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How Dirty Cookie was born from Manifesting Dreams

Join us for a compelling look at Shahira Marei's entrepreneurial journey as the founder of the Dirty Cookie. Discover how she overcame significant challenges, harnessed the power of manifestation, and built a thriving global brand. Learn about her strategic decisions during crises and her effective use of networking. Shahira's story of resilience, strategic pivots, and securing key investments offers a wealth of insights into the entrepreneurial mindset. This session is designed to inspire and guide you in navigating business complexities and realizing your dreams, just like Shahira did. Tune in to unlock your potential and propel your entrepreneurial ambitions.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] Will Schreiber: That's really fascinating. It was like the landlord that pushed you toward the dessert for my concept. What were the early days of that? In terms of iterating and finding the products that you wanted to sell. And when did it crystallize to you the broader concept like the Dirty Cookie brand and Like when did it really happen for you that like, oh, this is the business I want to build

[00:00:29] Shahira Marei: That took a while It took like a few years because I think in the beginning I have no I was very naive I had no idea what I was doing.

I just thought it was just going to be like this milk and cookie shop had no bigger vision than that than turning it into that but Like The early days were really tough because I couldn't quit my full time job at Boeing for about a year and a half while I was running the storefront, while I was being a mom and I had a, a five month baby.

So I had three full time jobs and I was absolutely miserable [00:01:00] and it took me about a year and a half to realize I didn't start a business for it to, for me to feel like this. My whole. Thing behind starting a business was to achieve freedom. And freedom plays a big part of my life.

And I was like, I felt like a slave to all three of them. So I one of my really good advisors told me if you're not going to like gamble on yourself and take a bet on yourself, who will, and when I was asking him if I should quit my job at Boeing, I was like, if I quit my job at Boeing, I won't have money.

We're still not profitable. It's still really tough. For So when he said that to me, I was like, you know what, fine. I just, and I immediately quit and went all in. I ended up like having to sell my house to keep funding the business. I did get myself in a ton of credit card debt in the beginning just to keep going.

But I'm really glad I did because I learned a lot and it eventually all got paid off and it was great. I think one of the best things I did really early on, and I'm Still super proud of it till today is investing in a branding [00:02:00] company. Because that really set the course and tone and direction of my brand.

They were able to take whatever was in my head and put it on paper and make us like a really fun nam-, not a name. I had the name, but like the brand, the logo, I love my logo. I've had that logo for nine years. I really do think branding and marketing and the voice is super important in the story.

And it was a big investment. I remember it was like 6, 000 for me at the time, nine years ago to invest in that. And I'm like, I don't have 16, 000. And I had the guy, he was really amazing in LA. He just financed it over a year for me because he just help entrepreneurs. He's let me help you out.

So he financed it for me. So I'm very grateful for that.

[00:02:44] Will Schreiber: Yeah, that's very cool. I think that's a great give everyone a preview of the framework of what we hope to talk about. So we're going to talk about, uh, Shahira's experience growing Dirty Cookie, different sales channels and how she's done that and where the business is now.

[00:03:00] She appeared on Shark Tank. So we'll talk about that story as a part of it, and then. You are now at an interesting point in your career in business. It strikes me as a little bit of giving back, working on a book coaching other entrepreneurs, which is how we got introduced through Eric at Mama's Meals, who I hope everyone Listen to that talk, helping him with his business.

So that's, that'll be the structure and we'd love to dig into where you are now and what you've learned along the way and what you're hoping to write in your book at the end of the talk, but let's start with the growing Dirty Cookie part because how did you get from financing your brand?

Up to now the end state, which is what we were just talking about. Opening retail stores abroad in Egypt right now. And shipping all over the place. So what came after you buy this brand? What happened next?

[00:03:50] Shahira Marei: Yeah. We did the brick and mortar model in Orange County for three years. It was a terrible location.

That's why it was the last location in the mall. But I, again, I didn't know any better. [00:04:00] So it was like, people would try to find us and they couldn't find us. They'd go to the mall and they call the store we can't find you. So it was a really bad location. So I had plans on closing it and moving to a new location in LA.

Then what happened was. When I decided to close it, I had a friend take it over. It was going to move to LA, found a place there, then COVID hit a few months later. So luckily I didn't sign a new lease or anything. And then I ended up going online and I had never really played online or e commerce.

We had just gotten our website really, um, figured out a little bit. We actually, during COVID, I ended up letting my entire team go because we were doing a ton of catering and we were, we had just started wholesaling to some hotels like cosmopolitan in Vegas and a bunch of different ones Four Seasons

so when COVID hit, I laid off my entire team and I was like devastated for a week. I laid in bed for a week and then I was like no, we didn't come this far to just end like this, get up and do something about [00:05:00] it. And I'm a big I think what's gotten to me this far is my faith, like faith in myself and faith in a higher power that some, we're on this journey for a reason and we're being guided.

So when one, one door like closes, it's really something amazing is going to happen on the other side somewhere else. So it just forced me to think, and I'm also a big meditator, so I meditate a lot. And I get like clarity in my meditation during my meditation. During COVID I saw this little girl decorating a cookie shot.

