Episode 307
June 16, 2023

The Brand Beyond the Box

What happens when a company is quick to make decisions based on real customer insight within a culture that celebrates collaboration between marketing and product development? You get a brand like ButcherBox that is building not only a great business but a subscription service that is providing transformation in the way families do dinner. Listen in and hear how Lesley Mottla and Kiran Smith are building teams that are continuing to build a passionate brand for their members! Lesley and Kiran will be sharing more of their strategies for building the ButcherBox brand live at eTail Boston this August. Future Commerce will also be there to bring you more great conversations from the show – come join us!

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What happens when a company is quick to make decisions based on real customer insight within a culture that celebrates collaboration between marketing and product development? You get a brand like ButcherBox that is building not only a great business but a subscription service that is providing transformation in the way families do dinner. Listen in and hear how Lesley Mottla and Kiran Smith are building teams that are continuing to build a passionate brand for their members! Lesley and Kiran will be sharing more of their strategies for building the ButcherBox brand live at eTail Boston this August.  Future Commerce will also be there to bring you more great conversations from the show – come join us!

Data as Enabler

  • {00:05:24} “Like many companies, the company made technical decisions, and grew out of those technical decisions. You definitely come to a point where you have to really take a hard look at things and figure out what's the platform or pieces that are going to get you to the next level.” - Lesley
  • {00:08:51} “Our job is really in that first 90 days. How do you make someone really see the value of having the subscription? The value that they see in the inspiration is more than just the protein. It is about the solutions that you offer around it. Our goal is to create confident cooks.” - Kiran
  • {00:13:14} “I would be the happiest person if we could stop spending anything on marketing because our members do all the work for us. That's where we need to continue to head towards in terms of evangelism. That's the purest form of marketing because people believe their friends.” - Kiran
  • {00:15:33} “What Kiran and I have really worked on is at the executive level, we're working together on the strategy for the company and the strategy for the members. What's great is we both have a really good understanding that these things don't operate separately.” - Lesley
  • {00:19:17} “I love that the company won't dismiss the customer insights because they know it's coming from really good validated data that was intelligently taken. And then as they present the problems, they're going towards solutions.” - Kiran
  • {00:22:39} “We don't need perfect data to make a decision because otherwise we'll just be paralyzed. We’ll figure it out as we go.” - Kiran
  • {00:34:52} “Decision-making becomes a lot easier when a company is truly mission-driven.” - Kiran

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Kiran: [00:00:00] That transformative experience 20 years later is what I strive for us at ButcherBox to do, which is to create that moment where someone feels that this brand made their lives better. And food is at the center of everything. It's the center of your plate. It's the center of your family. It's the center of the gathering table. It's a center. And being a part of that is a privilege.

Phillip: [00:01:31] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of eCommerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:36] And I'm Brian. And today we have legendary subscription business with us, ButcherBox, and two incredible guests from their team, Lesley Mottla, Chief Product and Experience Officer, and Kiran Smith, Chief Marketing Officer. Welcome to both of you. Excited to have you.

Kiran: [00:01:55] Thank you.

Lesley: [00:01:56] Thank you. Excited to be here.

Phillip: [00:01:59] Oh, everybody knows, I want to believe everybody knows the brand. You've built a monster business. Congratulations. The story is often told now. What are some of the innovations that you think are key to the future of commerce right now for ButcherBox? What are you building?

Lesley: [00:02:21] Sure. Happy to start. I think it's a really exciting time in eCommerce. I mean, as you know, it's super competitive. People have a lot of choices. So number one, you have to innovate on all the basics because expectations have really changed and consumers want more. So you have to do personalization and you have to be fast. And in our business, consumers want transparency. They want information about what they're buying. So that's a big differentiator for us that we're kind of building on. And then we have all the things that everyone else is talking about that we're starting to look at like AI, and how do we start to use new tools and things like that throughout our complex ecosystem. So those are some of the things that we're thinking about.

Brian: [00:03:11] That's so cool. I think you face a challenge that not many businesses out there face, which is that you are an online business selling steaks in a subscription model. So tell us a little bit more about how you think about the eCommerce landscape, because I think you're coming from a pretty unique perspective.

