Red Chocolate Has Arrived

Glenn Gardone, President, Chocolette Distribution LLC

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Glenn is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods industry. He has had the pleasure of leading and building amazingly successful teams while helping people enjoy their Sunday nights! He has played the role of Multiple Award-Winning Chief Revenue Officer, with more than 15 years of revenue generation experience in building unified performance-based sales cultures He has worked in industry-leading organizations such as Del Monte Foods, Inc., The Kellogg Company, and Pepsico, Inc.

He is now the President of RED chocolate.

RED was born from the passion of European Master Chocolatiers. They envisioned chocolate with the expected delivery of divine creaminess, yet without the added refined sugars of commercialized chocolate. It wasn’t intended to be a “healthy” alternative or a “dieter’s” chocolate. The intent was to simply create chocolate emphasizing the natural sugars we experience when consuming fruits.

He has worked at 4 of the top CPG (Consumer packaged goods) companies in the world in various positions such as sales, marketing, & finance. As an award-winning, entrepreneurial, multichannel growth strategist with a distinguished record of producing immediate results, along with massive sales growth for multinational Fortune 100 brands, including some of the largest direct store delivery (DSD) and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in the world— his experience is broad ranging & encompasses small startups to enterprise-scale businesses.

Glenn Gardone, a 30-year veteran of the Consumer-Packaged Goods industry, is a proven growth strategist. Glenn is the President of Red Chocolate and shares his experience in finding his purpose, building a culture, and bringing a European chocolate company to the US. 

Glenn explains the importance of creating value for customers and building a culture. He also shares his personal advice for entrepreneurs: be positive, find people you can latch onto, and build relationships.

Talking Points:

{03:22} Glenn the whirling dervish

{04:57} The defining moment

{08:40} Tactics to help build a culture within teams and organizations.

{10:50} The Chocolate business

{16:62} Bringing a European company to America.

{18:50} The Art of Deal-making.

{25:48} The process to understand the value continuum.

Welcome to the Talent Empowerment Podcast, where we support career education through the stories of glorious humans. Let's borrow their vision, their tools, and their tactics to lift up your own purpose and find happiness within your organization, your teams, and of course, your community. I am your purpose-driven host. The real Tom Finn. And on the show today we have Glenn Gardone. Glenn, welcome to the show, my friend.

Tom, thank you for having me. It's greatly appreciated, and I look forward to getting a chance to sit and chat with you.

Well, we are looking forward to chatting with you as well, my man. And if you don't know, Glenn, let me just take a second. This guy is an absolute rock star, but I got to give you a little bit of background on him before we get into all the juicy details. 

So, he is a 30-year veteran of the Consumer-Packaged Goods industry. I had the pleasure of leading great teams that are amazingly successful while helping people enjoy their Sunday night, which means he cares about our culture, he's played the role and won many award-winning Chief Revenue Officer Awards with 15 years of revenue generation experience, really building those core sales culture. 

So, he's got some sales in him, and he's worked for leading industry organizations such as Del Monte Foods, the Kellogg Company, and a Small Little organization called PepsiCo. May not have heard of that one.

And he is now the President of Red Chocolate. We're going to get into this for a while today. I can't wait to get into red chocolate. Red was born from the passion of European master chocolate tears. They envisioned chocolate with the expected delivery of divine creaminess, yet without the added refined sugars of commercialized chocolate. 

So, this was not intended to be some sort of healthy alternative for dieters, chocolate. The intent was to create chocolate that emphasizes natural sugar while we consume it, just like we do when we consume Fruit. So, a very cool premise behind the product and this isn't the product pitch, but I have had the chance to try that product. It's fabulous. I'll tell you that, but before we get to any of that stuff, let's sort of dig into you, my friend.

Glenn, what are you?  Are you a founder? Are you a VC guy? Are you private equity? Are you a sales guy? Because of your background, you've kind of done it all.

