:09:18.720 --> 00:09:22.039 consumer and we loved it so much, because the pizza crest was sub versatile. 127 00:09:22.159 --> 00:09:24.919 You could make Tacos, you could do it, you could use it 128 00:09:24.919 --> 00:09:30.159 as bread, so it seemed like the better product to take to market. 129 00:09:30.159 --> 00:09:33.080 What do you first started? Like? Sales doing really, really well for 130 00:09:33.200 --> 00:09:37.399 Califlower. Online it's booming and of course, I'd imagine the Zukii is still 131 00:09:37.440 --> 00:09:41.200 selling really well in stores. Or were even sources as well? With Zukii 132 00:09:41.320 --> 00:09:46.360 or now? No, we never launched the Zukinian stores. It's really expensive 133 00:09:46.360 --> 00:09:50.480 to launch a product. So I had to pick one of them because I 134 00:09:50.519 --> 00:09:56.639 was funding it myself. And I picked the cauliflower pizza cress because it was 135 00:09:56.679 --> 00:10:00.480 hard to make and I figured it's going to be hard people want to buy 136 00:10:00.559 --> 00:10:03.679 it because it'll be hard for them to make, and it was more versatile. 137 00:10:03.799 --> 00:10:05.639 There's a lot you could do with it. Totally that makes sense. 138 00:10:05.720 --> 00:10:09.480 And it's two thousand and seventeen year at five billion in sales. That right, 139 00:10:09.480 --> 00:10:13.399 a little over, yes, without burning any money. So yeah, 140 00:10:13.799 --> 00:10:18.960 had a very small team, mostly focused on e calm. We really shared 141 00:10:18.159 --> 00:10:22.799 our customers and their success stories by using our product, and one of those 142 00:10:22.840 --> 00:10:26.799 stories went viral and that's how we started really selling a lot. And we 143 00:10:26.840 --> 00:10:31.039 didn't really have any competitors. There was one other cauliflower pizza, crest out, 144 00:10:31.039 --> 00:10:37.120 but they named themselves basically a Veggie pizza and so they weren't a cauliflower 145 00:10:37.159 --> 00:10:41.639 pizza and then they soon changed to cauliflower pizza, but we didn't have any 146 00:10:41.720 --> 00:10:46.360 main competitors when we first launched. So I think that's one of the reasons 147 00:10:46.360 --> 00:10:50.279 why we boom so quickly and grew so quickly. But two thousand and eighteen 148 00:10:50.320 --> 00:10:56.080 was an incredible year as well. We grew too, over almost twenty million 149 00:10:56.200 --> 00:11:01.879 actually, and we were the number one pizza crest on Amazon for multiple months. 150 00:11:01.879 --> 00:11:05.279 We beat out bobally and several pizza crest. We weren't just the number 151 00:11:05.279 --> 00:11:09.000 one cauliflower crest, we were the number one pizza crest. Wow, that's 152 00:11:09.039 --> 00:11:13.200 incredible. Number one pizza creuse, I mean yeah, also it also is 153 00:11:13.279 --> 00:11:18.279 quite quite fascinating to just overall consumer preference changes. That the number one pizza 154 00:11:18.320 --> 00:11:22.120 crest, you know online. Yes, it was you and that's, you 155 00:11:22.120 --> 00:11:24.799 know, incredible, but it's pretty within like the better for you space. 156 00:11:24.840 --> 00:11:28.039 I mean I've been the better for you space, just in the overall space. 157 00:11:28.080 --> 00:11:30.480 When it came to pizza dough, a lot of people were buying, 158 00:11:30.639 --> 00:11:37.000 you know, cauliflower pizza dough versus roll pizza dough. The category has grown 159 00:11:37.000 --> 00:11:41.639 massively. I mean there's just so many cauliflower products out there. So, 160 00:11:41.679 --> 00:11:43.799 like I said, when we launched there was one other company out there that 161 00:11:43.879 --> 00:11:48.440 called themselves a veggie pizza but there wasn't a lot of our major competitors that 162 00:11:48.440 --> 00:11:54.000 we have today. Weren't didn't exist yet. Got It. You're benefiting a 163 00:11:54.080 --> 00:11:58.120 lot from being first to market, which is amazing, and I also think 164 00:11:58.159 --> 00:12:03.679 it's really impressive that even though. Well, you're previously saying about how you 165 00:12:03.720 --> 00:12:07.440 weren't standing a dime on marketing. Or were you? We weren't using a 166 00:12:07.440 --> 00:12:13.840 marketing agency yet, but once the facebook add that we did went viral and 167 00:12:13.879 --> 00:12:18.120 it was of a story of an actual client that really benefited from eating gluten 168 00:12:18.120 --> 00:12:22.879 free and grain free and low carb once we shared that story, we saw 169 00:12:22.960 --> 00:12:30.240 the benefit of using ads online as well as email. We started using email 170 00:12:30.279 --> 00:12:33.320 and growing our email list. How. Also, do you think you know 171 00:12:33.440 --> 00:12:39.399 had on Madeline Haydn, who is the founder of n pods. Do you 172 00:12:39.399 --> 00:12:43.720 know her? Well? Yeah, love her awesome. I run into her 173 00:12:43.759 --> 00:12:48.159 a few times and she actually introduced me to circle up, which was our 174 00:12:48.200 --> 00:12:52.000 first investor as a bridge loan, and I love those guys so much and 175 00:12:52.039 --> 00:12:56.600 madeline really helped me. So many people say this like, if you don't 176 00:12:56.639 --> 00:13:00.200 have experience, surround yourself with people who have been there and done that before, 177 00:13:00.279 --> 00:13:05.120 and I consider Madeline a mentor. Definitely. That's awesome. That's great. 178 00:13:05.200 --> 00:13:07.600 Yeah, huge fan of Madeline and really appreciate her on a heaven her 179 00:13:07.639 --> 00:13:11.519 on. One of the things that I thought was maybe the beauty about selling 180 00:13:11.600 --> 00:13:18.039 online and e commerce is that kind of customer feedback wheel being so quick with 181 00:13:18.039 --> 00:13:22.600 reviews and she said that it helped her so much when she then went into 182 00:13:22.720 --> 00:13:28.240 retail. I know you were first in retail before, you know, online, 183 00:13:28.279 --> 00:13:31.039 but you were in a couple source but with battle and she said it 184 00:13:31.159 --> 00:13:37.120 helped finalize the packaging. What the right terminology that customers really resonating with. 185 00:13:37.639 --> 00:13:43.360 And I love to hear your perspective of with this idea about getting the customer 186 00:13:43.360 --> 00:13:48.919 involved and what you learn from the story brand summit or conference that you attended. 