Episode 187
December 18, 2020

Are We Human, or Are We Just a Bunch of Sensory Inputs?

Phillip and Brian finally get together to talk The Killers-branded hot sauce, how Phillip listened to conspiracy radio at 4am as a kid (and come up with a few retail conspiracy theories of their own), and Daniel Dixon of Mixy joins to talk discovery and engagement in a DTC context.

this episode sponsored by

Hot Sauces & Future Commerce v2: Conspiracy Theory

  • The Killers have released a hot sauce collab, each named after one of their albums.
  • Phillip used to listen to conspiracy theory radio as a child and was exposed to conspiracies about the X-Files being a vehicle to desensitize us to alien life.
  • Elements of Disney’s The Mandalorian could be seen as a conspiracy theory: Baby Yoda, being cute in his vehicle by The Mandalorian’s side, could be allowing us to normalize putting our children in pandemic-proof bubbles

What Is Mixy?

  • “It’s a place to get your brand out in front of new people.” - Daniel Dixon
  • Mixy is a marketplace that helps DTC brands get their brand discovered by new consumers and incentivize those consumers by saving them money.
  • Daniel came from the DTC world from an omnichannel sports nutrition brand. Mixy came from working inside of a brand and working as a consultant for brands—trying to solve the problem of encouraging consumers to try new brands. 
  • Mixy provides consumers with five $20 gift cards under the stipulation that they can’t spend it all in the same place, which encourages them to try new brands.
  • Mixy solves challenges in DTC by bringing like-minded brands together and benefits customers in the form of discount without brands actually discounting.
  • Mixy is bringing bundling, which has been done in the digital product space, to physical products. 

The Future for Mixy

  • As for now, Mixy is only integrated with Shopify and would like to expand to new platforms.
  • “When [consumers] think of gift cards, they think of Nike or Amazon… They’re not thinking of gift cards for great small to medium sized DTC brands.” - Daniel Dixon on how Mixy is getting consumers comfortable with using gift cards for smaller brands.
  • Mixy is looking into expanding their product selection, currently adding one brand every week. These brands are curated and fit together to be mutually beneficial to brands and consumers.

Links


If you have any comments or questions about this episode, you can reach out to us at hello@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels. We love hearing from our listeners!

Phillip: [00:01:31] Welcome to Future Commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:35] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:35] And we... I have no idea what's going to happen today. Brian... Brian, literally... He sends a Slack today and it sent me into an existential spiral, it says, "Are we human or are we just a bunch of sensory inputs?" And my response was, Brian, what's the difference exactly?

Brian: [00:01:59] This was in response, to be fair, to The Killers hot sauce. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:02:05] Yeah, The Killers.

Brian: [00:02:08] Hot sauce collab.

Phillip: [00:02:08] Because everything has to be a collab. Number one. And everything has to be audience first or creator lead... At least tip the hat virtually to Paul Jauregui. I believe that's how to say it. I'm murdering his name. And he literally told me exactly how to say it, not just two days ago, but anyway, BK Beauty, long time listener of the show. Thank you, Paul, for continuing to listen. And go check out BKBeauty.com. But everything has to be a creator-led something or other these days, and The Killers have collabed with who?I don't know. I don't even know this brand.

Brian: [00:02:55] It might not even being collab. Is it actually a collab?

Phillip: [00:02:59] I think it's a collab.

Brian: [00:02:59] OK, it's not just...

Phillip: [00:03:00] I mean, I don't know. Brandon Flowers has decided that somebody told him...

Brian: [00:03:06] You're trying to get a go there.

Phillip: [00:03:08] I almost, I tried to.

Brian: [00:03:10] You tried.

Phillip: [00:03:10] What's the song? The complete miss here is that the hot sauces should be named after The Killer songs.

Brian: [00:03:19] No, they are. They're named after their albums.

Phillip: [00:03:22] They're not.

Brian: [00:03:23] They absolutely are.

Phillip: [00:03:24] Oh Hot Sauce. Oh it is.

Brian: [00:03:25] It is.

Phillip: [00:03:27] Oh Hot Sauce is their debut album. It's not named after a song though.

Brian: [00:03:29] No, no, no, no. It's after the albums.

Phillip: [00:03:31] Who knows blowback? Did anyone buy Blowback?

Brian: [00:03:34] I don't know. There's probably some songs off of the album that you know, but you didn't buy it because no one buys albums anymore.

Phillip: [00:03:41] This is true. Yeah. Who buys it? Well, unless you're streaming Taylor Swift's new album, which...

Brian: [00:03:49] Which I did. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:49] Did you? Because you're a Bon Iver fan, right?

Brian: [00:03:54] I do like Bon Iver. Yeah, yeah. And The National. Both of them. Folklore I actually haven't listened to yet. I don't know why I listened to this one.

