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Episode 224
October 1, 2021

“Millennial Golden Corral”, Expo East, and FOMO in DTC CPG

Kendall Dickieson joins the pod to chat Expo East, her favorite brands, and how the consumer experience matters. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

“If only there were a way to sample new products... in a warehouse of some sort?”

  • If you’re not an influencer or active on social media, how can you sample a product as a consumer? How cool would it be if there was a way to get into a warehouse with every product available for sample! 
  • “We need the raw, realistic community members, not influencers, sharing the content and saying, "these are my thoughts and this is how much better it is.’’ The people need to hear that. “-Kendall
  • As consumers we often chase the newest luxury items, because we enjoy it. But we also chase experiences. What if we chased a different experience because we enjoyed doing things differently? 
  • “It’s not just the product that’s the whole experience, but the ritual behind it. If you can create an experience at home and you’re willing to trade that off, there’s an equating experience behind it. ” -Brian
  • Brands that are exceeding are creating incredible customer experiences. From ordering, to social media presence, to the delivery at their door. When a brand creates an experience, they create loyalty. 
  • The two major modalities that consumers fall into are seeking something new or stocking up on something trusted. Consumers find themselves behaving in both modes in the same category, but with different brands. 
  • “Part of the experience of doing business with a customer is to try to get them to purchase on the terms they want and not the terms you want them to.” -Phillip

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Phillip: [00:00:14] Brian, you start.

Brian: [00:01:42] Let's do it. Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:50] I'm Phillip Hey, today we've got a special guest on the show. Someone who I feel like if you're on Twitter needs no introduction. But if you are looking for a resident CPG nerd, we have her here. Joining us is Kendall Dickieson. Welcome to the show.

Kendall: [00:02:07] Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to geek out. Let's do it.

Phillip: [00:02:11] We're going to geek out. And I was saying in the pre-show, I'm feeling my age a little bit. Funny story. When we first met, it was one of those like camera off Zoom calls, and we were just kind of like going back and forth and you said, "You know, I'm just a Xennial in this world," and I thought, you said Zillennial, which because we need both of those terms. And then I did the cringy first thing that a 41 year old man can do, and I'm like, "Oh, me too," which really felt bad when I hung up.

Brian: [00:02:49] {laughter} You know what the funny thing is, I'm totally, definitely younger than Phillip, but I'm definitely older than Phillip.

Kendall: [00:02:56] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:01] Yeah, it's bad. It's bad. It feels bad.

Kendall: [00:03:03] We're all Zillennials at heart?

Brian: [00:03:05] That's right.

Phillip: [00:03:05] We really are.

Brian: [00:03:07] Zillenials at heart.

Phillip: [00:03:07] Yeah.

Kendall: [00:03:07] That's what matters.

Brian: [00:03:08] That's like the title of Phillip's next book. Zillenial at Heart. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:13] There's a complete completely off... Thank you so much, Brian. It makes me feel great. Completely off topic. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I'm listening to Screen Drafts. They're doing like the October, you know, spooky season thing this month, and they were doing a whole show on body horror and specifically like the running down like David Cronenberg films like The Fly and Videodrome and some other ones that will, you know, scar you for the rest of your life. But they're talking about it's like, but body horror is not really aging, even though that is body horror. It really is. Like you're twenty five in your mind, always. But you look in the mirror and you wake up one day and you're 50, and that's body horror. And I'm like, "Preach it, sister." I am absolutely experiencing body horror every day. Ok, sorry. So Expo East just happened.

Kendall: [00:04:13] It did.

Phillip: [00:04:13] And in the before times it's a show that you would have been at. What happened at Expo East this year? Did you go? What happened?

Kendall: [00:04:21] I had a ticket and I was really excited. And then I realized that I also agreed to go to a three day festival in the city, and I was like, I have to pick the battle.

Brian: [00:04:31] I feel like you skipped the name of that festival on purpose. Did you?

Kendall: [00:04:39] {laughter} Maybe. I was offered tickets to this festival for three days, VIP once in a lifetime opportunity. And it would be my first festival concert, anything since COVID happened. And I'm a huge music fiend. But I love like, because I'm a CPG nerd, so I was like, "But I love Expo East." And I wanted to go to both. But my heart was like, stay in the city. Go to the festival. And I'm a huge advocate of go with your gut. So that's what I did. Meanwhile, though, I would have gone to Philly, but then I actually realized that it started like two days earlier than I thought it did, so it still wouldn't have worked out actually. I also didn't even book a place to stay there.

Phillip: [00:05:28] There's a lot going against you having been at the show.

Kendall: [00:05:31] There was. I was debating doing like the day trip and like going in the morning and then leave. So I was debating that, but I kept getting like the email that said, "Download your digital pass." I'm like, I can't because I'm not going. But it like pained me because I would keep sending it on Superhuman as a reminder to myself for some reason. Like, yeah, in case I go. I might just like pack up and go for the day. But now I lived vicariously through everyone that was there and had severe FOMO. But even like a lot of my friends who I usually go with and like would stay with or where it's like we all have food accounts together and it's like, Are you going, are you going? Like a lot of those people, we're going to go and like, also didn't make it because like, it was also just like, I didn't know that, I guess I missed the fine print, that they weren't doing any samples this year, which makes sense.

Phillip: [00:06:25] Oh, what's the point?

Kendall: [00:06:26] Exactly. That was my thing.

Phillip: [00:06:27] It makes all kinds of sense. It really does.

Kendall: [00:06:29] I know it does make sense, but I was like, "Everyone goes to the Expo for snacks and samples."

Brian: [00:06:36] So wait...

Phillip: [00:06:37] Back up just one second. I don't know how you do a virtual event with samples, either. That's a whole other... That's a whole other question.

Kendall: [00:06:44] I didn't even do the virtual. I didn't even do anything. I didn't do any of that. I'm sorry if anyone from the Expo team is listening to this.

Phillip: [00:06:51] They're definitely listening because it's going to have it in the title.

Kendall: [00:06:53] Please invite me again next year.

Phillip: [00:06:57] For the unacquainted, it's a natural products, and it's where the DTC nerds hang out sort of an expo. It's been around for decades, right?

