From startup to corporate giant, failure is an option

Lisa Raiola

Founder Lisa Raiola at the Hope & Main headquarters

Rhode Island is a small state with a big reputation for high-quality, locally-sourced foods. The state ships most of its food outside of its borders, creating an opportunity for the Ocean State to strengthen its economy by bolstering its inter-state commerce. It’s an opportunity that Lisa Raiola is working to realize with her food-based startup incubator Hope & Main.

Raiola started the project specifically to support local food businesses and cultivate Rhode Island’s economy. She believed in it so strongly, that despite receiving no state assistance to start the project, Raiola secured a $3 million loan from the federal government by putting up her house as collateral. Few would argue that conviction is an underpinning of successful entrepreneurism and so far, Hope & Main is already starting to prove this theory true.

Being invited to speak with Hope & Main’s inaugural applicant class about marketing and branding on April 26 was a thrill. As a technology-focused marketing communicator, it gave me pause to consider the essential elements of any successful startup in 2014.

When preparing for my talk, the unifying message throughout the presentation was something for which HB’s own Kevin Hart was recently quoted in BostInno.


Empower Your People to Fail

From what I’ve seen, the HB team is dedicated to a lifetime of learning. When you have a strong desire to learn, you won’t let anything get in the way of it, including the risk of failure. This culture emanates throughout the company and starts from the top down.

Any startup – whether it’s a bakery, a technology business or a marketing communications agency – needs to accept the failure risk as an essential element in achieving overall success. Embracing this culture at our own agency has given us the chance to work with other scrappy, passionate and talented people from small startups to Fortune 1000 companies.

Identifying opportunities to work with people who exude a love of learning will leave you more satisfied professionally and result in some exciting projects.

Every day I watch HB in a steady state of evolution and growth. The companies I’m working with are experiencing this, too. We’ve given ourselves permission to fail, and by its very nature, cultivate success at every turn.

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice: Our Favorite Holiday Recipes

Season's Greatings

At HB, we love to create and share ideas with each other and our clients. This expands beyond the realm of marketing and sometimes we find ourselves in the kitchen, concocting new creations. Here are a few of our personal favorites for you to test out this holiday season!

Coquito (or, Puerto Rican Eggnog)

By Catherine Ahearn

10 egg yolks
3 cans of coconut cream (coco Lopez)
3 cans of evaporated milk
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons of vanilla
4 tablespoons of cinnamon
White Bacardi rum (one bottle)


  1. Mix everything in a blender.
  2. The longer it sits the stronger it gets. Make sure you shake well before you drink!

Bailey’s Spiced Coffee

By Ruth Bazinet

2 oz. Baileys with a hint of coffee
1 oz. pear-flavored liqueur


  1. Layer pear-flavored liqueur first.
  2. Top with Baileys and a hint of coffee.
  3. Garnish with nutmeg and a grind of seasoned pepper.

Scotch Neat

By Kevin Hart


  1. Scotch
  2. Glass
  3. Pour
  4. Drink

Christmas Wassail

By Christine Tesseo

1 gallon apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 orange, sliced
½ cup brandy

  1. Mix juices, sugar and seasonings together. Add the brandy at this point to make the alcoholic wassail.
  2. Slowly bring to a boil in a large saucepan or pot. Boil for 1 minute.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with sliced oranges floating in the punch bowl and keep warm in crock pot.

Cheese fondue with a kick

By Nicolas Boillot

Serves 3-6 depending on if it’s the main course. Drink with a dry white wine like a Sancerre.

Casserole or chafing dish
Alcohol lamp or moveable electric hot plate
2 asbestos pads (useful but not essential)

1 clove garlic
1 lb Swiss cheese, preferably half Emmenthaler and half Gruyere
1 large cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons Kirshwasser
1-tablespoon flour
1 loaf French bread
1 pinch baking soda
Pepper, salt, nutmeg (all optional)


  1. Grate cheese or cut into very small pieces. Mix thoroughly with the flour.
  2. Cut the bread into approximately 1-inch cubes.
  3. Rub the dish with garlic. Pour in the white wine. Bring almost to boil then add cheese slowly, stirring vigorously until melted. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
  4. When fondue starts to boil, add the Kirshwasser. Keep stirring until Kirsch is absorbed and consistency is uniform. Then add the pinch of baking soda. Stir another 2 or 3 second. Up to this point, cooking will go more quickly if done on stove.
  5. Transfer the hot plate or lamp stand and serve immediately. Be sure to keep stirring until served.

Norwegian Lefse

By Nik See

Original recipe makes 60 Lefse cakes.

