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June 5th, 2024

Turning a Sweet Idea into a Thriving Business: The Grove Cookie Journey

  1. Turning a Sweet Idea into a Thriving Business: The Grove Cookie Journey 46:29

Did you know 95% of Americans eat at least one cookie per month? In today’s “Sales Talk for CEOs,” Alice speaks with Grayson Hogard’s entrepreneurial journey from hobby baking to a hugely successful business. As CEO of Grove Cookies, Grayson turned traditional treats into a powerhouse of corporate gifting. Discover how cookies can reshape client relations and strategies.

A Sweet Start

In 2020, amidst the pandemic, Grayson and his wife began baking as a hobby. Their homemade Oreo cookies were a hit among friends, sparking the idea to sell them. “When I took a bite out of our Oreo cookie, I was like, okay, this is real,” Grayson recalls. They quickly set up their business, choosing traditional cookie flavors over trendy ones to stand out in the crowded market.

From Home Kitchen to Corporate Gifting

Grayson’s logistics expertise and initial positive feedback led them to focus on corporate gifting. They realized the potential when a financial advisor requested hundreds of cookies as client gifts. “When you get a client that wants to send out 500 gifts a year, you just are like, oh, there’s a market here, let’s explore it,” Grayson explains. This insight shifted their business towards serving corporate clients, offering a memorable and delicious touch to business relationships.

Navigating Business Growth

Despite no formal business background in baking or sales, Grayson’s experience in logistics helped streamline their operations. They refined their offerings based on customer feedback, ensuring their cookies always arrived intact and delicious. “All that mattered to them at the moment was cookies do not break. And we succeeded on the first try,” Grayson notes about their packaging efforts.

The Key to Success: Listening and Adapting

Listening to their clients has been crucial. Grove Cookies adapted their packaging and expanded their range based on client needs, maintaining high standards and customer satisfaction. Grayson emphasizes, “Really listening to your customers, which is always important, and executing off of that.”

Action Steps for CEOs:

  1. Identify Unique Opportunities: Like Grayson, look for unique angles in crowded markets.
  2. Leverage Personal Passions: Turn personal passions into business opportunities.
  3. Listen to Your Customers: Use client feedback to refine and adapt your offerings.

For more insights and the full story of how Grove Cookies turned a simple idea into a thriving business, make sure to watch the full episode of Sales Talk for CEOs. Discover the power of combining passion with business acumen!

Chapters

01:42 Overview of Grove Cookie – Grayson explains the focus of Grove Cookie, specializing in corporate gifting and sales and marketing.
02:23 Popularity of Cookies – Discussion about the universal appeal of cookies and their role in corporate gifting.
04:01 Choosing the First Cookie Flavor – Grayson talks about selecting the Oreo cookie as their first flavor and how it became a favorite.
05:27 Packaging and Shipping Challenges – The initial challenges of packaging and shipping cookies without them breaking.
06:36 First Sale and Realization of Market – Grayson’s first sale to his mother and the realization of a market for corporate gifting.
07:51 Networking for Initial Clients – The importance of networking in securing their first major clients and building relationships.
09:33 Cold Calling Strategy – Grayson shares his experience with cold calling and the success it brought in securing clients.
10:40 Ideal Customer Profile – How they identified financial advisors as their initial target market.
12:53 Learning from Feedback – The significance of customer feedback in refining their products and services.
16:52 Expanding Customer Base – How the ideal customer profile has changed and the benefits of partnering with gifting platforms.
18:05 Using Gifting for Prospects – Grayson discusses their strategy of using cookies to initiate contact with potential clients.
20:27 Sales Techniques – Insights into effective sales techniques, including personalized outreach and follow-up strategies.
22:31 Building Partnerships – The role of partnerships with gifting platforms in expanding their market reach.
25:22 Organic Marketing Success – The impact of organic marketing and social media in growing Grove Cookies’ brand presence.
28:30 Challenges of Scaling – The challenges and learning experiences of scaling the business while maintaining quality and service.

About Guest

Founder of Grove Cookie Company. My wife and I launched our company from our townhome in 2021 with a focus on B2B gifting with cookies.
We are the premier B2B cookie company focused solely on enhancing your professional relationships.
What started as a fun side hustle crafting small batch, soft and delicious cookies became a fun and exciting business that quickly outgrew our home kitchen.
In 2022, we moved our operation out of our home and into our very own production facility in Tigard, Oregon.
We use quality ingredients from companies known for their ethical treatment of animals and a commitment to sustainability, like Ghirardelli & Bob’s Red Mill.
We offer nationwide shipping, DoorDash delivery, and pickup.
Cookies delivered – 2021, year 1: 13,990
Cookies delivered – 2022, year 2: 52,437
Cookies delivered – 2023, year 3: 220,186
Cookies Delivered – 2024, year 4: TBD

Social Links 

Connect with Grayson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/graysonhogard/

Grove Cookies LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/company/grovecookiecompany/

Grove Cookies Website: https://www.grovecookiecompany.com/

Check out Alice’s website: https://aliceheiman.com/

Connect with Alice on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aliceheiman/

Alice Heiman Chief Sales Energizer and Podcast Host
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