The Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Brands in the Natural Products Industry by Anya Kaats of Anya's Eats
Anya is a San Diego-based Holistic Health Coach and Marketing Consultant on a mission to share good food, health & happiness with as many people as possible. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and have worked in the natural & organic products industry for my entire professional career with companies such as Suja Juice, Brad’s Raw Foods, and Mamma Chia. While my life may be totally consumed with healthy food now, nutrition wasn’t always a passion of mine.
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Javier: Hey there, beverage enthusiasts. My name is Javier Morquecho, and I'm the founder of specialtysodas.com, where you can find the largest selection of craft soda and specialty beverages anywhere in the US, as well as this Specialty Sodas Podcast, where ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders in the beverage industry come to share their story.
My mission is to build a community within the industry, so we can all meet and learn from one another and connect for meaningful relationships. I'm joined today by Anya Kaats, a certified holistic health coach, blogger, and marketer for the natural products industry. So she has experience at both the retail and the brand level and has led marketing teams at Whole Foods and startups, such as Brad's Raw Foods, Mamma Chia, and Suja Juice, and she helped grow them into nationally distributed, multi-million-dollar brands.
Just last year, in 2015, Anya founded the San Diego-based Anya's Eats, and that company helps foster the growth of small, mission-focused brands, again, in the natural products space. She's worked with such brands like Chopra Center, Cabo Chips, Raw Chocolate, and many more. So Anya brings a fresh, creative approach to building and advancing what she believes are the brands of the future. Hi, Anya. Welcome. Thank you for being here today.
Anya: Hi. Thank you for having me.
Javier: In today's episode, I want to talk to you about what you learned to be the most effective marketing strategies for brands in the natural products industry and what companies can do to grow their business. So let's start off by asking, "What do you find is the most common problem that natural food or beverage businesses face? And what do they need the most help with?"
Anya: Great question. I think probably the biggest issue for small companies is going to be resources. So I think that can be both, you know, budget and also people. I think when you're a small brand, especially a natural products brand, one of the most important things is that you're gonna want to tell your story and, you know, talk about your differentiators all the time. You need a lot of people and money to do that.
So I think it's trying to find that balance of how do we, as a small brand, grow and get our message across, without breaking the bank and hiring a team of 15 people or, you know, multiple agencies. So I think it's just teetering on finding that balance as you go, and I think it's definitely a struggle, but it's definitely workable for a lot of brands.
Javier: When you say that the problem is the resource now, is it that the companies don't know that they need to do this and build their...And they don't know that they need to spend money on that? Or they just don't have the money allocated for it?
Anya: I mean both. I think a lot of the time, people...As an example, people come to me all the time because I worked at Suja, and Suja was a brand that grew very, very quickly, you know, within a couple years. Within a few years was...You know, Coke was an investor. So people look at that. People come to me, and they say, "Hey. I want you to do for our brand what you did at Suja," and my response to that always is, "Okay. Well, where's your large budget? And where are your team of eight people?"
So I think, you know, the people that I worked with at Suja, I think, we were all very talented, innovative people, but you can't just have that. Right? You need a budget. You need...Especially for marketing, you need a marketing budget. You need a group of people that are gonna handle everything from SEO and SEM to content development, to social media strategy, social media management. There's just a ton of jobs to do, and I think a lot of the time, for startups, they're not quite clear that in order to do what, for example, we did at Suja, that you do need a good amount of time, money, and people. So I think there's just a little bit of a misunderstanding about how that all is possible.
Javier: And now, if you are a company that doesn't have this budget and doesn't have the team, are you out of luck? Or what can you do?
Anya: No, not at all. You're not out of luck. I think it's just about sort of re-framing your perspective and goals. I don't think every brand has to be Suja. So Suja had a lot of money right upfront. There were a lot of resources. There were a lot of really seasoned professionals who'd been in the industry. I think going, you know, into forming that company was the idea that we're gonna grow this company really fast, and this is the goal there.
I don't think that has to be the goal for a lot of brands. It obviously can't be the goal for a lot of brands. A lot of brands succeed wonderfully and never, you know, sell the company. A lot of brands succeed with a very small group of people. I think a great example of this is Epic Provisions that just was bought by...Who were they bought by? I forget. I'm drawing a blank. Anyway, but it was a similar situation to Suja. They were a small brand.
Having said that, I think they had a much smaller budget and a much smaller team. So it doesn't necessarily have to look like it looked at Suja. I think there's just different ways to do things. I think, you know, a lot of what I sort of help brands do is learn to be scrappy. You know? How...With the budget that we have, what is the best use of that money? Maybe it isn't that we're gonna do every social media network and spend thousands of dollars on Google banner ads. Maybe we'll do something else that's a little bit more manageable, that can still succeed within the confines of whatever the KPIs are for that brand. So no, they're definitely not out of hope. I just think it's about re-framing the strategy.
Javier: Yeah, and I would like to talk to you about that, what you can do if you don't have the budget as other companies that are venture-backed and if you're bootstrapping. We'll go into that a little bit later. Also, just while you're talking about it, Epic Provisions was purchased by General Mills.
Javier: So yeah, before...Okay. So just tell me what is Anya's Eats, the company you founded?
Anya: Yeah. So I sort of like to call it a one-woman marketing agency. So I mean I could also call it a freelance marketing agency, but it's basically twofold. So on the one hand, I have a blog, health-and-wellness blog, and I health coach myself. This was part of my reasoning for leaving Suja. I've always sort of dreamed of having a blog of my own and helping people with health and wellness for a long time.
So on the one hand, I have a health-and-wellness blog. I talk...I develop recipes. They're mostly based on a Paleo diet and lifestyle, just because that's what I do. So it's all gluten and dairy-free. I do social media in that respect. I work with brands, you know, doing things like sponsor hosts and giveaways, etc. So that's one side.
Then the second side is that...is more of the marketing consulting side. So I work with brands behind-the-scenes, so not necessarily as a blogger, but just as a freelance marketer who helps them with sort of anything from content development to digital marketing strategy to writing copy, you know, romance copy even for their flavors. It's always sort of about what they need. I think mostly right now, I'm doing a lot of content development and content strategy. We can talk about that a little more as to why. But yeah, I sort of live in these both, in two worlds.
So I'm not just a blogger. I'm not just a marketing consultant. I think for the brands I work for, I think that's sort of what gives me my edge and what's different about me, is not only can I create content for you behind-the-scenes, where you don't have to credit me, but if I like your product and I'm working for you, you also could potentially get the benefit of me promoting you on my social channels, doing a sponsored post or a giveaway in that sense as well. So it's a little bit of both.
Javier: I like that you have the two different strategies. Before we go into what you do offer for both types of work, I want to talk about what you did before because that...A lot of...I think maybe the reason why companies are coming to you is the success that you had at the companies you were at before. Like you said, people say they want you to do what you did for Suja. So you were the director of marketing. What did you do?
Anya: So I...A bunch of things. Let's see if I can remember them all. I oversaw all of the digital marketing. So under me was a graphic designer and photographer that did a lot of the content development for us and graphic design in the way of not just digital ads, but also POS materials and all of that. I oversaw her. I oversaw someone that did the day-to-day social media. So I worked with both of them to strategize for the month, based on the overall brand goals, you know, product launches, etc. So any...Oh, and I also oversaw someone that managed all of our paid media, and then we did SEO and SEM and all of that stuff as well. So everything digital, I oversaw.
I also managed all of our sort of printed collateral. So this is literally anything from business cards to sell sheets to neckers [SP] to shelf-dockers, you name it, sell sheets, you know. With 50 SKUs at the time when I was there, and keeping up with all the sort of like nutritional changes, that stuff just is crazy. You have to update that stuff all the time. So I oversaw that. Obviously oversaw the website, as that was sort of part of digital.
I also planned all of the company's trade shows. So I did that at actually all of the companies I was with. It was always a really nice, I think, opportunity for me to get away from the desk a little bit, and it was kind of like, in my mind, planning some big party. So that was fun. I helped to kind of oversee the design of several booths, our trade show booths. Our Suja booth one an award once, or a couple times, actually.
Yeah, so I oversaw digital, trade shows, POS, collateral. And at Suja specifically, I oversaw all of the sort of label design. So again, with 50 SKUs, there's a lot of detail when things, you know...One thing will get copy-written or trademarked, or a calorie needs to be changed, or an ingredient slightly changed. You know? That trickles down. Right? So you have to change it on a label, but then you have to change it on the website and the sell sheet, you know, all of the demo materials and all that kind of stuff. So it's kind of never-ending. But yeah, that basically summarizes what I did.
Javier: What did you feel made the most impact to the company of all those things? Was it the digital? The collateral? Was it the trade show? If it wasn't...If it can't be everything, like, what do you think was the most value?
Anya: Oh, that is...I don't know if I can answer that. I mean I think all of those things were so vital, and not just what I was doing, obviously. You know? There...I don't know if I could pick one. I think the success...I teach this to my clients all the time. I think success comes when you think of things, you know, completely, and you look at things as a circle. So even if you take something super small, like digital marketing, you know, just say...Okay. Posting on Facebook or sending out newsletters or doing online promos, you know, all of those individual things can be moderately successful on their own, but it isn't until you work them all in together. So you do social media marketing to get someone to sign up for your newsletter. Then when someone signs up for your newsletter, you send them a promo code for an online sale. They go, and they buy. You know?
So it's all sort of very cyclical, and I don't think that just applies to digital marketing. I think that applies to marketing as a whole. It really is about thinking big-picture and merging all of these aspects together. So I'm gonna have to just be kind of a bummer about that question and not answer it, but I think the answer to your question is that they're all equally, you know, as important. I think you can dial down the degree to which you execute each of those things. Right? So if you don't have a huge budget, for example, you don't have to do as much as we did, but I still think it's important to think big-picture because all of these things work together and support one another.
