At Picky Bars, when it comes down to it, I have two jobs.
- Make recipes
- Be the guardian of what Picky Bars is all about as a brand
The recipe part is hard work, but it is easy in comparison to number two. A perfectly balanced recipe takes time to be curated, but once a new flavor has been tested and approved, the work is over!
Being the guardian of Picky’s brand is far more challenging because it’s not just food. I believed four years ago that food might be a way to bridge the gap between pro and amateur athletes; to share the things we’ve learned as pros with the greater athletic community, and to create a way for us to interact and be inspired by you. This is a lot of pressure to put on a rectangle of carefully balanced fruit and nuts. I realize this. But that’s the point of Picky Bars as far as I’m concerned.
A lot of people just want a pro athlete approved snack that performs, and I’m thrilled to be able to say, “Check! We’ve got that for you in several flavors!” But for those customers interested in more, as I want more, how do I go about putting my hearts desires into that rectangle of goodness?
As a brand, similar to a human, the following three tools are at your disposal to optimize your impact:
- Your body (packaging, website, and other visual things)
- Your words (content you share)
- Your actions (events, how you run your business, how you treat people)
From my perspective, as the founder and brand guardian of Picky Bars, I think about Picky Bars as a person, and want us to behave like a human that cares about humans. Our small team of employees in our funky little office in Bend, Oregon is 100% on board with this, and nothing makes me prouder.
One year ago we got together and brainstormed ways to evolve our brand and company to better use those three tools at our disposal, (our body, words, and actions) in order to fulfill big dreams for our little rectangles of goodness. And, oh man, we came up with a pretty aggressive plan:
- Completely revamp the Picky Club, providing more options and convenience for our members. This is something we have always wanted to do, but as a baby company we had no idea how to do it, and couldn’t afford to make a new system from scratch.
- Use our packaging and website as a way to create community and inspire people. This meant evolving our brand beyond the yellow and brown, even though we love it! It also meant making an entirely new website.
The first one, making changes to the Picky Club, has always made me SUPER excited. These changes are mostly operational: giving you the option to change your flavors, receive more or less bars depending on the time of year, and change your delivery address to be sure you have bars on vacation or for your race. These things sound simple but, as I’ve learned, they are extremely complicated on the back-end. However, finally, we did it!
The second thing, changing our brand beyond the yellow and brown picky square, has been really hard for me. We hired the illustrious Anna, specifically for this purpose, and oh man does she think I’m a pain in the ass. On the one hand, I would tell her all these things I wanted our branding and packaging to do and say and represent, but then I would freak out at the thought of changing it. We would have a meeting where she’d show me some concepts and I’d be like, “OH MY GOD YES!!!!!! THIS DOES EVERYTHING I’VE DREAMED OF!!!!” And then I’d be wearing my old Picky Bars t-shirt or watching Jude reach for his favorite yellow sweatband and be like “OH GOD WHAT IF THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE?!?!?!”
That’s what change is like in general. There is a level of fear involved in everything when you are passionately chasing after something you care about. Our new design, packaging, and website…all of it has started from our hopes and dreams for what Picky Bars can do beyond provide fuel. Just like a part of me already misses the toothless Jude who could only barely roll over, I miss our little brown and yellow. But the new design is a more complete embodiment of what we’ve always stood for, but didn’t yet know how to express. Jude was always made to walk, and run, but he is only now getting old enough to do it.
Both my babies are growing up. Though the recipes for the bars remain the exact same, the new Picky Bars packaging looks a lot different. It’s amazing. It has a photo front and center which will feature people in our community and around the country (like you!), doing awesome stuff with their life. My goal has always been for someone to pull a Picky Bar out of a bag and think, “Dayum! This makes me want to be great. This makes me want to work hard / have more fun / support someone / be more courageous in the path I’m choosing for myself.” And this is exactly what happens every time I see the new packaging. If we do this well, I believe we can use food in a new way. We can literally fuel people like us to do amazing things, through our stomachs, but also through the content we provide and the connections that we facilitate. I’d love it if we can make pro athletes more accessible, and amateurs more energized and unified.
(The first bar, pictured, features a photo of my friend and sister in sport, Georgie Clark. This is a photo I took on my trip to Australia last winter for Georgie’s wedding.)
One day, maybe I’ll be pulling your image out of my spike bag at a race! Please go have some adventures and share your pictures with us! Picky Bars is a canvas and you are the paint, as it should be. Thanks for being the inspiration behind our work at Picky Bars.