S5 E7: Managing ecommerce operations and logistics when growing rapidly with Allyse Jackson (Founder & CEO, Beehive Meals)


Allyse Jackson, Founder & CEO of Beehive Meals, joins Retention Chronicles to discuss how she’s managed and organized operations and logistics for her ecommerce business.

Without intending to, Allyse started her business Beehive Meals by prepping freezer meals when she was pregnant. After realizing she over prepared food for her family, she started to realize she needed to get ride of some of her prepped meals.

After delivering extra meals to friends and family, Allyse saw how well they were received and went to Facebook to see how many people would be interested in a delivery service.

After seeing a very high demand, Allyse started Beehive Meals and has learned many lessons in scaling in the food and beverage industry. Allyse shares her past and current experiences and challenges with inventory, storage, distribution, and delivery expectations in the ecommerce space.

Episode Timestamps:

  • 2:55 Entrepreneurship, crowdfunding, and meal prepping

  • 7:16 Starting a meal prep business and its success

  • 12:33 Starting a meal prep business

  • 16:34 Managing a meal prep business during pandemic

  • 21:21 Pivoting a food business during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 27:15 Navigating growth challenges in the meal prep industry

  • 33:40 Expanding a meal prep business with freight model

  • 39:18 Entrepreneurship, self-doubt, and networking

  • 45:36 Food delivery challenges and solutions

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


people, utah, freezer, grew, product, food, customers, meals, month, company, space, distribution, delivery, entrepreneurs, production, mils, side, arizona, work, husband, customer retention, branded tracking


Mariah Parsons, Allyse Jackson

Mariah Parsons 00:14

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to you retention Chronicles. So excited to have you here today, we have a wonderful guest, I'm going to ask her to intro herself in a second. But as you know, we are welcoming this new guests in season five. And we have a lot to talk about. So let's get to it. Hello, and thank you for joining us here at least Can you give an intro and a background as to how you founded beehive meals?

Allyse Jackson 00:39

Yeah, so my name is Elise Jackson. I am the founder and CEO of beehive meals. i So personally, I am a mother to three kids, and then I'm pregnant with our fourth. So congrats, oh my gosh. They're young, like seven and under. So we're very, very busy. But a little bit of background on myself is. So I grew up with a dad who was an entrepreneur, he is a land developer. So he would take like large pieces of land, you know, break it down, sell them into smaller pieces. And that's how I grew up. Real estate has been kind of all over the place. So it was very much like the entrepreneurial journey of like feast or famine. So like it was like this roller coaster, right. So that's how I grew up. And then my husband and I, we met in 2013. We've been married for a little over three years now. And he grew up with a mom who was an entrepreneur as well. And he cut He's the oldest, I'm the youngest of my family. He's the oldest. So he was much more like involved in his mom's kind of business ventures, as he grew up, and he has very entrepreneurial spirit, entrepreneurial spirit as well. So when we first got married, I was a little bit nervous because like no, like, you need to have this like nine to five job and like we need stability and like I wanted like comfort. But when we got married, so he were we both grew up in Utah. He did his undergrad at BYU and marketing. And then he finished his MBA at the U. And we got married when he was in his program at the U. And when he was going through that he had an entrepreneurial professor that was kind of like Hey, aren't like owning a business. Being an entrepreneur, it's a game. Like, it's like you can start the game. And if you make five bucks like you would, so it was kind of like his project that year. Like he would basically get an A in the class if he said he would try to do something. And so he this was very young in our marriage, and he was like, Hey, I'm going to try something. And in that time, I'm sure you're familiar with Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and those crowdfunding websites. So he launched a wooden sunglass company on Indiegogo. Whoo. And so he launched that in 2013, or 2014. I believe 2014. And he did that. And it was a 30 day campaign. And it did like $9,000 or something. And we're like, oh, sweet, like, that pays for first round. I

Mariah Parsons 03:28

won the game.

