In Search of the Wild Tofurky: How a Business Misfit Pioneered Plant-Based Foods Before They Were Cool

In Search of the Wild Tofurky: How a Business Misfit Pioneered Plant-Based Foods Before They Were Cool


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From treehouse dream to global brand, Tofurky’s Founder and Chairman shares his story of selling millions of plant-based food products without selling out.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Except for Seth Tibbott, to whom it does—but only after fifteen years of intrepid failure. In Search of the Wild Tofurky tells the triumphant tale of how a self-described hippie with no business training but plenty of enterprising goals grew a $2,500 startup into a global brand and ushered in a plant-based foods renaissance along the way.

Tibbott took home a grand total of $31,000 in his first nine years of striving to bring to the people a nearly unknown soy product—tempeh—he knew in his gut was revolutionarily tasty. He eschewed a buttoned-up lifestyle and resided in tipis, trailers, and a treehouse; rented workspace to piano-repairing circus clowns; and even briefly counted the infamous Rajneeshees as clients. Tibbott was never one to chase the money or try to fit in. Instead, he built a business that fit him.

Thus Tibbott discovered the “secret sauce” ingredients that took his now-international brand from fameless to fame-ish to famous: bootstrapping, building business intuition, and staying true to his belief in eco-friendly practices. In Search of the Wild Tofurky proves that a good idea can change the world and make money, no matter the naysayers or the sometimes harsh twists and turns of the unconventional path. Look no further for a delightfully unexpected $100 million story of hope and hustle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635766530
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 310,749
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Seth Tibbott is Tofurky’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO of thirty-five years. He’s no former Wharton whizz kid or stock junky; in fact, he was an idealistic hippie with no business acumen living in a treehouse when he conceived the idea of bringing healthy, eco-friendly, tasty protein to the world. Nearly forty years later, using his unconventional business approach paired with faith in his products and a deep belief in environmental causes, he has transformed the $2,500 startup into a family-owned global brand worth over $100 million. He lives in Trout Lake, Washington.

Steve Richardson writes, edits, and teaches in the damp foothills of Oregon's coast range mountains. He is the founding editor of Chemeketa Press and has published two writing textbooks, The Humble Essay and The Humble Argument, under an assumed name. He, too, was a wandering naturalist back in the day, which just goes to show you something, probably.

Table of Contents

Introduction This May Not Be the Book You're Looking for xiii

Chapter 1 Headwaters 1

Chapter 2 Tempeh 21

Chapter 3 Sole Proprietor 47

Chapter 4 Scaling Up 73

Chapter 5 Cottage Industry 95

Chapter 6 The Itch 123

Chapter 7 Reinvention 149

Chapter 8 The Tofurky Moment 171

Chapter 9 The Tofurky Company 201

Acknowledgments 219

About the Author 227

Index 229

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