September 8, 2023

Nosh Posh (Season 5 Episode 30)

We chatted with founder Tatiana Freeman about Nosh Posh a Minnesota-based company that sources snacks and food products exclusively from BIPOC and women-owned businesses for distribution.

On today’s episode, we dive into snack foods with Nosh Posh. With a focus on unique and healthy products, Tatiana Freeman brings her passion for Bi-
POC and Women-owned businesses into an innovative snack vending machine, corporate gift box, and snack subscription business. We will explore her experiences with social media, the importance of resilience and resourcefulness, and the plans for expansion and partnerships. Stay tuned for an exciting and inspiring episode of Makers of Minnesota with Nosh Posh’s Tatiana Freeman.


Stephanie [00:00:12]:

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the makers of Minnesota Podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things, And this cool thing I saw for the very first time at Modern Well. I saw it at Modern Well. I walked in the door. I’m a monthly contributor there. And the first thing I noticed was this cool new space age looking vending machine called Nash Pache, and I’m here today with Tatiana Freeman, and she is the founder of Nash Posh. And I have to say the cool vending machine aside What a great concept to help Minnesota makers and BIPOC and women owned businesses get exposure by helping group them together into something that is more than the sum of their individual parts. Thanks for being here today.

Tatiana Freeman [00:00:59]:

Yeah. So excited, to be here, and thank you for connecting with me.

Stephanie [00:01:03]:

Yeah. How did you think of this idea?

Tatiana Freeman [00:01:07]:

so I was actually working in housing at the neighborhood house, which I really enjoyed that work, But I wanted something different. I was working in an office during COVID, and I just realized going back into the office space was not for me. and so I was, you know, kind of in transition. I was like, okay, what am I gonna do now? Like, I can’t go back to sitting at a desk, 9 to

Stephanie [00:01:29]:


Tatiana Freeman [00:01:30]:

and so I was actually and I know this is, like, not the impressive story that life people, I feel like, hope to hear, but I was at home, and it was dinner time, and I typically eat out pretty regularly, but, you know, spending 30 to 50 bucks, you know, every night for a salad was, like, not something I wanted to do. And so I was like, I just want a salad and why is it so hard? Like, why do I have to go to a restaurant to get a good quality salad? I went to the next day. I was just like, I’m just gonna start a business. I’m gonna, you know, connect people with the type of foods I wanna eat. And I started doing all this research and the rest of his history. So

Stephanie [00:02:05]:

— And you kinda settled in on snacks and particular. And you have snack boxes that you can ship to people, you have subscription boxes, the vending machine, and then You have specific types of snacks in these boxes, so get more into the methodology of why you pick what you pick.

Tatiana Freeman [00:02:25]:

Sure. So, I knew when I first started, we were actually looking at doing, like, a convenience store concept. And so we’re gonna host a pop up, get interest in that. but finding a venue was really hard. and so we started doing tabling and people were consistently asking for how they access the product. and so that’s how we created the snack box.

Speaker C [00:02:45]:

and so we’ve kind of made some tweaks to



Tatiana Freeman [00:02:47]:

it over the last year and a half or so, but essentially, the target market right now is meeting boxes because we have a lot of corporate clients that wanna have, you know, tasty treats, especially in the morning that aren’t pastries. And so we have, like, a morning tailored option that has, like, breakfast cookies, bars in it. And then we have, like, our favorite box that our favorite box that has some of our life best sellers in it. And essentially, like, you can have that shipped to your home or your work, and so that you can have access to those snacks without having to go to Costco or Target. and they’re fun. A lot of products that we carry are not things that you would typically see. So I really enjoy, like, you know, scouring Instagram and constantly researching and testing all these new products to bring them all together for, NashBot shoppers.

Stephanie [00:03:33]:

Can you give me an example of some of the items in your favorites box? that are just one in different?

Tatiana Freeman [00:03:40]:

Sure. So we have our simply fruit bites. I don’t know if a lot of people are familiar, but they make gum. and so they also create, like, different, candy items. And so they create this really nice fruit bite that’s similar to, like, a fruit snack but way better. we also have the pit corn cheese balls in there, which if you’re a big, you know, crunchy snack cheese ball person, they’re favorites, kids like them, then there would also be like a bar in there typically. So like Blender bombs has a really nice selection of different flavors.

Stephanie [00:04:10]:

With all those different kinds of snacks that you pick and the research that you do, what are the characteristics that you’re looking for from a vendor? we have a lot of makers that listen to this program, and maybe they would be a candidate for you.

