When I sit back and reflect on my favorite memories of starting this company, I am overwhelmed with tremendous life experiences and stories that fill my heart with such joy. We have built an incredible team, formed partnerships with the best ranchers in the world, and have accomplished more than most brands could ever imagine. I feel truly grateful for all of it and love telling stories about the crazy things that happen on a daily basis! Amongst hundreds of incredible memories, one of my all time favorite stories has to be how Andrea Romero joined our company!
I met Andrea at a student internship fair at The University of Texas in 2012. Katie and I were just getting started with EPIC and bootstrapping the entire thing. Amongst the thousands of students I met that day, Andrea left a lasting memory. She was somewhat shy, overly polite, and ridiculously motivated! She was working on a degree in Graphic Design and looking for an opportunity to get some "real world" experience. After looking at her portfolio, my jaw dropped with excitement and we brought her on as an intern.
Over the next 6 months Andrea worked her ass off learning about our brand and focusing on creating promotional materials, and sales materials, as well as swag. She balanced school, family, and her internship like a boss.
During Andrea's 6 month review, she told us that she was going to need to get another job to help pay her bills but she was more than happy to continue helping us with our graphic design needs. We had not yet been able to pay her for the internship program and soon became worried that she would get a job that hindered her ability to create content for us. By this time we were relying heavily on Andrea and clearly recognized her creative skills. We could not lose her! So, we offered her a job at our kitchen facility with the understanding that she would get paid for her time there, but if we needed her to create something, that she had to drop what she was doing and get on her computer. For the next 6 months Andrea never missed a beat. She was clearly the hardest working graphic designer I had ever come across and would frequently email finished projects to us at 3:00am.
When Andrea eventually graduated from school, we took a leap of faith and hired her as our full time In-house Graphic Designer. I only say "leap of faith" because we had only 4 full time employees and had just begun paying ourselves. It could have been argued that we should have hired a full time marketing and sales person before bringing on a full time graphic designer, but Katie and I are in love with creating amazing branded content and there would never be a dull moment for Andrea.
Since coming onboard full time, Andrea has continued to develop as a professional. She now oversees all EPIC content including website, trade show prep, photography, and new product development! In the last year Andrea has created the packaging behind our Hunt & Harvest, and EPIC Bites product lines! As a first generation immigrant that moved to America from El Salvador, and at a ripe young age of 23, Andrea is living "the dream". Her personal story is proof that through hard work, being a team player, and following your passion, you can achieve EPIC results.
In the words of Drake, Andrea's indomitable spirit is captured in his lyrics "Started from the bottom, now we here. Started from the bottom now my whole f*%king crew is here".