10 pounds potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar


  1. Cover potatoes with water and cook until tender. Run hot potatoes through a potato ricer. Place into a large bowl. Beat butter, cream, salt, and sugar into the hot riced potatoes. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Stir flour into the potato mixture. Pull off pieces of the dough and form into walnut size balls. Lightly flour a pastry cloth and roll out lefse balls to 1/8 inch thickness.
  3. Cook on a hot (400 degree F/200 C) griddle until bubbles form and each side has browned. Place on a damp towel to cool slightly and then cover with damp towel until ready to serve.

Gluten or Gluten-Free Cornbread

By Amanda Jayachandran

1 cup Cornmeal
1 cup All Purpose Flour OR Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour (Whole Foods and Target carry it. Most Grocery stores do as well)
½ cup Sugar
1 tbs Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
⅓ cup vegetable/canola oil
1 large egg


  1. Whisk together milk, oil and egg.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the other ingredients.
  3. Add the wet mixture.
  4. Pour into a greased pan (use butter), approximately 7×11” baking dish.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Holiday Pretzel Treats

By Julia Bucchianeri

Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug
M&M’s candy


  1. Heat the oven to 170° F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug.
  2. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M’s candy into the center of each Kiss.
  3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Molly Delaney

Recipe via Gluten Free Boston Girl

Pumpkin Puree (from the can) about 3/4 cup (naturally GF)
1 and 1/2 cup GF flour (Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick butter – melted
1 egg
3/4 cup choc chips
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together. In a large bowl mix together the liquid ingredients.
  3. Combine the dry into the wet ingredients using a mixer or stir together by hand for a few minutes, until smooth. Add in chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes. This will depend on how your oven works and if you prefer your cookies soft and chewy, or hard and crunchy.

Velvet Cookies

By Katherine Eckenfels

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups Craisins
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients; set aside.
  3. Combine wet ingredients with a hand mixer on low.
  4. To cream, increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and the color lightens.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible.
  6. (Over mixing develops the gluten, making a tough cookie.) Now add the oats, Craisins, chocolate chips, and almond slices; stir to incorporate.
  7. Scoop out spoonfuls of cookie dough.
  8. Drop 2-inches apart onto baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray.
  9. Bake 11-13 minutes (on center rack), until golden, but still moist beneath cracks on top.
  10. Remove from oven; let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Molasses Crinkles

By Justin Hastings

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp each of salt, cinnamon, ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda


  1. Blend together vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg, and molasses. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and baking soda.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
  5. Roll into small balls.
  6. Roll balls in granulated sugar.
  7. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Suzanne Lombardi’s Molasses Spice Cookies

By Perrin McCormick

Suzanne Lombardi, founder and former owner of Dancing Deer Baking Co. in Boston.

2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
¾ cup canola oil
⅓ cup molasses
1 egg


  1. Set oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir well to blend.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, oil, and molasses. Mix on medium-low for 5 minutes (the mixture looks separated).
  3. With the mixer running, add the egg and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Turn the mixer to its lowest speed and beat in the dry ingredients in 4 parts.
  5. After all of the flour mixture has been added, beat the dough for a few seconds on medium-high speed.
  6. Using 2 soup spoons, drop heaping mounds of dough onto the prepared sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.
  7. Using a long metal spatula to lightly press the cookies into rounds about 2 inches in diameter. Or roll the dough in your palms and flatten them with the heel of your hand.
  8. Place 12 cookies on each sheet.
  9. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and place into the center of the oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until they crack on top and are golden.
  10. Switch the positions of the baking sheets from back to front halfway through baking.
  11. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them sit for a few minutes.
  12. Transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Bake the remaining batter.

    Makes 27 cookies.

Holiday ‘Social’

My husband and I hosted a drop-in party over the holidays. We built the party around the theme of “Desserts, Drinks, Ice Cream Floats, and Friends.”

However, during preparation, something different and unexpected occurred. Typically, I invest time flipping through all of my cookbooks. I wouldn’t want to miss a single recipe that could be “the one.”

But this year, I didn’t open a single cookbook. Every recipe I used came via Pinterest. Users’ reviews and comments helped me make decisions on our menu. In fact, one particular helpful hint saved what could have been a frustrating experience! In the end, everything we served looked and tasted great.

The Power of Pinterest

Pinterest is the third largest social network, behind Twitter and Facebook. Social media has not only changed how we connect with others and give our opinions, but the way we experience, behave, entertain, make decisions, and spend. The tool’s visual marketing has 81% of US online consumers trusting information and advice from Pinterest (according to BlogHer).