Speaker C [00:04:23]:

Yeah. So I would say we’ve been really fortunate that, all the products seem to visually kind of fit well together. And so a lot of times people assume that I create them, and so it’s really nice in terms of packaging and the see the colors and everything that it all kind of fits together because I want it to be synonymous with the brand. But other than that, we’re looking for products that don’t use artificial ingredients that are kind of niche. They can be kind of re, like, you know, innovative favorites. So maybe you take something that people are familiar with, but maybe you use different flavor profiles. we also like to appeal to people that have some dietary restrictions. So vegan, you know, paleo, kosher, some of those things that, just kind of create access for more people. But at the core, we wanna just make sure they’re not using artificial ingredients, you know, if it can be organic, great. and then just trying to take that health aspect into consideration what type of ingredients are they using? No, you know, preservatives and so I think for us looking into the future, I definitely wanna, start sharing more information about the nutrition ingredients so that people are just better educated on how to snack well as well?

Stephanie [00:05:34]:

You have many different types of way to enter the business model. Right? You have the subscription box, you have meeting boxes. do you do like a holiday box too? Is that something that you’re interested in? And then I’m specifically to 2 in the vending machine itself. Like, whether you bought one off the rack or whether you founded it.

Speaker C [00:05:54]:

Sure. So, we do have a holiday box last year was the 1st year we did it, and it went really well. and so that should be coming out in November and will be available through January. And so that’s a great client gift. I think that, you know, a lot of people have their go to for who they purchase gifts from. And so we’re really excited to kind of be more visible when people are looking at, you know, sending their clients, gifts, friends, and family. in terms of vending, So it was actually really tricky. I was actually gonna go with another company that had more of a refrigerator style configuration. but looking at snacks that didn’t really make sense. and so we ended up, my uncle actually sent me the link for discount vending, and so they customized the machine, they wrap it in our design, and they can also, you know, custom fit product, the machine to fit the products that we carry. So that’s been really great, because you think that just looking at a machine, everything is gonna work well and smooth. but that’s not always the case. So being able to, like, send them the products and make sure that everything bins well has been really helpful.

Stephanie [00:06:58]:

And how many of these do you have around the Twin Cities and are you in other markets too?

Speaker C [00:07:03]:

Yeah. We’re only currently in Minneapolis, right now. So we have 6 machines, and there are one at each of Coco’s locations, the wilderness, modern well, FinnLab and then lucky shots pick a ball club.

Stephanie [00:07:18]:

Oh, and so co working is obviously a big piece to your business. Also, the pandemic in some respects might have helped you because people are still having all these Zoom meetings. And there’s nothing exciting about a Zoom meeting, but a snack box makes it a little bit more.

Speaker C [00:07:34]:

Yeah. So, that was kind of the reason I went with the co working as the you know, the access point just because I knew we were in this changing work environment. And so I said, well, if you’re not at home, you’re likely gonna be kinda seeking out these coworking spaces. And so we’ve been really fortunate, you know, in the twin cities to build those relationships. And so I wanna continue to expand in the co working space, but then also start kind of moving towards more sporting facilities and luxury apartments.

Stephanie [00:08:01]:

Oh, that makes total sense. Now you were in an incubator group. that kinda helped with your launching. Can you talk a little bit about that experience?

Speaker C [00:08:09]:

Yeah. So I’ve kind of

Tatiana Freeman [00:08:11]:

I’ve kind of been

Speaker C [00:08:12]:

a part of a lot of the program locally, everything from, you know, women venture to NDC, META. but I did participate in lunar, which I think was probably the most beneficial program that I’ve done. And I would say just the name recognition that Looner has in the 20 cities is always super helpful as well as the 101 coach that you receive. I think that, you know, it’s a network that you build and you can kind of come back to throughout your journey. And so that’s also been really helpful. And then lately, I’ve been kind of plugging in with naturally MN. I went to the event the other day at, FinLab, and it was such a great experience. So you kinda have be strategic with your time in terms of, like, if I’m gonna go to something feeling like I’m getting value out of it. And so it’s always rewarding. you know, if you can either connect with other founders or just get really useful information.

Stephanie [00:09:03]:

Can you tell me some people are knowledge seekers, which I think I would put you in that category. And then other people kind of try to figure it out themselves and go to the knowledge as the second piece. They wanna figure it out themselves first. What is it about being a knowledge seeker and what have you learned from networking with all these different types of groups? Have you gotten financing? Have you been able to make your journey to where you’re trying to go move along faster?

