The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

2. Why Every Entrepreneur Needs Feedback w/ Nicole Haney


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 podcastfrom the Pierre L Morrisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School. Inthis 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 goodjob, or even a great job, and entering an incredibly crowded space inhealth food. How do you know when to leap or what to make orwhat to invest in? In a word, feedback. Feedback is absolutely critical,but who do you even listen to? On the positive side, it canreinforce your decision to leave or product investments, but on the negative sideit 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 makethose big investments or leaps. All Right, I'm here today with the Cole Haneyfrom Boho Bake Shop. Hi Eric, how are you? I've never beenhappier. Nicole, how are you? I'm fantastic. And is it isit 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 afull Vegan donut bakery, and now Boho bars has launched as well, andthose are whole food energy bars. So that's a company on to itself nowas well. Got It, so to two separate companies but operating out ofthe same production facility. Correct. Got It, kind of got it,okay. So, Nicole, you were currently in London, Ontario, whereBoho 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 gotgoing, maybe rewind a little bit to like how did you discover that youmight actually be entrepreneurial? was there anybody in your family that was an entrepreneurand like rewind the tape a little bit more for me. Yeah, forsure. So no one in my family was an entrepreneur and really, growingup I never considered entrepreneurship as an option, but I really always had that entrepreneurialspirit in me. I'm a very determined person and some would say strongwills and when I know what I want to go for it, and Ithink 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 Icould go down and it would be really cool and what an adventure to havecool. So I don't struggle with passion, but I get a lot of frustrationfrom entrepreneurs or would be entrepreneurs that I speak with saying like, Idon't know, I don't know what my passion is. There a bunch ofstuff 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 isyour passion? How did you get there? Yeah, so I kind of stubbled, stumbled upon it accidentally. So I would say about six or sevenyears ago I really got into health and wellness, and that had not alwaysbeen the case. I was not a healthy kid, I was not anathletic kid and I always really, really loved food, especially junk food.Anything that tasted good was definitely on the roster for me. But when Iturned twenty five, one of my friends said, you know what, cometo 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 withher. Absolutely hated it, but not passion right away. Okay, no, no, I'm passion right away? Definitely not. But eventually I foundrunning and I fell in love with running, and then the healthy eating kind offollowed from that, because I noticed that when I ate all my favoritefoods, 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 arun, and so I started playing around with some recipes to make my favoritefoods healthier, and so along the way in doing that, that's kind ofwhen I found my passion for creating these healthy products. Got It. Sothe eating healthier came because you realize the cooking, the the recipes came becauseyou realize that eating healthier, cooking healthier, led to better performance. It's almostlike self fulfilling right, and I found that too, like when I'mcompeting in a crossfit tournament or something like that, it's like if you eatreally crappy the week's leading up or the day before whatever, it actually reallydoes affect your performance. So the better you eat, the more proper fuelyou feed your body, the better before. That's absolutely the case. Cool,cool. So you figure you figured this out, you got interested init, but you had a full time job right you were working in thecorporate 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 thirtyand 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, superpassionate about, and that's how I wanted to spend the next twenty or thirtyyears 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 ofentrepreneurs don't know what their passion is, and so I was kind of searchingand searching and searching, and as I started to create these healthy products, it occurred to me how passionate I was about creating these products, andthen 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 notonly could I make these amazing products for myself, but I could share itwith the world and start encouraging other people to make healthier choices for their livesas well. Gotta do you remember the first person who you shared some ofyour recipes with? I do absolutely. It was my friend Sarah, myfriend and colleague Sarah. So we had gone on a business trip together andI actually had gone to the grocery store and I was looking for an energybar that I could just bring with me on the business trip because I knewit was going to be really busy, and I couldn't find what I waslooking for, so I ended up going home and making my own sort ofthrew 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 ZiplockBaggies, believe it or not, and I was eating them on the businesstrip and my friend Sarah was like, what are you eating out of Ziplockbaggies right now. What is happening? And I told her, like,these are homemade energy bar they're really good actually, if you want to givethem 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 mightbe 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 butnot 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 myother family and friends and colleagues and people. People thought it was interesting as well, and so they said, okay, well, if you want to tryif you want me to try them, I'm happy to try them. Providesome feedback to