Today we are excited to bring you a conversation with Amy Lacey, the bestselling author of Cali’flour Kitchen and the founder of Cali’flour Foods, a company that sells cauliflower-based foods and currently the fastest growing food company in e-commerce. When Amy began looking into resolving her autoimmune issues, she stumbled on a recipe for a cauliflower pizza base, which she perfected, started selling at farmers’ markets, and eventually built out into an 8-figure business. In this episode, she gets candid about the percentage of her business that is based on e-commerce versus retail, her thought process behind deciding to bring venture capitalists on board, and why it was more about choosing strategic partners than getting the financial backup. Since the earliest days, customer service and experience have been a top priority for her and the team, a value she believes sets them apart from many other food companies and opens doors to the most unexpected opportunities, including the chance to talk to people like Martina McBride and Whoopi Goldberg. And the secret to outstanding customer service, she says, lies in your ability to truly listen to the needs of people and then to deliver the perfect solutions. Amy also discusses how the COVID-19 crisis affected their sales, the importance of surrounding yourself with people who know the industry, the equity you should be prepared to give to key stakeholders, why you have to secure your trademark as early as possible, and more!
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[00:41] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Leveling Up Podcast!
[00:56] Hear about the circumstances that led to Amy starting Cali’flour Foods.
[01:39] The journey of discovering all the foods that were causing inflammation in her body.
[02:30] Wanting to find a way to still eat pizza and experimenting with a cauliflower pizza base.
[03:01] Taking her pizza bases to the farmers’ market and selling out before even getting there!
[04:18] What Cali’flour Foods’ bestselling products are and those coming to market soon.
[05:24] The percentage of her business that comes from e-commerce versus retail.
[06:18] Putting the customer at the center of the brand and sharing their success stories.
[06:51] Deciding to bring in the venture capitalists to help her get into the grocery market.
[08:50] How the capital piece was more about strategy than money per se.
[09:58] Growing from 18 to 100 employees since bringing in the VCs and other great stats.
[11:00] Find out how COVID-19 has affected their business and sales.
[12:06] How she went from stay-at-home mom to 8-figure entrepreneur.
[13:31] Prioritizing customer service by employing people who had significant experience in it.
[14:28] Amy’s pizza party with Erin Oprea and Martina McBride and other amazing meetings.
[15:36] The importance of being a good listener and offering impeccable service.
[16:15] Growing fast based on the integrity of the product and being transparent.
[17:07] Why you need to surround yourself with people who have experience in the industry.
[17:31] How Amy went about recruiting the right people and getting an advisory board together.
[19:11] Get an idea of the equity you should be willing to give up to an advisory board.
[21:20] Securing your trademark and being careful who you share your business with.
[22:18] The value of the StoryBrand book, framework, workshop, and podcast.
[23:46] Amy makes a case for why email is her favorite business tool.