Passion and determination can grow a successful business.
This is one of the many lessons gleaned from Alex (BSBA 2008) and Maddy (BA 2008) Hasulak at the College’s alumni event, “Love & Beer,” which took place on Thursday, April 14, 2016. The Hasulaks shared their story of building their natural food company Love Grown while guests were treated to a beer tasting and networking event hosted by the Daniels Alumni Relations Office.
Marcus Commons buzzed as guests filed in and headed straight to grab a beer, provided by Deschutes Brewery of Oregon, a potential corporate partner of Daniels. The Hasulaks, recently recognized on Forbes “30 Under 30” were the keynote speakers. Attendees learned from their experience growing their business as young entrepreneurs and recent graduates of the University of Denver (DU), where the couple first met as students.
It all started with love. As juniors in college, Alex and Maddy handed out a homemade granola recipe to their friends, created by Maddy’s mother. In 2008, after graduating in a tough economy, the Hasulaks pursued their own company. Alex always had the desire to start his own business, and with Maddy at his side, the two created Love Grown, a natural food company.
Love Grown has expanded since its initial launch to include a variety of breakfast foods and the Hasulak’s dream has only gotten bigger. “We want to change the industry,” said Maddy, “natural foods should not be its own subcategory. Food should just be natural.” Maddy’s passion for food, wellness and education gave birth to Love Grown’s social initiative to teach children about the importance of healthy eating. As a social and warm person, greeting every gusts with a hug, Maddy is determined to grow this program beyond Colorado and beyond the United States. “Changing your eating habits in your 20s or 30s is near impossible, which is why it is so important to start educating children,” Maddy explained.
Alex, the business man behind Love Grown’s success, gave a lot of advice for those considering starting a company. “Just do it,” he explained, “and set the expectation of growth.” He stressed the importance of gaining more capital than you think you will need. Love Grown had a quick and impressive story, jumping from 1 to 2,000 stores in only 2.5 years. “You never want to wait until you need it to gain capital,” said Alex. Today they service over 11,500 retailers nationwide and in Canada.
The Hasulaks truly love their company and believe in its growth. Both of them eat Love Grown products daily. “Natural foods don’t have to be brown, boring and tasteless,” said Maddy. “I am super excited about our Adventure Cereals for kids. Everyone is a kid at heart!”
Recent alumni to established professionals were all captivated by the Hasulak’s energy and passion for their business and the food industry. A group of 2014 Daniel’s alumni were inspired by Alex’s “just do it” message and are ready to start brainstorming their own business. Maddy’s passion motivated alumnus Kiersti Bird who explained, “It’s amazing how passion can go such a long way. Maddy is such an energetic person, I can see how her relationships grew the business.”
Love Grown started with two passionate students at DU and is now inspiring current students and alumni to follow their dreams. Learn more about Love Grown and their recognition by Forbes or view a short video.