Updated: Dec 31, 2021
Erica Rankin is the Founder and CEO of Bro Dough. A vegan cookie dough, which contains plant-based protein (derived from peas), as well as natural sweeteners. The product contains half the amount of sugar found in traditional cookie doughs, and does not use any artificial sweeteners.
One of Erica’s unique entrepreneurial traits, is her authentic style of organic marketing on social media. She takes her followers with her on an entrepreneurial journey, showing them all aspects of her business, and keeping them engaged.
In this interview, we explore Erica’s entrepreneurial journey and the value proposition of Bro Dough.
Hello Erica. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. We would like to start by exploring your origin story. Please give us an overview of your background, initial career aspirations, and your entrepreneurial journey to date?
Erica: I never envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. As a kid, I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian after I got involved with horses at the age of ten. I then decided to pursue psychology and received my BA in 2017. After working in research for just over a year, I felt extremely unfulfilled. So, I decided to book a 4 month trip to South East Asia. I met entrepreneurs with all different backgrounds on this trip, and when I got home I was inspired to go for it myself. I launched Bro Dough in 2019 and managed to grow the company as a solopreneur.
What are the key challenges you have faced in your entrepreneurial journey and how have you navigate these?
Erica: The main challenges I have faced have been around my old habits. At heart, I am an introvert. I am also a perfectionist who loves structure in my life. These things are not found in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is highly unpredictable, the least bit structured, and you just have to get stuff done (regardless if it’s perfect or not). It’s been challenging to change these habits.
Has your entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any past or present business leaders?
Erica: I have many mentors who are guiding me throughout my journey, and to whom I am extremely grateful for. A few of these include Mike Fata and Suzie Yorke, who have both built successful Consumer Packaged Goods companies.
You state you have only spent $150 on marketing yet you have a large following on social media. Please explain your process and methodology for undertaking organic marketing?
Erica: My marketing revolves around two topics: authenticity and consistency. I show all aspects of the business, and take my audience along for the ride.
This has allowed me to organically grow a community. Customers appreciate me including them in my journey.
We would like to explore the origin story of your company Bro Dough. Please tell us where the idea and inspiration for “Bro Dough” came from, and why you named the company “Bro Dough”?
Erica: “Bro” is a gym term that is often thrown around. For example “do you even lift bro?” Bro Dough contains protein in it, and most of my customers are fitness advocates. I chose cookie dough because the Canadian market lacked my product, and there wasn’t any protein cookie dough on the market.
What is it about “Bro Dough” products that makes it unique and innovative? Additionally, who is your target market and what value does “Bro Dough” products give them?
Erica: Bro Dough contains quality plant based ingredients, and added plant based protein. We take pride in Bro Dough, being a treat individuals can enjoy without sacrificing their health or fitness goals.
Our target market is made up of fitness advocates and vegans, who care about quality food and want added protein.
What are your long term plans for “Bro Dough” in terms of business growth, reach and sustainability?
Erica: I hope to grow the company and make it a household name in both Canada and the US. We’re launching nationally (Canada) later this year and I hope to grow slow, steady, and strategically.
Before we conclude the Q&A session we would like to know if the COVID-19 pandemic had any impact on your company, and how you managed this?
Erica: The only issue I faced was delays in ingredients - the lead times were substantially longer due to the supply chain issue. I know it has affected many industries, not just food.
Thank you Erica for participating in this Q&A session, we wish you all the best?