DTC POD #327 - How Good Girl Snacks Captured Gen Z’s Heart (and Stomach) with Hot Girl Pickles
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Uh, I remember when Ramon told me that we're having you guys on the show. Um, not only was he pumped because of the content that he's seen, but even the people that we talked to, everyone's seen your content. Everyone's like, oh, we've seen that all over tic tac. So, um, really excited for today's convo and I'll just let. Why don't, why don't we just kick it off? Why don't you guys give a quick intro, quick background about yourself and tell us a little bit about how you guys started the brand together.
Yeah. So, yeah, someone and I have been best friends for the last six years. We both went to USC and we met there and we're kind of just immediately stuck to the hip. Like, we haven't spent a day apart and we always kind of knew that we worked really well together, that we had complementary skills. And so once we graduated college and kind of went our separate ways, I went to work in a tech startup, like an avatar tech startup, and I was doing marketing there. And then yas was working in a perfume startup and then went into the art space, and we were both kind of really bored with our corporate jobs and started scrolling on TikTok a lot. And as a result, we were fed a lot of viral content all the time, and we started noticing a pattern where everyone was eating pickles. There was the chamois pickle trend, there was a chickle trend.
There was a pickle sweatshirt that went viral. And so we kind of also, as pickle fans, were like, there's a huge market here, and no one's doing anything to innovate packaging or flavors, but there's a cult following around the snack. And so yas literally texted me one day, and she's like, we kind of hate our lives at our jobs right now. Like, why don't we just start hot girl pickles? And it was almost an immediate, like, yes, this is a fantastic idea. Bought the domain on the spot for good girl snacks. And, yeah, that's literally the story. It was kind of crazy. People thought we were a little nuts for leaving our stable corporate jobs to start a pickle company, but the story works.
And the fact that we're best friends and kind of knew how we were going to grow it on socials before even starting was, like, definitely worked in our interest.
Yeah, and that's definitely something I want to talk about, because that's, you know, launching a brand is something that a lot of people go through in terms of saying, like, how do I quit my job? How do I start? What do I start with? There's all these different questions. So when you guys were getting started, you guys clearly had the idea, but what was then? What was the strategy? How long were you guys before you said you bought the domain? But then what did social strategy look like before you got to the point where you could, like, you know, quit your jobs and take this on full time?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:04:21 - 00:05:04
So we kind of had this conversation, and then it wasn't long before we decided, like, okay, this is something that could actually work, and this is something that is worth pursuing. And it took a couple of conversations. We spoke to a few people in the industry. We did a lot of, like, cold emailing and reaching out to people on LinkedIn. And from the few people we spoke to, we just got so much encouragement that I think it gave us the confidence to make that jump and to be like, okay, we have something here. We're not crazy. It is kind of a crazy idea, but it could work. And, yeah, we were just, I think, eager to start something, eager to, I don't know, live on the edge and do something fun.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:05:04 - 00:05:18
And, yeah, I think we also were both in the mentality that it's now or never and we're so young and so, I don't know, it just felt like the perfect timing. Also in terms of the trends and what was happening. And we were like, okay, this is.
Now or never, and in terms of socials. So we, so we started this for context. Well, we bought the domain and we're kind of like really excited about doing it in May of last year. So a year ago and then in June, we ended up quitting our jobs and going like, throttle with it. We went into it like having a conversation of like, okay, sorry, yes, I won. But we're going to have to be on socials and like, become influencers essentially. Otherwise this business isn't going to work. We got the idea for the business on social media, so we have to be on social media essentially.
We didn't want to start too soon, but we wanted to have a couple months of content where we were posting every single day just to kind of give ourselves momentum before we launched. So from June to September, we were in business formation mode, getting branding, getting all of our legal documents, creating our formulas, all that stuff. And then starting October 1, we were like, all right, we're going to post every single day starting this day. And that's exactly what we did until this day. We've posted every single day except for a four day break that we took. Yeah, it's been crazy.
Ramon Berrios 00:06:35 - 00:07:20
I definitely want to dive into the social strategy, but also, I'm curious when you were starting, so, by the way, but there's no better feeling than like buying the domain for some reason, because it's like something that happens once in the business ever. Like, you get your first sale is cool, but then you just keep getting the sales. So when you bought the domain, what was like the one thing that was sort of like the biggest risk or fear? Because there's a few ways to look at that. You know, you can always just go back and get another job. Like, you'll be totally fine, you're going to be able to do that. But some people might fear where are we going to get our first sales from? Other people might fear how are we going to even make the product? Like what was, was the fear more on the production side or on the marketing front?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:07:21 - 00:08:17
I think more on the production side. I think we really believed in our marketing abilities and we had fun ideas in mind already and we had a very strong vision for what the branding would be and we were both super excited about it that I think the only missing piece was like, okay, we need to figure out how we're actually going to manufacture those pickles. So I think definitely the operational side was a bit more daunting, especially since neither of us have any experience in that domain, whereas Leia worked in marketing previously. So, yeah, I would say the operational side was definitely the biggest risk. But to be completely honest, I think we were maybe both a bit naive in a sense, but in a good way where we weren't really thinking too far ahead and we were just like, okay, let's focus on now and what we can build now. And I don't know, I think we were both very optimistic that things would fall into place and thankfully they did.