And I jumped out of my meditation and I'm like, Oh my God, I'm going to go to Walmart, get these sprinkles and chocolates and I'm going to do a DIY kit. And it was literally the week after we shut down. And I I took a picture with my iPhone, put it on the website, called my friend Maria who ran Facebook ads.

I was like, Maria, Run some ads around this Easter DIY kit. See if it's going to work for two days later. She called me back. She's you sold 400 boxes and I'm like, Oh my God, I don't have staff. I don't have product. So I got into the kitchen with my [00:06:00] partner, Nadia, and we just started making them ourselves because I wasn't sure if people would, if this was going to fade out or what was happening during COVID.

So I didn't want to bring my staff back when I was unsure. Fast forward 2020 we ended up tripling the size of our team. We ended up going on I reached, I I reached out to like Good Morning America and the Today Show and told them like what we were going through. They both brought us on TV and helped explode the brand during COVID which was amazing.

And yeah, we ended up tripling the size of the team. And we been e commerce for the last few years just because we got pushed into that direction. And sometimes I tell you, like you on this journey, you're always pushed into a certain direction. Sometimes like you don't plan for it. Like it's really difficult to plan.

And so after we went online another challenge happened. You guys are familiar with the iOS update 2021 where advertising costs, like for us, it quadrupled at least it became very difficult to be [00:07:00] profitable online. We were profitable in 2020 and then 2021, we weren't profitable.

I'm like, oh my gosh. But I was in denial, and I think I made a huge mistake of being in denial and depending on one revenue stream for two years after COVID I just kept on going no, figure it out. I should have looked at other revenue streams to help the situation, but I like would hire more people and just like everybody get on this and figure it out because it was working so well for us.

There was one day like we were spending like 30, 000 a day and ad space it was there. It was amazing. So when that, yeah.

[00:07:37] Will Schreiber: Really quick, I'd love to go back to, but I think this ad stuff first of all, there's always something thrown at you. It feels it's always a new challenge.

I'd love to talk about this ad stuff and how you responded because that was a huge challenge for everyone. But You got this idea of meditating about the cookie shot, which it sounds like that product is what really went viral online and took [00:08:00] the company the DIY part of it.

[00:08:02] Shahira Marei: Yeah,

[00:08:02] Will Schreiber: so you had the cookie shot previously in store and in person.

[00:08:08] Shahira Marei: Yeah, I started with only the cookie shot. That was the only

[00:08:11] Will Schreiber: got it

[00:08:11] Shahira Marei: only idea like I wanted to innovate like the milk and cookie space and So I made these more they made the cookie shots and we were literally a cookie shop store a cookie shop store. That was it

[00:08:23] Will Schreiber: Yeah, that's super cool. So then it was the DIY thing which probably blended really well with Kovat I have like you're gonna get this and you've got to do something at home Here's the DIY kit Okay, so all that makes sense.

So you start sending those out and you're hit with this, then Facebook ads challenge. Yeah, I'm curious you were right. So then, you know, you're in denial. You're throwing people at the problem. Yeah. Then how did you do? What happened next?

[00:08:51] Shahira Marei: After two years of really suffering, like I really suffered online and because I didn't pivot quickly enough, I lost, [00:09:00] I think I owed people like half a million dollars by the end of 2022 and I was like really devastated about my decision of not.

Pivoting quickly enough and just being in denial. Sometimes we do that where we're like, I don't know, but, and then I needed to fundraise or I would like, I didn't know how to pay off this money. I was like, what am I going to do? I need to fundraise. So I started doing that for four months straight. I would like pitch and pitch.

And it was like the worst experience of my life. I was getting left and right no's Hey, why don't you tech or incorporate some tech element? I'm like, I'm a cookie company. Like it was really Even all like the women funds, they tell you like, yeah, if you're a woman, we'll fund you.

It was really difficult. It started messing with like my self esteem and my product. I have thousands of reviews that tell me I have an amazing product, but but what, so a part of me was like, wait, nothing in my life ever works like the traditional way. Like I know that about me, like everything happens for me.

I'm an amazing manifester. That's something also I like coach people on is like, [00:10:00] managing your thoughts and your mindset and how to create. Have things come right to you. I've manifested every little thing in my life, including the business. Like when I said, when I was pregnant, I'm starting a business this year, it just happened and everything just fell into place, things were just coming up and like my best friend, I didn't have money.

She gave me 50 grand to start. Like things would just show up for me. So I did that. I journaled and I was like, I just, I don't want to do this pitching thing. I want people, I want the money to come right to me. And and the financial pressure got really intense. And there was one day I remember I collapsed in my bedroom on the floor where I was just like, God, I can't do this anymore.

Like I'm done. I was like, you, for some reason you think I can handle this, but I just can't. I'm telling you right now, I cannot handle this and I'm bawling on the floor. And 10 days later from that day, I collapsed in my bedroom. I get a text, I'm reading this text message that says money's been wired to your account.

I jump up, there was like 1. [00:11:00] 5 million in my account. And the story behind that is a guy called me 10 days after, like I fell to the floor in my bedroom. And I remember the names like Harold investor. And I'm like, who the hell's Harold investor in my phone book? I don't have any investors.

And so I pick up and I'm like, Hey and he's Hey, Shahira, do you remember me? We met five years ago on a golf course in mission Viejo. I loved your product and I told you I wanted to invest back then, but you said you were too early on and you didn't want the money. So I've just been watching you on LinkedIn and seeing all the amazing things you're doing.

