Ashley Nickelsen: Founder & CEO of B.T.R. Nation

Episode 547

On this episode of The Kara Goldin Show, we dive into an insightful conversation with Ashley Nickelsen, the Founder and CEO of B.T.R. Nation. Not your ordinary snack company, B.T. R. Nation is dedicated to using food and nutrition as preventative medicine with a mission that extends far beyond providing snacks. Through our discussion, Ashley shared the inspiring story behind B.T.R. Nation and her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on health and wellness. We explored Ashley's personal journey and her parents' mantra of being bold, tenacious, and resilient – hence the ethos of B.T.R. Nation, infusing every aspect of the company with purpose and meaning. Discover how B.T.R. Nation is revolutionizing the way we think about food, one snack at a time. Join us now and listen to this incredible episode of The Kara Goldin Show.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be you just want to make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. And welcome back to the Kara Goldin Show. Today, I’m thrilled to introduce our next guest, we have Ashley Nicholson, who is the founder and CEO of B.T.R. Nation, a company dedicated to harnessing the power of food and nutrition as preventative medicine. So Bter Nations mission goes far beyond just providing incredible tasting snacks. I was just mentioning to Ashley that I just had some before I boarded my flight out of JFK, because they’re available in so many airports, including that one. But I can’t wait to hear more about her journey and start again scaling it. And I also love the fact that with every purchase they contribute to organizations devoted to cancer research and awareness. Her commitment to her parents mantra of being bold, tenacious and resilient, is evident in every aspect of Bter nation’s offerings. So without further ado, let’s dive into our discussion with Ashley. Welcome to the show. Ashley. What

Ashley Nickelsen 1:46
an intro Kara. Oh my goodness, I am so honored to be here. Absolutely

Kara Goldin 1:50
excited to have you here. And you’re actually at the plant you were mentioning, getting ready to to do some rollouts of of some of your great product B.T.R. Nation into some very, very large stores. So what what inspired you I guess what is the backstory behind B.T.R. Nation before you actually even launched a product? What were you doing and and kind of what was the real why behind the product?

