The Month End Podcast

Episode 21: Jeremy Cohen • The YES Bar

May 31, 2022 Jeremy Cohen Season 1 Episode 21
The Month End Podcast
Episode 21: Jeremy Cohen • The YES Bar
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The Month End provides emerging inventory-based brands real life knowledge in the accounting, finance, and operational world. Our guests are not only similar brand founders and owners, but key stakeholders and contributors to the industry. Each episode provides a glimpse into the vast experience and insight from its guest’s unique background in a casual, conversational tone.


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In episode twenty one, Accountfully's CEO and Partner, Brad Ebenhoeh, sits down with Jeremy Cohen, Cofounder of The YES Bar.  Jeremy is an experienced boutique food brand operations pro who signed on to become part of a founder trio to produce allergen-friendly snack bars.  This episode offers some great insight into how an old school accounting philosophy and some unique distribution methods can help a brand grow and thrive as consumer habits change.


SHOW NOTES and VIDEO RECORDING:  http://www.accountfully.com/podcast​​


The YES Bar Website:  https://www.theyesbar.com/


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Brad Ebenhoeh:

Welcome to The Month End CPG community chat, The Month End will provide emerging CPG brands real life knowledge into the accounting, finance and operational worlds. Our guests will be key stakeholders from those same brands as well as other key contributors to the industry, all of which have vast experiences and insights that will be shared with the audience. Welcome to Episode 21 of The Month End, today's guest is Jeremy Cohen from The YES Bar. What's up Jeremy?

Jeremy Cohen:

Hey, what's up, Brad?

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Hey, Jeremy is the co-founder and partner in the YES Bar. Why don't you give us a little background on the YES Bar. What you guys are, what you sell, where you are, and then we can kind of get into your background and everything. Jeremy, I'm excited to have you on the on the chat today?

Jeremy Cohen: Yeah, we're really excited to join you as well. And so the YES Bar started out of love and Abigail's kitchen. You know, a lot of these food stories are personal and her children struggled with food allergies and sensitivities. And, you know, they were like bringing coolers of like cooked lentils and, you know, quinoa to the birthday party and the kids were on this really restrictive diet. And it was really tough. You know, kids want to eat birthday cake with their friends, they want that experience. And so she in this kind of moment of challenge, went into her cupboard and pulled out all the good things she could think of:

macadamia nuts, almonds, organic maple syrup, coconut butter, tahini, you know, pumpkin seeds. And she basically created this treat for her kids in a moment of like, turning a negative into a positive and giving them something that they can enjoy, and feel like they weren't super restricted on their diet. And that's where the YES Bar comes from. That's the name like saying yes. And it's kind of an affirmation, it's kind of finding that moment of positivity. And that's the genesis is that recipe too, right? Like we use four different kinds of nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, pecans, we just added a new nut walnut, that we're doing on a new flavor. So we stay away from grains, there's no dairy, there's no soy. And we try to kind of have like a low glycemic clean, you know, it's like anti inflammatory approach with our bars. But at the end of the day, like we're about, we're really about taste and ingredients. And I think it's something where people have always said, it's a little crazy to make a bar the way that we do, especially in a in a set as crowded as bars are. We've got all these premium ingredients. And a lot of people thought we were nuts to make this bar and we just really believed that this is a special product and that people really deserve, you know, something that's really special that comes from this place, and that we've worked super, super hard over the last number of years just trying to make this and grow it and get it to as many people as possible.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

That's awesome, man. Yeah, I mean, you know, I have children, we go to birthday parties and cupcakes. It's tough keeping them healthy. So anything that can keep kids you know, healthy and feeling good as well as having a good taste is good. People said you're nuts, you said that people said you're nuts. So that's what literally and figuratively nuts, you guys are?

