CEO Jesse on Picky's Joining with Laird Superfood

May 04, 2021

CEO Jesse on Picky's Joining with Laird Superfood

Today, I am truly honored to share the biggest news in Picky Bars history — we are officially joining the Laird Superfood family! 

We are beyond stoked as we expect this acquisition to accelerate our already strong growth by expanding our distribution, enhancing our product development, and creating even more jobs in our local community. Overall, coming together with LSF will increase the positive impact we can have on our communities and the world at large. We feel incredibly lucky to have found such an amazing fit for our team and brand… and just right around the corner in Sisters, Oregon!

Since I’m sure you all have a ton of questions — I’m going to depart from my normal pontificating and go right into a Q&A style sesh for this blog (don’t worry all you diehard fans, there’s plenty of pontificating at the end).

First off — Who is Laird Superfood?

For those of you who don’t already know, Laird Superfood is a company based in Sisters, Oregon (literally 20 minutes northwest from us) founded in 2015 by pro-big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, former pro-volleyball player Gabby Reece, and entrepreneur Paul Hodge. Laird Superfood’s mission is to provide great tasting, high-quality, plant-based products that are healthy, convenient, affordable, and available to all (sound familiar?) You might be familiar with their coconut creamer, or their functional coffee, or you might just be familiar with Laird and Gabby as athletes! In short, they have amazing products, people, and values, which are some of the obvious reasons why we found this such a great fit.

Picky Bars and Laird Superfood Founders
The Laird Superfood Family! L to R: Jesse, Lauren, Steph, Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece

What does this mean for you, our customers?

It means lots — lots of really good stuff!

  • Immediately / Short Term - You’ll see a curated selection of some of Laird Superfood’s best selling products) available both as bundles on our website and at a discount for Picky Clubbers in the one-time add-on section of your subscription portal in My Account.
  • Long Term - Picky products will be brought into Laird’s distribution channels, meaning you’ll start seeing them in more stores around the country! We’ll also have more resources to continue to create new and innovative products as well as more control over our supply chain, ensuring that we’re bringing you the highest quality products possible (more on that below). What it definitely DOES NOT mean is a reduction in meaningful or fun initiatives, so don’t sweat that one bit (much to Lauren’s dismay, I promise to continue to Picky Barasaurus regularly).

Is Picky Bars going away?

HECK NO! We’re just going to grow stronger and have more resources and expertise at our disposal to make our products and services even better. As I told my team (they LOVE my analogies), we’re just a small, kickass rocket ship who happens to be attaching a larger kickass rocket ship and together we’re really going to seriously kick some ass!

Why are we doing this?

When Lauren, Steph, and I started Picky way back in 2010, we didn’t have a specific plan of what we intended to do long term. As things grew, it was super fun at times, but at other times really scary financially, personally, and as those of you who listen to our podcast know, pretty hard on Lauren and I as a couple. We eventually decided that we wanted to build Picky to the point where we didn’t have to be personally financially responsible for it anymore. Our dream scenario was to attract the support of a potential partner who 1) shared our values, 2) would take our products to wider distribution and 3) invest in our local team and community.

I’m super proud to say that Laird Superfood fully checks all those boxes:

  • Shared Values: LSF believes in a healthy, balanced lifestyle, quality ingredients, responsible food supply chain, and economic and social equity. 
  • Local: This is a local investment that will continue to support our current employees, allowing them to thrive and have even more opportunity for growth. We also have long term plans to explore opportunities to build in-house manufacturing, bringing more quality jobs to Central Oregon (a personal dream of mine!)
  • Investment in our brand and values: In addition to potential self manufacturing, we plan to take our products, marketing, and influence to wider distribution, meaning we can have more positive impact on more people.
  • The people:I’ve gotten to know Paul, Laird, and Gabby, and others on the LSF team over the last couple of years, and they have genuinely shown they are purpose driven, motivated, super smart and hard working people trying to do good in the food industry and in the community at large.

All in all, it’s about as good as we could possibly ask for. I feel super lucky to have this opportunity for our brand and team. 

What does this mean for Lauren, Steph, and me?

We aren’t going anywhere! We are all staying on to continue to lead the Picky charge within the Laird umbrella. I’ll lead the Picky Bars operation as a Vice President and Guest of the Laird Superfood Executive Leadership Team, where I’ll be able to bring the best of Laird to Picky and also bring some of our “special sauce” to the broader Laird brand as a whole (this is going to be really fun!) Lauren and Steph will continue as strategic advisors on the marketing and community development side, and Lauren will take a seat on LSFs ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) committee. Overall, we’re super excited to see what our influence and ideas can accomplish as part of a bigger brand with more resources at our disposal.

So what do you do now?

Well you all just sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of our labor (dad pun)! I encourage you to check out the products we’ve just added, and join the Picky Club of course if you haven’t already to get a larger and ongoing discount! I’ll of course keep you abreast of the changes as our team rides the roller coaster of what’s ahead (dropping analogies left and right!) 

Lastly, some pontificating (because it wouldn’t be a Jesse CEO blog otherwise).

I just want to say a genuine thank you to you all for the support of Picky over our almost 11 years! While this is in no way at all a goodbye - to me, it’s really a coming of age of our company and brand - it is a momentous occasion for all of us here, and for me personally. While I am so stoked for the road that lies ahead, I think it’s important to pause in these moments and reflect on what we accomplished to get here. 

You all supported us with early adoption and interest in our tiny company, you helped us weather crazy ups and downs from launching Trader Joe’s nationwide (and getting dropped 6 months later!) to massive supply chain disruptions that almost bankrupted our business, to strategy pivots and investments in our Picky Club and many new products, to giving back to our communities and organizations we believe in. It’s been an incredible ride so far (ups AND downs, included), and I genuinely appreciate your support. 

I said at the beginning that this is the biggest news in Picky Bars history - if I’m being honest it also feels like the biggest news in my professional history - trumping some of the highs mentioned above and also my biggest wins as an athlete. I’m super thankful, personally and collectively as a team, for your support along the way. And I’m looking forward to continuing to build the best products, brand, and services we possibly can. Thanks for continuing to join us on this ride. Rocket ships, here we go!

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