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"You're Almost There! (kinda)"

October 26, 2018

"You're Almost There! (kinda)"

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:


TURNING LEMONS INTO LEMONADE

Packaging / Production Woes turned Good

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:

  • Improved recipe - Subbed out agave for tapioca, which lowered our added sugar content and also improved the taste - booyah!
  • New packaging - We improved our shelf readability, making it easier for people to know what the product and flavor is. #Lifepoints features live on with illustrations of real people from their real photos.
  • More consistent, longer lasting product - Our bars are MUCH more consistent in taste, texture, and production than they’ve ever been. And because of an improved packaging process, they taste fresher longer than ever! Booyah!

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.


THE WORK, PLAY, LOVE PODCAST

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!

[ LISTEN IN ]


I LOVE CARBS

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.


CUSTOMER SURVEY

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!)


KONA, WITHOUT THE (normal) HURT OF KONA

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:

  • Prepping for BFS - Yes, our “Big Freakin’ Sale” will go live again this holiday season. Picky Club will get early access, with the doors opening up to everyone else the week of Thanksgiving. New merch, our biggest discounts of the year, and some special surprises - get ready! Retailers will be in on the action as well, so you can count on some deals if you shop locally during that time.
  • New Product (Shhhh) - I can’t say too much as it won’t fully launch until January, but I can say this: If you’re in the Picky Club and/or thinking about joining, it would be smart to make sure you get a shipment in December. Sneak peeks were an uncontested favorite perk of the Club, and who are we to deny the people (or the data)??
  • New Retail Accounts - The sales team is working hard on landing us in some new retailers to make Picky more widely available. Nothing confirmed yet, but know that we’re doing the best we can to be as available as possible in 2019. [FIND A RETAILER*Know a store we should be in? The best way to make it happen is to ask them for us by name! 
  • Oatmeal, Coming in Hot! - We’re stoked for our first winter with Picky Oats fully available. The reviews have been great, and we have commitments from some big regional and national doors to have all flavors available in all stores in 2019! If you haven’t tried them yet, give them a go - tis the oatmeal season.

STRETCHING THE CREW + LEARNING 

also, "Gosh, wrap it up, Jesse!"

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!


Jesse

jesse@pickybars.com  ||  @jessemthomas




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