Are you in need of any funding? And I'm like, are you kidding me? I was like, yes. And he was like, how much are you raised? I told him, I was like, yes, I'm actually fundraising right now. And he's like, how much are you raising? I'm like 3 million. And he's like, all right, I'll wire you 1. 5 tomorrow and the rest when you need it.

Literally. I couldn't I don't know how to even explain that to people, how something like that happened. He never checked, asked for my books till today, never once. He's been my biggest cheerleader and supporter [00:12:00] for the last few years. So I ended up raising 3 million for a 20 percent equity in the company.

And that's why I really helped us, get to the next level. Because we then ended up getting through, it's always a challenge on this journey, guys, it will always be the next thing. So for me, it ended up being. Manufacturing challenges.

[00:12:21] Will Schreiber: Yeah.

[00:12:22] Shahira Marei: From co packer to co packer. So that was the next challenge.

After that, I got the money and then a lot in manufacturing facility. And then I moved to a co packer who screwed me over big time.

[00:12:35] Will Schreiber: Yeah.

[00:12:36] Shahira Marei: Moved to another co packer in Phoenix. He went bankrupt within three months of us moving in there and absorb a hundred thousand dollar kitchen. It's been a journey.

[00:12:47] Will Schreiber: Yeah. It's amazing to, to, to on the investor. front was talking with a friend. It's amazing how little things from like little one off meetings or little people you meet end up having some big [00:13:00] role in your life at some point. And it's so hard to predict what that is. It's amazing. Like meeting some person on a golf course years ago comes back.

My, my conclusion on it was there's a way higher ROI of meeting new people and building connections than we even ascribe credit to. It's like good things come from growing your network.

[00:13:21] Shahira Marei: And I know this could be them, but the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone is build your network build your network reach out to people and don't be afraid to ask I'm very I reached out to the CEO, former CEO of Mrs.

Fields cookies, and now he's on my advisory board just because on LinkedIn, I like stock people and I'm like, I don't care who you are. If I want you, you're going to come and you're going to help me. Cause I'm going to I've been able through this journey to build like an amazing network of human beings.

I'm like, wow. Um, because I just ask and I'm not shy. I used to be really shy. Okay. I'm like, Nope, I'm going on there. I'm like, Hey, we need to talk. [00:14:00] Hey.

[00:14:01] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Yeah. That's great advice. It's so true. I'm also curious. So you overcame this financial challenge, but. This didn't solve the Facebook challenge of, okay, iOS has banned for everyone who remembers like ban the tracking and Safari and it made tracking advertising way harder.

So return on ad spend dropped for everyone. You solve this financial piece. How'd you figure out the product and go to market piece of the business? I

[00:14:28] Shahira Marei: decided that it needs to be We can't be dependent on one revenue stream. So I I pivoted into two different markets, the corporate gifting market, which was amazing for us.

I work with Google, Netflix, a bunch of tech companies. And I sell to them, like my cookies branded with their logo for their employees, their clients all over the country. So that was the first like quarter. 1st, like 2 quarters and then I was like, yeah, this is great, but it's still not enough.

And I want to get more business. What else [00:15:00] can we get into as another revenue stream? And it was for me B2B food service. I wish I would have known about B2B and food service a long time ago and that there is different trade shows that were focused on that because I have one coming up in two weeks in Chicago.

That's the show that really launched our brand the National Restaurant Association in Chicago.

[00:15:21] Will Schreiber: Oh, yeah, I might be there and my wife works for Square and she's going so I

[00:15:27] Shahira Marei: will be there in a few

[00:15:29] Will Schreiber: weeks

[00:15:30] Shahira Marei: Yeah, so that's

[00:15:31] Will Schreiber: why you're going to Chicago. Okay, that's

[00:15:33] Shahira Marei: so really That was in May last year. So when we launched at that show, it was phenomenal we got picked up by like Disneyland and SeaWorld and airports and stadiums and just a bunch of different brands coffee shops and We exploded in Q4 in the B2B.

So I've I've stopped investing this year in e commerce, like paid ads and stuff. [00:16:00] And I'm really focusing where there's volume. Like Disney just placed another order for 30, 000 stuffed cookies and. I just signed a deal with a big vending machine company that's going to be taking 60, 000 cookies a month, stuffed cookies.

Yeah. And and now I'm like we have a, I have to move manufacturing again because I found a really good co packer in Long Island and New Jersey. They have two facilities. That's why I'm here right now. And we're moving all our stuff in the next two weeks there. But they are like, yeah,

[00:16:33] Will Schreiber: I'd love to go deep on it.

Cause we have a question too. Do you still use that co packer? I'd love to circle back on that conversation and hear what you're doing on production. But before we get to that, I think we also have a question. What is B2B? So as a starting point, explain a bit more about this. I think both the gifting motion and the wholesale, like what exactly are you selling it to who?

[00:16:56] Shahira Marei: For sure. Okay. I see the questions now. I [00:17:00] didn't see those earlier. So I'll go back to the co packer when he went bankrupt, he's in Phoenix, Arizona. I took the facility, I hired staff. So I didn't own, I was just leasing it from him. But again, it was costing me a hundred thousand dollars a month and I could not afford it.