Ashley Nickelsen 2:21
Yeah. So my wife drives me every day. And the the origin of our story really started when both my parents were diagnosed with very rare forms of cancer. So my mom was diagnosed with a leiomyosarcoma, which is essentially it’s a uterine fibroid that was benign for so many years and then just turned malignant. And then and then metastasized everywhere. And then a couple year three years later, my father was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer cancer of the appendix, which no one could really figure out or find, and it metastasized to the entire peritoneal lining. So both of them did not have a good prognosis. My mom passed away within nine months, and she didn’t see a lot of the company coming together. But my dad was an entrepreneur at heart, he always had this dream of where we’re from New York. And he always had this dream of opening up a bagel store. Like he just loved bagels. And he was like, we you know, we can have different toppings and cream cheeses and he was just we can make some vegan and gluten free and he had all these really cool ideas. And, but I didn’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, my parents were very much like, go get a you know, a nine to five stable job like, raised as a perfectionist. You know, doing every single science fair competition. My background is biochemistry and Food Studies. So I’ve always been interested in food, but it didn’t really hit me until I was in the hospitals, from chemo appointment to radiation. My mom had surgery after surgery. And I was in the cafeteria as I was eating out of hospital vending machines. At this time, I was kind of, I was overweight and trying to lose weight. And I was trying to figure out, what can I eat and there was either like, a ton of stuff that was full of sugar where I was like, Okay, I’m gonna stay away from that. And then there were some things that were lower in sugar, but I mean, I was like, molto dextran What is this? I never felt good after eating it. I was so frustrated. And then they would give my parents in shore and they would bring them doughnuts and puddings. And that’s what they were serving them. So it was like, Okay, I love to cook. I love to bake. Maybe I can just like make some treats in my kitchen and see how see what happens. And our two original recipes, which they were they were bites at the time, but I was making these little cinnamon swirl bites and dark chocolate brownie bites and I would my mom was kind of out of it. But my dad when he was going through his cancer journey, he was all about it. He actually even I was like, Okay, should we actually like maybe start something Here at that moment when my dad was sick, I was thinking about this. And I was like, You know what I can’t, I can’t handle it. Like, we had family and friends we had I was I was working full time. But people come to us and be like, can you cater this party and I’m like, oh, maybe I’ll do like a little catering business. And before my dad passed away, he incorporated this company has better brownie bites, because he was like, the brownie is my favorite. Like, that’s the winner. He loves this brownie bite. And he incorporated the companies that I hope you do something with this one day. And I had all these recipes, sitting and in a Google Doc and I had all these functional ingredients that I was adding in before they were cool and trendy. And we were using maca and cortisol apps. And I was like trying to think of different recipes that we can make down the line. And I actually I was like, what better way to get experience than to work at a startup. So I was at this time working for a food as medicine supplement company, and I was the first hire. So I was the head of sales, marketing, I did all of our ops, the only thing I really didn’t touch was finance and everything from we were not a retail company, we were mainly D to C and Amazon. But I learned everything about e commerce, from email marketing, to SMS marketing, to influencer marketing, everything possible. And I was like, Okay, this is this is great experience. And then in the middle of the pandemic, when I think everyone was really facing this existential crisis, where it’s like, am I living my life’s purpose, you know, the, the creation of Tiktok. And all of these things where people are like, are you doing what you want to do in life, and loves the company I was working for grew that company from zero to just shy of 10,000,004 years, I was literally like one of the only the only sales and marketing person like, maybe I could take these recipes and turn it into something and do this to honor my parents and my husband very supportive, although he also probably thinks I’m crazy on a daily basis, because there’s just so many fires to put out so many obstacles to solve you, you know, everything. It’s a, it’s hard. It’s not for the faint of heart. So that why I come back to every single day and I named the company even though there are some people that call it better nation, which we are trying to create this better nation, and build up our food industry and fix, fix the break the parts that are broken. But it is BPR because B.T.R. stands for be bold, tenacious, and resilient. And that is my parents mantra. And I grew up where I thought it was a little corny. And I was like, Why did they keep saying this around all my friends, but they used to write handwritten notes and my lunches and put all these fun sayings. And the one that kept coming back to me was be bold, tenacious, and resilient. Because resilience is so critical in this life, life is just so hard. And I was like, why not name my company after this and make it a real tribute to them. And it’s, I say this every day, my father would probably be so excited. And he would be in the warehouse with me, and every step of the way, and my mom would be too, but there’s probably days where my mom would be like, please go get a stable, what are you doing? So, but at the end of the day, we are doing our absolute best to fix this broken food system. And I mean, who knows better than hint where you’re really trying to completely transform the beverage industry and what are in our beverages from energy to sparkling sodas to waters, it’s pretty wild. And then there’s hint that’s creating something that has never been done before. And that is exactly what we’re doing is we’re taking the sugar out but infusing these good for you ingredients in which some companies do one or the other, but no one attempts to do both. So we’re trying to make it happen every day.

Kara Goldin 8:36
And I love it. Well, thank you for the plug for hint as well. Appreciate that. So you launched B.T.R. Nation in the middle of the pandemic you mentioned, how many SKUs did you actually launch with?

