Out on the road? Hungry? Miss home?
Eat locally when you’re on-the-go with Gutsey Travel Bars
To find out more behind how Gutsey Bars got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Gutsey Bars founder, Carrie Forbes
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Gutsey Bars founder Carrie Forbes. While most founders get started knowing they want to build a business, Carrie’s path wasn’t as traditional. Starting out as a fitness competitor, Forbes wanted to make a product that was perfect for her, a health conscious bar that would stay true to her healthy lifestyle. After developing her blog she eventually dove head first into selling her delicious and nutritious creations. Her journey truly embodies the spirit of Gutsey life -- stepping outside your comfort zone and going through life with courage and spirit and determination. Join us as we listen to how her story has unfolded and where Gutsey is headed into the future.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Gutsey Bars website
- More about Gutsey Bar ingredients
- Follow Gutsey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Gutsey FAQS
What is Gutsey all about?
“They’re your basic healthy snack bars. I call them travel bars because I don’t want someone to think of them as primary nutrition or a complete meal replacement...I call them travel bars because their what you take on the go. They’re non GMO, they’re gluten free, no added sugar, so I’m really focused on a no added sugar, low carb nutrition profile…”
How did you get drawn into starting Gutsey?
“It started in 2013 or 14. I was a fitness competitor and I became very hyper focused on my nutrition...As a fitness competitor everything is high protein low sugar and low carbs. And it was really hard for me to find a bar that fit my nutritional needs at the time...That’s what really inspired me to create a bar that had the nutrition profile that I wanted and tasted more natural…”
What was the process like in developing Gutsey Bars?
“Mine was a little less traditional with the fact that I didn’t go into this thinking, I’m going to start a bar company. I had done the fitness competitions then, because I was absorbing so much information about health and fitness, I need an outlet so started blogging. Gutsey actually started off as a blog…”
What made you decide to focus on states and make them the titles of the bars?
“So I have a marketing background. Originally it was just to make them stand out on the shelves. I was living in Boston, wholefoods was down the street from me, and the bar isle- well was literally an isle...I was just thinking about that and I knew I had to be different and unique…as I’ve grown the brand I realized how much I want the outside to match the inside. So I’m realigning one of the primary ingredients of each bar to be sourced from the state that’s represented on the bar…”
Did you have any mentors along this journey to help you build Gutsey?
“I don’t have a specific designated mentor but, I would say everyone has potentially been a mentor. I’m always asking questions and looking to connect with anyone who has any experience…”
What was it like making your bars and finding various suppliers?
“I use a co-packer...I try to source as many ingredients as I can from the US and I’ve been doing a lot of research in connecting with small farmers and local business with the states that we’re trying to make bars for…”
Is there anything you’d attribute a lot of your success with Gutsey to?
“ I’ve basically bootstrapped this business. A lot of my growth has been through social media, word of mouth, and it’s been very organic because I haven't had a lot of extra money to put towards any big marketing campaigns…”
What has the growth looked like from Gutsey’s start from 2016 to now?
“The first half of 2016 was very small in sales because I didn’t place them into retail until august when I actually put my logo on the packaging. The first 6 or 7 months was really just testing the market…I pretty much quadrupled my sales since then...”
What has been some of the hardest parts in starting and building Gutsey?
“Because I did this so casually and off the cuff, I didn’t put together a business plan, I didn’t put together financial projections, and I don’t think I realized how much it would cost to grow. I also didn’t realize how much your margins get cut into when you start getting into retail and working with distributors. I think that whole part of it has been a learning process…”
What’s your greatest fear and how do you manage it?
“This goal of wanting to be a national brand that’s hyperlocal is so important to me but it’s also very difficult because, as I’ve been doing this research and getting pricing on local ingredients that I’d like to source, they’re double than what I’d be paying otherwise...I think my biggest fear would be not being able to execute on that plan…”
What are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made up until this point?
“I haven’t had anything catastrophic and I think that I make decisions a little slower because it is just me and I don’t want to make any big mistakes...but, because of that I also haven’t had any major things go wrong. When I first rebranded the bars the worst thing is the color of the wrappers, instead of being beige, was gatorade yellow…”
What does a regular day look like for you?
“I wake up around 6-6:30 and I make myself a bulletproof coffee and I just get into my email immediately...I have weeks where I’m on the road a lot whether it’s doing deliveries, filling orders, dropping product off to my distributors or other retail locations that I service personally…”
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a business?
“My advice would be to talk to as many other business or startups at any and every level as you can...so you can have a better idea of what they gone through…”
Where do you see Gutsey headed into the future?
“In the next year definitely getting those ingredients and states realigned. I’m trying to have my California a Keto friendly bar so, that will be a high fat bar...In the next five years I would like to open my own manufacturing facility on the east coasts, mines on the west coast...In 10 years, maybe be a potential acquisition…”
What’s the best part about running Gutsey?
“Creating and connecting with people. Every part of the creative process I just absolutely love, there’s nothing about it that I don’t like... When you have your own business and you get to, not just connect to your customers but, connect with an audience and get your message out there...I have people out there telling me they life the Gutsey life and I think that’s so neat that not only people like the bars but resonates with the message behind them…”