Jeremy Cohen:

I think it's true. Yeah, like it, we're nuts in and it matters, you know. It's who we are. And I think like, look, you got to be a little nuts to start a food company. And you have to have a real passion and desire to, you know, be of service and try to take care of people, whatever that vision is. And that's informed us since the moment that Abigail like made this in her kitchen. And, you know, it continues to inform us like we try, we don't try, we absolutely stay committed to like making sure we're not compromising on ingredients, you know, which, obviously, over the last few years, especially it gets more and more and more challenging to continue to, to provide that level of ingredient. But we keep doing it. Like we think that that's you know, who we are and what people what people deserve. And it's what sets us apart.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Awesome, man. Awesome. Well, I'm looking forward to get more details. So yeah. A couple of things. So as we start, like, you know, you have three partners, right? You, Abigail, and Brennan? And so can you kind of help us understand like what you do like how you guys segmented your duties between kind of three co-founders and partners, because a lot of times, brands don't have three people that are in the core operations that you guys have better aura.

Jeremy Cohen:

You know, in the beginning, Abigail was really involved. She basically had this vision and she knew that like as a mom, it was really hard for her to kind of take this to that next stage and try to bring this product to people. That's where Brennan and I came in and we had a background in you know, food and distribution and Brennan in private equity as well. So we we sort of said okay, like we think that this is something to believe in and we threw all of ourselves into it. She was very involved in that beginning of like setting us up to kind of take control and work together. I would say now she's definitely more, she's still involved. She's the kind of the creative heart of the company, she still helps us like reach out to folks. And, you know, was really instrumental as we work through this, like packaging redesign. She's one of those people who's like a serial entrepreneur, you know, so like, her creative juices are always flowing. And it's good to have that that input and balance, like, that's where the bar kind of came from, did come from there, and Brennan and I have been running more of the day-to-day stuff, you know, and I would say I'm more on like the operations side, just working with our co-packer or warehouse shipping and fulfillment, logistics. I also kind of have always taken the Amazon program on and kind of built that up as we've, we've been focused on that since kind of around 2016/2017 when we when we started working with them, and and then Brennan is just like, he's, he's the CEO, but He's our leader, like, just a sales ninja and business development. And, you know, he's someone who's just helping us always just open up these partnerships. And also, I mean, look, we wear a lot of hats, both of us do all those things, too. So I think those were the strengths of, of the team. And I think like, you know, having listened to your other podcasts, like, it's important that you have, if there's partners and people alike a good balance of, you know, talents and ability to work together. And I think with us three, we just like, if you could make a pretty complete person out of the three of us that we would be, we'd be like, great. And so it works really well as we're building the company.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, sounds like you guys are very complementary. There's a lot of small brands, I guess, where you guys decided to kind of grow your business, I think more organically, I would say. In regards to you not taking a ton of money, hiring 10 people, growing sales teams, so kind of walk us through the approach that you guys have done, especially the last kind of two, three years, right, and kind of your, your growth plan plus kind of, you know, you guys do wear a lot of hats? And how do you kind of manage that from a pure time capacity standpoint? Right? And when is the next time to hire or whatever?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, I mean, it's funny, like listening to other brands, you know, there are people that are incredibly dialed in on that grand vision that raise money that built these teams. And, you know, we've really kind of done things in a completely different way. I think for us, like our motto has always been when other people zig we try to zag. And that also comes from the fact that Brennan and I met working at like a kind of a boutique, early stage food distributor. So we were taking brands that were like Abigail's. And that's actually how we met her. He's really passionate, early stage food companies at the time, this was like about 10 years ago now that you incubated in Whole Foods like that was the way that brands, food brands launched, you know, you, you'd make a regional introduction, and you'd go from there. And we know we had a front row seat to sort of the challenges of, we'd like UNFI and KeHE and like these bigger, you know, the cost of doing business with these retailers and distributors. And so when we took over, we've always had a bootstrapped approach. And we basically did direct wholesale across the country, we worked with, like Earth Bar, Equinox, you know, yoga studios, we tried to go direct, you know, we worked with like, like, we went to Netflix headquarters and office and food service. And we tried to kind of cut out the middleman because our product was the focus, it was all about, like product quality. And we still haven't raised any money. So for us, like, you know, six, seven years into this, we've done things a lot differently. And there are moments where I think like, it would be nice to have a little bit more support, and we're trying to kind of build that out and bring in those layers. But it's also allowed us as we've built this different model, it's like a hybrid distribution model, where we go, we go direct, we kind of control the distribution. Before COVID, we were in about 2,000-3,000 little accounts across the country. As far as doors went, our business shifted, we had to kind of become more of a direct to consumer company, to kind of weather that storm. But it's certainly like, it's definitely like to to not be in a grocery store or major grocery chain and to have kind of the revenue that we have and the traction, it's it's really not something that's conventional, it's not something you see.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

