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From a $3,000 investment to Oprah and Sharktank, with Pipcorn Co-Founder Teresa Tsou

Joining me on the show today is Teresa Tsou, one of the co-founders behind the popcorn snack company called Pipcorn!

Launched in 2012 by Jen, Jeff and Teresa, with just $3,000, this is a snack company that’s gone on a rollercoaster of a journey since it started. They’ve gone from handing out popcorn in brown paper bags around Brooklyn to being on Oprah and Sharktank, to almost closing it down a few just a few short years ago. Like every business there’s highs and lows and Teresa shares both throughout the episode!

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

Teresa Hi, thank you so much for being on the show today. Yes, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to chat all things pip corn. Me too. Me too, sounds delicious. I would love to start by going back to what you were up to before you started pip corn, what your life was, like what you were doing and how you guys came up with the idea to start this brand, totally, yeah, thinking about what I was doing before Pipcorn is, wow, it feels like it's like years and years and years ago, it's like a whole other life is easy, it's really 10 years, eight years now we're in such a different place, it's crazy. Um yeah, so prior to pip corn, I, I grew up in the midwest and I went to the university of michigan and studied finance and I was really raised to be like, you better go off into the world and do like a very structured path, you need to make money, um like support your family and I was really like the message being an entrepreneur was really not, I would say what my parents expected me to do, so I moved to new york city which was always my dream, you know, growing up in the midwest, I felt like there was just more to life and more people that I wasn't interacting with.

00:05:57Edit So I moved to new york and started working at ups and in their investment banking group, basically working with large CPG companies. So like Campbell's soup, Pepsico walmart, they were all clients that we would help them figure out um you know if they were going to acquire another company, we would advise them if they were raising capital, um we would help them in that process and that's actually where I met my fellow co founder and my husband um we were two cubicles away from each other and we had both just moved to the city. So now you're right, it's been 10 years and our lives are very different. We have three babies, we have our pip corn baby, we have a three year old and we have a five week old to actually oh my goodness, yeah, so working at ups um and then I moved from there to morgan Stanley also doing the same thing, just working with large consumer product companies and then I went and worked at a fashion consulting firm, doing business development for large brands and expanding into other product categories and then also like investing into that space.

00:07:09Edit So a very like corporate background and I would say the pip corn seed was really planted by my husband. So when we worked at ups in the recession, he was laid off and I think that was like a huge trigger point for him of, you know this corporate world isn't really the life that I have to live and so he kind of went around and did a lot of different startups and he was with his sister jen, who's the third hip person in this story and she has a ton of dietary restrictions. Um, she's been vegan before, vegan was trendy, so she's always really had to be careful about the things that she ate. And popcorn surprisingly was something that she couldn't have really, and yeah, you think that like everyone should be able to eat popcorn and it's definitely not the case, the shell is just so difficult for some people like dietary systems to eat them. So popcorn would hurt her stomach and she was working at a health food store in Chicago and a local farmer was like, hey jen, I really think you can have this popcorn, it's an heirloom variety and the shell is 33% thinner than traditional popcorn.

00:08:22Edit Oh, that's just never been commercialized. And so when my husband and jen were both in Chicago, they popped it and they were like, this is the best tasting popcorn, like I've ever had, how has no one had this popcorn, Like it makes no sense. And so at the time, you know, I was still working in these like 100 hour week jobs, uh and I was seeing in my own corporate world this like shift too, food becoming the new lifestyle. Um, people weren't caring so much about the handbags they were wearing, It was really like the food that they were eating and that they were buying. And so I think the three of us really felt like there was an opportunity where there was this Corn and this product that everyone was quite familiar with, right popcorn. So we didn't need a lot of money to educate people about what popcorn was and the product kind of spoke for itself because it tasted so much better than anything else. So in 2011, we started like thinking about this business plan and before this podcast, I actually pulled up like a photo I have of the notes in my iphone.