Javier: So was all this expertise in-house? Or did you have to work with outside suppliers or vendors to help produce this material?
Anya: Yeah. A good deal of it was in-house. We did work with a branding agency that designed all of our, you know, much bigger projects. So any time we did a new product, they designed our label. They just helped design the website, the trade show booth. So they were fantastic, and we worked with them. We did use an outside SEO agency as well. That's just a sort of very specific skill set that it's really hard to find someone in-house to do.
What else did we do, marketing-wise? I mean obviously we worked with vendors out-of-house for all of our materials and boxes and all of that kind of thing. What we did, uniquely at Suja, was that we had an in-house graphic designer and photographer, which wasn't...This person wasn't there when I started. It was a position that we decided to hire later on, but that was definitely unique in terms of my experience to Suja. A lot of the time, you're working with, you know, contractors who are doing graphic design and photography. So that was definitely unique.
Javier: For the people who are in-house that you helped hire and you helped cultivate and directed to produce certain results, how do you find people with that skill? And how do you know what skills they should have?
Anya: Yeah. Yeah, it was hard. I mean this is...Especially for startups, it's always tricky because you don't have a huge budget. So you can't necessarily afford to hire someone with 25 years' experience in the industry, but you also can't really afford, you know, in terms of time and resources, to hire someone straight out of college, who may be passionate, but has zero experience.
So I think it's trying to kind of find that middle ground. I actually think that's why my business is successful, because I think I sort of sit in the middle. I'm a little bit more...I have the experience, but I don't call myself, you know, a seasoned CMO or anything like that. That's not really my deal. So I think that's why I've been successful, but it's tricky.
I mean I just left working with a client, and they were gonna hire someone basically to replace me in-house, and it was very hard. I mean to write that job description. It was like putting four job descriptions in one. You know? Because in order to work at a startup, you really need to wear a lot of hats. You know? I think at the end of the day, passion for what, you know, the brand is all about, I think especially when you're working in marketing, is really important. So we would always look for someone...As an example, when we were hiring the graphic designer and photographer at Suja, we really wanted someone that kind of walked the talk, so not someone that was eating Big Macs and drinking Coke all day long, necessarily, but someone that sort of followed a healthy lifestyle, you know, worked out, all of that.
So I think that's important. Then I think it's gonna be about someone that can...that has talent, but then can, you know, mold their opinion about things and their talent into what the brand is. So I think a big challenge for people in hiring, especially people who do graphic design or photography, is that those people always, for the most part, have their own style. You know? But I think it's important, so important when working with a brand, that those people, you know, either help to develop or utilize the brand guidelines of that brand and produce content that's going to really get across the message of that brand, not necessarily their own look and feel.
So it's, again, a balancing act of trying to find someone that gets it. I know for this position we're talking about, I mean, we worked...She worked for us out-of-house for several months, until we sort of felt comfortable enough to bring her in-house. I think especially with someone that's representing, again, the visual aspect of the brand, it was really, really important to us that we found the right fit.
Javier: How can you measure success of what you're doing? And especially when you're changing a lot of things over time, like you said, with the change of ingredient, you change something, or maybe there's a new direction. With all this branding and digital elements, are you doing any kind of metrics to measure how successful what you're doing is?
Anya: Yeah. Yeah, so I always like to sort of...Especially...People ask this question a lot when it comes to digital marketing, especially social media. What I sort of like to say is, "Well, think back to sort of more conventional forms of marketing, like putting an ad in a newspaper or magazine or putting up a billboard. You know? What are the metrics for that? You know? Can you measure that?"
I think digital is just sort of an arm of marketing in general, and I think marketing...It is very difficult in terms of metrics and KPIs and reporting. Having said that, what I like to do...You know, a lot of companies will come to me, and they say, "We just want to post more on social media. We want more followers. We want more likes, and we want more shares." Right? To me, that's fine. You can strive for that, but I would guess that the goal at the end of the day is to have more people be aware of the product and to sell more product and potentially to get it distributed more places as well.
So I like to say, "Okay. That's fine. You know, I understand you want to get more likes. But what can we do from there?" So let's say someone is bringing me on because they're launching a new product. You know, I will say, "How about we put together a social media strategy? So what are we gonna talk about on social media for this new product?" We're gonna talk about its ingredients and where it's located and its benefits, and we'll weave it into photographs and blog-writing and giveaways and all this stuff.
But then how about we drive people to our website, to a post or a landing page, where they can enter to win a sample of this new product? Then guess what? Then we've collected their email address. You know? Then we can add them to our database and then re-market to them again in the future.
So I always like to say with brands, you know, for example, with a new product, "What's the goal?" Is the goal to sell more? Is it to collect emails? Then once I get that information from them, then I can construct a strategy that's based around that goal. So if the goal is to collect emails, I'll set something up that's gonna do that for the brand. If the goal is to, you know, sell more product, if the goal is to have a successful online promotion, then you can set up a strategy based on that goal.
So it's a little bit, you know...When you start talking about labels and all of that, I think that's really difficult to measure. You know, obviously you need the label to be correct. I don't really know if it matters if someone's gonna buy more of it than someone else, but it's just got to be accurate enough to-date. So those things are a little more tricky, but I would say I definitely get that question a lot about digital, and I think it's just about re-framing it and saying, "Great. You want to do more social media. But then what? Where do you go from there? Because at the end of the day, if your goal is to just get more fans on Instagram, and Instagram shuts down tomorrow, you don't even know who those people are." Right?
So how do we get those people to our own space? How do we get their emails? How do we have them become customers and repeat customers? I think that's where you start to measure and set up metrics, based on those goals.
Javier: Earlier, you said about brands having their mission and sharing their story. Do companies...Have companies come to you before? Or have you helped them, that maybe their message wasn't...They didn't have a message. They just knew they wanted to sell more, but they didn't know what to say or how to do it.
Anya: Yeah, I'd say it's half-and-half. I would say some brands come to me pretty well-versed in what that story is. I think it's a little easier for natural products brands because I think a lot of the time, these are people that have created products to help them in some way or help their loved one. You know? Because they couldn't find something like that on the market.
So I think with those brands, maybe they haven't fully worked out that story yet, but it's there. You know? It's already there. You can pull from it. I think it's more, actually, complicated for some of the more conventional brands who don't necessarily have a story. They just created a product because they thought it was marketable. So how do you really...How do you talk about that? Right? That's a little bit more conventional.
So for smaller brands, yeah, I think some of them are a little bit unclear about what that story is or how to say it, or they don't...Maybe it was a really personal story, and they don't want their outward story to be that personal. So it's like how do you work around that and still making it very relate-able and, you know, successful if you kind of want to hide certain aspects of it.
So you know what? Even it's always evolving. You know? Our story at Suja stayed pretty much the same the whole time, but we were always sort of like making tweaks as to how we were gonna get the message across and exactly how we were gonna explain things. No brand story is really easy. So a lot of the time, it's just about collecting all of the little pieces and figuring out how to tell the story in a really concise way, that you can utilize across all channels, because again, the story and the differentiators, those are going to be what makes the brand succeed or not. So I think it's vitally important to figure out what that is, sooner than later, because it makes marketing so much easier.
Javier: Just one example you mentioned. For people who want to get more email subscribers, you suggested taking them to a page and then offering some kind of a discount or reward. Do you...What have you found to be like an effective strategy for either getting more emails or getting more sales, in terms of online, in addition to what you just said?
Anya: Yeah. I mean, honestly, I really try and look at social media both for me, personally, as a blogger, and for the brands I work for, as just sort of an avenue for something else. I don't look at followers or likes or shares and see that necessarily as successful or not successful. I think the number one goal for social media is to find people, but then to push them to your own space. Anyone in marketing will probably tell you the same thing. But you know, you don't own these social networks, but you do own your website, and you do own your email newsletter.
So if you can get these people onto your own space and capture their information there, you know, that's going to be what helps you succeed in the end. So I think a great way to do that is to always just have that in the back of your mind when you are using social media, for example. So you know, instead of just doing a giveaway on your Instagram page, push people to a blog post that has, like, a raffle-copter entry thing. Right?
So instead of just saying, "Comment below," or, "Tag someone below," which is fine...It will probably get some more people to your page. But wouldn't it be even cooler if you collected several thousand email addresses, that then you could send an email to? Those people are, you know, MailChimp or whatever newsletter service you use. They're never gonna, like, change their algorithm. They're never gonna tell you, "Oh, you can only now reach, you know, 5% of your email newsletter." As we know, social media networks are doing that constantly.
So I think it's like just sort of being the smarter person in that sense and saying, "All right. It's fine that social media is gonna do all this stuff." My goal here with everything I put out is either gonna be about education or giving out free helpful information or collecting emails or pushing people to the website. I think especially for people that are new at social, I always try to tell them, you know, "Behind every post that you put out, think about what the goal of that post is." You know? If you can't figure it out, it might not be the best thing to post. So anyway, hope that answers your question.
Javier: Okay. Yes. That's good to know. So prior to Suja, you also worked at Mamma Chia and Brad's Raw Foods, as marketing manager and brand manager. Were you doing similar work?
Anya: Yeah, very similar.
Javier: Okay. Then before that, you were at Whole Foods, as a marketing and MO specialist and store opening. Was that different than...
Anya: It was. You know, I did not plan, actually, to have the career that I have. I, upon graduating college, was pretty set that I was gonna be going to grad school, and I got a job at Whole Foods, in the deli department, part-time, in the meantime. Within literally three weeks, I was promoted to this demo specialist position. They had an opening at the store. I didn't think I would get it, but I thought, "I have nothing to lose." I had no formal culinary experience. I had been following a Paleo diet for a couple of years. So because of that, had some own just personal cooking experience and just knew a little bit about health and wellness, but I didn't have any certification. I wasn't a health coach at the time.