Speaker C [00:09:32]:

Yeah. So I I’ve, I adopted kind of the mantra early on that if I could get someone to do something for me for less than what I would pay myself to do that. And so, you know, when you start running a business, I had no idea what I was doing. And so it’s it’s a lot of stress for me because I’m a person that wants to do well at things, but I knew that it didn’t make sense to throw energy at things. I had no idea what is doing. So I did get a bookkeeper pretty early. I did bring on social media support pretty early. and so sometimes you just have to have that their real moment with yourself and say, I don’t know what I’m doing. This is not my lane. And so to bring on the kind of support that you need to kind of carry that for you, but I’d say you always have to be willing to pivot and seek out additional resources because you cannot do it all on your own. And so I think really important to just con to continuously ask for support and not be afraid of saying, hey. I need help. and then also kind of piggybacking with other founders in terms of like, how can we help one another and and share even if it’s just a text like, hey, I know Kobe co, Tasha, from Kobe co and I share resource time because you can’t watch every newsletter and you can’t go to every program. So just kinda building your network as well in terms of other founders and sharing what you find and and kinda bouncing ideas off of each other is always really, really helpful for me.

Stephanie [00:10:58]:

I think social media is a hard thing for people to outsource because you can do it yourself. really anyone can. And there are certain people that are better at it. Some people just feel like, oh, I gotta post. What Like, at what point were you like, okay, I know I’m gonna have to pay someone to do this for me well, but that, even though, like, I can’t it’s like hard to track. Like, you sold this bag of snacks from this post, but what made you decide to outsource that piece in particular?

Speaker C [00:11:32]:

Yeah. So I’m not a social media person. I mean, I post, semi regularly. I don’t really use my my personal page anymore. I’ve kind of just transition to kind of focusing on the business, but I knew it wasn’t something that was, like, natural to me. And so we brought on support pretty early because again, we were looking hosting an event. And so building like the awareness, you know, creating the name recognition was huge. and Honestly, it can be an expensive thing that you can’t really see tangible results from, but you have to keep pushing that ball up the hill. And so I spent a lot of money you know, the 1st year, just monthly having someone do that. And some people would say, don’t do it. Just do it yourself, but as a founder, you have so many things to do. that just wasn’t the top of my list or something that I felt like was a strength. So that’s why I, you know, made the decision to outsource. And, I mean, I bootstrapped, so This was money out of my own pocket that I spent, you know, paying someone else when I wasn’t even getting paid, just because I thought I would be more valuable for the brand.

Stephanie [00:12:37]:

How many years have you been in business? A little over 2. A little over 2. And are you paying yourself yet? No. which is, you know, not uncommon, and I guess that’s kinda why I asked because it takes a while Sometimes it takes people anywhere from 3 to 5 before they kind of start to pay themselves. and you have to just keep moving forward and figuring out the resources that you need. And you’ll get there, but it does just take a while. And I like people to hear that because you have to save up some money or have some resources in order to take this journey. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Speaker C [00:13:16]:

No. And, I mean, when I started it, I’m a person that’s, like, by any means necessary. Like, we’re gonna get this done. And so if that meant working 3 jobs, like, that’s what it took. and so it wasn’t like, you know, a fun thing to do, but, like, getting funding is so difficult. And so, you know, you get all excited. You have this do. You run to everyone. You plug in the resources. And most of the time, you’re gonna be told no early on. And so I just didn’t allow that to be, you know, something that tried me, it was like, okay. Well, I need $2000. I can earn $2000. So just continuously being, you know, resilient through You’re gonna be frustrated. You’re not gonna know what you’re gonna do, but you figure it out.

Stephanie [00:13:56]:

Was, women venture or media or some of those places you mentioned helpful in establishing financing?

Speaker C [00:14:03]:

I would say women venture has been really good in terms of, like, events. we do their, women mean business marketplace every year. That’s always fun. I really love Leanne as a leader of that organization. We didn’t get any funding from them. we did get a grant in partnership with META. I think it was to elevate together, and I feel like META is added a lot of value as well in the the last year just in terms of we did the hackathon through 3M, some other other programming. So, While it hasn’t necessarily always been direct funding, I I try to stay plugged into, you know, every organization because sometimes it’s an event or you can, you know, leverage someone that you know there for recommendations, which I think in terms of building your clientele, the referral business is always like a key piece. And so that’s kinda what we’re getting back to now is who can I connect to to make you know, an intro for me to kinda, you know, build our business and our clientele.

