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What is the role of Amazon when it comes to CPG brands? With Swoon Co-Founder Cristina Ros Blankfein

by Female Startup Club
June 26th 2021
00:48:36
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Today I’m chatting to one of the women behind Swoon, Cristina Ros Blankfein. If you’re building a brand in the beverage space - this is an episode for you! This is a chat about the industry overall... More

before we dive into the show. Today we have some super exciting news as of this month. Female startup club is officially part of the hubspot podcast network, Something we love about the hubspot podcast network is all of the inspiring shows dedicated to helping professionals learn and grow, especially women in business. So if you love female startup club and want to check out other shows like us, we definitely recommend checking out being boss, the gold digger podcast and the shakeup. Check out all these shows and more at hubspot dot com slash podcast network. This is Christina ross Blankfein for female startup club. Hey everyone is doing here, your host and hype girl today I'm chatting to one of the women behind swoon, Christina ross Blankfein. If you're building a brand in the beverage space, this is an episode for you. This is a chat about the industry, overall the role that amazon plays in a CPG brand and how a rebrand led to the biggest step change in the business. Swoon is modernizing classic drinks starting with lemonade and iced tea that hits a sweet spot previously missing in the beverage aisle.

Swoons, low glycemic take on drinks offers a sweetness profile that sits between a shelter and a fruit juice so you can always have another one. The brand was founded by two friends with the same need a Type one diabetic and a mum of three, both looking for full flavor, healthy beverage options. If you're interested in learning more from Christina and the women you're hearing from in the show, be sure to sign up to our wait list for our private digital network where you can access a community of women building CPG brands in the calm space and what we're calling modern mentorship. You can go to female startup club dot com forward slash wait list to pop your name down as always. I love it so much when you share on social media or pop into my D. M. S. And if you're feeling extra generous reviews on the Apple podcast app, go a long way in helping us find new ears As always. I'm so grateful that you're putting me in your ears each week. Thank you so much for being part of female startup club. Let's get into this episode.

This is Christina for female startup club. Two. Sure yeah customers want more from brands, delivering more means owning the customer experience, taking control over data acquisition analysis, creative and delivery. Clavijo calls this owned marketing and believe it's the best path to growth for more, visit Clavijo dot com slash F. S. C. That's claudio dot com slash F. S. C. And one last thing before we jump into this episode, I want to quickly shout about our course the ads. M. B. A. Although I'm totally biased, I'm told by so many of the hundreds of women who have taken it so far that it's amazing and they've been able to increase their revenue in their business using the methods, taught the ads. M. B. A. Is A D. I. Y. Course to help you master the technical skills needed to run profitable facebook and instagram ads by yourself? We've partnered with leading performance marketing agency amplifier to create the best online program out there and these guys know a serious thing or two about performance marketing.

They've spent more than $100 million dollars in ads during their time. You'll learn everything from winning ad creatives to identifying your target KPI s, implementing retargeting funnels and deploying scaling strategies to increase your revenue to upwards of six and seven figures per year. It includes six modules with more than 30 video lessons and you can learn at your own pace. But what we're most proud of is that $30 from every sale is donated towards girls secondary education through the Malala Fund, a charity that champions every girl's right to 12 years of free, safe quality education and is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead to learn more. Head to female startup club.com. Female stock up club precincts, Christina. Hi, hello, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thank you june. I'm excited to be here. I'm so excited to be here with you on a friday, lovely friday afternoon. Exactly.

And we get to be talking drink. So a perfect friday. It's likely, yes, we should have done this with a drink. In fact not too late, not too late can you start by telling us a little bit about what your business is and who you are. Absolutely so swoon is modernizing classic drinks, We have that lemonade that really hits that sweet spot. You know, we feel like it was really missing from the beverage aisle. It's it's where all of our minds go to our childhood memories and then you know also have a line of mixers and simple syrups. Um it's really spoons, low glycemic take on drinks. We use monk fruit as our sweetener that helps us sit between that shelter and that fruit juice. So you can basically always go on and have another is that we like to say because it's good for you and it tastes good. Mm yum it sounds delicious. Where did monk fruit come into the picture? I don't know if I've ever heard of that as the main kind of ingredient I've heard of monk fruit in general. Ish but not frequently or commonly.

