Brand loyalty, transparency, and product consistency are three things that have room to grow into cornerstones within the CPG market space today. Co-founders of Shredibles and lifelong best friends Matthew Callans and Rodman Hanson have long believed that these dynamic attributes have the ability to transform the industry.
From early and modest beginnings, the Shredibles founders dedicated their lives to creating a product that would be genuinely loved by consumers. Doing whatever it would take to build the company and brand from the ground up, the founders worked multiple jobs, throwing all of their external income back into the growing startup. They ran the business out of an apartment in LA at first, and paid hourly to use a nearby restaurant’s kitchen to make the bars at night. This quickly became expensive and inefficient and the two eventually rented a commercial kitchen space in Las Vegas where the rent was affordable and they could store ingredients and machinery needed to make the bars on a larger scale.
Hanson and Callans made the 4 and a half hour drive from Los Angeles to Vegas once a week. They would stay 3-4 restless nights in cheap hotels, work 15+ hour days to make a few thousand bars by hand, and then drive back to LA, where they’d spend the following days making drop offs and fulfilling orders. Their apartment in LA served as a shipping and fulfillment center for the company, where stacked flat rate shipping boxes took up the space in the small one bedroom where a dining table should be. The living room was filled with packed orders that would be sent out the next day. The bedroom had two mattresses on the floor where the friends slept, their few belongings stuffed in duffel bags at the foot of the beds, no tv or furniture in the room.
Their lives remained like this for months. It was a startup in every sense and the young men began to enjoy the hustle and grind that is required for organic growth of a company. With the weekly drives to Vegas and back, the two friends and founders had plenty of time to talk about the future of the company, where they envisioned it going, and what the tangible next steps would be. They did not entertain the offers and interest that began to arise for their steady, growing company. They wanted to take it as far as they possibly could on their own before partnering with a company that could take over manufacturing and scale the company up to a national and global level. Until then, they agreed it would remain a two man show. The young men embraced the challenge and became addicted to the grind. Keeping their minds and bodies sharp throughout, they never missed a day at the gym, read frequently, and spent free time listening to podcasts and interviews from people within their industry. With little money left over for food, the founders often sustained themselves with their own product. “We wouldn’t sell anything we wouldn’t eat or use ourselves, so we made something we would want to eat every day, and we have pretty high standards,” they say. They developed a completely original recipe for the bars, with plant powered ingredients that made their bodies feel healthy and strong, and their stomachs satisfied. The result was an on the go, delicious tasting and protein packed vegan treat, good at any time throughout the day. Shredibles became a brand that stretched across numerous audiences and demographics, and the lifestyle that the brand embodied was beginning to catch on.
No outward marketing had been done for Shredibles. Hanson and Callans originally spent a week making sales calls for their product, and dropped into a few stores in their local LA area with samples. From that point on, the product did their work for them. Hanson’s personal phone number that was listed on the Shredibles website received calls every day with orders and curiosity from new locations. In a matter of months, they were in 170 storefronts across the country, and their e-commerce platform was growing rapidly. The friends realized they were quickly approaching their limit for what they could sustain on their own. The trips to Vegas became more frequent and exhausting, and they decided it was time to entertain offers for an acquisition.
A deal was reached with a large holdings company that owned several other cannabis brands finding success. The deal took a matter of months, and Callans and Hanson were ensured that the momentum of their company would not skip a beat. The company promised to hit the ground running with the Shredibles brand, taking over manufacturing and distribution, and getting Shredibles to an ever growing audience.
This deal was a dream come true for the lifelong friends. The concept they set out to build from the bottom had come to fruition. No more scraping by and running the brand by their bootstraps. They now had comfortable salaries, stock in the purchasing company, a cash buyout for the partial acquisition, and millions of dollars worth of operating funds to grow the brand. The holdings company would provide manufacturing, distribution, and a corporate structure to back the brand. The founders retained some equity in the brand, and now had a budget and a scalable manufacturing system that could take Shredibles to the level they envisioned.
Relaunch dates were set and then missed. Callans and Hanson received calls and messages from stores and customers wondering when they would have Shredibles back on the shelves. More scheduled relaunch dates were missed and the founders expressed their frustrations with their acquirer. The inability to relaunch the company was inhibiting Shredibles from gaining prominent accounts, they were losing credibility and without majority ownership of the company, the founders hands were tied.
9 months passed since the acquisition, and still not a single bar had been made. Stores were starting to lose faith in the brand and it began to seem like Shredibles would share a similar fate to the many other brands in the space that would pop up and fade away just as quickly; the industry has been notoriously filled with inconsistency.
Callans and Hanson refused to let what they worked so hard to build just fizzle out without getting the chance it deserved. Believing their brand and product fill an important gap in the industry, the founders took the steps to take their brand and company back.
Hanson and Callans now have the brand back under their control and are preparing for a June relaunch of Shredibles, with both a CBD and Hemp version of the bar set to hit the market. Keeping loyalty and friendship at the center, and looking to expand outside of just the CBD space, the duo are looking forward to bringing their healthy and progressive product back to the world. In a time filled with fleeting trends and constant attention to next best thing, Shredibles believes there is increasing space in the market for more stories like their own; filled with honesty and transparency, attention to brand development, and openness to trying new things when challenges arise. They believe in building a brand that encourages individuality, ambition, and an active, healthy lifestyle, and they have a perfect product to show for it.