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How to Find Out if Your Product will Sell on Amazon with Heather Terveen

Heather Terveen is the founder of Adornlee, an online store that sells totes and bags for brides-to-be, new moms, and travel lovers alike. She sells primarily on the Amazon Marketplace in addition to her own website. She also consults with others looking to get their physical products on Amazon.

How to find out if your product will sell on Amazon @heatherterveen @adornlee #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How to figure out if your product will sell on Amazon.com
    • Where you should look to figure out your product
    • How to become a go-to resource in your field

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Heather Terveen.

Tell us a little bit about you, Heather Terveen, and what you do.

I own Adornlee, which is an online brand that sells totes and bags targeting brides-to-be, new moms, and travel lovers. I’m also a mom with three young daughters. I started my online entrepreneurial journey just over a year and a half ago.

How did you decide to sell totes and bags?

I actually narrowed it down to a niche. I knew I wanted to sell physical products online. I targeted it down to selling to brides, and I was actually initially going to sell bridal jewelry. I took an online course that helps you get your initial physical products online. I did a lot of keyword research. I knew I wanted to start on Amazon because being a mom with three young children, I didn’t want to actually carry inventory at my home. After ordering a few thousand dollars worth of jewelry to sell, the jewelry category closed on Amazon. I quickly pivoted and found another physical product to sell that was targeting the same audience. Within 30 days I got the bridal tote bag on Amazon and it ended up being sort of a home run. I sold over 3,000 units of that bridal tote within four months.

Why did you consult Google keyword first to start a business?

It was strategic. I wanted to have an idea of what the market was like for any of the niches that I was potentially going into. I looked at products targeting moms and brides because I knew I wanted to target a female audience that I could resonate with the marketing to. I did keyword research so that I could confirm what types of keywords people would be searching for in order to find the physical products they buy online.

will-it-sell-on-amazon

 

What you actually look for like the metrics when you use Google keyword tool?

Use a free keyword tool. You don’t need to buy any other software. I go to SEO Moz to get tips. I used a program called Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro. I looked at the pagerank for the top 10 and searched for certain keywords. For example, if I was looking at the keyword bridesmaid jewelry, I would look at what is the pagerank for the top 10 brands that are showing up in search for that particular keyword. Are they all huge brands that I couldn’t possibly compete with? Did they all have a really long history? From there you can go and find really diamonds in the rough of keywords that have enough search volume but also aren’t too competitive.

How did you figure out that you wanted to go the Amazon route instead hitting up your local boutique?

First, whether you’re heading up your local boutique or you’re starting with your own branded website, you typically have to have more than one product because they’re assessing that you have a line of products. On Amazon, the shopper isn’t looking at that. If you only have one product, they don’t really notice that you don’t have a whole line. This makes the barrier to entry, as far as initial investment, easier. It also provides the traffic for you. To go to the boutiques you have to physically go out and meet with boutique owners.  You also have to find ways to get traffic to your own online site. With Amazon, it provides traffic for you. It gives you the opportunity to really vet out whether or not there’s a market for your product.

Heather Terveen

What else have you done to grow your business?

We use Instagram. We also collaborate with other bloggers that are mom bloggers or bridal bloggers and will give away free product in exchange for them providing pictures. We have a couple of brand reps were working with on Instagram right now. We also use Amazon pay-per-click as well. Amazon pay per click is similar to Facebook ads or Google pay-per-click The huge benefits of Amazon is that the intention of people who are already on the Amazon channel. If you’re shopping on Amazon and you type in baby bib or paleo granola, you see the search engine populates all these products at the top and at the sidebar. Those are Amazon pay-per-click ads that brands are paying for to have their products show up in the top part of search. We bid on certain keywords on Amazon and pay to have our products show up and search for certain keywords.

Can you just share a little bit behind your idea to start the Amazon consulting services?

It happened pretty organically. I’m in other groups where there are other small online shop owners that are selling physical products online. The majority of them aren’t actually selling on Amazon, but they’re looking to get their products on Amazon. In a couple of these groups I have kind of been the go-to person who gets tagged with questions to answer their questions about Amazon. I started answering questions and then some of these conversations just naturally came offline into emails. It just organically happened that there is a need out there for shop owners that are trying to get their physical products on Amazon. I’m putting together consulting services and working one-on-one with brands to help them get the products that they already have onto the Amazon Channel.

How did you become that go-to person?

By engaging. Being active in the groups. When you see a question, being really generous, honest, and transparent and giving value and not expecting anything in return.

heather-terveenHeather Terveen is the founder of Adornlee, an online store that sells totes and bags for brides-to-be, new moms, and travel lovers. She has thoughtfully designed a collection of darling canvas totes and makeup bags for life’s next big adventure.Heather has her own website and also sells her products on Amazon.  She recently starting consulting services for entrepreneurs who are interested in selling products on Amazon.

Find Heather!
Website: adornlee.com and heatherterveen.com 
Instagram: @adornlee @heatherterveen 
Twitter: @heatherterveen 
Facebook: Adornlee

Be Mindful of the Inner Dialogue with Melissa Webb

Melissa Webb is a partner and brand manager at The New Primal. She’s wildly enthusiastic about the entrepreneurial culture and excited to be a part of the natural food movement. She lives in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina with her 2 kids, Cooper and Jonathan.

Be mindful of the inner dialogue @thenewprimal #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How business experience translates into the food world
    • How to build your retail presence
    • Tips to combat inner dialogue

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Melissa Webb.

Tell us a little bit about you, Melissa Webb, and what you do.

I live in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the greatest places in the world in my opinion, and I am the brand manager and a partner at The New Primal. At The New Primal we make healthy, clean, portable protein snacks.  We started in 2009. We know enough to be dangerous, and we’re just having a really good time. It’s really an exciting time for us.

How did The New Primal get started?

My partner founded The New Primal. He was looking for a clean portable protein when he adopted a more paleo lifestyle. One of the challenging things about adopting that new kind of lifestyle is the snacking portion. It’s the 2:00 sitting at your desk, snacking element that can be challenging. He was looking for protein option and really just started making it for himself.  In 2009, it was really challenging to find something that met his dietary needs. He bought a  dehydrator, Googled how to make beef jerky, and the company started from there. He started making it for friends and families and grew out of his kitchen. He had like 60 dehydrators going, and his wife said, “This has got to go or I’m going.”

He created a website and people started ordering. Ashley Zager, our Operations Director, and I knew Jason from our previous job. He saw what we were doing the community and really liked what we were doing. He asked, “Do you guys want to do this with me?” I don’t have food business background but, sure, why not, let’s just go for it. Seven years later and with six full-time people on the team, we’re in about 6,000 stores across the country. It’s been quite the adventure.

What was your background before you came on to The New Primal?

