Chasin’ Better-For-You Dreams featuring Sydney Chasin

Tasty snacks often come with an unfavorable ingredient list, and healthy snacks have a rap for bland flavors. Is there any way to find the best of both worlds?

Chasin’ Dreams Farm has the snack for you. What looks like tiny popcorn actually has no corn at all — it’s popped sorghum. It’s got all the flavor without any genetically modified ingredients. Gluten-free from the age of seven, Sydney Chasin grew up experimenting with alternative ingredients to make delicious snacks. Now, she shares her creations with healthy snack eaters across the globe.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, Diana Fryc is joined by Sydney Chasin, Founder of Chasin’ Dreams Farm, to discuss her journey to create a fun, healthy snack company. Sydney talks about her decision to start a company straight out of college, lessons she learned the hard way, and her advice for young, fellow entrepreneurs.

In this episode we learn: 

  • Sydney Chasin shares her inspiration for creating Chasin’ Dreams Farm
  • The decision to ditch corporate life in favor of the entrepreneurial path
  • Why popped sorghum?
  • Partnering with Mondelēz International CoLab
  • Lessons Sydney learned the hard way
  • Advice for startup owners: narrow your focus on your target customer
  • Sydney’s proudest accomplishment: building a sustainable company that can operate without her
Gooder Podcast

Chasin’ Better-For-You Dreams featuring Sydney Chasin

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About Sydney Chasin: 

Sydney Chasin the Founder of Chasin’ Dreams Farm, a new snack brand made from tiny, popped sorghum. The US-grown sorghum is a drought-resistant, regeneratively farmed crop that is naturally gluten-free — meaning it’s as good for you as it is for the planet. Chasin’ Dreams Farm is now the home for better-for-you, more FUN for you, clean-label snacks.

Sydney received a BA in Financial Services with Entrepreneurship from Edinburgh Napier University. During school, she was the President of Napier University European Language Society and the Financial Services Student Programme Leader. Upon graduating, she began laying the foundation for her first company, Chasin’ Dreams Farm, named after the family farm where she grew up.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Sydney Chasin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sydney-chasin-074a158a/

Website: https://chasindreamsfarm.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chasindreamsfarm/

Show Resources: 

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Transcript:

Intro 0:05

Welcome to the Gooder Podcast where we talk with powerhouse women in CPG about their journeys to success. This episode is sponsored by Retail Voodoo. A brand development firm guiding mission driven consumer brands to attract new and passionate consumer base crush their categories through growth and innovation and magnify their social and environmental impact. If your brand is in need of brand positioning, package design or marketing activation, we are here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com.

Diana Fryc 0:43

Well hello Diana Fryc here I am the host of the Gooder Podcast where I get to talk with the powerhouse women in the food, beverage and wellness categories about their journeys to success and their insights on the industry. Thanks for joining us today. Very quick. This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo. Retail Voodoo is a brand development firm. Our clients include Starbucks kind Rei, PepsiCo, high key and many other market leaders. We provide strategic brand and design services for leading brands in the food wellness beverage and fitness industry. If your goal is to increase market share, drive growth or disrupt the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call let’s talk and you can find more information about us or contact at retail-voodoo.com or email info@retailvoodoo.com learn more yeah How many times have I said that guys right okay. Well today we get to meet Miss Sydney Chasin Did I get that right? You got it right all right, the founder of Chasin’ Dreams Farm. A new snack brand made from teeny tiny pup sorghum is so cute and very yummy. Made with us grown sorghum. This is a drought resistant and regeneratively farmed crop that is naturally gluten free. And which means it’s as good for you as it is for the planet. Well, hello Miss Sydney. How are you today?

Sydney Chasin 2:16

I am doing well. Thanks for having me.

Diana Fryc 2:19

Of course now Where are you today?

Sydney Chasin 2:23

I am in Pacific Beach San Diego.

Diana Fryc 2:25

Oh, and are you guys still warm right now?

Sydney Chasin 2:30

I swear winter K and like the last few days have been so cold and it’s like hopefully our San Diego only season lasts a week.

