fbpx How to Build a Supplement Brand That Customers Love with Ronak Shah, CEO and Co-founder of Obvi
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How to Build a Supplement Brand That Customers Love with Ronak Shah, CEO and Co-founder of Obvi

Ronak Shah 18:19

Yeah, um, I think one of the biggest struggles is finding this ability of building a brand that has a level of hype attached to it, right, because a lot of what we do is, we don’t buy a ton ton of stock of everything we launched, we do things with limited launches are limited, right? And we really build around people get needing to get our product when it launches, very similar to a business model of something like Supreme, or Nike. Air Jordan, right. Where or Yeezy’s? You know, when they drop, you got to get it then. And probably within the next day or so it’s not going to be the same concept. But we brought that to college. Right? Sounds weird. But it’s so different. Right? The fact that, you know, 70,000 of our customers stay awake till midnight, because our flavor drops are always at midnight, like peanut butter. It’s amazing for us to see that we’ve created that phenomenon in proach. Right. And and to build that is great. Now, the struggle comes in. There is an element to passion that drives that. And then there’s an element to business that kind of tells you Well, are you really getting the full value by not, you know, not only doing limited releases, right? What if like an extra 20,000 people can buy or 10,000 people can buy, but because you did a limited release on 5000 right. And there’s a trade off that You have to kind of bite with your mind, right? It’s not greed, but it’s also opportunity cost, like we’re giving up by building the brand this way, the biggest trouble is we’re giving up tons of possible, you know, credit revenue that we would earn. Because we want to have a brand position in a way that has this phenomenon attached to it. So I think the one thing we struggle with the most is, are we making the right decision by picking a business model that is not so traditionally situated, right? Like what we hear all the time is make sure you have enough stock, make sure you don’t stock out. And again, till they knock on wood, we have, in fact, done into factors and any of that stuff, you know, with excellent fulfillment. But there are times where our product releases sell out way too quick. And we do see some customers getting upset. Um, and maintaining that and spinning it to make sure that they understand what we’re trying to do here is sometimes it’s sometimes struggle, because we struggle with knowing that damn, somebody missed out that you know, as a valuable customer,

Joshua Chin 21:12

then that’s, that’s money left in the table. It’s very contrary to that to kind of think about it from the lens of, you know, a marketer and a business owner, you obviously want to naturally maximize your revenue as much as possible. But obviously, that kind of comes to the long term cost. So this talking about kind of long term plans and goals, what is the what’s the long term plan? For for Obvi? I know, you mentioned that, you know, the vision is to become the obvious choice. But what’s your roadmap to get there?

Ronak Shah 21:53

Yeah, that’s a good question. roadmap is I think, as weird as it sounds is kind of simple. Um, we’re going to continue building Obvi, by listening to our customers, right, and it takes up the guessing game. So where our hard work then can go to is constantly making sure that whatever needs to come out, is at the top tier level, or is first the market level in the industry. So the roadmap for us is listen to the customers so that we don’t have any surprises. And then secondly, is spend the time to make the product so unique, and so different, that whenever we release, like we’re getting into, I’ll give me an example. We’re getting into food and beverage this summer, we’re going to be doing you know, some really, really cool, I don’t want to give it away, but we’re going to be doing some some really cool snack category, and then a really cool beverage category. Even within those two categories, which we have had no experience and right. Our products that we’ve already r&d are completely different than anything on the market. And so it’s it’s going to be unique for us to go into the markets that are obviously seemingly somewhat saturated, right? But still come there and say, Hey, we’re completely different. And I think that’s the roadmap, the roadmap is until the day that we can’t come out with something different, and it goes stale, then I think that’s when maybe, you know, we hit our church and say, Okay, well, now the only way we can go up only way we can go is vertical, right? There’s a pathway, which you can keep going down this road winding road. But then when you hit a dead end, then you have to build up. And I think every business, every successful business gets to that and winding path, right? You look at vital proteins, they took eight years to get to that path until Nestle acquired them and they got mass distribution across the entire world. So they have the winding paths where you know, they went into every category, they went to a performance category, food and bad, everything you can think of their winding path took them there. And then there was a point where they had to build up because their pop ended. But now the you know, the vertical integration is what kind of you know, that’s where you build your skyscraper. So I think that’s our that’s our roadmap, quite literally.

Joshua Chin 24:36

That’s incredible horizontal first, then vertical. I’m curious, because I think that takes from an outsider’s perspective, have absolutely no clue when it comes to product development and building, you know, building an ecommerce brand from scratch and even that’s, that’s an incredible testament you know, that must take some type of dedication and patience to accomplish this, the easy road to take, it seems the correct me if I’m wrong, would be to just go vertical and scale your proven progress as much as possible.