And then with the domain specifically, I think we did have a little bit of fear of calling our brand good girl snacks and the product hot girl pickles. So specifically, when we bought the domain and about the domain, that was something that we talked about a lot, actually, just because we were like, oh, are certain people not going to want to buy this because they're going to think it's not for them? Is this a mistake? We also had a lot of people being like, oh, you're cutting out 50% of a potential customer, blah, blah, all the stuff. But we decided to do it and kind of run with it because it has such a strong and niche brand, even with the name and it such a conversation starter that we were like, it won't even matter at a certain point. Like, if we really nail the branding, the name will just be a part of that. And people kind of understand that being a good girl or being a hot girl is a mentality and it's not just a name for something, for sure.
Ramon Berrios 00:09:16 - 00:09:34
I mean, the pickle market is so big, right? Like, even if you slice it down to a specific niche, you can always expand from there. So as a marketer, I'm curious, what was the white space you saw in pickles? Like, why? Why pickles was the opportunity you saw when you were sort of figuring out positioning?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:09:34 - 00:10:41
I think we saw, that's something that we always say is that we saw the beverage aisle and we saw the snacks aisle and we saw the plethora of brandings that you see with those companies, all the different flavors that exist. I mean, I think nowadays if you try to pick a beverage at Whole Foods or erawan or whatever supermarket, you're just overwhelmed with choice. And it all feels, I don't know, like there's something for everyone. And we felt like that wasn't the case for pickles. When we looked at the pickle aisle, we felt like it looked very homogenous. We felt like branding was kind of outdated. And there's, of course, a few players that have tried to innovate things and tried to keep things fun, but we felt like there was something missing, especially something that was slightly more catered to women. And so that was kind of our idea, I guess, is to tap into that, to also do some flavor innovation at the same time and innovate packaging, make it look eye catching and do some fun marketing, not take ourselves too seriously and, yeah, and I'm sure you.
Ramon Berrios 00:10:41 - 00:10:58
Also, when you got all that feedback, I'm sure some people were like, nah, that's not really going to work. Like, you know, pickles aren't supposed to be like that. It's just like the brands are like these old legacy players and they're going to be there and there's no space for this. Did you hear some of that?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:10:59 - 00:11:47
Definitely, yeah, I think we definitely heard a lot of people talk about, like, the biggest pickle brands and how so many Americans are loyal to those brands. How are you going to disrupt that? But I don't know. I think we had a very niche demographic in mind and we knew that whatever we did, we could find a way to appeal to them. And I think we did a pretty good job at doing that just through our branding and our marketing. Before people even tried the product, I think there was an initial immediate appeal with the brand from this demographic that we were targeting and, yeah, so I think even though it was a bit daunting at first to kind of come in as a new player and disrupt this industry that's been around forever, I think we were also excited to do something different and to kind of join the industry at the same time. Yeah.
And also I think a lot of people forget that Gen Z is the up and coming biggest consumer. Not yet, but it's coming. And so if brands aren't designing and creating products for Gen Z, then they're missing out on a huge consumer market. And obviously we had an upper hand because we are Gen Z, so we know how to market to Gen Z. And that's also why we kind of created this new Gen trendy type of product. And then also, like we mentioned earlier, we have no experience in food and beverage. So I think we had a very unique perspective and point of view on how to build a brand that's almost like a lifestyle, fashion or beauty brand, more so than a food and beverage brand, which I think is one of the reasons why people really like what we're doing, because it's not usual in the food and beverage section. So, yeah, I mean, it's almost like we're not competing with the other pickle brands.
It's like we're just doing something completely new, you know? Yeah.
Yeah. You guys are definitely a little bit different than the other pickle brands, which is, which is awesome. One thing that I want to talk about is your content strategy from the get go and finding content market fit. What worked? Like, how did you guys do it? So if you guys could just characterize, like you said, you guys knew you wanted to lean into content, you knew you want to be posting every day. Like, what were the conversations like a before you started coming up with content, what was the content that you started to, like, do in the beginning? Did it work immediately? Did you guys iterate to find your voice? Like, just walk us through that whole journey of finding content market fit?
