Lizanne Falsetto on selling thinkThin® for $217 million & how she’s restarting betterland foods™
Today on the show we’re learning from Lizanne Falsetto, the founder of thinkThin® and betterland foods™.
Lizanne began her entrepreneurial journey at her kitchen table, inspired both by a family recipe and a strong desire to solve a personal problem. On that table, the original thinkThin® bar was created: a revolutionary product that would become one of the most sought-after health foods on the market.
Her original instinct for a clear market opportunity in health food evolved into a 20-year tenure as founder and CEO of one of the fastest-growing health food brands in history and was eventually acquired for $217 m in 2015.
In 2020, as the pandemic disrupted life the world over, she was intrigued by the influx of food scientists creating cleaner, alternative proteins without the direct use of animals. These discoveries rekindled her entrepreneurial verve and led her to establish betterland foods™, a new venture committed to creating crave-able, delicious foods that are better for people – and better for the planet.
There are so many learnings and lessons woven into this episode and I’m just so excited to be able to share this inspiring conversation with you. We chat about the early days of building the brand when Lizanne was still modeling and would bring her home-creations to shoots to get feedback. How this natural desire led her to walk straight into the path of entrepreneurship, and how she learned what she was doing along the way. Setting up "Harvard for a day" chats with consultants, and just getting her product into as many hands as possible.
How important it is to keep your messaging consistent. Especially when you have limited ways to get your voice out there, to stay consistent with your messaging. And my favorite tip of all, how important it is to have your own personal financial situation in check when you get into building a business and possibly raising capital. It's so important to understand this, in order to understand the ramifications down the line. We round off by chatting about her incredible exit selling thinkThin® for $217 million. And how important it is to be ready spiritually, mentally, and emotionally before selling your business. Now, let's get straight into it.
If you love it as much as I did and you 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 um I've really started my business, think then from a desire to have food that I could eat on the go and back in the day when I was in the fashion industry, I had to travel a lot from location to location. And what I really realized is that food Gave me energy and it helped me stay focused and I needed that through the jet leg and travel and being on top of my game. And so when I came back to the states in 1993, I'm from a big Italian family. So food was a very big part of my life and I decided I'm going to be a chef. So I got into the kitchen and I love to cook. It's my favorite thing to do. Even in a busy day, I would always hibernate into the kitchen with my glass of wine and just focus on the food, let everything go. And it brought me very much back to my childhood, kind of my comfort zone and I started taking my grandmother's cookies. She had a brownie, beautiful brownie and a beautiful peanut butter cookie. And I thought if I could pull out the sugar and add protein to this, I could possibly create a product that could be portable on the go and people could eat it just to keep their energy up. So I started making these huge slabs of bars and that during that time I was still modeling and I would take them to the fashion shows and I would throw them to the other girls and say try this. What do you think it got to the point where every night I was cooking in my kitchen, baking these two products, putting them in plastic bags and that's when I realized, okay, I think I might have something here. So it was all from a personal desire. Mhm. And so how did you get started in building a brand? Like how did you know what to do and what steps to take? Yeah, I didn't know what to do. I honestly, I didn't know that I was even creating a business truly. I was so organic and so natural in the way that I walked the path of entrepreneurism and what I learned through that process compared to where I'm at today is that I fell into building things then because it was meant to happen, I purposely launched better land foods because I learned from that 30 years of building that brand, what the food industry is about and how I could attack it on a different level of thinking. So I think through things, then I took the steps to learn, bye if I didn't know what I was gonna do, I hired a consultant to come in and teach me and I always said it's Harvard for a day. So if it was about logistics or gas, you know, how do I think about logistics and fuel in relationship to transporting my product, buy truckloads. I would bring in a logistics expert for a day and I asked every question I could and I learned. So I always had Harvard for a day that would help me get to the next level if I didn't know what I was doing. I love that as a concept. Harvard for a day with your consultants, very cool. Obviously the landscape is so vastly different in the nineties, right? Like we don't have social media facebook doesn't exist instagram, 100% doesn't exist. No one knows what Tiktok is. How are you actually getting the word out there in those early years? Like outside of these women that you knew through the modeling industry, like how did you start to gain that traction where you were like, oh, I'm actually on to something here. Like in a really big way, it's a great question because we didn't have internet, we didn't have immediate gratification. You couldn't get your message out into the hands of somebody that then could blast it out to 100,000 people like you can today, which is a pro and a con. I think in today's marketing world, I would do traditional pr I would go to Barnes and noble, I would sit down at a table and I would grab every magazine that I