Yeah, so mantra is kind of this magic product. So we, my partner is type one diabetic. So really for us are our roots are in this idea. Of of course jen understands the daily struggle of living as a diabetic and wanting to have just like all of us do great tasting things but knowing just how bad sugar is for you as a non diabetic, working with jen and really kind of honestly becoming friends with her first I realized like oh gosh, you know I do this in some ways in my daily life, but I I became so much more aware of the value of taking sugar out of our diets and so we got to monk fruit with this idea though that at the end of the day, no one, none of us want to really be healthy if it comes to a lot of different sacrifices right? Like anyone will do this health kick or a diet and do it for a small period of time and cut something out but you can't keep that going and sustain that way long term unless it's really something that you embrace and becomes a part of your life.

And so at the end of the day, we really wanted it to taste cut. So we needed a product that was not just good for you, but really tasted good because that would be the way for people to habituate to swoon and actually be excited about it and not just do it for a little bit because they know it's good for you and sort of the brain is telling you that but the heart and soul are pulling you back in another direction. So we got to Monk fruit from a lot of research and I will definitely say the product development side of things was very intense and something we spent a ton of time on with that goal in mind of really having it taste good and so monk fruit was one of the plant based sweeteners, we knew we wanted it to be plant based, we tried not sweetened at all. We tried lightly sweetened with things like honey and at the end of the day really felt like our true north was being a zero sugar product and being a really healthy ingredient plant based. So that then when it was you down to things like stevia, a lot of people use calculus or even a re throw tall but we really liked monk fruit. It has these really great, great history in terms of being originally medicinal and so it was just you know if you go to where in new york city, if you go to chinatown you can find it in markets as a teeth that really a normal t that you boil down and honestly on its own and without doing some great product development or can be a bit jarring the taste but it's so so so sweet.

So we just use very very small amounts and really have created the right formulas to blend it out to create that sugar sweet smoothness. Gosh, that's so cool, how interesting! I love that! I jumped ahead of myself a little bit. So let's rewind, let's go back to like the a half moment or when you decided you were going to start this business and how you decided that this was what you were going to start. Yeah so the kernel of the ah ha moment was john came over for a dinner party. I love to host and I'm Cuban. And so I was making my comment go to of mojitos. And so when johnson my kitchen helping me out before everyone comes over and I have a lot of water boiling and I have my cup of white table sugar that I'm about to pour in your chatting with your diabetic friend. You kind of have this moment of oh my God, I can't believe I'm about to serve this certainly to her but honestly to everyone else to and for myself. So hard pause on my typical mojito making. We hopped in the car, drove down to whole foods feeling like gosh, whole foods has to have right whole foods is the destination for great products and healthy products.

So they must have a good answer for how do you make a great set of cocktails with clean ingredients? And the isle was just zero when it came down to zero sugar or even low sugar. And so that was really the aha moment of gosh does this not exist because it can't be made And if you make it doesn't taste good is there you know what other reasons And we were in business school at the time which I have to say it was a lucky time to have the time frankly and a lot of the resources around us to explore. So then we got to go to the the more sort of hetty market sizing and really understanding what it would take to create the product and that's where we just started tinkering and tweaking and realized it could be made and that it just, you know, we were a bit ahead in terms of wanting drinking to be cleaned up when we would tell people oftentimes the idea, they were like, well I'm already drinking, so I don't care about health and we're thinking, gosh, well all the vodka sodas that we drink, but we're not doing that for taste, we can all agree on that.

So I think there definitely was a gap between consumer interest and what the industry was serving at the time and we felt that was a good opportunity to jump in totally. What year are we talking here when this kind of starts coming into fruition? Yeah, we launched in 2015. So it's been around for a while and you're right, it's very early to this, you know, now booming category where there are lots of options. Well not, I'm not sure about the sweet sugar thing, but kind of better for you products, totally, totally. So, so In the beginning then back in 2015, what was the actual key steps to getting started? If you were to think about like, you know, the blueprint of bringing a beverage into the industry? We really started with the product and I think that's still uh focus that has stuck with us. Again, it really just has to taste good when you're in the, the CPG world. Um so we really focused a lot on, can this be made? And what does it take for it to be made and getting the formulations right?

