Hitting The Mark
Conversations with founders about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success with your host, brand strategist and author Fabian Geyrhalter.
Featuring the founders of brands you know and brands you are excited to get to know:
EP026 – Jordann Windschauer-Amatea, CEO & Founder, Base Culture
Jordann Windschauer-Amatea is the third consecutive ‘mom entrepreneur’ on this show who successfully conquered the food business. And she is another amazing inspiration to anyone who wants to move a passion into a business and subsequently into a brand with heart and soul. Jordann founded Base Culture as a bakery catering to the healthy, pure, and primal lifestyle that can be summed up as the Paleo diet while she was in college. She wanted to live a healthy lifestyle, but have a brownie, so she baked it until it was perfect. She could not find a co-packing facility, so she created her own and waited for 2 years to have it finished while keeping hundreds of stores and journalists interested in her products waiting. What I learned about Jordann is that she is stubborn and passionate – and those two traits may just be the key ingredients to her success. Today, at age 27, she is working out of a 44,000 square foot facility and her range of products can be found in over 7,000 stores nationwide.
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F Geyrhalter: This was Jordann Windschauer Amatea, the third mom entrepreneur on Hitting the Mark back to back, who successfully conquered the food business and another amazing inspiration to anyone who wants to move a passion into a business and subsequently into a brand with heart and soul. Jordann founded Base Culture as a bakery, catering to the healthy, pure and primal lifestyle that could be summed up as the paleo diet. She wanted to live a healthy lifestyle but have a brownie. So she baked it until it was perfect. She could not find a co-packing facility. So she created her own and waited two years to have it built and finalized while keeping hundreds of stores and journalists interested in her product title. What I learned about Jordann is that she is stubborn and passionate, and those two traits may just be the key ingredients to her success. Today she’s working out of a 44,000 square foot facility, and her range of products can be found in over 7,000 stores nationwide. And now over to my conversation with Jordann. Welcome to the show, Jordann.
Jordann W A: Thank you so much. Excited to be here.
F Geyrhalter: So you started your company Base Culture at age 22 which was only five years ago, and it came from your obsession with the paleo diet. Tell us a little bit about the origins of your brand.
Jordann W A: Yeah, so I had graduated from college and joined a CrossFit gym and they were doing this paleo challenge where I honestly didn’t know what paleo was, but I figured I should participate and get involved in the community and what they were doing to make friends and get involved. So I jumped in and did 30 days where you eat meat, vegetables, seeds and nuts and fruit. And after that was concluded, I felt so much better. And so I don’t have like a celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but overall I did realize the impact of eating this way versus the college diet, which probably isn’t the healthiest. And so I notice things in my life were changing. I had more energy with consistent levels instead of having highs and lows throughout the day, and I was sleeping better at night. I wasn’t tossing and turning and things like that. So I realized that there really was something to this and it wasn’t just about weight loss or physical appearance or anything like that. It was more how I wanted to live my life and wanted to continue down this journey. And so that’s really how I gotten introduced to paleo right off the bat. But then I wanted to continue following this lifestyle, but I realized to do so that I needed to figure out a solution for my sweet tooth and for products that I know and love and grew up eating like sandwiches and banana breads that I missed in my everyday life when I was on this lifestyle for paleo. But it didn’t exist in the marketplace. And so that’s why I started creating the products. It was very much for selfish want or desire that I was filling a void in my life and kind of created what it is today just by bringing it to the marketplace and introducing it to my friends and family and kind of word of mouth started spreading organically. So that was my introduction and do this whole lifestyle that is all around paleo but kind of stumbled on the business through that.
F Geyrhalter: How do you move from baking treats, which I’m sure in the beginning you did out of your apartment or your dorm room, right? How do you go from baking them to actually selling them? I mean, are there any FDA issues even early on? And just for our international listeners, which is actually more than half of our audience, FDA is the Food and Drug Administration here in the US. How did that go? Where did you start selling, first of all?
Jordann W A: Sure. So when I originally started selling it, I was actually just selling it on Facebook. So I would post when I was going to make something, and I had a regular day job at the time. So I would be working at my desk job from nine to five, and then I would work out from 5:30 to 6:30, and at some point during the day I would post on Facebook saying, “I’m making brownies tonight. Who wants some?” And then people would place their orders on Facebook, contact me through a message, and send me their address and then I would deliver it to them on the weekend.