Kendall: [00:07:06] Yeah, for a while. I think this would have been my fourth or fifth one, but it's been around for a long time. Yeah, it's like Expo East, Expo West. I everyone loves West, but I love East more than West.

Phillip: [00:07:18] Why? How are they different shows?

Kendall: [00:07:21] So Expo East, usually it's in Baltimore. This is the first year that it was out of Baltimore based on like how many years I've gone. So it was in Philly this year. I think it was supposed to be a bigger location. I'm honestly not sure. And then West is like in California, in Anaheim, in the Anaheim Convention Center. With that more so being like, I believe it might be like double or triple the size of East. So it's just like sensory overload for someone who like already lives in a state of anxiety. I can't do it. And so I like East also because it's like more accessible. Well, one, it's more accessible for me, at least. But then it's also more my friends go to East, too. So like people I haven't seen in a while. West is good. If you know a lot of the brands who are based on the West Coast tend to want to stay West. Some do travel to Expo East, but I don't know. I like how close the Expo East is since it's like smaller and you're able to actually get more like one on one time with the brands, I feel like like. To the point of where because of my Instagram account, I'll get emails before Expo of "Do you want to like book time with the founder?" Or "Do you want to talk to someone from their team for 30 minutes?" "What do you need?" Anything like that. So I like that way more. But yeah, that's what I would say. But Expo West is always fun. They're both fun. Samples and good food.

Brian: [00:08:49] If there's no friends and there's no samples, is there anything that you have like FOMO about by like missing it?

Kendall: [00:08:59] I think I like just was getting FOMO from just like seeing the new things that you know are coming because that's also one of my favorite things.

Phillip: [00:09:10] What's an example?

Kendall: [00:09:13] I think there... What was it? One thing I think I saw it on... Was it one of the Bev net accounts? It might have been VegNews. I think it was VegNews. There is a... It got very sunny in this room. There is a marshmallow spread that I believe is called Dandies, and it's in the UK, but I believe they're coming to the US, and it's like a vegan like healthified marshmallow fluff.

Brian: [00:09:41] Hmm.

Kendall: [00:09:41] And I'm a huge Fluffernutter fan, so it's very important to me. And but then it's also seeing brands that I've always loved, whether it's like the Banzas or Sietes or anything like that, seeing what they're up to at the conventions because it's just like really cool to see like how they're evolving from when I first saw them. Or let's see what else... Yeah, Dandies was one. I think also, just I miss meeting Founders in real life. I think that's one thing for me. That's always been fun. Coming from someone who's like, actually extremely shy, but who would have thought?

Phillip: [00:10:22] I mean, it can be sort of there's this thing that happens at a big trade show where the sensory overload kind of takes over for a little bit. And even if you're an introvert, there's so much to see, it's overwhelming and it kind of helps you kind of acquaint yourself to the craziness and the bustle. But it is so physically exhausting at those types of shows.

Kendall: [00:10:51] Oh my gosh. I know.

Phillip: [00:10:51] It really is. And this last week...

Brian: [00:10:53] Especially if you hit shows like Phillip used to.

Phillip: [00:10:56] Yeah, once upon a time, I was on the road 30 weeks a year, you know, doing trade shows or expos.

Kendall: [00:11:04] That's insane.

Phillip: [00:11:04] And I was speaking quite a bit. So there was a whole other element of anxiety that came along with it. But that was for another life. When you're thinking about brands that... What are the brands that are on your radar right now, Kendall, that are sort of like God tier for you? What are the ones that maybe you hold in high esteem, being that you are the resident DTC CPG nerd?

Kendall: [00:11:35] Oh man, it's a hard question.

Phillip: [00:11:37] You can take your time because we can edit these things too, you know.

Kendall: [00:11:43] Let's see. I just got off a call with, as I mentioned, Grace and someone else.

Phillip: [00:11:51] Grace Clark.

Kendall: [00:11:52] Shout out to Grace Clark. Let's see. We actually only spoke on the phone for the first time, maybe like two and a half weeks ago, but we met at a dinner last year. And let's see, so I would say high esteem when it comes from... I'm going to split this up.

Phillip: [00:12:11] Please.

Kendall: [00:12:11] When it comes from someone who is like a creator myself, as someone who like runs and operates like my own personal brand on Instagram, who receives like these PR packages from brands and like seeing like the work they put in to like whether we want to call it like taking care of their creators, or it's just like the way they present their new products that are dropping and the experience that they give the creator firsthand. Siete and Banza. Top two. Always. Never fails. Siete never fails to make me tear up somehow with every box that I get. Handwritten note, weird, personalized, like weird in a good way, personalized item where it's like you would not expect it. I think the most recent box, it was like they were celebrating that they got into a new wholesale location. So they sent like two things of their almond tortillas, which are my favorite. And they had like hand knit tortilla holders made with the Siete logo on them. And they gave you like a customized Siete lunchbox and the handwritten card and like pencils and pens, like back to school vibes. All that. I've gotten homemade coffee roasts from them that they'll make with local roasters. It's just they they go the extra mile where it's... This is an exact talk I just had with a brand like 30 minutes ago is how [00:13:40] brands need to really hone in on separating that experience for creators and press versus consumer. I don't believe the two should always be receiving the same package because this is an experience. It should always be an experience for both. So that doesn't mean lag on your packaging and stuff like that, but for creators these days, everyone receives boxes, you know? And it's like either you're sending it in a brown box and they're taking the product out, and that's it, or you're giving them something where they're like, "I want to share this on like every social platform." [00:14:11] So when it comes to those two, I would say those are my favorite. Then right now, like God tier, oh man. Oh, man, oh, man, this is so hard. Olipop. Shout out Eli. Let's say Olipop. I would say I'm a huge Fly by Jing fan.

Phillip: [00:14:35] Mm hmm. And they get the love. Fly by Jing gets so much love.

Kendall: [00:14:41] It's so good.

Phillip: [00:14:43] And I feel the love through the love that comes through my small glimpse into the DTC social sphere. But I can tell you, I don't know why, and this is a thing that I have as a personal problem. So this is in no way a failing on anyone's part. I don't do dipping or sauces. I just don't.

