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Keelan Waldock: Working w/ Steven Bartlett, THAT Viral McDonalds Campaign and more!

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

In this episode of the If Only They Knew Podcast, Keelan Waldock (owner of BWOWNIES) speaks about building a community around brownies, his viral McDonalds campaign, working with Steven Bartlett on his Diary of a CEO Tour and so much more!

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yes people it's Ted Lawler from If Only They knew the hub for young business Minds in this episode we speak to Keelan0:06 waldock founder of brownies and he talks about how he's gone viral building a0:12 community and so much more so if you want to learn how to get stuck in and build a community for yourself then this0:17 is the podcast for you0:25 yeah so I'm Keelan waldock founder of brownies um and yeah I'm just on a mission to to0:32 make the the most exciting brownie brand in the world and and you're certainly doing that we were just speaking off0:38 camera there and I said it feels like I know I know I've known you for so long even though we've never spoken apart0:43 from the LinkedIn DMS to get this course started so you're obviously doing something right um how does it feel to0:49 at this stage be doing relatively successful not even relatively really successful actually0:55 for for this stage yeah no thank you mate um means a lot I mean you're killing it as well1:00 um but yeah nice it's it's been a been a really crazy Journey um yeah it's it's pretty crazy to be1:08 sitting here now like it's my my job so I never thought that would be the case1:13 so it's been a it's been a crazy few months well yeah it certainly looks as1:19 well even from what I've seen on LinkedIn but before we get into what you're up to now um what was you like before all of this1:25 because I'm all right saying you wanted to to you had a passion for sports um and weirdly enough it's I spoke to1:32 Joe from please cakes and he sort of said something similar like he had a passion for for that that sort of thing as well and1:38 then ended up in the food industry so for you who were you before all of this like how did you get to this point I1:44 never I've always felt like I'd never really fit in like I never liked I didn't get on well with school1:51 um like I didn't really I I just didn't understand how to learn basically I1:56 couldn't get my head around it and I was always finding ways to do stuff differently2:01 um like for example I would study I I realized from an early age that I2:07 didn't I didn't need French so yeah I just study uh maths and English in those2:14 lessons yeah and so things like that just made me feel like I didn't fit in and I was different2:20 um but yeah I had a massive passion for sports what was all I knew that I was you know that's all I did every day2:28 um and like whatever I did I always wanted to be the best at2:33 um and if like I was I'm a terrible loser if I still today like if I lose to2:39 my younger brother or dad or anything I will literally go away and play it for like hours until that doesn't happen2:46 again uh I'm not even joking yeah it's bad it's bad but it's good2:53 um so yeah I think I just had a massive passion for sport um wanted to to play professional as3:00 everyone does in started off as football and then ended up3:05 um playing Cricket um played for County um but obviously wasn't wasn't good3:12 enough but really enjoyed it um but alongside that I also had a3:17 massive passion for food um I loved cooking um and I love putting my my own spin on3:24 different recipes um I loved watching Jamie Oliver um if I wasn't watching Sky Sports News3:31 I was watching you know Jamie Oliver Jamie one of Jamie Oliver's cooking shows or something so3:37 um yeah I think that was where those sort of two passions started and3:43 um eventually ended up falling into into brownies when you mentioned like Jamie3:50 Oliver there it got me thinking like do you feel like you would have had the passion for3:56 cooking and baking and food if it wasn't for I know this sounds really weird but like if it wasn't for Jamie Oliver like4:02 do you think it was like uh either whether it was Jamie himself or other people that you looked up to if it4:10 wasn't for him or them do you think you'd still have the same passion like where does that passion come from4:15 um yeah no I definitely think he was a big part of it and like looking back on it now like when you think of a chef you4:23 don't like you think of you know someone in that white chef with a hat like Jamie4:28 Oliver doesn't fit that description um and I guess that's something that I4:34 apply today like um outside of Joe from please cakes there isn't really anyone like us who4:41 looks like us and and bakes like in that industry um so I guess that's sort of where that4:48 sort of thing comes from but I think ultimately it just comes down to this4:54 whole like being the best um and I haven't done enough digging into my childhood as to where that comes5:00 from but it's probably just more like getting that external validation yeah5:08 I guess in a way like I'd always want to be that one person who um would would I was a goalkeeper so I'd5:15 always want to save penalties or yeah yeah make that match winning save um I'd always want to be that person so5:22 yeah but it seems like that's an important point though like about5:27 you said there like you haven't sort of dug into your childhood and I think that's important an important point to5:32 raise because I think that's where like most passions come from right like for me for example when you when you sort of5:38 Trace back you're like oh yeah you can tell you is always going to end up in marketing in some format because I used5:44 to stack up like video cases put like some really cheap camera on top and film5:49 myself playing like modern warfare one or two whatever it was at the time and like brand that and then upload that to5:55 YouTube and then do vlogs and stuff and this is when I was like 13 14 whatever it would have been6:01 um so you could tell my passion for marketing was always there so I guess that that sort of what you're saying6:06 isn't it like passion sometimes comes from your your younger self