The Evolving Definition of Natural Brands Featuring Karen Frame

Imagine an app that could help you find discounts on healthy foods, recipes, and products that fit your dietary requirements — a virtual one-stop-shop for all your natural food needs. Does it sound too good to be true?

Good news — it already exists! Makeena is a free app so consumers can discover, find, and earn rewards with brands whose products meet their dietary needs and lifestyle preferences. Once they buy a product, all they have to do is scan a barcode, take a snapshot of the receipt, and then start earning cash and rewards. And it’s also an excellent way for brands to get discovered. Brands get to engage with the consumer throughout the app’s dashboard and learn more about the shopper to become more efficient with their marketing budget.

On this episode of the Gooder Podcast, Diana Fryc is joined by Karen Frame, Founder and CEO of Makeena, to discuss how Makeena benefits both consumers and retailers in the natural food industry. Karen talks about how she became passionate about natural foods, how Makeena built its one-stop-shop app, and her goals for the company’s future.

In this episode we learn: 

  • Karen Frame explains the benefits of Makeena for both consumers and retailers
  • What difference has Plantricious made within the health food industry?
  • Good news in the world of Makeena
  • What led Karen Frame into the natural food space?
  • How has Makeena become a game-changer for natural food retailers?
  • Where does Karen get her entrepreneurial spirit?
  • Karen’s goals for the future of Makeena — make a difference in the health of millions of people
  • How Makeena created a one-stop-shop for consumers with their app
Gooder Podcast

The Evolving Definition of Natural Brands Featuring Karen Frame

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About Karen Frame: 

Karen Frame is the CEO and Founder of Makeena, a company dedicated to connecting consumers with brands that are healthy for people and the planet. Makeena offers cash and rewards for purchasing eco-friendly and nutritional products. Their app provides a one-stop-shop for consumers looking to save and brands trying to get discovered.

Karen Frame is a repeat founder in the tech space, an attorney, and a former CPA. She also has over 25 years of experience as an executive in the software and data industries for companies including Accenture, CipherCloud, and Frontier Communications.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Karen Frame: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karensframe/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/go.makeena/

Website: https://makeena.com/

Show Resources: 

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Transcript:

Intro 0:05 

Welcome to the Gooder Podcast where we talk with powerhouse women in CPG about their journeys to success. This episode is sponsored by Retail VooDoo. A brand development firm guiding mission driven consumer brands to attract new and passionate consumer base crush their categories through growth and innovation and magnify their social and environmental impact. If your brand is in need of brand positioning, package design or marketing activation, we are here to help. You can find more information at www.retail- voodoo.com.

Diana Fryc 0:45 

Hi, Diana Fryc here I’m the host of the Gooder Podcast where I talked with the powerhouse women in CPG about their journeys to success. Thanks for joining us today. Hey this episode is brought to you by Retail VooDoo we are a brand development firm working with brands that want to change the world at Retail Voodoo, we build beloved and dominant brands in the food wellness, beverage and fitness CPG categories. Anyone from multinational companies like the PepsiCo and the Starbucks, all the way to startups like high key and everyone in between. We guide mission driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. We have built a proven process after working with hundreds of brands over the past 30 years. So if you’re ready to find a partner that will help your business create high impact strategy that gives your brand an unfair advantage retail videos here, just give us a drop us drop by our website if I could ever even think of it www.retail- vudu.com. Or you can email us at info@retailvoodoo.com. So I get to introduce and you guys and I get to to get to talk with Miss Karen Frame of Makeena. And just learned about her recently, she is up to some amazing stuff. Karen is a serial entrepreneur, including a three she’s in including being a three time tech founder with over 25 years as an executive in the software and data industries. We’ll talk a little bit about how technology is evolving to connect better for you brand, and consumers together. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about the evolving definitions of better for you brands, and naturals as well. So Hello, Miss Karen, how are you? I’m good. I’m good. Diana, nice to see you. Just you and you’re in Boulder today.

Karen Frame 2:43 

We’re in Boulder. Yeah, our headquarters are out of Boulder. And I actually am lucky enough to live in Boulder

Diana Fryc 2:50 

of Boulder. We just hired a couple people out of Denver. And we’re pretty excited. We’re just kind of Sneak Peek building a second office location there. I love Colorado and, and such a great place and a great community of people.