Yeah. So we started off with just, like, doing trends or filming content just to start getting comfortable in front of the camera, even if we knew we weren't going to post it. So I think we started filming in, like, late August and September. And then I have an incredible mentor and someone that I was working with in my past company that I spoke to. And he was like, you have to show people what you're doing. Like, you need to give people some insight on what it's like to build your company. And so we were like, okay, we're going to actually start a series, and it's going to be day one, day two, day three, so that people can always come back and watch a continuation of the story. And it'll also just be cool for us to have down the line if this ends up working out.
But essentially, we started a series where we were vlogging every single day, like what we were doing that day. And it's not just a highlight reel. It's like literally everything. If something goes wrong, we're talking about it, we're showing it. And we went from posting trends, which were great. They gave us views, they gave us a few followers. But once we started posting these vlogs, we were actually inviting a community because we were telling a story. It wasn't just tapping into a trend.
And it was a series that people could tap into, almost like a tv show where you're waiting for the next episode to come out. And so once we kind of went that route, things started getting easier for us and we started getting more attention on social media. But I will say from October to January, we kind of had the same amount of followers on TikTok and Instagram. And in January, we started taking reels way more seriously and specifically search engine optimization through hashtags and keywords in videos. And that actually allowed our Instagram to pop off. We gained 10,000 followers in like five days from a couple videos where we kind of broke down our branding and our story and why we quit our jobs as best friends, start a pickle company, which is a crazy hook within itself. And I think that just really caught people's attention. And again, using the power of SEO, we just got in front of the right eyes.
And then a couple weeks after that, we were at. Then we launched our product for preorder. And then once we launched for preorder, that video went viral and we got to, it just kept going and going and going. And here we are still continuing with the day one series. We're just kind of switching it up now. So it's like, we started with day one of launching a pickle company with my best friend, then it was like, or no, starting a company with my best friend, then it was launching a company with my best friend and now it's trying to make our company blow up. And so, yeah, it's worked great, but it wasn't an immediate success. It was definitely.
Consistency is key, for sure.
Ramon Berrios 00:16:37 - 00:17:07
So what has the journey been like in terms of, like, your workflow of creating content? Like, first in the beginning, like, you don't even know which one is the right hook, right? Then you, like, lean into the winning hook and like, then you start iterating. And even with the editing part, like, it's just. You too. Like, were you editing the videos yourselves? How different is your workflow today than, like, the first week that you were making content? I assume it would take you hours to get a video out and like, no, you're faster.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:17:07 - 00:17:51
Yeah, definitely. We're faster now. I think we took it super seriously from the beginning and I think we knew we needed to allocate as much time to content creation as we did to anything else in the business. And I think, like we mentioned, we knew at the very beginning, branding, marketing, that's what's going to push us forward. It's not going to be, you know, initially how good the product is, even though, of course, that's as important. But we knew that the first initial push was definitely going to be the marketing. And so when we scheduled our days, we would allocate a lot of time for content creation, and then it was just trial and error and testing different things, seeing how people reacted to different things, different hooks, different contents, and, yeah.
I think the biggest advice I have when you're just you or like two and you're starting a company and you want to do content creation is scheduling in film blocks, brainstorms, having a social calendar so that you know what you're posting every single day. At first, it actually took less time than it does now. And the reason for that being is it's really hard to stay creative over time when you post every single day. I feel like now brainstorms are coming up with content is a lot harder, and keeping up with how the algorithm is changing all the time is also really difficult. Whereas before we were just like, oh, let's test things and see what sticks. And now it's just like, okay, how do we, like, keep this going and keep up with everything that's changing? And literally the opposite of evergreen on social media, you know, I tried.
Ramon Berrios 00:18:52 - 00:18:53
Sorry, go ahead.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:18:53 - 00:19:02
No, I was just going to say the brainstorming takes definitely more time, but the actual filming, I think, has gone way easier, which, you know, kind of balances itself out.
Ramon Berrios 00:19:02 - 00:19:36
Yeah, I definitely want to talk about, like, the strategizing and planning and the brainstorming. I think for me, I tried, you know, doing one a day, and it was just, it was, it was so much work. What was the hardest thing for me was actually compressing the story into like, yes, 30 seconds. I would write out, okay, I've got it. And I'd write it on my phone, and then when I record it, I'd be, you know, it's like, shit, this is a minute and a half long. How am I gonna. You have to just have the essentials. Like, now we're actually getting, like, an eight blade and I are gonna do it for the podcast.
Ramon Berrios 00:19:36 - 00:19:50
We're getting this agency called Vids agency. They help, like, some of the biggest creators because, like, we just can't figure out, like, what are the essentials here? So I'm very curious on, like, when you're strategizing, how do you strip it down to the essential?
