A Windham cookie manufacturer has found a way to include her fan base in the potential growth of the company.
Jill Robbins founded Homefree after making allergy-safe treats for her son. She saw how important snacks are to children’s social activities and how children with food allergies can be marginalized and excluded, which is why her mission focused on inclusion, she says.
Robbins launched a line of cookies free of common food allergens and began promoting the importance of inclusion along with the cookies. The company generated $800,000 in revenue in 2016 and now generates nearly $2 million. As Robbins looks to grow, she is taking advantage of a relatively new law called Regulation Crowdfunding, which makes it legal for individuals to invest small amounts of money in companies. “Until 2016 you had to be an accredited investor to do equity investing,” Robbins says. “Only the wealthy were allowed to invest.
“The primary reason to do this is that we love the idea of our fans being able to be part of us in a bigger way than they are already,” Robbins says. “We often receive email and phone calls from customers who just want to thank us because Homefree made such a big impact.”
Robbins says Wefunder allows customers to make a difference. “If they can’t start a ‘free-from’ product of their own, they can support one and promote the mission of safe inclusiveness,” she says. “People care about our mission and want to help us grow, and this is potentially an opportunity for people to become part of a company and grow it.”
The Homefree brand has won a number of awards for taste and quality, as well as safety certifications for its facility. And as awareness of the need for “free-from” snacks increases among retailers and food producers, Robbins looks forward to potential competitors. “There is plenty of room and opportunity,” she says. “With more companies there can be a special section in the supermarket allowing people to purchase something for everyone.”
Homefree is a B Corp, a state designation that prioritizes social and environmental responsibility. Robbins says she chose Wefunder in part because it is also a B Corp. Unlike Kickstarter, where people are donating and getting perks, Robbins says through Wefunder a person is purely investing in something they believe in.
Robbins has raised more than raised $80,000 of her $125,000 minimum target. She says Wefunder has a following of socially responsible investors who may decide to join her existing fans to support something they feel good about.
Vera Roasting Company in Portsmouth, whose CoffVee craft coffee is infused with the same health benefits as red wine, also used the Wefunder platform and raised $168,065.
For more information, visit wefunder.com/homefree.