thought had an interconnection to food and I would find the editor and I would send at that time it was a Twix or a fax or I would communicate through phone, I would call and I used to call it dialing for dollars. Did she? You know the old rotary phones dial and you would say, hi zan, I created this product. Can I send you something? And then I started getting really creative and on holidays I would get little bouquets of flowers and I would put bars in them and I would send them to the buyer's desk and at that point I started to get a little more attention. I sampled the living daylights out of the product. If you have food that you're selling, you want it to be eaten. So people understand what it drives the energy level, the protein level, how it actually makes you feel. And so my campaign was around giving as many samples to as many buyers and people as possible feeding them. And once they ate it, realized this is really good. This bar doesn't taste like a power bar, which was a great product, but it was for triathletes. It tasted really hard and chewy. You needed to run or or hike or you know, do a triathlon for 25 miles. My product was a product that I wanted you to be able to eat, to sustain your appetite to give you energy. So I really used the dial for dollars and sampling concept when I started out and was that primarily to get into retail stores like the business at this time because the internet was really knew then right? Like I don't know do we even have websites at this point? I can't really remember. So just starting, you probably weren't born yet. I was born. I was definitely born. You're so young. That's great. How old are you? Thank you. I'm 32. Yeah. Good for you. Good for you. You're 33 this year, actually. 33. Oh Really weird to be 33. Yeah. It's funny. I love my thirties. I loved every thirties, forties. I love my fifties. But I think, and I think that's the attitude that we should have when we're doing what we're doing ages is is only a number. And um For me, when I look back in my 30s, it was really when I was building the crux of my brand and the way that I wanted to jump into retail was to focus on whole foods. I believed that my brand could halo natural in portability. And so I focused very much on trader joe's. And back then that's when trader joe's had huge distribution and I focused on whole foods. two of the women from trader joe's Annette Davidson and e a roof from Whole foods were the two women that gave me my first break and Annette Davidson sits on my board for a small foundation that I do for female entrepreneurs and has been my friend for 30 plus years, I think that is still on the shelf at trader joe's. Oh my God, that's so cool. Yeah. You know, you build relationships with people that you're with and you work with? And that's another thing you always want to be careful to never burn your bridges if there is an issue, especially when it comes to, you know, it always comes back around, it always comes back around. So always watch the relationships and end them with professionalism. There's times I look back, even today, I never thought I'd be back in the food industry and I can go back to a buyer at whole foods and call them. And even though I had to spend a little more money on margin or distribution, we had that relationship that trust with each other. So building relationships and keeping them solid is really important. But um, whole foods was the first take for me because they had the natural banner. They brought in this awareness that when you shopped at whole foods early on in whole foods career, everything that you bought was the best, the best blueberries, right? The best granola, everything they did was really, really spectacular. And so I, I focused on whole foods and trader joe's and that's how I built my business. I hired people to help me with sales and distribution because that's a difficult, difficult path, retail is a game. It's a game and you have to understand the margins of what it takes to get on the shelf and then how hard it is to pull the product off the shelf. That's even more difficult. You can put your product on the shelf. But how do you pull it off? How do you get the consumers to understand? And I was creating a new category, I was number three back in the day. There is now 192 brands in the bar market. We sat in candy. Now coincidentally you look at where we're at today, I'm going after candy and I'm making my My candy bars on nutrition bar equipment. And back in the 1990s the late 1990s I was making nutrition bars on candy equipment. So it's this weird the path that I'm walking down that i it's deja vu and deja vu and deja vu it's really interesting to be in this place. It is really interesting and I'm wondering you know when you're talking about getting product back off the shelf and having to educate the consumer and educate on this new category that you introduced. That was also sitting in the candy section. You know which probably had to change over at some point. How were you educating the consumer and reaching people outside of P. R. And kind of you know just getting that more awareness within the store consistent messaging. I learned early on that consistency to the consumer when you have limited ways to get the voice out there. And I think even today because your immediate to stay consistent. I was very consistent with 20 g of protein gluten free and sugar free Those were the three banners that my brand stood on. And even though we changed our outfit and our colors of our dresses that you know, the rappers and the boxes evolved over time with messaging. I always stayed true to 20g of protein is what you need to eat in a day. And as we were looking at this category, when the buyers finally said, whole foods said, we're going to open up a category, a nutrition bar category, we're going to give you a four ft set, which is quite a small set, maybe five or six brands could sit there with three or four Scuse per brand. So it's quite a small platform in the retail store. What they realized is even though our ring was under $3, which your penny profit at retail is not that high for a small volume ring. The demand of portability at that time was there. And buyers, consumers that were buyers that were walking the aisle wanted to have that product in their pocket or in their purse or in their desk. And so we were able to do a lot of promotions on box sales. So instead of individual, I would say by a box and get 20% off, put it in your pantry. So we were very much sticking to our messaging, 20 g of protein, low sugar gluten free. Think was the first product that ever had gluten free on it. And that was another hurdle because gluten now drives 22% of category growth. It has it's own category at retail. Back then people were like, wait, if if you eat gluten, are they going to think you get sick to your stomach? There was a misunderstanding of allergens in relationship to food. And so that messaging was also very consistent, buyers would say take that off the wrapper, don't have it on your rapper. I said, no, no, let's give the consumers some time to realize that gluten is glue. I didn't like gluten. It made me feel bloated. I'm not a celiac but I have a sensitivity And I truly believe that allergens within food are the wave of the future. People are starting to read labels. They understand that food could make them sick if they don't eat the right foods and they're starting to listen to their bodies more. And I think the pandemic helped that process. Um so I stayed very consistent with my messaging. I did a lot of promotions to put the box in the pantry because then the mom, the son, the daughter, the dad, whoever wanted could grab it and go, mm hmm Yeah, that's a really interesting point. And I can see exactly why that works so amazing. We have like so much time to cover. So I want to kind of stick around those first Decade, 1st, 10-15 years when you were still bootstrapping the brand before you started to think about that strategic partnership and going down that funding path In those 10, 15 years? What were the key kind of milestones that kept the business going forward? Whether they were good or bad, but kind of in the journey, the big milestones. Well, I think that the biggest milestones were as the category was growing with large CPG s, Hershey's Kraft nestle. People that are coming in dole that are coming in with products. What I realized through that process is they have the dollars, but they don't have the soul when you have a brand that's authentic to its message. It thrives. It almost grows on itself. And so it was very important to keep the messaging on point. It was also very important to have the right skew prioritization in the nutrition bar category. There was flavor fatigue and so we'd come out with a lemon or an orange, I had an orange flavored morning, I had a sugar doughnut flavor. I had french toast. We tried to constantly keep flavors keeping them intact. So consumers weren't getting flavor fatigue. That was very important. The next step was moving from natural to mass and grocery retail at mass and grocery are extremely difficult because of the margins that they play. And some of the larger CPG s, the global brands could come in with a lower price point and disrupt the category. And so I had to be very on top of my game when it came to price point deal flow. How often I was on deal and then how does my price from natural to mass to club? How does the margins work in each line of distribution? If anybody is in the food world, One thing I would say to you is make sure that you have your margins for mass grocery drug and club intact before you even go to market, understand that different skew prioritization. Sometimes you'll have one with five bars or 10 bars or 12 bars but competitive margin pulled can really cause you a headache. And so that was something I learned is how to control my margin, how to make sure that in different categories the price point was familiar to that consumer and not to under or two over of price. And then the next biggest thing was production, how do I make sure I can produce and how do I diversify production when you take one product and you lift that formula and give it to another manufacturer? It's never exactly. It can never be exact because it's not made on the same equipment. Even even if the ingredients are exact. It's like if I brought to you in your kitchen, all the ingredients to make something but yet your oven didn't work as well. Right. That would cause a dynamic with that. Mm hmm. So I think the journey of distribution, price point and production were a laser focus. And then for me when I saw the different brands coming in, they were coming in with less of an amount of protein and proteins expensive. So my price point was being squeezed. So I had to adjust and really understand that if my messaging stayed on point, the 20 g of protein is what your body can absorb in a meal. The consumer will catch up with that through education. But there was a time frame where it was an investment spend in building a message that was consistent. And I think that was a difficult process too. Because when a Clif bar would come in and they're just a cookie with very little protein, they had a ton of sugar, different platform. They tasted great. But they really weren't focused on functional. You know, energy like mine was their price point could be 99 cents when my price point was to 69. And so what we had to do was we had to explain to the buyers that the penny profit that they made off of our product was higher than 10 Clif bars that they were selling. But what retailers don't understand is there penny profit per store per pull. And so it was this growth of education for the retailer also in categories that are new and that took some time to absorb. I think those were the hardest part for me. I never ever went out for financing. Didn't know how to do it. I didn't even think about it. I financed my payables to my receivables by watching a 15-20% variance. I never went over a 15-20% on my payables to my receivables. So I was very focused on what goes out, has to come in to