Kendall: [00:15:07] Really?

Phillip: [00:15:09] And I really want to.

Kendall: [00:15:10] No ketchup?

Phillip: [00:15:11] I don't even get sauce at Chick-Fil-A, y'all. Like, I don't. I don't do ketchup. I don't do it.

Kendall: [00:15:16] So is this... Wait, wait, wait. Is this one I like can throw my AirPods on the table and leave the podcast? {laughter}

Phillip: [00:15:20] Yes. Now you can quit. Yeah, you can. You can.

Brian: [00:15:23] You should.

Phillip: [00:15:23] Absolutely. You should. Yeah.

Kendall: [00:15:26] Oh man, this is.

Phillip: [00:15:27] Do you do sauces, Brian? Dipping? Salsas?

Brian: [00:15:28] Of course. What do you think I am?

Phillip: [00:15:32] I'm not a monster.

Brian: [00:15:33] You do spreads, though, right? You do spreads. You just don't do sauces.

Phillip: [00:15:37] I do spreads. Oh yeah,

Kendall: [00:15:39] Are you like a peanut butter and jelly person?

Phillip: [00:15:42] I am.

Brian: [00:15:43] We just had a conversation about this. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:15:44] Every day, every day. This started in COVID. This started in COVID. And Kendall, I need your help. I need you to tell me what to get to really trick out my lunch. Every day since COVID, so we are in month like 19 now or something, I have eaten a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Every day. At least five days a week. That's it. Peanut butter and honey sandwich and I chase it with some coffee.

Kendall: [00:16:11] Just that? Brian is like, "Please help me. I've heard this so many times."

Phillip: [00:16:13] I know. He watches me make the sandwich half the day, half the time. And it's, you know, the peanut butter...

Brian: [00:16:21] My mouth sticks together just like watching him. I'm just like... Oh my gosh. No.

Kendall: [00:16:25] Yeah, I'm just thinking about that. I've never done this straight peanut butter and honey.

Phillip: [00:16:30] Really?

Kendall: [00:16:30] I feel like I would choke on that.

Phillip: [00:16:31] Okay, I need help. This is what I...

Brian: [00:16:33] This guy is Winnie the Pooh is what's going on right now.

Phillip: [00:16:37] I'm the walking embodiment.

Kendall: [00:16:40] Forget Zillenial. He's a different league.

Phillip: [00:16:41] He's a total Xi Jinping, this guy.

Brian: [00:16:46] Pooh at Heart. Phillip's the next book.

Phillip: [00:16:50] Put that on a T-shirt. I would love to dress up my daily peanut butter and honey. What's the peanut butter brand that I need to go check out?

Kendall: [00:17:00] I can help you. Don't worry. I just got a huge package of peanut butters last night in the mail.

Phillip: [00:17:05] Jealous.

Kendall: [00:17:05] And of course, this morning I ripped them all open and had a small taste test to myself. They're from actually like an Instagram, I believe there are a couple actually in real life. I can't remember their handle off top of my head. It's like the clean fitness something. But their brand is OffBeat Butters, and they're all like these flavored homemade peanut butters and they were like salted caramel. I don't know if you guys are caramel or caramel. I'm going to say caramel.

Phillip: [00:17:39] Caramel. I'm team Caramel.

Brian: [00:17:40] Whatever it is, it's delicious because I love it.

Kendall: [00:17:43] Exactly. Brian, that's all that counts. So it was like salted caramel. It was a monkey business one. So there's like dried banana and like cacao in it. One was a Buckeye brownie, like insane flavor. So good. But so I would recommend those. Do you like hazelnut?

Phillip: [00:18:06] Oh, yeah, yeah, I can jam with some hazelnut.

Kendall: [00:18:08] Ok. So I am obsessed with Gooey. Have you heard of Gooey?

Phillip: [00:18:13] No.

Brian: [00:18:14] No.

Kendall: [00:18:15] So it is basically, in short, simple terms, healthy Nutella.

Brian: [00:18:20] Hmm.

Phillip: [00:18:21] Oh, I've seen this. I've seen this before. I'm sorry. I didn't know it by name. I've definitely seen this on.

Kendall: [00:18:27] Twitter?

Phillip: [00:18:28] Somewhere. Instagram or Twitter.

Kendall: [00:18:29] Yeah, yeah. So no palm oil, low sugar, tastes like the real thing. I've been doing that because, ok, I won't lie that I am on your side of that I have a peanut butter and banana sandwich every day. {laughter}

Brian: [00:18:44] What is with the two of you?

Phillip: [00:18:45] See, you gave me a lot of grief over it. But I, you know, I feel vindicated now.

Kendall: [00:18:51] The honey combination worries me a little bit because I feel like I almost choke on peanut butter banana sandwich. So I feel like with honey, I just feel like a whole different level.

Phillip: [00:18:59] Can I explain the honey, though? Let me just tell you one thing about the honey.

Kendall: [00:19:03] Go for it.

Phillip: [00:19:04] There is a thing that happens with wildflower honey. When you put it on the peanut butter, it crystallizes just a little bit.

Kendall: [00:19:15] So it's like crunch.

Phillip: [00:19:17] It kind of gets a little crunch to it. I'm telling you, there's something there. And then you get like not a giant piece of bread, but, you know, get a thicker, not just sandwich bread, but a thicker cut whole grain or, you know, like some sort of like artisan bread, some kind of something with a little nut crunch to it.

Kendall: [00:19:39] Love a good sourdough. But yeah, I'm open to anything.

Phillip: [00:19:42] I mean, a sourdough, peanut butter and honey. I don't know if I've ever even considered such a thing.

Kendall: [00:19:46] I also do a toasted rye bread, peanut butter banana with a bit of a little bit of cinnamon sugar.

Phillip: [00:19:56] I'm into it.

Kendall: [00:19:56] It's the stuff. I also love a good English muffin. I go on about this for days.

Phillip: [00:20:01] This is great.

Brian: [00:20:01] This is tough for me because I like a quick gluten two years ago.

