Have you ever wondered how you can create a product that helps bring people together? In this episode, Camille welcomes Jason McGowan, the CEO and co-founder of Crumbl Cookies, the fastest-growing U.S. cookie company with over 800-plus bakeries in 50 states and in Canada.

Jason shares how he and Sawyer Hemsley created their best-selling chocolate chip cookies and how their product has helped families and friends bond together. He also shares how you can deal with challenges and successes in entrepreneurship and family and how to turn the negative challenges into positive results.

If you’re interested in making your own product or service that helps others, tune into this episode to hear Jason’s advice on how you too can create a product that can bring family and friends together.

Resources:

 

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Looking for one on one coaching to grow your team, reach your goals, and find the right life balance. Grab a free discovery call with Camille: www.calendly.com/callmeceopodcast/discovery-call-with-camille

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids: www.amazon.com/How-Full-Your-Bucket-Kids/dp/1595620

 

 

Connect with Crumbl Cookies:

Follow Crumbl Cookies on Facebook: www.facebook.com/crumblcookies

Follow Crumbl Cookies on Instagram: www.instagram.com/crumblcookies

Follow Crumbl Cookies on TikTok: www.tiktok.com/@crumblcookies

Follow Crumbl Cookies on YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/CrumblCookies

Follow Crumbl Cookies on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/crumblcookies

Visit their website: www.crumblcookies.com

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JASON MCGOWAN [00:00]

I've met a lot of people in my career who only cared about money. And they end up with nothing. And there's a lot of people who care about doing a service for other people or creating a product for other people. And those are the people that seem to succeed because at the end of the day, money is just an exchange for a product or a service or something that someone has done to benefit you.

[MUSIC]

CAMILLE WALKER [00:28]

So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.

[MUSIC]

Hey, everyone. I'm so excited for you to listen to this episode. Today, we're listening to Jason McGowan, who is the co-founder and creator of Crumbl Cookies, which has arguably the best chocolate chip cookie ever. They change their recipes and menus every week, and we're going to hear about his story, how a couple of young fathers came up with an idea of selling the best cookie, and it transformed into a massively successful business. Can't wait for you to hear his story.

If you haven't yet, please make sure that you are subscribed, so you never miss an episode. And also, any rating or review always helps this show to grow and help other entrepreneurs find our show as well. Thank you so much.

[MUSIC]

Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker, and I share stories of mothers building businesses. Now, every once in a while we get a special visitor, and today is that exception. I have Jason McGowan on the line with us today on the show. And he is the co-owner, co-founder of Crumbl Cookies. If you do not know it, you will want to know it because it's one of the sweetest experiences you'll ever have.

And what was even more sweet in that experience was being able to meet him in person at the Ernst & Young Award event and conference that he actually won Entrepreneur of the Year, which was absolutely incredible. We were sitting next to each other. And he represents Utah. So, Paul and I were screaming and jumping. I even filmed some behind the scenes video. But the story of the Crumbl Company and how it all came together is so inspiring to me. And I am just honored and so excited for you all to hear his story as well. So, Jason, thank you so much for being on the show today.

JASON [02:42]

Thank you, Camille, so much for having me. I look forward to visiting with you today.

CAMILLE [02:45]

Yeah. So, this story, I love that there are some connections that I have personally with the roots of your story because you founded it in Logan, Utah, and I think you're a graduate of Utah State. Is that right?

JASON [02:59]

No, my business partner is.

CAMILLE [03:01]

Your business partner is.

JASON [03:02]

Yeah. Sawyer Hemsley is, and he is a true and true Aggie. So, he graduated from there and was a big part of Utah State. And that's where we did our first location was in Utah, right close to Utah State there in Logan, Utah.

CAMILLE [03:21]

Yeah, okay. So, about half of the listeners that listen to this show are in Utah, half of them are not. However, those half that know Logan, know that they're traditionally known for their ice cream, the Aggie Ice Cream. It's a farming town, there's lots of cows, this ice cream is amazing. But I tell you, we were missing a good cookie up there.

I actually graduated from Utah State. And I love that that's where you first started and launched the business because that was not necessarily your background or your passion. It's funny how you stumbled into the story of building this business. So, please introduce yourself, how this all came about, and how you became the cookie guy, which you never thought you'd wear that title.

JASON [04:05]

No, I never thought I'd been called that title my whole life. Here we are today. And I love every little bit about it. Crumbl started in 2017 with me and my business partner, Sawyer. Again, he was going to Utah State, and I was working at a tech company, and we both got together and thought let's do something fun. And it was really truly just a side project and something that we were going to do for fun.

When we first got started, ee got a building, and the building that we got was rundown. And it was so rundown that it was set to be demolished in six months. And so, it tells you how much faith we had in the business back in the day. And really not necessarily faith, but it was just an idea, and it was something we were doing for fun.