pay what goes out. And so that was kind of the mathematical equation that I did until I ended up hiring a CFO, which was the best thing I ever did. And what kind of led you to that point where you were thinking, hey, I actually am going to go out and look for strategic partnership here too, explore the idea of a sale and selling my business. Well, honestly, I decided to go out in 2012 because I was going through a divorce and it was really difficult when you build a business and you're going through an emotional hardship. We were together a long time and many reasons why it didn't work out. But I think the hardest part was knowing that half my business that I worked so hard for was going to be split. And at that point I realized I needed to put together a team of advisors and I would say early on for a lot of entrepreneurs make sure that you have your personal financial situation, especially if you get married during the process or you're married as you go through the process. So that you understand the ramifications down the line here in California it's a 5050 state. And so at that point I had had an attorney who is still my attorney has been my attorney. We were just laughing yesterday, 32 years. My home office financial advisors have been with me for over 25 years and I have a team that I can go to and feel open. I trust them, I can bounce things off of them. I would advise every young entrepreneur to do that early, make sure that's upfront, understand your personal financial where with all In 2012 for me when I decided to fundraise I did it because I realized a the brand was really growing, people were starting to understand about protein and in order for me to jump the hurdle of this large category at this point there was probably 55 brands and I had started, I was number three, you know, it changes right? The competition is harder so you have to spend more money to communicate your brand. And one of the good things about think then was a the name, I think it really hit people think food for thought was where we started. And then I added then and about in 2006 I added thin after think and what I loved about that concept was trademark and understanding trademarks, that's another very important part of a business is understanding how to manage your trademarks. I had used to think as my main and then after I had solidified that name, knowing I owned it, anything I put after it Was an extra perk. So I had think thin I had to think green, I had to think organic when I launched an organic bar, I had think protein and it really helped me through that process. But in 2012, after I had six different skews of products and it was sitting under this vitality banner. So one was for fruit and nut, one was for low carb, one was for satiating your weight. one was a fruit and nut organic product. What I realized is that I was focusing on too many subjects to the consumer and I was confusing them and I had to pull back and make a decision do I let these five skews go and focus only on protein. And what I decided on was yes. And so from that point, I knew I had to raise money, I had to raise money because a I wanted to make sure that there was a clean fair break with my divorce and I was fair and and and negotiating that and that I had money to move forward to help build my message and stay laser focused on protein. And so that's when I went out and I partnered with a VC who came in and actually bought my ex husband out, put money into the business with me and we then took it all the way to the final sale in 2015. Oh my gosh, so the sale was I read 217 million. That's just totally bananas. 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. But I also read that you had someone I think it was her, she's trying to acquire you for 54 million at some point in that time after you've raised. And they flaked from the deal, which obviously worked out for the better. What happened? Yeah, it's such a good question, because you want to talk about going to Harvard for a year. I um in 2004, my brand was on fire at whole Foods and I remember sitting at this expo West show in Anaheim and whole Foods has this convention where they come in for a couple hours and they tell you, here's the category and they throw everything up on the screen. And I was sitting there and I remember the buyer saying, and think then is the number one product in demand. And I remember sitting back going, oh my God, I didn't even know that, I didn't realize that my product was a low carb products. It sat next to DR Atkins, but Dr Atkins could not get into natural and what a lot of the bigger CPG s want is to own some of the natural category, but yet their food doesn't have the right ingredients. And so her, she saw that and they said, ah I could pick up this amount of a CV in the natural category to be able to then grow my Hershey's brand. So they came after me, I did a year of due diligence, I actually even moved my entire business to Nevada became a Nevada resident for three years, which I think was the crook of my divorce, I was laser focused on the business traveling back and forth and you can only be back in the States a certain amount of time and it was very stressful. I had two young kids with my babies and um I went through due diligence with Hershey's for a year, they would fly me out in their jet, they'd fly me back to their corporate office, they'd come back and they'd take me to, you know, there are and D labs. It was really interesting process and what I learned through that process is that the larger corporations, food companies want to invest in the younger entrepreneurs because we think outside the box, we're not in the box, we don't have to go through so many layers to get things approved and innovation comes from the younger entrepreneurial blood and they wanted to understand how I created this nutrition bar with protein without sugar and how I stayed on the track of the communication, they came in with an offer 54 million was the exact number. And I remember it was seven days before the money was supposed to drop into the