F Geyrhalter: That’s insane. That is completely insane.
Jordann W A: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: There is no FDA involved there. You could be a complete crazy stranger. Yeah, I mean, wow. There’s a lot of trust in humanity after all.
Jordann W A: There is. There is definitely something to say about that for sure. Doing that, I was operating under the cottage food law, which allows you to make food out of your apartment. And so with that, I guess that legal standpoint, you can’t sell to someone and ship it to them. So that was one parameter I had to work with. So it had to be hand-delivered. And then the other parameter was you can’t sell to retail stores because they do require some certifications. But if you just sell basically like at a farmer’s market type setting or if you deliver the products to the person by hand, then you’re clear to do whatever you want. And so I took advantage of that and I would make all of these products throughout the night and then like I said deliver it on the weekend and sell on Sundays at a farmer’s market and just tested the waters. I mean, truthfully at the time I didn’t realize that this could be a business. I didn’t realize what legs it had, if it had any legs at all. It was just something fun for me to do. And I found enjoyment and baking at night. And I’m not culinary trained or I don’t have a history in baking. It’s just something I enjoyed doing growing up with my mom. And so just kind of reliving those days and getting in the kitchen and figuring out recipes that worked, I found a lot of joy in. And so I just followed that and started organically selling. And my advertising was word of mouth, but it was very grassroots.
F Geyrhalter: And was it mainly catering to the friends within your Facebook groups that actually followed the paleo diet? Or was it just anyone that says, “Hey, I like your brownies.” I’m sure I would like your brownies. So how did that work?
Jordann W A: Yeah, so it originally started with people that were specifically interested in paleo, and then once they tried it, they’re like, “Holy cow, this is just a really good brownie. But it also checks off the boxes for being paleo or grain free or gluten free or dairy free or soy free or non-GMO.” It has all of these attributes. But at the core base of the product I’m eating, it’s just a really good brownie. So it wasn’t like they were sacrificing taste or texture or that experience of indulging in a sweet treat for the alternatives of what you would consider a healthy product. And so once they realized that, okay, wow, this is awesome and I really enjoy this, I think a word of mouth started spreading just on a really good product that was healthier, better for you. And so as time continued, my core paleo group of people that were buying for the purpose of paleo started expanding, and now we’re seeing that really just people that want to live healthier lifestyles are our key customers. Because yes it does check the box or paleo, but it has so many other answers within the product itself. So it kind of is migrated out to just that want to eat better food that is nutritionally-focused and has that deliverable aspect to it.
F Geyrhalter: Absolutely. And I think for a startup founder, having that built in tribe in the beginning though, like that small subgroup that you wholeheartedly can support, must be so amazing because you can literally get a relatively small audience in a huge place like the US with its, I don’t know, 329 something million people and you would have a loyal tribe of like hundreds of thousands if not millions. And so it wasn’t even a trick you utilized. It was just a passion, which you are the third female founder who happens to be an entrepreneur who happens to be a mom and who happens to have gone into food and beverage without any experience just based on passion or a need. And it’s really, really inspirational. So I love having you on, and I love hearing hearing that story. But looking back, what was that one big breakthrough moment where you felt like, okay, my little startup is actually turning into a brand?
