In between issuing current reports, when Intelligence Officer Teague Savitch found a moment to himself, he’d reach for a coffee or sugary energy drink to get him through the long shifts. It wasn’t that he had unhealthy habits, it was a matter of limited availability. All the guys in his team had fallen into similar patterns: fueling themselves on snack foods, greasy meals, anything fast, easy, and unhealthy. They survived on caffeine and empty calories while enduring sleepless nights, 24-hour shifts, and stressful convoys.
When Teague returned to California, he was looking to make a lifestyle change.
“I found myself wishing I had some kind of healthy item that would sustain me, that I could take on the go.” He was in luck, there was a food trend currently exploding in Southern California: smoothie bowls. Teague and his friend Kevin started frequenting local spots, casually noting what they liked and didn’t like about the offerings. Soon, what had started as their hobby graduated to business development: whether or not they knew it at the time, they were starting a company.
As Teague admitted, although the “seed had been planted,” he had almost no business experience to speak of. His background was in International Relations, and his partner, Kevin, was still considering going back to school. They had a steep uphill climb awaiting them. “In an effort to hedge my bet a little, I started at a low-risk low-overhead approach,” Teague said, “and that was through the farmer’s market system.” The idea caught fire and before they knew it, Teague and Kevin were splitting time between three farmer’s market locations, all on Kaiser Permanente hospital grounds. (It turns out that people in high pressure jobs, like Teague’s, are even more keen for quick healthy options than others.) Things had just begun to look up for their budding business when they were dealt the best hand they’d gotten yet: an introduction to The Jonas Project.
A friend of Kevin’s knew David Hincapie, Capacity Builder at The Jonas Project, and after a swift approval of Teague’s promising business plan, he was paired with his mentor, Elaine. Now coupled with a knowledgeable advisor, the friends were just hitting their stride when two things happened in swift succession: Kevin decided ultimately to go back to school, and Kaiser Permanente decided not to move forward as partners. “That was a frustrating experience. It was my first real setback.” It would have been easy for Teague to throw in the towel. The business wasn’t generating real profit, but he was having fun. Something in him could sense that his idea had promise, even if it seemed high stakes. In that difficult moment, there was only one person who we wanted to talk to. He picked up the phone and called Elaine. “She said something so simple, but it just hit me… She said ‘Nothing is stopping you but yourself,’” Teague remembers. “That was over a year ago. Now I run a profitable business. She was super instrumental in me being where I am today.”
Although her advice was all he needed, it wasn’t an easy journey for Teague. He realized he truly believed in himself and pushed in all his chips. Literally. “I had a chunk of deployment money that I was going to save for retirement, but I used it to invest in a small build-out in Orange, CA, bought the necessary equipment, and opened store location #1.” Looking back, although his bet paid off… it was still the hardest one he’d ever made. “For me that was a big, big life decision. Very few people do it. Also, very few people make the decision to serve our country in the armed forces. In addition to the givens – that it’s an honor and a privilege, it also represents the road less travelled. I’ve always approached life with the perspective that we only get one shot.” It was with that Army mentality, living a life of no regrets, that Teague knew if he didn’t go for it, he wasn’t being true to himself.
They say the universe delivers to you the tools you need to succeed. That was certainly true of Elaine, and all of the supporters (and even nay-sayers) in Teague’s life, and once he was on his path, continuing to grow his farmer’s market base and open his storefront, the universe delivered him Ish. Ish worked on the supply-side, had a strong background in organic superfoods, and he slowly but surely became Teague’s business partner.
Teague approaches every success and setback with his company, Blue Bowl, with the same level sensibility that served him in the Army Reserve. “In a business venture, unlike in deployment, we’re not talking about life and death. When I look at my business and its ups and downs, I realized I could handle it.” Every day he realizes the truth of Elaine’s words, and still speaks to her once a week. His store has been open for 9 months now, and is already profitable. That’s almost unheard of. Month over month, they experience more growth, and their team has grown from 2 to 12.
“I realized that a lot of people around me live for the weekends,” Teague says of his daily life as Founder of Blue Bowl. “I don’t live for the weekends. I look forward to Monday.”