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Today we have Erika Szychowski, founder of Good Zebra which is a protein-packed animal cracker set out to challenge the snack food industry. Good Zebra has 12 grams of protein per 2-ounce servings, NO refined sugar – it is sweetened with only organic honey and coconut sugar and has no artificial ingredients or preservatives. The 11 unique spirit animals found in Good Zebra are inspired by street and tattoo art, the flavors include vanilla, lemon, and chai with peanut butter and chocolate not far behind. Good Zebra can be found in Peet’s Coffee & Tea across the nation, select retailers, on Amazon and on the Good Zebra website.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:15] Jeremy introduces his guest, Erika Szychowski.
  • [3:00] Launching a brand in China.
  • [6:30] Erika talks about how she came up with the name, Good Zebra.
  • [18:00] What led Erika to branch out and work in the food industry?
  • [23:00] Leaving the corporate world behind and becoming an entrepreneur.
  • [28:00] Why create an animal cracker product?
  • [32:30] What were some of the first Good Zebra snacks like?
  • [35:30] Why did Erika include protein in her product? What source of protein was used?
  • [38:00] How has Erika leveraged her branding background to market Good Zebra?
  • [44:30] Erika talks about connecting with Peet’s Coffee.
  • [47:30] Considering how consumers shop in grocery stores.
  • [50:00] Where is Erika trying to locate her product?
  • [54:00] Erika talks about working with the Rolling Stones.
  • [58:00] How to connect with Erika and Good Zebra.

In this episode…

How does someone go from branding expert to entrepreneur? What caused this career shift? How has the experience as a branding expert applied to life as an entrepreneur? You’ll find out from business leader and innovator, Erika Szychowski on this episode of Inspired Insider! In her conversation with Jeremy, Erika opens up about her time in corporate America, what led her to branch out on her own to start Good Zebra, why she was drawn to the snack food industry, how she’s been able to get her product on grocery store shelves, and so much more! Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn from Erika’s fascinating story!

Have you ever had an idea that you were sure someone else must have capitalized on? What if that was an original idea that you should have followed up on? Sure it sounds crazy but how do you know if you don’t investigate? For Erika Szychowski, that idea was a propionate, healthy, and delicious animal cracker that she eventually created a business around. Erika’s story serves as a prime example of why risk and curiosity is the entrepreneur’s best friend! What can you learn from Erika’s story? What great idea do you need to pursue so you can bring your genius to the marketplace?

Erika Szychowski became an entrepreneur reluctantly. After working tirelessly in corporate America for years, she decided to step back for a well-deserved break. As Erika describes it, she was more pushed to break out of the mold and chase the path to lead a startup by those around her than any emotional pull within herself. Four months later, Erika came back to this idea of starting something from scratch because every other option literally made her feel sick. Her story is actually more common than you may think among many entrepreneurs. One of the big takeaways from Erika’s story is how important it is to give yourself the time and space to investigate and then move toward what you know you need to do next.

Where did the idea for a healthy animal cracker come from? Why does the market need a protein packed and adult-oriented animal cracker? Believe it or now, Erika was ready to throw in the towel because her initial idea of a protein cookie faced numerous roadblocks and she felt like it was leading to a dead end. Then in a moment of clarity at 2 am, Erika went back to her drawing board and revisited the idea of a child’s animal cracker snack. From there she went to work crafting and marketing a fun nostalgic idea that would eventually become a protein-packed animal cracker snack for adults.

As if coming up with the idea and going through the creation process of a protein-packed animal cracker wasn’t hard enough, Erika Szychowski had to go to work convincing grocery stores why they should give her product a chance. Too often, these grocery stores wanted to put her product with snack foods when she wanted to see it marketed alongside energy bars and other healthy snacks she was competing against. Erika is still fighting the good fight to help us change the way we shop, in the meantime she is working hard to get her product in the best position as possible to succeed.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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