Ronak Shah 25:13

Absolutely. Absolutely no, you’re 100%. Right, that is the easy way. And I think for us, you know, this is where I’m blessed to have a team that I have, you know, with my two other partners too. We’re all three of us have gone through the same journey together. And I think thinking to our values, has been so kind of easy in a way to do for us, because the glitz and the glamour of vertical scaling, without purpose doesn’t move up. Right. So if you told me, Hey, you had an option, where you got to take this winding path with not knowing what’s gonna happen again, but the journey is going to be more prideful, more, you know, purposeful, and you’re going to deliver everything you’ve always wanted to do. Versus tomorrow, you can be a $50 million company, or you can be $100 million company, but you just got to vertically scale, and you know, start spending X amount, and this is going to be your payout, I think all three of us could pick the first path, not knowing that it’s a complete gamble, or what could happen, what but knowing that we’re going to do something that we’re just gonna be so passionate about, again, money will of course, be a nice product, if all goes well. But money is not what drives us. Because we’ve seen it, we’ve seen the 100 million dollar grant, we’ve seen, you know, 30 other brands we worked on be extremely successful. So we’ve you know, when you kind of see it, not that we have it, when you see it, you want to make sure that now you’re building a fence, because when you’ve seen it, all, you want to now make sure that you can protect. So as we’ve seen it know that it’s possible, we want to make sure that we build the fence and build the foundation so strong, that it can never, it can never, never, you know, fall. So I think that’s just how we look at it. And for us, that’s that’s what drives us.

Joshua Chin 27:25

That’s incredible. I think with you know, with that six years of, of the six year college program that you’ve had with building your agency, what has been the most important lesson or lessons that you’ve taken away that you still feel that you’re using to this very day?

Ronak Shah 27:52

Yeah, customers are more important than customers are not. They, they don’t, they don’t just mean money. They don’t just mean revenue. Customers are so important that they literally can be the legacy of your brand. And that means your first customer and the one you just had minutes ago, you know, that just became a new customer, that valuing each of them is so important. And talking to them is so important. You know, both all our all of us partners wise, each evening, we’ll spend at least a few hours each talking to our customers. In our community, if you go into our community, you’ll see us everywhere, whether you’re again, a customer that just became a customer, or your customer that’s like, Hey, I really don’t even know if I like your product. But I’m here to see, we’re here to help. And I think what I learned in those, you know, those six years, I think a lot of people would build brains. As soon as they saw that there was scalability involved. The more scale people got, the less they started to care about the customer. Because the new incoming customers builds it gives you that serotonin, you know, drive in, you know, adrenaline to say, Oh, well, let me just get more. Let me just get more, let me get more. And as you keep saying, Let me get more, let me get more, you’re forgetting more and more about the first customer and beyond. And the further away you get from communicating from your first you’re going to become a product of only being able to scale to be successful. Rather, you know, and I’ll be what we can say is we don’t need to do a single product launch. We don’t need to do you know you don’t even have to run ad but our customer base is They’re healthy and strong, they’re going to be there to support us. They’re going to be there do whatever we ask them to do. It’s because you care about the first customer just as much care about a lot. And I think that learning that we learned that through this, just seeing that, you know, a lot of people get too carried away with scale thinking that that’s going to stay forever. And customers, that’s a new customers are going to keep coming forever.

Joshua Chin 30:30

That was going to be their follow up question kind of like how, where, where’s it’s, you know? What It Is this this this idea come from? When I guess a better question would be what are some brands that either you have worked with, or you have seen, that you feel does a really good work at what you’re trying to do with Obvi?

Ronak Shah 30:54

Yeah, it’s a great question. I think. Give me an example. Um, Alani Nu. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that company, Alani Nu.

Joshua Chin 31:05

I have not.

Ronak Shah 31:06

Okay, so Alani Nu is a company. There are phenomenal, phenomenal brand. I think they’re probably maybe a year older than us. But probably one of the leaders in the in the supplement health and wellness space right now. But what’s amazing is is the way they communicate to customers, is very similar in the aspect of when their customers ask for more, or ask for something you can tell Alani Nu is listening, is you’ll see that in their innovation pipeline or releases pretty quickly. And I think it’s so important to showcase that you’re listening. Because sometimes there are companies that do listen, but don’t showcase that. And so I think Alani is an excellent example. Ah Magic Spoon, you know, the cereal company?

Joshua Chin 32:04

Oh, yeah,

Ronak Shah 32:05

absolutely incredible example of innovation, being completely different in the market, talking to the customers from the founder story, right? The founders are constantly trying to, you know, talk to their customers, they’ve done a phenomenal job. And then I think on an innovation pipe level, there’s a brand called Ghost Lifestyle. And they are actually, I think, the second fastest growing supplement brand in the world. And what’s really cool about them is they went and licensed different grains to like, I don’t know if you’ve heard of like, sour patch it right, the candy. Yeah. So they licensed Sour Patch Kid, and created product flavors for the pre workouts and stuff by real flavor systems of those of those candies.