So I made the decision to shut it down and move to this co packer in New Jersey, Long Island in the next couple of weeks, B2B is business to business. So for example, I'm selling from Dirty Cookie to Disneyland. That's considered B2B. It's business to business instead of direct to consumer online, where it's like a B2C business to consumer, me to the end client.

So, so basically, and the other question, how did you find the vending machine company at the NRA show? They found us at the show. And yes, I can definitely help with getting into vending machines. I think that could be something.

[00:17:53] Will Schreiber: Oh, that's cool. Yeah, I think my main thought on you talking about these different channels is I, we were [00:18:00] talking at the beginning of the call for everyone who's doing meal prep and delivery on the call.

There's. Amazing go to the market and selling straight to offices and providing individualized meals for the workers in that office. What are the wholesale opportunities to sell through retail to sell your meals on a shelf in a retail store? Is there a gifting program around people like the mama's meal business model, where there's a new.

Birth and there's postnatal meal gifting and meal trains and stuff. So there's so much creativity you can have and how you actually sell your products in a way that's not just direct to consumer, which is really an all out dog fight. Online and on Instagram and stuff to get customers and keep them.

And I think that's one of the most interesting things to hear as done with Dirty Cookie is really figure that out. So, Yeah, how'd you so you went to a trade show. That's how you found a vending machine company.

[00:18:51] Shahira Marei: Yeah, I went to a few trade shows when I became intentional I'm like, I need to find all the food service trade [00:19:00] shows in the country.

I pulled I googled it. I got the list. And I started Figuring out which ones are the good ones and are worth the investment. I asked around like I, I asked people in different space like advisors. I'm like, hey, they're like, yeah, NRA is amazing. Yes, definitely. But you got to be prepared for these shows because they're expensive and they take a lot of work.

So there's a whole a lot that goes into doing a trade show like that. Yeah. I think in business, you definitely can't depend on one revenue channel. You need to have, I feel like you need to have multiple, like that's, what's worked for me. And if you have one that is really successful, you can put all your like 80, 20, 80 percent of like right now I'm putting 80 percent of my B2B food service business and 20 percent and just corporate and e commerce because I want the volume for me, it's a volumes game.

[00:19:47] Will Schreiber: And so and for you, you're producing, you're taking orders from Disney and out West and you're producing them all in one place, though, and shipping them. You don't have different co packers or

[00:19:57] Shahira Marei: No. Right now. We're just then [00:20:00] we're right now. We're just we hire our own trucks. Freight trucks to ship pallets to Disney.

We have to ship them frozen. So those are not cheap either. Pretty expensive, but we're working through the logistics right now.

And to get corporate accounts, I see someone's asking about how do you get corporate accounts? I'm an amazing stalker, so I love stalking people on LinkedIn.

So HR managers event managers salespeople business development people, titles on LinkedIn and you go, you find them, you figure out what company you want. I use LinkedIn a lot. It's been my, the best tool for me personally. And I get their, so I'll send them a message on LinkedIn if they don't respond, I will go there's programs you can invest in for 350 a month where you can pull emails and leads and they're really accurate.

So I've invested in that a couple of times where I can just get anybody's email and [00:21:00] phone number. And that's what I do. I have if they don't answer me on LinkedIn, I'm going to get their email and phone number from that platform.

[00:21:06] Will Schreiber: Yes. Yeah, and then you just reach out and say, Hey, this is what I'm doing.

Do you guys do gifting? Do you do stuff for your employees?

[00:21:14] Shahira Marei: Yeah. For me, what's helped me a lot, sell my product is putting images in the first cold email. When they see like my cookie shot, cause it's so different. They're like, what is that? And the subject line I put Dirty Cookie, like they're like, Oh, so you have to have something to pull them in.

I've become really good at cold email strategy. Was crazy. Like we got into a bunch of four baseball stadiums and this company that runs them called Delaware North. I literally just pulled all our emails. I ran them through this six email cold sequence. And I probably made the email list cost me like 150 bucks and I made 25, 000 from their order Just [00:22:00] from emails like that was it.

Yeah, but It takes time to collect the emails and to figure out who, as long as you figure out who you're going after, that's going to be the big, the client for you and you get their emails, set up a cold email strategy and then calls. And that's how I've been able to like really build the corporate and the B2B business.


[00:22:22] Will Schreiber: And I think for people listening to part of our story, a bottle is Andy ran South Fork, which the main go to market strategy was selling through offices or getting office workers. And so if you ever want to chat or hear more of him talk about That which I think is a relevant kind of B to B strategy for meal prep.

Please email in and, we'll probably do a conversation based off of what Shahira saying here with Andy's perspective. We could go deep on, you could probably help people. I know we've got questions on what are good subject lines and we could go deep there.

[00:22:57] Shahira Marei: I just saw that.

[00:22:59] Will Schreiber: Yeah [00:23:00] let's veer back a little bit and go to, um, keep moving forward.

So you're doing all of this gifting and B2B stuff. I'm curious to jump fully ahead, like, Where are you today in the business? When we were chatting, you're opening up stores internationally, what do you see as the future of Dirty Cookie and where you take things?

[00:23:19] Shahira Marei: Yeah, for sure. So I've always wanted to build a global brand.

