We were so happy when Mary Shenouda found time between meetings in Austin to discuss the beginnings of her company with us. Her passion, determination and energy are infectious (even over the phone)!
EREWHON: Tell us why you launched Phat Fudge.
MARY: Phat Fudge was created out of necessity. My clients and I both needed a performance food that was fat focused, easy to digest, and made with simple ingredients. It was turned into a product, however, because of my online community. What was a popular recipe became a daily demand to turn it into a consumer good that could be found in stores. Without the encouragement and support of Instagram, I don’t know that I would have been able to see that opportunity all on my own.
EREWHON: Can you talk a bit about overcoming obstacles and if you have any advice you’d like to share with other budding entrepreneurs?
MARY: Obstacles are part of the game, and as long as you expect and accept it, you’ll be incredible during the transition from OMG to PHEW slash YAY. Early on I chose what areas absolutely needed process and what areas could be fluid for the sake of pushing the company forward. Sometimes remaining naive about certain things creates a bit of magic in your favor instead decision paralysis when you know too much.
My advice to new entrepreneurs is to fail forward, and frankly, to believe beyond reasonable doubt that there is no such thing as failure as long as you master the pivot. You have to be really stubborn about your success and a touch crazy to make it happen. Don’t wait to start and share as you go. There is nothing more powerful than including the community in your journey; they will have your back every step of the way.
EREWHON: What’s new on the horizon?
MARY: I’ve taken Phat Fudge as far as I can as a solo venture with the Original version. As I gear up to launch Vegan, I’m excited to build out a team and continue to expand the line. It’s an exciting and humbling journey.
EREWHON: What does being at Erewhon mean to you?
MARY: Erewhon is where everybody knows your name and you never have to worry about being “that guy” with dietary restrictions or requirements! Jokes aside, this company and its ethos will always have a special place in my heart. Back when I was still hand-packing everything myself, you were the first retailer to carry Phat Fudge, believing in and supporting me before anyone else. I felt like I was part of the family from day one and that I brought something of value to the community as well.
EREWHON: You absolutely did. Thanks so much for chatting with us, Mary it’s been super inspiring!