Dauntless Snacks - Near our Journey's End
This post has been a long time coming, but there was a lot up in the air about the precise future of Dauntless Snacks that I held off until I knew what that future was. The short of is that I am sunsetting the Dauntless Snacks brand. This wasn't a part of the plan back in 2020 when this journey started, but life has a way of opening new doors and shifting your priorities despite the path you think you've decided on. Before I go on, now's a good time to let anyone reading this know, all the snack sticks are 50% off on the store. If you'd like the best deal on beef sticks, now's the time.
For those of you that have invested your time, energy, and snack money into the DS journey, I thought I'd share how I got to this moment and the happy ending / new story taking place.
During the months leading up to launching the Original flavor in May of 2021, I was contacted by my father who had been in the hospital for a week by that time. It wasn't anything life threatening, but as a octogenarian, any recovery is a long one. I rushed down to Florida to check in on him, and it became clear he needed more support in life than he had living alone. We decided to sell his home and make a long road trip back to Colorado to have him live near me. He nestled into a nice, cozy assisted living apartment and I went back to work.
I was taking the last box of my father's belongings into his apartment when I received a call from a former colleague looking for a reference from a new client of his, a cattle ranch in Colorado. We met when I had run marketing at another ranch for a couple years and I said sure. I called the ranchers and spoke with Jeff Smith, who along with Kara Smith, made up the husband & wife co-founder team behind Colorado Craft Beef (CCB). We quickly hit it off as fellow entrepreneurs in the beef space and a week later I was their freelancer building what would become CCB's marketing program.
My father's health, mood, and outlook on life improved drastically after moving to Colorado, but conditions at his complex soon took a nose dive in early 2022. As I was frantically raising funds to launch the Jalapeno flavor, each week he became more and more unhappy with his living situation. I did what I could, talking to the staff, but the situation wasn't going to get fixed in any reasonable amount of time.
In May of 2022, Jalapeno launched, my freelancing for CCB was fruitful and fulfilling, and I was actively interviewing new marketing clients. I couldn't bring myself to fully enjoy it though. My dad's situation kept weighing on both of us, and I didn't see a solution. For any of you who watched the DS streams, you know this was about the time I stopped consistently going live.
Then, in June of 2022, I started applying to marketing positions at companies in the Denver area, mainly to see what kind of problems they were trying to hire to solve, and then pitch myself as an interested freelancer. I received a call from one of the recruiters and after a preliminary interview, I had six more, and then a new position was created at the company for me to build and grow into. I couldn't say no to the pay or opportunity, and in my mind it was going to give me the funds I needed to launch the Honey BBQ flavor without running another Kickstarter campaign.
As we got into August, that plan completely changed. My father, one day as we were driving back from dinner at one of our favorite places, said to me about his living situation, "It doesn't feeling like living, it just kind of feels like waiting to die."
That broke me.
I couldn't fathom letting my father, the man who adopted and raised me, feel that way as he headed into his twilight years. The funds I was saving for expanding the business soon became the money I was trying to use to find a house. I won't go into much detail, but suffice it to say the search felt hopeless for months. It wasn't until November that my realtor got a lead on a house coming back onto the market after a deal fell through. In December, I closed on the house, and in March, after some light renovations for safety and mobility support, I moved my father and his loyal Silkie, Suzie, into our new home.
Finally, we reach 2023. I was working towards funding the Honey BBQ expansion again and working my day job to keep all the new bills paid. CCB and I continued to see great success in our working relationship and their business continued to grow. At some point, in our discussions of new ways we could continue to work together, they made an offer. I could come join them as a managing partner and take over their marketing and technology needs, while also building a brand new snack brand under the CCB banner.
I accepted the offer in August, and earlier this month finalized the sale of Dauntless Snacks. My quality-of-life has never been better, with my dad thriving in his new home and all my education and experience geared towards benefiting myself and business partners I've come to greatly respect and care about. I can't tell you how happy I've become as this part of my journey has come to a close.
Sometimes plans change and things don't work out. In my mind though, Dauntless Snacks is one of the greatest success stories of my life.
I built it. IT WORKED. It led me to a joyful life. It showed me the way forward.
If you've got something you want or need to do, my only advice is this: Follow that path as long as you intend to, but don't be so sure of what you want that you won't take something better.
To the mods, streamers, partners, friends, roommate, family, customers, backers, partners, vendors, clients, and random people who showed up in my inbox saying something kind: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Founder of Dauntless Snacks
P.S. - What the Future Holds
I've been quite busy building new systems here at CCB and while I can't wait to announce our new snack sticks, I do want pass on a discount to all the DS faithful. You can save 10% on any of our Gold Standard beef boxes by using the code DAUNTLESS at checkout. I hope you'll give us try. We ship frozen beef all across the country directly from the ranch.
And, if you'd like to keep up with me, I've created a new IG that is tracking me and my father's journey towards better health, cooking, and fitness.
Visit Colorado Craft Beef