Emily Groden: Founder & CEO of Evergreen

Episode 246

How do you disrupt the frozen waffle category? Find out from Emily Groden, Founder & CEO of Evergreen. Following her commitment to find better for her family, this lawyer turned entrepreneur has succeeded in creating her dream. Hear her incredible story on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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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, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am super thrilled to have our next guest. Here we have Emily Groden, who is the founder and CEO of Evergreen. And if you’re ever wondering if things really do need to be a certain way, you’re going to love this episode. Emily, as I mentioned, is the founder and CEO of evergreen, whose frozen waffle business idea started after watching an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix, good old Netflix so that we have to thank next Netflix for that. She was a corporate lawyer before following her curiosity and decided to take her idea for a better waffle to the masses. And I cannot wait to hear more about her journey thus far. I know a little bit about her journey. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have invited her on here to share it. But it’s super interesting. And I think we can all learn some amazing lessons of hearing how she started the company and how she’s scaling it and really define the status quo. So welcome to the show. Emily,

Emily Groden 1:49
thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.

Kara Goldin 1:51
Absolutely. So you’re based in Chicago, share a little bit more about who was Emily growing up?

Emily Groden 2:00
Emily growing up was that 10 year old girl who was walking around telling people that you wanted to be a corporate lawyer. I’m not kidding. When people asked me when I was little what I wanted to do. It wasn’t just even lawyer it was corporate lawyer. Clearly, I had no idea what that was. My dad was a corporate lawyer. And we were in our very close. And so I just kind of assumed, you know, he loved his job. Were very similar. I will love being a corporate lawyer. And so I plotted my kind of life. accordingly. I went off to college, I majored in psychology, which was pretty applicable to you know, whatever profession I wanted to pursue. I, after college, I worked in litigation consulting for three years, and I applied to law school. And I started at Harvard Law School in 2012. And again, knowing I wanted to be a corporate lawyer took every corporate law class that Harvard had to offer. And by the time I got to my third year, there were literally no corporate law classes left for me to take. And I, I looked around, and I saw that Harvard had this food Law and Policy clinic. And food had always been my true love in life. I was an athlete growing up. And I think my favorite part of being an athlete was that I got to eat as much as I wanted. And I was always thinking about what my next snack or my next meal was going to be. So when I saw this class, I figured, you know, what better way to spend my third year of law school than studying food. And I just I loved the material, we learned about food waste, and food insecurity. And it was the first class where the reading felt like pleasure reading to me, not like assigned reading. And you might think at this point that the writing was on the wall that I might have realized I should pursue something other than corporate law, but completely ignored those signs and continued on my merry way. I moved to Chicago after I graduated, and I joined a large law firm, practicing mergers and acquisitions, like I had always planned, but very quickly realized that mergers and acquisitions was not what was getting me out of bed in the morning. You know, what I did love and continue to love was food. And I spent a lot of my time outside of work in the kitchen cooking or baking or, you know, watching TV, but it was always food related or reading, you know, cooking magazines or listening to food, podcasts. And as you alluded to, there was one fateful night where I was sitting on my couch after work, and I turned on Netflix, and navigated to Chef’s Table. And in season two, they have an episode about the restaurant Alinea, which was a few miles from my house in Chicago at the time and so I turned it on. And by the end of that episode, I was just I was so kind of overcome with inspiration. You know, the the food was beautiful and look delicious, but More importantly, the chef’s were so passionate about what they were doing. And I saw in them the passion that I very clearly did not have for corporate law. And, you know, on this whim, I opened my computer. And I cold emailed the co founder of The Restaurant Group, essentially asking if he needed a lawyer. I figured I’d never hear from him. But he wrote me back 15 minutes later, and two weeks after that, I had been offered the position of General Counsel. So I left my big law job, and I moved over there to be the lawyer, I ended up splitting my time between the Restaurant Group and talk, which is a reservation software service that the co founder of the restaurant group also co founded. And that was kind of my first big pivot in my career, my first step toward evergreen waffles. But yeah, that that is the beginning of the journey. And, you know, I got there and I figured, like, this is the pinnacle, right? For a lawyer who loves food, I can’t imagine a better, better career than getting to rub shoulders with some of the best chefs in the world. And I did love it. But I never, I never wanted to stop learning about my love, which was food. And so, you know, I still was watching food, TV shows, and reading food magazines and all that. And one night, when I was driving home from work, I was listening to a podcast about food. And it was talking about the frozen breakfast market, which I’d never really thought about before. But it was essentially saying how that brand that rhymes with Legos, which I won’t name here was still so dominant. And at the time, I was expecting my first daughter. And so I found myself thinking, you know, I know I’m gonna want to feed her something like a frozen waffle for breakfast because I’m a working mom is you know, you have proximately two seconds to feed your kids before you run out the door in the morning. So frozen waffles made a lot of sense. But I knew I wasn’t gonna want to feed her this particular brand. And I started doing some research on kind of what the better for you options out there were and realized that a lot of them still had the preservatives and refined sugars that I saw in that one brand that I didn’t want to give my daughter every day. And that’s kind of the first time I started thinking about frozen waffles and I got home I Amazon Prime myself a mini waffle iron and started playing with recipes in my home kitchen.

