2019: a year of transformation and growing pains, of uprooting. It was an uncomfortable, vulnerable, messy year that required a lot of head-down time with our blinders on for most of the year and opportunities to engage as we head into 2020.
Here’s a few highlights –
✨As many of you know, we are (mainly) a two-person team working very lean and flexing as if we are a much larger brand. We got our big break with the launch of Real Food Bars into our hometown retailer and the beloved Texas favorite, H-E-B grocery! THIS by far is the biggest news of the last year, especially landing the account after only a few months of finalizing our product line.
✨We transitioned our fulfillment from L.A. to Dallas with an amazing team who hand picks every order (yay for 2-day shipping!).
✨We increased our store count distribution from zero to over 120 stores in 12 months and implemented a subscription-based model on our website.
✨We partnered with SO many amazing nonprofits and organizations – from athletes to dietitians to social impact-focused nonprofits that are doing amazing things in the community.
✨ I was featured in Austin Woman Magazine (shout out to all my friends out there who encouraged me to along the way).
✨ I started working full-time on Real Food Bar.
Our Social Impact
It’s never our intent to flex by self-promoting our giveback, but I’m also a data-driven person so I thought I’d just break down a few numbers for you. This is by far my favorite part of being an entrepreneur.
This year, we’ve been able to give back to an organization that fights human trafficking (All Worth of Love), an organization that supports recovery from homelessness (Back on my Feet), an organization promoting mothers in the workforce (Mompreneur and Me), a women’s retreat (Woodside Church) and be an in-kind sponsor to several races across the country.
Number of bars donated to food banks: 1,150 bars (value – $3,428)
Bars donated to social impact organizations: 1,600 bars (value – $4,784)
I don’t always go into the detail, but as a bootstrapped small biz, every sample, free shipping and donation is paid for by yours truly. We don’t (to-date) take salaries and invest every dollar earned back into the business (thank you for your continued trust and support!)
The above photo is a river cleanup we participated in Colorado.
As we continue trudging through in 2020, I’ve taken this time to go from a top line sales growth mindset to fine-tuned operator. We’ve taken this time to pivot our strategy and improve our stewardship of both brand and assets. This first quarter of 2020 has been focused on building relationships, awareness, going deep and narrow in our existing retail accounts and setting a foundation for growth long term.
💥PUSH 💥 – Pursue until something happens
With eyes wide open, my mantra this year has been PUSH, an acronym for pursue until something happens. In the words of LeBron James, “I’m going to use all my tools, my God-given ability, and make the best life I can with it.”
In 2020, we have:
✨Overhauled our recipes from our customers’ valuable input: we’ve improved our recipes, became vegan and continue to reassess/fine tune our supplier partnerships in an effort to reach a more accessible/sustainable price.
✨Partnered with amazing students and interns at the University of Oxford, Said Business School and Hult International Business School who are lending their expertise on everything from finance to marketing.
✨Cultivating community, building out perks through our newsletter program, creating an easier customer experience, opening ourselves up to more opportunities for feedback, and challenging ourselves to thinking-out-of-the-box when it comes to how we can better fuel YOUR purpose and help you elevate.
✨Truly becoming a plant-based and sustainable brand through our partnership with upcycled vegetable suppliers. This means every bar reduces food waste and reduces our environmental footprint. More to come on that.
✨ We’ve begun the process of becoming a certified woman-owned business!
✨ We’re officially Non-GMO Project Verified.
✨ In the final stages our extending our shelf life (translation: you can stock up on Real Food Bars for the long haul)
✨ We have new flavors and product lines prototyped and new markets assessed (shout out to our UK friends at Virgin Startups).
✨ We’ve officially launched on Walmart.com and partnered with online wholesale channels like Mable, Tundra, Hubba and Pod Foods to increase our distribution to independent retailers.
We’re beyond proud of the accomplishments to-date and excited for what is to come. We’re committed to building a plant-based snack brand from real food, close to the source. Keep following along as we share more behind the scenes!
P.S. – Spread the word to your friends, coworkers or even your grandma. I would be forever grateful. Or if you’re bored and feeling peckish, send me a fun Tik tok video we can share on our social media. If it’s good, I’ll send you some samples to say thanks for keeping us fresh. 🙂 -> [email protected] or @realfoodbar
P.S.S. – I’m not normally a hugs and kisses kinda gal, so maybe a fist bump instead?