Updated: Jun 23
Today on the show we’re learning from Katie Spies, founder of Maev.
Founded in 2020, Maev started as a collective of dog parents who wanted better for their dogs. After Katie’s adopted dog George experienced a health scare, she turned her focus to nutrition to keep him healthy and happy. With help from her pet parent community, she began conducting deep research into the modern dog’s biological needs and the shortcomings of products we’ve been told to trust. Fast forward to today Maev has raised $9 million dollars and is on a mission to disrupt the industry.
In this episode, we talk through the origins of the story, when Maev was 1-2 people sitting in a WeWork in Soho, hand-making food, and doing things that no one really understood. Encountering every problem that could happen. To have now raised $9M and nailing the customer satisfaction and finding some great businesses to partner with. One thing that makes the journey with Maev a little more difficult than usual, is the fact the product is shipped as a frozen good. In Katie's words, "I've aged 15 years since shipping frozen food." It’s really logistically difficult. We were lucky enough to be able to learn from her mistakes, and she delved into some tips that make the process a little easier for others looking to get into frozen food. Firstly, you need to make sure your AOV is high enough to cover the costs of shipping. Secondly, you can benefit a lot from finding ways to fit more in the shipping boxes. And finally, finding those innovative partners is absolutely key.
Aside from that, I loved hearing about Katie's approach to her customers in this episode. It's incredibly inspiring. It's the kind of thing every company knows they should be doing, but it often gets left behind on the list of priorities. And that's that she takes five customer phone calls a week, and has since the beginning of starting the business. The customers or potential customers chat, and she just gets to absorb. There's so much to learn here. If we can understand the customer better than anyone else, you will literally be able to build any product. It’s so fulfilling, and humanizing is great. People want to buy things from people, not faceless corporations. Sometimes they’re a highlight, sometimes they’re a distraction, but they’re always useful.
Besides that, we also get into some nifty little tips when it get's to e-mail marketing and some guerilla marketing tactics that have proved successful since the early days of Maev, and helped them build up those initial 100 customers.
If you love this episode and learn something, please do share it on Instagram tagging us or by leaving a review to help other ears find us.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
So I'm Katie, the founder of Maev, it's meat made dot com were the first human grade raw dog food company. So we believe that feeding your dog the healthiest possible diet should be a really easy choice. But when we look out in the market right now it seems like healthier foods are way harder to use and more inconvenient and the easy to use things are pretty bad for your dog. And so we try to make it really easy. Our first product is a human grade raw dog food and then we have a couple of other products like supplements and bone broth toppers that are all natural human grade made in the U. S. Simple ingredient lists and as easy to use as possible. Just convenience and ease interesting. You know, my dog eats I guess it's called kibble, like just a little plain things and I'm like for obvious reasons I can see why maybe like home cooked meals or fresh cooked for, you know, raw meals are more important but what's the easy answer here like to be like why would your dog switch from this to this? Because like the vet told us to give her that, right? Yeah, that's the thing. It's really confusing and it's, it's not a very transparent industry. It's really opaque to find information about which things are actually better for your dog and which things are causing harm. So, um, what we found is most dogs in the US at least are sick, 60% are overweight, 30% have mobility issues, 30% have anxiety issues, and 25% have skin and code issues. And so everyone that I was talking to, I was a dog walker for about a year. They had one of these things and it affected the dog's quality of life and the person was really guilty and worried about it and trying to work on it. And studies have shown that most of those issues are correlated with diet because dogs aren't designed to eat highly processed, super high temperature, high pressure, high fat foods. And that's what kibble is. It's designed to be Easy, shelf stable, affordable. And it's designed to fit the human's needs in those ways. And so it's 60% starch and it has all these extra ingredients added to it. It's not super transparent in terms of the quality of those ingredients and it's linked to all of these health issues. And so when you switch from cable to a raw food and raw food is the least processed diet. You can feed your dog your dog's stomach goes through detox and you see visible improvements in their health, usually within about 30 days where their digestive system Rebalances their metabolism improves weight maintenance, improves mental health improves. If you have a breed that's worried about hip and mobility issues or skinning code issues, you tend to notice improvements there too, because your dog is absorbing the maximum amount of nutrients from their diet, which is where health really starts. And so we talked about it as like a preventative way to think about your dog's health and the link between food and nutrition is nutrition and actual health and well being, is is becoming more and more well known and so that's the big reason, but at the end of the day people should do what works best for them and because better for you is often a lot harder to use and way more expensive, it's not super accessible. And so that's kind of like the problem that we set out to solve, wow, that's so interesting and so cool to know, and to hear that perspective, I'd