No, definitely from our kind of vast other clients in the CPG world. Like, you know, we typically don't see this so it's interesting. And it comes to fruition and just, you know, the different situations or models or growth, you know, plans that people have any any one of them can work as long as everyone live properly. Then so from an aspect of kind of, you know, I guess You know, looking for my sales channels, standpoint. So, you know, the sales channels that you guys were in or what you're in now and kind of, you know, from my understanding, there's a lot you know, there clearly is a ton of reselling sites and things like that, like, what have you found? What works? What do you like? What do you what do you see coming, you know, down the pipe or, you know, where YES Bar will be continued consistently?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, I mean, for us, like, that was our early stage model. That was how we kind of scrapped, scraggly, we built the company. And when COVID hit, obviously, everyone left offices, and no one was in yoga studios and people, you know, that whole model shifted. And we were very lucky for years we've been in touch with, well, we built our Amazon business, which is its own sort of focus of ours, like, that's our DTC channel that we we excel in. And then we were very lucky to build some partnerships with, you know, the incredible people like Imperfect Foods, Thrive Market. We work with Misfits Markets, another great partner of ours, they're, they're incredible like these, these great, these great grocery direct programs. We started with Good Eggs a long time ago, they were they believed in us, you know, before anybody did when we were small, local brand. And we found like kind of reaching consumers on the digital grocery shelf. For us, it allowed us to stand out a little bit more, you know, at our core, like we're a sales and product company, like, that's what we focus on, like, all of our focus is on making the best product and trying to sell that product. And I think a lot of companies have that same calculus. But we don't, you know, we didn't do a lot of marketing. And we didn't want to go into a wall of bars, right? Like, we knew that there are barriers to entry into those traditional channels. With a product like ours with the ingredient costs, we were going to be retailing at such a high price point. And we didn't have we would not have any sort of ACV, like our velocity, which would have just been we could have done some pipeline fills and gone into those stores, but it would have sat there. And so, you know, for us building that sales velocity opening up the right partnerships, like going digital, going direct, it helped us establish our brand in a way that allowed us to also be focused on like, a high cost of goods, ingredient and product profile. Like, it kind of helped us scale in a way that allowed us to like not have to raise money and not have to be as capital intensive. Because we were sort of going direct to the people.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, love it. Love it. So then how do you handle your kind of reporting from a sales channel standpoint? What KPIs, financials, metrics do you look at within, you know, Amazon and some of your bigger sales channels and platforms?

Jeremy Cohen:

I know, like, I'm talking about how we're different. I'm gonna sound like a financial dinosaur here, but like, we're big believers in EBITDA, which I think is a funny thing to say, right? Like hilarious. I think people 20, 30 years ago, when they were writing in paper, spreadsheets would have cared about EBITDA. And now, now, it's like, you know, its growth, or its stores, or whatever it is. And, you know, we believe in profit. Like for us, we're trying to build in a profitable way. We've been very fortunate to have an advisor, come on board, Michael Namie, who's the former CEO of Tate's Cookies. And that's how they built their business. And they didn't they never raised money. Now they own their manufacturing, co-packing, which I think is a different kind of calculation. But we come from that school of thought of like, Hey, can we grow profitably? Can we reinvest in our brand? Can we understand, you know, really understand our COGS, our profit margins in these channels? And say, okay, like, where can we get to in a good EBITDA number? And can we keep kind of building on that in a sustainable way? It's not glamorous. And it definitely takes more time to do things that way. But we're a big word big believer in that.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

