Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adam Deremo, founder and CEO of Awake Chocolate, a line of caffeinated chocolates located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
AWAKE is a line of caffeinated chocolates that deliver the most delicious pick-me-up you can imagine. If Hershey and Red Bull had a baby, it would be AWAKE. Our chocolate has a pretty broad appeal, but some of our best customers include healthcare workers (you guys and gals rock!), working millennials, and college students.
Tell us about yourself
As a university student, I couldn't imagine a career that didn't include building a business from scratch. I was always drawn to consumer packaged goods, which is how I got started in the food and beverage industry (working for PepsiCo and KraftHeinz). I was fortunate to work for great companies for a little over ten years.
Along the way, I noticed some unmet consumer needs that I thought could be better addressed by a startup - developing an energy product that was truly delicious and, therefore, enjoyable to eat was one of those opportunities. Nothing against coffee or energy drinks, but they don't exactly taste great, and I'd heard that feedback from consumers many times. It never made sense to me that people should have to drink something they don't enjoy just to get the pick-me-up they needed. So I put my head together with my co-founders, and we came up with AWAKE.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We recently sold our 90,000,000th piece of chocolate. You can't get to that point without loyal customers who really value your brand - that means a lot.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Maintaining focus. Most entrepreneurs are optimistic by nature which is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is you can spot opportunities where others might miss them. The curse is you want to chase opportunity when you spot it. Learning to say no and remain on task can be a superpower if you do it correctly.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Stay focused on the things that create the most value. This applies to both the activities your company does and the things you personally spend your time on.
- Always be listening. It's amazing what you can learn from your customers if you just ask them.
- It's a marathon, not a sprint. Most overnight success stories are years in the making, so plan your time and budget your funds accordingly.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.