Jordann W A: Yeah. So I actually had some unexpected news coverage. This was still in the days of my apartment when I was baking there. And I recognized that there were a couple of news anchors from a local news channel following me on Facebook and Instagram or following the business. So I reached out to them and I figured, if you don’t ask, you’ll never get. So I just sent them a message and said, “Hey, do you guys want to do a story?” And one of the anchors responded and said, “Yeah, we’re really interested in this paleo thing.” This was back when paleo was kind of making it a name for itself, but not really. And they wanted to learn more about it, and they recognized what I was doing in the Tampa area where I’m from. And so she said, “Here’s my number. Give me a call. Let’s set something up.” And so I did. I went in. We did a segment and it aired in Tampa like they said it would. But what I didn’t recognize was that they have a network pool of companies that they work with around the country. So they put this story in their network pool and it was picked up by other channels and played multiple times for a week straight. And so I had national news coverage that was completely unexpected and I had people calling, trying to place orders. I had retail stores asking if they could buy it to sell it to their customers. And it was obviously way more than I could handle or even do in my apartment. And that was really where I saw, okay, is this bigger than what I anticipated or is this something I want to take advantage of and go forward with? And it was at that time, I remember what restaurant I went to with my dad and I sat down with him, and I remember the table we sat at, and I told him how exciting this was and how much support I was getting from the community and what had happened with the new segment. And I explained what I wanted to do with it and how much passion I had behind it because I recognized that I was helping people, not only people that wanted to live this healthy lifestyle, but people that needed to eat this way because they did have gluten intolerances or sensitivities to foods and that they didn’t have access to products like this. And they were “suffering” or having to sacrifice for products that they really wanted or just wanting to enjoy. And so with that, I explained all of this and he very quite frankly told me, and in the most loving way possible that I had a hobby and a business and I was doing both poorly, and I needed to spend more time on my business and less time on my hobby if that’s the way I wanted to go and the direction I wanted to head in. And so that was, I think, really the pivotal moment for me where I decided that I am all in, blood, sweat and tears. I’m diving in headfirst and this is what I want to do with my life. This is my passion. And so at that point I got out of my apartment and went to a small commercial kitchen and rented some space and started turning it into more of a business.
F Geyrhalter: So first of all, I love what your dad said. It is so wonderful and it’s so true. And so now fast forward and you were about to get there. I read, and this is fascinating, I read that you couldn’t find a co-packer to package your line of products. So after eight months, after eight months of looking, you actually took it into your own hands and built your own facility, which I guess today is 44,000 square foot in size today. But that move sounds amazingly stubborn, inspiring. And those are extremely difficult to pull off. Did you have a hard time finding a co-packer because you needed a facility to not package any goods that may contaminate your pure products? How was that?
Jordann W A: Yeah. So there was a couple of reasons why we decided to build our own facility. One reason was because of the contamination issue. So our products are certified non-GMO, gluten-free, paleo, kosher, and it’s made in an SQF level two facility, which stands for safe quality food. And so I wanted those certifications around the products wherever they were going to be made. The problem was there wasn’t a manufacturing plant in the country that could deliver on those aspects. And so to make sure that the products were consistent and of the highest quality and standards 100% of the time, I knew the only way I could guarantee it that was if I kept my hands around the process from start to finish. And then furthermore, because our products were so unique to the industry, there wasn’t actually a manufacturing plant that had the processes set up to make the products. Because in a typical bakery, they’re used to working with yeast and flour and sugars and all of these things that usually make up baked goods. But ours are made out of seeds and nuts and they’re sweetened with honey instead of sugar. There’s no preservatives. They require to be frozen to extend their shelf life. And so it was a very different process so that these manufacturing plants were used to. And so, I didn’t understand it at the time because I was like, “Hey, I’m going to pay you. Why can’t you figure this out?” And I truly get it now because we do have our facility. Like you said, we did take on that responsibility and build it ourselves. So I understand when you have a process in place, it is so pivotal to make sure that whatever products you’re making within your process don’t screw up what you’re already doing. And our products would have totally done that for these manufacturing plants. So with that, I decided, and again, I sat down with my dad who, he’s an entrepreneur himself. He’s not in the food industry, but he’s very business minded. And now he’s one of my business partners. But I sat down with him again, and I was like, “I really only see the way forward is if we build our own plant, and that’s really the only way we’re going to be able to grow this.” And at the time, I had a lot of interest from bigger retail stores, but in this industry, you can’t get anyone to promise that they’re going to send you a purchase order. That doesn’t happen. If they want your products and they’re going to place an order, you’re expected to deliver in two weeks. And so I had this interest, but I couldn’t say, without a shadow of a doubt, I knew that they were going to order if we build this facility because there was going to be a gap when the facility was being built before we could deliver it. So it might’ve been a little presumptuous, maybe a little naive, or …
F Geyrhalter: Optimistic.
Jordann W A: Just blinded by passion, I don’t know. But we started looking for a facility. We were looking around the country, and actually one popped up in Clearwater where we are now, which was 20 minutes outside of Tampa, where I’m from, and about 20 minutes away from my dad’s house in St. Pete. And so the stars aligned, and it was an old U.S. Foods distribution plant. So it was set up with food in mind, so we didn’t have to do any external changes to the facility. We just did internal renovations. But from permitting to move in, we did lose about two and a half years to complete the project from the branded side of things.