It's fantastic for the listeners, EBITDA, that is Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization. So you can always reach out to Jeremy and oh, you know, give me more thesis on that. Anyways, no, I think that that's fantastic. I mean, the, the last handful of years just in terms of how media and the markets portray, not just in CPG, but like tech stocks, and you know, growth and valuations and raising money. It's like, does anybody ever talk about profits? They never do. It's bizarre. So you feel like at some point, it's going to swing back to that. And people will be like "alright, maybe let's just build a sustainable business." We don't need to reinvest, you know, or get money into the business every 12 months or 18 months to keep it growing. So, you guys, you know, as an accountant, I love hearing that and I, you know, I definitely can see that you guys are kind of you know, that goal of yours is actually you know, coming to fruition so good working on all that. So moving on to kind of now that we've covered profits, let's go to kind of cashflow, operational supply chain. So number one supply chain clearly has changed dramatically last couple of years was covered. So give an update on your supply chain challenges, kind of, you know, shortages and just supplies kind of, you know how things have changed last couple of years with COVID, and then kind of was going to last, you know, economically the last six to 12 months.

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, like I, I don't think the storm pods are going to clear, you know, we keep sort of looking over the horizon. And I think when it was early in COVID, we were like, Hey, let's just get through the next quarter or six months. And I think what it demands of entrepreneurs and business owners is that, you're gonna have to kind of have an assumption, not an assumption, but an understanding that this is kind of the new normal. And that there's just, it seems to me that there's kind of like rolling challenges with supply chain. At the beginning of COVID, there was a lot of like, you know, port congestion and things and availability with that with that stuff, like at one point, we had to air freight our chocolate in because it would have sat on like a container port for two months. So this price of our chocolate spiked 30%, you know, overnight, on one of our one of our core ingredients and, and then it moved to like, you know, trucking issues. And now Now there's now there's diesel fuel issues, and there's now getting the ingredients. It's a fuel cost and fuel inputs are really challenging. I think the consumer is starting to soften a little bit, which is also its own set of challenges. And then I'm looking forward and I'm seeing like, you know, if fertilizer input costs are where they're at, coming up on this next round of of like growth for the agricultural sector, I think we're going to see another bump kind of near the second half of this year based on like those input costs. And so it's just been like kind of one thing after the other. For us, we're very lucky that we have a really good relationship with our co-packer. We've been able to grow and scale with them during this time, which certainly helps a lot if you can grow those volumes, that helps kind of blunt the, like rising costs, you know, and we've been working, we've been working on contract pricing, on ingredients that we can identify, you know that it makes sense to kind of have a contract and pull from and pull to our co-packer. I think it's a combination of all those things. I think you got to stay, stay on your toes. I don't see it calming down anytime soon. And I am hopeful that like we can continue to grow and offer. You know, our our margins are starting to get more challenging right now. But we're probably one of the only brands that hasn't raised prices yet, during COVID. I mean, we could and I'm trying to hold it off for as long as it's humanly possible. I just I wanted to try to continue to grow and see if that's the ability that we have as a company to continue to deliver that value. But yeah, it's growth, it's planning. And hopefully you can just own that relationship with your co-packer.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, the co-packer relationships is so key, especially during these times. How, you know, in relation to your co-packer years ago, when you created relationships, like you guys have the YES Bar, right. So you have only a specific set of ingredients, high quality, you have that kind of minimum quality and requirement like how did you go about identifying that co-man? Have you had any issues with that? What would you recommend to somebody because clearly, like a lot of people are gluten free these days. But when you got six different things like you guys, it's even more right?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, we had some relationships going back with our co-manufacturer. Originally, when Abigail started the company, the owners of our current co-manufacturer, were doing it in another small facility. And she knew them and we knew them going into that relationship. We've only worked with a few co-packers in our, in our seven years. And we've been with our current co-packer for the last four. We started with them in 2018. It was, you know, tremendously difficult for us to scale and like try to figure out how to manufacture our bars with them. They were a really good partner helping us learn and grow like in the beginning for us it was it was really like how do we continue to grow those yields and continue to scale that product up. There was times were like we had to go through different machines, different processes, there was a point where like our machines would break down in early in production and so we would fly down once a month and we would spend 22 hours in the kitchen. So we would do a double shift with with each manufacturing shift that came in and we would be there and by the end of it we'd have to hand scoop our bars and put them in a former and press them and like it's just a wild sort of situation like you literally you really have to be kind of have that determination. I know that not everyone's going to have that nightmare scenario. But what I'm saying is like, we we had to work through a lot of that stuff, and we wouldn't take no for an answer. And then eventually, we found the right machinery that allowed us to sort of grow those yields a lot, like really jump up on the, on the production scale of things. And that's, you know, I'm glad we got through that, I would never, never want to go back to that, to that point. So I think it's, it's, can you find someone who's going to be a partner for you? It's not always just about price. And it's not always sometimes it's not even just about the supply chain, it's about like, can you get into that production environment, it's always going to be challenging. That's probably the worst case scenario that you're gonna get. But every time I go into co-manufacturing facility, I kind of have like a PTSD kick in. I'm kind of like, you know, everything that can go wrong in that environment is gonna go wrong, you got to be able to manage it, you have to be able to kind of keep pushing through. And that's, that's like, we learned the hard way. But it would help to have a good partner that like, helped us through that process. For sure.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, definitely to be engaged in that process. That's just hilarious and envisioning 22 hour days around here. But anyways, you know, related to inventory right? So inventory is basically cash, right? It's a cash. So then, and, you know, managing that, that the time you have inventory on hand at your end, before you sell it, you know, minimizes the cash kind of cycle there. So how do you manage cash in relation to inventory buying and planning? What's that process look like for you?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, I mean, I'm going to be super candid, like our our inventory purchasing, basically, we have to put down a deposit for 50% of the production about six weeks before the production run. So we're basically securing in a sense, like we're paying up front. So we have upfront cash that's going out, in addition to, you know, the production stuff that's happening with the co-packer. On one hand, it helps to take that sort of sourcing off, there was a point in time where I was, you know, managing our supply chain, and, you know, making phone calls to nut suppliers and trying to do all that. So that's great, but it definitely like our cash conversion cycle, starts six weeks, before we run the bars, and then, you know, there could be probably another 45 days, I got to take a look at their reports, you know, like, what that's coming down to, that cash can sit there, you know, in the business for a long period of time. For us, like, there was really nothing that we could do, given that that system, we just had to keep selling and managing it to the best of our ability. And we just tried to take all the data we had from a sales perspective and and tailor our POs the right way. And then you know, in the beginning, since we didn't raise money, we were trying to figure out how to get working capital to handle those those timelines. And I'm, you know, those timelines haven't changed, like the that sort of same scenario that's holding true now to where we're depositing in that in that timeframe. And so like, we're having to plan in a way that, you know, absorbs that basically

