“Supplements are regulated heavily, more so than food, and more so than like meat.” – Zelda Beckford
This week on the Gooder Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Zelda Beckford, the Vice President of Quality of New Chapter, Inc., a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble Personal Health Care. We chat about Zelda’s journey from Herbalife to Beachbody, to Goop – and now – New Chapter! She sees herself as an influencer in education, leadership and company culture. Along the way, we discuss how being a child of immigrants influences her perspective on opportunity and commitment. We tackle everything from innovation, sustainability and quality control – to women leadership.
In this episode we learn:
- About the history and story of New Chapter.
- Zelda’s story growing up a first-generation American and how that influences her leadership.
- The changing landscape of quality control, regulation, and compliance within the supplement category.
- Zelda’s transition from the Director of Quality & Compliance role with Goop to VP of New Chapter and how her leadership experiences have helped to her nurture the work environment in both companies.
- How the pandemic has impacted the supplements category and the challenges and opportunities that came along with it.
- Why internal cross-functional team education is the key to her success.
- Trends in dietary supplements and the supplement industry.
About Zelda Beckford:
Zelda Beckford is the Vice President of Quality at New Chapter, Inc., a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble Personal Health Care, located in Brattleboro, Vermont. Zelda received her B.A. from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, and her M.B.A. from Webster University, Saint Louis, MO. She has almost 20 years of experience in Operations, Supply Chain, Process Improvement, Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Manufacturing, Product Lifecycle Management, Business Intelligence, Warehousing, Technical Support, and IT Systems Design.
Zelda spent the first 10 years of her career progressively gaining vast QA, QC and Regulatory Compliance knowledge on a global scale for the health & wellness conglomerate, Herbalife Nutrition™. Zelda then moved on to Beachbody®, the creator of household home fitness & nutrition brands, such as Shakeology®, P90X®, 21Day Fix® and Insanity®. During her 6 years with Beachbody®, Zelda held several Quality positions and was ultimately promoted to Operations Manager, focusing on Process Improvement.
Zelda’s next endeavor led her to take on the Director of Quality & Compliance role with Goop, Inc in Santa Monica, California. During her almost 3 years with Goop, Zelda managed a robust team to provide regulatory oversight of global activities for 8 business verticals; Beauty & Wellness, Fashion, Merchandising, Home, Brand Partnerships & Advertising, E-Commerce, Edit & Content. Zelda established Goop’s Quality Department from the ground up; she created the groundwork and executed Total Quality Management principles, approved development and release of new products, standardized processes, facilitated training and development of new quality & compliance applications.
In November 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Zelda relocated from California to accept the Vice President of Quality role with New Chapter, Inc. Safeguarding quality standards is of the utmost importance when handling consumer packaged goods, and Zelda ensures compliance and standards are met at the highest levels. For almost 20 years, Zelda has applied her deep passion for Quality, broad understanding of the manufacturing process and collaborative management style to the growth and prosperity of each organization with which she has been employed. She has a strong track record implementing systems and process improvements in each of her prior companies.
Among her various professional positions, Zelda is also a published author; sharing her take on Artificial Intelligence Technology. You can find the article here: https://securitytoday.com/articles/2017/07/24/safe-and-secure-a-look-into-artificial-intelligence-technology.aspx. Zelda is dedicated to continuous learning and welcomes new challenges in her personal and professional life. Zelda values diversity & inclusion, steaming from her own background growing up a first generation American, born to parents from Honduras, Central America. She encourages clear communication and diverse points of view, as a path to building healthy culture, enlightened values, ideas, and opinions. Zelda currently resides in Amherst, MA. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guests Social Media Links:
The Procter & Gamble Company is an American multinational consumer goods corporation headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble.
Goop is a wellness and lifestyle brand and company founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Launched in September 2008, Goop started out as a weekly e-mail newsletter providing new age advice, such as “police your thoughts” and “eliminate white foods”, and the slogan “Nourish the Inner Aspect.”
LMU Founded in 1911, LMU is a top-ranked university rooted in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions. We are committed to fostering a diverse academic community rich in opportunity for intellectual engagement and real-world experience.
Herbalife Nutrition is a global multi-level marketing corporation that develops and sells dietary supplements. The company was founded by Mark Hughes in 1980, and it employs an estimated 8,900 people worldwide.
The Beachbody Company is a privately-held American fitness and media company based in Santa Monica, California. It operates the brands Beachbody On Demand, Team Beachbody and Open fit.
Zoom is a video telephony proprietary software program developed by Zoom Video Communications. The free plan provides a video chatting service that allows up to 100 concurrent participants, with a 40-minute time restriction. Users have the option to upgrade by subscribing to a paid plan.
The United States Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, security of human and veterinary drugs and biological products.