account and I got a call from the financial banker who said, are you sitting down and I said, oh no, what happened? And he said dr Atkins slipped in new york and hit his head and now there's lawsuits about net effective carbs. So what had happened is this Dr Atkins did not have the proper FDA approval to label anything net effective carb. Low carb was based off of the net effect of carb. And so my packaging had that on it and her, she saw it coming down the line through spins, mental Nielsen data and said, this is a risk. And they were right. The whole category blew up. It took, you know, took me weeks to get over that and then I had relocated back to my and um, the lesson. So the lesson, what is the lesson learned? The lesson learned is that any time that you go into a trend and you follow that trend and there's long term trends and short term trends. Make sure that the trend is approved through the process of the, the FDA, the food regulatory patent systems because I didn't catch that. I rode the wave thinking that Atkins, who was at that point, I don't know, 500 million, they were selling so much product, they had a vast array of, of different products to offer for the low carb community, people were losing weight. Their bodies were going into ketosis, but it all worked Except for the fact that there was lawsuits at the end of it. So at that point, every single grocer, every single retailer said, you have to change your wrappers out, you have to pull everything off the shelf. So I went through six months of not having product from a from a $33 million dollar brand that had huge distribution in walmart all the way down CVS to drug even into Costco and I had to completely revamp my brand. It was probably one of the hardest times in my life. I relocated back from Nevada to L. A. I realize that if you're living in L. A. You live here for a reason. So you pay the taxes. I learned that very quickly not to relocate just because of that. I did it legally and I did it the right path. But the stress on the body and the energy was just tough. And so it took me close to three years to revamp and that's when I started staying extremely focused on protein. I had a few other bars. I had the organic and the fruit product because I was afraid that I might trend towards one trend to micro instead of having more of a variety of a brand. But the lessons were really valuable to me. And I also learned that if you ever put your company up for sale, it's very difficult to run the business and go through due diligence. And so this time around when I sold in 2015, we brought in a VP that actually came in as Ceo and I was able to do due diligence on the back end and focus on that and she ran the business to keep the numbers up and it was the smartest thing, but I learned that right? I had to make a mistake to learn it. So one of the things I always say is I don't know how many times I hit the wall and bruised my forehead, but what I realized is an entrepreneur was to make that left or that right turn and hold yourself high to, I can make mistakes, but I can move quick, you know, if you're going to fail quick and know that you failed and learn from that journey and move forward, wow, gosh! And I mean obviously worked out so much more amazing from that mistake in the Hershey's kind of drama, but wow, like that's a, that's a big one. How did you feel after you sold the business? I read that you left the business, you kind of like we're out of it. What were you doing when you woke up the next morning? Like it would be such a strange transition after you've spent, you know, decades of your life building this company. I felt lonely, you know, I felt lonely, I felt worthless. I felt like I, my identity was um about what I did and striving every day to work and how I did that. I, I realized that I was a workaholic and I love what I do, I don't do it for the money, I do it because I want to make a change in the food system and I also realized that I needed to put more balance in my life and so how do I how do I put more balance in my life learning that you can be able to take a day off and it's good for you to do that. And so I I learned a lot through the process, but I did have a a come to jesus meeting with who am I and what am I doing and and now what's next? And I remember I was being interviewed, it was a Vanity Fair interview and The woman that was interviewing me and this is like 48 hours after I sold and I was still in shock. She said to me, so what's next? And I paused and said, wait, You're asking me what's next? I haven't even gotten, I'm so hung over from the last 20 years of building this business, what's next is sleep? I have no idea what they put that on you to the point where you then put it on your shoulder saying I've got to do something else because I'm not doing anything. I'm not adding value. And you know, I would say that to anybody that's looking at selling their business, be ready mentally and spiritually and emotionally before you sell your business, do the work, understand that your value with this brand and the goal of selling it is an incredible success, but it doesn't identify who you are as a human being, I think that's really important, but when you're type a which I am and I love to work. I use I love to stay creative in my brain, it makes me happy. But I can also take a day and and go lay by the beach or be with my kids and take a hike and walk during the day and not feel guilty now. So I understand better how to put it in perspective and I think it's because I'm older too. It's a different way of thinking when you're older. But that was a really big lesson for me. Yeah, absolutely. I can imagine, wow, what a journey, Let's talk about better land food, let's talk about your new business. What kind of inspired you to get started again and go for round two and you know why you landed on products with cow free milk? Yes, the Covid baby. So this is right before Covid hit. And I have to tell you my kids thought I was crazy through Covid in january. When I was watching what was happening with Covid