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Selling cookie dough on 4/20 day in San Francisco with Doughp Founder, Kelsey Moreira

Joining me on today’s episode is Kelsey Moreira, Founder of Doughp.

Serving up nostalgia with every scoop and curating special moments of self-love, Doughp is the legit cookie dough company that burst onto the dessert scene in 2017 in San Francisco. After a journey in self-discovery and sobriety, Kelsey renewed her love for baking and inadvertently created an amazing edible cookie dough recipe from scratch that can be enjoyed either raw or baked. Kelsey recently took Doughp on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” and she was named in Forbes 30 Under 30 for how quickly she’s grown this business and her mission-driven mentality behind it.

In this episode you’ll learn how to start a dessert brand, what happens when you don’t strike a deal on Shark Tank and how Kelsey’s driving growth online.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Kelsey. Hi, hello and welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hey, so happy to be here. I am so excited to be chatting to you today. I haven't actually spoken to someone who's based in Vegas before. So the first time for everything very excited. Well the showgirls and the gambling table are coming in shortly and yeah, I live in a casino. No, yeah, some people don't know that there's life outside of the strip of Las Vegas. But yes, we live here near Red Rock Canyon. It's super nice. Like living in the desert is awesome for the weather and everything but good outdoor stuff to do and more than just gambling shockingly. So yeah, I bet I've heard great things I hear it's so beautiful.

00:04:22Edit I've only actually been to classic Vegas, but I would love to go back and explore. You know, all the outdoors nature stuff just sounds amazing. Let's get started by having you introduce yourself and what your business actually is. Yeah. So I'm Kelsey Moreira and the founder and fearless Leader of Dope cookie dough. We sell edible and breakable cookie dough and we're on a mission to make the world a little sweeter. So we raise awareness around mental health and addiction recovery, raise funds and just otherwise get the community involved in breaking the stigma around those issues while we sell cookie dough. So it's worked out pretty well, I love that, that sounds so cool and so delicious. What a fun job to have every day. Can we go back to life before you started Doughp and talk about what was happening in your life and what was getting you thinking about starting a business in the first place? Totally. Yeah and I mean it's crazy to think back, we're about four years into the company now somehow made it on shark tank 4 30 under 30 and now it sold nearly $3 million of cookie dough last year.

00:05:24Edit So when I started, if you rewind four years ago I had no idea it would become what it is today. I have been working in high tech for about 10 years, started my career at IntelL and I was just 16, I got an opportunity to be an intern which was crazy, it was like just in high school and they were like, hey do you want this internship at Intel? And my dad was like yes, she does, you know it was like a neighborhood come over and told us about this opportunity and he was like you have to do this and you know sure enough it would turn into a 10 year career for me and really felt like it was gonna be my path forever, you know like how cool I had gotten started, so young, I worked through all the school years and every summer and then graduating college, you know, just became a full time employee, so it was paved out, you know, it was like, I could just keep going on this path, but one thing that had come on with this sort of like, high stress, corporate life was all this anxiety and pressure and sort of like self made perfectionism issues, you know, I've had a lot of anxiety through my childhood and then jumping into corporate America at such a young age, like my anxiety and mental health really suffered from that and I leaned on alcohol through the years to just, you know, numb and just past the time outside of work, everything looked all shiny at the job, but I have developed a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol and so in 2015 I made the decision to get sober, it's like enough's enough, alcohol is not doing ship for my life and I need to get it out, and it was the best decision ever, like, my life completely blossomed from that moment and I was baking nights and weekends, you know, really figuring out what made Kelsey Kelsey and being in the kitchen was absolutely that I love making desserts for people, I love making people happy with food, it has such strong ability to evoke memories and emotions and whatnot and cookie dough in particular, I found a way to make it safe to eat, it's like you take one bite of that and someone's going off about, you know, a memory of making it with their grandma or with their dad growing up or you know just not really like special bond that people have with food and enough kind of like side passion of making desserts, bringing them into the office and people started kind of nudging like you should sell this stuff, you know, this would be a cool thing to sell on the side, you know, I never really thought about making a full food business, I mean I work in tech and this is my life and I'm just gonna be here forever, but I just loved it, you know, I was just getting enough joy out of the time in the kitchen and what I was doing with desserts that after being relocated to a new job in SAn Francisco within intel, I was just surrounded by all these entrepreneurs buzzing about how their idea was the coolest thing in the world and I just thought what a fun have to take, maybe I really can do this and yeah from there just set off to figure out what it would take to start a business and nights and weekends doing the licensing and got a little wooden cart built you know to serve my cookie dough out of and got a commercial kitchen when it made £100 of cookie dough and set my launch day and went off to sell, we sold out of £100 of doing like three hours and I was like, okay, this is the thing, I need to figure out how to do more of this.