Kara Goldin 7:24
That’s wild. Well, we’re gonna get back to that point. I want to ask you so Alinea, for those of you who are not familiar is an amazing, amazing restaurant in Chicago. And so Nick is the founder.

Emily Groden 7:38
Yes. So Nick co founded Alinea with Chef Grant Achatz, okay. And they are really famous for questioning the status quo at every turn. So, you know, when they were when they were opening Alinea, they would ask questions like, why is Why do Why does food have to be on plates? And so Alinea is famous dessert course is dessert that they the chef’s come out in a parade, choreographed to music and they paint they paint your dessert on directly onto your table. And that mentality really pervaded everything at Alinea. You know, even my work as a lawyer, which I think had had a big hand in my deciding to be an entrepreneur myself, because, you know, I would I would come to Nick with a contract. And he might ask me, you know, why is this contract so long? And the answer better not have been? Because that’s, you know, that’s the way they’ve done? Yeah, this is the standard form. That was, that was never the right answer to give him because he always wanted to find a better or more efficient, more creative way to do things. And that was really my first exposure to a true entrepreneurial mindset. Because you don’t necessarily learn to think about things in that way when you’re in law school or when you’re working at a big law firm.

Kara Goldin 9:02
No, I think that’s amazing. Well, I love the fact that you worked for a founder, but also a founder that wasn’t afraid to test the status quo, because I think that you that you jumping in to start evergreen, and this is, you know, it sounds like you learned some amazing things from him around, you know, looking outside of the box. I think part of the challenge for so many people when they start a company is that they’re off doing amazing things like as you were and then they they sort of learn to follow the rules, right? And then they write and it’s hard to kind of break rules, be creative think outside of the box. But I think that getting your training wheels so to speak in the food industry working under somebody like that sounds just amazing. And obviously, he has an amazing product and amazing Restaurant Group and so I think that’s super, super cool. So, so getting into the Evergreen story, when when you had this idea, so you’re playing around, you’ve got your waffle maker. And you’re obviously you’ve got your your child that you just had one at that point, right? Correct. Yeah, just one at that point. So what were the key things that you were thinking that you wanted to see in this product? And what was the hole that you were really filling.