Karen Frame 3:07 

Yeah, I’m really lucky. I’ve been here since 1993. And I’m almost a native before school.

Diana Fryc 3:14 

I know it’s very much like Seattle, you can’t have been here a native unless you were here before. I’m not sure before the 80s. I think that qualifies. Exactly. Well, hey, before we get into too much of the really good juicy stuff. I always love it when my guests have an opportunity to share a little bit about what they’re up to. So I know some big things are happening with Makeena. We’ll talk about that in just a moment. But maybe you can share what is Makeena? What are you up to and why does it exist?

Karen Frame 3:48 

So what is Makeena so we are a free mobile app or consumer, okay, where they can download it from the App Store or Google Play. And they can discover, find and save meaning earn cash and rewards like product and swag and all sorts of cool stuff. After they engage with brands who manufacture products that meet either their dietary needs, or lifestyle preferences, and again, it’s no matter where they shop. So all they have to do is once they buy a product either online and at Thrive Market or Walmart or Amazon or just a local grocery store is 711. They just have to scan this the UPC the barcode, take a snapshot of the receipt and then these cash and rewards. So that’s a little bit about what Makeena is on the front end, consumer. Okay. But on the back end, it’s a way for the brand and its products to get discovered by consumers. Gotcha. Anyway They want to distribute it, okay? And they get to engage with the consumer on a regular basis through our dashboard. Okay. And they get to learn about who that shopper is rather than shopping. What’s in the basket? Little habit lot. Yeah, a lot about the competition. Mm hmm. And how to be more effective and efficient with their marketing dollar.

Diana Fryc 5:25 

Oh, okay. It’s a lot. Yeah, it’s a lot. And we’re gonna learn a little bit more about why you started it because I think that’s important. But before we do that, as part of your basket of businesses that you’ve that you’re part of and that you’re working on, you’ve got something that you’re involved in and you can talk a little bit more about your how deeply involved you are in it, but Plantricious Did I get that right Plantricious?

Karen Frame 5:53 

You’re making me do dishes plan, please just get a kill me.Plantricious,

Diana Fryc 5:59 

what is that? It looks like a certification, but I wasn’t sure. And I wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth.

Karen Frame 6:06 

Yeah, it’s a certification. So I’ve been involved with Planticious has since 2017. Okay, I met Paige in St. Louis, when we were in an accelerator in St. Louis, okay. And she started asking me for all sorts of advice, she had this great idea about creating a really clean label for a plant based product. Okay, and you can say that you’re a vegan, or that’s all you eat is plant based. But when you really look at the label, there’s a bunch of other credit there, sugars, bad oils, lots of preservatives, things like that. And what page set out to do with Plantricious and is backed by over 300 medical professionals. Wow, what she set out to do is create this certification for really Uber clean, plant based product. And that’s basically how I eat personally. So I believed in Paige I believed in what she was doing. I’ve been a little bit of a coach along the way, I was asked to be an advisory board member. And I’m still a lawyer by trade. So sometimes I do even a little bit of work for her.

Diana Fryc 7:25 

Okay. All right. Well, we need that, especially with certification processes, I think I would love to see that amplified a little bit. And maybe we’ll talk a little bit more offline because the brands that we work with, there’s a handful that have that pain point and are not quite sure how to communicate it. And that certification could certainly come in handy,

Karen Frame 7:45 

huh? Well, she would love it. And we can, you know, make introductions.

Diana Fryc 7:50 

Okay. All right. Well, let’s hop back to Makeena. Big news, like maybe you could share with the big news was like this is new. In the last month, something big has happened. And let’s start with that.