187 00:13:48.320 --> 00:13:52.840 How did you kind of include the customer on your journey or just it 188 00:13:52.840 --> 00:13:58.440 could be learnings that you saw through feedback that actually maybe iterated the product or 189 00:13:58.480 --> 00:14:03.200 the branding for a califlower? Yeah, absolutely so. We were early on 190 00:14:03.279 --> 00:14:07.240 just in a couple local stores. So as soon as we started getting multiple 191 00:14:07.279 --> 00:14:13.159 customers online, right away out we were doing survey monkeys. We were asking 192 00:14:13.200 --> 00:14:16.679 them to reach out and tell us what they wanted, what we could do 193 00:14:16.759 --> 00:14:20.480 to improve the product, how the product came to them, where they a 194 00:14:20.559 --> 00:14:26.679 hundred percent satisfied. I mean almost every single customer had some kind of touch 195 00:14:26.679 --> 00:14:31.360 from us, whether it was an email or it was me writing a hand 196 00:14:31.399 --> 00:14:37.200 written note to them and then we really studied the data and I think dad 197 00:14:37.320 --> 00:14:41.480 is really important to prior to going into grocery because you do get instant feedback 198 00:14:41.480 --> 00:14:46.960 from e commerce. So I looked at our repeat customer rate or open rates 199 00:14:46.039 --> 00:14:50.360 on our emails, what was happening on our ads. Every single person that 200 00:14:50.440 --> 00:14:56.799 commented on facebook or Instagram was responded to immediately by our team. I had 201 00:14:56.799 --> 00:15:01.720 several people working on those, twenty four Seve Evan and just studying the data 202 00:15:01.840 --> 00:15:05.519 of shopify and who was buying and their repeat purchases. And one of the 203 00:15:05.519 --> 00:15:09.159 things we learned is people would buy a starter pack. We had a starter 204 00:15:09.240 --> 00:15:13.159 pack, and then those same people will come back and buy like three times 205 00:15:13.159 --> 00:15:18.000 the amounts. So our starter pack might have been forty five because ECAMMA is 206 00:15:18.039 --> 00:15:22.480 expensive because of the shipping, and then that same customer would come back and 207 00:15:22.519 --> 00:15:26.519 buy over eighty, over ninety dollars, over a hundred dollars, and then 208 00:15:26.639 --> 00:15:31.679 some customers were buying multiple times a month. So we really paid attention to 209 00:15:31.759 --> 00:15:35.679 those customers. We thank them, we asked them their opinion on what they 210 00:15:35.759 --> 00:15:41.120 wanted and really try to focus our new products based on our customer feedback. 211 00:15:41.159 --> 00:15:45.919 No that's great. I know that you you hinted at circle up coming in 212 00:15:46.000 --> 00:15:48.960 out of your bridge round. What point did you decide to raise venture capital 213 00:15:50.000 --> 00:15:52.559 and why that was the right move for the company? So early on I 214 00:15:52.600 --> 00:15:56.799 was really scrappy. I mean I had no money. I was putting all 215 00:15:56.840 --> 00:16:00.320 the money back into the business. I had hired a bunch of my friends 216 00:16:00.480 --> 00:16:03.559 to come alongside me. They were really passionate about the brand. They treated 217 00:16:03.639 --> 00:16:08.440 it like it was their own business. We went on a world when tour 218 00:16:08.480 --> 00:16:12.360 of the cast to Hamilton was using our products, so we started doing pizza 219 00:16:12.399 --> 00:16:17.320 parties for them. In New York we went to the SB's, the Emmy's, 220 00:16:17.360 --> 00:16:21.759 the teen choice awards. We were a pizza in the background like the 221 00:16:21.840 --> 00:16:25.960 night before the event. Met a lot of celebrities that loved our products started 222 00:16:26.000 --> 00:16:30.440 promoting it. So we were growing even faster because of all of that publicity. 223 00:16:30.639 --> 00:16:34.919 And I lived in northern California. That's where our business, our Home 224 00:16:34.960 --> 00:16:41.879 Office was at the time and we also had a little mini pizza bar inside 225 00:16:41.879 --> 00:16:45.600 of a grocery store that we were doing as well. And so the camp 226 00:16:45.600 --> 00:16:49.399 fires that hit northern California, the town of Paradise and that was November of 227 00:16:49.399 --> 00:16:53.960 two thousand and eighteen and that really affected my family. Although I didn't live 228 00:16:55.000 --> 00:16:59.159 in paradise, I lived about twenty minutes away. My family was in my 229 00:16:59.200 --> 00:17:03.279 house. I was actually down in La doing some work project, the influencer 230 00:17:03.359 --> 00:17:08.200 project, and I flew emergently home to and I couldn't even get to my 231 00:17:08.240 --> 00:17:12.279 house. But that whole I mean we were using in ninety five masks for 232 00:17:12.440 --> 00:17:15.480 months because the air quality was so bad. So I had a taste of 233 00:17:15.480 --> 00:17:19.920 what it's like to wear a mask for months before covid ever hit, and 234 00:17:21.039 --> 00:17:25.640 it really prompted me to think, okay, I'm the CEO and the CFO 235 00:17:26.160 --> 00:17:30.960 and really my team's the CMO and I'm gone a lot and my family needs 236 00:17:32.000 --> 00:17:36.279 me. So I had already been offered by a couple people like low, 237 00:17:36.279 --> 00:17:40.119 offers like well, it sounds great now and I sometimes think I should have 238 00:17:40.160 --> 00:17:45.640 taken it. But I had somebody offer me at fancy food ten million to 239 00:17:45.680 --> 00:17:48.240 buy my product, to take over the company, and I turned them down 240 00:17:48.359 --> 00:17:52.680 because we were doing almost twenty million and I started thinking, well, there's 241 00:17:52.720 --> 00:17:56.079 a there's a lot of people that are interested in this product and maybe it's 242 00:17:56.119 --> 00:18:00.720 time for me to get some help. And then the thing that really fielded 243 00:18:00.839 --> 00:18:03.440 is I got a call one day from Walmart. Now, I didn't reach 244 00:18:03.480 --> 00:18:07.759 out to them, I didn't. I had one sales rep, but they 245 00:18:07.799 --> 00:18:11.200 called me. So I flew out to Bentonville and I was kind of like, 246 00:18:11.359 --> 00:18:15.400 I don't think our products a walmart product. We were in whole foods 247 00:18:15.400 --> 00:18:19.200 southern California and quite a few southern California stores by now, and I thought 248 00:18:19.240 --> 00:18:22.640 I just don't think it's the right, right fit. But I it's Walmart 249 00:18:22.640 --> 00:18:26.240 and they're