The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Erica Rankin is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Erica, I am the founder and CEO of Bro Dough, Canada's first 100% vegan, protein infused, edible cookie dough. I have been in the fitness industry for several years and have always been extremely passionate about better-for-you foods. I spent several years recreating my favourite 'junk' foods by putting a healthy spin on them and sharing them on Instagram. The feedback from doing this inspired me to create my own better-for-you product.
What did it take / how did you get started?
I went to school for psychology and had zero experience or knowledge in business. I took many workshops and did a lot of research to learn how to successfully operate and launch a business. The main reason why I created Bro Dough is because Canada is lacking better-for-you products that are not only vegan, but also contain protein. A lot of individuals love cookie dough because it is such a nostalgic, sweet treat. But cookie dough is usually full of sugar, raw eggs, and butter, and not meant to be eaten raw. I wanted to make this treat not only safe to eat raw, but of higher quality. Bro Dough has minimal ingredients, less sugar, and is completely vegan. It's a snack individuals can enjoy without sacrificing their health or fitness goals.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
Currently growing our team and scaling, planning on hitting retail stores across Canada in 2021. Slowly growing, and really excited to get this brand out there. We aren't 100% sure if we will be expanding into the US market this year, but hopefully down the road Bro Dough will be available out that way.
What drives / motivates you?
Bringing value to people... the feedback and support from all of my customers is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I am so passionate about this product and love that something as simple as cookie dough can have such a positive impact on a person's life.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Whatever you are looking to pursue, make sure it is driven by passion. You have to have a strong "why". I think this is so important, because there are many (many!) hard days that come with being an entrepreneur, and you need something to push you through those days. You see little to no financial return in the early stage of your business, therefore you need something to push and motivate you.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
I have been faced with many challenges this past year, but one specifically stands out to me. Being a new CPG company with little to no sales, it's extremely difficult getting your product onto shelves. Stores have to trust you, and your product. This is even more the case during a pandemic, when many stores don't want to take on new products. I've heard a lot of "no's" from many stores. But, I have also landed several stores too. You have to be persistent, and really push your product.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
So much free, quality content out there. Startup CPG has been a great resource - they have a podcast and Slack community. TasteRadio has been an awesome podcast, and REALAF by Andy Frisella has also been a podcast I enjoy. For my fellow Canadian female entrepreneurs, the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) is also a great resource.
Side or full-time hustle?
List the founders
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
Right now the company is run and operated by me (Erica), and I have a CPG growth/sales contract partner.
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
Have not fundraised yet, boot strapped up to this point. Taking out loans/a line of credit now to scale.
Any call to action?
Will likely fundraise in the future (2022, maybe sooner... we will see how this year plays out!)