Hello Picky People!
I usually write my recap at the end of the year, but since I’m on athletic “sabbatical” to spend more time with family and on business, I thought I’d give you guys an update of some of the past few months’ highlights that have happened for me and the team. Plus without races to write about this scratches my blog “itch,” which comes with comments, ideas, and feedback from you guys, which I love! So here we go:
As most of you know, we weathered what I affectionately dubbed in the office “The Summer Poopstorm* of 2018.” (*Various other four letter words were used depending on the day.) I started this year knowing that we needed to make a co-packer shift to address the production and supply chain issues we (and as a result, you) suffered over the last 18 months, so we expected at least a light drizzle during that transition. We lined up the new production partner and made one last huge run with our old co-packer to give us time to switch, and low and behold, one of the ingredients in that batch tasted “off.” Storm clouds, rolling in. Tests confirmed there were no health risks, but depending on who you were and what flavor you got, it tasted from indetectable to not good at all! We made the super tough business call to stop selling the vast majority of that product because we didn’t want customers to get something from us that was below standard, even though it meant our business would suffer significantly being out of stock for a big chunk of our main summer season. Full blown poopstorm. It was rough, and even though it was the right call, financially we’re still paying for it.
Luckily - actually, it wasn’t luck, just a lot of hard work, communication to, and patience from you - the new product is in and it is AWESOMESAUCE, if I don’t say so myself. As a review, here’s what changed:
I can report confidently that since we moved production we’ve had an AMAZING response to the improved recipe and new wrappers. Record sales, tons of positive feedback, all the stuff a CEO yearns for! I LOVE it when people tell us that the bars taste better than ever. But some other comments I really appreciate are acknowledgment/support of the diversity shown on the wrappers (gender, ethnicity, age, activity, able bodied), the consistency, and freshness. It’s cool to see the intent be recognized and the hard work rewarded.
If you haven’t seen (or I should say, listened) to this yet, Lauren and I answer your questions about sport, relationships, business, and the balance between them all. This was an idea born out of our desire to give people the best bang for their buck on the many questions we receive as athletes, partners, parents, and business owners. Check out the archives, subscribe on any platform you choose, and submit a question or feedback!
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At Picky Bars, we believe in healthy, balanced living, and healthy, balanced EATING! Of the three macronutrients, we believe carbs have gotten a bad rap over the last few years, and we want carbs to know that we still love them, and stand by them! It doesn’t mean we don’t also support fat and protein too - all is good in healthy balance. “Equal opportunity eater,” as I like to say. Check out this fun video we put together (worth it to watch to the end for the Jude getaway) and grab a shirt if you feel the same.
We sent out a survey to basically all of our customer groups - Picky Club, E-commerce customers, and retailers - and the results are significant enough that I’m going to write a blog dedicated to some of our key takeaways and action items. (We really appreciate everyone who responded - we got over 1000 and looked over all of them!)
It was awesome to visit Kona again this year. While a small part of me missed racing, it was definitely a very small part, like maybe only my pinky finger or my pinky fingernail. I had a blast, and seeing the support for the brand, for Lauren and I as athletes and “role models” was amazing. Kona gives me a concentrated one year snapshot of where I am as a professional athlete and where we are as a company, and man, we’ve both come a long way in both. Massive thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth and said hi. You can ask my family and employees, my voice was gone for two days after from all the talking I did with people (the beer mile on Friday night probably didn’t help either!).
My marketing team says my blogs are usually too long, so here are the quick hits for some of the other stuff in the works:
Finally, it’s been an awesome change of pace to be “full time” in the office for the first long stretch since the company started 8 years ago, the same time I started my pro triathlon career. It’s probably been both a boon and a burden to the employees who might feel like they’re drinking from a fire hose having me in the office twice as much as normal, but I’ve learned a ton about our strengths and weaknesses as an organization and as individuals in that time. We're putting plans in place to continue learning and growing, and I’m continuing to evaluate bringing on investment and more experience/advisors to help us navigate the next steps as we grow the brand, distribution, and product lines as well.
As always, if any of you have any feedback on anything, I’d love to hear from you. I can’t promise I’ll respond to everyone, but I’ll do my best! Please let me know what you think of the updated/improved product, or any other questions, comments or concerns you may have. Thanks as always for reading and supporting!
Juggling work-life balance can be a real three-ring circus, which Lauren & Jesse know first hand. Led by listener questions, this new podcast is all about sports, biz, and family.
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