Helen Hall: “Have good quality ingredients”

One must always have good quality ingredients, excellent customer service, a hardworking team, a product that makes lives easier and solves a problem, and have fun with it. Don’t take anything too seriously! As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food”, I had […]

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One must always have good quality ingredients, excellent customer service, a hardworking team, a product that makes lives easier and solves a problem, and have fun with it. Don’t take anything too seriously!

As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Helen Hall, CEO of Blender Bombs.

27 year old wellness rockstar, Helen Hall, is a plant-forward health enthusiast and CEO of Blender Bombs, the nation’s only nutrient-dense smoothie boosters. Hall started her company out of her South Carolina kitchen with a 300 dollars budget and built a company that is now worth 12 million dollars, all in just 3 short years. The key to her success has been her passion for helping others along their health journeys. Hall developed a healthy, whole-food solution that works and has been sharing it with thousands of people since 2017. An 80×20, mostly plant-based diet that includes 4–5 Blender Bomb smoothies a week is the solution that helped Helen, and so many others since, reach their goals of losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. The Blender Bombs team is comprised of mostly women in their 20’s who are all working together to grow Hall’s brand. Hall and Blender Bombs have been featured in Entrepreneur, TODAY Show, The Beet, Bravo TV, The Skinny Confidential, and more.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I grew up in Atlanta, GA with my amazing parents and older brother. In highschool, I was super athletic and involved in sports, but wasn’t that social, save for extracurriculars. I have also been obsessed with funky and unique fashion! I always loved, and still love, dressing differently than most people. In school, I used to think that I was a “slow learner” since I thought & dressed differently from everyone else, but as it turns out I was “thinking outside of the box” all along! This way of thinking helped me to conceptualize and expand Blender Bombs so quickly!

Can you share with us the story of the “ah ha” moment that led to the creation of the food brand you are leading?

I have had several “ah ha” moments along the way! One was definitely when I went to see a doctor and he recommended that I add a list of nuts and seeds to my daily smoothie. Another time was when I figured out that I could roll them into a ball to make it easier and more convenient to sell to people. See where I’m going with this?

What are the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a food line? What can be done to avoid those errors?

A huge mistake that I see a lot is having too much inventory in the beginning stages. I always advise keeping inventory low at first. Then, as you begin to prove concepts and start selling out of the product you can increase your production. There is nothing worse than having thousands of dollars worth of inventory sitting!

Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to produce. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

I would encourage them to build a social media presence. Whether it’s through their personal account, the business account, or both, it’s a great FREE way to gain exposure.

Many people have good ideas all the time. But some people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How would you encourage someone to overcome this hurdle?

I would tell them to not be afraid of failure. It can be awfully terrifying to put yourself out there, but you have to! Start by talking to the right people. Ask all of the questions that you need answers to. Never stop until you get those answers!

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

In my case, I did not use an invention development consultant. I think that if your idea is right, you won’t need one! However, I’m sure it could be really helpful for the right product.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Bootstrap for as long as you can! We have made it 3 years, so far, without taking any investments, and have been profitable since day 1. If it is something you are able to do I highly recommend it! Of course if it is not something you can achieve there is no shame in taking an investor so it definitely just depends on the person and product.

Can you share thoughts from your experience about how to file a patent, how to source good raw ingredients, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer or distributor?

This took a lot of time and effort, but it is totally worth it to find an awesome manufacturer to work with! We emailed literally 100 different catering companies and copackers about our project, and went with the first one who responded. I, personally, don’t work well with people who aren’t responsive to my emails/calls because they most likely won’t be responsive when you’re doing business with them. In my gut, I knew that they would be great to work with because of how quickly they responded.

As far as the trademark process, I taught myself how to file my own trademarks through watching Youtube videos! If I was given an office action (a follow up request), then I hired an attorney to handle that. It’s saved me a lot of money so I highly recommend doing most everything on your own until you physically need someone. Most of the time in food brands, unless you use a customer machine, you don’t file for a patent, but rather keep your recipe a “trade secret”. When you patent something you release your recipe to the public. It is difficult to get national distribution unless you have a big food chain who wants to put your product in their stores across the nation. Keep emailing, calling, and asking whoever you can to put you in touch with a big retailer. Sell. sell, sell, and that is how you will get national distribution. Always explaining the who/what/when/where/why/how behind your product and brand has worked very well for us so far. It’s important to not have any confusion with your product, and it’s our job to do the educating!

Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

One must always have good quality ingredients, excellent customer service, a hardworking team, a product that makes lives easier and solves a problem, and have fun with it. Don’t take anything too seriously!

Can you share your ideas about how to create a product that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?

In my experience, creating a product that is truly different and helps solve a problem is the best way to go. Once people are more educated on our product and actually start to incorporate 1 BB smoothie a day into their routine, the product begins to sell itself. People love the Blender Bombs for their convenience, and because it makes at least one meal a day simple and cost efficient!

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

With everything that I have learned from doctors, peers, nutritionists, etc., I have used my platform to educate people like myself who might not have access to the resources that I had. We are taught from a young age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, eating meat is necessary for a balanced diet, and more. There isn’t only one way to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle so if I can help just one person change their eating habits for the better, then that makes me feel like I am making the world a better place!

I love inspirational quotes, podcasts, speeches, Ted Talks, etc. I have an ongoing email with my team, close friends, business partners, & finance department that I send weekly inspirational emails to that I come across or just want to send them! Sometimes I will share these threads on my personal Instagram to allow others access to this positivity! It is so important to me that if I come across something valuable or anything that I feel more people need to see, I will always share it with my followers as well. Another thing I do through Instagram is I try to explain my business failures and successes. I think it is so important for other entrepreneurs to learn from my mistakes or my successes! It also helps me get a good laugh when I can share things that have gone wrong to people so they know that things aren’t always perfect- because they are not! I love keeping people in the loop with my businesses and it helps them understand that I am just like everyone else, and make mistakes. I have such a supportive Instagram community so I really do value their opinions and get excited to share exciting experiences with them!

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’d love for more people to implement the 80X20 Lifestyle! 80% of what we eat should be plant-based while the other 20% can be our favorite foods! Why deprive ourselves of the foods we enjoy? An easy way to start the 80X20 Lifestyle is to drink 1 Blender Bombs smoothie a day. Not only is the smoothie a great on-the-go meal, it opens the mind up to adding more plants to your next meal. Having more plant-based fast food options would be great too. People who are hesitant about plant-based eating may come to find that they enjoy it. Taking care of ourselves often starts with the gut- when it’s happy, you’re happy!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I’d love to sit down with Mark Cuban because he’s kind, not greedy, continually invests his time and energy into helping others, thinks outside of the box, & follows his passions! Like me, he doesn’t take meetings so I love him for that too!

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