Allyse Jackson 03:31

Yeah, so we went down that we got the $9,000 we did our first round of manufacturing were like, okay, like, and they were pretty like generic, like China, like wooden sunglasses. There's lots of actually other companies out there that have done this concept. And he wanted to take a different approach. Going ahead. So we launched a Kickstarter the next year, and we did a collection with it, they were still wooden, but they had like etchings like engravings down the side, like design. So they were more unique. And like we designed them on all of that. So we launched that on Kickstarter, that next year, and it 30 Day campaign did like 270 something $1,000. So it did really well. Next year, we launched another campaign, and it was a variation where metal sunglasses, metal frames would insights, again, did like $280,000. And during our campaign. We were going along that entrepreneurial journey and it was like whoa, like this adrenaline rush, right? Like, I didn't want to be the entrepreneur. Oh, this is fun. Yeah. So then, unfortunately, we had a partner at the time that we were very much it was 5050 partnership. He was more silent. We were very much running it and it just wasn't a good situation for us. So we were either going to buy him out or he was going to buy us out. He ended up buying us out Um, and sadly the company no longer exists and went under. But from that we always knew we wanted to do something else. We just didn't know what. So Adam was working in the tech industry at the time, even while we were running the sunglass company, and we were living in Provo. And so I went from, you know, and and I was pregnant with our first so we sold the sunglass company, I was pregnant with our first and I don't know, do you have kids or have no I do not know. So when you're pregnant for those that have been pregnant, we'll know what this feels like. But it's around like that, like six month ish phase, you go into like nesting mode, where it's like, You're everything done? Yeah. Oh, about six months and being pregnant with my first I was like, I'm gonna prepare all of these freezer meals. And I'm just gonna get super ready so that when baby comes, I don't have to cook anything. And so we so I prepped and I, it took me like a whole week between like planning, grocery shopping, prepping, and I prepped, like 80 mils. Oh, my God. And they each serve like six people. And I'm like, Okay, it's my husband and I and we're gonna have a baby that doesn't eat anything. Yeah. Rubbish. Yeah, they put all of it in there. And quickly realized I weigh over prepped. And being in Provo, Utah. For those that are familiar with that area here in Utah. It is very much there are so many like babies being born in area, like you just have a lot of young, young couples, and a lot of people like starting their families. So when I realized I had overprepared, I was like, oh, like, I have all these friends that are having babies, like, I will just, you know, cook one of the meals, take it to them after they have the baby and then maybe drop off like three or four that they can cook at a later time. And so, we started doing that to kind of get through some of our stock in our freezer. And we just got a really good, like positive reaction from people like food has such a positive impact on people. And so that was 2016. And again, we had sold, Westwood was our sunglass company. And we were trying to look for what was going to be our next thing, what was gonna be our next thing. And we we went, it took us a couple years. After that, I had had another kid by then we actually moved from Provo to Davis County, which Adam and I, my husband are both from, and to be closer to family. And he had transitioned out of tech and was now out a small company, a small business in like the Salt Lake County area. And they were a product and packaging design firm. So he had transitioned to that. And we had two kids at the time, we'd still been trying to figure out what we'd wanted to do. I mean, we had gone to like our manufacturers overseas and be like, let's get samples of this. And let's get samples of this. And nothing ever, like felt right. But it's like, it could be passionate about this. So he was at his job in Salt Lake County. And unfortunately, there were it was a small business, there was like 10 of them on staff. And they owner was making business financial decisions in the business that we're driving under. So it was pretty apparent at one point that it's like payroll and hit and like nothing would hit our bank account. Oh, yeah, probably not gonna have a job here. So, yeah. Yeah, that was that was pretty scary. And we had two kids at the time. And Adam, his backgrounds in tech, we had moved back to Davis County, a lot of the tech is in Utah County, which is like an hour away. So it was kind of this like, like, we don't want him to have to be forced back into the workplace. Because we need to provide, you know, for our young family, so he went to work one day, and I woke up and I was like, okay, like, what am I good at that could make money and like that could just get us by like pay our mortgage and pay for you know, my daughter to go dance classes and you know, pay, like pay the basics that it's like, we can still like live and survive until Adam figures out either another job, or he was the ones that was supposed to like air quotes. Figure out our next like, big idea. Um, and so I wrote a list of things down. I mean, there were things on there like I liked crocheting. And

Mariah Parsons 09:48

then I love crocheting. I'm just getting Yeah, it's so fun.

Allyse Jackson 09:52

Like soothing and relaxing. Yeah, like crocheting was on there and like I like to bake so like baking and making Fix was on there. And then like freezer meals was on there. So there was this list of things that like, I'm good at that like potentially make money. So I was kind of like looking through the list. And the reason I went with freezer meals was because I was like, Hey, this is something crocheting takes a ton of time. I mean, you said you say like, it takes a ton of time. Yeah. How much would people really be willing to pay for a crocheted item? So it's like, Is there really no benefit there. And then, like baking and cake decorating, it's like, it is a very, like, niche skill. That is like, if I ever needed to, like scale and grow this, like, you have to have a trained individual to be able to, like, help pull that off, right? So freezer meals was something it's like, Hey, I've always prepped freezer meals for our family back when we were in Provo, like we were handing them out to people because I prepped way too many, like we got a really good response on him. So I was like, well do this. And I already have like recipes that I use for my family. So what it was is like, I went to Facebook, and I like created a picture collage of like, I basically went to like Adobe stock photography or something and write about stock photography, like freezer meals, and like put it together. And I was like, Okay, I'm gonna do these 10 mils, and I'll purchase all the ingredients. And I'll do all the prep, and I'll deliver it to your door. And that was August of 2019. Okay. And so I put it up on Facebook, and it was immediately so Adam had gone to work. He didn't know I was doing this. And it was immediately that people were like messaging me on Facebook. And it's like, yes, like, how do I send you money? Like, how do I pay for this? And I was like, oh, like, I don't know, like, and I was like, hurry. haven't gotten there yet. I was like, Oh, I don't know, like, let's set up Venmo. And so like I said them on, like people were just been borrowing the money for these. And so I was in August, I had set my first delivery dates for September 2019. So I gave myself a full month. And it was I made like, it was like 10 grand in that first day. Oh my god. I like shut it off. And I was like, okay, like I am one person, I can only do so much like, so I like filled up one delivery day. And then I was like, okay, like, I think that's how much I can do in a day. So like, then I opened up the next week, and then I opened the next week and I like filled all of September. And for what I felt I could do and wait. So real

Mariah Parsons 12:25

quick. You were saying like it took like how long for you to like cook and prep them? And then like, Was it like a week and then you deliver them all on? Like one day? Is that what you're doing for all of the month? Yeah.

