Ronak Shah is the CEO and Co-founder of Obvi, an eight-figure, collagen-focused supplement brand. Obvi was founded with one objective in mind: to present transparent products that deliver real results without sacrificing taste. In addition to running Obvi, Ronak is also the Co-founder of Ghost3Media, a successful digital marketing agency for fitness and health brands.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Why Ronak Shah left the corporate finance space to become an ecommerce entrepreneur
- What makes Obvi stand out from other collagen-focused supplement brands?
- How Ronak leverages customer feedback to create a more innovative brand
- The biggest challenges Ronak faced while building the Obvi brand
- Ronak shares what the future holds for Obvi and the unique approach he’s taking to scale it
- The lessons Ronak and his partners learned from running their marketing agency, Ghost3Media, for six years
- Ronak’s favorite ecommerce brands and his upcoming goals for Obvi
In this episode…
The lifetime value of a customer is finite. As a result, many entrepreneurs scramble to find as many customers as possible—but often fall short when it comes to retaining their existing customers. So, how do you keep your brand relevant to loyal customers while still attracting new audiences?
According to Ronak Shah, the CEO and Co-founder of Obvi, the best way to continue to grow your brand and keep your customers excited is to focus on innovation. As he says, in order to achieve more and more, you must create more and more. In other words, your brand must innovate or die. Today, Ronak’s here to share his strategies for inspiring your customers and scaling your ecommerce brand to success using innovation.
Discover how to build a direct-to-consumer brand that customers love on this episode of the eCommerce Profits Podcast with Joshua Chin and his guest, Ronak Shah, the CEO and Co-founder of Obvi. Ronak reveals how Obvi uses innovation and product development to stand out in the industry, the biggest lessons he learned while running a digital marketing agency, and his future goals for his ecommerce brand. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Ezra Firestone, Founder of Smart Marketer on the eCommerce Profits Podcast
- Dr. Charles Livingston, Founder and CEO of Lifeboost Coffee on the eCommerce Profits Podcast
- SHREDZ® Supplements
- Alani Nu
- Magic Spoon
- Acquired Podcast
- How I Built This Podcast
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by Phil Knight
Sponsor for this episode
This episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency.
If you are a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand that wants to unlock the optimum customer lifetime value through email marketing, then look no further than Chronos Agency!
Our team of passionate email marketing experts have helped hundreds of brands generate over $70 million in return from email alone, and our clients receive an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts.
Chronos Agency has worked with a variety of brands, including Truly Beauty, Alya Skin, and many more. Our mission is to help real businesses achieve real results.
Welcome to the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top founders and experts in the ecommerce industry and take an in depth look at the struggles and successes in growing ecommerce brands profitably.
Joshua Chin 0:21
Josh Chin here, I’m the host of the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top experts and shakers in the ecommerce industry. And we go behind the scenes of the struggles and successes of growing a brand. Past guests include Ezra Firestone, Harmon Brothers, Dr. Charles Livingston, and many more. Now, this episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency. If you’re a direct consumer ecommerce brand, that is ready for next level growth and to unlock the optimal customer lifetime value through email marketing Chronos is your company. We’ve helped hundreds of brands get over $17 million and counting in return from email alone, clients get an average of 3500% return from our efforts. We’ve worked with brands like Truly Beauty, Ally skin and many more. Now the next step is to email us at [email protected] you’d like to learn more, or you can go to Chronos.Agency to check out our website. Today’s guests Ronak Shah is the CEO and Co-founder of Obvi an eight figure collagen-focused supplement brand. Obvi was founded with one objective in mind, present the most obvious choice of transparent products, which present real results without having sacrificed taste. Now prior to starting, Obvi, Ronak and his partners, Ankit and Ashvin, grew a successful DTC agency for six years Ghost3Media. And they work with over 30 brands from various verticals in industry. Ronak, welcome to the show.
Ronak Shah 1:56
Joshua, thank you so much for having me. so honored to be here. And just excited to spread the journey that brought us to today with Obvi, Ghost3Media.
Joshua Chin 2:08
And your story is one that’s super interesting. I told you prior to us clicking on that record here, that I’m super interested to learn a little bit more about your background, your story. So for those of you those of us listening, we don’t know your background, if you give us a quick kind of rundown of how you ended up in business.
