My Story: Part 6
Immediately after we arrived on the farmer’s market scene in 2011, our business popped. PEOPLE. LOVED. US.
This was before the artisan food movement, so we were ‘first to market’ and our farmer’s market stand was a mob scene every Saturday morning.
Word spread and invitations from surrounding markets and events poured in. Local news reporters called. Articles were written. TV appearances were had. Buzz about Olive My Pickle abounded! And the customers came.
We increased our booth size to a 10x20 space and upped our product offering to 24 wooden barrels filled to the rim with olives and pickles.
Then we duplicated everything! Bought a second vehicle and increased to two markets every Saturday. Then we did that again, making it three markets every Saturday.
Plus: Sunday events, weekday markets, evening markets, music festivals, foodie events: the answer from Olive My Pickle was always, “YES, WE’LL BE THERE!”
Within a year of starting our business we were doing an average of 25 events a month with our record topping out at 32 in the month of March, 2013.
Doesn’t it sound like the ultimate success story? “Rockstar local pickle company catches fire and 10X’s their business within 24 months!!!”
Uhhh, not quite.
The truth is, I had created a monster and yes, it was eating me alive.
What wasn’t obvious from the outside, was that in order to achieve this growth, I had to work 7 days a week. For three straight years, from 2011 to 2013, I worked 365 days a year, including Christmas day.
This next part is important:
It’s one thing to bust your ass like this when you have a plan.
The whole notion of ‘hustle and grind’ only makes sense if you’re actually working a plan. And that was the problem.
Because we started the business from a place of desperation-- I told you before that we were literally homeless with no other options, with only a van full of possessions just one month prior to opening our business---- we never began with a plan.
And then everything grew so fast that we didn’t make time to go back and make a plan. So there we were with no strategy, no mission, no bigger purpose... heck, we didn’t even have financials.
But of course there’s more that went into creating the monster than just the imperfect, hard knocks start.
We began from nothing. As soon as I got a taste of something, my ambition took hold. But I didn’t deploy it correctly. In my exhausted state I couldn’t see my mistakes clearly so I just kept stumbling forward. I was on a marathon sprint, blindfolded.
Second, I was totally addicted.
Being Mr. Popular in town, everybody’s favorite pickle guy? Yeah, I liked that.
Saying yes to everything and showing up everywhere myself--even when it was killing me? It fed my ego. I have enough distance on this now to be able to talk about it openly, and I know that this happens to a lot of people.
Then there’s the bottom line of it, the money.
We’d been financially obliterated and that takes a while to recover from. We were putting everything we made back into the business. At the same time we were trying to buy basic furniture for our house.
The funny thing is I still haven’t told you the craziest part.
It’s the story of what finally exposed and ended the insanity we’d created and woke me up to a better way of being.
I’ll tell you that tomorrow. Thanks again for reading my story.
Looking for some Kimchi inspiration? Look no further, these Sweet Potato Fries topped with our Vegan Kimchi is a simple dish packed with delicious flavor.
Kimchi is a Korean staple, on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The country of Korean has the lowest incidence of the common cold, attributed to daily frequent intake of kimchi, as fermented foods aid gut healthy in building a strong immune system.
Our Kimchi is made without the use of fish sauce typically found in authentic kimchi. Napa cabbage, kale, bok choy and Korean spices are fermented to make this a perfect probiotic topping!
Making this appetizer is easy and doesn’t require any special ingredients. We find that one large sweet potato is enough for a small appetizer portion between 2-3 people. Eat 'em fast, these fries won’t last long!
1 sweet potato
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/2 cup Olive My Pickle Classic Fermented Kimchi
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
Curry Fry Sauce
¼ cup mayonnaise or extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp paprika
Preheat oven to 450℉. Wash sweet potato and keeping skin on, slice into ½ inch wedges.
In small bowl combine olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper.
Add sweet potato and toss to coat. Place on a single layer on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Turn potatoes and bake for 10-15 minutes more, depending on crispiness. Meanwhile, in small bowl make fry sauce by mixing together mayonnaise, curry powder, chili powder, and paprika.
Place sweet potato fries on plate. Top with kimchi and green onion and drizzle with curry fry sauce.