Karen Frame 8:05 

Yeah, sure. Sure. Um, we were selected. Well, we have a couple of really good things happening around Makeena out about us other than talking with you, authority. So we were selected out of 2000 companies plus okay to do a live pitch with Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank. All right. And we won. Super cool. Huge. Yeah, he loves what we’re doing. We got a grant from him. And yeah, we’re, you know, we’re on our way beyond Kevin and more. I mean, he’s, you know, he’s pretty harsh as you know, Shark Tank. But he was really, very complimentary, very kind to everybody that pitch, quite frankly. So I think that, you know, we probably shouldn’t talk about this on a podcast, but I think he’s really a nice guy. So we won that. And then the other thing that’s kind of fun is that is just fun. Over 3000 companies worldwide were chosen. Out of over 3000 companies worldwide 229 companies were chosen for this thing called mass challenge. And it’s it’s a worldwide organization that really focuses on helping solve the world’s problems through collaboration and innovation. So Makeena is part of cohort 50. So we’re working really hard at making a difference with what we’re doing in the lives of many people and the health of our planet.

Diana Fryc 9:48 

Will So tell me a little bit about what what’s the feedback that you’re getting from that part of the industry that has people excited about what you’re doing? Like what what are they giving you? What’s the future? Well, the

Karen Frame 10:01 

feedback is that we just need to get the word out. So we’re in the process of raising additional investment. I’m doing a lot of pitches. And as part of the job as the founder, being the visionary, making sure you have a great team, that’s all on the same page, and also pitching to investors. So that’s why I’ve been doing a lot of so the feedback that I’m getting is that yes, the world needs this. Yes. Okay. It’s great, US and Canada. But let’s bring it overseas. So recently, we just spoke with financial conglomerate in Japan, about bringing Makeena possibly to Japan. Okay. We did, we did hear something from them today, which they even you know, we’re focused on ESG. You know, we’re focused on the environment and sustainability and the health of people and health of the planet, maybe a little bit too narrow for them right now. Okay. But But soon, it won’t be. And we just got approached by a big group out of Indonesia, about taking Makeena into Indonesia. Okay. I mean, so we have a lot of really cool things happening. And it’s being recognized by Kevin O’Leary is being recognized by mass challenge is being recognized by the investors that we’re speaking with, because they see that this isn’t just a trend. I mean, it is a trend, but it’s here to stay. And consumers need to really think about what they’re putting in and on their bodies. And, and, basically, brands need to think about, really how they are in the world as a brand. Yeah. You know, so that’s kind of, hopefully that answers your question.

Diana Fryc 11:52 

Yeah. Well, tell me that. How did you get to like, how did you get to this space? What, why this company? Why now?

Karen Frame 12:01 

Yeah, that’s a really good question. So I’m going to tell you a couple different stories, My bigger story is that I grew up on a lake in Central Illinois. And it was across the street from a cornfield that was sprayed with pesticides every year. And as a result, everyone in my family got super sick, or died. And so yeah, so it’s, I know firsthand the importance of what you put both in and on your body. And obviously, I’m not alone. 98% of consumers really demand this transparency. Yeah. But I had some other things too, that happened in my life, which is kind of interesting how it’s kind of all come together. When I when I was in second grade, as well. Actually, I’m going to go back again, I learned how to code. I learned how to code when I was in when I was four. Oh my gosh, really? I yeah, really. My dad was a science professor at the University of Illinois. And I learned how to do some simple coding way back when. And I’m a woman over 50, which is it’s very unusual. If that happened way back when? Then I went to this experimental grade school and I learned social studies science, mathematics in education, on a touchscreen called playdough. Wow, I got really comfortable with technology at a very young age. Yeah. then fast forward to second grade. Second grade teachers forward. Yeah, they asked, they asked us to write this book about ourselves. And then there was this chapter in this book that you had to write. What did you want to be when you grew up? And I wrote, I wanted to be a lawyer, because I wanted to feed all the starving children in Africa. Do not ask me that came from Whoa, yeah, kind of crazy. Fast forward even more. I met my former husband. Yeah, my first year of law school and he had been an organic farmer. Wow. So my first year of law school is when I got really turned on to this better for you better for the planet space. There is a teeny little grocery store in Urbana, Illinois, called Strawberry Fields that Richard and I used to go shopping at every week. And there was always somebody there to help you navigate that retail environment. So I learned about spelt, what do you do with spelt? Was the homeopathic remedy for a headache? What How can you make these substitutes in a recipe where you used to use like white sugar? Yes. And so I learned all about it. I became I went to Oxford that summer became a vegan because I just couldn’t stand the food anymore. And now I of course, you know, I love animals. So, you know, I’m more than, you know, it’s more than just the fact that I don’t like the food anymore. Yeah. You know, I feel bad for, you know, they’re human. I mean, they’re beans, right? Yes. So anyway, so kind of all those experience kind of led to Richard and me actually moving to Boulder, Colorado in 1993. And we went into wild oats. And we had this problem where we couldn’t navigate that natural products, retail environment, the customer service person wasn’t there. We didn’t know where to find spell number No, like, offers for any of the products in this store, etc. And so I had this aha moment. Why don’t I create these touchscreen kiosk systems? Yeah, put them in natural product stores to help the consumer navigate the natural products. retail environment? Yes. So that was kind of my first foray into what I’ve created now, which is Makeena. But it was called natural interactions. We ended up having a nationwide contract with wild oats, which is now Whole Foods and Amazon. So we were really early, early, early. Yeah. So I’m passionate about the space to say the least. Yeah.