Kiran: [00:03:40] I think for us, I mean, it starts with who we're going after and the problem that we're trying to solve. It's the basic tenants of what we're trying to do to be able to give people solutions for their most basic needs. It's mealtime. How do we help solve for that? And starting with that and then thinking how eCommerce can be a part of it, how a subscription model isn't a burden, it actually is a benefit. Knowing the predictability of it, knowing the reliability of it, for us, that's somewhat of the basic tenet. And eCommerce is just a platform that we use to be able to have that relationship with our customers. So for us, it's an enabler for that relationship. And that's how we look at it, is in terms of, okay, if we are going to be the best partner for someone for our members, and what does that look like? What is our eCommerce experience? What is our customer service experience? What's our delivery experience like? It kind of stays at the center of that. So I would say the future of eCommerce on that side is how do you use the platform to create a more one on one personal relationship. That's really how we think of where the future needs to go.

Phillip: [00:04:44] There's something that's talked about a lot in the eCommerce circles. The word platform gets a bit conflated because every software believes they have a platform. When you're building at the edge like you're doing, Lesley, I have to believe that off-the-shelf software doesn't necessarily just doesn't deliver the thing that you really want to do for your customer, which is a highly specific business, for a highly specific business model. How are you thinking about that sort of thing? And how much do you feel like you have to weigh the build versus buy at this point in your journey? Now it's a $600 million plus business.

Lesley: [00:05:22] Yeah, it's a really interesting question. And like many companies, the company chose, made technical decisions, and grew out of those technical decisions. And so you definitely come to a point where you have to really take a hard look at things and figure out what's the platform or pieces that are going to kind of get you to the next level. And actually, I've been at ButcherBox for two and a half years, and that was kind of one of the first things that we started to look at. So we're really focused on more of a headless situation where we are leveraging some aspects of core eCommerce tools, but where we have a lot of flexibility and extensibility to build for our ecosystem, which again, from an eCommerce standpoint, it's both for the customer as well as all those supply chain and logistics elements and operational elements that are involved in our business. So we really are trying to continue to have something that's very flexible and extensible.

Brian: [00:06:26] That makes sense because I think your customer journey has got to be pretty unique, like the way that someone finds the brands and then walks through the purchase of actually committing to ButcherBox because I don't think it's just a purchase. I actually think it's beyond a purchase. It's a commitment. And so tell me more about how that technical architecture helps with that customer journey and maybe the best place to start would probably be the customer journey. Talk a little bit more about that and then we can get more into how that technical architecture has enabled you to address that journey.

Lesley: [00:07:07] Sure. Yeah. I mean, traditionally we have been a subscription option, but we are we're building on that. Kiran especially can talk about that a little bit later. We're building for basically segments of people, but basically the way it works now is you're presented with some options for plans that we've built that fit different lifestyles basically. So some people want us to kind of pick and choose for them. So we've got curated plans. Some people want pure customization, so they're able to kind of pick and choose what they put in their box. There's a lot of flexibility with delivery times and things like that. So that's the beginning of the journey. But the most important in the journey is really around kind of that onboarding and helping you settle into a subscription because subscriptions, especially with regards to food, you want to make people successful. And we've done a lot of research with people who rate the first meal that they've cooked with ButcherBox as successful, their retention rates are really high. So Kiran can talk more about the elements around that experience, like cooking classes and things like that. I'll turn it over to her on that part.

Kiran: [00:08:36] That's where we've seen a lot of engagement with our customers to get someone from their first box to the next box to the third. If we get that pattern, by the time they get to the third box, we know the level of success and likelihood of retention is much higher. So our job is really in that first 90 days. How do you make someone really see the value of having the subscription? That doesn't mean just getting the meat to their door. It's how do you help them work through their box? How do you give them the inspiration, the ideas, weekend ideas, weeknight easy meals, solutions, and all of those things because the value that they see in the inspiration is more than just the protein. It is about the solutions that you offer around it. And so part of it is our goal is to create confident cooks. People who feel really good about the proteins that they're serving and feel really good about the meals they're preparing. Because it goes back from a marketing standpoint. That's the illogical motions that you have. And that's really what we're going to. It's not about the oh, "It's a healthy protein. It's humanely raised." It is about how you feel when you serve that meal, when you serve that protein. That for us is that point of where they see the true value in the offering.

