re:COGs Podcast Episode #21: Parker Olson, Founder of FORIJ

Mushroom Magic and Entrepreneurial Insights with Parker Olson

Join re:COGs Host Mike Gelb to Hear About the FORIJ Founder’s Quest to Grow a Rising Functional Food Brand, Packed with Fantastic Fungi!

Headquartered in Seattle, FORIJ is a functional foods company known for making delicious granola and meal bars fortified with “nutrition for the noggin.”  What’s the superhero ingredient of this superfood story?  Medicinal Mushrooms!

Parker’s journey into the world of fungi was an unexpected one. Back in 2018, he embarked on an 18-month experiment trying a different diet each month to see how it impacted his health and well-being. The month he felt the best? When he was drinking medicinal mushroom tonics daily.

Intrigued, Parker dove into research on functional mushrooms and was compelled to find a way to get more people to experience their health benefits. But he knew the modern consumer wouldn’t eat mushrooms unless they tasted good. Enter FORIJ’s line of tasty granolas and bars that pack the punch you’d expect from these super spores, without the typical medicinal mushroom flavor.

Since launching FORIJ in 2019, Parker has gone to extraordinary lengths to spread the word and connect with customers. He’s lived in a tent, camper van, and even a sailboat while getting his company off the ground. Parker shares how this nontraditional approach has enabled him to forge meaningful one-on-one connections and gain insights to build FORIJ’s community.

However, rapid growth came with its fair share of operational headaches. On the podcast, Parker will reveal some of the behind-the-scenes challenges FORIJ has faced as a young company, and how he and his team have worked to overcome them. The conversation sheds light on working with distributors and influencers, inventory financing strategies, considerations when partnering with a manufacturer, and navigating supply chain issues. Listeners will gain valuable insights on strategic partnerships, ad campaigns, mushroom sourcing, FORIJ’s exciting opportunities in Asia, and the importance of trust in business relationships on the path to growth and expansion.

Join Mike and Parker for an engaging dialogue that interweaves business, science, and cerebral exploration as they discuss entrepreneurial hustle, a passion for fungi, and all the nitty-gritty operational details of building a truly inspirational CPG company.  You’ll come away smarter having listened to this mind-expanding and brain-empowering episode! 

Listen In:

Parker Shares How He’s Building a Functional Mushroom Business

  • His neuroscience research, and how he was introduced to medicinal mushrooms
  • Going around the country in a bus and how he got into retail stores
  • Inventory financing and market entry strategy
  • Considerations for selling and inventory management
  • Partnerships, distribution, and finding the right manufacturer
  • Lessons learned from copacking in the U.S versus overseas
  • Exploring opportunities for growth and global expansion opportunities

Click Here for re:CASTs of the Entire re:COGs Series 

Tune in for authentic conversations with founders and experts across CPG, food, fashion, and other industries and discover insights you can apply to tackle your own business challenges as you scale up operations.


Feed your need for more enlightening conversation by RSVPing for our next webinar!!

Live Webinar: How to Invest and Scale: Beauty & Personal Care Brands

The beauty and personal care industry is buzzing with excitement, attracting visionaries and investors drawn to its high-profit margins, consumers’ openness to new products, and lucrative exit prospects. But scaling has its challenges.  ​​While the barriers to entry may have shrunk with the explosion of exciting DTC opportunities, sustainable growth, and consumer retention has become more challenging and costly than ever before.  

Please join us Tuesday, August 29 at 12:00 PM PDT for a chat with an esteemed panel of experts from CULT Capital, PROVEN Skincare, EXPERIMENT, and K2 Group who will discuss:

  • How to shatter growth barriers and overcome scaling challenges 
  • How investors evaluate beauty and personal care opportunities
  • How the finest minds in beauty and personal care have adapted their business to succeed in the current marketplace 

Our very own Mike Gelb will be joined by special guests:

Sarah Woelfel, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of CULT Capital

Ming S. Zhao, Co-Founder & CEO of PROVEN Skincare

Lisa Guerrera, Co-Founder & CEO of Experiment

Keith Kohler, President of K2 Group, LLC

for an informative conversation that you won’t want to miss.  Secure your virtual seat today by RSVPing to the link below.

Here’s the link to RSVP.
It will be available on replay as well if you RSVP.


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Learn how to apply for vendor financing, and get help receiving purchase order financing. Manufactured helps customers in over 20 categories across 25 countries with product manufacturing and inventory financing.