Phillip: [00:04:08] Did you catch the Taylor F bomb? That's the only thing I want to know.

Brian: [00:04:13] Absolutely did.

Phillip: [00:04:14] Did you rewind it.

Brian: [00:04:14] I was like, "Oh, Taylor grew up.

Phillip: [00:04:18] It only took like thirteen albums, so.

Brian: [00:04:23] And two in one year. I think this is what happens when you put out enough content into one year, you just start to swear. It just boils over.

Phillip: [00:04:30] This might be our first explicitly rated podcast ever, because I think this is Episode 63 of the year or something crazy, or 68 of the year. We just finished Step by Step.

Brian: [00:04:41] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:04:42] If you haven't listen this week you should go back. Just four episodes, which would have been Monday by the time you listen to this. Season Four of Step by Step just came out in partnership with Omnisend, and it's all about how to compete with big brands. If you're direct to consumer, small but mighty, start up, a smaller brand that's trying to compete at the highest levels we had some of the most amazing guests we've ever had on the show. And yeah, you should you should check that out. It's a FutureCommerce.fm/Step by Step if you want to find Season Four of Step by Step, or listen on podcast player right here. But anyway, that was does a little self promotional aside just to say, like, this is episode sixty something and it's crazy. But the sensory input thing is for real, Brian. It just kind of like thinking about what the newsletter on Friday is going to be all about for the senses. Like you had some really epic finds this week. There's so much that has happened this week. Just to call one out, Jesse, in our Slack channel. Our creative director, Jesse Tyler posted an article from The Thrillist citing that Jose Cuervo has a product called Doppeldrinker, where they will send a life size cardboard cutout of you to your friends and family for pandemic time. So you can still be the center of attention.

Brian: [00:06:10] {laughter} Amazing, amazing.

Phillip: [00:06:14] {laughter} It's fantastic.

Brian: [00:06:14] Yeah, I mean, that's just the beginning of this week. This week was nuts. I have an actual picture from well, from my wife's phone, of the drive thru line at Chick-fil-A.

Phillip: [00:06:25] Oh, my gosh, this is going to take front and center because I've never seen...

Brian: [00:06:28] It's little people tents.

Phillip: [00:06:31] If you can imagine what Chick-fil-A on Mars might look like of people in the like a little like portable yurts.

Brian: [00:06:38] Portable yurts, yes. This in conjunction with the video I recently watched where like it's this sort of like look into the future of people wearing these heavy duty masks and putting their babies and a little like baby shield bubbles.

Phillip: [00:06:55] Yes. Oh, that thing was ridiculous.

Brian: [00:06:57] This is really just all the first steps to us becoming stormtroopers. That's what I think. You had the mom and the dad stormtroopers and you had baby stormtrooper and they're like training him to be a stormtrooper when he grows up.

Phillip: [00:07:15] {laughter} What I love about the shoving the baby into the, like, little plastic bubble egg that you put in front of you so you can venture out into pandemic land, is that it's strangely, I feel like... I actually before I say that, I have to set this up and saying I used to listen to this like conspiracy theory AM channel when I was like 10 years old. I couldn't sleep at night and I turn on this...

Brian: [00:07:48] {laughter} This is so good.

Phillip: [00:07:49] Yeah, I'm serious. So I would listen to these late night conspiracy theories where people would call into this AM radio station and just go off about everything, about lizard people and everything. And it was during the time that the X Files was on television, on Fox and so early 90s. And as a quick aside, by the way, watching Gillian Anderson play Margaret Thatcher has completely ruined by 1993 fantasy of Gillian Anderson. But let's leave that aside for just one second. But people would call into this radio show, Brian, and say things like, you know, X Files is a vehicle to desensitize us from US government so that we will be more accepting emotionally and mentally ready when the government tells us that we are not alone in the universe. Like all of this fiction and science fiction really exists just to prepare us as a populace. I feel like the Mandalorian is exactly that in that this cute little furry creature follows the Mandalorian around in this tiny little hermetically sealed pandemic proof bubble.

Brian: [00:09:13] Ohhh. There it is.

Phillip: [00:09:14] And that's the baby bubble.

Brian: [00:09:15] It's come full circle.

Phillip: [00:09:15] This is what it is. It's the baby bubble. It's there to make us all think that that's so cute. And we want that for our own children. So we will zip our children up into little plastic eggs and carry them around into pandemic land.

Brian: [00:09:30] And we just turned into a conspiracy theory podcast.

Phillip: [00:09:33] Yeah, this might actually be the most shared podcast we ever do.

Brian: [00:09:37] Also if that's true about Mandalorian, then I would imagine, especially given that Gillian Anderson was from the X Files, I would imagine that The Crown is here to warm us up to imperialism and conservative ideas. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:09:55] This is the conservative imperialism. The Crown is a work of art.