you too, and so I started baking batches upon batchesof bars for my friends and family and colleagues and just handing them out forfree and just saying try it and let me know what you think, andpeople started going crazy for them and asking... to make them for them ona regular basis. And so it wasn't it wasn't really a side business oranything like that. It was literally just me making the stuff for free andhanding it out and hoping for the feedback in return. So that was kindof 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 thesebusinesses. You can either. You could have done you could have got somemarket research reports and looked at how big the market was for healthy energy barsor healthy, healthy line of snacks. Probably would have got freaked out becausethere's a lot of competition. Bamy is is a fast growing, high growthmarket 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 minimumviable 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 wasgood. Did you get any not good feedback? I got a couple peoplethat were saying they didn't like certain aspects of it. So one of myfriends just absolutely hates coconut and she said, you know what, you need totake the shredded coconut right out of this, and so I listen tothat a little bit, but I thought I love coconut and a lot ofpeople 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 andwho 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 specifictype of food or flavor. But you must have been you must havegotten a bunch of it from your friends family early days. How did youdecide what to ignore and what to incorporate? Yeah, especially in the early stagesit's really easy to get bogged down by all of the feedback that you'regoing to get starting out in a business, because everyone wants to offer their adviceand I think what it comes down to is really just knowing what itis 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 whatyou're pursuing as a business and what you stand for as a business. Butin the early days you have to sort of figure out what your vision isand 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'tnecessarily going to be helpful or get you closer to your vision, then you'reable to filter that out. But in order to do that you have tohave a vision. So maybe walk me through. How did you take mefrom sampled these at a business meeting, shared them with your colleague, starteddistributing 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 farmersmarket and I was able to get in front of customers on a regularbasis and get a lot of feedback really quickly. Some feedback was fantastic andsome 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 frontof 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 quitmy job. Whoa okay, fairly early in the process. That very earlyin the process. I think I just I realized my passion very early onand I realized that I wanted to get people choosing healthier options in their livesand if I could do that through a antastic tasting product that also happens tobe healthy, then that was something I was going to pursue and I didn'twant to be left wondering what if, what if I had gone down thatpath 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 allelse fails, I can go back to my day job. Wow, okay. So I guess there's different ways to look at it. Right sometimes peoplewill get another train on the tracks while the other one is going. Becauseyou could have really gone to the farmer's market and got more feedback and tryto scale this thing up in your parttime maybe, but you burn the shipsright 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 reallywasn'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 didyou sit down and like do any semblance of a plan or your vision ora 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 workingone 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 Irealized, if I want to do this. I have to be all in andI 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 zipblock bags to something else. I did. Yeah, yeah, so we hadkind of a rudimentary version of our first flavor of Boho bar and wewere packaging it in these kind of plastic bagis and printing labels on a residentialgrade printer. It was very grassroots and actually the bars were an add onto 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 fifteendifferent products that I was selling there. So we had everything you can imagine, brownies, cookies, donuts and these bars, and I really thought thatthe base goods would be the star of the show, because who doesn't wanta healthy donut right like that? That was my value prop and what Istarted to realize is that, yes, people would come and they would buya donut, but they would also buy twelve of these energy bars that wehad at the same time. And so I started paying attention to the buyingpatterns of the customers that were walking up to our booth and I realized thiswas happening. So I started asking questions and I said Hey, so Inoticed you're buying a lot of these bars. Can I ask you know what isit you like about them, how you're consuming them, and started reallyjust getting feedback in that manner, in real time, live from the peoplethat were buying every week, real time, live from the people. Yeah,smart. That's the dream of a lot of these consumer type products isyou want to be a part of everybody's habit. A donut. Maybe thereare people that buy donuts every day, probably fewer and fewer maybe people thatbuy donut for themselves or for their kids once a week as a as anice treat, but if you can be part of their regular routine, gettingpeople to buy your product on a or use your product on a daily,weekly, whatever basis, on a regular schedule, that that's key. Sothat's good. So what was some of that, some of that early feedback? What were people saying? When? When were they using it? Whatare they like? What are they not like? What were you hearing?Yeah, so people were telling me that...

