Blog Archives


EP052 – Cole Orobetz, Co-Founder, CEO, And CFO, Alpha Foods

Cole Orobetz founded Alpha Foods five years ago and is currently the CEO and CFO of the healthy frozen meal brand that can be found in over 9,000 stores across North America and Asia, where their plant-based Alpha Chicken Nuggets are available at KFC (which is quite an endorsement!).

 

Cole and I talk about how a blizzard and a vegan bagel dog got him into the business, why he had to re-name his brand for the Chinese market, how ‘familiarity’ is key to convincing meat-eaters to try plant-based varieties of their favorite foods, and how it took them hundreds of logos and four agencies to arrive at their very first logo – all because the brand strategy phase was missing upfront.

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EP051 – Dan Demsky, Co-Founder, Unbound Merino

If you launch a t-shirt brand in this day and age and you find a way to stand out, you bet I’ll have you on my show. And that is exactly what Dan Demsky did by co-founding a Merino wool clothing brand that is high-performance yet stylish.

 

Dan was running a Creative Agency but sought to pivot into offering an eCommerce product that allows for scaling instead. That was the goal, then the journey of finding an actual need to built a brand around started.

 

In this fascinating conversation, we talk about the power of having a very narrow positioning at first, how surrounding yourself with friends that are ambitious is a key to success and how the outrageous claim of being able to wear an Unbound shirt for 18 days without washing it was the right brand move.

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EP050 – Muhammad Saigol and Erik Rauterkus, Co-Founders, July

Muhammad Saigol and Erik Rauterkus of July launched an appliance in 12 months from idea to market through razor-sharp focus.

 

We dive into how the brand made ‘summer’ their DNA, how transparency with the customer is key, and why The Wall Street Journal called July ‘summer’s unlikeliest status symbol.’

 

We further look into the brand architecture of a startup that has big plans to become the next generation General Electric. Much to learn from these Co-Founders on how to craft a brand.

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EP049 – Anna Sheffield, Founder and Lead Designer, Anna Sheffield Fine Jewelry & Bing Bang

Anna Sheffield launched Bing Bang in 2001, and her eponymous fine jewelry brand followed in 2009. Since then, some fine folks you may have heard of like Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Helen Mirren, and Charlize Theron came to appreciate her work.

 

Today we go deep into how Anna created a cult-like following with a brand that was almost created by accident and how creating the actual brand platform just 4 years ago was instrumental to her growth. But, I also take this opportunity to dive into all the questions so many of us have about the industry as a whole: How much in the diamond industry is an upsell? Are lab-grown diamonds really the future? And, I am going a bit witchy, to what extend do reclaimed stones carry the soul of the deceased? Yes, I went there.

 

Anna was a fascinating guest. If you are an artist who wants to turn their craft into a successful brand, if you are a fan of Anna’s work, or even if you are just interested in taking a peek behind the nebulous diamonds industry, this episode is for you.

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EP048 – Shannon McLay, Founder and CEO, The Financial Gym

Shannon McLay built a gym to work out your finances: Monthly memberships, trainers, the whole nine yards. You are matched with a BFF – your best Financial Friend – the call to action on the site says ‘Let’s crush some goals’ and trainers welcome you by saying ‘You are about to get financially naked with me.’

 

It’s the Financial Gym, and it all started with the name. Shannon built this brand on experience and a lot of fantastic brand gut instincts. This conversation was a complete blast and her brand may just be the type of brand that the world needs right now.

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EP047 – Matt Cohen, Co-Founder, Kidfresh

Just in time for ‘back to school’ (albeit a strange and unusual one for most kids and their parents this year), I had the chance to talk with the Co-Founder of Kidfresh, a brand of healthy frozen meals for kids. Matt Cohen was appalled when he saw what kids in the U.S. were eating so he set out on a journey to change it by hiding all the healthy stuff in the type of meals kids actually crave. 

 

Today, the Kidfresh line is available in all major U.S. supermarkets and Matt’s mission of creating better food for kids has been fulfilled. We discuss how moving just a little bit away from the core DNA of a brand might quickly result in a flop, how a pivot from retail to wholesale created brand clarity, and what happens when kids realize that they’ve been tricked into eating healthy foods all along

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EP046 – Steve Schulze, Co-Founder and CEO, Nekter Juice Bar

Steve Schulze built Nekter Juice Bar into a franchise of over 160 locations nationwide with sales north of $100M a year. As regular listeners of this show will know, I am always thrilled to feature franchise success stories, because when it comes to franchises, branding is the holy grail while adding a layer of complexity to the creation and duplication of the brand.

 

Steve and I dive into the power of listening to your customer, how he pulled off being a store inside of Whole Foods, how to create brand loyalty, and how to work with creative agencies and consultants like myself along the way to create brand focus and clarity. Much to squeeze out of this episode!

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How a brand plan takes out the egos in your branding process

I sat down with Cairo-based Mohamed Tohami to give systematic tips on branding your business.

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EP045 – Phil Libin, Co-Founder and CEO, mmhmm and All Turtles; Co-Founder and former CEO, Evernote

One of the immense pleasures I get out of hosting this show is to be in the company of amazing entrepreneurs, one smarter than the other. Phil Libin is definitely on the top of that list. Phil, of course, is the Co-founder and former CEO of Evernote who just launched another one of his many companies and brands he helped shape over the past decades. And this one is very, very intriguing. Also, because it is called mmhmm.

 

This episode is so entertaining, so whip-smart and so important especially if you are involved in naming or branding, or in a startup, or in creating successful teams. And even if you are not, you will greatly enjoy this, because Phil is an amazing storyteller. Maybe you’d just like to know how Evernote got its iconic green elephant for a logo? Or hear why someone who hated marketing became a big believer in the power of great branding?

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EP044 – Esti Chazanow, Co-Founder and Brand Manager, LIV Watches

Esti Chazanow is the Co-Founder and Brand Manager of LIV watches, a brand that does not have customers but fans, a brand that is the David going against the Goliath, a brand that is digital-born yet celebrates the retro-physical, a brand that is inexpensive compared to its competitors yet is never seen as cheap.

 

So many topics that are crucial to understand on a deeper level for any brand marketer or entrepreneur and Esti is an amazing person to hear it from.

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