Alex Matisse, who made it a strategic point not to name his brand after his famous last name (yes, he is the great-grandson of one of the most influential artists to ever live, Henri Matisse), co-founded East Fork, a pottery brand I cherish and study from the outside for a lot of reasons, all of which you will learn more about during this very sincere and insightful conversation.
Alex and I talk about the soul of a brand and how to keep it intact, his dislike of the word authenticity, the constant – which he sees as positive – struggle that drives his artisanal ‘made in the US’ business, and how he and his two Co-Founders created a brand that those who know came to love and even obsess over.
Yet another conversation that reminds me of why I love bringing this show to you – and why I love spreading these insights on the often intrinsic art of crafting brands people truly love.
Sahand Dilmaghani founded Terra Kaffe, an innovative at-home espresso-brewing machine that seeks to upend the environmentally disastrous use of ‘pods.’
Inspired by European coffee culture and the Bauhaus design movement the TK-01 machine is a beautiful piece of design simplicity and Sahand and I dive deep into the topic of sustainability, the perhaps misunderstood ‘Made in China’ brand, rituals associated with coffee, pinning down a target audience while offering a table stakes item like a coffee machine, and how to set off to build a lifestyle brand.
An absolutely delightful conversation; so pour yourself a cup, and enjoy Sahand’s insights into building a brand from scratch.
Josh Tetrick is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Eat Just company, a 1.2 billion dollar food startup founded 10 years ago, which is, according to Forbes, “providing justice for animals while addressing food scarcity and the climate crisis.”
If you enjoy a tough branding challenge, if you appreciate an improbable success story, if you care about the environment and animals, if you eat eggs or enjoy the taste of real meat, then listen to this episode.
As of today, JUST Egg has sold the equivalent of 300 million chicken eggs and raised more than $800 million in funding from investors like Bill Gates, Marc Benioff, and Paul Allen. It took his team 4 or 5 years to have a plant-based product that scrambled like an egg. At that point, they spent 3-4 million dollars and the taste wasn’t even there yet. It just behaved like an egg.
Josh also runs GOOD Meat, which is not plant-based, instead, it is actual meat produced from a cell in a vessel. Needless to say, a lot to discuss about branding, story-telling, and naming, and Josh dives deep into all of it, while also discussing the intricacies of giving people something they did not know they needed in the first place. An all-around edutaining conversation.
Vianney Vaute is the Co-Founder and CCO of Paris-based BackMarket, a marketplace that fights against planned obsolescence.
6 months ago the startup was evaluated at 5.7 billion and driven by their brand DNA of ‘sabotage’ the company keeps old tech devices around for longer hence positively impacting the environment. And yet they found a way to attract the large tech giants like Samsung to not fear but actually join their brand.
From how to keep your brand DNA flag raised high during expansion to how to maintain your brand’s tonality as you grow into new markets to how important a founder’s instinct is to build a global brand, this conversation with Veenay is absolute brand gold and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you.
Jason Stoddard founded an improbable made-in-the-US product company in the HI-FI space that is putting out high-quality, inexpensive units while innovating on many fronts. Fueled by the name Schiit his company has become a beloved brand.
Schiit is only 12 years old yet 7 years ago Jason already published a book detailing the eventful journey of the garage startup. Many of you know that I am now also running a Made-in-the-US product startup that plays in the audio world called Toneoptic, so after reading Jason’s book about his brand’s incredible voyage I knew I had to have him on the show.
This is a must-listen for any company that seeks to go against the grain, anyone who believes in producing products in their home country, or those who need to be reminded that one can create a seven-figure startup out of their garage with 10k of self-funding, and of course for anyone who loves Hi-Fi. If this is not you, still listen, because this is a great one!
Nathan Beckord founded Foundersuite, a brand that pretty much every founder heard of, used, or referenced.
Nathan and I discuss if infusing brand into early-stage startup pitch decks is of importance, if a catchy or descriptive tagline suits a startup better, the power of community in brand building and we talk about Foundersuite’s Teddy Talks which involves a ginormous teddy bear. Yep, a rather varied and fun conversation that any startup founder, VC, or those working with startups should listen to.
David Coté and Julie Poitras-Saulnier run LOOP Mission which collaborates with major food industry actors to save perfectly good, but rejected products discarded before reaching grocery stores and transform them into products such as juices, smoothies, sodas, beer, gin, soaps, and dog treats.
I have to be frank and I can cut this intro very short: I have a complete brand crush and to me, LOOP is inspirational on so many fronts that it would be silly to mention them and instead I will assume you will trust my opinion and dive right into this episode where Julie and David share the way they continue to build their ever-expanding brand upon purpose – with a twist of wit.
Nick Green is the Co-Founder & CEO of Thrive Market, a membership-based online platform that makes healthy living easy and accessible to all. Since launching in 2014, Thrive Market has grown to more than 1 million paying members and become a touchstone example of a mission-driven company at scale. In addition to offering great natural and organic products at affordable prices to its members, the company donates a free year of membership to a family in need for every paid membership. The business has also been recognized as a leader in regenerative agriculture, carbon-neutral shipping, and Zero Waste operations, and in 2020 became the nation’s largest grocer to receive B Corp Certification, as well as a Certified Great Place to Work.
Nick and his 3 Co-Founders set out to launch a ‘Costco meets Whole Foods’ concept, which is insanely ambitious and a remarkable story given where Thrive is today. Needless to say, this conversation delivered many insights into today’s Zeitgeist, technology, and consumer expectations, and it was an immense pleasure being able to talk with Nick about the way in which his brand continues to grow with a strong guiding star and our planet’s health top of mind.
Our job as brand strategists is to divert brands away from talking about their products and services.
Christina (Fagan) Pardy founded Shit That I Knit, a brand of sustainable high-quality knit-wear that one would say besides its name – although the contrary is true – has become known around the world. Christina was recently on the TODAY show and Shit That I Kit was the official Team USA brand partner for beanies and mittens this past Winter Olympics, which is rather spectacular.
Here is an entrepreneur who started off with brand-thinking and learned the business side along the way. So obviously we talk about the name, how it was derived, how to say it on TV when you can’t use the sh*t word, and how not to overdo the shit pun in her brand language. Christina discusses how authenticity and transparency played a big role in her brand’s success. We chat about how to get your brand in front of influencers and celebrities, how she moved her production to Lima, Peru where she is now empowering over 200 women as part of her team and she shares her Give A Shit program with us.
Another favorite episode of mine is now ready for your discerning ears!