Yeah, so I just decided to interview for this position, which was the person that basically demos products on the floor for customers. So it can be as simple as just like a product, or you actually cook something and provide a recipe.
So yeah, so before I knew it, I had this full-time job at Whole Foods, that I loved, and I thought, "Well, why would I go back to school if I'm making a living doing what I love?" Then within a very short period of time, my boss, the marketing team leader of the store, left. So I sort of took over her position for a period of time, and then went to a new store that was opening and went back to being a demo specialist.
Yeah, it was definitely a lot different. I mean, doing the marketing for individual Whole Foods stores is definitely different than working with a startup brand. But of course, they're all in the same world. So it's how I met...I mean I met Brad through an event that I had planned at a Whole Foods that I was working at. I think that happens a lot. I know a lot of people from Whole Foods work for brands, and a lot of people from brands end up working for Whole Foods, because it's really...Again, it's just the same world. I think all the brands have very similar values. So you know, marketing-wise, again, it's always gonna be about telling the story and, you know, coming up with new and strategic ways to get the message across. But definitely working for a store is a lot different than a brand.
Javier: As a demo specialist, were you demoing Whole Foods products? Or products of companies?
Anya: Both. It was sort of half-and-half. On the one hand, companies would sometimes pay Whole Foods to have the demo specialists demo their product. So that was one aspect. Then the second thing was, you know, as long, again, as I was making sure that whatever I was doing fit within the overall goal...So as an example, I wouldn't demo a pumpkin-spice latte in February or something. You know? It had to fit within the overall goals of the store, but I really had free reign to just pick products and pick recipes that I liked and prepare them for people on the floor.
So I remember at the time...This was many years ago, and I was always using coconut nectar as a sweetener, which is a lot more popular now than it was six or however many years ago. But I decided to create cashew cream, so like a vegan, Paleo-friendly whipped cream, but using cashews and coconut nectar as the sweetener. I remember. I think they had something like 12 bottles of coconut nectar on the shelves that literally had dust on them, and we sold through all of it. You know? So it was just a really cool opportunity for me, especially someone that was interested in kind of more, you know, unique ingredients, to pick those, create a really awesome recipe that I knew people would love, and teach them something new, instead of, you know, a cereal or something that was just a lot more well-known.
Javier: So for products that are...Let's say it's an existing beverage product that you're sampling at Whole Foods. How can you make it fun and creative to share it with the audience or the customers? Because at least with food, you are able to blend it as an ingredient. But for a standalone product, how do you sample that?
Anya: Yeah. I mean again, it was all gonna be about the messaging of the product. So sometimes it was a product that I was familiar with. So that was nice because I was able to kind of talk about how I used the product and why I thought it was beneficial and what you could maybe pair it with and what it was good for. But for things that I weren't familiar with, the brand was responsible for sending marketing materials, along with the product, to kind of teach the demo specialist what that product was all about.
So again, it's interesting now, thinking back to being at a brand. Right? If you don't send marketing materials that are descriptive or, you know, that make sense, then that demo and that demo specialist is not gonna do as well as they would if they had really great materials.
So yeah, it depended. I mean I think people are interested in samples, regardless if it's something fancy or not fancy. It was just about, I think, you know, making sure you have someone that's not just standing there, texting while they're doing a demo, obviously. But I think that was why people decided to choose Whole Foods demo specialists to do their demos, because I think they probably trusted that person a little bit more than someone they would find on Craigslist to just do a demo that, you know, they couldn't vouch for, and they didn't know if they did a good job in general.
Javier: What's the most challenging thing, demoing? Did you come across people who didn't want to try it? Or what kind of feedback did you get? What kind of challenges did you have?
Anya: Yeah, you would be surprised. Adults...I think I saw adults act like kids more than ever when I was demoing. I mean talk about, like, making gross faces and just being so inappropriate, but I would say that was not the norm. I would say the norm, at least for me, again, because I think, predominantly, I was showcasing things that were more unique and different, things that people weren't familiar with. I wasn't cooking pasta with red sauce. I was doing something a lot more exciting.
So yeah, I think a lot of the time, you would get people that were skeptical. It was a huge joke when I worked at Brad's Raw Foods, doing kale chips, and I was hired at the time just to kind of start to manage the demo program. You know, every joke from, "That looks like marijuana," to like, "I don't want to eat something that looks like grass," to, you know, "Uh, uh, uh. Looks crazy."
So yeah, you get tons of things. I think my favorite thing in the world, especially at that company, because the reactions were so funny, was to see the reaction of someone being super skeptical, and then having them try it and realize that it's actually really good and having...like watching their mind be blown in front of you. I think that was always really fun. But yeah, it's always a challenge. I think you just sort of have to take it in stride and understand that's why you're there. You know?
I think natural foods companies and Whole Foods, they're all about demos because people don't get it, or they've never tried it before. It's something new, and I think that's why demos work, because seeing just a product on the shelf without tasting it, you know, they're not gonna buy it. But if they try it, they are. I mean we did, you know...We did multiple studies at Suja that showed that something...Some crazy number, like, 90% of people that tried Suja would then purchase it. You know? You think, "Well, if they never tried it, how many customers that you're missing out on if you're not sampling?" So yeah, that was sort of a long-winded answer, but I think you get all sorts of different reactions. But I think that was sort of the point, was to surprise and educate people.
Javier: You're getting a lot of qualitative information and feedback about the product as you're sampling it. Is that part of what you need to submit to the company or to Whole Foods, to say, "This is the kind of feedback we got."
Anya: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Javier: In terms of quantitative return, you said 90% of the people who try it buy it. Did you find that the cost to the company to demo either themselves or to hire someone internally to demo, that made up for it by the sales?
Anya: Yeah. I mean demoing is definitely very, very tricky. I think it's very difficult to track because if you go into a demo, and you sell 100 units, but then the sales don't rise after that, or even if they do, what are you crediting that to? You're not interviewing people as they come down the aisle and saying, "Did you buy those because of the demo?" You don't really have that information.
So I think I hate to say this, because I think that they are really helpful, but I think that demos are kind of like a necessary evil. I think there is a point at which you need to stop focusing on demos because I don't think you're reaching enough people, and I don't know...It's just not the most effective use of money as you grow, but I think when you're starting out, I think not only is it a great opportunity to educate the public, but I think it's a great opportunity to work with the retailers. So a lot of the time, I think, for a lot of companies, they're like, "I don't want to demo." But then they get pressure from the retailers that say, "Hey. We'll only bring your product in if you demo in our store twice a month."
So in that sense, then they're pulled in two different directions, and they have to figure out, "Okay. Well, we want to be in this store. We want to be successful. So we need to demo." Again, I guess it's like the theme of our talk, but it's a balancing act. It's about figuring out, you know, how many of those demos make sense. I mean at Brad's, we were doing nationwide...I wish I remembered, but I mean it must have been 100 demos a month that were being managed by multiple people under me, and then several demo specialists underneath them. I think that was a huge...We didn't have a huge marketing budget otherwise. It was sort of before social media was huge. So yeah. I think it was like Instagram was just starting at that point. So I think at that time, demos were really, really important.
But I do think as technology evolves and as marketing just sort of changes, and especially as you go into conventional, like, the demo is not your answer. Those people don't really understand demos, necessarily. They don't know. They're not used to them. So I think in that sense, you kind of have to reassess, but I think demos are really important. They're great in Costco. I mean they're just sort of random pockets where they work really well, especially when you're trying to build a retailer relationship.
So there are different ways, depending on the retailer, to see how many items you were able to sell within the demo, and then be able to check, weeks in advance, what the movement was post-demo. But again, resources. You need someone to go in and track all of that. So it's just about figuring out what's most important.
Javier: So just going back, in college, what did you study prior?
Anya: I studied gender and sexuality, actually, and writing, really. It was a school...The school that I was in was very based in writing. So it was a lot of that, but I spent my semester abroad in Amsterdam. So definitely, definitely, again, health and wellness was something that I was super interested in, but not anything that I actually foresaw as something that could be a career.
Javier: Yes. So now that people understand your background and what skills you gained along the way, right after, I think...Maybe right after Suja, you became a certified health holistic coach, through the Institute for Integrated Nutrition. What is that? What did you learn? Why did you get it?
Anya: Yeah. Yeah. So I graduated, actually, right in February of 2015, and then left Suja in June. So it was just before that. The IIN, a short way to say it, is a program that...It's a year-long program that you can do remotely, online, and you study hundreds of different dietary theories. So they teach you, you know...Experts in the field come on, and you'll either listen to audio talks or visual videos of them sort of talking about what their expertise is. So they're people from the Paleo world, vegan, people who are talking about the gut-brain connection, the micro biome, the gaps diet, sort of just across the board, talking about every dietary theory that's out there. Right?
So you learn all about that, and then you learn...I think one of the biggest parts of the program is...You know, the goal there is to have people become a health coach. This is not something that I necessarily did. I've taken on a couple clients that are my friends and family, because I enjoy doing it, and I want to help people I love. It's not something that I do for a living. But they teach you how to be an individual health coach or a health coach for a group of people.
What's unique about the program, not only...You know, I think a lot of probably health coach programs are like this, but it doesn't focus on diet. You know? The founder of the school calls it primary food. So it's about focusing on other aspects of your life, like your relationships, spirituality, your job, your friend situation, your relationship status and situation and how you feel about that, and kind of figuring out that piece. Sort of once those things fall into line, and you feel comfortable with all of those, you stop stress-eating, and you stop taking late-night trips to McDonald's.
