Theresa Chu and Scott Beaudry, co-founders of natural dog treat startup Barley Labs, face the dream – and at the same time a nightmare – of starry-eyed entrepreneurs: A Super Bowl ad skyrockets business for their product, but how do they scale to meet demand?
Chu and Beaudry are gearing up for a trip to New York where Intuit, the sponsor of the Super Bowl contest, will host them and the other three finalists in the bid for the free 30-second spot during the world’s biggest TV event.
The two are muzzled about what’s happening, however.
“Intuit will be announcing the results at the end of this month. Unfortunately no other updates than that,” Chu told WRALTechWire.
Even if Barley Labs – which is named after the couple’s beautiful female rescue dog Barley – doesn’t win that Super Bowl spot, the startup is still receiving plenty of advice and support from Intuit. The duo learned in November that they were headed to New York (Read WRALTechWire coverage), and ever since they have had to plan for growth as if they would win.
When emails come flooding in for orders of what Barley assures are tasteful treats in multiple flavors (as anyone who watches her eat can attest), Chuc and Beaudry know they must be prepared.
If they can’t deliver, they may miss a marketing window that might not open as wide ever again.
“Yes, we are working on expansion,” Chu explained.
“Currently we’re working in the Cookery in the interim, but we’ve submitted a business plan to hopefully gain funding to build our own facility.”
The Durham-based Cookery helps Chu and Beaudry make the treats, which Beaudry created based on his love of home brewing and a desire to do something with the left-overs rather than just throw them out.
The possibility of ramping up production has led Chu and Beaudry to seek outside financial help for growth capital.
“I’m not sure I want to share just yet how much we’re seeking, but we have reached out to a lender,” Chu says.
“We haven’t talked to any investors yet.”
In this exclusive video, Chu and Beaudry talk with WRALTechWire about the challenge of gearing for instant growth.
Unfortunately, as the two prepare to travel to the Super Bowl, they will have to leave Barley behind.
“Barley won’t be coming with us,” Chu explained. “We’re afraid the travel and all the people will be too much for her.”
On Monday, Chu and Beaudry received more media exposure when WRAL’s Brian Mimms interviewed them for a story. Once the Barley team hits New York – watch out for more news.
And if Barley Labs wins the spot, hello “Fox and Friends” plus a lot of New York media.
Barley may not like all the attention, but she will be assured of a life-long Barley Labs treat supply.