The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

2. Why Every Entrepreneur Needs Feedback w/ Nicole Haney

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As an entrepreneur, when you build something you love, getting feedback can be scary. But today’s guest, Nicole Haney, Founder and CEO of Boho Bake Shop and Boho Bars, knew that feedback would be what could make her product even better. So she embraced it.

Nicole played around with recipes in her kitchen hoping to create an energy bar she could take on work trips. She knew she’d discovered something great when other people loved them as well. So she quit her job and went all in.

Nicole started by selling her bars at a farmer’s market. The biggest piece of feedback she got from that crowd was that they wanted the bars to be more accessible. So she set out to persuade local markets to carry her bars.

The next piece of feedback she received came when she noticed people weren’t interested in her free samples. When she asked why, someone told her they didn’t like energy bars because they typically didn’t taste good. That’s when Nicole realized she’d been focusing the marketing too much on the clean ingredients and not enough on the great taste. So she adjusted.

It’s really easy to get bogged down on all of the feedback you get in the early stages, but sometimes it’s what takes your business to the next level.

On today’s episode, we discuss when to listen to feedback and when to just keep moving.

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast from the Pierre L Morrisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School. In this series I be entrepreneur and Ivy Faculty member Eric Janssen will anchor the session. Starting new things is really hard, especially when you're leaving a perfectly good job, or even a great job, and entering an incredibly crowded space in health food. How do you know when to leap or what to make or what to invest in? In a word, feedback. Feedback is absolutely critical, but who do you even listen to? On the positive side, it can reinforce your decision to leave or product investments, but on the negative side it can kill early stage ideas in their most fragile stage. In this episode, Nicoleheney from Boho bars talks us through how to use feedback to guide strategy, who to listen to it each stage of Your Business and when to make those big investments or leaps. All Right, I'm here today with the Cole Haney from Boho Bake Shop. Hi Eric, how are you? I've never been happier. Nicole, how are you? I'm fantastic. And is it is it Boho bars or Boho big shop or both? It's both actually. So I started with Boho Bake shop and that has now fleshed out into a full Vegan donut bakery, and now Boho bars has launched as well, and those are whole food energy bars. So that's a company on to itself now as well. Got It, so to two separate companies but operating out of the same production facility. Correct. Got It, kind of got it, okay. So, Nicole, you were currently in London, Ontario, where Boho bike shop is located. Did you grow up in London? I did, borner and rice corner raised in London. How did this whole venture get started? And actually, before you get into the story of how Bojo got going, maybe rewind a little bit to like how did you discover that you might actually be entrepreneurial? was there anybody in your family that was an entrepreneur and like rewind the tape a little bit more for me. Yeah, for sure. So no one in my family was an entrepreneur and really, growing up I never considered entrepreneurship as an option, but I really always had that entrepreneurial spirit in me. I'm a very determined person and some would say strong wills and when I know what I want to go for it, and I think those are all qualities that you really have to have as an entrepreneur. And so when I found my passion, I realized this is a path I could go down and it would be really cool and what an adventure to have cool. So I don't struggle with passion, but I get a lot of frustration from entrepreneurs or would be entrepreneurs that I speak with saying like, I don't know, I don't know what my passion is. There a bunch of stuff that I like, but like, I don't really know what it is. How did you discover that baking or healthy food or fitness or health is your passion? How did you get there? Yeah, so I kind of stubbled, stumbled upon it accidentally. So I would say about six or seven years ago I really got into health and wellness, and that had not always been the case. I was not a healthy kid, I was not an athletic kid and I always really, really loved food, especially junk food. Anything that tasted good was definitely on the roster for me. But when I turned twenty five, one of my friends said, you know what, come to the gym with me, and I said no, no, no, like, this is not my thing. I don't go to the gym. That's not for me. And I went and I took a spin class with her. Absolutely hated it, but not passion right away. Okay, no, no, I'm passion right away? Definitely not. But eventually I found running and I fell in love with running, and then the healthy eating kind of followed from that, because I noticed that when I ate all my favorite foods, junk foods, things that tasted...