I didn't want to just keep Dirty Cookie in just the U S like we have a ton of interest from Canada. And I haven't been able to open that door yet because I don't have the right people or infrastructure in place to start supporting Canada. The next, where I'm at right now is I'm looking for a strategic partner to come in and be my operator in the U S and really someone with a lot of FNB experience.

I'm talking to a bunch of really big brands this week. I have meetings set up every day. With 1 800 flowers, I have meetings with people who know like how to operate and really scale into, billion dollar brands. [00:24:00] So I'm talking to a bunch of them in the next, for the next two weeks, because I need someone like them to come in and just really take it to the next level and operate it.

Like I'm a visionary and it's been almost 10 years. Of running Dirty Cookie, and I feel like I've set up. I've done the hard part. I've done. I built the brand. I built the name. I built the story. I built the foundation. I think the first 10 years are the hardest 10 years in a in entrepreneurship.

But if you get to that level. I recognize that it's time to bring in the big boys to play and really just take it and plug and play and operate it in their ecosystem. They already have the ecosystem. They already have the stores and they have the e commerce. They can just, it's a plug and play model for them.

So I'm bringing on a partner. A really big partner this year to, to handle the U S operations. And that will free me up a lot to go do what I'm really passionate about, which is I love consulting. I love doing like [00:25:00] working with startups for the first, like my sweet spot is like, the first seven years, I love the first seven years of business and trying to figure things out and really getting there.

So I want to really be able to grow my consulting part and I want to go focus on franchising in the Middle East. We have a lot of opportunity with Saudi Arabia and Dubai. That I still want to work on. And then I personally want it's been a really amazing, but also very challenging journey.

And I want to get all my lessons learned and put them in a book for people so they can read them. And also this business didn't just, give me amazing experience. I say it's the most expensive MBA I've ever paid for in my life. And I also say, if it wasn't for this business, I would have never gone on a very deep personal healing journey.

Six years ago, which has completely transformed my life. And that's where I was able to manage my thoughts and really be a creator in this world, instead of letting [00:26:00] things happen to me, I just I'm like, no, I am finding the most amazing partner for my company in the next 30 days.

And that's gonna happen because I said so. I'm creating that right now in this moment. So just being like that and being intentional about things like that, it just shows up. It just happens for you. So yeah, cause I want to focus on growing the Middle East. I want to focus on consulting.

I want to focus on writing my book and just, I love speaking. I just spoke at MIT a week ago and that was amazing experience. So I just want to do more of that.

[00:26:30] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I would love to, from here, answer some of these more specific questions. And then I'd really love to dig into this, like things you've learned as the entrepreneur and the healing journey you've been on and like stuff that you would impart as advice.

Next, but just to clear people's curiosity here. Do you have any other thoughts on getting in front of people apart from just LinkedIn? You've mentioned conferences, stalking people on LinkedIn. Are there any other ideas in terms of getting in front of people?

Potential business clients or gifting market or [00:27:00] things like that.

[00:27:01] Shahira Marei: Yeah. So, someone's asking about direct to consumer B2C but, or something like influencers, I built the brand on the back of influencers in the early days also through stalking them, but I wouldn't go directly to them. I would go to their.

Best friends and their close friends who weren't really as popular as them. So I was able to get like the Kardashians a few times, multiple times through that strategy to help my direct to consumer business. I was able to, um, to get like in front of Chrissy Teigen's manager and talk about a brand partnership with Chrissy Teigen back in the day, because of that strategy of trying to find.

As soon as you identify who you need to go after, there's so many ways of finding that person or work. So that was like a big thing I did. But the, what was the question? It was like the different ways.

[00:27:51] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Do you have any other kind of if you were just thinking through man, I've got to get in front of businesses to try to sell, there's conferences, there's the email, there's what [00:28:00] you're, jokingly calling the stalking, which I think are all true, but all right, is there anything else that comes to my cold email?


[00:28:07] Shahira Marei: honestly picking up the phone has I struggled a lot to be doing cold calls. That was a big struggle for me. I hated the word no and I hated rejection. So picking like when you, like I said, you identify who you need to go after and you find every single way possible of trying to reach that person.

You try LinkedIn, you try email, you try calling, you try finding some common person or someone in the network that knows them that could help connect you and ask for it. Cold calling really did help me a lot when I got over myself. Cause I had to I had to have a breakthrough within myself to be able to pick up the phone and call a few years ago.

Now I have two salespeople, which I'm, they're really good at cold calling. And I just make them do it every single day. For these.

[00:28:56] Will Schreiber: Yeah, a lot of the advice just comes down to figure out who to talk [00:29:00] to and talk to them and just get in touch figure out how to get in touch

[00:29:04] Shahira Marei: and there's tools you can email nowadays.

Honestly, you can get anyone's email for the most part.

[00:29:09] Will Schreiber: Yeah we'll try to link to some of those tools to And when we post the transcript the B2C question and curious your thoughts on this because you did B2C obviously, and figured out how to price your product which in food is really hard.

So the question from Danny was, how did you think about that direct to consumer price discovery? What was the price that worked in terms of conversion and that made the business work in terms of costs?

[00:29:35] Shahira Marei: So how'd you figure

[00:29:36] Will Schreiber: that out?