I think for us, it's interesting specifically with our vlog content, because we're videotaping clips of what we're doing and then doing a voiceover after. So it's kind of like a cheat code because, I mean, I have all these, like, random little clips of the day, and then I can kind of figure out how to chop those down and have a video that already has a timestamp on it. And then I just have to figure out how to fit a voiceover over that time, if that makes sense. So doing it backwards is actually a lot easier. Um, when we have done speaking videos, um, I, and we're filming it, I usually always film it in little clips. That way, if one clip, we're speaking too slow, we're like, okay, we have to do that again and, like, speak way faster. Um, and then, yeah, just cutting it down, like snipping when you breathe or, like, things like that help.
Ramon Berrios 00:20:44 - 00:21:06
I noticed. I noticed you have, like, where you do the voiceover. Like, you don't wait for it to end. Yeah, there's no transition. I guess I noticed that. I tried copying some of, some of that stuff, and, like, it's like, it's cool because it's like, it's fast. It's super fast paced, whereas, like, some people will tell you, no, don't talk too fast. Like, people won't understand.
Ramon Berrios 00:21:06 - 00:21:20
So it's just interesting. Like, it just, like, it might work for your audience, it might not. There's no blueprint here, but, like, I really like that format. And I can tell, like, you're just doing things very, very differently.
Yeah, I think Gen Z and just the Internet in general has a very short attention span. So, yes, talking over yourself is actually a good thing online because it just takes less time to say what you have to say. Um, and if you don't get someone's attention in the first 3 seconds, like, guess what? They're just going to scroll. So, yeah, speaking fast, speaking loud, being in someone's face, and. And having a hook is, like, the best.
Ramon Berrios 00:21:48 - 00:22:02
And so how do you guys do this? Do you guys do this remotely? And how do you do it remotely? I mean, Lee, I assume, like, you're mostly, you're in most of the videos. Do both of you participate in the videos? And how do you do that remotely?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:22:02 - 00:22:45
So we'll meet, like, once a week to kind of do a brainstorm of what this week's content will look like. And then there was a time period where I was away, so Leia was in the majority of the content, but we were kind of just thinking of all the ideas together and coming up with different things. And it'll be, like, a thing where, I don't know if we're on TikTok and we're noticing a video that we like, or if we're noticing a trend, we'll text each other and be like, okay, let's do this next time we film. Or, oh, let's try and do this our way next time. And I think that's kind of how we work on this remotely. That being said, we also work together pretty much every day, so that kind of helps that we're. It gives us more content to show.
Yeah, I think it's a good thing to have a mix between planned content and spontaneous content, especially with how quickly social media moves. Like, you need to be okay with one day dropping the idea you had and just hopping on a trend, or, like, I don't know. Hailey Bieber, for example, yesterday posted that she is having a pregnancy craving where she eats egg salad on a pickle. And we were like, oh, my God, we have to film this, like, tomorrow. Scrap the video tomorrow. We have to do this because everyone's talking about it. So, yeah, I mean, it's planning, but it's also, you know, allowing room for spontaneity and hopping on trends, for sure.
Guys, when you. You were talking about doing that first content series where you're recording a bunch of content and then you started posting in October, were you guys, like, doing your. When you're doing, like, the build in public sort of stuff? When you're, like, today day one of building a startup with my best friend, is that coming out, like, later after the fact, like, you guys had planned those out? Or was that, you know, just you guys, like, creating content and warming up the content engine before you guys started, like, posting? Like, the question is, like, is your content now more in real time as opposed to, like, like, planned several months out?
We always film and post the same day because people on social media like to see things in real time. And so if you're seeing a vlog, that's what happened that day.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:24:11 - 00:24:12
Oh, that was the other question about vlogging, right? When you say vlogging, like, you know, are you guys doing anything longer form on YouTube or on other platforms? Or is it primarily just, like, Instagram and TikTok? And then if so, like, what's the break? Like, talk to me about, like, story strategy versus, like, real strategy versus, like, grid post strategy.
Yeah. So you can. Do you want to touch on story and feed?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:24:39 - 00:25:33
Yeah, I think for feed, we wanted to kind of look like a portfolio. That's kind of how we like to think about it when people look at our grid, we like to kind of showcase what the brand is about, its images that represent what we stand for, our mission, the product, and then anything else, like Laya will touch upon. It's more us, the brand building, and everything else. And then I think, yeah, stories are about promoting our product, engaging with our community. We'll do polls a lot. We're always communicating with our community, asking them questions, including them in our decision making. And that's something that was very important to us from the very beginning, is including them in everything that we do. And then our feed, I think, is room for the photo shoots that we do, the fun branding and all of that for people to kind of look at.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:25:33 - 00:25:40
And we like to have a very editorial take on food marketing. So I think it makes it fun to look at.
Yeah. So and so with our short form content that we do on TikTok and reels, we post the same thing on TikTok than we do on reels. If you're creating content, you need to recycle that everywhere. Like, we even post on LinkedIn sometimes with that content. So I kind of think, and by the way, we started posting on reels when that feature on Instagram came out of, when the reel didn't have to be on your actual feed because we didn't want to mess up our aesthetic. And so this whole time, for, like, months, we didn't start posting on reels until, like, I don't know, November, December. Yeah, we were missing out on a huge community because we didn't want to ruin our aesthetic. So, like Yasaman mentioned, our feed is kind of like our brand.