So it's about focusing on the primary food in your life, things that will make you feel healthier, which then influence what we call secondary food, which is the actual physical food that you're putting into your body. So I thought it was a great program, not just because of how it teaches health coaches. There's a business side of it too. It teaches people how to become health coaches, but I think it was a great experience for me, personally, in my personal journey.
I think sort of what I gained personally might have been even more beneficial than anything else, but I did it because, again, I had been in the health-and-wellness industry and field for a really long time. I had started doing a Paleo diet really before a lot of people did. I mean it's now coming up on, I guess, seven years, and it was just not well-known back then. So I was educating people all the time that were asking me questions about it.
I think a piece of me felt just a little uncomfortable because I didn't have any sort of certification. So I knew what I was talking about was right. I knew I was helping a lot of people. I knew they felt helped, but I sort of wanted to be able to feel a bit more comfortable and safe in what I was doing. I had many friends that had gone to IIN, and I heard nothing but great things from them. So when I decided it was time for me to get a certification, it was kind of a no-brainer that I would choose IIN.
Yeah, and I think it's helped...Again, I think it was not that I would've needed that to have the blog that I have, but I do think it's absolutely expanded my knowledge base, and I do think it helps, credibility-wise. So people don't just think I'm, you know, Joe Schmo trying to tell you what to eat.
Javier: Or Jane Smith.
Anya: Yeah, or Jane Smith.
Javier: So yeah. After working at Suja, you started your own company. So just tell us again. Why did you want to branch off on your own?
Anya: So I'm a pretty artistic person. I would say what I've loved most about all of my jobs was the artistic aspect of that. So thankfully I think digital marketing just happens to be very artistic and creative because you're overseeing a lot of visual stuff. You're writing copy, you know, all of these things that I really enjoy.
In terms of straight-up traditional marketing, you know, I never...I was never interested in getting an MBA. I really...While I found the results really interesting, sitting and analyzing sales data and creating decks was just about the last thing I wanted to do. It was challenging because I, you know, especially at Suja, I loved the brand, and I wanted it to succeed, but there were just certain things that I didn't care for.
So I think when I became a health coach, Coke became an investor. I just sort of had to say to myself, "Okay. Do I want to work for a large corporation, doing at this point what's going to probably be very traditional marketing? Or do I want to take my health coach certification, my passion for health-and-wellness, and my desire to help small natural products brands grow, and create something for myself?"
I think the answer was pretty clear. I think staying at Suja, while I would have been able to continue doing a lot of what I did, I didn't feel like, you know, for the next several years, waiting to see if Coke bought the whole company...I didn't feel like that I could commit my full self to that. So you know, I wanted Suja to have someone that could.
So I decided to leave. Again, Suja was a great experience, but I think by the time I left, that was no longer a startup. It was a very well-seasoned company, you know, miles ahead of a lot of the other company...natural products companies out there.
So yeah, so I wanted to continue working with startups. I wanted to continue to be artistic. I wasn't doing a lot of the content at Suja, but I really wanted to be. So once I started doing that for myself and my own blog and then seeing that so many brands needed it, that was kind of an opportunity for me to say like, "Oh, wow. I can not just help brands with digital marketing strategy, but I can take pictures and do recipe development for them as well." That's evolved a little bit over time, but it just definitely seemed like it made the most sense for what I was most passionate about.
Javier: So what is...What do you feel has been the key difference in terms of the contribution you can make to a company when you're working internally versus being an external consultant? How do you...How does your level of control impact that outcome?
Anya: Yeah, that's a good question too. So I think...I mean it's gonna depend on the person. For me, personally, I'm a very introverted, private person. I like to recharge by myself. I find that I become very easily distracted in situations where people are working and asking me questions all around. So when I'm sort of in my own private office, I think I get a lot more work done. I'm actually more creative.
So that was always a little bit of a struggle for me at Suja, especially being a manager, managing all these people. There are just people coming to you all day long and concentrating and not having conference room space or private space, having to take phone calls outside. That, for me and my personal working style, became draining and stressful.
So I, you know...A lot of people are really hesitant, I think, to work with outside consultants, and I get it. I think a lot of people don't represent us very well. I think a lot of people are very hands-off and are not super communicative and, you know, just don't give off the greatest vibe. I would say I'm probably opposite. I'm probably more communicative than I would be if I was working in-house.
But again, I think it takes a very specific type of person that is self-motivated and responsible and understands what it's like to be in-house, working with someone outside. You know? So I've been in that place. I've been the one managing consultants, and I've known what great things some of them did and what not-so-great things some of them did. So I think for myself, when starting my own business, I just knew I don't want them to even notice that I don't work in-house. You know? Sure. They might not see my face every day. But in terms of my level of commitment or the degree to which I get back to them or anything as simple as that, I just didn't want to be any different.
So that's definitely a hurdle that I've sort of had to jump over with people who really want to work with someone in-house, is to kind of just say like, "Just try it out. Let me show you." It's really not that different. So you know, and I think it saves people a lot of time and money, I think, to have someone work out-of-house. I think, you know, the amount of probably pointless conference calls and meetings, that they don't have to pay me for to sit in, I can just kind of skip all that stuff and work on the stuff that's really important and go in for sure, especially initially, to have initial meetings and talk about the brand and all of that.
But yeah, I would say it can be pretty different for some people. For me, I've...My mission has really been to show people that, you know, this is easier. You don't have to deal with me as an employee, and I will be just as committed, if not more so, as an outside consultant.
Javier: Okay. So I just want to just be conscious of the time. Someone is coming to your house. When they do come, are you able to...Do you need to go completely? Or can they go on their own after you...
Anya: No, they can go on their own after I greet them, but I would say we have a good at least 15 to 20 minutes more, if you want to keep going.
Javier: Okay. So let's go. Yeah, because with this conversation, like, a whole balloon of questions came up, and I can go much longer.
Anya: Yeah, go for it. We can...Worse comes to worst, if they come, I can just greet them real quick and run right back.
Javier: Yeah, because...Yeah, that's the thing. If you want to continue, I can still continue. Otherwise, we can just stop it.
Anya: No, no. We can keep going. No worries.
Javier: Yeah, because it's okay. Maybe I can just fast-forward the part where you're not there.
Javier: All right. So yeah, you touched upon a lot of really interesting things about managing trade shows and how to tell when you're hiring someone who's a good fit or not and being able to work on what's important when you're hiring someone. So those are things I want to talk about, but we'll go back to the types of customers that you help. You do marketing consulting, and you do health coaching. Which one do you feel...I guess you want to focus more on for your business.
Anya: Yeah. So again, I don't actually do a lot of health coaching. I'm health coaching one of my close friends right now, and I was actually my mother's health coach. But other than that, I haven't done health coaching one-on-one. So the degree to which health coaching plays a role in my career is just in terms of the information that informs my blog and my recipe development.
So I would say the two big buckets of what I do are, on the one hand, helping brands, a lot of the time behind-the-scenes. So this is...At the moment, it's been a lot of content development, which they don't necessarily credit me for. So they're not saying, "Anya's Eats created this recipe." They're just saying, "Here's a recipe."
So it's either that type of stuff or, as a blogger, I am working with brands either to create a post or recipe on my site that I talk about them, or they have me create a recipe for them where they're crediting me. So, "Anya, of Anya's Eats, created this smoothie for us." So those are kind of my buckets. You know, I think it was always sort of my intention that I would work part-time for these brands until my blog was successful enough to, you know, sustain me and my family.
I think that's changed a little bit because, while I didn't initially want to do a lot of digital marketing consulting forever, what I actually recognized is that my content development work for brands has been really fulfilling, and I enjoy it. So I no longer see it as necessarily like a stepping stone to something else. I think my passion has always been and still is with these brands.
I think I remember before I had a blog, I would always say to myself like, "Why don't bloggers talk more about products? You know? Why is it that when I get a recipe, that I have to make my own ketchup and my own mayo and my own pesto?" You know? There's a time and a place for that. I make all those things at home too, but I don't think it's sustainable. For me, I'm super busy. I want to be able to grab a mayo off the shelf that I feel comfortable with, that has great ingredients. Same with the ketchup and whatever else or a salad dressing.
So I think for a while, I sort of struggled with, like, "Well, I guess I need to create all my own recipes, and I need to create my own tortillas and this and that." I think I sort of, again, come full circle and realized if what I was looking for before I had a blog were more...was more information about quality products, then that's what I need to do, because I love these brands. I work with these brands, I buy these brands all the time. I don't think I have to feel uncomfortable about promoting prepackaged products if it's something that I fully believe in and use all the time.
So I just think I've been able to sort of create an interesting marriage of all of these different aspects. I think my work with brands informs my blogging, and I think my blogging informs my work with brands. They all go hand-in-hand, and the brands that I work with love that I have the blogging side. I think as a blogger, my readers love that I always recommend great products.
So I don't...You know, I think it's gonna continue to evolve. I'm not sure what will happen, but right now, it's been really fun to do what I've been doing.
Javier: What is the benefit to the company to have you either develop content for them that's under their brand, versus having you develop it for them and have it be located on your blog?
Anya: Yeah, I think it just depends on what the brand is looking for. I think a lot of the time, maybe they already have their own content or someone in-house creating content, or they're not quite ready for that. So they don't have a person to manage a blog and a newsletter and all that kind of thing. So at that point, they're just like, "Oh, wow. You have a bunch of people following you who we know would like our brand. You like our brand. We want you to create a recipe, and we'll credit you, and you can share it." Right? Because that then promotes their brand to my audience and vice-versa. So it's kind of like a win-win for both of us.
