Brian bought 5 different mattresses and lives to tell the story. Phillip reviews DTC candle brands. Yes, really. ALSO: the guys sit down for an amazing interview with Megan Whitman, the Chief Digital Officer at Kopari Beauty, who joined us to talk about her experience growing the digital channel from "absolute zero". Kopari today is available everywhere from sample boxes to Ulta and is partnering with the likes of Drybar to reach even more customers.

Show Notes

Main Takeaways:

  • In today's episode (in a new format by the way), Brian and Phillip interview Chief Digital Officer at Kopari, Megan Whitman at Klaviyo: BOS.
  • Once a brand reaches a certain level of success, what are the benchmarks for measuring that success past standard KPIs?
  • Buying a bed online can sometimes not be a smooth process.
  • Brian and Phillip don't understand the online candle business or how people buy scents without first experiencing them.

Coconuts and Asymptotes: A Brief Introduction and a Fated Meeting:

  • Brian has a theory about asymptotes and was riffing on this idea with Phillip when he was overheard by Megan who joined in the conversation.
  • Megan was the first employee at Kopari, a coconut-based beauty company that has been around for about three and a half years that sells mainly on their direct-to-consumer site.
  • Kopari still mainly focuses on its direct-to-consumer business despite being in large beauty retailers because they care about what their customers want and want to create real relationships with them.
  • It all started around coconut oil and how this miracle ingredient can enhance various beauty products, but as the company grew, more parts of the coconut began to be used in Kopari's products.

From Nothing To Game-Changer: A Keynote-Worthy Journey:

Two Different Approaches: Nostalgia Brands vs. Modern Brands:

  • Phillip comments that nostalgia or legacy brands typically approach innovation with a lot of thought and deliberation while planning an intricate series of things, but more modern brands are executing on the fly and learning as they go.
  • Megan admits to doing things on the fly and the expectation of doing things on the fly is ingrained in the culture.
  • There has to be a healthy balance of doing things quickly and not doing too many things at one time that might result in conflicting messages to your customers.
  • Brian points out that technology has set the stage for the expectation of things to be done quickly.

Timing is Key: What Makes Modern Brands Different?:

  • Modern brands compete in a lot of different channels, while doing a lot of different things at the same time, all while telling different stories; so how do you balance this?
  • Timing is the key, and it is a very difficult thing to master.
  • You don't have the attention of customers for a long enough time to tell them everything about your brand, so you have to test to find out what they want to hear.
  • Which of the stories you are telling actually ties your customers back to your brand?

Evolving Metrics: Going Beyond the Sale:

  • A brand reaches a turning point once they start looking beyond basic sales metrics to measure whether or not they are successful as a brand.
  • Kopari has had a tough time deciding what their metric for success is beyond the sale (even though the sale is always the goal).
  • Soon, Kopari is going to run an experiment with customers who do not know the brand in which they will be shown one specific story via advertising during the test period and at the end of this test period, they will be asked if they know about Kopari.
  • This test will show what marketing story resonates the most with Kopari's customers as well as to measure other more qualitative KPIs.

The Capture Dilemma: Sales vs. Customers:

  • Phillip brings up Greats (which was recently acquired by Steven Madden) in a discussion about capturing a sale vs. capturing a customer.
  • Megan admits that Kopari has been traditionally more focused on the sale, but recently has been shifting from focusing on being a product company to being a brand.
  • How do you take the stories you have and leverage them to reach your customers in meaningful ways?
  • If you don't have a thoughtful and socially conscious start to your business in today's social environment, why are you even starting a business today?

Owning It: Connecting With Your Customers:

  • With today's technologies, it has never been easier to reach out directly to your customers in order to hear their thoughts and opinions.
  • What's even better is that customers enjoy giving their feedback and participating in the development of brands that they have a connection with.
  • More than ever, brands are striving for actual relationships with their customers as opposed to just storytelling alone.
  • How do you create meaningful connections with your customers, and how can you improve those that already exist?

Collaboration Nation: Finding Customers Through Other Brands:

  • Phillip has noticed that Kopari has been doing a lot of collaborations and asks what a strategy might be to identify potential customers through the existing customers of the brands you are collaborating with.
  • How deep do you take a partnership with a brand and how do you identify this level of involvement?
  • Megan gives some background on Kopari's collaboration with Drybar and gives some details on why this collaboration has been successful.
  • Even if your customers are not the exact same as the customer of the brand you are collaborating with, you have the potential to reach customers in different channels.

Megan's Advice and Predictions: A Future Commerce Sendoff:

  • Brian asks Megan what she thinks is imperative for DNVBs to be focusing on the next nine months as well as what she sees happening in the space fin the next 3-5 years.
  • One thing that drives Megan nuts is with the sheer amount of channels used to reach your customers, we need to figure out how to deliver the right message, for the right customer, in the right channel, at the right time.
  • How do you decide on what message to deliver per channel to your customers?
  • Is this something that can be solved with a tool, or is this more of a strategical approach?

Sleep Time Woes: The Online Mattress Shopping Journey:

  • Brian and Phillip both recently purchased some mattresses and take us through their experiences in buying beds online.
  • Brian originally had a Zinus and eventually bought the Wayfair Sleep mattress (which didn't go well) which they switched for a Nora Mattress (which they also didn't like) and eventually bought a Casper mattress from Costco.
  • When Brian and his wife inevitably didn't like the Casper mattress either, he had to physically return the mattress to Costco.
  • Buying mattresses in a store is probably a really good idea, but in case you need to return your bed, Phillip goes into detail on Casper's return process.

Blind Purchasing: Buying Something Online Without Experiencing It First:

  • There is a whole slew of products out there that simply don't make sense to buy online before physically experiencing them. (According to Brian and Phillip).
  • Otherland is an online candle brand that Phillip compares with the not digitally native D2C Yankee Candle.
  • Malin and Goetz, Snowe, and Year & Day are all more examples of online candle brands that Phillip wants to explore because he simply doesn't understand how you can buy a candle without smelling it first.
  • Brands that already have scents make an easy jump when incorporating that scent into candles.

Brands Mentioned in this Episode:

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Retail Tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.

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