and this was right at the peak, I was telling people we're going to shut down. This is going to shut the world down. I kept saying you're paranoid. Listen, I said, no, I'm telling you this is so big and out of control that there has to be a way to shut yourself indoors and I don't know something just told me that that it was gonna go bad. I even sold a lot of stock at that point and and you know, really we didn't know about Covid until March or april when it was coming through. And so what I started to do was focus on what was happening in the commodity market. Um alternative proteins are really interesting, what's happening and you think about way protein soy protein hemp protein at that point, you know, cannabis was was being legalized. How does hemp protein help with building muscle? And I started really researching about fermentation proteins without the cow. And then I started focusing on the planet. I have a small orchard here where I live and I have avocado trees and I started to understand water and soil a lot more and through Covid I would start to manage my water and how much per tree and how many avocados I'm getting per per treat. And I started to realize through that process, the respect for farmers and so there's sustainable side of this business came in as I was walking through this journey of managing the orchard because I couldn't have a lot of people on the property with Covid and I had to make sure that I was able to keep my trees alive. So I did a lot of research there. So simultaneously as I was looking at the proteins and the alternative protein space. I was also understanding what the farmers are going through in today's world And the planet and how you don't know where water is coming from. We're in a major drought here. I mean right now the almond industry is in very big trouble. They have a 10%,, you know allowance that was just taken from them on water because to grow one almond takes one gallon of water and so we're getting the squeeze in the food industry that's coming into play and through that tension comes out white stars and I find the Perfect Day protein. The brand is called Perfect Day. It's a fermentation process protein. It is made by two young millennials, very bright Ryan and caramel and I decided to reach out to perfect day and fill out a form online. And they immediately got back to me the next day and that started the relationship and they asked me to create a nutrition bar with their perfect day protein. And when you think about their protein it's away protein that is cloned through a fermentation process. So the cow is not involved. But the protein tastes better than what a cow wait casing protein is. They remove the micro flora and they created this beautiful fluffy protein that blends well, you can mix it. It made beautiful uh nougat in the nutrition bar and I started talking to them through this process and said send me some more protein, let me play with it. So I went back in my kitchen, which it's so interesting back to the kitchen. Exactly. Well it's exactly where it was my favorite place as a child with my grandmother. It's exactly where I went with think then and now it's exactly where I'm at with better land. So it's so it's almost like again this deja vu and I started making nutrition bars but I wanted them to be candy. So I took snickers and Milky way and all five of the top candies and went back to perfect day and said I will use your protein. But I want to disrupt candy. So that was the first part. Candy is an 80 year old category. What you eat in the candy aisle keep in mind 80 years. So every ingredient that's put in that product, which is why it tastes so good and it's addictive is horrible for you. Too much sugar, palm kernel oil, not enough protein, not enough fiber, no vitamins whatsoever. And so I thought, you know what all flip candy on its head. I started there when I was in think thin back in the day they had me next to panda, licorice, Why not go back. So that's where I started then I started playing with the protein in my blender and that's when I realized that this could be something and I reached out to bil Picard who's my president at better Land foods. He's one of the smartest R and D. Operational heads that I've worked with and I walked him through the process of what I wanted to do and he he said, you know, we could make a milk out of that. So that's when we started playing with the idea of bringing a cow free milk into the world. When you think about where we're at with human health and the largest commodity, which is dairy, the carbon imprint the planet. What is next? And I truly believe that the fermentation, precision fermentation of proteins and soon to be saturated fats is the wave of the future. It is ingredients that will help the planet but not compromise on taste. And consumers are smart. They want something that tastes good, they want something that's good for them. And the bonus that it's good for the planet is just an extra pat on the back right now. But I do believe in the future, people will be supporting the planet and what's happening. The millennials today are smart there, their hands are in it, they support brands that support sustainability. But when I think about milk, I think about being a child, I had milk three times a day with my meals, drink your milk, you know with your eggs and then at lunch have your peanut butter sandwich with your milk. But I don't like almond milk and oat milk, it doesn't bake well it doesn't froth, it's not thick, it has no shelf life, it's not good for the environment. What are better land cow free milk does is it gives you protein, calcium gives you more protein than milk. It gives you calcium equal to gives you all the vitamins and supplements and it takes away the cow and it doesn't compromise taste. And so this brand for me is Is a legacy brand. This is where I want to be able to say in the next 3-5 years that the 870 million people that are starving around the world can actually be able to have enough food because we can produce enough to be able to help them thrive. Especially mothers with Children that can't even breastfeed because they're hungry. There's a whole, you know conversation around that. That just is frightening. Nobody should be hungry and nobody should be cold. Those are the two things that I truly believe. So if I can make a slight difference by helping people have something that they can drink and eat and and crook with and play with and feel good about that. That's probably the biggest legacy I can leave on the planet. That's amazing What a vision. And it's so true. Milk is really in everything. Every cake mix, everything you buy in the supermarket, yogurt, cheese cakes, whatever. Like it's all got milk in it. It is one of those really big problems that needs to be solved in a really massive way. A really massive way. That's it's really exciting. And I'm, I mean all of what you're doing is so cool. 