calling you right, so I of course I have to go. 250 00:18:26.359 --> 00:18:30.000 And I went and they had a new buyer. She was a very young 251 00:18:30.039 --> 00:18:34.359 buyer and she paid a lot of tension to influencers and we had an influencer 252 00:18:34.519 --> 00:18:41.039 named Aaron Oprea. She's actually been in people magazine and she charged me very 253 00:18:41.039 --> 00:18:44.559 little because she was so passionate about the brand. Did a lot of non 254 00:18:44.759 --> 00:18:49.799 paid promotions of the brand and so I ended up hiring her as an influencer 255 00:18:49.799 --> 00:18:56.960 and that buyer at Walmart loved Aaron Oprea. She is the trainer to several 256 00:18:57.079 --> 00:19:03.160 country stars country. She lives out in Nashville. So, like Carrie Underwood 257 00:19:03.240 --> 00:19:07.400 is her client and a lot of very famous people, and so this buyer 258 00:19:07.599 --> 00:19:11.359 loves her. had been watching her, learned about our product from her and 259 00:19:11.359 --> 00:19:15.200 then picked up the phone and called this and when I went out there, 260 00:19:15.240 --> 00:19:18.880 she said, I want you to be in every Walmart store and I want 261 00:19:18.920 --> 00:19:23.200 all of your skews and Walmart. And by then we had four different crests 262 00:19:23.240 --> 00:19:27.400 and we were in the process of bringing in crackers and Pasta and in our 263 00:19:27.400 --> 00:19:33.440 restaurant we were serving Laz Onnya and enchiladas. And so I knew I had 264 00:19:33.480 --> 00:19:36.480 no experience. I also knew that you never want to put all your eggs 265 00:19:36.480 --> 00:19:40.960 in one basket and I knew this was going to be a big Po and 266 00:19:41.079 --> 00:19:45.519 I thought, okay, I've got a great copacker. Now I've got production 267 00:19:45.680 --> 00:19:51.160 set up. Like John from Sonoma Brands, I did a handshake deal with 268 00:19:51.160 --> 00:19:56.440 a couple people and got burned. So yeah, I was like okay, 269 00:19:56.480 --> 00:20:00.640 when he was talking about that, I'm like, I've been there. So 270 00:20:02.039 --> 00:20:04.480 actually, one of the handshake deals cost me, in the long run, 271 00:20:04.559 --> 00:20:11.200 six hundred and Fiftyzero dollars to have them go away. I don't believe in 272 00:20:11.400 --> 00:20:15.559 suing people and I had lawyers say you need to you need to sue. 273 00:20:15.680 --> 00:20:19.920 I just think it's too much negative in energy and time and I've been sued 274 00:20:21.000 --> 00:20:25.400 by another brand in the space and I just don't believe in putting your energy 275 00:20:25.440 --> 00:20:29.400 in their negative energy comes back negatively. But anyways, when I got the 276 00:20:29.400 --> 00:20:33.200 Walmart contract, I was like, okay, I've got fires and my family 277 00:20:33.240 --> 00:20:37.680 living in my house with all their pets and I've got this key O and 278 00:20:37.720 --> 00:20:41.359 I'm out of my league and my team were out of our league. So 279 00:20:41.440 --> 00:20:44.599 that's when I thought, okay, I need to start meeting with people and 280 00:20:44.640 --> 00:20:47.640 I don't want just money, because I feel like I'm really set with the 281 00:20:47.640 --> 00:20:51.519 money part because the business was doing so well. But I want strategy. 282 00:20:51.839 --> 00:20:55.799 I need some help and I had a great advisor. I'm going I always 283 00:20:55.799 --> 00:20:59.160 recommend surrounding yourself with people have been there and done that. I had bought 284 00:20:59.200 --> 00:21:03.960 Burke was one of my advisors. He's on our board. He was amazing 285 00:21:03.000 --> 00:21:07.839 and I just felt like it was time to go out there and look for 286 00:21:07.160 --> 00:21:11.480 a strategic to help me and to help me grow. And Steve Hughes and 287 00:21:11.599 --> 00:21:15.960 reached out to me. He saw an article about us and he had actually 288 00:21:17.039 --> 00:21:19.759 reached out to me when we were about a five million dollar brand and I 289 00:21:19.799 --> 00:21:25.119 had a great conversation with him and a year later he asked me to come 290 00:21:25.160 --> 00:21:29.880 out to their Boulder Home Office. So I went out there and met with 291 00:21:29.960 --> 00:21:34.960 their team and Steve was not an investment banker. His partner is, but 292 00:21:36.000 --> 00:21:38.759 he wasn't. And of course he's built he's like an icon in the industry. 293 00:21:38.799 --> 00:21:44.160 You've interviewed him and he had built healthy yeah, healthy choice. He 294 00:21:44.200 --> 00:21:48.440 built boulder brands. I think he was heavily involved in celestial seasons and tropic 295 00:21:48.440 --> 00:21:53.279 canna juice. So and Steve is really open and he shares a lot about 296 00:21:53.279 --> 00:21:57.519 what he's done and who he is and he kind of would me over in 297 00:21:57.559 --> 00:22:02.559 the meeting, like he did a lot of talking and he he shared a 298 00:22:02.599 --> 00:22:04.759 lot of success and some of it he was very humble. Shared some of 299 00:22:04.799 --> 00:22:07.720 his downfalls, which I had already had, like some of the things I 300 00:22:07.759 --> 00:22:11.400 had done cost me some money. I made mistakes because we were growing so 301 00:22:11.480 --> 00:22:17.519 fast. I had just got a contract also from Abram's publishing in New York, 302 00:22:17.519 --> 00:22:22.400 which was probably we were really busy in California and New York. So 303 00:22:22.480 --> 00:22:25.759 I was going out to New York a lot and I was doing a cookbook 304 00:22:25.799 --> 00:22:27.920 and I thought, okay, I'm really distracted by the cookbook. I really 305 00:22:27.960 --> 00:22:32.839 need a strategic partner. So that's what I looked for and that's what I 306 00:22:32.880 --> 00:22:36.119 found. I really appreciate you sharing that and the reason why you look for 307 00:22:36.160 --> 00:22:41.559 strategics. I remember when we first spoke there was another fund that was much 308 00:22:41.559 --> 00:22:45.759 more ECOMMERCE oriented. Right. Yes, there were also looking to make an 309 00:22:45.799 --> 00:22:51.519 investment in you. was part of the rationale to partner with, you know, 310 00:22:51.640 --> 00:22:56.599 sunrise, a strategic partners or a fund that obviously had a ton of 311 00:22:56.599 --> 00:23:00.839 retail experience? Is because there's only so far you can go online at that 312 00:23:00.920 --> 00:23:04.759 point and that really if you want to be a massive brand