...good to me at the time, that I just didn't have the motivation or the energy to go up for a run, and so I started playing around with some recipes to make my favorite foods healthier, and so along the way in doing that, that's kind of when I found my passion for creating these healthy products. Got It. So the eating healthier came because you realize the cooking, the the recipes came because you realize that eating healthier, cooking healthier, led to better performance. It's almost like self fulfilling right, and I found that too, like when I'm competing in a crossfit tournament or something like that, it's like if you eat really crappy the week's leading up or the day before whatever, it actually really does affect your performance. So the better you eat, the more proper fuel you feed your body, the better before. That's absolutely the case. Cool, cool. So you figure you figured this out, you got interested in it, but you had a full time job right you were working in the corporate world, doing reasonably well. How did you decide to make the leap? Yeah, well, it was right around the time I turned thirty. I honestly did not think I was going to have a problem turning thirty. I thought it was going to be totally fine. And then I turned thirty and I had a bit of a meltdown and I just thought, you know, I need to be doing something with my life that I'm super, super passionate about, and that's how I wanted to spend the next twenty or thirty years in my life. was was chasing something that I felt really passionate about, and so I was kind of searching. As you mentioned, a lot of entrepreneurs don't know what their passion is, and so I was kind of searching and searching and searching, and as I started to create these healthy products, it occurred to me how passionate I was about creating these products, and then as soon as I started sharing them with other people, that was it. I was I was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. I realized that not only could I make these amazing products for myself, but I could share it with the world and start encouraging other people to make healthier choices for their lives as well. Gotta do you remember the first person who you shared some of your recipes with? I do absolutely. It was my friend Sarah, my friend and colleague Sarah. So we had gone on a business trip together and I actually had gone to the grocery store and I was looking for an energy bar that I could just bring with me on the business trip because I knew it was going to be really busy, and I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I ended up going home and making my own sort of threw a bunch of stuff from my pantry in a bowl through in a pan, kind of hope for the best, and then I packed them into Ziplock Baggies, believe it or not, and I was eating them on the business trip and my friend Sarah was like, what are you eating out of Ziplock baggies right now. What is happening? And I told her, like, these are homemade energy bar they're really good actually, if you want to give them a try. And so she tried them and she absolutely loved them, and so that was that was kind of the start of knowing that I might be onto something here. Got It. So want to focus today on feedback, and I guess I would have been. You're the very first piece of feedback. You, you made them for yourself, thought they were pretty good, packed them up in some ugly, ugly plastic bags on a business trip. You share them with Your College League. She likes them. You thought interesting, this kind of cool. A lot of people would hear interesting but not do anything about it. So, yeah, what happened after you said? Boo, she likes them, this is interesting. What did you do? Yeah, so I came back and I started talking with some of my other family and friends and colleagues and people. People thought it was interesting as well, and so they said, okay, well, if you want to try if you want me to try them, I'm happy to try them. Provide some feedback to you too, and so I started baking batches upon batches of bars for my friends and family and colleagues and just handing them out for free and just saying try it and let me know what you think, and people started going crazy for them and asking...

