Growing any company means constant change, and for Kate’s this has been especially evident in the progression of our packaging. What follows is a little photo journey demonstrating this development over the years.
If any of you are starting a small company, be sure to take photos and document your steps. It is so rewarding to look back through the years and see your progression. It can be a challenge to notice success until you take a step back from the everyday minutia that can bog a business owner down, and look at the big picture.
In the mid 90’s I used to make bars and hand them out to friends while skiing in Jackson Hole. I would wrap them in saran wrap and use a gear sticker to seal the deal. During that time, I worked at Wilson Backcountry Sports in Wilson, WY, at the base of Teton Pass - gear stickers were easy to come by there. I had not formed a business yet.
Summers found me at the farm, Cosmic Apple Gardens, in Victor, Idaho. I moved to Victor after leaving Jackson Hole to work in Spain for six months. I soon became the workshare manager at Cosmic Apple and would feed the workers my bars. I met Julie Dean at that time, who came up with my first label design, circa 2002(?). I would print maybe 100 labels at a time. Those were the simple days!
I later changed the tram box to it’s true red, and added “Handmade In the Tetons.” We were still hand-packaging the bars at that time which meant putting the bars in each bag, heat sealing the top closed, sticking the front label on, turning the bar over, sticking the back ingredient label on, and done. It would take one hour to package 100 bars if you were good, efficient, and had the sealer set at the correct temperature! I had two very part time employees back then.
December 20th, 2008. The new Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Tram is unveiled! I handed out basket fulls of samples that day at the resort. Was it really seven years ago? I suppose it was only natural to change our label . . .
Welcome to our namesake, Kate’s. Yes, that’s me!
In 2010, I quite my other jobs to see if I could grow my company. I had to try before deciding to put it to sleep. This is when I partnered with a businessman, Bruce Thaler, who infused some capital to get us moving. Mike Massie, from Jackson Hole, helped us create the new design at this time, with our own unique font.
Ta-Da! And here we are now. In 2011 we hired a designer who is experienced in food packaging. We have always found it important to be able to see the ingredients in our bars; it shows everyone right away that we are made of the real thing. Nothing weird here, folks! Those ingredients are recognizable!
Here’s the full progression in one photo.
And for any of you who have not seen our full line. Look at us now!