00:09:32Edit So it's from 2011, we're like, we're brainstorming like, how do we start this popcorn idea? And it's literally titled popcorn timeline. Thank you know, but like literally listed like brand name, logo packaging. We need to find a commercial kitchen, we need to create an LLC like just the basics, you know, we just, it's crazy like how you can start a business these days, literally just in your notes, right on your iphone and even looking back this morning, it has like brand name ideas that we were all thinking of, thankfully we didn't use any of our own ideas. We actually hired some professionals. Um Yeah, and then the last, the funny thing is the last bullet is fine retailers. So I think this timeline kind of showed us how naive we were right, like we were and and that's what's been so fun about pip corn that it's kind of in this journey for us, where Jeff john and I, you know, none of us had like, food branding background.

00:10:38Edit We, we hadn't launched a brand for, you know, Yeah, we worked kind of like high level within the CPG industry, but we've never actually done it and so the last 10 years have been so many, I think amazing, like learning experiences and that's what shaped our brand and I think that's what's so awesome about like, where we are right now in our, in just with social media, with so many people that have this, like, desire to do their own thing, right? Because it's the journey that I think is like, pip corn today and you know, pip corn heirloom snacks. None of that was in our business plan when we started in 2012. So yeah, so that's kind of like where I was before and Kind of how the business kicked off. So like, 2011 was really when idea formation started and then we sold our first bag in April of 2012. Oh my gosh, how cool, wow, I want to talk about when you were just getting started, when you guys were like, yeah, let's start a business, let's let's actually do this.

00:11:43Edit How much startup capital did you have, like, I want to kind of paint the picture of, you know, was it grand ideas from the very beginning and like huge goals or were you kind of like, yeah, like let's let's get started and see where it goes? So yes, we had, we definitely took that approach, where We took the money, we had, that was accessed from us living in the city, so that was really like $3,000 that we could really put behind this idea and we went for it, we didn't raise proper capital and I think that's been a huge part of our story that like, authentic nature and the hustle to kind of get it done. Just one, I think story around it is, You know, we have $3,000 and popcorn is, is quite easy to make, you know, all we needed really was like a couple pots, um some oil, and then this heirloom corn and then various seasonings, so we were actually able to make a lot of it just out of like a shared commercial kitchen in new york city. But then the part that always stumped us when we were launching was how do we package it?

00:12:50Edit Because that part was actually what was very expensive, not the actual like manufacturing of it. So we were all kind of like banging our heads against the wall, like, well we can't afford a proper print job, you know, we had a friend who worked at a great agency come up with the name pip corn for us, but outside of that, we didn't have any packaging design. We couldn't hire anyone to do it for us. And I remember like sitting there with Jeff and I was like why don't we just stamp bags? You know like you kind of have this whole thing in your mind, like it has to be what everyone else is doing. But the most simple uh sort of like solution is sometimes I think the one that is most impactful. Yeah. And so like we were at the time like driving through the lower east side and I remember so like on yelp, literally just searching stamps because we're like making stamp it, let's find a stamp guy.

00:13:52Edit So Casey's stamps in the lower east side, there's a this guy john Casey, he made all of our stamps. And if you go into that store, it is like old school like there are stamps just like lined against the wall and ink pads and everyone in there, the people that were in their customers, they just love stamps. But like we were in there like this is how we're gonna package are our popcorn. So we still have those stamps actually that he's made dress. But that was really, I think That became what people remembered us for in the beginning was that we hand stamped our bag. It had a lot of storytelling to it and it really was because we didn't raise money. Like it's because we had $3,000 and we had to decide where we would spend everything. So that's still I think even with our today packaging now that we've kind of professionalized it's still like a threat that we always try to keep within our business because it was really like the starting place. Yeah that real hustle was it Like paper bags, yep.