Ashley Nickelsen 8:49
So we launched with three at the very end of 2020. And we soft launched we sold out very quickly. And then we really came back in full force. February of 2021 is like our official launch because our soft launch literally we just launched on Instagram or like having people DM us be like, Can I order it? I was like, great. Let’s set up a Shopify store. And we sold out like in the two and a half months. Okay, we’ve got something here. People are looking for this. And then in February of 2021, we came back to the market with one request that people were asking us for. We wanted to really do these fun, different, functional, nostalgic flavor profiles. So we had cinnamon cookie dough, we had dark chocolate brownie, and we had cherry chocolate chip. And we were missing one big one where we had a lot of consumers asked for peanut butter. So I was like, okay, peanut butter chocolate chips. So we debuted that in February of 2021. And that was like our hard launch into the market into the world. And we are digitally native because that’s my background. So you know, being able to prepare us from an E commerce perspective where people were still the bar industry especially was still down in retail. It was like great gives me some time to figure out what retail is, how capital intensive it is how much I’m going to need, what my team is going to look like, let me grow the business D to C, that’s what I know. And that’s how I know how to build. And we were able to create this customer base of 10s and 10s of 1000s of customers who now and you know, at the end of 2021, early 2022, we’re really starting to be like, Where can I find you in retail? Like, where can they find you besides your website, now it’s on. And we actually didn’t even set up really an Amazon storefront until 2022. So we really just slowly 2021 We wanted to get our bearings, it was still still COVID fills a lot of supply chain delays. And that was a big thing of 2021. We were sold out a lot of that year, because we got product, we got supplies, we made the product turned it over really quickly. And then people were just begging for it. So it’s like, okay, there’s something here, we need to go all in. So So 2022 was really the year where we were like, Okay, let’s do an angel friends and family round, let’s start to actually throw some fuel on the fire and see what we can do. And now we’re here in 2024. And we literally in the past week and a half just made nearly 1 million bars and our production run was 15,000. I am I can’t believe it. So and bars are actually only one of our product lines, we were reimagining this vending machine concept at heart. So we actually anything that comes out of a vending machine is fair game for us. So we have a whole other chocolate production facility and a whole other chocolate production line and we make little nut butter cups and it’s our take on a better for you peanut butter cup. That’s

Kara Goldin 11:37
amazing. How do you decide when to launch a new product?