Emily Groden 10:28
So, for me, what was missing from the market was a product that looks like something I might make from scratch at home, if I had the time. Because every every waffle, I was seeing in a box had these kind of extra ingredients that I wouldn’t find in my home pantry, you know, preservatives, stuff like that. And that really kind of blew my mind because the freezer is a natural preservative. So for frozen products, you don’t need those extra ingredients. So for me, you know, number one criteria was everything in there had to have a purpose, a nutritional purpose, I I’d had to pronounce it, I have to Google it to figure out what it was. But what I ended up doing, I mean, practically speaking, because I was working out of my home kitchen was I open my pantry. And I pulled out all the most nutritious ingredients that I could find. So whole grains, I grabbed honey, instead of refined sugar. I, you know, pulled out our almonds, because I wanted a little extra protein in there. And then, you know, opened my fridge and pulled out fruits and vegetables, and then grabbed some spices as well, you know, I wanted I wanted it to be a really simple, streamlined ingredient list full of things that had been around for a really long time, I didn’t want to respond to any particular fad diet, and you never know how long those are gonna stay around for one of the things that I learned in law school, we that clearly stuck with me was we were looking, you know, at the low fat diets of you know what the 80s 90s. And clearly that’s been replaced by the next thing. And so I didn’t want evergreen to respond to any particular diet, I wanted it to, you know, be a product just full of really good ingredients that have stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

Kara Goldin 12:27
Hey, Kara, here, we are thrilled you’re listening with us. And I hope you’re enjoying this episode. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing so many amazing guests over the past few years. And there are so many more to come. I cannot wait. And my focus is on entrepreneurs and CEOs, real innovators and leaders who are making a difference. That’s what I’m looking forward to bringing you. One of the reasons I enjoy interviewing many of my guests is that I get to learn. We all need to hear stories that teach us to be better inspire us and help us get through those challenging moments. I can’t remember the last time I had to guess that didn’t leave me feeling like a major hurdle had been overcome. We just don’t hear the stories enough. And when we do we learn to be smarter and stronger. Don’t you agree? Episodes are concise, but packed with amazing info that you will surely be inspired by, do me a favor and send me a DM and tell me what you think about each interview that you get a chance to be inspired by end. If you’re so inclined, please leave one of those five star reviews for the Kara Goldin show on one of your favorite podcast platforms as well. Reviews really, really help. Now let’s get back to this episode. So you have this idea for a product, how did you figure out how to actually produce this product in a way that would be available to store? So I mean, it’s interesting because your experience was in food. And you had obviously, you know, taken some classes, etc. But you hadn’t taken a physical product to the stores. And so you had worked in the restaurant industry, which you know, was serving food you weren’t doing that, but how did you go about thinking about, you know, finding the right people to actually produce this product package the product etc?

Emily Groden 14:31
Yeah, it’s it’s funny you say that because I’ve had a number of people say, Oh, this makes sense. You had experience in the restaurant industry. I’m like, no, no, no, no, no different lawyer for a restaurant group is very different than making your own product and getting it onto grocery shelves. Yeah, so I went back to work after having my daughter and I very quickly realized that you have very little headspace for side projects. When If you’re working full time, and you have a newborn, but this was becoming an itch that I really needed to scratch and so I walked into Nick’s office in January 2019. And my husband and I talked about this ahead of time, and I was like, Look, there’s a decent chance that I get fired. When I when I ask them this question, and, and we decided that was okay, so I walked into Nick’s office and said, Look, I really want to start a frozen waffle company. And remember, I’m, I’m saying this the owner of a three Michelin star restaurant, I was so nervous that he was, you know, if not fire me, at least gonna laugh at me. And he didn’t either. But I, you know, I said, I would really like to drop down a part time to try to bring this to market. And he and I have to give him credit for it. He said, Look, as long as you can do our work, and three days a week, you can do whatever you want on the other two. And again, I think that’s, you know, a true entrepreneur, right? Thinking outside the box, how to make this work. And so that’s what I did. I dropped down to three days a week with the Alinea group and talk and then on the other two, I started trying to figure out, okay, how do I, how do I do this. And the first thing I did was, I called a designer, a packaging designer, because like I said, I listened to a lot of podcasts related to foods. So I heard the founder story over and over again, where they had a great product, they put it in a paper bag with a sticker on it, and they brought it to Whole Foods, and the whole foods buyer loved it, but said like you need real packaging to get on the shelf here. So I figured I would skip that whole step. And start with real packaging. So got packaging designed. And then again, from listening to these podcasts with other founders, I knew that there was something called a co Packer that you hire to make your product. So I googled waffle manufacturer USA, there you can I got a few returns. And I called them one by one and had the same conversation over and over again, where they basically laughed at me in a much nicer way. But they were like, Look, you kind of need customers. Before we’ll take you on we have really large minimum order quantities, Mo cues and like without any customers that it’s just not going to work. And so I realized at that point to get our product to market, I was going to have to start making it myself. So I got certified to work out of a shared commercial kitchen. And by late 2019. So late August 2019, I started making my own waffles out of a shared commercial kitchen two days a week.