00:08:16Edit So it just grew from there, wow. And when you're saying you know, you're £100 of cookie dough, had you already quit your job yet? And was that like at a market or something or what was that day like? Yeah, I was technically less established that day. I didn't, I wasn't at a market, I was at a park in san Francisco, it was 4 2020 17 and Dolores Park is like a famous park in san Francisco and so I was still, still is perfect, you know, lots of willing participants to try some cookie dough which was fun. So um This idea had really struck in February of 2017 where I'm like, I really think like other people love cookie dough. I was baking vegan at the time. So my recipes because I was not such a great vegan had butter in them, but no eggs, so I was like more part time veganism, I highly recommend it butters awesome. And so my recipes were like, you know, safe to eat raw but I can also bake as much as I wanted and that was sort of like that kick off of like I should try and do something. so I was still working at intel and I knew my sabbatical was coming up For 20, 2017 was the first day of my sabbatical with Intel is getting 10 weeks off.

00:09:23Edit Um I had planned a trip around the world, I like had this whole google sheet mapped out with where I was going to travel to and then with this idea I was like really everything, we're just gonna start a business instead. So I used the 10 weeks to put some feet on the ground and figure out if this would work. So I got a commercial kitchen, made the cookie dough, got the licenses that I need to be like you know an approved business in san Francisco and like a health permit for the kitchen I was using and everything and what I would be making And then just went rogue on 420 and was like I'm just gonna sell at Dolores Park and see what he will think. I had this cool cart that was totally collapsible, which was awesome, I could break it down. My step dad is like a super fix it guy. So he helped me like orchestrate this magical card that was on wheels that I could like basically break down and put into a vehicle. So the first day set up, sold out three hours like I said, which was awesome and then just got to thinking like where else will this work? And so for those 10 weeks I really started on catering, you know doing pop upset any business that would let me come and do you know a birthday or office treat, you know lots of tech offices in san Francisco.

00:10:24Edit We're doing like the office happy hours and stuff. So they would bring in a dessert to do something nicer after a conference and I wrote a food park in san Francisco and was like, hey I have this company dope. I sell edible cookie dough um would you have a space for me? And I was literally thinking like there's no way they're gonna respond like there's so many cool food trucks in this food park and I don't even have a food truck, I would just be setting up like a tent and like table with my cart and I've got a response back in two hours and they were like cookie down, we love it, can you start tomorrow? And I'm like like like can I start tomorrow? I don't know exactly. I was like oh crap like I really need to like formalize this and like I need a week because I need to go make some more cookie dough. But yeah, I got started there and You know so scrappy in the beginning just doing what it took to make it happen and on a shoestring budget um I think I started the business with around $2500 in the first month or so invested like deposit you have to make in the commercial kitchen and ingredients to start getting going and then equipment I needed for the you know food truck park to be able to have my little tents set up there and a wagon so I could cart all the ingredients from san Francisco over to Oakland to make the cookie dough at the kitchen and then cart it back in the school wagon.

00:11:37Edit I saw some old photos of me just like completely bruised up and like covered in flour but like I'm super happy and I'm carting back my cookie dough back to the city so just ton of fun. I was running it out of my apartment through the week, you know packing up for the events and stuff from my apartment in SF which was like a shoebox you know but you just do what it takes in the beginning to make it happen. Oh my goodness you must have been eating so much cookie to holy cow. Yeah crazy. But also like working out so much like lifting everything you know because I was hauling equipment to an event through like a 1904 elevator which was like so tiny and I'd be like hauling it all this heavy equipment and stuff to load up into a lift or an uber, go to the event unload you know load back into a lift and then back at home you know by like 11 p.m. and get up and do it again the next day. So it was such a grind. So I was like eating a bunch of dough but also like they used to call me like mini hulk at the food park because I was like so strong from from lifting everything myself. I'm like no I got it in like this tiny, I'm like five ft two, you know tiny girl lifting all this heavy stuff and like you know £30 jugs of cookie dough.