love to go back to what you were doing before you started the brand to understand that kind of light bulb moment that led you down the pathway of entrepreneurship and going into this space in particular. Yeah, so I've always been a product person, I love to tinker, I always had side projects and when I was just graduated college, I was working at this startup and got a dog and I told everyone I need to get a dog. And they all said, this is a bad idea, you have a full time job, you don't have a car, you don't have a yard, you have a roommate, not a good idea. And I was like, I'm going to do it anyway. I've always wanted to do this. I can do it, don't tell me, no. And I got this dog George and your life turns upside down and it's way harder than I ever imagined and keeping him exercised and healthy and training him was, it was just difficult. Um, as a single person in the city who had a full time job and eventually he had a health issue. He started having seizures and that was about six months after I adopted him and we really couldn't figure it out. We tried medication, The vets ran every test that we could think of and then, um, they started asking me about nutrition. I never once thought like, what is the food that we're feeding our dogs? I just always bought the cable that I grew up feeding dogs. And when they started asking those questions, some of the light bulbs started going off. I didn't ever think I was going to become a pet food entrepreneur, but I had to make his food for him and then these other people I was meeting in dog parks asked me to make it for them too. And so I kind of accidentally became a dog food manufacturer in my kitchen and would then more people and pass it off on Saturdays and then when I had spent three years at that job, I just needed to clear my head and take a break. The only thing I thought would work is going and being a dog walker and like meet more of these people hang out with dogs, I thought I would do it for a month, I did it for a year and then a collective like this is the space that I have to be in. Everyone is struggling with this, nutrition is such a big problem and there isn't a solution on the market, I'm now hand making too much food in my kitchen. I have to just go full in and do this full time. Oh my gosh, that's so cool. What a nice story like, well not Georgia's seizures because that sucks. Yeah, he's much better now. Oh, I'm glad. But coming to this realization, through going to the park and meeting other fellow dog lovers and being kind of in your community or finding your tribe to be able to then start a business off the back of that. What did the early days look like when you were like, okay, I'm actually going to get started and I'm going to try and you know, make money from this. Yeah, they were really hard and lonely because you, you leave a place where you usually have co workers and you have people in the same cohort as you and you go set out to do something on your own. In the early days we were shipping data product to these people that I had met through dog walking or that those people had referred and so our little community of referrals had expanded just organically, which was amazing, but we were shipping product and uh in beta for about three years working with veterinary nutritionists and every product that we got out the door, I felt like it took so much effort and every new customer that we brought into the beta felt like it took so much effort because we were a team of wanted to people sitting in a we work in soho doing something that nobody else really understood and my parents definitely didn't understand and hand making food in a small little manufacturing facility that we ran um every problem under the sun came up like ups would return boxes or um delivery would be laid. Um everything was so much harder for every ounce. It was like you were just pushing for each little bit of traction. Mhm And so what kind of changed things around or like got you onto the better pathway of feeling like it wasn't so hard. Eventually, I mean during that time everything was really hard, but there were these really motivating moments where the product was definitely clicking with our customers even though we would have no customer support or we would take three days to respond to an email. Somebody would, would say, you know, this is really frustrating, but I love the product so much I'm willing to put up with anything. I just want more that was really fulfilling. Um, despite these hard moments, like each day eventually we, we found solutions to one problem and a new one would pop up, but at least that one would get smoother. We would find something that would work for hiring people or we would find something that would work for managing, um, in non deliveries of ingredients and suddenly it felt like, okay, that's a little bit less friction here and there's going to be more friction each day. But at least you solve one problem at a time and can get easier and easier over time hiring great people helps. It does help. It absolutely helps during that time in those three years of kind of like, you know, Figuring out the hurdles and the bumps and trying to iron out those kinks. I know that now you've raised a ton of capital. I think I read you've raised $9 million dollars last year, but were you bootstrapping in the beginning or did you raise straight away, what was the kind of funding path for you in those early days? Yeah, I bootstrapped the business for the first year or so of those beta tests and then we decided this is going to be a venture backed startup. That's the path. That makes sense. That's the financing model. That makes sense for the type of business I wanted to build and so we raised the first round of venture capital as a pre seed about a year into the betas. So we had a little bit of data but um, we had no brand, we had no website, no team and that was our first partnership there. When you say you had a little bit of data, what are we talking like, are you kind of, you know, 50 customers, 1000 customers. What does that