Cheers to Co-Packing: A Conversation with Martha Bourlakas of Storied Goods

Cheers to Co-Packing: A Conversation with Martha Bourlakas of Storied Goods

It’s a sweet, sweet story how the good food brand, Storied Goods, was founded. Now, it is on the road to success.

Martha Bourlakas’ Storied Goods started as a granola-making business before she shifted into concocting sugar cubes. The rationale is simple: there are many delightful granolas in the world, but creating a business that is centered on celebrations where people share stories with each other through food and drinks spoke deeply to Martha’s purpose.

She believes that in this chaotic world we now live in, there is a need to celebrate even life’s small milestones—something that she has learned from her eldest daughter, Hannah.

Traveling this sweet path isn’t easy but Martha has figured out a way to keep the business growing and the stories buzzing.

Virginia Foodie Essentials:

  • I really wanted to have a business that focused on celebrations, and I'm really interested in those stories that people share with each other through food and drinks. - Martha Bourlakas
  • The first step is trying to figure out how to get each sale to be more meaningful to the people who are purchasing. - Georgiana Dearing
  • The other component of good relationships is having trust in that teamwork that you're all trying to move the brand forward. - Georgiana Dearing
  • In social media, you have to be vulnerable. And that part of it is very hard—knowing where the product ends and I begin, and how to mix those two together. - Martha Bourlakas
  • Our oldest daughter has autism, which is a big part of the reason I wanted to have a business focused on celebrations. Hannah has taught us, for so many years, the importance of celebrating every small milestone. That's something our family has really embraced. - Martha Bourlakas
  • Those classes and popups that I do are centered around the importance of celebration. In our lives, particularly now when the world feels a little crazy, it's a way that we keep going with hope. - Martha Bourlakas

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The story behind the company name, Storied Goods, is a heartwarming one. Creating a business that is focused on celebrations is inspired by their little milestones as a family together with their eldest daughter, Hannah, who has autism.
  • One of the greatest things that supported the growth of the company is deciding to work with a co-packer instead of developing their own manufacturing facility. 
  • Their arrangement with the co-packer has allowed the company to say ‘yes’ to big collaborations such as that with the cocktail subscription company.
  • They are now improving the e-commerce side of the business by working on their website rebranding, subscription business, and social media.
  • The company understands its target market: individuals who love entertainment and good gifts.
  • Aside from direct consumers, the company also works with wholesale accounts and has partnered with small shops across the country.
  • Storied Goods’ initial product was granola but they shifted to making sugar cubes. Despite sugar not being locally produced, they maintain their good food branding by making sure to use organic ingredients.
  • The company has established several great partnerships with female-founded companies.

More About the Guest:

Martha Bourlakas is the founder of Storied Goods, makers of infused Sugar Cubes for cocktails, coffee, and tea. When she is not Cubing, she is visiting her three daughters, testing out new cocktail/mocktail recipes, and following around her new rescue Beagle pup!

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            Full Transcript:

            Note: We use AI transcription so there may be some inaccuracies

            [00:00:00] Martha Bourlakas: I'm really interested in the stories that people share with each other through food and through drink. That's why I came up with the name of Storied Goods. Interested in people's stories and love the way they bring us together.

            [00:00:17] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome to the Virginia Foodie Podcast, where we lift a lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered how did they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful business?

            [00:00:37] Georgiana Dearing: Then we've got some stories for you.

            [00:00:42] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome foodies. Thanks for joining me today on the podcast. I'm George Dearing, founder of VA Foodie, and I provide marketing strategy and coaching for the K craft food industry. I've got a sweet guest to share with you today, Martha Bakkas of Storied Goods. Storied Goods is a small woman-owned company founded on the belief that sharing delicious.

            [00:01:06] Georgiana Dearing: And food together provides hope in a complicated world, and that's a lovely sentiment that I am totally on board with. Based in Roanoke. I knew about this brand of craft sugar cubes through the VA foodie network, but early this year, I kept crossing paths with Martha's name. We have some mutual contact in the industry and it seems like she was popping up at every.