Phillip: [00:09:49] So we're talking about the customer, right? You're talking about the customer and finding this customer. Any company building out at the edge and trying to acquire new customers into high LTV business models, which, by the way, Kiran, this is like your jam.

Kiran: [00:10:09] This is so fun.

Phillip: [00:10:09] The last few years for you have been in storied brands that are globally recognized brands: iRobot and Brookstone and Stride Rite. And you're used to thinking in this way. I think a lot of marketers and marketing leadership probably aren't thinking of that. What is your prior experience, not to put you on the spot in front of, you know, everybody? What has your prior experience helped to inform this as a different category? What can you bring from that sort of mindset of marketing leadership and maybe even expanding the tent a bit with the type of customer that you're trying to seek in your next phase of growth?

Kiran: [00:10:50] I've been fortunate because with every role that I've taken, I've been able to take learnings from the last one and apply them to the new one. And for me, it's always like, "And then what's next to learn?" And in this one, it's probably the most fun I've had, only because we're at the very beginning of our marketing journey versus in some of the brands I've been to before, they've tried that, they've done that, they've been there. And for us, it's all new unchartered territory, and so to be able to build out on that, to build out on segmentation, personalization, the tools that you have, marketing mix all that, as a marketer, it's a dream. Because we have a phenomenal brand and a phenomenal foundation. It's a healthy company. It's continuing to grow. For me, you couldn't lay out a better playbook for a marketer to be like, "Okay, now let's go have some fun." Because you know that when you start implementing some of these things, they work because they've worked before, they work, you do them well. It's proven, and that is a really fun position to be in. And I'll say the advantage that I have from my past experiences is I've seen the plays run. You know what the pitfalls are, you know what the challenges are going to be. And by having had that experience, you're able to navigate it just more, not easily, but just a little bit more clearly in terms of like, "All right, we're going to keep moving because we know we're going to get there." So I think that for me is the best part of it.

Phillip: [00:12:14] Do you think that the evangelism, maybe not on ButcherBox's behalf, but maybe the eCommerce or retail industry itself has evangelized this idea that you had arbitrage early on in affiliate revenues paid out? There's a story that's been going around for a couple of years now. ButcherBox spent over $1 million, paid out over $1 million to affiliates in an early experimental on a business model, high growth on Instagram... How much of that is like now urban legend versus the actual strategy?

Kiran: [00:12:47] The strategy has evolved, but it is absolutely true in terms of that's where we started. I mean, the timing that Mike had when he started this company was very fortunate in terms of what the trends were in the market. But he started it from a very pure place of truly he was creating a side hustle for himself and his family and then like a group of people, and how he went at it was never to build a half $1 billion company. I think the ability to start how you think in that mindset of when you're first going, it is about influencers. It is about people who are like, "Hey, do you mind talking about me?" How that's evolved now is we are the size that we are. So influence and affiliates still play a very key part of our marketing mix. But now we also have other channels in which we're sending out our message. But our best way to do it is by our own members talking about it and how we tap into that and how we get our members to refer us. There's no better marketing. I would be the happiest person if we could stop spending anything on marketing because our members do all the work for us. That's an ideal state. But that is for us like where we need to continue to head towards in terms of that evangelism because that's the purest form of marketing because people believe their friends.

Brian: [00:14:01] I love that. Yeah. It's interesting that feedback cycle. It's both to you and to your other customers and to prospective customers. And one of the things that is a little bit of a theory right now that we've been kind of playing with at Future Commerce is the idea that marketing and products need to come closer together. And lo and behold, we have marketing and product on the phone at the same.

Lesley: [00:14:30] We're your people.

Phillip: [00:14:31] Wow.

Brian: [00:14:34] I have to ask, as you've evolved as a business, and I know Kiran, you're a little bit new to the business, but how has the connection and the interplay between marketing and product and experience changed as the business has matured? And Lesley, why don't we start with you on this? What have you seen as far as that connection point and breaking down that silo?