actually look like for someone who's listening and thinking like yeah, I want to follow the venture backed model, but I don't know how much data. I need to be able to take that out as proven kind of traction to pitch to investors. Yeah, I think developing the conviction yourself and figuring out what amount of data do I need to have full conviction in this to dedicate a few years and really, um, spend time going and having these pitches. That was the milestone that we were working against. And um, for me, I was shipping these data boxes to customers, a lot of whom I was a dog walker for. So I had met that way. It wasn't like there was a scalable marketing channel to finding them. Um, most of them didn't pay for them. We're pre revenue and they were free product boxes, but I would store any feedback in a google survey and so I had probably a couple of 100 lines in the google survey of different people who had received product over time and said positive or negative things and we had learned from those and a few 100 lines in a google survey, even though most of them didn't pay a dollar for it, They didn't run through an A. B test on a landing page. We didn't pay to acquire them knowing how many people loved it and knowing the product feedback that gave me the conviction and that was enough to raise that first round, wow, that's really cool and really interesting. And it's one of those things were like, yes, you don't have this scalable marketing channel, but you did have a community that you could immediately kind of go to and work with and get feedback and kind of grow from there. I'd kinda like to go more into how you kind of took that community and then started to grow outwards and start getting your first, you know, 50,000 1000 paying customers or subscribers. Yeah, having that community was a huge help because when we first launched at least on day one, there are some people visiting the website versus the big launch moment that you're working up against for years and you finally get out there and then the traffic is really low and you're really worried about whether it's a good enough launch or not. So having that small community was very helpful In the earliest days. We were really lean on cash. We actually launched in March 2020 and a week later everything shut down with Covid and the pandemic hit really hard. And so we, we did everything as scrap early as possible. Um pre launch right before the launch to gain momentum. We were doing a lot of guerilla marketing. We would post fliers, we were like printing flyers and then we work and then posting them up throughout the city and they were very branded and unique and showed the product and that really worked. People texted in, we had a little texting phone number that we posted on them or found the website that way and people would post about it on social. And so things like that actually went so far from Maeve. And then, because we were so cash lean, having a little community of founders who are in a similar space, A lot of like CPG founders at the earliest stages, maybe six months ahead of us or behind us who would talk about us and we would talk about them, whether it's on social and a very formal brand partnership or just when they're out to dinner, talking to other people, everyone has a dog or talking to investors. That's how we met the 1st 50 to 100 customers was through these gorilla word of mouth actions. Mhm wow. That's really interesting. And From there, like obviously it is the pandemic. So it's all digital. You're doing less I guess of that like on the ground pounding the pavement. How do you then take 50 and reach 1000 kind of customers? Yeah, it's the first month or two of the pandemic. Everyone was really scared about what would happen to consumer categories like pets, especially a premium pet. But by maybe like may june we found that online spending in the grocery category was really taking off. We leaned into facebook and google marketing. We were very in the weeds of A B. Testing every line of creative, every audience segment that we set up. Um I was in facebook ad manager every day and that's not my background, my background in product and so just trying to learn as much as possible and be really scrappy there helped because we weren't willing to spend the amount that most of our competitors could spend. We were still so lean at the time. And but luckily those channels were really performing for us and then we had to build channels from scratch like email where pre launch. We had no email flows. And so how do you build those while you're also trying to grow your customer base and you don't really know what works and we didn't have the money to hire a professional email marketer at the time and so Putting them together. Um as quickly as possible is what kind of scaled us from that 100 mark to 200. And then from there we professionalize a little further and reinvented it again. I'm so excited to introduce you to our newest partner and it's something I literally use every single day I started taking a G1 by Athletic Greens because I'm someone who can get run down easily if I'm not taking care of myself. And I also suffer a lot from tummy issues and because I travel frequently, I really need things that are easy to take with me on the go to keep my routine in check. I actually started taking them last year after hearing about it on tim Ferriss podcast and now I'm totally obsessed. What's crazy about 81 is that with just one scoop, you're absorbing 75 high quality vitamins, minerals, superfoods, probiotics and adapted gens. And it's specifically designed to support your sleep quality, your gut health, nervous and immune system, your energy recovery, focus and aging literally all the things to make it easy. Athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D. and five free travel packs. With your first purchase, All you have to do is visit athletic greens dot com forward slash startup again. That's athletic greens dot com forward slash startup to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance when it comes