Ashley and I work for Lululemon. We worked for the company way before t was as popular as it is today. They launched these showroom concepts. Ashley and I worked on to the one here in Charleston. It was really our job to get word out in the community. We had so much fun building that brand in this community and really gave us a lot of entrepreneur freedom to do what we needed to do to expand the brand into this market.

get-your-business-into-distribution

What would you say is the difference between growing a business like Lululemon and a food business?

They encourage a lot of out of the box thinking which translates really well when you’re building your own business because you’re creating your rules and how you want to go about the world. That definitely carried over.  It’s different in the sense when it’s your own company you’re invested in a couple different ways. I work in the day-to-day business. I’m also an investor. I also sit on the board. I’m really part of growing this brand whereas it’s not the same when you’re building another company’s brand.

Do you have a specific sales strategy?

It seems like a lot of companies are primarily online first and then they build their retail presence. We did it the opposite way. We started in the retail world. We basically went door-to-door, and we were just selling to any little store that would buy our products.

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How do you managed to stay balanced?

I try to be mindful of my inner dialogue. I try to eliminate words like busy or this is hard. Everything is just how you present it. If you’re so busy then you’re just busy and you’re never going to be able to see that for yourself. You do have time. There’s time for everything that you’re prioritizing. If you figure out you’re wasting 30 minutes a day on Facebook, you did have time to work out you just chose not to. As long as I stay with the inner dialogue in my head, everything else just seems to feel more balanced. If I’m eating right, if I’m exercising, if I’m really prioritizing my time well, then I feel more balanced.

melissa-webbMelissa Webb is a partner and brand manager at The New Primal, the leader in grass fed jerky snacks. She loves entrepreneurial culture and is excited to be a part of the natural food movement.

Find Melissa!
Website: The New Primal 
Instagram: @thenewprimal
Twitter: @thenewprimal
Facebook: The New Primal

How I Went From Teacher to Entrepreneur and Podcast Host

Nicole Culver is the founder of Blissful Eats, a company that is dedicated to creating delicious healthy snack options like granola and boost bites that have ingredients that you actually know and can pronounce.  They are non GMO, gluten free, kosher and many of the Blissful Eats products are paleo friendly.  Nicole also blogs at nicoleculverblog.com where she shares business tips, health and wellness inspiration, and life as a mom of two. She is also the host of the Blissful Bites Podcast.

How I went from teacher to entrepreneur and podcast host #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Nicole’s 100TH EPISODE.

Tell us a little bit about you, Nicole Culver, and what you do.

I used to be a special ed teacher. I taught in New York City in Queens for five years right out of college. People always ask what did you think you would do when you were growing up.  Forever I thought I would be an elementary school teacher. I love kids. I obviously still love kids.

I thought I would teach forever until I retired. After about year for I started realizing I don’t think this is for me. I had a pretty significant life trauma where I lost my godmother who was like my second mom and it kind of just went downhill from there. As far as teaching, it made have an aha moment where I realized I was really miserable.

Every Sunday I would cry that I didn’t want to be at work. It had nothing to do with the kids, because the kids always brought me so much joy every single day. Teaching isn’t what it used to be. You don’t have a lot of control over the classroom.

Year four I started planning my escape, and I went back to school. I went to the Integrated Institute of Integrated Nutrition. It is an online school. I received my health coaching certificate which was the best thing because I always was very into health, fitness, cooking, and baking. I started taking on some health coaching clients after work. I was cooking and baking with them. I was always bringing in baked goods to work and sharing them. People always said to me, “You should start a business.”

Year five I started planning my escape for teaching. My husband and I did a lot of planning. I decided that after the last day of school that summer I would work on getting my company into as many hands as possible to see if it was a viable business option.  I also did health coaching on the side. My husband and my family couldn’t have been more supportive. After about six weeks of handing granola and granola bars out to every person I possibly could, I was like I’m actually going to do thi.  In August I quit my job over the phone, and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It was also the best thing I’ve ever done.

quit-teaching

 

What made you feel like you could start a food business without really any background or education in that?

I have no idea. I don’t know why I thought I could do it, but I knew I have the ability to figure things out. After interviewing all of the women entrepreneurs who have food businesses, that is the common thread: Everyone has the ability to figure it out. There is no food entrepreneur handbook unless you’re going to someone and you’re hiring them as a consultant or something like that. We just started doing research.

Did you get a lot of “nos?” Were there nights when you came home and you just thought why did I do this?

The big problems don’t always come from the “nos.” Sometimes they come from the “yeses” Once you have those “yeses,” you have to be able to scale. You have to be able to have the money to scale. In the food business there are a lot of upfront costs with packaging and minimum runs of a product. It didn’t always come from the “nos” because luckily we haven’t had that many. It comes from the funding and the issues that you need to run a profitable food business.

Tell us about a few things that have gone really well or a few moments where you just thought “This is why I do this.”

I would say the big part comes from getting emails, Instagram comments, and Facebook messages from people who really really love the product. We get a lot of messages from people who have allergies who can’t eat a certain food. They have just discovered our granola and are really appreciative for a granola that they recognize all the ingredients and tastes great. A lot of times they’ve gone through a lot of other products and can’t find something that their stomach likes. I am most appreciative to the customers because that’s why we’re able to keep going.

Tell us a little bit through the process of starting The Blissful Bites Podcast?

I was always looking for other stories of other women who’ve started food companies, and I couldn’t really find any. There is a book which about two years ago Nikki Frezza from Nikki’s Coconut Butter introduced me to called, Cooking Up a Business. That’s an awesome book because it just shares stories of people like Justin from Justin’s Nut butter.

I always said when I started I’d find a way to give back. I didn’t know what it would be like, but that was always something that I was really passionate about doing. I started writing more business posts, and then I got an email from the Today show and was asked if I wanted to interview her because she had a new book coming out.

I said yes. Then I was like, “What am I doing? My blog is so small. I don’t have that many readers. What why would I be interviewing her for this?”

I also was listening to a lot of podcasts. John Lee Dumas has a free podcast course that I ended up taking that. I set my launch date for February 1st. I reached out to basically every friend and contact I had in the food industry and that that’s kind of the history.

Can you talk a little bit about how you have looked at your business as a whole and growing your community? Talk about what the future is and how it all fits into what you’re doing as a company.

The podcast is the first touch point for a listener to get to know me. I reached out to people and asked if they would share their story. People were so gracious to hang out with me for an hour on Skype. I started sharing those stories and getting a strong listener base. I realized that there needed to be another step. Listeners of the podcast were so amazing and joined me for 10 days in the Food Entrepreneur Summit. I still had people asking for more. That got my wheels turning. I realized that bloggers need help turning their blog into a business because the majority of bloggers are so focused on page views and sponsored posts. I started putting together resources to show people that it’s not all about sponsored posts and page views. You can actually bring in money and earn a good income if you focus on the other aspects of your talents.

