Rosalind and her husband Clayton came to Mercy Corps NW in 2013. Together they attended a business class offered by the Women’s Business Center . They went on to get a small business loan and heading out to the highway, went forth with their dream of a seitan business that would change the world.
Wait! What? No seriously. We asked Rosalind, what inspired you to start your business?
I want to change the world. This is something that is so personal and passionate to me. Animal rights are the cornerstone of who I am as a human being. I needed to do something that reflected that. We all want to make the world a better place, no one wants to leave thinking, I really screwed that up.
“We all want to make the world a better place, no one wants to leave thinking, I really screwed that up.”
Eating is one of the most basic necessities that we all partake in and it is fundamentally better to eat vegan the science is there and the compassion is there. This is the easiest way to make a difference but I wanted to make it convenient and fun. So I set off to start Friendly Füds but my husband was not digging it. He said let’s be authentic, we’re metalheads and we are vegans. Together we decided on the name Snackrilege and we are making the world a better place.
Snackrilege had very different plans in the beginning. Fundamental to small business success is the ability to remain flexible and adapt quickly. Their idea was to build a following for their seitan product, then open a brick and mortar restaurant. So we asked Rosalind, how was the first year?
I really thought I wanted to segue into owning a restaurant. So I started with a food cart and I HATED IT! I was feeling overwhelmed and I had no idea what I was doing.
I thought we built up enough of a name to be a destination for our customers but it wasn’t the case. We weren’t busy enough to hire staff so my husband and I had to be there all the time. It was awful but I struggled to give it up. I didn’t realize how miserable I was and that was affecting our brand.
Listen. It is OKAY to fail. It took a lot for me to recognize that but we weren’t happy. So we got rid of the food cart and focused on what we are good at, making seitan and we are sticking with wholesale. We have three people of staff now, they make the food and I drop off the orders. Our sandwiches are in over 40 stores and most importantly we are doing what we love.
“Listen. It is OKAY to fail.”
What was the most useful lesson or advice you learned at Mercy Corps NW?
That a plan is important. I (delusionally) thought that passion was enough but everything cost more than you think it does. You never know as much as you think you do, that is why you have to stop and prepare, and Mercy Corps really helps you do that. They know what to ask and how to get you thinking with a business mindset. You all have helped me so much. Mercy Corps NW is such a unique tool and gift that we have here in the Pacific Northwest.
We have heard from several different entrepreneurs that they get wrapped up in how to make EVERYONE happy or focusing on what other people will think. How have you found balance in your business and what advice would you give other businesses?
I don’t regret my choices because they were all learning experiences. What I will say is that there are hard choices that you have to make. For me it was gluten-free, we are not a gluten-free business but wholesalers were always asking me for gluten-free options. We added some options and it was taking so much time from my staff and we weren’t selling anything. So we stopped, we are good at sandwiches and we need to stick with what we are good at and what we are known for.
How can people support you and Snackrilege?
Check out our website! We have great merchandise or buy a sandwich at one of the 40 stores around town that sell our products!
And just for fun, if your business had a spirit animal, what would it be and why?
It would be the same as my zodiac sign, a Fire Dragon. Coming from where I was 15 years ago (so strung out on meth the only job I could do was housekeeping and I could barely do that), to where I am today (a successful business owner that spent my 40th birthday in Croatia), feels pretty mythical. Snackrilege is fiery and fun and ferocious and fabulous.