“Where will Ugo Today?”
On today’s episode an incredible look into one of Bloomington Indiana’s rising food star’s Rebecca Walter.
Rebecca is an entrepreneur who truly took an idea and built it into a healthy profitable business. Her idea solved a problem she had. She was hungry. She needed healthy food that was mobile but had the nutritional value to support her as a college athlete. So she created a product, grew it into a side business, and then dove in head first.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
Here are some highlights:
How did Ugo start?
Rebecca was a runner at Michigan University and then a running coach at Indiana University. She was traveling all the time and access the healthy nutritional food was always an issue. She started making grain, nut, and honey concoctions that you had to eat with a spoon. Everyone loved it and she always had a cooler full. Thus the idea for Ugo bars was born
When did the snowball really start rolling?
Rebecca spent a year or two perfecting the bar and was selling them in a local whole foods coop. Then she got a call from Tiny Footprint, a whole foods distributor. They were placing Ugo bar in Kroger, a traditional grocery store, across Indiana
What did she learn from that growth?
That systems are key! Rebecca fine-tuned her processes, and even built her own industrial cooking materials to streamline everything and reduce waste.
How do she find great sources for ingredients?
It’s always a work in progress. Equal Exchange has been big and is Ugo bars primary ingredient source but she connects directly with local farmers as much as possible.
How does she find good employees?
Rebecca believes in hiring people who are willing to follow the system but have so much more to offer than just that. She fosters creativity and let her employees bring their own talents to the team. Finding the right people is tough but she’s created an environment that attracts exactly who she’s looking for.
Her approach was deeply inspired by Yvon Chouinard. She first listened to him on the podcast “How I Built This”. One of the things he said was, “I can’t give you a reason, but every time I invested in the environment I made money.”
She believes in supporting the causes that she loves, both with time and money. From there, great things happen. We also talk about the power of video.
What’s her advice to someone who’s just getting started?
Make a product that you need and make it perfect for you. Others will agree.
Special thanks to Rebecca Walter for taking the time to share the Ugo Bar story with us.
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