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Learn Something New Every Day
Learning    Logistics   

Learn Something New Every Day

There should be a word for a breakthrough that's also embarrassing... 8 months after launching, only today do I discover how to use a packing tape gun. And realise out just how much faster it makes delivery prep. What used to take 5-10 minutes per carton now takes 1-2 minutes. Always good to learn something new every day ;) ps - lots of salted caramel balls traveling across the country today #mindblown

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Omnivores Support Veganism BUT
Challenges    Learning    Mission   

Omnivores Support Veganism BUT

Fascinating new research!Turns out more omnivores support veganism: "...most people already agree with the ethics of veganism and are aware of the benefits of vegan diets to the environment"BUT.... "barriers are practical matters of taste, PRICE, and convenience"Definitely lines up with our mission - to make veganism much more acceptable to the masses one critical aspect is lowering the cost to be competitive with animal-ag.For us, though we are one of the cheapest vegan milky chocs here in Aus, still a ways to go to reach true price parity with big dairy confectionery aisle pricing...#biteforwhatsrighthttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200108102257.htm

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This Just In!
Logistics    Milestones    Product   

This Just In!

It's a C̶h̶r̶i̶s̶t̶m̶a̶s̶ New Year's Eve miracle! 😅 Look what just rocked up, one hour before the warehouse shut down for the end of the year. Container unload went smoothly, inventory count correct and everything is palletized and now into temp-controlled storage. And most important, the taste test check was a success 😋 Fitting way to end a action-packed debut year! See you on the other side... 💚 #newyearnewflavour

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Ep 14 - Wrapping Up
Challenges    Learning    Podcast   

Ep 14 - Wrapping Up

Christmas is creeping up and 2020 is just around the corner! In this episode we talk about the year so far and the top 5 things that we've learned during our time working on the project.     Click here to subscribe on Android or Apple iTunes   We'd love to hear from you.   Get in touch by email simon@bitesociety.com or katrina@bitesociety.com or @bitesociety on Instagram or Facebook Show notes In this episode we'll be sharing the top 5 takeaways from 2019 and what the year has taught us.It's safe to say that this year has been a big one, and stopping to take the time to reflect and share our key findings from...

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Australian Heatwave
Challenges    Logistics    Mission   

Australian Heatwave

40 degrees in MelbourneÂ đŸ„” This is definitely the hottest day we've ever sent out stock on. Ideally I would have liked to delay til a cooler day, but had a few stockists in other states who really new stock in before the xmas week. Our plan to charge for 1 less quantity in the invoices so the shops can open a pack on arrival and check, before they put the rest on sale. Worst case we'll have to send new stock over, but hopefully our gel pack + insulated wrap can hold up... we'll find out ps - yesterday was...

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Missing Mascots...
Branding    Marketing    Mission   

Missing Mascots...

As part of brainstorming designs for our possible new products for next year, we stumbled across this photo from a supermarket in Chile. What's striking is the lack of any mascots. No Captain Crunch, no Tony the Tiger, not a character to be seen...Turns out its part of new anti-obesity regulations introduced last year:"The Chilean government, facing skyrocketing rates of obesity, is waging war on unhealthy foods with a phalanx of marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules aimed at transforming the eating habits of 18 million people."Back to BITE, yes we want our chocolates to be loved and...

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Ep 13 - Looking Within

Ep 13 - Looking Within

Sometimes running a startup can be hard... in this episode we'll share all of the things we personally struggle with, and some of the methods we use to overcome them!     Click here to subscribe on Android or Apple iTunes   We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch on social @bitesociety or by email simon@bitesociety.com or katrina@bitesociety.com Show notes In this episode we'll talk all things stress - do we have it, the effects it's had on us, and what we do to manage it to ensure we maintain a work-life balance.We won't lie, starting your own project can be hard, and...