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. Where is the business today? And like what does this year look like? What can you shout about right now? Oh thank you for giving me that platform. I appreciate it. So um woo bar dot com and better land milk dot com Will be selling products, August one. We're going to go direct to consumer first and communicate who we are, how we did it, why we did it. There is an education here, just like think where it's a new category. People still don't understand fermentation even though it's been in beer for hundreds of years, yeast and bread kombucha. It is just connecting the dots to an old way of thinking about bringing food to the table. So we plan on communicating that through a milkman campaign we're gonna do, which is partnering with amazon and you can actually buy the product and have it delivered right to your door. It comes in a really cool plant based cardboard that has, it looks like it's a, it's actually a great printed on top of it and it gets delivered right to your door. You can have the milk with a 12 month shelf life, so you don't have to go out and buy milk every week. Like what a lot of people have to do. And Starting January of 2023, we go into retail. Our goal at retail is to work with retailers that are like minded and understand that their refrigeration space needs to be lower because of the carbon imprint and people like sprouts, whole foods trader joes are very conscious of the planet. And so with that in mind, we're working on programs at retail to be able to communicate this brand tastes delicious, it's cost effective, You don't have to throw it away, it can go in your pantry, it's convenient. So that's kind of the goal. I um I really believe that the dairy farmers are opening their eyes to what's happening and they're struggling to do their job really well. We're not trying to get rid of dairy. What we're trying to do is add an arm to help people have the performance, the right supplements functionality of the product, which is what we deliver with our protein and calcium and the vitamins that are equal to and the sustainable side of you don't have to refrigerate it. So your carbon and print goes down there are water. Use its one gallon of milk takes three gallons of water. We're one for one were lower than anybody on the shelf right now and our flavor taste. Performance is the best. So when you have a latte at Starbucks and you do it with oat milk, it goes flat. When you have it with better land milk, it stays foamy to the point where you drink the whole coffee and you still have a puddle of gorgeous foamy cream at the bottom of it. So, performance is very important. I think the next six months is about having chefs cook with it. We have some hotels that are bringing it in just introducing it on a platform of taste it, see it for yourself and then understand the depth of what we're doing for the planet. Gosh, I'm so excited to try it, wow, Very, very exciting. The future is exciting! Oh my gosh, please do. I would love that. Gosh, this has been such a great episode.
So question number one is, what's your, why, why are you doing what you're doing? I guess we kind of just answer that, but I ask it anyway, Well no, I I appreciate that. To add value. I want to add value to the planet to the world. Gosh, amazing. Question # two is what has been your favorite marketing moment so far from either business? But my favorite marketing moment was when I I created my first two commercials and I did one off my daughter and one off my son of just stupid little things that we did like I one commercial, if you google it, think then trailer one, there's a commercial where I walk into my son's room and it's not me. Of course it's an actress, but it really is me and he's in the shower and his phone is on the bed and his room is all messed up. And I, and I, I hear his phone ring and I go to check it and he goes, mom, where's my phone? And it's like that moment where you're like, don't check the phone, you know, 13 years old. That's a really cute and says no guilt. Think then, you know, no guilt. That was a cute commercial. And then I did one where um there were four of my girlfriends sitting at a little coffee buffet and a hot 20 year old runs by and we all stop and look at him like, whoa, like we're a bunch of old ladies and and then he comes up and he says, oh hi mrs smith and it's actually my son's friend? So no guilt. And I think those commercials for me, remind me of everything of, of just the moments with my kids to the moments of the brand, it kind of intertwined in both. But those are probably my best marketing moments. They sound so much fun, so much fun to concept and storyboard and actually see it, you know, on a screen. So amazing. Question # three is what's your go to business resource when it comes to a book, a podcast or a newsletter. So I think linkedin is really interesting right now. I also belong to a organization called Waipio Youth presidents organization and the resources within that group are invaluable. So if anybody out there wants to google and look at Waipio, I would highly recommend it. It's, I think there's probably, gosh, 25,000 Ceo? S worldwide and um