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 0:42
Hi, Diana Fryc here with the Gooder Podcast where I talk with the powerhouse women in CPG. About their journeys to success. Today I have with me Dr. Jeremy Weisz, not a woman, but a good partner and friend of mine, here from Rise25, who has done 1000s of interviews with successful CEOs and CPG companies. And we’re flipping the script today, where he’s going to be interviewing me ish, we’re going to talk about some fun stuff.
Jeremy Weisz 1:12
I’m excited. And this is going to be Diana, first of all, thanks for having me. This is gonna be the year in review episode. And this is I love these because we get to hear the great guests, some of the great guests you’ve had on some of the lessons learned and we get to hear your thoughts. Because you’re always interviewing people. So yeah, and before we dig into this, this episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo and Retail Voodoo build Beloved and dominant brands in the food wellness, beverage and fitness and CPG industries. You know, I know I listen your podcast, Diana and you help anyone from PepsiCo to Starbucks, but you also help startups like highkey yeah, by the way, when I was in Costco, I saw Highkey and I thought, oh, Diana, and everyone in between, right? Yeah, they guide mission driven consumer brands to attract abroad and passionate fan base. I know Diana looks young, but they’ve been doing this for decades and decades. Yeah. And over 3042 Yeah, exactly. And so if you want to give your brand an unfair advantage, I’m biased but you should go to retail-voodoo.com. I don’t care. I mean, she lives on the podcast regardless but retail-voodoo.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. And so we’re gonna dig in. I’m excited. Okay, great. And if you’re watching the video you’re seeing, we’re looking at the Gooder Podcast page here and you can go to retail-voodoo.com/gooderpodcast. And the first guest we’re going to talk about is Maisie Maisie adapting and evolving as a leader in the food and beverage industry. And I love to hear your thoughts what stuck out for you with Maisie.
Diana Fryc 2:59
Yeah, Maisie was a really fun interview. I’m trying to remember who recommended me to her. It’ll come to me here in just a moment. She was such a great person to talk to. First of all, she works over at Jones soda, which a lot. So yeah, yeah. Yeah. And those people that live here in the Northwest have, you know, Joan sodas, Little darling brand, that’s just kind of grown a cult following and is really growing. But in the last when I interviewed her, we talked about how she had to basically shoestring budget during the pandemic and lead the company not just through the pandemic, but also she was charged with growing the organic growing the business. And we talked about supply chain issues, we talked about being having financial resources kept because the company at a senior leadership level was a little bit hesitant to kind of overcommit on spending new new monies against budgets. And so she needed to get really crafty with how best to find your target audience. How best to find resources, all at the same time is kind of figuring out where am I going to help my company find bottles because there was a supply chain issue, just getting the, you know, the packaging into the United States so that they can fill it. So really great story of leading with tenacity through a really challenging conversation. And then some really amazing things have happened this year subsequently because of her hard work, and some really significant growth they’ve added to staff, but they’re getting some traction and and seeing some velocity in marketplaces that has been really exciting to watch. So really great. Leadership good, really good vibe, just really easy to talk with. And she could have been burned out, I think all of us have some level of burnout. But she just felt like she she got this, she’s got this. Yeah. And having come from Starbucks, her, you know, she had came from a really big system. And she was able to pivot, which is very difficult as, as we have seen, sometimes when you come from a really large CPG system, and you come into something darling and small, you don’t have the redundancies to be able to support you. And she just, she just fell right in and was able to make some really big impacts.
Jeremy Weisz 5:41
I love it. And you know, I feel like it should be a requirement for your show. banner that people should send you the product, so you can drink it on it, or I mean, I would do it just for the fee and samples. But yeah, good, either. Yeah. It’s, like really colorful, like, do I don’t even know what flavors? I don’t know if you have a fish? Oh, yeah.