Ashley Nickelsen 11:41
So great question. And were super strategic. Usually it’s when consumers are coming to us because we have this big data see community that we can crowdsource from. So when we start to hear rumblings where consumers are saying, Okay, well, can you make this candy bar? Or can you make this type of protein bar? We start to crowdsource we do we usually do a survey with our best customers? And then customers that maybe have only purchased once just to see like, Okay, what’s, what would bring you back a second time. And that’s where we get a lot of just amazing gems, where we’re like, Okay, this is what we can do. And this is what we can’t do. Like, there’s certain products like a we do get requests for like a birthday cake flavored bar, but we it’s very difficult to make without using all of the additives that know our pillar obviously got to taste amazing, it’s food. But we do have this pillar of nutrition. So certain things, we cannot make happen. It’s going to taste amazing, but it’s probably not gonna taste exactly like birthday cake. So how can we make that happen? Maybe it’s like vanilla almond crunch, which is actually something that is in the pipeline. So the biggest feedback that we got was, we want more of everything like Okay, now we have to go to the innovation kitchen, you need to figure out what we can do, we need to figure out how much capital we have to bring this to market. And that is when we decide, okay, let’s pull the trigger. Let’s innovate. And we don’t launch like a flavor a month, I would love to I would love to be able to do these fun Limited Edition drops. When we drop something, we want it to be permanent. There obviously are some flavors that we’re like, this is good, it’s performing well. But it’s a little expensive. It’s priced a little bit high for the consumer. A good example of that is our banana nut bar. It’s, it does so well. But it is a little more expensive. Because we’re using freeze dried bananas. That’s a very expensive ingredient. And it’s not our best seller. So I’m like, okay, would people be able to survive without this flavor. And that’s really we go back to our customer base, and we have like our rider die that are like, oh my goodness, we love banana. So banana is one of those flavors, we’re gonna make like a limited edition and bring it back once a year. And then we have our core flavors that we can focus on focus on scaling, getting that into as many channels as possible. So we really, really are the definition of omni channel. It was something that I’ve always wanted wanted to focus time on is retail to me, it’s still the Wild Wild West, we’re breaking in, we’ve got two massive massive launches coming and one of them I can share because I think this is going to air in June. But we will at this time when it airs, we will be in Costco in the southeast region. And we are amazing. I mean, over over so much joy here. And we’re so excited. So by the time I listen to this, I probably will be on tour somewhere in Florida or Georgia visiting all these cost goes. We’re launching into Thrive Market. We’re in airports nationwide. So we’re really trying to hit a good blend of everything from natural to conventional to club to food service, of course D to C fueling that growth because we’re able to acquire these customers very seamlessly through word of mouth, and we’ve got a huge brand ambassador program then they go and tell everyone they know and then people are like, Oh great. Now I can find it on my store shelves. And that’s kind of the rinse and repeat Get that we’re trying to do with every product line we bring to market. But we’re trying not to diversify too quickly. Because that I feel like is, it’s so challenging, it requires so much money to do it. Well, we don’t want to bring something to market and be like, Okay, there’s no need for this product to be here. That’s something that’s really important to me, as well as if a brand is doing it really well. That’s great. Like you already have changed the food industry. But if there’s room if there’s space, if there’s if there’s whitespace, that I can see, and we have customers begging for it, we’re going to we’re going to try and make it. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 15:33
we found along the way, too. And I think there it was, this was primarily dictated by some buyers where they wanted to have different, right, and the problem with different is that the consumer can’t necessarily visualize what it’s going to taste like. And so if you’re not there, when they enter a store, then, you know, maybe they’ll take a chance and buy it. But we found that often that was the SKU that was still left on the shelf versus the, you know, the core ones. And and the problem is, is like, even if you swap it out and put some of the core ones on there, we really found that it actually hurt the brand, because there was this perception that it didn’t sell. And so it’s a little different than when you’re in stores. I’m sorry, when you’re doing this online, because the consumer doesn’t. And a buyer doesn’t know necessarily. I mean, maybe they do. No, but you can easily explain it. Oh, that was that one SKU and that we launched for you guys, and you know, you didn’t listen to us. And we told you to go with core flavors. So all of these things, but we, you know, learned along the way and learned the hard way at least with hint, the you know, the core is the core, you know, and if you do that, right, I think that that’s that’s super, super key and some of the unique and different ones. We saved it for online and being able to do we call it you know, flavor of the day kind of thing will sell out. Yeah, so really interesting. So, first of all, what’s your favorite SKU if you have one.

Ashley Nickelsen 17:15
So I go back and forth. I’m usually cinnamon cookie dough, dark chocolate brownie, the original two flavors. I’m just obsessed with it. So I alternate every day. And the cinnamon cookie dough skew I’m so excited is the one that’s going into Costco so I am just overwhelmed with joy. And but we also I love strawberry shortcake too. That’s that’s that one kind of came out of nowhere I was the same thing with banana these fruity or skews in the bar set are a bit challenging because like you said, people want that like cookie dough. They want chocolate, they want peanut butter, they want what they know. And then it’s then you can get really like fun with the functional ingredients in there. But with strawberry shortcake, I was a little hesitant because we launched Banana Nut first, and it was doing really well online. And then in retail, it was a slower mover unless we were demoing. And then everything changed, where people were like, oh my goodness, this is so good. But they needed to they needed to taste it, they needed to see that it didn’t taste like a banana. Because at the Banana nerds or, you know, there’s just such artificial banana flavor out there. So people don’t realize when they see banana nut, they’re like, is this gonna taste like a banana muffin? Or is this gonna taste like a candy and we there’s an educational barrier there so that we can break down D to C and we can break that down on Amazon. But we can’t in retail because we can’t be everywhere the product just has to fly. So suddenly cookie dough or best seller hands down, just flies everywhere. So we thought Strawberry Shortcake was going to be like banana, and it’s actually surprising us. So it’s doing really, really well. And I think that people are just like, oh, okay, strawberry is a little bit more. It’s a less polarizing flavor than banana. So you live in you learn and you figure out what makes the most sense. And those core flavors, though they gotta be right. And then then they can go everywhere.