And so, we started this business, and we started buying equipment and all these other things, which is backwards in business. You should have the product first, and then buy all the equipment and everything. So, we did a lot of things backward. Don't take advice on that part.

But we got together, we really wanted to do something fun with cookies. And we started buying the equipment, we started making dough. And we realized quickly we had no idea what we were doing. So, although our family loves treats, loves sweets, our families bake a lot. Sawyer and I personally had little to no experience in this.

But one thing we did have is tenacity, hard work, and a desire and a passion just to do whatever was best. And if it was going to have our name on it, we wanted to make it the best. And so, originally, we were going and we were doing all kinds of things with dough and trying to figure out, is this going to work? Is that going to work? And it just was trial and error, trial and error.

And I come from the software world. And in the software world, you do something called A/B testing. Now, in the baking world, we call that taste testing, right? So, we wanted to taste test our way to the perfect chocolate chip cookie. So, rather than be like, hey, what's Sawyer's opinion, or what's my opinion of the world's best chocolate chip cookie? What is the customer's opinion of the best chocolate chip cookie?

And so, that got us on a path of going into random gas stations and grocery stores and talking with family. And what we would do is we take this cookie and these two recipes, and we change out one ingredient. And we'd ask a few people, "Do you like this one more, or do you like that one more?" And then, they would just give us feedback.

The biggest blowup we ever had on this whole experience, though, was when Sawyer and I were fighting about semi-sweet and chocolate chip. It is still a battle that rages on today. Those words are words that we use in our conference rooms today. But, yeah, semi-sweet milk chocolate is the ultimate battle. Of course, I'm a semi-sweet, huge fan. Sawyer loves milk chocolate chip. We polled the audience and everything. And it was a winner at milk chocolate chip. So, that's how we started off.

And when we started our first location, we only had one cookie. We actually only had time to do one cookie. And, again, there was a time clock in the building because it was set to be demolished. So, we're like, we got to launch sometime. And so, we launched, and we had one cookie. It was a chocolate chip cookie. And I remember opening the doors, we had an older man with a plaid shirt come in. And he's like, "I'm here to buy a box of cookies." And he bought a box of four cookies, he handed over some money. And I'm like, "People are going to pay us for this? We just made these cookies." This was so exciting.

And it was such an exciting time of the company, we opened the doors. And ever since then, we've had lines at our doors. And it's been a roller coaster ever since. But that's the origin story and how we got started with Crumbl Cookies.

CAMILLE [07:33]

That's amazing. I think that it's really interesting that the driving factor was fun. I think that many of us, many entrepreneurs are distractible in that way where we think what's fun? What's fun? What's that new, shiny thing? But what's really neat about it is that you were able to really hone in on it and give yourself a timestamp of let's see if this goes. And if it doesn't, then okay. You're not so emotionally wrapped up in it. So, at what point in the journey were you thinking, oh, this is a yes? This just went from this is a fun idea to this could be legitimate and what's happening?

JASON [08:13]

That's a great question. We went through stages of emotion, I'll say. So, the first one was like, wow, this is busier than we thought it would be. We're either going to make this a real business and do a bigger store and launch another location. And so, we got to that next phase of, okay, let's focus 100% on this. This could be something that's special, not in the grand scheme of how we have it today, but just something special that could provide for our families and be something that was great.

And so, we opened up in Orem. There's a location in Orem, and we started getting a little bit bigger. And then, when we did that, one of our family members who was originally going to be not with us in the very beginning, was like, "Wait, this is getting popular. I should have joined you earlier. I didn't join you. Please let me join."

So, that's how the franchising model got started. And we opened up a couple of franchise locations. And so, once we had a few locations that were franchisable that were open, and it was open here, the real next fear was, is it going to work outside Utah? If I had $1, for every time someone said, "This is only a Utah concept, it's never going to work outside of Utah. Only people in Utah like sweets."

If you actually think about it, it's actually crazy when you think about that, only Utahns like sugar, no. But anyways, at the time, you have all these fears. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs have fears of what if, or is that not going to work, or I have my name on this, what if this fails? And so, you have a lot of those fears naturally as an entrepreneur.

And so, as we went out of the state and did a few more stores and watching the sales continue to grow and get bigger as we went to outside the state, there was a feeling inside that was like, okay, we've dabbled, we've opened up some locations for family members. This can now be really, really big.

And that really changed our entire mindset of, okay, how do we optimize this business to grow, to scale, and to win over the hearts and minds of the whole entire nation? And that moment was when really decisions were made, how we grew, all those kinds of things started filtering for that moment there.

CAMILLE [10:21]

I love that your mission statement is all about bringing friends and family together. I know that that's a big piece of who you are. And even your acceptance speech, I was really impressed by where you gave credit to Heavenly Father, and that it was very much just it's so heartfelt. And the purpose behind it isn't just the dollar signs.