            [00:01:33] Georgiana Dearing: When I heard that she was on the brink of moving to co-packing, I thought that I'd love to meet with her and learn more about what making that decision was really like for a brand owner. Martha and I have been playing scheduling tag all year, so I was really grateful to finally be able to sit down with her and catch up and catch up.

            [00:01:53] Georgiana Dearing: We did. She's had a lot going on. We cover everything from ingredient selection for her craft sugar cube. Marketing inspiration, and of course, that life-changing decision to hand off her baby, her brand, to the care and keeping of a co-packing partner. So grab a drink and let's connect with her, shall we?

            [00:02:22] Georgiana Dearing: Martha, I am so glad you're here. I'm so glad we finally have a chance to sit down and talk together. I know we've been trading. Emails back and forth for quite some time, but I would love it if you could do your own introduction to my audience. Could you tell them who you are and what you do? Sure. 

            [00:02:40] Martha Bourlakas: I'm so excited to be here.

            [00:02:42] Martha Bourlakas: This is a big honor for me, so I love being with you and with your audience. I'm Martha Burla and my business is called Storied. And we make infused sugar cubes for cocktails, coffee and tea. And that's my business. Well, I always like 

            [00:03:05] Georgiana Dearing: to ask people what sets you apart from your competitors, but the first thing I'm gonna ask you about is your name, storied Goods.

            [00:03:12] Georgiana Dearing: I know there's a little story behind that. 

            [00:03:15] Martha Bourlakas: There's There is. There's a story. I have had several baking businesses in the past. But I really wanted to have a business that focused on celebrations, and I'm really interested in the stories that people share with each other through food and through drink.

            [00:03:39] Martha Bourlakas: And so with our sugar cubes, I believe it's a way to bring people's stories together. That's why I came up with the name of Storied Goods, interested in people's stories and love the way they bring us 

            [00:03:52] Georgiana Dearing: together. That's a wonderful sentiment behind your brand. So you've got a product that pairs with coffee and tea and mixed drinks too, I see on your site.

            [00:04:05] Georgiana Dearing: And all of those are times when people are getting together and sharing who is your best customer? Who are you attracting? Are you trying to attract general consumers? Are you also looking for retailers? And describe that person that would wanna buy some of your sugar cube. 

            [00:04:22] Martha Bourlakas: That's a good question. So I look at it in different segments.

            [00:04:26] Martha Bourlakas: We have our direct to consumer is someone who loves to entertain at home, who likes to make a cocktail or a mocktail. And wants it to look beautiful, wants to have people over be able to entertain. Our ideal customer is someone who wants to give a beautiful gift. Our sugar cubes make great gifts when you pair them with say, a bottle of champagne or a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling wine or bag of coffee.

            [00:05:05] Martha Bourlakas: And then we have retailers. We do a lot of wholesale business. We have a lot of small shops across the country from coast to coast. We have bars and restaurants, champagne bars, whiskey bars, that kind of thing. And just recently we're going to be in a tea house. So those are kind of our different segments.

            [00:05:32] Martha Bourlakas: We have lots of. You think everyone? Yeah. Yeah. And welcome. Any customer who loves to entertain, loves to celebrate. 

            [00:05:43] Georgiana Dearing: Well, your product line. So if you're doing sugar cubes, your product line is sugar, which is not something. Grown in Virginia , at least in non big quantities. No, 

            [00:05:54] Martha Bourlakas: that is very true. What 

            [00:05:56] Georgiana Dearing: helps you qualify as being a good food brand?

            [00:05:59] Martha Bourlakas: When we started out, our initial product was granola. And with our granola, we won a good food award in all our ingredients were organic. It turned out the granola market was quite saturated. We have such good granola in Virginia and all over, and so we switched our sugar cubes. Were really taking off. We won a Best of Virginia in 2018.

            [00:06:29] Martha Bourlakas: So we shifted just to focus on the sugar cubes and we are working towards sourcing our sugar in a responsible, sustainable way. Sugar is a tough business. Mm-hmm. , and that has a difficult history. Mm-hmm. . And so we are looking into ways that we can be responsible with our sugar until that time, until we can find a supplier relationship that.

