Hey everybody. I think it's time I sat down on this lovely rainy afternoon to tell you a story about a little bar company who wanted to change the world.
When Sasha first approached me about joining Team SEND to create our brand, she said something that really stuck with me:
This really stood out to me as a key differentiator, and when I joined my three amazing co-founders on this wild ride, we all jumped right in to make everything happen.
We researched and contacted the top packaging companies who were innovating in the sustainability space. We met with consultants and compostable packaging experts. We identified the best food grade options for bar wrappers, and we sourced the most viable products to test our bars in them.
We did multiple test runs using different compostable options and distributed a few hundred bars at a time to friends, family and our network of amazing athletes. "Beat them up! We want to see what happens!" we said.
During this time, we also began shelf stability testing. This is a series of tests that a product undergoes in order to get an expiration date stamped on it. We waited for feedback from our peeps. And we waited patiently for results from the tests.
I wish I could say I was being melodramatic when I told you that the results were devastating, but devastated very accurately described the feeling among the four of us when we sat with the results.
Our bars were TOO FRESH to withstand the porous nature of compostable packaging. The absence of preservatives, chemicals and shelf-stabilizers in our formulas made them "unfit" for compostable wrappers. We needed a stronger film that could protect and preserve our fresh food bar for longer.
Sasha, in particular, was gutted. What she had originally set as a non-negotiable for our company, was no longer possible at this moment in time. We paused. We even discussed putting our little bar concept on hold until we figured out how to solve compostable packaging. Should we raise money to tackle this initiative instead? We pondered.
But we knew we had something very special on our hands. The feedback from friends and family on the bars themselves was incredible. People with allergies, sensitivities and easily upset stomachs were thriving. On long flights. At the crag. On the slopes. Our bars gave people the freedom to do what they loved to do without having to pack heavy. And without having to suffer through eating stale, chemical-filled, shelf-stable crap.
We knew we wanted to bring SEND Bars to the world, and we weren't going to let this compostable hurdle hold us back from getting our bar into people's hands. Nor were we going to compromise one of our business pillars: doing good for people and the planet.
So we set out to offset this sustainable roadblock in other ways:
By choosing our farmers consciously. From our ingredient suppliers to their philosophies and farming practices, we take great care of how we source and who we source from. We have amazing relationships with each and every one of our food suppliers and we plan to aid in their growth by growing sustainably as a company.
By holding our packaging partners to the highest standard. We work with two local eco-friendly packaging companies who consider sustainability to be a central tenet of their business. We use carbon-neutral printers which have a lower environmental impact than conventional printing. We use post consumer recycled boxes to house our bars, which can be re-recycled to live on and on and on.
By prioritizing local. Our commercial kitchen, our packaging suppliers and our fulfillment center are all local to our Boulder, Colorado diggs. This significantly reduces our carbon footprint as we package bars and ship them out in such close proximity to where they are freshly made.
By supporting causes we believe in. We have partnered with a handful of amazing organizations who support our two greatest passions: this beautiful planet we live on, and providing more exposure to the outdoors for everyone. Each of these organizations do their part to make the world we live in a safer, wilder and more abundant place to live, explore and experience. 1% For The Planet, Ascend Athletics, Right to Play, Protect our Winters, Up2Us Sports, Players for the Planet and Farm to Crag: thank you for everything you do. We will continue to support your incredible efforts long after we've realized our fully compostable dream.
So, here's what we ask of you in the meantime. Bring your bars to amazing places. Eat them naked under waterfalls and bundled up on ski lifts. And bring your wrappers back with you so you can throw them in the trash. Recycle your bar boxes whenever possible. Get lots of sunshine. Drink lots of water. And hug people whenever you can.
We love you,
Chelsea & Team SEND