Blog Archives


EP109 – Ozlo: Rockwell Shah, CEO & N.B. Patil, Co-Founder + CTO

Episode 109 brings us Rockwell Shah, the CEO, and N.B. Patil, the Co-Founder & CTO of Ozlo, an innovation startup in the sleep technology space.

 

All three of Ozlo’s Co-Founders are former Bose veterans and they acquired and licensed assets from Bose to resurrect the discontinued but beloved Sleepbuds.

 

This episode is a fascinating conversation about building a new brand on existing IP, the fragile tension between what customers say they want and what they actually need, building a brand not on a singular product but a grander vision, how most consumer startups fail because they are not telling the right story, and how branding, in the end, is all about alignment – a simple but deep thought that we are exploring further together today.

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EP108 – Joan Nguyen: Co-Founder & CEO

Joan Nguyen is the Co-Founder and CEO of bumo, a brand that provides outstanding on-demand childcare for families and employers.

 

Bumo considers itself in the business of ‘parent care’ and today you can learn all about the TLC she and her Co-Founder put into crafting the bumo brand very hands-on, strategic, and filled with raw authenticity.

 

Trust is bumo’s brand DNA, but with an audience of new parents, you show trustworthiness very differently than you would with a financial organization for example.
Listen in as we talk all things branding, but we also dive into the psychology that drives purchasing decisions, data that could point you the wrong way, and how bumo ended up with ‘obsessive users’ despite the many pivots in the brand’s journey.

 

It was a fascinating conversation and I am excited to share it with all you brand-builders, may you be a founder or a marketer or a designer: This one is not be missed, despite the subpar audio on my end given a slew of technical difficulties. Yes, this can even happen to those who have recorded 100+ episodes. Joan labeled it ‘resilience’ and that is exactly how I see it.

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EP107 – Bennett Maxwell: Dirty Dough, Founder & Chairman

Bennett Maxwell is the Founder and Chairman of Dirty Dough, one of the fastest-growing restaurant concepts in the US with 70 locations and another couple hundred in development.

 

In this episode, we get to hear how Bennett’s authentic reaction to a lawsuit that could have taken the business out instead created brand buzz, helped build his tribe, and added to the company’s growth.

 

We dive into the idea of instilling your personal mission into your company, how listening to a team member’s interactions with a customer changed the meaning of this brand’s name, and how color choices can directly affect business success.

 

That and so much more in this delightful conversation with Dirty Dough’s Founder, stuffed with gooey insights.

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EP106 – Michelle Penczak: Squared Away, CEO & Founder

Michelle Penczak was my assistant for 3 years. Today she runs a 400-people strong brand employing military spouses that made #297 on the Inc 5000 last year.

 

Squared Away is rooted in a mutual bond between people and philosophies and is doing what I keep advising most everyone to be doing: The brand is highly niche-focused, was born out of a personal necessity, and came with a tribe in-tow.

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EP105 – Alex Ostroy: Ostroy, Co-Founder & Creative Director

Alex Ostroy successfully combined his passion for cycling and art into a beloved brand that creates eclectic clothing for cyclists who crave self-expression in an industry known for the opposite.

 

Coming from a graphic design and Creative Direction background, Alex’s story and advice will resonate with a lot of you who struggle with blending art and business, who doubt yourself when going with your gut instincts rather than catering to the audience and market at all times and are afraid of combining passions to create a brand for themselves.

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EP104 – Omsom: Kim Pham, Co-Founder

Kim Pham is a first-generation Vietnamese-American, the daughter of refugees, and, together with her sister Vanessa, the Co-Founder of Omsom, the loud and proud Asian food brand of noodles and sauces.

 

This episode already ranks very high on my top favorite HTM interviews ever. When founders start with a why and figure out the how and the what in the process, that’s when you know great brand stories are in the making. Don’t miss this episode.

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Building Brands vs. Building Businesses

Entrepreneurship’s unforeseen twists and turns, the difficulty of hardware startups, failure (aka growth), and of course a whole lot of tips on building brands in 2024.

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EP103 – Thumbtack: Marco Zappacosta, Co-Founder & CEO

Marco Zappacosta built Thumbtack, the marketplace for home services, over the last 15 years. In 2021 Thumbtack had a $3.2 billion valuation and the highest number of professional listings, followed by Yelp.

 

In this episode, we dive into how Marco’s background from having entrepreneurial parents – his father co-founded Logitech nonetheless – and running his startup basically from straight out of college to today has shaped the Thumbtack brand.

 

As you can imagine, many insights are awaiting you in this inspiring conversation.

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EP102 – Norwegian Wool: Michael Berkowitz, Founder & CEO

Michael Berkowitz was a commodities trader who switched to the fashion world after taking on coat-making as a hobby. Yes, you heard that correctly. So he shifted to what in plain sight could be seen as yet another commodity: making coats. But there is more to this story than meets the eye as he solved tangible problems while being credited with making ‘quiet luxury’ a new movement in the world of brands.

 

Launching a quiet luxury brand seems to come with tons of added risk. What gave him the confidence to launch into the flashy fashion world without that type of branding? The answer to that, plus plentiful branding and marketing insights is what awaits you on this episode as we kick off the New Year.

 

Oh, and in case you think you have not heard of Norwegian Wool, I am certain you have seen their products on HBO’s hugely successful show Succession which has outfitted their cast and even mentioned the brand by name.

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EP101 – Toneoptic: Fabian Geyrhalter, Founder

Hitting The Mark is back from its hiatus with guest host Kara Ebel interviewing Fabian Geyrhalter. We wanted to do something special for episode 101, and here we go!

 

You know Fabian Geyrhalter as the host of this show, but today we spin things around and have Fabian in the hot seat talking about his innovative hardware startup for audiophiles and music lovers. Trendhunter calls Toneoptic ‘progressive,’ Forbes ‘revolutionary,’ and the Financial Times ‘clever.’ Fabian shares the hurdles and fails, how he crafted the brand strategy and created bootstrapped journeys and experiences for his tribe, and he dives into all things branding, marketing, and entrepreneurship. An episode as unique as his company’s product. Enjoy!

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