[00:29:37] Shahira Marei: So the first thing I did, I benchmarked. All my competitors, I'm like, every gourmet cookie company, like my top 10, what are they selling at?

What are they selling half a dozen for? What are they selling per cookie for? So I I put the lowest one and the highest one on the market. And then I looked at my cost of ingredients. I looked at my cost of [00:30:00] labor and I calculated that. And then I was like, okay if I go at the lowest price point where my competitor is, my margins only this, if I go to, I don't want to be the highest either.

So I just I wanted to always keep like at least 30 to 40 percent margins. So I would see where that takes me between that spectrum of my competitors. Cause I didn't want to be the cheap one. I know I'm premium. So I want it to be closer to the expensive one, but not I don't want to be the most expensive one.

So people don't say that about me. Instead of like right now, last crumb is one of my competitors. For example, they sell a dozen for 120. I sell a dozen for how much I sell a dozen for now, like 54. Something like that. Wow. That's their strategy is like, yeah, we're the most premium cookie company because we've invested in this giant box and branding.

So it's like a, it's a gift box that you can keep. I knew I didn't want to be that for sure. I didn't want to be 120 for 12 [00:31:00] cookies.

[00:31:00] Will Schreiber: Yeah.

[00:31:00] Shahira Marei: So

[00:31:01] Will Schreiber: 10 a cookie feels criminal.

[00:31:03] Shahira Marei: Yeah. Feels

[00:31:04] Will Schreiber: wild.

[00:31:05] Shahira Marei: So I just tried to stay with it for, for 50. For 50 price for the consumer.

[00:31:11] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot of it and Eric talks a lot about this to help.

You've given him around protecting the margin. But other than that, a lot of it is where it seems to be. It just feel it's an art and a science. The science is you have to protect your margin and the art is. Perception in the marketplace for sure. You can beat expectations

[00:31:31] Shahira Marei: If you can really hone in on value and really figure out a way to storytell, everything is storytelling, everything.

If you can storytell around the value that your brand is giving them and they will, people will pay. Of, one of my I don't know if you guys are familiar with Seth Godin, he's like a marketing guru. And for any women out here apply to the Tory Burch foundation. It's a good, amazing program.

That's changed my life. Tory Burch [00:32:00] does it every year. She picks 50 women entrepreneurs to like mentor and coach and give them resources, phenomenal program. So just get on their newsletter. So I met Seth Godin at the Tory Burch Foundation. I was one of the 50 entrepreneurs that went back in 2019.

And he told me something. He said, if you figure out how to elevate people's status with your brand, You can charge whatever you want and you'll be very successful. And he said, all people really care about is elevating their status. And I didn't get that. But then when he used this example, he's like, when you get in an Uber, you are subconsciously, Uber has subconsciously elevated your status.

You're getting in the back, someone else's driving you, your status has been elevated. And he's you figure out that in your branding and your marketing and your communication, how to really elevate people's status. You will be very successful. So I that's been in the back of my mind since 2019.

And I look at that and everything I do in my communication. So love, [00:33:00] Seth Godin too. Big fan.

[00:33:02] Will Schreiber: What's something you've done to do that, to elevate the status of a customer.

[00:33:07] Shahira Marei: Invested again after what six or seven years in branding. And so remember when I told you when I first started, it was 16, 000.

Yeah. Six years later I invested again and it was 50,000.

[00:33:22] Will Schreiber: Wow.

[00:33:23] Shahira Marei: Yeah. And that was with the intention of elevating our status of elevating our brand. And it did it like our packaging, our branding, everything. Like I'm in love with it. Was it worth $50,000? I don't know, but it was like, yeah, it was, I'm glad I did it.

That's all.

[00:33:41] Will Schreiber: Yeah. A

[00:33:42] Shahira Marei: lot.

[00:33:43] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I feel like particularly in the gifting space, it matters a lot, right? The gifter wants to make it. Be a good gift and doesn't feel cheap.

[00:33:52] Shahira Marei: Yeah.

[00:33:52] Will Schreiber: So that makes sense

[00:33:55] Shahira Marei: Chat if you guys aren't using like you have to use chat gpt for subject lines that helps a [00:34:00] lot for email I am i'm trying to figure out a way to take some time off to just go deep into ai and learn More about it, because I feel like if we're not using AI right now to really help us with our businesses for example, I told you, I'm looking for a partner to take over Dirty Cookie in the U.

S. License it and really just, take it to the next level. I ran that through chat. I was like, give me a list of every strategic partner possible in the United States. And guess what? I got all their emails. I have a virtual assistant, so she, Got all their emails from the program ample market, which I use, and then we're running it through a cold email sequence.

today or tomorrow. I'll run it through. It's Hey, I have an amazing opportunity for you guys. And that's how I'm doing. So I'm basically using my sales strategy into my same strategy of finding a partner to take, to really take dirty cooks to the next level.

[00:34:50] Will Schreiber: Super cool.

[00:34:51] Shahira Marei: Someone's asking about like manifestation skills.

Oh, that is a daily practice to strengthen your manifestation. So like meditation Is key [00:35:00] to to really strengthening manifestation skills. I believe I I used to have ADD and I was diagnosed with ADD and I couldn't sit still for two minutes. And also an advisor of mine told me she was a mentor.

