In the later half of 2019, I was settled back in Edmonton and catching up with my good friend Kara. We went to the Little Brick Café to grab a coffee as we often had in my travel times back and forth between Europe and Canada, and we were browsing the general store. Noticing some chocolate on the shelf and after telling her I was going to start a chocolate company with a sports nutrition focus, she said “we’ll see you here then, right?!” to which I replied, “of course” and with that, the intention was set. Okay, perhaps the dialogue wasn’t that specifically; however, it was from then that I knew I wanted to get my bars on the shelves of stores that my people frequented. Little Brick Café being one of them.
Look! I made a thing that you can buy in a shop, which for you as a consumer is generally deemed a marker of success.
Until that point (of product on shelf), the whole start-up world is theoretical, which is sort of a problem with many jobs these days. Problem in the sense that it’s difficult to capture the tangible. Try telling your young children what you do when you are a project manager. Versus, I make chocolate bars. One is not better than the other. The latter is just more easily understood.
Many start-ups don’t make actual “things” in the traditional sense, meaning, people can use all of their 5 senses in the interaction with the thing. Okay if you are writing code for an app, people still use it on a “thing”, but it’s still not THE “thing”. Until the people you are trying to make proud are comfortable with cloud-based abstract progress, it seems to me that an acceptable and universal marker of success when you are in the business of things is that you make things that people you know can physically buy. But then, maybe that’s just my background program running as I am inherently a “product person” (akin to a “shoe dog” for those of you familiar with the Phil Knight story and Nike). I would personally only choose to make things… and likely superfood chocolate-based ones at that.
The point is, 2020 has come to a close, and amidst the craziness of this world, I managed to launch a sports nutrition chocolate-snacking company with the help and support of my two co-founders, Christine and Leanna… and of course with the support of a whole slough of other people: Tom, Mike, Jason, Nathan, and Cody to name a few.
Most of the athletic 2020 goals got tossed to the side with the pandemic; however, selling sports nutrition chocolate bars this year was THE #1 business goal and I am so grateful to have realized it! I can honestly say that this #1 goal and many of the milestones below, were achieved through setting clear intentions, sending out belief into the world (read more about manifesting beliefs in my personal blog), and good-ol’ hard work.
I’ll now drop you with my favourite quote: “Energy flows where attention goes”-Tony Robbins
We (7 Summits Snacks) have grown immensely (okay, immensely on a personal front if we are looking at hard business metrics), and I’m not shy to boast. In 2020 we:
- started this company
- launched a successful mail-out home usage consumer test to validate our products with 100 different tasters, who were certainly not all our friends and family, after all in-person focus groups were cancelled due to COVID-19 v1.0 shutdowns
- pivoted our plan from focusing solely on bricks and mortar boutique shops to whipping our Shopify site into shape
- secured considerable funding to get us off the ground
- crowd-funded 111% of our goal- yay ATB BoostR
- found a perfectly sized production facility- in Alberta! Hello Cococo Chocolatier
- circumnavigated having to launch with stickered primary packaging using a digital print solution out of Vancouver ( ePac Flexibles - keeping it in Canada)… okay, our display boxes still suck!
- sold-out our first production of Endurance Bar and Everyday Bar Superfood Chocolate in Everest and Aconcagua flavours.
- have repeat customers and a growing and engaged community of chocolate-loving endurance enthusiasts
- have our Endurance Bar and Everyday Bar Superfood Chocolates on shelf in over 20 stores in Alberta (+ milking the friends connections in Ontario and BC).
I can say that I am supremely grateful and proud of our work until now. Christine and I have spent the better part of December working through the forecasting for 2021 and 2022, and to me, physically writing down those projections is the first and best step to making it all come true! With a sprinkle of grit- rather, dump in a whole big pallet-load of grit, and add YOUR ongoing and continued support, 7 Summits Snacks will continue to grow and fuel your next adventures… and that’s part of why I do this- I’m in the business of making it happen!
-co-founder, Kristyn Carriere