to the email side of things, you know, for anyone listening who is an early stage founder and is going through that potentially. Now, what are the things that you learned that worked in the early days that are kind of like, here's the blueprint, pass it on. Yeah, I think in each of the email marketing platforms, there are these blueprints, there's like template ized flows that everyone has, there's a, a newsletter sign up flow with a discount code at the end. There's post purchase welcome flow that educates the customer about the brand. Um, putting out those standard flows definitely works. But I would say think about your very specific customer journey and ideally talk to customers who are at those stages in the journey and just have a phone call with them and here what was still an open question for them and do that as frequently as possible even after you build the email flow because for us it's all about educational content. There's so much complex nutritional content that we want the customer to understand if she's interested in it. And so as a person building flows, you don't often see what is completely missing from the flow and that they really didn't understand one component that would be very helpful to conversion or to retention. Um, so getting in the mindset of your customer and understanding the specific journey that they're on. Um, and then just following the templates and so do you mean like getting on the phone with someone, a customer and then stepping them through your flow and being like, do you understand everything? What do you think of this? Is that what you mean? Or you mean more just talking to them about their journey and coming to buying your product and how they kind of found you and things like that, definitely the latter. So my background is in product and whenever I do the former, you're kind of biasing the audience too. Think about what you think about as the person building the system. Um, but I take five customer phone calls a week. Um, and have from the very beginning and the customers just tell me whatever they want to tell me. And with dogs, it's great because people will talk about their dogs for two hours and I don't have to say much and they just kind of word vomit anything they know about the brand or what they're open questions were what was frustrating, what was really great all about their dog's life story. And I get to just absorb and so doing that, you, if you do a few of them, even just three or four of them in a couple of weeks span, you can find similarities in here, like, okay, people, I don't understand that you feed it frozen, they thought that you had to feed it, thought, and so how can I just make sure that messaging is really top of mind? And you can find the little gaps from that, wow, that's so such a good piece of advice and I'm so impressed that you ongoing do five per week to just continually learn. And it sounds like obviously from the beginning being in that kind of dog walking, dog park group where you had that full on feedback real time shaped the way that you approach customer feedback moving forward. Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. That's our biggest advantage is that we, if we think that we can understand the customer better than anyone else, we could build any product um and not that many brands in our space actually directly communicate with their customers which has turned a lot of direct consumers. So and it's kind of crazy because you think that like I know people tell you all the time like interview your customers, talk to your customers, like make sure you're getting that direct feedback etcetera, etcetera etcetera. But then it feels like people just don't actually do that even though, you know, it's best practice. It's like one of those things that's the first for people to be like, oh I already know like I'll skip over it but it's actually so critical ongoing. Like maybe you don't have the time to do five calls a week, but you certainly would have time to do a couple of months or you know every quarter, doing a batch and just being like where is everyone at? What's missing? What have I kind of like left out? Where's my blind spot? I think it's a really great piece of advice for people to remember listening right now, like oh yeah, I need to build that into like my strategy. Yeah, it is so fulfilling because people will tell you their frustrations but they're willing to take a call, so they also are invested in the brand just like we are um and that's fulfilling and there's some stress from, because you're like, I got to put that on my to do list and I need to go do it right now and I'm I'm too busy but it's really helpful and the customers then get to be a part of it. And for us in the beginning I think I was really worried about like we need to show up as a professional serious brand where we don't have a name awareness in the space, People need to trust us because it's a nutrition product, we need to build credibility and having the founder call you that is to humanizing, it doesn't seem serious enough, but at the end of the day, Humanizing is great. People want to buy things from people, not from faceless corporations and so once I got over that it was way easier and these calls are sometimes the highlight of my week and sometimes they are a distraction, but they're always useful, whichever way I feel about it going in. Is there a specific example of something that you came across on one of these calls or a number of calls where you were like, whoa totally missed that. Like need to change this immediately. So many of the customers have had so many comments about every detail of the product. I mean when we were in beta tests, our product is frozen and it's individually pieces of frozen food so you can just pour it directly out of the bag. But at the earliest beta tests, we were suggesting that people saw the food because that's what every other dog food does, they say thought it in the bowl before you feed it and nobody was sawing it and some of our customers at the time, we're veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists and they were like, you know, I love that it is frozen and served frozen because that's actually really great for teeth and one of the biggest mental health issues is soft foods and it was like, wait, you're serving it frozen. We said Servet thought um and so things like that where they actually pushed the product forward and credited back to us, but really they should take the credit, wow, that's cool, that happened all the time or like comments about different brand partnerships, we should do different things that we should include on the packaging that would have made it easier or something that was confusing. Those things come up every week for us. That's really cool. I, I wanted to ask you about shipping frozen goods because I feel like, you know, there are challenges to every industry and shipping something frozen. Sounds like a pain in the butt. How has that journey been for you and how have you kind of dealt with the challenges that arise? But what are the things to consider if you're someone starting a brand that needs to be frozen? Yeah. Um that is a great Set of questions. I feel like I've aged 15 years shipping frozen foods during a global pandemic and from starting at ground zero to now having multiple locations and customers throughout the country, shipping frozen food is really logistically difficult. It's been made easier over time by the big Meal Kit companies that all shipped frozen. Um, so now there are more and more fulfillment centers that specialize in frozen shipping. There are more and more founders who can tell you the watch outs. Um, for us, we launched in March 2020 and during the first year of Covid, a lot of the dry ice plants went down because of labor shortages when parts of their crew would get Covid and be out sick and dry ice is critical to shipping frozen. You need a box, an insulator dry ice. The product, you need to know how much ice to put in the box and then you need really trustworthy carriers to get your box from A to B within the right period of time. And so there was a big pain point just with the dry ice supply chain falling apart in the early days and Everyone was really scrappy. It was just about like getting up at four am and calling everybody who had dry ice in the city and trying to contract some of it and hiring trucks to move it from different locations because they would have some in boston but not in new york or some in north Carolina but not in new york. Oh my God just making ends meet to get dry ice which isn't even the product that's just required to ship. The product became tricky. And then the biggest headache was that we were so small. We had one facility in new york and we were shipping across the country from new york to California at the furthest. Um and as a small company, the big carriers don't care too much about you and so you don't have much leverage over Fedex and ups or the bigger carriers. And during covid there on time delivery rates plummeted usually there at like 95 to 97%. And during Covid they were at 80 to 85%. So 15-20% of boxes are showing up late for us. If I were setting out to build another frozen food company, the most important things we've learned our, make sure your job is high enough to pay for the cost of shipping your average order value. Yeah, that box, the insulated liner, the shipping is so expensive. So if your average order value is too small, it's going to really hurt your margins, pushing that up for finding different ways to put more in the box. That goes a long way for any frozen shipment. And then, um, we found amazing last mile delivery partners who would have micro fulfillment centers in different metro regions and can ship short distances and you need way less dry ice. That shipping is actually far cheaper for frozen for a lot of ambient goods and typical CPG or faction goods the same day shipping is way more expensive than traditional, but for frozen, it's way cheaper. And so finding those innovative partners and making sure that you can be profitable in every box, that's the key. Um, otherwise it's a really risky business to be in. Wow, Crazy. How did you, when you realized that you needed to kind of make sure that your average order value was a certain size? What did you do to, you know, beef that up and make it bigger? Yeah, we did a few things um, from just the most basic perspective are a hobby is tied to how much food we're shipping and we could either recommend shipping a month's worth of food to a smaller dog or two weeks and a month will be a higher HIV. And so we changed some of the defaults on our website. Or we could start targeting bigger dogs and people who just need more food naturally. And we started testing a lot of audiences on facebook to find these big dog groups. That helps a lot, those two things, Changing your defaults and changing your targeting. That's two really good ones. I love that. You can search by size of dog groups. What kind of dogs do you have? What kind of dog lover are you exactly? Oh my gosh, that's so cool. Classic. It's kind of crazy when you think about how much tech we use daily, we use all these different platforms to do all these different things and to be quite frank, it can get really overwhelming. So imagine if you could streamline those routine operations and admin tasks that eat up all your time, things like lead management, employee onboarding or even customer support. The average tapia user saves over $10,000 in recovered time every year and it's so easy to get started. They have thousands of popular apps like google sheets, quickbooks or even facebook and google ads ready for you to automate almost any workflow imaginable. They've also got thousands of easy to use templates ready to go. So you can get started right away, see for yourself why teams at air table, dropbox hubspot zendesk and thousands of other companies use appia everyday to automate their businesses, tries Apia for free today at zap E A dot com forward slash startup. That's Z A P I E R dot com forward slash startup. If you think