Lessons From Building Parsnip: Why My 2020 Was About Asking Why

By Sally Rogers
Jan. 1, 2021

One year after reflecting on 2019 (five Ps!), I can’t believe I’m writing about the crazy year of 2020. It goes without saying that everyone had a crazy year, where what was ‘normal’ became… different. For me, that difference was exaggerated given the roller coaster ride of the entrepreneurial journey that I’d already been on. The typical highs and lows (daily! weekly! monthly!) became more intense once I realized that all the large events on the 2020 calendar were not going to happen or were going to look so much different.

But let’s back up, because it’s so easy to forget that the year actually began in a ‘normal’ state! For our 100th blog post (this one!), I want to reflect on another year of building Parsnip. Read on to learn about my lessons from building Parsnip, and why my 2020 was about asking why.


Ah, one last ‘P’ as a holdover from 2019 into 2020: plans! We began the year with a focus on building an events workflow for our event customer base: an automation tool to take event producers from need to fulfillment with our 1200+ brands. We were working to make it super simple for events to get the products that were a good fit for their audience, and for brands to find the best events for their marketing needs. By mid-February, we were testing the workflow and bringing on more events that needed great products. Woot!

A First Why

A month later, it all felt for naught. Events no longer needed product. Heck, they didn’t even have attendees! We started to ask ourselves why we were even going to release a new tool for our customers if there was a bigger challenge in the air: namely, life as we knew it was suddenly different. We immediately had a perspective that helping our brands, who were helping first responders and supporting folks that had lost jobs and income should be a primary focus. We also saw a need in the broader CPG community to connect brands, investors, leaders, food banks, health care workers, etc. So we got to work.

A Community

We released our Parsnip Community within three weeks of our first lockdown due to COVID-19. We’re so proud that we were able to move quickly, address a need in the broader community, and get a Community forum out there. And still, we were wondering what would be next, and why keep building partnership tools if the need was just no longer there.


Naturally, with a lot of ‘whys’ comes a lot of possibility. We spent the summer working on exploring how we might pivot Parsnip, the value of partnerships in the industry, what problems were on fire in the CPG space, and how we might just continue to better our own skills at solving problems so we were better equipped with moving the right solution forward. I have so much gratitude for the ability to spend most of the summer learning, talking to Parsnip members, and connecting with the original ‘why’ that built Parsnip, and digging in on my ‘why’ in being an entrepreneur. Necessary inner work for sure; who’s with me??

Why and An Answer

By the Fall, we had an answer to one of our whys, and one that revealed a new possibility for moving Parsnip forward. We aren’t ready to say too much more, but we’re excited with where we’re headed and trust the pursuit of questioning in 2020! The slowdown with the events industry allowed me the space to make my 2020 about asking why, and I’m grateful for the time and energy to keep moving forward.

Thank you all for being on the crazy journey! I’d love to hear your story, and/or reflections on my year of why: don’t hesitate to reach out.