What I wanted to ask you is, where were you in terms of months and years in that place of doing that? And how have you seen that part of your business grow because of that purpose?

JASON [10:58]

Yeah, I think that's everything. Camille, I think at the end of the day, what matters is what you contribute to society and what you do with your family. And I firmly believe that no big success can compensate for failure in the home either. And so, for me, it's all about bringing people together, it's about bringing family together.

We live in times now where everything's distraction, everything is contentious. And for me about cookies, it brings people together, put smiles on your face. I'll never forget when my daughter came to our first Crumbl. And she came in, I had had other successes in my life. But she came into this Crumbl, and she was like, "Dad, you own a cookie store?"

And I remember how it brought my family together and how exciting that was. And that's when we said, okay, this is so much more. Cookies are great, the flavors are great, the rotating menu is fun. There's a lot of things that we can do. But what are we doing at the end of the day? How are we enhancing our birthdays? How are we enhancing date nights? How are we enhancing bringing families together on the weekend? How are we enhancing friends getting together? How are we enhancing a nasty breakup, right? All those things. How are we bringing people together? And how are we creating meaningful moments with those who matter most?

And I think that is really about core to who we are and our mission of that purpose. Even at work, last year, we brought all of our employees and said, "We're not going to work on Fridays for the entire summer, because we want you to go spend time with your friends and family." We paid them to go on vacations.

And these are just all small examples of things that we're trying to do to live and believe in what we're trying to stand for here. And it's been hard and challenging at times, but at the end of the day, by following those things and bringing people together and putting your faith first and your family first and caring about other people first, a lot of these things come to you.

I've met a lot of people in my career who only cared about money. And they end up with nothing. And there's a lot of people who care about doing a service for other people or creating a product for other people. And those are the people that seem to succeed. Because at the end of the day, money is just an exchange for a product or a service or something that someone has done to benefit you.

And so, if you're focused solely on benefiting others or helping others, that stuff just eventually will come. And so, for us, that's really what's driven me and motivated me every day to get up and the hard times or frustrations or when we make mistakes and our franchise partners are frustrated or I make mistakes and my employees get frustrated or same with customers when they get frustrated because we didn't have the right cookie or we changed the recipe and maybe we shouldn't have. So, there's all these things that happen. But at the end of the day, your core belief and your core of who you are and what you're trying to accomplish is so much more motivating, inspiring and what drives us all to get up every day and do it all over again.

CAMILLE [14:00]

Yeah. I can attest to that. It's been a fun way to connect with people that are in other parts of the country, a friend that's had a baby or someone that's been sick or different things that come up like that, I think it's a really fun, innovative, deliverable gift. Yeah, I can't think of any other similar to it. Maybe edible arrangements or something, but there's something about that warm cookie showing up at your door that is just different. It just hits different than the fruit does.

JASON [14:34]

I know. It's like if you want to send a box of cookies to someone across the nation that's had a rough day, man, that will change their day pretty quickly. It's pretty fun to watch.

CAMILLE [14:45]

I'd love to have you share this story of being up on stage accepting your award and having Wayne Brady share a very personal experience about your cookies and his experience with them. And for those of you who may not know, he is one of the hosts. It's on Comedy Central. Sorry. I can't think of the title. He does Family Feud now or The Price is Right, I think? But he's also done those impromptu comedy shows. He's done a lot.

JASON [15:17]

Make a deal.

CAMILLE [15:17]

Make a deal.

JASON [15:18]

Yeah.

CAMILLE [15:18]

What's the one that he does that's impromptu? That's

JASON [15:23]

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

CAMILLE [15:24]

Yes, that's the one. He's hilarious. So, he's the one who's presenting.

JASON [15:28]

He's super funny.

CAMILLE [15:28]

He's the host. They paid him a lot of money to be there. It was just this big moment, you go up on stage, and tell us what happens.

JASON [15:35]

So, I go up on stage, and I'm thanking everyone for just a traditional thank you of things. And I finish my speech and I'm about to get off the stage. And Wayne Brady comes up, he's like, "Whoa, but you're the founder of Crumbl? You were one of the founders who started Crumbl? Wait. Are you for real? You're the CEO?" And he just started going off. And then, everyone on the stage was just laughing. And I'm like, "Yeah." He's like, "Tour cookies brought us together."

And he started to share the story about how him and his daughter were at odds with each other, and they were having a hard time in their lives. And he decided to start bringing her Crumbl. And it was what bonded them and brought them together to have family conversations and start connecting. And so, it brought him close to his daughter, where they were having a rough relationship. And so, he was so excited.