Kendall: [00:20:06] Oh no.

Phillip: [00:20:06] I'm sorry, Brian.

Brian: [00:20:09] I know. I know.

Phillip: [00:20:09] He gives me the sandwich hate.

Kendall: [00:20:09] I think this is when you leave the podcast, Brian. {laughter}

Brian: [00:20:13] No, it's fine. It's just sad. It's a sad day. Typically, when I have bread, it's because my wife makes it because she makes incredible bread. She loves making bread.

Kendall: [00:20:25] I love it.

Brian: [00:20:25] And so she'll make like, I'll eat like einkorn flour or some other, like interesting grains. And so if I'm going to have a sandwich, it's going to be on like fresh baked einkorn bread.

Kendall: [00:20:37] I'm very jealous of that. But we have one important question that still has not been answered yet. Crunchy or creamy?

Brian: [00:20:45] Ooh, that is a good question. That was in my mind as well. Like if you got crunch from the honey and you've got crunch in your bread, do you even need the crunch from the peanuts?

Phillip: [00:20:57] That's too much crunch. That's a bunch of crunch, Brian. No. I go creamy on peanut butter only ever and GTFO with the crunchy peanut butter. I don't understand people that do crunchy peanut butter.

Brian: [00:21:11] I'm with you on that. It's creamy all the way.

Phillip: [00:21:16] And this has become therapeutic for me now. I'm like oversharing chronically on this particular episode. I had dental problems as a kid, like weak enamel. It's a whole thing. And like just chewing on like crunching on things, my mom would be all up am like, "Don't bite your ice." It's like there never would have been crunchy peanut butter in my house. And I think you just you kind of fix your perceptions on... Pashmina said this, from Bar & Cocoa, Brian, and it's like stuck in my head now. She's like, "You form preferences as a child around things like peanut butter and chocolate at such an early age that they never transition to acquired tastes."

Kendall: [00:22:07] Interesting.

Phillip: [00:22:08] And the vices like nicotine or caffeine or even beer and wine are things that you acquire tastes for much later in life, so you don't have a fixed point in your mind of what it should taste like. And I think about that a lot, mostly as I'm spreading peanut butter on my sandwich at 12:30.

Kendall: [00:22:34] I love that. I'm going to have to change my CPG Nerd title to Peanut Butter Nerd.

Phillip: [00:22:42] {laughter} I will take any...

Kendall: [00:22:44] I do love almond butter. I love any butter, but I would say to take it to the next level, I would alternate maybe nights where it's like Gooey and something else. Maybe not honey. But I mean, I love bananas.

Phillip: [00:23:00] The bananas.

Kendall: [00:23:01] Gooey and banana is usually my go to, but then I also really like, I love a good jam, so I can't hate on any of this.

Brian: [00:23:11] See, there we go.

Phillip: [00:23:12] I'm going to ask you... Go ahead, Brian.

Brian: [00:23:14] No, I was just I was like, Jam. We've talked about peanut butter a lot. And like, we haven't talked about jam at all and actually what I really I want to get back to...

Kendall: [00:23:23] I am obsessed with how much you were talking about this. This is the conversation I never knew I needed, and I just feel like I'm really becoming closer with everyone right now.

Brian: [00:23:31] I love this.

Phillip: [00:23:32] I love that. I feel it too.

Brian: [00:23:34] I do want to get back to the fact that Phillip has a massive aversion to dips and sauces.

Phillip: [00:23:40] Yeah, the dips and sauces is just... I'm not saying...

Kendall: [00:23:44] I totally forgot about that.

Phillip: [00:23:44] You said, "Aversion." I never said that. Thank you. I redeem myself

Kendall: [00:23:46] I totally forgot that that is where this started from. I totally forgot that this all started from Fly by Jing.

Phillip: [00:23:49] I love by Fly by Jing, and Kendall, there's a part of me... So there's like two barriers. I think there's two barriers for me. One is I want to love and support the creators of these brands so much because I believe in what they're doing. I want to support them in their mission. I also feel badly buying something I know I'll never use. And that's the hold up for me, for a lot of the direct to consumer movement and CPG is I don't want to buy things for the sake of buying them, and I want to find other ways to support. And if part of that is, hey, we can support with the reach of this show, you know, tens of thousands of people listen to it. Great. And maybe that's the contribution. It's also sometimes a little bit of a crapshoot in this industry, especially in functional foods where you just don't know what you're going to get. And that's kind of where I... Then I reached sort of a path of indecision, and I spent $60 on a candle, so there you go. {laughter} It's not about the money. I just want you to know that. It's not because they're expensive food, it's I'm just sort of in a weird time loop with it.

Kendall: [00:25:23] Yeah, no. I understand that. I think if I was to keep saying more like God tier up there, though, I feel like they almost always fall into like dips or sauces. Well, also, because like from a social standpoint and influencer standpoint, they're like the easiest to seed out or like get like a creative of because you can put them on everything. So like, they're a good vehicle. That's why I feel like for... This is my thought process. Basically when it comes to like a client and I have to see product if a client, not that they have issues getting UGC per se, but say it takes a little more umph to get it, versus a brand who has like a mix or a sauce, they can be on anything and everything where you might be only able to use X Y Z in certain capacity. So that's why I feel like sauces take God tier for me. Or beverages. Just because you can have them with everything and they're delicious. But then at the same time...

Phillip: [00:26:37] I'm down. Yeah.

Kendall: [00:26:38] Yeah. At the same time, then I'm like, I don't know. I feel like I've been staying so close to like my favorite brands that I haven't been experimenting because I found comfort. I'm trying to think of like the last time I tried something insanely new. But I truthfully. Don't think I can off the top of my head right now, which is kind of crazy.

Brian: [00:27:05] Ok, hold on. So you didn't get the sample stuff at Expo East and you haven't tried anything new in a while. Phillip, I'm about to do something that you're going to absolutely hate. {laughter}

Kendall: [00:27:16] Oh, no.

Phillip: [00:27:17] Oh no. No. Terrifying.

