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To find out more behind how Windward Jerky got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Windward Jerky co-founders, Steven Boddy & Anthony Garcia
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Windward Jerky co-founders Steven Boddy & Anthony Garcia. Windward Jerky is not your average jerky company. They use 100% grass-fed beef and all natural ingredients in their product, which believe it or not is not all too common among some of the most mainstream jerky brands. These two longtime friends haven’t just cultivated fantastic jerky recipes, they’ve built their brand around storytelling. Join us as we dive deeper into how Windward Jerky works and where it’s 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 Windward Jerky’s website
- Windward Jerky’s jerky
- Sign up for Windwards subscription program and never run out
- Why grass-fed beef makes all the difference
What is Windward Jerky all about?
[Steven Boddy] “Windward Jerky is a 100% grass fed beef jerky business. We’ve kind of taken a different approach to beef jerky in that we tell stories with a lot of our flavors…”
What made you decide to start a jerky company?
[Steven Boddy] “For the longest time we’ve gone back and forth trying to figure out a business that we wanted to start...I was up in Bishop California doing a small little hockey camp, this was probably about 3 or 4 years ago. There is a shop there that sold jerky and some smoked meats and sandwiches...once we got back I started doing some research into just that whole space…”
[Anthony Garcia] “I immediately didn’t dismiss it but, it wasn’t like an ‘ok definitely, yeah, let's do this’ so, the idea had to grow. But, I didn’t say no to it and that was one of the first ideas we were throwing out that we said ‘let’s explore this a little bit’...”
What is your background?
[Steven Boddy] “We both went to highschool together, then after college we both went our separate ways in terms of work and business. It was one of those things, I think we were both in the same spot, where we both found jobs afters school...we just wanted to work for ourselves and, we would meet just because we’ve known eachother forever...every time we’d catch up we’d just throw out ideas, these grand schemes that weren't quite feasible at the time…”
[Anthony Garcia] “It’s just one of those things where the adults in our lives directed us towards that whole route of doing well in school, going to college, then graduating and getting a job/ starting a career...it wasn’t until recently and after starting college and taking on those jobs that we just never felt completely fulfilled there so we wanted to take a stab at doing something for ourselves…”
Who’s the best customer for Windward Jerky?
[Steven Boddy] “I think just anybody that’s in the active or, outdoor space that can really benefit from this. Our product is not loaded with a lot of sugar or salt, we try to keep that to a minimum because we wanna pay our respects to the ingredients, the marinands, and the stories we’re trying to build...it’s naturally a healthy jerky because of that…”
How did you go from the prototyping stage to turning this into a legitimate business?
[Steven Boddy] “Once we got the idea that this was something that we can feasibly do, then we started testing a couple different recipes that we thought would be good and work well with the original teriyaki. So, it was a good year of us just making and iterating the recipes in the oven…”
[Anthony Garcia] “A key part of the process because, it started early on in the kitchen when we’d sample it out to our person network, friends, family, co-workers...we knew we were on the right track when they really wanted to put their hard earned money in and buy our jerky…”
Did you have any mentors throughout this process?
[Steven Boddy] “It’s really just been the of us from the start, we don’t have any business specific mentors. We’ve had one friend, his names Ari, who I worked with prior to starting Windward…When I told him we wanted to tell stories with all the flavors, he really grounded us in terms of how we told those stories…”
What did you do that really helped you get your name your there and grow?
[Steven Boddy] “When we had the idea that we were researching, once we were set with the co packers and stuff and, we wanted to open up a website, we did some research in terms of landing pre-launch pages...we put up a pre-launch landing page to gain emails that we could launch to and that was pretty successful...in the first month, when we were getting the notifications for the sales online we were honestly kind of shock with how many sales were coming through…”
How did you keep sustainability in mind when starting Windward Jerky?