Brian: [00:10:03] It is.

Phillip: [00:10:03] I will say, however... So four weeks ago, you and I have not talked in so long.

Brian: [00:10:09] I know. It's crazy.

Phillip: [00:10:11] By the way, Daniel Dixon from Mixy is going to be on the show at some point in the next few minutes.

Brian: [00:10:15] Oh yes.

Phillip: [00:10:15] Whenever... We're eight minutes into the show.

Brian: [00:10:18] I forgot about that. Whoops.

Phillip: [00:10:18] I forgot to tell everybody Daniel is coming on the show to tell us about Mixy. We've been talking about discovery platforms because discovery, actually, despite what you may have heard, discovery is actually hard when everything looks the same and everything, whatever. It will be an amazing interview. Daniel's going to tell us about Mixy. And I think it solves a real problem in trying to discover new brands that you may love. But so I tell Jaci that we really have to watch The Crown Season Four. If we don't watch it, we've never watched The Crown before. I hear from other people. It's very good. We should just watch The Crown just to, like, be part of the zeitgeist. And she loves British drama. This was so up her alley. And I was explaining to her, you know, Rowing Blazers did a collection of some of the apparel that you see it's license back from things that Princess Diana had originally worn. So it like all ties in and if we watch it, then I can write about it. We can talk about it on the show. She's like, OK, cool. So, Brian, we're seven episodes in. And I'm like, when is Diana going to show up? And Jaci's like, you don't want to watch it from the beginning. We started in Season One. I'm like, holy crap. So it took me five weeks to catch up.

Brian: [00:11:41] The queen is old.

Phillip: [00:11:43] The queen is so young. When is she going to become old and Diana going to show up? Is it going to be in the next two episodes? I held on for a really long time before I asked, too.

Brian: [00:14:23] I feel like maybe there are some, like, collabs from those first few seasons that we could dream up. Like legacy brands that need to get collabing.

Phillip: [00:14:32] And, you know, what's funny is I had written that piece for Insiders about delebs, or dead celebs.

Brian: [00:14:41] One of my favorite things you've ever written, by the way.

Phillip: [00:14:43] Thank you. It got very little attention anywhere else, but I appreciate that.

Brian: [00:14:47] Everyone else is listening right now go read Philipps article on the delebs because it's really good.

Phillip: [00:14:52] We'll link it up. It's insiders 59 Virtual Influencers Killed The Dead Celebrity. And essentially the premise is that we have the ability to create, to virtually create, people that have never lived rather than to rely on people that once lived to hawk products on our behalf. Think Marilyn Monroe or Fred Astaire, who have been used for many years and licensed from their estates to represent products. Yeah, this idea of like a dead celeb, you know, it's this... You see it everywhere. We really don't think about it all that often. But how often has in our lifetime Lucille Ball been used in some way posthumously? There was that story of someone who virtually cast James Dean in a movie that was supposed to have come out this year. And people, like, freaked out.

Brian: [00:15:46] Yeah, that was not good. People were not happy about that.

Phillip: [00:15:51] Anyway, I wrote a very long piece about it on Future Commerce Insiders #59.

Brian: [00:15:56] Someday what's going to really happen is some shady company out there is going to take all the public photos of all of us that are available and they're going to run it through like a/b tests in their ad campaigns, and they're going to find people that have lasting qualities to them, and they're going to go offer those people money for their image into...

Phillip: [00:16:21] Wow, that's oooh. Are we going to do this? Is this where we're going?

Brian: [00:16:26] {laughter} Someday that will happen.

Phillip: [00:16:29] I miss recording eleven o'clock at night podcast with you because that's when the real fire happens.

Brian: [00:16:33] Oh man, you're right. We haven't done this in a long, long time and we haven't talked in a long, long time.

Phillip: [00:16:39] There is something I've sort of been ruminating on, which is like this intersection of deep fakes co-occurring at a time where like only fans exist in the world. And like, how long before someone creates a service where you can virtually only fans in some creepy stalker ish way, some person you've never met, you know, whose images are are harvested from their Instagram profile.

Brian: [00:17:12] I've actually verified... I actually believe that that will happen at some point.

Phillip: [00:17:15] I mean, I believe that probably already exists and I'm just not depraved enough to know. Anyway. {laughter} Sorry, Daniel. This was supposed to be your episode.

Brian: [00:17:28] Man.

Phillip: [00:17:28] And we've really gone downhill here. I mean, who's to say that Brandon Flowers... It's like this is the real Brandon Flowers hot sauce. I don't know.

Brian: [00:17:39] This is proxy's hot sauce.

Phillip: [00:17:40] I don't even care that it's actually Brandon... Do you think Brandon tasted these? Like I always think about how these things are made. What was the process?

