In Conversation with Laurel Orley of Daily Crunch Snacks

Lauren Orley_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Daily Crunch Snacks is a new, award winning, new, uniquely crunchy, sprouted nut snack that’s KETO, non-GMO certified, Vegan certified and Paleo. Through a 4 day multi-step process, our almonds are soaked in purified water, activating germination, or “sprouting,” and then dehydrated. The result: a Uniquely CrunchyTM nut snack that is easier to digest and more nutrient dense than the traditional roasted nut snack.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

After working 13 years at Mindshare on the Unilever business, I found myself loving the consumer-packaged goods world, but wanting to work for a brand I could create from the ground up. While on maternity leave, I kept finding myself reflecting on how I was so inspired by Diane’s (my aunt) snacks and their differentiating factor in the marketplace. I then joined my aunt, and founder of Diane’s Snacks, Diane Orley, to launch Daily Crunch Snacks. When I called her I said ‘I know this is going to sound crazy, but do you want to make your nuts mainstream?’. She said she’s been looking for a sign (and I was the sign) and the rest is history!

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Prior to owning my own business, I worked in the corporate world in media and advertising on accounts such as Diageo, Hasbro and Unilever.  While at Unilever, I worked on flagship billion dollar brands such as the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and Hellman’s, Lipton Tea and the Suave portfolio.  In the 2012 listing of the Adweek 50 “people who make the machinery of media, marketing and technology hum”, I was ranked #20 where Adweek stated ‘She’s like a Velcro wall for Unilever—most everything related to the account sticks to her.”  In 2013, I was a Teacher’s Assistant for the Executive MBA Program at Columbia University where she taught a channel architecture course.   Unilever and being a TA grounded me to understand that any brand, big or small still has to go through a process.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Not at all. My husband is an entrepreneur and I never understood why he would want to work for himself! It wasn’t until I had children and was in my mid-30’s that I started to reconsider that. I wanted more flexibility and to build something from the ground up. There are a lot of risks to being an entrepreneur but it’s extremely rewarding. 

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

After more than a year in the pre-launch phase, we were finally ready to start selling Daily Crunch. Our go-to-launch strategy was to go big in Nashville and Detroit, where Diane and I are based, before expanding nationally. We launched in the beginning of the pandemic so needed to shift our strategy to more online retailers and Amazon vs grocery stores. This definitely set us back but we started to get PR and then Amazon began to grow month after month. We recently started working with a distributor and are now in 400+ grocery stores around the country.  We will be launching into our 1st major grocery store in April.  One thing to note is the NOT rush the pre-launch phase. Packaging of your product and creating a brand identity are imperative before you launch. Make sure you go through all the steps no matter how big or small your company is (ie consumer insights, competitive research, understanding your target, etc).

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Recently I hired a Public Relations person without doing a background check, only to find out she scams small businesses. Luckily I paid her via credit card and got my money back but this is a reminder that you always have to get references!

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

From a work perspective, it’s getting the Good Housekeeping Best Snack Award last year. We had a call with Hearst and had NO idea what the call was going to be about, we thought it was for an article. After giving our story, they told us we were going to be included in the list and it was an amazing moment. It’s one thing to have friends and family believe in your brand, but another to get the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval because they love that you stand for.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

We are very fortunate to live near an incredible University where we have MBA students interning on our team. I always ask them what their favorite snacks are since after all we are a snack company

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We had to shift our strategy to online vs in-store. 

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We will be getting into our 1st major grocery store later this spring, which I’m SO excited about. We will also be in Urban Outfitters beauty and wellness section this spring

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

With being an entrepreneur, things go a lot slower than expected. There is a reason why people say ‘don’t quit your day job’ until you get up and running.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

This year has been a roller coaster but what’s grounded me are family, friendships and really starting this business. It’s kept me focused and grounded even though we are in the middle of a pandemic.  Renting an RV and driving to Yosemite this past summer was incredible and also helped me reset/stay grounded. 

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I think work/life balance is a very personal decision with what’s right for you and your family. My best tip is to own where you are and not to pretend that you can do everything. Sometimes I pick up my kids first from the carline and sometimes last. It’s OK to leave work at 5pm to pick up your child from daycare and not feel guilty about it. And if work is still giving you a hard time, maybe it’s not the right company for you.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve been told since I was 13 years old that I look like Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m not 40 and moving to Nashville from NYC 6 years ago where people here still tell me I look like Sarah Jessica Parker! So excited for the re-boot!

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Remember it’s ALWAYS going to be 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Don’t let this get you discouraged. 
  • Not every day is going to be a ‘win’. 
  • A lot of people are going to say NO and that’s OK, keep on going until you get a yes! 