Diana Fryc 16:21 

And what it’s just what I think so fascinating for me in that how, because at the time you were doing this, organics was pretty earnest about being pretty earnest period, end of story, exclamation point, highlight, like, you know, it wasn’t until a few years ago, when this whole space started to loosen up a little bit, and kind of let go of kind of stretch the boundaries, which is our strengths and our weakness now, but I digress. But I just what were some of those? I mean, of course, you’re gonna probably have those people that are absolutely inspired by it. But what was the feedback at that time with other retailers, they’re seeing technology and, you know, things were still produce was still, you know, questionable looking at that time, the CPG in that space was not really yummy. You know, I mean, it was it was an evolving, it’s an evolving time. And you were either in it because you believed in it, or you were not. And so I’m just imagining technology coming in. What was happening with other conversations you got, you know, while though it’s was all about it. Well does. Back anywhere else where people thinking this is nuts, what are you doing? Well,

Karen Frame 17:41 

we, you know, Wild Oats was our first contract. And super interesting because Kroger flew out to meet with us. Same way. Yep. Okay, and we were talking with GNC bonies. Mother’s Whole Foods, early, early discussions with Whole Foods. So wasn’t that any of the retailers felt like this wasn’t a really great fit for what we were planning on doing. While it’s was already there, right? alfalfa is was already there.

Diana Fryc 18:14 

Yeah. But our first contract was with wild oats.

Karen Frame 18:18 

So it was really interesting, because we started going to Expo Eastern Expo West trade shows back in 1994. I know super early, right. My

Diana Fryc 18:27 

gosh, was it like the size of a ballroom was it it

Karen Frame 18:30 

was and I have some really cool photos to share with you. Oh, my back is so crazy. But one of the things I mean, the the industry was just still sort of nascent at the time. Yeah, the most was, you know, creating his white wave, you know, tofu. The the guys that founded horizon where you know, Mark and Barney, we’re still kind of trying to figure that out. lumbergh Farms had been around for a while. But we started selling and and we were very fortunate because we’re out of Boulder, Colorado, where a lot of that industry kind of bloomed is one way you can say it. You know, Hoss Hassan had started, alfalfa is of course already. And it’s so sad. I’ll help us just totally closed all over the place. Now. It’s gone. I mean, it under changed hands a number of times, Wild Oats bought it, then Whole Foods and they became alfalfa again. And then I think a private equity group bought them and now it’s gone. And that was