Blueland creates everyday eco-friendly cleaning products to save you money and space, without any plastic waste.
Gucci is a luxury fashion house based in Florence, Italy. Its product lines include handbags, ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessories, makeup, fragrances, and home decoration. Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Tuscany..
The North Face is an American outdoor recreation products company. The North Face produces outdoor clothing, footwear, and related equipment. Founded in 1968 to supply climbers, the company’s logo draws inspiration from Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park.
Diana Fryc: Hi, welcome to the Gooder Podcast, I’m your host, Diane Fryc. As partner and CMO of Retail Voodoo, an award winning branding agency, I have met and worked with some of the most amazing women and the natural’s industry, food, beverage, wellness and fitness. And as such, I have decided to create the Gooder Podcast to interview these great people and subject matter experts, have them share their insights, passions and expertize to help businesses all around the world become gooder.
So today we get to meet Miss Zelda Beckford, correct?
Zelda Beckford: Yeah.
Diana Fryc: Okay, great. She is the vice president of Quality at New Chapter, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble Personal Health Care. With almost twenty years of industry experience in quality assurance, quality control and regulatory compliance- and there’s like a list long list more. She has a strong record for implementing systems and process improvements. Zelda is currently responsible for safeguarding quality standards for consumer packaged goods.
So welcome, Miss Zelda. How are you?
Zelda Beckford: I’m great. Thank you so much for having me.
Diana Fryc: Of course, and you’re in Boston. No, you’re not in Boston. You’re in Massachusetts. Sorry, I automatically think Boston. Where about are you?
Zelda Beckford: I’m actually in Amherst; in Amherst, Massachusetts, and my office is in Vermont.
Diana Fryc: Oh, but are you going into the office now?
Zelda Beckford: I am, yes. So I do a hybrid between going in a couple of days a week and then working from home in my home office.
Diana Fryc: Great! Well I have to say, most people know this, mostly guests know this. I like to do research to make sure that I am familiar with who I’m talking to. I don’t like to come in blind into my conversations and I found a couple of things that made me so excited about connecting with you. And that was one of your first generation American, meaning your parents were immigrants and that’s the same as mine, and we have such a crazy view of the world like, don’t we?
Zelda Beckford: Yes, absolutely. It is. A lot of my friends are also first generation. So we talk about this a lot. There are so many similarities. No matter where you come from, especially the drive that you get from your parents just to be successful. You want to make them proud. They work so hard to get here and to give you everything really, and you just want to make sure that their efforts weren’t wasted.
Diana Fryc: Just the work ethic that we have as first generation is really insane. I think we drive ourselves really hard. Part of it is that we want to make our parents proud. But the other thing is we saw our parents work so hard. So that’s our standard.
Zelda Beckford: Absolutely! Definitely in my family, education came first more than anything and so I knew from a very early age that there really wasn’t a discussion about whether I wanted to go to college or not. It was an expectation. And I think the more schooling that I went through, the more I understood why it was so important to them and also especially now, I know I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t make the investment in my own education with my parents pushing me as well.
Diana Fryc: Yeah. My parents didn’t push necessarily as hard as some of my counterparts that I’ve met, but there was just an implied expectation. So I think that if my parents would have pushed that, my success level would probably be one up from where it is now, which would be okay, but I’m fine. I feel like I’m firing at 120% all the time already. The other thing that I just thought was just so funny and anecdotal was when you were working at Goop, there was kind of like, what’s your favorite white teacher? Just kind of like this fun thing. It must have been about seeing employees, and you had said that you’re the made well T. Well, she was your favorite. I don’t know. But I have like a dozen and half of them are white. That is like the legit quintessential white t shirt. I know this is like kind of a weird;
Weird thing to talk about on this podcast, but I’m just going to say that’s the T-shirt like that.
Zelda Beckford: It is. Obviously like Goop has a luxury lifestyle brand and so a lot of other features on there were white Ts that were upwards of like $200, $300. And so when they asked me, I was like, “Well, to be honest, like that T-shirt is just like 20 bucks and I have like so many of them in just about every color and in three sizes,” pretty much each because I was buying them when I was going through, like my weight loss journey. And so every time I would go down a size, I would buy another one. So I have so many of them.
Diana Fryc: Some of them I think now you might be okay getting rid of those if you haven’t already. That’s what I always encourage my friends to do, get rid of them. We don’t want to see them…
Zelda Beckford: I can’t get rid of them and I should be throwing one away. But yeah, I still have the majority of them.
Diana Fryc: That’s hilarious. Okay, well first of all, let’s talk about a New Chapter. I always like to give every guest an opportunity to share more about their company, and you’re coming in from a quality standpoint is, tell it from your point of view. What is New Chapter and why does the brand exist?