However, I think brands that are maybe a few steps ahead of that will recognize that perhaps, yes, it increases their credibility to have influencers talk about them, but that can't be it. You can't build a brand on guest blogs or guest recipes or any of that. You need your own...I mean especially photography is a great example. You know? You need consistent-looking imagery, I think, to put in decks and on your website and on your social media and all of these things. Building a brand is so important and so specific. You can't just throw out a million fonts and put your logo in a million colors and turn it sideways. You know? Nike is not gonna put their logo in pink, upside down. You know? It's like they have their colors. They have their way that they talk about it. They have their, you know, "Just do it," catchphrase. They're not gonna change that.
I don't think it should be any different for a small brand. I think the sooner, the better, that you get that stuff organized. So anyway, I guess my point there is that I think brands need quite a bit of content that is their own, that is not credited to someone else, that positions them as a reputable source of information. So I think for brands that recognize that and definitely don't have someone in-house to do it, they see me as a great option.
I think, again, there are brands that I work with where we don't have any sort of agreement that I'm gonna promote them or they're gonna promote me, but because I work for them behind-the-scenes and because it's a product I like and enjoy, I post about it all the time. So they get that extra promotion from me, and they also get that extra content for me, which they'll have to credit me for that stuff. But who cares? Why not?
So it just depends. I think it just depends on what the brand wants and needs and what kind of resources they already have in-house.
Javier: Do you find that companies are willing to pay more or less for their own content versus having it through an influencer marketing strategy?
Anya: Yeah. You know? Again, it depends. I think, yeah, people are willing to pay a little bit more when it's their own content. I'm not really sure if they're willing to pay more. I will likely charge them less if they are gonna promote me, and this depends if it's a brand that doesn't have any social media followers, or I don't feel like there's gonna be much benefit to me. My pricing is adjusted based on that. If this is a company that has a million followers that is saying, "Hey. We'd like you to create a recipe, and we'll put it on our page," you know, great. I'll do that for you for really cheap.
So yeah, it just...Again, it depends on what the brand is and what they're looking for, but the pricing structure, based on whether or not it's behind the scenes or something, but I'm promoting or they're promoting me. It does change everything.
Javier: For someone who's currently thinking of becoming an influencer marketer, how can they get on the radar of companies that they want to work with? Do they need to do free product mentions? Like, how you said you're doing it because you love it? Is that one way? Or how do these companies find out about you?
Anya: Yeah, that's a good question. It's hard. I mean I think one of the ways...Yeah, I mean I think brands will be more inclined to work with people who they truly think believe in their brand, especially as a small natural product. We're talking about some huge, you know, body care. I don't think they care, necessarily. But I think as a small brand, yeah, they're gonna be more willing to work with people that they really believe, and they see support them.
I think even if you're a teeny person, starting out, I still think you can work with brands. I know I did. Having said that, I think a great way to connect with brands, other than just through social media and through what you're doing digitally, is to go to trade shows. As an influencer, a blogger, you're considered media, and you can go for free. So I think you have to have a certain amount of followers and a certain network or something like that, but it's really quite low. I think it's like 1000 Instagram followers. I think that's pretty easy for people to get to at this point.
I think meeting face-to-face with brands has been a great way for me. I mean if you ask me what the number one way that I connect with brands and build my business, it's through those in-person events. So it's not just expo fancy food show. You have like the Bev Net and Project [inaudible 00:58:56] events. You have [inaudible 00:58:57] now in Austin. So I think these are all...For me, personally, I go to a conference called Paleo FX. It has a lot of Paleo brands.
So depending on what your niche is, I think definitely meeting people face-to-face is, by far, the best way to do things, not just in my industry, I think in any industry.
Javier: Do you find that brands who are just starting out...Do they not know what they need to be looking for, for content development? Or do they not know that they need to have an influencer marketer? When they come with...I don't know. I'm just trying to get what are some of the challenges that these companies have. Or do they not even know that they need this to help grow their business?
Anya: Yeah. A lot of them probably think that they need one thing. That might be like a very small piece of the puzzle, overall. So they'll know that they need to work with influencers, or they know they need to post more on social media or that they need to start doing newsletters. They don't really know how. They don't know the best way. It's just like a tidbit that they heard in passing, like, "Oh, so-and-so says to build your email list. Oh, I heard that from someone else. Great. How do we do that?"
So a lot of the time, people come to me with very general ideas, you know. Someone just this morning I had a conversation with that said, "We really want to do videos." Like, I mean, that was their idea. You know, what they want to do with the videos after that, they're not quite sure. That's fine, I mean, because that's always how it starts, and I think that's always how we end up working together. Tell me the types of things that you think you want to do, and let me come back to you with a plan of how to execute those. So if you just want videos, let me talk to you about what kind of videos those are gonna be and how are we gonna post them and where are they gonna go, and are you gonna credit me or not.
So it's just about sort of working with the little pieces of what they think, and then taking the knowledge and experience that I have from doing this so many times and saying, "Okay. I hear that this is what you'd like to do. Let me suggest the best way to do that. Or maybe that's not really quite what I think you should be doing. You should be doing this other thing first.
Javier: What other questions do you ask these potential customers that help them to frame what the real objective is?
Anya: Yeah. I mean I just ask them point-blank like, "What is your goal here?" I think a lot of the time, people...You know, it's a catch-22 because I think a lot of the time, brands will say, "Awareness," and then I get in, and I create this great content, and they're posting it on their channels and growing their social media, but then they say like, "Wait. We need metrics." It's like, "Well, but you said awareness. You can't really measure awareness, per say."
So I think I always have to sort of think three steps ahead, like, "Okay. You say you want awareness now. I start working for you. What types of results do I need to show you? Or do you not need them? Right. Are you just...You know what you want to do with the content. You just need the stuff from me, and we're done, and that's fine." Those are the easy clients. But for the ones that aren't quite sure, they just have this sort of grandiose idea of building their brand. I really try to help them nail down what the KPIs are because I don't want them to waste their money. I don't want them...I don't want me to waste my time.
So I sort of have to...Again, it's specific. It's hard to say exactly what I ask because it's always specific to what the brand tells me, but I just sort of try to get a general idea of what do you want to accomplish with what you're requesting.
Javier: If someone says they just want more sales on their website, can you help me with that?
Anya: Yeah, for sure. I mean that's easy. I think a big challenge for a lot of brands I work with is that they don't have any e-commerce, and marketing things digitally without e-commerce is quite a bit trickier than marketing something that can be sold online, especially if it's on Amazon or has free shipping. Right? Those are significantly easy to market.
So yes, there are ways now to...I think Facebook is really easy, I think, with ads and posts. You can easily push traffic to your own page. Instagram makes it a bit trickier, but now they have advertising, which makes it easier. There's a lot of things, a lot of programs like "Like to Buy" and [inaudible 01:03:28] and different applications that make your Instagram shop-able. So you post a photograph of two products that might just be a nice picture, and you can say, "Click the link in our bio for more information." There's a drop-down that shows you both products that were in that photo, and you can click...The customer can click on either one and be automatically taken to your sales page.
Javier: What was...
Anya: Go ahead.
Javier: What was that app that you said?
Anya: Oh, it's "Like to Buy," and then an application called [inaudible 01:03:57] which is more of like an analytics, but it comes with "Like to Buy" for free. There's other ones. Like, fashion bloggers use "Like to Know it." I use a company called linkinprofile.com, which lets your pictures...I don't have e-commerce, but I'm able to allow people to click on just one image and be directed to one thing, through my Instagram profile.
So I think regardless of whatever social network you're using or whatever medium you're wanting to do, Facebook, newsletter, anything, again, I think promoting products online or promoting a sale, those are all doable within the confines of those apps.
Javier: I'll talk about this a little bit more later, but let's just go through. On your website, yeah, you do offer a number of services, digital, shopper, and field marketing strategy, brand identity, and positioning, trade show management, content development, blogging, and photography, and brand and development intensive. You mentioned that the thing that you want to focus on more is content development, blogging, and photography. Is that correct? Compared to all the other items.
Anya: Yeah. I don't know if I'd necessarily say I want to focus on those. I found that I probably provide the most value in that sense. I think a lot of companies, you know...I think where I can help in the other ways are sort of more of an advisory position. So I've worked with some companies that literally just...It's just the founders, and they can't afford anybody, and they have a million questions. They don't know where to start. They don't even know what field marketing is. In that sense, I can say like, "Okay. How about you have me for two hours or one hour a week? You can ask me whatever you want. It's just like email support, or I can tell you about these apps, and I can tell you about how to construct your field marketing team."
So I think that's where those things sort of come in a little bit more. Again, I'm one person. I thought about hiring a team, but because I...Because of my experience in working with brands, I think working with marketing agencies is not always the best, because I think they are representing so many people. So for a small brand that really needs someone to be hyper-focused on their story and their mission, I don't think that a company that's representing hundreds of other brands is going to be the best fit.
So when I decided to do this, I decided for myself that if I was going to hire a team...I have like an assistant right now, and that's it. Oh, that person came to the door.
Javier: Yes, if you want to go get that.
Anya: Two minutes. Sorry about that. I'm back.
Javier: Oh, that's okay.
Anya: So we're good now.
Javier: And just let me know, like, if you need to go. Just give me like five minutes.
Javier: And I'll go.
Anya: My next thing isn't until 3:00. So we've got quite a bit of time.
Javier: Okay. Yeah. So the companies you find that you can provide the most value, in terms of that and otherwise, you can act as an adviser. As an adviser, are you implementing any of those strategies that you're advising them on? Or you're just providing advice?
Anya: Yeah. I mean again, it depends. If they have me for an hour a week, probably not. You know, probably that arrangement is going to be, "Let me tell you what to do, and you're gonna need to do it." Having said that, if one hour...One week, they don't need advice. They just are like, "Oh, we really want a blog." You know? Well, I'll spend an hour doing that instead. So it does depend, but I would say in those situations, it's more just about providing support than it is execution.