Diana Fryc 19:41 

the end of it. Yeah,

Karen Frame 19:42 

that’s the end of it. But yeah, the industry was super exciting. Yes. It was like a ballroom at the time. We went to the first Expo shows and people were super excited. We actually shipped out our kiosk. You did? Yeah, we did. I made It’s crazy. And we got so much excitement about what we were doing and how we were doing it and how we were trying to educate the consumer. We had like, probably going into too much detail here, but like 12 different modules within the system. Okay, everything from health notes like we integrated health notes into it. So, again, what’s the homeopathic remedy for headache? To? What are all of the recipes that you can make for a week? And where are the ingredients that you can find for those recipes for the week in the grocery store that you’re in, that you had an aisle by aisles shopping list, we built the first wild shopper card. So it was basically one of the first loyalty programs and the natural products industry. We spit out, you know, little coupons that you could take with you to the cash register. And you got free products. So we and then we supported nonprofits, we supported the Nature Conservancy and other not for profits that were trying to make a difference in the world. So, so lots of things there. But what happened was, when we shut that down is long story, I won’t go into detail because yeah, we only have like another, you know, 25 geneticists or so. But when we shut it down, I ended up I had already been a lawyer. And I had sat on a steering committee, it was for business for social responsibility. Okay. And I get asked by one of my fellow steering committee members, too, if I was interested in going in house with a technology company, and so I ended up becoming a general counsel of a bunch of software and data companies. Oh, you did? Yeah, I did for a number of years from basically, I went in house again in 1999 2000. And I really kind of left it when I had my aha moment around Makeena. Okay, and I was asked to teach at the University of Illinois, because I had some experience being an entrepreneur, I taught in the entrepreneurship program there. And I was listening to a colleague talk about exchanging textbooks with a mobile device. And I was like, that’s what I need to do I need to take natural interactions, bring it into the 21st century. Everybody’s got a handheld kiosk. Yes. mobile device, you don’t have to focus on retailers. Now you can focus on the brand we can focus on Yes, we can focus on what they’re doing and getting their product out into the hands of consumers. Yes, center where they shop. So yeah, that’s kind of the rest of this story. It’s a lot.

Diana Fryc 22:43 

It’s a lot. Well, tell us a little about where this entrepreneurial spirit comes from. I mean, there’s a lot of and then then then I did this, and then I started this, and is that just innate?

Karen Frame 22:57 

You know, I don’t I don’t really think it is it’s kind of strange. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. I think it’s a little bit of that, you know, a little bit of the DNA, but a lot of the environment. Okay, my case, at least my dad was a science professor. And I think, you know, his early education of me created this create curiosity, and, and trying to make the world a better place. So and, and he was all about education. So I think part of what I am and why we’ve created Makeena is because of that education, and trying to make the world a better place. healthier lives on a cleaner planet, we say a lot. The other part is my mom’s creativity. My mom was an artist, okay. And she got her degree from Boston University when dad was finishing up his PhD in Harvard. And she was all into like, you know, again, making things better for people. Yeah. And being creative about it. Yes. So who, who knew that I would have been a founder.

Diana Fryc 24:08 

There you go. Well, I am I think it’s so in my personal opinion, science and art are actually quite complimentary, because we, we learn how to take risk, because risk is what gives us the outcomes that we’re looking for. And so I find them so complimentary, how how, how awesome it was to have two parents that were left and right brain risk takers, that probably helps you analyze situations and go. I mean, we’ll use calculated risk, right? I mean, but your definition of calculated risk is probably going to look a lot different than others. But you see the white space because that’s just probably how you grew up. You saw that’s what you looked for. You didn’t look for what was safe. He looked for what was not even there.

Karen Frame 24:56 

I think you’re probably right. I didn’t read I’ve never really thought Have it that way. I mean, remember, I’ve been trained first as an accountant.

Diana Fryc 25:05 

Oh, that means to the extreme opposite extreme

Karen Frame 25:08 

opposite. I got my degree in business and accounting from Indiana University, okay. And then I took a year and worked as a consultant, financial litigation consultant in Chicago, oh, my goodness, and then went back to law school. And, you know, I always knew that I wanted to make the world a better place. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. I had been a prosecutor and I was the head of a domestic violence unit. And it was hard work. Yeah. Not saying that building a company is hard work. But, you know, there’s other ways to make a difference in the lives of many. You know, there are a lot of people doing a lot of incredible things in this world. There’s been a lot in the news about all the bad stuff,

Diana Fryc 25:54

but there’s so much good. Yeah. Well, and this is your contribution today. I mean, I suspect there’ll be a few more in the future, I hope. And speaking of that, you know, as this person that’s kind of created magic over and over again, I’m, do you feel like there’s not like a process? But do you know, where those hurdles are? Do you kind of go, Okay, this part is going to be harder than this part, I’m going to be ready for that? Or is this every opportunity kind of literally bring its own unique matrix of hurdles that you have to bob and weave around?

