9 min 27 sec

Environmental Marketer Creates Eco-Friendly “Energy Bites”

In search of an eco-friendly, no-added-sugar energy bar, this Colorado transplant and EPA employee invents his own “energy bites.” The product is now stocked in 175 stores spread across nine states.
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What It's About

A bite-sized side hustle that packs a punch!

Business Model
Skills Required
Product Development & Marketing
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Tom says that having a side hustle has benefited him personally in the deepest of ways. As he put it:

"Our society tries to define us by what we do for work, but when you decide to take control of the narrative and refuse to be put neatly into one bucket, your entire life changes. You wake up with a profound energy every day and you realize how capable you are."

Fun Fact

While getting Unwrapp'd off the ground, Tom admitted to sneaking out during his lunch breaks to deliver cases of product to local grocery stores. Then he’d return to his day job in the afternoon before heading back to the stores at night to demo his eco-friendly energy bars to shoppers!

Notes from Chris

Episode 887
Tom Miner is the founder of Unwrapp'd: a doughy, eco-conscious energy bar taking the Midwest by storm. What began as a home-based kitchen operation has transformed into a commercial enterprise with wholesale distribution across nine states.

And it all started back in 2015.

Before he transitioned to a job at Crocs, the much-loved, much-hated footwear company, Tom worked as an environmental marketer for the EPA in Washington D.C. During that time, he picked up a fierce “four energy bars-a-day” nutrition habit.

He was eating so many bars that his office wastebasket was littered with wrappers. “Hmm. I’m probably undoing all the good I’m doing at work.” With that thought, he started researching the recyclability of the packaging and learned that the wrappers have to be thrown into the trash due to the material.

He was also devastated to learn that most of those bars he’d been eating were not just served in unsustainable packaging, they were chock-full of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Tom was crushed! He set out to make a better, healthier, and environmentally-friendly alternative.

He bought simple ingredients like fruit, seeds, and nuts and pureed all of it in a food processor. But he rarely formed bars out of what he was making. It was doughy, like cookie dough. But he liked it like that, so he started searching online for similar products.

He found edible cookie doughs served in recyclable tubs and a few kinds of bars that didn’t have added sugars, but nothing that encompassed both options.

Tom got to work with the help of his roommate at the time (and current business partner Reed McIntyre). They spent the next four months working on recipe development for what he would call Unwrapp’d. During the summer of 2016, they took their creation to a local farmers market.

After having a successful summer at the farmer’s market, they decided to try their hands at a wholesale operation. They developed official packaging, made better labels, and got their wholesale license. Unwrapp’d debut on the shelves of a handful of local, independently-owned grocery stores in April 2017. It was the first nutrition bar to be sold in recyclable tubs!

It's been quite a journey for Tom, and his annual revenue this year will hit a quarter of a million dollars! His initial startup costs? Just under $1,000. Tom has since left his day job, transitioning full-time with the side hustle turned business.

The Unwrapp’d team is now pursuing national distribution. Tom has also started consulting for nonprofits on marketing strategies, with plans to launch his own agency sometime next year. He still eats a lot of energy snacks throughout the day, but now he gets them much closer to the source.


  • Unwrapp'd: Take a bite out of this tasty side hustle—learn more about these energy bites over on Tom's website!
  • Squarespace: The website building platform that Tom used to create his website


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Our society tries to define us by what we do for work, but when you decide to take control of the narrative and refuse to be put neatly into one bucket, your entire life changes."
—Tom Miner #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau