Money, Cupcakes, Badass Women, Beer and a Trip to the Future

Money, Cupcakes, Badass Women, Beer and a Trip to the Future

Ahhh Startup Week.  So much connection, learning, buzz and fun in one week and then it is over just like that.

Thank you to those who were able to attend an Artup Week food track presentation, panel, pop-up or happy hour event.  It was truly an amazing week that will foster many new adventures, connections and ideas for the year to come. I am grateful to be a part of the Startup community and contribute with my time, talents and treasure to make an impact in other’s lives and the world I live in. 

The week started out with several mini-consulting sessions as part of the Small Business Development Center.  Monday afternoon kicked off the first of five food pop-up events I planned with the first at Ginger & Baker.  The rest of the day was all about putting the finishing touches on my presentation, Start or Grow a Profitable Food Business, with the emphasis on PROFITABLE.  I was fortunate to go through a recent Food Business Consultant training through the Food Finance Institute and my eyes were opened to the realities of operating a food business.  I always knew it was tough, and most of us do it because we love it, but most small food businesses have it especially tough and most lose money in the first three years.  Without a plan in place to scale up and create efficiencies to become profitable, after the three years many shutter the doors to “find a real job”.  Who wants to lose money with no end in sight over three years?  There are less expensive (and stressful) hobbies out there.

I finished the training energized to be a navigator, or at least a voice of reality, to help my clients steer through the financial waters of running a food business.  Money is hard to talk about for most people.  We all want it and we all want to make an impact, but it is taboo to say we want it.  As Tera Johnson, the training facilitator said, “no money, no impact”.   I changed the title and content of my presentation from a general So, You Want To Start a Food Business to a more focused deep dive into the financial aspect of a food business.  My goal was to present a recipe for success and how one can have a food business AND be profitable.

Watch the presentation below or view the presentation here.

I gave a deep sigh of relief and slept great for the first night in weeks. Wednesday brought a great Culinary Arts 101 panel discussion with the best of the best in their industries.  We discussed whether they considered themselves an artist to their biggest failures as business owners.  I realized how much fun I was having…bringing together my favorite people or people I look up to but haven’t met yet and I get to just have a conversation with them!

After the panel, we took a short walk to Happy Lucky’s Teahouse for one of my favorite food pop-ups featuring friend, Rahshida with June Poppies, who infused two delicious teas into her cupcakes paired with a delicious Oolong tea.

Thursday involved a one-on-one meeting with the Sheynel and Ronald from ReTreat BVI.  This husband and wife team started an artisan gelato shop in the British Virgin Islands only to have it destroyed during Hurricane Irma.  As part of Forge International, a group of entrepreneurs came to Fort Collins to participate in Startup Week activities.  We talked about their next steps into wholesale, the challenges of sourcing dairy on an island and a new brewpub project.  It was an honor to be a part of their journey and I look forward to watching it from a far.

Then it was on to an afternoon panel session putting on my Northern Colorado Food Cluster hat.  I had the honor of moderating a panel called Building It ; Women Who Brew.  it was an amazing line up of badass women brewing everything from cider to kombucha and coffee to vodka and of course beer and malting (I so want the title Maltress!).  You can check out the full two hours of the panel here.  We had a ton of laughs and there are some real gems, not only for women entrepreneurs, but for all those who are starting a business. A big thanks to Ashley Habros for keeping us on track and getting me off to the next event on time.

I headed directly from the panel to a happy hour event Peggy Lyle, Lindsay Hohn and I co-created called Women Who Succeed.  We just wanted to throw a big party to celebrate women entrepreneurs and leaders in our community as part of Startup Week.  A special drink menu was created featuring drinks from our panelists as well as a food pop-up with treats provided by women-owned business.  Thank you to Mykel of Fort Collins Pickle Co., Jennifer of Pemberley Woods, Joanna of Spicy Jamz, Heather of Silver Grill, Erica of The Pig & Plow and Evelyn of Rocky Mountain Pecans for your generous (and delicious) donations.



I have to say it was pretty amazing to walk into Scrumpy’s filled with over 100 women from every walk of life celebrating each other.  By the end of the night the three of us were already scheming about how we should do this again, only bigger.

The final day wrapped up with a Future of Food Trends panel with another group of rockstars.  We discussed everything from solving the last mile delivery issue to hydroponics, blockchain to reducing food waste and what’s old is new again with Ashley of The Food Corridor, Hayden of Bayberry Fresh, Rebecca of Revolution Market, Michele of Revogrow, Justin of RevoKind and Shane of Colorado Catsup.

Ashley and I celebrated with a cocktail at the just opened Union restaurant and toasted to a job well done and week well spent!


Ready to start or grow your PROFITABLE food business?  Let’s talk!  I offer free consulting through the Larimer Small Business Development Center or let’s set up a time to meet and see how I can help.  If Startup Week reminds me of one thing, it is that we all need each other.  We need a big bank of resources and to connect with others who want us to succeed.  Also check out the new resources page for helpful links from Cottage Food to Wholesale.


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