The story is kind of how we communicate and upkeep a relationship with our followers. And then our reels or TikToks are kind of like a tv show, like a reality tv show, and you can follow us along. That's kind of how we like to think about it. And we're very, very authentic there, which creates kind of a fun juxtaposition of, like, there's this crazy, like, intense editorial, provocative tone with the photos that we post, and then there's, like, us, like, chowing down pickles on reels. And I think that authenticity and just unique way of approaching content also really resonated with people. So there's no rules.
No, I love that. Um, it's. It's very, like, thoughtful how you guys have broken everything down. That's why I wanted to ask. Cause, like, you know, I remember I was checking out your guys's grid. And I was like, oh, this grid looks very aesthetic. So, like, knowing how you guys are strategizing between, like, the real versus someone who's landing on the page and needs to understand what the brand about is about, I think, is. Is really great.
So transitioning things towards actual pickles, product development, getting your first kind of sales launch, walk us through that process. You guys clearly, you know, went all in on content to, like, build the brand, get people aware of what you guys are doing. Um, the brand you're building, the problem that you're solving. But talk us through what it actually started to look like when rubber started to meet the road, and you're like, okay, now we need to, like, put together a product and sell it.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:27:59 - 00:28:52
Yeah, I think, um, we worked pretty quickly over the summer. Like Leah mentioned, summer 2023. We really took care of the branding, um, kind of building out the skeleton for what the company would look like, both aesthetically, branding wise, and also legally, like, making sure we have all our ducks in a row. And then, and then we started the fun part, which was the product development, which was super exciting. So over the summer, we also were testing recipes in our kitchen, and we had very clear ideas of the flavors that we wanted to have. We knew we wanted one with turmeric and one that was like a honey harissa, which was kind of like our take on the hot honey trend that we keep seeing everywhere. And so we did that, realized, like, okay, we are not chefs. This is not working.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:28:52 - 00:29:48
We need external help. And then hired a team of amazing consultants that helped us a lot on the R and D side and also on the operational side. And, yeah, we kind of just went from there, visited, started visiting co packers, and it was getting real. And then we were basically ready for production. In December, we flew to Boston to have our very first production, and then it all kind of went to shit because, like, our entire cucumber order basically got ruined in transit. And so, yeah, it kind of, like, threw us in for a loop, and we ended up producing anyway in January. And I don't know, I think when I look at the trajectory of, from the creation of the brand till now, everything has happened very quickly. And sometimes it kind of feels like we're strapped on a rocket and going along with it.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:29:48 - 00:30:30
And thankfully, I think we have a pretty good network of people around us that have been great at supporting us, giving us amazing advice, and it feels like we have gotten great support along the way. And I think that has made us feel great about this whole trajectory. And I think having the community that we have also has definitely helped because even when something was going wrong and we were sharing it with them, we felt like it was almost like a weight off our shoulders to share it with everyone. And people were like relating or appreciating the authenticity and the rawness of it all. And that definitely made us feel great about the community that we built.
Yeah. So when, this summer when we were doing all the branding and, you know, legal business formation things simultaneously, we were doing like sample testing, figuring out what sample worked best for us. And we basically had that down in two months just to kind of add to the timeline. So we had a recipe in September and we started in June. And from there, like Yasmin mentioned, we found co Packer and all that. And now we kind of, well, we launched for preorder in February. That was kind of a strategy thing to get people really hyped up and, you know, want to buy before they sell out, thinking that the pre order was going to sell out. It never was.
This is all a marketing scheme. And we launched then, and starting then, we already were in a process of asking our customers for feedback. We were like, what are your thoughts? What are your thoughts? What are your thoughts? Dm us, comment, email us, everything, sending out surveys, blah, blah. As we continue on our product journey, we have listened and taken that feedback extremely seriously and kind of are building a whole grill. Pickles 2.0, where most people wanted the pickles to be smaller, the honey harissa to be spicier, or they wanted less vinegar and more salt, and we were like, great, let's do all those things. And so basically, like a week after we sent out surveys and started getting all this feedback, we started iterating and perfected our product even more. And we're not going into production in a few weeks, um, as we're very close to selling out from our first production, um, and yeah, we're super stoked about that. But the product side of things has definitely been, um, the most stressful because we are organic.
We're one of the only organic pickles on the market. And so finding organic cucumbers is literally like the hardest thing on the entire planet. We call it cucumber gate, um, because we can never find cucumbers. Um, and so, yeah, that's, that's been a struggle in our entire product development journey.