So at the time it involved like the very scrappy, like going to our favorite bars, taste testing all the drinks, then ask the bartender, hey, could you make it without alcohol? And then under the table literally into bottles that we bring, pouring it out, capping it and then bringing it back to flavor scientists to be able to really help us understand how you take it from that product, that great tasting drink that you love at a bar and actually commercialize it on a line to be able to make it shelf stable and to create many of them. And how many iterations do you think you made? Okay, this is actually the hardest thing for us. So many is the short answer, but the longer answer, doing that's kind of wild for us is sometimes we'll start going after a flavor and we literally will get it right on the first try and then you end up tweaking it because again, as you start scaling it and as it gets, you know, larger batches in larger batches, you're always, and we're so maniacal about getting the formulation right that we're always always tweaking in there, but sound like just work.

So one of our first products that we still have out, that's still one of my favorites is a cucumber, mint mixer, I kid you not on the first iteration, we got that one right and again, we've done this and that and we've out certain ingredients that we were less excited and proud of etcetera, but that was one that we got straight off on the flip side. Some of the other products that we've done have taken umpteen iterations. I can't even begin to count to get it right, So it's really a spectrum, gosh, yeah, wow, on the first try, That's pretty damn good. That's impressive. Yeah, I know it was like, wait, this is so good and it is always tasted great. So wow, that one is not an easy answer. It really has depended for us, totally, totally, I always love to chat about the money side of things, especially in the beginning, as I mentioned, I'm also starting to develop a brand in the beverage industry, so it's super interesting to me to understand how the money side of things works when it comes to, what do you need to start with for your first order, your sampling, your branding, all that kind of stuff, and how did you go about financing in the beginning?

Yeah, so as I mentioned, we were in business when we got started and so we actually entered a competition and we got runner up and so we got $25,000 of startup capital in those huge checks. Like it felt like such a pinch me moment. You're like, I can't believe I'm holding one of these like giant, we still have it in our office. I mean it's not, it's crazy, right? We have of course. And so that was enough for us to pour it all into production. And so we're talking like really scrappy early on in terms of graphic design, you know, doing it online through pitching it out to different designers. So we were like very, very scrappy. We made our first production runs were in test kitchens that we would go in, rent out the test kitchen for a period of time and go in and labelling cap everything, as I mentioned, we're in new york city. So we definitely did have a nice start up ecosystem there for that. Um we're really just scrappy about it. And some of the best advice we got at the time and I think we continue to very much used is as painful as it is to do smaller runs and test things out because you don't get economies of scale.

So we're talking about buying glass for our first set of bottles when you're buying 50 units versus 50,000, Obviously you're going to pay a ton more for that unit costs, but at the end of the day, your cash outlay is smaller and that allows us to have that, you know, try and refined, try and refining that iterative approach that we've really valued both on the product side and on the packaging side of things. Mm Yeah, that's a really good piece of advice I think especially if you're you know Getting really excited and then you go and print 10,000 labels and you're missing something that's legally required on the front or you realize that the bottle doesn't fit in the shelf store or something like that. You know, it's really critical to do those tiny iterations and see where you get to. That brings me to branding. I saw on your instagram you've been through a bit of a journey with the brand but now you have this really strong identity. It really pops when you see it on the shelves. What was the process in bringing the new version of your identity to life? You know we got really sort of to that.

I think one of the important things throughout this is to really make sure that you're questioning yourself and and really understanding and hearing from the customer. And so we got to this place where with all the mixer side of things, we kept hearing from our bartender partners, I'd love to have monk fruit syrup instead of a fully diluted drink. And so we were being mixed which made a ton of sense for the mixer product but as we started to really think about this sort of core component. Right? Simple syrup. I started out by talking about simple syrup and making it which is one part water, one part sugar is really the backbone to beverages. And so when we went to make that core ingredient with monk fruit instead of with sugar and really get that right, it felt like an opportunity to rebrand because again be mixed, we felt was too descriptive of the mixer category and we wanted the name be mixed, it was called the mixed, Yeah, okay, so we wanted it to really go across the portfolio that we wanted to build, which again goes back to this idea of how do we create great tasting zero sugar beverages.