Lesley: [00:15:00] Yeah, it's such a great question. And Kiran and I are all over this and talking about it every day. And I'm so fortunate to have her as a partner. I think when I arrived, it was more of the classic siloed situation, where marketing was over here. The product team actually was really small at that time and not well-formed. And it was kind of a lot of like, "Hey, can you guys do this? And here's my list of things and you guys do this." And that's like, no offense to anyone or anything like that. And so what Kiran and I have really worked on is obviously at the executive level, we're working together on the strategy for the company and the strategy for the members. And I think what's great is we both have a really good understanding that these things don't operate separately. The customer doesn't think about marketing. The customer is the customer and the customer is going to have their journey. And so we can't think in that way, those siloed ways. And so we work really, really closely together on our execution plans, on looking at all of the customer data, and on determining how we're going to grow our business from a retention standpoint and deliver great things for customers. So definitely what's great is she and I have this very good relationship. What we're working on now though are our teams because our teams kind of come to the table with very different levels of experience. So it's not as clear for them. So that's kind of where we're working on it at the team level, really.

Brian: [00:16:41] Yeah. Just to circle back around there then, as you're collecting customer feedback and you're thinking about voice of the customer, how is that data then being used? Is it sort of centralized? And then you all are coming back around it to figure out what you need to do with it? How is it being collected? How is it being leveraged? How is the information flowing back and forth between marketing and product?

Lesley: [00:17:09] Yeah, we have on my team, I've got some folks who are focused on customer insights. And really from a member experience standpoint. So we're looking at we've got an end-to-end journey, member satisfaction metric that we constantly look at. We use Net Promoter. We look at different parts of the journey from a metrics standpoint like delivery, how are we doing at that? So we try to break it out. Obviously, we have customer support, and we leverage a lot of information there. And then we do a lot of ethnographiques as well or research around particular topics or maybe issues or problems or things like that. So we have a pretty well functioning insights team where we all get together and we review that information and then we have analysts kind of in the groups. Kiran can talk more about the marketing side of that and the consumption of that information.

Kiran: [00:18:08] I think it's what I love is it's in the ethos of the company in terms of insights, like the need for insights, and the value of insights. And I'll say that Lesley and her team, as part of insight, it's driving new product innovation. What products are we going after is coming out of the work that Lesley and her teams are doing with our members of getting where they see the value? And I think I love that it's starting from there. It's not a random R&D person on the side being like, "You know what we should do next is..." It is coming from members saying, "You know what I'd love to see from you is this..." And you're like, "Oh yeah, we could do that." And it starts from there. I think the other thing is we feel very comfortable going to our members and asking their opinions. "How do you think we did?" "What do you think if we went into this area?" We're comfortable asking them. And what's really great about it is they love engaging with it. You go back to "We're interested in doing a member survey." The number of hands that are raised figuratively in like, "We'd love to participate." I think that's a really good indication of people caring about the brand and us really wanting to listen. It's not listening for what we want to hear. It's like there are times when what Lesley's group has brought back to us is like, "All right, guys, we got some work to do." And I love that the company won't dismiss it because they know it's coming from really good validated data that was intelligently taken. And then as they present the problems, they're going towards solutions which is really cool.

Phillip: [00:19:32] Can I kind of dive into this a little bit? If I asked ten of our guests, ten brands that came on to the podcast if they were data-driven, 11 of them would say yes. Everyone's data-driven, right?

Kiran: [00:20:58] Totally.

Phillip: [00:20:59] I know that's a thing we all think we are doing. But I think what I realize now having worked with some very elite global brands, is that there's a level of intuition that a merchandizer has and that is a skill that's developed over time. Somebody who has a next-level intuition about not only who their customer is, but anticipating what that customer needs and not waiting until the customer is banging the desk before they have to deliver it to them. And nowadays I find that the script has flipped a bit and that we're waiting for the data to tell us when something's wrong without having the intuition first. I think I just made the point that I was trying to get you to make. How much of that do you try to balance? I think it's a little bit of a double-edged sword where the data has to confirm your intuition, but is that just making stellar hires that just know that, or do you cultivate that in an organization? And how?