We are really excited to announce that DTC pod is officially part of the HubSpot podcast network. The HubSpot podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals, and we're really excited about being part of the network because we're going to be able to keep growing the show, bringing you guys amazing guests, and obviously helping you guys learn from the best founders, marketers, and builders of the most successful consumer consumer brands. So anyway, keep listening to DTC pod and more shows like us on the HubSpot podcast network@HubSpot.com. podcastnetwork.
Ramon Berrios 00:33:17 - 00:33:20
You guys be, you guys have bootstrapped the company, right?
Ramon Berrios 00:33:21 - 00:33:24
And so have all of the sales been through organic content?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:33:24 - 00:33:25
Ramon Berrios 00:33:25 - 00:33:27
So we didn't start off with ads.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:33:27 - 00:33:28
Nope, no ads.
Ramon Berrios 00:33:28 - 00:34:03
Nice. And so, okay, so what are some of, like, you know, there is, like, there are benefits and then there are constraints of being bootstrapped. So what are some of those? What is the give and take of being bootstrapped? What do you wish? Like, there's the beauty in it in the sense that, like, we have to make organic content work. It works. Companies that are even fully funded can figure out how to make organic work because they're not authentic. They don't have a community attached to them. And you can't put, you can't put a dollar sign behind that. You cannot buy a community on a platform, log in and acquire, you know, community members.
Ramon Berrios 00:34:03 - 00:34:17
So, you know, that adds an incredible asset value to your company. But what are some of the things you constrain that, like you wish you could do more of but you can't because you're bootstrapped?
We have so many ideas. Yeah.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:34:19 - 00:35:05
And I have so many, like, fun ideas and we're like, my God, we need to throw an event where this happens and that happens, or, oh my gosh, I wish we could, you know, we have so many, like, content ideas, event ideas, marketing ideas. But honestly, I think overall, it's been a great thing for us and it's forced us to be so creative with the type of content that we push out. And in a way, it prevented us from being lazy. You know, instead of just having a post or a pre made video that you just boost with dollars to push it around on social media, we kind of had to just sit down instead and we're like, okay, what can we do to get people's attention? And I think that allowed us to come up with really fun ideas that were very low lift and cost us $0 and that ended up being effective for us.
So, yeah, I think it also forces us to learn. Like we mentioned, we don't know what we're doing. We're just now entering this industry and it's like, we don't have the money to hire, like, a salesperson or we don't have the money to hire, like, a full time, I don't know, operations person. And so we were kind of like, okay, we have to learn by talking to everyone in the industry. So huge part of what we were doing at the beginning is, like, cold reach out or cold outreach on LinkedIn, finding people in the industry that we knew, you know, mutual friends, things like that, and just learning from them. And then with our consultants that we got, we made sure that it was a match that wasn't just, you know, it wasn't just a company doing the work for us. They were teaching us along the way so that, you know, we can take all that information and continue building instead of spending to get the same knowledge, essentially. So, yeah, just being scrappy, I think, is so important.
And even one day, if we do have a ton of money, I think we'll always keep a scrappy mindset because that's just how you get stuff done. And, you know. Yeah.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:36:18 - 00:36:34
And I will, to add onto that really quick, I will say that I think Gen Z values non paid content way more than paid content. I think they're very sensitive to ads, and we see that, you know, even in our own behavior.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:36:35 - 00:37:12
When we see an ad, like, most of the time I'm scrolling past because I'm like, okay, whatever. It's going to be some kind of product that's gimmicky that they're trying to sell to me. But if it's like, the founders talking about their product or, like an, you know, somebody who actually, like a real customer who bought the product and is now talking about it and in an authentic way, I think we value that way more as customers and as content viewers. And so I think we knew that going in, that if we wanted to sell our product, we had to be very authentic and we had to kind of be real about it instead of just pushing ads all the time.
Yeah. We also have the advantage of being Gen Z. So we kind of have grown up on the Internet. We know how it works. We know how to talk to people on the Internet. We've kind of, like, accidentally studied it just because we're on it all the time. We get, like, what an influencer does. Like, when they're moving their phone and they're starting to talk, that's because they want to grab your attention and you're like, what are they doing with the phone? Or, like, if they have their bangles clanking, you know, like things like that.
Ramon Berrios 00:37:44 - 00:37:45
That you don't your hands are moving like this.
Yeah, exactly. Things that people don't think about. Like we've just noticed because that's our generation and we grew up on the Internet. So yes, big companies may not have that, but if they hired like a Gen Z person, I'm sure they could figure it out. You know what I mean?
Ramon Berrios 00:38:03 - 00:38:50
So I want to ask from the consultant front, but before that, when I ask on the content and I promise to move on from the content strategy side from here. But I find it so fascinating, like what is scaling? So, okay, so you're getting sales, doing content, organic content. What is scaling that look like? Because creating content can become super expensive if you wanted to, right? Like you can go into YouTube, you can hire editors, you can hire strategies. As the business grows, the business is going to demand more and more time from you. And you can layer content into so many areas, like just concept ideas, titles like captions even. So how do you visualize the content growing the business and the content scaling with it?