Brian: [00:17:48] Here's what it is. It's actually his AI proxy who accepted like a sensory input from the hot sauce and then AI determines if Brandon Flowers will actually like it.

Phillip: [00:18:00] {laughter} You're bringing it full circle now. They have totally, completely like neural duplicated Brandon Flowers. And, you know there's an AI who knows what flavors that he likes the most.

Brian: [00:18:15] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:18:16] It's Stitch Fix but for hot sauce and only for Brandon Flowers. That's what it is.

Brian: [00:18:21] Actually I kind of want that. Stitch Fix for hot sauce sounds amazing.

Phillip: [00:18:28] This actually segues quite nicely into a Twitter thread that I read recently about Stitch Fix.

Brian: [00:18:35] I thought you were going to say Mixy. I thought you were going straight to Mexi there, but that's good.

Phillip: [00:18:40] I do think that the future of Mixy will be for me to upload my consciousness into Mixy as a platform {laughter} and for it to suggest products to me, of which I am predicted to like based on my past experiences. No, I was going to say there's a lot of conversation around the merits of Stitch Fix. I as a customer have had waning good experiences over twenty four months. I've been a customer for over two years and I have not kept any of my past five or six fixes. Send them all right back. And I don't know if that's something about me that tastes are changing over time, or the fact that I don't appreciate that they're trying to sell me three hundred dollar private label jeans and trousers and sport coats. If I may spend money, if I'm going to feel spend real money on something, I want a label. Right? Like I want to spend money on something that I feel like has some intrinsic brand value to it.

Brian: [00:19:46] Or you look at the twenty five dollar Made For You shirt on Amazon.

Phillip: [00:19:51] Oh this is so good. Yes. Hold on, put a pin in that real quick. But this idea that the sizing which I totally believe and Katrina Lake is like a complete and total genius and props and kudos. I mean, that business is an incredible business. Maybe just not for me. But I will say that it proves that there are specialized or even maybe general AI applications that can be applied to the consumer space effectively. And if Stitch Fix so desires at some point in the future, they could easily decide that they want to be in consumer goods that are broader than apparel. And I would absolutely sign up for that service. Please suggest to me snacks and hot sauces that I would like. That needs to exist. I can't believe it doesn't exist yet. Stitch Fix should acquire Door Dash and make it happen. OK now twenty five dollar... Is this Jon Cilley. Right?

Brian: [00:20:59] Yeah exactly. Body Labs.

Phillip: [00:21:02] Who was on the show two years ago now.

Brian: [00:21:04] 2017. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:21:07] Tell the story for those who aren't initiated.

Brian: [00:21:08] Yes. If you've been listening to Future Commerce for over four years then you will know that we covered in detail and knew this was going to happen eventually.

Phillip: [00:21:20] Yeah.

Brian: [00:21:22] When we brought a Bill O'Farrell and Jon Cilley on the podcast and talked about the future of body data and how it was going to be used and wrote on it extensively and podcasted it about it in 2016. This is sort of I think the real true public consumption version of everything that we've been talking about. It's now mass market. You can go get a shirt made that's going to fit your body perfectly or that's at least the purported value promised. Yes, that's the promise. It's got this crazy system where you take your phone, you actually scan your body with your phone and then you put in information about your skin tone and some other things, and then you pick out a shirt that you like and twenty five dollars later, you've got a tailored shirt ready for you to wear, Made For You, as Amazon called it. Super, super, super compelling. In my mind. I see a lot more of these types of businesses coming in the future.

Phillip: [00:22:35] Yeah, that's I agree with that. The mind wonders what it takes to, you know, cut and sew to order a product like that. I believe there are other companies who have done this in denim with varying degrees of success. It's a tough business to be in. But if anybody can do it and has the technology to do it in a really interesting way...

Brian: [00:23:03] And the supply chain. And the manufacturing capability. You got to have all those things in order for this to work.

Phillip: [00:23:08] It's Amazon. That I mean, but I have like post-traumatic stress from buying any sort of apparel on Amazon ever. I just have never had a good experience buying any clothing on Amazon. That's just me.

Brian: [00:23:22] I generally agree with you. I've had some pretty poor experiences. The one thing I will say about this is I think there's one more thing happening here. And this is something I didn't catch. And it's not actually related to the body technology, but what Amazon I feel like is doing with this shirt and they've been doing with some other clothing items and other hard goods and soft good items, is they're actually they're doing what they did with their Fire tablet and their Echo. They're introducing items into the market at prices that they have no business introducing them in to build a moat around what they already have.

Phillip: [00:24:07] Because they can. I mean, that's been Amazon's M.O. from day one, right?

Brian: [00:24:10] Right. Absolutely. But I feel like there's even it all feeds against itself, I guess. But I didn't realize that they were doing that with like, clothes. And I feel like this really hammered that home for me.