She had four businesses, two kids, happily married. And I'm like, why are you so happy all the time? How do you do it? I'm so miserable. This was the early days. And she was like, meditation, meditate every single day. So I tried it and, I didn't like it the first week, but I just stuck with it because I trusted her so much.

I did it for a month and I just, everybody around me was telling me something's different about me and I didn't notice it. My employees noticed it. My husband at the time noticed it. So I meditation is like going to the gym. Like you don't see the progress right away, but over time in a year, you're like, wow, I look amazing.

It's exactly the same way with your mind. I'm a huge, I've been meditating for six years now and the longest I've meditated at one time was about [00:36:00] five hours straight. So I went from not being able to sit still for two minutes to now I do, I could do a five hour meditation and it feels like 10 minutes.

And I believe my man and my meditation helps me so much with my manifestation because while I'm in my meditation, I really like call into what I want to create and it just ends up happening, classes, books. I started the manifestation books like in 2006, which was The Secret was one of the, the early books of learning about manifestation.

But there's a couple of one there's a couple, There's a couple of audio books I listened to before. I'll put them in the chat once I figure it out.

[00:36:36] Will Schreiber: Yeah, sounds good. And we can also follow up in an email with recommendations there as well that you send out. So I think this is a great opportunity to just talk about the personal side of stuff and this book you're writing and what you want to teach other entrepreneurs, as you think about speaking and sharing everything you've learned, like what are things that you would love to teach other entrepreneurs?

[00:36:59] Shahira Marei: [00:37:00] So we all have self limiting beliefs and I think these self limiting beliefs, I know they come from a lot of childhood trauma, and if we don't, if we don't work on that, you continue running these negative self talk so I had to get to the root of Like my trauma to figure out, like, why it was uncomfortable asking for money.

Why was I uncomfortable with rejection? Why was, there was a lot of things in my business that were showing up for me and all stemmed from my childhood, so my whole life My, my father lost his first son in an accident. He was shot. And I came after that and my dad, all he ever wanted was to replace my brother who passed away.

And he wanted a boy more than anything in the world and he was Extremely disappointed when he got me and then he ended up getting four more girls So he got like super angry with the birth of every daughter So it was really tough [00:38:00] for us growing up because he didn't He made us feel like we were not good enough.

So I struggled a lot with like issues. I struggled a lot with confidence issues because if my own father, I felt like didn't love me or want me, like, how could I show up in the world as like this powerful woman? It was challenging. So I spent about six years really like healing from all that and telling myself I am enough.

I can be this successful. I can do all of this. I don't need to prove anything to anyone because I was always on this mission to have to prove to my father that I'll be successful no matter what at any cost. And that drove a lot of my bad decisions.

[00:38:37] Will Schreiber: Yeah.

[00:38:38] Shahira Marei: Yeah.

[00:38:39] Will Schreiber: So how'd you start to work through that?

Like, when did you realize this was self limiting and how did you make it so that it wasn't limiting anymore?

[00:38:47] Shahira Marei: Someone told me about this class named like landmark. That was the beginning. It was called landmark. Someone told me about this class called Landmark. It's a three day program, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

And they 10 p. [00:39:00] m. And they really help you see your blind spots. And they do it all over the U. S. And it was a really powerful class for me. It made me feel like, whoa, I've been looking at myself. I haven't seen, I've been blind. And I started understanding like how people were seeing me and viewing me and like it really helped me with my communication and then I, from there I learned about like more healing mechanisms like breath work, like shamanic breath work is something that I am a huge fan of.

I do once a quarter for an hour. And that literally releases trauma from the body, like you're, you have trauma trapped in your body from whatever happened to you in a younger age and breathwork will physically release it from your body. So I'd do this breathwork session for an hour and I'm like, bawling, crying, and I'll have memories of something that happened to me as a kid, and it's just being released out of my body.

It was so powerful. So I big fan of breathwork. And they do that with [00:40:00] ceremonies and guides and stuff. If you type shamanic breathwork guide, you can find them all over the country. So I, and then from there, I met more people who did other kinds of work. So I started Tell me what you guys have done to heal.

So I just went on this like never ending. And one of my favorite one is Dr. Joe Dispenza. He's a big meditator. He does a meditation retreat all over the country. I've made a commitment to go at least once a year. I did twice last year and those were just like super healing, super powerful.

Yeah. Is this one

[00:40:30] Will Schreiber: of those no talk, like days on end sort of retreats? Or what are these like? It's not a silent

[00:40:36] Shahira Marei: retreat. No, he does. Okay.

[00:40:37] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Silent retreat.

[00:40:38] Shahira Marei: He does he does he incorporates breath work into the meditation and while you're in the meditation, you really start feeling like your energy move.

Like I felt it and and you can create so much, like he'll have you like, think about abundance and and we're all going to 2000 people are meditating on the abundance. And I believe like we're [00:41:00] all energy. So when we're all 2000 people are thinking of abundance, it just shows up in our lives. There's so much that I've learned and I've created just from being at those retreats.

They're super life changing. But yeah, I can get, so what

[00:41:12] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I know you're working on the outline of your book, so I'm curious how you're thinking about that. What is what's in the outline so far?

[00:41:20] Shahira Marei: The outline is gonna start with the impact of not healing from trauma and how that leads to our, it runs our behavior in our lives.

