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How to Land Major Distributors Like Whole Foods by Hustling Door to Door, with Adam Jones of Peloton

Adam was starting to photograph celebrities for major magazines, when he decided to quit his job and move back home to Pennsylvania to start a cold brew coffee business with his brother. It wasn’t hard for him to figure out where to start. Over the years as a photographer he got to know almost every small retailer in his home town. Instead of sending out emails to see if any business owners were interested in the new cold brew coffee he was developing, he quickly put together some samples with his brother and hit the road.

That day he visited 30 stores. Out of those, 26 agreed to put his product on their shelves. Stories like this are typical of many entrepreneurs that operate under one simple principle – failure is not an option. That’s not to say that failure isn’t possible, or that the path to growth isn’t fraught with obstacles, challenges, rejections, and mistakes. It simply means that once you set your eyes on a goal, you’ll do nearly anything to try to attain it.

In this episode Adam shares how he discovered and developed a passion for what he once hated – coffee, and the steps he took in the early days to land major distributors like Whole Foods. We also learn how him and his brother started attracting major seed investors to source and launch a new product called Cascara Tea, breaking down exactly how the team is investing the money to grow this new product line.

If you’re interested in following Drink Peloton’s journey, Adam shares his daily entrepreneurial stories live on Instagram @drinkpeloton

Show Notes

  • 2:45 How Adam and David decided to start a beverage business with no experience in the industry
  • 3:29 Learning how to make cold brew coffee at home while working as a photographer
  • 4:08 Getting support and inspiration to start a business from his roommate
  • 4:50 Moving home, partnering with his brother, and starting a drink company
  • 5:05 Selling into 26 local business accounts in the first day
  • 5:20 How Adam closed deals on the spot
  • 6:17 Closing a local Whole Foods in the first few months
  • 6:52 Owning distribution, and closing 27 Whole Foods stores one by one by meeting the dairy buyers
  • 8:20 How they dealt with distributors what complained about the product not being cold enough upon delivery
  • 8:50 Deciding to innovate and expand the product line due to the massive number of new competitors in the cold brew coffee space
  • 9:15 Sourcing Cascara tea directly from Honduran farmers
  • 10:30 Why Adam decided to quit a lucrative photography career to start this business
  • 11:25 Understanding that passions can be discovered and developed
  • 13:20 How the brothers are hustling this new product
  • 13:26 Convincing investors of the vision for their product
  • 13:36 How Adam got introduced to new investors, bringing them on after just one meeting
  • 14:30 Closing their first half a million dollar seed round
  • 15:05 Same work, different scale - how the brothers are going distributor to distributor instead of door to door
  • 15:27 Growing and hiring a specialized sales and marketing team
  • 17:08 Why you should start small with less money, instead of a lot of investor money
  • 18:00 Sergei's recent article on Goalcast about starting small with no money - https://www.goalcast.com/2018/04/11/why-its-actually-better-to-have-no-money-when-starting-a-business/
  • 20:00 The Three Doors theory of getting opportunities (or getting your foot in the door)
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