Phillip: [00:24:25] Prime wardrobe for a while, which I tried, and I just couldn't find anything that was on Prime that I would want. I just couldn't. It just felt like everything was sort of this weird middle ground, this average of things that weren't precisely what I was looking for. They were kind of the compromise, if you will. It's like, OK, I want Levi's 512 or 511. I go and I look and it's like, OK, but it's not quite the color.

Brian: [00:25:05] It's not quite the fit. It's not quite the, yeah whatever it was. It would always feel just a little bit off.

Phillip: [00:25:09] There's always something that's just off that, just like I never really wanted to pull the trigger. And maybe it's just like the shopping experience on Amazon is so anemic now compared to everything else.

Brian: [00:25:22] Yes. Oh it's awful.

Phillip: [00:25:22] You go anywhere else, and it's immersive. You go on Amazon and it's just like... Ugh gosh.

Brian: [00:25:29] It felt like walking through old Walmart. That's how I felt on Black Friday when I was shopping actually.

Phillip: [00:25:34] Yeah. And you had this great piece about, like sort of feeling alienated, like the eCommerce experience was one that completely monopolized your attention with Black Friday shopping.

Brian: [00:25:47] Yeah it sucked the life out of me. Yeah. Oh, yeah, it's isolating. I was just thinking about the Jaspar mall movie that we watched and how you mentioned that it had sort of a depressive feel to it, oppressive almost. Like it was depressing and you felt like it's kind of a depressing situation for those people. And then I started thinking about it. And then like, if I end up doing and shopping and doing what I did on Black Friday and shopping the way that I shop right now when I'm old, that's going to be more depressing than going to the Jasper mall. Because it's the most isolating experience that there could possibly be right now. That's super sad. I can just imagine myself as an old person sitting on my couch passively watching Netflix and occasionally flipping over to my Facebook feed as I scroll through endless product feeds. That sounds awful. It sounds absolutely awful.

Phillip: [00:26:37] That's actually my present day. I don't have to wait to get old. That's literally what I was doing right before we recorded this. I was watching Netflix. I was watching The Crown and flipping through Amazon on my phone. And there you go. What are we? Are we human? Or are we just a bunch of sensory inputs, Brian?

Brian: [00:26:58] {laughter} That is the question.

Phillip: [00:27:00] {laughter} And speaking of, if you want something to input into your sensories, there's a place to do it. And it's Mixy. It's a brand new marketplace.

Brian: [00:27:10] I thought you are going to promote the senses email.

Phillip: [00:27:14] Yeah. Oh, I was going to, but I thought I would just transition straight into it, I guess. You know what? I will. I will take this moment, Brian. Daniel, it's coming. I promise you're going to be on the show in just a second. But listen, we put out a brand new email every Friday that is separate and distinct from our Tuesday Insiders email, which is a long form essay about the things that you should care about, the things that you should be thinking about, not for next quarter's growth, but for what 12 quarters from now should look like, what the future of commerce is going to look like, things you should care about. The Senses is an email that really talks about the humanity of the products and the things around us and the things that we interact with every day. And it's one part sort of just being a fan of the things that are produced by the brands that we love. But on the other side, it's us kind of taking a little bit of a deeper dive into what was the reasoning behind those things existing or the purpose in which we can put those into practice in our life. I love this email. The team does a great job with it. It's called The Senses. And if you subscribe to FC Insiders, you'll get it for free every Friday. And you can get that by going to FutureCommerce.fm/Subscribe. That'll get you on both of those emails. Tuesday and Friday. Promise will never flood your inbox with anything that's not useful to you. It'll help you get smarter. And I hope you feel better about the things that you buy and the businesses you support. All right. Now, can we let's welcome Mixy.

Brian: [00:28:44] Let's do it.

Phillip: [00:28:46] I feel like I've now botched the setup of what Mixy is. We'll let Daniel say in his own words. Chris, roll the music.

Phillip: [00:29:02] Today, we have Daniel Dixon, the Co-Founder of Mixy. That's with one x, Mixy, who's coming on the podcast to talk with us about discovery and engagement and bringing brains together in a DTC context, but providing a little bit of that interesting, you know, almost marketplace meets direct to consumer model. I'll let him explain it. Welcome to the podcast, Daniel.

Daniel: [00:29:24] Hey, thanks, guys. Glad to be here.

Phillip: [00:29:26] Glad to have you here. What is Mixy?

Daniel: [00:29:29] Sure. So from a brand side, it's a place to get your brand out in front of new people. We kind of make a way for folks to discover your brand and encourage them and motivate them to discover your brand. From a consumer side, it's a great way to save some money. You essentially get a hundred dollars in gift cards for only thirty nine bucks. The way we do that is we provide you five $20 gift cards to five different brands.