After interviewing over 100 women and compiling your surveys, I’ve put together a survey to help you figure out where you are as a food blogger and what you need to focus on to get to the next level!

Click the button below to get started! 

Food Blogger Quiz

Build Up Your Brand Where You Live with Marlo Gertz

Marlo Gertz grew up making cookies and brownies and big messes in the kitchen on a regular basis. After working in software and digital marketing for several years, she traded in account management for cookies and used her Russian grandmother’s secret recipe to launch Marlo’s Bakeshop in 2012. Marlo’s goal is to one be a household name in premium, wholesome baked goods.

Build Up Your Brand Where You Live @marlosbakeshop #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How Marlo left her full time job, moved to CA, and started her company
    • How she took it seriously and made it her full time job
    • Her big mistake with UPC codes

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Marlo Gertz.

Tell us a little bit about you, Marlo Gertz, and what you do.

I was just a bit unhappy with my day-to-day role at a software company and wasn’t very excited or feeling any passion for what I was doing on a daily basis. I tried to stop and think about what I really enjoyed and baking was always a hobby of mine. I found myself always making cookies and brownies for my colleagues and finding joy in seeing the plate get emptied as quickly as possible.

At that time, my boyfriend at that time was living across the street from this small cooking school in San Francisco called Taunt Maris. They had a part-time pastry program which really sounded ideal to me because I didn’t have to quit my job and go back to school full-time in order to get a pastry education. I was able to work all day at the software company and then 2 nights a week go to Taunt Maris to bake from about 6-10 at night. Every other Saturday we would have an 8 hour class. It was a 6-month program but it was incredibly comprehensive. We really touched on all facets of classic French pastry technique from laminated doughs to breads to soufflés, and we just had a ball. I was really inspired by other women who had gone through the program and had started successful pastry companies.

I have a secret recipe that was grandmother’s and she passed it down to me.  Everybody was obsessed with it when I was an adolescent. I was pretty naive but I was like, “How hard can it be? If they can do it, I can do it.” Like they say, “Ignorance is bliss.” For me at that point it really was because if I knew then what I know now, I probably would’ve been too timid to really go for it. I technically registered the company in August of 2012. I worked full time for another year and dabbled one of those bake shop on nights and weekends and then I took the plunge and quit my job and started working full time with Marla’s Bakeshop at the end of 2013.

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How did you go from full time software job and side gig to making Marlo’s Bakeshop your full time thing?

The first year that we were in business, I really wanted to take the opportunity to do R and D. Do some research. Find suppliers of the ingredients that I needed. Find the best quality or the best version of the chocolate chips and the freshest farm-fresh walnuts. It was nice was that I wasn’t under the gun financially to pay my bills. I was able to do this research and kind of sit back and relax to some degree because I still had a job. I still had an income and a salary, knowing in the back of my mind that I was going to eventually quit and go full time. I was also a little bit more disciplined with my savings plan. I spent that year sampling out the cookies, making sure that people outside of my family really enjoyed them as much as my family did. We were also able to take that time and really slowly develop the packaging which I’ve come to realize now is so critical for a packaged product. Your packaging is really the first thing that people see. It’s the first impression, and we really took our time with the first iteration of the Marlo’s Bakeshop packaging. I went into coffee shops in San Francisco and even thought the cookies didn’t have packaging, I gave them in a jar to see how they go and see if customers liked them. I got some great feedback from the cafés that I was working with. That gave me the confidence that when I finally have a packaged product I said, “If I want this to go anywhere I’m going to quit my job. I’m going to live off my savings, and I’m going to just hustle and hand out samples to everybody and anybody who will tell me that they are interested in tasting them.”

In all of this craziness in the past 4 years, what would you say is your most proud moment?

I think the moments that I will always remember and that make it all worth it is when I get a review from my customer and they just love the products. They love our cookies. They say how delicious they are or they gave them as a gift and people raved about them.

Marlo Gertz

How did you come up with your sales strategy?

I think my initial sales strategy was totally contradictory to what I’m actually doing now. I thought it would be great to have customers in every state. I just wanted the Marlo’s Bakeshop brand out there. I think that there’s a stronger strategy and a stronger message if you work in concentric circles around your home base and really try and build up the brand where you live. You can say, “I’m local,” and that really resonates with people. What I did and what I continue to do is sit down and talk to everybody and anybody who I think is smart and who is willing to spend time with me. I tried to surround myself with a board of advisers, mentors, and people that I recognize that are doing a good job in business and say, “Can I pick your brain for 15 minutes? Can I buy you a cup of coffee? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on my strategy or what you’ve done in the past that has worked really well.”

Marlo GertzMarlo Gertz is a SF-born Jersey girl. She has always been a foodie with an insatiable appetite for travel, restaurant-going, and sweets. She launched Marlo’s Bakeshop in 2012 with her Russian grandmother’s secret recipe for soft-baked biscotti.

Find Marlo!
Website: Marlo’s Bakeshop
Instagram: @marlosbakeshop
Twitter: @marlosbakeshop
Facebook: Marlo’s Bakeshop
Sweet and Salty Podcast

Barcode Resource based on Marlo’s tried and true experience.

 

Podcast Sponsor

Join me and Gerolsteiner for a FREE 5 Day (Water) Detox! After summer I have been on iced coffee overload and I’m ready for a drink detox. It’s just about replacing my coffee and anything else for 5 days with Gerolstiner sparkling mineral water.

Come join me for this 5 day sparkling water detox and you can look forward to feeling better and detoxing from all that caffeine. To join the group and be entered into a giveaway and challenge go to nicoleculverblog.com/waterdetox

How to Craft the Perfect PR Pitch with Amanda Berlin

After more than a decade in the New York City public relations world, Amanda Berlin now uses her pitch powers for good. She helps entrepreneurs pitch themselves to the media and get coverage that  grows their businesses. Amanda is the creator of the Pitch School. She serves as a mentor of a course that teaches entrepreneurs how to become a publicist of their own brands and pitch interviews, guest posts, and product placements. Amanda has also a The Pitch Podcast where she strategizes with entrepreneurs on their next media pitch.

How to craft the perfect PR pitch @amandaberlin #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How to craft the perfect PR pitch
    • How to position yourself to show you’re unique
    • When and how to follow up

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Amanda Berlin.

Tell us a little bit about you, Amanda Berlin, and what you do.