And so for us that meant that we needed to look at a different name that would really encapsulate all the different places that we wanted to go. And so we ended up working with a brand agency, it was an agency with whom we had spoken actually the very beginning of our journey would be mixed and we had really connected with them and at the time honestly we couldn't afford them. And so we just stayed in touch and I think this is one of those, those moments of saying like just because you want to do something and you want to take that leap if it doesn't make sense for your business at the time doesn't mean you all kind of come back to it and we got to work together again to really work on the name and some of the core brand identity pieces, you know, color I think is extremely important when it comes to brand new, identifiable name, color and that logo and just making sure those are things that you you're really excited about and feel like you can own. And so when we came to that process, it also was wonderful because we had already had, we had been in market and we had real customer feedback.

I had a really much more refined understanding of who our customer was and so I'm going through the brand process, we weren't sort of just dreaming something up. We were using real data and real customer information to be able to say yes to this, not no to that and come up with something that was much more refined in terms of a brief and use that lens throughout. And I think it honestly also gave us the confidence to have real conviction over the brand because we have been in marketing and new a bit more what worked and what did it. So that's how we started and then we ended up bringing somebody in house to then really take those kernels of brand identity and build them out into a real system and to packaging into all the many, many, many, many touch points of brand and I think it was really a decision for us early on to say brand really matters and it's really important to to create that that evocative customer connection through the brand and something people really want to be a part of and understand what they're they're a part of.

So bringing that, that talent in house allows it to be really part of our everyday decision making and to make sure we keep that brand focus and brand integrity as we grow totally. And it gives you so much more flexibility and freedom to do things ad hoc on the spot when it's needed based on what's in coming into your realm at the time. Yeah, absolutely. And I think it creates coherence also because you have the overtime as well as cross initiative work when it's somebody who's really a part of the team who is able to take that leadership on. Yeah, absolutely. I want to go back and talk about the launch once you kind of had decided on your launch products, once you had placed that initial order, what was the launch like? And how did you start getting the word out there? The launch? And how do we get the word out there, you know, for this launch? We were living in covid. So we were at a time where one of our absolute best marketing tools with a consumable product is having people taste the product and try the product.

So I would say that would be our typical launch and and kind of getting out of the gates is really get out there and get sampling, but because we couldn't do that at the time, in the same way we, I thought how do we do this remotely? So we really kind of dug into all of our network. So we created friends and family list, industry contacts list, influence our list, just all internally, you know, everyone on the team was sort of firing away, just trying to figure out how do we get our tentacles kind of out there and we ended up shipping product out and doing the sampling remote. So I think it works both in covid times advice as well as a non covid times that I think when you have a a new product and are really trying to bring people in, especially with a food or beverage product, you really just want to get people to try it. And you know, that goes back to the focus that we have on product is if the product is great, then it does a lot of the marketing for itself. And so the most important part is just getting people to try it and then they become fans and then they have it around other people, they bring it to other people and that really starts to fly wheel. So as much as it feels like it might not scale whether it be in a remote world or in a I RL world, um, I really do believe it does and and just getting the product out into people's hands is the most important way to launch and get started.

And how many people are we talking here? Like when you combine all those lists, how many shots did you do? Yeah. You know, we ended up sending it out to, I think close to between Like our first son was maybe 300 people and then up to 500 people. So it really was a pretty massive effort to get the product out there. But also maybe that I don't know if that feels like a big number, a small number, two people, but I think it both feels like a big number, but it's also honestly completely manageable. We did handwritten notes. We did full assembly line with our team in the warehouse and you know, it's just the value of getting it out there. Yeah. Hey, it's doing here. I'm just popping in to bring you a quick message in every episode of the FSC show, you'll hear women who were just like you trying to figure it all out and hustled to grow their business. And I would know a lot of you might be sitting there asking yourself, but how do I actually scale my revenue and get to that next level from where I am now.

You'll also know that so many of the entrepreneurs I speak to have mentioned facebook and instagram ads as a crucial part of their marketing mix from today onwards. I'm really excited to be able to offer our fsc small business owners and entrepreneurs and no strings attached, our long chat with leading performance marketing agency amplifier, who you might also remember from our D. I. Y. Course, full disclosure amplifier is my husband's business. And what's really important to know Is that I've been able to witness first hand the transformation of so many businesses going from as low as $10,000 a month, all the way to $300,000 a month. And in some cases upwards to seven figures. So if you're listening in and you feel like you're ready to take your business to the next level, jump on a no strings attached call with amplifier where you can ask all the questions you have about performance marketing and whether it's the right time for you and your business to get started. Go to female startup club dot com forward slash ads.