00:12:42Edit Uh huh. Yeah never say funny. And like what were people saying? Was it just clear that you had struck gold with this idea was everyone's super into it or did you have to kind of tweak and iterate to find the gold? Yeah. I mean luckily I hear some people, you know if you're doing a new innovative food concept that's never existed before, I mean edible cookie dough is still like a new concept but it's not like I look at all the up cycle products or something or they're just making something completely new that's never existed tons of R. And D. Like they're putting in like years in some cases, you know, I've got a friend Lauren of local food and it's like a potato case. So you know, she's made a plant based cheese dip and that process like she's still going through co packer trials and stuff and my process to get my recipe. I mean I was already making it because that's a long time chocolate chip cookie recipe I had had and had made for, you know, many years and I just made a way to make it safe to eat by replacing the eggs. So I still serve the same recipe for like our chocolate chip and smores and everything.

00:13:48Edit Like we've had a lot of flavors for a long time since the beginning and minor tweaks like change the amount of salt or something once we had to scale up quite large, you know, doing £200 batches versus a £3 batch at home is a different game, but still preservative free, still with ingredients that you find in your kitchen. So yeah, it was pretty quick too. Like the recipe we had and the feedback off the bat was just mind blowing. You know, everyone loved it and like it wasn't too sweet. Um in the beginning didn't have much competition. You know, you couldn't go to the grocery store and find edible cookie dough and now that more have started to come out. We do get a lot of feedback that's like the competition sort of tastes like cookie dough frosting and then ours they're always like, it tastes like homemade cookie dough because it really still a recipe that you could have made at your house. So not too many crazy iterations on that we just keep coming up with new flavors. So we released new seasonal flavors almost every month. Yeah, I love that. And so in the beginning it's just you, you're carrying all this stuff around, logging it back and forth. Obviously a hard slog. Obviously lots of hustle at what point can you start to scale it?

00:14:51Edit And how do you scale a business like that? I think I hit the first point of like, okay, I need to figure out how I'm gonna get some help because I can't keep growing the business if I'm the one working in the business every day. Because like I said, I was literally blood, sweat, tears, bruises to like get through the first two months. And then I had one week about two months in where I had an event every single day for seven days in a row, Including one that was like serving 800 people and it wound up by myself because a friend that was going to help me bailed and so I had to serve 800 people at this office alone, which like that's a lot of cooking gonna scoop. But I'm like a big smile on like talking to the crowd, trying to like tell the people who are waiting, you know, I'm getting with you as fast as I can. It was crazy. But got to the end of that week, took a very long mouth and then I woke up, I was like, oh crap, I don't have any events this week. Like I was in it so much that now, all of this momentum and bookings, I had like there's nothing else this week, so I just had the food part that I was working at and I kind of had this light will go off, like I could use some help on continuing that outreach with catering.

00:15:57Edit So I had a friend joined sort of as like a catering events, admin assistant kind of stuff for bookings and invoicing and then got my first part time employees to start working the food part because we were able to go seven days a week. At one point I had two employees that were just kind of trading days and whatnot. And then since it was still like prepping for the event of my apartment, I think back now in saying it was like they both had keys to my apartment so that they could come in and restock cookie dough and everything during the week if I was out at a different event or something, just crazy what you do to make it happen. But yeah, it was kind of that moment of like, okay, I'm gonna need some help if I can grow this. And then we really leaned into brick and mortar storefronts for the first three years were now exclusively direct to consumer online, so we shipped nationwide in the United States and we're working on getting into grocery stores, but the store front side, you know, there's a very obvious path there for needing help and needing staff because most of our store fronts you know open 14 hours a day, seven days a week, definitely open on holidays because those are the busy days when people want to come to a tourist location or what not to try out some cookie dough.

00:17:00Edit So yeah the staffing grew from there and it's an interesting journey you know, I have never actually directly managed someone at intel in all those years you know and run teams have been a project manager but direct like employee underneath me, it hadn't happened. And so it's funny to go into starting your own business because suddenly like you're the ultimate manager to everybody that's going to join the company and you know it took a lot of like professional development trying to work on how to be the best manager I could be as well and like understand what that took which you know just all of it requires a little bit more help once you get there but I certainly let the sales lead me to that. You know it wasn't day one that I said okay I'm gonna hire a VP of marketing and a finance person under this and that you do it all in the beginning and then you figure out okay higher for what you stuck at. You know I hire for things that like I could learn but maybe like I don't need to write like accounting for example I hired an accounting partner really quickly because it wasn't going to be an area bookkeeping and whatnot that I wanted to like dig into and learn and it's an area you don't want to mess up like higher lawyer hire an accountant if that's not your core competency.