and create the 313 00:23:04.759 --> 00:23:08.279 most impact, you have to go through retail or kind of well, that's 314 00:23:08.279 --> 00:23:12.440 a little bit more about your decisionmaking process. Yeah, so it was really 315 00:23:12.599 --> 00:23:18.119 tough. I was very excited about this other team. Not Sure I can 316 00:23:18.160 --> 00:23:21.240 say who they are, but I'll just tell you they were the major investor 317 00:23:21.279 --> 00:23:26.200 in chewycom and they have a ton of e comms experience. Yes, and 318 00:23:26.279 --> 00:23:30.680 I loved the person that I met there as well, because he told me 319 00:23:30.680 --> 00:23:34.319 about a story where he turned down, and early, early early, an 320 00:23:34.319 --> 00:23:38.680 opportunity to invest in facebook and he turned it down and he said I'll never 321 00:23:38.720 --> 00:23:44.519 make that mistake again. So and they had done the deal with chew ECOM 322 00:23:44.519 --> 00:23:48.039 and that turned out to be an amazing deal. He offered me more money 323 00:23:48.200 --> 00:23:52.359 than what sunrise had offered and so I had to think about it a lot. 324 00:23:52.400 --> 00:23:56.920 But again I had that Po from Walmart and I knew I needed to, 325 00:23:57.319 --> 00:24:02.839 you know, have that partner that under stood Walmart and understood other retailers 326 00:24:02.839 --> 00:24:07.000 like whole foods, which we were all so in, and hive came to 327 00:24:07.079 --> 00:24:10.559 us at a food show and said I want you and all of our stores 328 00:24:10.599 --> 00:24:17.039 because we have educators that educate our community on diabetes and and various illnesses. 329 00:24:17.079 --> 00:24:21.359 So I want you in our stores. So now retail is really picking up. 330 00:24:21.359 --> 00:24:26.920 I'm dependent on my copacker. I'm now ordering product from Italy to come 331 00:24:26.920 --> 00:24:32.160 over. I paid like one point eight million in cash for to Italy to 332 00:24:32.160 --> 00:24:36.000 to deliver crackers and Pasta. I went over there and worked and did R 333 00:24:36.079 --> 00:24:38.480 and D with them. So and then I'm writing this cookbook that ended up 334 00:24:38.519 --> 00:24:42.599 being a national best seller. I needed help. I just was spread so 335 00:24:42.680 --> 00:24:48.200 thin and I have three kids that are teenagers. So and my husband's a 336 00:24:48.240 --> 00:24:52.079 position and he worked ten years to get to where he was, so he 337 00:24:52.119 --> 00:24:55.240 didn't want to give up his practice and join me. So I was really 338 00:24:55.240 --> 00:25:00.480 spread thin and again, I was just wood by Steve. So I decided 339 00:25:00.559 --> 00:25:06.000 not to take the extra money and take the extra strate strategic that could help 340 00:25:06.039 --> 00:25:11.480 me with these grocery stores. That's really great to hear and obviously we were 341 00:25:11.480 --> 00:25:15.880 connected to Steve, which is which is great. Yeah, was a fantastic 342 00:25:15.880 --> 00:25:18.359 pod guys guests and have the opportunity to him in person when I was at 343 00:25:18.440 --> 00:25:22.279 Expo West last week, which is awesome, awesome. Yeah, it was 344 00:25:22.319 --> 00:25:26.480 super cool, super cool. Obviously I hope that that one day were able 345 00:25:26.559 --> 00:25:30.720 to meet in person. I would love to also talk a little bit about 346 00:25:30.759 --> 00:25:36.920 distribution within retail because, as you pointed out earlier, why would walmart want 347 00:25:37.039 --> 00:25:41.559 Calli flower right in there in their stores? Right? It's a premium product, 348 00:25:41.599 --> 00:25:47.240 it's better for you product. It doesn't sound like a product that Walmart 349 00:25:47.240 --> 00:25:51.359 would sell and I would love to kind of know your perspective and of course 350 00:25:51.400 --> 00:25:53.480 you you walk this through. Why they were interested, but I love to 351 00:25:53.559 --> 00:25:57.400 just walk in through your perspective of is now like the in within these better 352 00:25:57.440 --> 00:26:03.839 for you kind of healthy alternative products, where the conventional retailers are now, 353 00:26:03.839 --> 00:26:07.079 you know, selling organic and in a lot more and maybe you know, 354 00:26:07.160 --> 00:26:10.839 plant based alternatives and in a lot and a lot more of these types of 355 00:26:10.960 --> 00:26:14.240 companies. Do you think that that now, when it comes to retail, 356 00:26:14.559 --> 00:26:18.880 that there is this that there's so much that overlap and it's hard to really 357 00:26:18.920 --> 00:26:22.559 distinguish what's like a conventional retail store versus a, you know, specialty or 358 00:26:22.640 --> 00:26:27.079 natural food store? I think so, but I also think the consumers are 359 00:26:27.119 --> 00:26:33.400 getting smarter. So the cheaper brands, especially in our category, have a 360 00:26:33.400 --> 00:26:37.119 lot of fillers, so they're not as healthy. I mean some of the 361 00:26:37.119 --> 00:26:40.799 Caulif ower pizza crush you might as well get in a domino's pizza. It's 362 00:26:40.839 --> 00:26:45.440 really no different. So I think for Walmart, the buyer was new, 363 00:26:45.480 --> 00:26:48.640 she was very young and she was interested in health and she's like, I 364 00:26:48.640 --> 00:26:55.559 think it's time for Walmart to create a healthier at least a couple doors of 365 00:26:55.599 --> 00:26:59.519 healthier products, and that's what she did. She was able to accomplish that 366 00:26:59.799 --> 00:27:03.039 and then her boss bought into it and so she was excited about our brand. 367 00:27:03.119 --> 00:27:07.440 Again. She was a huge fan of Aarono Korea and we were using 368 00:27:07.559 --> 00:27:11.279 I think we were one of the brands. I actually listen to mark Sisson 369 00:27:11.519 --> 00:27:18.759 at a Nash Event and he talked about how he put like over three hundred 370 00:27:18.759 --> 00:27:25.599 samples into influencers hands and how he was really able to utilize influencers before they 371 00:27:25.640 --> 00:27:30.200 were charging a lot of money. He was really using them, he was 372 00:27:30.319 --> 00:27:33.839 using his own customers as influencers. So I would listen to that talk very 373 00:27:33.839 --> 00:27:40.799 closely and basically followed his model and that's how we started using all these influencers 374 00:27:40.880 --> 00:27:44.960 and then had people like the cast of Hamilton reach out to us and the 375 00:27:45.000 --> 00:27:49.440 Walmart buyer. So I really think it had to do with just having some 376 00:27:49.559 --> 00:27:55.319 organic content out there and influencers that were truly passionate about the brand and didn't 377 00:27:55.519 --> 00:28:00.480 weren't looking for a paycheck, a heavy paycheck, to promote a brand. 