A Mom and Pop Business (literally!)
Nestled in the hills of western Wisconsin is the little town of Mazomanie, where my wife Melissa and I run Mike’s Mix. Our licensed plant is housed in a historic downtown building that we purchased and renovated in 2013. Between Melissa, myself and a few of our friends, we perform every task associated with the production of our products. From new formulations and shipping orders to website design and marketing, Melissa and I get it done.
Born in 2009, we mixed our first batches of product in large plastic bags that we tumbled by hand. We have since upgraded through four mixers and now have a facility that has the potential to crank out thousands of pounds of product weekly!
Our philosophy is to approach Mike’s Mix as a Mom and Pop business, where customer service and personal pride reflect in our work. This may seem like an unusual model for an internet based business where face to face customer interactions are relatively far and few between. However, we find it is quite possible to offer great customer service by focusing on personalized correspondence and successful order delivery. We believe this approach, along with providing quality products and reasonable pricing, has led to the continued expansion of our loyal customer base. As a result, we are able to compete in highly competitive marketplaces like Amazon where we regularly rank as a top seller in sports nutrition products.
From time to time, Melissa and I are asked if we are living the dream by owning our own business. We usually answer to the affirmative with a wink, as the true answer is complicated, multi-faceted with an extreme spectrum of emotion. It is hard to convey in a sentence the terror that is associated with investing almost the entirety of our family’s savings in our initial 1000 pound minimum order of protein. Without a guaranteed sale and an 18 month shelf life, we took an enormous risk. Compare this to our excitement a couple of years later when we struggled to keep up with orders and saw our recovery drinks outselling huge competitors on Amazon. As with every aspect of life, owning and relying on the income of a small business is an act of balance.
We have traded the security of a 9 to 5 job with guaranteed income and retirement for the constantly changing, always exciting, terrifying nature of entrepreneurship. Additionally, working with your spouse can be one of the most rewarding things on earth but also requires another act of balance. As business partners, we hold one another accountable, inspire and rely on each other, even at times of stress and uncertainty. As parents and a loving couple we must make the difficult transition of separating work from our important personal time. So, although the Mike’s Mix adventure has been challenging and scary at times, there is definitely pride and satisfaction from building a business from the ground up with someone you love. We have also enjoyed watching our customers become stronger athletes and represent Mike’s Mix at races alongside companies like Gatorade and Cliff. And on that really nice day when one would rather be outside playing instead of working behind a computer, well, we are in that position to go play.