Allyse Jackson 12:35

Okay, but yeah, so it'd be like, okay, like, how many fat because I sell them in sets of 10 mils? So it's like, orders. 10 mils? Yeah. The unique thing about our product is it's actually all raw product, though. So when we can go into that love to Yeah, yeah, it's essentially like so a freezer mill. It's a very big term here in Utah. That's actually a challenge that we're trying to get out of state like, people need to understand what it

Mariah Parsons 13:03

is honestly, all I'm I'm from New Jersey and live in India, and I know we discussed this, but like, all I'm picturing is just like, yeah, food in the freezer, like So is there something specific that like, yeah, tell us more about the freezer,

Allyse Jackson 13:14

freezer meal, essentially, and what our product is it's taking traditionally, if you're doing it yourself, it'd be like a Ziploc bag, and you'd like your raw ingredients in there. And then they're designed to cook in a crock pot or like an Insta pot. Okay, so it's like you'd put your raw meats and vegetables and like the sauce ingredients in there. And then like you, zip like Ziploc it closed, right stored in your freezer, pull it out at a later time to cook in your crock pot, what we do, is we take vacuum syllable bags, put all the ingredients in there, vacuum seal it, that way they last it's taking all the air out, and it's keeping the product fresher for longer. And just like you're not gonna get like the ice crystals on it or anything while it's in your freezer over the next few months. So there's no cooking involved on our side. But as far as like the prep, it was like, hey, like, I've got to get all these ingredients. I've got to like do all the prep work. So I filled it was like I think 12 customers each week is what it ended up being. So it was like, I'm can do 120 meals a week. Like I can handle that. And when after I got like everybody's money, I called my husband, he was still at work during this and I was like, um, so I think I started a business like,

Mariah Parsons 14:36

I think during

Allyse Jackson 14:37

the money, like people paid me money. And so we and my mother in law found out about it and she calls me she's like you realize you can't do this out of your house, right? And I'm like, No, I had no idea. I need a commercial for this. And I was like, okay, like I don't have one of those. And so luckily When I say like, I started taking orders in August, and my deliveries weren't until September, I had like 30 days of like, Okay, I gotta like figure this out. How am I actually doing? So like, I had to go find a commercial kitchen to rent, which we did. I had to get, like certain certifications as like a food manager. Like, it's not just like, handler's permit. It's like, the certification that, like, I'm allowed to, I don't know,

Mariah Parsons 15:23

whether you're like, like, knowledgeable about what to do and what not to do. Yeah. Okay.

Allyse Jackson 15:27

And so I did all this, like, had to work with the city on like, what we were actually doing and like, get all these approvals. So did all that in the next 30 days. And then we got into it. So September. It went really well, that first month, and my husband actually ended up not so who he ended up mutually leaving his position at his company that he was at in October. So that next month, and he again, this wasn't, this was just supposed to be like, I could do this a few times a month, it'll pair mortgage, it'll pay for this, like, it'll be fine. Like, you go figure out something else. So I'd mentioned his mom's an entrepreneur, he actually went and worked with her for like the next five months. And I he would like help on the side. So helped me on the site, his backgrounds in marketing. So that was helpful. He was able to like, get us a website up by September, like I had a legit website, actually. So I wasn't taking Venmo money.

Mariah Parsons 16:30

You had a checkout? checkout process, automated system. Yeah.

Allyse Jackson 16:34

And like people would know when I would actually sell out on a date or things like that, oh, September went really well, October hits, and it's like, open up delivery dates. And they would sell out like that, like, was like one it was people that had already ordered from us, like wanted it the next month. And to like our word of mouth, it was like, you know, people pick Oh, like they talk about it until we tell it super quickly. And it was that first month that we sold out. And I had customers that ordered in September that were really frustrated. They couldn't get in, in October. And so it was like, oh, no, like, I don't know what to do.

Mariah Parsons 17:15

So to keep those customers, right,

Allyse Jackson 17:18

they they're like, no, like, I'm planning like, I need your meals to feed my family this month. So that was a challenge initially, were we, it was pretty early on in our company that I turned on subscription. So if you want these mills, you can get on subscription, I will account for you getting these mills, and they would pay for him, like in advance or whatever. And I would hold a spot on my delivery. And it's like it was kind of like subscription came became this, like first come first serve. They were on my schedule. Yes. Um, so that was like, one of our biggest things that we did early on that have really set the tone for our girls. Like, going forward. So I mean, now 2019? I don't know, do you want me to just

Mariah Parsons 18:11

keep going with our? Yes, this is great. It's so it's super fascinating. Because I would think that when you got or maybe not think but I know it would cause some hesitancy if like if you see really frustrated customer customers in the first month of, you know, your delivery, and then being overwhelmed by like, oh my god, like I just set up all this kitchen and logistics and website and everything in 30 days. And now you have this brand new challenge of okay, you did that so well that people are loving what you're doing. But now you have this problem of frustrated customers. And then you're bumping up against like, How many can you realistically do by yourself? So I would love to know, like more into this subscription. Kind of how you handle that challenge. Like, were you responding to them and, you know, kind of reassuring them in what you're telling me like, Okay, let's get in on this subscription so that you can, you know, rest easy knowing that your meals will be prepped for X amounts a month.