Kiran: [00:22:03] I would say, first of all, it starts with Mike, because Mike, I would say excels. Our CEO excels at this, where he has really good instincts. Like, "I know something's not right there. I need you to dig in over there." And so he's really good at finding that. I would say Lesley and I, part of the reason Mike brought us in is we are similar in terms of we don't need 100% certainty to make a decision. We're good with our gut tells us, and we're going this direction. The data early indicators look like it supports that. Let's go. Let's go figure it out. What we're trying and continuing... And Lesley talked about how we're trying to get that behavior in our teams as well is we don't need perfect data to make a decision because otherwise we'll just be paralyzed. We'll be slow. And we would rather make an imperfect decision and be wrong some of the times rather than wait and have that extensive period of time. Because what we're also trying to break sometimes is you will never have you'll never have certainty. Something's going to change. So how do you just go with your gut most of the time and say, "My experience taught me this, my instincts taught me this, like I know..." And we'll figure it out as we go. And so I would say that it is using data as an enabler, but not as the answer.

Phillip: [00:23:14] And how much culturally in the organization, maybe, Lesley, you have a thought about this... Sometimes the data isn't so clear. And so now you're in a position of having to either justify what you already thought and then sort of undermining your position about how data-driven you really are. I believe that there are organizations that become somewhat wishy-washy because they don't know how to just make decisions and stick to a plan despite what some indicators may be telling them along the way. And they effectively move to a state of inaction. How do you prevent that? It seems like you've prevented it pretty well looking from the outside in.

Lesley: [00:23:58] Yeah, I mean, it's really interesting because we actually talk about this a lot and Mike talks about it a lot with the employees too. How are we doing at decision making? We need to make decisions. We need to be comfortable. We need to be comfortable failing. We need to not get sidelined or stuck. And so I think what we're trying to put in place is try to state the problem or opportunity that you're solving and just try to be really clear about that. If you have some data, that's great, to kind of support what we want to do or how we're going to solve that problem. We are also building ways to easily get information, whether it's go talk to a few customers or look at some information. But to Kiran's point, maybe it's not going to be perfect. So the other thing that we're really big on is creating a very test-and-learn type of environment or prototyping typing of environment where we're just trying to get things spun up quickly to get some feedback so that we can kind of make decisions about we need to pursue more of this or it's not working. So it's really just having that kind of mindset, the flexible mindset. And then I did want to say, on the data side of things, because I agree, people often say like, "Oh, you know, we're data-driven," and things like that. We're also really taking a step back to make sure we have a really strong data strategy and really define what that means, both from it's a managed strategy to it's a proactive strategy to now we're using prediction techniques and things like that. And depending on the parts of the business, it could be in different places. But it is something that we take a step back and try to holistically look and talk about what our data strategy is.

Phillip: [00:25:51] The subscription meat company has an economist on staff. {laughter}

Lesley: [00:25:56] Yeah. {laughter} Yeah, we kind of do.

Phillip: [00:25:57] That's not a thing you hear in the DTC channels.

Brian: [00:26:03] One thing that I did hear you say, and I love this. I love this so much. You said it's okay. Sometimes you need to just make a decision and fail sometimes. But also you're in a category, you're playing on legendary mode. There are the products that are around you, the products that are on you, and then there are the products that go in you. And your customers are literally consumers. You can actually call them consumers and not feel weird about it. They eat your products. There's something really special about this category. Actually, I wrote a whole piece on this. I think that food and bev is one of my favorite categories because it is so contextual and special and in the moment and physical. And that's something that we don't... The rest of our lives spiral out of that. And this category remains the same and always will. And so I wanted to ask, this is for you, Kiran, as you go and you start to think about how your customers are making purchases and what's a good decision to make. "Okay, well, if we fail this is no big deal," or "This is a big deal," but all of your product experiences are so contextual to the moment. If they drink the wrong glass of wine with their steak, it's going to ruin the experience. Don't drink white wine with steak. Or do you? {laughteer}

Phillip: [00:27:51] This is such a Brian Lange line of questioning. You don't know, but he's...

