We recently caught up with Andy from Brushy Mountain Granola, bases in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and had a blast talking granola and packaging.
How did Brushy Mountain start?
Years ago, it all started as a treat for a travel softball team between games when the girls needed something to put in the tank. Other moms wanted it and said, “You should sell this.” So, my wife developed her own granola. Then in March of 2018, my wife’s daughter was on the Appalachian Trail, and they realized that they had something. I said I'd be a part of the effort and said that we need to go to market with excellent packaging if we do the granola thing. I saw that as the key.
Why was the packaging key?
We went to market with nine different flavors, and now we are into our second year with Roastar, and we have three bag sizes.
We knew that the way the bags were going to look was critical and knew of a few people who had a small design agency doing bag design work for a coffee company using Roastar. The funny thing was, we've got a packaging company right here in our backyard, but I couldn't figure out why they weren't interested in me. It turns out they were looking for 60,000 runs minimum. We couldn’t afford that. That’s when Roastar stepped in and became the perfect fit.
How has the Roastar process been for Brushy Mountain?
Hali at Roastar is fantastic. I'm not very adept at computers, and I knew that I did not want to get on the Roastar site and try to understand bleed lines and all that other stuff. That's not me. Luckily our graphic designers did understand all of that, so I felt we were in good shape once they were in touch with Hali.
I kept going back to Hali and asked, “How is this gonna work? And how is this gonna work?!" concerning our nine different flavors with three bag sizes. Suddenly it was 27 bags! Hali never left me hanging, no matter how many questions I had. Even with my constant questions, she never gave me a reason to go anywhere other than Roastar.
We’ll tell Hali she’s a rock star! So how many bags and what kind did you initially order?
We ended up getting about 10,000 bags printed on our first run of those three different-sized bags. We use a clear matte, and it was vital to see some product through it. Thanks to Roastar, since then, we've taken our original 3x5 bag, and now we're going to gusset it to make it a little bigger. Those smaller packages are the perfect size for samples and the "try it before you buy it" situations. We love them.
What I love about the Roastar site is that we set up our company, and then it was super easy to give our designers access. We took our previous designers off and added our new designers, and it was smooth. Our designer will text me and say, "I just talked to Hali. We're good." That's all I need to hear!
I had a lot of questions for Hali about how thick Roastar’s material is, and then she even sent me down the right path with her recommendation for my bag-sealing equipment, and that’s worked out great, too. In the end, they helped us produce a market-ready product.
How was it going to market?
I had paid attention to other stuff that's out there. Most people running a home-based business in the granola industry are putting their product in a baggy and throwing a sticker on it. I was like, “No, no, no. That is not what’s going to happen." I knew that we needed to sell the product when we can't talk to the customer. We didn’t go to market with what we thought was perfect, but we went to market with what most people thought was fantastic.
We’ve been amazed at all of the people who talk about the packaging. “We can’t believe this is you. The packaging is almost too good for a small business.” People don't think we are a small business. One of my best customers is constantly interacting with his customers, and he recently told one of them that “Andy is making it and bagging it.” She replied, “What do you mean he’s making it? This is a big company, isn’t it?” He had to tell her that it’s a friend of his in Wilkesboro with his wife and daughter. Her jaw dropped.
Sounds like people dig the Roastar bags!
When people walk up to us at a show, they tell us how great our packaging is. Every retail account we have talks about our point of sale packaging and how on-point it is. Part of it is the design, sure, but it's on the right product, too. We had good options for material with Roastar, good choices for sizes, and they sent us plenty to try with the samples, too. It was a bit of a process, but we are so far ahead now because of it.
People keep saying, “They can’t be a local company because the packaging is so good.” Just because it’s granola and it’s not in a baggie doesn’t mean we’re a huge company.
Thanks to Andy for taking the time to chat with us to talk packaging and granola! We look forward to big things from Brushy Mountain in the future.