As you already know, my name is Jarod Steffes. I am just 24 years old and grew up in a small Iowa town of just 350 or so people. Growing up, I didn't think much of where I would go in life. Often thinking I'd just be a professional athlete like every kid. I played a lot of baseball and basketball growing up and was a phenomenal athlete. However, decided not to play college ball and attended Iowa State University to study business management.
And that's where my life would change...
After my freshmen year, I started a construction job in the summer and quickly realized this type of job wasn't for me. Quitting after just a month. That was when I realized I wanted to give working online a shot! After a week of quitting that construction job, I started building a new brand called Kanio. In this brand, we sold bracelets, anklets, and necklaces.. essentially sourcing products from China for around $0.15 a piece and selling them for $10-15 each online. Between my business partner and I, we quickly grew the brand to 6-figures and eventually sold the brand back in March of 2018. I invite you to read the full story by going here.
Through the process of building Kanio, I dropped out of Iowa State after my 1st semester into my sophomore year. And while I was building Kanio for a couple years, I started developing skill sets in web design, social media, Facebook Ads, email marketing, and so much more that I begin doing freelance web design and consulting. Eventually building and exiting out of a marketing agency. So over the last 4-5 years, I have development more than 100 websites & digital strategies for clients around the world.
These skill sets have allowed me to make a brand and living for myself. Exiting two companies in the mean time.
Today, I now continue doing freelance web design and consulting but have also started a new company. Meet Muddy Bites. Essentially, we sell the best damn part of a sundae-cone, that bottom tip filled with chocolate. What could be better? Growing up, I always loved this part of a sundae-cone. But thought, "why does no one make JUST this part?" That being said, I contacted my (now) partner Tyler DeVos who had previously built a BBQ sauce company and said, "Let's build this brand". He had the food experience, I had the digital experience. I knew we could build something magical. So in November of 2018, we started building the brand. First launching on Kickstarter in January of 2019 to validate our idea. After a quick 30 days, we hit our funding goal of $10,000 by raising $15,989 and got to producing our first batch of Muddy Bites! After customers received their pledges, we got instant and AMAZING FEEDBACK. So we continued to grow.
Fast forward to November 4th, 2019 we launched our online store at muddybites.com and did $22,581.75 on our first day of launching... We knew we could grow into something magical. We continued to grow month-over-month.. growing the team from just the founders to 40+ handcrafting Muddy Bites. We also played around with retail distribution from November (2019) to February (2020) getting into around 80 locations within Hy-Vee and 100 locations within 7-Eleven. And then... COVID-19 hit. We quickly got effected with our facility being located in Ames, IA (college town) and made the decision for safety to shut our doors for nearly 90 days.
We opened back up on June 11th and slowly but surely started getting our production line back up to speed. First, catching up on ALL the orders we received while we were shut down due to amazing customers. Without those customers, we may not have survived.
Today, we have brought back all of our staff, got caught up, and now taking orders again through our website as well as (finally) beginning our marketing efforts. We also have a day and night shift producing Muddy Bites by hand so we can keep up with the demand -- continuing to grow month-over-month. Our next step is to complete our funding round to move into automated machinery to grow into a domestic and international known brand.
Let the fun begin!