I spent a decade working in the New York City public relations. Pitching pharmaceutical companies to the media gave me a lot of clients that do us all good and all bad. It made me feel like I was losing my integrity by promoting the latter so I was getting disenchanted by the work. I was doing a lot of self-improvement work around that time so I decided to leave communications behind entirely and move into the direction of becoming a life coach. That was a big mistake – my mentality to leave my skillset behind. An intrinsic skill in developing a business is how you are going to get the word out so I had this epiphany when I was doing some communications consulting. I realized that I was more enthusiastic about that than I was about life coaching when I was doing it for the right person and company. I was working in a non profit company, and it was my big “Aha” moment. I love communications work, and I was doing it in a non-profit company that I believed in. I also realized that there were people out there with virgining businesses. They had no clue how to get their name out there and were really intimidated by pitching the media in particular. That was my bread and butter. That is what I did day in and day out. I realized that I could help them. That’s how I landed with what I’m doing today and I’m super enthusiastic about it. That’s a big take away for a lot of people, that when you find the thing that makes you enthusiastic, you don’t need to run it by the moral barometer. If you’re enthusiastic about it, then it’s good enough. This is your thing, your zone of genius.

My audience is primarily food bloggers and women food entrepreneurs. What advice do you have for them to figure out to stand apart?

First of all, it’s really good to have a niche like food because there are so many media outlets that are looking for this type of content. Go back to the story, ask questions like, “How did this recipe come about?”, “Where do they come from?”, “How you conceive of this?”, “What is the story behind it that can differentiate this recipe from the next one?”. I don’t know if the outlet that you’re pitching is necessarily interested in the story but maybe there’s a way to weave that into the content of the recipe in some way.

The other piece of advice is for you to know what the outlets’ requirements are. Once you understand the specific requirement of the outlet that you’re pitching, then you can customize it in a way that it speaks directly to the content that the outlet provides.

write a PR pitch

Where can bloggers or anyone listening find places to submit and pitch their work to?

I actually have an article on my site on how to find outlets. One of my favorite ways is by looking at the websites of the people you admire. I call it stalker idols and you can see where they placed their materials in the past. That gives you a lot of clues because outlet takes guests submissions. It’s really a big step forward in terms of understanding the outlets. You can see what kind of submissions they accept. You would know that they are interested in the specific genre. That’s my primary way of finding out. It’s like sleuthing to find outlets that you might be interested in contributing to. Another thing is, look at the outlets that you read regularly. I know that some of us think that we are not that big enough to be in that. My advice for this is that the good idea will always win. If it’s a good idea that is something innovative then it does not matter whether how big or small you may be.

Amanda Berlin

Do you follow up after pitching or just walk away?

Yes, there is a follow up. The mentality that I come to follow up with is be of service so that you won’t feel you’re begging for the opportunity. The worst way to feel is when you are seating at your desk, sending off that pitch and you refresh and refresh. To start getting rid of a pitch, start making another pitch. Once you have completed a pitch and sent it off, start developing your new idea because that will be a part of your follow up. In writing your new follow up, you say, “Here’s another article or here’s the new research I found that corroborates my idea; here’s another piece that you ran which I love and coincides with the pitch that I have given you.” You are continuing the conversation even though you didn’t hear anything back yet. If they come back and say, “The pitch is not right for us,” take a minute and don’t feel upset. It just means that it is not right for them now, and you can take it somewhere else. You need to come back to them. It’s great that they responded at least. We need to view that as a win because if your idea was really off the mark, then they would have not paid any attention to it. You can do two things when they write back a negative response: 1) You can come back with a question such as “Thank you so much that you wrote back to me. I really want to provide you with useful contents in the future. Can you let me know what kind of ideas you are looking for and the kind of pitches you accept?” This question is very good because you’re honoring their process and respecting their expertise. 2) You can take follow up ideas that you came up with and fire back with that, “Thank you so much for getting back to me. I totally understand. Just let me know if this is of interest,” and then put your new idea. It’s better to ask for feedback first because you get to tweak your second idea according to the feedback. Doing this will give them impression that you’re determined and shows your desire to be in the publication and you are not cowering in the face of rejection. That kind of attitude gets us places in life and in media.

Amanda BerlinAmanda Berlin spent more than a decade as a pitch-writer for some of the world’s largest consumer brands. Now, she uses her powers for good. Amanda is dedicated to helping you communicate to connect, heart and soul, with your prospective clients. 

FREE PITCH TEMPLATE!

Find Amanda!
Website: amandaberlin.com
Twitter: @amandaberlin
Facebook: Amanda Berlin Coaching

 

PODCAST SPONSOR!

Join me and Gerolsteiner for a FREE 5 Day (Water) Detox! After summer I have been on iced coffee overload and I’m ready for a drink detox. It’s just about replacing my coffee and anything else for 5 days with Gerolstiner sparkling mineral water.

Come join me for this 5 day sparkling water detox and you can look forward to feeling better and detoxing from all that caffeine. To join the group and be entered into a giveaway and challenge go to nicoleculverblog.com/waterdetox

You Have to Trust Your Instinct with Jan Hogrewe

Jan Hogrewe started Just Jan’s with a little fig tree growing in her backyard that produced so many figs, she started making Kadota fig fruit spread for her family and friends. Just Jan’s is her second career, and she thought it would be fun to try something new. She was in the film business with her own production company and jumped in with both feet designing labels, experimenting with recipes, and turned into a mad scientist in her kitchen.

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • Why Jan just HAD to make her business work
    • What Jan’s advice is to an entrepreneur just starting out
    • How Jan became a finalist of the Emmy’s of Specialty Food business
    • How Jan got her products into HomeGoods + Williams Sonoma

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Jan Hogrewe.

You have to trust your instinct @justjansspreads #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Tell us a little bit about you, Jan Hogrewe, and what you do.

As you mentioned, I was in the film industry for 25 years. It was a transition for me because the film company was losing its creativity for me. I didn’t feel like staying there. My twin daughters were starting college. I was caring of my mother with Alzheimer’s and getting a divorce. There was so much going on and starting a business was insane for me to do in an industry I knew nothing about. I can’t say that it saved me but it was my happy place.

I made fig spread for family and friends. It started when I randomly met someone in the food industry, in the local Starbucks. He was my friend’s friend. It happened that I was bringing my fig spread for my friend. He said the he liked my product better than what was on the market. He asked me if I would do this for a living. I didn’t even hesitate and said, “Sure.” I ended up making eight recipes. I was just experimenting, and I always sent my daughters to school with a lot of jam samples, all different flavors. My current business now is nothing but making fruit spreads, marmalade, and curds. I love it, and it is a passionate lifestyle for me. It was also frustrating, but amazing.

You mentioned earlier that your first customer was an international brand. Can you share that experience and acquiring that international account?

That gave me the justification to go ahead and look for a co-packer vs. doing it in a commercial kitchen. I decided very early on that I didn’t want to source my own fruit. I thought I couldn’t run a business and make my product at the same time. I would never survive a final day. The meeting that you were talking about was serendipitous. I was with the consultant that was working with me and was helping me figure out what was I doing in my life growing this business. I was just listening, observing the lingo. I was trying to hear what I could. In the next table, there was a woman with her daughters and mother. She stopped at our table and said, “I heard you were in the food industry. I buy non-perishable goods. Do you have any perishables that you want to talk about?” My friend told her, “Yes, Jan has food spreads and jams.” This time, I had no co-packer and was literally doing it in my kitchen. She then said, “Give me her card, and let’s sent out a meeting.”