And he's like, "Can I just get a recording?" So, he puts up his camera, and I just tell his daughter how awesome of a dad he is and how great of a person he is. And how I'm lucky to know him, and we embraced afterwards. And it reminded me again, that moment was actually when I came back even to the company after that, I'm like, "Guys, we are still not getting it. We can even go further. This is what it is about, these moments. Yeah, the cookies were good that week. Yes, it created some memories, but what did it actually do? What did it facilitate? That's what's important. And that's what's exciting. And that's what gets people to want to share these cookies and bring people around together for them."

CAMILLE [17:08]

Yeah, I can attest to this. He was legit fangirling over you. It was like meeting a celebrity for him, which was really funny because you weren't expecting that. I'm sure you were in a moment going, "What am I going to say?" Just being in your own head. And he was like, "Wait, can I get a picture with you? Can we call my daughter?" It was just really touching and cute.

And I think what he did say was that he now brings those cookies to sets that he's on. He brings it to work events and different things like that, which is word of mouth by a celebrity like that, that's the best advertising you could get. So, I just thought that that was really special to have such a genuine moment on stage where everything was very much scripted. And there was a time schedule.

JASON [17:54]

I just went off script in that.

CAMILLE [17:58]

Yeah, that was so cool. I'd love to hear you mentioned there have been hard times in growth, which, of course, with business, that's how it goes, are there any stories that you could tell of when things have gone wrong, what you learned from it or something along those lines?

JASON [18:16]

I think every business has difficult times and good times and hopefully your good outweigh the bad, but we've had some hard times during COVID was a good example. Supply chain just got decimated. There were strikes on delivery drivers, all kinds of things happened with our supply chain that enabled us, required really of us to develop our own supply chain systems, things like that, that will help us to make deliveries on time, helping to get the specialty product on time.

We have rotating menus, and so our products change every single week. And so, it was a really stressful time of heavy investment on technology to make sure people could come in, order the cookies, get them delivered, or get them picked up without contact with people. Stores were going to get shut down because they couldn't have anyone in their stores. So, we had to build all this technology, build supply chain systems.

And that was really a painful time in our history. It actually ended up being one of those things that we were able to turn it around really, really quickly and have it succeed. The inflation is another one, which drives up cost of cookies. So, you're constantly fighting to try to keep the cost low for our customers. But you also have inflation and costs in our cookies.

The primary ingredient in our cookies is butter. So, all of our ingredients are fresh. The real butter, we use eggs, we cracked eggs. So, you have all these commodities, and commodities and prices change and fluctuate constantly. But as inflation increases and these things happen, some of these core ingredients make it really hard, near impossible to not make sure that the price of the cookies are economical not only for our customers, but also our franchise partners.

So, there's been those times and also when the economy's down and people have less money to spend figuring out how to attract customers for those reasonable prices and all those things have just been a matrix of difficult times and decisions that have to be made. And those are the times that we've been through that are hard. We're in our sixth year, but it feels like we're on 20 or something. We've got 900-plus locations, we're all over the country. And we're doing a billion plus in sales. And so, it's grown really, really fast.

But I feel like the challenges are just coming just as fast, as does all the success. So, a lot of times, you see successful companies, see all this growth. Of course, there's challenges behind the scenes, even for a company that's been successful and fast like ours, there's challenges there. And there's things that we constantly have to work on and systems that we have to put into place to be better with our franchise partner, create better relationships, listen better, listen to our customers better.

But it's been fun. It's been a total blast. And watching people create those meaningful moments, creating the next fun cookie masterpiece or working with your team on leadership and having grit and hard work to solve difficult problems, all those things have been challenging, but, man, they sure have been fun. And it's been exciting to work with others and to help others be successful.

So, in addition to bringing people together, helping our franchisees be successful and helping them make monies for their families and that sort of thing has been a huge passion and an exciting thing that I love, too, as well. And when our economic times where these things hit, and that strings those things, then it's heavy and it's hard. But it's exciting to come up with these challenges to figure out what we can do to help make them successful. So, I'm just grateful for it. I'm grateful for all those experiences and those hard times, but they refine you. They make you better, they make you have a few more gray hairs than I probably would have if I didn't start the business. But it's fun.

CAMILLE [22:06]

Yeah, I can't believe it's only been six years. I can, but it's interesting because that market, I swear you were first to market and then a bunch of competitors popped up, too, because it was so successful. If you're not in Utah, they call it the cookie wars, which is interesting. What is that like? Literally, I don't know very much about it. But I did see a headline of something like cookie wars in Utah. And it's a thing. What is that like?