Brian: [00:27:19] So I feel like we talk about all these incredible DTC brands, and speaking of sauces, TREF just made our recent Nine by Nine report and it's a pretty cool brand. But I think for me and I would love what you guys think about this, but I would love a place that could go like taste these on a regular basis where it's like a store that sold these in a place that maybe kind of like a warehouse space. And I could go around and sample things.

Kendall: [00:27:59] A random warehouse?

Phillip: [00:28:00] Like a warehouse space.

Brian: [00:28:02] Imagine just a table or just one person at this table in a random warehouse. "Please try these sauces."

Phillip: [00:28:07] I know where Brian's going, so keep going because I know exactly where you're going already. If only there is a place that was a warehouse that we could try these, Kendall. What would that be?

Brian: [00:28:21] That would be Costco.

Phillip: [00:28:24] Yeah.

Kendall: [00:28:26] Yup.

Brian: [00:28:26] I feel like there needs to be a more experimental Costco. Like I really do.

Phillip: [00:28:33] You don't shop at Whole Foods, and that's the thing here.

Brian: [00:28:35] There is this at Whole Foods. That's true to some degree.

Phillip: [00:28:38] But product sampling is a thing that you definitely saw some retail outlets do. Some retailers do it better than others. And that's that's how we discover new things. If you're, you know, a normie and you don't hang out on Twitter all the time, or if you're not an influencer like Kendall, or if you don't only think about how you build these types of brands...

Brian: [00:29:02] How does everybody else?

Phillip: [00:29:02] This is very inside baseball conversation, right? Normal people discover brands in the way that you just mentioned, Brian.

Brian: [00:29:09] Right. I feel like there's a space out there in the market that's beyond just a conference. And it's beyond just like mass production like Costco scale stuff, a space for someone to come in and offer an opportunity to try these types of brands on a more regular basis.

Kendall: [00:29:27] I agree with that. Yeah, because it's also just like I think it's... This might be a small tangent off like that topic, but like [00:29:35] one thing that I've seen is that a lot of these brands, especially in the beverage space, the only way they can like, I don't want to say sustain DTC, but at least kick off, is they might not want to do like a four pack trial or a two pack trial if they have like two SKUs or three SKUs, whatever. But they'll go for like the full 12 pack, and it's already a little more expensive because we all know beverage is really hard to be in to make sure that immediately they're going to be profitable. So seeing that and it's like the minute that they get into the first retail location, whether that's they want to hit Middle America, like go Kroger or more high end, let's say like Erewhon, like the minute they hit into retail, that takes off way more. Why? Because they can just try one. They don't have to buy 12. [00:30:25]

Brian: [00:30:26] Right, exactly.

Phillip: [00:30:27] So true.

Kendall: [00:30:27] So yeah, it's just like the idea of being able to take one, whether it's like one spoonful, one bottle, whatever, as long as it's not paying the full price of what they know it is usually and just getting like that small serotonin boost. "I tried this now. Did I like it?" Yeah, because I think that's one thing for me to where I've been on the same end where I've definitely fallen for the branding before and then I'm like, no, taste wise.

Phillip: [00:31:02] That's ok. Not everything is for everybody either, right? Some things just don't connect with a particular passion.

Kendall: [00:31:07] Yeah. Or you might have destroyed their own version too, right? Because so many brands now, and I think a lot of brands are using that in a great light of taking like all the customer feedback and then finding the way to improve the product because it's like, then you know what the things are that would make it more successful. And I think more brands are like starting to be more transparent on social or like on site about that. I don't want to say like a Nuggs approach. Nuggs is very... Because they're like food tech, so they're like, "Our newest V2.265." Right?

Phillip: [00:31:47] {laughter} I'll wait for the next point release. It's like iOS. I'm not going to be an early adopter of that, probably.

Kendall: [00:31:52] Yeah. So it's just one of those things where it's like, [00:31:55] that's kind of how brands are treating it without saying it's a numbered version. It's just like, "This is new and improved," or whatever. And then it's like, how do you show it's new and improved to the people who have already tried that first version? I had the same conversation with the client where it's like, we're going to see it the minute that we can literally put up content across all channels that are going to be like, "We need the raw, realistic community members, not influencers, literally being like, "I spent x amount on V1, I bought V2. These are my thoughts and this is how much better it is.'" The people need to hear that. [00:32:33]

Brian: [00:37:05] There's so much space in the market to do this kind of testing. This is why I was saying I feel like an experimental Costco would be amazing. Imagine if you kept track of this stuff, they had metrics on sampling and you could actually push out updates like in a sandbox environment, almost for food. I feel like this is really necessary. And maybe Expo does that to some degree. That's sort of what it is. But why aren't we doing this on a more regular basis with real time results?

Phillip: [00:37:31] We talked about this. What is the Millennial Golden Corral? It doesn't exist.

Brian: [00:37:36] Right.

Phillip: [00:37:37] Right? That's not a thing that you know Millennials would probably do. Maybe, it's not just all you can eat, it's sample all you like. It could be that, you know, we have an ever-growing swath of brands and it's an event, really. I mean, some people are doing this. Andrea Hernandez Snack Shot's doing this to some degree.

Kendall: [00:37:57] Mmm hmm.

Brian: [00:37:57] Right.

Phillip: [00:37:58] Some people are getting their discovery through, you know, subscription kits and boxes. I think that it's not real until it happens in a physical location, and we're going to see this in a lot more places. Maybe that's a concept, Brian. Maybe Future Commerce should have a...

Brian: [00:38:12] Yeah, I think so.

Phillip: [00:38:13] A tasting at some point.

Brian: [00:38:14] This is like my dream business.

Phillip: [00:38:15] I want to come back to one point that you made earlier because I was canceled by... It just popped into my mind. I got food canceled. I got snack canceled by Andrea. I'm no longer a snack boy. My title was taken away from me because I complained about a brand of frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Kendall: [00:38:42] I know exactly who. Yes. I know.

