Invest In Yourself With Jimmy Feeman
Today we’re talking with Jimmy Feeman, co-founder of No Baked Cookie Dough in Nashville Tennessee about his transition from the financial service industry to business owner. How Covid-19 put him on the path he should have been on all along and how it’s just as important to invest in yourself as it is to invest in the market.
What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:
- The story of Jimmy and his wife’s successful cookie dough business.
- How COVID actually pushed them in the right direction for their business.
- The value of being open to pivoting and continually investing in yourself and your work.
- How their growth model worked and the franchises they opened.
- The process of getting into grocery stores and being able to make more product.
- The regional things they’re doing and how they are using crowd funding.
Taking a Leap
Jimmy worked for the Tennessee Department of Treasury, raising awareness of the state of Tennessee’s ABLE savings plan, which is a savings plan designed to help Tennessee residents with special needs put aside money to pay for qualified expense. He and his wife Megan were not long out of college when Megan quit her job to turn her hobby of making safe-to-eat raw cookie dough into a business in March 2017. A few months later, the company was going so well; Jimmy quit his job to work in the business full time. In October 2017, the couple opened their first retail shop. By the end of 2019, they had eight stores between shops they owned and had franchised out.
Covid-19 closed all of the retail shops in March 2020. The business had to pivot quickly as it only had about three weeks’ worth of cash in reserve. The company started to shift to selling packaged products by selling direct to consumers online and partnering with grocery stores to carry the products.
In retrospect, this business model is the one the couple should have been pursuing from the start. Niche retail is tough because commercial rents are so expensive. Furthermore, what the couple enjoys are developing products and creating brand awareness, not operating stores, managing employees, or training franchisees.
2020 forced the couple to pivot, and that pivot took them to where they should have been and wanted to be all along. In the end, sales were up a whopping 66% in 2020, but it was like starting the business all over again from scratch.
Investing in Yourself
Jimmy and Megan thought that opening more stores would bring the business to the next level, but they didn’t know what that meant. Looking back, the lesson is to grow in a responsible way that matches the kind of life you want. The couple can now spend time on what they love to do and what they’re good at doing.
For Megan, that is developing flavors, the core of the company, marketing, and branding. For Jimmy, that is sales and operations. They found a good manufacturing partner to help scale the product and a good fulfillment partner to get the products into retail stores. The company has an operations manager to handle the e-commerce side of things.
Up until very recently, the business had been entirely funded by Jimmy and Megan. The company had revenue of $1.7 million in 2020. Now they have opened things up to crowdfunding investors. The people who love the products and believe in the company can invest for as little as $250.
The SEC allows up to $5 million in crowdfunding now. There are some hoops to jump through, so the couple worked with Start Engine to navigate the process. It took nine months to decide to start crowdfunding. In the end, the couple decided it was better to get the company where they want it to be than to own 100% of it. Investors hold 10% of the company, so the founders still have majority control, and not much has changed as far as how they run the business.
The Problem is Not Money
If you’re considering starting a business, don’t let a lack of money stand in your way. The couple was barely out of college and had student loan debt. But they made the leap and just found ways to make things work.
When Covid hit, they did the same; they made it work out of sheer desperation. This business was not their goal, it was their passion, and they would do whatever it took to make it work. That’s the difference between a goal and a dream. There is heart and emotion behind a dream, and people don’t want to let their dreams die. As Jimmy said in the interview, “You don’t need money, you need desperation.” When your dreams align with your core values, your dreams will happen.
No Baked Cookie Dough currently has eight flavors, including a rotating seasonal flavor. You can find the company at the following sites:
No Baked on Instagram and No Baked Cookie Dough
Listen to the Full Podcast Episode:
Resources In Today’s Episode:
- Jimmy Feeman: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | LinkedIn
- Jonathan Bednar: Email | Twitter | LinkedIn
- What The Wealth?! by Jonathan Bednar
- What The Wealth
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