Two weeks later, we had a five hour lunch that turned into cocktail hour. I brought her other samples and everything I had already made. She asked if I had a co-packer and I said I am for a look-out. She said, “I will wait for you and I will distribute your products.” I was so overwhelmed by the idea that my products were going to be distributed nationwide. This continues to happen. I am always in the right time and at the right place stories.

 

run your food business

Can you share a little bit about how you work with Williams Sonoma?

I was introduced to the director of the New Product Development at Williams Sonoma. I sent him an email and told him I had products. I said I would be interested if they could taste my product and see if they were interested in it. He said I should follow up him months after and I did what he said.  I contacted him six months later. I sent him an email and he responded in a minute. He said I should call him. He said, “We were just setting up a meeting about the lemon curds. Send me samples of your lemon curds.” I sent my products and two weeks later, my phone rang. He said, “Your lemon curd is the best lemon curd I ever tasted. How would you think about doing three flavors for us, and what do you do?” I almost fell out in my chair. I said “Of course!” That is how it started. It was a year and a half ago, almost two years having this business.

I thought I had hit the gold and grabbed the brass right in the beginning which was insane. This was not an easy thing to do because working with Williams Sonoma is very challenging and you don’t want to miss steps because they are the top gourmet store in the country. It started July and launched it on January next year. It took that long to get the flavors down. They designed their labels and packaging. It was me working with my co-packer to get them the formulas and recipe that I was doing. There is a co-branding as my name was actually on the label, privately. Now we are five curds in their stores, and I am actually making another three more flavors because they asked for more flavors for 2017.

What is your advice for entrepreneurs starting out?

My biggest piece of advice when asked about how do I do this is to trust your instincts and your guts.

Copy of Social Media – Untitled Design-2

Can you share about being a finalist of the Sophie Award for best new product?

It is like the Academy Award for the food industry. This special food association is the one of the largest food organizations. They did their two shows, one on San Francisco and New York. I know there’s a lot of food shows but these are the ones that you need to be at, to be seen, to be taken seriously. They do their Sophie Award yearly. They have 23 categories, I believe. Some of these are the best new product, best new condiment, best in candy, spreads, etc. We submitted a little bit departure of my spread products, which are my tangerine sriracha and submitted that for an award. We got notifications a few weeks ago and they said, “Congratulations, you are a finalist.” But that means we get a silver trophy in our hands. This Friday, when I got to New York, we get to display our product and that, for me, was a pat on the back for the company. The idea of our quality being recognized in the industry by our peers and other culinary people is so much overwhelming. They bring in top people to taste all the products. It was really an honor to have the award and to be recognized. I hope this will continue my trajectory going in this business.

Can you just share your mental process in submitting? A lot of us have that kind of negative idea that we are not good enough or somebody is actually better than us. How did you actually decide to submit your product for the award?

This is another state of the mind thing and it is actually trusting your guts. I think I submitted my fig a couple of years into the business, and I didn’t hear anything back then. By the way, my fig is my no.1 seller in my company. I did submit it, but I felt that way. I felt it was not good enough but I thought I just had to give it try. I thought, what do I have to lose? However, there was always that doubt. This is a big industry, a big category, and there are lot of good products out there. It is tough to compete. In doing this, I had to give Chris, the guy that works for me. what he deserves. He is more of a partner in all levels. He was actually the one who did the mixing of my tangerine, marmalade, and sriracha. He’s the one who said that we should submit this for an award, and I agreed. We truly pushed each other into doing this. We knew it was good, and it was different. There was nothing like this that we have seen in the market. We had a little bit of a leg up or an advantage when I submitted my fig because there are a lot of fig spreads out there. There was actually more determination than self-doubt in doing this and no self-doubt when I finally submitted it.

Jan HogreweJan Hogrewe is the founder of Just Jan’s, a line of spreads and curds that are all natural, preservative free. Today Just Jan’s features 13 flavors, from sweet to savory, to spicy. Jan is guided by her love of food and ingredients, refusing to compromise on quality or flavor.

Find Jan!
Website: justjans.com
Instagram: @justjansspreads
Twitter: @justjansspreads
Facebook: Just Jan’s

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How to Own What Your Value Is with Beth Atkinson

Beth Atkinson works for the DMA Solutions team where she was instrumental in the growth of her fresh produce clients. Her role as Public Relations Manager includes building brand images and fostering relationships with key influencers to generate effective content. Beth believes that public relations is so much more than “selling an angle.” It is about telling a story that is unique, relevant, and useful to consumers for their overall well being.

How to own what your value is @bethatkinsonpr #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How to market yourself to fresh produce brands
    • Collaboration between fresh produce brands and bloggers
    • Authenticity matters
    • Stay true to your values

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Beth Atkinson.

Tell us a little bit about you, Beth Atkinson, and what you do.

I have been in marketing for seven years now. I’ve worked with different types of brands, from CPG brands to technology, restaurants, home appliances, and fresh produce. I really found my passion for fresh produce and the food that’s grown. I am working with an agency now that deals exclusively with fresh fruits and vegetables, which is a dream come true for me and for DMA Solutions. We’re located in Dallas. Our goal is to increase consumption of fresh produce. I lead the public relations team. We believe that building relationships and measuring results are so important when we are working in an industry that is so fluid and deals with mother nature and a lot of the craziness that a lot of companies don’t. It is just so good to be here and working with amazing bloggers who understand the value of fresh food.

Can you talk about how you put together fresh produce brands and bloggers?

I think of it as a kind of dating. If you think about brands in general, you have these massive CPG brands like Coca-Cola, Chobani, or other similar. You expect some brand presence, but it is hard to remember that there are brands behind some fresh fruits and vegetables. When you walk into the grocery store, you just see an array of fresh produce and you just don’t recognize that there are people that are picking fresh produce and putting their company name or brand on it. We want people to recognize that there are people behind your food. The food that is grown doesn’t just appear in your grocery stores. There are people that go out and pick it. It is their name, it’s who they are. When I say dating, it is because most PR people serve as a matchmaker. It’s a business transaction. They try to find calculated results based on a blogger and a brand. My role, however, in the fresh produce industry is like a family member, a sister to her brother – a very personal role. I want to make sure that you are not just a good fit based on the calculations of – Do you have the same interest? Do you feel like a good fit? I also want to make sure that you will compliment my family member. That’s the big difference. Fresh produce is very personal and so family-oriented. There are people and emotions involved because it is a labor of love. People spend years to harvest this food and there is a name behind it. The way that I work in this industry is really different from how people work in other industries.