...they would bulk up when they wouldcome to the farmers market once a week and they would throw them in theirlunch bags to bring with them every single day for lunch or when they wererunning errands after they drop the kids off at school and they had to rushoff 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 twelvebut I eat them all by Wednesday, and it would be great if theywere available in like a store that's a bit closer to me that's open sevendays a week. So that was kind of one of the things that initiallyI took into consideration when starting to really expand the business and and see itgrow. Got It. So one of the first things, first piece offeedback that we, you got, I guess in order, was taste isgood. Yeah, the value prop in the early days because I know,I know we could talk about it in a second, but you were atthe accelerator, incubator on Western's campus yeah, and I know I remember the valueproposition workshop and I remember you coming out with there was something that maybewe may have even written down from in that session. But it's your valueprop 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 onanything. So the product was getting there. Then you got the feedback on whereto place it. So you needed it to have it in additional locationsaround London. Then what? Yeah, so once we got into some retaileris locally in London. And how how did you convince? Because at thatpoint is still stead of your kitchen, right. Yeah, yeah, you'reat your kitchen. You got a package that is what clear plastic bag atthat point. Yes, yeah, essentially a logo that. Do you makea logo? Yeah, I just kind of created it on my computer photoshop, photoshop at yourself. Still Making one flavor. How many flavors at thatpoint? Yeah, we just had the one flavor. So one flavor plasticbag logo. You made yourself, printing it at home on labels, butfeedback 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. Soyou say, cool, let's go out there and try to find some moreplaces. Exactly how did you figure out where to put it? Yeah,so initially I had approached a lot of local retailers, like people that havesmall local businesses that have a vested interest in seeing the community grow and seeingother 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 thesame customers that are coming here to buy your natural skincare products or coming hereto do yoga, and you can certainly, you would be able to sell thesehere at your location and you could turn a profit and it would bemutually beneficial, essentially. So talk to them and got my product into somestores and then started sampling to get the product into people's mouths. So don'tlook 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 thedoor and like the very first one, so nervous. Eric, do youremember this? What was the store? Oh my gosh, well, itwas. It was a local store here, a natural skin care store, andI 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 whereI was coming from because she had done it herself as well, because shehad 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, likea 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 outbecome a part of your story as well. Absolutely, yeah, cool. Okay, so you get into a couple retail stores, then what? Thenwe start sampling the product. So we want to make sure that people aretrying it. It's not just going to be a product sitting on a shelfthat 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 tosample 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 otherlocal vendors, and I was sampling my products there. And this was actuallysome customer feedback that I received kind of early on that really changed the directionthat I was going with my value proposition, because initially I was saying these area clean energy bar, they're just made with whole food ingredients, butI 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 reallysomething you couldn't find on the market at the time. And so I wassampling the products at farm boy, promoting them as this clean energy bar andnot 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 seesamples, I'm always like all over it, yes, please give me those andwhatever it is. And so the next person that said no, I'mnot interested. I asked them why and she said, you know, Idon't really like energy bars. They typically don't taste very good, and soI told her these actually taste amazing and I convinced her to try one andshe 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 wholefood ingredients, it's that might be the most important thing to me, andthere is certainly a market of people out there where it is the most importantthing. I think there's a much larger market of people out there that arelooking for a great tasting energy bar. Hmmm, because there's no I guessthere's no shortage of food that's good for you. Yep, it's that magicoverlap 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 frontof people. You didn't. You didn't go and Buy Market Research Studiesand face figure out the top selling bars and try to copy those. Youwent to farm boy on their local vendor day. got rejected. Don't knowhow many times and then said, screw it, I'm just going to startasking people why they're saying no. Yep, interesting. This seems to be mypattern for market research is try it, get rejected, figure out why I'mgetting rejected and change it. Seems to be working so far. Okay, so you get the feedback that if you tell them and show them thatit tastes good but is also good for you, that could lead to increasesale. So what did you do with that Info? So I felt veryconfident that now I was going to be able to sell this product and sellit really well. And so, of course, strong wills in my nature, I marched off to a bigger market and decided to just take that andrun with it. so I approached some retailers in Toronto, did some salescalls 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 partof this marketing strategy, as a part of this way to expand into thatmarket, and that trade show got canceled at the last minute and I hadexpressed 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 mesome of your product. I actually own...