But don’t worry, I still love my cookbooks.

Curious about my menu? Check out my “Love of Food” board (which also includes other yummy recipes).

Sipping Wine, Helping our Planet

In need for a relaxing vacation? I have just the place! A week ago, I returned from a trip of rest and relaxation in Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley and San Francisco. My time at the vineyards was spent sipping wine and picnicking with delicious warm pesto bread, rosemary cheese, a creamy sheep cheese, fresh apricots and of course, chocolate.

While driving with the windows down over rolling hills of grape vines, I began to take note of the advancements in science and technology that the vineyards have incorporated.

One particular vineyard I visited, Grgich Hills Cellar, has an impressive commitment to sustainability and biodynamic farming. Installed on the rooftop are waterproof solar panels that generate 150kw of clean energy on a daily basis. The winery only needs 120kw, so the winery receives rebates for the additional energy generated. The winery saves about $70,000 a year!

The biodynamic farming technique at Grgich relies on natural cycles of the earth and cosmos, as well as natural farming techniques over artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The winery uses a mixture of dried horsetails and chamomile as an alternative to harmful sprays. The difference between biodynamic and organic farming is that biodynamic recognizes cosmic forces and uses them to enhance and balance the vine growth. Biodynamic farming treats the Earth as a living organism.

The outcome is a winery that acts as a large, pulsing, self-contained, self-sustaining eco-system.

If you have the opportunity, make a trip to Grgich and taste the highly praised Chardonnay with a buttery and subtle oak flavor. Or, as founder Mike Grgich describes the oak taste, “layers of  bouquet, complexity, and a little bit of extra joy to the finished product.”

If you have been to the area and have some preferred spots – or noticed your own use of sustainable agriculture or energy usage, please feel free to comment and tell us about it.

Lifestyle changes – how long do they stick?

Recently our outsourced CFO from Verge Advisors, Jonathan Iannacone (we highly recommend him and his company), asked me if any trace of the passion I experienced after reading Michael Pollan‘s The Omnivore’s Dilemma remains nearly a year later. If you’re interested in such things, here’s a somewhat long post for you. If you’re not… then this is a good place to stop reading!

Jonathan’s query:


After hearing your glowing reviews of the book I decided to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I must admit that it is an utterly fascinating and intellectually stimulating look at the food we eat (I am about 3/4 of the way through).  It is forcing me to look at how my family consumes food and how we can do things better. [Read more…]

Cheesy, Gooey Pizza


I am a sucker for great packaging; it definitely influences my decisions. I am amazed when I come across packaging that is clever and useful. The GreenBox is a pizza box made from 100 percent recycled material that breaks down into serving plates and a storage container for leftover pizza. GreenBox produces varieties of five different sizes and has four patents pending, including containers for coffee, doughnuts and wings.

Check out this video on how the box works.

Juicy Video and Pics

If you missed it – no fear, we captured it. If you were there, thank you for your support.

We were blown away by the number of people who dropped by AFTA work to support AIGA, Sappi and Hart-Boillot. Over 75 people participated in the Juicy, AIGA, Outa AFTA Event at Watch City Brewery in Waltham, Ma. Creative minds from large agencies, small firms, freelancers, and print shops came together to meet, drink and talk shop – we were honored to meet each and every one of them.

We hope you had as much fun as we did and we look forward to hosting another event in the near future. Stay tuned…

Also, check out our photo gallery from Thursday’s event.

Installing Quicktime is necessary to view this video.

Juicy. Real Juicy.

[Read more…]

Meat Pants

Dear Boillog,

I am in a state of absolute laziness when it comes to physical activity right now. Maybe it’s the fact that I am getting older or, that I am occupied—doing what I think are more important things. I think it’s because I love to eat.

I often find myself enjoying my food so much that I have no control on how fast I eat. I will try to pace myself with others, but before I know it, the food is gone and I want more. I truly feel like I am wearing the Meat Pants.

Meat pants is a term some of us use on those days when we feel like we have completely let ourselves go. You eat so much, that afterward, you feel the guilt and ask yourself, “what did I just do?” It’s when you need to be wearing pants that have an elastic band around the waist so they will comfortably fit you. It could be after an order of Tri-City’s gigantic batch of french fries, or KH’s infamous Chaco Taco expeditions, or a weekend meatfest at a backyard BBQ.

Do you have a remedy for losing the Meat Pants or do you have a favorite dining spot that ensures the Meat Pants will come out?


Mr. Meat Pants