In this episode, we’re joined by Mia Medina, founder and CEO of Gather Brands, a full-service sales consulting agency that focuses on women-owned and women-run companies in the CPG industry.
Mia talks about her amazing career and the passion that led to the founding of Gather Brands; a company that focuses on female owned brands.
The brands that Gather works with are mainly all-natural, organic and non-GMO products. They also put a big emphasis on working towards sustainability measures.
Mia highlights the need for brands to build an active online and digital presence, with the ability for customers to buy directly from them and interact with their company.
Mia also talks about some of the mistakes brands make, such as expanding too quickly and having a broad approach without having the resources to support these initiatives.
When a brand has the ambition but doesn’t have the resources to launch nationally or even in more than one region, they are likely to fail quickly.
Listen on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here.
Ken Ojuka: Welcome to the Physical Product Movement. The podcast by Fiddle, we share stories of the world’s most ambitious and exciting physical product brands to help you capitalize on the monumental change in how, why and where consumers buy. I’m your host, Ken Ojuka.
Ken Ojuka: In this episode of the Physical Product Movement podcast. I speak with Mia Medina, founder and CEO of Gathered Brands; full-service marketing management agency that focuses on women-owned and women-run companies in the CPG industry. Mia has tons of experience from launching her CPG brands to working in sales for some of the biggest and national distributed brands like on Whole.
Ken Ojuka: In this interview, she talks about common mistakes that she’s seen brands make when they try to break into retail, exciting and big trends, brands are writing to success and the importance of deeply understanding your customer and why they choose your product. She was a great guest and I think you’ll learn a lot from her. Enjoy!
Ken Ojuka: Alright, Mia. Welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today?
Mia Medina: Good. Thanks so much.
Ken Ojuka: Where are you calling us from?
Mia Medina: Today? I’m in LA, but I’m actually based in San Diego.
Ken Ojuka: Ok, have you been there long? Have you, did you grow up in California?
Mia Medina: Oh yeah, I grew up in California. and I have been in San Diego for the past 15 years.
Ken Ojuka: Okay. Awesome. Well, obviously the weather there is amazing and so I’m sure everybody listening is jealous.
Ken Ojuka: But, you know, what’s funny is I love California and I actually really liked Northern California. I’m kind of a tech guy, so, you know, the whole Silicon valley area, but it’s like, every time I go, I’m so excited. And then I hit traffic. And as soon as I get stuck in traffic, I’m like, I don’t know if I could do this you know.
Mia Medina: Yeah, it’s definitely different from when I grew up in Northern California. And it was definitely I hear you. It’s hard to go back, but it’s also so beautiful. There’s so many spots there.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. I actually feel the same way about New York. You know, we have family back east and we’d go to New York and not be excited.
Ken Ojuka: And then it gets stuck in traffic and I’m like, I can do this. Maybe I just don’t like traffic, maybe that’s the commonality. So
Mia Medina: Totally one thing or two we definitely have a lot of that in LA and San Diego.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah, I got it. So we generally like to kick off the podcast with, with just a quote or, you know, something that’s meaningful or impactful to you.
Ken Ojuka: Is there one that comes to mind that you can share with the audience?
Mia Medina: Yeah, it’s funny. I think it’s something that I’ve always used with my kids, as well as it’s translated into business, it’s to choose your battles wisely. That’s been one that I think I like to live by and it really translates more into like, don’t sweat the small stuff, right?
Mia Medina: Like, is isn’t a big deal? Is it a small deal?
Ken Ojuka: Is there an example of something like that or, you know, where that’s been really helpful to think in that way?
Mia Medina: Well, obviously with my kids, you know, it’s always kind of when they were younger, a lot younger, you know, when I get, I can have them sort of take a step back and my son who’s 20 now still says, you know, you’ve always told us, choose our battles wisely.
Mia Medina: And I think it would help, you know, where they were arguing. But I think in business it’s really, it just helps me sort of keep things in perspective. You know, whether it’s losing a brand or a contract negotiation or something it’s like, is it really that big of a deal?
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Really keeping focused on the, you know, the other way you could say this is, you know, only focus or try to focus on the things that are most important. Right. And generally there’s, you know, three or four, four balls that you can’t drop, but everything else is okay. It’s nice to have. Yeah. Well tell us just a little bit about your background.