I think we're visualizing content as a tool always, obviously, while keeping our authenticity even as we scale. So we always want to be in the videos, like forever if possible. But we also know that if we're running a business, we're going to need to start involving UGC creators. If we have the money to pay influencers, then recycling their content on our platform as well, and then eventually, if we have someone that's working on a marketing team, having them do similar type of content. I'm really inspired by setactive right now. They hired an influencer to run their social media and they do a lot of in office content where they're making silly trends and things that are very on brand for Gen Z. That's kind of how I see our content growing if other people get involved and we have to start delegating. But I think for now and in the next few months, we're definitely still going to continue with the vlogs and bringing BTS content and staying very low lift.
I think people like to see low lift content, specifically with short form content because it's just authentic to the platform. TikTok wasn't made to have super edited, crazy videos. In fact, we make our videos look less professional than they could be just to kind of fit in with the rest of the videos you see when you scroll so that we don't look like a brand selling to you. Um, and so I think as long as we can upkeep that, we will super cool.
Ramon Berrios 00:40:40 - 00:41:19
That reminds me of something I somebody broke down. Like Barstool media, they sort of have this concept of these care. Their employees and the people in camera are sort of characters. And so that's sort of the way that Dave Porter has allowed, you know, the brand to expand beyond him. So one last thing I want to touch on as we get towards the end here is you mentioned you hired consultants, and so consultants like, you could have just hired team members, but you said something that you wanted to also learn the implementation along the way. So why did you choose to bring on consultants instead of saying, we can just hire this person to come in and just do that?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:41:20 - 00:42:06
I mean, I think for financial reasons, it made more sense to hire consultants versus having somebody full time and having a full time employee with us. We're, as we said, we're bootstrapped. And so, you know, the cheaper, the better for us. We're definitely working with a tight budget. And I think, like we mentioned, for us, it was really about learning the industry. We're very new to this industry, and I think we want to be able to have a huge understanding of what's happening and how to do things. And the only way you can do that is if you're doing it yourself. And for me, I felt like if somebody was kind of doing our work for us, then it wouldn't be us, it wouldn't be our brand, it wouldn't be our vision.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:42:06 - 00:42:20
And I think we were also excited to learn and excited to make mistakes and just overall, very eager to kind of get our hands dirty and figure out this industry and be the people learning how to do things.
And, yeah, I think we look back at this and we're like, we've learned so much. Like, we get it now. We kind of know what's good, which is so crazy because it's only been a few months. And so I get on calls with new founders all the time just to give them advice. And the first advice I give them is, if you don't know what you're doing, get an advisor that's going to teach you how to do it.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:42:45 - 00:42:45
Um, like, if you're crazy enough to start a company, then at least learn, like, the industry and understand, like, what you're getting yourself into, you know? Um, and it's not just, like, research about the market. It's also, like, how do these little things work? Like, we didn't even know that you had to go through a distributor to sell to a grocery store, for example, and how that all works. And so obviously, now we have, like, a very, um, like, implemented structure with the alps. But, yeah, I think we knew.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:43:18 - 00:43:40
We knew we had to get our hands dirty to learn and to figure out this industry. And, um, yeah, I think it wouldn't be what it is now if it hadn't been us, too, just figuring it out. And at the same time, I think us having to do it ourselves has kind of motivated us even more to succeed and to do very well, because we don't really voice that.
We've literally delivered, like. Like, I don't know, 250 pound or gallons of vinegar on our own. Like, we became delivery men.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:43:47 - 00:43:48
That's in the middle of Massachusetts. It's in the snow. Like, that's. That's our life.
Ramon Berrios 00:43:53 - 00:44:25
You got to do what you got to do. That's the bootstrap life. And now you know your product in and out better than anyone else ever could. So, um, what. What advice you have for anyone who is, like, on the early stages, working with a consultant or an advisor to maximize as much as possible the time that they get with that person? I feel like a lot of the value you get out of an advisor comes out of the quality of the questions that you ask and, like, what your expectations are of them. And so how do you maximize an advisor to its fullest potential based on the learnings you had?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:44:25 - 00:44:42
I think we were very lucky because we built a very strong relationship with our advisors, and so we were immediately very comfortable asking all kinds of questions. And even if it felt like a stupid question, like, wait, what does this mean? Or what is this acronym? Like, we're very confused. What's happening? I think we were super.
