Step Back, Leap Forward!

September 7, 2015

It’s been a little while since we’ve sent anything to our mailing list or published a new blog post. Far from a taking a summer break, we’ve been working our tails off. With baby Leyna and big brother Connor by her side, Alison has been busy sourcing our next production run with our new CA-based USDA “people food” kitchen—an easier commute for her than Denver and even closer access to our amazing ingredients. On the East Coast, Hanna has been braving the heat to (happily) schlep the lion's share of our growing online and subscription sales orders to FedEx.

 

Of equal import, we decided to take a step back in order to take a big leap forward. As of Sept. 1st, we moved away from 3rd party distribution for the time being. We will continue to service many of our retail accounts directly, so this change shouldn't affect most of our in-store customers. However, if you shop at a store that no longer carries Evermore, you can always buy our food online.  

 

This choice reflects who we are as a company, and we’d like to share the backstory with you. Like all businesses, we’ve made mistakes. Perhaps our biggest one came early on, when we adopted the mentality that in order to succeed, we had to either think small and stay hyper local, or think big and go national—but it didn’t make sense to muck around in the middle. We decided to go big. After a year-and-a-half of pounding the pavement in NYC, we secured distribution and scaled production. Thanks to Alison’s commitment to sourcing with integrity, we were still able to provide the quality of a lovingly prepared home-cooked meal made from farmer’s market ingredients, ten thousand pounds at a time. Suddenly our food could be everywhere, and we—especially Hanna—ran ourselves ragged making sales and scooping samples all over the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and eventually the Southeast and Northern California. 

Apart from friends and family loans, we have never taken outside financing. As a two-person, bi-coastally run company, working with pet food distributors created a situation where we expanded beyond our capacity to reasonably support our growth, took a major hit to our cash flow and margins, and compromised our ability to provide the best possible customer service to retailers—something we have come to be known for with our online customers. This was unsustainable for both the well being of the company and its owners.

 

Reviewing our logic for adopting a "go big or go home" mentality, we now realize that we were so hypnotized by the popular entrepreneur culture that celebrates the meteoric rise of the next big thing that we lost sight of our own identity. We spent more time and energy attempting to secure an angel or venture capital investor than growing our business. Had we been successful with this fundraising goal, we would have gone from having two recipes to a whole line of new products seemingly overnight. There’d be a handful of salespeople, probably pet industry career types with all the right relationships. We’d grow quickly, and in time sell out to a private equity firm or a pet food giant—all the while assuring our customers that we would continue to provide the same high quality. Every time we came close to making a decision that would put us further along this path, we got cold feet—including walking away from a $1.5 million dollar deal that would have cost us the soul of our company.

 

Leaving behind this notion of entrepreneurship, we now embrace our less trendy identity as small business owners. We look forward to re-establishing meaningful retailer relationships again. In this new mindset, we're especially excited about our organically growing online business and love getting to know our customers around the country. Nothing brightens our day more than when we hear from you (especially when you send pictures). Knowing that we make a genuinely great product that improves the lives of your dogs is by far the most rewarding aspect of what we do. It has taken us a while to get here, but the truth is, we’re actually best off in the middle—both financially and in terms of our own personal fulfillment. We don’t want to be everywhere, just there for our customers. 

 

 

 

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