Ken Ojuka: How’d you end up, in Southern California and, running gather brands. How did that all happen?
Mia Medina: Yeah, no, I actually just started gathering ’em in August of 2020, so it’s a really new company, but I have been in the natural products industry for over 20 years. And like I said, I grew up in Northern California, so I lived there.
Mia Medina: Was there pretty much up until my adulthood and I ended up getting into. With natural specialty sales prior to the natural channel, I was in the sports specialty industry. So mountain biking and doing things like that. But then I found a position with a girlfriend of mine who worked for a company called the NS sales, the natural division of Acosta.
Mia Medina: And so it was kind of perfect timing. It was. I had the Eureka Arcadia corridor. And that was kind of my foray into all things, you know, retail, where I learned all of my acronyms, your OIs, MCPs, you know, SRPs is things. And I had amazing co-ops and so learning all of that with them was awesome because they were super, they were just stoked to see somebody because people didn’t, you know, didn’t really do that route often.
Mia Medina: Cause it was so far out there, but I loved it. And so I worked there for about five years, working my way up to manage these Southern health. Or the Northern California region and then, moved to Southern California and couldn’t stay there. But when I got to San Diego I ended up finding a position with Walla.
Mia Medina: And so that was kind of amazing because it was the complete opposite of everything that I had been doing, where it was all you’re going to find a key or at the time mountain peoples, whoever it was, turn an order and it was the retailer to the distributor. Then on Wally you get there and it’s basically like every truck is its own little company with its own objects, you know?
Mia Medina: And so you’re delivering products directly to the stores. It’s one brand, so my account-based system really expanded there. And that was really, that was an amazing experience because it was, I did everything from national to regional accounts, regional national accounts as well as food service. So one of my accounts was Chipola.
Mia Medina: Where I was managing like hundreds of thousands of gallons of lime juice, which nobody even knew about. But while I was in Chipola, because that’s all they eat. So like 39 broadliners with all this lime juice. So they used it in the rice. So that was an amazing experience. And that’s where I met my husband.
Mia Medina: He had been there for quite some time as well, and he was kind of addicted to diet Coke. So, yeah, exactly. So he had a little bit of a problem and me being from nor Cal and being like, oh my gosh, that aspartame is going to kill you. You know? So he decided, well, I’m going to try and make something natural that still solves all of those things, which is the combination, a little bit of sweetness, a little caffeine.
Mia Medina: So he kind of started. Putting this, you know, this soda together. And then, I ended up being like, okay, I think this has legs. So I quit my job and jumped in. And we decided, because we were, we knew DSD that we were going to distribute ourselves. So we were, we thought, well, let’s get some products on the truck.
Mia Medina: We’ll get a truck and get some products on there and generate some revenue for our first production run. So we did that. About four and a half years later, we still had no soda company to speak of, but we had this really thriving DSD company called green sheets distribution. We ended up expanding into eight of the 11 whole foods regions, and they were kind of a primary.
Mia Medina: We were kind of their solution for a national VSD partner. Which was cool because at the time you had, you know, all of these emerging brands that they couldn’t work with these larger distributors, it was crippling to them. So, it was great, you know, it was obviously different times I could go and I would be working with.
Mia Medina: For jurors and finding products at farmer’s markets. And it was like, we would have pow wows with our buyers. And at that time I could call my buyer and the Rockies and tell them, Hey, I’m going to be in Boulder next week. Do you want to hook up? And he’s like, yeah, come on by. No, it’s very different, but it was really great.
Mia Medina: And that was really where I got. He sort of like that passion for these emerging brands came from, it was amazing. I think the excitement of pioneering a brand and getting authorizations and approvals for these smaller brands that are really excited to grow and scale, but it was also kind of like a Rubik’s cube because I was like a buyer and a seller.
Mia Medina: I had to make sure the products that I was bringing on to the trucks. Would be, you know, products that we could get into some of these regional accounts and then expand out from there. And then which ones were scalable for, to go into new regions and things like that. So it was really awesome.
Ken Ojuka: Was that through, you know, I’m seeing a couple of companies here, so was that through wave soda that the initial morphed into this or was it?
Mia Medina: No actually It was actually called noon time.