00:14:57Edit I love it. So we um we took like craft coffee bags, we would fill them up with the popcorn, we popped in like spaghetti pots and then we would all like literally stamp them. And I am so like O. C. D. About stuff that I had to have the stamp be perfect and I like you literally just have like your hands are throbbing because it's very hard to do like a perfectly a stamp on a bag and have all the ink look right. So we would all yeah we would all just be hand stamping these bags would fill them and then we were able to just sell them direct to consumer because we were in a place with such a great food community. There were all these food markets called smart Ginsburg where we could literally just take the product we had made the night before or even that morning and just sell it right there to the customer. And so it allowed us a way to just sell our product without a lot of investment and get direct feedback wow. So no license or anything like that, you could just like go and be like, hey, I've got my basket of popcorn, this is it, you do have to have like a food handler's license basically like to sell there, which is pretty easy and simple be everything had to be made out of a commercial kitchen.

00:16:13Edit So we had applied to like an incubator essentially where you can pay by the hour to use their space essentially just like, you know, a couple 100 bucks here there and then the actual smorgasbord, you had to apply. So we had to apply that, we were pip corn, we're selling this delicious heirloom mini popcorn and then we were able to essentially just pitch a tent and sell to the customers every saturday and sunday, wow! And so you're there every saturday and sunday you're selling, people are liking it. I assume you're getting really great feedback. What was that point where you were like, okay, we're onto something and this could actually start to grow into a really big brand I think happened way sooner than we were expecting because it was sort of like, let's see how this goes. You know, we really think we think it's delicious other people must do and three months in one of Oprah scouts found us and I think that sort of was what made us be like, whoa, you know, we, we aren't wrong, this actually is the best tasting popcorn and the person that knows popcorn is basically telling us like this is one of my favorite things.

00:17:32Edit And so I think Oprah doing that for us in the first year of launching was huge for our business. I wouldn't say necessarily from a sales perspective, but I think from like a confidence perspective for us three of like we got something like we got to keep doing it, pip corn is really special. This idea is something that we want to get to more and more people. So yeah, so that was really, I think the first time or like whoa and she actually helped us perfect our truffle popcorn. Did she? Oh my gosh, that is so cool. So, and it's still today one of our best selling items and we haven't touched the recipe because anything Oprah does and says it's gold seal of approval. Yeah, yeah. And she knows her truffle because she's so obsessed with it. So yeah, that, that truffle popcorn we've had since launch, um, it's one of the few flavors that we've kept and it's consistently like one of the fan favorites, wow.

00:18:34Edit And so before you met the Oprah Scout, how much money were you making? Like at the markets? And were you like, okay, how do we scale it up to get like, you know, enough money to be able to launch into supermarkets and that kind of thing. Um really not not, you know, I think we were just really making enough to just keep manufacturing it to the next day and honestly at the time, I don't think we had really wrapped our minds around like how to scale and how to generate cash yet I think we were still just in discovery mode of does this work? And do people want it? And I think the great thing about selling direct to consumer and it's actually where we focused our business for the first, so from 2012 to the end of 2014, we were really just focused on like direct to consumer, like at the food market through our website, which you know, as you know, is not as expensive to operate than if you're like working with a large retailer, but never really generating, you know, we weren't even really paying ourselves.

00:19:44Edit So I don't think we had thought that through entirely of just like how can we scale this? I think it was more just let's really get the customer behind our product because we felt like that was the way to success, if we could, if we could kind of sacrifice um you know, I think some of some brands launch differently, right? It's about like profitability, it's about um growing as fast as possible. I think we took a really different approach where it was, let's build this really loyal customer following, let's make sure like we got this down from a product standpoint and then let's really like take it off. And so I think that, you know, thing that changed the business where it changed it from being brand building and product focus to more of what you're asking, Like profitability and distribution was shark tank. So they had reached out to us actually, um, In 2013.