Ramon Berrios 00:44:42 - 00:44:43
Like, CPG.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:44:43 - 00:45:16
Yeah. We're like, what? Yeah, no, we were super comfortable just asking questions, and especially with food and beverage. And there's a lot of science behind it. There's a lot of science behind, like, the operations of it all. And people study this in school for years before they go into this industry. And so I think you have to be comfortable enough to ask those questions and do the research on your own also, if you want to. But I think you. Yeah.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:45:16 - 00:45:27
Just, I think kind of building a sort of, like, mentorship relationship with. You're working with is extremely beneficial and just never being afraid of asking a.
Question or, I think tapping. Yeah, I think the biggest thing is tapping into their network. Like, if they're in the space, they know everybody, and so force them to connect you to literally everybody, whether that's, like, financial advisors or people, like, other companies that you can have conversations with, because at the end of the day, the more people you have in your network, the more successful you'll be. That's just how the world works. And so, yeah, I think questions and networks are the biggest thing.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:45:58 - 00:46:58
And for sure, outside of even working with consultants, I think Leah and I, and something that we still do to this day is we'll connect with anybody in the industry who's willing to speak to us. And we did that from the very beginning when we were kind of like, oh, is this a good idea? Should we start, like, what do you think? Is this something we should do full time to now, meeting with fellow CPG founders and hearing about their experience? And whenever we meet with those people, we're like, what are some mistakes you've made that you have learned from? What are some things that you would tell yourself when you first started? What are some things that you think we should know? What's something that you wish someone had told you when you were starting out? We always ask those kinds of questions when we're meeting with somebody that's in the industry. And I think, yeah, just being a sponge, like, absorb as much knowledge as you can from anybody, and everyone has something interesting to teach you, even if they're not directly correlated to the fields that you're in. It all kind of relates to each other at the end.
So, last thing here, I'm going to throw that question right back at you, because one thing you guys mentioned was, like, first production run, you ran into a mix up. And I don't think we've talked to a single DTC or CPG brand that's gotten everything right from the get go. So, um, what are some of the either things that you wish you knew when you guys were starting out, or even some of the things that now are, like, obvious to you that, like, you just didn't know about the way your brand or your space sort of works? Like, what are some of those learnings that you guys can share?
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:47:31 - 00:48:08
I think the very obvious one that's also kind of funny is that we, so we're organic, and that's something that's always been very important to us. From the beginning, we were like, okay, we're gonna have clean ingredients and will be organic. And we would look at the pickle aisle and we're like, there's no organic brands out there. Like, that is so dumb. Like, we're going to be the first ones. And then we started doing this, and now we encountered all these supply chain issues with organic cucumbers and organic produce, and we're like, oh, that's why okay, got it. And it's not even just like, the fact that organic isn't more expensive. It's just extremely hard to source, especially when you're starting out.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:48:08 - 00:49:19
And so I think that's something that maybe I would tell ourselves when we're first starting out, like, you know, maybe straps, like, put your seatbelt on, because it's about to get. It's about to get really interesting. And then I think I would tell ourselves that the idea you have now, it's gonna. It's gonna flow and it's gonna evolve, and it's gonna change. And to, I think, not be so stuck on doing things a certain way and to be open to change and open to, I think, to just be fluid if something doesn't go this way, to be able to shift, pivot, and go the other way instead, and to not be so stuck on doing things a specific way, which I know that a lot of founders that we speak to can be this way. They, like, are so passionate about this one idea they have that it's like tunnel vision. They don't want to do or think of anything else, and they'll just, like, run their idea into a wall. And I think for us, it was definitely important to kind of be like, okay, we have this idea, we want to do this, we want to do that, but to not kind of be so.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:49:19 - 00:49:24
To just allow for things to change and allow for things to take on a different path if needed.
I think also, like, for me specifically, this doesn't apply to you, but I have a problem where I'm like, so go, go, go, which is great, but I think sometimes, especially in the early stages, I needed to be, like, patient. Like, CPG specifically is kind of a slow industry because a lot of people on the manufacturing production side are, they do things kind of in ancient way, and, like, I don't know if it's because, like, I come from a tech background and I'm used to things going like this, but just being like, it's gonna be fine. Like, just be patient. Kind of go with the flow. Do as much work as you can in the moment, but don't be frustrated if things aren't happening as quickly as you want them to. And then I say that, and we, you know, we launched a product in nine months and, like, are doing great already, so.
Yeah, sweet, guys. Um, so as we wrap up, where can we connect with you? Why don't you guys just shout out, um, your socials so we can follow along with the journey and where we can find and connect with you guys.
Yeah, we're at good girl snacks on all socials. You can buy our product goodgirlsnacks.com. there's also a store locator on our website if you're looking to buy in real life.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:50:39 - 00:50:42
Yeah, we're always posting fun stuff, doing fun stuff, so follow along.
Sweet guys. Well, thanks so much for coming on the podcast.
Yasaman Bakhtiar 00:50:45 - 00:50:46
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Ramon Berrios 00:50:46 - 00:50:47
Thank you.
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