Kara Goldin 17:31
That’s amazing. And you had the packaging getting all together as well. So you’re putting it together. And then the next step. I mean, I can only imagine like you’re figuring out okay, now I’ve actually got to try and get it into a store. What was your first store.

Emily Groden 17:51
My first store was a corner store in Bucktown, which is the neighborhood of Chicago. And I took I had two duffel bags, I had a duffel bag full of waffles. And then I had a duffel bag with my household toaster and a container of maple syrup and some paper plates. And I walked in there and I said, I make frozen waffles. I think they’d be a great fit here. Would you like to try them? I have a toaster. And they said sure. So they brought me to the back and I plugged in my toaster and I toasted them up some waffles and poured a little syrup on top. And they took a bite and they said we love them. And they bought them on the spot. So that was my first sale. And then my second sale was actually Whole Foods. So I knew Whole Foods had this local program where they will kind of take a chance on a real small, local vendor. So I applied to that. And I mean, mind you at this point, I knew I knew nothing about this industry. And I distinctly remember they sent me, you know, a list of information they needed from me for the application and included case pack size, and I Googled, you know, what is case by case bag size, and then I figured out what it was. And then I Googled what is ideal case pack size. And it was really difficult to try to figure out like how many bags of waffles should I be selling at a time to Whole Foods. But I and I had a number of people too, that told me like, maybe you want to wait a minute until you have you know, more smaller accounts before you apply to Whole Foods. But in my mind, I figured, you know, what’s the worst thing that could happen, in fact, and the worst thing that could happen is they would say no, and if that happened, at least I would get some feedback on it. You know, I they might tell me something about the flavor or the texture or the packaging that I could improve for the next round. So I submitted my application and found out a few weeks later that they wanted to bring us in. So you know that started a whole second chapter of the evergreens. Ernie but so we found out in October of 2019, that they were going to bring us in, in March 2020, which was an interesting time to launch a product in a large retail retail store. But at that point decided I probably could no longer make waffles myself out of a shared commercial kitchen two days a week. And I was actually able to get into a small scale co Packer outside of Chicago, now that I had whole foods as a customer.

Kara Goldin 20:28
That’s, that’s amazing. I remember when we were starting hint. And we were up and down in multiple places in primarily San Francisco, but a few places in Los Angeles, too. And we I wanted to get into New York, and my husband’s from New York. And I think I told you, this recovering lawyer, he was sort of moonlighting helping me a little bit as a Chief Operating Officer and then ultimately became our Chief Operating Officer. But I remember thinking about going into the East Coast and everybody in the industry said, no, no, no focus, like stay stay on the West Coast. And my husband’s thinking was, if we go to the East Coast right away, I mean, it’s a big move, we’re going to spend some money, but we’re going to figure out whether or not we’re going to fail, right? Like whether or not this has legs to be a product on the West Coast and on the East Coast. And I think over time, actually, those markets have, you know, been a lot closer, in terms of who the consumer is, but almost 17 years ago, it was it was such a different consumer, it was much more, you know, earthy crunchy in San Francisco artsy than it is anyway, I think that it’s, it’s an interesting thing, you know, how you thought about what’s the worst that can happen? In, in going into these places? And I think more than anything, so many people will have opinions on things and whether or not they’re actually correct. I mean, it’s just their opinion. Right is really is really what I’ve learned in my journey. So did you make any mistakes on that first packaging?