Zelda Beckford: So New Chapter is a very unique brand because they have a different manufacturing process. They use a lot of their vitamins are fermented and they go through a fermentation process. And so that pretty much differentiates them from a lot of other vitamin supplement companies in the market today. Also, we take great pride in all of the certifications, the testing, where our raw materials come from, the processing, and our manufacturers that we work with. We really do. The team goes above and beyond what is the requirement for manufacturing practices.
And so being in quality, especially for me personally, consumer safety is my number one goal. I’m always thinking up from the point of view of the consumer. We are all consumers of products and especially things that we are ingesting, you really have to be on top of everything; on top of your suppliers, your manufacturers, your production, your supply, everything. So at New Chapter, they’re rooted in giving back to the planet a holistic approach to the care that goes into creating healthy individuals, and so that is what really drew me to wanting to join the team.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, because this was a recent move. The last 12 months have been a big move for you culturally moving from Goop and the West Coast New Chapter and the East Coast what’s up? So how are you holding up? Like, how’s that going? And what were some of the things that you were taking in consideration as part of this move?
Zelda Beckford: I was working for Goop in Santa Monica, I wasn’t really thinking about making a move across the country or anything like that. I was very much deep in my work there; I was responsible for quality and compliance. And so one day, out of the blue, I got an email from a wonderful woman named Angela, who we both know, and she really just kind of asked me about the position, asked me about the job description, if this sounded accurate and everything, and then asked me if I would be interested in applying for the position, and I was like, sure. And it’s funny because before that, I had been getting emails and offers and things like that throughout the summer and I was turning them down or referring other people. I really wasn’t in the mindset of, it wasn’t open. But I guess I don’t know, it was kind of like maybe it was, Angela hit me at the right moment, and I didn’t even know at the time that it was for a company in Vermont.
So it wasn’t I think after a couple of conversations that I realized, like, oh no, it’s going to be on the other side of the country. And I think it really was at the right time because, we have been locked in our homes from Covid for pretty much the past prior eight months or so. And I really was looking for a change of scenery, like I had already started looking to move possibly to Arizona or Texas because I have friends and family there, and then Vermont. I just thought, well, why not? It can’t be a bad place to live. And so then I started to do a little bit more research on the area and I learned some things; some good and bad things about southern Vermont and really where the company is located.
But I was concerned that they don’t have a lot of diversity. I knew it was going to be very different from living in Southern California. But that’s pretty much an experience that I’ve had my entire life. Even though I’ve been in a diverse area in California, the majority of my schooling and my education has been predominantly in private Catholic, majority of the classes are white. I was in a sorority at LMU and I was the only black person in my sorority when I pledged. So it’s like I always picture my big picture because I’m right in the middle. I’m the only one. And since then, it’s different now, thank God. But it’s like that’s the experience that I have with so used you, even though I know it’s not normal, but so I kind of knew what I was getting into by moving to this part of the country.
Diana Fryc: Well, the category itself is not terribly diverse right now. That’s part one of the objectives I’m trying to accomplish with my podcast is to kind of level up and normalize diversity of every kind in the leadership of this natural space or whatever the places. So I can imagine, even in California, if you’re Goop, maybe Goop might probably have a higher diversity ratio just because by nature of the brand, I can’t speak to it myself. But you were at Herbalife and you are also at Beachbody, I would say over the years things have probably changed. But it was the opportunity itself and what you’re going to be doing, what you’re tasked with, that was really the draw for you. And Angela, for those that don’t know, Angela is actually a recruiter and she specializes in these very specialized placements. And for those of you ever get to meet her, you’ll recognize this, she is really great at identifying an opportunity and being able to figure out what’s a good fit and what’s not now. So now I gave a pretty simplified description of what you do, but it’s pretty deep and robust and not like we’re looking for getting into the weeds, per say, but maybe you can talk about what is it that you do on a daily basis? What have you been brought into New Chapter specifically to do? Because I believe there was like a task and as much as you can share, obviously, we don’t want to give away any trade secrets. But talk about that a little bit more.
Zelda Beckford: I’ve been with the company for six months now. I knew…
Diana Fryc: Not very long.
Zelda Beckford: Yeah, not very long time. But it’s been a hard six months for sure. I know that I was brought in to create change and the company itself is in the middle of or has been in the process of changing out the prior leadership. There were a lot of bad practices and things that were kind of counterproductive to the success of the business. And so now there is a new leadership team in place. I basically completed the last spot on the leadership team, and it’s an even team, male and female and everybody is awesome.