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, you definitely have to be involved day to day, week to week, when especially in a world where you didn't raise a ton of money. So week over week changes dramatically. So yeah, so when you're looking at like, say we monthly financials come over to you like, what is the top two things you look at on the financials?

Jeremy Cohen:

I mean again, like, I'm trying to look at that profit number and trying to drill down as to what's driving that. And I think your team has done incredibly well for us. What I didn't understand, I thought our books, we had invested a lot of time to try to get our books to a better place before we came to you guys. And I realized that there was a lot more that we could be doing. Once we started onboarding with you. And now that we're at the point that we are, and I think specifically like class and trade, like when you're looking at, because we have kind of unique classes of trade, like we do direct wholesale, we have DDC, we have Amazon, which is really tough when it comes to sort of the billing structure that occurs there. And so it's not like we have like one big distributor that's taking all this that that it's a lot easier to understand that class top to bottom. Your teams came in and helped us like, kind of look at the different pillars of the business and say, okay, like, where are the COGS at what's happening in each of those classes of business? And how can we maybe see, do we shifts the resources to one or the other, or our margins looking more challenged with Amazon or with wholesale? That those are the things that I'm looking at every month now, when that comes through. And your team has been great to try to help us understand where those numbers are coming from.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, well, thanks for that, number one. Number two, I think the key is especially how a lot of those sites and just how they deposit money, plus the timing of it. So a lot of times a key of really understanding the numbers, it comes down to basically matching the expenses and grossing up sales and everything for the timeframe, which a lot of it's hard to do, if you don't have kind of the experience plus just the time to do it. So you can see that net amount, raising every month depositing every two weeks from Amazon. But until you're really backing on your advertising fees, fulfillment fees, your discounts and all this stuff, you don't see kind of the true contribution margin operating profit margin percentage that matters, right. So you can see the top line growing, but it comes differently.

