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Startup Clubs vs. Brand Accelerators

In most major cities now, there are local CPG startup communities. Some cities, like the Bay Area, have multiple competing 'clubs.' This is where very young founders new to the industry tend to find themselves for support and peer-to-peer information sharing about operational basics.  I have

Top 3 Reasons You Need a Creative Brief

Writing a creative brief is one of those BigCo professional practices that should be taking place at every consumer brand startup. Yet, I rarely meet founders who even know what I'm talking about when I mention this. It's partly because it's a stuffy BigCo term.

The Velocity Continuum at Retail

"Why did I get delisted at some stores and am growing velocities at other stores? Shouldn't my performance be similar in one metro area?" Well, no. No, not at all. New founders often experience the velocity continuum and get overly worried. It's basically a universal function for

Top 3 Reasons Your Emerging Brand Needs a Strategic Plan

Look, would you climb a 14,000 foot mountain without vetting your optimal route given current weather conditions or without making sure you have the right supplies and physical training? Would you go on a 200 mile bike ride without planning your route, bringing spare tubes,

Time is Your Most Abundant Resource, So Use It

It’s not uncommon for new consumer brands in retail to get caught up in a B2B mindset where founders unwittingly outsource sales strategy to brokers. Then, they’re basically managing the package graphics supply chain and a co-manufacturer. This situation describes at least ¾ of the businesses

Making SH*t Up in PR releases Will Bite You

Making SH*t Up in PR releases Will Bite You

Here’s a great anecdote from a very experienced Costco broker that is instructive for all fast-growing founders tempted to exaggerate their performance in PR:  “I have lost count of brands bragging about their Costco numbers when they are on podcasts or on LinkedIn. Then I work

Saying ‘No’ Starts with Your Friends

Saying ‘No’ Starts with Your Friends

Let’s discuss an important, barely discussed, and uncomfortable truth: friends who are service providers.   Maybe you went to school together. Pretty weak. Maybe you both surf. Weak, but interesting. Maybe you worked together. Better. Tell me more. Maybe you met and developed a she-mance at some founder round-up event.

Pressure-Testing Your Topline

Pressure-Testing Your Topline

Getting seduced by your own success is a thing. Whether it came right away or after years of struggle, it doesn’t matter. If you simply look at wholesale case volume growth, you may be in for a rude surprise in 6-9 months.   You may find your

The Solo Founder Conundrum

Let’s face it. Not everyone who has the passion to enter the consumer goods arena is doing this with a partner or co-founder. Daniel Lubetsky didn’t. And look how Kind bar turned out.   I’ve detailed the common problems with lone wolf founders on my podcast. This is the most

What Makes the Professional Founder Different

Every year hundreds of new consumer brands ship their first cases to retailers or 3P online fulfillment centers. Most will never make it to even $500,000 in trailing annual sales (i.e., gross company sales).   They will struggle in what I’ve called the Death Funnel. Fundamental issues of being a de-leveraged company take most players down