How a Purchase Order from Trader Joe’s Changed Everything for Chomps

“When we saw the initial purchase orders come in, they were larger than the revenue from our previous year,” Chomps CEO and co-founder Pete Maldonado said of getting the bootstrapped businesses’ goods into Trader Joes. “We had to survive on the cash we had in the bank and we absolutely did not have the cash for this kind of production run.”

So, he and co-founder and COO Rashid Ali put in the work to raise just over $1m from eight separate lenders from Friday to Monday – without giving up any equity.

If you’ve ever bootstrapped a company or borrowed money from friends who know you well enough to write a check for a six-digit figure, you absolutely know that the story of launching nationally with Trader Joe’s was exciting – but was also an incredibly stressful time.

“We were going from producing 10,000-20,000 pounds a month to 300,000 pounds,” Ali shared. “It put pressure on everything.”

And after a few months, it was a huge relief to pay off their friends and family. “We actually started sleeping after that,” Maldonado added.

And on this week’s episode of the podcast, you’ll hear how they scaled from an e-commerce brand to a brand that’s available in a staggering amount of places: on Amazon, Chomps.com, Walmart.com, Thrive Market and in more than 11,000 grocery stores in the US and Canada (with 4,200 more grocery locations coming online in July).

It’s an inspiring story from a lot of angles, like the care they take to make a positive impact on nutrition, the environment and animal welfare. But I’m mostly here for their odd-couple dynamic, which is a delight to watch. They joke that they needed couples therapy when they started working together because they’re so different.

But they also share a lot of the same values, which I suspect is why the partnership has worked. You’ll hear them talk about the way they think about growth, how their ideas about feeding people changed as their families grew, and and so much more on this week’s episode of #WeGotGoals.

Resources: 

  • Find Chomps online and follow them on Instagram
  • Read Kristen’s piece covering how the brand got started (and hint: they didn’t start as meat sticks)
  • You’ll hear lots of love for many Chomps flavors including the newest flavor, Pepperoni Turkey
  • Pete and Rashid drop hints on new potential flavors and products throughout the episode
  • Pete mentions a product that got the Chomps team through the Pandemic – the Vertiball

If you love this episode as much as we do, subscribe to the #WeGotGoals podcast wherever you like to listen to podcasts, including on Apple and Spotify (and leave us a rating while you’re at it, please).

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About Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of asweatlife.com a premiere wellness media destination that creates content and community to help womxn live better lives and achieve their goals. Before founding health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison - and fresh out of college she worked on the '08 Obama campaign in Michigan. From there, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience in building community and her passion for wellness. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, trying to join a book club, and walking her dog Maverick.

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