Kara Goldin 18:57
Yeah, it’s so true. So you touched on education. And that’s it, especially when you have a product like you do that actually is better for you. You talked about preventative medicine, how hard is that to get the consumer to understand it? I mean, again, going back to my experience with him, it’s fascinating because there were many people who drank our product to thought we were giving people hints, you talked about your name, versus actually just know, it’s just the name, right? And, you know, or hint of flavor. I don’t know, everyone had their own perspective on it. But often, I would run into people and they didn’t actually they weren’t looking for a product that that had zero sweeteners in it. They were just they just wanted a water that tasted better and they knew it tasted better than a lot of other flavored waters. And so my response to that question always was they don’t have to understand the education behind it. But there are consumers who We’re really interested and they want to Yeah, really understand it. So how do you kind of balance that?

Ashley Nickelsen 20:07
Oh, that’s such a great question. I think about it every day. So and it’s one of my favorite things to tackle because at my core, I love the I love marketing, and I love being able to position the product and the company and tell the story. So our primary consumer does love like, loves the functionality loves the ingredients. Love loves the label reader. But we actually see and we did a survey with all of our customers and 94% of customers that have purchased once on our website, the first thing that they came back for was for the taste. So for us, even though we’re showcasing that we have no added sugar, only two to three grams of total sugar, you know, all natural sweeteners and we hit we have the protein Mark, we hit the fiber mark, we’re checking all these boxes, there are 100% is a consumer that is looking for it, those the consumers be crushed in Erawan. We’re one of the top three best selling bars Erawan, typically, and that’s amazing. But that is only a fraction of this country. So for us, we know and we’re able to see this data see that yes, we’ve got a huge la base. But we also have a massive This is how we know we’re going to do so well in Costco, we have a massive Florida base. And we don’t have besides Costco now, we don’t have distribution in Florida. And we have massive Georgia and Raleigh and our customers that are there that are like, Oh, I wish I could find you in Erawan market or Central Market or rallies. But now overwhelmed, they’re so excited because there are consumers that want the product just because it tastes better than the average bar on the market. And taste and texture and macros together. It’s we’re winning, which is amazing to see. So and taste has to be it has to be everything when it comes to food and beverage just coming from the supplement industry, you could get away with some things and supplements where it’s like, okay, it’s a greens powder, it’s not, it’s not going to taste great, like people just get it. But in food, this has to feel good too. And that’s what we what we’re we are focused on fixing our broken food system. But we’re also humans, we get that there’s, it’s about balance, right, it’s not about perfectionism every single step of the way. So we’re also excited that the chocolate is bringing a whole new customer base to us because there we are the first date sweetened nut butter cup on the market. So people are like, Oh my God, you can sweet and chocolate with dates. And it tastes this amazing. So hands down or dark chocolate, you know, the, the consumers that we’re seeing are coming to us even more than the attributes, they’re coming to us for taste because we are one of the only dark chocolates on the market that doesn’t have like that bitter note, because most most of the time dark chocolates very bitter. And how we get around that is sourcing is just making sure that we’re having the highest quality cacao, sustainably, ethically sourced from Ecuador, we’re so specific about our sourcing and being able to temper the chocolate, it’s just the the nuance. And this is where the education comes in is on the store shelf, we just need to fly without being able to educate the consumer. But DTC is where we can support our retail partners by creating all of this content. So I’m trying to create this content machine that is something that I’m leading, we are a very, very lean team. There’s only three of us, including myself. But we’re we’re getting ready to hire we’re about to make two hires. So we’re super excited for that. And that will help us create this educational knowledge base for consumers who want it. And for the consumers who don’t care. They’re just like, this is the best chocolate or this is the best bar I’ve eaten. And that’s what matters. So we can have like the primary consumer. And then there’s the secondary and tertiary that we’re getting just from that taste perspective.