JASON [22:35]

It's the second round, we call it cookie wars. There was an original cookie wars where we have competitors brewing up when we first got the business started. A lot of them ended up going out of business. And then, we've got the second round where an emergence of other people have seen the success and tried to compete in those things as well. But we welcome competition, because at the end of the day, the competitors make you better. They refine you. It helps with customers to make sure you have better products, better services. And so, challenges like that, and the cookie wars or whatever, those are things that help us, refine us to make us better. And ultimately, at the end of the day, we've got to create the world's best cookies, and we got to bring people together. And so, anyone else that helps refine that and make it better for us, we welcome it, we're excited for it, and we couldn't be more thrilled.

CAMILLE [23:26]

Yeah, you're awesome. That's such a good way to respond to that. I love it. Now, I do interview mothers and you are a father, tell us about your kids and how many you have. You have an amazing, supportive wife. She is lovely. She's a runner that runs all over the world. She's incredible. And I know that you support her in that.

How do you balance all of the things? And not to mention, I know you have a large church calling as well. There's a lot going on. So, I'd love to hear your perspective because I talk to a lot of moms about this, but I'd love to hear your perspective as a dad.

JASON [24:02]

And, yeah, I've got a church calling that my church, it's a lay ministry. And so, we all volunteer our church hours. And so, it's a volunteer job that I have to work with the congregation and those kinds of things, but that also is thrilling. And also, it allows me to work with people and serve people and help bring people closer to Christ and help other people. So, that's rewarding of itself.

Sure. Yeah. So, I've got a family of seven. So, lots of kids, and they're wonderful. The oldest is 14, the youngest is four. So, they're all close together, no twins. And so, it's a handful. It's a handful at home. And I've got a phenomenal wife who's super talented not only whether it's with music or with education and with just being a kind, loving, wicked, smart person. And so, it does make it easier. I've got a little bit of a cheat code. I'm not going to lie. When you marry someone like Whitney, you get a cheat code in life to be able to handle all the amazing things at home.

And there is a lot going on with being a company and church callings and big family, but I think one of the secrets that I've learned in how to successfully deal with lots of things in your life is to focus on what's in front of you and to focus on the moment that you're in.

So, when I'm with my family, I'm focused on my family, I'm not thinking about work, I'm not thinking about my calling at church. And I'm just focused on how can I make my wife feel supported and loved? How can I spend the time with my kids to help them learn, to make them laugh, to make them fly, and develop all the talents and abilities that they want and be their biggest cheerleader as a dad? And take them on daddy daughter dates, and do all those other different things and Sundates and that sort of thing.

That for me is just focus on that. And then when I'm in my church calling, I'm focused on helping others and working with people and loving people and helping people serve other people and visiting people that are in need or that are sick.

Maybe you're having a hard day. And I just focus completely on that. I'm not thinking about my family or about my work. And when I'm at my work, I'm laser focused on all the challenges in front of us and what we can do to grow our store sales and how to make them more profits and how to bring customers better cookies. And I just focus.

So, for me, what has been most helpful is when I'm at where I'm at, is to just focus. And if you feel like one area's slipping over the other, you've got to let the other two know that I need a little bit more time on this one. And so, it's not always 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 of my time, it's whatever needs focus.

Right now, Crumbl is a lot of my focus. And so, it gets a little bit more time. And our family is supportive, and my calling is supportive, and those things. And if my family needs more time, then that's the most important, then I'd focus on that. So, for me, it's overall focus with what you have, learn to balance with those things that need more time and forget about those other things when you're focused on those things. That's what's helped me. I'm open to other ideas. I'm sure there's probably other ideas and better that are out there that I would love to learn from, but that's so far what's helped me.

CAMILLE [27:22]

Yeah. If you can laser focus like that, I think that that is a very great skill. I don't know that that's something that everyone can do. So, the fact that you can do that is incredible. I think that that really shows that you're really present and truly there to be able to manage all those things. That's really awesome.

If you had a direction for the future of Crumbl, what does that look like? Do you have an eye in the sky? Obviously, more locations, I would guess. But at this point, it's growing so quickly. As a tech person, I'm curious if you lean to the tech, because that's what you love, and that's your background, or what are your ambitions there?

JASON [28:08]

Yeah. So, I think technology is definitely something big. For us, it's not just about locations, I think we've got to the point where we've gone across America. We've captured the hearts and minds. For us, it's not just about that, but how do we grow the sales in the stores that we have in the United States? How do we introduce new things? How do we continue to make the customer journey and experience even more exciting?

There is a new product coming out in a few weeks. We will be doing our first non-cookie product nationwide roll-out here in a few weeks, for example. So, it's like something sweet. Everyone thinks it was savory, but it's not. We've done tests with savory and did all these tests, but it's something that's a sweet product. And we're going to be trying all kinds of things. And so, if that works really well, that will open the doors to all kinds of fun possibilities. But things like that, so offering more products, having customers have fun experiences at Crumbl, and really growing the volume of sales that we have at the stores that we have now.