...me to make them for them on a regular basis. And so it wasn't it wasn't really a side business or anything like that. It was literally just me making the stuff for free and handing it out and hoping for the feedback in return. So that was kind of the the start of it. That's cool. So it's interesting. Right, there's so many, so many ways often that people think about starting these businesses. You can either. You could have done you could have got some market research reports and looked at how big the market was for healthy energy bars or healthy, healthy line of snacks. Probably would have got freaked out because there's a lot of competition. Bamy is is a fast growing, high growth market right now, but there's a lot of competition. But you didn't. You went to the kitchen, you shipped I guess what we'd call a minimum viable product. Probably didn't look great, no, taste a good yeah, and got it into hands of as many people as possible and the feedback was good. Did you get any not good feedback? I got a couple people that were saying they didn't like certain aspects of it. So one of my friends just absolutely hates coconut and she said, you know what, you need to take the shredded coconut right out of this, and so I listen to that a little bit, but I thought I love coconut and a lot of people love coconut. I think I'm going to leave the coconut in. Yeah, so how did you decide in the early days who to listen to and who not to listen to, because that maybe that's an an easy one, or maybe it's easier with food in general. That's a specific preference for a specific type of food or flavor. But you must have been you must have gotten a bunch of it from your friends family early days. How did you decide what to ignore and what to incorporate? Yeah, especially in the early stages it's really easy to get bogged down by all of the feedback that you're going to get starting out in a business, because everyone wants to offer their advice and I think what it comes down to is really just knowing what it is you want to achieve in your business and keeping that vision in your mind, and eventually that vision becomes your mission statement and it becomes sort of what you're pursuing as a business and what you stand for as a business. But in the early days you have to sort of figure out what your vision is and follow that and really follow your gut. So maybe bring me through then, the order of operations, because you're saying if you got feedback that wasn't necessarily going to be helpful or get you closer to your vision, then you're able to filter that out. But in order to do that you have to have a vision. So maybe walk me through. How did you take me from sampled these at a business meeting, shared them with your colleague, started distributing them, getting good feedback. Walk me through the order of operations. When you set the vision. How did you actually get this thing going? Yeah, for sure. So getting started, started out very small in a farmers market and I was able to get in front of customers on a regular basis and get a lot of feedback really quickly. Some feedback was fantastic and some feedback was not so great, but really just sorry, did interrupt. So you got them in front of family and friends. They said good, you said. Next thing I want to do then is get them in front of other people, get them in front of people who aren't family and friends. Yeah, well, I mean the next thing I did actually was quit my job. Whoa okay, fairly early in the process. That very early in the process. I think I just I realized my passion very early on and I realized that I wanted to get people choosing healthier options in their lives and if I could do that through a antastic tasting product that also happens to be healthy, then that was something I was going to pursue and I didn't want to be left wondering what if, what if I had gone down that path and had started a business, what...

...could have happened? So I thought, you know what, I'm going to do it. I'm still young, I'm going to go out there, try my hand at it and if all else fails, I can go back to my day job. Wow, okay. So I guess there's different ways to look at it. Right sometimes people will get another train on the tracks while the other one is going. Because you could have really gone to the farmer's market and got more feedback and try to scale this thing up in your parttime maybe, but you burn the ships right away. You quit and said screw it, there's no other option. It's like we're going to make this thing go or or not. There really wasn't an option to fail. Remember what I said about being strong wild. Yeah, this was gonna Happen, this was going to happen. Yeah, absolutely, this was gonna happen. I was determined to wow, okay, cool. So you quit your job, you went to the farmers market. I guess I'm trying to get to. At what point did you or did you sit down and like do any semblance of a plan or your vision or a logo or anything like that? I think that came a little bit later, to be honest with you. I think I went into the business truthfully, quite naively in thinking I'm just going to go to a farmer's market, I'm going to sell some products and that's how I'm going to make my living. And I got into it and I realized you don't make a living working one day a week at a farmer's market, although that might be the dream, but I as I started to get into it, that was when I realized, if I want to do this. I have to be all in and I really have to make some decisions here about what that looks like. Got It. Got It okay. So you go to the farmers market. You start to get some at that point where you you had upgraded from zip block bags to something else. I did. Yeah, yeah, so we had kind of a rudimentary version of our first flavor of Boho bar and we were packaging it in these kind of plastic bagis and printing labels on a residential grade printer. It was very grassroots and actually the bars were an add on to the rest of our bakery products initially. Got It. Got It okay. So you start selling these at farmers markets. You're getting net positive feedback, though. Yes, so what's next? Where did you go from there? Yeah, so when we started at the farmers market I had like fifteen different products that I was selling there. So we had everything you can imagine, brownies, cookies, donuts and these bars, and I really thought that the base goods would be the star of the show, because who doesn't want a healthy donut right like that? That was my value prop and what I started to realize is that, yes, people would come and they would buy a donut, but they would also buy twelve of these energy bars that we had at the same time. And so I started paying attention to the buying patterns of the customers that were walking up to our booth and I realized this was happening. So I started asking questions and I said Hey, so I noticed you're buying a lot of these bars. Can I ask you know what is it you like about them, how you're consuming them, and started really just getting feedback in that manner, in real time, live from the people that were buying every week, real time, live from the people. Yeah, smart. That's the dream of a lot of these consumer type products is you want to be a part of everybody's habit. A donut. Maybe there are people that buy donuts every day, probably fewer and fewer maybe people that buy donut for themselves or for their kids once a week as a as a nice treat, but if you can be part of their regular routine, getting people to buy your product on a or use your product on a daily, weekly, whatever basis, on a regular schedule, that that's key. So that's good. So what was some of that, some of that early feedback? What were people saying? When? When were they using it? What are they like? What are they not like? What were you hearing? Yeah, so people were telling me that...