about, you know, kind of then when you were just kind of getting everything together and figuring it all out to sort of now and looking forward to the future, what have been the key kind of milestones that have left you forward and kind of got new really off the ground and crushing it. Yeah, they continue to happen and the credit goes to our amazing team more than just me, but in the very early days having customers read vera's and repost us on social, a few of them had very large reaches and so that went a long way to growing the beta list and any sort of stepwise jump like that was a great week for us when we were growing on the contract manufacturing side. Initially we launched and we were running our own facility and we outgrew it every three months and would have to bust down a wall and expand. Um at one point we bought a machine to automate a lot of the work so that we could run more capacity through it and we thought we would get this machine delivered and we could just plug it in and it would work and it turned out you can't just plug in machines like that, you have to hire an electrician and wire them through the wall and build an extra step up generator. But finally we got that turned on? That was a huge improvement because we could just run more capacity at some point. We outgrew the facility entirely and found amazing contract manufacturing partners and we wouldn't have been able to talk to them earlier because as you're growing, you just have to build the business that will scale to the next milestone. But um finding the right partners so that we could continue producing enough supply to meet demand Using contract manufacturers and 3rd party fulfillment centers, that was the biggest unlocked for us because margins improving, you can stop working in the business so much and just work on the business. You don't have to deal with the day to day headaches of manufacturing a product anymore. Mhm Yeah, wow, gosh, all things that just sound so it would be so odd thinking that that's what you need to do when you first start the business like oh I needed to like buy this machine and get it all like hooked up to my wall and that was like a really big unlock. Whereas like I just feel like you wouldn't imagine that in the very beginning of the journey. Yeah, I really did not imagine me going into a facility in Long Island City with a wrench when I started the business, but that's what it took that day and then we got the machine running and it was, it was like an early christmas, so that's super cool. What is on the cards for the future? What do you want to shout about? What do you want to let us know? So we are actively growing, we're expanding our product list, we're coming out with a new protein very soon. So um chicken is the most popular protein in America. It's, it's healthier, it's more sustainable. Um we're launching a chicken version of our raw food in the next couple of months, which I'm very excited about. Congrats, thank you that it is, I can't wait. Um now that we're coming out of covid and more and more people are outside and doing things in real life again and doing it safely. We're launching a lot of brand activities in, in real life campaigns and getting to move off of just digital and show up in the real world and since those were our roots from this like gorilla flyer and wheat paste era, I'm really thrilled to start having events and show up in the city again. Are you going to do stuff like in the dog parks and with dog walkers and stuff like that. It just sounds like a really fun kind of easy, natural place for you to be. Yeah, that's exactly it. Um the partners who know a lot of dog people and I like to think about this stuff, they completely get it. And so those kind of partnerships are spot on. Oh my gosh, so fun, Is there anything you wish that you knew or would have done differently kind of when you were starting out now that you look back in hindsight. Yeah. So many things. Um, I would say the biggest one is think about what your core competency is. And for us it's really the Braden design and originally we thought we need amazing partners to help us with this because who are we to do this ourselves? But at the end of the day, that's our core competency. And so we spent a lot of time and money working with outside agencies when we should have just always kept it in house. And we ended up doing it in house anyway. But don't let people tell you that you need help with something. If you really don't think you need help with it. There are plenty of things that you do need other people's help with and lean in there and figure out where you need to own something versus have partners. Mm hmm. Absolutely. Great piece of learning that I feel like I've definitely struggled with that many times many, many times. What is your key kind of on that same note, what is your key piece of advice for entrepreneurs in the pet space or in the frozen good space specifically? That's a great question. Um, in the pet space, a lot of people say no, you're a consumer, but it's a really crowded fragmented market and so knowing your consumer is one thing, but figuring out what makes you unique, what's that one thing that people need from you that they can't get anywhere else. And you've got to know your very specific consumer well enough to know this one unique, towering strength that you have because it's a crowded busy market where there are a ton of brands showing up on facebook advertising or in the aisles that are all going after the same consumer. What's yours? What's your like? One super unique thing. We um, it's all about making it easy. So my background is in industrial design and, and really hardware, product design, but nobody really thinks about food in that way. Um, the way that you would think about a machine or an app or a piece of furniture. So for us it's like how do we design this product to be as easy and accessible as possible? And luckily that's been working. So if that's ours for now. But no, you're towering strength is my one piece of advice. I love that. That's super cool.