378 00:28:00.680 --> 00:28:03.000 I love to learn more about your product, Ta Gie. Obviously, when 379 00:28:03.000 --> 00:28:07.680 you first started, you started with just the califlower pizza. This is when 380 00:28:07.720 --> 00:28:11.720 you were putting all of your own money into it, right, didn't have 381 00:28:11.759 --> 00:28:18.440 any outside investment how did you choose to launch new skills? So I saw 382 00:28:18.480 --> 00:28:23.240 some trends happening. I had already planned on launching crackers and I was the 383 00:28:23.240 --> 00:28:29.000 speaker at Nash and I mentioned that and then about six, six months later, 384 00:28:29.079 --> 00:28:32.240 crackers arrived, cauliflower crackers. I won't say the brand, but they 385 00:28:32.279 --> 00:28:37.000 were one of my judges at Nash and so I made not telling them my 386 00:28:37.039 --> 00:28:41.039 product line, and within six months they had three skews of crackers, cauliflower 387 00:28:41.039 --> 00:28:45.599 crackers. Yeah, and he was my judge. So it was interesting, 388 00:28:45.640 --> 00:28:49.119 but I certainly couldn't eat as product with the ingredients that were in it was. 389 00:28:49.400 --> 00:28:53.079 It would have made me very sick because of the inflammation and the lupus. 390 00:28:53.119 --> 00:28:57.160 So that was my interesting crackers is getting them out there, getting a 391 00:28:57.200 --> 00:29:00.920 cracker out there that I could eat and I could promote. So everything I've 392 00:29:00.960 --> 00:29:04.000 done is something that I can actually eat. Matter of fact, at the 393 00:29:04.079 --> 00:29:08.160 Las Vegas Peachas show, I was approached by a CO packer, a pretty 394 00:29:08.440 --> 00:29:12.799 he co packs a lot of cauliflower products and he said Hey, I can 395 00:29:12.880 --> 00:29:15.720 make your how much are you spending to get your product made? And at 396 00:29:15.759 --> 00:29:19.640 the time we didn't own our manufacturing plant we do now, and I'm I 397 00:29:19.640 --> 00:29:22.720 would love to talk about that in a moment, but at the time I 398 00:29:22.759 --> 00:29:26.960 was using a co packer any and I told him how much I was paying 399 00:29:26.000 --> 00:29:30.039 the Co Packer and and that, by the way, that's one of my 400 00:29:30.079 --> 00:29:34.640 lessons I've learned. I am such a like a handshake, tell people everything, 401 00:29:34.759 --> 00:29:38.400 and I got so burned so many times that I've really learned that you 402 00:29:38.480 --> 00:29:42.680 haven't. You have to be discreet and you have to be do your due 403 00:29:42.680 --> 00:29:48.200 diligence before you trust certain people and don't tell people what you're planning to do 404 00:29:48.599 --> 00:29:52.680 until you do it. But anyways, I told him how much we were 405 00:29:52.680 --> 00:29:55.799 paying and he's like, I can make it for half the price, and 406 00:29:55.880 --> 00:30:00.920 you will, you will have such better margins and and grocery stores are going 407 00:30:00.960 --> 00:30:03.519 to really look at that and look at your margins, and so I was 408 00:30:03.559 --> 00:30:07.319 like, okay, I'm really interested. So I came over to his booth, 409 00:30:07.359 --> 00:30:11.079 which is huge booth, and I tried his products and I was like, 410 00:30:11.079 --> 00:30:12.799 okay, tell me the ingredients in here, because he was making his 411 00:30:12.839 --> 00:30:17.519 own cauliflower pizza crush. Just kind of play around with it and I realize 412 00:30:17.559 --> 00:30:19.519 if I another bite of it I was going to be sick that night and 413 00:30:19.599 --> 00:30:22.599 I told him, I said we use fresh cauliflower and I don't want to 414 00:30:22.599 --> 00:30:26.200 deviate from that because I don't want to have to add fillers. And he's 415 00:30:26.240 --> 00:30:29.680 like, I don't touch fresh vegetables. I just I don't do it. 416 00:30:29.720 --> 00:30:33.359 I do powder or I'll do pure a, but I'll never touch a fresh 417 00:30:33.440 --> 00:30:37.759 vegetable. And I knew using powder or pure a cauliflower you had to add 418 00:30:37.759 --> 00:30:41.440 fillers, and so I'm like now I can't do it because I'll be lying 419 00:30:41.480 --> 00:30:47.200 to my consumer. And I really believe if brands can just stay true to 420 00:30:47.240 --> 00:30:52.000 a mission or a cause and be authentic, it may take longer to be 421 00:30:52.039 --> 00:30:57.599 successful because maybe it is a higher priced item because you're using such clean ingredients, 422 00:30:57.599 --> 00:31:00.119 but it's worth it in the end. Like it's worth it. We 423 00:31:00.160 --> 00:31:04.559 will be one of the last cauliflower products and and I guarantee it, people 424 00:31:04.759 --> 00:31:11.400 be educated enough to read the labels. Well, what do you think about? 425 00:31:11.480 --> 00:31:15.039 You know, because now there's so many, and not just in Califower 426 00:31:15.160 --> 00:31:18.400 alternatives, but just better for you products out there. I mean, you 427 00:31:18.400 --> 00:31:22.400 know, I was at Expo last week and I feel like plant basis has 428 00:31:22.440 --> 00:31:26.519 become such like a buzzy word that it almost sounds like it's, you know, 429 00:31:26.759 --> 00:31:29.559 it's if it's play a base. Oh it's better for you, but 430 00:31:29.599 --> 00:31:32.160 then it's a wait, hold on, a lot, maybe, maybe a 431 00:31:32.200 --> 00:31:34.559 lot of this is actually very processed and not so good for you and your 432 00:31:34.599 --> 00:31:37.759 general sense. I mean, as you've seen, because you were there from 433 00:31:37.799 --> 00:31:41.200 a few years ago when you started. I feel like that was when it 434 00:31:41.240 --> 00:31:44.440 was first kind of a becoming in and I know that you were obviously one 435 00:31:44.480 --> 00:31:48.359 of the first call of our pizza companies. How do you think about like 436 00:31:48.519 --> 00:31:52.720 this whole trend of, you know, plant Bas are better for you and 437 00:31:52.960 --> 00:31:57.160 if products are actually, you know, better for you or not? Yeah, 438 00:31:57.240 --> 00:32:00.720 I just think it's so important for the consumer to be educated. I 439 00:32:00.720 --> 00:32:07.200 think really good marketing brands can really sway the customer to pick up their product 440 00:32:07.319 --> 00:32:10.400 without reading the ingredients, and I think that is key. When we did 441 00:32:10.440 --> 00:32:16.519 a sidebyside comparison of the most popular cauliflower brands compared to ours, people were 442 00:32:16.640 --> 00:32:22.400 shocked, buyers were shocked, consumers were shocked and of course I ran it 443 00:32:22.400 --> 00:32:25.279 through the attorneys before we did it to make sure that we would get in 444 00:32:25.319 --> 00:32:30.440 trouble for showing that and people were shocked. I mean it was amazing. 