Diana Fryc 2:39

Oh my goodness. Well what’s winter in San Diego is 82

Sydney Chasin 2:43

now it gets chilly. It’s slightly it’s like high 60s really

Diana Fryc 2:47

low 70s Yeah, okay. I would not I should probably know better. But especially being on that coast, we tend to have a little bit more seasonal impact. Not like the North East or the central Midwest or anything but yeah, for sure. Well,

Sydney Chasin 3:07

I lived in Scotland for four years so I think I paid my radio I deserve this weather. You

Diana Fryc 3:13

deserve this weather. I think a lot of people feel like they deserve that weather. Well so thanks so much for being on the show. Listen, let’s talk a little bit about Chasin’ Dreams Farm I always like everybody to kind of tell a little backstory of why does it exist? What is Chasin’ Dreams Farm? What is the product and why do you exist? Sure.

Sydney Chasin 3:33

So um, I’ll start off with kind of the name and then who we are. So I grew up on Chasin’ Dreams Farm which was the Chasin’ Family Farm. It was a farm in a tiny town of 150 people and it was just a really magical innovative place. My mother was an artist My father was like a racecar driving software engineer like hmm, very creative, innovative household. And for me it was a really magical place that inspired innovation and creativity from the simplest things on the farm. So I’ve always been into different entrepreneurial projects and creative things so kind of natural that upon graduating college that I started the business so Chasin’ Dreams Farm we are a snack brand platform creatively crafting humble ingredients. We believe that delicious and indulgent snacks are packed full of not so great ingredients genetically modified corn, corn syrup, artificial flavors. And on the other side of things on the complete other side of the spectrum better for you is often perceived as boring, bland, lacking taste appeal and a compromise and it doesn’t have to be that way. So we’re creating better for you more fun for you clean label snacks, taking a page out of conventional foods playbook of making a really high energy vibrant brand. While keeping a clean ingredient Deck, the product that we have is a pop sorghum snack, like you mentioned, looks like super teeny tiny popcorn, but entirely corn free. And it’s made with us grown sorghum, which is just a really incredible underutilized crop that like you said, naturally gluten free, unlike 92% of us, corn has never been genetically modified, and super sustainable. So we believe that this amazing grain of the past that’s 10,000 years old has a real opportunity to help with the future of food security because of its that it’s able to be regeneratively farmed, and it’s a drought resilient crop requiring no irrigation, the driest parts of the country.

Diana Fryc 5:48

And so that’s a really great because they know this concept of regenerative farming like So talk a little bit more just for briefly about sorghum when I think of regenerative now, as I’ve been talking with people who plant hemp and also sunflowers, these are plants that put into the ground as much as they pull out. Sometimes they’re even producing, they’re even producing more output than than they require. Is this kind of like sorghum as well? It’s Yeah,

Sydney Chasin 6:21

exactly that so it captures harmful carbon stores that safely the soil. So instead of taking away from the earth, it’s actually giving back. Mm hmm.

Diana Fryc 6:32

So I believe there’s a little bit more, if I remember correctly, the sorghum product was developed also, for its first for celiac reasons. Is that right? Is there some connection there with celiac disease or intolerance?

Sydney Chasin 6:53

Yes, so I have been gluten free since I was seven years old. Well before gluten free is free is today. And on the farm, my mother and I were always like creating and crafting new products and interesting things out of alternative ingredients. And yes, it was fun and enjoyable, but it was really obsessively at the time, like okay, if you ate a piece of bread, it bounced. It was really, really gross.

Diana Fryc 7:21

I remember you players, and

Sydney Chasin 7:25

the products that were available because there wasn’t a huge amount of demand had a crazy, crazy long shelf life. Because it sat on the shelf,

Diana Fryc 7:34

there was no velocity.

Sydney Chasin 7:37

And so I mean, oftentimes I just wasn’t eating like bread and pasta because it was so awful. So you know, I grew up on a farm surrounded by lots of corn and soy fields. A lot of farmers were also growing sorghum. So I’ve been aware of sorghum my whole life, but it’s really through like being seven years old in the kitchen with my mother and creating blends with sorghum and rice flour and tapioca starch. And what we now do in an r&d kitchen I was doing when I was under 10 years old.

Diana Fryc 8:10

Wow, that’s awesome. Yeah, because science science experiment, a science experiment. I think when I think of entrepreneurs in this space, I know there’s a lot of that inquisitiveness and entrepreneurial ness that showed up in early two early stages of their life that was just then really, though, was manifested by the environment that they were growing up and not everybody’s quite that lucky that they have that magical experience that you had with your mother and father, being the types of people who they are so really, what a special what a special way to grow up, I should say.