Mia Medina: We had a, it was totally different. I’ll get there. So that was the funny thing, is that it just, the soda didn’t ever happen because we’ve got so busy with this distribution company. So, we grew quickly and had to take on some investors and as I’m sure, you know, a lot of people, myself included, probably know that not all investors are good partners.
Mia Medina: And so we had a couple that were not good partners. And so we cut ties from them. And took some time off how to baby and then decided, you know, let’s get the soda company going again. You know, my husband’s like, let’s just let’s do it. And I was like, yeah, that sounds great.
Mia Medina: So we kind of revamped everything and reformulated and then launched wave soda. And so I said, okay, here’s, you know, he’s an operational guru. He’s done sales, he’s done pretty much everything. So I said, I’ll go ahead and work on you want a bike and he, and all the local accounts, and then I’ll go get the job with benefits and a paycheck.
Mia Medina: Right. We can all live the startup dream. And so that’s what I did. And so actually super serendipitously, I was put back in touch with my manager from NSLS from 17 years prior and Acosta had just bought a night. I ended up finding a position with Ignite. It was really cool because it was a sales consulting company, which I really enjoyed because rather than a broker, who’s kind of more that liaison between a brand and a retailer.
Mia Medina: We were much more involved with our brands, where we were more just like an extension of their sales team. And I really enjoyed that. And so I did that for about two years. And then COVID hit. And so once, you know, that happened, but again, it’s a massive corporation and it cost us. So it didn’t actually affect me.
Mia Medina: And when it was really bad in March and April, it wasn’t until July that my position was eliminated. So by that time I had seen so much response from buyers and people were really, they were, you know, wanting to see better for your products. Premium products were on the rise. We’ve got a global pandemic, so people are really taking care of themselves and wanting good things in their bodies.
Mia Medina: And so when that happened, it was kind of like a blessing in disguise because I thought, you know, right now the job market is going to be tough. I can go and spend some time, maybe a year trying to find a good fit or I can get back to my roots and really focus on some of these emerging brands.
Mia Medina: But I think one of the things that I kept sort of going back to is, you know, it’s such a male dominated industry, and I think that women really create products out of purpose and passion. And so it, you know, there seems to be a lot of times what’s missing is just how to get it on the shelf.
Mia Medina: And so I thought, you know what, I’m really just going to focus on female found brands and really trying to, you know, help them and scale and go get them on the shelf and work with them on how to do that. And so that’s really, her gathered brands were born. And we just work with female found products.
Mia Medina: And once we take a brand on, we basically are an extension of their sales team. There’s that, you know, there’s the buzzword going around right now, the fractional CEO or fractional VP of sales or things like that. But that’s that’s how we come in and that’s how we’re a lot different than really a broker, because we are so much more involved in their day-to-day business than just the retailer aspect of it.
Ken Ojuka: Okay and, and what type of brands do you guys have a particular specialty?
Mia Medina: Yeah. So obviously females are found and then we focus on the natural and specialty channels. The brands that we work with and that are really the things that are important to us. They’re obviously now all natural products, you know, organic, non GMO, ideally.
Mia Medina: Or working towards it and definitely have some sustainability measures in place. And that’s a focus for them because those are the things that are important to us as well, so that, you know, as long as they align with us there and then obviously innovation, it can be a long sales cycle.
Mia Medina: So we’re always looking for products that are, you know, sort of filling that space, filling in.
Ken Ojuka: Right okay. So I’d love to dig into that a little bit. So there’s lots of, there’s lots of areas actually that we get sort of double-click on. But, you know, areas where I think you, you kind of bring a unique perspective and obviously all your experience, you know, I think it would be really helpful with the audience.
Ken Ojuka: You know, so you talked about this trend that you saw, during COVID, you know, it’s a trend. I think that’s been going on. For much longer, but I think, you know, like a lot of things COVID kind of brought some of these things to the forefront, you know, with the better for you brands and products and, you know, just the consumer changing their buying habits in that respect.
Ken Ojuka: Could you maybe talk about that just a little bit and, you know, help us sort of understand, you know, what that trend is and what exactly is going on and maybe how it affects their go to market.
Mia Medina: Well, I think, yeah, and that’s kind of it might be a little bit threefold, but I think, just for the most part, the things that people are looking for are going to be, you know, is it, whatever is better for you?