Allyse Jackson 19:08

Yeah, months. Yeah. So yeah, so that was October, okay. And it was really until about February of 2022. So the first five months, I was still trying to handle everything myself, I had set up subscription. Again, we were prioritizing our subscription customers. So I pretty much like build my full schedule like I would know I'd be have a full month schedule based on subscription customers. And that word of mouth was still like, helping us grow though that it was like Hey, I don't want to like lose out on these other customers. Or even like open it up for either like competition, right that like somebody else could come in and we're just not able to fulfill the demand. So February of 2020. I brought on my first two employees And that was enough to be able to feel like, okay, like, I don't have to do this all myself, like I had help on the production side. And I guess even backing up a little bit with our company, we handle both the production side and the distribution side. So it was like, we're making all the meals, and then we're physically like getting in our own vehicles and delivering them. So it's quite the process. And so I brought on a couple employees. And the timing of that could not have been more perfect. Yeah. Pandemic hits in March of 2020. So one, again, this was still somewhat like, in my mind, a side hustle. It was like, Oh, I have a couple employees now. But like, how big could this really get? Because my husband actually took a job in March working for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints here in Salt Lake City. And he, he again, I'm like, have that stable job like we need? Yeah. Like, we're not really entrepreneurs. And so he started in March there. And I had a couple of employees. And then it was March 16. Here in Utah, like everything shut down. And and then we quit when we had an earthquake here, not too long after and it was like, it was like the world was ending here in Utah. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 21:21

Right. Everyone's just terrified. Yes, everything. And

Allyse Jackson 21:26

so with that mentality, like the world is ending, like people don't know, like, what this pandemic is gonna mean, and I'm sure this happened where you were at to that, like, grocery store shelves just wiped out. Yeah. Yeah. It was like chaos. Like you could talk a lipstick. Yeah, it was kind of like crazy. And people were worried that they wouldn't be able to, like get food. So before that, we were actually using grocery stores like so like Sam's Club and Walmart and like, things like that to get our ingredients because it wasn't on this like big enough scale. Yeah, think of like a wholesaler at that point. And so, there were times where I remember Sam's Club in particular, where that's where we got a lot of like, our meat, and our chicken particular and it's like, you could go in, and Sam's Club would limit you on what, like, how many units you could take?

Mariah Parsons 22:19

Yeah, yeah, I remember all of this. Yeah. So it's like, you could get

Allyse Jackson 22:23

a unit of chicken. What you know, typically, people would think a unit of chicken is like, you know, that tray of chicken. So I, I took it from Okay, well, a unit of chicken, I'm gonna go back to the butcher, I'm gonna push on that little thing. And I'm like, I need a case, which comes with eight units, but unit and a case.

Mariah Parsons 22:41

Yeah, yeah. So the wording of it. Yeah, yeah. And just like

Allyse Jackson 22:45

scan my one unit, which is a case of chicken, which is like, eight real units and like, walk out. And then my husband would walk in, and he would go back to the butcher and get another case of chicken one unit, and walk out. So we had to get very creative during the pandemic, on how to procure ingredients. Because we were food and food shelves in the grocery stores were bare, we pretty quickly pivoted is probably like April or May, that we went to wholesalers. And we're like, oh, we can actually get like product, not from the grocery store. Yeah. So we pivoted around that time. And so when March hit, our cells just started, like, increased, like, you know, 50% increase, and then 100% increase, and like, it was just this like crazy increase month over month. And we were in a commercial kitchen at the time where we were renting from somebody who was a food truck owner. So he would come in, in the mornings, prep his stuff, and then leave and then we could come in, like the rest of the day. And we were growing out of the space that he like, had for us. So it was July, June or July of 2020, we got our own space. And I remember it was like 1200 square feet. And we had like, we got like an eight by 10 Walk in a freezer and a couple like stand up freezers. And we're like, we're gonna be here forever. Like, there's so much freezer space. And we grew out of it and like a monkey.

Mariah Parsons 24:18

Oh my god seriously.

Allyse Jackson 24:21

Like, we just invested and at the time, I mean, it's not a huge investment, but it was like, we just invested all this money into this kitchen. And we grew out of it. So

Mariah Parsons 24:29

also, like just the research component. I can imagine like real estate like I'm renting right now just trying to like a three year lease. Yeah, that's so that so many, like hours and just resources go towards that in general not just like, what's actually in the space?