Karen Frame 26:31 

And that’s a really good question, too. Um, I have to say that I don’t think I knew what I was getting into with any of the so I’ve actually been the founder of three companies is may 3. But I’ve been, you know, a lawyer, a general counsel for other sort of companies. And I used to teach entrepreneurship. And I think, now, if I went back and taught entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, I would be a much better teacher. more time on the ground. Yeah, much more time on the ground. I mean, the first two companies were really hard to AI, but those were in the 90s. And now we’re talking about, you know, the 2020s. Yes. And with a new set of challenges, I say, Yep. You know, COVID has been huge. But I think in a sense, it’s helped people on this planet really understand that their health is really, really important. And what they do to feed themselves, right, so that they can fight off viruses like COVID. Yeah.

Diana Fryc 27:45 

Yeah. Yeah. Or, or Yeah, fight them off. You’re right. Well, so coming back to Makeena. What, what is the goal? What is not the goal? What’s the future look like? Or what do you hope the future looks like? What is it that you’re wanting to tackle next with it? And what are you pointing it towards?

Karen Frame 28:06 

Yeah, so so one thing, we’re rewriting the app. Okay, so I’m super excited about that. We’re doing a refresh with our branding. So if you look at our website, we have some really beautiful branding, we worked with a great husband, wife team last year to create this awesome, you know, fresh look and feel. So we’re going to be doing that with the app, we’re going to exceed some things that are a little buggy. So those of you that are going to download it, don’t despair. It’s gonna be super cool. We have a very long product roadmap, everything from more machine learning more artificial intelligence, we’re building in more augmented reality. Okay. some really cool stuff. Look for that. Not this year, because the Rebuild of the app is gonna be beginning of q4. I think I could say that very confident, confident, confidently, I can’t. I’m kinda like what? But yeah, look for it next year. Okay, started doing some really cool things. We’re definitely building more gamification. Okay, the platform, we have some interesting things down the road for that. We did a very soft launch. We’re in the United States. We did a very soft launch in Canada. Oh, but we’re going to be going all over the place all over the world. The data that we’re collecting, which is zero party data, obviously can’t be shared, right all over the world because of data privacy laws, but in the US and in certain parts of Europe, and Canada, we are GDPR compliant in cc pa compliant, okay, so those consumers have actually asked Did in Humana. But we expect Makeena to really become let’s just look for five years out in the road here. The really worldwide making a real difference in the health of many people, hundreds of millions of people. And hopefully the, you know, what planet Earth what we’re doing with Planet Earth, quite frankly. Are we using recycled materials? Are the brands that we’re supporting with our dollar? Are they being thoughtful about the the the the, the, I don’t want to just say ingredients, but what they’re the materials they’re using for their products, how they’re manufacturing their products? Are they are they employing Fair Trade Practices? Are they certified organic? Yeah. Have they do have they implemented sustainable packaging? Is it compostable? Are they making? Yes, their product? What are they contributing back to society? Are they making a positive impact on the world? So anyway? That’s what I can see. Makeena doing? And we’re a certified B Corp, which is hard to get? Yes.

Diana Fryc 31:23 

Yeah, I know we are. We’re a B Corp as well. So yay, yay, ob.

Karen Frame 31:28 

And we’re going to be doing more measuring around that. So really see, you know, what is the impact that Makeena is making in Hale units? Mm hmm. And so we’re going to be figuring that out a lot better. I mean, right now, we’re just at the MVP stage. And we’re onboarding brands are getting the word out to consumers. Yeah. But I could see Makeena becoming a healthy household name.

Diana Fryc 31:55 

That would be fantastic. And as I hear you talking about what you’re doing there are seem to be an individual apps that are doing a component here and a component there of what you’re talking about. And to have this one stop shop, dashboard app that can help people make those informed decisions about the brands that they’re working with. Or that they want to buy from or working with, frankly, I mean, retailers probably want to have that app, there’s, you know, probably a whole back end dashboard that would allow them to kind of go, Well, what are these retailers doing? Or what are these brands? Doing a

Karen Frame 32:31 

similar dashboard would be fantastic. If it’s aren’t not already, yet in there. And brokers and distributors? Yes, yes, these large manufacturers like Pepsi and Coca Cola, General Mills, and awesome companies are we going to buy next? Which ones are really coming off the shelf, either online or at the store? Who’s been most efficient and effective with their marketing dollar? And those are questions that Makeena can help answer.