I really, really love working with them. We all are invested in doing the best for the company and the employees. I think we’re working really hard to change the culture, and I know me personally, the business environments I’ve been in prior, we’re very collaborative. We really wanted to hear everybody’s ideas. Please bring yourself to the group, and so that’s what I push a lot with my team where before that, they didn’t really get that type of support or guidance. And so I hope that I’m doing the right thing, and I know that that is what they asked me to come in to do, like to help to improve processes, supplier relationships, maintain all of our certifications, increase our supply chain, our relationships with our contract laboratories. There were a lot of things that were kind of disjointed and with change in leadership and positions and turnover, there’s a lot of gaps. There are things that need to be addressed, and so I’m in the middle of doing a lot of that, as well as just trying to nurture the team, grow the team. Thankfully, I’ve been able to hire some really amazing people to help support the growth that the company is experiencing right now and just help the organization continue to grow and increase our capacity and productivity.
Diana Fryc: So I don’t know if it was a wholesale sweep of leadership change, but I always find that companies that; when lots of change needs to happen, and I don’t know if that’s exactly what’s going on with New Chapter, but when there are some pretty big initiatives and you have an opportunity to make some significant leadership changes, I find that the opportunity becomes exponential. The opportunity for success and growth becomes exponential because there are a lot of sacred cows and we don’t do it that way. That kind of gets thrown away or lost through the process and different practices and thinking and even communication styles get brought in and it brings an opportunity. Have you in your short time there, seen a dynamic shift with the teams below, underneath that leadership, are you seeing some opening up? Are you seeing people responding? How’s that going?
Diana Fryc: I think so. I know from my team in particular, I do try to get them together as much as I can. I have several sub departments within the quality team. And so I always want them to know what each other is doing, what the priorities are, what the plans are, and also like for changes, because sometimes, like, I just had a couple of inter-departmental changes and everybody’s not always aware of what’s going on the other side of the fence, and especially now where we’re a lot of people are working from home or sometimes we’re in the office, but we’re not in the office at the same time. So it really makes it a little bit harder to make sure that everybody’s on the same page every day, when the traditional ways of working where you would have everybody like in the Beachbody, we would have a production meeting every morning and everybody’s in the room, so we all hear the same information at the same time. And in today’s world, it doesn’t really happen that way all the time. So you have to remember to tell everyone the same thing.
Diana Fryc: I was having a conversation with somebody yesterday, I believe, where we discussed this; what do we think back to work is going to look like? And I think the general consensus is that the remote work is cute now, mandatory and much necessary. But there is a definite deep concern about maintaining or returning back to productivity pre-Covid and having different people have different options in regards to remote or not remote. And I think there’s going to be continual learning and iterative kind of a test model like we’re looking at.
Let’s try this for a month and let’s try this for a month before I think teams and companies and organizations are kind of back to that place where they’re like, okay, this is what we’re going to do. I don’t think a full on hybrid model is going to be really effective for some of the larger organizations. I think there will be productivity issues, in my opinion. I don’t know how you guys are thinking about that right now.
Zelda Beckford: We’re definitely trying to figure that out at the moment. We’ve sent out some employee surveys mostly to figure out how comfortable employees are feeling about returning back to work. But I’ve been going in and I’m fully vaccinated. I’ve been going in, and it’s hard because not everybody is there. It’s an eerie feeling, when you just see empty desks everywhere. And the last time that I was in an office, a full office environment was when I was at Goop, and there is something to be said for being able to all be under one roof and have those common spaces where you’re on the way to the kitchen or the bathroom or whatever, and you see somebody from a different department and you can check in with each other or talk about projects that you’re working on, and that is very much lost in how we are working today, where you miss a lot of those opportunities to interact with people because I usually see the same people on Zoom every day. And so it isn’t until I get my whole team together that I’m actually able to see a lot of the people that I don’t interact with on a daily basis, and then the same thing for other departments that I work with. Mostly it’s through email or if we’re all on a Zoom call. But, it’s kind of weird to think that there are people that I haven’t even met yet at my organization or have no idea. I know they know who I am, but a lot of that is lost.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, well, I kind of want to touch base on the whole Goop thing only as it’s…
Zelda Beckford: How can you not?
Diana Fryc: It’s a phenomenon, right? It is what it is that, first of all, category disruptor. I think at first when Goop opened up, everyone is like, oh, that’s interesting. And now everybody’s like, oh, that’s interesting. Like the shift. And you went from Herbalife to Beachbody to Goop, and I remember there was like even a little anecdotal story about from Beachbody to Goop. But my notes were all very clear, and then I have my notes. It says my question, how did you get to Goop? And then it gets all ridiculous and I was like, okay, there’s a little something to talk about here. So can you talk about how did you get to Goop? And was it this kind of fantastical place that I think some of us think it might be? Or is it really just a business with a really fantastic brand facade?