Brian: [00:27:56] Yeah. What do you do to help foster the context that's going to give people a good experience? And what sort of things do you put in place along the way? I heard you say, culinary tips and tricks and experiences, but give me more. What else you got?

Kiran: [00:28:13] I spent ten years in grocery and the experience that I had there was we did a marketing program where we were helping people solve dinner and this is relevant to the story. And I was not a cook. My husband did all the cooking, and that program we did made me into, not only did it give me the confidence, but it transformed our lives because we as a family have family dinner 4 or 5 times a week. I have three daughters. It is a core to our family. And they talk about it and they never realize how unusual that was until they got to know their friends. That transformative experience 20 years later is what I strive for, for us as ButcherBox to do, which is to create that moment where someone feels that this brand made their lives better. And food is at the center of everything. It's the center of your plate. It's the center of your family. It's the center of the gathering table. It's the center. And being a part of that is a privilege. To be part of someone's family dynamic or home dynamic and the confidence that that has and how that confidence builds out to the rest of your life. We can be a part of that. I think that for me, it's not about the protein. It is about what we create around it. And that both that irrational desire and that irrational emotion that we talk about, like that's what that is and that's what we strive for to create with our members. And for me, that's as you think about like, let's start with that and what does that mean? How do we get there? How do we get someone there and feeling that way and feeling really good? That's what we strive for.

Phillip: [00:29:45] And how do you remove the variables? I think that's the question. There must be some sort of tangible thing that you think about, like the imagery has to make sense. How personalized is that for the person and how do you really control all of those endpoints as they come about?

Kiran: [00:30:06] It's an excellent question. We are at the beginning of that journey. That is why this is a really exciting role for me personally as a marketer. We're the very beginning of that. And so how do you build a construct to be able to do that well? How do you get the right data to know who's in what segment? How do you now get the right creative to show up in terms that will resonate? How do you get the right content to be able to then feed that to them and help them along their journey? And then how do you have the right mechanisms in place for them to engage? That's what we're in the process of building out now. And that is for me, a really fun space to be in.

Phillip: [00:30:44] I'd love to shift gears a little bit here. This has been so wonderful, by the way. What are your pet peeves? What are the things that...

Kiran: [00:31:52] {laughter} Sit down. Here we go. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:31:55] We were almost at the end. And then he asked the pet peeve question.

Brian: [00:31:59] {laughter} This is a new segment. We're bringing this one back.

Phillip: [00:32:03] What are some of the things that you just feel are table stakes that most brands just drop the ball on? What are some things that you just look for on day one to say, "This is an immediate area for improvement?" Lesley, let's go to you first.

Lesley: [00:32:16] Yeah. I mean I guess I probably have a lot. I am big on just really kind of auditing your own experience and journey, and I think a lot of companies maybe don't take the time to really audit. I'm talking end to end, so that you have a good understanding of where are we doing well, and where are the opportunities. So I think that's one and just getting other people to do that in the company, kind of training people to do that. That's one. And then I'm also kind of a big proponent of some of the old-school techniques that may not be as popular. Like I love customer service, and I think customer service is a differentiator. It could be, you know, an AI chatbot or whatever, but it also could be a person. In some brands, it's really hard to find a phone number now or it's hard to get a hold of people. And I just don't agree with that.

Brian: [00:33:17] I want to clap.

Lesley: [00:33:18] Yeah, So that's a little bit of a pet peeve.

Kiran: [00:33:21] I would say. The pet peeve is drinking the Kool-Aid, where all of a sudden you've been in the company long enough and you lose your own perspective about the brand and the experience and the product and not opening yourself up to be like, "What do you mean we're not perfect? What do you mean we're not doing everything? What do you mean this hamster wheel is not the right hamster wheel to be on?" All of those things, I'd say are part of one of my pet peeves. Can we take a pause moment for a second, and just to Lesley's point, do an audit?