I'm a whirling dervish. I guess it is the best way to put it for those of my age, I am the person, or I try to be the person that can get things done. I guess the best way to put it. So, you know I've been in sales. I've been in marketing. My degree is in finance. You know, I'm one of those guys. Tom, simply put, I wasn't 18 years old and found my passion. I didn't know what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I just knew I had to make a buck for myself. Back then, I wanted to be successful. Have a couple of bucks in my pocket so I can go to dinner. 

That's literally all I want, and I came from a very, very blue-collar background and I just decided, you know what I want to do a little better for myself. And so, you know through my journey. I didn't waste my time. I used it to, you know, gain the knowledge and the expertise. So today, what am I? I'm exhausted. I guess the best way to put it is because I'm exhausted. But you know. What I have fun with, what I'm doing and that's what you know, gives me Baby's blood as they like to say.

Yeah, it's a good point. You know, when you are grinding through your career, it can feel very tiring, but we all hit a point where we actually find that purpose, that thing that drives us and Glenn used the term, you know that baby's blood and what he's referring to is a high energy, high octane, lots of juice to keep going. And that's because you found your purpose. Do you feel that this role for you as President of this organization is where you should be at this moment in time?

Yes, I do. You know, and you're right. Because I remember the defining moment for me. I was actually in my 40s. And let me, I'll tell you a quick story. I'll make it really short and my defining moment because honestly the 1st 20 years of my career, you know, I was successful. 

And I did well for my organization, but there was nothing in it for Glenn. It's like, what was the next widget thing you know? And I remember, you know, we had a holiday meeting, and I had a team of about 70. We were at Kellogg, as a matter of fact, one of the folks that I had working for me. She had been a Kellogg veteran. She had been there for about 14/15 years. I came on. And all I. Was oh, she's terrible. Oh, she's such a mean person. All that. It was all these things I was like, OK. I appreciate you knowing that I'll make my own decisions. This is my team. 

And so, I met with her, and we talked. And yeah, she did. She was a little gruff. And, you know, a little tough. And you know, I was saying to myself, wow, maybe some of these things, these people are saying, all right. And as I'm talking to her now, remember, this is quite a few years ago, she had a pager on her hip and Kellogg didn't have pagers and I went what? What's the pager for? She said, oh, my customer gave it to me. Yes. Excuse. She said, yeah, my customer wants to know they can reach me anytime they want. So instead of, you know, having voicemail and stuff, they do the pager. And then I called them up and I thought to myself, you know what, you're exactly the person I need on my team. A person that went above and beyond.

And then all of a sudden, you know, fast forward eight months later, we're at the holiday meeting and I meet her husband because I invited all the spouses and families. Because you know what, man. This is a family thing. We're all working hard, and you know, he came in and he said, Glenn, I just want. Thank you. I'm like oh no. Hey, thank you for coming. I appreciate it. But he's like, no, no, no. The party was nice. Thank you for giving me a wife back. I said, “what do you mean? " He said, “You know what? I saw this woman bleed Kellogg red for so many years and over the past couple of years, I've just seen her miserable. 

And I tell you all the time, you know, just quit. Go somewhere else, just quit. And she would say no. No man, no. I know it's going to get better. I know it's going to get better. I've got my heart in this. And she was true, Kellogg. And, you know, he says to me, you know what? You gave my wife back. I look at her and she's thrilled to get up. She's like she wants to run through walls and at that point she is myself. You know what? I can affect people in such a positive way. This is what I want to do with my life. 

And I at least knew my purpose. And then I had to take that. And I had to understand my roles and the different things I did and how it affected people and how I could positively affect people, you know? So, it was that moment in my life when, you know, I found my passion. So, to answer your question. Am I in the right spot? Yeah, for that reason and many other health reasons even.

So, for those of you that are in that role today where you're banging your head against a wall and trying to figure out what your next move is. Pick your head up. Be positive. Try to find people like Glenn within your organization that you can latch onto before you make the move because that's a perfect example. Somebody who bled the company colors, who just wasn't being treated the right way or was misunderstood. For whatever reason. 

And in this story, she was misunderstood. We've all been misunderstood at various points in. Our career, right? 


I think that an important takeaway is to try to find those folks within your large organization that you can really admire and attract yourself to, and then and then build a relationship. Sounds like that. That's really what happened.