445 00:32:30.720 --> 00:32:37.519 I'll say there's one very influential person. Her name is huge. She was 446 00:32:37.599 --> 00:32:40.319 a big weight watchers advocate. She has a cauliflower pizza cress out there and 447 00:32:40.359 --> 00:32:45.680 it's worse than dominoes like it been. Ingredients are just you might as well 448 00:32:45.720 --> 00:32:49.400 eat dominos. You might as only eat dominoes, and it's disappointing to see 449 00:32:49.400 --> 00:32:53.559 that. So I just I've learned to read labels. I try to educate 450 00:32:53.559 --> 00:32:58.640 our consumers to make sure they read level labels, because not everything is what 451 00:32:58.680 --> 00:33:01.680 it looks like on the front of the package. I think it's really important. 452 00:33:01.759 --> 00:33:06.200 And you know, one of the things when we were doing those survey 453 00:33:06.279 --> 00:33:10.160 monkeys at the time we had the red pepper crest and the original Italian press 454 00:33:10.559 --> 00:33:15.480 and we kept getting request for a true plant based crest, no cheese, 455 00:33:15.960 --> 00:33:21.160 no dairy, just a true plant based so that's when we created three skews 456 00:33:21.279 --> 00:33:24.240 of plant based cress for those consumers, and that was back in two thousand 457 00:33:24.279 --> 00:33:30.160 and seventeen. So we were seeing the trend then for plant based and we 458 00:33:30.240 --> 00:33:34.079 listen to our consumers and we put out those products. One of the people 459 00:33:34.160 --> 00:33:37.680 that was very he's retired now, but he was in the food business for 460 00:33:37.839 --> 00:33:42.480 many, many years. He met with a lot of buyers and I always 461 00:33:42.480 --> 00:33:45.920 remember him saying to me buyers aren't on the Internet, they're not on social 462 00:33:45.960 --> 00:33:51.599 media, they're not watching what's happening, and the Walmart buyer is a great 463 00:33:51.599 --> 00:33:55.000 example of yes, buyers are getting younger and younger at main grocery stores. 464 00:33:55.000 --> 00:33:59.000 I don't know if you've noticed that, but and a lot of them are 465 00:33:59.039 --> 00:34:04.519 health conscious and they are looking online to see what's new, what's trending, 466 00:34:04.519 --> 00:34:07.400 what are people liking, and so I disagree with that person with all those 467 00:34:07.480 --> 00:34:15.400 years of experience, that buyers are online, especially the newer buyers, and 468 00:34:15.760 --> 00:34:20.000 that it's very important to have a presence online, whether you're have an e 469 00:34:20.079 --> 00:34:23.280 comm store or not, you need to be online educating your consumer about your 470 00:34:23.320 --> 00:34:28.880 product and really promoting your product. Definitely, and I think that is, 471 00:34:29.519 --> 00:34:31.599 you know, be be like a major change, that that buyers are now, 472 00:34:31.840 --> 00:34:37.400 you know, a lot more mindful being online and kind of understanding to 473 00:34:37.599 --> 00:34:40.360 because, I mean also what we talked about as well on the show is 474 00:34:40.400 --> 00:34:45.880 how, you know, Walmart and target had become very aggressive in terms of 475 00:34:45.880 --> 00:34:50.800 bringing in, you know, brands, digionator brands, into their into their 476 00:34:50.840 --> 00:34:54.880 retail shops, and so definitely, if, since that's the case, buyers 477 00:34:55.000 --> 00:34:59.920 certainly are becoming way more active in terms of online and kind of understanding like 478 00:34:59.960 --> 00:35:04.480 what what's out there. It's not just the trade shows. Mike Anderson came 479 00:35:04.519 --> 00:35:08.679 on as CEO and you decided to step down. What was that transition like, 480 00:35:09.159 --> 00:35:14.199 since you were the one that built up califlower and and you know the 481 00:35:14.280 --> 00:35:19.159 brand and obviously it's a millions of millions in year and revenue. What was 482 00:35:19.199 --> 00:35:22.599 that kind of transition like? Well, I love Mike Anderson, by the 483 00:35:22.599 --> 00:35:28.400 way. He's a very creative person and he made stuff happen, like he 484 00:35:28.440 --> 00:35:34.000 brought the enchiladas and the lasagna into the business, into grocery, and that 485 00:35:34.119 --> 00:35:37.760 is one of our top selling skews now and that was something we were doing 486 00:35:37.840 --> 00:35:40.639 at our little restaurant that we had in Chico, California, and he picked 487 00:35:40.679 --> 00:35:45.039 up on that right away and he was all about innovation, and that is 488 00:35:45.119 --> 00:35:52.320 my like. I love innovating new products and creating new skews. So he 489 00:35:52.440 --> 00:35:55.920 and I had that in common and I was really drawn to his creative process 490 00:35:55.960 --> 00:36:01.320 and we had interviewed a lot of CEOS, at potential CEOS, and that 491 00:36:01.440 --> 00:36:07.079 was Steve Hughes's top choice and Mike was my number two choice. All ad 492 00:36:07.079 --> 00:36:12.119 meant that ze knows that it wasn't my top choice, but he was my 493 00:36:12.239 --> 00:36:15.199 number two choices and my top choice wasn't available because he was in the middle 494 00:36:15.360 --> 00:36:21.039 of selling a brand. So he wasn't available for months and I knew because 495 00:36:21.039 --> 00:36:23.440 of what my family was going through. We had to move out of northern 496 00:36:23.480 --> 00:36:30.360 California because of the fires and then I had three teenagers that they started calling 497 00:36:30.400 --> 00:36:35.559 their dad, Dr Mom. They were missing me. I was gone all 498 00:36:35.639 --> 00:36:39.360 the time, and so it was harder than I thought it would be. 499 00:36:39.440 --> 00:36:44.920 I gotta admit I should have I was in the brand. Once I let 500 00:36:44.920 --> 00:36:49.679 that position go, I needed to