Diana Fryc 6:01
Yeah, they, they, they’re, they’re known for a couple of three things. First of all, they’re in Seattle, what they were known as they were the first kind of like with the whole concept of customized labeling where they were changing labels, and people would send in pictures, and you could have your picture end up being on a label, so and then they started really getting clever with some of their flavor profiles a few years ago, it could be a while ago now where they came out, like with the Thanksgiving Day set where you could have like, Turkey soda and stuff. And people just loved it. Like they loved it, but not sustainable for growth. And so of course, they had to make some decisions, as you all you know, as all companies do, where you kind of look at your 8020 rule and kind of go how Okay, how are we going to grow this? And how do we loop seasonal in here. So it’s a little bit more sustainable as a business. But that at least to the people in the Northwest that have been with Jones soda since the very beginning. That’s where Jones soda kind of lives in our hearts. And it was why I was just really excited to meet somebody who was in there helping steer the ship.
Jeremy Weisz 7:07
That’s cool. Yeah, someone in a conference rooms like I know what a girl the company, let’s do Turkey soda. I’m like, No, I’m not so much. And
Diana Fryc 7:16
that was yet And yet, that’s what I remember.
Jeremy Weisz 7:19
It’s a novel. Yeah, totally. It’s a novelty. It’s like a almost like a get it for someone like a gag gift. Yeah. So that was great. Let’s go to the next one. Here.
Diana Fryc 7:30
We have Sashee.
Jeremy Weisz 7:33
Sashee, so pioneering the new tea culture in America, what stuck out for you with Sashee.
Diana Fryc 7:40
So Sashee, and I had this really amazing conversation where we had kind of an aha moment during a during, when we were preparing for the pocket podcast, not even in the podcast, I was like to have a few few minutes, 1520 minutes with each of my guest beforehand, find out what’s important to them, make sure that I’m presenting them in a way that makes them feel like they’re presenting themselves in the best light, talk about things that are important to them. And we had kind of this moment where she was talking about her her tea, the way she manufactures her tea, the format, where it’s it’s bagless, but it dissolves instead of Ruin, you don’t Yeah, it’s really cool. And that she started experimenting with some of the flavors. And her approach was to kind of modernize Tea and make it more youthful. And what we started talking about was like, Well, where does tea culture come from a tea culture comes from Great Britain and from Asia. And both are very serious about their tea. And the culture. That’s the tea culture in the US is still predominantly that of European. And so it’s it was like this concept of like, it was colonialization tea is colonial eyes, like when you think of tea coming from India. And the history of bringing that all in having that conversation with Satoshi was a moment in time for both of us to go Oh, it’s our we’re drinking tea like they did 200 years ago, 300 years ago, 500 years ago. And some of that is great. But when you’re talking about trying to bring in a new audience, it that doesn’t stick and so she’s created this movement, as you can see here on the screen. She’s like, she’s really really bringing tea in to a modern place. And the reason why I personally believe that it’s working is she did send me some samples. I saw she was one of those people that did send me samples before the call and then since then we’ve ordered some more. And my daughter who’s 13 was all over it. She’s horrible. whole batch and and I’m a huge tea drinker. And so this is my daughter’s version of tea. And so she and I drink tea together. And now my daughter has this habit that she shares with her mom. And we’re having a bonding moment. And I’m like, like, you can see there’s a Hello Kitty option on there, which I was talking to her about when I went to nosh live a couple of weeks ago. It’s like, that’s really awesome. So I think she’s really onto something. And she’s fearless. And she’s willing to fight for it. And when it comes to the brand component, she doesn’t she’s not fussy about it. She knows what she wants, and she doesn’t mess with it. And I think that’s really important. From a branding perspective. Even if it’s wrong, you want to hang on to it, until you know that you’re going to be making the right kind of changes. And what I frequently see with some younger brands, which I would say, Tea Drops is a younger brand in the grand scheme of the world. I mean, they’ve been around for a few years. But when you think of the ones that are most established, you know, you think of like, I’ll just say I don’t some of the General Mills like Kashi Kashi as a brand, like they made a big move, and then they leave it alone for a little while. And then they make a move. Even if it’s a it doesn’t seem like a big move to the average consumer. They make another big root move, and then they sit on it for a while like thinking give it time to simmer. They give it time to do the work that they need to do. And I really feel like so she’s got that like she’s like going, I’m gonna let this simmer before I know what the next big move is. And that way she’s spending her time as an entrepreneur in running the company and not fussing with the things that don’t really need fussing with.