Sydney Chasin 8:54

Yeah, I was very, very fortunate that both of them were always involved in entrepreneurial things. And you know, I have founder friends and it’s like, all my parents think I’m crazy. And I’m like, we all are a little crazy. But, um, I am so fortunate that they are like, my biggest cheerleaders and support it through the ups and downs.

Diana Fryc 9:17

Well, I want to go back before Chasin’ Dreams Farm, one of the things that we discussed was kind of a moment of clarity and a decision making point in time, right around graduation. And I want to just kind of go on record. You are one of the younger entrepreneurs that I’ve had on this show and I really am excited to have you on simply because I think innovation should not be limited to those that have lots of experience or limited experience in part of this shows, abilities to just demonstrate that leadership comes at every stage in life and some of us, like yourself, are lucky to find and realize that moment and often Opportunity earlier. So I thank you for being brave. So early on, I love it. Thank you. But I want to talk about that moment that you discussed to me or was it really a moment, but it was a series of moments that had you go from deciding a corporate life versus this entrepreneurial life? Can you describe that? Yeah.

Sydney Chasin 10:23

So I graduated college from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. And when I was graduating college, I had an email for an ideas competition come through and this wasn’t a startup competition, okay, like just trying to get people to think entrepreneurial, entered this concept that I was in Scotland. So I said this haggis eaten whiskey sipping beer, drinking culture needs a wonder to change their lives, which like, in hindsight, I’m not sure that that was like, the most PC thing, nice thing to say about their culture, but one 100 pounds of funding at the time. Wow. I know what’s about 120 $130. But that, that’s what got it started. Really, I was, it was the final semester. And I was applying for corporate roles. Like this was like a fun little procrastination tactic for writing my dissertation while writing my dissertation. So applying to lots of corporate roles, my degree was in financial services. So I knew I didn’t want to like properly be in financial services, but I want to do something that touched it. So looking for jobs and sales and recruitment, we, whether it was like investment analytics, or it was in the UK. So recruiting for jobs in Canary Wharf is something that, and I went down to London, and I had two interviews, and one said, my CV shows that I’m not financially motivated. And the other one said, my body language showed that I was put off by the idea of working hard. Hmm, pick me apart in 1,000,001 different ways. I am flawed all over the place, right? Those are not the two things that everyone should pick up on. No. And it was just a moment of like, Oh, my God, these people sat down with me for 30 minutes or an hour. And like, I can’t prove myself there is this what the corporate world is like? And I was like, really, like, what forced me to get going and started was out of spite, I got on a train back, like London to Edinburgh. And I wrote to the business center, and I said, so you know, I entered that competition. I know, you mentioned something about like a business incubator, like, how do I start this because I can’t do this. And I’m fortunate that I didn’t get deep into that career, anything. And it was like, gut feeling intuition. Everything was like, This isn’t for me. And I started on my merry way.

Diana Fryc 12:51

So that’s so interesting, and quite powerful, because I think there’s a lot of humans, not just women, but there are a lot of people that they go through school, and they feel obligated to continue down a path because of the degree or commitments that they made to family members, or whatever. And it’s, I think there’s something to be said, for recognizing when knowing that your path is not the path that you’ve laid out in front of you is not the right path. But not to think that a deviation is a complete dismissal of all of your education. I am sure 100% that maybe not all of the facts that you learned in school, but the commitment to getting worked on and working in teams and everything that you did in school has been mostly translatable to what you’re doing now.

Sydney Chasin 13:48

Yeah, I completely agree. I always say like, the biggest thing that I learned in college was how to do the stuff that I absolutely hate doing. Yeah,

Diana Fryc 13:55

just to learn a skill,

Sydney Chasin 13:57

yes, how to learn how to push through the hard times. And the university I went to was hugely International. So it was actually really great experience being on so many team projects, with people from all different backgrounds, different languages, cultural barriers, and I actually think a lot of who I am as a leader today has to do with being part of those projects. And I think also having this negative experience my micro attempt into the corporate world, actually like influenced how I hire a team, how I lead a team because very, very quickly, I clocked on to how I do not want to be as

Diana Fryc 14:41

it’s amazing. So in this little incubator school incubator because we’re going to talk about another one here in just a moment our accelerator is that we’re chasing dreams. farm was birthed from or was that just kind of the stepping stool to toward it?

