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EXECUTION Vegan pudding - about to take a leap

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Sprocket

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Hi all, I hope you’re good and having a wonderful day so far?!

It’s a beautiful Wednesday. I’m sitting in my garden, sun shining, drinking coffee, listing get to the birds... and my body is filled with terror and excitement, hope and doubt. I’m just about to make the payment for my first bulk batch of ingredients for my vegan pudding idea....

I haven’t done a progress thread to date because my progress has been pretty slow. My mindset has been holding me back for almost a year, in which time I’ve made small steps but nothing that will actually commit me to the business. But today that changed.

Concept:
My idea is a pretty simple one. The product isn’t 100% new (it does have differentiated USPs) but I think the targeting, marketing and execution is an opportunity waiting to be explored. Existing products on the market are really dated and stagnant. My product aims to make it fresh, new and demonstrate how exciting, delicious and versatile this pudding can be, especially for those on a restricted diet.

It is a non perishable product which can be mailed to customers making it a good product for online sales. There is room to grow the line through flavour innovation and broaden out in to other vegan products that can be packed and posted.

So far I’ve:
  • Found ingredient suppliers, tested samples and developed a recipe.
  • Engaged with the target market to ask their opinion with 300+ likes, loads of comments, requests to test and offers of promotion on blog
  • Sent a handful of test samples (with the small mount of test product I had) with good feedback and points to improve which I’ve taken on board.
  • Developed a brand and started to engage the target market through instagram with slow progress
  • After the initial interest from facebook, I feel a bit like I’m getting white and (i think it was orange??) feedback. I have had a few people message me to ask when it will be ready which is positive, the uncertainty is killing me!
Anyhow, here’s my plan and next steps:

Manufacture:
I plan to manufacture the product myself in our families factory in my spare time initially. This will be time consuming as we don’t have the right packing machine. Once I am happy I have tested that there is a need / demand for it I have the option of buying a small machine to speed up the process or outsource to a co packer.

My ultimate aim to to hand it to a co packer and fulfilment centre, but I need to look at costs, margin and scale.

Price / cost:
The cost of the product itself is very cheap. The packaging and postage are what will increase the price. My main concern here is building enough margin into the price so I have the opportunity to outsource and still make a profit. This is something I need to address. Also down the line I’d like to look at printed packaging so I don’t need to hand label every bag.

Marketing / branding:
A designer friend as developed a brand at a good rate, he’s working on a holding page now. I’d have liked to do this myself bu with 3 little children, house to run and a part time job I had to bite the bullet and outsource somethings.

Being a food product I think Instagram will be a good opportunity to try and stimulate demand. There are a few food trends that this product could put it’s own little spin on. I know nothing about instagram! I have an account and have started posting and learning, changing tactic, posting and learning. So far I have 27 followers and my most liked post had 49 views. I know this is tiny but I’m truly great full for every follower!

Next step here is to learn how to make professional looking content inc cooking videos.

When I have a physical product I also aim to send a sample to influencers.

Ultimately I’d like a website packed full of beautiful images, recipes and ways to use this product with my own online shop.

Distribution:
My initial thoughts are to sell through eBay, Amazon and when I can see it starting to sell, through my own shop. Selling fees are something I need to get my head around here. I’ve never sold on Amazon and I’ve never had an eBay shop. These are things I will need to learn quickly.

Scale:
As I’ve mentioned, if this product takes off my dream is to have it co-packed and fulfilled so I don’t need to physically make and send it. This would leave me free to sell and market. When the model is running efficiently and the product is scalable then I’d like to approach wholesalers and the catering trade.

Next steps:
  • Buy the ingredients NOW - Ingredients will be delivered within a week
  • I’m getting quoted for bulk packaging, in the mean time I will order a test batch from an amazon supplier - by Friday
  • The designer is building a holding page, live this week - This week
  • I need to get the packaging information to the designer so he can design a label (front and back of pack) for the product - Mon / Tues
  • Finalise product costing to include distribution costs (eBay, Amazon) Mon / Tues
  • Identify influencers - ongoing
  • Learn how to market on Instagram - ongoing
Thanks for reading. I will aim to update every week and if anyone has any advise or observations please feel free to share, I feel like I’m finding my way in the dark big time.

I’m off to invest in some ingredients, wish me luck!!
Have a super day,

Lucy
 

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Walter Hay

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I may be too late coming to this thread, but I suggest you consider some questions.

Does your designer friend understand marketing psychology? If not he might do some beautiful designs that miss the target.

Do you understand marketing psychology? If not you might try to sell by the traditional method: "These are the good points about this product." Emotion sells.

In your efforts so far have you worked out what responses reveal about what makes your product appeal? True it is vegan, so that is a plus.

Will your labels use the colours favoured by your target market? Yes a huge percentage of buying decisions are made on the basis of colour.

Will your package and labeling really stand out? Or will this be just another :zzz: vegan product, even if it is delicious? If you agree that building a great brand is the way to go, I suggest you have a look at the contents list of my labeling book, with its heavy emphasis on marketing psychology. See: PUBLISHING - Forum Members and Their Books!?