Ronak Shah 2:33
Yeah, absolutely. So I was actually an accounting major. In college, I was going to go the Big Four route, you know, work for Deloitte, Ernst and Young one of those. I actually started working for Deloitte right out of college, I was doing consulting there. And then I got a opportunity where my roommate at the time, and someone I met in college with my partner. And so we both had moved out of New York City where we went to call it space University. And we moved into town called Jersey City, New Jersey, where we lived. So my partner at that time was just kind of working freelancing as a designer, and I would work in Deloitte. And in the building, we lived in activity, it was pretty iconic building, looking back, but there was a startup that was starting up there in one of the top floors there. And the startup name was Shredz. Shredz was, at that point, probably one of the most iconic kind of brands to be built. And it was a basically a supplement and food brand. And so anyway, you know, my partner started there to be a designer. And then I slowly you know, saw the grind at the ground that they granted really well because it was these two shifts, 19 6pm go home shower, everyone worked in the same building, you come back at 9pm. And we work with 2am things. I saw my I saw my roommate do this crazy grind, and we loved it. So in any way I got introduced, and I came in as a controller. So it was kind of a finance accounting rule. And you know, being a controller. So I took the leap of faith to leave corporate because I was young. And I said you know what, let me just take this chance I have the time to grind. As a controller, you don’t have much to do on a second ship. You get everything done. They started picking up on marketing thing. They were they were the first people to do Instagram marketing, influencer marketing. Shredz was at its peak in 2015, almost $100 million. When we started it was it was you know, $100,000 credit on wall the CEO there but um, you know, spent two and a half years there. Ash was actually my third partner and also came in work there. And, you know, together Ash, Ankit, and I, we’re really part of the core pieces of Shredz, labor God and some of the other brands, we’ve integrated them after leaving Shredzs after two and a half years, because once you spend two and a half years, six days a week, two shifts a day, you just feel like you’ve been there for 10 years. So we left and started our own agency, taking everything we had learned what to do and what not to do for our agency and HR agencies, what we kind of all our our college year, okay, this is where we were starting to figure out who we are, what our majors going to be with our majors health and wellness. You know, we were we were taking these classes, which is what we call our clients, right? And these classes where we learn, okay, well, this is how you do this, this is the functional skill you learn here. And as much as we you know, applied everything we knew, there’s a lot we learned across the journey. So you know, basically six years, which you know, you could call a six year program that we did your agency at a college. We did this program. And what came down to it is after six years, we said well, we have to submit a final thesis on everything learned. And Obvi is that this Obvi is our final pieces of everything we’ve learned in our journey. Everything we’ve learned not to do what to do. All the morals and values that we’ve seen that people say they believe in, but didn’t execute on, we wanted to kind of cultivate all of the things that we were like, oh, man, we would shake our head about something we’re really proud about something. We all have that together. And that’s what we’re really, you know, on an overarching theme. That’s really what I’ll be it. It’s our combination of nine years of work.
Joshua Chin 6:52
I love it. And you were completely vegetarian through out that journey. And you mentioned that the first non vegetarian product was your own product at Obvi.
Ronak Shah 7:05
Yeah. No, and I’m and I’m completely still vegetarian at my core, but you know, within that vegetarian piece, there’s certain things people have to take, like omega fish oil, right? Or if you’re eating gummy bears, right, there’s gelatin. So there was always a piece that are like, you know, I have eggs and my cookies and stuff. I don’t eat any I’ve never had any raw meat or anything. But yeah, um, collagen was something that was like, we knew this or the industry wanted to be in. So one of the you know, you know, things that was pretty powerful for me too, was I believed in it so much that I you know, even tried my own product, which technically falls out of the realm of being a vegetarian, but you know, I think was very exciting. Very.
Joshua Chin 7:48
That’s really interesting. What What is your favorite flavor thus far?
Ronak Shah 7:53
Yeah. Favorite Flavor thus far? I think nothing beats every mocha. Peppermint Mocha. Yeah. Go ahead releases usually during the holiday. Well, last holiday released, and absolutely delicious. Absolutely delicious, I think in knots of scar but out of the park.
Joshua Chin 8:13
I love peppermint, but it often gets kind of a binary review. I like some people just hate mint. And some people just love. Now, Obvi for the layman layman, how’s it different for you, comparison to all the supplements brands out there?