and and on that point is it do you have any other6:13 advice on to how somebody can tap into their passion like do you think if6:18 you're interested in Lego as a kid you may have a passion for construction for6:24 example yeah yeah an example but you know what I mean right yeah no I think I think as I sort of go to look back like6:30 you said like um I think it's so important to start with to go back and like try and depict6:36 it's really hard and it's a tough thing to do but it's so important because it's just it just unlocks so many sort of6:43 blocked passages in your brain yeah yeah but yeah like then I was just thinking6:48 like um I had the sport which was always wanting to be the best Jamie Oliver6:53 which was um cooking and being different um and putting your personality into6:59 what you're making um and then like I used to love KSI and7:05 the sidemen and all them yeah we probably grew up watching them and yeah7:10 I think when you combine all of those three things you get sort of brownies7:16 that in a way like um and where we want to go so yeah I7:22 think it's so important um but I think it's so important to7:27 Follow Your Passion or at least even if it's not something for your like for7:33 your job if it's not gonna earn you money um it's so important to still fulfill your passions whether it's through7:39 Hobbies or I mean if you're not then you must they uh not sort of enjoying where7:46 you're where you're going or where you're at so I think that's so important uh yeah and I agree I see that a lot in7:51 people as well you can just tell they don't have that passion for what they're doing and you can see it almost eaten away at them can't you but7:57 um fast forward a bit um you obviously you've mentioned there brownies and I I laughed because there's just something8:04 about the name it's just so fun and it really the name itself just sort of conveys the whole the whole brand and8:09 the whole feel for it sort of does does a perfect perfect job in doing that um where did that name come from I know8:16 obviously you're selling Brownies so it's quite an easy one but like yeah where did that come from like how did8:21 you get the idea to actually turn your passion into a business um yeah because you've obviously done a8:27 great job it looks like it's been thoroughly planned out but I Wonder has it and yeah how did you get started8:32 so it all sort of um started in sort of 2016-17 around8:38 then and I was at sick from doing a B Tech in sport8:43 um obviously and uh and alongside that had a job at McDonald's a part-time job8:49 um and um I didn't really and I don't I didn't8:54 enjoy working for someone else I'd done a few jobs you know working Behind Bars and in restaurants and washing um dishes9:02 Etc um but I didn't really like that again I was always looking to do9:09 things in a more efficient way I didn't stick by the book um but I'd always be creating new ways9:17 and and quicker more efficient ways to do stuff to the same standard so I didn't want to do it their way9:23 um so yeah so in a way like I think like I was always sort of set up to to run my9:30 own business um as well my dad was a huge inspiration and9:36 um in in setting his own Plumbing business up so he he tells a great story of um9:41 like he's got no gcses nothing um and didn't have a job9:49 um didn't know what he wanted to do and then went into the job center saw a plumbing9:54 um job advert on the on the wall um and he kept sort of doing it but kept10:00 applying for these jobs but couldn't get uh couldn't get his job so one day he saw this this job advert10:07 um applied and then just took the job of advert down so no one else could apply and and he got the job and then he ended10:14 up setting up his own sort of Plumbing business and um yes so I guess I see the similarities10:20 between two of us but um in terms of brownies um I think it was my nan who like well10:29 basically she's a bit confusing but so like I I I'd always loved making10:35 brownies and and that was the one thing that I could make that was so much better than anything else10:40 um so they they started to pick up um like orders from family friends Etc10:48 um and I wasn't getting paid at that point um just doing it for fun because that was what my passion was10:54 um and I knew they were good um and unlike anything else anyone had tried so my nan then just said like I11:01 should just start into a turn it into a business and um yeah I just set up an Instagram11:07 account um and then off I went and and the name brownie sort of come from11:15 near my nan on the way back from a cricket game talking about setting his business up and I've still got the the11:21 page in my notes on my phone and we were just writing down names I mean some of them are awful yeah and the last one we11:28 got to was was brownies and like there and then I just knew I had something I could literally remember the11:35 feeling I had and I could not believe that um no one had taken it like I was11:41 searching Instagram seeing if it was like surely there was another company with that name um and then I just immediately didn't11:47 really know what I was doing so I didn't trademark it for for a few years and then um didn't buy the domain either wow yeah11:55 I didn't know what I was doing so um just set it up and the next day went12:01 into sit form with um a load of samples and um got everyone to try them all and12:07 share my Instagram page and um that's sort of got the ball rolling for me oh two two points on that is12:14 really interesting startup story actually about two points um two questions rather like do you have12:19 uh an emotional attachment to the brand because it was something you and your12:25 nan sort of work together to set up in that that brief moment and I'm sure there were moments before that as well but that moment where you decided the12:32 name is there an emotional attachment um to that and two did you have a it12:39 sounds like you didn't really have a vision for what you wanted it to be or what you wanted to get from it you just wanted to sort of start that project so12:46 yeah it took two questions there if you don't mind yeah yeah I mean yeah so emotional and I think yeah it's just12:53 amazing really that you started like that and