Today we are celebrating a record month at eWomenNetwork HQ! We are already halfway sold out for the 2019 eWomenNetwork Conference, which is humbling, and beyond exciting for us. Thank you to those of you who trust in us enough to secure your registration a year in advance AND if you haven’t registered yet, you may want to get on that! Pricing jumps up after August 31st and the Conference is filling up, so take advantage while you can and join us for what is going to be our best year yet!
In the spirit of celebrating such an exciting accomplishment, we are throwing it back to one of our highlights from the 2018 Conference last month. Our on-stage interview with Marie Moody, Founder & Chairman of Stella & Chewy’s (a multi-million dollar pet food company) was every bit of real and raw (much like the pet food) that we hoped it would be.
This candid conversation between our CEO & Founder, Sandra Yancey, and Marie Moody, was filled with takeaway after takeaway. It’s THIS level of transparency that our tribe thrives off of because being REAL with each other is exactly what is going to help each of us reach our multi-million dollar goals.
This one-hour interview is undoubtedly a “must-watch” interview. I’ve now watched it twice and each time left with a new message that I needed to hear. Today, the overlying message that kept surfacing throughout the conversation was a message that I KNOW so many women entrepreneurs can resonate with.
Making tough decisions.
Time and time again as entrepreneurs, we are faced with having to make these tough decisions. Marie opened up on several of the tough decisions she had to make in order to scale her business to the multi-million dollar company it is today.
Taking the Jump
It all started with the decision to go for it. Before launching Stella & Chewy’s in 2002, Moody was working in the fashion industry completely unfulfilled. She recalled one of her defining moments was when she thought to herself, “Why is the highlight of my day what I ordered for lunch? It’s not supposed to be like that… there must be more.” She had no idea how right she was!
Marie ultimately got let go from her fashion industry position. She was aware she had no passion for the industry, yet, she had jumped from fashion position to fashion position out of mere comfort. On the third strike, she knew it was time for a change and that she needed to step out of her comfort zone and make the bold move to chase her calling.
Building the Brand
Marie was totally emotionally invested in the brand she built, and rightfully so. I mean for one, the company was named after her dogs whose lives she saved by getting them on the raw food diet that is now sold at over 5,000 retailers across the country. Two, she literally did it all, from cooking, to packaging, to freeze-drying, selling, delivering, distributing, and more from the living room of her apartment in Manhattan AND without a car (can you say, “committed”). No wonder why it held such a personal space in her heart. As the business began to grow, it became clear that it was time to get others involved in order to scale the way she knew she needed to. Marie LOVED her brown paper bag themed packaging that played off of the organic feel of the brand.
The tough decision presented itself once again when the marketing agency that she hired to rebrand and repackage Stella & Chewy’s to do well in a retail environment came back with a bright red package that completely countered her original love and vision. “I cried when I saw it,” claims Marie, which goes to show that letting go, delegating, and trusting “the experts” is often easier said than done when so emotionally attached to a brand.
Trusting the Experts
That bright red packaging has become the brands signature, setting it apart from all of its competition. The big lesson for her was aligning with and surrounding herself with people who were sufficient in the areas where she lacked. If other people hadn’t gotten involved she claims, “I don’t know that Stella & Chewy’s would’ve taken off the way it did.”
She encountered this time and time again throughout her journey. From bright red packaging, to trusting her co-packer enough to switch from only frozen food, to freeze-dried. She was so anti the freeze-dried concept because “it didn’t even look like food.” Yet, trusting in those she chose to align with enough and make the tougher decision to let go is what ultimately took off. Now the freeze dried food is their top item!
So, what would Marie have done different?
“So many things I could’ve done differently, and better for sure. But I sort of feel like every decision led to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next.”
It’s clear that Marie has been a true leading example of what it takes to launch, grow, and scale a multi-million dollar business. From making the tough decisions to take the jump, to the tough decisions required to build a brand, and relinquishing some control and trusting the experts, Marie has navigated every obstacle to reach where she is today. We asked Marie in summary, “what is one thing you would like all women entrepreneurs to know?” Her response?
"Just, go for it."