Moving forward: Cautiously & Optimistically
We are long overdue for an update here at Susgrainable. In this update:
Changes to the Susgrainable Team
Where do we stand today?
Where are we headed?
It’s been quite a start to 2020 to say the least. From having our best ever month in business in February to COVID-19 putting the brakes on all the momentum we had built up. We heard entrepreneurship was a rollercoaster ride, but a global pandemic thrown at us in the first year in business: yikes. Find out how we plan to deal with this setback below.
January saw us pivot away from being primarily Farmers’ Market focused to starting to develop more retail partnerships. This was driven by our ambition to provide more convenience and access to our customers. Initial conversations led to a great February.
We joined E@UBC in January and have been getting invaluable support growing our business model.
February saw us double our retail presence. Three Rocanini locations (False Creek, Kerrisdale, Yaletown), The Hive Climbing Gym, and R&B Brewing are now carrying Susgrainable products.
We also partnered with Vancity for our biggest event yet, with over 2000 cookies sampled throughout Vancouver and Victoria – our first trip to the Island!
We participated in our first ever trade show, From The Ground Up with Good to Grow. Several meaningful conversations were had with some larger retailers and distributors.
In March we were on track to add another 6 retail vendors before COVID-19 hit. We don’t have to mention how devastating COVID-19 has been for the food services industry. Many of our partners have been forced to shut down or significantly decrease operations. Back to the drawing board for finding some new sales channels!
The Susgrainable Team
There have been quite a few changes to the Susgrainable team over the past few months:
Stuart, our CFO, took a position with District Ventures in Calgary. We are super happy for him landing a great role with the largest Food Incubator in Canada.
Mikaela, our Impact Coordinator, is on a leave of absence currently in Israel for a clean water research project. The opportunity was too exciting to pass up and we fully support her in this endeavor. We are anxiously awaiting her return for the summer season!
Bruno, our Head Baker, moved into a full-time role in late February. This has allowed us to dive deeper into product development. His commitment to our small team has been amazing during these uncertain times and we look forward to showing off what he’s been crafting in the kitchen.
Angela, our CSO, has decided to take a step back and spend more time with family (especially as a substitute teacher) during Social Distancing. We wish her all the best and know she’ll be successful with whichever project she takes on next.
Several new additions will be joining us soon. We’ll be introducing them to you shortly!
Where do we stand today?
A better question would be: are we even still standing, haha? It feels as though we’ve been sprinting since last April and just got hit by a truck in March. We’ve definitely dusted ourselves off and have no broken bones. Let’s just say we’re once again finding our legs and are back to slowly walking forward. What does this mean?
We’ve been closely following the government initiatives to keep small businesses afloat. We seem to be falling between the cracks when it comes to the incentives offered, but we are hopeful help will eventually come.
We have enough money to keep us afloat for the summer. As long as the situation doesn’t worsen, we’ll be around for 2020.
We’ve had time to do some internal work. Did someone say new website coming soon?
Product R&D. Just like everyone else it seems; we have been spending more time in the kitchen. Have you tried our bread yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s the only bread we eat these days.
Exploration into what social distancing will mean to us. We’ve taken a very deep dive into packaging and selling online.
Exploring new partnerships until our food services partners can be back up and running.
This pandemic has re-enforced our commitment in the business and our vision. Health needs to be top of mind moving forward, and our small but resilient team is determined to be part of that solution.
Where we are headed!
Now that we’re back to walking, we’ll be looking to once again find our stride. We’ll jog into markets while cautiously keeping our eye on other opportunities. We are sure we’ll be back to sprinting in no time!
While it’s hard to forecast beyond the next few months, here is a glimpse of what we are working on.
Community: Our website and social media will be more community centred. Know any up-cyclers out there? We’d be honored if you invite them to join.
New Product: Susgrainable Survival Kits – stay tuned. A fun new initiative that will feature the best we have to offer.
Markets – expect us to be back at markets throughout the lower Mainland and Squamish this summer. They will have a different feel, but a great alternative to the grocery stores.
Online Store: We are looking to make the product more accessible.
Partnerships with more delivery-centred options! Stay tuned as we release more details soon.
More communication: Expect to hear from us a little more often as we aim for monthly releases of The Movement going forward.
Thanks for reading!! Feel like we’ve missed anything? Know of any interesting ways to get our products out there? We’d love to hear what they are. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish you health and safety until we chat again!