it sort of ended up where it is and um I guess to answer your second one13:01 like I had no idea like where it was going to go no idea all I13:06 wanted to do was really sort of um convince my mum to let me quit13:12 McDonald's and yeah that was my main aim yeah um because I just didn't enjoy it I like13:18 to work when I wanted to work and um I liked building something and doing13:24 something different and I've never done it before so I wouldn't know until I tried it yeah uh I I it was also about13:31 earning a little bit of money um before uni um because that was that was why I was13:38 working in the first place so um I guess they were the main main reasons but no I had no sort of clue13:45 what I was doing like like I said I didn't didn't get the domain name all the trademark13:51 um so yeah it was it was all a bit of a crazy Journey we will get onto that as13:58 well that sort of having that naivety I think has helped me as well and it sounds like it's definitely helped you14:04 um just sort of not knowing what could go wrong or not knowing what to expect we'll definitely dive into that a bit14:09 later on but um in terms of the point of going to UNI I find that really interesting14:15 um obviously part of the reasoning for setting up the business was so you could afford to go to to pay for your way14:22 whilst you're at Uni um but how did you manage that balance between life uni14:28 family and then business like how did you juggle all this going on especially when the business is is doing so well14:34 yeah so um I think before before we go into that14:39 when I went to UNI um in that first year I actually stopped brownies and because obviously I went14:46 into to Diggs so I'm a student Hall so like I couldn't I mean I couldn't make14:53 we were having parties most nights in that same kitchen yeah obviously14:59 stopped it um and you know got everything out my system partied15:05 um probably too much because again like I didn't get I didn't really have that when I was growing up because I was15:12 um so serious with with sport um that I didn't want to drink I just wanted to train and play15:19 um so I didn't have that so when I went to UNI it was a bit I sort of went off the rails a little bit and actually15:26 nearly ended up like failing my exam times if it actually wasn't for kovid I15:32 probably wouldn't have got through because obviously all the exams then went online15:37 um yeah yeah yeah so it was a big help so so yeah so so that was what what15:43 happened then and then obviously locked down here um towards the end of my first year and everyone got sent home15:50 and that's when I started brownies back up again because obviously everyone was at home e-commerce boom uh Tick Tock had15:59 just started um there was some some crazy things going on and we started it up and and16:04 this time it was different it was it was serious um and yeah it sort of just16:11 kept the ball started to keep getting bigger and bigger and yeah but but man like juggling uni and the business and16:19 everything else was like one of the hardest things I've ever had to do yeah16:27 um yeah like if I wouldn't have done it then um I would have regretted it what what are your thoughts on uni in general then16:35 especially in the context of like people in in a similar situation to16:40 you and also that was like a very similar situation to me as well like I started all of this whilst in my first16:45 year of uni because I was like oh no like I feel like if uni is is this all16:51 uni has to offer then I'm in big trouble because it just wasn't it wasn't hitting the spot like I was I was learning16:57 business and marketing but it just felt a little bit outdated with like everything you said like Tick Tock17:03 booming and everything booming all these social media platforms so I had to start something on my own to to sort of learn17:09 myself and experience it um so yeah what's your thoughts on uni for for young people that want to get17:15 into the business world do you think they should go to UNI for that stop gap of a few years to sort of think about17:21 what they're doing or yeah what's your thoughts on that yeah it's a really tricky one because I17:27 sort of see both sides of the argument um I I sort of grew up in a household17:33 completely different to everyone else like my parents were very17:39 um like didn't quite understand University didn't understand you know why I'd go17:45 there learn that and and end up in that debt yeah but to be honest like that was17:51 probably that was the best thing I ever did because I I went there I got I learned so many like just skills life17:58 skills like I become a you become a young man effectively like very quickly18:03 you you have to learn to budget your money um you're you're totally dependent on18:09 yourself you know if you're ill you're you you deal with that um you still got to do all your washing18:15 uh you've got to cook for yourself all these small things that18:21 you a lot of us have the privilege of not even thinking about doing yeah so so18:28 that was that was a key lesson I think it was that independency of like18:34 like this is I'm on my own now like yeah so I think in a way like that really18:43 sort of showed me that I had to do it myself so obviously it goes back to18:48 Brownies but I think oh I encourage I think it totally depends18:54 on who you are as a person in terms of business I definitely think18:59 it's it's outdated I think I didn't go for the course I went for the experience19:06 and the lessons which I think a lot of people forget about when they say you know don't go to UNI because they're19:11 just so focused on the course and they also forget that you can do whatever you19:17 want whilst you're there you're not like revise it I've certainly wasn't Reviving every day like yeah yeah 10 hours19:25 straight you know what I mean you've got so much spare time it's like a job um and and people have side hustles and19:31 things like that so I definitely think if you go to a business if you go to you need to do to to learn more about19:37 business marketing there's stuff on the side um that you can do to get that experience that everyone bangs on about19:43 now um so yeah I definitely think it's it's a tricky one19:49 um but if you