But if the company decides they're ready to bring me on in a more, you know, complete way, then we can rearrange things. Maybe it's not just an hour advising, but I'm sending you content every week or developing something else or helping to develop, you know, the web...I think in terms of content, that can really look like a lot of things too. You know? A brand that I just worked for was redoing their website. So initially when I signed on, they're just like, "We just want pictures for our social media," but then that turned into, "Oh, wait a second. We want you to actually create photographs for our website. Can we tell you exactly what we're doing and have you kind of make some suggestions for what you think might work?"
So yeah, it's sort of...There's a lot of different things that you can...that I'll work with brands on. I'm really flexible. I think just sort of given my, you know, my experience and expertise, I think even if a brand hires me to do one thing, the likelihood that other topics will come up is likely. So you know, that's why I do love to work with brands where it's like, "I will commit X number of hours because, that way, they can sort of do whatever they want to do with me each week. It doesn't have to be the same thing every time.
Javier: When you're hired to do content development, are you providing them a specific number of deliverables, and you're getting paid on doing this per week? Or are you getting paid on you're gonna spend this many hours writing up this article? How do you work out the payment structure?
Anya: It goes both ways. I think either it's gonna be, you know...For brands that say, "Hey. We want your help with content, influencers, marketing strategy, and newsletter strategy and newsletter execution, but we don't really know, from week to week, what that might be. So you know, here's what we need. You tell us how many hours you think that would be." Right? So then I say, "Okay. Seven hours. Seven hours a week. You have me. Whatever you need me to do, I'll do within the scope of our agreement." So that's one arrangement.
But then there's other companies that are very clear on what they want. So they want three photographs every week, and that's it. So in that case, I'm not gonna charge them necessarily per hour. I will just charge them like a project fee for what they're asking for. So I'd say those are really just the two types of ways that I'll work things out, is either hourly if they're not sure what they need, or project-based if they're very sure what they'll need from week to week and month to month.
Javier: So I'm thinking of a beverage company that started a blog, and they just don't have time to write on it. What kinds of things are you gonna be writing for them?
Anya: Well, it depends on the brand, but let's just assume that it is a, like, RTDT brand that, you know, has like an interesting sugar component and unique ingredients. I would say, depending on what they want, of course, but I would say you can talk about the story. You can write about the ingredients. You can write about the brand mission. So you know, did they contribute...A lot of these brands are contributing to a charity or donating 1% of their sales, or they're a B-corp. Right? So you could talk about that. So that's just in terms of, like, educating people on the brand overall.
Then I would say on the other side, it's sort of like a more culinary-based thing. So obviously that's gonna apply a little bit more with brands that have something that's more, you know, easy to add to...Tea is the best example, but you could do a tea latte. Right? So you can put non-dairy milk and warm it up and add spices. So there's that as well.
But yeah, it sort of runs the gamut. I think for brands that are looking or skeptical that there are a lot of things to write about, I would say go to the Suja blog. That's, I think, a great example of a way that a brand has really, you know, just created themselves as a lifestyle brand, and they're not just talking about product, but they're talking about all different types of things. I mean you wrote about how to start meditating and how to, you know...the deal...What's the deal with probiotics? You know, we would really talk about things that weren't necessarily 100% product-based, but things that we thought our audience would find helpful.
So I think some brands have really taken this to the extreme. I think if you see...Press Juicery has a site, "The Chalkboard Mag." So they have a completely separate editorial company and site that they're providing content on, that they can then market their juices through, but it's really not focused on the juice. It's focused on the editorial content. So that's just one example of a brand that's done that.
But yeah, so there's...What is your brand about? What's important to you? What's important to your customers? Write about that. It doesn't...I would suggest not making it super brand-specific. You know? Have people come to you because they think you're a reputable source of information, and then the sales will come second.
Javier: How frequently do you think people should post? If someone hasn't blogged in their company website, should they do one a week? Two a week? Once a month?
Anya: I would say one a week. I think consistency...This is not just something I've seen with brands, but something I've seen as a blogger, myself. If you're not consistent, I think people are just gonna go to another person that is. I think every blog that you post, every recipe you do, is an opportunity to get people to your site and to your own space. So the more you do that, the more success you'll have. So I wouldn't overdo it, but I normally suggest something like one to two per week. If you're a smaller brand and just starting out, I don't think it needs to be that crazy. So maybe you're just doing a couple per month.
Because I think, again, it's like you have the content, but you're gonna need the resources to execute the content. Content isn't...I think it's great. You can't do anything without the content, but you can't do anything with just the content either. You know? You need to employ strategies to get the content out there. So it really does depend. You know, if you're just really small, you're not gonna have the resources to post two blogs on every social media network, on your website, on your email newsletter. So I think just doing a couple of them per month, as long as you're consistent and doing a couple per month, you're fine there too.
Javier: So now when you're doing blogging for somebody, you're writing content. You're providing photography. That's building their search engine traffic. So they're getting more traffic there. But do you find that just doing blogging itself, with photography, is just one piece of the puzzle, and you really need to have an online or social media strategy to drive traffic to that blog, and then the email capture within that blog, and then the followup sequence of the newsletter, and then post the best picture on Instagram, like, have every type of aspect and make maybe a small summary of the blog on another site, to bring traffic?
Javier: Or are you relying on the Google, I mean Google, to bring...Yeah, Google to bring the content? Or are you doing ads to bring people to read that content?
Anya: All of the above. I mean, look, you can do all of that. That is the best way to do it, but you don't have to do that. I think you need at least one strategy, even if it's just, "I'm gonna post this on Instagram." Great. But if you're a teeny brand, and you don't have a lot of traffic to your website, and you're posting a blog on your website, no one's gonna see it if you're not sharing it anywhere else.
So again, I think you can't do any of that without content, but I think it's important to think about how you're going to execute that content and put it out there in the world, because if you have no resources, you have no money, no time, and no people to do it, this is probably not gonna be a great fit. I mean I'm happy to create the content for you, but I want this to be successful for them. So if they come to me and say, "Great. Write a bunch of blogs for us," but we don't have the time to do anything with it, that doesn't work.
If I have the time, if it's a great fit, perhaps I will step up to the plate and help them with it. But yeah, I mean, you need to have some understanding of what to do with that content after it's created, in order to kind of get them the most bang for your buck.
Javier: You are providing the content, but you're not uploading it, and you're not sharing it for them. You're just giving content for them to share and to put up? Or are you doing it for them?
Anya: It depends. I would say predominantly, though, no, I'm not doing it. I think one of the main reasons for that, at this point, is that you can hire someone for a lot less to write your social media caption and upload your image to Instagram. So as a courtesy to brands, I say, "Look. You can pay me to do this, but you can go find someone to do it for a quarter of the price. Can you find someone to do, you know, the type of content and the quality of content that I'll put out, for a lot less than I'm doing it? Maybe not. So if that's what you should be paying me for because that's more of a unique skill set and not something that's harder to find, whereas someone that can just write a caption and upload something to social media is a little bit easier." It can be that marketing coordinator that you hire, you know, straight out of college.
What I will often do is work with that person. So you know, I will get on the phone with that person once a month, and we'll even...I'll go through, day by day, a social media content calendar with them, and we'll decide, day by day, what's gonna be up there, based on the season, the brand goals, product launches, etc.
So I would say that's the most important, like, what you're gonna do from day to day. The actual individual caption and uploading it to Instagram? No, because that takes a lot of time, and it's not worth it to pay me to do that. I always suggest, "Find your marketing coordinator, a social media coordinator. Let me work with them, but I won't be that person, specifically."
Javier: So give me an example of like a content that you're proud of, that you feel gives value to the customer.
Anya: All of it. I mean, I think...
Javier: Just like a type of post or category that you're offering.
Anya: Yeah. I mean honestly, I think let's just talk about like visual content, first of all. That's not even talking about blogs, per say, because I think that's even a step above. I think when you're a small brand, and you're trying to grow your brand specifically on social, and the only photographs you have are...All you're doing is re-gramming other people's pictures, or you're posting like a not-so-pretty photo of a shelf with a sale on it that nobody really cares about, except the two people that are in that one town that are following you.
I think, you know, working with someone like me, that can send you photographs every week, that are high quality, that you can use on their own, you can use them in your sales decks, you can use them on your website, you can overlay graphics on them if you want and create little quote things, you can just use them straight-up, you can use them in Facebook ads. I mean I worked with a brand recently where I was just, again, sending them photographs, and I would be scrolling through my Facebook and see my photograph in their Facebook ad. That was great and exciting because, first of all, it made me realize they know what they're doing, and they know how to utilize the content.
But that's exactly why I do what I do, because there are endless opportunities to utilize, you know, even just visual content, and not everyone has a $3000 camera and a ton of photo boards and a tripod and different lenses and the proper lighting, I mean, and the time. Right?
So I could do that stuff really, really fast. You know? I like to think that it's pretty high-quality. So I think that's really meaningful for brands. It saddens me when I see companies that are confused as to why their social media isn't growing or that people aren't engaging. I think a lot of the time, it's quality. I think you can't just be funny and post quotes in random fonts all the time. You know? Or memes about coffee. You really have to develop your brand. You know? If you look back on what you're doing in five years, is that something that you're gonna be proud of and that you feel really represents the quality of your product? Because these are also really high-quality products. They're expensive. They're more expensive than conventional products. They have a more complicated story.
I think they deserve better imagery and better content to go along with it. So yeah, I would say that's the most valuable. I think if you...You know, I hope that brands understand the value of that, and I think a lot of them do. I think a lot of them start to recognize the value after they have it. You know? Having all of those photographs to use. Let's say then they don't have it anymore. You know at that point, they realize, "Oh, my gosh. That was so helpful." There are literally endless ways that we could utilize that stuff.