...they would bulk up when they would come to the farmers market once a week and they would throw them in their lunch bags to bring with them every single day for lunch or when they were running errands after they drop the kids off at school and they had to rush off to work. And the one thing that they said, though, is, you know, it would be great if these were a bit more accessible, because I don't always get out to the farmers market or I buy twelve but I eat them all by Wednesday, and it would be great if they were available in like a store that's a bit closer to me that's open seven days a week. So that was kind of one of the things that initially I took into consideration when starting to really expand the business and and see it grow. Got It. So one of the first things, first piece of feedback that we, you got, I guess in order, was taste is good. Yeah, the value prop in the early days because I know, I know we could talk about it in a second, but you were at the accelerator, incubator on Western's campus yeah, and I know I remember the value proposition workshop and I remember you coming out with there was something that maybe we may have even written down from in that session. But it's your value prop that's all over your website now, which is healthy food, great taste, no compromise. So that seemed to resonate with people pretty early on. It's it's convenient, it's healthy, it tastes good, we're not compromising on anything. So the product was getting there. Then you got the feedback on where to place it. So you needed it to have it in additional locations around London. Then what? Yeah, so once we got into some retailer is locally in London. And how how did you convince? Because at that point is still stead of your kitchen, right. Yeah, yeah, you're at your kitchen. You got a package that is what clear plastic bag at that point. Yes, yeah, essentially a logo that. Do you make a logo? Yeah, I just kind of created it on my computer photoshop, photoshop at yourself. Still Making one flavor. How many flavors at that point? Yeah, we just had the one flavor. So one flavor plastic bag logo. You made yourself, printing it at home on labels, but feedback was that we like them and we like them in more places. Yeah, so you can't build a business off of just a farmers market. So you say, cool, let's go out there and try to find some more places. Exactly how did you figure out where to put it? Yeah, so initially I had approached a lot of local retailers, like people that have small local businesses that have a vested interest in seeing the community grow and seeing other entrepreneurs thrive as well, and so I approached them and basically said, you know, the customers that are shopping at the local farmers market are the same customers that are coming here to buy your natural skincare products or coming here to do yoga, and you can certainly, you would be able to sell these here at your location and you could turn a profit and it would be mutually beneficial, essentially. So talk to them and got my product into some stores and then started sampling to get the product into people's mouths. So don't look now, but you just became a sales person. You were going doortodoor. How did that first? Were you nervous for that, furst like, do you remember the very first store that you went to and knocked on the door and like the very first one, so nervous. Eric, do you remember this? What was the store? Oh my gosh, well, it was. It was a local store here, a natural skin care store, and I had met the owner a couple of times through some business networking events, but I didn't know her very well at the time. And Oh, I was so nervous and I was quite awkward and but she she understood where I was coming from because she had done it herself as well, because she had had to go out there and promote her business and promote her products. So she knew, she knew what what the vibe was and she appreciated it. I think nice. The story is...