want to go go and if you don't know what you want to do then you can always do both yeah yeah you know19:56 that's that's really good advice and I think a lot of the young people listening will be in that boat as well like when they're at that point or do I20:02 do I go to UNI do I stay do I start a business so I think that that will really help thanks for that um fast forward a little bit when you20:08 obviously you come out of uni you said things started to pick up and you treated brownies as more of a like a20:14 real business as things start to pick up a lot more so what was happening there like because you now you're at a stage20:20 where every time I log on to LinkedIn you're there with something whether it's a publicity Stan with the McDonald's which20:28 we'll get into a bit later on and so much there like you're always you're always popping up and you're always20:33 coming up in different conversations I see as well I see you getting tagged a lot in comments20:38 um on LinkedIn especially saying oh check out this guy and and have you seen this guy's work um so yeah how did it all look for you20:46 on that sort of rebound of brownies um getting started after uni20:52 um how did it all look what was you doing and how have you managed to build such a powerful community that you've20:57 built yeah I think it's been a journey and looking back like uni go into uni did21:05 teach me what I didn't want to do and that was teaching or you know uh21:11 anything to do with sports science that side of it um so so that was really helpful21:17 um and then it was just a matter of like what what do I actually want to do yeah and then that was when sort of I just21:25 started up brownies again and I was like right let's just try this again and see what happens and21:31 sort of um just kept posting I remember being sat there and and emailing like thousands of21:39 influencers because I just realized they were all at home yeah and I was just emailing them like21:45 not professional emails at all just from my basic iCloud one21:51 action photos like I didn't I didn't know what I was doing um like had no clue but I would just21:57 send them off and see who got back to me like I was just messaging everyone people from uh my favorite uh Ipswich22:05 towns football clubs yeah yeah in players um big Fitness guys just seeing what22:11 happened and people began to get back to me and and reply and gave me a chance22:17 and um sent them out products again shout me out started picking that ball up again22:23 um and then obviously uh whilst in lockdown um wrote the letter to Joe22:31 um so I sort of always loved what Joe's doing and loved please cakes never even22:37 thought that I could follow in his footsteps or attempt to um and22:44 so like I I just thought all right well I don't remember what I was sort of thinking but22:50 um I just thought I would write this letter for some reason never done this before and22:56 um explain like my my journey my story so far and how I got to that point and um how much23:04 he's inspired me um just done that and then sent it off to him23:10 um and then then a few days later however long it was uh woke up to just like notification please cakes23:17 suspension during your story and it just kept going and my phone was honestly I've never experienced anything like it23:24 it's the first time I've ever had to turn like notifications off and I've kept them off since then but um my phone23:32 was proper bugging out I hadn't ever experienced anything like it it's just um23:37 we got like thousands of followers hundreds of orders overnight never seen anything like it and yeah just that that23:44 one moment sort of changed my life were you prepared for that then in terms of like the actual Hands-On stuff like23:51 getting orders um like obviously it's one thing to prepare mentally for something like that23:57 when your account sort of blows up overnight but to physically prepare for the amount of orders you got and24:03 shipping them out like could you at that point you were a one-man band right so yeah were you were you prepared for that24:09 no not at all not at all um like didn't know what I was doing24:14 um had no systems in place I was like no stock management was literally just um24:21 running loud look I ain't got any chocolate today so I have to order some more like it was literally just that and24:28 uh yeah the the big thing was that I didn't put any24:33 um stock limits on my website so like we had so much traffic the most traffic was24:40 ever coming and everyone wanted to buy some because it was just a an amazing story and it was crazy what sort of24:46 happened and so we we got all these orders in and I'd I've never seen anything like it I was trying to figure24:51 out sort of how long it was going to take me um at the time I just had like a like24:56 one of those half sort of mini fridge things yeah and that was it like nothing commercial just a home oven normal stand25:05 mixer that just fits on the counter top and these trays that you could only make25:10 one box per tray and I had like eight of them I think so I could only make eight boxes at a time wow25:17 um yeah and then that was all in the middle of my second year um exams25:23 um so it was crazy that does sound that sounds absolutely25:29 mental um and then like it weren't only that was it like obviously that's like a big part of your journey so far25:35 um because that that that is a huge huge moment but it wasn't just that that was a really25:40 um big and probably exciting moment for you as well because you had that and then um25:46 do you want to just take us through the the McDonald's thing as well um because when I saw that I thought oh wow I think when I think it was I just25:54 started following you or when I followed you I looked and I was like oh my god wow that's amazing like he's working with McDonald's and then it took me a26:01 while to clock on going yeah so I was like okay so yeah do you want to explain that please because I think that's yeah26:06 yeah yeah sure so like that please cakes post and and everything that happened26:11 with them that showed me that you know this is this is what I want to do like that showed me that this is possible26:18 um and I'll be forever grateful for for Joe and his team