That's female startup club dot com forward slash A. D. S. And booking a call today. How important our trade shows. Is that something that you guys have current strategy for? Obviously, well not current because, you know, the world is the way that it is, but pre covid and post this world. Yes. You know, we found trade shows to be helpful and also expensive. So what we've we've taken the strategy of it just being pretty selective in terms of which trade shows we go to with a booth and which ones we go to just walking around. I will say it might sound counterintuitive, but at the very, very beginning, you walk around, you get your bearings, you see, you know, go up to boost, you see you can meet and you sort of start to network and create a little bit of an end to the industry that way. But pretty early on we did make the decision are in our world, the Natural food and beverage world, a trade show called Expo West that usually takes place in Anaheim is sort of the super bowl of our industry trade shows.

And pretty early on we ended up getting a booth at Expo West and I have to say as much as it was a leap of faith in many ways it was one that I really valued because in having a booth we then just had kind of a place to put our flag and direct people to that we had met again sort of in the sort of roaming trade showed style. But then we also just went up to friends that we've made in the industry other brands and ask them if the buyer from this location comes, please send them our way. If this distributor rep comes, please send them our way. And it was much easier actually to network having the booth even though we were quite early than it was just to sort of walk around the show. So we, we did make that decision early on and I can't say I do recommend it, but I think again, the trade off is making sure that your only doing those trade shows that really are attracting players that you're interested in being connected to. For example, fancy food show in new york at the Javits Center is another trade show that we did early on and really worked for us in the mixer space.

There were a lot more sort of specialty store retailers that went by to that show and food service vendors and and retailers and so and distributors and that made a ton of sense for our mixers and syrups. It makes less sense now for our RTD product. And so I think that will be one that we won't be showing at this year, even though the expos we will be showing at. So I think that's the other piece of just being selective and and mindful that it does take a lot to put those booths together and to have your team there and the registration fees and what's the kind of cost like what's the overall investment for something like expo west. Again, it totally rages and it's like one of those first year fallacies. I know the problem is the first year in a funny way you end up spending more because you have to do the setup cost of having all of the materials, are you like, again, don't invest in something that you can take to a bunch of shows. Um but I think that you, I'm not gonna remember exactly Different sized boots are different amounts, but like you're talking like $15,000 Once you start doing flights and you know, depending on number of team members that can add up to 20,000 to really get all the products, there.

have the booth, build out the cost of the booth for the show and then all of the travel costs associated with it, so it definitely ends up being a hefty spend. Um even if you try to cut corners and you're doing all the building, like we always looked at everyone who has the boots were like, we want to be one day, someone else is going to fill the food that we're definitely in there with elbow grease building the booth. So again, I do think there's value. Um you just have to set yourself up to two to make it valuable, so have enough of those industry context that you're sending out ahead of the show. Here's my booth number, here's where I am, once you're in the show, doing that sort of internal to the show, networking with other partner brands and and I guess a pizza advice that I do have that has worked well for us is really to to really take care of your industry and to be thoughtful about the friendships and and partners and relationships that you make because they are so valuable. So as much as there's so much focus on the customer, you really do have to be mindful of your industry and take the time and really spend the time to, to ask others within it.

People are in the food and beverage world have been so generous and friendly to us and has made a huge difference. Uh you know, our buyer contacts come from other sales reps at different, even sometimes competitor brands who are eager to grow the whole category and don't want to be the only product on shelf, a certain price point, want others there too and and feel like a rising tide kind of carries all ships and so that's a real value also of the trade. Just is that industry camaraderie? Yeah, I really love that approach because I think it's so true, it's like lift the whole category, educate as a group, you know, your consumers like move together and lift everyone up and then everyone wins. Absolutely. I love that for anyone who is an entrepreneur in the beverage industry, what do you think is one of the most difficult things that you didn't know about it before you got into it. What are the things to be mindful of? I think it's sort of two sides of the same coin in the beverage industry in particular. One of the most exciting parts of the beverage industry is how fast it is.