Kara Goldin 23:51
So interesting. How have you funded the company today? I

Ashley Nickelsen 23:56
talk a lot of talk a lot about funding, we have actually been really, really blessed. So we were bootstrapped for the first year and then I was like, I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this. And we have all these retail requests. We need to make all of this product but we don’t have the capital to make all of this product because how do you make the leap from making 15,000 bars to a million bars without an infusion of capital? So I’m like Okay, here we go. Fundraising was the one thing I didn’t have experience in at all so and everyone’s like, Oh, go to your family and friends and our my family and friends were like, great, we want to invest. We have $1,000 How am I supposed to do this? So we actually had a lot of angel investors come to us when we you know about a year in when we were starting to get some more distribution. We were doing a lot of storytelling and going on to podcasts and sharing and we had a lot of influencers try the product. And that is actually how we got our first three angels and from there. They were it was it was pretty wild. So they were accredited investors, they found us they were like Hey, are you thinking no fundraising, like, you know, I am thinking of fundraising, let’s talk and then I flew out, a lot of them are based in New York. So originally from New York, that was a great, let me fly out, meet them. And then they introduced me to their network, and then the network grew, and then the network grew again. And we have an incredible cap table of 11, angel investors who have just been with us and so supportive and always introducing us to new people. And that was our seed, or our seed one round, and this year is when we’re raising our seed, too. And we, you know, we did an accelerator program. So all of that is helping, and that’s what I try to tell founders that are going out, like, it takes time, just put yourself in every room possible. And I think the easy, it’s so easy to be like, get caught up in the outcome, but the outcome doesn’t come right away. Like, it typically takes, you know, 1234, sometimes in person meetings, to be able to be like, Okay, let’s do this. And then a lot of investors also want to see who else is in the network? Who else do you surround around you. So it’s just building that network from day one. And, and I didn’t, I didn’t come into the business, I came in with a lot of skills in E commerce, but I did not come in with that network. So then finding the the two to three that you know, are going to introduce you to everyone and just be in your courts, and they become like family. So the biggest thing we see is just people rallying around the mission, which is like the same thing that I see with hint, is I see so many people rally behind the fact that they want to live a life where everything tastes good, but it’s with zero grams of added sugar, so they can feel good indulging in it, and it’s this mission and this, this movement that we’ve created, which is just wild. Yeah, no,

Kara Goldin 26:42
it’s it’s so true. And those people, I mean, still early investors from him who, you know, really, they reached out to us, they were excited about the mission, they’re still, you know, their fans, they drink it. And I feel like they’re, and they’re proud to be invested in a company that is doing better for people and trying to really take on an industry as you guys are as well. So collaboration and partnerships. Have you guys done any that have just been amazing, that you can talk about?

Ashley Nickelsen 27:17
Yeah, so there’s a couple and we want to do way more. So there’s a bunch in the pipeline that we’re working on, like collaborations with different influencers or products that they love. So we have a lot in the pipeline for chocolate, it’s just it goes back to, can we make this? Do we have the cap? Like, can we get this from a nutritional perspective, from a taste texture perspective? And then from a capital perspective, can we make this all happen? So we’ve been a little bit slower to come with all these, like, fun collabs. So what we have done so far is we want to work with more retail partners to collaborate on like specific skews that we can launch with them. So obviously, with Costco, we’re launching this incredible club pack, we partnered with blue bottles. So that’s been amazing. Our bars are the only protein bar that’s in blue bottle cafes nationwide, so that it’s such an honor, and I based in the Bay Area. So it’s so cool to be in the you know, with this bay area company, creating products that consumers just love and have this cult following. And we have just so much more in the pipeline coming, we’re launching an exclusive SKU with thrive. So we’re really trying to go to the retailers that have been amazing support systems for us and be like, What do you want to see? Can we make this happen? And how can we collaborate more? And the most important question, do we have the capital to make it and the resources to make this happen and to make this happen, right. But that’s where it’s like your early partners are everything. And you know, we know we’re in new and emerging brands. And when you have a company that is it retailer that’s taking this chance on you, we’re going to do everything to blow it out of the park.

