Brave Commerce Podcast: How to Scale a Small Business

Denise Woodward of Partake Foods on finding tools that understand where your customers find your product

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In this episode of Brave Commerce, Denise Woodward, founder and CEO of Partake Foods, talks about growing and developing a bootstrapped business. Woodward opens with the inspiring story of Partake Foods. She wanted to make a product for her daughter, who suffers from food allergies. When discussing it with her husband at the zoo one day, a stranger overheard her and told Woodward about a local small business competition. She won and then left her long-term job at Coca-Cola to sell her product at local conventions, farmer’s markets and retailers. 

Growing quickly, Partake Foods is now distributed to over 9000-plus retailers. Woodward accredits this growth to her robust relationships with retailers, the community she’s built among her consumers and using data to understand the product’s ROI. 

When it comes to hiring, Woodward mentions a book she read called The Ideal Team Player, which suggests that companies should look for talent that is “humble, hungry and smart.” Woodward elaborates on what exactly this has meant to her. She speaks further on the importance of hiring diverse teams and hiring and growing employees from underrepresented backgrounds. 

This episode details Woodward’s inspiring story of growing from a small business to a successful CPG brand. And it gives great insight into how similar brands can grow as well. 

Key takeaways:

  • Successful businesses come from the leadership living and exemplifying the mission every day.
  • Finding tools that understand where your customers find your product is key.
  • Measure retention to determine the success of your inclusive hiring programs.