What was the inspiration for your business? What inspires you daily?
I started my business because I was sick and tired of seeing apples in my back yard go to waste. I bought a dehydrator and started making dried apples nine years ago.
My daily inspiration comes from encouragement from customers, friends and family and the overwhelmingly positive response that we get at product demos and events.
What's been your road to success? Were there critical success factors along the way?
- Extensive entrepreneurial background
- Lots of patience
- Creating a product that sells well when people taste it
- Developing strategic partnerships with organizations such as the Boulder Valley School District
Describe a mistake you made with your business. How did you fix it?
I replaced broken fans on my commercial dehydrators with third-party replacement motors to save money. They burned out almost as quickly as they were installed. We use manufacturers' parts now.
What's the best piece of advice for your fellow entrepreneurs?
Raise more money than you need before you start.
Where are you going? What is the vision for your business in two years? Five years? 10 years?
Appleooz is growing to be a significant regional brand in the Rocky Mountain West over the next two years. Our goal is to expand our product line and secure strong shelf space presence in natural and conventional channels. We provide our product to school districts in Colorado and are developing a youth fundraising program that will allow organizations to sell Appleooz to raise money for their class or group. The lodging and hospitality industry has taken a liking to our products so we will develop resort industry sales as well.
What was the first retail account you landed?
Lucky's Market in Boulder, Colorado.
Has anything surprised you about working with independent retailers?
They pay their bills much quicker than the big boys.
How do you develop relationships with retailers and educate them about your company's story?
- In-store demos.
- Product donations to staff.
- Sales calls.
What most helped market your product in the beginning?
Product demos in stores and viral buzz from articles published about our brand.
What's a guilty pleasure of yours?
Taking a day off?
Please share the inside scoop on yourself.
I started the first chicken wing business in Vermont (Mtn. Wings & Things) in 1983 and sold more than 2 million chicken wings in five years.