June 1, 2022

Good Morgan Foods (Season 4 Episode 21)

Margie Morgan took her “Covid Casualty” lay off and turned it into Good Morgan Foods. Her granola is not too sweet and has a pinch of salt that takes it over the top. Find Margie at various Farmers’ Markets around town, the Stone Arch Bridge Festivals Culinary Market 6/18 and 6/.19  or order her original, blueberry or peanut butter granola here.

Support the show

Good Morgan Foods

Stephanie Hansen 0:12
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the makers of Minnesota podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things. I’m here today with a woman that I met at the Golden Valley farmers market. Her name is Margie Moore. I just called you Margie sorry, I knew I was gonna do that. Her name is Margie Morgan. And her company is good Morgan foods. And I am kind of crazy about granola and all forms. And there are a lot of different forms because everybody kind of has their own secret weapon. And I picked up a bag of this granola and loved it, and was like I have to podcast with her. Welcome to the program.

Margie Morgan 0:49
Thank you so much.

Stephanie Hansen 0:51
I loved your I think I got the Blueberry Granola was my first one that I got. And then I ordered some at the holidays for all of my family for stocking stuffers. And your granola has just the right amount of salt. That really works for me in the granola. So congratulations on having just a little bit free. Because I think it’s what sort of sets it over the top.

Margie Morgan 1:16
I’ve heard that you know that it is a little different. And I tell people that you know, it’s not necessarily expected to give that little salt. Yeah,

Stephanie Hansen 1:25
so you seem like a cook person, someone that’s kind of interested in the cooking in the ingredients of it. So tell me about how you got started in granola.

Margie Morgan 1:34
Absolutely, I am. I love food. I love cooking. I love baking, not unlike a lot of other food entrepreneurs. So that’s kind of the backstory. And I’ve been doing it for a really long time, like decades, shows how old I am. Anyway, it was like 2000, you know, the early 2000s or so. And I was giving granola as gifts. Again, it’s classic story giving it as gifts. And lots of people were saying, oh, you should sell this, you should sell this but just not the right time or place or certainly the right. confidence to do that. So several years later, actually a friend of mine in 2013 14 Set gave me a check for a couple 100 bucks and said you’ve got to do this again. I’m that wasn’t where I was at that point. Okay, so fast forward to spring of 2020. And I not unlike so many other people was a casualty of COVID. So I lost my job and no one was hiring. And then when that started to pick back up, specifically, no one was really hiring middle aged women. Sure. Yeah. So you know, kind of toyed around to try and figure it out. And my amazing husband was really instrumental in pushing me towards this. In fact, I said he basically pushed me off the cliff because it was so out of my comfort zone. And so then in February a year ago, yeah, 2021 I just started doing little samples and sending them to friends and friends of friends and asked for feedback. And I’m pretty pleased, lots of positive feedback. So it was kind of inching towards doing something. And at that point, I’d really done what I called the the original granola was was the main one, I call it the OG and thought, okay, if I’m going to do anything I have to do or at least I felt like I needed to expand that so toyed around and then came up with the other flavors. I I knew that I needed to have an online presence primarily because my family is spread out all over. I’m not from here originally. So I have friends all over and I really wanted to be able to do that. And as a rule follower, I knew that I had to have a commercial I had to do in a commercial kitchen. I hear you have all the proper licenses, etc. So I went down that avenue, you know, to try and get all that going. And it was almost exactly a year ago. It was April I looked it up April 9 was my very first official Etsy sale. So that’s kind of what got me over the over the cliff there. And then I was late to the party with farmers markets, because as you very well know that signup starts well before April. Yes. So I was fortunate enough, I got into a couple and so it dipped my toe in the water and just tried to pick up steam.

Stephanie Hansen 4:30
Did you do you like going to a farmers market and working that table or is it hard? Because I imagine like I do some markets and I know it’s hard work getting everything set up. But then I also think it’s hard work just talking to people all day.

Margie Morgan 4:43
You You hit the nail on the head, it’s it’s really it’s hard once I get going on a conversation, that’s great, but the initial Hey, do you want to buy some granola or do you like granola? It’s it’s really tough for me. So part of that was you know I started had to put out samples because I thought, well, that’s gonna drop people in hopefully that you can say, Oh, well, you know, do you like granola come have a sample. So that was kind of my my hook, you know, to at least start to get people in. But you’re you’re absolutely right, just the deer in headlights with talking to people?

