"I can't promise you will come out the other side with a successful business, but if you quit, I can promise you won't." – Jason Brunson
It's time to meet the next Member of the Month inside The One Percent, Jason Brunson! His inspiring story demonstrates the value of following your dream, no matter how many obstacles get tossed in your way. Once you hear his tale, you'll understand what made his story stand out to Community and Product Manager Justus Murimi.
Here's how Jason's journey fits into the "GIVE" principles used for the Member of the Month selection:
G-Grit: He jumped over every hurdle, including the death of his mother, to follow his dreams and build his business.
I-Investing: He invests profits back into the business to pay off debts and build additional distribution.
V-Value: He adds value to the community by sharing his experiences on The One Percent Facebook page.
E-Expanding: He plans to expand by increasing sales and adding more products to his line.
Jason Brunson began his full-time journey into organic foods, specifically seeds, all the way back in 2017. However, the road to success wasn't always smooth. Even with a clear vision, he still hit plenty of potholes and craters along the way. But after giving it his all for a solid year, he came out victorious.
According to a 2019 Organic Industry Survey, organic food sales topped $48 billion and accounted for 5.7% of the total U.S. food sales in 2018. This continuing upward trend has some studies linking the growth of organic food sales to a healthy economy.
More and more, consumers prefer eating healthy food and care about the integrity of the food supply chain. But is that USDA green and white "organic" really the answer?
(You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)
When Jason was in high school, he began working out (to attract girls, of course!) and got interested in nutrition. As he considered food content and labels, he gravitated towards organic. However, he discovered that foods with the "USDA Organic" label may still contain chemicals and non-organic parts.
The thrill of enjoying a home-grown tomato and the philosophy of books like Food, Not Lawns lit a fire under Jason. While fruitlessly searching for "clean" seeds on Amazon, he decided that the best way to get exactly what he wanted was to create it himself. Jason knew there were others out there like himself – people who wanted to grow their own produce and food so they would know precisely what was on and in it. Thus, Rebel Gardens was born.
Jason researched his audience. He sourced clean seeds. He learned to market - and a fact of entrepreneurship. We solve puzzles: no magic, no tricks, just lots of legwork, Googling, and learning.
Everything was moving along well. Jason was finally able to leave his job and go full time with his business when in 2017, he faced a significant setback. His business partner, who also happened to be his mom, suddenly died. Not only was she his bookkeeper, but also his logistical support in the business. Jason tried to take it all on himself but failed miserably and, in 2018, nearly bankrupted his young company.
When 2019 rolled around, Jason seriously debated quitting the seed business and accepting a "real" job. In fact, he already had an offer on the table, and he saw it as the smart thing to do. But a bit of encouragement from his wife and the dread of a 1-hour commute, however, helped Jason change his tune.
Early in 2019, Jason attended the 8-Figure Exit Workshop. There, he re-established his purpose and focus not just as a guy who sells seeds, but as someone who serves a community. He circled back to his original goal of helping people who wanted better food. His advice to entrepreneurs is to focus on the people you serve and the problem you solve – not just your product.
Jason decided to give his business one more chance - one year to grow it into something big. After all, Ryan's original "12 Months to 1 Million" video got his business started. If he failed, Jason would find a job. 2020 would be Jason's last roll of the dice.
Of course, no one could predict the chaos of 2020. But while many businesses struggled, it was a blessing for the gardening industry. The COVID bump, as Jason likes to call it, was what his brand needed. During quarantine, a lot of new gardeners found Rebel Gardens, and sales skyrocketed.
The pandemic made people aware of their own health. They wanted to find good-for-you products, and dabbling in gardening made sense to many. And while people socially distanced and stayed at home, kitchen gardening became an outlet for many. Jason's clean seeds were just what his core audience wanted.
Not many people can say this, but 2020 was a great year for Jason. Rebel Gardens reached the coveted 7-figure sales mark on Amazon.
What does the future hold for Jason? He's thought a lot about it, and one thing is for sure - he won't go back to a regular job anytime soon. Maybe he'll scale more and exit after he hits 8-figures. Perhaps he'll move on to a totally new thing. But right now, he's enjoying his space in the gardening industry.
Jason knows he may be the exception, but he also believes he could be the rule. During the past couple of years, he's faced more adversity than most, and he still came out in the lead. His dedication and drive paid off big time.
And Jason hopes you won't stop following your entrepreneurial dream. As he says, "You have no idea how it's going to work out. Just don't regret what could have been."
Ready to grow some fresh, healthy, and truly organic food? Jason Brunson is currently expanding his brand to include gardening supplies and will soon launch a website, Rebelgardens.com. Rebel Gardens currently sells organic seeds on Amazon.com. Get your hands on these seeds, and join the rebellion against the industrial food system.