Mia Medina: Is it going to be an adaptation? Obviously those are really big right now, things that are going to make you feel. Right. And there they’re going to help your system, your immune system, everybody, you know, COVID is a real thing that’s really happening. Right? So we want to do things that take care of our body in a way that, you know, maybe a little bit more attentive to it than we have been in the past.
Mia Medina: As far as the changing of the buying habits, And that goes from that actually is how the brand can sort of react because unfortunately people aren’t perusing aisles of the stores anymore. You know, you’re not going to, we’ve got whole foods, right? Where like people might not be just going in and walking around.
Mia Medina: If they’re even going into the store themselves, a lot of people are doing this Instacart thing. So it’s really important that the brands have a really strong online and digital presence. When getting into these retailers.
Ken Ojuka: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. One of them, there’s a guy that is an analyst, a tech analyst, actually that I did, I listened to this guy named Ben Thompson, you know, and he talks about sort of the big tech companies and some of the trends and the effects on society in the world.
Ken Ojuka: But he actually said something really interesting about COVID, which was. You know, what he saw is that COVID, you know, it didn’t necessarily change or create new behavior. You know, what he’s seen is most of the time it’s just accelerated trends that were already happening. And just, COVID just made them even more important, you know?
Ken Ojuka: So an example is this, you know, sort of Instacart, you know, delivered grocery thing, you know, it was going on well before COVID, but it was like, COVID was just sort of like a shot in the arm for that pushed it way forward, you know, maybe
Ken Ojuka: 10, 15 years, you know, it just accelerated it where
Mia Medina: say that again. Same thing goes for zoom. People were kind of dabbling in some of these zoom meetings and doing them, but it’s like, once COVID hits, it’s like, you know, I might have six a day.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Well, and, you know what you said about the direct to consumer, you know, how important that channel is for brands now.
Ken Ojuka: Whereas, you know, you could. Set up a brand before, and you can still do it today. It’s just a lot harder. If, if you don’t have a, you know, a web presence and the ability for customers to buy directly from you and to interact directly with your company, you know, yes, you can still go through, you know, all the distributors, all that, but it really helps to have your own, you know, direct connection to the.
Mia Medina: 100%. I think that’s what the brands are seeing too. Or you can kind of, you know, you really get to know your consumer and you can launch, you know, random flavors or offerings or skews and see like, you know, what’s going to stick before you go and present that to retail. The other piece. That’s nice about that.
Mia Medina: That’s been really cool. Do you have an idea of where your consumers are? It used to be, you had to build your brand in your backyard, like where you were located, but now all D to C business might be that, you know, you can be based in Southern California, but you’ve got a massive Florida consumer base.
Mia Medina: So then it’s well, does that make sense then to go and look at expanding retail there before going to maybe, you know, Texas or working your way out, things like that. So there’s a ton to learn from it as well, which is, it’s been amazing to see.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah, well, one of the things that we’ve seen from some of our customers is, where they build a really strong, direct to consumer channel, you know, set up Amazon and are selling, you know, very strongly on Amazon.
Ken Ojuka: And then they actually get approached, you know, by distributors and by buyers that want to bring in their product. And, you know, if you just think about the position that you’re in, you know, in that respect where they’re coming to you, you know, you just have a lot more leverage in negotiating power, you know, when it comes to that channel.
Mia Medina: Yeah, for sure.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah okay. Is there an example of a brand that you’ve worked with and, you know, maybe some of the lessons that they, that you learned, from that engagement that you could share with us?
Mia Medina: Well, it’s funny. I always say, you know, you learn that, learn a lot more about what not to do than what to do, and when you’re starting companies and things.
Mia Medina: But I think, yeah, I think one of the, you know, one of our brands was when we were working with a little box, it was, you know, She was a very good example of having a market outside of her territory. That was a really strong, you know, it was a stronger market. And then her direct to consumer business was so strong that it just gave us a ton of data to look at and to say, okay, you know, these are where the retailers are.
Mia Medina: So then when we could go to retailers and say, look, we already have a consumer base here. So this is, you know, this would make sense to open up, you know, this market and that kind of thing. So being able to share that with the retailers. And show them, you know, we’re not just saying because we’re women owned or because we’re a cool brand or, you know, it really helps in that presentation to be able to share that they have an existing consumer base.