            [00:06:56] Martha Bourlakas: We use organic ingredients when possible. Our rose petals are organic. All our other ingredients to the best of our ability are organic. Our packaging is sustainable. We use tin. Those are designed for us by a wonderful designer in Charlottesville. We do what we can to maintain our good food Qualifi. 

            [00:07:23] Georgiana Dearing: I admire you for trying to fix your sugar problem because like you said, you can get organic sugar, not that difficultly, but sugar has a long history of being a very problematic ingredient, so I will be interested to see that.

            [00:07:41] Georgiana Dearing: But definitely organic is the place to start with that particular ingredient. It is. You're exactly right. I have to ask you, who's your designer in Charlottesville? 

            [00:07:52] Martha Bourlakas: Watermark Design and I, and yes, you interviewed beloved Darcy. Yes. She knows she's my hero. , 

            [00:08:02] Georgiana Dearing: yeah. Okay. To do those kinds of call outs here.

            [00:08:05] Georgiana Dearing: Absolutely. . That's 

            [00:08:06] Martha Bourlakas: great. I was thinking about Darcy and thinking about all the strong relationships. With female founded companies that we have right now who have brought us to where we are. I had always loved Darcy's work and I called her out of the blue to ask her if she could design our packaging and logo.

            [00:08:29] Martha Bourlakas: And she was kinda like, who are you? Who is the sugar Cube woman? And she bravely took us on and we still work together all the time. 

            [00:08:42] Georgiana Dearing: She's got a great sensibility about her. So good for you for getting that. She's beautiful work. Mm-hmm. beautiful work. She. 

            [00:08:50] Martha Bourlakas: And it's brought lots of great partnerships. We have several great partnerships with female founded companies with whiskey companies that she works with, and yeah, so that's been great.

            [00:09:02] Georgiana Dearing: Oh, good. That's great. I love those kinds of connections. Me too. So I see a lot of your stuff is driving people to e-commerce. Can you tell me about the e-commerce side of your business? A little. 

            [00:09:16] Martha Bourlakas: Yes, so we are actually in the process of redoing our website through Shopify. We do a lot of direct to consumer and.

            [00:09:27] Martha Bourlakas: We're gonna move into a subscription business. Yay. Good move. Mm-hmm. . Yay. Is that a good move? I love hearing that subscriptions is going to begin, and then we're trying to bundle more of our products, so trying to increase that e-commerce as much as we can. 

            [00:09:46] Georgiana Dearing: Now when you bundle things, are you considering other products that you may not produce as part of that 

            [00:09:52] Martha Bourlakas: bundle?

            [00:09:52] Martha Bourlakas: That's a good question. Not yet. Mm-hmm. , we are not yet. I'm just bundling. We do have some beautiful storied goods mugs that are made by a potter in Virginia Beach, and so we're bundling that together. They're wonderful and I think we'll move into that cuz you know, our cfo F well, we have to make those.

            [00:10:14] Martha Bourlakas: Carefully and mm-hmm. bundle, what we have right now before we add product. 

            [00:10:20] Georgiana Dearing: Oh, absolutely. That's the first step is just trying to figure out how to get each sale to be more meaningful to the people who are purchasing, and then also to sort of increase that ticket because that's what keeps you profitable and keeps you in business and keeps you doing all that good.

            [00:10:37] Martha Bourlakas: Right. I love that phrase that you used to keep it meaningful and Yeah, 

            [00:10:43] Georgiana Dearing: bundling is good, but bundling is really only useful when it's a meaningful thing to the shopper and they're like, oh yes, of course I would wanna do that. Thank you. Of thinking of that for 

            [00:10:53] Martha Bourlakas: me, , how interesting. I've never heard it put that way, and I appreciate that.

            [00:11:00] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah. 

            [00:11:00] Georgiana Dearing: Come at it from the consumer side and what would make a great you. . It's kind of the evolution of the Amazon algorithm. If you like this, wouldn't you also like that ? Yes. 

            [00:11:12] Martha Bourlakas: Yes. You know exactly right. That's a good point. It is. 