Stephanie Hansen 5:17
Well, and I think it’s important for people to hear that, because a lot of people don’t get into these types of food businesses because they’re necessarily people, people, you know what I mean, a lot of them are more like in your case, you seem a little more scientific, a little more introverted, a little more into the whole ingredient profile. And what I want to tell people is someone that works markets is, you know, sampling has a cost, but you can attribute that cost to marketing. And you can do that on your taxes. Because I met someone once who was like, I don’t want to sample people, they it’s all people that just want freebies, and I don’t want people that just want freebies. And I said for all the people that want freebies, you’re also cutting your nose off to spite your face, because you’re not reaching any of those people that wouldn’t buy your product if they got to taste it. So I tell people have samples at events have samples everywhere you go. And then really work on what your sample to purchase ratio is. So that you can then manage the amount of sampling that you do or know what kind of events make the best sense for you. But people that don’t sample food products, if given the opportunity, I think are really making a mistake. Would you agree with that?

Margie Morgan 6:31
I would absolutely agree just I mean, I don’t know if I would buy a bag at all, if I didn’t taste it, quite frankly, you know, or other products like that, if given the opportunity. And you’re right about that, about that ratio, you always have the little kid that’s gonna grab something or the people that would rather you know, go to Costco and just get a bunch of samples. But there definitely is enough people that you pique their interest, and you hook them.

Stephanie Hansen 6:57
And it’s a low, I don’t want to say low value. It’s a easy point of entry. Right? I mean, I thought your granola was priced a little bit more than some of that I’ve had, but I also could tell just by looking in the packaging, because you had a clear window, like I see that. If I could just tell that you were using good quality ingredients and things like dried fruits, you know, if they’re real, dried fruits, they cost more,

Margie Morgan 7:21
right. Oh, nuts and that? Yep. Yes. Yes. You know, and that’s that’s part of it with the with the packaging, which is a whole different story, you know, because that’s a journey to but with that transparent window that’s like, with me, I want to be transparent, you know, with just who I am, what it’s all about what the products about. So there’s, there are no surprises.

Stephanie Hansen 7:44
So do you, I don’t know how to say this. And one time I said it to someone and it came out wrong. So there’s like Hobby businesses, and then there’s businesses where it starts as a hobby, but then people really want to move it into more of a full sail, and job and a career. Where are you on that spectrum?

Margie Morgan 8:03
It’s a great question. I don’t have the luxury of it being a hobby. So I need to make it work. It’s a little more complicated than that, just because I’m not 28 or even 38. So I kind of have to a little fast, go a little more quickly what I need it to be I would love it to be at some point residual income. But right now, I mean, I have to get to the point where it is actually income.

Stephanie Hansen 8:35
Yep. And do you anticipate like, if just in terms of packaging, if you got to a co packer, you’d probably have to change your formula a little bit? Have you explored that? A little

Margie Morgan 8:47
bit? I’ve one thing is I’ve tried to tap into as many resources as we have around here, not only like other vendors, but through the a URI and through score and mentors. And I mean, I’m just, you know, getting information wherever. And what I found about the CO packers is not only what you said about changing the formula, and then it’s like, well, then you lose some of the integrity, you know, what can you what can you give there, but it’s also like, I’ve been trying to find out what is that? What’s the point where you’re crossover, and you need that? What’s the volume? And I know I’m not there now, but I’m trying to look ahead to what that is because I’m a one man show, and it’s like, okay, so the next is probably to hire someone to help me in the kitchen. And so in answer to your question, Stephanie, that’s it’s on the radar. And I know I have to be thinking about that, but I’m just a little unsure what that what’s going to tip the scales where I have to,

Stephanie Hansen 9:44
I go to a quote that I think that’s really common, actually, because there’s no clear map here of what that next step would be or what that revenue threshold is. And everyone gets there in their own time. Some people start out there Like they just know that they don’t want to be in the kitchen making their product. Other people, it takes them a really long time because they don’t want to compromise or they feel like the products too different. I don’t think there is a right answer. I think it’s different for everybody. But you are asking the right questions. And I know if you’re networking with a URI and talking to business folks that have done this, you’re you’re definitely on the path. What about it as fun for you?

Margie Morgan 10:26
Well, definitely being in the kitchen. You know, I do, I love that I love that atmosphere, I should give a shout out I’m and using the Create caterings kitchen with Philip door is a friend, and so incredibly kind to let me rent space in there. And so that has been that’s huge having having a welcoming, friendly place to go. So the kitchen part is great. And I’ll tell you, what was kind of unexpected was repeat customers that have come back specifically, and said, Oh, I’m so glad you’re here. I mean, that completely made my day completely. You know, even if I sold three bags, I was I was not prepared, that that was such a thrill because there are people I’d never met before.