Brian: [00:29:54] Wow, that's super cool, Daniel. I'm really interested in this model. I feel like there's a lot of different things that could come about as a result of this model. How did you come up with this? What's your background? How did you figure out this would be something worth pursuing?

Daniel: [00:30:07] Well, a little bit about me. So my background, I come from the DTC world as well. I used to work for a large company that had a sports nutrition brand. So they were omnichannel. They are in GNC. They're in Vitamin Shoppe, all that kind of stuff. On Amazon as well. And I just saw well, it used to be just kind of back in the day, a brand would have a DTC, have their own channel or whatever dot com. And then it was just a nice to have. They always kind of catered to other channels, their wholesale channels, all that kind of stuff. Now it seems to be Amazon is eating everybody's lunch. And so everybody's... They realize that having a DTC channel is pretty important just because you get to own the customer relationship, you make more profit margin, all that kind of stuff. And then also nowadays with COVID, obviously more people are comfortable shopping directly from brands and things like that. So in our day to day, I'm actually a consultant, do Shopify consulting, all that kind of stuff. And then [00:31:09] Mixy kind of came out of those two things, working inside of a brand, and then as a consultant, working with brands. I just was looking for a unique way of one, how do I encourage customers to actually try a new brand? And then two, actually shop on their DTC channel just, again, where that brand gets to have a relationship with them? [00:31:30] They've got their email address. They can market them, they can retarget them and all that kind of stuff. So and then also one other piece to it... So I actually have a buddy of mine that started a bundle website that was actually in photography space, and that's where I kind of got interested and just had this idea of how do you bundle together different products from across brands? Obviously, there's a lot of power in bundling psychology. Just the idea of, you know, customers are feeling, hey I am getting a great deal, but how do you do bundling across across brands, but also with physical products? And so the way that I thought to solve that was, hey, can I use gift cards? And so I essentially came up with this idea. I was actually sitting on a tour bus that had a flat tire and was like oh, gift cards. Then you're essentially kind of spreading out the great discount across the brands. And so I tried to make it at a price point that's really appealing. Obviously, if you're getting a hundred bucks, but you're only paying thirty nine for that it's intriguing. Most people were kind of wondering, how is that even possible? And then again, we make it possible by essentially giving you some nice cash, but then telling you can't spend it all in the same place. So you get five, $20 gift cards to five different places.

Phillip: [00:32:56] What's really validating about this model is if you think of the landscape right now, we're in a challenging year. Most brands have probably been executing some sort of promotional or Black Friday-esque playbook for the better part of the year to just to keep the channel growing and keep eCommerce alive. Certainly it's been a tough year for a lot of retailers. They're also looking for ways to discount without actually having to discount. And I look at some of the exemplars and the space, those who have held up some sort of principled ideal that discounting creates, you know, it takes away some of the value of your brand and trains customers. At the same time, brand discovery in director to consumer is difficult because brands aren't necessarily cooperating together to go win similar customers [00:33:52]. Mixy, in my mind, validates and solves all of these environmental challenges in bringing brands that are like minded together to sell together, but in a way that prioritizes a benefit to the customer that is a discount, essentially, but without being a discounter. I think that that is really novel. [00:34:11] I think back to 20 years ago and in software and you would have these software bundles like Mac Heist. I don't know if anyone remembers and can think back that far.

Daniel: [00:34:23] Oh yeah.

Phillip: [00:34:23] But you would have these native software bundles. AppSumo did this, as well, in the sort of SaaS software space. But bringing like-minded products together in the digital realm has been executed very well and often copied and with seemingly infinite scale. I think Mixy is at the precipice of a new selling model of what is effectively just marketplaces of like-minded brands. And I look around direct to consumer Twitter and Chris Cantino and a few other folks are sort of on this train of the direct to consumer era and the natural evolution of that is aggregation agglomeration into more marketplaces. I feel like Mixy is a marketplace. What is your reaction to that?

Daniel: [00:35:08] You list some great examples there of what's already done in the digital space. AppSumo. Mac Heist I remember. I was a fan way back in the day. I don't know what they're doing today, but yeah. It's something that's been done in the digital product space. And honestly, some of that's a little bit of a I guess, for lack of a better word, but some of that we have to shake because normally people think of bundled, they think of like graphics packs of Photoshop filters or fonts or kind of stuff that's not like worthwhile. And they also have this feeling of, hey, a bundle is usually too good to be true, or the stuff is actually not worth that price. So what I was seeking to do with Mixy was, how do I bring a valid bundle? How do I bring it to physical products? And I feel like we've done that because we show the value of the products. We show these are actually goods that are well rated, have social proof, all that kind of stuff. And then yeah, so there is a little bit there, which just like you've mentioned, what's been done in the digital product space. But then bringing it now as a collaboration between brands, especially brands with physical products. That's what we're seeking to do. And we find it kind of exciting as well.