Zelda Beckford: So yeah, my Goop, how I got to Goop is because while I was working at Beachbody, a woman by the name of Tina who I love, love, love, love, she reached out to me because she was working at Goop, and she actually was just like, “Hey do you want to have dinner?” And I’m like, “Sure.” So we finally have this dinner date and at the dinner, she was explaining to me about the problems that they were having at the company. And she asked me, if I could put a plan together for what they needed to do because they didn’t have any quality at all. And so and they really needed help. And so I was like, sure, I would do anything for her. She’s awesome. So I went home. I thought about all the things that she had told me that they were experiencing and I just put a deck together for them. And because in my mind, I think slides so I just put my thoughts out on a deck and sent it over to her. And then she said, “Hey, can you come back and would you mind coming in and explaining it to the team?” And I’m like, okay, so I went and basically, they kept asking me to come back, and then I realized that they were interviewing me, at the time. Yeah, I was basically just going through like, this is what you need.
Like I did a two year plan for them. Like this is how your structure should look like, these are the elements of creating a quality management system. And I outlined the challenges that they were having and what their risk mitigation tools should be. And so, I was explaining it to the team and then they basically offered me the position of being their director of quality and compliance, and I was just like, sure, I already put the plan together, so I might as well just come and execute it. And so I ended up exiting from Beachbody and I took about a month off because I needed a minute to hang out with my friends and go to Mammoth and just like decompress and then started at Goop.
So my first day, I’ll never forget it, I was walking in and I was going to the bathroom and I ran into GP and she said hello to me and everything. And like for a second I was just like, wait a minute. And I even told her this when I was leaving because I knew in that moment that I was in this super natural, like environment. I know it’s reality, but like in my mind, it was like, is this my real life right now? Like, this is the wild. And then, just after that, I knew this was going to be like a once in a lifetime experience. I wouldn’t even say amazed. I was more like impressed with the talent there, every bit of it that I worked with, I absolutely loved. There wasn’t anyone that I didn’t like working with. It was really it was really loving, nurturing environment, and I know that that’s like you don’t really say that about your employer. I was definitely concerned about because I had never worked anywhere with the majority of the employee base as women.
I’ve had female bosses before, but usually it’s like male dominated, especially in the industry that I’m in. It’s mostly male dominated, and so it was a very special experience. And then we moved, so at that time we were in Santa Monica and the bungalows that we called it, and so that was also a very unique experience because we were kind of like bursting at the seams. The company was growing. We were hiring people, but we didn’t really have enough space and so we didn’t have enough conference rooms. So I would be taking calls with manufacturers in my car, like on the sidewalk, our hallway was the sidewalk. And then we ended up moving into a beautiful brand new space just around the corner, and that office was — it was like unlike anything I think you could ever imagine. Beautiful cashmere couches and just a beautiful space. But it was a very great environment. It was inspiring to be there. Like you wanted to be there, I wanted to be there.
I had a hellish commute to get there from — I lived in South Redondo at the time, and traffic on the west side, it was like two hours in the evening, but do what you have to do for your job. But yeah, it was great. And so I think what people may think it is like, it’s better than what you would ever think it’s like. That’s how I feel. When I was thinking of my home office, building, my home office here, that’s what I was trying to kind of recreate, was that environment that I really miss.
Diana Fryc: It’s crazy, and it’s awesome;
To hear that those experiences exist like it wouldn’t be special if every brand was like that. You need to have those magical unicorns and then have an opportunity to be in the magical unicorn for a little while so that you can have that experience. And of course, I think the opportunities that were presented to you there naturally grew you, and now here you are tackling something a little bit bigger because of it. Like you’re turning into… they’re bringing you in when things need fixed or things need an upgrade, right?
Zelda Beckford: Yes. There was a point in time when I was at Goop where I reported to the chief counsel and our chief legal counsel, and she had told me one day because, it was very hard to work there. As lovely as it was, as the environment was, it was very, very hard and a lot of stress; I was responsible for quality and compliance. I was basically a one person army. I was definitely worried about everything, especially because the company has a higher risk tolerance than other organizations. And so that was always a concern for me because I wanted to make sure that we were always doing the right thing.
My first conversation about anything was always with legal. I worked with a very wonderful woman, Lauren, who I leaned on her a lot for legal support. And so as hard as it was, the chief legal counsel, Virginia, she had told me one day, I know it seems kind of like you’re doing an impossible job. But, one day you’ll look back and you’ll know that, you learn so much because you had to do it. And it’s very true. At the time, I felt like I was going crazy. But I know now, that that prepared me so much for what I’m doing now and probably for other things to come because I didn’t have a safety net or anything like that. It was like, it was me and that was it and I had to just kind of learn on the go and take responsibility for every single thing. And also my prior experience had prepared me for being at Goop as well. So yeah, it was definitely one of those jobs that I’ll never forget.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, that’s awesome. So we’re going to jump back to today. I’m taking all of that experience to what’s happening today, not only with New Chapter, but with the pandemic. And you’re talking about quality control. You’re talking about regulatory. We’ve had a really crazy last 12 to 18 months. Supplements have done pretty damn well in general terms. But I wonder what might be happening behind the scenes in regards to kind of some more of the technical things that that maybe retailers or consumers or… What are you guys dealing with behind the scenes when we’ve got this crushed demand happening? Probably the biggest crush that this category has seen in quite a while?