Kara Goldin 28:52
Yeah, and some of those retailers actually have programs that where they have incredible interest rates that they can pass on to you. Because your partner programs like I think Target has that program. And but you should definitely as you’re growing and going into more retailers, you should ask the buyer about that. Because you know if you can get their help, because they have a lot more muscle than you do. That could also be, you know, incredible for your growth and could help you from not giving up too much equity in the process. So you talked about a lot of your initiatives, including Costco, you’re busy for sure. So, and such an incredible product. So last question, what do you hope Btrfs legacy will be like when you think about here’s what I’ve accomplished, and what what do you think? What do you hope to be able to take away from this journey of craziness of doing podcasts from Costco, or I should say from your plant I’m getting ready for a big Costco launch. So but what do you? What do you hope, with all this incredible hard work? Because it is hard. It’s tough to be an entrepreneur. And I think so often entrepreneurs in every industry, you know, they underestimate it. They don’t get credit for a lot of stuff that that they’re doing, and I get it. And I look at entrepreneurs all the time. And I’m constantly thinking about, you know, what they’ve, what they’ve done and how hard it is. So what would you say to what do you hope your legacy will be?

Ashley Nickelsen 30:35
I think about this a lot. And for me, I want people to look at vending machines to look at micromarkets to look at grocery store shelves and say, Wait, where’s the TR? Oh, there they are. That’s what I want people. I want to make sure that B.T.R. is accessible to buy. We’re an accessible price point, as well as that is so critical to me. I have I’m not building a brand for it to be premium exclusive only to a certain demographic. I am building this brand for doctors, nurses, when they’re exhausted after doing seven hour surgeries. And they’re like, Okay, well, I can have a bag of m&ms or I can have these nut butter cups are delicious. And like 25 cents more like that is that’s what I’m looking to do. And I am starting to see bits of it happening already. It’s every time I go on Instagram, which is daily, because I still manage our Instagram. And it’s wonderful because at least I still really get that like direct connection to the customer. There is someone in our DMS that is taking a picture of a store shelf or taking a picture of a hospital vending machine this we get constantly it’s like, Oh, my goodness, I saw this vending machine and I thought of you what, let’s get .B.T.R here, let’s you know, let’s figure out how to get B.T.R. in this place in this place, and our customers rallying around us. And we have customers that are sending pictures of themselves in chemo eating a B.T.R. bar. And it’s that is it like that is to be able to touch lives like that to be able to like you. I wish I wish my parents could see this now and see that no, I won’t tear up. Although I tell the story all the time. And I probably cry once a day. It’s if they could see this. And because their lives were just cut so short. They both were you know, in their 50s. And they could see what we’re trying to do because they would always complain about the hospital food, but they were like, well, I guess there’s nothing better. And it’s like, no, we’re coming. We’re coming. So we our whole goal is you know, I know most entrepreneurs want to be this household name. And yes, that is very important. And we want to be able to have these multiple snacking occasions. So if someone wants a bar where they’re if someone wants a candy bar where they’re if someone wants a peanut butter cup, or they’re if someone wants a cookie if someone wants a chip, where there so we’ve got these multiple verticals, but it’s so important for us to see consumers be like, be charged making my life better and easier. That’s what I want my legacy to be.

Kara Goldin 33:03
I love it. So Ashley Nicholson founder and CEO of B.T.R. Nation thank you so much good luck with everything. We’ll have all the info in the show notes, but everyone needs to try B.T.R. Nation if you have not tried it, definitely or if you have tried it, you’re going to be able to have more very soon. They’re in lots of locations, or retail locations, but obviously online as well. So thank you again, Ashley.

Ashley Nickelsen 33:29
Thank you so much, Kara. This has been so fun.

Kara Goldin 33:32
Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review and feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. I would love to hear from you too, so feel free to DM me. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my Wall Street Journal, best selling book undaunted, where I share more about my journey including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks for listening and goodbye for now.