Phillip: [00:33:50] We all have them, right? And I think maybe it takes a little bit of introspection to say like, what are the things that I feel are obvious wins when you first walk into an organization? And I think having that off the top of your head is I do think that there is an element of like True Believer, especially when a brand was founded around a very specific dietary need or function, as the persona of the founder is so ingrained into the brand itself and the mission of the brand. It's become synonymous, and those things also, like any strength over extended can become a weakness. You can become sort of a disciple, and what you need is really just discipline to say, "I need to be the chief critic of who we are and what we put out into the world and see it through the customer's eyes." I couldn't have said it better. Just brilliant.

Kiran: [00:34:45] I love that. I think I would say there are many companies that say they are mission-driven. I will tell you, this is the first company I've ever worked for that truly is mission-driven. The simplicity of that of saying... Decision-making becomes a lot easier in a company like ours when you could say, "Is it right for the farmer, the animal, or the member?" Having the simplicity of that construct being like, "Okay, then we head in this direction." It's a pretty special place to be with that level of, with Mike starting it, but having to continue seven years later to be the foundation of the business is pretty cool.

Brian: [00:35:21] Gosh, we talk about building relationships with customers and building community and so on, but something that gets lost in that often is building community and relationship and building a good environment for your suppliers as well. And that almost seems like building that for your suppliers and your employees first is, I hear you saying that's number one, and then your customers will follow. Is that... I'm putting words in your mouth.

Kiran: [00:35:55] It's true though. I mean, if you look at where they started off, that is exactly where they started. It's like what are the right partnerships we need to have to make this work? And that was with the farmers. And how we think about the decision-making is very much that was from the beginning.

Lesley: [00:36:11] And I think on the employee side, we really, really invest in culture and feedback and transparency. And to Kiran's point, even from a cultural standpoint, it's probably the best place that I've ever worked from an openness and kind of how we think about the employee, how we think about the employee experience is like really, really key to the business.

Brian: [00:36:42] Well, I know we're coming up on time here and we always want to get in our last question because it's always interesting to see where people land on this. So to ButcherBox and Kiran, why don't we start with you and Lesley end with you? What is the future of commerce to you?

Kiran: [00:37:02] Good question. I would say this continued evolution that we have in terms of personalization is going to continue to have to grow. How you create an experience for a customer, consumer, that feels that it is 1 to 1 with them, making them feel special, making them feel valued... How you do that in a way that and it coming from a genuine place, I think is where we have to continue to head. And that's hard as you as you get bigger and bigger. And I think this next generation of consumers is looking for much more transparency than our generation. Their expectations, their base expectations are very different. And how we continue to build towards meeting their needs and meeting them where they are, I think is going to have to be where commerce heads as well.

Lesley: [00:37:55] Yeah. And I completely agree with that. To me, the future of eCommerce is multidimensional. It has to be multidimensional. And the companies that think multidimensionally are going to be really successful because you're putting your customer in the middle, but you've got all these things that you need to think about. You need to think about the journey, you need to think about your data. You need to think about, in our case, logistics, supply chain, and sustainability. The trends around sustainability and what consumers demand. So I do think it's, yeah, it's very multidimensional in the companies that think in that way are going to win.

Brian: [00:38:41] I love that.

Phillip: [00:38:43] You don't know this, but ButcherBox team, this is music to Brian's ears. All of what you just said probably relates back to some think piece he's written at some point.

Brian: [00:38:55] {laughter} It's true.

Phillip: [00:38:58] Very much up our alley and I know that our audience will appreciate it. Thank you so much for all of your time. And thank you for being so, just genuine about the way that you're approaching solving these really hard problems because they're hard problems to solve in a business. And I think it seems very obvious to me that ButcherBox has created the success that you have based on the culture and the attitudes of the people and the minds that have come alongside to help the mission. So thank you so much. That is the future of commerce. Thank you all and thank you so much for listening to Future Commerce. You can find more episodes of this podcast and all Future Commerce properties at FutureCommerce.com. And if you want to find us in your inbox twice a week telling you about what we think the future is through the lens of what is happening in the world of brand, direct to consumer, marketplace, and experiences, you can do that FutureCommerce.com/Subscribe. Subscribe to The Senses. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Future Commerce

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