[Steven Boddy] “When we first started talking about beef jerky, we talked about specifically what aren’t a lot of companies doing in terms of beef jerky and, at the time being 100% grass fed/grass-finished wasn’t from what we could find relatively ubiquitous… That was the big thing we wanted to push… so that the cows are raised on open pastures, their never confined, there’s no factory farming or anything like that…”
What does a normal day at Windward Jerky look like?
[Anthony Garcia] “There really isn’t a normal day and that’s kind of what’s really intriguing about starting a business… a normal day for me, I focus a lot on digital advertising, so managing different stuff, whether it was a google adword platform or, our facebook advertising...A lot of the time it’s just brainstorming together and working on ideas that we can further the business…”
[Steven Boddy] “On my side, it’s working with our co-packer to keep refining the product and the marketing side, we both kind of tackle together with working on different partnerships that we could get our product out there and more visible with the end consumer…”
What would you say has been one of the hardest parts about starting Windward?
[Anthony Garcia] “One of the toughest challenges has been, for the time being we’re committed to remaining self financed and we don’t want to incur any long term debt or loans… being able to manage that small budget effectively can become a challenge…”
[Steven Boddy] “On another side it’s just making sure that, if you do hit that rough patch that every entrepreneur hits, that you learn to grow from it and bounce back…”
Did you guys have any experience from digital marketing when you started Windward?
[Steven Boddy] “A lot of it has been learning as we grow. I’ve done a little bit with my marketing side jobs, but not to the extent that we’ve done so far. We do take a test and learn approach to it. So, well have a hypothesis that we want to test and we allocate certain resources into making sure we’re testing that avenue to the point that we can really pinpoint the factors that are driving traffic to the website or whatever goal we’re trying to reach…”
What are your greatest fears in regards to Windward and how do you manage it?
[Anthony Garcia] “The biggest fear I have is failure and I think that’s natural for any entrepreneur… The way I manage it is I realize that no matter what happens, I’ve gotten a more hands on business education working with Windward in the last year and a half much more so than I ever got when I got my business degree…”
[Steven Boddy] “I guess on the company side especially, the CPG industry and the snack food industry is really changing in terms of sustainability and I just want to make sure that we change quick enough, if there are changes in the grass fed meat space or in terms of packaging that we’re really adapting to capitalize on any of those changes in the market…”
What would you say are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made?
[Steven Boddy] “Going back to that landing page launch… The one thing with grass-fed beef is we had to get approval from the USDA to use ‘made with 100% grass-fed beef’ on our packaging. When we first submitted our artwork for our packaging, it didn’t say ‘100% grass-fed beef,’ it said something along the lines of ‘sustainably raised grass-fed beef’... We had put a landing page prior to the timeline that we would think we had… needless to say, it didn’t work on that timeline…”
Where do you see Windward Jerky headed into the future?
[Anthony Garcia] “I think in the five year timeline, we’re going to scale. We call ourselves a small batch jerky company right now and we’re going to ditch that, scale, grow, and try to get our cost down so we can have a more attractive price point for wholesale at big box retailers. With that, that’s going to probably require us to bring a lot or most of the production in house…”
[Steven Boddy] “And I think the entire time, we want to try to make sure we remain independently owned. We really want to see how far we can grow Windward before we bring in any outside help in…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a food related business?
[Steven Boddy] “If you have the idea to want to start a business, if you have the time, to try to work on a skill set that you might need when you actually want to start a business… Before we launched Windward, I did a little bit of marketing work for a startup clothing company out here. IT was really eye opening in terms of what we needed to focus on to grow our customer base and what aspects of marketing and advertising we wanted to push…”
[Anthony Garcia] “...If you’re hesitant to pull the trigger, just realize that mistakes can and they do happen and there’s no amount of preparation is going to get you ready for that. Rarely do entrepreneurs, especially first time entrepreneurs, get it right the first time. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, cause it’s going to happen and no amount of preparation is going to let you off scott free when you first start a business…”