Ken Ojuka: And what was the name of the brand again? What do they do? Okay. Little box. Okay. And what’s your product
Mia Medina: you know, buckwheat they’ve got, actually two different products. They have buckwheat, which you would use as a topping. So a sprouted buckwheat, and then they also have the cluster box, which is a new line for her.
Mia Medina: And she’s out of Chicago. But she’s been.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah, I’m looking at the website now just found it, you know, there’s so many of these, these niches and these brands that it’s like, I would never have known that these guys exist.
Mia Medina: I know it’s and that’s, what’s so fun. I will say, you know, that sort of finding these brands and finding, you know, these really unique products and unique offerings, because they are, you know, this is, you can see even, you know, Target, Costco, like all of these.
Mia Medina: Retailers are also looking at this emerging brand space in a way that they haven’t before. And so that’s exciting, you know, it’s exciting. We’ve got, you know, one of our brands on target. And so that’s pretty rare that you kind of start in target and then go into the rest of retail. Right. So it’s, we have a lot of learnings from that as well.
Mia Medina: And she’s amazing. She’s done a great job, but Caitlin with chips and poke pantry. And she’s an outside gold psycho chick. She’s just done an amazing job. So she did the target accelerator program. And, and so, you know, now we’re working on getting into some of the retailers in the natural and specialty.
Mia Medina: So it’s kind of interesting to do it the reverse way, but when you have retailers that like target and Costco that are starting to change how they’re, how they’re looking for new brands, it helps tell that story.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Do you mind actually double clicking on that accelerated program that they have at target?
Ken Ojuka: Because you are starting to see more of these, come out, you know, pop up with different retailers. But yeah. Could you just maybe tell us a little bit about that? The accelerator.
Mia Medina: Well, they have actually quite a few. So there, there are, there’s some different ones, but sometimes like, it just depends on which one they actually have, you know, a whole black owned, where they’re working with the BiPAP companies, they have a female found one they have, so they have a bunch of different accelerators that they’re looking that they work with and that they work on.
Mia Medina: And then, yeah, so Caitlin was, she was one of them. She was actually one of the first ones, a couple, maybe like two years ago. And it was where you were, it was kind of an intensive, you know, program where you worked with their buyers, as well as their sourcing. And, so it had to hold the whole difference, you know, a myriad of things that she could take away from that.
Mia Medina: And then, and it wasn’t even guaranteed to get placement. But she, you know, worked in situ and she had a really unique product. So, you know, got her placement.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. I mean, the reason I even bring that up is I think a lot of people just aren’t even aware that these options are there.
Ken Ojuka: Right. You know, between the accelerators that the retailers, you know, really push, but there’s just a lot of different accelerators that can help get a brand off the ground. So, you know, I, I think it’d be useful, for the listener to, you know, maybe, maybe understand, you know, what you could do for a brand, right?
Ken Ojuka: Like, let’s say that you launched. You know, you launched a new product, you know, and one of these sort of emerging brands, in one of these interesting, you know, better for you categories and there’s a sustainability piece to it, you know, all of those things, woman owned, you know, so it’s right in your sweet spot of somebody that you can help, you know, what are some of the, you know, the areas that you would, start looking at, initially and what could you actually help.
Mia Medina: Yeah. So we really, like I said, we work as basically an extension of their team. So let’s, we’ll look at what regions we have several regions we can start, you know, in a couple of those, a lot of brands, obviously you’re not ready to start nationally, so we would, you know, decide, okay, look at maybe some of their direct to consumer information, see what regions make the most sense to start.
Mia Medina: And then at that point we would really be managed the whole sales cycle. So everything from managing category review schedules. We actually fill the paperwork out as well for all of the retailers, whether it’s new item forms, promotional forms, distributor forms. We do all of that because it’s, you know, it’s very timely and that we’re, you know, we’re really an extension of your team.
Mia Medina: We are, you know, that’s on us to do. And then the other piece of it is that it also be very expensive if you know, if you do have an error on one of those, whether it’s, you know, a distributor for them, they say right there, they can charge you, you know, so it can be really expensive to mess up a UPC code and have it not identified until the product hits the shelf.