Javier: You've been doing this for over a year now, Anya's Eats, and you've gained...Even with your work before that, you've gained a number of recognition, like with Brand Folder, how to stand out in a saturated market. Your work at Suja helped win a "Best New Exhibitor Booth" for the PMA Fresh Summit, and there's a couple of other awards that you won. Let me just see. Yeah, I want to look, make sure I'm saying them correct. Oh. Yeah, and you've been featured speaker at Shift Con, featured live-stream guest at Project [inaudible 01:22:52] panelist at Facebook, "Boost Your Business," contributor at Bev Net, industry superstar by the Super News. So what are you...How are these organizations finding out about you, so that you can present there? Or how are they hearing about your work and the results to call you, like, an industry superstar?
Anya: Yeah. I mean all sorts of ways. You know? I think at Suja, that was relatively self-explanatory. We were pretty big, sort of public brand, that a lot of people knew about. So there was a lot of attention on that brand in general. I would say since I've worked independently, you know, I think people just recognize that I've worked with a ton of brands and have that experience.
I think, you know, I get attention from two sides. I get attention from brands who want to work with me, but then I get a lot of attention from bloggers who want to do what I do, or people who...Not necessarily bloggers, but people who work in-house, who want to not do that anymore, and they want to freelance or create an agency of their own. So it's hard to say, one way or another. I think I've just been in this world for so long. I think if you're in the natural products world, you probably agree that it's...It's like every time you go to a trade show, it's like a high school reunion. It's constantly...The amount of people that you meet and see and who are at one company, then they're at another company, but they're all still there. It's all the same people.
So yeah, I just think I've lived in that world for a while, and I think I've lived in that world, and I've had some successes. I think that's just thankfully gotten out. I mean I think, you know, aside from attending these trade shows, I haven't had to do a ton of outreach because the business is there. I don't know if that's necessarily because, you know, specifically that I do a good job. I think I love it because it shows me that the industry is strong and growing. I think that's what's most exciting. There are always new companies, and people are always just finished around a funding, and they're ready to do something exciting. So yeah, I think it's just sort of living in that world and working with successful brands.
Javier: You mentioned that the industry is growing, and there's so many new companies growing or starting in this space. How do you...How are they able to stand out from one another when maybe all of them...It could feel like...To a consumer who's not in the space, and they see it on the shelf, how can they know one brand versus another?
Anya: Yeah. I think a big trick is they're only gonna see one brand on the shelf. You know? They're only gonna see one bone broth because that bone broth company has better distribution than the other bone broth. That person shopping in the store is gonna pick up that bad bone broth and not order...you know, feel like they have to go online and order a case of seven and pay $80 in shipping. You know?
A lot of the time, I think this is gonna be about the distribution and just the ease for consumers to get that product. So you know, that's not the case everywhere, I think, but things like juice or something that's a little bit more popular, again, I think it's gonna be availability. If you see the same brand everywhere, I think that kind of speaks to itself. It gives that brand a little bit of, you know...I don't know what the word I'm looking for is, but they see it everywhere, and they think that they're a little bit more reputable because they see that brand everywhere, or they hear people talking about it.
But I think all that we're talking about...I think having a great visual identity, having a strong brand, I think that's why, you know...If someone scrolls onto your Instagram, they should know within five seconds what your brand is all about. They shouldn't...I hate using this example, but I see so many brands doing it. They shouldn't have to scroll through crappy photos of your product on a shelf, a demo person smiling in a store, you know, a silly meme that's not on-brand for you, and a quote about coffee. Like, those might get more engagement, some of them, but they're not gonna help you build your brand at all.
So I think it's really about a heavy, heavy focus on the brand, the brand story, and the differentiators, and executing those across all channels, the same way. At Suja, you would be hard-pressed to find any bit of marketing material that didn't have the words "organic non-GMO" and "cold pressured" on it. You know? That was on every single thing that we did, from our business card to our shelf tucker to our website to our Instagram, to everything.
So that was purposeful. You know? We did that because we wanted to repeat ourselves. People are not as smart as you think they are. You know? Bloggers come to me all the time too like, "Oh, I posted about my product, and nobody bought it." You only posted one time? How many people do you think saw that? You know? It should be a header on your website. You should have it in your Instagram profile and change your Facebook header photo out and, you know, put it on everything that you can. Post about it a million times. Send out three different newsletters about it. It's really about consistency and developing a strong brand.
Of course, you have to have a good product, and you have to have a good product that people like and that people need. So that's important, obviously. But I think if you have that, I think the way to stand out is to, I think, establish yourself as a reputable source of information, and then be very diligent about building your brand and staying, you know, on-message.
Javier: On your website, you say you provide comprehensive, out-of-the-box plans for growing your small business, using established and innovative methods across multiple channels. So what's an example of an established method and an innovative method?
Anya: You know, I think an established method is gonna be like going to a trade show. I think an innovative method is gonna be something like, you know, when I'm talking about making your Instagram shop-able. Even if you don't have strong e-commerce, doesn't mean that you can't market through, you know, Instagram, even though you can't click on anything in the post. You know? So there's, I think, keeping up with technology and figuring out new and creative ways to do things.
I think my experience working with startups, I think, again, a lot of people will come to me with a very small budget. So whereas with a big brand, I can say, "Great. Let's just allocate this budget to all of these strategies." With a small brand, I have to take this little thing and decide which of these strategies is gonna be the most successful. You know? A lot of the time, that means doing...Instead of building a fancy landing page with an email entry, we use a kind of maybe not-to-pretty raffle-copter thing on our site. You know? And use the free version and manually upload our entry.
So it's just kind of finding creative ways to do that. I think the reason I know about them is just because this is the world that I live in and what I've been doing for a while now. So I think, you know, not...I would never expect the founder of a brand to be an expert in any of these areas. So I think finding someone that is and who does read the boring marketing newsletters or Bev Net, this and that, you know, staying up-to-date on what's going on and what's new and improved, is so imperative.
Javier: Yeah, two things. So what is considered a small budget for a startup company? Then the second thing is: what do you do to stay on top of your own education, which is what you said, read up on different magazines? So I guess, yeah, what is a small budget?
Anya: That's a good question. I guess, you know...
Javier: Like $1000? Or...
Anya: Yeah. Yeah. I would say like a...If your budget is, for the year, is under 10 grand, let's say just for...even just for digital or everything, that's a small budget. You know, I think...For example, I tell people, "You shouldn't do a Google...You shouldn't do Google AdWords until you have at least 2-grand-per-month to budget towards that. Again, that's just digital. We're not even talking here about field marketing and trade shows and just regular social media advertising, any of that.
So yeah, I would say that's small. It's obviously very subjective, depending on what your brand is and what sort of resources you have and what your goals are. But if your budget is hovering somewhere between, like, $2000 to $5000 per month or below, I would say that's relatively small, but normal for a small brand. You know? I think, again, people look at what we did at Suja, and I'm not gonna talk about exactly what we spent, but people are blown away at the budget that we had, at that stage of our life, so to speak. So it was a one-year, two-year-old company, but we had the budget of a much, much bigger brand.
So again, I think that's all about putting it into perspective and making sure that the small brands realize that there's nothing wrong with them. It's just they don't have that type of money, and that's okay. There's still other things to do, but you probably won't be Suja. You know?
Javier: Okay. One more followup in between the other question.
Javier: So for a company who is smaller, do you recommend that...Is that someone who would be a good fit for you? Or who is your ideal person or ideal company that you want to work with, once they're in the natural food product?
Anya: Yeah. I would say somewhere in the middle. I mean again, I work with a lot of small brands that have budgets similar to that. So that's not really an issue, but I would say they're probably gonna be able to best utilize my work if they have some more resources in the form of money and people.
So again, if they have no one to post on social media or on their blog, I don't know what they're gonna do with the stuff that I'm providing to them. Of course, again, if it's something different like providing photographs for their website or something, but...Yeah, I would say I think another big issue, which is something I struggled with when I was doing more kind of overall digital strategy for brands, is that they don't have a budget. You know? So we're talking here. We've been talking the whole time about budget, but I would say a huge challenge is that they don't know what the budget is.
So that's, I think, really important. I think if I'm gonna work with a brand, if my job has anything to do with money, you know, not what they're paying me but in terms of what they're spending on marketing, I will always make sure to come to an agreement about what the budget is ahead of time, because if they, let's say, want me to run their Facebook ads, and three months in a row, there's no money to do that, there's nothing for me to do.
So I think it's very challenging for small brands to figure out what their budget is, especially when they don't have a, you know, someone that's doing their accounting. They don't have someone advising them in that area. So that's super challenging. People will come to me a lot and ask me what they think they should spend. That's hard sometimes too because I don't have the big picture.
But yeah, I would say I really have worked with brands up and down the scale. I think it's probably a little bit easier to work with brands that are a bit more established, but not huge, by any means, just because they know what their budget is each month. They know what they're expecting, and it just makes it easier for both of us. But yeah.
Javier: So what do you do to stay on top of your education, to make sure you're doing what's best for the client?
Anya: Yeah. Well, I think a great way that I sort of am forced to is that I have my own business in the form of a blog. So 95% of what I do to market myself is gonna be something that I would do to market a brand too. We're all using the same thing. You know? Maybe I'm not selling a physical product, but we're all utilizing the exact same resources to market and get the message out there. So anything from social media to, you know, MailChimp, using your newsletters, to a website, to SEO, to SEM. That's really all the same.
So in that sense, I'm just sort of forced to keep up with trends, and I belong to several different blogger groups, where we're all constantly sharing information in terms of changes with digital stuff and just best practices and, "Hey. I heard about this new email marketing platform." You know, I subscribed to multiple different online news, industry news sites, where...A lot of the time, those are a little bit more industry-based, in terms of what's going on in the industry, but some of them are more marketing-based as well.