Ronak Shah 8:38
Yeah, it’s a great question. So there’s a few pillars to Obvi that. One is I’ll start on the product level, right? A lot of people look at it and say, Oh, well, just looks like a pretty pink label, or just looks like something that looks delicious. What’s really different about Obvi, it’s actually the only collagen on the market that has the highest growth rate. Because of this hand selected elements we put in our Collagen. If we turn the label on our collagen compared to any other collagen in the market, we’re the only collagen that has vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium piles added to the column. The reason we added those as why our formula is more premium and more expensive, is because those elements work with the collagen to increase the absorption rate in your body. So a lot of times what people do is they’ll see something have 30 grams of collagen right and be like, Oh wow, this is a superior product. The problem is your body when you give your body 30 grams of something even protein, it can’t absorb it right it just releases that weight. And so you have to use certain elements to help the absorption rate growth. So by formula the reason why you know object the obvious choice and more like a you know brand mission where we want to Come, the auditors are multiple pillars. So on the product level, all our formulas are either first to market, or have patented ingredients, or is completely scientifically designed and engineered to be a product that is completely different from any other competitor. So you know, I can, I can obviously go down our entire product line and tell you why every single product is different. But again, you know, that that was a theme that’s are constantly our team. Even when we get into other categories, we’re going to stick with that theme. My second pillar, I think the you know, the bigger one of the bigger pillars for us is communication with our customers. A lot of people look at a brain or supplement brand, or this or that and say, Oh, you have so many customers, you have so many people on social media, and Wow, it looks like you know, you have such a big community. And, and on the surface, yeah, a lot of companies look like they’re big communities. But in the background, you’ll just see, you know, a bunch of customers that buy products, and that’s about it. Um, what we wanted to do is is, is do the reverse cycle, which is you’re buying from us, we’re going to make sure we’re communicating with you. So we design our Obvi community on Facebook, which now today is the second largest collagen and community in the world. It has 30,000 members, active members, and it grows by about 100 to 200 members per day. By the end of the year, we’ll be the largest collagen and community on Facebook. Wow, what this does is all our customers are basically feedback, kind of told to kind of come back and community whether they buy, whether they stopped buying, or if they’re taking, right. All those layers are covered in our community in a way where me Ash my other partner don’t get or add the team of 10 admins and moderators or interacting with each customer on a daily basis to answer any question to show anything that they need about result, recipes, you name it, it’s in there. So one thing that I always say is if you’ve never heard about Obvi, go to our community and spend 10 minutes on the community. I promise you, if you don’t buy you’ll at least walk out thinking about Obvi for quite some time. So you know that that’s kind of like our storefront and way that we really, really communicate with our customers. So I think a lot of people, you know, say, Oh, well, we love our customers are we appreciate our customers. We talked for years, you know, so of course we love and appreciate them, but we actually talk to them. And then the last piece of that, that I’ll accept pillars we listen to them. So a lot of what why we can release so many things, and innovate on such a high level is our customers tell us what they want. Last year, they said we want a multivitamin. It’s what we’re releasing in two weeks. Three months ago, someone said, Well, we want a coffee flavor. We did a coffee or survey where people had a war on which, which people everyone should come out with. We’re releasing caramel macchiato, who’s the winner next month. Everything is cultivated through our customer, there’s no surprises. So you know, anything that used to get about to see in 2021. And, you know, we have all our launches figured out until 2022. But mpmc up and beyond, it is not something that we as founders were like, well, we’re gonna do this, whether or not someone likes it or not, we’re only doing something because it’s completely consumer centered. So again, that gives us a feedback, and that feedback, tiny. And then the last pillar, I think that it makes us really, really different. Is is more around and what our end goal is, versus maybe some other brands right? I feel like many brands have an end goal around ultimately around some sort of monetary goal or acquisition forefront, or, you know, going IPO, I think for us, our mission and brand objective is to be a brand where we’re in every household, not because we’re cheap, or because you know we have the right flavors, but because we were the obvious choice where we were chosen to be in that household. And so when that day comes where Oh, we’re in X amount of household, not because of our marketing, not because of this or that, or when someone saw it on the shelf when someone saw it on a website, or when someone was shopping. They picked us up because we were such an obvious choice when Look at the label, turn the label, look at the product research as quick as any layer, it was so obvious that Obvi was the only option you had. That’s when we’re, that’s when those that are enabled. So I think our mission and opposite of
Joshua Chin 15:16
I love that, and and coming back to your philosophy on innovation and product development in general. Prior prior to this, we spoke a little bit about how most ecommerce brands today are kind of just copycats of one another and kind of out playing their competitors. True. Just better marketing. What, you know, what, or what inspired you to, to take a very different route in, you know, in spending all that time, effort and energy, in innovation and product development?
Ronak Shah 15:53
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think I think innovation is truly what is, is by force is by far right, because there’s a level of innovation that’s going to keep inspiring you and your company to aspire for more. Yeah, and then there’s a level of innovation, that’s going to keep your customers excited, right. Um, you know, people talk about retention, retention, retention, so important, and it is 100%. Very important. But then there is still what people don’t realize, there’s still a thing called lifetime value, right, which is the end value of a customer, which means a value of a customer is finite, right? We just don’t know that right off the bat. And so I feel like you can supply that finite number, only to innovation. And if that’s the case, then, at least in my mindset, I think the only way you can truly achieve for more and more and more, is to literally come out with more and more and more. Now, the only you know, part to that that’s important is quality, right? You cannot give up quality in terms of an extreme quantity of innovation. So I think we keep both of those factors in mind. But I think we get very inspired by our launches. And then our customers are inspired by how much we’re putting out for them. And so we’re both working together to be inspired by, you know, us as the founders and our team, and the customers as as members of the public.
Joshua Chin 17:34
I love that a little bit too much. You know what this reminds me really much of a guest that we had Ezra, Ezra Firestone and his brand, BOOM! They, they, they keep a very close ear on the ground on what, what, what consumers are doing, what they’re thinking about and what they want. And ultimately, I think that’s what really contributed to their success. And likewise, too Obvi’s. Let’s take a slightly different tone here. And what are, you know, what are some of the biggest struggles that you’ve faced in the past? Two years? Two plus years of existence? Thus far, it as a brand?
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