Joshua Chin 32:59

That’s insane, wow,

Ronak Shah 33:01

so if you go to their website, you’ll see all these different licensing plays, they do. So they did their protein has real chips, a boy from Nabisco. They have you know, so they actually work directly with Mondo eat the conglomerates owner?

Joshua Chin 33:20

Oh, yeah.

Ronak Shah 33:21

So the level that they’re at innovation wise, is so different that it’s a completely different path. It’s the path on around authenticity, right? Because a lot of you’ll see a lot of flavors that have chocolate chip is a flavor. But how many flavors is Chips Ahoy chocolate chip? Right?

Joshua Chin 33:41

Oh, yeah.

Ronak Shah 33:43

So I think there’s a few few brands out there that are either listening, or innovating, or talking to their customers and products really, really well. And I would think that we’re up there to with what we’re trying.

Joshua Chin 34:01

Incredible, incredible. And what’s next for Obvi in the near next three years. When we speak again.

Ronak Shah 34:12

I think you know, what’s next, Obvi is certainly more category expansion. I think we we don’t want to shy away from bringing Obvi into people’s homes through different pathways, right. Right now we look at collagen. There may be somebody that is vegetarian or vegan that can take our products. You get maybe food and beverage, there may be somebody that can’t drink carbonated drinks, food, you know, you have protein bars, but maybe somebody can’t have whey protein right because they have celiac disease. What we want to do is for the mast groupings of of our customers that fit into certain categories, we want to be able to create multiple options and multiple entry points to work. So if this doesn’t work for you, great, here’s something or, hey, if this works for you, here’s something else as well. And so it’s a lot of our innovation, you know, go to our website, we just redesigned it to shop by helpful. And I think what that is training even us to do as founders is, we’re training ourselves to create an innovate around helping people around a goal, rather than giving people a product that they have to fit a goal around. And, you know, sometimes product lead, you just set a goal, like you may go buy a fat burner, and you know, jofra, you’ll be like, hey, I need to lose 20 pounds. And so the fat burner I have, that’s how I’m gonna lose 20 pounds, versus I need to lose 20 pounds, let me go look for a pattern. So I think we want to start catering Obvi to becoming well, where you come in with your need. And we’re going to provide you with how you’re going to get across multiple channels, across multiple categories. That’s, that’s the goal.

Joshua Chin 36:19

That’s, that’s incredible. That’s a huge, huge goal. And I’m super excited for you to to accomplish that. And, I mean, looking at the traction that you’ve had for the past two years, and just, Ronak just speaking to you. Um, so I personally speak to a lot of ecommerce founders and, and, and marketers. And I think people generally fall into kind of certain categories of, you know, products first, or marketing first. And when I speak to a product, first founder, who also comes to the experience of marketing. It’s incredible. I think there is nothing that can stop you from what you want to do with that skill set. If you had a billboard in the middle of the busiest Highway in America, what would that billboard, say?

Ronak Shah 37:16

Innovate or die, innovate or die, I don’t think anyone can survive in today’s climate. If you don’t keep innovate. The only thing that is constant on any one of ours allander, or daily compensation is innovation. As soon as we’re done with one thing, we’re already thinking about the next thing. So till the end of Obvi, it’s going to be around innovation

Joshua Chin 37:50

amazing. And one last question. What are some books, podcasts or learning material that you’ve been? that you’ve been consuming recently that stood out to you?

Ronak Shah 38:03

Yeah, it’s a great question. I think the Acquired Podcast, which also has a Slack Channels to talk to founders is is phenomenal. My partner, I’ll get actually put me on podcast called How I Built This, where we get to the sit down with but it’s phenomenal Podcast where each founder gets to sit down with his host, and just talks about the raw journey of how they built it, obviously, you know, they’ve obviously had an extra game already. But you’ll find a lot of people on there. And then I’m books, I don’t think anything recently beats Shoe Dog. Phenomenal story just shows you that you can kind of go through a lot. But at the end, if you just stay focused on that mission, and brand objective, you’ll get you’ll get to the end, you get to because you’re the only one that stays focused. There’s 10 others that may get a few steps ahead of you, but because they’re not focused, they won’t get.

Joshua Chin 39:16

Ronak Thanks so much for your time. And if people are interested in connecting with you, or contact you, how should they reach you?

Ronak Shah 39:23

Yeah, so I’m an Instagram, addict. And otherwise, I’m on email, you know, 25, eight, all day every day. Ronak@myobvi.com.

Joshua Chin 39:39

Check out myobvi.com for those of you listening, they got some crazy players going on and their community is just poppin It’s crazy how engaged your community is. So check them out. And once again this Josh from Chronos Agency thanks for listening

Outro 40:00

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