            [00:11:16] Georgiana Dearing: But putting a much more human touch on that. 

            [00:11:20] Martha Bourlakas: Right. A more relational kind of mm-hmm.

            [00:11:22] Martha Bourlakas: touch. Yeah. So the other 

            [00:11:24] Georgiana Dearing: thing about your brand that caught my eye as a marketer is your social presence. Who's doing that for you? 

            [00:11:31] Martha Bourlakas: Our middle daughter, Bega started doing that, and then she sort of had the nerve to get a real job and move to New York. Oh, . Then our youngest daughter took over that role and she was our summer intern, and then she has had the nerve.

            [00:11:55] Martha Bourlakas: Go back to college and oh my goodness. So , so they both have taken a little break, but still both work together on that. And we are getting to the point I think where we'll be able to move to. Have somebody do our social media, but we've had a great time doing it, and I think the sensibility of it is celebratory and intimate and mm-hmm.

            [00:12:22] Martha Bourlakas: a lot of fun, and that's what we've wanted. I 

            [00:12:25] Georgiana Dearing: saw your posts in March for International Women's Month. I thought those were really quality content. Were you talking about sort of a brand positioning and I just thought that was really interesting and it caught my eye. Thank you. 

            [00:12:40] Martha Bourlakas: That's so helpful. I think I'm getting more from this than I'm giving

            [00:12:46] Martha Bourlakas: It's OK. Social work, but yeah, that's really helpful. It. I 

            [00:12:54] Georgiana Dearing: thought they were interesting and it's what prompted me to ask, cuz I thought, first of all, one of the posts was about you. That's really hard for a founder to do is post about themselves. So having someone with another perspective say, Hey, you actually are worth celebrating, is a good thing to have.

            [00:13:10] Georgiana Dearing: And it was done with a very nice touch and I thought that, that's why I wanted to ask who was doing it. You. So you have someone obviously, that you trust if she's in your. But that's the other component of good relationships is having trust, a little trust in that teamwork that you're trying to all move the brand forward.

            [00:13:29] Martha Bourlakas: Right, right. You're exactly right. Because it is the social media part. You have to be vulnerable, and that part of it is very hard for me, knowing where does the product end and I begin, and how to mix those two together. It's 

            [00:13:47] Georgiana Dearing: a fine dance, but I will say that social content is probably the one place where people are appreciative of something a little bit more raw.

            [00:13:56] Georgiana Dearing: So that's good. And I'm sorry that you're in another period of transition. There's so much more I could say about that, but I'm gonna move on to Yes. 

            [00:14:05] Martha Bourlakas: To other things I would like be if we weren't transitioning right. . Oh yeah. Embracing change. That's, that is, that's it. That's right. 

            [00:14:14] Georgiana Dearing: Well, you mentioned a lot of connections with female entrepreneurs and I will say that that is another way that I came across you is because we both know Ashley Sutterfield and you had been working with her trying to wrestle down this decision of co-packing, and I was curious where you are with that decision, cuz I know it's not an immediate process and how's it going and can you share anything about.

            [00:14:44] Martha Bourlakas: I can. It is going so well. I'm so grateful to Ashley for all her guidance and leadership and persistence. Because I do think that's what it's taken, it's real assessment about moving to a co-packer and what that means and how you're gonna make that decision to do that. Mm-hmm. . So for me, the kitchen space I was working in, it was difficult to bring on an employee.

            [00:15:15] Martha Bourlakas: So I was doing a lot of the work and my family was doing a lot of the. And that's just all I was doing. I was thinking about this question today about co-packing and I started thinking, if you wonder whether or not the sun is out on a particular day, you've been in the kitchen too long, , and you need to start thinking about co-packing.

            [00:15:39] Martha Bourlakas: Cause those days just go. But Ashley, how That's a great, 

            [00:15:45] Georgiana Dearing: that's a great test. Yeah. How many days have you wondered if the sun came out ? 

            [00:15:50] Martha Bourlakas: Exactly. And when you walk out to your car for lunch break, are you like this in the sun? Uh, really was starting to get that way. And you expect the holidays to be for a cpg you expect the holidays to be busy and full, but it was starting to become really stressful.