Diana Fryc 33:05 

Yep, I can see some. I can see. I might now My head is spinning on my I’ll have to talk to you offline, because I’m like, Whoa, there’s some functionality that brand developers could use to just have access to, but I can’t my decorous, that’s another conversation over wine. If you’re still drinking wine. Are you still drinking wine? Well, once a week I can. Okay. We’ll figure that out. We’ll make that happen.

Karen Frame 33:32 

I do want to add one other thing that we can add is not just cash and rewards. I mean, the rewards for continuing to buy product are for sure, a factor. But we have surveys, we have polls, okay, we are taking a snapshot of the display in the store. We have video, we have recipes, we have lots of different ways for the consumer to engage with the brand. So instead of going to one provider and spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars with that provider writer, the brand can come to Makeena and get it all wrapped into one. Love it. That was the whole purpose of what we built. Love it.

Diana Fryc 34:15 

That’s so great. Well, our time is coming up to an end. But I have a few questions that I like to ask everybody that are a little bit of a zag of what we’ve been talking about. First of all, I love it. When a guest can kind of give I call it a happy hour factoid or just a like a little interesting fact about the industry. And it could be from your POV from a data and technology standpoint, or it could be about you’ve been in the naturals industry for a while. We had Cynthia Tice on several, many episodes ago now and she pulled out some fact from like, the early 80s because if you know her she’s been doing natural since the late 70s and Anyway, so do you have an interesting fact that you can share with us all?

Karen Frame 35:04 

Wow. Um, you know, I remember meeting a lot of the early innovators in this space, obviously back in the 1990s in Boulder, you know, Libby cook, Mike Gilliam and the founders of wild Ed’s went on to found sunflower after that got acquired by sprouts. I think Mike went on to help build Lucky’s market saw Wow, that’s changed a little bit. Libby is very into philanthropy and very much still into natural. And we could talk about natural later. Well, we’re running out of time, so we won’t be talking about that later. But you know, I remember meeting Steve Deimos, I remember meeting dead green. So lots of really cool visionaries in this space. And going to the trade shows and meeting, you know, the founders of Bragg’s and Dr. Bronner’s the brands that are just iconic. Yeah. In the natural products industry. So, you know, I would say those are sort of a little bit. You know, I would say more memories now. Yeah, fairly fact, for sure.

Diana Fryc 36:22 

Does that help a little bit? Oh, of course, I think, color, you know, we forget that those brands, were started by people in their garages, you know, way back, and they still are, don’t get me wrong, they still are, but with so much tech money coming into our industry and with the definition of natural and healthy kind of stretching a little bit. Yeah, it’s a little bit in some ways, it’s more inclusive, right? Because we still want to make sure that we can start to reach out to those people that are eating completely unhealthy diets and making a switch from a fried and a soda product all the way to a kale chip is a big leap in a short period of time. So in some ways, I like that the boundary is stretching. I just wish the language would be reflective of the stretch. Yeah, but it’s fun to kind of go Dr. Bronner’s. Oh, yeah. And all of them, all of them. Yeah. So are there any women that you would like to that are in naturals in any way, shape, or form that you feel like that you watch that you’re particularly fond of that maybe could use a little bit of a spotlight in this moment that you’re like, yeah, this person is doing amazing stuff over here.

Karen Frame 37:39 

Well, if you if you’ve never spoken with Robin O’Brian, I would really suggest you speak with her. She, she was instrumental, she’s actually out of Boulder, Colorado, as well. Okay. She’s instrumental in, you know, the all of the, the free forums, you know, Yes, she’s got a very interesting story about, you know, her children and, and some of them having some significant allergy reactions. And so she kind of started off in this space that way, okay. And she’s become a huge proponent of, you know, regenerating the soil, funding those kinds of activities. She’s very outspoken. She’s got a huge following. I admire her tremendously for her being very strong and steadfast and what she’s doing. So she would be, you know, just a phenomenal guest. Oh, okay. Think that you could interview. So yeah, I’m gonna just talk about, you know, Robin O’Brian.