...a cool component, right, like a lot of times people try to pretend that they're bigger than they are, but I think the local the local angle. I'm a local entrepreneur, fairly young, just getting this going. It was them willing to help you out become a part of your story as well. Absolutely, yeah, cool. Okay, so you get into a couple retail stores, then what? Then we start sampling the product. So we want to make sure that people are trying it. It's not just going to be a product sitting on a shelf that collects dust. So we start sampling, and by we I mean me, and in the early days I was fortune enough to get the opportunity to sample at farm boy. So they were doing a local vendor outdoor market, and so I went and stood outside one of their stores along with some other local vendors, and I was sampling my products there. And this was actually some customer feedback that I received kind of early on that really changed the direction that I was going with my value proposition, because initially I was saying these are a clean energy bar, they're just made with whole food ingredients, but I wasn't really delving into the quality of them and how great they tasted, because for me the most important thing was the clean ingredients and that was really something you couldn't find on the market at the time. And so I was sampling the products at farm boy, promoting them as this clean energy bar and not really getting a lot of takers and I thought, well, that's weird. You know when I when I go to a grocery store and I see samples, I'm always like all over it, yes, please give me those and whatever it is. And so the next person that said no, I'm not interested. I asked them why and she said, you know, I don't really like energy bars. They typically don't taste very good, and so I told her these actually taste amazing and I convinced her to try one and she loved it and then she purchased some bars for me on the spot. And so that's when I realized that even though the clean energy bar the whole food ingredients, it's that might be the most important thing to me, and there is certainly a market of people out there where it is the most important thing. I think there's a much larger market of people out there that are looking for a great tasting energy bar. Hmmm, because there's no I guess there's no shortage of food that's good for you. Yep, it's that magic overlap between the two concentric circles that is good for you but also tastes good. Exactly interesting. So feedback again right, getting it, getting it in front of people. You didn't. You didn't go and Buy Market Research Studies and face figure out the top selling bars and try to copy those. You went to farm boy on their local vendor day. got rejected. Don't know how many times and then said, screw it, I'm just going to start asking people why they're saying no. Yep, interesting. This seems to be my pattern for market research is try it, get rejected, figure out why I'm getting rejected and change it. Seems to be working so far. Okay, so you get the feedback that if you tell them and show them that it tastes good but is also good for you, that could lead to increase sale. So what did you do with that Info? So I felt very confident that now I was going to be able to sell this product and sell it really well. And so, of course, strong wills in my nature, I marched off to a bigger market and decided to just take that and run with it. so I approached some retailers in Toronto, did some sales calls in kind of the GTA market and again got rejected a few times. And I had actually signed up for a trade show in Toronto as a part of this marketing strategy, as a part of this way to expand into that market, and that trade show got canceled at the last minute and I had expressed my disappointment in this to the organizer of that event and she said, well, if you're really trying to break into the Toronto market, send me some of your product. I actually own...