Emily Groden 22:22
Um, no, we actually the, for the whole foods launch. Yeah. You mean? Yeah. No, I put in a lot of long hours at my manufacturer. And that became, that became a habit that I couldn’t break over the next year when I was with them. I went to every manufacturing run, and they would do a double shift. So I’d set my alarm for 3am. I would drive the 35 minutes there. And then I was there until they pack the last waffle at 8pm. And then I go home. So it was a very long day. And then usually they would do it a couple of days in a row. Not surprisingly, we actually like the launch went off without a hitch. Like I said, I was there for every minute I I taste it for that whole first year, there was not a batch that went out where I didn’t taste a waffle from it, because I was so obsessed with making sure the quality was where I wanted. Yeah, but no, we hit the deadline. I will never forget when that first Pio came in, and like my jaw dropped, because it was it was I up until that point I had been I could make 48 bags of waffles a day by myself. And then that Pio came in and it was I mean, I can’t even calculate how many orders of magnitude larger it was. But I can’t I couldn’t wrap my head around that we were gonna make all that but but they did

Kara Goldin 23:48
on the actual packaging, did you have to make any adjustments from the first package or was a pretty close?

Emily Groden 23:55
Oh, our packaging is still the same as it was when we launched and we are we are thinking about a slight refresh. Because we have never changed anything.

Kara Goldin 24:07
So that’s awesome. Very, very good. What’s been the hardest part of your journey so far?

Emily Groden 24:15
There have been a lot, a lot of hard parts. And it’s funny, I had a call. Just like shortly after I launched at Whole Foods, I had a call with someone who had had built up their own brand and had sold it off and it was wildly successful. And he I will never forget, he told me before we started talking, he was like I just want to say this is a really hard business. And if you know it looks super sexy and fun from the outside. But when you’re in it, it’s really, really difficult. So if you’re not willing to give it 150% of your time, and if you’re not the kind of person who can roll with punches, like do yourself a favor and don’t even start and that was really good advice because this is a industry full have challenges. For me, I think the biggest one has been just the manufacturing piece. When you and you know this all too well yourself, but when you create a product that’s different, it’s really hard to find somebody to make it for you and to your standards. So for us, we’re putting, you know, we’re putting fresh fruits and vegetables into a baked good. And there aren’t a lot of bakery types that are set up to handle fresh fruits and vegetables. So like I said, we were really lucky to find a small manufacturer, outside of Chicago to work with for that first year that we were in Whole Foods in the Midwest. But I went, I was there for every minute, to oversee the process to make sure it met my quality standards. And towards the end of that year, I knew we were taking on a few new accounts, and we were going to outgrow that manufacturer. And so I decided, you know, I don’t think we’re big enough yet to get our foot in the door at one of these really large scale high quality manufacturers that have you know, the SQF, level two or level three foods at certifications. And that’s really what it was going to take for me to be comfortable and to like step away from the manufacturing process. So I figured let’s bridge this gap between small manufacturer and large manufacturer by self producing. So I found a space outside of Chicago, and where I’m actually sitting right now. And we open we built out our own kitchen, and we have a warehouse and a really large freezer. And for the year, kind of the whole calendar year of 2021. We self produced out of here. And it’s really difficult to sell produce. I add into this the wrinkle that when we opened this facility, I was seven months pregnant with my second daughter. But there were nights many nights, you know, between seven and nine months pregnant that I was standing here at 3am, making waffles to meet a Pio that was getting picked up the next day. And it’s funny you you look at something on the shelf. And I always used to do this to you, I think you take for granted how much work goes into every product that’s on a shelf at a grocery store. But I mean, the number of hours I spent here while just enormously pregnant. And you know, I developed carpal tunnel from using my hands and cleaning so much. And like I had really bad sciatic nerve pain from being on my feet all day. And it was really, really hard. And I decided shortly after I had my daughter that, you know, while we were now up and running really smoothly here I had a team of people that I loved and we’re super reliable and made an amazing product. And I was never going to question the the quality of the product that came out of here. Because I could oversee it every day, I decided that in order to scale the business, I needed to be able to spend less time thinking about the manufacturing because it was taking up so much of my time