Allyse Jackson 24:46

Well, and even like we were so we're very scrappy entrepreneurs. And so like when we took on the space like my husband did the framing and the dry roll on like we don't know how to he's not handy. People and it's like huge It'll be like, because we were like, we're not paying for this like, this crappy like sticky tile that he had to like heat up and like peel off. Like in himself multiple. It was very like late a labor of love. And I guess I had when I was praying, I got pregnant, like a couple months after starting the business. So I was due in July, we were like in construction in July, and it was just, it was nuts. So, fast forward, so yeah, we grow out of that space. Thankfully, we found another space. And it was like 3600 square feet. And it was like, Oh, this is like, gonna be so much space like, and so we signed on that. It was a brand new construction. So it was pretty easy for us to like, we just need to put some like equipment here and equipment here and get it up and going fairly quickly. So we were able to get into that kitchen, I think it was like January or February of 2021. And that year, we had like a massive amount of growth, like we just work into it. Like our subscription was continuing to grow we because we were still somewhat limited in our production capabilities. Customers were still like, for being almost not forced, but like incentivized to get on subscription if they were wanting their delivery each month. So our subscription continued to grow through 2021. And we had almost an eight figure year. Oh my god. Yeah. So it was like extreme growth. And it was just such like, I was actually joking with my team the other day, like, I don't know how we survived 2021. Like, from our production capabilities, and what we had to like pull off there from our distribution capabilities and what like, we have to we have our own delivery vans and our own, like, people that drive those and deliver on like, an in a pandemic where like people couldn't get cars. Like could

Mariah Parsons 26:58

you come? Yeah, on top of food? Yeah, you're working in a very restricted? Yeah. Yeah. world at the

Allyse Jackson 27:06

time. Yeah. And it was like, it was nuts. And like, what we pulled off was, I don't even know how we did it. But, um, yeah, so

Mariah Parsons 27:15

a lot of determination. Yeah, well, I'm

Allyse Jackson 27:17

just like, I am very motivated by money. And it's like, these people want to give me their money. Like, I'm gonna.

Mariah Parsons 27:24

I will get there.

Allyse Jackson 27:27

Yeah. So yeah, so we we continue to grow. I mean, we're a little over four years now have about 100 employees. And a good chunk of those are on the production side, what our per mil production is pretty labor intensive. And then another percentage is on our distribution, you know, the delivery side. And then we have, like, our corporate offices. And I had mentioned my husband is back. So now my husband works with me full time. Yeah, it's all here for like, two, two and a half years full time CO does other stuff. And he runs our marketing department. It wasn't until May of this year that he actually brought on somebody to help him. So he's been running it this whole time up until May. And it? Yeah, it's just been quite a wild ride.

Mariah Parsons 28:19

Yes. Yeah, I can tell, and quite an interesting story to walk through. Like, I know, you asked, Should I just keep going? And I genuinely Yes, because it's, I think it's very, like indicative of probably all the hurdles, or all the challenges you face. And like, I want to get into some of those, but just hearing about high level, how you all are navigating, like, and it seems like mostly trying to make those decisions based off of growth, and where you can continue to, like, it looks like it seems like you had such a potential with customers, and you're recognizing that. So it's like, you almost can't keep up, right with how quickly the ICP, or the want of your product is. And I would love to go into, because I know you said like, we were talking about the space and the actual, like logistics of that because usually on this podcast, we focus a lot on like marketing and more of the corporate side of things. So I think it would be great if you could tell us more about like production and distribution. How are you trying? Like you said, there's a split, most of your employees are on the production side, how are you trying to wait like those sides differently in terms of like the production or the resource allocation that you're that you're seeing that you that you have at the meals? Yeah,

Allyse Jackson 29:45

so yeah, let's so on the space issue. So I had mentioned we had their 1200 square foot kitchen garota moved into this 3600 square foot space. And I forgot to mention we grew out of that in like three months.

Mariah Parsons 29:59

Okay, To keep up with these spaces, and

Allyse Jackson 30:02

the biggest issue for our space isn't so much the space, I need to prepare the meals. So like I have my 3600 square foot kitchen, that kitchen can produce so much out of it. Like we actually only run our kitchen, Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays from 6am to 2pm. Like I bring in product on Tuesdays and Thursdays, like the ingredients and like things like that. But like production happens like is that what is 24 hours a week, like we could run our kitchen a lot more. Where we run into issues with our business is the freezer space. So it's like I have a product frozen, customers are expecting it like rock hard frozen. And then it's Yeah, and so it's like getting it frozen. And then like once it's you know, we prepare it in a set of 10 mils, it's like until it goes out to the customer, I have to hold that frozen as well. So thankfully, our space that we went into, it's a 3600 square foot space I had mentioned it was new construction. And our landlords, it was a flex space like one of those flex. So we biggest space at 3600. And then there were three more units of 1800 square feet apiece. And we went to our landlord, and we're like, like, what are these? Like, what are our tenants other leases? Like, what are they like? And they all we all signed to your leases, and I mentioned three months and we were grown out. So we actually went to our next door neighbor. We're like, I will pay you like $5,000 to just leave? Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 31:36

