Willamette Valley Pie Company thinks of its products as a “better-for-you dessert, says CEO Austin Kelly.

“We encourage people to enjoy dessert – it’s a special moment,” Austin says. “But we want to provide the best offering we can. And so we’re committed to using only the cleanest label ingredients and non-GMO verified products. … We’ve taken the approach that we want to make it as close to homemade as possible.”

As for advice to other entrepreneurs starting a brand, Austin says “Do what they love first … grow a brand and product they really believe in and do it for the long term.”

If you focus on the long term instead of growth, you won’t sacrifice quality, Austin says.

“I think there’s a lot of folks that get caught up in just growing quickly,” he says. “But there are trade-offs for that. And so I would just encourage people go with the speed that’s right for your brand and your company and enjoy the ride because life’s way too short to not enjoy what you’re doing.”

For those trying Willamette’s products for the first time, Austin recommends the fruit pies – the core of the brand. His personal favorite is the caramel apple pie. Cream pies – a newer product – were designed to be removed from the freezer, thawed for a few hours and served. They’re meant for those who don’t have time to bake a pie at home.

Willamette’s future categories include more top-shelf options – essentially becoming an artisan, handcrafted brand.

Austin says he’s particularly proud of his brand’s workforce and their dedication.

“There’s a ton of blood, sweat and tears and hard work that goes into making all of this stuff possible,” he says.

In Part 2, Austin talks about:

* The goal of making products as homemade and simple as possible.
* Advice for other entrepreneurs.
* The trade-off between speed and quality.
* A rundown of the desserts offered.
* Future categories to be pursued.
* Trends in the business, particularly transparency.
* Examples of his team’s dedication to the brand.
* Where you can find Willamette’s products.

Join Ramon Vela and Austin Kelly as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.

For more on Willamette Valley Pie Company, visit: https://www.wvpie.com/

This episode is brought to you by Mercury.

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