We all read The Lean Startup... I read I was warned again and again and again that starting your business meant I would not have time to myself, I’d be chained to my start-up and I could say goodbye to my weekends.
This was true of last week. I definitely felt their words burn under my skin!
We started Sunday with 90 bars and wrecked every single one. Why you may ask? Because “conditions of experimentation” changed! We decided to make bars for a GB triathlete competing the following week in the European Triathlon Championships on… the hottest day of the year! It was painful. Our first batch turned not into bars but… into soup. Literally liquefied pinole goo. I felt I was liquefied. Turns out, to our surprise, that cacao butter melts both in the sun and in heat. Who’d a thunk it?!? We’re only 2 Doctors from Oxford, one in Engineering and the other having researched pinole for 4 years.
NB: Neither I, not Azure, would have ever survived had Ian, our partner in crime, been a true trooper throughout. Thank you Ian.
So we made another 90 that kind-of held together and with our blessing, were sent them off North to our triathlete extraordinaire who, I quote, extolled that the bar “Smells nice, looks nice at tastes lush - wow I think you're on to something here - I really like them!” Thanks Darren!!!
Sunday: 180 bars made. 90 success. 90 fed me for a week. I am now 1/3rd pinole.
Back to the grind Thursday, the solstice where I worked for what felt like 10 years. Wait no, hours, but it felt like years, straight. Non-stop. We made over 500 bars. The next day, we finished off and had 720 bars. We learned a boat load.
You need to press bars right after blending ingredients but wait till they solidify before cutting. But not too long or they are rock solid. We had a beautiful press designed by engineer extraordinaire Ian and made for us by Hugo Lamdin Furniture from Oxford but… because of the hottest week of the year, the wood expanded and we ended up spending an afternoon getting the press back and forth to the carpenters for readjustments.
We sweat, cried and bled for these bars! – literally, I cut myself. Ian cut himself. We lost crumbles of our souls in our bars.
· 3 days of making bars, 10 hours a day.
· 30 hours for 900 bars
· 30 bars per hour.
Not exactly sustainable… But that’s what happens when you’re bootstrapping it and you’re trying out your MVP! Plenty of room for improvement, more efficient processes and tasks division... in a Ford style!
We then set off in a friend’s car to Kent to drop off lovingly packaged bars to the 3TC group. Who, it turns out, could have picked up our bars on their way to their Tour de France! 3TC are an incredible team of 5 doing the unbelievable feat of the 3 grand tours of Europe, back to back, to raise millions for cancer research. It was a real opportunity to give our bars to ultra-endurance athletes, one of whom is gluten-free, the other a vegan. We are looking forward to their feedback and thrilled to be part of such an exceptional project!