00:18:05Edit Whereas marketing, I was able to support more heavily for the long run because I really love that area came more naturally to me. Right, got it. And so when you were kind of getting into this switching moment from going all these storefronts that you have and doing more events and that kind of thing to then switching to direct to consumer, selling exclusively online through your own website. Was that driven by demand people saying, hey, can I buy this online elsewhere or how did it come about that you made the switch. Yeah. And I think it ties to like sort of the beginning of the company where it's like how can I even sell this, you know, what are the ways that it will work to sell it? It was probably six months into the company that I got my first call of someone saying, hey do you sell wholesale? I'd love to resell your product in my ice cream shop. And I'm like, yes, of course we do. You know, and it's like you just go on and google like how to get wholesale pricing and like I'll send you my pricing after this call, thank you. So we start to dabble in everything in the beginning, it was like catering, e commerce, you know, we had it available on our site pretty much from the beginning that you could order it online but it just wasn't our focus and you know you can have something puttering along sort of on the side but it's only once you really put some focus and attention on it, particularly for online, once you start putting some advertising towards it, it won't really be such a significant part of your business.

00:19:23Edit So the big shift happened around november of 2019 my husband had joined the company as CO Ceo and it was like a breath of fresh air to have someone who's got such a operations and finance mind joined my sort of like Dreamer sales and marketing mind that I have and kind of bring me down to reality with big decisions and the financial side of things. So we have to sit down late 2019 and I was like, we need to get another channel to be large enough to help support how big the brick and mortar has become that like we can't have the storefronts pr everything and literally as anyone listening to this nose like a fortune teller because just a few months later we would be forced to only rely on something else besides storefronts with forced closures with the quarantine. So We luckily had gotten all those engines moving at the very end of 2019 and it gave us just that runway, we needed, you know, we went from Um I believe we did 19,000 and sales in January of 20, in February 180,000 in March and this is all online and then 375,000 in April of 2020.

00:20:30Edit So this transition for just like four months or so from that november discussion was absolutely insane on the operations side for one. But so telling on the financial side to say this is really viable as a great channel for us and and then of course in March, you know, we face the shutdowns with quarantine so mid March, you know, we had like 24 hours notice that we had to shut down our storefront for sort of an undetermined period of time. Like none of us knew what was gonna happen. It was just this like these mysterious emails coming from, you know, your mall management and whatnot. That like the governor has pushed out a mandate everything is going to close by noon tomorrow to like rented a U. Haul at like five a.m. That next morning and went down and moved out as much as we could from the store so that we'd be able to keep fulfilling our own line orders. Found a commercial kitchen like within a day that we could move to in northern Vegas here in Nevada and just shifted our entire operation because we were running graveyard shifts at the time to be able to keep up with our online orders and like produced through the night Pack and have everything ready for the pickup by like 10:00 AM.

00:21:36Edit It was madness. It was absolute madness. I cannot believe we survived. I mean is and I my husband we were doing some of the graveyard shift and then you're also running the business so like all day we would need to work. So we, some mornings came home at like five in the morning, slept for like three or four hours and then we just have to get up and be back in meetings and doing the day work of keeping the business running. So it was a dark time but also really awesome that we're seeing something work so well online. So the trials and tribulations that follow through the year, you know realizing that like with the store reopening and tourism still taking such a hit which still today, you know we're not back to normal things aren't flying again. So yeah, we just had to make that decision that it's only going to hold us back and sort of drain us of the capital that we do have if we have to keep operating the store at a loss. So we made the decision to close the store very emotional as an entrepreneur because you put like your heart and soul into something especially you know it was like this dream I have had to bring a booze free cookie dough bar to the strip and like it looks so awesome and you know we went all in with our neon signs and stuff that people can take pictures in front of but you know just made the most sense like if I wanted the mission of what dope stands for and believes in around mental health and addiction recovery to live on and like honestly reach more people.

00:22:52Edit I needed to be able to focus on e commerce and so we did that and just not looking back you know all systems go it sounds incredible though, wow that sounds like crazy growth. I want to dig in a little bit more to your marketing side of things for the e commerce store. So when you were growing like those crazy month after month doubling, doubling, doubling was that just 100% ads? Is that it? I mean not 100% ads because there are one like return customers, people start to come back to buy again. Typically within 1 to 3 weeks is like our return customers cycle rate so if they're going to re buy. So that started to help as well as things were building then it was like people are coming back to buy or gifting seasons come you know where they're buying it for mother's Day maybe or things like that. So I started to have a little bit of a role in there but certainly 80 to 90% was coming from ads and then word of mouth, you know, we definitely are very like social share worthy brand. Like we love for people to be able to share it and so that's starting to build was just this great momentum, you know, of like more and more posts every week getting put out their stories with us getting tagged um with people enjoying it and then all their followers saying like, oh this is so cool, like a cookie dough company can ship to your house and it was just wild to watch it like every week we're like, oh my God, like 400 boxes are going out this week, you know, and then all of a sudden it was like 3000 boxes a week in april and we just couldn't believe it.