Your contract? Like yeah,

Allyse Jackson 31:37

our landlord was fine. Like, as long as like somebody was taking the lease. He didn't care who took the lease? Yeah, you really liked us like we were weren't good tenants to work with. And so we're like, we'll pay you to leave. And so they took that. So we they ended up leaving, and we took their space. And all I did was put freezers in the 1800 square feet. And so that helped alleviate some of that. About another probably nine to 12 months after that we actually went to the next person and we're like, we will buy your space if you leave because I need more freezers. So we ended up they ended up leaving, we put more freezers there. And then just actually, like 20 minutes before we jumped on this podcast interview, I got a so we're our my team has called me and let me know I just had a freight show off of our freezers. So our landlord where you go, our landlord built 15,000 square feet of a building next to us. And we took the whole thing, in a just be distribution. So we're going to fully just put freezers over there. Because one of our growth strategies is we were trying to figure out how to get into other states and continue to grow, where we handle all of our own logistics, right like we are Utah facility we've grown to it covers all of Utah, so we can serve all of Utah, and then southern Idaho, and actually like Nevada, like the Las Vegas Valley area. So, and then we've also opened up, we opened up a production facility in Arizona, in Tempe and found that our efficiencies in Utah are just so great, that actually, by the time this podcast airs, we are actually shutting production down in Arizona. We have a customer base down there, but we're going to produce from Utah, and we're going to fried it down. Okay, out of that. So we're one of our challenges right now is figuring out how to grow the most efficient, like money wise and cover as much space as possible. So,

Mariah Parsons 33:53

yeah, and so am I correct in saying that, like the reason that you're pulling the production site in Arizona is because even with like freight costs to ship it down there or to get the product down there. So like that's it, that's less expensive, just as a whole to, to produce it in Utah, with the efficiencies. Okay.

Allyse Jackson 34:19

So Utah, what's really cool about our product is because we produce so much here in Utah in our one facility, like you think of a typical like food establishment, right, like you go to Chick fil A, or Wendy's or McDonald's, like they're massive when you think of them on a national scale. When you think of them on an individual scale, though, like how much do what does one store really produce? So when you think of our Utah location, our Utah location serves all of Utah, parts of Idaho parts of Nevada, like the amount of food that we bring into one location helps us with our buying power with our suppliers. like we can get quality ingredients. And because we're buying in such mass, like we can get really good prices on them were like Arizona, we had another facility that while it's growing, it's nowhere near what we do in Utah. And so the cost of ingredients were significantly more in Arizona. So bringing it all here, and like our labor is just so efficient here, like our team is so good here in Utah, that by paying freight, like it, I save money.

Mariah Parsons 35:32

Yeah. Do you think that's something you can do with other states? Because obviously, that's, you're still like, centralized kind of in the same area with Arizona. But say you were going, I don't know, like trying to expand to like the Midwest, further into the Midwest or like, East Coast or West Coast? Is that something like from a logistical standpoint that you would try out of like Utah being your main production center? Or would you try and make like another production center that was like, have that efficiency and then trying to go from there? Yeah,

Allyse Jackson 36:05

so that's a good question. So our current plan of like growth is to keep everything in Utah. As far as production I had mentioned, we're getting 15,000 more square feet of space. And that's basically just going to be distribution. Again, my 3600 square foot kitchen can handle option, I just can't I don't have anywhere to store it. So we weren't going to actually be testing, we're going to be testing this hopefully, with Colorado, where we're going to just have another hub like so. Like our kitchen, and then we'll have like a hub?

Mariah Parsons 36:42

And is the hub distribution? Yes, the hobby. Okay.

Allyse Jackson 36:45

So then I just need, I just need freezers down there to receive the frozen product, and Vance to deliver it. And so we're going to actually be testing that. So we're we're going to be changing everything in Arizona to a freight model. And then this year, hopefully, probably like q3, we're gonna be opening up Colorado area to do that same model. We're keeping it semi close right now, just as we figure it out, because it's like, if I needed to, I could fly to Arizona and be there in an hour and a half. Same with Colorado. Our goal, though, I mean, you mentioned the Midwest, that's actually probably our next area that we would look at expanding to see if we can get this freight model figured out. So that's something that like, we're really excited for if we can get the Colorado area. Yeah, really dialed kind of

Mariah Parsons 37:37

like tested there, where it's closer. Can you extend, I can

Allyse Jackson 37:41

put fires out if I can fly like an hour and a half away, like now if I have to jump on a flight that's maybe like three or four hours, I can't get there soon, and all that, but yeah,

Mariah Parsons 37:50

like efficiency, whatever goes down. So this is all really interesting, because I know, this is just something that you started out quite literally out of your kitchen, um, and from, like a passion of yours of just being able to meal prep and like doing so for yourself. So where are you turning? Like, is it your husband and yourself? Maybe a couple, like, other experts in E commerce when you do bump up against something like an Arizona where you realize, okay, this is not working, we need to figure out a new solution. Who are you turning to to help, I guess, like guide you? Or were you looking for when you bump up against a challenge? Specifically, like in this industry, and one that you know, isn't like you, I know nothing about this industry because I don't work in it. So I think anyone who would know anything about this industry, it's only from work experience. So when you don't have that and you're trying to run a business in that industry, where are you looking?