So, question number one is, what's your why? Why are you doing this every day? So intrinsically I'm a product person. I love tinkering and building and iterating. And so anytime I get to geek out on that, I feel so fulfilled in myself. Um extrinsic lee, I've had dogs who've had health issues and so if I can remove that headache and pain for other people, that is everything. So it's little. Both. Question number two is what has been your favorite marketing moments so far? Um I think in those early days when we posted fliers up and they sometimes were very silly. It was like horoscopes for dogs. Text us at this number and sometimes we're more serious. But oh my God, I love that. I would definitely text that number. Yeah. Like how standing out in Soho one of the hardest places to stand out, having people post about it on social. And then a friend of a friend of a friend would somehow pass it back to me and I would be like, okay, somebody who's not just my my mom or my best friend saw this and liked it. Um That was really fun. That is so cool. Did you think of that? Who thought of that? I love that. I thought of it at the time and then uh we tried to hire an astrologist and it was the whole thing to text horoscopes to hundreds of dogs a day. It was way harder than I expected. Oh my gosh, yeah, that's true logistical nightmare question number three. What's your go to business resource when it comes to like a newsletter book or podcast. Oh, I love this. Um, mine is, there's this book called High Growth Handbook by Eli Gil. I actually, so I just bought your book and it sounds very similar. So I'm excited for mine to be your book. But high growth handbook is like a series of founders telling you different things that they struggled with and how they overcame it. Um, and it's candid feedback and advice. I'm super excited to check it out. Thank you for that And thank you for buying my book. That's so kind love that for me and you can't wait. It's probably helpful for me. So I hope so. I'm sure it will be question number four. How do you win the day? What are your AM or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated. Yeah. The biggest one I think is I am a methodical note taker. I take notes on everything. Everything is written down. Any conversation that I have or little thing that came to mind is written down in that way. When I'm going to bed at night. I don't have to be worried that something slipped through the cracks or I won't be able to go back to it tomorrow. Um, so it is really nice. Everything is written down. I love that. You use the remarkable tablet. I do actually. Yeah. I've heard many good things I do once you're in the habit, it goes really well. Nice. I really need to try it. It's on my list of like, do I need this tech app or like not tech app, but like do I need this new device in my life? Or do I just like stick with pen and paper. It's like one of those things I go back and forth on. Same with the kindle. But I just gave in and got myself a kindle and it's just such a game changer. It's unbelievable. I can't believe I waited so long anyway. Yeah. I love a gadget. So it doesn't take much to convince me. Yeah, me too. Actually Question # five is what has been your biggest money mistakes in the business? And how much was it? Mm hmm. Yeah, hiring those brand agencies when we were so young as a company, we hired a brand agency And it cost us I think just shy of $100,000 and we ended up doing all the work ourselves. Um so it was more about the time and effort. But 100K. was a very big mistake, yep. That's a pretty big mistake. That definitely sucks. Oh my God. And it's also a lot of time, right? Like you have to find the agency that the agency go through the processes that come with working with agencies. It takes a lot of your time to offload everything that's in your brain and then for it not to work out, it's a real, real shame, hate that for you. Yeah, thank you. And question # six, the last question is, what is just a crazy story, good or bad in the business that you can share from the entrepreneurial journey so far? Yeah, everyone has um anybody in frozen, I'm sure has many, but for us um on thanksgiving day 2020 so peak pandemic era thanksgiving, I got a call from our operations manager saying you're going to want to come down here and ups had returned three full truckloads of boxes that we're supposed to be delivered the day prior and it's thanksgiving. So everything was shut down and um these were customers who were expecting their boxes, so for the next few days all of us were in our cars with boxes loaded to the roof, driving them around the tri state area and dropping them off individually and that was a very memorable crazy time Hand delivering boxes to customers. Yeah, wow, that's crazy. Oh my gosh, how did you know where to go and like the map to follow. That's crazy stuff. Yeah, that was the hardest part is like loading it all into google maps and then having an address the incorrect or fall off of my little pin and be driving around but having thanksgiving day where you have to go in and sort and deliver boxes yourself is hopefully something will never have to do again. Yes, absolutely, I hope so too, Gosh, this was so cool! Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your journey and everything that you're doing with Maeve. I'm so excited to see what happens next. Thank you so much. This was a blast.