Sydney Chasin 14:58

It was a stepping stool like It started very much in slow motion developing the concept realized, pop sorghum as a lot more difficult to pop them popcorn. So it was like slow motion development. I was working restaurant job when I was an atom bra that I was also I had a enterprise fellowship that like was like to commercialize my innovation. It was like, all life science people and he and my little micro popcorn idea. But it was, yeah, it took it took a little bit of time to like, kind of like, organize thoughts and the concept. And then when I moved back to the US, that’s when we properly started building the

Diana Fryc 15:39

gotcha. And was sorghum. Did sorghum find you or did you seek it out? If that makes any sense?

Sydney Chasin 15:47

sort of find me Yeah. Meaning like,

Diana Fryc 15:50

were you looking for? Were you looking to create a brand and you weren’t quite sure what exactly what it was that you wanted to do? Or had you known about sorghum, pop sorghum, and you knew you wanted to turn that into something?

Sydney Chasin 16:03

And I see what you’re saying. So yes, it was sorghum first. And then it’s become so heavily brand Stacia. It started as this concept of like commercializing the same chip grain sorghum heavy. But we are now now sorghum is one part of our story. But like who we are, as a brand is like far more about inspiring innovation, creativity, and having really fun, quirky products that tastes good. And people love that we call our snack pensions. And oh, by the way, we’ve got this amazing ingredient that’s delivering on our promises.

Diana Fryc 16:39

Love it. Love it. So you’re back in the States, you start pressing the gas, some things happen, and then an opportunity to work. With mandoline, the mondelez accelerator came up. Tell us how did you get introduced to the program? And how did it go for you?

Sydney Chasin 16:59

Yeah, so um, incorporated the company in 2018 and started building it in the US. And then we kind of did the traditional we were in a commercial kitchen and that we scaled up production a little further than this pandemic dropped in the middle of all of our brands, which delayed a lot of things. So we really properly launched Chasin’ Dreams Farm. In February this year, we were 2021. Yes. And we were previously under the little pops brand. So we did okay, brand in our 2020. hunker down, we’re gonna figure this out. Um, but yeah, so this summer, we were on mondelez International collab by snack futures accelerator. And we didn’t have an introduction to mondelez. Before it was a cold application. Oh, our food scientist used to work for mondelez had sent the link over. He’s like, he took a lot of these boxes. And I totally did not think that we were going to get it. We’re an early stage brand. and was accepted onto the program as one of nine snack food brands are, what do they say? Good for people come to the planet and delicious. Li fun.

Diana Fryc 18:12

Yes.

Sydney Chasin 18:13

That’s very much who we are. So it worked perfectly. And it was an amazing, amazing experience. pretty intense program for 12 weeks this summer, where we had like, proper curriculum four days a week we also had a mentor within mondelez’s buddy which was a mentor within snack futures. And the biggest value that we got, which was super cool was access to all mondelez talent. So they were the keepers. So we had a food science question a manufacturing question a packaging material question. brand like anything, we would be connected to the people who manage Oreos brand and triscuits r&d and yeah, I mean, the most like expert Nish talent, like in the world.

Diana Fryc 19:10

That’s we had so fantastic. Now, were you working with Brigette Wolf on her and her?

Sydney Chasin 19:18

Part of the org? Yeah, so she’s the head of snack futures. Yes, futures is who put on the colab accelerator within mondelez. Right very closely with Bridget.

Diana Fryc 19:30

Okay. I interviewed her for the podcast last year at this time and she was she was talking about this kind of encode not really encode it was something that she was starting to put together or midstream, putting together and her desire to really push mondelez and the snacking category in general, into a broader based health and wellness type of category, kind of like in the grand scheme of things. They’re not everybody’s going to eat kale chips. Not everybody’s going to eat Cheetos. But there’s a 990 percent of the people are in the middle, kind of building that path along the way. She’s really a huge fan of that normalizing healthy snacking. So what a wonderful experience. She is one smart person. She is

Sydney Chasin 20:16

a force like Yes, yeah. Oh, magnificent. And we’ve learned so much from her and her snack futures team. Yes. And what’s been such like, a breath of fresh air is as a startup emerging brand in the better few space where like, we don’t like big food, big food is a big food. Yeah. And like, so remarkably pleasantly surprised, right? How many amazing initiatives are happening?