when I should be thinking about sales and about marketing. And so I started at that point, looking for another co packing partner, who was that larger scale, high quality, food safety certified type. And for me, the lesson there was, you know, I think I tend towards my tendency is towards working hard. And you know, that to me feels like I’ve checked a box like I’ve given it 150% of my effort. But there’s also something about working smart too. And so for me letting go of the manufacturing piece was learning to work smart, and also work hard but but prioritize working smart and focusing where I should be focusing for the business’s sake. And so we did, we found an incredible manufacturing partner at the end of last year, it was perfect timing to for our first truly national account launch. And it all worked out. But yeah, I mean, the manufacturing pieces, for sure been the toughest for us to figure out over the last several years consistently. That’s consistently the biggest challenge for us.

Kara Goldin 29:25
Definitely. Well, you mentioned that you had your daughter so you have two kids and two daughters and you know, an A and another baby, your company that you launched within a short span of time. So yeah, what do you hope that they’re getting out of this? I mean, they’re obviously still really, really young. But what a sort of you went from doing something that you thought you were really passionate about, obviously you learned a ton being a m&a lawyer and then you have in house counsel as well working for an incredible entrepreneur, what do you hope that they will be able to talk about in your life? I mean, what you’ve done?

Emily Groden 30:13
I? Yeah, it’s, it’s running your own businesses, as we just discussed, can be really challenging, but is incredibly fulfilling. And, you know, there are times when it, you know, takes me away from my kids more than I would like to, you know, when I have to travel a trade shows just a couple of weeks ago, for example, but what I always keep in the back of my head, and what motivates me to keep going is that I hope that they grow up watching me build this business, and it helps them realize that they can follow their own passions one day, and they can do whatever they want, and their career doesn’t have to follow a certain trajectory. And if they even if they start down one path and realize they don’t love it, it’s never too late to change. I mean, and even now, my daughter will sometimes my three and a half year old will sometimes like selling a bag over her shoulder, and I’ll be like, Riley, where are you going, and she’ll be like, I’m going to the waffle office, which is what she calls our facility. Fair. And I just love the idea that from this early age, hopefully she has some entrepreneurial tendencies in there. And, you know, she’s starting to achieve it and you know, has a mindset where she’s thinking about work and what might driver someday so, so that is certainly the hope but, you know, otherwise, I would say, it makes it makes this job so much easier, because I’m, I am living my mission every day. I mean, today, for example, Riley had waffles for breakfast. My husband had waffles for a morning snack, and I just had waffles for lunch. And we I mean, we really eat them every day. And I am reminded every day that they make our lives a lot easier. I you know, I know that my daughter had a nutritious breakfast this morning, and that it was really easy for us to get on the table for us, for her. And so like, I feel like I’m really fortunate to feel that affirmation every day because I live our brand every day and I benefit from it as a as a working mom.

Kara Goldin 32:27
Well, they are so good. I’ll probably have one for my lunch now that you started mentioning. I’m like, that sounds so good. What advice would you give to somebody who has an idea and is maybe fearful to like, they don’t have the right experience? They know where the star? I mean, all of those things, what are what would you say?

Emily Groden 32:48
I we’ve we’ve talked about it already today? I think it multiple points along this journey of thought, what’s the worst that could happen? I mean, I thought that when I was writing the email to Nick, and you know that one email actually pressing send completely changed the course of my professional life. I thought about that when I was applying to Whole Foods, what’s the worst that could happen? And so I would always encourage people who have an idea to think about that. And to be fair, in some cases, there are bad downsides. But I think in a lot of them, fears are, you know, just fears and when you when you actually sit to think about, you know, okay, if this goes as poorly as it could possibly go, what what would actually happen? And usually the answer is not, not much. And so, I think often it is, it is absolutely worth taking that chance. You know, as I, I often think about the wing, Gretzky quote, which is quoted all the time these days, but you you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and I really do that and try to live that in my life.