00:20:45Edit Um, and we said no, because at the time, yeah, which is kind of like, I think the way that Jeff jarrett and I do stuff, I feel like people are like, you guys are great. Yeah, you said no. Um, but at the time they had this thing in the closet. If you went on shark tank, they would take like a piece of equity in your business, even if you didn't get a deal. So even if we didn't raise honey, Oh, no way. Just to stand in the spotlight, okay? And get exposure, they would take a piece of your business and we just didn't feel right. Um, and so we were like, no, I don't think, you know, from a marketing standpoint, also just from production to produce the product, we weren't even at a place where we could actually like monetize that, right? Um, and so they reach back out because one of the sharks actually, um, told them like the quality of companies that are coming on the show is decreasing because of the clause, You know, because if you have companies that kind of have more legs, they know the value of their brand equity.

00:22:00Edit They're probably gonna do similar, you know, have a similar conversation that we did. So in 2014 once they removed the clause, uh that's when we went um on the shark tank and they were able to get a deal with Barbara Corcoran, which was super exciting. And it's actually crazy because right before Jeff and jen went out onto stage, jen and I were walking in the back, we were walking backstage and Barbara was walking by and she points at both of us and she says you guys got it before we went on and and john and I were like got to sign, oh my gosh, that's so cool, wow. Yeah. We were able to close a deal with her and that was like life changing um to have that exposure. Yeah, absolutely. I think I read she made a deal for like $200,000 at 10% equity, is that right? Yeah. Yeah. And so the crazy thing actually is um so we had done all this like valuation work right behind the scenes.

00:23:07Edit I mean we're ex bankers, so we kind of know how it all works. And I remember we were in the hotel room and I was like uh quizzing Jeff and dan, you know like asking them all these questions And I don't know what led me to say this, but we actually changed our evaluation. I was like, I think that we are going into high, like we were we actually wanted to go out at 250 for 10. Um and we dropped it down and I actually think like if you watched the episode, like Jeff was, Jeff and jen were like, we're not, we're not negotiating because we had already negotiated against ourselves behind the scenes. You brought it down. You were like this is the bottom line. Um and and actually I think because we did that and I think for Barbara, she's also told us like the fact that we stuck to our guns. She was like, I knew you guys had it. So it's little thing could respect it.

00:24:08Edit Mm hmm. Yeah. So it's like thinking about those little things, right that like if it didn't happen if we didn't change the valuation and we negotiated with Barbara venice confident in us as entrepreneurs and you know, if Oprah scout hadn't walked by our tent and tried our pip corn, would we have gotten the favorite things? Like it's pretty wild. I think to see all those little things, I have to work together to kind of get to what for us is amazing that we're still brand and you know, and in marketing, people want our products. So yeah, there's a lot of serendipity that plays into it to get 100 of those moments, it's hard work. But there is also a lot of luck that plays into it too. Yeah. And so um shark tank was, yeah, such a life changing event. And once it aired, We did like $200,000 in sales in the day of airing, which was more than we had done like 12 months prior.

00:25:12Edit So it really was, it really was like the jumping off point I think for pip corn um and was still dtc. Yeah. Yeah Right, okay, cool. Through our website. Yeah and we definitely were not prepared for that from an inventory standpoint at all. Um because the barbara's team had given us like some advice like you can expect this amount um and I think he greatly surpassed that because people know popcorn right there like oh a better tasting popcorn. I think we just got so many people that were so excited. I still remember like the night it aired, Jeff had put his phone on like buzzer, so every time we would get a sale on our website it was fun and it just wouldn't stop buzzing, like it was just like freaking out on the table and Jeff and they were like we can't believe this is our reality. It was Yeah, I can feel like a feeling of being in that room and seeing an air and kind of like stepping back and was like whoa, like now the hard work is really going to start.

