Morgan Buehler is President/Chief Avocado Oil & Collagen Enthusiast of Primal Kitchen. A self-proclaimed kook from the Midwest, she’s obsessed with surfing, chapstick, and going to the farmers market.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- Why Morgan left her full time job to become a waitress
- How she got the job at Primal Kitchen and became President
- How Mark started Primal Kitchen and started Paleo before it was “cool”
- How Primal Kitchen launched their products and their launch strategy
Tell us a little bit about you, Morgan Buehler, and what you do.
I grew up in Chicago and migrated west to school at University of Colorado got an accounting degree. I spent about nine months in the continental Denver and was so bored that I quit to go be a waitress for the summer at my resort northern Wisconsin.
I moved to South America from there doing research for a political author.
I could work from wherever and I didn’t make very much money but I made enough money to live in South America. A six month trip turned into a two and a half year trip from Argentina all the way up to Mexico. I spent 300 hours on a bus over the first nine months. I learned how to surf and fluently speak in Spanish.
I moved out to California and I started working for Kavita running marketing for them. We sponsored one of his retreats called Primal calm. I didn’t have to go but I wanted to meet Mark and network with him. I went and then ended up getting Mark and his wife Carrie a ride home to the hotel they were staying in. We just hit it off and a couple months later I had left Kavita and I was consulting. Mark called and said “hey I’m looking for someone to help me launch a food business, can you sit down and chat?” So pretty much from that day on I was a consultant.
I was doing a lot of like marketing competitive analysis and go-to market strategy. I came on full time like a year later and it’s just been up and up since then.
Can you tell us about Primal Kitchen?
Mark Sisson has been building the primal brand for the last 10 years. He has a really, really interesting background. He started blogging before blogging was cool and doing Paleo before paleo was cool. He didn’t really get healthy until his 40s and he had some issues with grains and came across the paleo diet. Then developed essentially his own interpretation of it, called the primal diet. And he wrote a book The Primal Blueprint so he’s been educating people on health and wellness for years.
He decided he wanted to bring some some food products into the world. Food can get pretty boring, it’s all about the sauces, dressings, and toppings. If you go to lunch with Mark, it’s always extra sauce on the side. He was a bit jaded by the lack of healthy fat options as it relates to salad dressing on the market because everything has soy bean, canola oil, and high fructose corn syrup. That’s when Primal Kitchen was born. We launched last year with avocado oil mayonnaise. The product really just took off.
What’s been your most proud moment with Primal Kitchen?
We had a month where we broke a million in sales and that was kind of huge.
Overcoming some of our challenges like there were days we couldn’t make our mayonnaise because we had a little bit of an avocado oil shortage.
With a manufacturer is you reserve time on the line and if you don’t have the raw material, you go to the back of the line. You can’t get back on line four to six weeks. So its a bit detrimental because if your product is out on the shelf at Whole Foods and one of your competitors literally walk in the front door and puts their products when you’re battling for shelf space it’s not good.
We couldn’t make mayo, we had certification issues and it was gut wrenching and probably most stressful three months of my life. We had the run scheduled for Monday and I had actually gotten engaged the day before. That morning I ignored Mark’s calls because I wanted to tell him in person. He walked in and I said “We’re running our mayo and I’m engaged!” I was literally crying, I was so happy to just have product. I think that was the pinnacle moment for me and Mark.
We were like hugging in the office, screaming and freaking out. Just one of those kinds of moments that I love because it’s your proud moment and also a disappointing moment leading up to that event.
Can you share one thing that you want our customers and our followers to know about you that you think they don’t know?
People think because we’re so loud on social media and we have followers, that we’re huge. We’re just a small team of people trying to do right in the food industry. We’re doing the best we can over here.
Morgan Buehler is President/Chief Avocado Oil & Collagen Enthusiast of Primal Kitchen. A self-proclaimed kook from the Midwest, she’s obsessed with surfing, chapstick, and going to the farmers market. She’s passionate about trying to do right in the food industry.
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