trust the process and I realized that I 501 00:36:49.719 --> 00:36:54.199 had control issues letting go of letting somebody else make all the decisions. It 502 00:36:54.239 --> 00:36:59.760 was really difficult, and I hear a lot of entrepreneurs say that when they 503 00:36:59.800 --> 00:37:04.280 start, because it's it was like my fourth child and that's how I considered 504 00:37:04.320 --> 00:37:07.280 it and decisions that were being made that maybe I didn't agree with it felt 505 00:37:07.360 --> 00:37:12.880 like your child dating the wrong person. You know, it just felt like 506 00:37:12.920 --> 00:37:15.280 that and it doesn't mean that they were wrong and I was right. It 507 00:37:15.320 --> 00:37:20.400 just meant I was giving up control. And it's kind of like when your 508 00:37:20.480 --> 00:37:23.119 kids turn a certain age and you've got to let go or they're never going 509 00:37:23.119 --> 00:37:27.280 to grow. And that's kind of how I thought of it and and I 510 00:37:27.320 --> 00:37:29.719 had a hard time, as much as I loved Mike, I had a 511 00:37:29.800 --> 00:37:34.199 very, very hard time letting go. So was it? Was it the 512 00:37:34.239 --> 00:37:37.519 board's decision to have you seppt out, or was that or was that your 513 00:37:37.559 --> 00:37:42.039 own decision? That was my own decision. I really felt like I needed 514 00:37:42.079 --> 00:37:45.480 to get people in there that had experience. Now, Mike had never been 515 00:37:45.519 --> 00:37:51.519 a CEO before, so that was one thing that maybe I should have looked 516 00:37:51.519 --> 00:37:54.400 at. Is I had some advisors telling me you need to hire somebody it's 517 00:37:54.440 --> 00:38:00.639 been a CEO before. Mike was Fabulous and I just was very drawn to 518 00:38:00.719 --> 00:38:07.400 him from his innovation and his ability to get things done very fast. Like 519 00:38:07.480 --> 00:38:10.880 the entrees. He moved at a very fast pace and that's how we were 520 00:38:10.920 --> 00:38:15.440 moving before we brought in the strategic partners. And of course I was listening 521 00:38:15.440 --> 00:38:21.280 to everything that Steve Hughes wanted and that was his number one choice, and 522 00:38:21.360 --> 00:38:25.920 he put in his nephew as our CMO and then he also brought in his 523 00:38:27.000 --> 00:38:30.760 daughterinlaw to help build the brands. So some of the changes that they made 524 00:38:30.840 --> 00:38:35.719 right away that I agreed with was changing the packaging, because we did that 525 00:38:35.760 --> 00:38:37.880 in house. We just kind of played around and did that in house. 526 00:38:38.239 --> 00:38:42.840 Nobody designed that for us but us and you could tell when you look at 527 00:38:42.880 --> 00:38:46.079 it side by side, it's an amateur versus a professional. And then they 528 00:38:46.119 --> 00:38:50.440 also updated the website, which I was begging them to do. We needed 529 00:38:50.599 --> 00:38:53.320 an updated website. And there were a few other things I really wanted to 530 00:38:53.360 --> 00:38:57.719 do that I still want to do, like I would love a Callie club 531 00:38:57.840 --> 00:39:01.159 or some kind of a club. We started a membership, but I'd love 532 00:39:01.199 --> 00:39:06.760 to build that membership back up and really focus on email strategy is again as 533 00:39:06.800 --> 00:39:10.960 well. But yeah, we we had a really strong team to start off 534 00:39:12.039 --> 00:39:15.840 with and we continue to have a very strong team with a lot of experience 535 00:39:15.880 --> 00:39:21.320 and our current CEO is doing a fabulous job and now we have a new 536 00:39:21.360 --> 00:39:25.320 CMO and he's also doing a fabulous job and they come from boulder brands, 537 00:39:25.360 --> 00:39:31.000 so Steve knows them very well. And then we've got a fairly new CFO, 538 00:39:31.920 --> 00:39:35.760 but he's been in the food business his whole life. He's fairly young, 539 00:39:35.800 --> 00:39:38.400 I should say, not new, and he's doing a phenomenal job as 540 00:39:38.440 --> 00:39:43.599 well. So what is one book that is inspired you personally and one book 541 00:39:43.639 --> 00:39:47.519 thatspired you professionally? Personally, whenever anybody asked me this, I always go 542 00:39:47.639 --> 00:39:52.599 back to the for agreements, because if you can live by the for agreements, 543 00:39:52.760 --> 00:39:58.320 then you're you're doing things right and people are going to recognize that you're 544 00:39:58.320 --> 00:40:02.199 going to have healthier relationships. I haven't always lived by the for agreements and 545 00:40:02.639 --> 00:40:07.320 every time I sway from them, something happens, you know, personally, 546 00:40:07.400 --> 00:40:13.519 with a relationship that isn't always the best, and then professionally, one of 547 00:40:13.519 --> 00:40:16.559 the books that's really helped me is the one thing, and it's really about 548 00:40:16.679 --> 00:40:21.840 focusing on one thing. And in two thousand and eighteen, when I was 549 00:40:21.880 --> 00:40:29.199 launching pasta crackers, we were the number oneskew on Amazon for our original Italian 550 00:40:29.280 --> 00:40:34.760 and I was hearing a cookbook often my team was like all over the place 551 00:40:34.800 --> 00:40:37.440 trying to help me and I was all over the place and I think the 552 00:40:37.440 --> 00:40:42.119 biggest mistake I've ever made, or one of them, happened during that time 553 00:40:42.119 --> 00:40:45.079 because I wasn't focused on the one thing, like just focusing on those main 554 00:40:45.199 --> 00:40:51.440 skews that were really helping drive the business the people recognized, and not trying 555 00:40:51.480 --> 00:40:53.719 to do all these other things myself. And so that book, my husband 556 00:40:53.760 --> 00:40:57.760 made me read it. I've read it multiple times and whenever I start I 557 00:40:57.800 --> 00:41:00.760 call it squirreling and I'm all over the place because I want to do everything 558 00:41:00.760 --> 00:41:05.079 and do it right, but ultimately you don't do it right when you're trying 559 00:41:05.119 --> 00:41:07.440 to do too much. So I love that book. I highly recommend it. 560 00:41:07.639 --> 00:41:13.119 Another book I want to mention really quick also is story brand by Donald 561 00:41:13.159 --> 00:41:16.840 Miller. That really helped us in the marketing part of our business, and 562 00:41:17.000 --> 00:41:23.400 boundaries by Henry Cloud, because I had to set some serious boundaries with people 563 00:41:23.440 --> 00:41:30.039 to not get burned, and those handshakes often can burn you. And so 564 00:41:30.760 --> 00:41:37.480 really those books have helped me tremendously personally and professionally. That's great. Huge 565 00:41:37.480 --> 00:41:40.400 Fan of the one thing. I complete agree with you and sent him as 566 00:41:40.440 --> 00:41:44.400 towards that one. I still haven't checked out for a brands. Why I 567 00:41:44.440 --> 00:41:47.559 need to? I definitely need to, and the four agreements is also great. 