Brian: [00:36:37] It's really, really cool.

Daniel: [00:36:39] Yeah.

Brian: [00:36:39] Yeah.

Daniel: [00:36:40] You see a little bit of it. Like I know a lot of brands, especially in CPG food and beverage, things like that, they'll do Instagram giveaways. That's kind of one way of collaborating.

Phillip: [00:36:53] Right.

Daniel: [00:36:53] It's still also has a hey, like this, tag your friend, all that kind of stuff. But the end consumers knowing, hey, I get to follow new Instagram account, but they're not really believing they're going to get anything or what are the odds of them actually winning something?

Phillip: [00:37:10] Yeah, the inefficiency of the scale of a brand going and launching a partnership or like-minded partnership with one or two other brands versus you, again, as a conglomerate. Your whole business depends on partnerships. How are you going and attracting brands into taking part in Mixy? What's your strategy to get them to participate in the Mixy marketplace?

Brian: [00:37:38] And to add to that, is it open? Or is that something that you're curating?

Daniel: [00:37:42] Sure. Great questions. It's really hard, honestly. That's what makes the business model hard is the bundling aspect, getting brands together, getting them on board. Simply because it does take a little bit of time, not because the onboarding process is long. We've gotten that down to a science, but we are doing direct sales essentially. So I started with my network. You know, again, just having worked in the space, I know lots of different CPG brands, either having worked there or friends move on to different brands and things like that. And then past that just worked and would post in different industry groups, startups, CPG, OMG, things like this, Slack groups, Facebook groups, stuff like that. And then some of it's also just momentum. So we've had folks that have reached out or found out about us and wanted to join as well. To answer your question, Brian, we do curate. So we want to kind of handcraft these to essentially make sense. So we have had folks that are either... I mean, we've had home decor, we had other folks that are not really tangential to what's currently in the catalog. So right now, we focus kind of on food and beverage just because it's very attainable. Obviously, everybody has to eat. And they're all kind of fun brands and all purpose driven brands. So each one's either you know, they're either diet oriented like Paleo or Keto or something like that, or they maybe they do upcycling, so again, they're made from byproduct of other stuff, so it's kind of recycled ingredients or whatever else, not recycled, upcycling. I should clarify. Everything in there, all the things that consumers are looking for, I should say, inside of a brand that they want to support they feel good about supporting. And also just they're also getting a great product as well. So we're not allowing, obviously there's no drop shippers from LA Express or things like that that we're going to outside Mixy.

Brian: [00:39:51] That's interesting. And I'm assuming you allow competitive brands to take part as well?

Daniel: [00:39:57] That's actually a great question, yeah, so we've actually had a brand that was sitting in the queue, we were kind of waiting for the first one to sell through their gift cards first. And then we've kind of realized we don't want to do that. There's competing brands that are in there now, or at least they have similar products. And we just expressed, hey, we're going to launch you at the same time. It's the same as if you're on the same, you're obviously going to be on the same store shelf inside of a Whole Foods or whatever else. So might as well do the same here on Mixy. It's kind of a case by case basis. All goes back to, again, we can craft these to make sense.So yeah, it depends. We have one brand that we're waiting on to finish and then other times we've just pushed both and then we highlight different products on Mixy.

Phillip: [00:40:53] There's such an interesting mix of consumables. You do have things in sort of the realm of like vegan skincare or Gr8tnola is a brand that I've come to love through the Mixy that I purchased with my own money. Daniel, you did not give that to me. This is in no way a sponsored piece. But I just wanted to clarify because I found this to be such a fascinating thing. There's paleo bars and brands that I've never heard of before, but have become really, really impressed with their offerings. So, yeah, I just wanted to say, like as a customer and seeing the variety, I should say, but still feeling like it's quite tailored to things that I like and care about. Explorer Cold Brew I think is pretty new to the platform.

Daniel: [00:41:42] Yeah, they've been popular. That's actually a brand that started this year. So they're actually a newbie on the block.

Phillip: [00:41:46] Wow.

Daniel: [00:41:47] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:41:47] I can't wait to see where this goes. I think there's such an untapped potential for more of this, but I do see that sort of interesting the way that you can scale the marketplace into new categories and have coopetition, if you will, among those categories. I think there's plenty of room to grow there.