And then, of course, in addition to that is as far as our store growth is all international, whether it's in Canada or the UK or other parts of the world, we want to bring that same mission and that vision of bringing people together all across the globe. So, that's where we are. And that's where our vision is set for the future of Crumbl.

CAMILLE [29:29]

What's the date? Because I think by the time this comes out, it might be that time. So, you're just going to have to go check it out.

JASON [29:36]

Yeah. So, it'll be a couple of weeks from now. So, I don't know the exact date.

CAMILLE [29:39]

End of January, early February is the guess. We're just going to say that.

JASON [29:43]

Yeah. So, I think it's two Mondays from this previous Monday. So, I don't know if that helps you or not.

CAMILLE [29:49]

That's your last meeting that's in your head.

JASON [29:50]

I don't know my dates really well. They're all blending together.

CAMILLE [29:52]

Yeah, it's fine.

JASON [29:53]

Yeah. They're all blending together.

CAMILLE [29:54]

By the time this has come out, my guess is you could figure it out. I have a guess, and I wonder if I'm going to be right. I want to make your prediction.

JASON [30:03]

You can make a prediction, but I won't say a word.

CAMILLE [30:05]

No, don't say. I think it would be brownies is my guess. That's all. I'm just going to say. That's what I think. One of your products that I love that is a non-cookie product is your cookie cutter that you have that divides it into four. I love that thing, and they sell it.

JASON [30:23]

Yeah. One of our employees actually just came to me one day and was like, ", I got an idea." I'm like, "Okay, fine." So, she brought it on to my desk, flopped it on there. And I was like, "This is amazing." So then, we just started making them.

CAMILLE [30:36]

Dude, she's an inventor.

JASON [30:39]

Yeah, she's awesome.

CAMILLE [30:40]

She needs to market that. That's really cool, though. That's one of those products. Chick-fil-A has this kid's mat that you can put out and it sticks to their surface. No one sells that. And I keep saying that's another invention someone needs to trademark. You heard it here. Okay.

JASON [30:56]

We love Chick-fil-A. Yeah, love it.

CAMILLE [30:58]

That's really cool. Okay. So, for entrepreneurs who are listening, who are just starting out and feeling like it's too hard and the pressures, whether it's the price or the facility, or whatever is going on, what is some advice that you would give to them for people who are just starting or maybe are in that slump of you losing that initial fire?

JASON [31:21]

Yeah. So, I think, first of all, if you're just getting started, and you're stuck in decision paralysis, and you're just like, what should I do? Just get started, just remember my story. You just got to get started. I think some of the best entrepreneurs just do something and refine things along the way. You learn from your customers, you learn from your crew member, or you learn from employees, you learn from franchise partners in my case, and then you continue to grow from there. So, just get started I think is advice number one and move forward.

If you're struggling with getting stuck or not being exactly where you're at, one thing I can say is, you will still be stressed, you'll still be struggling, you'll still be worried, you'll still have lots of successes and excitements. That will happen no matter what stage you're at the company, it doesn't matter your revenues.

And so, if I was to look back, and I was to give myself advice, it would be enjoy the journey. And that may sound crazy, but I've been through some companies that haven't succeeded. And it's devastating, you tie your life's work into it. And sometimes these entrepreneurs tie their worth into it, too, as well, who they are and am I successful as a person or am I not?

And I think it's important to remember that if you enjoy the journey, and you love learning, and you remember to have fun during it, even some of those failures when I look back are some of my favorite times with coworkers I worked with or experiences I've had. And so, don't be too hasty to not celebrate, to enjoy the journey, and to move forward.

As an entrepreneur and a CEO, I'm always looking at all the what are the fires I need to put out today? Where's the vision of where I need to go to tomorrow? So, it's always like future, future, future, problem fixed, problem fixed. problem fixed. And for me, sitting down and enjoying the journey or maybe keeping a journal of all the fun experiences or moments that you've had or people that have influenced you, I think you can't go wrong, you can't fail in entrepreneurship if you are learning to enjoy the journey and enjoying the people that are around you that are helping you get around that journey.

I think that would be the one message that I have. And if you do that, then all of a sudden, the difficult times, you're like, what can I learn here? Not why am I not higher sales? Those are things you still need to do to get out of where you are and to succeed, but also just like, what can I learn from this? What good experience can I have from this? What kind of fun can I have from this?

A lot of my successes in Crumbl have been learnings from failures and other concepts or other things that I've worked on and also learnings from successes I've had before. So, take those things with you. Those things last forever throughout your whole life and don't ruin the opportunity to learn.

CAMILLE [34:11]

Yeah. No experience is way wasted, right? It's either a lesson. s failure is just a lesson. It's falling forward. I love that. Okay. So, one question I've been asking every guest that has come on the show in 2024 is three things that you love right now that you're reading, you're watching, or you're listening to. And it doesn't have to be currently at the moment. It can be. It could be a favorite just of your life or whatever first comes to mind.