Zelda Beckford: Yeah, for New Chapter, it’s a little different. I think there are a couple of things going on. They have a very loyal customer base. So the New Chapter customer is someone who is well versed and the raw ingredients that kind of go into our products, what they’re expecting to see are the results that they’re expecting to see from taking the products. And so I feel like that consumer base is kind of like our stable. We want to cater to them. We want to make sure that we’re giving them what they need, and also introducing them to new forms of taking supplements. So we’re going to be launching some exciting new products in the future, if you can catch my hint there. But then also, because of Covid, and the influx of people wanting to invest more time and money in their health; their holistic development, whether it’s their mind, their body, their spirituality, whatever it is. And so we have seen new customers who don’t really know what to take or know how to consume vitamins. So sometimes people start, they buy a whole slew of things and then start taking them all at once and then they get nauseous or something and they don’t really understand why. And so dealing with because I see the consumer complaints and things like that, too, and so I am always making sure that our team is well educated and more versed in being able to answer the questions that consumers kind of throw our way.
We always try to be as transparent as possible in anything that they’re asking about, whether it’s our testing, our ingredients, our sourcing. I feel like those are the two biggest kind of like things that we are fielding right now. And then also, just trying to innovate. Innovation is something that drives the company as well. Like I said, we’re going to be launching some new forms of supplements. And I think that too, because the company, they were privately owned for a period of time before they were acquired by Procter and Gamble. And so, they’ve gone through a lot of changes as far as like, kind of paring down the selection, focusing on core brands. And also they just went through like a brand refresh, I think, last year. And so we’re still doing that and updating a lot of our packaging and taking a look at all the claims that we’re making and just making sure that everything is accurate.
Diana Fryc: Well, it sounds like there’s an education platform that needs to happen because of this influx of new consumers. I’m assuming that that fall under your jurisdiction.
Zelda Beckford: It doesn’t fall under my jurisdiction, but I do communicate very closely with Charlotte, who does do our consumer education. She is like a human library about the chapter. And I’m sure, if anybody looked her up online, like you could probably find videos or something of her, like we did one with our lab that we contract with Alchemist’s Labs that does a lot of our botanical testing for us. And so, she is really good at breaking down just anything and everything about products, plants sort of thing. I mean, she’s way better at explaining things than I am. And every time I talk to her, I try to soak up as much of the product education that I can because I’m also new. So I don’t know everything about every product, but I do my best to try to understand as much as I can because I’m dealing with the back end of things, mostly.
Diana Fryc: Yeah. And from that regulatory side, I know you’re challenged, I’m sure, because you guys are making the products that you’re making and you’re using the ingredients that you’re using and then supplements and nutraceuticals and even products that have these kind of components to them. There’s a ton of new entrants in the market just again accelerated by Covid, and I wonder what the impact is for you in your role. Like, does that mean that you’d have to like double, triple, make sure on top of what you’ve already been doing? Do you have to share information differently with the consumer? Like, what is that? What’s happening there?
Zelda Beckford: Yes. So that has been a challenge recently. So it’s interesting because at my last company at Goop, I dealt with a lot, not only did Goop manufacture their own supplements and products, but also sold third party. So I was responsible for vetting all of those third parties as well and partnered with our brand partnerships team to drive them into our e commerce. So I had a lot of exposure to the smaller brands. I had to provide a lot of support to them and direction on. I couldn’t tell them what they needed to be doing with their product;
But I had to basically give them a yes or no and kind of redirect them on where they needed to go in order for their products to be compliant. And so I learned a lot about the smaller brands and how a lot of them don’t know what’s actually on their product depending on where they’re being made or how they’re being made or where their ingredients are being sourced. A lot of them don’t know where they’re being sourced or didn’t have the documentation or substantiation to support their claims and things like that. So I learned a lot there. Cut to today with the New Chapter, because of that influx of new brands, and there’s that joke that everybody has a beauty company or a beauty product or whatever, especially for beauty, it’s a lot easier to enter the market.
So, because it’s not as heavily regulated as ingestibles are and most consumers don’t know this, but supplements are regulated heavily, more so than food, and more so than like meats and things like that. So and that’s a whole another discussion. When you’re dealing with dietary supplements, it’s regulated by the FDA. Everybody knows the FDA. But there are so many other organizations that regulate companies depending on your claims. Anyone can pull your product and have it tested and basically challenge you on your label claim.
