Hard to believe that two years ago we were sprinting through Intuit’s Small Business Big Game contest.
There we were, this squeaky new company with a sassy chicken (our eternal gratitude to the talented Matt Olin for our logo LoLa) trying to nudge America’s egg industry. We had our crazed poultry side-eye on the prize: a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl. (We surely thought we could tell a lot of peeps about sustainable ag with that.)
Only in business a year, your excitement for a different kind of egg (and really a different food system) took us from Northland obscurity to the The Top Four out of 15,000 participants. Of course, the whimsical video by Beau Walsh really propelled that forward. The script was written in the middle of the night with Beau & Farmer Jason cranking it the shoot in a few hours. It was amazing.
I’d written a blog about our Intuit guests coming out to the cold, muddy farm, Jason showing reality TV star Bill Rancic how to determine if a chicken is laying a task that involves throughly hand washing after) and my whipping up a fake office in 24 hours.
But what I mostly recall from that blearily time is all of you. I couldn’t cross the street without some kind someone stopping to tell me they were voting or a fellow Northland business promoting our VoteLoLa.com url.
Local hotels gave out our flyers with keys, restaurants tucked them in with checks, stores dropped them in bags –and all those VoteLoLa marquees, remember them? And Facebook was awash with LoLa profile pictures. Honestly, it still makes goosebumps dance on my arms just thinking about it.
We had a ball making all those goofy videos to keep the momentum. The Duluth Police Department was phenomenal with LoLa’s tweeting & driving video. Thanks also to Dean & Jenna at Happy Tree Productions.
It’s hard to put into words how much we wanted this victory for all of you – but, of course, we didn’t win. Though runner-up was none to shabby. (We did get a ring the Nasdaq bell, got a professionally made commercial and hung out with stunt chickens during the shoot. )
There’s more sleep-deprived parking-garage vomiting details that happened behind the scenes coming in the Locally Laid book (Avery/Penguin in March 2016. Ask your local bookstore and libraries about stocking it.) You can read the thoughtful blurb by legendary farmer Joel Salatin here.
TODAY, we’re still wildly imperfect and clucking along – you can get Locally Laid a lot more places these days. That’s because we’re partnering with a handful of other mid-sized farms that source from their neighbors and we sell their Locally Laid eggs in their locale. And that’s good for the farmers, the environment and all those free chickens.
Of course, we still manage to ruffle feathers (you might recall our Open Letter to the gentleman who does not like our name) and I’m sure we’ll cause more kerfuffles along the way. But just in case I haven’t made this clear: we wouldn’t be anywhere without you – and we’re grateful birds. Every last one of us.