By Ian Muir McNally
Muir Energy’s first pouches were, as shown in my previous post, less than low-tech. They were visually unappealing and unappetizing and downright embarrassing! But I had to start somewhere and, fortuitously, they forced my early customers to focus on taste.
True as this was, I knew that my first tasters (early adopters) were sympathetic to MUIR’s modest beginnings. But I needed more data - I needed to increase the sample size of my tasters - to determine whether MUIR was an idea worth pursuing.
Enter MUIR pouch 2.0.
I was totally jazzed to overcome the pouch problem, but then three new hurdles stood in front of me: 1) how do I fill these pouches, 2) how do I seal them, 3) what do I call them?
Filling the pouches. First I tried a butter knife. Then a large syringe. Then a hot sauce dispenser (the ones they place on tables at taco shops). None of these worked. Looking for more options at the local kitchen store, I decided to try a pastry tube and, aha, it worked!
Sealing the pouches. Alas, the FoodSaver couldn’t seal my new pouches. So, back onto Google, researching products, talking with packaging experts across the country. I finally stumbled across a machine that fit my budget and worked for my pouches.
Creating the MUIR brand. Since Muir Energy grew out of my nutrition needs as a long distance hiker, it made sense to include mountains in the logo. The company name, Muir Energy, made sense because I was named after John Muir and conceived the need for these products while hiking the John Muir Trail. I’m a minimalist, so, like the formulations, I knew I wanted to keep the branding message as simple as possible. My first attempt looked like this:
Then one day my 10 year old niece started doodling on the labels.
This gave me the idea of using colors in the mountains to denote flavors. Here is what my first colored pouches looked like (and yes, I manually colored in the mountains).
Up to this point, my sole focus was to get as many people as possible to try my new products and to see if they liked it enough to want to buy it. The short answer is: yes. How I went from sampling MUIR to selling MUIR will be the topic of my next blog.
Takeaway: Elegant solutions require countless iterations. Refine. Reduce. Simplify. My packaging solution thus far was hardly elegant, but keep following this blog and you will see the results of the iterative process.
This is the second blog post by Ian in this series, read Part 1 of the Evolution in Packing.
Ian Muir McNally, founder of Muir Energy, is responsible for harnessing the remarkable talent surrounding him, aligning the collective energy with the Muir Energy ethos, and steering Muir Energy into the market place. A relentless out-of-the-box thinker, some of his best, most unusual, ideas come to him while hiking, running, swimming or walking his dog, Gilbert.