You know, I call it punching through the mud, you know, because a lot of times, you know, we're, you know, forest to the trees, whatever you want to call it. My own personal is punching through the mud because you know you're in the middle of it. You're in the thick of it and you know you have to just continue moving forward. You've got 6,402 entrepreneur employees 6,402. It makes no difference. You got to keep punching through the mud.

So, now you're thinking through how you want to develop people. You want to lead people, are there? Is there a tactic that you use to build a culture within teams and organizations?

Yeah, I tell people all the time. Look, I can teach you about computers. I can teach you to sell. I can teach you the basics of the gap. I can teach you the basics of marketing. I can't teach passion. So, you're passionate again, unharnessed passion is OK with me. You know, as long as you have it within you to want to be something better than what you are today, whether it be for yourself, whether it be for your organization. Hopefully, it's both, because that's like, you know, the ultimate and, but yeah, as I look for people who are passionate. Who? Who has the desire to want to succeed, and now whether that fear of failure makes you succeed or the desire to succeed, I've actually got a healthy combination of both. 

I still go to this day, and you know, and luckily for me, I'm fortunate I can pay my rent, but I still have a fair failure. You know what I mean? I just. I always worry about it. I gotta make these instantaneous decisions and you know, failing now... It's not just Glenn that fails… I'm failing an organization. I'm failing a lot of employees, so a little more pressure but I don't let it paralyze me. I just have a healthy dose of it. Somewhere in my DNA.

Yeah, that's an interesting point because the question sort of comes up like this. 

Do you love to win, or do you hate to lose?

Those are sort of the 1990s interview questions that people used, right? And we were trying to dig into your background and figure out you. Know quietly if you have grits to muscle through the mud and punch your way through it. But really, do you love to win or hate to lose? 

The statistical answer is you've got to hate to lose because everybody loves to win. We all love to win. My goodness is gracious. Come on. That doesn't show any grit or stick to activeness, which is not a word, by the way. But I use it all the time, it's all about you gotta have that healthy fear of missing out. 

So, you leave. You leave Kellogg. You find your way to red chocolate. So, tell me a little bit about this organization because you've got some cool packaging. It's very sexy. It looks and feels like a premium product. But help me understand how you landed there.

Yeah, no, you know, it's one of those things, man. You know the karma, you know, stars lining. I'm not sure what you want to call it, but you know, I'll take you back to about three years before I even joined the organization. 

So, personally, I'm a Type 2 diabetic and I am an apologetic chocoholic. And I can't eat chocolate the way that you know, America has chocolate. I just can't, you know, the sugar, you know, just tears me apart. And so, I've been fortunate again to do a lot of travel throughout the world, and I found red chocolate years before I became part of the team, and they were in a company called WH Smith. It's like travel, you know, a travel company over in Europe. 

And so, through my travels, I'd find it. And I was like Oh no sugar added, OK, non-GMO cool, gluten-free. All right, well, you know I don't need gluten so well. I don't know what the hell Gluten is, but I'm sure I don't need it. So, I'm, you know, no palm oil, so I didn't have to worry about hurting my stomach too. 

So, I'm like, how let me try this out. And I picked up a bar. You know and I ate, and I was like, wow, this is. This is freaking good. Right. And I remember sitting at the airport and this was actually at Heathrow, and I went back, and I was talking to GAL and I, and they had like, 3 bars on the show and said. Do you have any more of this as well? Yeah, I think we have some of the back around the back. I bought 15 bars. 

And from that point on, I started every time I was in Europe, and I'd see it, I'd buy it because I'd bring it home because I couldn't get it so fast. A couple of years later, I was with an organization we sold the company to, and Tom, I didn't know what the hell I wanted to do. You know what I mean? I've been there. I've done it. Yeah, I just wasn't sure. 

And so, I got a phone call, and it was actually from the ownership group of red chocolate. And they said, hey, look, your names popped up a bunch of times or thinking of coming to the US would you meet with us? And I'm thinking to myself you have no idea that I know who. Are you all right? I'll meet with it. 