00:26:26Edit Yeah, and and now like things really kicked into jail. Yeah, I mean we yeah, we we were not expecting to do as much as we had did in a day that we were, we were like, we worked our butts off for the last year. We can't even get that many sales. I've got that in a day. Yeah, wow. And so is that what kind of launched you guys into all the retail stores and took you guys to that next level? And I imagine that was the money that was also able to help you fund, putting yourself into the big retail stores. 100%, yeah. So the 200,000 that Barbara invested in us to be put into essentially our first packaging. So the ability for us to have like a real snack bag that could sit on the grocery shelf versus the hand stamp bags that we were doing, which just wasn't scalable. Um two 100,000 hand stepped back. Exactly.

00:27:29Edit Hands would have been real soul. We would be bleeding. Um so yeah, it definitely was like the money we needed to be able to like really scale the business and, and really start thinking about um like profitability to your question earlier, right? And like how do we make this from a, from a product to a business. Um So yeah, and did Barbara's mentorship and her partnership in the business help you navigate that time and navigate becoming profitable and becoming, you know, growing to that scale I guess so quickly. Yeah, the thing about like Barbara that she's 100% like who she is in the tank in real life and she truly, I think believes in her entrepreneurs? I think that she's, she's more about the people than maybe necessarily the product or the business that comes on. So In the early days with her investment, we would go to her office, which ended up actually just being like 20 blocks away from our kitchen up in Harlem, so we were just like take a taxi and we would have quarterly meetings with her in her office and it was always, I think more that mentorship, I don't think that, you know, she doesn't have like CPG background, so she's not, she wasn't able to offer us necessarily like manufacturing expertise, but she gave us the confidence to essentially like make hard decisions and I think also her own story of being uh female within a predominantly male industry, within real estate and to hear her stories of how she pushed through, I think it was very motivational for jen and I, because the CPG world is all white men, um and you know, I think, you know, as women, but also as minorities, you know, to have her tell us her stories of like standing up for herself and definitely gave jen and I have the confidence to really make a big impact, like within an industry of people that didn't necessarily look like us.

00:29:41Edit Yeah, I bet holy moly wow, that must have been so exciting going into those meetings with her when you did have those quarterly meetings? What specifically kind of things did you do? Like what did she like? Did she set things out or was it like a workshop or what happens in those kind of meetings? Yeah, we um, so we would go through the financials with her and I think that she always really wanted to focus on sales and marketing, which I think is what her straits were. Um, so she would always give us some like really fun and exciting and creative ideas in terms of how we could market pip corn. You know, she had ideas of like put your face on the bag, you know, um, things I think that just thinking outside of the box and it pushed us, you know, because when we weren't in those meetings, we were either manufacturing popcorn because at the time we were still manufacturing it ourselves. So we were either making the popcorn, delivering it, making sales calls, doing paperwork.

00:30:43Edit So I think what really happened to those meetings was us forcing us to take time out to kind of be creative again and think of ideas with her again. And then also just opportunities, you know, I think she was really gracious about making sure if she had an interview whether it was with Dr Oz or with Good Morning America that she always tried to include pip corn and talk about it. So like just continue to get us press and exposure and that actually is why we really didn't have to raise as much money in the early days because I think brands raise money and you use all that for marketing. We were able to get a lot of free marketing um through shark tank and then through barbers continued sort of like support of our brand, cheerleading you on. I love that. And where are you guys with the business today? Have you, have you had to raise since then? Um what's the kind of future of pip corn or what's the current and future of popcorn?

00:31:45Edit Yeah. So we, and In 2000 after shark tank in 2015 we went national and whole foods. And I think through that partnership we realized that it's a very different like cost model than selling direct to consumer. So our P&L started looking really different and we started going out and talking to investors probably like late 2016. And it actually was very difficult for us to raise money because popcorn was a rapidly growing category. And there were all these giants like skinny pop and boom chicka pop that were out ahead of us. So there are a lot of like competition concerns with sort of like ken pip corn stand up to those big giants. So it was actually a very difficult and it was very emotional for us to like go into these investor meetings and just get nose like I can't even tell you how many knows we got. And like, you know, I think also like for me where like I'm a finance person, I took it like even extra hard because I'm like, this is what I should be able to do, like, this is the stuff I know.