Jeremy Cohen:

You put it way better than I did Brad.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

A company like you guys that are focused on you know, profits. You have to kind of deep dive into individual classes, and even customers to understand what's going on there. So I was trying to trick you to see if you were gonna be like, well look at top line revenue.

Jeremy Cohen:

I can come by the office and fit in with your crew, you know?

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Well, Accountfully is growing, so you can come anyways. Good stuff and then from, you know, clearly profits of a sales channel, but also like, how do you look at like, you know, you guys are talking about like, you're a product and sale company. So like, from the sales side, like how do you guys look at not just profits of that kind of sales channel or site, but like, you know, customer acquisition costs, you know, lifetime value, like how do you guys analyze that or look at that, especially as you're kind of very conscious of your margins at each sales channel?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, and like, I think when I say DTC, our our businesses is mainly an Amazon channel. From what I've seen, those costs are really prohibitive with where those revenue streams are for our business, like in DTC on our website, and like, especially with where you're looking at, you know, with the iOS updates, and how things change, now, those costs to acquire customers are, are much higher, and they're much higher on Amazon, too. We have a fairly conservative Amazon strategy when it comes to advertising. For us, like, I think we're trying to really understand the nuts and bolts of like, cost and profit of those channels. We're not doing a ton of advertising. When we were setting margin for like a business or a channel, like we're trying, it's kind of a gut decision. But we're also really looking at those numbers and saying, you know, the channel pricing and where's that retail gonna land, and we're hopeful that like, you know, those people are going to be engaged enough to buy and that's why those platforms like thrive. We do do a lot of marketing support in certain platforms, like, those are people we're reaching them, and we know, okay, like, if you're doing like a, you know, whatever that X number of dollars for a program that month is like, it's hard to get that data on a customer basis. But we do see, like, when you when you back it out, and we see a month over month, like we can really see the effect those dollars have. We don't get as granular with like, you know, Facebook, digital marketing. We don't, that's just not our model. We try to stay a little bit more conservative with our marketing, and we try to like support our partners. You know, for some of our partners, like Imperfect Foods, we try to give them a better price. Like, you know, they're not doing as much marketing on their platform. So we're saying okay, can we can we work with you so that the retail for the customers gets at a good spot, which I think is another thing like I know, again, like I'm gonna sound sort of old school in the way that people think about companies and all of these metrics, but it's like, you know, you can spend money doing those things. For us, we want to get people a product at a good price, like we want people to be able to buy that product, enjoy it, not feel like it's something that's out of their reach. And so we've stayed a little more lean on those inputs in order to kind of reach the market at a better price point.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Very cool, very cool. Unit economics kind of looked at a little bit differently. And yeah, like you know, you want people to enjoy the product and want to come back because they're not just stressed out about the cost of it all. So you know, clearly the way the environment is today, you know, cost is very sensitive, or people are very sensitive to cost. So while we're wrapping this up I got you know, our typical kind of two ending questions which we'll get into and then we can discuss kind of you know, what you guys have on the horizon to come. So as we get into this give the listeners one industry do.

Jeremy Cohen:

One industry do. I think it's super important as an entrepreneur and a, you know, an owner of a company to try to do every process that you are going to hire for or invest in, try to do that on your own for a little bit. I mean, we we maybe have done that to our detriment for too long in some cases, but I also think it's really valuable. Like, I've done, you know, I've managed 3PLs, I've dipped my toes in Amazon advertising. I've been in the co-manufacturing kitchen. If you can own those pieces of the business, even in the beginning, when you're like, really lean and you're trying to learn and grow, you're going to be able to identify, I think people that you can either hire or bring in to help in a much better way, you're going to understand those processes better. Knowing that, like, we've been involved in almost every aspect of our business, I know, I'm not an expert at any one of those things. But I also feel much more well equipped to look at, you know, look at those pieces of the business and bring someone in and know, okay, like, this is the strategy. And I've been in that position, and I've done some of that stuff. So, you know, try to learn and try to do as much as you can, especially in the beginning, when you have an opportunity to do that before you can bring in more resources.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, I echo that. It's much easier to write the job responsibility list when you've done it. A little bit of process. So definitely agree on that one. All right, what is one industry don't?

