On episode 53 I sit down with two 24 year old co-founders, Cassie Aran and Brandon Lucante. Yes TWO guests in ONE episode!
Do you own a start up? Are you managing other people? Do you have an itch to start a food service business? Learn what it takes to start something from scratch, and turn it into a successful brand with a loyal and supportive following. Live a year like no one else, so later you can live like no one else. On today’s episode, hear the behind the scenes story of how an up an coming New Jersey cookie delivery business, Cookie Munchers, found its start in the back of a bagel shop. Grit and determination don’t even begin to explain the founding couple, Cassie Aran and Brandon Lucante. Together they have been able to garner the support of thousands through documenting their journey in complete transparency on YouTube. Their product is amazing, but what they aim to accomplish long term is nothing short of spectacular.
More about Cassie and Brandon: These enthusiastic founders were born and raised in New Jersey. They are documenting the start up of their business, Cookie Munchers. From the very beginning, to present day. They recently moved to Tampa, Florida to start their second location which is planned to launch in December.
Brandon and Cassie graduated college in May 2016 and were living in a car when they started a late night cookie delivery service in Glassboro, NJ on the campus of Rowen University. Using the kitchen of a local bagel shop in their off hours to get their start, their business is now thriving. Their first storefront launched in September 2017 and they are moving fast to build this business and create a franchise model. One of the most unique things about their journey is that they are an open book on YouTube where they have been sharing and documenting their journey since day one. This type of “video journaling” also known as vlogging, is an entertaining documentary of their journey as entrepreneurs, and has rarely been seen before. Listen Now.
Favorite Success Quote
“Entrepreneurship is living one year of your life the way most people won’t, so you can live the rest of your life the way most people can’t.“
1. Be Willing To Sacrifice Comfort
Assess what you truly need. If you are launching a start up, you need to minimize every possible expense. Be willing to live incredibly small in certain areas. It is important to live frugally as this not only frees up cash for your new business, but it also increased your hunger. You want to increase the velocity of your business’ growth. Do not worry about new clothes, a nice house, and a new car you have to make payments on. Focus on how bad you want your business to grow. Cassie and Brandon lived in their car for about a month and a half in the beginning stages of their business. After that they moved into a college house sun room which was shared with over 5 other roommates.
2. Accept Help
When you are in the launch phase, a few people will see your stress and offer assistance. This is a gift you should appreciate. Accept help if it feels right in your gut. Friends, family, and even customers are incredibly generous and want to see you win. Brandon and Cassie experienced customers offering help after their first night open. Do not fight help, be willing to acknowledge your need for others’ help, and realize it will benefit you and your business.
3. The Pain of Entrepreneurship, Or The Pain of The Societal “9-5”
We all have a choice. You can decide which path in life you want to take career wise. If you chose to become a business owner, you will face long hours, you will have to be incredibly resourceful, you have to have thick skin, and you must be willing to maintain a relentless positive outlook and attitude. This is hard. It is not easy. Most entrepreneurs work over 60 hour weeks, every week. A 40 hour work week that society has trained us for, can quickly become mundane. This is an unfortunate reality most people accept day in and day out. This has many benefits, but it is more of a stagnant option verses entrepreneurship. You must chose which hard you want to accept. Entrepreneurship is ruthless and can be merciless. Their is no easy way “out”, nor any way to “beat the system”. Whichever choice you make, you will face adversity and hardships. Cassie and Brandon talk about relishing in the thrill of their business’s journey including the never ending progress. Daily faced with new challenges, they have a chance to solve a new problem and express themselves.
4. Create A Healthy Culture And Build A Thriving Team, Quickly!
If you own a business with employees, the hiring process and finding the right people is an intimidating process. Find people who share your business’ passion. Hire only winners. Talk to them. Get to know them. Do not hire people with negative attitudes, no matter how talented they may be. Company culture is incredibly important and will effect the bottom line, every time. Cassie and Brandon brag on their skilled team and how much they appreciate each and every person. They love their employees and treat them with respect every step of the way. Cassie and Brandon reached out on Facebook as a young company. They created hype and excitement around the newness of their business. They posted on Facebook saying, “Hey! Cookie Munchers is this new thing! Come and be a part of this awesome new startup. Since we’re so young and a new company you’ll have a large impact on the direction of the business!”
5. Want To Grow? You HAVE To Delegate. It’s A Non-option
Many business owners wait years before deciding to trust others and delegate. This stunts growth. Use your gut and be able to trust others. Talk to them. Get to know them. Make sure you hire someone you believe you can trust. Trust yourself to trust other people. If you do not delegate, there’s no room for progressions because there will be no room for other stuff to get done. It is vital to delegate so you can free up your time to do other things.
Heart Healthy Hustle Round
Heart: What activity do you use to care for and strengthen your internal character? Cassie enjoys clearing her mind with swimming. Brandon enjoys finding music that connects with his values and beliefs. He enjoys using music to get into a good head space and get in the zone.
Health: How do you maintain your physical health and avoid burn out?
Cassie makes her to do list the night before. That way when she wakes up, her mind is a lot less stressed by using a very set to-do list. Cassie and Brandon always make it a point to separate their business from their relationship as much as possible. A couple times a day, they take a pause to spend time together having fun. For example, they may take a quick bike ride or even watching an episode of “The Profit” with Marcus Lemonis.
Hustle: What’s your main motivation for doing what you do? Why is it non-optional to hustle to the max of your potential?
Cassie wants to be able to fund the lifestyle that she dreams of living. Not driven by money, but by all the things she wants to do that need financial backing. She is also driven by the business growth and seeing it succeed. The drive of building something pushes you to keep going on its own, assuming you start a business that you’re passionate about.
Brandon agrees with Cassie and adds that he wants to look back on his life and know that the world is a better place because he was here. He aims to use Cookie Munchers as be a stepping stone that will take them to the next level. Cookie Munchers and the path they are on is hopefully going to lead them to what their purpose is.
If You Could Say One Thing To Your Fellow Entrepreneur, What Would That Be?
Brandon: “If all you look at are the things you don’t have, you fail to see the tools you HAVE to create them. We have ONE life, and a finite amount of time to make something of it. Build your reality, and don’t be afraid to dream big.”
Cassie: “Number one, be fearless. Surround yourself with other people who are going to encourage you and push you and see the bigger picture. I think that’s really really important. After college, everyone told me “don’t do it”. Do it anyway. Not everyone can do that so it’s really important to surround yourself with people who will keep encouraging you and not tear you down.”
Connect with Cassie & Brandon
Facebook: Cassie & Brandon
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Order here: rucookiemunchers.com