Beth Atkinson

When one of the fresh produce companies comes to you, can you share what they are looking for in a blogger?

A lot of brands do not really understand what bloggers do in a broad scope. We know that there are influencers out there who are able to write and influence people to go and buy. Basically, we just want someone who can make us sell fresh produce because we want people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s my goal – to help people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. So when a brand comes to me and asks, “How do I do that?”, I recommend bloggers. Recommendation and influence of someone that you trust is way more valuable than a billboard on the side of the road or an ad that pops on the side of the Facebook. What I am looking for is the balance between your writing style, photography, visual aspect to what my brand looks and feels like. People must also be engaging with you. Numbers are important to me. Also, by all means, I want to know that you are getting some traffic to your website and that you have a certain number of followers. I would rather have a blogger who has slightly slow numbers but engages with their community and does have connection. That is ultimately point of influence. People will be going to eat more of what we are selling, and that’s the goal of every brand.

What do you look for in bloggers to promote a fresh produce brand?

In general, there isn’t any one thing. I work with some bloggers who have excellent social media following, but their influence is rooted in them being a dietician, for instance. That’s their value and influence. They have a perspective that does not translate to 500,000 page views a month. It’s a value because people really listen to them and trust them. If you are a social media blogger and people are engaging with you more in social media then it is great. Your blog posts may not be influential in terms of numbers but people are seeing what you post in social media as a result of a blog post. I don’t think that there’s one thing that I look for. I just want your engagement and the quality of how you present yourself to the audience and your authenticity. You are being authentic to who you are as a brand. I want to make sure that I am working with someone who is not just posting to make a dollar, but someone who’s posting with some authenticity of feeling towards what they are working on and who they are working with.  

Beth Atkinson

How can bloggers explore working with a fresh produce brand?

Reach out to me! We have clients in every category of fresh produce. I think when you are working on our brand, you just have to do your research and be diligent. The trickiest part in working with fresh produce is we just think that strawberries are just strawberries or tomatoes are tomatoes. If you think like that, you’re just like the majority of the people so don’t feel bad. You have to think that there are people behind multiple farmers who grow strawberries. You have to ask, what group of farmers are you going to connect with? What values of that certain companies can you identify with? Those are the brands that you should be working with and that’s the right place to start. I will challenge you, if the fresh produce brand is approaching you, or if you want to approach fresh produce brands, go to their website and make sure their values are aligned with yours. After, identify where their opportunities are. Where is your vision for a certain brand? You cast vision on what you want on your blog using fresh produce brand and approach someone with that vision and there’s a lot of things that you can do with the fruit, it can make the conversation a lot more easier. You have to find the right company or ask if you have questions to the company about what are their certain practices. It’s important because you are the reflection of that company and they are the reflection of you on your blog. Do your research and reach out if you want to work with fresh produce brand. I think it’s the best industry to work with.

Beth AtkinsonBeth Atkinson works for DMA Solutions where she was instrumental in the growth of  fresh produce clients. Her role as Public Relations Manager includes building brand images and fostering relationships with key influencers to generate effective content. Beth believes that public relations is so much more than “selling an angle”. It is about telling a story that is unique, relevant, and useful to consumers for their overall well being. She is passionate about helping people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Find Beth!
Website: DMA Solutions

Email: batkinson@dma-solutions.com
Instagram: @bethatkinsonpr
Twitter: @bethatkinsonpr

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Don’t De-Value What You Have to Offer with Alexis Chan

Alexis Chan created Because Cookie Dough while on the path to become a registered dietitian. Her passion is to develop ready to bake products that are made with ingredients that are actually beneficial to your health and serve a purpose within your body.

Don't De-Value What You Have to Offer with @becausecookiedough #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why you have to be diligent in your planning process
  • Why you shouldn’t feel like you’re annoying when you’re persistent
  • A good marketing technique Alexis has used
  • How to handle failure

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Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Alexis Chan.

Tell us a little bit about you, Alexis Chan, and what you do.

I started this company in September last year while I was studying to be a registered dietitian. That was my original plan. I loved to make healthier and better for you cookies. However, I did not have the time, so I always ended up on a bunch of bags of random and different flours and anything I could find. I thought of making something that was ready to bake and made with ingredients that were beneficial to you. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find anything that was satisfying. I also always wanted to have my own business so I figured I would see how it would go while finishing my degree and decide from there if I want to continue. So far, it has been going very well so I’m really excited about that.

Can you share a little bit about how you got started and how you figured it out?

There isn’t really a key to it and you just have to start. I know that a lot of people put a bunch of time, money, and research to develop their product. You should definitely do it because it’s something you want to pursue – making your product as what you want it to be. There is a lot of learning along the way. This is why I wouldn’t say get hung up with anything or put too much money on it right away because you might want to change your course a little bit depending on how things are in the beginning. I called different local stores and said that I have some products that I can share. That’s how I got started.

Alexis Chan Because Cookie Dough

What is your most proud moment?

I have a couple ones. We did Expo S a couple of months ago, and that was really fun. I was really proud to see that so many people within the industry were really interested with the product. Recently, there has been a lot of interest shown on Instagram from people all over the place and not just the people who are following a certain diet. That’s really validating as well.

What would you consider to be your “WHY” behind your business?

I have thought quite a few times, “Why don’t I get a real job?”. I then realized I don’t really want a real job. I was never happy in internships though they were non-profits that I really liked working with. I loved all the people and missions, but going there everyday was just so draining for me. I could never have that sort of life. The thing that keeps me going is to be able to create the type of life I want to live personally and professionally.

Alexis Chan

What would be your best piece of advice for someone who has just started out whether they wanted to start a food blog or have an actual product?

A lot of people since high school tell me that I am so amazing because I am doing what I want to do. They tell it in a way that they are almost saying that they can’t do what they want to do. I think you just have to think about what you want. I’ve never been an obsessive baker, I don’t really love baking, and cookies are not my entire life. What motivated me is the opportunity for getting myself to where I want to be and living the lifestyle that I want to have. You just have to grab that opportunity and not think about everything that can go wrong. You have to be ready for the fact that it might not always work out and you don’t have to be always disappointed. All you have to do is to start what is it that needs to be doing. In every decision that you make, make a decision based on what you want to do and what you feel, then you’re going to end up in the right place for you. It’s not necessarily where you thought it would be. But if you continue to decide based on what you enjoy doing and how you want your life to be then you will create that.

This episode was sponsored by Chicory! 

chicory recipe plug in

Food bloggers: Is your recipe plug-in shoppable? Come learn about Chicory, a plug in that makes it super easy for your readers to shop ingredients in your recipe PLUS you can bring in money. Your readers can order ingredients, get them delivered through their favorite grocer and you can make money from it. It’s a win-win. 