Mia Medina: You know, then you’ve gone through several ways, several channels that you’re going to have to go back and fix. So we really, we kind of have a users. They have like one Bible that you completed. And once that’s done, then we CAN have everything that we need to complete new items at the distributor level, at the retailer level.
Mia Medina: We work with them on promotional planning. We will, you know, work with them on expansion, into new retailers and new new regions. So really everything that falls under that, you know, retail sales aspect.
Ken Ojuka: Okay. And of course you bring, you know, you’re hearing years in the industry and all your contacts along the way.
Ken Ojuka: And, you know, it sounds like you could recommend, you know, specific retailers for their product and, you know, what you think would do well in different retailers is that part of it as well? Is that what you kind of mean by the, you know, the category review schedules, but, you know, you’re kind of looking at them holistically.
Ken Ojuka: Okay. Where can these guys find distributors? You know, where should we place them?
Mia Medina: Yes yeah. And it’s really more region based is what region makes most sense because chances are they’re going to be, because we only work in the natural specialty channel. We’re not calling conventions. So most of our brands wouldn’t be ready for.
Mia Medina: You know, there are a lot of crossovers, I will say about a lot of, you know, having the key attributes that we do look for. You’re going to want to succeed in natural specialty before trying to branch out into some of those larger conventional chains. But so yeah, I mean, that’s figuring out which regions make the most sense.
Mia Medina: And then just, you know, going after the accounts that we have with any region. So we have, you know, five regions, we have it broken down into. Basically Western north and west, south there’s central there’s east. And then there is e-commerce as well. That’s been a huge area that we have our vice-president of sales summer Rodan.
Mia Medina: She’s taken that and really expanded that out. So it just, you know, wherever it makes sense for them to be expanding into and what retailers would be a good fit.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Could you make me double click on the significance of the regions? You know, and what type of products would make sense in different region?
Mia Medina: Yeah, it kind of goes back to, you know, not, it’s not always just going to be your backyard, so you might be based in Northern California, but if you’re a direct to consumer business is huge in the Northeast, it might make sense to expand out your retail footprint in the east. As well as your Northern California home base, as you do have a consumer base there.
Mia Medina: And so, you know, obviously you also know that’s a region where people are really interested in your product and that’s, you know, again, a lot of times it’s going to be Northeast and so-called, you know, those are very obviously densely populated, but as well as, you know, I think really, forward thinking with trends and emerging brands and that kind of thing as well.
Mia Medina: So we will work with them to identify which regions make the most sense.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. So I’m curious about, you know, different, you know, trends that you’re seeing in sort of better for your category, you know, are there some that you’re kind of keeping an eye on, certain classes of products that you think we’ll do well in the future?
Ken Ojuka: Is there an example that comes to mind?
Mia Medina: I mean, I think that, as far as in the future, I don’t, you know, know, not necessarily, I think I could see what’s happening now. And there are certain obviously, you know, this whole plant-based, you know, no matter what it is, I think that has just been amazing to watch and see like, wow, there’s now plant-based salmon or there, you know, those kinds of things or just.
Mia Medina: Fascinating to me. I actually don’t have any, we don’t have any in our portfolio. And then the upcycled I think is amazing. I really am excited to see where that goes, and sort of how that can grow. That’s been really exciting and I, you know, we also enjoy working with products or companies that are working with adaptogens right now.
Mia Medina: Cause that’s, you know, that’s a really hot trend, but it’s also really.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Important for help through COVID and stuff. Yeah. And, you mean you can’t tell the future and you can’t tell us what’s going to be hot, you know?
Ken Ojuka: You know, let’s maybe switch gears a little bit. I want to, maybe talk about some of the mistakes that you see, you know, brands make, and, you know, maybe some advice on how to avoid, you know, the, the most common one.
Mia Medina: Yeah. I mean, I think that, one of the things that we really preach and practice a lot is going, you know, a mile deep and an inch wide. I think oftentimes brands might think they want to be in 3000 doors or retailers or whatever they want to call it. And I think the most, you know, the biggest takeaway from that is really like, you want to be in the right doors, right?
Mia Medina: You want to be, you want to have your good turns in the right stores for you and your, you know, where your consumers are shopping. It’s not just about store count. And I think that’s a very common mistake that I see where it’s expanding too quickly too broadly and too.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. And then let’s finish that thought, you know, so brands that expand too quickly, you know, too broadly, you know, what, where, what happens?