So, I drove up to New York and we spent 4 hours in a meeting. I literally spent the 1st 3 1/2 hours explaining to them why they didn't want to come to the US and the reason was because this is while the dollar signs here in the American market, the American consumer is not a forgiving consumer, and people have to understand when you're taking European company and trying to be over to the US, you know I call it Americanizing the company. A lot of companies don't understand that it's a lot different over here than it is everywhere else in the world. And after I was done, one of the folks up and said so are you done? I'm like, yeah, I'm finished. This is so when do you want to start? And I started laughing. I said you either know something or you guys are crazy.

Well, either way, this could be fun if you're willing to do it. Yeah, I'm willing. I'm willing to step up too, so I spent six months Americanizing the company, and you talked about the packaging. I remember one of my first meetings when I was with the team and I said, OK, look, we're going to change the packaging around. So, we'll meet some American needs. I'm going to put non-GMO on the package. You're like, why? Because we're non-GMO. Yeah, but everybody's non-GMO. I'm like, no, in Europe, everybody's non-GMO because you're not allowed to use that. But in America, that's a big thing, believe me, because there are a lot of GMOs out there. 

And so, it was discussions and conversations like that and then building the supply chain, putting the marketing group together, putting the sales organization together, we decided, you know what, let's Rock'n'roll. And because I had an amazing crystal ball, Tom. I started the company here in the US about five months before the global pandemic.

Yeah, well done. Yeah, good timing, huh?

You know, I'm saying, brother, I'm going to go out and buy a bunch of lottery tickets, right? Now that's all I can tell you. So, you know, it's funny, I tell you. You have a story about a very large retailer here in America, actually. We met them at the show. And again, I've been doing this a long time, Tom and I know quite a few people. You know, they say, hey, come down and see us, they're, you know, over in the South. So, I said, sure, no problem. So, I go down with one of my sales folks and we set up our little, you know, products on the shelf and on the table, and in walks the buyer and the buyer's boss. And the buyers? Bosses boss. 

Now I have three people and I've been with these guys for 20-something years, right? I've never had three people show up to a meeting, so I start walking through the piece. I'm like guys, I got to stop. What's the story here? How come I have three of you? Something's going on. And I said, well, Glenn, you know, if you know we're connected in Europe, they have a lot of business in Europe too and you're very popular there and we were thrilled to hear. You guys were coming here, so we want to hear what the heck's happening? 

So, I went through everything said. Look, I'm not sure I'm ready for it, they said, oh, what problem with the supply chain? I said no, I can supply. I've got a person. She's been with me for 15 years. She's one of the most brilliant individuals you've ever met in your life, and she handles our supply chain globally. I said this is more like people may know that consumers may not know red, and they said no, don't worry about it. We can figure that out together. OK, now this is multiple containers. OK, so we signed a deal, we got everything done, and we got the containers. You know, of course, we have. Everything is produced in my facility in Europe, so we produce nothing here in America and we don't use any third-party facilities. We literally produce in our facility, which is like NASA in Europe. This Is just the best way to explain it. 

And so, the product comes on the water. It's coming here to the shores about a week away from having it come into our facility here in the US. And I get a call from the buyer, and he says, hey man, you know the situation with the pandemic. I'm thinking we're going to hold off on bringing it. You in and I started. Laughing and I said, oh, no, no, we're pregnant. We're having this baby. I said I got multiple containers that have got your name on them and we're about to go. And he was like, all right, we'll figure it out. It took an extra month, but we got on the shelf, and we've never looked back. Now we're in 12,000 store doors. We're the number one chocolate sold in the Home Shopping Network. I mean, you know, to be on the channel, it's true, you know to say we are everywhere and it's exciting.

Yeah, that is an awesome, awesome story. So, I want to go back and unpack a few things. That you said. So, one of the first things that You said was to look at taking to a European company and bringing them to the US requires a different way of thinking and requires a different product. Can you give us a couple of bullet points on what that actually looks and feels like?

Absolutely. So, USD USDA… food. If you think about it, there's really nothing more personal in a person's life than food. I mean, you know, you're ingesting in your body, so you've got your government regulations, which you have to get through approvals. 

