What was the inspiration for your business? What inspires you daily?
Our kids have always loved pancakes…what kid doesn’t? But they were time-consuming to make, dry mixes were messy, and most of them used ingredients we couldn’t pronounce. We wanted to create an already-made pancake batter to help busy families like ours have less stressful mornings during the week while also feeling good about what they eat.
Leigh: I never get tired of hearing testimonials from moms and dads who love our product and how it has made their lives so much easier. Recently we did a pancake breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House for families whose kids are really sick. Giving them a little light in their day was truly the gift to us. We love that we can give smiles every day.
Nicole: I agree. I get excited every time I hear from friends how our product made their breakfast delicious, efficient and fun. I especially love when kids run up to me and tell me how much they love our pancakes!
What's been your road to success and success factors along the way?
I think it’s pretty much the same with most entrepreneurs…passion, adaptability and perseverance. It’s a really hard road and plenty of mistakes are made along the way, but if you stick with it, pivot when one direction isn’t working and seek the advice of experts to minimize those mistakes or wrong turns, then the path will be a little less bumpy.
Describe a mistake you made with your business. How did you fix it?
At the inception of our idea, we wanted to create a refrigerated batter. Over the next 2 ½ years, we flew around the country visiting labs that specialize in high-pressure processing in order to achieve a desired shelf life for our product. It didn’t work, so we thought we were dead. Then we pivoted, went with frozen and were resurrected. Frozen literally saved us from ruin.
What's your best piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Leigh: I liken startups to pushing a boulder up a mountain every day. For each good piece of news, there are three bad. Try and see some good in the bad news as it teaches you something. And when you’ve been kicked, get up, wipe off the dirt and attack again. Look where you came from and acknowledge how much altitude you’ve actually climbed. Finally, I know it’s hard as we rarely do it, but celebrate the wins!
Nicole: Keep your eye on the prize! Bad days will come along, but just continue to look at the big picture and know these days are part of the process that leads to success.
Where are you going? What is the vision for your business?
Ideally, over the next two years, we want to be in all Whole Foods and other natural markets nationally and have a solid presence in the more mainstream grocery stores and chains. The bottom line is we want everyone to have access and enjoy Batter World. Currently, we have three SKUs, but will be developing other batter-type products within a year and grow from there. Who knows…maybe one day Batter World will be sold all over the world!
How did you land your first retail account?
Before we even had our recipes locked down, we presented to the Whole Foods market in Nicole’s neighborhood to get proof of concept. Needless to say, we were anxious, as Whole Foods was our dream store, our golden ring. The head of their grocery department loved us and said, “It’s a void we’ve been wanting to fill.” We left feeling ecstatic and energized knowing this was the beginning of something great.
Has anything surprised you about working with independent retailers?
Leigh: I think the biggest surprise was finding out that some of our dream retailers might not be the best fit for us. It’s not just about getting into a store, but understanding the costs associated with being in that store. Some are just too expensive for us to do business with right now. Do your homework before committing!
How do you position your products in mass, natural and online?
For Batter World, our positioning whether in stores or online is all about our ingredients. We are one of the few brands in the frozen waffle/pancake or dry mix category using real butter and milk and do not have water as the first ingredient. Our ingredients are our differentiator from our competition and that is how we strive to position ourselves.
How do you develop relationships with retailers and educate them about your company's story?
In any business, building relationships is key and we go the extra mile in getting to know our retailers and understand their specific needs. We always kick off a new relationship with a demonstration of our pancakes by making dollar-size pancakes on our small portable griddle. This way they can see firsthand how easy it is to make our pancakes and how delicious they are. Once we do this, they are hooked and go from being kind of grumpy and busy to relaxed and smiling.
What most helped market your product in the beginning?
Without a doubt, the way we marketed our product in the beginning and continue as we expand into other regions is in-store demos. Seeing is believing. Once a customer watches how easy it is to unscrew the cap on one of our pouches and pour our pancake batter onto a hot griddle, the light bulb goes off. Then they taste them, and they’re smitten. It’s that easy.
What's a guilty pleasure of yours?
Leigh: Watching Real Housewives of NY and Beverly Hills. The show is just so juicy and unbelievable!
Nicole: Never missing a Giants game on TV.
What's the inside scoop on yourself?
Leigh: I always wanted to go heli-skiing in The Bugaboos.
Nicole: Both sides of my family are from Holland and I dream about taking my kids there for an entire summer.