00:24:13Edit So crazy. But yeah, paid ads are the big thing, they're like facebook instagram and google where our big focus points and if you're too fast forward to today, is that how you're still acquiring new customers or do you have different channels that are performing really well for you at the moment? Yeah, facebook still our biggest spender for sure. So we're putting around $100,000 a month on facebook ad spend, we do a smaller amount on google and then testing on youtube but what we found with youtube for anyone that's advertised there, you know, you see, it's more about, you get to these areas that are more brand awareness and helping the halo effect. Like overall someone's exposed to it on youtube ad, then maybe they're more likely to purchase when they are retargeted and they see a google ad or facebook ads. So we sort of have some areas now that like, because we've gotten to this level of spend, it's like, you can see the incremental performance, like grow on facebook because we're running ads in new areas that people are getting exposed to the brand one brand new area. We've started to push into his.

00:25:13Edit Tiktok are seeing great performance. They're both on the organic side and the paid like Tiktok is just crushing it. It's so cool. We got launched on Tiktok maybe two weeks ago. He's so cool. It's so neat. It's just like, it rewards interesting stuff, you know, at the end of the day, if you put something interesting out there and enough people find it fascinating to watch. It just helps to fuel it and feel like this, Tiktok will keep sending it out to larger groups of people and um, seeing how it performs and how much they engage with that content. So We had an influencer supposed to get like 500 views overnight. She did some behind the scenes filming with me at our facility here and it was just so neat to see the sessions like go up like crazy organic sessions to recite from people checking us out. It's awesome. Well that is crazy and sounds totally amazing and I guess when those kinds of things happen, it's all about doubling down and going really deep into those things that are working Yeah. And figuring out like how to make damn sure you can keep up on the fulfillment side because when it starts to go up and like, oh my gosh, like you know, are we gonna run out of this flavor and like, you know, we called our co packer like do whatever it takes to get more red velvet cookie down because we cannot sell out right now.

00:26:27Edit So um, yeah, really been like really been on it. Just make sure you can keep filling what's happening and ride the waves when it comes because it's so neat to see a large influx of people coming to your site that have otherwise never found out about you. Right, totally. You mentioned in the beginning you were on shark tank so I'd love to talk about the shark tank episode and you know what happened and what you think of the experience in hindsight. Yeah, totally hunt, it's 2020 as they say, but I'm still very glad that I went on the show. It was super fun. I went through an open casting calls sat on a curve in san Francisco at like six in the morning and gave it my shot, you get like 90 seconds to tell them why you'd be, you know the best entrepreneur for the show and at the end of the 90 seconds they were like eating the cookie dough and like called over the executive producer of India to like come and try it and she's like oh my gosh, like this is so good. I've had this other cookie dough company in this one so good. I'm like okay, my 90 seconds is up to, I need to like leave or is it okay? But I'm still standing here, you know, but it was a good sign. I just felt like okay that went well but they're just like this huge livia hanging kind of thing, you know, you just wait and wait and wait and you start getting all this like mental talk that, you know, it wasn't good enough and they don't want to and then you get to call back and they're like, oh my God, I can't believe it.

00:27:42Edit And then submit, you know, a video submission and then more paperwork and I think I signed away my firstborn child. It was like such an extensive contract like and I was, I was not taking my own advice that I have now. I don't even think I had a lawyer read the contract. I just remember being like, you know, it's shark tank, like there's no way I can redline their contracts, they're gonna be like, yeah, I just signed it or don't come on the show. So, you know, I was just so excited about it and signed away to get on and slowly but surely got through all those rounds and phone interviews and whatnot. And then, um, was chosen to film for the show and the date to go down in film was actually like the day before my three year sobriety anniversary. So it was a really cool, like, um, a lining of things. It was like, okay, I'm doing something good, I'm doing something right here and we have launched our dope for hope initiative within the company to really have an impact on mental health and addiction earlier that year. So I was just so passionate and excited and you know, you know, your business better than anybody else. So going up in front of these five, you know, crazy, wealthy and experienced and successful entrepreneurs.