...a marketing firm and I'll share itaround with my friends and colleagues and we'll take a taste and we'll see whatwe 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 ofher chef friends who said like this is a fantastic product. But, andI still remember exactly how she said it, she said the packaging does not reflectthe quality of the product. And so again that was feedback that reallychanged my direction, because I thought there it is, this is the reasonthat I'm getting rejected in this bigger market. M So you the message of localsmall worked in London in the early days, but as you tried togo 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 completerebrand because, as I mentioned, I had designed the logo myself and Iwas still printing labels on our residential grade printer and it just it wasn't workgetting it working anymore. So I reached out to some local design firms andended up working with one specifically who really truly got the vision of what Iwanted to do. Who Do you work with? So I was working withcarve car. They are fantastic graphic design company. Sat Down with the owner, Jason, and went through some different ideas and he immediately got the visionand got the direction that I wanted to go in and worked up a fantasticbranding suite for us. Awesome, so interesting. Those are fun things todo early days, right, like figuring out the logo and the perfect packagingand all these other things. They're fun to do. They're also, Idon't want to say easy, but they're certainly easier to do than going outand trying to do cold calls. Right, like it's easier for you to sitbehind your desk or get in the coffee shop for two days and playwith photoshop versus go make cold goals. So you didn't change your brand untilyou heard the direct feedback from a customer. That said, your brand is preventingyou from playing in this bigger market. You didn't say we need to doa rebrand because Nicole feels like we need to do or brand. Itwas like a customer told you, Yep, this is the reason that you arenot able to enter this market. Yep, for sure. If itin the early days, if it wasn't necessary, I didn't do it becauseas an entrepreneur, especially when you're first starting out, your time is incrediblyvaluable and it makes all the difference to just get out there and get startedand hit the market. And so if it wasn't necessary, we didn't doit. So at each stage in the game, as soon as we neededto 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 andthinking that they need to do all, need to do everything, need tomake these changes, but you're smart to do it only when a customertold you to do it. So okay, so you made the br you madethe rebrand, you made the changes. The new package is brilliant, Ithink. I don't even I don't remember your initial I didn't personally tryyour initial or see your initial packaging live and in the flesh. But Iam a happy customer, so I get these sent to my house. Ithink 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, butI didn't want to come pick it up myself. So I worked out adeal 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, cleanlogo. So then what you? You've got this new package. You goback 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 basedon the old packaging and was able to successfully secure them now with this newpackaging, because now the products can sit on a shelf and it attracts people'seye sitting next to other commercially branded products. So it looks the part, ittastes the part now and it certainly is walking the walks. So yeah, we were able to secure a number of retailers in Toronto, which washuge for us. As a part of again this marketing strategy, we wentback and did another trade show in Toronto. This one wasn't canceled and it wasactually one of the largest, how them on this shows, that isin 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 thatshow we actually got approached by distributor who could see that customers were going crazyover this product and so they approached us to to have a meeting and havea conversation. Wow, did you ever get discouraged, because it is apretty like if I go was at the grocery store this morning and there's afairly big health food section in the grocery store that I go to. There'sa lot of competing products out there. There's a lot. There is likeaisles of them, Yep, and yet here I am with your product onmy desk. So did that not ever deter you? Absolutely it's energy barmarket is a very crowded space and, as I mentioned before, sales didnot come naturally to me. So even now, to this day, salesis 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 Iknow I shouldn't and I know that sales one, O one, but it'svery difficult when it is your product and you've poured your heart and soul intoit to to not take it personally but to overcome that. You just keepkind 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. Buthonestly, I see a lot of proposals for different projects right and and eventhis year there's a couple energy and energy, health food related things, and myimmediate thought on it is crowded space. Crowd space, tough to get intobig 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 barsin the early days and just say to yourself like how how do I competewith the cliffs and the you know, all the other big brand names outthere. I absolutely did. It is it is intimidating and it is overwhelmingto be entering a highly saturated market, but I knew I had a betterproduct and I think that if you have that conviction and you have that beliefin yourself, that you can move mountains and you can really do some amazingthings, even in a crowded space. Yeah, so it wasn't it wasn'tbs for you, wasn't spin. You truly believe that you had a betterproduct? Yes, and then more people needed to sample it. Okay,so you maybe give me an update on where things are now? We're almostat present day. How are things going? We haven't talked about the the bakerya lot the big shop. So maybe give us an update. where? Where's Botho bars at today? Where the bakery? Are you still workingout of your kitchen? How you doing? Yeah, for sure we'll not workingout of the kitchen anymore, thankfully, because I don't think my kitchen couldhandle it. But yeah, we have a seventeen hundred square foot facilityhere in London and we're kind of bursting... the seems a little bit atthis point, but we're making it work. And Yeah, so the bakery sideof things, we decided to tighten it up and scale back on theproducts a little bit to really just focus on the products that people love andpeople are buying. So we do still have brownies and cookies and stuff likethat, 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 willbuy those by, you know, the six