Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristyn Carriere, Co-Founder of 7 Summits Snacks, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
7 Summits Snacks is a women-owned and led superfood chocolate company. In a world of carb gels and protein bars, 7 Summits Snacks provides actually tasty and purposeful chocolate products designed to 'fuel your next adventure.'
The 7 Summits Snacks customer is the weekend warrior, our outdoors pursuitist - someone with a love for being active and outdoors. They have goals, and those goals (and their lifestyle) are fun in the making. We also cater to health-conscious families, again - those folks are always on-the-go with their health and the health of the planet on their minds.
Tell us about yourself
It was my stint as a figure skating Princess with Disney on Ice that brought me to Europe, but the chance to create and launch some of the world's best-known chocolate brands kept me there for nearly a decade as a Chocolate Scientist. I developed my chocolate-focused Research and Development career at 2 of the largest snacking companies in the world. I returned home to Edmonton in 2019 after a personal tragedy to put my chocolate development skills to the test. When my sister and cofounder, Leanna, planted the seed that chocolate should be sports fuel, it made complete sense to "come home" and create the legacy-to-be 7 Summits Snacks.
Each day I am motivated by the challenge of building a business that brings fun and adventure to other people. I am a goal-oriented person, and working towards a hard goal provides me with purpose each and every day. The ability to combine passions of my own (chocolate and being outdoors) and create a product line that serves others who enjoy life in those ways with a product that didn't exist before is the carrot that keeps me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is seeing how this brand is growing. We are now in over 100 independent retail stores in Western Canada - that's all our own hard work! We are only just at the start of working with distribution channels that can access multiple stores with one phone call. Many similar businesses find a distributor and bam! Have 30 stores under their belt in an instant. Each and every one of our stores required a personal connection at the start, where we had to convince the owner or buyer that a new brand, such as ours, was going to be different and BETTER than what they were already supplying to their customers.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is resourcing. This includes both allocations of time and money. I have a huge desire and a clear vision to grow this company on a global scale - finding funds and allocating time to reach scale is often a struggle, especially with a product-based business. Finding the balance of working "in" the business vs. working "on" the business is often frustrating when you don't yet have the resources to let you, the owner, pursue your lofty growth goals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't overthink starting… there are accessible ways for you to vet your idea and see if it is going to be worth the hard work it takes to run your business. Sitting there and trying to be prepared before starting might make you overwhelmed from even ever getting started.
- It will be hard if you really want it to grow. Some folks are totally okay with spending an hour here or there and chipping away slowly when they have time. For me, I am extremely motivated to make 7 Summits Snacks my A-game, so I often find it difficult to find a balance between running the business, other commitments I hold, and my own health and wellbeing.
- Set boundaries. Your wellbeing is more important than growing the business because, without you, there is no business. Set timers and schedules and be disciplined to stick to them. Your best ideas will come when you don't overthink things and have the space to consider them. This might be when you are being active and are well rested.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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