Jeremy Weisz 11:50
Love it. Love it. So check out that tea. Next one, then yeah, yeah, so leaders brands Hawaiian value. With Danielle, what stuck out for you with Danielle.
Diana Fryc 12:03
So with Danielle, what was what I was really impressed by his she’s working for mana Lola, of course, it’s a Hawaiian brand. She herself has roots in the Hawaiian culture. And we talked about the development of a brand that has a legacy and a culture that’s been kitcher FIDE, right, like all of us with when we think of Hawaiian brands have like our standard that’s got a big old flower, and it’s got a Tiki and it’s got this and it’s got that and the Hawaiian culture is so much deeper than that. It’s so much deeper than that. And how do you get the attention of the mainland consumer or an international audience while preserving and being respectful to a culture right? Regardless of whether it’s Hawaiian or not? How do you evolve and move it so that the Genesis the the foundational elements of the brand, are See you can see just this love the Happy Holidays, packaging is just quite so loving, lovely, like it is not? trope, for lack of a better description like it’s expected. And yet pleasant. It’s not what you would call your standard issue, Hawaiian design language, Hawaiian gift design language. And so we talked about how this is the way we build brands as well. So Danielle and I were really connecting here is when you’re building a brand, it’s really not about the design expression in and of itself, if you don’t really know what your brand stands for. And she when she came in is brought into Manila, she was responsible for making sure that the brand was embedded in the business, at the most basic level at the warehouse at the front desk, if the people that were packaging it, and then the expression of the packaging the marketing the website became such an easy translation, right? That’s all what brand positioning is about. So really connected with her about that. And the and the respect and the the respect of the culture and and how to do it, right. In my opinion, this is how you are respectful to a culture and make a really powerful CPG brand.
Jeremy Weisz 14:24
I love it. Yeah, this is fantastic. And this is making me hungry. I think you should make it a requirement. To give you a snack, I want you to include that when someone signs up to be a guest. Like here’s my address. So here’s my address,
Diana Fryc 14:37
ship ship. So many of my guests do do that, for example, somebody that I had on Ellsberg recently. Oh, her name escapes me at the time, but she sent me a little care package ahead of time and shared it with everybody in the studio and that was really great.
Jeremy Weisz 14:54
Amazing. Yeah. Miyoko so mentoring the next generation of leadership Miyoko, what sticks out for you with Miyoko?
Diana Fryc 15:04
Okay, well, it would be I would be shocked if anybody in the industry did not have mad respect for Miyoko. Personally, she’s not somebody that and I would be surprised if people in food and beverage industry didn’t know who Miyoko was particularly in the better for you space. First of all, she is formerly a chef. she transitioned her her skills into making vegan vegan products because she saw a lack of those products in the marketplace. But what makes her and her product her company and her brand’s products so credible is her absolute dog ID passion for animal welfare and rights. Like she is a prime example of walking the walk she has a with see here, they show it her Rancho Campeche Tian, which is where they she basically adopts neglected and exploited abused farm animals, and they get to live their life out on the land. And you will see her out on LinkedIn actively articulating actively actively pursuing her POV about animal welfare and rights, especially when it comes to mass production, mass production of meat and farming. And she would like everybody to be vegan, and that’s not going to happen. But because she’s so articulate about her passion and why you can see that she’s moving the needle in this way, like this whole concept of people being flexitarian. There are people who were like I will I want a hamburger where you can’t make me go from, you know, meat seven days a week to no meat, but I will go plant based one day a week, and now we’ll go plant based two days a week. And that at the end of the day, at the end of the day making those incremental movements is they think how we’re going to make change in anything. So I love that. And then I also love the fact that she walks the walk in that she coaches, other business leaders, other women, other entrepreneurs that are wanting to gain a foothold in this industry. And she does that because she also sees that there’s lack of senior leadership in the CPG industry from women in diversity in general, it’s still predominantly Caucasian, older male cisgender. And we we just, she and I are on the same page about we can’t represent we can’t represent the culture of the United States and be so homogenized in our leadership. So I love that consistency and her her passion.
