Somehow, two Springfield-area food activists first crossed paths in San Francisco.
One was Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolate, an exhibitor at the U.S. Slow Food Festival. The other, Allison Cash, was an attendee.
The outcome: a Slow Food Southwest Missouri Chapter at the hands of Cash.
“She makes things happen,” says Askinosie, who quickly invited Cash to sit on his chocolate factory startup’s advisory board.
Cash is now making things happen for a fledgling national organic drink brand, called Made. From her Nixa home, Cash works as vice president-marketing for Made Drinks Co., based in the Chicago area. Made Drinks founder Charley Snell is a former executive at Nestlé, a client that Cash managed as account supervisor at The Marlin Network 2005–08.
With a drive to embrace new responsibilities, the 34-year-old Cash is fond of asking, “When can we start?”
“I know the more I do, the more I learn,” she says.
Cash started on the ground floor with Snell and Made in 2008 – among a handful of handpicked personnel, including Snell’s former business school classmates at University of Southern California and a Kansas product mixer and bottler. Cash left her Marlin position to roll the dice on the national startup, for which she is responsible for market strategy, planning and brand development, with an emphasis on social media and events.
Since distribution began in January 2010 in Los Angeles, Made has arrived on shelves in 30 states across 1,000 distribution points.
“This was done working with my partners to bring an idea from inception to reality,” Cash says. “I cannot begin to share the trials and tribulations we have come through to bring organic refreshment to market. When I look at that bottle, I smile remembering it all.”
The self-described scrappy startup reportedly posted roughly $500,000 in first-year sales, and Snell expects $2 million in 2011 sales of the organic fruit juice and green tea blended drinks with flavors such as blackberry peach and strawberry lemonade. Locally, Made is sold in 10 Price Cutter stores.
With her deep background in food marketing and advertising, including work with Campbell Soup and Smucker’s as a Noble account supervisor, Cash is serious about food education.
“Made is one avenue to do a small part of that education,” she says.
She also is a League of Women Voters Southwest Missouri board member, chairwoman of the voter services committee and on the radio committee.
“My best work comes when it has meaning to me,” she adds. “Made is just getting started. We are growing and have roots through me right here in the Ozarks. We are working to make Made a household name nationwide.”Click here for full coverage of the 2011 40 Under 40.