What was the inspiration for your business? What inspires you daily?
Our five children inspire us to continue with our dream, but the initial inspiration spawned from a simple nourishment need for our son Jace, who has autism. He would only eat 5-7 foods and did so for several years, but Jace loved pancakes.
We started fortifying our pancakes with protein. We searched high and low for the perfect pancake mix that’s nutritious and clean with a healthy balance of protein, fats, fiber, and carbs, but there was no such product on the market. We realized this was a missed opportunity, and FlapJacked was born.
Seeing the physical differences in our children through more balanced eating, hearing other people and families rave about our product, and picking up the phone to hear yet another wonderful customer tell us how much they appreciate being able to feel good about eating breakfast, continues to inspire and delight us every day.
What have been some critical factors on your road to success?
a. Being open to new ideas, new people, and taking in as much advice from peers and trusted advisors as we can handle. This has enabled us to make decisions that project our business forward. We truly appreciate everyone who has touched our brand and our lives.
b. Consumers are our bloodline. Everything we do surrounds a consumer-centric guerrilla marketing strategy.
c. Empowering consumers with a brand that delivers superior nutrition for the whole family. Success ultimately lies with the viability of the product idea and how well you connect with consumers on an emotional level.
d. Developing a brand that is on trend as a unique, high-protein breakfast option that is filling a gap where there is a clear need in the market.
e. We have broad market appeal, which allows us to branch into dual channels. This has opened doors in places we never dreamed.
Describe a mistake you made with your business. How did you fix it?
We did not purchase our UPC codes from a certified supplier that a few large retailers require. We printed 45,000 bags with the wrong UPC codes and had to sticker over (by hand) 30,000 of those bags in order to sell in retail.
What’s your best piece of advice for your fellow entrepreneurs?
Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. It’s your dream; you’re the one that can make it happen and you have to believe in yourself first. Don’t over-extend yourself, but don’t be afraid of making mistakes and saying “no” when you need to.
Where are you going? What is the vision for your business in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?
Our belief is simple: maintain the quality in our product that emerged from our kitchen. With everything that we produce, we promise ourselves that the product is pure, thoughtful, delicious, and of course, good enough to feed our children.
In just one short year, we went from making our mixes in our kitchen to a shared manufacturing facility where we would manufacture the mixes ourselve, to recently moving into our own 4,000 square foot warehouse and office space as we timidly relinquish the making of our product to co-packers.
Our goal is to replace the standard sugary, unhealthy pancake mix in every pantry of the American family. We want to do for other families what we have done for our own. We see this business growing year over year with an extended product line, while maintaining our visionary path and building a solid team of fantastic people to share our dream.
What was the first retail account you landed?
First retail account was King Soopers with 76 stores, and close behind was REI national.
Has anything surprised you about working with independent retailers?
We have had a great experience with retailers and have had no issues or surprises.
How do you position your products in mass, natural and online?
There are a lot of healthy food choices out there, but not in the pancake aisle in mainstream grocery. Our pancake mix is the only mix fortified with whey protein isolate and sweetened with real fruit. We only use the purest ingredients, buy as local as possible, and use whole grain oat flour, quinoa flour, and coconut flour. We don’t add any artificial color, flavor, sugar or preservatives. Our mixes have the following advantages over other pancakes mixes:
- Highest protein (complete protein with 10 amino acids)
- Highest fiber
- Lowest fat
- Lowest carbs
- Easy, just add water (no milk, eggs, oil or other ingredients necessary)
How do you develop relationships with retailers and educate them about your company's story?
We make retailers a priority. We attend as many trade events as we can to show that we are in it for the long haul. Aside from a quality product, storytelling is key to brand relationships. Everything that we do from our marketing materials to our packaging to our brokers evolves around our story. We do our best to personally maintain a high level of trust and communication while sharing our story.
What most helped market your product in the beginning?
Protein and natural. The fact that FlapJacked was hitting the shelves at the beginning of the protein trend as natural product was instrumental in the timing of shelf presence. We put a lot of grassroots effort on PR, social media, sampling and events (both consumer and trade) and engage ambassadors and influencers who love our products as much as we do. Word of mouth and repeated impressions have gained effective ground with both of our target markets.
What's a guilty pleasure of yours?
JENN: It’s chocolate. Dark chocolate. Every. Single. Day.
DAVE: Aged single malt scotch.
Give us an inside scoop on yourself.
JENN: I have a huge passion for photography (I double majored in Advertising and Photography in art school). I always wanted to be a commercial photographer of babies and children.
DAVE: At 19 years old, I was the 2nd youngest to fly a single engine Cessna across the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. to Finland.