Jeremy Weisz 18:02
Love them. And I have a question. Um, the, you know, listed as one of the resources is the Plant Based Foods Association? Yeah. What talk about that for a second? So these are all different plant based foods that are kind of collaborated.
Diana Fryc 18:17
Yeah, I mean, as the as the naturals industry has grown, I went to the plant based diet went from plant based diet and plant based. The plant based diet has gone from a trend to a macro trend to it’s basically mainstream, this concept of flexitarian. And it’s only really happened over the last four or five years the acceleration of it. There I Who did I interview earlier from eight track foods, Maggie from eight track foods where she was like, in the room where people were saying how do we turn this concept of vegan food into something that mainstream consumers would want to participate in and it was moving it was calling it plant based diet like there’s a group of people that said, let’s let’s lean into this concept of culling and plant based diet, which moved from vegan which has a political and ideological component tree attached to the diet to plant based diet, which is not I mean, it’s got this concept of ecological betterment. Like we want people to eat more plants because not only is it healthy for you, but it’s good for the planet, but it moves it away from vegan which was sort of a swear word for those that were not vegan for a long time. It’s starting to soften up now as as we’ve got this concept of plant based diet, it’s like there’s a little bit more meeting in the middle now and it’s not so divisive, but we still meet people who are like vegan who, God bless them. I I am not that person but I committed pletely respect the fact that when somebody says they’re committing to animal welfare rights, they mean it to down to the products that they put on their body and in the clothing that they the clothing that they wear, the products that they have in their home at down to what they eat. Like I get it, I get it.
Jeremy Weisz 20:18
That’s fantastic. I’m gonna check out those products too, by the way, um, and so the next one, we have Cynthia, do the evolution, the natural products industry? what stuck out for you with Cynthia.
Diana Fryc 20:32
So Cynthia is another Cynthia, founder of Lily’s Sweets. And now another one that I love. Yeah. And that just the recent acquisition for earlier this year in 2021, from Hershey is Wow. Um, what I loved about her was, she said, she has an incredible journey. She doesn’t wear her age at all, do you wouldn’t believe by looking at this headshot, that this woman started a co op in the late 70s. No experience in the food, no experience in the retail industry. And she just felt passionate about things there was if I remember correctly, there’s family members somehow involved in Naturals. But what I loved about it was that she’s kind of like, I’m going to one of the godmothers of the naturals industry like she was in the 70s. This was like,
Jeremy Weisz 21:29
I mean, stevia it looks like I don’t know, it’s just when she implements stevia in 2008. But, I mean, no one probably even at that point. Most people even know what stevia was at that time.
Diana Fryc 21:39
No, they in the early 2000s is really when Lily started to get a real solid foothold and and she had another interesting story if you listened to her podcast, her her episode, what was great was, she talked about being at I don’t remember what the trade show was, it was a conference or trade show may have even been Natural Products Expo in the early 2000s. Where she was in a room with a bunch of retailers and, and Whole Foods had said something to the effect of either Whole Foods had said something or it was alluded to that Whole Foods was going to grow through acquisition like that was like the that was like the flag had been sent up in the air natural foods is still pretty young at that time. And she tells the story of being in the room when that happened. And kind of like what has happened with sugar vilification and sugar and fat and the whole like such a great and powerful person. And she speaks with such ease. And what was so great about this call, or this call. This recording that I had with her was Jane Miller, who is was the former CEO of Lily’s had worked had been handpicked by Cynthia Tice. But Jane Miller and I had done an interview. I did an interview a year before and Jane was like, I think Cynthia should be on your show. She’s got a completely different story than I do as a founder owner. So was a really nice kind of figured complements. Yeah, nice compliment. And, and then of course I got to meet her at nosh live this last couple of weeks ago. As well in person I got to meet an incredible number of women that I interviewed for the gooder podcast at nosh live, they all came and found me well not all of them. There’s a couple I’m coming for, you know, I’m turkey. There’s a couple that were busy I know but there were a number of women that I got to meet live and in person and that was really beautiful. And Cynthia was one of them.