So that's the first thing you have to have facility testing because again, everything's USDA and it makes it safe. You know, we want to make sure we're as safe and clean as possible at all times. So, you've got those pieces. Setting up the supply chain system within here. Now you talk about chocolate, remember? Middle of summer we're shipping across the country becomes fondue if I'm not you in a refrigerated truck.

And while I Love fondue and believe me, you know, we've got a thing called the Chef series on our website and we show how to make fondue with our product. You don't want it to show up as fondue in the stores. Believe me, it makes it really squishy and nasty. 

But so, you know, making sure that we have the refrigerating systems right. The cooling systems are right for our facility, so all those different pieces then when you get to the packaging, what you can and cannot say. Our tagline is all pleasure, no guilt. We used that only in America because you know what they use in Europe we couldn't use that tagline. It wouldn't be legally allowed because you know it's delicious and light. Well, we're not a light product. We never said we're a light product and light means something completely different in Europe. 

So, it's a lot of technical aspects between not only the licensing and all but understanding the packaging components, understanding the branding message, and all the different pieces. So, there's a lot of balls in there. When you go from Europe to America or anywhere to America.

Yeah, well, well said. And I think those are critical points. I want to talk a little bit about deal-making because you sort of glossed over this because you're a veteran in the industry and you understand it. It's part of your DNA at this point in your Career. But let's Talk a little bit about deal-making for a second. You said, look, I went to a distributor in the United States, a big one and. And you know, I just set up a table and three guys walked in and, you know, it was all good, man. That's how I do deals, right? But it's never that easy, bro. OK. Like, come on, man. It does not work like that, so.

I am just. I'm an amazing individual now. I'm yeah. You're right.

You're no, you're. You're right, Tom. You know it's the deal making the negotiation and again, that's where a lot of companies will fail. I've seen some great brands that tasted great, and they miserably failed because they didn't understand the rules of engagement. I guess the best way to put it, the roadblock says I nicely put it with some distribution models here in the United States. There are some folks that you know, we work with that are incredible partners. They want to see me financially healthy because they know what helps them. And then there are others out there that if you're not prepared for it, would love to spank trust you would care less. We'll suck as much money as you can and go to the next one and go to the next one.

And not only from a Distribution model but from a representation. Model you know you. You have to, you know, business sense. It is definitely intuitive at times, but a lot on the business side is exactly on a person if somebody came up to you and said, hey, answer this question, I'm going to give you $10,000. You'd probably say this is a scam. You're not going to give me 10 grand, so something would bring it off in your head. 

Well, it's the same way in business. If somebody says something to you and my comeback is very simple when people tell me, you know, they promised me all these things I said, great. I'm not giving you a nickel to prove it once you prove it, I'll give you the Money that we Decided on at that point. Usually, people go well, you know, and it comes up with 14 excuses. I'm like, see, you were lying to me. You don't have to lie to me. If it's, if you can only get me 4, don't tell me it's going to be 10 because I'm not a transactional person. 

I don't run my business transactionally. I don't want my consumers to think of us as a transactional purchase. You know, we call it the red family and we mean the consumers are part of our family. I've got 1.2 million different bosses every single week. Believe me, I do. And that's because we're so consumer-focused, but we do the same things with our vendor partners and our retail partners, and our distributor partners. We want to be partners. I want to know, and you know it's and my sales team also knows, look, we know the red brand. But we're not going to know your consumer. We're not going to know your partners, your end users better than you. 

We'll know who eats red. And you know we understand that. But if we can take your knowledge and the knowledge, we have put them together. Ultimately, the common goal is to have a very satisfied consumer. That's the ultimate goal, no matter how you get to that path. 

And I think in a you know, a negotiated deal as long as you stick to that, you're OK. And if you ever feel. And I tell this entrepreneur all the time, if you ever feel as though that you're it's not right for you. Walk away, walk away. 