F Geyrhalter: Yeah.
Jordann W A: But I did continue to go out and pitch to the connections I had made to make sure that the relationships were moving forward and make sure that they understood that we were actually doing this thing, and that one day the lights would turn on, and I would be able to actually sell them food and not just talk about it. And so, thankfully I was able to make those relationships last so that, when we did move into our facility, let’s see, it was February of 2017 when we first moved in after the construction was complete. From February till July, we got those certifications that I mentioned in July, we hired a national broker to help us sell the products, and then in August, in September we did a rebranding to make our image and kind of give it a facelift to go to the market and officially launched then in October of 2017. So even though I started the company many years prior to that, there was really only a hundred stores buying from us up until that point. So it was a big undertaking financially, emotionally, physically, all of those words, to get to a place where we could actually grow the company.
F Geyrhalter: Oh, I’m sure.
Jordann W A: And then, from October to the end of 2017, we went from a hundred stores to a thousand stores. And then we were well on our way to growing quickly.
F Geyrhalter: Were you self-funded at the time when you took over that facility?
Jordann W A: We were self-funded. A majority of it was self-funded, and we had a small business loan from a local bank.
F Geyrhalter: Okay, okay. So you talked about when you did your rebranding, which was the smart thing to do at the time, when you were just about to really roll out, and as you told us, that happened very quickly when it happened.
Jordann W A: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: How was the name derived?
Jordann W A: So it’s kind of funny. When I originally started the company, I’d called it Paleo Box because I thought I’m making paleo food, and I’m putting it in a box, and I’m selling it. There really wasn’t genius behind it. It was very literal. But about five minutes after I called it Paleo Box, I realized I couldn’t move forward with that name for two reasons. One, it was actually already trademarked, and you can’t do that. And two, I didn’t want to necessarily put the products I’ve created in a limiting a platform. I wanted to be able to create a brand that could grow and fluctuate with the consumers’ interests throughout time. And so, with that, I realized, all right, let’s rethink this. Let’s figure out what what am I truly trying to get across to the customer? And the idea behind paleo, while I believe paleo is a wonderful lifestyle to follow and that there’s no gimmicks, it’s just nutritionally based eating that, if Dr. Oz or someone of status or just the public eye gets online and says paleo is the worst thing in the world, which I don’t believe they would, having the name as the name of the company would be detrimental.
F Geyrhalter: Right.
Jordann W A: And so I wanted to create a broader platform for us to grow on. And so, with that, I realized, well, paleo is really just taking all the complications out of eating and bringing it back to its base, its core, what it is when it’s found in nature. And so that’s really where base came from, and culture’s the idea of what I’m creating around this type of lifestyle. We want to create this movement and this cultural like following of our customers. And by doing that, we’re going to provide them the tools they need to live their healthy and active lifestyle. And so that’s the origin of Base Culture, of how that was created.
F Geyrhalter: And it is a name that stands out more than it fits in in the refrigerated aisle of a Walmart or Whole Foods.
Jordann W A: Totally.
F Geyrhalter: So it’s super interesting, right? And on your website, and I believe it’s kind of your tagline, you say Base Culture is simple, natural, primal. It kind of reads like a manifesto. What does that mean to the brand, and how does it inspire its future?
Jordann W A: Yeah. So it’s really who we are. We bring our products back to a simple standpoint. When you look at a normal brownie, and when I say “normal,” it’s one of those pre-packaged, very artificially made, or has a lot of preservatives in it. You look at that, you look at the ingredient deck, there are a lot of ingredients in there that you don’t understand or you can’t even pronounce, and you don’t know what you’re putting in your body. And that’s not who we are. We’re the exact opposite. You can read everything on our ingredient deck. You know exactly what it is, you know where it comes from, and it’s products that you can trust. So making our products simple was truly important, not only from when I started in my apartment, but now that we’re making thousands and thousands of products a day and sending it out to stores all across the country every single day, that hasn’t changed. And that was really difficult for us to go from my kitchen in my apartment and the recipes that I’ve created to this large manufacturing plant, being able to produce on such scale, to maintain that process and that philosophy from the very start has been really key to our success. And it’s that simplicity that we fall back to every time, and natural again. It’s just a natural way of eating. It’s no gimmick. There’s no special pill that you have to take to be this way. It’s just natural. It’s what we were intended to do. And the primal aspect of it plays on the paleo word, and so paleo is kind of nicknamed “the caveman diet.” It’s what our ancestors used to eat. It’s what you could find in nature, and so it’s that raw form of eating. We just do it in a way and put it into a form that’s recognizable in the bakery context. And so it has the ability to satisfy that sweet tooth or to indulge or “indulge,” right? Because it is still very healthy and nutritional for you, so it’s like indulging without the guilt.
