Hello! My name is Owen...
Just before my 24th Birthday, I left my life in Canada and moved to Florida with a suitcase and my savings to pursue a real estate venture. I didn't know anyone in Florida and for the first 46 nights, I slept in a motel. My real estate venture turned into a nightmare and everything else in my life quickly went sideways. After my first year in Orlando, I was back to square one. My confidence and my savings were both gone, and I started working odd jobs just to make ends meet. It was a total disaster and I had to figure something out. Using a recipe from my friend back in Canada, I started hand-making unique protein bar concoctions with decadent organic ingredients like cashew butter and dark chocolate, and selling them at local Farmer's Markets. I couldn't believe how much people loved them, and I was selling out every weekend. I'd never even eaten a protein bar before that point, but I knew I had something. Since my last venture didn't work out, I was still just trying to put my life together in Orlando. I could barely afford to buy ingredients, let alone pay rent for a space to make the protein bars. Feeling like I was stuck, I decided to go all-in. I sold all of my personal belongings and moved out of my apartment. For the next two years and eight months, my home was a storage room in the back of a small production warehouse. I slept on a folding canvas cot, showered at the YMCA, and went through hell figuring out the business and building Macaw! Foods from nothing. I didn't fully appreciate how far things had come, until finally getting my products accepted into Whole Foods. However, at that point I took a step back and realized my life had become massively imbalanced since first arriving in Florida five years earlier. I poured everything I had into getting my feet on the ground and building a business in Orlando, but now it was time to get my life back. So that's what I did. With a renewed sense of inspiration and perspective, I decided to graciously pass on the opportunity to sell my protein bars on the shelves at Whole Foods, and decided instead to better focus my time and energy into recalibrating my personal life, and strategizing the longterm trajectory of Macaw! Foods. This decision afforded me the necessary time and space to reinvigorate the core spirit by which the business was originally founded on, and to once again get back to living my life the way I've always preferred. Free and wild! As a personal reflection and important reminder of all this, the official slogan was updated to, “Spread your wings. Be wild!”. Thank you for your support. Through all of the continued adventures and growth, I appreciate my customers more than anything. Sincerely ~Owen Seay
Spread your wings. Be wild!
For more information about how I built the business and what it took to get things started (recipe development, branding, packaging, growing pains, etc.) I’ve written a number of articles. Links can be found below, along with a brief description for each.
Brief story and video about how I left Canada and moved to Florida when I was 23 years old. Sometimes you just have to go for it.
This article outlines the steps and processes that I used to personally make over 100,000 protein bars by hand, and to get the business off the ground.
When I started Macaw! Foods, everything in my situation had pretty much reached rock bottom. Options were limited, and drastic times call for drastic measures.
Here’s a personal journal entry I came across in some old documents. This gives you some perspective of where my head was at, as I prepared to jump into things.
When sleeping in the back of a warehouse, you have a few options for bedding. Out of those options, here’s why I chose to sleep on a folding cot for nearly three years.
To date, packaging design and branding remains one of my favorite processes in the development of Macaw! Foods. Here’s how it’s done.
When I first started Macaw! Foods, my car was stuck in first gear so I wasn’t able to exceed 24 mph anywhere I went. What’s that like?
Why I chose to take my showers at the YMCA for nearly three years while building Macaw! Foods and living in a warehouse.
How I went to Texas and came back with a full line of manufacturing equipment. This is a long story, but it was an important process and a big messy step.
I've always chosen to live my life differently. Here's why.