I attend marketing conferences, social media conferences, where obviously that's a huge topic, and innovative changes and all of that stuff is really what everyone's talking about. So yeah, I would say it runs the gamut. Again, I attend Bev Net and Project [inaudible 01:36:53] events, and I think that's a great opportunity, kind of learn the pain points of these brands and see what, you know, what they're learning at those events and what's most useful to them.
I think kind of, again, straddling these two worlds of being a freelancer and a blogger, but then also making sure that I'm still acutely aware of the struggles and just the day-in, day-out stuff that goes on inside a brand. I think I sort of have to stay up-to-date on both of those, which I try to do.
Javier: As we're coming...So I do want to ask one more question, but I want to also close the interview too. Just maybe if you'd say a few words about what you learned about successful trade show, having successful trade show.
Anya: Yeah. Yeah, I love trade shows. I wish I still did more of that for brands, but...I mean organization, first of all. I think coming up with a plan for reaching out to people ahead of a trade show, whoever that is. Is it your influencer network? Is it your retailer contacts? You know? What is the goal of the trade show? Establish that before you go.
I think having someone, hopefully, that knows that they're doing. Trade shows are very strange, and everything costs money, and electricity is complicated and shipping is complicated, and onsite storage is complicated, especially if you have a frozen or refrigerated product. So that stuff can be a huge learning curve for people. But I think making sure that you're working with someone that knows about that stuff, or you're asking someone that does. Maybe you have a friend, you know, in a different company that's done it before.
Yeah, I think there's so many different things that goes into the trade show. For me, you know, it's a huge event for sales. So it's really gonna be about supporting the sales team and whatever they need. I think the other kind of stuff is a little bit more fun, you know, in terms of designing trade show booths and coming up with cool things to do onsite, whether it's like a happy-hour or a giveaway or a scavenger hunt or something like that.
So I think just kind of thinking creatively outside the box, every brand is trying to get noticed. So how are you gonna stand out in the crowd? Then I think lastly, be engaged and seem interested in what you're doing. You know? Those brands that just kind of hire like the booth chicks, you know, or whatever, who just kind of don't know anything about the brand and just kind of stand there in like a sexy outfit. I don't know what the point of that is. I think especially at a natural products show, people are there to be educated. I think if you don't have people standing on the front lines that know what they're talking about or know about the brand that they're representing, you've lost people.
I think a lot of people sometimes misunderstand. They think that the only point of the trade show is to talk to that retailer or get into that region, which obviously those are really important, but there are thousands of bloggers and influencers and media people. I mean I can't tell you how many times people don't know who I am, but it says, "Media," right across my badge. I can't tell you how many times I've just stood there, and people are just sort of sitting behind their booths, texting. They don't engage with me at all. I just don't know what the point of that is. Why are you there?
So are they paying attention to people's badges? Being attentive and making a good impression, I think, is really important. Obviously behind the scenes, just making sure everything is organized and on-point, and hopefully having one person that's kind of overseeing it all will make your life a lot easier.
Javier: As we're coming to the close of the interview, I'll ask you a few just serious questions. You can answer in like a word or two, a few words. What are you most proud about, working at your own company, Anya's Eats?
Anya: What am I most proud about? I think generally I am most proud of helping these companies grow. I mean what I say on my website about, you know, being the brands of the future. I truly believe that. I do think the trend is...I just heard the other day, Gatorade is coming out with a certified organic product. Without a doubt, this is how things are going. I am very curious to see what's gonna happen in 10, 15 years, with something like Expo East and West, when everything sort of starts to become natural. Right? How is that going to evolve? What is that gonna look like? What is this industry gonna look like if it suddenly starts to become the majority instead of the minority?
Having said that though, I think I'm most proud to just be there on that journey and help these brands reach more people, both in what I do for them behind the scenes and what I do for them through my blog. I think at the end of the day, you know, even more so than how I love to share recipes and stuff, I think changing the way that our food system works and making sure that better products are available to more people in more places, I am hard-pressed to think of anything more important than that.
So regardless of what aspect of my business I'm pursuing, I'm just really happy and proud for it to all boil down to supporting this industry and helping this industry grow.
Javier: What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to work and grow in your business, especially being a solo-preneur, coming from a company that you had a steady income?
Anya: Yeah. Yeah, it's challenging. I'm a huge control freak, and I'm terrible at delegating. So definitely overworking and getting burnt out is definitely the hardest thing for me. It's definitely been an adjustment, in terms of making sure that I can take vacation, even though I'm not getting vacation pay, and sort of sorting through that myself and making sure that I kind of keep myself in check. While I, you know, pursue the growth of my business, that I don't get crazy, you know, and kind of take a few steps back and think like, "This doesn't have to be a race. It can just be kind of a fast walk."
Yeah, I think just sort of being secure enough in myself and my business to know that things are moving forward. Even if I don't know what shape they might take, definitely a year ago, I probably wouldn't have said, "Oh, I'm doing mostly photography and content development." Back then, when I was managing entire marketing strategies. So I think just sort of taking it every day, as it comes, and just feeling confident in the growth of this industry [inaudible 01:44:01] industry growing, but I will have business, hopefully.
Javier: What are your plans for the future of your company?
Anya: You know, I try not to think too far ahead. I think I want to just continue to do what I'm doing. I want to continue to help the industry. I want to help people be healthier. I want to make health and wellness easier and more attainable for people. So however that evolves, whether that's me writing a book, or maybe I create a resource, an online resource, marketing resource for brands. I don't quite know what that's gonna be yet, but I think I sort of let my experience and my day-to-day inform what I do, and I let my own health journey inform what I do.
So I struggled with a bunch of skin issues recently, and I've been focusing a lot on that with my blog and with products. So I kind of just try and keep it organic. I think my real story and my real life is what's going to be of most interest to my blog, and I think same goes for the brands that I work with. They just want to work with someone that's real, real struggles, with real passion. So I just sort of try and keep it day-to-day, and I'm not exactly sure how it's gonna grow, but I like to kind of take my cues from what's going on around me.
Javier: In terms of that, which you want to be part of the industry...You want to take it day-to-day. What are the biggest challenges you face in...Do you think this is...Do you think you're gonna encounter challenges in the future, doing that? Or what other challenges do you think you might have, trying to promote health and wellness, just in general?
Anya: Yeah. I mean I think the biggest challenge that I've sort of experienced thus far is sort of what we spoke about briefly before, was the right balance of, I guess, people to help me, but not so much so that it gets so big, that it's not kind of the personal touch that I want it to be. So where is the middle ground between, "I can take on enough work or more work, and I have a little bit of help," but not so much so that I can't apply the focus and dedication to the brands that I work with, like I'm doing now.
So I think it's, you know...I think all the time, you know, "Oh, I could take on five or six more brands if I just had help." So I'm always kind of trying to figure out, "Well, is that really what I want to do? Or do I want to maybe take on less brands and focus more on creating resources on my blog, whether that's for marketing-wise or health-and-wellness wise? Maybe I take a break from the consulting and focus on that.
So I think it's all about just managing my time, which I can say probably is a challenge for everyone, and figuring out what the best use of my time is down the line and finding that, again, because I have this unique way, this unique thing going on where I'm in these two worlds. How do I balance those both out without getting totally burnt out and overwhelmed?
Javier: So the mission of the Specialty Sodas Podcast is to share the stories of other entrepreneurs and leaders in the beverage industry, because there's value in learning from those who came before you and people who are working in the industry who can share experience and challenges. So Anya, is there someone who you know or admire in the industry that you would like to see as a future guest on the show? Either their name, their company, or the type of work that they're doing?
Anya: That's a good question. Yeah. I was recently working for a company called Bare Bones Broth. They make bone broth, really great bone broth that I love. They're a small brand, going up head-to-head with some pretty big players. Obviously Epic is one, now owned by General Mills, that makes bone broth. So they're a small brand. I would definitely love to see them on the show.
I think they would probably have some really excellent...It's a couple that started this brand together, and they're very small, but I think they're really smart, and I think they know what they're doing. I would love to see them succeed. I would love to kind of hear more about their story and how such a small brand with limited resources, with a difficult frozen product, how they are going head-to-head with some of these big players. Yeah.
Javier: Okay. If anyone wants to reach out to you, how can they do that?
Anya: They can find me on my blog, which is anyaseats.com, A-N-Y-A-S-E-A-T-S.com, or shoot me an email, which is Anya@anyaseats.com.
Javier: Okay. I'll also provide links in the show notes and on the page, so that you can click through to your blog. Finally is there one last thing you want people to know about Anya's Eats?
Anya: I think we covered just about everything, but I would encourage anyone that has any questions or wants to reach out to me. I'm, very much like you, interested in creating relationships in the industry and kind of helping each other out. So I always love meeting new people and talking to people and letting people pick my brain. So I would just say, yeah, if there's anyone that wants to reach out, even if it's just a question or just to make a connection, I would encourage them to do that.
Javier: Okay. All right. So once again, this is Anya Kaats.
Javier: Kaats. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, Anya Kaats. She's a certified holistic health coach, a blogger, marketer for the natural food industry, and she has experience in both retail and at the brand level and has led marketing teams at various companies. In 2015, she founded her company, Anya's Eats, which helps foster the growth of small, mission-focused brands in the natural products space. She's worked with a lot of up-and-coming brands that she believes to be the brands of the future.
So if you've enjoyed this conversation, please feel free to like and share this episode. You can also subscribe to the Specialty Sodas Podcast in iTunes and Google Play, or you can join the email list to stay connected. Please don't forget to leave us a review to join the discussion. Reach out to Anya to thank her for being here. We look forward to hearing from you, to continue the conversation. So thank you, Anya, for being here, and thank you everyone for being a part of the Specialty Sodas Podcast.