The dual life of an athlete-entrepreneur dino...
Most evenings, after the last toy has been cleared off the table, the MUST HAVE cup/spoon/plate of the day has been fetched, and we finally get both kids in their seats for dinner, we have this tradition that Lauren taught us called “High, Low, Cheers.” The idea is that each of us thinks through our day, and identifies a
For those of you who didn’t pay attention last year (I don’t blame you at all if you checked out, I certainly needed to at points!) - Picky Bars was acquired in May by Laird Superfood, a rapidly growing company based out of Sisters, Oregon. Needless to say, that definitely dominated the year. It was clearly the biggest transition we’ve ever gone through as a company, and that I’ve ever gone through as a leader and in my professional career in general.
There’s soooooo much to talk about there, I could write a whole book, or at least a chapter, on my experience (maybe one day I will…) But this isn’t the time for that, plus Sarah gave my talky talk talk brain a nearly impossible 1500 word limit and I’m already at 228, sheesh!
So anyway, “high, low, cheers” feels like an appropriate way to distill 2021 at Picky Bars into something… digestible (DAD PUN ALERT) and appropriate for the phase we’re in. So here we go!
Getting Acquired by Laird Superfood
As I wrote about in ourannouncement, I feel so lucky that we attracted an acquirer who truly and uniquely checks all these boxes for us:
We weren’t looking to sell at the time - Picky Bars was in a great spot, experiencing strong growth and well capitalized with an All-Star team. But when Lauren, Steph and I considered all those things above, it was hard to imagine ever finding a better opportunity than Laird Superfood brought to the table. And while it’s still early, so far the acquisition has lived up to expectations - not that I really knew what to expect, ha!
While aspects of the acquisition have been professionally difficult for me (more below), it has significantly decreased the stress that owning the business had on our family, which I’ve written and podcasted about extensively. It’s also allowed me to spend more time with my family, and be more present during that time, which has been invaluable. We even took a family vacation... and I didn’t work at all not even once! I know, amazing! It also allowed us to award bonuses to our employees and support our community in ways that we couldn’t have done otherwise, and those experiences have been some of the most rewarding of my life.
It’s hard to believe looking back on this year that, in addition to getting acquired and all the stuff that went along with that, we launched FIVE new products!
DEI EffortsWe entered into company-wide DEI training in late 2020 and I’m proud of our team for the collective, personal, and professional growth that resulted. We created DEI goals, an equity statement, and improved the diversity of our marketing and advisory efforts. We still have a very long way to go obviously, especially now as part of a larger brand, but we’re proud of the work we have done and what’s to come.
All the tough stuff that results from getting acquired
Highs and lows, amiright!?!? Obviously there’s a double edged sword to any acquisition. This isn’t any one person or company’s fault, it’s just the natural result of acquisitions. You gain this big opportunity with combined products, employees, and resources, but you also relinquish control, are faced with new and daunting integration activities, and no matter how aligned the companies’ values are, there’s still an adaptation to a new combined culture that impacts each employee's personal role, and the business as a whole. I think we (both Laird and Picky) have experienced all the typical “tough parts” of integrating two companies for the first time, including:
Like all years, there’s no way to navigate all the ups and downs without a lot of help and support. And so my cheers go deservingly to:
As a company, we have a few big integration steps coming in the next 3-6 months with the Picky Club, our website, products, and the brand in general. We’re all working hard to ensure these are as smooth and valuable for you as possible, but I appreciate your support ahead of time as we inevitably encounter bumps and bruises along the way.
For me personally, as I mentioned in the acquisition announcement, I’m officially now a VP at Laird Superfood, working on new products, brand positioning, and other VP-related this-and-that. Not sure how many more “Company Updates” you’ll get from me, but I’ll do my best to continue to keep you all informed (and slightly entertained) as long as I can!
1513 words, Sarah! Always breaking your rules.
Since the time of this writing, the exciting news broke of a new CEO joining Laird Superfood! The full release, along with a bio of our new leader, Jason Vieth, can be read HERE.