the level of communication, education, value added to speak to like minded people around the world has been extremely valuable to me. Very cool. I think there's a certain criteria to be able to become a member of Waipio, Don't know exactly what it is, like five million in revenue or actually, I think it's something like that, but it's something to look into and strive to. Mhm yeah, that sounds amazing. Gosh, I'm gonna link it in the show notes for anyone who wants to check it out. Question number four is how do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? Hmm, I would say top line is intention and alignment, Making sure I know what I want out of the day before. I used to get into the weeds on everything because I felt if I didn't, I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing, I now have a day and a week of an intention. I, these are the three things today that I need to conquer and conquer. Well, you know what they say when you multitask, you don't do everything really well. I am trying very hard to do everything really well. And so I'm limiting my intentions and my alignment to those goals. And I work out daily. I lift weights, I try to eat well, I've learned to incorporate more carbs into my lunch routine and that has made a substantial difference. Brown rice, wheat pasta. So tweaking my food to keep my energy level high and then to put down And to try to let my mind rest at six or 7. I mean we're working 15 hour days and it gets where it wears you down. And so I'm trying to bring in a balance to my life. Yeah, it's so important and I think now more than ever it's really hard. It's really hard to switch your brain off from your business and not to automatically divert to talking about your business or what you're building or the plans and this kind of thing, it's especially heightened with Covid being at home and you can't kind of find that line of where to draw the line in the sand and move on from day to evening. It's tricky, It is tricky. You're exactly right. It is an absolute balance that, you know, I used to say balances bullshit, like balance and what kind of balance I always, people would always ask me, so how do you put balance in your life? And I'm like a bottle of wine at 11 o'clock at night was my balance because I was so strung out that I couldn't wait to have a glass of wine right before I fell asleep. And I think balance is relative to what you want in life. You have the choices for yourself that you can make when you understand what you're good at and what you're not good at, and you bring in the right people that are really good at the parts you're not good at, you be become more balanced if that makes sense. And so I realigned the balanced conversation to be more about an alignment of what I do really well and and what I don't do well and then make sure that I can lean in on the people that do it really well because we can't do everything really well. We we have our our, you know, experiences that teach us to be good at what we're doing and we have our gifts. So when you start to realize what those are, I think you start to bring balance into your life. Absolutely. Question # five is what has been your biggest money mistakes? And how much did it cost you biggest money mistakes? Oh gosh, divorce. No, I'm just kidding, Cheers. I would just say that the truth. You know, I think when I was 18 and um I went out and bought a car on my own. You know when you're young and they say, oh you have no credit, so you have credit. I went out and bought this convertible. I lived in Seattle Washington by the way, so it rained all the time. How stupid soft top convertible. And I remember coming home and my dad's going, what is that? I said, dad, I just bought a car. He goes, how much was it? I think it was? And back then it was like 35,000, which was so much money. He's like, how are you going to pay for it? I said, I don't know and let's figure it out. And um it was a big mistake. I ended up giving the car back three months and that was a gamble on, you know, can I pay for this before, yes, I can pay for this, get the car, it was, I moved impulsively instead of not. And I think that was a big lesson for me. It was a big lesson that very young age and we ended up, my dad had to help me get out of the lease but he we ended up getting out of it and it was a very big lesson. Yeah. Gosh, expensive car. Holy moly And question # six. Last question what is just a crazy story, good or bad that you can share from your journey in building multiple businesses now. Oh let's see. I would say that the when you tap into your intuition and as females, I think that our intuitive voice can be honed the more you use it, the louder it becomes. I I used my intuition on a very big decision of changing my packaging from a brown package to the tan light package. Think then was very um simple and every single person kept saying to me, lausanne, you have all this real estate, say this, say that. I said no when you're in such a loud and crowded category and your packaging goes quiet on the shelf, it actually pops, it's the reverse of what they were telling me. And every single person, even the board was like don't do it. I said no, my gut is telling me this is the right decision for the brand. It was the best decision I made with so many people that were marketers and you know the advertising agency retail not to do it. And I think it shifted the brand into its own its own being, it became a brand that people recognized immediately after that shift. And so I would say that intuition and listening to yourself and not doubting it is really important when you make business decisions or decisions all the way around in life. Absolutely, so true. Ain't that the truth? Listen, thank you so much for coming on the show. I feel like you've dropped about a million wisdom truth bombs that were just so great to hear. And I've absolutely loved hearing your story and I can't wait to try your products. I can't wait for them to launch and I can't wait to see what you going to do in the world. Thank you so much.