            [00:16:10] Martha Bourlakas: Mm. So Ashley helped us find a wonderful co-packer in upstate New York. Our product is such that we weren't really sure where it fit in because it's more like a candy. In the molds that we used. So we decided we needed a baking facility that was very used to baking packaging, and so she found a facility in upstate New York and they do a lot of the co-packing for a lot of baking businesses.

            [00:16:43] Martha Bourlakas: And very similar to mine. They're very used to small businesses. So far. It has just worked out so well, and I've been up there a few times. I love their team. I love working with them and just to be able to have product on my shelves. Is just shocking. It's shocking and it's wonderful just to be able to fill my orders.

            [00:17:08] Martha Bourlakas: So they'll either ship or I'll pick up our product and then I ship out the orders that we fill. 

            [00:17:18] Georgiana Dearing: Oh, wow. So you really have, one of my questions was gonna be how much staff you have, and it sounds like you . Mm-hmm. , 

            [00:17:27] Martha Bourlakas: yes. It is me for now. Mm-hmm. , but I consider our co-packer and they're all our staff just because Sure.

            [00:17:36] Martha Bourlakas: They do so much to make everything happen. 

            [00:17:40] Georgiana Dearing: So they're already producing for you. And so you've gone through the process of handing over your recipes, really Formulations and It is, yeah. And having them produce a test batch. And then you tried it and it was up to standard, or they had to tweak it Yes. To go through all those steps before they made a real run, 

            [00:18:02] Martha Bourlakas: correct?

            [00:18:03] Martha Bourlakas: Yes. And there's so many. We had to negotiate pricing and all of that, and we're finding out that when they ship us the product, certain things happen in those larger shipments that we have to accommodate for that. So it's been fascinating. It really has been. 

            [00:18:24] Georgiana Dearing: What was the biggest surprise to you when you went through this process?

            [00:18:29] Georgiana Dearing: What did you discover about your product when you had to hand it over 

            [00:18:34] Martha Bourlakas: to someone? It was a scary moment for me. I felt releasing a lot of the control was difficult. Mm. Because I had always been able to oversee the product and everything about it. So it's one thing to put your formula on a document and then hand it over.

            [00:18:56] Martha Bourlakas: I was surprised at how much was in my head or in my heart about actually how to do the product and how to love and nurture the product, and they had to tell me a lot of times, like, Martha, this doesn't matter. This part of it doesn't matter. This part does. I'm really surprised at the sort of that my emotional connection to these little sugar cubes and the relationship, what it's like to build a relationship with somebody who's making a product that you've developed and you've spent time with.

            [00:19:35] Martha Bourlakas: And all that was really surprising to me. Oh, really? Because a lot of release, I've written a book in the same way that you let your book go out into the. It felt a lot like 

            [00:19:46] Georgiana Dearing: that. What was your book? I'm so curious. It's  

            [00:19:49] Martha Bourlakas: called Love Feast and it's about, our oldest daughter has autism, which is a big part of the reason I wanted to have a business focused on celebrations.

            [00:20:02] Martha Bourlakas: Hannah has taught us for so many years the importance of celebrating every small milestone. That's something our family has really embraced. And so my book is called Love Feast, and it's about raising a child with disabilities. And having that child raise me too. Oh my 

            [00:20:23] Georgiana Dearing: goodness, too. Goodness. Yeah. My goodness.

            [00:20:24] Georgiana Dearing: Thank you for sharing that story. That's just another layer to your business, I think. Yeah. Love feas. That's good. 

            [00:20:32] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah. I used to teach, so I always say the word taught. We did a sparkling fall cocktail and cocktail class in Alexandria. I did that last week. And those classes that I do and popups are centered around importance of celebration in our lives, particularly now when the world feels a little crazy.

            [00:20:57] Martha Bourlakas: It's a way that we keep going with. 

            [00:21:01] Georgiana Dearing: Oh, that's lovely. That is really lovely. To me, that feels like a complete circle for your brand, your product line, and your approach to marketing it and how you talk about it. So that's really lovely. Thank you. Oh, thank you. I wanna go back one more time. I wanna ask one more question about this co-packing because Please, yeah, you said that you're so happy to have product on the shelf before you.

