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Branding & Marketing

Jason Wachob: Personal Investment

Jason Wachob, CEO of Crummy Brothers organic cookies, argues in favor of working your ass off and letting the rest take care of itself.

Jason Wachob has one goal in life: to create and run businesses that are focused on better, healthier, greener living. When first brought on as CEO of Crummy Brothers — an organic cookie company now stocked in every Whole Foods Market in the US, his research on LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) prompted him to found a side operation, MindBodyGreen, which aims to educate and inspire in a emphatic, direct Digg-like approach. Behance sat down with Jason to discuss product focus, personal investment and the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurialism.

MindBodyGreen was born out of equal parts accident and necessity. “While researching the market for organic food, I stumbled upon the acronym LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) and all the ensuing market research that followed. It turned out that a large percentage of people interested in say, organic chocolate chip cookies such as Crummy Brothers, were also probably interested in information on yoga, alternative wellness, e.g., acupuncture, meditation, personal growth, and all things green-related; I was one of these people, and always have been. There was a ton of information out there on this subject matter, but was having difficulty sorting through all of it. The proverbial light bulb went off on June 27, 2007, and MindBodyGreen was born. We launched on October 22nd.”

A strong personal belief in his work as well as in developing great products composes his primary business strategy. “[If you] come up with a great product and everything else will take care of itself. People will find it and you. With both Crummy Brothers and MindBodyGreen, the focus was 100% on the product — not projections, not business plan writing, not hiring a PR team, etc. Projections, revenues, distribution, press can all be worked out, but a great product can’t be. Once we nailed our product with Crummy Brothers, sure enough we landed a coveted national deal with Whole Foods. And with MindBodyGreen, the same held true, as the day after we officially launched we [received significant internet coverage]. Sure, numbers are important, and yes, these are for-profit businesses, but it all starts with having a great product.”

If you come up with a great product and everything else will take care of itself.

His personal investment level is so high, it actually creates a dealbreaker for his involvement in both past and future projects. “I am so emotionally involved/attached with whatever business I’m involved in, that I can’t be a part of something that I don’t believe in. For me there is no separation between ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ — the lines are blurred. No matter how you define ‘success.’ there are endless ways to be successful in today’s world, so why not do something that has meaning, purpose, and significance for you and the people around you?”

“I hope with the businesses I’m currently involved in, and hope to create/be involved in later, that I’m providing people with better choices/information that lead to a better life and a better planet. If along the way I inspire someone to take a leap of faith and start a business, take on a project, find time for a creative endeavor they’ve been meaning to for years, be a part of something that they believe in, something that they excel in, then even better. I believe that all of us have been given special gifts/talents and if we’re able to focus our time and effort on that talent (and not focus on what we DON’T do well), then we’re able to enter a whole another level of personal and professional fulfillment and success that has no bounds.”

In the end, his bold and contrarian approach to business is a — pun absolutely intended — recipe for success. “Creativity has no bounds. Suppliers can be sourced, numbers can be crunched, and capital can be raised — but it all starts with innovation. Work your ass off and focus on what you do best (as mentioned above, too many focus on what they lack, in terms of themselves and in terms of resources) and let the rest take care of itself.” ”

“Being an entrepreneur or being involved in any field where creativity/innovation plays a large role — is definitely a roller-coaster ride. Some things work (and work great). And some things don’t work at all  and there simply isn’t an answer why…you’ll never know, either . When this happens (and it does happen) I try to lock it away in the “I Don’t Know Drawer” and move on… As Steve Jobs said in the commencement speech he gave at Stanford a few years back, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something.” Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Comments (4)
  • cookieguy

    Innovation? This dude paid somebody to create a formula. Paid some factory to make his cookies. Paid some company to design his packaging and his website. It’s easy to fly around the country playing CEO with a pile of seed money. Try actually creating and making your own product, your own bakery, your own company, with whatever money you could scrounge together, then marketing that to the world. Not so hippy-dippy and simple. Stick that in your “I don’t know box.”

  • jasonw

    ouch. have you tried “actually making your own product, your own bakery, your own company, with whatever money you could scrounge together, then marketing that to the world?” if you have, then great. i’d love to get together and share war stories, because so did i, with a previous company i started from scratch.

  • carlovillamin

    The main thing here is not how much we have. But rather, It’s how we use what we have. There are lot of big companies as big as IBM or Apple that creates products to sell for the consumers that sometimes gains loss rather profit for some reason their new product was not embraced by the market regardless of how much resources they have. On the other hand, there are people who could make a profit out of limited resources. The key here is CREATIVITY. If we are creative enough, we can create something that could bring us to success regardless of how much resources we have. If our ability to create something only depends on the amount of resources that we have, then it’s not being creative or innovative. This article is an example of pure creativity in action that makes the product a success.

  • cadillac

    Carlov has got it right.That’s all I’ve got to say about that..and a word to cookieguy…malicious attacks on something you know nothing about is reckless and patently offensive.

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