Today I was invited to speak to a bunch of 4th graders who are Kind, Brave & Awesome over at Queen Anne Elementary School. What a treat! My dear friend Julie Colando, otherwise known as the most talented and amazing elementary school teacher I have ever met, invited me to talk to her class. Julie had been telling the kids about Greater Good Granola for a while- she is fan, a monthly subscriber and she even has been a distributor for me to parents on Queen Anne that she has convinced to eat my granola. As I was driving over to her school, I thought about what I might talk about and how I really had never attempted to explain why I started this little company and why I am keeping at it.
I walked into the classroom and the above was written on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. My talk had been outlined for me beautifully by the class in advance of my arrival. I sat down and spent the next 45 minutes explaining my story and the "birth" of GGG.
I began by talking about the good- the lifelong inclination I've always had towards making the world better. I explained that my parents had instilled in me a sense of responsibility to give back to my community. I talked about my career (the work I do from 9-5) and how I have chosen to focus my client work on this same thing- guiding companies on how to succeed by using values and ethics as guide posts and competitive advantages.
I then talked about the granola. When I started to talk about the granola, I surprised myself when I relayed the number of steps I have taken to start this little company: the recipe testing with friends, the tasting of other granolas, the photography session in my kitchen, the meeting with Molly Moon's chef to discuss my ingredient choices, preparing for the Department of Agriculture's visit, the logo creation (and many iterations to get it right), the packaging decisions, the pricing decisions, building the website, starting the blog and getting my "retail" legs under me. My story sounded pretty thorough and played like a true businesswoman. And then the kids started asking questions.
How did you set your goal for how much money to give away?
When are you going to be able to sell the granola in stores?
Do you eat a lot of granola?
And I loved trying to answer some of those questions honestly:
- Goals: I really didn't have a goal for how much money to give away because I had no idea if this was going to work. As I move forward and have some sense of monthly sales and my costs, I'll be able to set goals for donations quantities.
-Selling in stores: I would need to get a commercial food license and stop making the granola in my home in order to sell the granola in stores. I'm not quite sure I'm ready for that next step.
-Eating the granola: Yes. I eat a lot of granola. I try every batch - usually in a little ramekin with milk. (and at other times I eat it by the handful, on yogurt, on ice cream). And after all of this, I think still think it delicious.
And what I tried to express to these bright and curious minds in the end that I feel so passionate about is:
-It is fun to take risks about things you care about.
-Look at product development and consumption through a lens of trying to do better- excellence in design and delight in consumption is elevated when there is a higher purpose.
-Bringing together community around a great product and a cause creates a unstoppable energy that is contagious and leads to goodness.
-Having a group of people who believe in you and support you is essential to be successful in whatever you do.
As I was leaving, the class started to work on a word problem based on my GGG story telling. The photo below is Juile's write up of the problem which she put on the overhead and the kids started to do the math. I didn't stay to hear them solve the equation -- I know the answer all too well!
This equation doesn't include the time for weighing, bagging, stamping tags and tying ties nor does it acknowledge the helping hands I relied on this December- Hillary (our nanny) cranking out batches, Jordyn (our former nanny) tying the tags, Anna (our friend) tying the bags and Clay for tolerating oats all over the burners, bags and tags throughout the house and lots of late night baking!