In 2014, health journalist Nancy Kalish began experimenting. Over the course of more than a year, she created a recipe for delicious brownies and blondies made with chickpeas. Rule Breaker Snacks launched soon thereafter with a line of brownies and blondies featuring “more of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff”. Demand for allergen-free and vegan sweets was significant, and customers began to stock up regularly at Tri-State Area Whole Foods Markets and natural grocers.
Kalish’s goal was to open distribution into new sales channels, including Amazon. Up to this point, shelf life was only 3 weeks ambient and 12 months frozen. Stores that carried Rule Breaker Snacks would keep them in the freezer, slacking them out (defrosting) on store shelves as needed. Shelf life issues also impacted Amazon reviews. In a move to reposition the company, Kalish filled out her product line with two new flavors, reformulated to become shelf stable at ambient temperatures and transitioned to a new co-manufacturer. Due to machinery constraints in the new co-manufacturer, the transition also resulted in a switch from square to round brownies and blondies.
Rule Breakers propelled their business vision forward using the Birch Growth Framework.
PLAN – Batter Up
Kalish engaged Mandy Landa, Senior Birch Consultant, to put together a cohesive plan to grow online sales. Landa helped drive a comprehensive review of the company’s business including an evaluation of sales channels and corresponding offerings and packaging, opportunity and margin analyses for website and Amazon sales, an inventory of digital assets, and a survey of promotional opportunities. The review process culminated with a detailed assessment and recommended execution plan.
BUILD – Tools of the Trade
At first, I was skeptical of the need to invest. I quickly saw how such tools help give us the data we need to pivot and improve. Now, I’m a true believer.”
—Nancy Kalish, Founder / CEO
Rule Breakers agreed that in order to scale, they would invest in foundational programs, processes and tools. Mandy Landa helped manage this process on projects that included the development of a concise messaging framework, the design and execution of business processes that would be used to market, sell, and process orders, and analytical systems to track results.
SCALE – Steeped in Growth
With the foundations in place, Rule Breakers has turned their focus toward growth. Retail distribution is increasing through supermarkets, big-box stores, and concessions. Landa drove the vision for online sales, harnessing the power of Amazon, Walmart, and the web to help grow the brand. She drove the development of a targeted email strategy and helped bring in a social media team to help drive demand.
RESULTS – Icing on the Cake
Before applying the framework, we had lackluster online sales. They started improving immediately. We’ve had the pleasure of watching them double, then triple, then quadruple and more since Mandy took over.
—Nancy Kalish, Founder / CEO
Rule Breakers Snacks transitioned from an unstable item that was stored in the supermarket’s freezer and slacked out to a shelf stable item that could be sold through distribution and using Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) channel. The initial launch of the reformulation on Amazon saw sales grow quickly, and they have continued to grow. Rule Breakers is experiencing enhanced brand awareness among moms and people with specialty diets such as vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free.
- Gaining market leadership among allergen free products.
- Launching line extensions and new product lines that leverage the Rule Breakers brand.
- Accepted into PepsiCo’s Nutrition Greenhouse program, an accelerator for breakthrough brands.