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Paranoid Peace of Mind
Challenges    Finances    Learning   

Paranoid Peace of Mind

Call me paranoid, but one of my big fears is a lot of hard earned money being sent to the wrong bank account by accident. This fear comes from an incident a few years back in another company - a freelance designer I was working with gave an account number which had one digit wrong. As a result I sent a several hundred dollars into a black hole - we could never get that money back, despite pleading with the bank. Since then, every time I've been anal about checking and rechecking account details for large dollar transfers, especially overseas....

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Ep 12 - Flavor of the Future
Marketing    Podcast    Product   

Ep 12 - Flavor of the Future

Our first flavor SKU is just a couple short weeks away... in this episode we'll share all the behind-the-scenes prep as we get ready to launch it!      Click here to subscribe on Android or Apple iTunes   We'd love to hear from you.   Get in touch by email simon@bitesociety.com or katrina@bitesociety.com or @bitesociety on Instagram or Facebook Show notes In this episode we'll talk about how the new flavor SKU for our choc balls came about, where we're at and logistics and planning for the launch later this month!Back in August we knew we were starting to run out of choc balls from our first round, and that we needed...

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Invoice Hunting #2
Challenges    Finances    Learning   

Invoice Hunting #2

So since starting our efforts a couple weeks back we've made some decent progress We're now down to a bit under $3k owing:- Total amount owing: $8090 -> $2980- Number of shops overdue: 31 -> 19- Median amount owing per shop: $189 -> $105- Average amount owing per shop: $289 -> $104 In particular it's been a relief to collect the 2 largest amounts owing.One preferred to pay by credit card rather than bank transfer (our only method til now). Turns out it was pretty easy to do setup with Square (they make the readers you swipe with in many...

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New Flavor, First Order!
Milestones    Product    Stockists   

New Flavor, First Order!

Woohoo, first order for Salted Caramel choc balls is in!Honesty, it's such a relief, especially heading the positive feedback from folks who've tried the pre-production samples (we're starting to get the feedback coming in, so far looking good) And for this order it feels great coming from our first stockist in QLD, The Green Edge - Brisbane's Largest Vegan Grocery Store & Cafe....Thanks Glenn and team for the support... can't wait to deliver to you later this month!

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Ep 11 - The Big Catch Up
Milestones    Podcast   

Ep 11 - The Big Catch Up

We're back! This is a special catch up episode of Vegan Startup, taking us through the preparation for launch, through our first 6 months on the market til the time of this recording near the end of 2019.How did we go? Listen in and find out..."   Click here to subscribe on Android or Apple iTunes   We'd love to hear from you.   Get in touch by email simon@bitesociety.com or katrina@bitesociety.com or @bitesociety on Instagram or Facebook Show notes Welcome Kat, our co-host for our new podcast episodes! We'll be putting them out weekly in time for the weekends, so going forward they are going to be more or less "live"...

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If At First You Don't Succeed...
Challenges    Learning   

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Often in a startup you get rejected, but then succeed after trying again later. Already in our first year it's happened many times...for example:Our first copacker rejected us originally, and only after trying a couple more times to explain ourselves and the vegan opportunity they gave us a shot to start discussions.A shop didn't want to work with us at launch because we didn't have a bulk option, and now we're back in discussions because we listened to the feedback and have added that option in the new batch next month. A new wholesaler rejected us before because they didn't...

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Pre Production Sample Sending
Logistics    Marketing    Stockists   

Pre Production Sample Sending

It was a big rush to make it before the Auspost shut on Friday, but now our salted-caramel sample shipments have been sent out. These samples are pre-production (PP for short), which are basically finished samples with exact formulation and packaging.We got these in advance so we could final quality check the finished packaging as well as have a small number of units (1 carton = 20 units) to send out to get sales kickstarted.This is the so called "presales" period for the next 2 weeks until the actual production units are in the warehouses and ready to start shipping...