F Geyrhalter: Absolutely. How was that rebrand effort? So you came from Paleo Box. You moved on to a new name, strong tagline. Everything went really to the heart of what you’re trying to do without putting you into a corner like paleo so that you can’t expand in the future. How was that process of rebranding? How involved were you? Were you working with a single person? Were you working with an agency? Tell us a little bit how everything kind of came together and also how important after that process, do you think that brand-infused thinking was to the success of your startup?
Jordann W A: Yeah, so we actually went through three different agencies before we found the agency that we moved forward with.
F Geyrhalter: Ouch.
Jordann W A: And so it was a long process.
F Geyrhalter: You’re not the only one.
Jordann W A: It was not easy. The hardest part of it was I had this image in my head of what I thought the company should be, but also keep in mind, I was like 24, so what do I really know without any experience, without any knowledge of the industry, without any advice from some successful people in the industry. This was just truly gut feeling and gut reaction. But I had this picture in my head of what I thought the company would look like and what it would feel like and the way it would talk to the customers and the personality would develop. But conveying that to the agencies in a way that they could take it from my brain and put it on paper was a hard process. And I think, not to discredit the agencies that we spoke to, the first three agencies, it was probably mostly my fault because I wasn’t able to articulate exactly what I was looking for. But through that process, I got more fine-tuned in my messaging, and I got more directive into the creative aspect. And so, when we found … we worked with a company called Idol Partners, and they’re out of California, and we still work with them today. They were the agency that ultimately brought Base Culture to life. And we invested tons of money just to get to that point, probably more money than we had. I know it was more money than we had to spend at the time. But the way we came out of it and the image and the branding that we had once we were done through that process with Idol, it was an image, and the packaging was mature, and it was an image that could be brought to life. And it was something that demanded attention in the retail stores and grabbed the attention of the retail buyers that were giving us the opportunities to go into the store. And so it made us look much more mature than we actually were. And it gave us the ability to grow faster because of it. And so it was a hard process. It was a long process that had to be done. And that’s really I think what gave us the ability to develop the platform in which we’ve gotten to today. We actually, as of two weeks ago, started doing a brand refresh. We’re still working with the same company, Idol, to do this, but now the products have been in the industry for two years, and we’ve seen little things that need to be tweaked or just changed a little bit. And so we have more information now than I did two years ago because of that. And we can go back into our design and make those changes to really even accelerate our growth faster. So, of course, with time you learn, and now we have the ability to do those fine tunes.
F Geyrhalter: And now that you spent a good amount of years, talking, thinking, doing branding, some subliminally, a lot of it through an agency, and a lot of it just by yourself, the way that you talk about the brand. What does branding mean to you now?
Jordann W A: Well, I think it’s … It’s everything. People say, “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” But in the consumer product world, that’s exactly what people are doing. You have exactly three seconds to grab someone’s attention, and maybe they don’t, maybe they do, but your packaging, your branding, your image, that’s what you have to hang your hat on. Of course, the product has to be spectacular as well, but someone’s not going to try the products without seeing the packaging first. That’s your first moment of impact. And so, with strong branding, it’s everything. Your messaging has to be clear. It has to be concise. It’s who you are. It’s exactly what you breathe and you eat and you sleep and you dream. And that has all has to be captured within that package or within your brand, whether it be on the shelf or on Instagram or on Facebook or whatever platform you’re promoting the products on. So, if your branding isn’t anything but exactly what you want, it will come across untrue or won’t accomplish the work you want it to do for you. And so I think things have developed over time and little pieces have fallen into place where it just feels right, and that’s what you have to go for when you’re developing the brand. And I’ve figured that out just through trial and error and over time and realizing what is important to Base Culture, what’s not important to Base Culture, what resonates with the consumer. How do I get a message across in a way that will be impactful, that they will be willing to trust Base Culture to give it a try? And will that develop a loyal customer and how to build on that. And so branding’s your lifeblood. It’s everything from start to finish and the continuing relationship you have with the customer.