Diana Fryc 38:48 

Okay. She sounds a lot like Jane Pinto. Do you know, Jane? similar concept?

Karen Frame 38:53 

Yeah. And and there’s an a, you know, there are other people too. I mean, you know, another person that is just really rocking it is Jamie Schmidt. Yeah. Yeah. I’m gonna meet her everywhere. Yeah. On the 18th. I’m actually supposed to talk with her about Makeena on clubhouse, okay. I’m super excited about fun. She’s founded, you know, a VC firm now with her pay big sale. So she, you know, she got out there, and she did it. And she was gritty, and, you know, huge success. And I think the successes of women in our space are not necessarily celebrated enough.

Diana Fryc 39:35 

Yes. Yeah. Well, what you and I are changing that today. So we’ll just give her a shout out right now. Right, Jamie? Yeah, great stuff. And then my last question for us, what brands, what brand or maybe what trends are you seeing in natural that you’re particularly interested in? What are you following?

Karen Frame 39:56 

Yeah. So So, so PR Personally, I love and it’s trending to pet sustainability. Okay, so we signed making a signed a deal with a pet sustainability coalition earlier this year, and God willing, we’re gonna go to superzoo.

Diana Fryc 40:22 

That’s in Florida right now it’s in Vegas. Right? That’s in Vegas just in

Karen Frame 40:27 

a couple of weeks. And I, you know, who knows that? Yeah. But anyway, I’m very, very excited about that industry taking the steps that they’re taking pis toward better products for pets and beyond, yes. And really thinking about not just about, you know, what you’re putting in or on your pet or other animals, but how you’re producing those products? Yes. So kind of same thing that the natural products industry has been doing for a while. But yeah, and we want to promote that. So we got we have some really cool brands that are on our platform already. Like I 11. You but we’re getting a bunch of other ones. Yes. I’ve already said yes, but they haven’t onboarded yet. We’re looking at that trend. There’s a lot in the beauty space. So Makeena is not just about food and beverage, right or pet or supplements or wellness. It’s the whole lifestyle. Right? Beauty. Yes, you got it. Clothing like bamboo clothing, recycled clothing, love that office products. So anyway, there’s a lot out there. And there’s a lot for us to do. We are not going to get bored.

Diana Fryc 41:45 

No. ginormous aggregator. This is going to be great. Yes, pets has been trending. For so long. We worked on a few pet brands. zesty paws being the biggest one that we worked on. That is hard into the supplement side, specifically, so much. They’re designed to help extend our friends lives. Just pretty great. It’s really great. Well, listen, we’ve been talking with Miss Karen Frame, who’s the founder and CEO of Makeena. Also, I’m going to just throw this in because I’m really excited about Plantricious. I don’t know why just maybe I just like the name. But Makeena is Karen’s baby currently, where can people learn more about you and what you’re up to?

Karen Frame 42:40 

So we have, we have all sorts of channels. You can learn about Makeena just by going to our Makeena website, okay? It’s just m-a-k-e-e-n-a dot.com. Okay, we have if you’re a brand and you’re interested in getting a demo, you it’s a little hidden, but it’s Makeena.com/brands-joinus, okay, and you’ll be taken straight to the brand landing page. If you’re a retailer, we’re happy to talk with you as well or a distributor or, you know, a broker, lots of different ways we can wait work with any one of you. And then you know, we have Instagram, Pinterest, tick tock just launched, okay, on Facebook, you know, all the different channels, Twitter, but you can also just reach out to me I’m very, very much an open book, you can send me an email, you can find us on LinkedIn, follow Makeena on LinkedIn, you can get you know interesting tidbits about the industry. Some articles, some wins that we’ve had some of the brands that are coming on board, sometimes we highlight those. Great, better for you better for the planet brands. And yeah, just reach out to me by email even karenframe@makeena.com

Diana Fryc 44:03 

All right. Well, Miss Karen, I want to thank you so much for your time today and for all that you have done and continue to do for consumers in the better for you community. The naturals community was such a joy talking with you today. It was really a delight, Diana, thank you so much. And we’ll talk to you all soon.

Outro 44:30 

We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you haven’t already, be sure to click subscribe and share with your network. Until next time, be well and do Gooder.

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Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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