This week I had a lot of fun talking with Alex Wilson, creator of The Hungry Hero. The Hungry Hero is a bakery located in Sherwood, OR that produces fantastic cakes, desserts, and cookies. Seriously, they have this chocolate cookie with potato chips in it that is probably one of the greatest innovations of the last decade. We talk about how he develops recipes and ideas, and his journey in creating this business and connecting with the community. I think you’ll enjoy our conversation.
- The Hungry Hero’s two most popular items
- How he develops recipes
- The Origin Story, going from wedding and event planning to culinary school, to realizing that his greatest potential lies outside of working for other people. Like many entrepreneurs, he doesn’t like being told what to do. So he started dabbling with different recipes and cookbooks until he had developed a sense of what he would like the business to be. And he found that he wanted to do American comfort food.
- How he gained traction and recognition by donating foods to nonprofits. He and the business are still involved in contributing to causes, even controversial ones, because it is important to him to be able to be true to himself.
- As a result of that, he and his husband have really woven themselves into the identify of the business, and it’s developed a reputation as a really personal, inclusive business. So depending on your situation, ignoring politics or shying away from controversial issues as many businesses do isn’t always the best approach. It’s been an asset for them.
- Even the business’ Instagram account is actually his personal account, “and it has really helped people feel connected to the business because they want to help support people they know.”
- He needed $100 a day (after the cost of ingredients) to make it worthwhile to himself, to pay the rent on the building, etc.
- What he looks for in hiring.
- Why he decided to start the business in Sherwood
- What makes people entrepreneurial
- What makes him entrepreneurial
- What he and his siblings have in common as independent, confident people: great supportive parents
- Learning leadership
- How entrepreneurship offers a better environment for him for coping with anxiety
- The biggest reason, bakeries fail…Trying to do to much
- His vision for growing the company
- Advice for starting a new business? Take it slow, let it unfold naturally, don’t force it, keep your focus
- Reading Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, and why that style appeals to him: a little luxurious, but approachable and unpretentious
You can find Alex and his business, The Hungry Hero in Old Town in Sherwood, Oregon on Washington Street and at https://www.thehungryhero.com/
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out nicholaspihl.com for a complete list of Why Try episodes, as well as some writing about entrepreneurship, book recommendations, and recipes.
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Music for this podcast is by Cambrian Explosion, who once leapt out of a cake to perform for Paul McCartney’s 69th birthday. You can find their sugary songs on Apple iTunes, Spotify, and cepdx.bandcamp.com.
Thanks for listening.