Phillip: [00:38:44] DTC Uncrustables. And I complained. I complained about it. And it's, you know, I said it was exactly what you mentioned just now. Is that my investment, it's not just the cost basis of the per sandwich, it's that it was thirty two dollars plus shipping to have eight sandwiches, which is $4 apiece. And you know, I actually wrote a piece on this after I got snack canceled and I wrote a piece on this kind of trying to figure out where my own feelings, where they come from. Because I spend irrationally on other things. Like it's not about the price, but I started thinking about it. And you know, to me, Smuckers Uncrustables are already the luxury. There's a luxury price point that's been set already in the market and in my mind, like a ready to eat or semi ready to eat, just thaw it PBJ, you know, is something that didn't need to be improved upon. Of course, that's just my personal opinion. And maybe if it was a better, you know, maybe if the sandwich itself had been better, I would be happier about it and wouldn't have written a giant think piece. But the point is that I think we all have... I don't know, we just get in our feels about food and people draw really strange lines around like what is acceptable, what is not. And I think it's just like, it's so personal, you know? For me, that doesn't work. But for someone else, it could be revolutionary. And you know, who am I to say what belongs in the marketplace or what connects with a person?

Kendall: [00:40:20] Mm hmm. Yeah, I think it's like one of those things where it's like, for me, I spend... Let's see, I'll always go into my health food store down the block and I'll always buy a crap ton of Olipop versus like ordering from the website. And then I realize like the amount I'm spending per week on just a healthy soda or something like that. And in my head, I'm like, why am I doing this? But then what I asked myself is like, "Do I enjoy it?" Then I'm like, "Yeah." So then I buy it. But then the same thing goes for, I don't want to say like luxury, but like more like luxury high end brands where it's like the Cometeers, where it's like you're paying like seventy dollars a month. But like the experience of it is something I love and like, I'm a huge coffee person. And I found that I was saving more money using Cometeer, paying that price per month. At first I was like a little turned off by it, but I knew the product was so good that I was fine paying for it.

Phillip: [00:41:24] Yeah.

Kendall: [00:41:27] And then like as much as I love the coffee shop experience. That's something I'll always like. But when it came to going to the office, and I found myself every morning, I'll go to the same coffee shop and I would do it in my head that's eight dollars every day. Versus I would spend what I spent on Cometeer in a week.

Brian: [00:41:47] Right.

Phillip: [00:41:47] It's true.

Brian: [00:41:48] Phillip had the same experience.

Kendall: [00:41:50] Made more sense.

Brian: [00:41:51] You wrote a whole piece on this, didn't you, Phillip?

Phillip: [00:41:55] I did. But you know, it's again, it's the old guy, you know, having that experience, but with an espresso, which objectively, I think a lot of people don't like Nespresso coffee, and that's fine.

Kendall: [00:42:07] I've never tried it, if I'm being fair.

Phillip: [00:42:10] I think it's fine. I think I like it. It's good. It's convenient. It doesn't taste like Keurig Pod coffee. It tastes better than that. But I'm not really discerning about coffee. What I will say is that Cometeer of which I am an enthusiastic subscriber, Cometeer has something different about it that hooked me, which is it tastes like the pour over coffee. It tastes closer to that than anything else that I can make. And I'm really bad at making pour over coffee at home. I don't do it. And so if I want something like that, I've got plenty of it in the freezer now.

Kendall: [00:42:56] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:42:58] How funny is it, though, like a lot of this isn't, isn't it, Kendall, isn't it a lot of this based on like sort of the recency bias, though in that Cometeer is the newest and it's like the one that we're all excited about now. But will it be around in five years and will people still be going gaga over it? That's the thing I ask myself.

Kendall: [00:43:15] I think they will.

Phillip: [00:43:15] Are people still going gaga over Taika? I like Taika, but they were they were losing their minds over Taika, right?

Kendall: [00:43:22] I like Taika. Yeah. I think... Hmm. I think, yes, of Cometeer because of the ritual of it, because you're getting a full experience with it where it's like, I love Taika, but a lot of brands you just open the can. Or text. But it's also like if you're not going to subscribe then you have no reason to text.

Phillip: [00:43:43] That's true. Yeah.

Kendall: [00:43:44] So because I would just like go by one by one at the store. And let's see, I think with Cometeer, I just love the ritual of it. I think also like more and more people are realizing that they can get really fancy with their coffees at home through Cometeer or by other means, but that they don't need to be spending all this excess cash on you go to the most like boujie coffee shop in the city and it just like burns a hole in your wallet and you're like, "Why did I do that?" Where with this, it's like, I feel fine. I used to not feel fine, bringing my Kroger coffee with almond milk and however I take it to the office because like the taste is ok. I would look forward to making my Cometeer in the morning, putting it in the little tumbler from them. And then like bringing it to the office because like that coffee literally tastes it. If I just poured it in like a normal cup, like a paper cup, it would literally just taste like I went to the coffee shop. I haven't had any coffee today, so like, this is a big deal.

Brian: [00:44:54] It was launch day. How did you do it?

Kendall: [00:44:57] I don't know. And it's National Coffee Day, too.

Phillip: [00:44:59] It is.

Kendall: [00:45:00] And it is. And so I literally was on the way here, and I was like, I could go to Dunkin because it's free. If I just buy one thing or I go to La Colombe, it's two o'clock and I could be up all night. So which do I pick? I picked neither because I want to go to bed tonight. But that's usually like my daily struggle is like, "La Colombe draft latte or not today?" And then, yeah, I also had two yesterday, to be completely fair.