Don't take the chance. Be in a better situation. 80% of people it's actually 78% to be the exact #78% of people that eat red chocolate love red chocolate. I still got 22% of them. You know, people that try it. Let's go. That's OK, but not for me. Great, at some point I'm probably going to see it. Because if you're not watching your health and you're not watching your diet, you're not going to be able to eat what you're eating later anyway. So, you're going to come back and go. You know what? This is pretty damn good. And pallets change and you know all these things, you know, we've all been one of those sugar people, you know, at one time we. But we were also seven years old at the time.

Yeah, and your Halloween candy was melting in the cabinet.

Amen, brother.

Yeah, I totally get it. But I think the takeaway here on your deal-making strategy is to start with the end in mind and in your take the end is your end user or end consumer. So, if the deal makes sense for the end consumer, if you can see through the mud with this part. If you can collaborate on how we support the end consumer in this model, then that is the first step forward, then a little bit of gut intuition comes into play. I always live by this one. I want to see how you feel about it. 

So, I always think I want to do business with people that I would love to have at my dinner table and have them in my house. Right. Like I can tell right away like. I want you over for dinner. You're a great person, right? Do you feel that way too, or is there some other metric you use to measure human behavior?

You know, it's funny, you know, Rodney Dangerfield you say classes when you wash your hands in the bathroom when nobody's, you know, nobody's watching. And it's it, it kind of resonates exactly with what you're saying. You know, you could tell a lot from an individual by the way they interact with you. You know if you truly don't feel as though you can trust a person, why would you want to get into business with them? I know in the end you want to grow your business and you want to believe me. There are 1000 ways to grow the business properly. You may only know two right now. You may know 5. You may know 600. You'll learn and you'll understand as long as you've got that focus. 

You know, I tell folks when they want to go into business, whether it be. Open up a retail storefront consultant, whatever the pieces are. Don't talk about what you want to do with the people that are surrounded by you. At some point, you have to walk away from them because they're all on the same payroll. They want to see a successful way to go talk to somebody who has nothing in them and see if they see there's value to it. You know, when I talked with our marketing team, that's what we talked about. The value perception of the consumer. 

Now the value may be as simple as the price, but I'll tell you what I let 10 people think of the price. Eight are going to have another six different reasons. Is it healthier for me? Does it meet my, you know, my restrictions here? Does it taste good? I don't care if it costs a dollar or $7.00 if it tastes terrible, I don't want it. You've got people like that. It's all about. So, it's all about what their value is. And as I said earlier, when you're talking about food, this is some of the most personal business you could ever be in.

So, let's unpack that a little bit. So, for entrepreneurs or if you're leading a business unit globally or domestically, this is a really important part of the discussion because what Glenn said was people perceive value differently. 

So, if you're in a room with other leaders and you're talking about the value of your product or service. Doesn't matter. Doesn't have to be chocolate. It's the same process that we all go through. How do you look at the value continuum? What are the pieces that you think about? You mentioned a couple like a price and in your market, flavor, and taste, right, that's important. What are the other things in value in the value chain there that we should be thinking about?

You could look at it from a time perspective. You know from a consulting, you know from an end result, how do I how am I able to deliver this end result? Nobody’s been able to deliver the end result before it could be something as simple as you know, looking at it from a fresh perspective. 

You know, when we hire people, I don't look for people in the chocolate industry. I don't look for people in the CPG industry. I just look for a person that’s passionate again because you can learn those things. And I think if you get 7 people around the table. And you've all been doing the same thing for 20 years. It will get pretty Boring because you're all going to be shaking your head. Yes, at the same thing. 

So, I like throwing a little bit of, you know, a little bit of something different in it. So, you know when you will come to our group meetings. That we have. You've got people that you know. Or 30 years of CPG other people that you know that are just walking out of college. And the idea is the different perspectives and that's what helps you grow.

So, I would tell you, you have to look at what it is you want to accomplish, and based on that, being able to give that again, I'll call it a 30-second elevator pitch. But to be able to explain to a person what it is you are going to be able to give as a value. 

And so you know it could be the best damn ice cream you've ever had. Your life and. Hopefully, it lives up to it. Cause if you're calling it the best I've ever had in my life, OK? You know, we've got some pretty. Good ice cream. Shops here in Pennsylvania, but you know the thought. I mean that you know, when you commit to it, you've got to be able to deliver against it because again, that value and people will try and go as OK as ice cream and you've lost that person, you know. 