Diana Fryc 20:44

Yes. And they’re behind the scenes that people don’t see. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Sydney Chasin 20:49

And, you know, we’re like, oh, they’re, you know, big food, nobody’s gonna be innovative or anything. And like, not just the snack futures team, but the mondelez team, as well are like, super creative and innovative, and so excited about working with and helping, like, the next generation is really

Diana Fryc 21:10

awesome. What kind of advice would you give to somebody who to prepare for something like this, let’s say, you, you’re talking to a counterpart out in the market, and they’re looking at moving into this program, like, what would you say, to be prepared for entering into a program like this?

Sydney Chasin 21:32

I think be so open to new ideas and learning. And, you know, I think we always think of like being open to new ideas and that like product innovation, but we learn to challenge the status quo and everything like huh, route to market marketing, strategy, PR messaging, things that like, are not just okay, we’re doing, you know, we’re going into the natural product stores, and this is the new innovation we’re bringing in there. It was, I mean, all aspects of it, even to how we run a team, how our customer service communicates, like, everything. So I think it’s just be so open to learning be like a sponge and be proactive. So you know, I think we got a lot out of the program. I think everybody got a lot of the program. But we mind the model is network. So we asked every week to get connected to different people, even if it was like, Alright, we’re not really talking, you know, at the beginning of summer, we weren’t working on new flavors or anything, then. But let’s have those conversations. And they’re there to support you. And it’s not an inconvenience, you’ve got a finite amount of time. So even if it feels like a big time commitment, just milk it.

Diana Fryc 22:49

Yeah. Okay. That’s really great advice. Kind of going back to the brand, a little bit or your story around the brand, is there a moment in time where you felt like you were headed in the right direction?

Sydney Chasin 23:07

Yes. I’m trying to think there’s like been like, lots of moments. And I think just the way that we approach a lot of things is we like to crawl before we walk before we run. And it’s like in that like, always looking for like proof of concept. And I think like just the biggest moment of like, okay, we’re onto something here and it’s starting to pick up is when you get those customer messages that are like people all over the country that have just discovered your product and like that, like we’ve changed their lives, people who can’t eat corn, people who are avoiding things that are so excited by it, and I’m like, these aren’t people that know me. These aren’t people in my extended network through LinkedIn. This is like actual consumers in the marketplace are like, validating what we’re doing. And that’s that’s what the validation we need to keep moving forward and creating products for those people.

Diana Fryc 24:10

Can you think of any more moments kind of like the flip side of that question a little bit is Do you have any moments where you were like, Hmm, I wish we would have known that beforehand or that was a bad decision like anything that was pivotal I you know, I know that in starting a business because me and my business partner, we we run a business as well and you have those little moments, but every once in a while, you’ll have like, almost like an epiphany that was forced upon you based off of some interesting choices, as I like to say, but do you have any of those that you were like, Okay, if anybody can learn from this, this you know, anything like that to share?

Sydney Chasin 24:55

Yeah, I think that’s like it. I knew this going into it but still didn’t fully know it going into it was the cost of doing business in retail. And being very, very selective of who your retail partners are where you spend your trade spend, because it’s really attractive and exciting to have a new listing and have a new account and all of my products, this is great, but it’s not necessarily the right place. And you as a brand actually often take on more risk than the account. They do. Yes, distributor? Yes. And, you know, I think we’ve been in sticky situations with accounts that were not the right account, we were too early for that we spent a lot of money and trying to make something work. And it’s kind of like fitting a square peg into a round hole sometimes, yeah. And, you know, looking back on it, and so much of what we learned with mondelez, that this whole, challenging the status quo in route to market is like, we’re looking at a lot of different alternative channels, and how we actually like that and make sure that they are the right retail partner. And I suppose it’s like a good position to be in where we are turning down certain accounts, because we know that’s not right. But if I knew it before, but if I listened to it for a lot of money and a lot of headache. Yeah,

Diana Fryc 26:21

I think we were talking about this before the call about something completely different. But knowing something academically but then actually living it are two separate situations. And so you can go Yeah, sure, yeah, I need to go in with the right partners, blah, blah, blah, and then something happens. And then you’re like, Oh, that’s what that means.

Sydney Chasin 26:40

Now I get it. I get it. 10s of 1000s of dollars later,

Diana Fryc 26:45

yes. Are there do you? So you know, advice for startup small brands? What does that mean? When you say know what your right partners are? Do you have you identify them? Do you have a matrix that you use? Is it still somewhat of a gut instinct? talk about that a little bit?