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Confusing Labels
Learning    Marketing    Mission   

Confusing Labels

As an outsider, it's been eye-opening to learn about the tricks and tactics used in the food industry. As one example, ingredient labels, which are regulated to be ordered by weight. Let's look at this bottle of vinegar I saw this morning. Notice the ingredients listed as "Vinegar (Water, Vinegar)", rather than simply: "Water, Vinegar" Why would the company choose a more complicated (and confusingly circular) definition using a "compound" ingredient, rather than the simpler one? If I had to guess, it would be so that someone skimming the label quickly would just register Vinegar as the first word, which...

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Don't Assume About Customers
Learning    Marketing    Stockists   

Don't Assume About Customers

A few months back, we got an intro to a company in Europe who was interested in our chocs, but for a white label application.Ie - we supply the product but it would be on the shelves under their brand, rather than oursWhilst not in our original plan as we hope to build Bite Society into a brand folks love, the potential size of the project seemed worth to explore (our new contact had mentioned 1000's of shelves, which is orders of magnitude more than we have now...)After sending samples to them, explaining our unique aspects in the choc market,...

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Salted Caramel Samples Have Landed!
Milestones    Product    Production   

Salted Caramel Samples Have Landed!

Well, a carton of pre-production samples just rocked up! Pretty stoked at how the new flavor turned out.(salted caramel infused choc coating, around a crispy rice core)It beat out peanut butter and strawberry in taste tests (and our original flavor as well)This preproduction sample seems to have more flavor than the prior prototype, which was fairly subtle.  So, an improvement that hopefully is the same in production final product.If the production run goes smooth it should be complete by the 27th and arriving into the warehouse in the second week of December, in time for the holiday season!#getready

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Listen to What's Important
Challenges    Learning   

Listen to What's Important

Funny pic, with an important reminder for us. Too often in a new startup, it's easy to pay more attention to friendly users and partners feedback, and miss other issues or wider feedback, whether it's on product or distribution or branding etc...I guess that reaction is natural especially in a startup where your product is so tightly linked to your own identity (after all, it is your own baby, and I've never met a new parent who didn't adore their little one).Also combined with the fact that folks prefer to focus on the positive and stay away from negatives when giving...

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Invoice Hunting #1
Finances    Learning    Stockists   

Invoice Hunting #1

Being a debt collector isn't the most inspiring part of this journey (and honestly something I've put off for a while), but wanted to share here for transparency and to share lessons learned as we go đŸ€So, the background - since we introduced our first products earlier this year, we've issued 141 invoices in Australia, with the majority paid on time and in full. In the last week, our freelance bookkeeper Carla has helped explain how to generate the list of outstanding amounts, to see what's missing after reconciliation (matching incoming amounts to invoices issued)Here's where we stand at the...

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Shape Shifting?
Branding    Challenges    Product   

Shape Shifting?

Behind the scenes flashback 👹‍🔬This morning was cleaning up after the World Vegan Day and stumbled across our prototype for an oval shape choc... This was from the time a few months back when we were grappling with correcting the expectation of what we are (a crispy rice choc), and what we aren't (a clone of an existing dairy product).One idea was to make our shape different and we thought we'd give ovals a go to see how they looked. They turned out well functionally, but among our crew weren't really sold how they looked vs classic sphere.So instead we...

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Solving Mysteries
Challenges    Learning    Product   

Solving Mysteries

There are lots of mysteries in running a startup...🧐 Take our Choc Bloks: Michal and I were chatting yesterday about how they were moving slower in shops than Choc Balls, which have been selling at a nice pace (we're just about sold out). Yet, when I visited our first trial bulk test shop recently, the first 10kg of bulk bloks sold out faster than the balls. And also faster than the retail packs of the bloks in the same store. Why? Well that's a good question... Is it a branding issue, where our bloks and brand in general are less...

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Food Scientist In Training!
Mission    Product    Team   

Food Scientist In Training!

A few weeks back I got an intriguing email: "I'm a 19 year old studying food science in Melbourne, and I would love the opportunity to work with Bite Society; as an intern, volunteer, or whatever other role you might have. ...I'm vegan and passionate about helping others; people, animals, the environment. I've done some research into your mission and what you guys are doing, and I'd really love to be a part of it" So I met up for coffee with Danika to chat about her background and the project and what might be interesting for her to get...