Stephanie Hansen 11:17
Yeah, I can say though, that your product is better than most. So when you find something that you really like, and you go to order it or you meet someone at a farmers market, and then you have to wait till the next market. So it was nice that I could actually order yours online. I liked that a lot. Do you think you’ll continue with like, do you see, hopefully moving into like an Amazon channel or something a little bigger down the road

Margie Morgan 11:44
that’s in my head. That’s way down the road, I see that as I see that it’s kind of a pretty big monster right now. That is intimidating. You know? And again, like you touched on earlier, you know, do you want to compromise the product? And is it all about sales? Or is it really about the product? And so that’s a hard one. Again, I don’t feel like I’m I’m there yet. We’re have to make that decision. But it’s kind of intimidating. And people just assume that, Oh, you want to be in cub and you want to be on Amazon? And maybe not don’t.

Stephanie Hansen 12:16
Some people can make a very comfortable living for themselves doing just the market thing. And then they do holiday markets in the winter. And then they may sell online through their own websites, and they make enough to just continue to make it a fun business for them.

Margie Morgan 12:32
I’m obviously not there yet. But yeah, I would love for the online to make it work just to be able to reach more people. And you know, that is intriguing to me to have it available in multiple

Stephanie Hansen 12:47
markets. When you look around and you see other people at markets. Are there people that you are inspired by, or you have had their products and think wow, they’re really neat.

Margie Morgan 13:00
Oh my gosh, yes, is the short answer. And it’s it was a whole new step to start meeting these people. You know, you’ve commented before and others that Minneapolis is such a great area to or incubator to for small businesses. It’s such a great community. But then and then you start like, oh my gosh, you see who’s behind that curtain. And my very first farmers market. It was it was minaton that very first one. And I had my spot and it was next to cub roadshow kabocha empanadas. And it wasn’t beylin. It was her husband, Rob, that was there at the time. But that was such a relief to come in and find someone that was that far along and that much experience and then just absorbing as much as I could. What I was sorry, yeah, you know, a little bit starstruck that you’re like, oh, my gosh, they’ve done so much. And I get to, you know, glean from that. So that was great. Tasha, it is it are nuts. I met her at a market. And she of course, is fantastic. I mean, you know, you talk to so many people, and they’re just, they’re amazing. And they’re helpful, and the products are great. So

Stephanie Hansen 14:23
I think people want to pay it forward. Like I think back to the business I had, and I really remember the people that shared information or that helped me out or that encouraged me along the way. And I really do try to do that for others. And I think people in the food community know how hard it is. Particularly I mean, the pandemic reset the table for many people. Absolutely. You know, I have to say it’s very humbling to lose a job through no fault of your own, probably a job that you genuinely liked. And then you’re out there trying to figure out what’s next and you You mentioned ageism, it is definitely a real thing. Certainly in the broadcast space, I mean, you don’t see a lot of people in their older 50s Unless they’re the silver fox man, you know, right. I really hear that and trying to stay relevant, but also things just like a social media, you know, like, every day that changes and your do you use 30? hashtags? No, only use five. No, don’t do that. Like just trying to stay on top of it. It’s challenging. So it’s fun, but it’s also like, You got to stay on your toes.

Margie Morgan 15:36
Yeah, there’s there’s no resting you know, you do on every, you know, you hit on it from the social media piece is completely overwhelming. But I have, I tap into as many free family and friends resources as possible. You know, my daughter, adult daughter and friend of hers in Chicago are helping me out with that. Yep. No, I just, I can’t possibly do it all, and certainly not effectively.

Stephanie Hansen 16:08
Yeah. And, and it is good to reach out. And there’s people that really get joy from doing social media, it’s fun for them, they like it. It’s very different. If you’re somebody that has a brand, and you just can’t stand it, and you’re having to post every day. It’s just like, oh, yuck.

Margie Morgan 16:24
I know when I hear that, oh, you know, the must have for 2022 is tick tock. I’m like, What?

Stephanie Hansen 16:31
What, one more thing? Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, I think that there’s brands that will just fall in the some of those will really make the most of that. And others will be just continuing on in a more organic way as it were. Your granola is gluten free, too, isn’t it?

Margie Morgan 16:51
It is it is. And you know, oats are inherently gluten free, but unless they say it, you know, so although it’s not certified, the whole product isn’t certified gluten free. The the the whatever the ingredients are, it’s just not certified.