JASON [34:41]

The first thing that comes to mind is AI. It's a little cliche, but the whole world and how it's shaped over the next decades to come is going to be totally influenced by AI. And it's fun to see. I think everyone has their guesses and their ideas, but you don't know. You can't predict the future, but how that influences and how society responds to that with work and with how they live, the amount of abundance that people are going to have because of AI and all those things, contemplating that and thinking through all that is really, really exciting to me. So, I think that's one of the things.

CAMILLE [35:24]

So, you're reading articles on that?

JASON [35:27]

Yeah, just news articles or following on social media platforms, you follow a lot of AI specialists or people that are building it. And also, just using it myself, and that sort of thing, and building tools around that is just really fascinating to think about.

CAMILLE [35:47]

I'm sure your techie mind is just exploding with possibilities because anytime I talk to someone new about it, I'm like, "It can do that, too?" Or, "I hadn't heard about that." It's just limitless.

JASON [35:59]

Yeah. I'm reading a book called Sam Walton: Made in America. And it's about Sam Walton's story of how he created Walmart.

CAMILLE [36:06]

I've heard that's a good one.

JASON [36:08]

It's such a good book. And you're just like the things that happened to him in entrepreneurship, early on. I'm thinking what happened in Walmart's history in the first five years compared to my history? We have nothing to complain about and only future possibilities, right? Because he had so many devastating things happened with his lease and his landlords and fires and all kinds of different things that really shaped his story. So, that's been some fun things I've been learning and reading. And I love autobiographies and learning about other successful entrepreneurs and the journeys that they've been on.

CAMILLE [36:42]

Me too. That's one of my favorite types. Have you read Shoe Dog?

JASON [36:48]

I have not read Shoe Dog. I have not read that, no.

CAMILLE [36:52]

It's so good. It's the story of Nike. For anyone listening who hasn't read or listened to that one, it is amazing. And it's also narrated by the CEO. And so, it's really cool that you get to hear his interpretation of events. And the way that they speak about things, the way it's written, I think really tone comes into play. So, if you can listen to it, I think it's one worthy of listening to. That's one of my favorites.

JASON [36:57]

Awesome. I do love the story. I know it really well, actually. But I have not read the book. But, yeah, I love the brand Nike. I love what they stand for. I love how they stand up for athletes. And I love Nike.

CAMILLE [37:30]

Very cool. Okay. One more, I said three. Do you want to stop at two?

JASON [37:34]

Hey, it's your show, Camille.

CAMILLE [37:35]

It's my show, give me another one.

JASON [37:37]

I'm enjoying the ride. I'm just glad to be here with you.

CAMILLE [37:39]

Thanks. Okay, so give us one more.

JASON [37:42]

I think the other thing that I'm really just thinking about is how much of an influence we have as parents on our kids and in others. And I've been thinking a lot lately about how a lot of parents, and again, maybe I'm doing this wrong, but they're focusing on just when they teach their kids, they're thinking about their kids becoming like them or all the things that they have. I've been really thinking a lot about and pondering a lot about how to help my kids reach their potential.

And whether this is employees at work or whatever as well, but how do I help my kids reach their potential? And not necessarily with what I want to do, and it doesn't matter whether they become a garbageman, or just any job that they want to do or anything that they're passionate in life about, how do I give them the confidence that they need?

I feel like the world is so full of negativity and people just usurping confidence all over the place. And so, I want my girls and my boys to go into the world full of confidence and optimism and hope. And so, yes, we're going to teach them education. Yes, we're going to teach them all those different things in being good members of society. But I also think about how do we teach them in a world where everything is bad and everything is negative from other people's perspective, to have optimism, to have hope, to have faith, to have excitement, to say no?

We've been doing a no sugar challenge in the McGowan house driven by one of my kids. And they said, "Dad, I wanted to stay away from sugar." I'm like, "Okay, I'll join you on that this year." And it was just really interesting, them learning to be in a group of all their friends and watching them say, "No, I don't want to do that," learning to have that willpower to say, "I can think different, I can do different, I don't have to follow the crowd, and I want to achieve my potential." It's just been inspiring to me. So, I've been thinking a lot lately about what's my role in that? How can I help my kids reach their full potential? And that's really been on the top of my mind lately, too, is that.

CAMILLE [40:02]

I like that. It's so interesting. As you know, having seven children, I have four. And my husband and I were just talking last night about how different each of them are. And especially as they get into their teen years, how you really try to follow their lead of the way they communicate and where they are still maybe falling short, but also how to explore and encourage their strength.