00:28:45Edit It was just like, yeah, I can't wait to tell them what I'm doing, you know, they're totally gonna want a piece of this. And then in the episode, I was really proud of myself, I knew my number is crazy. I didn't mess up my pitch or anything and then they all ended up going out for reasons around and not being healthy. It was like, you know, with the obesity epidemic and it's cookie dough and you can't get behind companies that say let's eat more or something. And I was like, what's happening? You know, my brain was just like, cannot compute like I didn't expect to be debating that. It was like cookie dough, you know, like it is a dessert and you know, an indulgence and all the work that we do for your mental health and that, you know, you can treat yourself once in a while with some cookie dough. So I still, you know, left feeling really confident, they had said just great things. I still will save all those quotes that I got from them saying confidentially stuff about my skills as an operator, um and sophistication as a store owner and whatnot. But yeah, I didn't didn't want it in. And then, so when I turned, I like waved and click my heels and like started walking down the hallway and everything and the doors closed behind me and I just lost it like full emotional cliff dive.

00:29:51Edit This build up, you have like, this moment is the moment and I'm going to do it and you think it's gonna end one way and it totally does another way. And I was just in hysterics, you know, and the camera is so close to your face and they're walking backwards so close to you to get every emotion and, and reaction. And I was just like a mess. I was like, please, you know, trying to hide behind the producer and stuff to get out of the camera and then they ended up not airing that, which like a big applause to their team because that would have been great television, you know, it's like here's this entrepreneur, like really feeling the feelings and it certainly shows how emotionally attached entrepreneurs are to their business. But yeah, they didn't air it so that it's like forever kind of this little known fact about the show that I looked so confident during the set, but at the end of the day, you know, we all have feelings and we all have emotions about what we want to happen and you know when those expectations are not fulfilled. Yeah, and what was the impact though of it's still going to air and you know, the after effect of being on the show because I'm sure it still drives you crazy awareness and crazy attraction to your brand into your business.

00:30:57Edit Yeah, it's absolutely worth it for that side as well. I mean when you're done filming you're told, you know this may or may not air, they do film more than well air in a season and if it doesn't air you could never speak about it again. So needless to say I took like a mental health day the day after filming because I was just so destroyed from like I didn't get a deal and now will they air it. Um but it is a television show, you know they want entertaining people and good entrepreneurs and bad entrepreneurs, you know, they like to show kind of both sides And I was certainly tried to make it entertaining at least. So it did end up airing, I got a call two weeks before it was going to air and we got together a little viewing party, I think we have like 50 people, you don't come over to watch it and it was a blast, like so surreal to see it go live on television and then your phone's like banging with all these messages and twitter messages and the internet was genuinely like so nice about the episode. Like I was like, oh God, you know, someone's gonna like destroy me for like my haircut or that my like shirt looks stupid or you know something, but no people were so nice, like there was no internet trolling from that episode really, it was just how did she not get a deal?

00:32:01Edit Like that girl knew her stuff and like how did she not get one of the sharks? So very cool to see that. Very cool to see like the traffic on your site pick up. The only regret I have is that we didn't have such a focus on e commerce at the time, so many people when it still continues to rerun, don't assume that we ship, you know, they think we're just storefronts were on there raising funds to open the las Vegas store So there's not really this instant like, Oh I could send this to, you know, my grandma, like in New Hampshire or whenever it's like, I'll see them when I'm in Vegas next time. You know, I think some people see it and just assume it's for stores. So we still get a great pickup, like days that airs, we get another like, you know, 10,000 sessions to the site or something. They have, we run a number of times every like month and a half or so. It seems to get a big influx of instructing viewers who are like, hey, we just saw you on the show and you know, it's awesome when they make it to our site now they realize that we do ship. So it's really fun, totally. That's a really interesting insight for anyone who is also in that like brick and mortar space and, and to make sure that you think about the future of your e commerce if you're planning to go down that route, which I'm sure these days everyone must be thinking that way, wow.

00:33:08Edit What advice do you have for women who have a big idea and want to launch their own business advice Number one is just do it, advice number two is read this book, You are a badass by jen sincere. Oh, I read this book a couple months before I ended up quitting my job and it was a great book. You know, you have to get yourself mentally in a place where you're ready to go after your own thing and make your own and the book really helped with this like internal confidence that if I'm doing what I love and what I'm passionate about everything else will fall into place, you know like that you have this intrinsic capability to generate wealth and like you will be able to find a way and knowing what your backup plan is. Like for me, I was like, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna try this thing and it doesn't work. I can either go apply for another job. I didn't tell where I can take that experience and go find another position somewhere else, know that even because you're sitting there thinking of a cool entrepreneur idea, you're probably a really employable person, you've got a lot of skills and interest in creativity and capabilities that would make you employable in the future and having your own venture for any period of time is a great thing to put on your resume, that you had the gumption and the wherewithal to go and try and start something and create it no matter how it really ended, as long as you learned from that experience, it's a valuable add to your resume.

