Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food & beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Wyatt Bryson, Co-Founder of Jewels of the Forest, located in Sebastopol, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I formed Jewels of the Forest together with my brother, Hunter Bryson. We are combining a deep passion for mycology and the culinary arts. We focus on the plant-based alternative protein market, emphasizing snacking. Our flagship product, Shroom Snack Mushroom Jerky, is the ideal plant-based protein alternative for those on the go.
We start with organic oyster mushrooms and infuse them with traditional Asian flavors to create a stimulating umami. With a product we are all familiar with, we offer vegans and non-vegans a healthy alternative to snacking. Jewels of the Forest is committed to the principles of healthy bodies and a healthy Earth.
Tell us about yourself
I have been an entrepreneur my whole life, from selling candy on the playground to a handyman business, boat builder, mycologist, and now food producer. I first got into mycology and mushrooms while growing up in Hawaii, where I lived.
When I decided to move back to my family property in Sonoma County to build my own house and start a family, I brought my mycology lab from Hawaii. When reconnecting with my brother, we decided to join forces, with him as the culinary expert and me as the mycologist, ready to create new and innovative mushroom food products. We started as Mycolab Solutions, making back-end mushroom growing supplies and as a mycology lab, but soon pivoted to the food space based on Hunter's culinary experience.
Our motto now is "feeding the world one mushroom at a time," and we are fulfilling that dream by producing the products we now distribute nationwide. Our success and goal of bringing mushrooms to the forefront of our eating habits as a society keeps me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest accomplishment I feel I have made as a business owner is social and personal change I have inspired for a more sustainable food economy. Our goal as a company is to provide a healthier and more sustainable option to what is marketed to us in the snack food space. As reflected in our feedback, I know we are making an impact and offering a better chance.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are many inspiring advantages to being a business owner, but also many challenges. I would have to say one of the most complex aspects of starting your own business is burnout. Many business owners try to do everything on their own, and for a while, it works. But in the long term, it is unsustainable. Determination and grit will only get you so far after the base foundation of your business is built.
There are only so many hours in a day and a limit to what one person can churn out in that time. Burnout can be a real problem and affect an entrepreneur's path to success. The solution is to be open to sharing tasks and foresight to build the right team to take on the various responsibilities of running a successful business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Here are three tips I would gladly give anyone looking to start their own business would be.
- Know you need a team. Find the right people that complement your skills while filling in the voids of the skills you don't possess. It always takes a team, and no man or woman is an island.
- Be like water. Adapting and changing to the directions that the river of business life propels you in. Don't be too fixed when a change of direction necessitates it.
- Never lose hope and faith. The hurdles and fires will always arise to be overcome or extinguished. Always remember your end goal and any advancement is progression, even when it may not seem like it. So, in conclusion, be faithful to the vision initially created for your business, but be able to seek help, adapt to changes, and seek out the personal things you need to keep your morale and vision alive!
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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