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means I get to write my own story. I look at it as an adventure and try not to take it too seriously

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





How to achieve a life of financial freedom with Alisha Pennington of ATvantage Athletic Training

Describe your business in a few words? Empowering, Dynamic, and Comprehensive. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been a business owner in a very niche industry (athletic training) for almost 10 years, so I have experienced the freedom and flexibility that comes with being a business owner. My…

How Jenny Strebe used positive affirmations and crystal healing to create her modern haircare brand AIIR Professional

Describe AIIR Professional in a few words? A modern haircare brand that is focused on well being through positive affirmations & crystal healing. What made you take the leap to start your own business? As I was driving every aspect of my stylist business and social media facets, the peace and relief I found in…

How FLyQuest CEO Tricia Sugita is using the esport platform to affect real change and make people happy

Describe your business in a few words? FlyQuest is an esports organization competing in the franchised League of Legends League Championship Series (LCS). What made you take the leap to help transform FlyQuest into the organization it is today? One of my primary goals throughout my career in esports has been to create a community…

Lauren Montgomery, founder of Monty’s, on making simplicity the new sophistication through her line of plant-based dairy products

Describe your business in a few words? Monty’s makes clean and craveable plant-Based essentials like cream cheese and butter that nourish your mind & body. With simplicity and nutrition at the core of the brand, Monty’s selection of cream cheeses and butter are made from real-food ingredients and crafted using time-honored techniques like fermentation. What…

How Maradith Frenkel turned bamboo into pajamas for the whole family with Little Sleepies

Describe Little Sleepies in a few words? We make buttery soft bamboo sleepwear that your whole family will love. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I saw a white space in the market after I had my son. I absolutely could not find a sleeper that checked all of the…

Erin Coles couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for in a band for her wedding so she launched her own — The Metropolitan Players

Describe your business in a few words? The Metropolitan Players is a wedding band collective based out of NYC – so we provide incredible music for weddings! What made you take the leap to start your own business? When my husband and I were planning our own wedding, we couldn’t find exactly what we were…

Azora Zoe Paknad on creating a new entry point to sustainability with Goldune

Describe Goldune in a few words? We make sustainability less beige! What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was into the sustainability world, personally and professionally, but I didn’t see myself in any of the dominant narratives I saw on Instagram or online in general. On one end of the…

Elisa Marshall on creating warm, French-inspired spaces with Maman, a collection of NYC-based cafés and venues

Describe your business in a few words? Maman is a New York City-based collection of cafés and event venues, offering family inspired recipes with French influences in a warm and welcoming home like environment  What made you take the leap to start your own business? Before I opened Maman, I had many passions and there…

Kim Hehir, co-founder of Brutus Broth, on enhancing your dog’s health through specially formulated bone broth

Describe your business in a few words? Brutus Broth is the latest innovation in pet health, made with human-grade bone broth that has been specially formulated to enhance any dog’s existing diet by adding beneficial nutrients, amino acids, and joint protecting supplements. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Sue’s dog…

How a lack of female empowerment in the real estate industry lead Marina Shiferman to create her business, The Real Estate Academy

Describe your business in a few words? I teach women how to buy and own real estate correctly so they can be the bad ass queens of their own lives. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was a realtor for 10 years, I loved it but something was missing.…

Carla Olivia on revolutionizing the beauty bar experience with DashBar

Describe your business in a few words? DashBar is beauty made efficient! We are one stop beauty and wellness for the modern woman. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been an entrepreneur since I was 22 years old. I started my first business because a great opportunity was…

Christina Matteucci (a.k.a TeucciMama) on her 19-year tenure as the ultimate Number Two

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Christina Matteucci, Executive Director of David Beahm Experiences and proud “Number Two” to celebrity event designer David Beahm. I’ve produced legendary soirées all around the globe, but it’s my unique, 19-year tenure as the ultimate Number Two that qualifies me as a sought-after speaker and coach. In…

Niki Shadrow Snyder on coining the term “givefluencer” and making an impact with the Project Pop Drop foundation

Describe your business in a few words? My husband and I started the idea for the Project Pop Drop foundation on our first date. Our business sponsors a monthly drop off at a different homeless shelter each month. We spearhead these donation events with our children, and with local businesses and schools. We call this…

How Natasha Case of Coolhaus is disrupting the dessert space with cutting-edge ice cream creations

Describe Coolhaus in a few words? We are an innovative dessert company, specializing (for the time being) in ice cream/ice cream novelties. We are known for thinking outside the box, super unique partnerships, a truly cutting-edge brand identity and an inventive way of entering the marketplace with our trucks, brick and mortars, and now national…

How Jennifer Jolorte Doro used strategic partnerships to build Nouri from the ground up

Describe Nouri in a few words? Supporting people to feel their best. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I wanted something of my own. I’ve worked for many successful entrepreneurs and I knew I could do “it” my way and really enjoy it. What was your background prior to starting…