The key to finding success (and national distribution in Whole Foods)? Starting small. Founders and mother-daughter duo Crissanne and Elizabeth Raymond started selling their family’s lentil soup-turned-burger recipe at farmer’s markets and at local restaurants. A testament to their perseverance, grit, and ambition, NoBull Burger is now available nationwide.
We caught up with them to learn more about how they’ve scaled NoBull Burger through the years, what it’s like running a family business, and more. Watch their episode of Accelerating Brands — a video series from ForceBrands in partnership with SKU — here:
Read the interview below:
Crissanne Raymond: NoBull Burger started out as my family recipe. Many, many years ago, I was just on a search for a really great veggie burger because I was trying to feed my family healthier. There was nothing good in the marketplace. Everything was highly processed and very unnatural so I got the idea to make my mom’s lentil soup recipe into a veggie burger. I succeeded and that original recipe has really been the same with very few modifications throughout the years. Throughout the years, we take this veggie burger to different potlucks and picnics. People loved it. We knew we had something special.
On getting started
Elizabeth Raymond: So we are nationwide at this moment. We partnered with Whole Foods nationally and have nationwide distribution with UNFI as well but we started in our backyard, hyper-local at local farmer’s markets and local independent restaurants and grocery stores and it was really a slow organic growth year over year. It was not an overnight success. It was something that we put a lot of hustle and love and sweat and tears into but it’s been a wild ride.
On finding success
ER: Because it is so challenging to go from your mom’s veggie burger that you enjoyed at home to Whole Foods nationwide and it was a long journey to get there and we didn’t have that industry background and so it was a learning experience the whole way through but I really think it was just not giving up and really believing that we had something unique and we had something that was so solving a problem for our family. We knew it was solving problems for others and so having something really different, the product speaking for itself and really believing in what we’re doing and not giving up.
CR: And the consumers confirmed it. They would always tell us, ‘Oh my gosh, these are so good.’ And even with the plant meat craze, or fake meat craze as I like to call it, people would always say, ‘But I really don’t want to eat that. That’s not what I want to eat. I prefer eating something more natural.’ So we kept going. We still knew we had one of the better whole food, real food products.
On working together
ER: Overall, if I could say one word, it would be rewarding. Obviously, we have had hard days and there are days where we’re at each other’s throats but one thing about us and our family is that at the end of the day, family’s above anything else and we have love in our hearts and we want nothing more than just to see this product out there and I have to just remind myself even on those really hard days I’m gonna look back at this and just be so proud that I did this with my mom and what a story, what a legacy that I can leave, that we can lead for our family, and so I think that’s a big part of it. What about you?
CR: I think my daughter is brilliant. I see her just taking the reins and moving forward and you know I wouldn’t want to have anybody else by my side.