00:32:56Edit Um So yeah, so we were in conversations with people from Probably like 2016 to the beginning of 2018, just like meeting with different investors and just never really could get something that works. And then in the beginning 2018 we met a South African investor who was really interested and excited without pip corp and this was after like a series of nose. So we were like so excited that we met someone that saw our vision, understood what we were trying to do and really wanted to support us and we went through a six month due diligence process with that investor. And uh, we went down to the point of exchanging wire information. Um, so we were there, we had signed all the documents, you know? And Barbara signed the documents and I remember it was like the thursday before july 4th weekend, just radio silence, Which is very strange, right? Because I'm like, we've been like doing like, we got up and talking like every day, all those for the last six months to kind of get here.

00:34:03Edit They were gonna put in $3 million dollars into the business and just didn't get a response that goes to do. Yeah. So then finally, next, the week after it comes out that he had been in conversations with, not just hip corn, but to other brands that we actually were friends with as well. And down to this like, last process and the investor didn't actually have the money to put into the brands. So we had gone down this like six months, which really hurt the business and we needed the cash. Um, and then we had over $100,000 of legal fees associated with a fundraising. Um, and there was just nothing we could do. There was like, you know, there's, there was really no legal obligation that we could go back after him and it was actually investor that we were introduced by through a really reputable broker. So it was very traumatizing for our business.

00:35:05Edit Um, so this is like the summer of 2018. Yeah, I still remember like, Jeff Jen and I like went into the office and we were just like, silent because we knew that this could put us out of business right? Like now, because we have been, we've been under the impression right of growing. And we had this investor, we had the momentum and now we had all these additional fees associated with it on top of which fundraising takes time, right? So like, our cash burn wasn't going to take us like another six months to be able to fly another investor. So I actually think it was like a, a big moment for us to figure out like what, what are we doing here? Because at this point we've been doing this business since 2012, right? So, and we weren't making it, we weren't really making money like we were all living on nothing. We're all still like calling our parents all the time to help us.

00:36:06Edit And I think we were just like, is this something that's sustainable for us personally and for our families? And I think that us decide like Jaffa and I've been like, it is, is what's made us actually get to, I think where we are today, which is a really exciting place in our business, where we were like, hip corn is so special. We have to make it work. So I think all three of us only took like 24 hours to like throw ourselves a pity party. And then we were back in the we were back in the office just strategizing like how do we get through this? And so we essentially decided to just focus on whole foods as our prime partner and try to expand our products outside of popcorn because I think popcorn was a challenging category at the time, given all the competition. And so we really dug deep in terms of like what is our brand stand for? Like what do we care about?

00:37:08Edit What do our customers want? And it really came down to the heirloom corn that corn was like the secret sauce right to having one of Oprah scouts just list us as her favorite things when we were hand stamping bags, right? Like that's what Mark Cuban was eating constantly on, on the set where he couldn't even give us an offer on shark days. Like. And so we started playing with the heirloom corn and we realized that we could make all these delicious tasting snacks using only real ingredients and keeping to our mission of bringing a better quality product to market that may already exist. Like we weren't, we weren't innovators in terms of like bringing plant based right? Like we took popcorn and we made it better. And so all of our new products that we've launched our all in that same thesis, like take cheese balls that we loved growing up eating, make them better, more modern, healthier using heirloom corn frito scoops that we all love eating.

00:38:14Edit Let's make our corn dippers, that modern version of it that you're okay giving your kids today. So that was our sort of path and In September of 2018. So all of this, you know, we lost the fundraising and like the summer we went to Austin and we pitched whole foods, this idea of a family of heirloom snacks and we had samples that we've made from like some co packers that made it for us. We made our first iteration of the corn differs like literally in our kitchen with a pasta extruder and we, we sold it in the whole foods believed in what we were doing. They saw that we had such a brand that was so like customers that were so loyal to our popcorn so that like bootstrapped paid off right? When we were in real hardship, it was those loyal customers that actually like gave whole foods the confidence to be like pip corn can be a brand of heirloom snacks.

00:39:16Edit So we, we went from three skews and whole foods of popcorn to 11 with now popcorn puffs, chips were in crackers. Um and then we were able to raise money to from a great investor who's now funded all of this growth. And so yeah, so last year, like Before, um we were able to get all the new items and we were, we've probably grown like 300% this year which is like crazy thinking that, you know, before all this innovation, like we were sitting in the room being like is end, is this, yeah, is this the end? Yeah, wow. What a roller coaster. I think that's what keeps us grounded of like, you know, all the good comes with that and we have to make it our own And I think that that's sort of like path throughout our 10 years has really made people on the brand. It is so we have, I think a very authentic voice um to our customer and that like for real people that, you know, are just trying to do the right thing, right?

00:40:26Edit Like we really just want to make food that tastes better. It's good for you, kids better for the planet. We we didn't have like a grand business plan, We weren't like trying to change the world. I think we were just like, we love eating this food and we think other people should deserve to eat it too. So yeah, it was, it was wild and I think it's so interesting to hear like that the hustle is still there, you know, eight years on when you have to really get down in the nitty gritty and be like, okay, how are we going to turn things around when things have gone, you know, all over the place, It's incredible. I mean, whoa Yeah, I think it was very dark for us, but that's what I think is so amazing about founders and entrepreneurs who are like, it's so your thing, right? Like you have so much attachment that you're not going to let it go and you're gonna figure out a way to make it reality.

00:41:27Edit And it's that perseverance that I think is like, such a similar quality among all the different entrepreneurs that we talked to is like, no matter what we're going to figure it out and it's going to work and it may not be like the straight line that you thought like this, which is why, which is why I like, I don't think writing a business plan really is necessary to start a business, right? And that's what I when I was in business school, I was like, I learned like write a business plan. Um but today, like when I talk to people, I'm like, throw that out the window because whenever you write down is never gonna be what you can make reality and maybe the business plan holds you back. Right? True. Because you're so focused on what you wrote down when in the beginning. So yeah, it's it's all about the roller coaster for sure. Absolutely. What advice do you have for women who have a big idea?

00:42:31Edit I know you've just shared the business plan thing, but that aside, what is your advice for women who have a big idea? I think, well, I think if they need the push, I would say go for it, that would be my advice. Don't overthink it. You know, I think it doesn't have to be perfect. A mentor said that to me once. Like it doesn't have to be perfect. Don't let perfect stand in the way of good, which I thought was such great advice because it's so true, right? We get so stuck in making things perfect? And I think for women too right? Where you're maybe even more so for women because you are almost like expected to fail, right? Like if you look at all the founders and see beauty, so many of them are men, So many of the investors are men and you know, I think that for women, you're like, if I'm going to put myself out there, I need to like prove that it's wrong, like women can succeed too and I don't think that you want to let that hold you back because then you'll never launch it, you'll never go for it.

00:43:35Edit So yeah, I would say like the advice that my mentor gave me don't let perfect stand in the way of good would be what I would say a 100%. And I think there's another quote that's along the lines of done is better than perfect, totally. Yeah, get it done, move forward. Move forward quickly. We are up to the six quick questions part of the interview, are you ready to go, yep, great. Number one is what's your y I think for me it's it's proving that like, I could do it. I think like, just having that motivation, like it's possible, like I'm so hard on myself and I think a lot of that's come from like the way I was raised and so I think for me, like, I just never want to give up because like, I know I almost have to prove it to myself like that I could do it. Um which I don't know if that's the best quality, but like, I think I'm never happy with like just it not working.