Walter
 

Jsoh

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Probably too late seeing as how you were purchasing the items NOW... But have you thought of pre-selling that way you can run this and verify your market without spending the investment of getting your product?

I made the mistake of buying a range of cell phone and tablet screens when I owned my cell phone repair company, only to find out that nobody needed certain items. Product that went unsold and then went off for pennies from what I paid for it.

Just my experience. Good luck.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Stargazer

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Where are you in the UK?

There are lot's of Food Festivals at this time of year going into Autumn. I imagine there will be some wherever you are.

My brother lives in Thame, Oxfordshire and always goes to Thame Food Festival which is usually very small, high priced, artisan food and drink stalls.

Other festivals nearby are cheap and cheerful.

So you can test different price points to different markets.

The good thing about festivals is you can hire a stall reasonably cheap and you have hundreds/thousands of hungry people for PR and photo opportunities and partnerships. eg Vegan wine and your Vegan puddings can cross promote.

There are also Agricultural shows, car shows, etc

I always think whatever you sell there needs to be an element of you, face to face with your audience for that feedback loop.

Sounds like you have a good idea at a time Veganism is growing quickly in UK

Thinking about this do you remember things like The Pepsi Challenge or Daz Washing powder?

You could do a fun interactive taste challenge to the non vegans (obviously)

Dan
 
OP
OP
Sprocket

Sprocket

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I may be too late coming to this thread, but I suggest you consider some questions.

Does your designer friend understand marketing psychology? If not he might do some beautiful designs that miss the target.

Do you understand marketing psychology? If not you might try to sell by the traditional method: "These are the good points about this product." Emotion sells.

In your efforts so far have you worked out what responses reveal about what makes your product appeal? True it is vegan, so that is a plus.

Will your labels use the colours favoured by your target market? Yes a huge percentage of buying decisions are made on the basis of colour.

Will your package and labeling really stand out? Or will this be just another :zzz: vegan product, even if it is delicious? If you agree that building a great brand is the way to go, I suggest you have a look at the contents list of my labeling book, with its heavy emphasis on marketing psychology. See: PUBLISHING - Forum Members and Their Books!?

Walter
Hi Walter,

Your message is freakishly timely! This is the issue that I have been mulling over recently. The designer is good but I’m not quite sure he’s 100% on the same page as me in terms of wanting a stand out brand.

My background is marketing and branding / creative and emotional marketing has always been by passion, however, now it’s time to go for it... brain freeze - que rabbit in headlights! I’m thinking ar too hard and consciously about it and not getting anywhere. Almost like my mind is too afraid to make the wrong call. It doesn’t help that it is school holidays so I have 3 kids talking all day long which really crushed creativity! I need to get my mind in a good place to really feel where the brand should be.

Thank you for linking your book, I will take a look for sure. I appreciate your input.

This week I managed to get my hands on two very detailed market insight reports, one on UK desserts and one on marketing to millennials which will help overcome some of the uncertainty and give me direction for the brand.

Thanks again, have a great day, Lucy
 
OP
OP
Sprocket

Sprocket

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Probably too late seeing as how you were purchasing the items NOW... But have you thought of pre-selling that way you can run this and verify your market without spending the investment of getting your product?

I made the mistake of buying a range of cell phone and tablet screens when I owned my cell phone repair company, only to find out that nobody needed certain items. Product that went unsold and then went off for pennies from what I paid for it.

Just my experience. Good luck.
Hi Josh,
This is a great idea, it did cross my mind, I think the reason I didn’t go down that avenue was because the feedback I got to the idea was so positive that I decided to go for it (I had multiple people asking when they could get it, shops asking to stock it and people offering to promote it on their blogs). I am a it worried that this feedback may not translate into sales though .

I also realised that I procrastinate a lot because of fear, ordering the ingredients almost pushed me off of the diving board. It was a financial risk I was willing to take to face my fear head on and see if this idea would sink or swim.

I have no idea if I made the right call or not but for once I’m excited and not scared to find out :)

I’m really sorry to hear that you had issues with the tablets and phones, I may well be in the same position soon but at least we’re trying and learning. Best of luck and have a good one, Lucy
 
OP
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Sprocket

Sprocket

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Your family owns a food processing plant?
Hi MJ!

Thanks for posting on my thread.

Yes my parents own a small food processing factory, they’ve had it since I was a kid. I work for their company part time.

We have one main product that we pack however it is a commodity product and we’re finding ourselves more and more squeezed between customers and suppliers with margins taking a big hit. Our main competitor has invested in a large factory with cheap labour and can beat us hands down on volume and price. Our machinery is old and we’re not set up to scale it either through man or machine power. My parents are looking to retire and can’t afford to take the financial risk now. So we’re trying to keep this going for as long as we can until they retire. However...