00:34:25Edit So I think of it like you're just career building, if nothing else you're gonna gonna be better off in the future and then the upside is like holy cow, you might make your passion your life, you know, you might wake up every day and get to talk about cookie dough, like I don't know how to happen but it's real life now it's really all it's amazing. I love that. That that is so cool. We are up to the six quick questions part of the episode I ask every woman on the show these same quick questions at the end so that in a few years time we can look back and see if there were any trends or interesting things that came out of it. So question number one is, what's your why? Why do you do what you do to break the stigma around mental health and addiction recovery? I feel like after getting sober myself and realizing that I was not the only person going through something like this yet I felt so alone when I was. It's like they're just needs to be a bigger platform for this. So we all feel a little less scared to talk about what's not so shiny in our lives. Great mission, Great purpose to have. Yeah, Question Number two is what's the number one marketing moment you've had that's made the business pop.

00:35:33Edit Mm I mean it's given to say shark tank probably that's certainly like one big ongoing thing that becomes sort of a badge of honor for the company that has the biggest impact. We've tried some work in the newsletter blast. You know, working with a large newsletter to be a sponsor whatnot. Those are good. But yeah, the long lasting and like really getting to get your story out there. Like I really shared my story on shark tank and now that continues to rerun globally. You know, we get messages from people in India Australia all over the world saying, wow, I love what you're doing and I'm inspired to start my own, literally I just got an email like that someone starting a computer business in India because she saw what we did on shark tank and wanted to write and say that she is doing it. So yeah, it's pretty cool. I love that, wow, that's so special, wow, I love that question Number three is where do you hang out to get smarter, what are you reading? What are you listening to at the moment? What email newsletters do you subscribe to? Yeah, I subscribe to the morning brew.

00:36:34Edit It's a great quick While you have your morning coffee a way to get the news and then there for a few years I know they just got bought for like $75 million dollars by business insider crazy for the founders of the morning brew. But hopefully they keep this quick, funny bite sized version of the news. It's really easy and digestible but like really based in information, not just fluffy stuff, you know, I don't need to read Cosmo in the morning, No offense if Cosmo is listening. But yeah, so I do the morning brew and then I'm hanging out on clubhouse. So I'm trying to get more involved, their clubhouses basically live podcast that you can chime in on. So you're able to get in the room with some really interesting experts and they found a group of shark tank alumni that are doing some sessions on there. So there's just some fun stuff on there to really get in front of new people in an authentic knowledge sharing way. Like everyone's there to just share and engage on topics they care about. And most of the time feels less sales. You know, people aren't just like trying to push their product. There's no ads going on. It's like a social media platform that's pure for the moment.

00:37:36Edit I have found a few really interesting conversations that I've loved, like listening into and being a part of and you're right, there's crazy people that you come across who are in these chats and you're like, oh yeah, this is so cool. It's an interesting like rise to its success. I'd be interested to look back at how they've really gone about reaching this kind of mass mass mass kind of exclusivity and desire. Like every other moment I'm on my social media and I see people being like, do you have an invite for clubhouse? And I'm like, I'm pretty sure I've heard of them talk about that, there's a back door and you just sign up and they'll let you in any way funny. Yeah, it is exactly that though that's made it so high, just like Anything in history. If you look at like really successful stuff over the last 5 to 10 years, it always has had some element of like sign up for the exclusive blank or like sign up to be the first or you have to tell someone else because we all want to feel this elevated sense of like coolness that we knew about something and now we can share the opportunity of someone else that elevates you somehow in the six societal hierarchy.

00:38:40Edit So though in a weird way it's a chance to level the playing field and you're, you know, in a room with the sharks of shark tank are actually on there too. So like you can jump in a room with them. Um Perez Hilton was like leading a small chat the other day so it's leveling but at the same time you felt like you're in the club, like you're cool that you are let in. So they did a great job. Just the hype factor overall, totally. Anything you can do as a business to make people feel like they got in. They got that inside scoop when I mean the Elon musk conversation when he was talking, I forget who he was talking with. But you know that conversation and you see all the people joining the chat and then then being like uh we're having some tech issues like this is the most time, like most amount of people that everyone has been joining and I was like, oh this is weird and cool to watch in real time totally. He just announced he's doing one with Kanye West or something and I'm like, oh they're going to destroy the app. The app is not ready for that. I don't even know what's going to happen. Oh my God, it's definitely gonna break holy moly Yeah, Question number four is, how do you win the day and that's around your am or your PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated.