So we, we really focus on velocity which is just a metric in terms of how quickly, once we place a case in a store it moves off the shelf and out of that store. So that's a velocity metric or online. You know, you can think of it of repeat customers that time between purchases of the same customer. And so one of the really fun and exciting things in the beverage industry is just how fast it is, right? Like if we all take a step back and think of non out in your daily life, how many drinks you have a day, you know, it can be a lot and so unlike other categories where it's really considered purchase over time, either because it's expensive or it's something that you don't use that often. One of my best friends has an awesome furniture startup and you know, it's fun to always compare notes, it's just such a different customer journey that we have and it's also such a different price points. So again, there's a real excitement. The trial is easy to get somebody hooked, you know, to try, it becomes a really, really fruitful customer. So that's the positive side of the beverage industry.

On the negative side of the beverage industry, it's so competitive, right? There's so few barriers to entry. And so it is definitely in a very competitive category. And at the same time People do have habits and so our value comes from becoming a habit for somebody because at the end of the day when I'm selling $1,99 can the margin can be healthy but still the penny profit is quite small. And so I have to do that a lot of times to be able to compete them with my friend who has a furniture company to do customer acquisition on facebook. Our price for purchase doesn't give us a ton of money on the first purchase to actually do many marketing things with. So I think that's one of the challenges. Yeah, you really have to look at lifetime value and and really securing them totally. So it's all about that repeat retention velocity. Again, it's there's like a lot of excitement, it's fun. But it also ends up being quite slim when you start putting it together unless you really take that longer term retention approach, which we obviously all have to. Yeah.

Gosh, that's so true. I love that and I'll add another on another thing of beverage. It's related to what we're talking about. But the other thing doing is it's just heavy and so, so much of our work is great and so are distributors really matter and one and having good relationships with them and having them go places, but we end up, it ends up being so expensive to ship anything and to move our product around. So I think that's the other interesting dynamic of the beverage industry is just how regional and localized a lot of the products end up being because of the huge, expensive rate. Does that shift your strategy to be like then more available on amazon save as your own ecom store. Does that affect the way you approach these things? We definitely think back and forth all the time about what is the role of amazon period in our business as well as what is the role of our own website period in our business and then certainly what is the role of each of them and we just have different strategies in terms of what the point is of have being on our own site vs on amazon.

A lot of our industry is moving in the direction of being amazon only. And I think one of the reasons that were hesitant to go there is because we started with and when we put our should go up we just opened a Shopify site. We do have these great customers that have been with us for years now and the customer communication that we're able to have with them is so so valuable to us, you know we're we pick up the phone and call our customers whether they be lapsed customers or whether they be strong repeat customers just to learn about them and having that real connection to our customers and having that ability to test out messaging and test out imagery through our own list serve and see not just what are open rates but then what are the conversion rates off of it? We find to be a really high value. So we have maintained our Gtc alongside amazon, which we really look at a convenience and as well as a place that we want to be since so many people use it as a search function and then obviously the reviews on amazon end up being also extremely helpful for us to learn from as well as to share, sort of an opportunity for us to share how customers are reacting to the product, yep absolutely, I always love to understand where the business is today, like how big is your team, Can you share anything around your revenue?

Are you able to share some really exciting things that are in the pipeline? What can you shout about? All that kind of stuff? Yeah, absolutely, so we currently are about 15 people, we have a lot of our team is based in the field is an awesome sales team which we think is crucial obviously to getting the word out, there as valuable as all of our brand awareness campaigns can be and how much we can really enjoy the content creation side of things. There's kind of no substitute to getting the product out there and getting it as I spoken about previously people to taste it, but even just to see it, so we, we definitely think there's a huge value to having a strong in field sales team and then we have some of the other functions covered as well from operations which I think are off forgotten and so important to finance to marketing as I just spoke about totally Quick one Who was your first hire, you know it was this woman who now doesn't feel at all like a first hire who really is, is a founding team member alongside my founder, my co founder john and I, her name is Whitney.