            [00:21:28] Georgiana Dearing: What else about this change? What did it bring you? What did this change bring you? Other than time ? 

            [00:21:36] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah, right. It's time. I will say on the time front, having that time and knowing that the company is investing in a co-packer, cuz it is an investment. Now my time needs to be focused on sales. Mm-hmm. . And so that's both exciting and daunting at times because you now can, when I'm not in the kitchen all the time and listening to podcasts like you, , I have to actually be out in the world and selling.

            [00:22:10] Martha Bourlakas: And so that's a big part of it the way. Time shifts when you move to a co-packer. Mm-hmm. and what you do with that time. But I think what the co-packer has most brought to me and to this business is the chance to grow and expand. And that's been the biggest gift is I feel like now I don't have to worry about do I have enough product to meet all.

            [00:22:38] Martha Bourlakas: Inquiries and that kind of thing. I know I can do it and shift it, so it feels like a real opening. Storied goods more in ways I'd never, mm-hmm. thought before might be possible. 

            [00:22:50] Georgiana Dearing: I have to ask you, when you went through this process for finding a co-packer, what did you end up thinking about what your time was really worth?

            [00:23:01] Georgiana Dearing: You were a solopreneur, so kind of all the money was in one. 

            [00:23:05] Martha Bourlakas: Yes. Yes. So good. The central question, aside from not seeing the sun , that right there is what it is. I was realizing when I put a dollar. Amount on my time, which I started doing. That was part of the work with Ashley that she helps you do is start assigning.

            [00:23:31] Martha Bourlakas: How many hours are you doing $10 an hour work? How many hours are you doing? 20. So most of my time was being spent. In that $10 an hour time, that dollar amount did show me what my time was worth, and if I could have somebody help me do this level of work, which is important, but then I could shift my work to the sales and marketing, which was critical for the growth of the business.

            [00:24:01] Martha Bourlakas: I couldn't grow if I couldn't. 

            [00:24:05] Georgiana Dearing: That's a great insight into Ashley's process because I do the same thing with my marketing coaching clients. I have them track how they're spending their time every day, because I think people don't really, particularly in very young, new brands where they're doing all the social media themselves and they're trying to do everything, I don't think they realize what that is costing them as a business owner.

            [00:24:28] Georgiana Dearing: Right. . 

            [00:24:29] Martha Bourlakas: Oh, George. Yes. I mean, honestly, I cannot scream that loud enough. I think all the wonderful women I've worked with, We've all talked about that, and particularly I do think this becomes a women's issue and I have so many great friends who are dudes who are run businesses, but I do think it's a women's issue because I think there is that sort of labor balance that's always question.

            [00:25:00] Martha Bourlakas: And I think if you've been a stay-at-home mom and now you're shifting to trying to start a business, really tracking those hours. Critical and helps you really assess how and if you really wanna 

            [00:25:14] Georgiana Dearing: grow. And in what ways? Sometimes there's things that a person wants to keep because they get some kind of joy from it, and that's fine, but it's like, okay, you can't be everything so

            [00:25:27] Martha Bourlakas: Right, exactly. I've been reading a great book called Time Management for Mortals, and it's about making those choices. Over the weekend I love to bake. Mm-hmm. , so I baked this weekend because I really value what that does for my soul and all that. But then something else has to give. You really can't, you really do have to choose mm-hmm.

            [00:25:55] Martha Bourlakas: you really do, and that's a good thing. Mm-hmm. , it's a good thing to assess those choices instead of assuming that if you only managed things better, you could get more done. Yeah. That's not really what it is. 

            [00:26:10] Georgiana Dearing: Yes, I've made these choices before, like, oh, I could probably hand that off to someone. . . 

            [00:26:17] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah, exactly.

            [00:26:18] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Right. It's true. You do. And I think the other issue for particularly for women, In business is receiving that, being able to receive assistance or receive that somebody else could handle that or help you is a big part of it for me. And that's the other piece of the trust 

            [00:26:43] Georgiana Dearing: puzzle. 