F Geyrhalter: Talking about branding being your lifeblood, you literally are very much the brand as a person, which creates transparency and a real person rather than a brand image to root for. But now that you’re a mom, how does it affect your personal life? Or is the baby just part of every Instagram story?
Jordann W A: Yeah, it’s been an interesting transition from being just entrepreneur to being mompreneur, I guess, if you want to call it that.
F Geyrhalter: Is that frowned upon? Is that a term that’s actually frowned upon? Is that a term that is actually embraced, “mompreneur”?
Jordann W A: I think it depends on who you’re talking to, truthfully.
F Geyrhalter: Okay.
Jordann W A: Because there are some people where you tell them you have a family, and you have this life outside of the business, then it’s like, “Well, if you want to be successful, you need to dedicate your entire every waking moment you have to the business.”
F Geyrhalter: Oh, Jesus.
Jordann W A: And while that’s true to an extent, you have to make it work for your life because hey, it’s also your life.
F Geyrhalter: Right.
Jordann W A: And then, in the other breath, there’s plenty of people that are super supportive of this transition that I’m going through, and I’ve gotten a lot of people reaching out to be supportive and offer encouraging words of advice and how they’ve done it too. Because I’m not the first woman to have a baby and run a business. It’s not unheard of, and it has been done before. It’s just a matter of adjusting mentally and physically to the other demands. And so, thankfully, I’m one of eight kids in my family, and I have a lot of babysitters built in. And so I’m able to work out of my house a lot, which is great. But then I also have my siblings there to help support and watch my baby while I’m working or taking calls. They’re able to help [inaudible 00:31:35] if I’m too busy doing emails. And so I’ve got the support internally from my family to help build my new family. And then also Base Culture is … I kind of joke, and I say Base Culture was my first baby, and now Eloise is my second baby. And so I became a new mom and a second mom all at the same time. But it’s just a balance. It’s figuring out what’s working for you and what’s not and making what’s not work in the long run. And what’s not and making what’s not work in the long run. And it’s wonderful. But I swear she’ll be our very best sales girl when she’s able to talk. I think Base Culture will be her first words.
F Geyrhalter: If she wants to or not.
Jordann W A: Right. I was sending emails on day two of her life from the hospital bed. So, it’s been a key part of her upbringing thus far. I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. But she’ll be well-versed within the consumer product industry very early in her life.
F Geyrhalter: And there’s some entrepreneurs that from from the get go say, “You know what, I don’t want to be the face of the brand.” I just want to run the brand. But no one really needs to ever see me, get to know me. We have a personality for the brand, we have a message, but I do not want to be outgoingly the brand as a person.” And given the chance, would you not be the face of the brand if you had to do it all over again. Or do you feel like it is really what makes it so authentic?
Jordann W A: I think that for Base Culture, it really does give it life. This isn’t just a story where I stumbled across a recipe, this was based off of my life. Truthfully, this was because I wanted this product. And that’s how we were founded. And I think if I weren’t involved as intricately as I am, the branding will lose its appeal. It would lose its lust, and it would have more of a flat effect than a robust. And so for Base Culture, and other companies operate differently and there are plenty of success stories that the founder isn’t as involved on the branding aspect. But I think I wouldn’t do it differently if I were to do it again. I would still be as involved as I am. And it’s really fun for me, honestly, that’s my favorite part, is going out and having the meetings, or doing podcasts like this and talking to people. Because I am so passionate about it. I would hate just to be doing the work behind the scenes. I think that would be boring for me. Having the ability to go and sit on panels and talk and answer questions, and dive deep, and explore the realms of where, where I am in my personal life and as it relates to Base Culture. This is my life, it is what I do. It’s more than 50%, well more than 50%. I would say more than 80% of my days is focused around the company. So yeah, it’s been fun in developing myself through the company, and the company through myself.