for everything they've done for me so26:24 um yeah it's amazing what they've done and um hopefully I'll make them proud and be26:29 able to pay them back one day um but but then from there it was like how can I do this again I sort of I26:37 always say this but I sort of got addicted to this buzz like this dopamine26:42 hit of someone getting back to an email or or something like I just got this26:48 buzz and I still have it now um it's good but it's all about how you harness that26:53 um but we we started to think like how can we do that it was a bit of a gap26:59 between this please cakes and the McDonald's post but um I think that McDonald's post was was27:06 crazy I remember being sat in on the uni campus um and just thinking like April Fool's27:13 is a few days ago away I've got to do something uh no clue what I wanted to do27:19 initially come up with this idea that we were going to make a a brownie Big Mac27:24 because because we thought that would be like people would know that's an April fools yeah yeah yeah yeah27:32 that's a big part of it as well like yeah it was like oh yeah obviously but like I27:38 think with this it was so well executed like like I said it took me like a good few weeks to realize after looking27:45 through posts and I was like hold on a minute I was like something's not right here and then I worked it out27:50 um but yeah yeah go answer I'll let you continue yeah so then I had this this idea27:57 um spoke to a good friend of mine Lewis so he's been hugely important the scenes28:04 um and then also phoned uh my mate Dan who built all our website and and done28:10 all that side of things spoke to both of them about this idea um Lewis we were talking about this idea28:17 of making it a bit more realistic um McFlurry28:23 um that that actually could be real like the um28:29 story of me going from work in there building brownies as a brand to then28:36 having Oro McFlurry it's just an amazing story in it it's it's just regardless of28:43 whether it is the first of April or not like someone reading that who knows nothing about the brand could think that28:48 he's real yeah so then it was all about how can we make that amazing graphic phoned up Dan he28:54 made it and when he sent it to me it's just like that is I could not believe it29:00 it looked so real with the bite marks and that I was just so good29:07 um but it's funny actually because they'd actually changed the uh no one29:12 picked up on it but McDonald's Had obviously changed the the McFlurry packaging because of the uh to get rid29:18 of the plastic yeah she picked up on that but that was a big giveaway but29:24 yeah and then we just put it out and it sort of just went a bit mental and29:31 um we had some crazy things happen off the back of that uh one of which like the the new owners of Ipswich Town29:37 messaged me wow yeah just they they said uh said um I'm so proud of you mate29:44 they're over in America and uh I just I just went along with it and then ended up in a in a meeting with him wow29:53 did you feel a bit like maybe I should tell people that straight away because like part of me would be29:59 thinking oh my God like it's a really good like publicity stunt but I'd almost be thinking maybe I should just let30:05 people know and make it really obvious that it's a joke because you like you said you was getting loads of messages people were talking about you saying oh30:12 my God he's like smashed it um yeah what what like surely you must have been thinking maybe let me just30:17 stop it yeah I I got a few I got like I still get messages today and I'll have30:22 meetings today and they'll be like oh that McDonald's collab was sick and I have to tell her April fools it still30:28 happens but um I think I think when I realized I had to start telling people I left it as30:34 late as possible like it was probably like in the afternoon late afternoon I put out a post saying like this is this30:42 is a joke or even the next day I think on LinkedIn um but I think you know like my granddad30:49 I think uh was going round his work telling everyone that he was so proud of30:54 me and that's when I started to think archered I need to actually tell people because30:59 like it was starting to get a little bit like to the point where I didn't want to say to anyone that it was a joke but31:07 yeah I had to but that was all part of it like it had to be believable and I31:12 wanted it to be believable so leaving it as late as possible to tell people was was was very important yeah yeah no well31:20 done on it you smashed it and I think what one of the other things I wanted to get like um across one of one of the31:27 things it seemed like a personal highlight for you as well um just before we we go into the the last few questions31:33 the the Stephen Bartlett thing the Diary of a CEO tour I think that's amazing and31:39 again shows the power that not not in a because I'm the same like31:44 having a bit of naivety and not not knowing certain things and not knowing how things normally work I think has31:51 paid off a lot in your favor hasn't it so if you don't mind just running us through what happened there was Stephen Bartlett I think that's crazy yeah yeah31:58 yeah no that was crazy and and again it's just that naivety that you mentioned is just so important32:05 I think I didn't know what I was doing I didn't know how things work in this sort of Industry so32:11 I was just do I was just going and doing it I was having these ideas calling people saying is this possible and32:17 they'd be like No And I'd be like well like why not like why can't you just do that um so I've always had this mentality of32:24 it sounds really simple but literally um like just doing it like as night say32:29 like I have an idea I do it and I think that's the difference between people that that start their own32:37 businesses and people that have the ideas but never to actually start it32:42 um like you've just got to go and do it um and and if it's not possible and make32:47 it possible um but they had a Stephen Bartlett thing was was mad it was actually coming up to32:54 um a year since since it all sort of happened and it's probably this week actually because it was around my brother's birthday and33:00 we we went to Center parks