            [00:26:44] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah.

            [00:26:45] Martha Bourlakas: Right. Mm-hmm. , that's a good phrase. Mm-hmm. . And that, I really found that to be true when I was working with, or still am, but working with the team at the co-packer. These ladies have been here for 15 and 20 years, and sort of receiving their care and their knowledge. Mm-hmm. was a big deal for me. Mm-hmm. So I think that's, yeah, 

            [00:27:14] Georgiana Dearing: it's critical.

            [00:27:14] Georgiana Dearing: So how long have they been producing for you? 

            [00:27:18] Martha Bourlakas: So since August. What month is this? I have no idea since. So that's September. That's fairly new. Yeah, that's fairly new. It is fairly new, but we've had lots of runs and we just did a fantastic collaboration with a cocktail subscription company. Oh, they special ordered a cube.

            [00:27:42] Martha Bourlakas: They wanted a particular recipe, and I created it and we got it approved, and so the co-packer just produced it in bulk for me, and then I packaged it not in our tins, but in a smaller package. That was great. I called and said I need 8,000 cubes. Can you and I need it really soon. And I said, ah, okay. Sure.

            [00:28:10] Martha Bourlakas: That was exciting, but that was another part of it for me. Two years ago, somebody came to me with, we'd liked buy huge order of cubes that I had to turn down. Mm-hmm. . It would've been very good for me to be able to accept it, but I couldn't produce that many. So to be able to say yes to this cocktail subscription company was just fantastic.

            [00:28:33] Georgiana Dearing: Oh, that's great. That's great. Yeah. And so it's opened some opportunities for you that you wouldn't have had before? 

            [00:28:39] Martha Bourlakas: Yes, definitely. Definitely. And it's made me less hesitant about approaching other potential clients and customers like, Hey, we could do this for you, 

            [00:28:52] Georgiana Dearing: or, that's exciting. So here's, this prompted a question just because it's a thing that startups don't think about, but lead times.

            [00:29:01] Georgiana Dearing: Do you have a formal lead time statement that you can say now that you have co-packer because you. Intrude on their business immediately. ? 

            [00:29:11] Martha Bourlakas: Yes. That's so good. And I will say that since we're on several different sales channels, we're on fair, we're on bulletin, and so all these sort of have their different standards or whatever, but it has made my lead time.

            [00:29:32] Martha Bourlakas: Much shorter because I'm much more organized with ordering through them, and I've ordered as much as possible so that I have product ready to go. It's actually shortened my lead times because I can promise it now. That's not the answer I was expecting. That is not what you were expecting, and that's not actually what I was expecting to get to.

            [00:29:55] Martha Bourlakas: But in reality, that's what's happened. I haven't gone through a holiday season with them, so it might shift, but it was taking me a lot longer to be able to meet everybody's needs before the co-packer. And now that I've got product, I can sort of more quickly get it. 

            [00:30:15] Georgiana Dearing: You also have more mental bandwidth, so you could probably do a little sales predicting and start to get your reorder cycle with your coer into a predictable rhythm.

            [00:30:28] Martha Bourlakas: Yes, yes. You're exactly right. And I don't have that rhythm yet, because I haven't. That's new. It's new, but you're exactly right. I think that rhythm will happen and yeah, you're exactly 

            [00:30:42] Georgiana Dearing: right. I wasn't expecting to get that answer on lead time. 

            [00:30:47] Martha Bourlakas: Yeah, you were expecting me to say that. Now I had to promise more time to people because I do have to let them know that's true.

            [00:30:56] Martha Bourlakas: But right now we took advantage of their sort of end of summertime and got as much product done as we. Our product has a pretty long shelf life, which is great. In terms 

            [00:31:10] Georgiana Dearing: of, I was just gonna ask that. So if you did some predictive ordering, and maybe you were 10 or 20% over the season, you have an opportunity to do another push to kind of Exactly.