So those types of things, a company like New Chapter, we have to make sure that everything that we put on the label is by the book and is accurate and meets label claim. And the formula has to be — I can’t go into all, it just too much. Everything needs to be able to be substantiated. And so when you’re dealing with the influx of the smaller brands, it basically makes us have to be that much more, I don’t want to say aggressive, but it’s like we now have to prove, even though we have already always been doing the testing and verification of our products prior to releasing them for commercial sale, we also have to now prove that to all these retailers because now they are trying to create a safe gate basically for their consumers to ensure that whatever they’re putting on their shelves is not going to hurt anyone as well.
So we’ve been dealing with being able to comply with a lot of different programs. And that’s also in the middle of changing the way that the industry operates right now. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes just to ensure that consumers are getting what they’re paying for, that they are getting product that is pure, it’s exactly what it says it is on the label and that no one’s trying to deceive you or anything like that.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, super tricky, and not only do you have the new entrants, but you’ve got a bunch of new ingredients that sound — I’ll use the word magical again. All of these new ingredients, they’re new to us. I mean, they’ve been around in various cultures all over the world, but they’re new. And I think everybody of the American consumer particularly is always looking at the shiny new. And so there’s a little bit of a challenge to kind of make sure you mitigate that risk. And then somebody for a brand like yours, it’s not like you can just start bringing in all of these new trendy products. It doesn’t make sense for your portfolio. But then to be able to make sure that you kind of up your game without getting too technical, like nobody wants to buy a brand where all it is, is just like technical claims and brand there as well. So I’m sure that there’s a straddle there or attention there that probably where you and the marketing team probably do a lot of that.
Zelda Beckford: And also, it’s always a tricky balancing act with supply, with sustainability.
I mean, we’re now doing regenerative agriculture. And so that too, just making sure that that’s sustainable for our customers as well. Because once you start down that path, the expectation you build that expectation. And so you have to be able to deliver or else you’ll lose your customer base to somewhere else. And we really want to make sure that we’re giving our consumers what they are asking for and what they want and what’s good for them. And so that’s where we spent a lot of time and energy and money on different initiatives to be able to support our sustainability efforts, we’re B-Corp certified. We like to do other partnerships with other B Corp companies. And so, that’s another thing that I also have been talking to the team about as well, is what I learned from my prior company was, the collaboration that you can do with other companies is really awesome. I mean, it’s great to help build your brand. And also, like, you can also be introduced to new consumers through different collabs. So yeah. I feel like, like you said, the opportunity is exponential. And that’s one thing that I really, really am excited about is there is so much opportunity here.
Diana Fryc: That’s so great. I love it. I mean, you’re tackling a lot of things early on, and I know that’s why they brought you on board. I mean, you just bring a whole host of new thinking. I think the power of your — the Goop experience specifically where you are working with your own brand, your own manufactured brands, and you were counseling other brands, I think is such an absolutely powerful and unique perspective to bring to a place like New Chapter that probably has been insular for a very long time. And so you bring the experience which you also bring that collaboration that you’re talking about. And I can’t think that I’m going to go double negative here. I think that there can be nothing but amazing opportunities ahead simply just by bringing your expertize into the organization. So, good for them and exciting for you. Like, that’s awesome. You’ll have to eventually put on your LinkedIn that your job title is The Wolf. We need to wrap it up because our time is getting to that place, but there’s a few questions that I like to ask everybody. And the first one is, I love it when our guests are able to share some sort of I call it a happy hour fact is some sort of like, do you know, can you believe that? Blah, blah, blah. Do you have an interesting fact or story that you can share with us?
Zelda Beckford: I guess I always do my thing. I always have this one fun fact because I feel like only certain people will know. But when I was a kid, I was on Romper Room.
Diana Fryc: No, you were? Oh my gosh, I probably saw you.
Zelda Beckford: Yeah, I was on Romper Room. And so we did this thing, I was at Goop like when GP I introduced you for the first time to everyone, she’ll introduce who you are, what your role is, and then you tell them your fun fact. And so I tell them I come back and only GP and like one other person knew what the Romper Room was. I was like, “Oh yeah, I feel old.”
Diana Fryc: That’s the thing, Romper Room. I’m just like suddenly back to sitting on the carpet, looking up at the TV. That’s so crazy. Okay, so this one will be a little bit different, what other women leaders and it doesn’t have to be in category do you want to elevate or just do you simply admire for the work that they’re doing?
Zelda Beckford: Oh, that’s a hard one, because there are so many.