Daniel: [00:42:04] Yeah, we've got an even mix. So, again, some of these are brands that have been around a long time and they're well established. They're all inside of Whole Foods and all these different places you would expect to see them. And then some of them are brand new. They're just DTC only or maybe they're DTC on Amazon only. But yeah, [00:42:22] that's kind of the beauty of it again, everybody understands you have to have a great branding, great packaging and then customers just in the end they get to find great stuff to explore. [00:42:34] So, yeah, if you put on a consumer hat, the whole premise is if I'm spending thirty nine... We've also got like a three card deal. We've also got a one card deal you can see on the site. But just four or five card deal, obviously if I'm spending thirty nine customers are just kind of thinking, OK, as long as I spend two of these, I made my money back. Everything past that is bonus. And that's kind of where we encourage them to discover because we hate to waste money or we hate like waste a card or something like that. And so you're going to go try to find a new brand or discover for that that fourth option or the fifth option or something like that. So again all the products are approachable. They are coffee or chips or granola or things like that. And we have been expanding as as your comment earlier. Most of it's food in bev, but we have been expanding in skincare just because it's an easy, tangential one. I've actually got another great skincare line in the queue. We're trying to kind of add a brand a week. That is kind of like the rate that we're going with right now. It keeps our membership happy, doesn't overload them too much, and also just kind of keeps variety going. And so we've got a couple more in the queue as well. And so, yeah, where we can go from here, I think these kind of brands make the most sense just because they're products that get ordered every four to six weeks. And so a brand is comfortable with that first purchase, having a twenty dollar gift card applied to it. And it's also just these are also products that customers are excited about because twenty bucks actually is meaningful off of chips or off of a skincare product or something. Again, we've had home decor brands kind of come up to us, but it's like, are you excited about saving twenty bucks off of a one hundred dollar purchase as much as 20 bucks off of the twenty five dollars purchase? That kind of thing.

Brian: [00:44:29] Daniel, as we wind down, I was really curious. This is a really powerful discovery tool. It really pulls on a lot of things that make me happy as a consumer and that I get excited about, you know, gift cards at value and trying new products at the same time. Like, that's so cool. Where do you see Mixy going in the next, you know, sort of two to three years, like, what's your end game here? And where do you see discovery going for the DTC industry in general?

Daniel: [00:45:00] Sure, first, Mixy... Again, this is a real fun side project for right now. I would love to get really big and have a Softbank acquisition or something like that at some point. I kid. But anyway, we've got a road map that is like a mile long and just all sorts of cool things we want to offer right now. Just from a tech standpoint, we only integrate with Shopify. We'd love to go integrate with some other platforms as well just as we come across. But, you know, it seems to be all the cool kids are on Shopify right now. So we haven't had big commerce or anything yet. We've actually got some inquiries for corporate gifting and just some other things like that that we're looking at, especially as the holiday season is coming up. So that's kind of interesting as well. Just to be able to gift Mixy to other people, I guess, down the road, we'd love to play the different price points. We've got some ideas around that and ultimately in general,  [00:45:56]consumers, when they think of gift cards, they think of Nike, or they think of Amazon or something like that. They're not thinking of gift cards for these great small to medium sized DTC brands. And so we see this as kind of a great way to introduce folks to, hey, I could also get a gift card to the Pulp Pantry or Gr8tnola or whatever else. And so hopefully it just kind of gets people more comfortable with using gift cards to other brands as well, either for themselves or for actually as gifts. [00:46:21]

Phillip: [00:46:22] And I think there's an interesting potential here, not to put words in your mouth, Daniel. Like if I'm dreaming about what the future looks like, you mentioned a coffee brand that just launched in the last year. [00:46:33] I think that this could be an interesting launch platform for a lot of customer acquisition and consumer signal from new brands who are looking to find different paid acquisition channels. It's hard to build your own email list. It's hard to compete with customer acquisition costs rising on social media. You have to get creative in the way that you acquire customers. And why not do it in a marketplace where folks are highly qualified to spend money they already have invested in the platform. I think it's brilliant. [00:47:02]

Daniel: [00:47:02] And one more comment. And I guess you just talked about paid acquisition. What's nice about Mixy is that we actually are not a paid exhibition channel. It actually doesn't even touch your ad spend budget. You can still save that for Facebook ads, all that kind of stuff. Just with the way we're set up, we don't charge the brands anything to be a part and we actually have opportunities to give money back to brands, which is nice. So we do some rev share opportunities and things like that, which if any brands are interested, we're looking to increase our selection. I would love to talk to you about how it all works.

Phillip: [00:47:28] That's great. How do they get in touch with you?

Daniel: [00:47:30] Well, I'm Daniel@helloMixy.com Ackermans. Feel free to reach out. You can also follow me on Twitter and DanielDixon.com if you'd love to follow my tweets and hear me talk about entrepreneurship and other fun things as well.

Phillip: [00:47:47] All right. Daniel Dixon, Co-Founder over at Mixy. Give them a visit. HelloMixy.com. That's one X. Don't be like me and misspelled it with two x's. That's a totally different website. Just kidding. HelloMixy with one X. Thank you, Daniel, for joining us on Future Commerce.

Daniel: [00:48:06] Thanks, guys. Really appreciate it.

Recent episodes

LATEST PODCASTS