So maybe you talk about how it's, you know, how you make that process of that ice cream or what is different about that ice cream or if you're a consultant? What do you bring differently than the other 200 people whom I get emails from every single week that can offer me almost the same thing? You know, how do you break through the clutter?

Yeah, yeah. Well said. I think the takeaway, if you’re taking notes here, is to create value for your customers, and do that in a multi-pronged approach. It's not just price or time or flavor, it's all of these things that add up within your product that create value and then explain it well.

That's it. Absolutely. You know we do the same thing here, red. You know, we work with probably 10,000 dietitians across the United States because of the way that our ingredient panel reads. And what we do and that we're no sugar added, and their focus of course is for healthier alternatives for people that may have a health issue. 

You know we work with other folks that are just looking for, you know, we've got. As we're saying a chef series. And the chefs use us because it starts them off with a base ingredient and then they can add the flavoring they want. That's how we found chefs have nothing to do with health, has to do with flavor, you know. 

And then we've got other folks that talk about us. And the fact that you know, they saw us on a shelf on sale at you know Kroger or something. Again, you work with the folks that are. And what's important to them?

Yeah, I love the way you put that. You're looking at all the different people within your sphere of influence and trying to find a way to connect with them, which creates a scalable product right now, of course, you've got to have the manufacturing, the supply chain, and all of the basics, which you've got because your part of a large organization. But finding those people locally and then building the brand I think is just a beautiful way to do it.

And having an honest message I think is really important, especially today. You know, it's, you know, don't do the square peg round hole if it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. Move on.

Yeah, beautifully said. I want to take a minute here because what people don't know are things that happened behind the scenes on the show. And I want to share just a quick story about Glenn and the way that he approached me, and I think this is a great lesson for all of us, me included.

Before Glenn came on the show. We have a lot of people that want to be on the show, and we got connected and you know, I immediately said, oh my gosh, we've got to have him on the show and I got asked for a good mailing address. 

And so, my team gave an address and what arrived within just a few days was a beautiful handwritten card with the logo of the company red. And I'm going to put it up on my screen so you can see. It is but for those. Beautiful white handwritten card. The color of their logo is red. The name of the company is red, so you would think that red would be their color and the actual note. Most people wouldn't actually pay attention to this. The note is written in Red Pen. OK, that's the level of detail that this team is going to entice the consumer. 

So, I've got a thank you note before I've ever met the guy. You know, in my mailbox with a box of red chocolate and I've got bar after bar after bar after bar after bar of red chocolate. For those watching you on YouTube, you can see this, but for those listening you can't. I can tell you that I'm holding up five, but they did send six because I crushed one of those things immediately when it came in and I had to save the other ones. The show and I got to tell you, look, it's not about sending gifts to people. It's about the thought process that Glenn went through to say I give a damn about the people I interact with, and I'm going to send this guy that I don't know, this Tom guy. I'm going to send him something of value I hope he enjoys, right? 

And it's a message to all of us that this is the way this is. The way we should behave. Treat people the way you want to be treated and go above and beyond. I'll never forget this interview. I'll never forget this food. Right. And I guarantee you, you know, I'm going to allow my wife now to try it because you know, I got to do that. I've been holding on to these things and she's pregnant too.

So, this is going to go fast. This is just a beautiful, beautiful way to start, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart publicly. Not for the gift. It's not about. That it's about. The way you treat people and how you introduce yourself to others. So, thank you very much, Glenn.

OH, Tom. You gave me goosebumps brother. And I thank you, man. I appreciate that and I'm it doesn't happen often man, but I'm. I’m lacking words. I don't know what the hell to say. I'm stumbling here, man. Thank you very much. And you know I appreciate you and I appreciate your audience. And you know, I guess you know. The whole karma thing, man, treat people like you want to be treated, you know.

I agree with that 100% and wholeheartedly and look, it doesn't take a lot of effort to go a little bit above and beyond right, and good and smart business people put in metrics, and they put in systems that make this go faster. 