Hi Whitney, have you ever got out of Whitney? Exactly, she rocks and she came from the brand side at Piaggio. So she had been on the spirits portfolio brand side of things, which it turns out when it comes to spirits because of the three tier distribution system is like kind of an everything role. And so she really has done that for our team. So her project, when she interviewed for our team was to go around hand selling from bodega bodega in new york city. So she definitely had that sales chutzpah and grit to her from the beginning and now is currently heading our sales but in between has also done a lot of the marketing pieces, a lot of the field marketing pieces um is an awesome recruiter for our team in terms of a real kind of culture paul bert etcetera. So, so I would say are the shortest answer to a first tire was somebody who was extremely passionate and was a natural salesperson.

Mm I love that When you say three tier system, what is that? So it actually affects us a little bit less. It affects alcoholic products but it has to do with the brand than a distributor and then the retailer. So the brands themselves often aren't the salespeople, they can only do the marketing side of things because the sales people are the distributor wraps. Okay cool. Thanks. Good to know. And what exciting things can you shout about? Tell us what's in the pipeline, what's coming up for you? Tell us all the things we just launched a fabulous product that I was very excited for it which is a peach ice team and it is like factor Snapple days to people who were peach Snapple lovers maybe as teenagers or diet peach Snapple lovers when you realize how much sugar was impeached Snapple. But since have become aspartame nowhere folks. So sad to park our peach tea love in the early odds.

Um so it is really nostalgic and delicious flavor. It smells amazing. It is peach season now. And so it is a fresh, bright flavor that we are all very excited about and really loving. And it was really wonderful because it was our first Of our our T. D. line, our first launch that happened with sort of a full suite of opportunities to talk to and touch customers seeing as we had launched previously in August of 2020. So this time we have been able to do samplings and hand out product and get that immediate customer reaction. So we're really excited to get the peach tea everywhere. Um we also have been in conversations with some of the um larger natural food and specialty chains. So starting to go into those, not all of them are totally science sealed delivered yet. But I think again, back to the distribution point. I am excited for your listenership to start seeing us in Their neighborhood grocery store over the lot next 12 months or so.

Mm Young sounds delicious and I love how Justin Bieber released his peaches song this year, right? It's like the perfect theme. So we have a peach Spotify list for any peach lovers as well. I think there's just, it just feels good and the product is that it sort of this like very enveloping, it's appealing to look at, it tastes good. It has nice associations to it. So we are definitely a peach peach forward at the moment with all of our songs and visuals and our flavors uh sounds peachy, I love it. That's so cool. What advice do you have for women who are on the entrepreneurial journey but a little bit, a few steps behind where you are, I would say just surround yourself with excellent people and surround yourself with people who are very honest. We always say this to customers to any advisors that we have is you know a tepid yes, is the, it can be the death of you because you know when somebody says like, oh yeah, I know that's a great idea or oh yeah, I like it. But inside has all of these sort of what about this or have you thought about that or this is what I, you know, doesn't click for me.

Those are very unhelpful advisors to have around, so to really surround yourself with people who are very honest and are willing to really kind of tear things down and tear things apart with you. We also have really benefited by finding industry experts. I think that my advice is to reach out, people are much more willing to share advice freely and to speak of course you're going to run into somebody who's very close to the vest and is not in that sharing mentality, but those are very few and far between. And you should not be discouraged by those, you know, keep cold email, cold linkedin people, we've done it, it's been done to us and I think people would be surprised by how generous people who are are in it in the industry and in those entrepreneurial moments are with their time and their advice and their connections and those have definitely been some of the best ways for us to, to short circuit sort of growth and to be able to say, all right, let's let's really kind of skip a lot of the common pitfalls because people who've done it before or doing it currently, just a few steps ahead have been very generous task.

Yeah, that's so key. I love that advice also about the tepid yes point of their Sochi. At the end of every episode, I asked a series of six quick questions and some of it we might have covered already, but I asked them all the same. The question number one is, what's your why? Why do you do what you do? We really believe that making healthy choices should feel like a celebration. And so we have this conviction that if you just cut added sugar out, we'd all be meaningfully healthier. So for us, the why is it's just a very small asked to say, let's take out added sugar from beverages and it would have an immediate significant impact on people. So that is that is our why we really do want to make people healthier and happier and really believe that our our products do that. Amazing question. Number two is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop? I really think investing in the brand as I think we spoke a little bit about earlier, we had a rebrand. It happened, it hit, we hit sort of shelves and switched it over on our website in March 2020 and It was amazing to see the immediate impact on sales both in store and online.