Stephanie Hansen 17:08
And you doing your assembly at create kitchen? I mean, I know Philip himself is a chef and has some interesting flavor profiles. You’ve got the peanut butter, you’ve got the original the OG and then you’ve got the blueberry? Is it hard to restate? What’s the word I’m looking for? Is it hard to not always want to do new things? Because you’re a cook? So you’re probably always thinking about the next thing?

Margie Morgan 17:34
Right? Not only that, I have people asking me, you know, kind of what’s the next thing? And it’s that I’m still trying to figure out how do I how do I fit that into the schedule? You know, I try some things at home. But I haven’t necessarily done it to scale, you know, to, to put out there and definitely have to take advantage of that. Because there are so many whether you go you know more savory, and people are doing all sorts of things. There’s no one way or one profile, like you said,

Stephanie Hansen 18:06
yeah. Is there something that is like on the top of your mind right now that you’re like, Oh, I just need help with this?

Margie Morgan 18:13
Oh, gosh, that’s a great question. Um, wow, I just need I need to help keeping things in perspective. You know, and that’s, that’s what I need kind of looking ahead and maybe telling me, it’s okay, that you’re not there yet. You know, I need that I need like a coach kind of thing, to just say, You know what, you’re good. You don’t have to worry about that. Now, that’s six months down the road. And whether or not that’s just validating, you know, what I got,

Stephanie Hansen 18:41
what what I’m hearing you say is interesting, because when I left the corporate environment, you know, I was always a great Vice President, because I was the cheerleader and I wanted the person to be the front person. But I wanted to give them all the ammunition, the ideas, the support, and I loved helping that person get to the level of success that they wanted to achieve. I was a great partner in that way. When it came to just me standing there alone, and having to promote myself and having to be my own champion and having to learn how not to be so self deprecating, and to ask for what I wanted. Those were all really hard things for me to learn. So it does sometimes help when you’re in us in an environment where you’re just alone or with family, to get that outside perspective, whether you get it from a coach, whether you get it from like a mastermind group, or sometimes people just put their own board of directors together. And sometimes it’s just to have the enthusiasm and the encouragement to just keep going because it’s only sometimes it is

Margie Morgan 19:41
it is and, you know, my my probably biggest obstacle is myself, you know, absolutely. And, you know, just questioning and all those, you know, all those things that we do.

Stephanie Hansen 19:54
Yeah, we see it in two ways. You sometimes see the people that it’s all flash and cool Is my end pizzazz, but really none of the behind the scenes stuff, or you’ll see the reverse, you’ll see someone that super methodical, very careful, very risk averse and very cautious. But yet their product maybe would stand the test of time better, because they’ve got everything lined up by the time it’s ready to go. So, however you find yourself on that spectrum, I would say, if I was going to give you any advice, having some kind of a board of directors, whether it’s just family, friends, is people that you can meet with four times a year and get some feedback or get some new idea generating, if nothing else, it gives you a new life. Right.

Margie Morgan 20:36
Right. Right. And, you know, it goes with just having thick skin and getting that feedback. And, you know, yeah, absolutely. I tell people, I need you to be honest with me. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Right. So I really, I really try and ask for that. And then brace myself.

Stephanie Hansen 20:57
All right, Margie, I’m gonna raise my hand as someone you can count on for that type of feedback.

Margie Morgan 21:03
Aren’t you? Awesome? I, yeah, I

Stephanie Hansen 21:05
really, I loved your product. I loved it right when I had it. And I just was like, Oh, this product has real legs to it. It’s really delicious. And I just I think that the grain bowl thing and where we can go with that, that there’s a lot more because I do think savory can be really part of that, too. So I appreciate you spending time with me today. Where can we find you this summer? Do you have some events you’re going to be at? Oh, gosh.

Margie Morgan 21:32
Well, I’m going completely opposite of what I did last year with two markets. I’m currently sign up for eight. Okay, so I’m going to be all over the place just waiting. I think I’ve got waiting to hear for a couple more. And so I’ll be all over kind of the metro. I’m going to dip my toe into actually Minneapolis proper, um, try you know, those markets. So everything from Prior Lake to Maple Grove and everything in between.

Stephanie Hansen 21:57
Okay. So I’ll be online too. I know it good. Morgan foods.com. Yes. So thank you for spending time with me. And definitely thank you so much. Yeah, I look forward to spending more time with you in the future. Please call on me. I’d be happy to help.

Margie Morgan 22:12
Oh, I appreciate that. Thank you.

Stephanie Hansen 22:14
Thanks very soon. Bye bye bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai