How we got Ugly into grocery stores...
Hey guys -Mac Here!
Things are picking up as the word of our ugly is getting around! It’s fun to reminisce about how we started. You have read about Ben and his work rescuing ugly fruit, but the process of getting our product in stores is a whole ‘nother ball game.
About 2 years ago, our process of getting into a store was to simply walk into the store, and ask if they’d be interested. I know that doesn’t sound too difficult, but you would be surprised. First step is to find the right person, like the manager or owner. Maybe they weren’t there -- maybe they didn’t have time -- and then if you did manage to get the right person, you may have 60-90 seconds to tell the story of our product, and why it would be a great fit in their store. We got a lot of “no’s” and we met a lot of people who didn’t even understand what we were trying to do. Upcycling was a relatively new thing at the time, and the number of people who said “don’t you mean ‘recycle’” probably left me with some wrinkles, but it was an opportunity to educate and share our mission. It was an arduous task of finding the right partners who believed in our product and wanted to help in rescuing fruit from becoming food waste. We found passionate grocers and local cafe’s who believe and love our mission, and we have been partnering with like-minded businesses ever since.
As we became available in more stores, I began learning the language of the industry. I got first-hand experience in ordering, delivering, stocking and merchandising on the store level. This knowledge and experience helped me create a product that both customers, and the stores we partnered with, were excited about. We sought out distributors, created better packaging, and produced more innovative products. We began to operate like one of the “big guys”. The Ugly Co had very humble beginnings, and it always puts a huge smile on my face seeing how far we’ve come.
The process of getting into a store, while fundamentally the same, has graduated in sync with our growth. I still approach or seek out the right person to talk too, and I still share our mission, but now I can do it with the confidence from knowing how much good we’ve done so far, and how much more we can do.
And the learning never stops! Everyday we push to spread the word about Ugly and are striving to be in a store near you soon!