and I was it's all filmed like that video is filmed in in me and my brother's room at33:07 Center Park so now I just got this idea like I got my mum and dad tickets to see33:14 his um CEO live tour um the Palladium33:20 um and for Christmas and I just had this sort of random idea that like well then33:25 I just ask him if I can sell so my Brownie's there um and I guess it all sort of goes back33:32 to around that time where Joe wrote that letter and I actually dm'd Stephen33:38 asking if I could send him some brownies around that time and he actually replied and wow I supported him in a team out33:45 some and that sort of been in Center Parks when I got that idea I was like all right I'll just ask33:51 him originally sent him a DM uh obviously never heard anything never33:57 heard anything back so I actually unsent it and then um that was when we had this34:02 idea to to put this video up um again that was Lewis sort of said let's34:09 just do a video and put it on LinkedIn um because up until that point Instagram34:15 had been such a focal point for me and I hadn't even I didn't really know what LinkedIn was and it was post-op34:22 um asking if I could sell my brownies at his event thinking like it'll be a cool34:28 cool idea and have a young brand there um and yeah he actually responded uh I34:37 basically asked people to tag him in the comments and um eventually got his attention and and34:43 he he sort of replied saying I've got a DM you um and we'll sort it out we'll34:48 see what we can do upgrading my tickets to to meet and greet and VIP wow34:54 and then yeah again that naivety like we couldn't actually sell the the brownies35:00 at the event because obviously the Palladium have got all the licensing for the food and stuff like that so and35:07 there wasn't enough time to sort that all out um so we um managed to he said look like35:15 you can put flyers um in in all of our VIPs goodie bags so35:21 like it was all a bit of a last minute rush um got all these um custom Flyers made and uh went down35:29 to the Palladium like I wanted to hand deliver them to make sure they'd get there so I went down myself and gave35:35 them over to him and his team and it was a pretty mad moment and yeah it just35:41 that was crazy that that is that is crazy that is honestly crazy and like for me Stephen's such an idol as well so35:48 like to and I guess it would have been for you as well so to have have the acknowledgment even of someone like that35:54 is powerful let alone having them sort of bring you in I think that that's amazing isn't it yeah it was yeah I mean36:00 he's he's a huge inspiration to to me and everyone else um in this area I guess and36:08 um yeah it was amazing to get his attention and hopefully we'll we'll do it again and I know he's going to do36:14 another tour so hopefully we'll actually be able to make it happen this time yeah that yeah that that will be so36:20 satisfying as a fan of yours and a fan of Stevens as well knowing knowing that36:25 almost happened but never quite got that that would be so satisfying for for me and obviously the rest of your community36:30 that would be amazing yeah no it would be so sick yeah obviously we just spoke there about all the the really good36:36 moments um do you think that that would all those moments a big part of it was leveraging the36:44 community that you built putting in those hours beforehand showing how real you are and and all those months of36:51 giving value and emotion to your audience building that Community do you think that that sort of paid off in the36:59 end like like you said you've got all your community to tag Stephen in the comments and stuff like do you think that's a big payoff of having that37:06 Community yeah 100 I think I think I think what it what it is is like37:13 um I've been sort of thinking about this recently and talking to people about it is that like what I've tried to create37:19 is something that sort of hasn't been done before in a sense that37:25 like I I've I'm young and again like no37:30 one really looks like me in in this sort of paid good sector and I've sort of leaned37:37 into that and and and documented this story as I go um and that has built this amazing37:45 community of people who can see one purchase and see37:50 how much of an effect and how much that means to me and and how much of an effect that one purchase has on my37:57 business like they can see it grow and they're growing with the business if that makes sense like38:03 it's just a such a unique thing and no one else has sort of done it or thought38:08 of it in that sense um which I think is so cool and so unique to brownies and I just think it's38:14 only gonna only gonna go from here because because right now we're we're still relatively small you know we're a38:19 fraction of the size of our biggest competitor um but we're doing things that a38:25 business of us so I shouldn't be able to do yeah yeah um which is just so so exciting and I38:33 think it's just really it comes with us to document the journey you know every step is is on there it's like a diary in38:39 a way so yeah yeah it's really cool and I like the concept no it is and and I um38:45 last last like few things as well like of of of this podcast I'm enjoying this38:50 so much by the way um and again I think that that's part of part of the fascination with yourself and the brand38:56 isn't it people just enjoy watching you um but yeah I think it's really important to have that documented and39:02 it's it's I I messaged you the other day didn't I or I put on my on my LinkedIn39:08 profile that um if I had to put money on any entrepreneur in the whole country like39:14 being a success and get into a certain point all my money would be on you like39:19 there would be no heading I'd literally just dump it all on you because it's so clear what like you said what you've39:25 achieved at such a at such an early stage it's so clear to to see where39:30 you're going and it it seems like you have it planned out right or do you know no thank you mate it means a lot and39:37 yeah I'm just really excited about the next few years and what they have in store for brownies and39:44 um I think it's just only gonna get bigger and better and more exciting so so yeah I just honestly can't