F Geyrhalter: And it’s your passion. And I read it in an interview where you were asked a question, “How do you define success?” And I’ll quote you here with your answer. You said, “I used to say that when we make X amount of money, we would be successful. However, today we hit that X dollar amount. The goal then changed to something twice as much. It was after this happened about five times that I realized that success is not measured by the amount of money you are making, rather it is measured by the difference you are making in other people’s lives along the way.” How do you see that difference you’re making with your brand? The impact you’re having? where do you get to witness that feedback when you’re out there?
Jordann W A: Well, first of all, I’ve never been quoted before, so that was really cool.
F Geyrhalter: Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure. It’s the only one I have.
Jordann W A: No, it was very good. Yeah, we see people sending us responses that they dive in and they’re vulnerable, and they open up about the way our products have impacted themselves. And we see this through Instagram. We see it through Facebook. We get messages through our email on our website, and we get comments on our pages, on our website as well next to the products. And so they’re available for everyone to see if you go onto our website, and just scroll down, you can see all the comments. But this support, the honest truth of what people see in our products and how it’s affecting them, from someone that has an eating disorder that hasn’t allowed themselves to have a dessert, or a bread for years and years, because they don’t think that they can as a person, do that. That they stumbled across our products, they read the ingredients, and they were able to convince themselves that it would be okay to have a brownie, because how clean and how pure the ingredients are. And they indulged and they had it and they love it and they’re coming back to it. And that truly changed it. It was a pivotal moment in their lives. We see people reaching out saying their child has autism and that they have to eat this clean lifestyle, this clean way of eating. They have to do that because of the disease that their child has. But because our products don’t have the artificial sugars, they don’t have the additional bad ingredients in it that a lot of products do, especially in the baked goods category, that they’ve been able to enjoy a brownie. It’s a kid enjoying a brownie. While that might not seem as monumental to many people, it is impactful for someone that has never been able to give their kid a brownie in his life. And so those are just two examples of ways that I’ve seen these products not only change lives, but really be a part of their growing future. To really have that ability to provide products. And at the end of the day it’s like, “Oh, you have a bakery.” Well yeah, we do have a bakery, but we stand for something more than just baked goods. We’re giving these customers opportunities that weren’t available to them before. And we’re growing with them, and we’re developing more products for them. And that’s why we do it. That’s the main reason. Because we can add things to people’s life to make it easier for them to live healthier and happier. And so that’s truly, that’s when success is. We can keep shooting for higher goals. We can keep shooting for more money. We can keep shooting for a bigger facility, or we can keep shooting to make a difference in people’s lives. And at the end of the day, that’s what drives me forward. Because, like you said in the quote that I had passed along in another interview, that bar of success, that’ll just keep getting higher and higher and higher. And if that’s what you’re hanging your hat on, then you’re always going to be disappointed. Because it’s just going to keep growing. And so to find that satisfaction in the daily drive, because this is a hard business. It’s definitely not easy. It doesn’t come easily. You have to work at it every single day. But to be able to find success, and that rewarding success is really truly what makes the difference for me.
F Geyrhalter: And if you would distill all of that into one word that can describe your brand, I call it your brand DNA, what would be that one all-encompassing word that your brand could stand for.
Jordann W A: Freedom. I think that’s the word I would use if I were to pick one.
F Geyrhalter: Go deeper. Freedom for the actual customer, for the consumer to to at last be able to eat, to eat-
Jordann W A: Exactly. Exactly. Not having the stigma around baked goods and snacks any longer, but be able to enjoy something that they truly want. It’s a brownie, it’s a bread, it’s a banana bread, it’s a pumpkin bread. It’s almond butter. But it’s freedom to let yourself enjoy it and to actually enjoy it. Not just settle for a “healthy product”, because you have to eat that way, but we should want to eat this way. And freedom from a nutritional standpoint. Not having to worry about the ingredient deck, not having to worry about what you’re putting in your body, but knowing that you’re putting actual food in your body that it can use as fuel. Instead of stores fat. So freedom comes in a lot of ways, but especially when it comes to indulging and snacking and having dessert, there’s a lot of stigma around it when you’re trying to live healthier, or you need to live healthier for your own self. And freedom to do that in a way that you can enjoy, I think is the one word and how I would describe it if I were to take one word.