Jeremy Weisz 23:45
I’m gonna at the end of this I want to hear your thoughts on Nash live. Yeah, once we once we get all these but that’s great. And I was eating a Lily’s bobbins probably for baking. I don’t know, I was just eating it right out of the package last week. So you know, and probably my wife yelled at me I was gonna use that for something. I’m like, sorry, I just took it down. They’re delicious. The The next one is Zelda the movement of the dietary supplement industry. What was Zelda what stuck out was he was Zelda.
Diana Fryc 24:15
So what is so couple of things with Zelda first of all, she was recommended to me by a woman that I that I interviewed who is her name? She does. She does placement work. Let’s see if I remember her.
Jeremy Weisz 24:36
I’ll see if we put her up on here. Pushy Risa.
Diana Fryc 24:40
I’m looking Oh yeah, ei i Her name is there she is. Angela. Angela. Angela was Yes, she does placement, executive level placement but for food and beverage industry executives. And she had recommended that I talked about resulta because in the natural space, or in the, in the supplement space, which I believe Zelda works for new chapter, if my memory serves me Yes, new chapter, there was so much craziness around supplements it between 2002 1001. And it’s only accelerating as people who are on either side of the vaccine conversation are looking at supplements as a way to bolster their immunity and help them live healthier and better lives. And so we talked a lot about smaller brands, how smaller brands are able to bring new products into the marketplace, but there are some efficacy sometimes sometimes not always, Fs, efficacy, easy for me to say efficacy issues. There’s also claims issues that get really, really tricky. And she we just talked about her role at New Chapter is around making sure that first of all their products are safe. And how do we do that? How do we do that during a pandemic? How do we do that when there’s a supply chain issue? How do we maintain consistency? How do we share the right information? Like from a compliance standpoint, how do we make sure that we are not misleading customers? So we talked about labeling, we talked about all of those things that are central to products like supplements, where you are making where your brand exists, mostly based off of health claims. Every brand has a mission, vision and values, absolutely. But when it comes to something like supplements, supplements have a very specific place in the consumers life. And there are things that absolutely must happen. And we talked a little bit about how to where she sometimes she has to be the bad guy with a marketing team, she has to come and go, you can’t say that we can’t say that that’s not in our best interest. But customers are going to find that confusing. And other times where she gets to provide insights to the marketing team and really on other elements, other parts of the organization from an operational standpoint, on ways to streamline manufacturing, streamline, approvals, FDA expectations, all of those things. She is involved in new chapter in different ways than many of these other people that I’ve spoken with that might be founder owners or marketers where she has insight into marketing, but from a different POV. So it was really great to talk to somebody who was able to talk about marketing, but from a slightly different perspective, kind of like from far more tactical and functional position.
Jeremy Weisz 27:52
It’s needed, I’m sure like, people need to be reined in sometimes
Diana Fryc 27:56
yes. And what what i She also has this really her professional journey was really she worked at Beachbody right before she went to New Chapter. And she also worked at goop. And there were a couple of other places I was like you have really worked at some amazing places. And so it was very interesting to go from goop to beach body to new chapter which from from, from a personality like a brand personality is very different than the West Coast brands, new chapters a little bit more established East Coast and so different kind of culture altogether. So she talked about just kind of a little bit of a whiplash moving from California to the East Coast. And, and that whole perspective as well.
Jeremy Weisz 28:44
I love it. I wanted to wrap things up a little bit with NOSH Live. Yeah, so and your thoughts who are some of the interesting people speakers that you met in your thoughts? Live? Yeah.
