A Q&A with Terry Harris, the maker of Lazy Cakes Relaxation Brownies.
Terry Harris steps out of the Lazy Cakes private jet.
“This product came out in October. It’s in all 50 states. I would say it’s an overnight success,” says Terry Harris, CEO of HBB LLC.
That overnight success is the Lazy Cakes Relaxation Brownie, which Harris created with his partner, Tim Barham. Sales of Lazy Cakes hit the 1 million mark in March,
The brownies contain valerian root, rose hips, and melatonin, which are often used as sleep aids. And the product has been the subject of a lot of press — from local news affiliates (“Brownies with melatonin can be dangerous to kids”) to NPR (“Lazy Cakes Leave You, Well, Lazy”).
But Harris and Barham are used to attention. They marketed the controversial relaxation beverage Drank. And then they introduced their own drink lines, Unwind and Bull Dozer, described as the opposite of the energy drink Red Bull.
Just before MBQ went to press, a new product was unveiled: UpCake. “[It’s] the opposite of Lazy Cakes,” Harris says. “Kind of a speed brownie, I guess. It’s got encapsulated caffeine.”
MBQ: Tell me about creating the brownie.
Terry Harris: We basically took the ingredients from Unwind and put them in a brownie. It immediately worked. We had some hurdles with packaging and extending the shelf life.
Any problem working around smelly valerian root?
Not really. We’ve got melatonin and all kinds of stuff in them.
What do you think grabs people about Lazy Cakes?
They’re at the cash register at the store, and it’s like, “no education required.” People see the name and “relaxation,” and they know what it is, although there’s nothing illegal about them.
Did you go through a lot of names before choosing Lazy Cakes?
Yeah, probably 50 names. … Crash Cakes was one.
Are you surprised by all the media attention?
With Drank and Unwind, we had a lot of press coverage, but with the Lazy Cakes, in a solid two months, we were being picked up by the news market literally five days a week. There’s nothing in this brownie that would hurt anybody or put anybody in the hospital. If somebody goes to the hospital, I can assure you it’s not from the ingredients in the brownie. They’re 100 percent safe.
What’s your demographic? College kids?
Not really. A lot of college kids eat them, but we’ve heard of people in their 60s eating them after dinner to go to sleep. We don’t recommend them for kids just for the simple fact that you wouldn’t recommend Red Bull for a child. It’s clearly marked on the package.