Kara Goldin 34:01
So true. So share a story about a challenge or a failure along the way. I mean, you talked a little bit about some of the things that, you know, were cert were surprising to you, or, I guess the hardest part of the journey. But I’d love to hear if there’s one specific thing what what one point along the journey, that things didn’t go the way that you wanted them to go, and you really learn some great lessons from them.

Emily Groden 34:30
Yeah, I mean, I will go back to the manufacturing piece and opening our own facility. I plan to be here for a long time having having our own facility up and running and self producing. And it’s funny too, I’ve had this conversation at length with my husband, among others, but I think that my tendency would have been to had put my head down and try to try to grind it out here and figure out, you know, invest a lot in equipment and invest a lot in people and not, you know, quote unquote give up on self manufacturing here. But it would not have been the right decision for the business. By any stretch, we would not have been able to scale as quickly we launched this January with sprouts nationally, which is an incredible retail er, and it quadrupled the number of stores that we were in. But realistically, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible for us to have succeeded in that launch if we were self producing here, and it would have meant that I was pretty much never home. And I have, as you said, two small daughters. And I, you know, I’m I think it’s, it’s easy for me to sometimes be proud and not want to feel like I’m giving up on something. But in this case, I think giving up and I don’t like to call it giving up because I do think it was the right decision for the business. And for me personally, to close down ourselves manufacturing and to find a third party manufacturer who would be a good long term partner. And let me focus focus my energies elsewhere. So, so yeah, I mean, lessons, I would say. Again, I go back to like, it’s so important to focus on, it’s so easy, I think to default to like, I need to work my hardest. And that is how I will feel like I’ve succeeded. But I don’t think that’s always the best for the individual or for the business. And so to figure out a way to work smarter is, is incredibly valuable.

Kara Goldin 37:03
So, so, so true. And I think it’s, it’s you figured that out early on, before you got too deep into the business too. So really, really smart. So I love your story, Emily, it reminds me a lot of my own early days of Hant for sure. And I never planned on being an entrepreneur, but just saw a huge hole in the market as well, like you have. And so it’s it’s great to see you going and doing something that you really believe in and have a mission behind it and passion and being able to do this while starting your family to is just is just really, really awesome. So where do more people find out about evergreen and definitely go into stores like Whole Foods and sprouts and others too. But where’s the best place for people to find out about evergreen?

Emily Groden 37:58
Sure. So Well, I first want to say, having read your book and listen to other episodes of your podcast and knowing your story. You’re such an inspiration, especially for me as a as a young mom who’s trying to build our business at the same time. I just I loved reading your stories and You’re so honest and vulnerable and your storytelling and it’s it’s really motivating for me so thank you so much. But evergreen people can find we are sold nationwide and sprouts like I mentioned, they have, I think 377 locations now. We if you’re in the Midwest, or the New England area, we’re in Whole Foods around there in the Midwest, which is, as we mentioned is my hometown where a bunch of retailers around Chicago, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc. And then we are also sold we ship nationwide on dry ice via our website, which is shopped at eat evergreen.com If you want to learn more about us, I would encourage you to follow us on Instagram where we post recipes and make announcements and all sorts of fun stuff like that. Our handle is eat evergreen, and that’s the same for Facebook as well.

Kara Goldin 39:15
Awesome. And thanks, everybody for listening to this episode. Thank you again, Emily for coming on. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show where you can hear from lots of other amazing founders and CEOs who are creating amazing things and lots of different categories. And definitely give this episode five stars it really helps the algorithm so that we can get lots of lots of people learning all the lessons like so many great ones that Emily gave today. So definitely do that. And I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin if you haven’t already picked up a copy of my book or downloaded in on Audible definitely do. It’s called undaunted and We are here every Monday and Wednesday and soon adding a third day to the week with incredible guests coming up. So thanks, everyone for listening and have a great week. And thanks again Emily.

Emily Groden 40:13
Thank you so much.

Kara Goldin 40:15
Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book.com and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of Pentwater Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening