As often happens when “chasing a dream” life and business got in the way of posting this blog in early April when it was written. Fortunately/unfortunately this blog still rings true today. Enjoy! - Pete
It’s 2:30am. This seems like a good time to write the blog post I’ve been meaning to write for the last three weeks. When will my brain ever be more honest than now, staring into the darkness to get a clearer view of the past few months of business, relationships, and of life? I let my first thoughts slip past: “I am exhausted. I can’t believe I’m not sleeping. I wonder if the sleep app on my iPhone knows I’m awake.” My next thought brings a smile to my face: “This is what chasing a dream feels like.”
March was brüks bars’ best month ever. By far. We did nearly 20% more volume than January 2016, which was previously our best month ever. By far. We averaged sales of 266 bars…per day. In one month, we sold 8,243 delicious, real food snack bars, each one carefully prepped, baked, packaged, and shipped or delivered by our committed team. Every apricot (now organic!), every sticker, every taped box, all done by hand with a pursuit not of perfection, but of love and passion, for you, our customers, our team, and our vision: To Provide the Fuel for YOU to Change the World, One Bite at a Time.
I read our vision statement to a customer at a food show recently, and she replied, “Wow, that’s a bold vision. Do you really think your bars change the world?” I thought for a minute before replying, “No, our bars may not change the world. But if you eat one and feel energized, healthy, and vibrant, than we know YOU will change the world.” She smiled and bought a box, before calling over her shoulder, “Keep it up and keep setting your goals high. You never know where this will go.”
Since that glass of champagne toasting to “a dominant 2016” on New Year’s Eve, we have sold over 21,200 snack bars, over half of our entire 2015 total. We have hit a new high. This is exciting, but as we have learned over and over again in life, the highs can only be fully elucidated by the lows. Life’s way of keeping us balanced and honest.
We spent last Wednesday morning having one of the best meetings imaginable, receiving incredible praise on the creation of the business, the passionate pursuit of healthy snacking, and the way we conduct ourselves as people and as business leaders. We closed the meeting and Sean raced to his full-time job while Brooke and I scrambled to get to a health and wellness event in Uptown, giving out samples and chatting with people until our knees buckled and our eyes began to blur. Brooke left the event to buy kitchen supplies and I slapped our business magnets on the side of my car to deliver bars to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The car magnets were no match for the highway, and Brooke and I spent the next hour walking up and down the interstate looking for our prized possessions, without which we cannot deliver to the airport. I raced across highway traffic in my business shoes and dress slacks to salvage the remains with Brooke yelling, “It’s not worth it, Sean will be so mad if I let you die this way!”, getting to the airport just in time to drop off the order.
The next day we announced to our kitchen staff the incredible month we were closing. Highs, highs, highs. I turned to seal another boxed order and heard the sharp crack of metal being ripped apart. The very expensive Hobart paddle had shattered halfway through mixing our batch of Cherry Espresso. This was the second splintered paddle in three weeks. Lows, lows, lows.
Saturday came and we hadn’t had a day off in as long as we could remember. Why start now? We packed supplies the night before, and Sean woke up early to work the Gluten Free Wellness Event in Charlotte. I traded places with him around noon so he could get his UNC-Charlotte soccer team ready for an evening game. We had two Johnson & Wales college students helping us out, stocking samples and chatting with people while we tried to remember whom we had already spoken with and if there was a chance in our delirium (a very high chance, in fact) that we were repeating the same lines over and over again. Brooke headed out to Williams Sonoma for an exciting four-hour tasting event with other enthusiastic local food businesses. Sean closed the day with a soccer game. I heard him come home around 11:15pm, 15 hours after the day had started, but I was too tired to open the door and nod goodnight.
We are exhilarated. We are exhausted. We are succeeding. We are stressed. We know what each other are thinking before we think it. We disagree. We laugh. We cry. Then we laugh again about the fact that we are crying.
This is running a startup business. This is the life we have chosen, the mission to which we have devoted ourselves. And honestly, despite all of the highs and lows, the late nights and early mornings, the stressful meetings and painful phone calls, we wouldn’t change a thing. This is what chasing a dream feels like. We are so proud to share it with you.
To deliciously good health,