pack or the dozen and andabsolutely love them. So we're keeping that very local here in London at theWestern Fair farmers market. For the energy bar side of things, we arecurrently distributing ourselves across Ontario and Prince Edward Island, so about a hundred retailersinto provinces and we've got a couple distributors that are knocking on our door andsome larger retailers as well. So we have a plan to be across Canadawithin the next year or so. Wow, wow, awesome. So few thingsthat we skipped over in the beginning. The role that the incubator or acceleratorplayed in your growth doesn't need to be a shameless plug for the westernaccelerator. Or incubator, but I know that that was part of your journey. So maybe comment on how it helped. If it helped. Yep, absolutelywell, I'm going to shameless plug it because it was a phenomenal businessprogram the best, and I started the business that I have without a businessplan. I didn't even know what a business plan was. I, asyou 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 tomake 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 partof the success that I've had within the past year. For sure. Awesome. That's great, great tea. Great to hear that. When we openthe doors on it. Back on the early s, the idea is thatreally there was no place on campus for people to go and start to workon ideas or turn ideas into companies. So it's nice to start to seehere's, you know, full circle some of the big wins that are comingout 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'reexcited for the next chapter here. I mean expansion across Canada's big anything elsegoing on they're excited to talk about. Yeah, I mean we've got we'vegot kind of for major partners that we're rolling out in the next two weeksto two months, and so it looks like we're going to probably double inour 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, buta lot of exciting opportunities coming down the pipeline. So yeah, stay tuned. Great, couple rapid fire things for you here. So a couple questionsI 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 notgoing to lie, I do. I eat them after a run and whenI 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 beactually 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, soit's going to be dinner for me. When do you run? Usually usuallyrun kind of late afternoon, so the girls at the bakery finish up aroundfor I usually go home, go for a run and then kind of getback to work after that. Nice I read I don't know if it wasa 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 doingthat. Sounds like you're maybe not doing the actual baking yourself anymore all thetime. Do you have to have burn marks on your fingers still? orso it's building product or thinking about product, talking to customers or selling, andthen good to hear you're still exercising. Advice you might give your twenty yearold self don't be so afraid of everything. Take rests, take takerests, take on new challenges, explore the world, expand your horizons andjust go for it. Takes Wings. Yeah, this there's a bunch ofstudents at say, third fourth year right now trying to figure out what theyshould do. Some contemplating, you know, working in a big company some kindand blating, maybe tackling an idea. which way would you nudge them atthis 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 youcan 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 acouple guests that we had in would you rather hire the person who's putin two years at a corporate job and has great reviews, or would youhire the person that spent the last two years pursuing something that they were passionateabout and tried to sell, didn't work and fell on their face? Whichone? Would you hire? The passionate person? Yeah, for sure,the fall on your face. People are worried that that's going to look likea blemish, but the story you get to tell afterwards is just so muchmore incredible than that a corporate story. So there's another data point. Anythingyou wish you would have learned sooner? I think that would probably be thesame 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 outthere and try it, because the feedback you get in real time is thebest feedback you're going to get. And any skills that you wish you hadin your tool belt that you would have had from the very beginning, Iwould say maybe a little bit more like business background and business knowledge would havehelped in the early days, because is there was a lot of fumbling inthe early days trying to figure out how do I run a business, howdo I how do I do this? So if I had had kind ofthe the opportunity to, let's say, get an education at IV, Ithink that would have been incredibly valuable to to starting my business. For sure, sometimes that naiveties helps, though, right like maybe you would have overthoughtit and done the business plan and done the market research instead versus actually gettingout there and talking to people. So that's absolutely true. Maybe you wouldhave 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 inyour 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 goodat, that you've that you've really sharpened the pencil on that you you'rereally good at. Believe it or not, I would have to say that I'vegotten quite good at doing sales, oh, even though it's not somethingthat 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 asI can to get really good at it so that eventually, some day,I might enjoy it. What makes you good at selling? I think havingconversations instead of trying to sell a product. So talking to whether it's a customeror retailer or a distributor, just talking to them about what their businesslooks like and what their needs are and then being able to talk to themabout how I can fill that gap.

Awesome. Actually listening to people,having real conversations with people, a right real conversations, absolutely cool. Anythingelse that you wish? I would have asked you. No, I thinkwe've covered a lot of a lot of material. Awesome. Well, it'sbeen good having you on and hearing your story. We got to spend abunch of time on feedback and how you work that into each step of theprocess. So thank it's clear that a lot of the feedback that you gotreally changed the trajectory of Your Business. It did absolutely, so that's that'sreally good to hear it. Thank you for taking the time and hanging outwith 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 beenlistening to the IVY ENTWINEUR podcast. To ensure that you never miss anepisode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV dotCa, a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Untilnext time,.

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