Alexis Chan

 

 

Alexis Chan is the 24 year old owner of Because Cookie Dough. Her passion is to develop ready to bake products that are made with ingredients that are actually beneficial to your health and serve a purpose within your body.

 

Find Alexis!
Website: becausecookiedough.com
Instagram: @becausecookiedough
Facebook: Because Cookie Dough

How to Stand Out Using Twitter with Jen Lehner

Jen Lehner is a digital marketing strategist, and she creates online courses that teaches entrepreneurs how to use social media and digital tools to grow their businesses. She lives in  Shaker Heights, Ohio  with her husband, three children, and golden retriever.

How to stand out using Twitter with @jenrgy #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • The first time you do something, it might fail or not be perfect
    • It’s okay for your business to change
    • How to best utilize Twitter
    • How to grow your Twitter followers

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Jennifer Lehner.

Tell us a little bit about you, Jen Lehner, and what you do.

I started in consulting and sharing with local businesses how to use social media. I was doing some social media management for businesses. I quickly grew tired of trading the dollars for hours, and just a year ago, I started creating online courses. My online courses do the same thing. They teach entrepreneurs how to use social media and digital tools to grow their business. Now I can reach a lot more people than I could before.

Can you share how you mean to that what we call “leap” of being an entrepreneur?

I started in a nonprofit company. Fifteen years later, I became a mom. I decided to stay home with the kids. I have always been interested in technology, social media, and tools. I liked to do bulletin boards in my kids’ class or websites for my kids’ teachers. I helped two women in Mississippi grow a farmer’s market with two vendors into the largest farmer’s market in the state. Our use of social media and email service helped us to do that because there was a constant contact and those are what we use.

It was always little projects like that. People started asking me to help them with their projects. I then realized I wanted to do something with this so I went to someone who had a local business. I said, If I create your website and do all your marketing for a certain amount of time, I would do that for free if you would just give me a great testimony and tell your friends about me and let me use this portfolio. She agreed and that was the end of that.

One thing led to another. I was never really had a market myself in terms of business, and I had a four-month waiting list of clients. I started my company called Personal Line Group (PLC). I didn’t have any idea what it was going to be. I just went in with the idea and decided to try something out. Even when I was booked with clients, I knew that wasn’t still the thing. I had to go through many reiterations before I could finally say that this is the thing. I definitely ended up to something I didn’t expect myself to end.

I don’t want to call you a Twitter lady, but I’m kind of calling you a Twitter lady. How did you get into Twitter and get to leading an online course and focus on that?

It is funny because Twitter was the last social channel that I mastered. It may seem so pointless that you would want a channel that would limit you to 140 characters and you can’t read every single tweet because tweets are flying a million miles an hour. I can’t seem to understand why people would want that when we could just go to Facebook and write pages and pages and upload pictures and videos. I never understood that but when I got it, it made a huge shift. I thought I could teach Twitter because of what it did to my business and what I was able to use it for.

Basically, the deal with Twitter is that it is the most open platform of all the platforms. What does it mean? It means that you don’t have to be following someone and they don’t have to be following you. Neither of you has to follow each other just to communicate to each other. If I have just read a cookbook that I love or I have a question about the recipe, I can send a tweet. I can send a tweet to anyone. I can tweet to them and they can potentially see my message. Most people actually read their tweets even though they do not respond and that opens up a huge opportunity for each and every one of us.

A tweet is like a carrier pigeon where you can attach something that matters to you and people are going to see and read it. What I saw and still continue to see is that there are things that you can do with Twitter, the small things that you can do that create a huge impact for free. People are using Twitter, but the tactics or the strategies that I have discovered inside the Twitter are what they don’t know. I have to tell them about it  and so I started running my mouth to anyone who would listen. I would always say, “You got to do this,” and people started listening and they wanted to know more. When I tell people these tactics, they become interested to something else that I have.

Jen Lehner

I have read that you should have a picture when you are tweeting out blog posts or content for the first time. Is that true?

I have been saying that for a long time. First of all, they look beautiful and are attention getting. I think what’s happening now is that you can notice that everything seems to have a picture. It makes me notice those that have only text and they just kind of popping out of me. I recently heard about this guy whose research said you actually have more engagement without a picture. I’m currently using images on all my tweets because they are fun to see but I can’t say that I am certain that you’re getting more engagement when using a picture.

Do you think there is a formula for sharing other people’s content vs. putting out your own content on Twitter?

I don’t have a percentage for you. In my case, it is like 30% other people’s content.  I think it depends on where you are in your business. A lot of people just don’t have a lot of content yet. I suggest to those who are just starting out, go to Canva and create one image that is formatted for Twitter. Make sure that you have a logo and URL and duplicate it for 25 times. In every of those cards, put a different quote. Put a different color in your brand to have a different look and do the same thing and this time put 25 tips.

That’s 50 pieces of content right there. You get so much engagement  from quotes.

Jen Lehner

What is the best way to grow your followers?

Just continue to wow people and hit them over the head with fabulous content. Try your best to do that consistently. If you don’t have the time to create the content everyday, it really helps to batch it and disseminate it out to the world through Meet Edgar, for example. It is also keeping your head down and blinds are on because it is easy to  get distracted by what other people are doing. It’s easy to say, “You do it so well, why would I even bother? They are so much farther than me and I will never going to be that good.” Those thoughts hit everyone. The world is so noisy especially on Pinterest and Instagram, and it so easy to get discouraged. You just have to get your head down in creating that great content.

Every single social media that you have or you are on, you have to treat your profile as seriously as you treat your resume. In the online world, that profile is your resume and it is what you are wearing in an interview. Upload a picture, put some photos in your summary, tell a story through the first person point of view. Make it interesting.


Jennifer LehnerJen Lehner
is a social media marketing strategist. She combines her digital and marketing skills. Jen helps client by offering group training courses online and one one on coaching sessions via Skype.  She love bing able to break things down for people in a  way that is SIMPLE to understand.

Find Jen!
Website: jenlehner.com
Instagram: @jen_lehner
Twitter: @jenrgy
Facebook: Jen Lehner

RESOURCES:

Twitter

 

 

 

 

Bird Nerds: Twitter Training.
Free Online Classroom.
How to Create Twitter Lead Cards.

This episode was sponsored by Chicory! 

chicory recipe plug in

Food bloggers: Is your recipe plug-in shoppable? Come learn about Chicory, a plug in that makes it super easy for your readers to shop ingredients in your recipe PLUS you can bring in money. Your readers can order ingredients, get them delivered through their favorite grocer and you can make money from it. It’s a win-win. 

 

You Have to Have a Goal with Kimmi Wernli, Crazy Richards PB

Kimmi Wernli is the first female president in one of the oldest natural food companies in the nation, Krema and Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Company. She is a wife and a mother of four kids, two girls and twin boys. Health and nutrition is in her blood even though her veins are actually full of peanut butter.