...a marketing firm and I'll share it around with my friends and colleagues and we'll take a taste and we'll see what we can do. So I sent her our bars with our old grassroots packaging, and the feedback that I got from her was that the product taste great, the qualities amazing. She, I guess, shared it with some of her chef friends who said like this is a fantastic product. But, and I still remember exactly how she said it, she said the packaging does not reflect the quality of the product. And so again that was feedback that really changed my direction, because I thought there it is, this is the reason that I'm getting rejected in this bigger market. M So you the message of local small worked in London in the early days, but as you tried to go and expand into bigger markets, the feedback was yeah, good product, but you look small. So you needed to look a little bit more professional. So what did you do? Would you do with that feedback? So, with that feedback, I decided that we were going to do a complete rebrand because, as I mentioned, I had designed the logo myself and I was still printing labels on our residential grade printer and it just it wasn't work getting it working anymore. So I reached out to some local design firms and ended up working with one specifically who really truly got the vision of what I wanted to do. Who Do you work with? So I was working with carve car. They are fantastic graphic design company. Sat Down with the owner, Jason, and went through some different ideas and he immediately got the vision and got the direction that I wanted to go in and worked up a fantastic branding suite for us. Awesome, so interesting. Those are fun things to do early days, right, like figuring out the logo and the perfect packaging and all these other things. They're fun to do. They're also, I don't want to say easy, but they're certainly easier to do than going out and trying to do cold calls. Right, like it's easier for you to sit behind your desk or get in the coffee shop for two days and play with photoshop versus go make cold goals. So you didn't change your brand until you heard the direct feedback from a customer. That said, your brand is preventing you from playing in this bigger market. You didn't say we need to do a rebrand because Nicole feels like we need to do or brand. It was like a customer told you, Yep, this is the reason that you are not able to enter this market. Yep, for sure. If it in the early days, if it wasn't necessary, I didn't do it because as an entrepreneur, especially when you're first starting out, your time is incredibly valuable and it makes all the difference to just get out there and get started and hit the market. And so if it wasn't necessary, we didn't do it. So at each stage in the game, as soon as we needed to make a change, we made the change, but not until then. Interesting, it's so simple but so important. I think people get caught up and thinking that they need to do all, need to do everything, need to make these changes, but you're smart to do it only when a customer told you to do it. So okay, so you made the br you made the rebrand, you made the changes. The new package is brilliant, I think. I don't even I don't remember your initial I didn't personally try your initial or see your initial packaging live and in the flesh. But I am a happy customer, so I get these sent to my house. I think right now I'm your own. I am currently your only subscription customer. You are so I like the product so much. Call Me Lazy, but I didn't want to come pick it up myself. So I worked out a deal with Nicole so that they're delivered to my house on a monthly basis. And so, you the new packaging that I'm looking at right here's is beautiful, it's brilliant, it's fairly simple, right, white, blackground, clean logo. So then what you? You've got this new package. You go back to that customer and where to go...

...from there? Yeah, absolutely. So went back to a bunch of different customers that had previously rejected US based on the old packaging and was able to successfully secure them now with this new packaging, because now the products can sit on a shelf and it attracts people's eye sitting next to other commercially branded products. So it looks the part, it tastes the part now and it certainly is walking the walks. So yeah, we were able to secure a number of retailers in Toronto, which was huge for us. As a part of again this marketing strategy, we went back and did another trade show in Toronto. This one wasn't canceled and it was actually one of the largest, how them on this shows, that is in Toronto, and at that show people were going crazy over the product, which was such a cool feeling. You were sampling again. Yeah, yeah, we were sampling and selling them by the case. So it was. It was a very cool weekend, a very cool show, and at that show we actually got approached by distributor who could see that customers were going crazy over this product and so they approached us to to have a meeting and have a conversation. Wow, did you ever get discouraged, because it is a pretty like if I go was at the grocery store this morning and there's a fairly big health food section in the grocery store that I go to. There's a lot of competing products out there. There's a lot. There is like aisles of them, Yep, and yet here I am with your product on my desk. So did that not ever deter you? Absolutely it's energy bar market is a very crowded space and, as I mentioned before, sales did not come naturally to me. So even now, to this day, sales is a very challenging thing for me because when I do get that rejection, which is sure to come, sometimes I do take it quite personally and I know I shouldn't and I know that sales one, O one, but it's very difficult when it is your product and you've poured your heart and soul into it to to not take it personally but to overcome that. You just keep kind of going out and knocking on doors and then when you get that yes, it is so exhilarating that it just makes up for all the nose. So you've got this personality that's not don't take no for an answer. But honestly, I see a lot of proposals for different projects right and and even this year there's a couple energy and energy, health food related things, and my immediate thought on it is crowded space. Crowd space, tough to get into big brands. So maybe I'm asking the same question in a different way. Like did you ever walk through the grocery store, see all these bars in the early days and just say to yourself like how how do I compete with the cliffs and the you know, all the other big brand names out there. I absolutely did. It is it is intimidating and it is overwhelming to be entering a highly saturated market, but I knew I had a better product and I think that if you have that conviction and you have that belief in yourself, that you can move mountains and you can really do some amazing things, even in a crowded space. Yeah, so it wasn't it wasn't bs for you, wasn't spin. You truly believe that you had a better product? Yes, and then more people needed to sample it. Okay, so you maybe give me an update on where things are now? We're almost at present day. How are things going? We haven't talked about the the bakery a lot the big shop. So maybe give us an update. where? Where's Botho bars at today? Where the bakery? Are you still working out of your kitchen? How you doing? Yeah, for sure we'll not working out of the kitchen anymore, thankfully, because I don't think my kitchen could handle it. But yeah, we have a seventeen hundred square foot facility here in London and we're kind of bursting...

