The start-up road for Gnarwhal has been an interesting ride thus far, as one can imagine, there have been ups and downs. We are about 5 months in now and the consistent theme I have noticed is every time we have a day filled with success or accomplishment, it is generally counter-acted by a plethora of bumps and bruises. For example, on the same day that we received our first order from our distribution partner, Liquid Life in Hawthorne, CA, I also received a call from my sister informing me there is something up with our Baja Brew. After some back and forth, she sent me a video showing the Baja Brew coagulating and forming a gelatinous texture at the bottom of the pour and what appeared to be some mild fermentation. It occurred to me, since we are not using any preservatives and only organic ingredients, there was some work to be done on the Baja Brew to ensure shelf life is stable.

I think most people around me were relatively surprised at how calm the team and I were regarding this news. In some ways, it felt like a relief since it was my sister letting us know and not a major retailer or our new distributor. All these little hiccups that arise daily have become enjoyable for us because we are approaching the situation as a path to a solution, rather than an end all be all.  We have been noticing how much quicker and easier the challenges are overcome. Compartmentalizing our challenges or problems has a negative connotation today and even major Psychology published works identify compartmentalization as a ‘defense mechanism.’ However, this is the exact tactic that has helped us improve efficiency, deal with adversity and ultimately become nimbler as an organization. We compartmentalize our tasks for the day, week, month and year and it has proven a great approach. We are a very small team with a small budget but we are still able to produce cutting edge content daily, fulfill our e-commerce orders, drive sales and albeit reluctantly… keep current on our accounting. I understand there are times when compartmentalizing may be a detriment emotionally or when dealing with major personal issues but I think it can offer a highly effective strategy for start-up operations.

So, all in all, the lesson that resonates with me most at month five is that the little things can be emotionally taxing but when you look at them as ‘little things’ it all seems a bit clearer. Hope you are all enjoying Gnarwhal coffee every morning and I look forward to sharing more updates. For now, it’s on the start-up road again…

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