Hello 2 Degrees followers!
My name is Peter Walters and I am the Campus Director for 2 Degrees at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. I wanted to share my experiences from selling bars, talking to potential vendors, creating marketing schemes, and working my way to the corporate level of a large food service company in an effort to bring 2 Degrees bars to campus.
When I first received my three cases of sample 2 Degrees bars, I didn’t know where to begin. I had a class that began in ten minutes, so I just grabbed a bunch of bars and headed to class with the simple goal of getting the bars and message to my fellow students. At the beginning of class I spent a few minutes explaining the philosophy and mission of the company to my classmates and professor, and then passed out some bars. The reviews were just as positive as I had expected they would be! My 2 requests to the students as “payment” for their bar was to buy another in the future, and spread the word—whether via e-mail, word of mouth, Facebook or Twitter. I left class feeling electric. It wasn’t just the great taste of the bars that excited and surprised my classmates, it was the message and mission as well; I had wrongly assumed that my classmates at this little private school would be apathetic to this sort of social mission, but I was happily mistaken. Some asked how else they could get involved, what the Valid nutrition pack consisted of, how the nutrition packs were distributed—questions I had assumed would never come up in a classroom setting. And this is how it started at Trinity, much as the company started: with an idea, a great product, and passionate individuals.
My first sale was to a coffee shop on campus called Peter B’s. I noticed that they sold Fiber One, and Odwalla bars—both caddies, I had noticed, were always full and maybe even a little dusty. So, the same day that I received my sample bars I saw the manager of the coffee shop leaving the school’s mailroom and stopped him give him some samples (which I have gotten in the habit of carrying with me everywhere I go). He took a bite of the Cherry Almond right in front of me. He loved it! He volunteered that he would definitely carry them, and would go talk to his partner about logistics. The deal was sealed within a day, and a week later Peter B’s was selling the bars. In fact, the bars were such a hit that during finals week, they sold out of an entire case (54) in four days! More orders for Peter B’s are coming!
My next task was to bring the bars to Chartwells, Trinity’s food service providers that had three locations on campus. This proved to be more difficult than I had initially anticipated. Chartwells is owned by Compass, which is one of the top three food/service providers in the country, and gets their food from FoodBuy…a confusing chain which, admittedly, I still don’t fully get. In order to get 2 Degrees bars to Trinity, I realized I would need to go up to the national corporate level. Long story short, I got in touch with the Executive Regional Chef for Chartwells who essentially okayed a mini trial launch at Trinity, which, if successful, would open the doors to a much larger market through other colleges, universities, professional athletic arenas and much, much more. They agreed to purchase nine cases of bars as a trial! So far, this is our biggest single order to date, and I hope this will start a relationship that will really help 2 Degrees start booming. They have even offered to work with me to market the bars here on campus, because it is in both our interests.
I am writing this post to stimulate discussion not only between student Campus Directors, but also between 2 Degrees followers. Where would you like to see these bars sold in your community or school? What sales or marketing ideas do you have for us? What questions do you have for the student representatives, or anyone else involved with the company? Since we are still so small, we’re always looking for ideas and suggestions.
Anyway, thank you for reading, and there will definitely be more to come about my sales and marketing efforts not only at Trinity, but also in Hartford, West Hartford and here at home in Concord. Enjoy the holidays!