Of course March 2020 was this wild unknown time. And even in that moment we saw a real sort of pop in sales across the board of people really responding to and believing in the new, more considered, more kind of customer centric brighter, happier, more beautiful brand. So it's a really investing in brand. Mm So cool. Question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or listening to or something that you subscribe to? The subway is a fantastic place to just interact with a jillion different people to see what is being advertised. What cool out of home is both sanctioned and unsanctioned happening. How are people trying to get other people's attention? I am a total gawker at people's cell phones while on the subway to see what they're looking at, what they're caring about. What are they wearing? What books are they reading?

All of the above. It is just this sort of people on top of people on top of people, moment to really understand what's going on. What do people usually doing on their phones? Straight Easy. Sorry, Oh, this is such a new yorker comment. Um Street Easy, which is a Zillow or a guess what other platforms. People used to look at? Real estate. So, oh, new york, real estate is notoriously crummy and notoriously expensive. And so every single person in new york has this conviction inside like this can't be the best I can afford right now. So everybody is on street Easy, constantly seeing if there's a better place to live? Oh my God, that's so interesting. Wow. Okay. Question number four is how do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? Oh gosh, okay. I as you started the question, I thought it was a business question. But as a personal question, I have three little adorable phenomenal little kids and I have to say becoming a mom for me because I think not only been extraordinary in so many ways in fulfilling, but it's also made me a better leader and a better team member because I think it just puts everything in perspective.

And so when you spend a significant chunk of your day, seen your the world through a baby or a child lens, you realize that everything feels so make or break and start up land and in some ways it is. But to have the perspective that they have, where they're so maniacally in the moment and so present and aren't looking in the future and aren't looking in the past, I think has really helped me to contextualize a lot of the challenges or breakthroughs that we have and to kind of take a deep breath and keep going because they have this relentless curiosity and joy that is very contagious. Oh how beautiful. Gosh, I'm looking forward to it now. Just kidding. I've always looked forward to it. Question number five is if you were given $1000 of no strings attached grant money, how would you spend it in the business sampling. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think we talked about this in so many ways, but I really think that one of our advisors always tells us that the best market you can do is to have a great product.

And so I really, we really invested a lot and taken a lot of care on the product side of things such that we very much believe that if we just got the product out there and got people tasting it, they'd go back and buy it. Mm Yeah, I love that. So true. And last question is, how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach when things just don't go to plan? You know, I'm really looking for other people's advice on this versus my own. I I have to say, I think being a startup is such a roller coaster and I still have as much as I, I gave an impassioned speech of how much my Children help me cope with things. I will say I I feel all the burns and I feel all the ones and they're just as exciting and just as painful as they were from day one. Um, I think there's there's definitely a masochistic part of, of anybody who's in an entrepreneurial world. So how do I deal with failure? I really do try to say to really focus on things that matter.

And so there's very few failures that are game ending. And so in fact I think a lot of failures are, you know, to use a creative mind set and edit to the brief you basically have taken as information, take it as a learning and how does that edit your brief of what you're actually trying to accomplish or trying to create, knowing that that door has closed to you. And so there's my husband to his chagrin of being, My husband always says that I don't hear noses anything other than just try again differently. And so I think that's how I deal with failure is to just think of it as take a step back and think all right now we got it figure out how to chop it a different way. Yeah, I love that. That's so true Christina, thank you so much for taking the time to be on female startup club and share all of your valuable lessons and insights and learnings. I've absolutely loved chatting with you and I'm so excited to see what's next for you guys. Thank you so much and it's been a pleasure to meet you and I'm excited for everyone who's hearing to become a customer or user of all of the wonderful things that you are creating and in the meantime please use F.

S. C. Five for $5 off your next swoon purchase on our website at tastes moon dot com and that will also be linked in the show notes below for anyone who wants to jump on that amazing offer. Thank you. Thanks so much june. Hey, it's Doom here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Female startup Club podcast. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D. I. Y. Course the ads. M. B. A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help others find us. So please do jump on and subscribe, rate and review the show. And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network. See you soon. Yeah.

What is the role of Amazon when it comes to CPG brands? With Swoon Co-Founder Cristina Ros Blankfein
What is the role of Amazon when it comes to CPG brands? With Swoon Co-Founder Cristina Ros Blankfein
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