contain my39:50 excitement and yeah I think we we do we do have it we do have like a rough sort39:57 of plan but I'm quite like I'm very gut LED in in the sense that like I get40:04 ideas and I just go and do them um so but but that's bad because it my40:11 life is just a complete mess and it's all a rush last minute and I want to eradicate that and be a lot be a bit40:18 more structured know the key dates know when we need to start um making products making content40:24 putting out content um so I want to be more structured in that sense and I'm still working and40:30 learning and in terms of things like that and and that side of it but40:35 um I don't want to lose that gut lead aspect either um so it's just a way to manage both but40:41 but yeah it's it's yeah it's a tricky one but um yeah we'll see I'm still gonna have40:48 all these impulse ideas and go and do them because that's what brownies is about but before we get on to what what40:55 is next for you um and then like the final quick fire round I just wanted to ask we spoke a lot about the good41:00 moments there's been a lot of Smiles in this Smiles during this conversation a lot of laughs a lot of positivity but41:06 I'm all right I said you've had a few bad moments um I'm not I also am I right in saying41:13 that um like that on Black Friday you had a bit of an issue with the mixture am I right41:20 in saying that or I made that up yeah no we we've had our mate there's been so many41:25 so many um down points along this journey as as much as they've been up so it's a41:31 complete roller coaster um and I'm still learning that um but yeah we've had a few um a few41:37 nightmares and Black Friday was was interesting because from the outside41:44 it was viewed as our best um our best weekend ever you know and it41:51 don't get me wrong it was it was I I'd never seen anything like it and I never thought we'd ever get there41:57 um but again it goes back to this documentation of the journey and um just being transparent like with my42:05 audience because not enough businesses do that um you know it's all good posting42:11 pictures with uh hundreds of brownie boxes behind you but if you're not going to tell the audience the truth of how42:17 you got there or what happened when you were making them all in it's not it's not there's no point doing it and that's42:23 something I'm not going to lose um and yeah like we had issues with the42:29 mixture it was so cold in the the unit that um when it gets a little bit technical42:35 but when you pour the the mix the chocolate into the eggs it would just seize up42:41 um and we ended up throwing away thousands of pounds worth of ingredients42:48 um because again that naivety like I don't really know what I'm doing never been to catering College42:55 um like all I know is is these these brownies and things in that industry43:01 that area so um luckily had a few contacts shout out43:06 to Dom if you know he's probably not watching but he's a legend and he helped me out um but yeah so we eventually we43:13 got it fixed but um that was yeah that was big because43:18 obviously everyone right now is being affected by the cost of living crisis43:23 um so it's really tough um and obviously our prices are like I'm trying really43:30 hard not to increase my prices because people don't want to don't want to pay43:35 um and whilst everyone else is increasing their prices it's a good opportunity to undercut people yeah in a43:43 sense um because obviously I'm a young growing band and I don't have a mortgage to pay43:49 um and I don't have kids so I can afford to do that but then43:55 like because of because our cost of ingredients is increasing our margin is44:01 just getting Tighter and Tighter yeah but um so obviously Black Friday we wanted44:06 to do a big discount and not increase the discount in terms of what we did44:12 last year that was really important to us um so did it all went well44:19 um obviously tried to sell 500 boxes we didn't think it we was going to do it and everyone told us we we wouldn't be44:25 able to and then we ended up selling 500 in the first 10 hours and44:30 840 in the weekend uh which is the master most you've ever had44:37 um and then obviously I had to mate them all and and this all started going wrong44:42 and um it was a bit of a nightmare and and those best days also had some of our44:49 darkest days um so yeah I'm still learning and I44:55 think that's the important thing and that's why it's so important to document a journey because not only can they see45:00 the business grow they can see me grow as a person which I think is also quite important45:05 um but yeah luckily we got through it all and um we're we're still not in the position45:13 that we plan to be in but that lack of money has driven creativity45:22 um in our business the whole way through so it's not a worry to me45:28 um at all and I know lots of businesses are worried about it especially in the food industry45:35 um because there's so much it costs so much to make the product um so yeah it's a it's a scary time but as45:43 we learned in the pandemic crisis does bring amazing opportunity and lack of my45:49 I'm a real big believer in lack of money driving creativity um so yeah it's we've got some big45:55 things planned no I love that I really I really like that one I like the fact that you're documenting it all one for46:01 for people like me to learn and for two for you to look back on in a few years and be like wow I can't believe I was46:07 doing that or I can't believe I looked that young and all that stuff like in a good few years like I think it's really46:13 good to look back on for yourself um but yeah very very exciting before we46:18 get on to what you are up to next which I think is a big big sort of thing to46:25 talk about um let's just quickly do the quick fire around if you don't mind so46:30 one thing you wish you knew at an earlier stage quiet this isn't going to be46:36 quickly I wish I knew at an earlier age um46:42 I probably I don't know there's a quote by uh Matt Fraser who's like the fittest46:48 guy on Earth he uh he said this amazing quote I wish I I heard earlier and it46:54 was um today I'm gonna do what others won't so to tomorrow I can do what47:00 others can't love that yeah