Ken Ojuka: You know, what are some of the negative effects of that?
Mia Medina: Yeah. I mean, when you expand into any retailer, there has to be support behind it, right? So it’s either a traders obviously trade spend. There’s going to be a marketing push. There’s going to be, so you have to have the resources to be able to support a launch into.
Mia Medina: Every retailer at this point. And this goes back to sort of those trends that we were talking about, where people aren’t perusing Isles and reading labels and looking for they’re going in, they’re getting what’s on their list and then they’re leaving if they’re even shopping for themselves. So you need to have a really good digital marketing campaign and whether you’re geotargeting or, you know, so it’s really hard to do that when you’re going, you know, when you’re spreading out too quickly.
Mia Medina: And if you can’t support that, then how do you, how does your product get off the shelf? Right. So getting it on the shelf is that one piece. And then if your product doesn’t move, you’re going to get discontinued. And so, you know, if you don’t have the resources behind it for a national or multi-regional launch, then you’re kind of, you’re setting yourself, you know, you’re not setting yourself up for success.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And we see that too. And then the other side is, you know, it’s kind of a similar thing is just expanding, you know, too many product lines or too many skews, you know, in one go, if you don’t have the resources to support that.
Ken Ojuka: Okay. Anything else, any other, you know, pieces of advice, you know, maybe common mistakes that you see brands make?
Mia Medina: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s really just knowing your consumer, really getting to know your consumer and being able to tell, you know, tell that story. I think a lot of times, because brands are so innovative, there is a lot of consumer education that needs to happen.
Mia Medina: And so, we have one product that’s called good milk. It’s amazing. But it’s a frozen plant. Plant-based. Beverage rights, she’s all men. And oh, and, but it goes in the frozen category. So she’s done a really good job of, you know, she’s got a great marketing campaign and she’s done a really great job of sort of getting that word out there.
Mia Medina: And we just launched in Gelson. So now it’s doing that push in and around where all of the Gelson’s are and making sure that they shoot her existing consumers or customers know that they can find it there and then sharing about her product and how it’s different and all of the attributes that it’s four to five ingredients and all of those cool things and educating her consumers.
Mia Medina: So I think it’s, you know, really making that effort to know your consumer and educate, you know, if you’ve got a really innovative product.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah, well, that’s awesome. Yeah. I think that’s really good advice, that people could apply immediately. Let’s, let’s start wrapping up here. I wanted to switch over to the quickfire round.
Ken Ojuka: We’ve got four questions for you. Just want to hear the first thing that comes to mind, you’re ready?
Mia Medina: Oh dear! Yeah.
Ken Ojuka: All right. Maybe you can tell us one tool or resource that has helped you the most in your current position.
Mia Medina: So crazy, but LinkedIn.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. Okay.
Mia Medina: Yeah
Ken Ojuka: Yeah, how come? How do you use linkedIn?
Mia Medina: Well, it just is from networking.I think that I had, 24 connections I August of last year,
Mia Medina: So crazy. And then when I got laid off, I just started. Researching and reaching out. And that was the other thing that I will say when I decided to make this, you know, to really focus on these female found brands. I felt as though I had been granted access to one of the most amazing clubs of women entrepreneurs and female founders and, you know, just women building each other up and it’s kind of amazing.
Mia Medina: So it was really inspiring. So I would spend, you know, hours just reading about people and learning about, you know, different products and it’s been a massive resource.
Ken Ojuka: That’s awesome. What is a book that you could recommend to the audience?
Mia Medina: Oh God. I mean, that’s where it’s really bad. I, don’t not a big reader.
Mia Medina: We think. I mean, here’s a funny one. My son, who’s 20. He wasn’t really active as a youngster and was a little excessively. And I read the book, Raising Your Spirited Child, and it’s actually helped me. It helps me still to this day, and things. So it talks about like, don’t call them difficult, right?
Mia Medina: Call them spirited. Don’t call them anxious, call them excited. And so it taught me to rephrase and reword. And I still use that practice till this day where it’s like, instead of that, guy’s an asshole. Maybe that guy’s having a bad day.
Mia Medina: I mean, I’m sorry. I wish I had a more recent one, but I do. It’s something I refer to you like on a daily basis.