            [00:31:22] Georgiana Dearing: Set up and Yeah. Yes, exactly. You took that time. Exactly. Now that you have this mental b. What's next for your brand? Have you had time to think about the next steps? That is such a 

            [00:31:37] Martha Bourlakas: good question. I had to take a few days, just sort of sit and stare. As I was saying, our daughter who has autism has just moved into a new group home and so everybody's out of the house.

            [00:31:49] Martha Bourlakas: It really is more bandwidth, but we're releasing a new flavor of Cube in 2023. Ooh. And that is very exciting. We're gonna release a lavender lemon. Oh, and that sounds love. That will go, it can be in T or it can be in June or any 

            [00:32:10] Georgiana Dearing: kind of, oh, I just went right to Jim Liberace's. Lavender waist coat. Yeah, . Oh my 

            [00:32:17] Martha Bourlakas: goodness.

            [00:32:18] Martha Bourlakas: I have to be on our Instagram with that. That's amazing. That's exciting. So we'll prepare for that and lots of things we're talking about and thinking through and yeah, it's very exciting. Lots of exciting things on the horizon. Nothing I can say for sure yet, but we're working on. 

            [00:32:41] Georgiana Dearing: You're working on some things.

            [00:32:42] Georgiana Dearing: What? You're working, you're gonna solve your bundling story. 

            [00:32:46] Martha Bourlakas: I am. I do need to solve my bundling. Really focused on the. Right now and getting that up and going and our marketing, whatever's gonna happen there and yeah. Well this sounds very 

            [00:33:00] Georgiana Dearing: exciting to work up. I know that we kind of played tag a bit this year, but you had a lot going on, so I'm glad you're able to find time to share some of that with me because Got even more exciting in the, 

            [00:33:12] Martha Bourlakas: in the air.

            [00:33:12] Martha Bourlakas: I'm so glad that we got to do this and I really appreciate 

            [00:33:16] Georgiana Dearing: it. Yeah, it's. Well, before we say goodbye, goodbye, could you please tell our listeners how to find you, your Instagram handle, any stores in the area, your web 

            [00:33:28] Martha Bourlakas: address, et cetera? Yes. Our web address is storied h, and our Instagram, which is where we as the favorite place to be, is at storied underscore goods.

            [00:33:47] Martha Bourlakas: So those are our two favorite places to be. We are in so many stores in Virginia. There's a new store in Charlottesville, Bridget, and Fest. Hmm. That's one of our new favorite stores. 

            [00:34:04] Georgiana Dearing: You would be in gift shops and food stores, 

            [00:34:07] Martha Bourlakas: right? Yes. We are just all over. We are all over. And we always say, you know, if there's a store that you'd like to see us in, ask the store.

            [00:34:18] Martha Bourlakas: And that's the best way to sort 

            [00:34:21] Georgiana Dearing: of get our and an unfair, which is a great space for small stores to find you. So that's another place for retailers to look you up is fair? Yes. Yes. F fai, r e, dot. 

            [00:34:32] Martha Bourlakas: We do a lot on Fair Table and Tonic is one of our Virginia stores. Yeah, so we are also on Bulletin, which is a woman in wholesale and yeah.

            [00:34:48] Martha Bourlakas: Oh, that's 

            [00:34:48] Georgiana Dearing: great. I'm so happy to hear of your success. I think that you're on track for your next level of growth. I'm excited to see what happens and I'm so happy you to sharing your 

            [00:35:00] Martha Bourlakas: story. Oh, I'm so glad to talk to you. It has been so fun. We'll 

            [00:35:06] Georgiana Dearing: have to have you back and get a follow up at some time.

            [00:35:09] Martha Bourlakas: Yes, anytime. I would love it. I would love 

            [00:35:13] Georgiana Dearing: it. Well that's great. So thanks so much. I'll let you go and have a lovely day. Thank you. Thank 

            [00:35:19] Martha Bourlakas: you. Have the best trip. 

            [00:35:22] Georgiana Dearing: Thank you. Well, that's a wrap today and if you, dear listeners, have enjoyed the episode, please like it, share it. And subscribe to the podcast.

            [00:35:32] Georgiana Dearing: Thanks for listening. And if you wanna learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are at VA Foodie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.