Brian: [00:45:30] Something that I hear is like, the thing that sets this apart is like, it's not just the product, it's the whole experience, right? [00:45:39] You're talking about replacing an in-store very important experience, honestly, like going into a coffee shop, I believe it's important, with frozen coffee. And you're willing to do that because the product, it tastes like the ritual that you have. And so there's an equating of experience that you're talking about, and that's sort of the trade off more than anything else. And I think that's probably true for a lot of things when we switch. We're switching not just because it's necessarily a better product unto itself, but it's everything sort of surrounding it as well. Thinking through the trade off and not everyone's totally that cognizant of that trade off, but I think you're really like hitting on something important here. [00:46:30]

Kendall: [00:46:31] Yeah, no, it's like I would always look forward to making my Cometeer in the morning versus the same way I would be excited to go leave the house to go get coffee. And I think also it's the same thing. Actually, this is a good side path into like the launch here today, where it's a brand called Canopy, and so we make humidifiers and like diffusers. But the brand positioning on Canopy is that a humidifier is a skin care tool, which is true. But all brands previously like Honeywell, Dyson, "Oh it makes your air cleaner, like no congestion, allergies," whatever. Or with us, we're like, no, it literally makes your topical products work better because if you have optimal indoor humidity, your skin can receive those products better. Helps with all the congestion and stuff. Helps you sleep better. Helps with dry skin. Like literally everything. Like no one ever talked about it as that. And so I think that's one thing, too, where from unboxing to use it's like the full experience. I get DMs on the account of like, "I loved setting it up. I loved taking it out of the box. I love getting my filter subscription every month at my door," because they get to open up the the top of the canopy and take the filter out and see like all the crap that was in their water.

Phillip: [00:47:44] Wow.

Kendall: [00:47:44] And like they'll send photos of their dirty filters. And then like every month I get like literally photos of like, "Look what color my filter is." It's like purple, like what is in your water? So it's all of that. It's like also just an extra step to their skincare routine too, in a way. Today we launched with like Lauren Bostick from the Skinny Confidential, who lives by her humidifier. And it's a product that even when she posted the teaser last night, people were like just from the box shape a lot of people already own a canopy because she spoke about it on her podcast, and they bought it because of her and she loves hers. So when we did the first designed collaboration, it's pink, it has a drip grate to it, it literally is unlike anything we've ever made. The thing is on that is that people were commenting being like, "Well, I already bought one the first time you talked about, but I bought this one because it's so pretty." Or like, "I love the benefits of like how often I use it already." And it was just like insane to see how many people are already guessing, like, "Oh, it's a humidifier. Has to be with Canopy." Like it was like no other brands were existing. It was literally like, "It's a humidifier with Canopy. It's not Dyson."

Phillip: [00:48:59] Wow.

Brian: [00:49:00] Mmm.

Kendall: [00:49:00] Because the brand positioning is so strong that the team at Canopy has such a great job. I've been on that project for, our anniversary for a year is next week. I'm not ready for 2022 yet, but so I've been on this for for a long time. And so to see like their internal team grow, I manage the organic social and influencer stuff on that front, but like working with their internal team and seeing them scale and like how they've been able to position this and the opportunities are just insane. But yeah, this goes back to the experience of it, though. That's why people, our number one story that we get is the full unboxing experience. All customers almost always post the full unboxing experience and then post when their filter comes.

Brian: [00:49:50] Yeah, and you think about like a Honeywell unboxing that is the worst unboxing ever.

Phillip: [00:49:55] {laughter}

Kendall: [00:49:56] It's massive.

Brian: [00:49:56] Yes, massive...

Phillip: [00:49:58] Box has a hole in it.

Brian: [00:50:00] It's just completely different...

Phillip: [00:50:02] Got that weird strap cord around it that you have to get like your garden shears to cut. You know what I'm talking about?

Brian: [00:50:09] Yeah, yeah, I do. And this is the thing. I think it's the same thing. The experience matters. And so it's not just the product, it's everything around it. It's the community. It's the people who are involved, the unboxing, it's all there. And so understanding what's the experience that you're placing? Versus like what you're bringing to the table and the delta between the two, I think, that's everything.

Kendall: [00:50:39] Yeah, I think that's the one thing too. I think the brands that are putting more thought into the experience of it all are really performing better versus just here it is in a brown box when it gets shipped to your house. And so I think it's just like one of those things where unless by some means the packaging has an experience on it. For example, a past client of mine was Barcode. That was founded by Kyle Kuzma from the Lakers and Mubarik Malik, who is a Director of Performance for the Knicks. And the one thing about Barcode is that the bottle is scannable. It has a QR code on the front. You could reorder. We used Batch as well for re-ordering and then the front barcode would sync up with if you open up your Instagram camera it went to our account and used our filter when you scanned the filter over the barcode, it would expand into the bottle being in your hand and then all the ingredients that are in the bottle, so you physically see it. And it would have movement and it was awesome. And so I think there's it's either like you're creating the experience from unboxing and use or like something that's like super frequent or if it's not in your unboxing, it's like on your product.

Phillip: [00:51:49] Yeah. I love the packaging innovation. I think we said the word experience quite a bit. You mentioned the two major modalities that consumers fall into, which is seeking something new or stocking up on something trusted. I happen to do a good deal of research at Rightpoint about this, and we can link it up in the show notes. But it was a research study called Seeking Out and Stocking Up. And it's interesting that consumers tend to find themselves in behaving in both modes in the same category, but with different brands. I've observed this in myself. I'm going to keep Cometeer on stock, but I'm still experimental with coffee. I'm still going to check out the new coffee shop, right?

Kendall: [00:52:39] Totally.

Phillip: [00:51:49] There isn't just one mode, but I think you can capture, I guess we would call it loyalty, but you can encourage the stocking up mode if we ever bothered to try to get a customer to stock up. And that's the thing that I don't understand in eCommerce, especially in beverage. I think that there's definitely space constraints and it's expensive to ship stuff around. So there's that challenge, but when I buy Lacroix, I buy like six 12 packs of Lacroix.

Brian: [00:53:19] You buy it at Costco though, right?

Phillip: [00:53:21] No, I actually don't buy it at Costco. That's a whole other thing. That's a different episode. But [00:53:26] when I buy Lacroix at the grocery store, it's typically on buy two get three. There's an incentive for me to stock up. [00:53:36]

Kendall: [00:53:36] Yes.

Phillip: [00:53:37]  [00:53:36]But in eCommerce, because of, and I believe this intently, because of the obsession with certain metrics, like customer lifetime value, we tend to prefer and try to push customers into a subscription where there's a predictable, monthly recurring revenue. And I think that that's great for capitalized companies, but what a customer who's actually like, already hooked once is to have thirty six of those things sitting in their garage fridge. You know what I'm saying? That's what they want. And we don't have like, forget the experience in the unboxing and all that stuff. You could probably sell a whole heck of a lot more and have a customer who's like, really just infatuated with a brand and the experience with it if we even bothered to try to sell in bulk to customers. But we don't. And I think that those are also part of the "experience" with air quotes. It's part of the experience of doing business with with a customer is to try to get them to purchase on the terms they want and not the terms you want them [00:54:42] to. End of rant. Sorry.