Ken Ojuka: Well, so let me rephrase that then, you know, you obviously have a lot of deep experience and knowledge, you know, where do you learn? You know, where do you go to learn? What resources do you tap for that?
Mia Medina: Yeah, I mean, I think obviously online, there’s just, you know,I read about like I rub a holes. You know, where I’ll be like, okay, whether it’s an ingredient or a person or something that’s happening, then I just, I can go and look it up. And then I might spend hours and I might end up completely different, a completely different place when I started.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah.
Mia Medina: But I would say the internet is really kind of that place for me.
Ken Ojuka: Yeah. I do that as well. New term I keep hearing is the university of YouTube, you know, that’s learning
Mia Medina: So funny. Yeah. My husband’s a big YouTuber. He likes to research them. I mean, you know, watches, like if he can’t figure something out and he’s like, oh, I’ll check it out.
Mia Medina: I’ll check it. So it’s got to be on YouTube. Yeah, it’s pretty good. I liked that, but I usually try and I usually try for more credible sources, like, you know, whether it’s clinic or ingredients or something like that. I try not to YouTube too much about things that I’m really trying to learn about.
Ken Ojuka: You know, it’s interesting.
Ken Ojuka: You know, I use it a lot for, from the technical angle, you know, and trying to learn new things that are happening in tech. And one of the things that I really like is actually all of these conferences are now, they’re now, you know, on YouTube, they put them on YouTube. And so it’s like, you can attend the whole conference.
Ken Ojuka: You know, without having to leave, you know, having to go anywhere. And that’s one of the ways that I keep up, you know, I’ve seen similar things happening in different industries. This isn’t just a tech thing. You know, so yes, there, you need to be aware of the less credible sources out there, but, and I think you can find a lot of great stuff and, you know, from, very sort of leading and reputable sources on YouTube.
Ken Ojuka: So that’s. Let’s, a couple more. What is one piece of advice that you’d give your 21 year old self?
Mia Medina: Oh gosh,
Mia Medina: I think it goes back to don’t sweat, the small stuff,
Mia Medina: You know, there’s a lot of big things that happen in life so yeah, it’s so important to just. You know, let some of that stuff go, don’t hang on to things.
Ken Ojuka: And then who is one person in your field of work or, you know, another entrepreneur or just somebody that you’d like to take to lunch?
Mia Medina: I mean, Ciara Dilley is amazing from, I don’t know, you know, her, she, I was very, fortunate. Have a conversation with her. She’s from Pepsi Frito-Lay she does the natural stuff, but she’s such a visionary for female found brands and she just is, yeah. I mean, somebody like that to connect with as amazing somebody, you know, you can share a sort of, yeah, she’s just.
Mia Medina: When you see people who see things on such a greater level, you know, and it’s like, I always feel like, oh, I want to make such a big impact, or this could be so much bigger or this would be really cool. And then you see people you’re like, wow, she’s really making an impact. And she’s doing so on a bigger level.
Ken Ojuka: Ciara Dilley. That’s her name? Ciara. Okay. Well, yeah. Yeah, this has been great. I think that you’re making an impact and you’re making a difference and I appreciate you jumping on, to share with us. You know, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs out there that are either thinking about launching a brand they’re in the middle of creating their brand or they’re running one.
Ken Ojuka: And kind of in the grind, you know, do you have any, you know, parting, piece of advice that you could leave them with?
Mia Medina: Yeah. Don’t wait, don’t put it off any further. Just do it. Just get started.
Ken Ojuka: Okay. That’s great. Then that’s a good note to end on. Hey, I appreciate you being here. I think you’ve been a fabulous guest.
Ken Ojuka: Thank you.
Mia Medina: Thank you so much. It’s been so fun talking to you. I really appreciate it.
Ken Ojuka: All right, we’ll see you later Bye-bye.
Mia Medina: All right. Bye-bye.
Ken Ojuka: Physical Product Movement podcast is brought to you by Fiddle. To find out more about Fiddle and how our industry leading inventory ops platform is giving modern brands and manufacturers full visibility into their inventory and operations visit fiddle.io, and then make sure to search for Physical Product Movement and Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, or anywhere else podcasts are found. Make sure to click subscribe. So you don’t miss any future episodes on behalf of the team here at Fiddle. Thanks for listening.