I actually heard a quote once, something that said, if you have a student that is a C math student, but an amazing athlete, you hire an athletic trainer, you don't hire a math tutor. And I thought that's really interesting, because it's that flipping the script of letting them lead that passion and not that you don't want them to thrive and do well in school, but how do you lean into their strengths? And how do you make it about them?

And I interviewed a woman last year who interviewed 100 entrepreneurs and their parents. And it was successful people. And she included athletes in that as well. So, it was anyone that was really exceptional in their fields that they chose, what support did that child have? And how did the parents support that journey? I'll send you the link for that, I think you'd enjoy it.

But one thing that she said was that the parents really allowed the child to lead and direct and that they heard from their parents a lot that you can do anything you set your mind to. And that it was just a very consistent support and love and being there through all of it. So, just the mindfulness that you're there, and you're available and willing and thinking about that shows that you will have success in that.

I think that that's something we all as parents are navigating every single day. So, I love that you brought that up because it really is. Every single person is so unique and different. And when I talk to my kids, I tell them, "I'm a new parent to a 15-year-old boy, I've never been a parent to a 15-year-old boy, you're new at being 15. Let's figure this out together," and just having that open communication. And every single kid is so different. Every stage they go through, you're a different parent than you were a year ago. And they're a different kid. And so, I think that that's a lot to think about.

JASON [42:28]

Yeah. And it takes more time to not just do some of those things yourself, but to instead be the encourager, the support. Having my kids learn how to cook and make food, even at a young age, they know how to do those things. They know how to cook and bake. And my daughter knows business things and all these things that they know, they're just self doing it. I'm just there. How can I support you? Or how can I be patient and not just do it myself, but let you do those different things?

I think the biggest tool for me has been just encouragement. If you want your kids to have that sense of accomplishing the impossible or taking on hard tasks or those kinds of things, for me, it's been, man, what happens when I encourage my son when he does something right? I think we all can sometimes be really good at criticizing or teaching when they're not doing something right. I think that's more of a natural inclination to do. A lot of times, it's not effective. It doesn't create that confidence. It actually destroys a lot of things.

But for me, it takes incredible patience to, okay, this thing happened. Don't criticize, teach, coach. And maybe I do that at a different moment. Maybe I remember and I think, okay, when I'm tucking my kid at night, I'm going to sit down and talk to him and say, "Hey, I noticed this the other day, tell me what you're thinking or what you're feeling."

Or when they do something right, just shouting from the rooftops like, "Holy cow, you made eggs this morning? Where do you even learn how to do that?" And watching their face and their encouragement and what kind of confidence it gives them is super exciting as a dad. I think that encouragement is powerful. And it's probably powerful for not just family, but for work and for all kinds of different things that you want to do in your life.

CAMILLE [44:23]

Yeah, I think negativity abounds. So, if we can focus on the positivity and what we can do to pour into someone. There's actually a book that I love reading with my kids, and it's called, Is your bucket full? I am ruining this.

JASON [44:38]

No, you're not.

CAMILLE [44:39]

Do you know what I'm talking about? The bucket. And it follows a kid's day and it talks about how when negative things happen, it's like we're pouring water out of that bucket. When good things happen, water goes back in. But what's really cool about the book is within it, it shows a bucket above each person's head, not just the kids but also the adults in this scenario, and how even the dog has a bucket. And that we have a choice as to whether we're going to fill someone's bucket or whether we're going to be part of taking their water away out of that bucket. And I can find the link. We'll link to that as well. Are you familiar with that book?

JASON [45:17]

No.

CAMILLE [45:19]

Okay. You might like it. It's a really cute book. It's very visual and imagining what we're giving and what we're taking away in our daily interactions. So, it's a good one. Awesome. This has been so great. Our conversation has been so enlightening and inspiring. I love your positivity and your tenacity. My gosh, you're doing so many incredible things. And I can't wait to see what happens with Crumbl next.

JASON [45:49]

Neither can I. I'm so excited. And Camille, thanks for inviting me on today and having me be a part of your show. And I just wish you all the success with this podcast or anything else you choose to do in life.

CAMILLE [46:02]

Thank you, and please tell our audience where they can support you and check out Crumbl. And we'll make sure to link to everything below.

JASON [46:10]

Sure. You can just follow us on all social handles of Crumbl Cookies or go to www.crumblcookes.com.

CAMILLE [46:14]

Awesome. Great. Thank you for being on the show. And everyone listening, we will see you next week.

[MUSIC]

If you enjoyed this episode, please make sure that you are subscribed. Leaving a comment and review will help us every single time to help other entrepreneurs to be inspired by these episodes. I'm so grateful for you.

If you would like coaching or you're looking for a virtual assistant, I help with both of those things. You can reach out to me at www.camillewalker.co. My email is camille@camillewalker.co. Thank you for tuning in. We'll see you next time.

[MUSIC]

Hey, CEOs, thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment and a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss!

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