00:44:39Edit I have to make sure like I proved to myself I can do it. Yeah. There's gonna be a big exit in your future question. Number two is what's been the number one marketing moment that made your business pop? I think shark tank what we talked about. Yeah, having that exposure and this opportunity is something like we're so grateful for and I know a lot of brands, um, you know, try to get, so just being able to be in front of eight million people with something that I think just completely changed our business changed the game. Major step change Question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? So with, with a five month or five week old and a three year old, I feel like I'm kind of just stuck in the house. But I actually think being with my daughter Elliott, who's three, she's actually like shown me a lot just because I think toddlers there, they see things as they are, They don't overthink anything.

00:45:42Edit Um, and that's actually taught me a lot. It's like weird to think that my daughter has taught me so much, but in the last like three or four months where I feel like she's in that tall their age? She's made me realize like even if your business, it's like to see things for what they are, don't overthink them. Don't over complicate them and that's actually been hugely valuable for me in like the last three months, That's so sweet hanging out with my daughter up, cute question Number four is how do you win the day? And that's around your am mpm rituals. Um So my am ritual right now is like breastfeeding my son. Um But I think what allowed me to win my days actually because I don't have a lot of time um taking every opportunity I can so when I'm feeding Gray like that's what I'm doing all of my email. Um So my, so my team right now is like why am I getting emails from you at like four a.m. And six a.m. But I think for me it's about like just taking every opportunity I can to kind of make sure that I'm staying on top of what I'm doing and then my evening routine I would say is at least taking 10 minutes to sort of just read the internet because I think that when you're so um when you're so obsessed right of of what you're doing.

00:47:12Edit So I for pip corn it's something I'm constantly thinking about and with my husband being in the My fellow partner we're always talking about. I think that in the evening like just to have 10 minutes to like just read about the world. It actually helps put perspective into what we're doing with popcorn for sure. Question number five is if you only had $1000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it? Mm That's um that's a great question. Um I think that we would, I think we would pay our employees. I don't, you know, I'm just trying to think like we've been in those situations before and Chelsea who's our Director of operations, she has been with us for like over three years, almost four years actually now and she's like family and I think with a lot of like the press and stuff that picked corn gets, she's sort of like, you know, I think like the unsung hero and so I think for, I'm sure if you asked Jeff and done the same question to it be like taking care of her because she kind of keeps keeps the wheels on the, whatever that thing is, it keeps the wheels on the bus going around.

00:48:23Edit I don't know if it's even as saying, I think it's a kids song which has turned into a saying love that Oh sure feels so nice when you share this with her question number six, final question is how do you deal with failure? I think that I try not to dwell on it. So I try to push forward. Yeah, and try to see the positive side of that failure because I think with the fundraising especially like I felt like it was something I failed for the company because it was something I was leading. Um and so I think that was a good example of like how I dealt with, it was like, let's not be upset, like let's fix the problem. Um So more of that sort of mindset, yep, absolutely, and you know what's funny that, like, I'm just thinking this now, but from our conversation before about that fundraising time, I don't know if people realize it takes that long, you know, over that long period of time.

00:49:25Edit It's just kind of crazy to think how many hours you would have dedicated to doing that and like essentially stepping away from like the operation of the business at that same time to focus on the fundraising. That's crazy. Really crazy, Wow. Yeah, that's such a great point because um it's so true, like fundraising definitely is a distraction from growing your business. Yeah, and you kind of have to keep the momentum too though of the business until you close the deal. So like the average fundraising does take like 6-8 months before a really long time. And even with shark tank actually we are process. So we, you know, on the show we agreed to the deal, but we had a six month due diligence process with Barbara's team after. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah, it's funny, I didn't realize that that was the case, it's a really long time, half a year. Oh my goodness. And then imagine then you don't get the money. Uh I mean that's heartbreak right there, that's, that's truly like heartache and heartbreak.

00:50:32Edit Thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today, Teresa, I have absolutely loved talking to you and getting to learn about pip corn and where you guys are at. Amazing! Thank you so much for having me.



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