F Geyrhalter: It’s really refreshing, because when you think of freedom as as a brand DNA, you usually think of Holly Davidson, so you just brought it into a new decade. I love that.
Jordann W A: Right. Exactly.
F Geyrhalter: It’s like this is what freedom means today. As we’re getting to the point of wrapping up this show, this episode. Do have any final, piece of brand advice because you’ve been through different agencies. You worked really hard to get this done. You’re also a very young entrepreneur. You did everything without any big knowledge of your field that you entered, in marketing and branding and all of it was very fresh to you. Do you have any brand advice for founders as a final takeaway?
Jordann W A: Yeah, I would say trust your gut, whenever you’re in doubt, trust your gut. Listen to yourself. You know your brand better than anyone else. You know that there might be other people out there that have more industry experience and more knowledge based off history, but no one will ever know the brand better than the founder. It is your baby. It’s your life. It’s exactly what you think about almost all of your days. And that will give you the gut feeling you need to drive a brand forward. Whether it be the image that you’re painting as the packaging, or the voice you’re trying to create on social media. That that gut feeling, and that gut check is truly your guiding force. And like I said, there isn’t someone else that can tell you what that is. That is part of you that will always be yours. So to trust in that and to really dive into what that means for you, will help guide you whenever there’s a question.
F Geyrhalter: I so 110% agree with that. And that’s also how I work with companies on their brand. I’m a brand therapist, that’s all I do, right? I just get it out of the founder.
Jordann W A: Right.
F Geyrhalter: Because I am not going to create the strategy, they create the strategies because they already have it in them. It’s just me who has to align everything for success. So I really loved what you said.
Jordann W A: Well and that’s a hard thing too.
F Geyrhalter: Oh absolutely.
Jordann W A: It took us so long to get to a place where branding was… It took three agencies to actually articulate it. It’s not an easy process. But for founders to go through that rigorous step, the steps it takes to find who you are and what you are as a brand is so important. And so the role you play is monumental.
F Geyrhalter: Because more agencies have answers than they have questions. And questions is really where the answers lie.
Jordann W A: Exactly, exactly.
F Geyrhalter: Listeners who fell in love with your brand, with what you talked about, who want to buy into a lifestyle that is more natural and more and more primal, and in a way more logical. Where can they find your products?Only in the U.S. I assume, but are there certain regions? Are there certain places where they can find it?
Jordann W A: Yeah, we’re a national in the U.S.. Our products are in both natural and conventional stores. We’re national with Whole Foods, so any Whole Foods in the nation. We’re also in Sprouts, we are also in Kroger and Albertsons, Safeway, again throughout the whole nation, so not regionally focused. We’re also in Walmart and H-E-B hour in Wegmans, if that’s your shopping preference. We’re also in Fresh Market. We actually just got placement there. We’ll be there at the end of this month. So that’s some exciting news. But really we have a lot of locations. We’re in almost 8,000 stores across the country. So I encourage you guys to go on our website, which is baseculture.com and type in your zip code on our locator page. And that’ll show you exactly where our products are near a store by you and what products are sold there. So you can go into the store knowing exactly what we carry at that particular location. Because we do have a wide variety of products, not every store has everything we carry, but we’re working on expanding our distribution. So that’ll help guide you to exactly what you’re looking for.
F Geyrhalter: Jordan, congratulations on your amazing success which happened so quickly. And congrats on being a new mom and now you’ve got-
Jordann W A: Thank you.
F Geyrhalter: … wow you’ve got two babies. And thank you so much for having been on the show. I know it’s a busy lifestyle currently for you, So for you to spend those 40 somewhat minutes with us, we all really appreciate your time and your insights.
Jordann W A: Absolutely. It’s been an honor talking with you. Thank you for having me on. This is my pleasure.
F Geyrhalter: What an inspiration for any entrepreneur, but also for me to get back into the all-natural diet. Thank you for listening. Please rate the show and show you support via patreon.com/hittingthemark so we can make this podcast, 100% community-enabled and sponsor free. And you get to hop on an hour long Google Hangout group call with me once a month, where I can give you entrepreneurial brand and creative advice worth much more than the $15 and 95 cents you’d spend to support this programming. The Hitting The Mark theme music was written and produced by Happiness Won. I will see you next time when we once again will be Hitting The Mark.