Sydney Chasin 27:03

Yeah, so the way that we’ve like shifted our mindset and how we approach it is more on not necessarily the customer as in like this is an affluent neighborhood and there are lots of moms that have two children, things like that. We actually think of it as more as a stalking occasion. So is it a place that people go for that snacking occasion so we are not the snack that you’re going to put a big bowl of popcorn and chips out at your child’s birthday party with 20 children there were fifth of the size and that would be the messiest, most inconvenient product for a mother to put out. So a lot of times places that have majority what we would call a commodity set which is popcorn chips and pretzels and not much beyond that that’s not really where we’re going to do well okay our customer and consumer who loves our product is looking for something that they want to keep snacking on something that’s going to be low calorie not damaging to their health like to entertain their tastebuds and mouth it is not a meal replacement it’s not hold me over until then it’s like three o’clock in the afternoon and I got to keep pushing through work and I just want something to distract me or I want something like fun to like eat after dinner that’s not damaging to my health and it’s when we’re when we’re looking at different retail accounts and different channels it’s okay is that customer going there? If they are going there is this what they’re looking for and does the retailer have this type of snacking set where they have alternative snacks or gluten free set that also has snacks in it so you know I very transparently say to a lot of retail accounts that we talked to is this is not going to work everywhere. And like let’s discuss and think about like where this would go that it’s not popcorn replacement putting next popcorn like how can we get creative whether it’s check stand gluten free sets even like people use our product as a topping can it be in the ice cream aisle in a shelf rack things like that. So what helps especially you know, we don’t know every retailer in and out is are they a partner that’s willing to talk about things and get creative right and have some skin in the game and this is innovation and we are going to work together to make this work versus like a plug and play for another skew

Diana Fryc 29:37

of pop Yeah. Well and here’s the thing is retailers and distributors actually value that type of input because no buyer no merchandiser, no. No distributor is interested in bringing on a product that you as a brand owner know isn’t going to give them velocity, you are saving them a step and actually, by telling them if that you’re not a good fit for them become a more valuable brand in their minds, because then when you do come back and say, we’re ready for you now, they know that it’s time. And I think there’s a lot of learning to be done for that, on brands at all levels. Now, you know, when you’re a multinational, and you own the distribution chain, and the placement, it’s a little bit of a different story. But for the rest of the brands on the planet, that can’t pay to play, and have to be strategic about their placement and can’t do buybacks, etc, etc. being really honest with yourself or don’t want to do it and aggressive High, Low strategy or X, Y, and Z. And there’s a number of different ways to look at it. But being really honest with yourself about who your brand is, and isn’t, and what is going to work for you is so smart. It’s such good business. And I think it’s awesome that you’ve already crashed into that, like, that’s great learning to have early on. I know that sounds crazy, but it is a great learning to have early on. Yeah.

Sydney Chasin 31:05

And I think just like kind of like going back to like, crawl, walk and then run. Yeah, like, how can we make these mistakes? On the smallest level, and that costs us the least amount, right? And someone wants told me and I thought this is really funny, is the difference of raising $100 million, and $100,000 is you’re gonna make the same mistake and one’s gonna cost you $100,000. And one’s gonna cost you.

Diana Fryc 31:31

Absolutely, yep. Make make mistakes quickly. Yeah, we’re huge fans of that, like, do them iteratively Boom, boom, boom, like try something B, I think it really requires a little bit of maybe that’s the racecar driver side of you that is allows me to kind of go Okay, well, let’s do 2%. Now do 5% like, you know, yeah, because as a racecar driver, in order to be successful, you have to kind of test what you can do and what your machine can do. And that’s what you’re doing with your business. So I think that’s really brilliant insight to have So, so early on in your brand.

Sydney Chasin 32:08

And I know it’s uncomfortable to like i think it’s it’s actually painful and uncomfortable to like, yep, face those fast truths. Yeah. Where I see a lot of founder friends. And I’ve even done it in times of like, just keep pushing. And like, yeah, keeping pushing is not really the way and I’m actually reading a book right now called the dip. And it’s talking about like, Oh, no, did you read this? Have you read it?