...at the seems a little bit at this point, but we're making it work. And Yeah, so the bakery side of things, we decided to tighten it up and scale back on the products a little bit to really just focus on the products that people love and people are buying. So we do still have brownies and cookies and stuff like that, but they're more of a feature product every once in a while. The Star of the show for the bakery as the donuts, because people will buy those by, you know, the six pack or the dozen and and absolutely love them. So we're keeping that very local here in London at the Western Fair farmers market. For the energy bar side of things, we are currently distributing ourselves across Ontario and Prince Edward Island, so about a hundred retailers into provinces and we've got a couple distributors that are knocking on our door and some larger retailers as well. So we have a plan to be across Canada within the next year or so. Wow, wow, awesome. So few things that we skipped over in the beginning. The role that the incubator or accelerator played in your growth doesn't need to be a shameless plug for the western accelerator. Or incubator, but I know that that was part of your journey. So maybe comment on how it helped. If it helped. Yep, absolutely well, I'm going to shameless plug it because it was a phenomenal business program the best, and I started the business that I have without a business plan. I didn't even know what a business plan was. I, as you mentioned, I didn't do any market research, I didn't have market validation. I literally just started, and so I knew. I knew how to make products. The Western Accelerator Program Am Tommy how to run my business, and so that is that's huge. I mean that is a an enormous part of the success that I've had within the past year. For sure. Awesome. That's great, great tea. Great to hear that. When we open the doors on it. Back on the early s, the idea is that really there was no place on campus for people to go and start to work on ideas or turn ideas into companies. So it's nice to start to see here's, you know, full circle some of the big wins that are coming out of it. So I think that you're one of the next big wins. So keep going. Anything else going on that's new and exciting that you're excited for the next chapter here. I mean expansion across Canada's big anything else going on they're excited to talk about. Yeah, I mean we've got we've got kind of for major partners that we're rolling out in the next two weeks to two months, and so it looks like we're going to probably double in our volume and in our sales before the hears out, which is pretty intense. Lot of challenges that we're going to be facing with the growth, but a lot of exciting opportunities coming down the pipeline. So yeah, stay tuned. Great, couple rapid fire things for you here. So a couple questions I ask all of our guests. Where do you do your best thinking? I do my best thinking while I'm running. Is still running. This is good. Boho bars fueling the running still absolutely and you know, I'm not going to lie, I do. I eat them after a run and when I have to kind of keep working and keep going after I'm finished my run, I grab a bow bar. For sure. Awesome. It will be actually dinner for me today after this. We're going to head into class together, so I'm not going to have time to grab a full meal, so it's going to be dinner for me. When do you run? Usually usually run kind of late afternoon, so the girls at the bakery finish up around for I usually go home, go for a run and then kind of get back to work after that. Nice I read I don't know if it was a pall Graham article or a Steve Blank article. Early days at the accelerators. They talked about the three things that founder should be doing building product, talking to customers and exercising. So it...