568 00:41:47.719 --> 00:41:52.000 Yeah, I don't think we've actually had anyone that to bring up story 569 00:41:52.039 --> 00:41:54.239 brand on the show, so we'll definitely I that sort to our news letter. 570 00:41:54.280 --> 00:41:59.159 My point of question is, what's maybe the best piece of advice that 571 00:41:59.199 --> 00:42:04.079 you have for are for entrepreneurs who are currently building, so for entrepreneurs in 572 00:42:04.119 --> 00:42:07.360 general. I talked about the five P's and I'll just go through the very, 573 00:42:07.440 --> 00:42:12.199 very quickly. Make sure your product is something you're passionate about. You 574 00:42:12.199 --> 00:42:14.880 got to have passion. Don't look at what's going to make you a dollar, 575 00:42:14.960 --> 00:42:19.199 look at what you're truly passionate about. So typically that's something that's helped 576 00:42:19.239 --> 00:42:22.599 you personally or somebody that you love. So Passion is very important people, 577 00:42:22.719 --> 00:42:27.480 I've already said this multiple time. Surround yourself with people who have done that, 578 00:42:27.559 --> 00:42:31.400 been there before, like Patrick Leant Leonelcy. I was chopped up his 579 00:42:31.480 --> 00:42:37.840 last name. He always says higher, hungry, humble and emotionally intelligent people, 580 00:42:38.000 --> 00:42:42.519 and that's what I think my team was and the team that we currently 581 00:42:42.559 --> 00:42:46.599 have. They're very passionate about the brand. They're hungry to create a successful 582 00:42:46.679 --> 00:42:51.400 brand and they all have emotional intelligence, so I think that's really important. 583 00:42:51.480 --> 00:42:54.360 Perseverance, it would be one of the biggest ones, because you're going to 584 00:42:54.440 --> 00:42:58.480 have a ton of highs and a ton of lows and not a lot in 585 00:42:58.519 --> 00:43:02.320 between. So you've got to be willing to on those really low days, 586 00:43:02.360 --> 00:43:07.079 the days where you trusted somebody that burned you or you made a mistake and 587 00:43:07.159 --> 00:43:08.880 it's cost you a lot of money, you got to be able to persevere 588 00:43:09.000 --> 00:43:14.559 through that and figure out what's going to allow you to keep going, to 589 00:43:14.599 --> 00:43:17.039 get up every day when you just want to pull the covers over your head 590 00:43:17.079 --> 00:43:21.719 and persevere through the lowness to get to the Highness, because you're always going 591 00:43:21.719 --> 00:43:24.199 to get a high eventually if you just keep working at it, and the 592 00:43:24.239 --> 00:43:29.159 people that work harder are the people that are going to be harder than the 593 00:43:29.360 --> 00:43:31.880 competitors are the people that are going to be successful. I think Kobe Bryant 594 00:43:31.920 --> 00:43:37.039 said that, but and then paying it forward. I really believe in this. 595 00:43:37.440 --> 00:43:42.800 I we used to have this website called Callie cares and we worked a 596 00:43:42.840 --> 00:43:47.000 lot with lupas foundation. We worked a little bit with American Diabetes Association and 597 00:43:47.039 --> 00:43:52.400 then some smaller foundations like step it up, which mentors girls, and I 598 00:43:52.440 --> 00:43:55.400 just believe if you pay it forward, it's kind of like that Tom's shoes 599 00:43:55.679 --> 00:44:00.760 by when we donate one free. I think people want to buy from people 600 00:44:00.840 --> 00:44:07.760 that are that are that have a cause that they represent or that are just 601 00:44:07.840 --> 00:44:12.480 passionate about something that's helping somebody else, and so paying it forward, I 602 00:44:12.480 --> 00:44:15.440 think it always comes back to you tenfold, and I believe people buy from 603 00:44:15.480 --> 00:44:21.519 people, not always buy the product, but buy from people that they believe 604 00:44:21.599 --> 00:44:27.639 in and people that represent a cause that they align themselves with. So I 605 00:44:27.679 --> 00:44:30.360 think that's really important as well. And then, of course, product is 606 00:44:30.400 --> 00:44:35.159 the last thing. You've got to have a product that you are authentic, 607 00:44:35.159 --> 00:44:39.840 authentic brand and you can look yourself in the mirror and you know that what 608 00:44:39.880 --> 00:44:45.159 you're putting out there is exactly what you're saying you're putting out there. So 609 00:44:45.360 --> 00:44:47.679 that's what I would say to entrepreneurs. If you can really surround yourself with 610 00:44:47.679 --> 00:44:52.280 people that have done it better than you, be humble enough to admit that 611 00:44:52.360 --> 00:44:55.400 you don't know everything and all of the other peas I said, I talked 612 00:44:55.440 --> 00:45:00.320 about that a lot on podcasts. I think that really is why we have 613 00:45:00.400 --> 00:45:05.000 been so successful. Amy, this has been absolute pleasure. Thank you so 614 00:45:05.159 --> 00:45:07.800 much for US spending time with me and for coming on the show. Thank 615 00:45:07.920 --> 00:45:12.400 you. It's been an honor. I love your podcast. I highly I 616 00:45:12.480 --> 00:45:15.119 will be recommending it, like I do story brand, but I really have 617 00:45:15.320 --> 00:45:20.679 enjoyed listening to your podcast. It's so kind. That's so kind. And 618 00:45:20.719 --> 00:45:23.039 there you have it. It was terrific chatting with amy. I highly recommend 619 00:45:23.159 --> 00:45:29.239 checking out hey amy leacycom to learn more about her story and her approach to 620 00:45:29.320 --> 00:45:31.679 brand building. If you enjoyed this episode, I love it if you'd write 621 00:45:31.679 --> 00:45:36.199 a review on the apple podcast. You're also welcome to follow me your host, 622 00:45:36.280 --> 00:45:39.039 Mike, on twitter at Mike Guelb, and also follow for episode announcements 623 00:45:39.079 --> 00:46:00.719 at Consumer VC. Thanks for listening, everyone,