Creativity and Hustle Created Bantam Bagels Part I
by Tim Healy
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Creativity and Hustle Created Bantam Bagels
Creativity and hustle are necessary ingredients for any business to succeed. My guests – husband and wife duo – Nick and Elyse Oleksak the founders of the Bantam Bagel realized that there was a huge unmet need on how to satisfy people’s bagel craving without the guilt.
It began with a dream Nick had about stuffed bagels. Nick and Elyse knew they were on to something and began testing flavors and varieties. Without any culinary experience the Oleksak’s developed a bite size bagel stuffed with delicious flavored cream cheeses. The ultimate comfort food was reinvented and Bantam Bagels was born.
Hustle saves the day for Bantam Bagels!
When Bantam Bagels was 4 months old QVC came knocking with an order for 30,000 bagels. The catch – they needed the bagels in 2 weeks. Until that point the most they made in 1 day was 1,000 bagels. Without hesitating they told the buyer YES. In actuality they had no idea how they were going to fill an order that size. They needed to apply some real creativity and hustle.
Elyse’s mindset was, “Say yes and then figure it out!” They started to run the ovens 24 hours a day and squeezed 5 more freezers into their tiny shop basement. Nick and Elyse felt that as long as they applied massive amounts of hustle no problem was too big.
Two weeks after QVC placed the order they went on TV and sold out in 5 minutes!!! Looking back they both realize that “Saying yes and then figuring it out” with QVC was their catalyst for success.
Creativity and Hustle Put to the Test – Shark Tank
When Nick and Elyse decided it was time to “Pitch the Sharks” on Shark Tank they prepared harder than they had for anything else in their lives. They knew their financials and researched every question ever asked of a contestant. The couple planned which deals they would and would not take depending on which Shark it came from. They even created a system of secret signals so as not to reveal their strategy to the Sharks.
They won a $275,000 investment for 25% of the business from Lori Greiner. That national exposure helped the couple sell their bagels across the country and now they are in 9,000 retailers including Starbucks.
The story of Nick and Elyse is a great reminder to all entrepreneurs that creativity and hustle are two of the most important ingredients to success. Whether they were saying yes to QVC or going face to face with the Sharks, an unwavering belief in themselves and their bagels made all the difference.
Listen to other great entrepreneur’s stories on the Profit Express Podcast to find your path to success!!!
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