How did you get started in the food space?

I never intended to be in the food space, and I never had the the ambition to be in business. I wanted to work for the UN. I did a master’s degree and graduated in 2015 at the top of my class with published work, but I was completely unemployable. I couldn’t get a job. I got really depressed and was pretty desperate because I was like 35, and I had spent all this time and money. I took a job trying to franchise a health food restaurant in Victoria, and there was this peanut butter being sold there and on a couple of shelves around town called Fatso. I wanted to buy into the company and help it because it was just limping along. It was such a good idea and something needed to be done about it. I was turned down by the owners, but then the local health authority seized their inventory because they were making it without a proper license in their home, to my understanding.

So I got a call from one of the retailers because I had been pretty bullish on it. Somebody was like, hey, if you want to snap this company up, you should probably do it now. I offered them, like, the price of a used car for it and probably would have overpaid if it hadn’t worked out–– but it did. I just started it from scratch again with zero experience. The thing that kept me going was if it doesn’t work, I didn’t know what I was going to be doing with my life. It was pretty scary. It was a business run on fear for months. It’s not like a classic founder story, but that’s how I get my start. The rest is history.

What do you love most about the food space?

Well, I think the food space is similar to the tech space, especially now. There’s so much innovation and creativity within the industry. I’ve always been really interested in food, and this brings in so many of the things, like the creative aspect and this innovative aspect and these other things around food security and sustainability and politics and all these things. I can express many of the things that I’ve always wanted to do with my life within this peanut butter and I think that’s what’s so attractive to me about it. 

What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve experienced so far?

Growth is a bitch. 

You have to be really on top of timing and we are at a growth inflection point right now. Things get really tricky as a national Canadian company trying to expand to the United States. Managing growth, I think, is this very opaque part of the business where there’s a bunch of different roads you can take, and you’re never going to know which one is the right one. Growth was easy until year four. Year one was fun. It was just me getting listings, going in and doing demos. Now growth feels like there’s a burden behind it, and it’s challenging to coordinate the right timing, the right funding, and the right logistical decision-making. It’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve had in my business for sure.

What do you wish you knew before starting Fatso?

That’s a good question. I think I wish I had known that there was going to be a point where it wouldn’t be all fun games anymore. That intensive start-up phase is like a high and I was on it for three years. I wish I had known that once you start to transport across the country and once you’re holding a lot of inventory, and once you’re managing listings as a more mature brand, you need to shift your mindset from a startup mindset to a growth mindset. It’s hard to know when to make the switch because it creeps up on you. I realize now that there are two minds that you need going into a business if you pass that fourth or fifth year from a start-up into a growth brand.

You’re already a national brand and you’re going into the States. What do you see Fatso growing into?

We would like to become a snack brand for sure and focus on nice and nutritious snacks, but also indulgences. I deeply believe that people can enjoy wonderful indulgences without wild amounts of sugar and crazy ingredients. I recently heard somebody at a talk say there’s a division between health and wellness and indulgence. I don’t think that’s what’s happening. The natural food space is bringing the two sides together. We want to focus our attention on making accessible snacks for those those who don’t care about their sugar intake or the ingredient list and for those who are nutritionally minded. Low sugar, great fat, whole ingredients. That’s the way forward for the future, I believe.

What do you do to nourish yourself both personally and nutritionally?

Personally, I believe a lot in therapy. I feel like, especially entrepreneurs, should get a therapist.

I’ve been in recovery for eleven years from drinking alcohol, so I have experience around self-care. It doesn’t mean that I’m very good at it, but it does mean that I am conscientious about my state of mind. I’ve got a lot out of personal therapy, and am a huge advocate for taking breaks. It’s a conversation I think people like to have, but I don’t think people actually apply to their lives. I feel as entrepreneurs, we fall into the fetishization of work and overly productive because it inherently ties into who we are and our self-worth. I struggle with this. I think it’s tied to capitalism, which makes us feel guilty for not being productive. It’s tough to unlearn that stuff.

On the nutrition side, I’m a huge advocate for moderation, although it took me over a decade to learn. After coming into recovery. I got really into fitness, CrossFit, marathon running, etc. It was another addiction in my life. Diet-wise I’ve been all over. I’ve done Paleo, I’ve done keto, I’ve done restrictive diets, and I’ve done macro counting. The thing I’ve learned is that it’s all about moderation. It’s just the key. So, I don’t subscribe to any one style of diet. I love having indulgences once in a while, but it’s taken a long time to learn that.

