Candy, but make it healthy
It's time for this week's breakdown of the My Biggest Lessons podcast! Connor Renton, co-founder of BoostBear, joined Chris Meade on the pod to discuss how he prepared for the launch of his new DTC brand. Watch the full episode below! ⤵
Let's be honest, who doesn't love candy? 🍬
Connor and his co-founder Austin have always been big into working out and lifting heavy, but also big into eating. With a realization that sometimes they would eat more than they could lift, they turned to trying many of the low calorie candy options on the market as a compromise. Packed with artificial sweeteners and lacking in the flavor department, the current candy alternatives left Connor and Austin with one burning question: "How can we make a candy that is actively better for you?".
Enter BoostBear: the world's first better-for-you protein-based candy. The pair initially founded the brand in 2019, but have faced a few setbacks along the way, including the impactful and ongoing supply chain issues, as well as manufacturing woes.
Connor and Austin have faced these setbacks head-on, and have taken advantage of their extended pre-launch time to build their brand and their business. Interested in learning more? Keep reading for Connor’s biggest lessons!
Finding the right manufacturer
When Connor and Austin got to work on BoostBear, they knew they wanted to create something that was a healthier alternative to traditional sweets, yet tastier than any other low-cal candy on the market.
After hiring a food scientist and producing small batches in their kitchen, they realized they would need more support to continue growing. Naturally, the next step in getting your product ready for launch is finding a manufacturer to help with production. With BoostBear's unique recipe, this was an almost impossible task to conquer for Connor. Most established, large manufacturing companies don't want to add a new recipe and manufacturing processes.
Rather than throwing away their unique recipe and going with a private label product to ease the process, Connor and Austin took their time to find someone willing to take a chance on them — something they'd recommend that new brands with unique recipes and products do.
The benefits of TikTok
Leveraging organic growth on TikTok is one of the best tools a new DTC brand can use in 2022. For Connor, this has been one of the key elements in gaining brand popularity during BoostBear's pre-launch.
Using what they call the "Gary V model", Connor and Austin document everything — including the struggles they run into pre-launch. They've found that portraying their authentic story and struggles with a good hook in the first 4-6 seconds of their content has been the best way to connect with and grow their audience. Through this method, they've skyrocketed to over 70,000 followers in just 1 month with their organic content.
One major benefit of their organic TikTok growth has been the ability to push their waitlist and pre-sell BoostBear before launch. Through TikTok alone, they've built an email list of over 20,000 subscribers that they'll be able to utilize post-product launch.
Working with wholesalers and retailers
Jumping into retail or landing a huge wholesale deal right out of the gates sounds like hitting the jackpot as a brand owner, but is it actually beneficial?
With a past company, Connor landed a huge wholesale deal with Canadian grocery chain Loblaws. Between inaccurately forecasting, placing too many POs, and not getting a decent placement within the store, this deal ended up being detrimental for Connor, and left him with 20k unsold units that he still has stored in his parents' garage.
Connor's best advice to new DTC brands looking to move into retail and wholesale? Make sure you have enough money in the bank to be able to survive the first 6 months after the PO has been made — especially when you're on Net 60 or Net 90 terms. These types of contracts can be detrimental to new brands that don't have the capital to stay net positive (see last week's featured brand, Bala, as an example of this).
Want to learn more about ecommerce growth through the personal trials and obstacles of industry professionals? Subscribe to the My Biggest Lessons Podcast on YouTube, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to podcasts.