Allyse Jackson 38:53

Yeah, that's a good question. So I mean, I mentioned my husband his background, right? He's in marketing he got his you know, degree in business and MBA all of that so he's got like, the pedigree the the credentials, right? Yeah. I, on the other hand, was a stay at home mom, like I went to college, I got my associate degree. This is not for me. I, what's been really, really cool and running beehive Mills is, as I've run it, so I'm a CEO, I actually run our whole operations and logistics side of our ecommerce brand. So all of our processes that have come and the production and the distribution have been created by myself. And it's been really cool to almost push myself in such a way that like, I didn't know I was capable of any of this stuff. Yeah, I found out I'm actually really really good at it. And like the efficiencies and being like, the how do we become the most profitable with the best quality product and then, like, pay our employees well, and all these things, and it's really just come from doing it. And I think having the ability to pivot really quickly. And that's what I love about a small business and even working with my husband and I, I always get the question, how is it working with your spouse? And it's obviously really challenging in certain aspects because it never shuts off. But it's also, I think that's one of our strengths is because we can talk to each other whenever we need to that it's like we, it's so quickly that sometimes when you have, say, even your executive team or your management team, that it's like, I gotta wait until like, tomorrow, because I got a respectful of their time.

Mariah Parsons 40:38

And like people are on vacation, just Yeah, introduce a lot more variables. Yeah, with a bigger team.

Allyse Jackson 40:43

So I think one thing we've been able to do is pivot really quickly. Like if something isn't working, we're able to recognize it really quickly. And it's not like, oh, but maybe like, we just need to give it time. And sometimes that's the case. Or maybe it just even needs to be tweaked a tiny bit. So we've just as far as like, growth, and like figuring this out, it's really just been by doing it. There was a time though. And it was earlier in. Let's see. So it would have worked 2024. So it would have been the end of 2020 to about a year and a half ago. I got in this because we were growing I'd mentioned. So 2020, who we actually did, we did eight figures that year. And I I'm younger, I mean, I was I started the company, I was 25. And so I just felt really inadequate to actually run my company. And it was this and I'm sure you talk to a lot of entrepreneurs that get like, it's right imposter syndrome.

Mariah Parsons 41:47

I am the most relatable part of this podcast, I

Allyse Jackson 41:50

think, like I am not okay, like I am, I have no business running this business, and managing how many people and like, when you start bringing on employees that it's like you depend like, they depend on this, you know, their paychecks to provide like, we have a lot of like people that are breadwinners in their families that like it's like something I put a lot of pride in, but it's also a lot of responsibility. So I just gotten this, like, I am not the person to run this company, like I don't know what I'm doing. And I actually looked to bring somebody in to, to run my ecommerce operations. And through that process. Like, in that process, I started, like, I brought somebody on to run the ecommerce operations. And then I started being like, okay, like, I like need to expand my network. And so it was things like, I went and did a mastermind here in Utah. You know, it's a group of entrepreneurs, a lot of them. I think, actually all of them were females. It was like a female entrepreneur mastermind. And, and like the Advisory Board, were all females, like it was a very, like, cool, unique experience. And I met a lot of really amazing people out of that. One was, Are you familiar with freshly picked? Oh, I'm not Oh, they're a another Utah company here. So Susan Peterson runs that. She's like, one of the OG like female entrepreneurs here. And she, it's, uh, started out as a baby moccasin brand. And it's grown into like, you know, the diaper bags and the whole baby growling baby, right? Yeah, yep. And so she was on the advisory board. And she was somebody I really, really looked up to, and have since gotten to know her, and we've become friends. And I just think like through those networking connections. Another one is Mackenzie Bauer, which you've interviewed with red. And she's actually who put us in contact here.

Mariah Parsons 43:54

Look at that. Yep. She's the connector of all connectors. Yeah. And

Allyse Jackson 43:58

she puts on this, she started female founders only. And I had the amazing opportunity this last year, and September of 2023, to go to Morocco, with like a group of like, 20 plus female entrepreneurs. None of us very little of us knew each other before going there. I didn't know anybody before going there. I flew halfway across the world by myself, which I have never done international travel. Besides,

Mariah Parsons 44:25

well, that's scary, but it's kind of fun. Oh,

Allyse Jackson 44:29

yeah. Don't travel. Like flu and like to meet up with these women. I have no idea who they were. Um, but McKenzie Bauer put that on. And it was through that interaction that like, I think it gave me a self confidence that it's like, okay, everybody feels like they don't know what they're doing. It's really like, just realizing I would have conversations with other entrepreneurs. That would be like, oh, like, how would you do this? Or how would you do this in my company, and it's like, You know your company best, like in having that self confidence, like I can tell you what I do in my company. But ultimately, like, you're the one that knows your company inside and out. Like, that's like you started it, like you've grown it. And like, we can swap maybe like strategy, but it's like, I can't tell you exactly how to do it in your. And I think that's something that I've learned over the last like year that it's like, I actually do know what I'm doing. And I'm actually really, really good at it. And that's why, like, we've been able to find, like, have the success that we've had. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 45:36