You don't even notice it, but the way you're behaving in a certain way has something to do with something that happened to you in the past. And And sometimes, and most of the time it's like a negative thing. It's not a great thing. And and then there's a bit about like my father's story and like how I had to overcome that and a lot of faith in yourself.

Faith has been the biggest driver for me through this business, through these last 10 years. Faith in myself, faith in a higher power that we're being guided and I have a purpose and I'm doing this for a [00:42:00] reason. So even if it doesn't work out, I'm like, I surrender and I'm like, someone is taking care of me in this world.

And if this isn't working out, then I'm meant to do something else, or I'm meant to go in another direction. I'm okay with it. So I've learned to surrender. I used to be like a control freak and I couldn't surrender. And I've surrendered to whatever comes and to really let people believe that they are creators.

We're all creators. We have the power to create any kind of life we live. I think the issue is people don't believe that they are creators and people don't, again, the self limiting beliefs talks. And once you get past all of that, you can have this vision for yourself and just, it will happen exactly the way you want it to.

I've created this amazing life where I live between Egypt and the U S and I love it. Cause I don't want to stay in one place for one time. I didn't think that was possible, but. I've been doing it for three years now, so there's a lot.

[00:42:50] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Yeah. That's, what has been most rewarding for you in building Dirty Cookie so far?

[00:42:57] Shahira Marei: The network and the people I've met [00:43:00] along the journey have probably been, there's no, I have no, I can't tell you how valuable, like an amazing, my network is, and I'm just like, I'm so blessed. EO is a big one entrepreneurs organization. That organization has changed my life in every way possible, personal and business, and it's a group of, it's like AA for entrepreneurs we cry to each other, we talk about our challenges and there's like an accelerator program in EO for companies that are making less than a million dollars in revenue, and that is Transcribed I started an accelerator and it was so much learning.

You take time to actually work on your business, not in your business. So that was, so EOS changed my life a lot as well.

[00:43:42] Will Schreiber: I've heard that from several people, huge endorsers of EO for people listening in who want Comrades on this journey who, who has inspired you, you talk a lot about mentors and people helping you, like who, who's inspirational to you?

[00:43:57] Shahira Marei: So when I was really [00:44:00] unhealed and I used to look up to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, and I thought this was, the ideal entrepreneur. And then over the last six years. It's shifted a lot because my purpose now has shifted to like wanting to help people and help people here. So for me, it was like, now it's like Dr.

Joe Dispenza for me, like he heals 2000 people in one week in front of me. Like I see it happen and I'm like, I want to be like this guy. Because I, because my beliefs and My purpose has shifted over the last 10 years, but I love having advisors. I love, I don't make any decision. Like my call tomorrow, for example, with one 800 flowers, I have my my advisor, the previous CEO of Mrs.

Fields cookies. On the call with me because he's had 30 years of experience. I'm not getting on that call alone. Like I don't do that anymore. Back in the day, I used to try to do everything on my own. People would take advantage of me and cause I didn't have experience. And I lost a lot of money that way.

I bring on like my mentors or advisors to get on [00:45:00] the call with me and tell them, here's the intention. This is what I want. Help me lead the conversation. So they'll step in and it's been amazing. So just surrounding yourself with a lot, like people who've done it before. I think that's the biggest thing is go to people who've done it before.

They can crack the code so easily because they have that. They've made the mistakes. They know who to talk to now.

[00:45:22] Will Schreiber: Any parting anything you haven't said, it's like a parting For everyone listening in,

[00:45:29] Shahira Marei: Being an entrepreneur, everybody knows it requires a little bit of crazy in us to live this life because it is it is really challenging, but I think it's also like the most rewarding thing I've ever done and the freedom that I've been able to build for me and my family through it.

Even with the challenges, I have flexibility. I work anywhere from anywhere in the world. I'm virtual. I don't need to be anywhere. So that to me is super important. I think ask for help, reach out to people. Don't be shy. The more you get nose, [00:46:00] the closer you are to a yes. So I've been on a mission to collect nose every day.

I'm like collecting five nose a day. So I'll call anybody. Hey, do you want to give me half a million dollar loan? No. And I'm like, okay, cool. Next. And I'm just like, yeah, my best friend, Hey, do you want to give me a 200, 000 loan? Nope. Next. So I've become so numb to the word no, that it doesn't mean anything to me anymore.

And that was a word that really scared me back in the day. So collect your nose because they'll get you one step closer to yes. And don't be shy and ask.

[00:46:36] Will Schreiber: That's awesome. That's awesome advice. I think everyone as we've seen in the Q and a has absolutely loved this. You're on an inspirational journey and can't wait for the book and to see what you do next.

Congrats on everything to date and excited for what's ahead for you and for Dirty Cookie. Thank you so much for joining. We will, for everyone who missed it or had to dip, we'll post the talk and [00:47:00] links to some of the tools mentioned. Around finding emails and we'll follow up with classes books on the manifestation and meditation that I think could be really helpful.

So thank you so much for joining us and giving us an hour of your time and helping pay it forward. So we really appreciate it.

[00:47:17] Shahira Marei: guys so much for having me.

[00:47:19] Will Schreiber: Yeah, absolutely. All right. Bye. See you later.