Purely Elizabeth wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of a strong team, and we wanted to hear from a few team members who have been with the company since the early days and ask them a few questions about their experience working at Purely Elizabeth.
David Dusza – VP of Sales
David (far right) has been working on the Purely Team for 8.5 years.
What has been your biggest achievement for the sales team so far?
In May 2013, Purely Elizabeth was selected for a national plus out for our four Ancient Grain Granola Skus at Whole Foods Market. Six months later in October 2013, Purely Elizabeth was selected for a national plus out for our three ancient grain oatmeal bags at Whole Foods Market. These two national plus outs placed all 7 of these skus into every UNFI distribution center nationally and put Purely Elizabeth on the map. At the time, and even to this day, I have not heard of two national plus outs within a six month period for a brand.
Mark Dusza – VP of Sales
Mark (upper left) has been working on the Purely team for 8.5 years.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a part of Purely Elizabeth, specifically being a part of the sales team, for the past 8.5 years?
The most rewarding part of being on the Purely Elizabeth sales team has been watching the sales growth year over year. And especially the generous celebrations that Elizabeth hosted after each landmark.
In my first three years Purely Elizabeth experienced 230-260% YOY growth; not that unusual for a hot trending brand. Most “experts” thought we would soon drop to single digit growth. On the contrary, from 2014 to 2018 we continued to grow at an average annual rate in excess of 65%.
The most rewarding sales event for me occurred in 2013. I believe this was the breakthrough for Purely Elizabeth and complete validation that Elizabeth had created a winning product.
During the Whole Foods Round 8 Granola Review we were notified in May that we were getting a national ACV gap fill into all stores on 3 SKUS (Original, Pumpkin Cinnamon and Cranberry Pecan). What this meant was that Whole Foods corporate was forcing all of their stores nationally to carry those three items. At the time that was an additional 160+ stores per SKU; more than doubling our distribution at our #1 customer. To put this into perspective, during the 10 years leading up to this event I had been involved in over 1000 Whole Foods reviews with 100 different brands, and only one other brand had ever received a national ACV gap fill. By the end of 2013 this single event propelled Purely Elizabeth into the top 10 granola brands nationally in the natural grocery channel. By the end of 2014 Purely Elizabeth was #1.
Garrett McBride – VP of Operations
Garrett (middle left) has been working on the Purely team for 5 years.
What has been your favorite product to create and why?
My favorite product to create was probably the grain-free granola family because of the challenges involved in making those elevated ingredients come together in a harmonious balance to make an extremely tasty and clustered product. The proof of that challenge is in the fact that no other brands have been able to do it well!
Julie Lengton – Quality Assurance Manager
Julie has been working on the Purely Team for 8 years.
What has been the most memorable/crazy experience for you since starting at Purely Elizabeth 8 years ago?
The craziest and most memorable experience in my 8 years working here has to be moving out to CO. I had only visited Boulder once before agreeing to make the move but the little I knew about this town made me so excited for a big change. 5 years later it’s very clear that this was a great decision for the business and I still personally feel so lucky for the opportunity!
Caroline Caligari – Creative Design Manager
Caroline (left) has been working on the Purely Team for 8 years.
After 8 years of working for Purely Elizabeth, how have you seen the brand evolve and what has been your favorite project?
When I first started at Purely Elizabeth the brand was very much in its infancy. With a total of 3 people in the company and next to no budget, we had to learn to navigate the natural foods world with an incredibly scrappy marketing strategy!
Over the last 8 years, I’ve been lucky to be a part of Purely Elizabeth growing and finding its personality. I’ve loved helping to dial in our brand aesthetic and voice and to see that executed across our packaging and marketing. While we still have a small team and excel at being scrappy, it’s really fun to be able to execute on big ideas.
My favorite project was our limited edition holiday granola that we launched in 2018. We had always wanted to do a limited edition product, so it was really exciting bringing it to our fruition!