What do you look for in a snack?

I look for something that does speak to that moderation principle. I’ll treat myself once in a while –  I love black licorice and things like that – but I like snacking on something that is super satisfying. If I’m going to spend money on it, it can’t be empty for me. It has to have some reason why I’m going to put it into my body beyond setting off some good dopamine receptors. I think that a nutritious indulgence is really what I’m looking for. 

What is something that people don’t know about you?

Back in 2005, I was on a reality show. It was like for this Nissan, when the Versa came out and they did this big cross-country road trip like The Amazing Race. It was like a 21-day commercial, essentially.

How can people find Fatso or learn more about your product?

You can go to pretty much any retailer across BC or Canada and find some Fatso. You can also buy Fatso online at eatfatso.com or give us a follow on Instagram or Facebook at @eatfatso.

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Julie-Ann Chapman, and I motivate women through snowmobiling. I started She Shreds Mountain Adventures over ten years ago for women only, and since then, I’ve expanded because I’ve gotten requests from men. Now I do snowmobile clinics, avalanche courses, and occupational training for Search and Rescue and the RCMP. I’m also a professional athlete for many big companies like Polaris, Climb, Fox and many rad companies that support what I do. I’m also a Mama.

How did you get into the sledding space?

I used to be a snowboarder, and the sponsors that I had at the time told me that I needed to get into the backcountry for filming video parts, so I needed to get a sled to do that. It was a tough learning curve for me because it is a very physically demanding and mentally straining kind of sport. I basically put snowboarding on hold for a year to learn how to get around and by the time I figured out how to snowmobile, I had discovered a new passion.

The people I learned with were supportive, but they weren’t super supportive. They would bring me out and make sure that I was okay, but when I got stuck, they’d be like, hey, it’s time for you to get yourself unstuck. I’d be there shovelling for an hour all by myself. I saw a niche and need for somebody to teach people how to snowmobile so they could have it a little easier than I did, and that’s why I started She Shreds.

So what do you love most about running She Shreds?

I love seeing the determination. It’s a tough sport to learn right off the bat, and some get frustrated or upset. They try and try, and finally, they get the moves, which makes me stoked. That’s what makes me so happy. I get letters after clinics saying they never thought they’d be able to do it and are grateful for the motivation or the tips and just the reassurance. I love knowing that what I’m doing is helping other people.

What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to face so far with starting She Shreds and running your business?

The permitting process for being able to operate on Crown Land. I still operate on temporary permits and have been for almost ten years. Temporary permits are not secure and can be taken away from me at any time. I’ve pursued what’s called a license of occupation application, which is considered a ten-year application. That’s probably the most stressful hurdle I’ve ever taken on with this company because you’re starting to incorporate the government, First Nations, recreationists, and the general public.  I’m in the middle of it in two different locations on the BC coast and in the West Kootenays. It’s stressful, but I’m doing it. It’s just making me stronger and tougher.

So what do you do to nourish yourself both in life and nutritionally?

I am very cautious about how much crap I put into myself. It’s always easy to grab a quick something bad on the road, but I try to resort to the good snacks, hence why I eat Chiwis. I also try to meal plan and stay physically fit, especially before the winter season. Dealing with 500-pound machines and deep snow is definitely physically demanding. There are days that I wake up, and I’m just so tired, but I have to tell myself that this is for the best. I have to eat healthy today and get out and do something, whether it’s just a 20 minutes workout in the gym or a 20-minute bike ride outside. It’s so important to stay physically active and eat well if you want to function in a high-paced environment and a high-risk job.

What do you look for in a snack?

I like super convenient snacks that are easy to just put in my mouth. I opt for snacks that are very low in refined sugar or only have natural sugars. I also look for snacks that are filling. Eating something that’s not filling is not really, in my eyes, worth eating. I also like to support local whenever I can!

What is something that people don’t know about you?

Many people don’t know that I volunteer my time back to the community with local snowmobile clubs and Search and Rescue. I also have three horses, two of which I’ve trained since they were babies. Horses are definitely my life in the summertime, that’s for sure.

How can our community support you? 

Any honourable mention on social media is wonderful. My tenure applications are open to public commenting on the government website, so any positive comments are very helpful.

www.sheshreds.ca/ | @sheshredsmountainadventures

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