This week we have Josh Taekman, the founder of EBOOST. EBOOST provides clean performance products that increase energy, focus, and all-around well-being. One of the coolest things about EBOOST - from the beginning Josh and his team decided to treat it more like a fashion brand, and really make a lifestyle play in the CPG space. The company also recently went through a brand refresh that looks amazing, and launched an RTD (ready to drink) clean energy product. On top of all the brand building strategies, Josh had some amazing stories from his time in the music industry working with Sean Combs (yes, that Sean Combs) and coming this close to launching a massive joint venture with 50 Cent.
If you have an innovative or functional product, you know that one of the biggest challenges is spreading the word about its features and benefits. One problem - people don’t connect with information. Consumers connect more on an emotional level, with aspirational messages or lifestyle images. A dissertation on the metabolic integrity of non-GMO allulose… that just isn’t going to land. The KNOW Foods team have found a solution - unleash the power of influencers. This week, KNOW Foods Co-CEO Yemeni Mesa joins us to talk about the influencer strategy that's changing the game for the rapidly growing, keto-friendly baked goods brand.
Episode 39 | How to Survive a Pivot and Become Exit-Worthy, with BFY Managing Partner and Plum Organics Founder Gigi Lee Chang
There are certain guests for whom there's just no denying - this person is a bonafide Brand Builder. But Gigi Lee Chang, she’s something else. When you look at her body of work thus far, she's not just a Brand Builder, she's more like a Brand Renaissance Woman. This week, Gigi Lee joins SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly to discuss this remarkable trajectory, and to share her lessons learned along the way. The pair discuss the packaging innovation that helped make Plum Organics a hit, the BFY model and why it's important to fuel growth without dilution, and the somewhat unexpected mindset you need to position your company for an exit.
Episode 38 | How to Turn Your Beliefs into a Brand (and Raise a Billion Dollars), with Fair.com Founder Scott Painter
We’re back with another “Culture Builder” edition of the podcast, where we focus on how to build great teams and become the leader your brand needs to reach that next level. This week’s guest is someone who - it might be argued - represents the very embodiment of success. We’re talking about Scott Painter, probably best known as the founder and CEO of both True Car and Cars Direct. He’s made a name for himself by launching and leading disruptive companies that anticipate consumer behavior and capture huge markets. But as is usually the case, its’ rarely ever that simple. In this fireside chat with SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly, Scott reveals that while he has climbed to the heights of success multiple times… he’s also lost it all just as many times. We mean really lost it all. As in lost his home, lost relationships, you name it.
Episode 37 | How to Refresh Your Brand for Massive Growth, with Amir Haque (Mistress) and Alysse Burroni (SnackNation)
A logo that you designed yourself on a cross country flight. Package design you slapped together in powerpoint minutes before the first production run. A brand name that you landed on because, well, the URL was available. In the startup world, there’s no shortage of accidentally, stumbled upon, or just plain DIY brands. But why have an accidental brand when you can have a strategic one? A well-thought out brand might just be the one thing holding you back from your next big growth phase. This week on brand builder we talk about the rebrand, and how refreshing your brand can position you for massive growth.
Episode 36 | How to Exponentially Grow Sales and Land in More Than 16k Stores, with Country Archer CEO Eugene Kang
Our guests this week are Eugene Kang and Mathew Thalakotur, the CEO and Marketing Director at Country Archer Jerky Co. Under their leadership, the brand has seen exponential growth, doubling sales each year for four years, and landing in more than 16k stores. Eugene and Mathew joined us in studio to talk about the origins (and accidental rediscovery) of Country Archer, the challenges and advantages of reinvigorating a heritage brand, hiring, and the right way to launch your next product.
Episode 35 | How to Build a Game Changing Brand through Honesty, with the Honest Company’s Christopher Gavigan
We're back with another culture-focused episode. This time we bring you a conversation with Honest Company co-founder and CPO (that's Chief Purpose Officer) Christopher Gavigan. Believe it or not, Christopher doesn’t run a CPG brand. That’s because the energetic co-founder considers Honest – the makers of beautifully designed, environmentally friendly, and unquestionably safe household products for parents and kids – to be a “portfolio of trust” rather than a typical consumer goods label.
Episode 34 | How to Use Data and Sampling to Turn Insights Into Sales, with Vegetarian Traveler CEO Christy Krejci
This week on Brand Builder we’ve got Christy Krejci, the co-founder and CEO of Vegetarian Traveler. In many ways, the Vegetarian Traveler origin story is a classic entrepreneurial tale. Christy and her husband/co-founder Chuck had been committed vegetarians for many years, and had always been looking for an easy way to add plant-based protein to their meals. After waiting for someone else to solve this problem, they realized they had to do it themselves. Luckily for all of us, Vegetarian Traveler was born.
Episode 33 | How Chomps Went from 0 to 8-Figure Revenue with Just One Full Time Employee, with Chomps CEO Pete Maldonado and COO Rashid Ali
No compromise. Those two words sum up the Chomps brand better than any other. Chomps make uber convenient, incredibly delicious meat snacks using 100% grass-fed beef. Their snacks contain no preservatives, no sugar and are certified Paleo, Non-GMO, and Whole30 approved. Their committed to these standards hasn't been without its share of obstacles. Like, how do you manufacture a consistent product while steering clear of all preservatives? Turns out, you manually inspects every single stick that bears the Chomps brand - we're talking millions every month. But Chomps' no compromise ethos has clearly struck a cord. The company has been profitable since day one, and seen year-over-year revenue growth between double and 10x every year since their 2011 launch.
