I consider myself to be a “social entrepreneur, a rule bender, and a repeat offender” . And if you know one they are pretty amazing individuals. From their tolerance for failure to their creative use of resources to their sense of when to leave. I am a consummate risk taker and I flirt with failure and financial exposure about as often as most people buy a new car. And I am not alone. Once a novelty, social entrepreneurs are now becoming mainstream and respected.
I have the requisite skills for starting a company — vision, dreams, courage– and I like to make products that people tend to feel strongly about. However I am mindful to never let my passion get in the way of the business potential. When I go about vetting an idea, I look for industries with huge, mass-market players (Budweiser, Hershey’s, Frito Lay) and a few popular premium brands (Hains Celestial, ). Then I set about drawing mass-market customers to my high-end offering. The product is important and it absolutely must have the growth potential.
Most social entrepreneurs like myself are bootstrappers….we like to keep costs low until the viability of the new business is proven. I hold down expenses by using other manufacturers’ extra factory capacity to produce the goods, while I stay focused on sales and marketing.
Social Entrepreneurship is clearly different from starting a small business. A social entrepreneur sees opportunity where others don’t and comes up with a new approach to solving a problem. This entrepreneur thing is not really a conscious decision. It is who you are. Social entrepreneurship demands to be embraced when it forces itself upon you just the way a great musician is forced to play music.
My wife and I have took our start up company, with unlimited marketing platforms, consisting of a new shape, a new flavor, new packaging, and cause marketing and proved that Conscious Capitalism is not an economic theory but an ingenious way to sell tortilla chips.
Whale Tails Tortilla Chips presents a multi-faceted opportunity to demonstrate better, more responsible and rewarding ways to do business. It’s an opportunity to show that success can ultimately be a sustainable solution where everyone wins. This hopefully is the beginning of a long journey that will lead everyone involved to a more rewarding place.
Bankers have told me Whale Tails Tortilla Chips is nothing more than a “LifeStyle” business and does not have the ability to provide a ROI that is worthy of the risk. Whale Tails Tortilla Chips is and always has been about harnessing the power of the consumer for social change and ocean conservation. It was never created as a “Green” vehicle for bankers and venture capitalist to drive around in before making deposits in Wall Street accounts.
10% of what we do goes to supporting the Wyland Foundation efforts to give kids the tools they need to become better stewards of our oceans. 70% of the oxygen you and I breathe comes from our oceans so we should all have a vested interest in keeping that percentage just as high as possible. Food choices matter to the health of our oceans, to the air we breathe, and to the quality of the water we drink.
All of us will leave a mark on the world. and what makes each of us different is the type of mark we leave. Everyday I consider it a privilege to have started a company with the goal of creating a healthy, great tasting and quality product that will provide “sustainable” funding for marine conservation well into the future.
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