So, I want all of you to think out there. OH my gosh, how do I write a handwritten thank you card to all of these people I'm supposed to meet? Well, you don't necessarily have to. Number one, you could outsource the thank you card. You could dictate on your cell phone, and somebody could write it for you, right? There are services that you can actually use. Send in the typography and they have, you know, systems that actually handwrite a card and still get the same effect. Still thoughtful, right? 

Is there anything else? Are any other things you do, Glenn, for your customers that you feel are notable?

Well, we answer every single e-mail we get from customers, and believe me, there are some folks and I literally mean every e-mail and that is that's in my DNA. We are very, very, very consumer-focused, very customer-focused, and we will answer all questions and we get some great questions. You know people asking us about it. The coca Right. On other people, you know, their questions are pretty interesting. We'll leave it at that. But we still answer them, and we answer them to the best of our abilities.

So, I tell people all the time. Again, you know, if a person buys you a product and again your service, whatever it is and they bring it into their life, show respect to them. What if they have a question for you and don't let it go into a black hole and just answer it and you know there's always time in the day? I don't care. You know what If you're an entrepreneur and you think you're going to. Be working from 9:00 to 5:00. I'm sorry, brother. You're wrong. You're not nine to five anymore, OK? 

You know, a mentor I had many years ago. He said Glenn, just so you know, since you're starting out in your own business, everybody loves Friday because it's payday. This is years ago when he got paid on Fridays, he said. 

So, everyone is right, you. You hate Friday. Do you know why? Because you may get paid on a Tuesday. You may get paid on a Thursday whenever there's money left over. That's when you're going to get paid. So, you know, that's life here, man.

You know, if you're going to.

Take the entrepreneur, be the entrepreneur. Spend the time.

Yeah, I think that is a great way to wrap up the show today. We've covered so many different things, value props, how to treat people, and how to bring business and products from the European markets to the US. But I think what I'm going to take away from this personally is that you're a culture builder. Do you want to build great teams? You want to work with great people, and you want to develop that team to be better than you are and that's really the message of Glenn Gardone today.

Yeah, I agree, brother. Yeah, nothing is a House of Cards, man. I want Red to be wildly successful beyond my imagination and my dreams. Because you know, I may be here for another 10 years or so and somebody else will take the helm and run with it even harder.

Yeah, I love that. So, let's end this. What is the vision for you and for the company?

So red will never veer away from what it knows what to do, and that's making amazing chocolate using no refined sugars. So as a matter of fact, another probably 5 weeks, a little less so towards June we'll say from when we're taping now. We're actually launching a vegan product line and certified vegan and it meets all the parameters. Now we've gone through probably about 100 different iterations of, you know, different bases we could use. We found one that's incredible, my team, they are amazing. 

But you know, it's funny because people always come to my office and are within arms reach. I've always got chocolate somewhere with me, you know. It's just that I'm surrounded by it, but the idea and the mission for Red is to continue. To be able to deliver amazing, indulgent chocolate. That is what we call smart Indulgence because it's chocolate, brother. There's no such thing as healthy chocolate. 

So, we just call it a smart indulgence. We're a little smarter to indulge in others, so we will continue that. We will stay true to it. You'll never see us come out with something that I think is second-tier. We just, we won't do it. I don't need to do that, and I will never do that.

Awesome, man. Well, thank you for the work that you and your team are doing. It's unique. It's different. It's differentiated in the market. The packaging is beautiful, and the flavor is amazing. You guys are just knocking the cover off the ball. So, thank you for the great work that you and your entire team do.

Thank you. Thank you. I'll take it all. The credit. No, I can't. As you know, my marketing team will start throwing flaming arrows at me. You know, it's a group ever, brother.

Yeah, absolutely. And we're going to leave it there, Glenn, thank you so much for joining the podcast. Thrilled to have you. On the show today.

Thank you, man. Thank you for having me.

And thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I hope we've helped you to find your purpose, advance your career and create a life of happiness. Let's get back to people and culture together. We'll see you in the next episode.

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