Every morning, I walk into Bandit HQ, set my backpack down (Jansport because that's the OG), and walk over to the refrigerator and grab a jar of Spoonful overnight oats. It's a ritual that I rely on to get my morning started off right. They're healthy, they're delicious, and they're created by a man we deeply admire: Bradley Gifford.
Without further ado, 5 questions...
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself…
A few things about me:
- I'm a lifelong Brooklynite, born and raised in Fort Greene with dreams of relocating to Denver, CO when the time comes to bring Spoonful to the rest of the world
- I'm the youngest of 3 with an adopted older sister (ironically, she came last ha)
- Fashion, art & architecture (just not gothic style), nonfiction literature, meditation, sports, and a touch of psychedelics make my world go 'round
- Currently reading: Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson
- Currently training for: The Speed Project and The Duke City Half
- Fun Fact: I've watched the last two seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race
- Before launching Spoonful I was a brand & social media marketer, and storytelling and community building have always been my jam
Background check complete! So, for those who don't know, can you explain what Spoonful is and why it's special?
Spoonful is a breakfast and snack food company that offers scientifically validated nutrition optimized for daily performance and immunity.
When it comes to most grab-and-go options you’re forced to choose between convenience, taste, and health. Spoonful strikes a balance between all three while taking a step out of your supplement routine with added doses of vitamins and probiotics for immunity and gut health.
No wonder I feel supercharged after I down one for breakfast. How'd you get the idea for Spoonful? What inspired you to create it?
I struggled with my weight a lot as a kid. I was always active, playing basketball day and night, but I could feel how poor nutrition habits affected my performance in all aspects of my life early in my college career. I made some changes one off-season and lost about 40lbs. That was the catalyst.
The tipping point occurred when I started working in the fitness industry and saw how common ingredients like “sodium phosphate,” “natural flavors” and “erythritol” were in foods being passed off as “healthy”.
I saw how many people were being fooled by the front of the label that they never bothered to read the back. I thought, “why can’t products do right by the customer and their body? How hard is it for products to follow through on their claims?"
It's funny because when I first had Spoonful, it was so good it was hard for me to believe it was also healthy. You're a magician.
In your return policy, you say, "When we fail, we want to know about it, learn from it, and improve." I love that and it's exactly how we think about product feedback.
How has iterating on the product to get it to where it is today been?
My biggest challenge early on was emotionally detaching from the product. After putting so much into the first iteration, it was hard not to conflate my self-worth with how the product was received. Once I overcame that mental hurdle, I became curious about what people wanted to see changed in the formula. People began to see how receptive I was to feedback which invited them to contribute and share their ideas even more. The product today results from the CPG operations and financial literacy knowledge I’ve gathered, paired with the feedback incorporated into our R&D process from June 2022 until now.
We've gone (and continue to go) through a similar process at Bandit, so I can definitely relate.
Also similar to our stories is how much the running community has embraced you. How has working within running been?
There are few communities around more powerful than the running community. I tell people this all the time.
Sashah Handal played a massive part in creating the first formula I used to launch with. Thai Richards was the first person to see the original container after the first labels were printed and was in the company's first shoot. When I made the first batch, I wanted to give runners a good energy source that wasn’t too hard on their digestive system. Supporting athletes in Bandit's "The PRogram" last year was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our 2022. The oats are cold-soaked because they’re easier on the eater's stomach and slowly digest to provide long-lasting energy. Even though the current product wasn’t available back then, knowing the oats were getting into the hands of athletes that needed it most was pretty gratifying.
It was a highlight for us as well. You're a runner yourself. How does the sport impact your experience as a founder?
Running allows me to be a more patient business person and keep the focus on the big picture. Someone told me yesterday, “in this game, you’d rather have fast quarters than slow dollars,” and I think the same applies to training. The idea of marginal gains resulting from consistent, well-intentioned action will outlast a splashy viral video or a hollow marketing campaign. After launching, I spent the early days often comparing what I had to other brands; their copywriting, website design, or influencers. Running reminds you that your goals are yours, just like in business. You know why you set them and that they are specific to your body, strengths, and weaknesses. You have to show up and execute your training plan every day. Some days you don’t feel like it. Some days it sucks, and it hurts. But the work adds up, and that’s how you win.
Fast quarters > Slow dollars. Love that. Any great customer stories yet? Or other things you want to talk about?
Recently, a hotel approached us to collaborate with them on a flavor. You all will be the first to know when it’s official.
Hell yeah. Book the penthouse suite for the flavor reveal party.
Thanks, Bradley! Try out Spoonful today.