Diana Fryc 29:00
Um, what was my interesting part about NOSH Live, I talked. So what I’ll say about Nosh Live was the amount of smaller, newer brands that were there like people that were were just on the cusp of tripping over and turning into something big and and all the way down to like I’ve got an idea that was much bigger than say, like an expo which is a little bit more agnostic across big CPG and look in the kind of those startup brands. It was really inspirational to see some of like Jane Miller’s Cynthia Tice, Sashee and who else was there? Miyoko was there in like I said, all of these amazing women that were accepting awards were on panels talking about D TC, I think those were really great. And I think it’s a really good place to, I would say to network as a smaller brand. And what I also found very interesting is, there was a lot of VC there, there was, I would say, a disproportionate amount. People definitely looking for what’s the next trend, because you typically can find them when you’re looking at the smaller brands, those are the ones that are dabbling in, though, things because the risk, the risk is much easier to handle. I mean, if you’re Hershey’s, you don’t want to try something new. Unless you’re pretty dang confident you’re going to be successful at it. So you can see this new innovation coming into so there’s a lot of VC people checking out what’s new. What’s the new trends? What brands should I be aware of? So that was kind of fun. I met a couple of brands essential candy is the one that really sticks out to me as a newer brand, their direct to consumer right now.
Jeremy Weisz 31:02
What is the what were that were their
Diana Fryc 31:04
essential candy is a candy but yeah, yeah, candy. So here’s here’s the thing that I think is amazing about this candy. In that it was it was a brand is a candies were created for I believe it was created for the candies were created for a family member. And they’re basically a candy infused with essential oils. And these products were occur as these candies were created for somebody in the family that had cancer, and had no appetite. And these essential oils would not only by candy, provide a little bit of a flavor, provide some calories, but depending on the essential oil would increase appetite. And so it was basically a functional candy. And our team did a taste we did it, we do something in our studio called Taste Test Tuesday, where we bring in four or five products that we find out in the marketplace that we think are interesting. And we literally do a taste test like you would do a coffee or wine or whatever. And we would talk about what do we think about the packaging? What do we think about them? brand message does the product meet the packaging? Conversation, just the whole thing from a brand perspective. But we tried the essential candy and it was mixed? It was it was definitely mixed because essential oils and candy is definitely a certain thing. And so we were talking back and forth amongst each other well, that would probably work for somebody who has cancer because they can’t taste as much. So the flavor isn’t there. And then we sort of go, Well, what else could this product be used for? Because we can’t help ourselves. And we start kind of building this whole brand ecosystem in our head, when we’re feeling really excited about something news, really found that product to be exciting. And Dean is his first name. I don’t remember the last name, but had had a wonderful conversation with him. I really think that’s a very interesting product. And that probably is the most exciting part for me as well, as much as I say everybody’s coming in and looking for the new innovation. I like the new innovation too, because I like the thinking, like how did this thing come into existence? And meeting those people that will that felt strongly enough about needing this thing that they went out and made it themselves? Those are the people that I’m so inspired by, like everybody that we talked about, you know, everybody that we talked about today so far. So um, you know, NOSH Live, would you would would I go? You know, what kind of people would I recommend going there? You know, I met some people from Hershey’s and modeles and some of the investment capital firms and a lot of smaller brands. I think, if you’re looking for Industry Insights, learning how to market your brand, if you’re a small to midsize brand, I think that’s a really great place to go. If you’re a larger brand, you know, a lot of the things that are going on there, if you’re going, you’re going for networking, you’re just going to hang out with your peeps. And there are the Wayne Woo’s of the world that are there. In fact, Wayne was there as well. And then all of the panelists are there. And so you get to talk with people who’ve been doing this for a while, as well as the shiny newer brands.
Jeremy Weisz 34:25
Yeah. Diana, this is fantastic. I appreciate you sharing the lessons learned over the past year and also obviously, NOSH Live and I encourage everyone to go to the podcast check out more. You can go to retail-voodoo.com and then go to the podcast and check out the episodes. Yeah. So thanks, Diana.
Diana Fryc 34:47
No, thank you. That was a fun recap. Great way to think about this last year.
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