00:39:46Edit It's like cheesy and cliche to say self care. But when you're grinding as many hours as you are being okay with the roller coaster is really important. Like I found the ups and the downs of intensity with the company sometimes allow for me to stop at three p.m. On a weekday and have that afternoon to go for a nice run or make a really nice dinner and watch a show like turn on the television and then there's periods of time that are like, I have not turned on my tv for the last three weeks, you know, and it's just been in the office till nine PM and I guess I just have found, if I don't fight it, if I just know that this is just the phase that I'm in, it doesn't hurt as bad. You're not like, oh I'm suffering. I'm like not able to relax or do the things I want and just focus on where can you, you know like this morning I got up at 4 30 I took a bath and like got to relax in the morning And then I started work. I sat down here at like 6:45. So you have your times that you can carve out and what do you do with them, You know what's gonna be recharging for you? Like I'm not upset with myself that I didn't go to the gym this morning.

00:40:48Edit I was really tired from sitting in a chair until nine PM yesterday in my office. So I took a bath this morning, you know, so it's like trying to find the nuggets that you can and not being so resistant to how much work it really does take to get where you are and to get where you want to go. Totally question number five is if you only had $1000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it been there? I mean we have been there um the financial situation of a company is so interesting because you have to be so tight on your forecasting in your numbers to know what's going to happen with your business and at the end of the day when it does start to get low like that you do whatever it takes to stretch out payments with vendors that can accept it, you know that can accept longer terms to get paid or ask for those extensions. Like it's very easy to get caught up in this like no, we're gonna go into because this is due on the 25th or whatever and you know, we went through a period like that, we had over spent to build one of our stores and it was like we got really close but it just took, I'm going to pay you, this is gonna work out, but here's what I can do.

00:41:52Edit You know, I cannot pay the full thing today, but I can pay you Half today and half in 30 days or something. So we have gone through periods like that. If today we only have $1,000 left. Um I'm a big proponent of that, don't cut the marketing budget when you're at the final stretch, just spend it responsibly. You know, if you had just a little bit left, spend it ideally in an area where you've done some testing and have a sense of what the return could be so you can start to grow from there. You know that new customer acquisition is really important if you're doing it in an area that you know, can perform and that you have the tools in place to make the most of those customers. Like retention marketing is everything If you spent those $1000 to acquire 100 customers and then you spend nothing on being sure you could retain them and get them to repurchase again, it's all for not and you're gonna keep spending your wheels. So that's one big kind of like I'd spend 800 on prospecting in 200 on retention marketing, you know, and make sure I had something still going to make sure we were going to get it to continue right. That's a really good insight there. Good tip question number six.

00:42:55Edit Last question is, how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach when things go to ship as they inevitably do? Yeah, they inevitably do. Um, depending on how go to ship it is, I'm like, you know the fight or flight thing and it's like, I just drop into fight mode and it's like, we're just gonna do it and figure it out. It's like those days I was telling you when we're doing the transition like having to leave our store and go to a co packer and we've been doing great here. It's just, it was crazy. And like I really thought like the ceiling was gonna fall when like ceiling was on fire when we got told we had to shut down the store, but you just jump in and do it. You know, there wasn't a, like I'll just throw up my hands and give up, it was like, we just got to keep going a marketing campaign doesn't pan out. What did we learn? You know, like great now we know we paid to learn, we paid to learn that that isn't going to be a good area for us. And let's make a better decision next time. So I just tried to do a good job with like postmortems understanding, you know, what went well and what didn't and being sure that you can make better decisions in the future, denial failures like shark tank, I think of, you know, with like getting told no there, but it's just being able to like reset yourself, ground yourself and what you have been able to accomplish.

00:44:06Edit And then I got another investor a couple of months after the filming. So I kept on and you know, believed in what I was doing and made sure that someone else did too. So just keep moving, keep on moving Kelsey, thank you so much for taking the time to be on female startup club today. I have loved hearing about your company and it sounds so delicious. I'm excited to keep watching you grow and for all the cool things that come next. Awesome! Thank you so much.



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