Blog Archives


EP087 – East Fork: Alex Matisse, Founder

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.

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EP077 – Bookshop.org: Andy Hunter, Founder & CEO

Andy Hunter founded Bookshop.org with a mission to disrupt Amazon’s book sales and put them back into the hands of bookstores.

 

He sees his brand to be the MC and hands the mike over to the people who sell and love books. A mesmerizing uphill battle that you can witness him slowly winning by means of passion, dedication, and shared values between bookshop.org, physical bookstores, and last but not least book buyers that care about more than the lure of next-day shipping.

 

As an author, it was wonderful to have Andy on the show, but also as a brand-builder since there is a lot to be learned from how he and his team have created a disruptive and beloved brand in just two years.

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EP073 – Intelligentsia: Doug Zell, Founder

Doug Zell is the Founder of Intelligentsia Coffee, a brand that established itself as a leader in what came to be known as third-wave coffee.

 

Intelligentsia embodies a quest for superior quality and sophisticated design, but it is furthermore about the overall impeccable brand experience that those of us who have visited one of the 15 US locations have come to expect.

 

Doug is a masterful brand builder and his insights from not only successfully building, but carefully expanding the Intelligentsia brand over the past 26 years is, just like the brand itself, rather illuminating.

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EP072 – Savor Beauty: Angela Jia Kim, Founder

Angela Jia Kim founded  Savor Beauty with a strong brand ethos inspired by a career as a concert pianist.

 

What caught my eye about Angela’s brand was how she checks off all the boxes a brand in her space should, and she does it seemingly with ease: farm-fresh small-batch organic products, cutting-edge technology, 100% non-toxic clean formulas, made locally, supporting various deserving communities, cruelty-free testing, minority-owned, et cetera, et cetera.

 

And Angela understands that her brand ethos is the guiding light that makes all the difference in the why, the what, and the how of her brand. A wonderful episode, also because she shares with us how the person who sued her over her brand name gave her transformational business advice.

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On Mark Savant’s Show

We cover how to build a brand, why you need a brand, how to grow your business, if you can create a brand, and the future of brand building.

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EP071 – Breeze Airways (JetBlue, and others): David Neeleman, Founder & CEO

David Neeleman is the Founder of 5 airlines and changed the way people experienced surprise and delight by flying JetBlue.

 

During the pandemic, he launched his latest airline brand, Breeze, and I sat down with David to talk about what branding means to him, what makes great company culture, how a book inspired the JetBlue brand, and his preferred airline naming process (in the case of JetBlue the name was derived the Friday before a Monday launch).

 

Needless to say, an episode that is packed with insights from a truly amazing brand builder I believe all of us are thrilled to hear from on the subject of branding.

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EP070 – Drink Monday: Chris Boyd, Co-Founder & CEO

Chris Boyd is the Co-Founder of Monday, a Southern California distillery that crafts non-alcoholic spirits such as gin and whiskey.

 

The brand is only a year old and its impeccable design caught my eye from day one.

 

Chris and I talk about how community and authenticity are key to building his brand. And he is walking that talk as he has 1,366 shareholders to who he is reporting.

 

And of course, we talk about the power of design and how the big question ‘why’ should be fundamental to any entrepreneur’s journey of building their brand.

 

A spirited conversation all around.

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EP066 – Coolhaus: Natasha Case, CEO & Co-Founder

Natasha Case founded Coolhaus with her then-girlfriend – now-wife – in 2009. Inspired by her architectural background and a drive to create the best ice cream sandwich available, the couple bought “a piece of shit postal van masquerading as an ice cream truck’ on Craigslist for $2,500 dollars and towed it to the Coachella Music Festival using AAA.” The rest is history. Today Coolhaus is the top women-led ice cream company in the U.S. and can be found in over 6,000 grocery stores.

 

Despite its growth, Coolhaus remains true to the authentic origins of the brand: represent positive change, push the envelope for the future, and create high-quality ice cream and plant-based novelties for all to enjoy.

 

Coolhaus, with its quirky visual and verbal brand language, inspires the next generation of diverse founders, entrepreneurs, and creators to live out their dreams; and on today’s show, you will see just how they do it.

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Words of optimism and brand advice for the next wave of entrepreneurs

I held a commencement speech for the Founder Institute Berlin, sending the newly minted founders off into a world of unknowns and tough competition.

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EP065 – Swag.com: Jeremy Parker, Co-Founder & CEO

Jeremy Parker bought the url swag.com to disrupt the boring and outdated promotional products industry. Swag should stand for something new, and be bought differently, and it should be stuff people actually want to keep.

 

That vision turned into reality as swag.com had 2000% growth over the last three years, made it onto Number 218 on Inc’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies list, and counts TikTok, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Mercedes, Starbucks, Google, and Spotify as its customers. Even during this tough past year, where events were canceled and offices shut down, the brand kept growing while most promotional product companies laid low or faltered.

 

In the end, Jeremy’s brand succeeded because he kept a razor-sharp focus on the ever-evolving customer experience. There are many brand and marketing lessons in this episode, from smart brand positioning within a commodity vertical to leading with empathy, this is an episode not to be missed.

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