so with kind of like that reassurance. Similarly enough, I feel like I'm going through a similar point in my career, where it's like the recognition of, Oh, you, you know what you're doing. And it's a lot of fun to go through. And with that comes a lot of confidence in just like the abilities and then bringing that to your team and being able to say, like, I think we should go here. And you know, like, blah, blah, blah. So with that added confidence, I wanted to ask you about the like, I imagine that there's a lot of challenges when it comes to delivery, because us being in like the shipment space. I've just, I've met a lot of brands who, like with delivery, and especially in the food and bed space, like it can be, especially, I guess, finicky or like a lot of details around it, especially around frozen food, because there's like, a whole added element of needing to keep that food fresh, and your customers are expecting it to be freezer input to be frozen. So how are you like, with that added confidence? How are you? How do you How did you go about kind of figuring all that out and ensuring that the quality of your product when it leaves? Arguably, like where you have the most control over it? Like in the freezer and your delivery trucks that it's not like sitting on someone's doorstep? Like how are you communicating that to your customers? Yeah,

Allyse Jackson 47:03

so one thing, like with food mentioned, like it is it can be finicky it can be it's very, like food could make people sick. Like yeah, yeah. Right. Like, it's not like, oh, like, Darn it, like we lost your legging somewhere. Like, I'll be there in three more days. Like, it's if a food is delivered, it has to get there. So on time. And that's actually one reason we've kept all distribution logistics in house. There's a couple of reasons actually. So one is being able to control freak that I am. Install it to their doorstep is very important to me. And that whole experience to the other one food, because it has to like shipping is really really expensive. And added on to shipping is expensive. Our products really really heavy. Our products anywhere from like 40 to 80 pounds. Well, yeah, like a set

Mariah Parsons 48:04

a huge thing. Yeah. All those units of chicken have to go somewhere. Yes.

Allyse Jackson 48:07

Right. And so it's our carts really heavy. And when you're shipping frozen, you have to ship dry ice. So not only do I have all this, like weight of the food, then I have to have the weight of the dry ice and then the packaging to keep it all inside that like it would be like 100 pound box, and a ship that it would be like 100 bucks. And so and that's like with discounted like FedEx rates when right? Yeah, cuz you're

Mariah Parsons 48:33

shipping in bulk. So yeah. Yeah. And

Allyse Jackson 48:36

when we look at that, and and when you look at other food delivery services, their cost per serving is anywhere from seven to 1011 $12. A serving, right? Yep. Ours is anywhere from like 280, something to like 350, depending on the type of meal that you're getting the size, those type of things. So we're able to keep our cost per serving a lot cheaper, because a lot of those other food companies, you're actually paying for the shipping, it's just hidden in the cost of the food. Yeah, so we that's something that's really important to me that our customers are getting the best quality product for the cheapest price per serving, and that's keeping our distribution. So to go as far as like, how we maintain that. It's, we we've invested very heavily in our distribution side of the company. I mean, millions of dollars have gone into and that hasn't been overnight, like right, like it's been as we've grown and needed to grow. Again, I mentioned we're very scrappy entrepreneurs. We've actually invested in this company when we've needed to, and it's been using resources from the company. So it's like we have refrigerated vehicles. So it's like it leaves our facility goes into a refrigerated vehicle, we handle that up until our doorstep. And we have a back end system. So it's a plugin through Shopify, that creates all of our delivery routes. Like we have a routing specialist on our team that creates those every single day. And it gives like all the automated automated reminders. So like customers one, they sign up for a specific delivery date. So they know Hey, on January 5, I signed up for meals, I need to expect meals on January 5, so and then that morning, they get an email and a text saying like, Hey, your delivery is out for delivery, like it should be expected around one to 2pm. And then it's like, then they get another text, what it's like, hey, it's three stops away. And then it's like, Oh, hey, it's here. And here's a picture of it. So we are able to communicate through our technology, our back end, throughout the process, once it gets to their doorstep, here in the winter, in Utah, it's not an issue is very cold outside, out there for eight hours, guess what, it's still gonna be rock solid. In the summer months, it can get up to 100 degrees here. So that changes a little bit. The nice thing about our products, though, is because we're shipping or delivering 10 meals at a time, they kind of all act as ice packs for each other. Right? The doubt for a few hours. And again, people who are ordering like they know what day they're getting it on. It's not like a mystery on when they're made. And then they're communicated throughout the whole process. So we have very rarely that we have issues if a customer ever does have an issue and say like, Hey, these are defrosted like we replace it, like no questions asked. But we have very, very few complaints on that side. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 51:58

yeah. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. That's kind of what I figured. But I have ordered from, like, a food service before and I won't name them but getting it in the mail. And like those little ice packs or just like liquid water, you know, just think it arrived safe? Yeah, exactly. So you're just kind of like sitting there. But those are. They're like not supposed to be frozen. So a little bit different, I think. Yeah, with the freezer packs, like making sure that they're frozen. I want to continue asking you questions, but we're already at time. So I'm going to be gracious of our time and pauses there. This has been so phenomenal. And just understanding more of what it looks like to keep everything in house. I have not met a lot of founders who are taking that on. And I think you're doing it well from what I can tell from the last hour. So I'm very, very, very excited to share this with our listeners. And it's been an absolute joy to get to talk to you about these. Thank you for making the time.

Allyse Jackson 52:55

Yeah, thank you for having me.