Diana Fryc 32:33

No, I’ve heard of it, though. But it’s

Sydney Chasin 32:35

great. It’s like all these like fast learnings and this dip. And like the dip is like that we really have to push through. But in the dip, it’s figuring out when you quit. And when you keep going? Yes. And in like, each little like, small scenario that we’ve had of like, Okay, this accounts not working. When do we push through? When do we like quit the task at hand or quit what we’re doing, which is not a negative thing of like, failing, but it’s actually like, far better to like, stop the spending stop, you know, burning resources, both human and financial. Yep. And go on to the next thing.

Diana Fryc 33:09

Mm hmm. Yeah, agreed. And I think, especially for young brands, which, you know, your first five years are, when brands May, sometimes up to 10 years, it just depends on what kind of traction you get. But those first five years, I think the desire to win is so high that sometimes founder owners or brand owners are blind to the fact that there needs to be sometimes at times more kind of knocks on the chin than not in order to make sure that your course correcting, like wins don’t always equate to long term growth. Right.

Sydney Chasin 33:53

And I think, you know, with LinkedIn and social media, like, you know, I know there’s so much about body image on Instagram and things like that, but I think there’s founder image and it’s like, yeah, that’s really hard, where like, you know, I’m always making sure if I’m like speaking in something like this, that like we are, we have made mistakes, and like, it’s not a highlight reel all the time. And no, I think it’s really hard with like, on the note of wins, that looks like everybody’s winning all the time. And like, for every one win that we have, I think we’ve like fallen out of a tree. 10 times. Yeah, that’s,

Diana Fryc 34:27

that’s valuable. Thank you for sharing that. So on that note, whoa, what is your proudest moment so far? And it could be about your brand, it could be about you as a leader in the career that you’re driving.

Sydney Chasin 34:39

Yeah, I think the proudest moment I’ve had is like actually actually, like, right now with the team that I felt like I am very, very proud of the people I’ve surrounded myself with who I’ve recruited like, transparently have made data In the past, and that’s taken a lot of learning, especially being a pretty young founder, people a lot older than I am most of the time. And just like I’m proud of like what I’ve done to get there, and I’m also proud of them, and, you know, setting a lot of structure up in the company, even though we are a small team, there’s three of us on payroll, and we work with an amazing PR agency and, you know, other external partners, but really vetted them really built trust, and like, I’m so proud that like, I can be on a flight or I can be on vacation for a few days. And like, I have a company that can not entirely run itself, but like really run itself, it is not all on me. And yeah, and they are a force, like such remarkable people that I want to spend my days with you that are fun to be with. And so I can trust and just so brilliant, and one step ahead.

Diana Fryc 36:04

That’s awesome. That’s, that is also a testament to who you are, because at a brand as young as yours, you’re three, four years, three, almost four years, right?

Sydney Chasin 36:17

Three years, since we incorporated some kind of like properly started building it. Yeah.

Diana Fryc 36:21

Yeah, to be able to say that you can walk away from the business for a few days, I, I don’t know that I can do that. And we’ve I’ve my business partner, and I’ve been working together since 2006. So you know, part of that is I’m a workaholic. And I get a little pride in that. But other parts of that, I have not done a great job building my team and my system to be strong enough to operate when I’m not around. Now, of course, I’m going to school. So I’m really learning how to learning how to do that. But some people like yourself, have a kind of an instinctual leadership, understanding. And some of us have to, like learn it a different way. So I think that is something you should be proud of it really it says a lot about who you are. Yeah.

Sydney Chasin 37:10

And I think you know, it’s I think the reason why I am so proud of it is because it’s not always been that way. And like I naturally am a workaholic and have put like a lot of structure in my life. And making sure my team does not work all the time. Because at the end of the day, when I like look at things, what’s the biggest risk to the company right now? Sure, there’s risk exposure with distributors, yada, yada, yada, but is any one of us burning out? Yes. And that will cost the entire company? Yeah, if I don’t respond to someone in 24 hours. That’s not as bad as if all of us are out

Diana Fryc 37:51

for the count. Yeah, that is some really fierce Insightly, you really have the wisdom of somebody who’s been working in the industry for decades. Genuinely, if you’ve not heard that before, and I hope that you have but you genuinely do have wisdom that that a lot of people can learn from with, regardless of organizational size. It’s really wonderful to hear Yeah. So what’s next for Chasin’ Dreams Farm What’s next?

