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Watch: Bootstrapping, Growing, and Hitting the Gas

Having a disruptive idea is exciting, but scaling it can be a challenging journey. Before hitting it big, frozen food brand Brazi Bites became experts in their craft and in understanding their consumer. In this presentation at NOSH Live Winter 2019 in Santa Monica, Junea Rocha, Brazi Bites’ co-founder and CMO, described the company’s five year-long “epic grind” — which eventually led to an appearance on Shark Tank and a big boost for the brand.

Rocha noted Brazi Bites’ move from a shared kitchen to self-manufacturing — though challenging — was key to its development. As a result, the team became “obsessed with quality,” she said, and gained an in-depth understanding of the chemistry behind the brand’s gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread. That knowledge in creating a consistent, well-executed product proved powerful when it came time to scale. And while struggling to gain investment in the early days, the brand focused on replicating every “yes” via a lean team of dedicated experts.

“Founders, you need to be your own cheerleader,” Rocha told the audience.

Later, an appearance on Shark Tank gave the brand “massive exposure” that led to selling out at its 800 distribution points within a few days, Rocha noted. Although not everyone will have that same opportunity, Rocha advised founders to “find your Shark Tank,” — a Food Network show, influencer or celebrity, or retailer that will provide the right merchandising and exposure. She noted building a brand requires a balance of structure and speed — and remaining flexible along the way.

“Our industry is changing rapidly: the demands from the consumers, the way our partner retailers structure their own businesses, and the way consumers see the freezer section,” she said. “Inside our company we have to be open to change.”

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