that was amazing and that stuck with me and something I think about every day so47:07 yeah no I love that and what to to you this is quite a deep one and it's thrown47:13 the people I've asked so far it's throwing them off quite a bit but what's the meaning of life there's loads of47:18 different aspects to it but I think it sort of all boils down to just having47:23 fun like I've only got one sure so I'm just going to go for it and have47:30 that mentality of having nothing to lose especially as a young person47:36 um so yeah I think that's what I I'd probably say just having fun yeah that's47:42 been a reoccurring theme so yeah I'm glad I'm glad you um followed the suit with that one because I I agree47:49 um what do you want your legacy to be if you want a legacy at all um I think it would just be someone who47:56 um when out and done everything he said he was going to do48:03 um because like we sort of touched on earlier there's so many people and I I remember48:09 at school so many people saying that the things that we're gonna do and and and now I still get people who want to be48:17 entrepreneurs and and want to be want to run businesses but and have all these48:22 ideas but never actually do them so I think I want to be known as the48:29 person who's got an idea and gone and got it and and just go for it um I think that's that's my main thing48:36 yeah and sort of uh attach to that in some way what was your advice be for young entrepreneurs if you had to pick48:42 one piece of advice yeah just go in for it yeah literally like Yeah It's Tricky48:48 but you've got to just go for it especially young entrepreneurs we've got well most of us don't have anything to48:54 lose literally and I think it's important to think about like what's the worst that's gonna happen49:01 um all that's going to happen is it's not going to work out you might lose a bit of money and you might49:09 you might lose a bit of motivation or passion but that is going to look so49:14 good on your CV and like that failure will look so good on your CV better than49:21 any experience or any degree can get you so um yeah if you've got an idea and you49:27 want to start something just start now not tomorrow now I love that and the49:32 final one out of this little segment um who are your favorite creators or entrepreneurs at the moment who who are49:39 you looking up to yeah that's another big question um oh I like at the minute49:46 um I do like I've always loved KSI and and the sidemen and those boys49:53 um just think what they've done is amazing um you know comment like again it goes back49:58 to that passion thing they had no idea that they were gonna make money from this they started it just as a passion50:04 and now they're like it's it's the closest thing to beat Romania50:10 it's crazy so I think yeah those those boys and in terms of50:17 business and entrepreneurialism um I guess yeah Stephen Bartlett's the50:24 big one um I think he'll always be an inspiration to me and and also Grace50:29 Beverly um I think it's amazing what she's done yeah um and uh she was a big inspiration for50:37 me whilst I was at Uni so so um yeah both of them are amazing yeah no50:44 that's that's so weird that you said that because they are all mine as well um and I do have to say just before we get into the very final question thanks50:51 for your time as well but I I have to say that Joe from please cakes actually shouted you out on that little segment50:57 so yeah no well Joe Joe would be on there as well obviously I just thought I'd just put the thingy51:04 so you don't um don't get a Badness51:09 wrote that massive letter to him otherwise yeah that's it that's it um the final question then like I said I51:15 really appreciate your time um and thanks for the extra time as well um really appreciate it really enjoyed this conversation what's next for you51:24 um do you have any Pub big publicity stunts lined up um are you going B to B51:29 um which is some something I know that um other food companies are sort of starting to look at a lot more in terms51:36 of moving their whole Focus to to that that route um so yeah what's next for you yeah like51:42 again got some huge huge um stunts and and stuff planned so51:48 that's going to be super exciting obviously you don't want to give too much away but there could be something51:54 coming in like very very soon um so yeah and and we'll continue to do51:59 that throughout the year so keep your eyes peeled for that uh it's gonna be crazy and52:05 gonna be bigger and more ambitious than than last year's that's for sure52:10 um and and yeah in terms of brownies and I think it's just diversifying our52:17 income streams at the minute because we've only got one and we've only ever had one um and52:24 um that's obviously direct to Consumer through social media um and it I think a big one for us is52:32 going to be events and festivals go into them um so that's been really interesting52:38 trying to figure out how we can do that on a tight budget um because obviously it's all we've bootstrapped the whole thing so52:45 um that's going to be interesting um corporate gifting is another big one yeah and then the long-term vision is52:52 obviously getting stopped in in Shops and and farm shops and also the big52:57 major retailers we've got some really cool ideas which will hopefully53:03 um launch and then so yeah that's the big long-term aim but um yeah uh really really excited for53:11 that and I just want to say a massive thank you for having me on I think it's amazing what you're doing and that's53:16 right thank you man yeah you're following your passion as well so so that inspires me too all right brilliant53:22 thank you I really appreciate the the client words I appreciate your time as well um like I said we've gone a little bit over so I really appreciate it um if53:29 you've got a final message for anyone listening or you just want to tell them where to find out more about you please53:35 do let them know yeah just go drop us a follow uh at underscore brownies underscore on Instagram or53:42 uh it's just like brownies but replace the r with another w53:48 a brilliant thank you so much mate all right thank you mate English (auto-generated)




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