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Share Your Worries
Challenges    Learning    Mission   

Share Your Worries

Earlier this week I dropped off some new prototypes, and while I was waiting in the lobby of her building, I saw this brilliant "worry monster" display... How it works is that you write down your worry on a piece of paper and "feed" it to the monster, rather than letting it eat you up keeping it to yourself. Got me thinking about all the stress of running a small business, and all the worries that come up. There are tons, especially in the early days when you're struggling to find a product-market fit, and make things work with tough time...

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Walking The Talk?
Mission   

Walking The Talk?

Mixed feelings reading this article about a company (Thank You) I've admired as a great example as a "doing good" company..On one hand, they've managed to raise millions over the years for charity, which is very impressive and has done a large amount of good in the world (and also influenced many people with their message)But on the other hand, spending less than half their profit on charity last year (meant to be 100%), large expenses on travel & entertainment, high office and salary costs (including not disclosing executive pay) despite being positioned as an open organization was a bit of...

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Hello Press Coverage!
Marketing    Mission   

Hello Press Coverage!

So lately we've started first few outreach to different media, in an attempt to try to get the Bite Society name and mission known.  We figure getting covered will not only help with attracting interest from potential partners (especially looking for international distributors) but as importantly, start to get our learnings and story out to the industry and hoepfully to reach other vegan founders / to be.  Which is kind of the bigger goal of the project. So was very happy to see this great article published by Food Navigator Asia, one of the learning news and analysis sites in...

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Helping Your Project
Mission   

Helping Your Project

Over the last few months we've helped with advice to several founders for their vegan startups, as well as donating stock to various non profits & mission organizations. So thought it would be a good time to add a dedicated webpage to explain the ways we can help:https://bitesociety.com/pages/helping-each-other This is actually the real goal of the BITE project in the long term, so feels great to get it up and running, and build it out as we learn and growÂ đŸŒ± ps - if you're thinking of your own vegan project and we can support with advice in any way, do...

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Barcode Fail
Challenges    Logistics   

Barcode Fail

In a startup there's always unexpected setbacks, and this morning we ran into another...

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Supporting Animal Liberation Victoria
Mission   

Supporting Animal Liberation Victoria

Dropped off some donated choc bloks to Emma from the Animal Liberation Victoria team this morning đŸŒ±They'll be including them in their goodie bag for their big Vegala - Exclusively Vegan Cocktail Party, which is shaping up to be an amazing event... If you're in Melbourne on Oct 26th, want to support a great cause and have a brilliant night grab your tickets hereLovely to meet Emma, Noah, Eric from the team, who get a lot done with very little... got to love that spirit!It's interesting about how we think about donations to non profits and mission aligned charities.  On...

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Design Drafting...
Branding    Marketing    Product   

Design Drafting...

So now the flavor test is complete, in parallel to locking things down with the copacker (checking ingredients, verifying pricing etc) we need to get a new SKU design ASAP. Decided in the interests of time and consistency to keep the current layout and elements, and mostly use colors and text changes to try to convey the different flavor (plus a little graphical flourish with jumbo's hair)We've now put it out for comment to our community... we'll see what potential changes may come up soon!

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Flavor Test Results Are In !
Milestones    Product    Production   

Flavor Test Results Are In !

Results are in.... aaaand we have a winner! To recap, we compared 3 new flavors (strawberry, peanut butter and salted caramel) vs the original, in anonymous "self serve" written poll. Not exactly a fair test as the original is production quality (better finish and texture) vs much rougher prototypes, but still accurate way to compare the 3 flavors. Anyway enough small talk... ....the winner is... SALTED CARAMEL ! 😍 Even being a prototype it slightly beat out the production original, with strawberry coming in next then peanut butter. Have to admit it was a huge relief, had been worried that we...

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