I mean, there’s so many women that come to mind. I mean, I feel like I have been blessed with amazing bosses, women that have just been in my life or pretty much like every female boss that I have worked for, I’ve been able to maintain a relationship with and can call at any time or anything. And they’ve all been amazing, strong women. So, from my bosses at Goop to at Herbalife, even though she has since passed away. But I mean, I loved her and when I worked for her, she was my first boss at Herbalife, she was the director of quality and I always thought, like, I want to, not be her, but like I wanted that role and I wanted to make her proud. And so, it’s like where I am now, I’m like, oh my gosh, like I would have never even imagined. I just wanted to have her job, basically. There are so many women and not even like public figures, but just some people that have touched my life in different ways.
Diana Fryc: That’s awesome. I don’t know that everybody can say that. So that’s pretty great. I wonder what brands are trends you might be following these days and why.
Zelda Beckford: Oh, these are some good things I didn’t think about, I didn’t even think about these things. So brands or trends. There are some brands that, because I was at Goop, I was exposed to a lot of brands like BlueLand. I don’t know if you know them but they are basically like they do like cleaning products that are fragrance free, chemical free, their own reusable packaging.
Diana Fryc: Are they the tablets that you put in water.
Zelda Beckford: So they make like dishwasher tablets that that come in like a tin, powder, like dishwashing soap, hand soap and laundry detergent and things like that. So I have their stuff. It’s so funny because I feel like we’re all brand. I mean, like obviously P&G, I have like P&G stuff everywhere. P&G are like, part of our everyday life. And it wasn’t until I started working for a New Chapter that I realized how much P&G literally like…
Diana Fryc: In your life.
Zelda Beckford: Yes. Like every household has got to have at least one item from PNG in their home. Try to think I can’t even think of like that. One of the one of the things I had just talked about with the team at New Chapter was when I was talking about collaboration’s and I felt like, there are things that we could do to expose the brand, and I was using the example of the collaboration between Gucci and North Face because they were like it’s like two brands that you wouldn’t think of coming together, but it was almost like genius because, you kind of expose those customer bases to each other. And their ad campaign was so, I loved it. When I think about those things, it’s like those types of collabs inspire me because that’s what I want to bring to our brand is thinking outside of the box of not just aligning with a company that is exactly like ours, but something that would be catchy for the consumer to think, oh, and take a second look.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, I see that a lot with small brands working, there’s a lot of like fit fat fun.
There’s a lot of those that where the smaller brands kind of get an exposure by being kind of this aggregate kitting type of thing. But your example of North Face and Gucci is very well-established large brands, I think, are kind of an extension of that idea of how can we do that for our brands. Obviously, nobody’s going to get a fit, fat, fun $ 4000 box with a Gucci bag and a North Face. So interesting that that’s a model that you’re identifying. I probably have to go and do a little bit of look around and see who else might be doing that. Nice. I like that. How are you keeping yourself centered, sane these days? Are you, can you?
Zelda Beckford: Yeah. I moved from Southern California. I was living at the beach. I used to take a run to the beach every morning with my dog. And then I moved here basically at the beginning of winter. And so I was indoors for about three months or so. And so I had to learn how to readjust and even though, like, I love snow and all that because of Covid, I couldn’t really go out and enjoy like winter activities. I just did not want to put my health at risk that way. So I had to learn other things like cooking everything that I like and then working it off at the gym. So I basically I do like to invest because where I live, we have to reserve time in the gym. So I try to use that time is just to reinvest in myself, clear my mind and hopefully shed a pound or two in the process. But yeah, I think that and like now that I’m vaccinated and I’m able to go out and meet people, I have been putting efforts into networking more, getting out in the community. I love to volunteer my time and do things like that. So I’ve been reaching out to organizations in Vermont and Southern Vermont and Brattleboro for opportunities to get out in the community and meet people.
Diana Fryc: Awesome, wow, good. And if people want to get a hold of you, are you a LinkedIn kind of person or do you have a…
Zelda Beckford: Yeah. So I’m on LinkedIn. If anyone wants to reach out to me, feel free to email me there. I have the app on my phone so I check it regularly.
Diana Fryc: Okay, awesome. Well Zelda, I want to thank you so much for your time today and I’m so glad that we connected and have to reach out to Angela again, who made the introductions and thank her. And I really appreciate the work that you put into the community to kind of bring better products to the market and make sure we’re all safe and sharing the wealth with other people. Like, that’s the part that is amazing. So thank you for all of that.
Zelda Beckford: Thank you. Thank you for having me. This was fun.
Diana Fryc: Great. Okay, until next time, have a great day.
This episode is sponsored by Retail Voodoo, a creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness and fitness industries. If your natural’s brand is in need of positioning, package design or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at retail-voodoo.com. And so there you go. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to this channel and share with your network. Until next time, be well and do gooder.