Jeremy Cohen:

You know, we, as you've heard, like, we've been unconventional when it comes to our growth. And so, you know, it was hard for us to get capital, right. Banks won't lend to us, we were too small. And we tried to find kind of alternative sources of financing. And we have worked with an amazing team over at Circle Up doing some stuff on the on the, you know, the credit financing side, they were the first people to do it for us. But we also made some mistakes working with factoring companies, which I want to caution people. They're good companies, they're good people out there. If it works for you, great. But that fee structure that 2% or 3%, when you amortize it as an APR over an entire year. It's 24%. It's 28%. You know, we needed capital at certain points so we didn't have a choice. But I would just caution folks to be mindful when it comes to like the inventory financing in the factoring and that sort of stuff, because it can get to be expensive.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Yeah, yeah, the key is that number looks small. But once you get it to a 12 month period, you're like, wait, what?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, it's crazy.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Pretty pricey. Well, awesome. This was great. Jeremy, like, I really appreciate your time and insight and kind of a non-traditional, traditional way of looking at business which is super cool. What is new for The YES Bar? What's on on the horizon? New brands, new like, what do you have going on with new products? What do you got going on?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yeah, so this last year, we launched on Jet Blue airlines in the snack box. So you can find us on Jet Blue, our Dark Chocolate Chip bars. We're super excited about that partnership. We are sending in our first orders to REI this week. We're launching nationally with REI. And then the big thing is we are finishing new branding and packaging. So this is the new look of our bars. If you compare side by side, I brought the old bar too. So you can kind of see like it's a very, it's a very cleaned up look. We've got two exciting new flavors coming Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate with sea salt, and Apple Cinnamon Crisp, which is my personal favorite. We do it with like a with a golden raisin and a dried apple. It's like tastes like apple pie. We're, we're super excited about these new products. We've got we've got a new website coming as well, with all of this. So we're just hoping to keep getting people really good food and kind of kind of staying product focused trying to get people the best possible snack that they can have as a bar.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Awesome. And where can people go find it and buy it?

Jeremy Cohen:

I mean, we're available. We have some great like bulk deals on our website for people to order in your home. If you're working from home, home as hub. We also have Amazon, it's a great option for us. And you can find us kind of out in the world a little bit. Still, it's hard to find us but you know, always, always feel free to reach out to us, we can tell you if there's something near you, as far as retailer and we will always go above and beyond for you.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

And that's yesbar.com?

Jeremy Cohen:

Yesbar.com. That's right.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Pretty easy to remember.

Jeremy Cohen:

There it is.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Well, awesome. Jeremy again, this was great. I think the listeners will get a good, some good information and some different ways of thinking about kind of running a CPG brand. So appreciate you, kudos and best wishes to YES Bar in 2022 and moving forward.

Jeremy Cohen:

We really appreciate you guys, such a great partner. I should have also said, you know, big piece of advice "work with Accountfully." We should have done that three or four years ago.

Brad Ebenhoeh:

Well really appreciate that, Jeremy, and I'm glad you you see the value in our end. All right, that's Episode 21, with Jeremy Cohen. Take it easy, Jeremy.

Jeremy Cohen:

All right, bye bye.

Why you need to be a little nuts to start a food cmpany
How the team splits responsibilities across the three founders of the company
The YES Bar's unique take on growth
How their growth process helped in adapting to the changes brought on by COVID
Sales Channel Overview
EBITDA - The "old school" concept the YES Bar lives by
Jeremy's take on permanent supply chain challeges
Co-manufacturing for a super strict, allergen friendly product
Managing inventory and cash when ordering
Cash management and monthly financials Jeremy looks at
Other costs, like lifetime value, and customer acquisition cost, etc
Jeremy's CPG Do
Jeremy's CPG Don't
What's on tap for The YES Bar