Sydney Chasin 38:26

I know it’s a mouthful. So the most immediate next for us is we are launching into food service. So I cannot say that we have a food by contract with compass group.

Diana Fryc 38:38

Oh, my goodness, that’s fantastic. super exciting. And

Sydney Chasin 38:41

we actually compass group reached out reached out to us January 2020. And then the world shut down. So this has been a long time. So really focusing on business and industry with the relaunch of offices coming in January, also colleges and universities. So that’s super exciting for us. And then the Pops are just the beginning. Like I said, we’re creating a brand platform. We do not want to be a one trick pony. Great starting to look at innovation beyond the Pops within the snacking category. Yeah, sticking to better for you and more fun for you.

Diana Fryc 39:15

Nice. I love it. I love it. Well, Sydney, I’m really enjoying our conversation. Our time is starting to wrap up and there’s some questions that I’d like to ask every guest. So I want to I want to roll into them. Is that okay? Let’s do it. All right. Tell me. Can you share a kind of an interesting fact about your products? Maybe something that people wouldn’t know about either sorghum or maybe the process of popping them that would be something that I could take to a little happy hour?

Sydney Chasin 39:51

Yes, with. This is always a fun fact. Okay, the hole doesn’t detach so it doesn’t get caught in your teeth. Oh,

Diana Fryc 39:59

okay. That’s That’s pretty awesome. I like that can you know saying you can eat them plain?

Sydney Chasin 40:06

I mean, technically you could it wouldn’t be very good. Are you saying to eat the Colonel’s plate?

Diana Fryc 40:11

Yeah, no, I mean, like pop with no flavoring on maybe butter or salt. You can eat them just like okay. Okay, because I think all the samples thank you that you sent our way all have like, had really yummy flavors to them. And I’m always curious what the product tastes like, kind of unadulterated.

Sydney Chasin 40:29

I guess I’m sure one other thing about the product through the process, which makes our product super unique is that we air pop the sorghum and then lightly coated with that super thin crunchy coating made out of tapioca syrup. You get like two layers of crunch. So love that it’s crunchy, and, you know, on its own, but it adds a little bit more complexity to

Diana Fryc 40:52

Mm hmm. So my next question is, are there any women leaders or rising stars out in our industry? Well, industry or not, that you’d like to elevate or simply admire for the work that they’re doing right now? And? And if so, who? Why? Like, what is it about them?

Sydney Chasin 41:12

I think one of our biggest inspirations is our investor, Kathleen King, the Founder of Tate’s bake shop. She is just an incredible person that has led with a female heart is so kind and gentle and beautiful soul. But also hugely intuitive. And it’s got a great business mind and like so inspired by like, just being a wonderful person while also being a wonderful business leader.

Diana Fryc 41:44

I love that. Okay, awesome. And then what brands or trends Do you have your eye on? And why outside of your own product category? Outside of ancient grains? Hmm, you could if you’ve got some other ancient grains that you got your eye on, I’m down with hearing with that as well.

Sydney Chasin 42:06

I think on the note of flavors, I think like we are always watching flavor trends and how we can take our product and combine it with that trend versus looking at another trend and another product and go gotcha. And there’s like definitely a lot of interesting trends in like, a lot of like spicy flavors, different types of spice.

Diana Fryc 42:29

Okay, okay. All right. Well, we have been talking with chit chit, honey, listen to me. What’s in my tea this morning? I like to know. Okay. Well, we’ve been talking with Sydney Chasin the Founder of Chasin’ Dreams Farm, Sydney, where can people learn more about you

Sydney Chasin 42:49

chasindreamsfarm.com and on Instagram at chasin_dreams_farm.

Diana Fryc 42:57

Love it. Well, Sydney, I want to thank you so much for your time today. And the work that you’re doing. I’m really excited about hearing more about sorghum and kind of elevating these ancient grains and kind of especially the regenerative component of it because I’m really deep into the environmental component of what food can be doing right now. I’m also excited to see what you guys tackle next. And I’m really glad that we got to connect today. So thank you again for the samples, our staff devoured them literally they were gone in an afternoon. If you didn’t hear from us, you’re hearing from me right now about that. Thank you. So thank you for your time and have a great rest of your day everyone. I’ll catch you next time.

Outro 43:42

Thanks so much. We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you haven’t already, be sure to click subscribe and share with your network. Until next time, be well and do Gooder.

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Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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