...sounds like it sounds like you're doing that. Sounds like you're maybe not doing the actual baking yourself anymore all the time. Do you have to have burn marks on your fingers still? or so it's building product or thinking about product, talking to customers or selling, and then good to hear you're still exercising. Advice you might give your twenty year old self don't be so afraid of everything. Take rests, take take rests, take on new challenges, explore the world, expand your horizons and just go for it. Takes Wings. Yeah, this there's a bunch of students at say, third fourth year right now trying to figure out what they should do. Some contemplating, you know, working in a big company some kind and blating, maybe tackling an idea. which way would you nudge them at this point tackle that idea? What do you have to lose? Right, lose. You're never going to know if you don't try it and you can always go the other route after. Absolutely nothing to lose at this point. And think about from an entrepreneur's perspective. Had this conversation last week with a couple guests that we had in would you rather hire the person who's put in two years at a corporate job and has great reviews, or would you hire the person that spent the last two years pursuing something that they were passionate about and tried to sell, didn't work and fell on their face? Which one? Would you hire? The passionate person? Yeah, for sure, the fall on your face. People are worried that that's going to look like a blemish, but the story you get to tell afterwards is just so much more incredible than that a corporate story. So there's another data point. Anything you wish you would have learned sooner? I think that would probably be the same answer as I told my twenty year old self. Take more wrists, take more rest, try more things. Don't be afraid to just get out there and try it, because the feedback you get in real time is the best feedback you're going to get. And any skills that you wish you had in your tool belt that you would have had from the very beginning, I would say maybe a little bit more like business background and business knowledge would have helped in the early days, because is there was a lot of fumbling in the early days trying to figure out how do I run a business, how do I how do I do this? So if I had had kind of the the opportunity to, let's say, get an education at IV, I think that would have been incredibly valuable to to starting my business. For sure, sometimes that naiveties helps, though, right like maybe you would have overthought it and done the business plan and done the market research instead versus actually getting out there and talking to people. So that's absolutely true. Maybe you would have overengineered it anything that you're uniquely good at, like your super power. My super power is singing s music. Oh, that's a good one. Super Embarrassing. That's a good one. Does that as that helped you in your business? I'm sure it has at some point. I'm going to course. That's clear. That's what closes the major deals of seeing s tunes. Yes, charming people with my knowledge of s yeah, I like it. Anything from a but running your business perspective, anything that you are like uniquely good at, that you've that you've really sharpened the pencil on that you you're really good at. Believe it or not, I would have to say that I've gotten quite good at doing sales, oh, even though it's not something that I particularly enjoy. I think maybe perhaps because I don't enjoy it, I think that I recognize that and I'm pushing myself kind of as hard as I can to get really good at it so that eventually, some day, I might enjoy it. What makes you good at selling? I think having conversations instead of trying to sell a product. So talking to whether it's a customer or retailer or a distributor, just talking to them about what their business looks like and what their needs are and then being able to talk to them about how I can fill that gap.

Awesome. Actually listening to people, having real conversations with people, a right real conversations, absolutely cool. Anything else that you wish? I would have asked you. No, I think we've covered a lot of a lot of material. Awesome. Well, it's been good having you on and hearing your story. We got to spend a bunch of time on feedback and how you work that into each step of the process. So thank it's clear that a lot of the feedback that you got really changed the trajectory of Your Business. It did absolutely, so that's that's really good to hear it. Thank you for taking the time and hanging out with us. We're going to go to a session with a few classes now, but it's been really good sitting down. Thank you. Youtube. You've been listening to the IVY ENTWINEUR podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV dot Ca, a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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