Stephanie [00:15:02]:

People that are listening to this story they can help you? Like, are there things that top of mind that you need help with? Like, people could contact you if they wanna have a machine in their office space? What other kinds of things are you looking for that if people are listening, have resources they can connect you with?

Speaker C [00:15:19]:

Yeah. So I’d say our first priority is gonna be hiring an inventory support specialist, and so being able to kind of offload some of the tasks that I’m still doing, and inventory management is key. and then also if you know, you know, a small to medium sized business, 20 to a 100 employees looking for snacks in their space, whether that’s a meeting box, or our workplace snack program. we are definitely interested in, expanding the number of locations we serve. and then, again, co working really would be nice to add, you know, probably 4 to 5 machines over the next year. and so super excited about doing that. We have a new catering partner So that’s on the horizon. Tell me about that. Yeah. So we’ll be working with Chopped and served. and so I’m super excited about that. Amani and I have been kind of connecting, modern world’s owner, Julie is the one who actually connected us because I was like, I don’t know who to connect with, what rest on to go to. I did know who was FEMA or BIPOC owned. and so that was really nice to check-in with Julian and say, hey, do you know someone? and so we’ll be, doing a tasting actually at modern wall for that in the next month. And then we’ll kind of test out those prepared items probably at 3 of our locations before that we expand into all

Stephanie [00:16:33]:

6. So these are gonna be taking you in a different direction, which is more, fresh ingredient type?

Speaker C [00:16:42]:

Yeah. So, I knew I always wanted that, especially in coworking. especially Minnesota where you might be locked inside for half the year. and so we’ve slowly been adding things. We had Galliant Tiger’s Uncrustable Sandwich. we have life juices, cold pressed juice, and then we also have sunny. it’s like an adult adult style lunchable. And so we’ll be kind of adding like a grain bowl, some egg bites, those sort of things just to kind of give some more substantive items So that once you get to your space, you don’t have to leave or DoorDash. and so I’m really excited to find, you know, a great partner that shares the values that I have and then gonna really pay attention to innovative and quality ingredients.

Stephanie [00:17:25]:

And can those items go in your same existing machine profile with the packaged goods?

Speaker C [00:17:30]:

Yeah. So, we’re kinda modeling some of the packaging off of

Stephanie [00:17:34]:


Speaker C [00:17:34]:

of the, microwavable grain bowls that we have that’s typically along the bottom. So, again, fingers crossed. You hope that everything will bend. We’ll do a lot of testing, and that’s why we’re gonna kinda slowly roll it out. but I want people to, be able to go to the machine and get a full meal essentially and feel, you know, like, wow, I didn’t, you know, have to bring anything today and, like, I didn’t have to stop in Donald’s or spend forty bucks for lunch. So I’m really excited, to be able to kind of continue to add value with what we offer.

Stephanie [00:18:06]:

Let me give you just a thought, these media companies. So the TV stations, the radio stations, they end up having people that are working 24 hours and can’t in a news cycle, like, let’s say something there’s a storm or something’s happening, people can’t leave. So that would be a good resource. The, I work at 3 different media companies, and the lunchroom offerings at most are pretty sad. So this could be like a perfect type of, person to carry something that has some fresh items in it.

Speaker C [00:18:41]:

Cool. That’s a great oh, and I have another thing that I’m noodling. I’m looking to do something with movie theaters. because I feel like every time I take my daughter out, like, the snacks are so depressing. so there are any theaters, you know, that I would love to partner so that we can do a snack pack. I’m so excited to start working on that and to launch that next summer.

Stephanie [00:19:03]:

Oh, yeah. Cause man theaters is local. And there’s the Minnesota film, board or Minnesota, what is it, International Film Festival, someone owns the San Anthony Maine group, and that’s Schoquel, and they are all invested in international and diverse filmmaking. So that could be a good fit for you. Okay. well, great. It was super nice to talk to you. I really am excited about your products. I will keep my eye on the modern well machine to see what’s new and interesting. but it’s been great to talk to you and you have a lot of great energy around this and I wish you the most success.

Speaker C [00:19:43]:

Thank you so much for having me.

Stephanie [00:19:45]:

Yeah. Thanks, Tatiana, and we’ll talk soon. Alrighty. Okay. Bye bye.

Speaker C [00:19:49]: