Nick and Lezlie Saltarelli saw a gap in the chocolate market back in 2018 and decided to create their own functional, protein-rich chocolate bar in their condo kitchen.
Based in Montreal, Mid-Day Squares is changing up the afternoon snack game, one chocolate square at a time.
Nick and Lezlie have successfully raised $21 million to date, and sold over one million chocolate bars in just under 20 months.
“Twenty thousand dollars was our launchpad to get us from idea to finished product—not revenue, just a finished product we [could] bring to the market and actually start selling,” Nick says.
Growing the business from their own kitchen to a full-sized production facility was no small feat.
“We [eventually] had to build a manufacturing plant. There was nobody that could do it [for us],” Nick says. “We had never even been in the food business before, so now we [had] to work back, what are the momentum triggers and markers that you have to hit in order to build momentum to convince other people [to] bet on you?”
Nick handles the financial and marketing strategies, brand partnerships, and all negotiations with investors.
He realized early on that it was going to take more than an incredible product to run a successful business, so he turned to his community.
“We only told our story in Montreal, charged people only 50¢, and did the deliveries ourselves so we could speak to our customers,” Nick says. “They then start talking about [Mid-Day Squares] on their Instagrams, and next thing you know, they’re in their stores telling them, ‘Hey you need to carry this product.’”
This approach helped the brand gain the attention of its community, loyal customers, and, ultimately, the right investors.
The idea was to start “a reality television show through social media on Instagram showing people the good, bad, the ugly, kind of mixing Shark Tank,The Kardashians, and Elon Musk’s built-in public strategy all into one,” Nick says.
By allowing people to see in real-time the behind-the-scenes elements of their business, Nick says fans of his product became invested in the success of their company.
Nick, who hosts the Mid-Day Squares podcast, advises people not “to do what your peers are doing, and try to do something else. … [even if] it might be harder, or take you longer from an execution standpoint.”
Tune in to the full Shopify Masters episode to learn how Nick and Lezlie Saltarelli, and the team at Mid-Day Squares created their own production plant and fundraised millions of dollars through their genuine social media engagement.