Episode 32 | How to Achieve 7x Growth While Giving Your Team More Ownership, with WorldBlu Founder and CEO Traci Fenton
Have you ever worked in a fear-based environment? One where you spend every waking minute walking on eggshells? Where the wrath of a demanding boss is always top of mind, stifling creativity and innovation? If you have, you know it's not fun. In fact, it can be downright miserable for employees. And, ironically, it doesn't produce great results either. Instead of precise, high quality output, you're much more likely to see uninspired, unimaginative work - and an anemic bottom line to match. So what’s the antidote to a fear-based workplace? Today’s guest has something to say about that.
Episode 31 | How to Make Your Brand Stand Out in An Insanely Competitive Industry, with BevNet founder John Craven
Industry buzz is super important, especially for early stage brands looking to attract investors, recruit talent, or just make connections. But how do you do that? How do you get the who’s who of your industry talking about, well, YOU? Yes, you need a story to tell, but you also need someone whose plugged in, and has a platform of influence. In CPG, there are a few people as plugged in as John Craven.
his week on Brand Builder, we have someone with hands-on brand building expertise. In fact, she’s helping build the next generation of enduring brands. We’re talking to Jordan Gaspar, one half of the duo behind AccelFoods. Jordan is a Managing Partner at AccelFoods, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in consumer products. She and partner Lauren Jupiter co-founded the firm in 2014 with the goal of offering entrepreneurs a unique perspective and approachable capital. AccelFoods’ value can really be summed in three words - access, expertise, and infrastructure. They pride themselves in their hands-on approach, and their portfolio includes some top tier brands you’ve definitely heard of (and probably have eaten).
Tara Bosch is on a mission to kick sugar. In service of that mission, she and her team at SmartSweets make low sugar, non-chocolate confections... and really nothing else. The thinking is, if you can offer something that tastes like regular candy without all the sugar, you can break the cycle of sugar addiction that adversely affects so many people’s diets - and overall health. It all started with a heart-to-heart conversation between Tara and her grandmother. After years of enjoying sweets together, Tara was surprised to hear her grandmother say that consuming too much sugar was a major regret in her life, and that it had taken a toll on her and her family's health.
We’re currently experiencing a golden age for startup brands. It’s easier today to launch, build, and scale a consumer brand than perhaps any other time in history. But that’s not to say it’s easy. Startup brands still face obstacles, old and new, including how to stand out from the glut of new brands, how to adapt to the constantly shifting landscape of retail, and how to best leverage the wide array of data and tools now available at their fingertips. Luckily for us, Courtney Reum is here to answer those questions.
When you think about the major distribution channels in the natural products space, you probably think of Whole Foods, Wegman's, Kroger, maybe UNFI. I'm guessing your brain doesn't automatically go to 7-Eleven. But with an evolving product offering and 63,000 stores worldwide, maybe it should.
Daniel Katz might have the ultimate entrepreneur story. Sleeping under a desk? Check. Half a million dollar mistakes? Check. Breeding reptiles and flipping houses in high school? Also check. Daniel is the founder of No Cow, makers of non-dairy, low sugar, high protein snacks that people just love. You can tell Daniel loves the grind, and he's most comfortable when he's doing everything himself. But with success comes growth and change. These days Daniel has a small but dedicated team, a CEO to run the day-to-day, and strategic partners in 301 Inc. and 2x Partners.
Didn’t make it to Expo West this year? Or maybe you attended, but were overwhelmed by all the new brands and products you saw? Perhaps you hit up too many happy hours and… need a refresher? Either way, Brand Builder has your back.
Welcome to our first ever Battle of the Brands. We spoke to 10 interesting emerging brands on the Hot Products floor of Expo West, and asked them to tell us their unique brand story - what inspired their product? What problem are they solving? What are they all about? 10 Brands, 10 stories, but there can only be one. The winner of the Battle of the Brands gets a full length Brand Builder episode. And it’s all up to you.
The Super Bowl of Snacks. CPG Christmas. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the most anticipated trade shows of the year. This is where deals are made, where dreams come true, where fortunes rise and fall. And it’s only a few days away. Yes, this week we’re going deep on The Natural Products Expo West (known by pretty much everyone as “Expo West”).
Episode 22 | How LivBar’s Jayson Selander Brings a Designer’s Mindset to Brand Strategy, with Jayson Selander, CEO of LivBar
There was a certain point in the early days of LivBar where most people probably would have given up. Despite a product that people really loved and some encouraging momentum, the future of LivBar seemed to be in jeopardy. Their "big break" with a major grocery chain had just fallen through, and the company's co-founders had lost their passion for the business and were looking for the exit But for co-owner and soon-to-be CEO Jayson Selander, quitting was not an option. "I didn't have a choice," he recalls. "There was nothing inside of me that was telling me to stop."