Joel Clark from Kodiak Cakes: Should You Give Equity to Your Employees? The Family Business Voice
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The story of Joel Clark and Kodiak Cakes is a story of perseverance.
From the age of eight, Joel was knocking on doors to sell individual bags of his mother’s all-natural, healthy pancake batter. As he grew older, he dreamt of his side business becoming a success. It would take many years of hard work to achieve his goal.
His tenacity extended far beyond the point where many others would have given up. Joel cites the unconditional support of his wife and an unwavering belief in his product as his motivation.
Eventually, consumers started to pay attention. In the mid-2000s, Joel’s father helped him formalise the business. In a favourable turn of events, this coincided with a developing trend towards whole foods.
2014 was a year of incredible growth – Kodiak Cakes reached $6.7 million in sales thanks to an appearance on the television series Shark Tank combined with the success of their new high-protein product, Power Cakes.
Soon after, Joel Clark took the unusual step of offering employees equity in the company. Where some fear the dilution of ownership, he believes there is strength in numbers and sees the value of incentivising success.