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How to use social media to educate your customer
    • How Kimmi would start a food company right now
    • How to launch a new product

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Kimmi Wernli.

You need to have a goal and vision @crazyrichardspb #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Tell us a little bit about you, Kimmi Wernli, and what you do.

We actually own two different lines of peanut butter. They are the same, but have different labels. It is very confusing to the consumers, but we didn’t realize it when we purchased the two different lines years ago because there was no internet. People were not really educated about their food and where it came from. For us, having two different labels and different groceries stores with the exact same products inside really wasn’t a big deal. However, today, with the internet and education, people are wanting to know where their food comes from. We have this hurdle that we  are trying to overcome, like telling the world and all our consumers that we are the same company and that they get the same guarantee, 100% peanuts, no added fillers, safety guarantee. Whether it’s Krema or Crazy Richards, it’s the same peanut butter.

Will you share the backstory of the company and how your family and you got into this business?

Krema peanut butter company was established in 1898. They had a stand-alone location and went through two different owners. They basically sold nuts and candies, roasted their own peanuts. and made their peanut butter in a small factory. That was the company that my father purchased. My parents and I were living overseas. My father worked in a big bank and when I was six years old, he decided that he wanted to be his own boss. He was tired of the corporate world and wanted to live in America and raise his family there. My mother and father took all of their savings and bought this very small natural peanut butter company. Everyone thought they were crazy because no one was eating natural food and none of their friends had heard about natural peanut butter before.

I spent my evenings, weekends and holidays running around this little peanut butter factory and I learned how to do every job in that warehouse. It was a very small location but we had to answer phones, make sales, and as a child, I would help on the production line as much as I could. We then bought the Crazy Richard’s peanut butter company and started expanding from there. Crazy Richard’s was founded by Richard Marcus.

Entrepreneur Grow Your Food Business

We are merging the two and are trying to bring a clutter-free peanut butter to everyone – a peanut butter with just peanuts. We do have a national distribution now.

You are the first person I’m interviewing who has had a company around a very long time and who has had distribution for years. I would love to hear your advice to companies who are just starting.

That is a great question. That would make me reflect on the many conversations that I have had with other business owners who have a large social media presence and maybe a good online store, but have no distribution on real grocery stores or just have minimal. We have a large distribution in grocery stores, but have a small presence on social media. Every single one of these entrepreneurs that I have talked to would trade places with me in a heartbeat. I view that as very telling and having this distribution nationwide makes it easier to sell online.

First, having a distribution that is outside on your online store makes your product valid. Second, it makes it more accessible to your consumers. There are still plenty of consumers out there that don’t want to order a product online. Having your product into a store should be a very important goal.

Using Social Media

What are 4-5 things that one should have in a row before hitting distribution?

The first thing you need to have is a vision or a mission statement. You have to have a goal. If you don’t know where you are going and what you are working for, you will never going to get there. You have to have a clear idea. You don’t have to have the exact right numbers or orders, but you have to have an idea and a goal. It must be something that you are really working toward, something that bigger than just yourself. Once you have that in place, it will be easier to say yes or no to an idea. If you have that overwhelming great goals and vision statements, then you can tailor all of your choices. “Am I spending my money on this? Does it meet the overarching goal? Does it support that major house?”

Once you have that established, you need to make sure that your product is sound. It needs to meet a consumer demand. If you were just coming up for another flavor of a product or something that is innovative, then it’s not going to sell so well. It has to be unique in the consumer industry. Do a little bit of research to find out who your target audience is, then you will know to whom you are marketing to. That will really help you figure out if you are going to be focused on GNCs of the world or the mom and pop shops.

You need capital to start. I don’t know if this is something you have saved up or something from an investor, but the important thing is, you have some money that you can put into doing your company or purchasing your product. Distribution will come quickly if you could get into the store and start selling and be able to fill their orders. Look ahead and make sure that you have a backup plan. Making sure that you can meet your demand must be the goal of an entrepreneur. If you’ve got demand, make sure you can fulfill it. This is just all a balancing act at all times.

Can you share about your other products? How did you develop and launch them?

We sell creamy and crunchy peanut butter. We also sell almond butter and cashew butter. Just recently last year, we launched a powdered peanut butter. We were excited because our powdered peanut butter is 100% peanuts instead of having a bunch of added sugar and salts. We felt like we were bringing something that was clean and pure, exactly what somebody would want in a powdered peanut butter. We developed a peanut butter with an added vitamin blend. That was something that has not been replicated until to this day. We decided we didn’t want to do a flavored peanut butter because we don’t do flavors. We wanted to do something functional, and the function was the blend of vitamins.

We spent a lot of time last year at a fitness expos, trying to distribute to the fitness industry. However, we found that the fitness industry is very tough to crack. There was a lot of saturation in the fitness industry and there’s so many types of protein powders that are currently available. Our products are very much suited to the grocery stores, and we have realized that is where we should be spending our time with and so, we are continuing those PB plus and OB burst because we still make sell of those products. We realized a lot of our consumers are on the go all the time and they need some healthy food that is convenient where they can take with them on the go and is TSA approved size.

I really love how you said that you couldn’t crack the fitness industry and you realized that when you started this second line. You thought your avatar was one person but you realized it was another. It is okay to pivot or to change and adapt to new products when it doesn’t go how you thought it would.

That is a really good point. I didn’t even take my own advice. We didn’t do a lot of research before we came up with these products and started thinking immediately that we were really marketing towards fitness industry. We just thought it was a great idea, and we had no idea about the realm of saturation in the fitness industry and the amount of competition.

Is there any lesson that you have taken to heart that you will use in the next time you launch a completely new product?

I think we will probably do a case study. We have one product in mind that we are working on now, and we could produce just a smaller amount of that product and see how that goes. We did produce a ton of our previous product and we ended up having to change the labels and the tear packaging. A case study may help us gauge where our sales are going to come from, who is our consumer, and how are we serving them.

This episode was sponsored by Chicory! 

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Alexis Chan

Kimmi WernliKimmi is the first female president of one of the oldest natural food companies in the nation. She grew up surrounded by nuts and is now the owner of their family business: Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Company. She is a peanut butter addict, fitness enthusiast and lover of healthy foods and nutrition. She married an awesome man (who is ironically allergic to nuts) and they have four children. Kimmi is proud of her company’s long legacy of honesty from their business policies to their clean products. Every jar of peanut butter has just ONE ingredient – peanuts! She is on a mission to encourage peanut butter lovers everywhere to make a simple change in their family’s pantry and try Crazy Richard’s #ClutterFreePB.

 

Find Kimmi!
Website: crazyrichards.com
Instagram: @crazyrichardspb
Twitter: @crazyrichardspb
Facebook:@crazyrichards