By PDX People
One of the many great things about People from Portland Oregon, like Keeley Tillotson, is that we innovate and find a way to get things done when the solution that we need is not readily available.
Keeley Tillotson and Erika Welsh were both college students at the University of Oregon when on one rainy day they found out that they had run out of peanut butter and when faced with going to the store in the rain they decided to make their own peanut butter instead.
Now almost 10 years since launching Wild Friends Foods, the ladies have turned their creativity into a national brand that’s capitalized on the no egg, non-GMO, non-dairy health trend of recent years.
Right Place at The Right Time
It doesn’t matter if she’s being interviewed for another major article or appearing on television, Keeley Tillotson continues to show what’s great about people from Portland Oregon.
In spite of her fame and growing wealth from her business she remains humble and committed to making her products better and it’s rare to see that from entrepreneurs who have tasted fame and fortune.
Tillotson and Welsh both continue to live and work right here in Portland where their company is based and their products are becoming more wildly know across the United States as more people are realizing the dangers that ingredients in most store-bought peanut butters can do to their bodies.
With sales expected to reach $7 million this year and distribution in Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger and a number of other supermarkets. At a time when funding has gotten tighter for many startups, the duo recently raised $1.4 million from investors on CircleUp, including a $100,000 investment from John Foraker, president of Annie’s, the prominent natural and organic foods company that is now part of General Mills, who they consider a mentor. Oh yes: Tillotson’s dad, Bruce Tillotson, 54, who previously worked for Honest Tea, is their chief salesperson, responsible for flying around the country to get the brand into stores.
“I always joke that I’m going to write a book about how to work with your dad and your best friend,” says Keeley Tillotson, Wild Friends’ chief executive.
In the beginning, Tillotson, and Welsh, both college athletes, simply mixed up their own peanut butter with unusual ingredients and less sugar than the products they saw on the shelves. “It was exciting and fun, and so we started selling at farmer’s markets and street fairs,” Tillotson says. “We set up an online account so that our friends could pay us. We would make it all night long and do deliveries during the day. It got to the point where the company was taking over our lives, and we were hardly going to school.”
What Makes Wild Friends Peanut Butter So Unique?
With many varieties of peanut butter available today, especially at health food stores like Whole Foods, it’s easy for anyone to wonder what makes Wild Foods peanut butters so unique.
Making the best-tasting nut butters on the shelf is our priority,” says Welsh. “That means leaving out excess oils, fillers, and ingredients like palm fruit oil, which decreases flavor.” The duo innovates with a portfolio of nut and seed butter options, from chocolate almond butter to sesame cranberry peanut butter and organic maple sunflower butter.
As Welsh and Tillotson continue to get their nut and seed butters in grocery stores, they are adding new products. Their latest foray is Super Butters, available in peanut and almond cashew varieties, which are made with pollinator-friendly honey, as well as chia and flax. By broadening their horizons, Welsh and Tillotson hope Wild Friends products can fall into multiple categories, from staple ingredient to on-the-go snack. “Making food friendly includes making healthy food more delicious, fun, and convenient. We’re excited to do that by introducing our brand to new customers outside of the nut butter aisle.”
Wild Friends foods peanut butter continues to remain a staple in stores across Portland Oregon and the United States, learn more about their awesome peanut butter by visiting their website at https://wildfriendsfoods.com/.
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