Kendall: [00:54:43] Yeah, and I agree. I think it's also one of those things sort of like anything with subscription right now. I don't even think I have any subscriptions right now besides my own Canopy filter because lI need that to use the unit. That's also the thing. You need the filter to use the unit. So but then it's also with like the aroma collaborations that we do, if you're on the premium subscription, you're getting your filter every six weeks, but then you're also getting our most up to date aroma collab. So like every month, you can also kind of pick what you want. So you get to choose. So it's not like you have six of the same of collabs sitting like in your closet. We just launched the one with Lauren today. So now people might get or they might just order it anyway. They're like, "Well, I love using the aroma feature. So I want to go purchase this aroma kit, but I don't need a new unit." And then same with we have an aroma collab happening again, like another collab happening in like two and a half weeks. And what will happen is anyone who's been getting the most recent oil that we release, like the three pack, they'll start getting the new one the minute it lands, so that they get a different experience.

Phillip: [00:55:57] Right. It keeps it fresh.

Kendall: [00:55:58] So it's like it always changes. Yeah. So they don't like stalemate on it.

Phillip: [00:56:03] Comes back to trialing and sampling, Brian.

Brian: [00:56:05] It sure does.

Phillip: [00:56:08] We need Millennial Costco.

Brian: [00:56:09] We really do.

Kendall: [00:56:10] We do.

Phillip: [00:56:12] Or Millennial Golden Corral.

Kendall: [00:56:12] I feel like the closest thing to that in terms of like a step in the right direction was like something like Pop Up Grocer and now like Foxtrot, where it's like you get all the brands in the box or the space. But now it's like, ok, yeah, now we got to sample. And do one step next. Or one's like DTC grocery store, full blown grocery store, like non pop up.

Brian: [00:56:37] Yes.

Kendall: [00:56:39] So something like that. But then it's also you have the snacks. Gosh, Good Smart downtown in the city on Lafayette. And I thought immediately like, holy crap, great concept. Great idea. It's like everything that's nicely branded DTC brands usually in this one little space on the corner of the street. Until you walk in and no hate against them, because I said, it's a great idea... Until everything is up charged, double the price. I am not purchasing any of that.

Brian: [00:57:15] Right, exactly.

Phillip: [00:57:16] Because they've got to make a margin too, right?

Kendall: [00:57:18] Yeah, and it's like, I totally get that. But at the same time, it's like I can go to Whole Foods and buy Siete chips for four bucks. Why am I going to spend nine dollars?

Brian: [00:57:28] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:57:29] Yeah. It's true.

Kendall: [00:57:32] It gets a little crazy, but I do have my select brands that I will overspend on if I am put in that situation because that specific store decides to do that.

Phillip: [00:57:47] Again, it's modes, right? Like if you're at the movie theater, which I don't know how often anyone goes to the movie theater anymore. But if you do, right, if you do, you know the Twizzlers, they cost $7. They cost eight dollars.

Kendall: [00:58:08] Has anyone done DTC Twizzlers? No.

Brian: [00:58:13] Ooooh.

Kendall: [00:58:13] Wait there's a licorice brand that just launched, but I don't know the name of it.

Phillip: [00:58:15] There is a licorice brand.

Kendall: [00:58:17] I can't remember the name.

Brian: [00:58:18] Are they gluten free because it's really hard to find gluten free licorice.

Kendall: [00:58:22] I don't know. I remember. I think Eli posted them on his story.

Brian: [00:58:25] Oh my gosh, I'm going to have to go check this out.

Phillip: [00:58:28] We're nearing time.

Brian: [00:58:32] I know. I had a whole topic we didn't get to get into, which we'll get into on the next time that you come on the show.

Phillip: [00:58:37] We got to have you back.

Kendall: [00:58:39] Yeah, I'm more than happy to come back.

Phillip: [00:58:41] I love it. Resident DTC Nerd. DTC CPG nerd. Omg. Kendall Dickieson, thanks for coming. Where can people find you on Insta or whatever?

Kendall: [00:58:52] You can find me on Instagram if you like cool recipes and stuff, even though I haven't posted in a hot minute, it's @TheFlexibleFoodie. And then, like my personal is just @KendallMary, if you feel like seeing the behind the scenes of my life and just me posting like coffee cups around the city and how caffeinated I am.

Phillip: [00:59:12] Love it.

Kendall: [00:59:12] Then Twitter is @FlexibleFoodie. But I'm trying to get that switched. {laughter} Then let's see what else... Because it was like I made that account when I had my food account being like, "It's going to be my food Twitter." And now it's like completely not that. I still share like food and everything I'm eating on there, though. And then let's see website is

Phillip: [00:59:36] Love it.

Kendall: [00:59:36] But I need to update the website, so maybe go to the other stuff first. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:59:40] We're going to trim with a razor blade, all these little qualifiers. We love it. We love having you on the show. Thank you for doing this. It was like hanging out with like a really good friend. But we all just met, and I love it.

Brian: [00:59:52] It was super fun. Super, super fun. Thank you.

Kendall: [00:59:55] Yeah. Me, too. This was great.

Phillip: [00:59:55] Brian, I'm sorry that I jumped down your throat on Costco. I love you.

Brian: [01:00:01] Costco's amazing. Peace.

Phillip: [01:00:01] Ok.

Kendall: [01:00:02] It is amazing. Peace sign. {laughter}

Phillip: [01:00:06] He got it in. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce. Hey, remember, we can all shape the future. Let's do that together. Make the world we all want to live in. Hey, go listen to more episodes of this podcast at, and we have our newest report is available right now. It's called Nine by Nine. It's 81 brands that are going to change the way that we all engage in commerce, and I believe because commerce can change the world, I think those brands are changing the world. Go get that report right now at That said, thank you for listening to Future Commerce.

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