To compliment our “in-house” product my dad and I developed a range of specialist ingredients under the same brand which we have outsourced packaging on. All we do here is market and distribute them. Margin is pretty small but we’re aiming for scale. We have a European distributor and some key accounts in the UK but again the market is tough with fierce loyalty to the market leading brand. I’m trying to find new ways to market the product so we can build up this side of the business and take reliance off of the in-house packed products. My aim is to build equity in the brand and sell the lot when my parents need the money. I also have a share in the business now so we’ll all benefit.

The factory has quite literally almost finished my dad off. He and my mum created a business out of desperation and necessity, supplied us with a good life at the cost of consuming my dads life almost entirely. My life mission is to try and ease this burden for him and to make sure I never replicate the same mistake.

My mum is against me using the factory for another product because there is already too much pulling on their time however I have such a strong feeling about this product and I know my dad believes in it so we’re going to produce it early mornings on the weekend. Not many people have access to a factory and I feel it would be crazy not to use it as an advantage.

Thanks again for your time, have a lovely day, Lucy
 
OP
OP
Sprocket

Sprocket

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Where are you in the UK?

There are lot's of Food Festivals at this time of year going into Autumn. I imagine there will be some wherever you are.

My brother lives in Thame, Oxfordshire and always goes to Thame Food Festival which is usually very small, high priced, artisan food and drink stalls.

Other festivals nearby are cheap and cheerful.

So you can test different price points to different markets.

The good thing about festivals is you can hire a stall reasonably cheap and you have hundreds/thousands of hungry people for PR and photo opportunities and partnerships. eg Vegan wine and your Vegan puddings can cross promote.

There are also Agricultural shows, car shows, etc

I always think whatever you sell there needs to be an element of you, face to face with your audience for that feedback loop.

Sounds like you have a good idea at a time Veganism is growing quickly in UK

Thinking about this do you remember things like The Pepsi Challenge or Daz Washing powder?

You could do a fun interactive taste challenge to the non vegans (obviously)

Dan
Hi Dan,

Thanks for your message.

I love the idea of food festivals, I actually went to a dog themed festival the other day which made me think about marketing my product through food festivals. I’ve seen on FB that there are quite a few vegan ones too. There are a few things I’d need to think through but I’m pretty sure they’ll be a good route to market.

One thing I’m not sure is how much it costs to have a stand at these events - I need to contact a few to find out.

I’m only 20 min from London but always happy to travel, the goo thing about the UK is that it’s pretty small geographically!

Thanks so much & have a good day :)
 
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Sprocket

Sprocket

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Update 2:

Hey there! I hope you’re all well and having a great day so far?

Here’s what I’ve been up to pushing this product forward:

Packaging:
I’ve sourced some packaging I think will work (at least initially). It need to be something I can pack easily as well as something that will post cheaply. I contacted a supplier for a quote and said I’d like a trail order of 200 units which they’ve agrees to supply as a sample. This is quite a big win for me as my fist production run won’t incur any packaging costs (other that mailing envelope).

Lesson I learned - although I didn’t mean to ask for a large sample order, that’s the way me email came across and the supplier agreed no questions. Be bolder and ask, people can only say no, and they might just say yes!

Market research:
I’ve been able to get two really good market reports which I need to sit and study. They are very specific to my product area and market and I hope they will help guide me in the right direction. I’ll update on this when I’ve read the reports.

Social media:
I’ve been experimenting on social media and have found certain posts attract a lot more attention than others. One post gave me a 50% uplift in followers (still small numbers but going in the right direction). I’ve also noticed that there are a couple of food trends that my product fits into really well which I’m super excited about. I need to learn how to improve my photo and video skills. I haven’t pushed social media very hard yet because I’m still trying to build the brand. I want everything to look professional and consistent and I have some work to do there which leads me to...

Brand:
As I mentioned in a comment above, my brand isn’t “there yet”. I know there is a really strong brand right there behind my product but I have’t tapped into it yet. There’s something that needs to link to happiness, timelessness, nostalgia and comfort but I’m over thinking it. This week I’m going to try and work this out.

So next steps:
Get packaging samples
Finalise recipe really for first manufacture
Nail down the brand ready for product labelling, social media and holding page.
Learn: food photography

Thanks for reading!

Have an awesome day,
Lucy
 

NewbieBrit

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May 27, 2019
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Where are you in the UK?

There are lot's of Food Festivals at this time of year going into Autumn. I imagine there will be some wherever you are.

My brother lives in Thame, Oxfordshire and always goes to Thame Food Festival which is usually very small, high priced, artisan food and drink stalls.

Other festivals nearby are cheap and cheerful.

So you can test different price points to different markets.

The good thing about festivals is you can hire a stall reasonably cheap and you have hundreds/thousands of hungry people for PR and photo opportunities and partnerships. eg Vegan wine and your Vegan puddings can cross promote.

There are also Agricultural shows, car shows, etc

I always think whatever you sell there needs to be an element of you, face to face with your audience for that feedback loop.

Sounds like you have a good idea at a time Veganism is growing quickly in UK

Thinking about this do you remember things like The Pepsi Challenge or Daz Washing powder?

You could do a fun interactive taste challenge to the non vegans (obviously)

Dan
Crazy small world!
I grew up in High Wycombe. If you’re ever about and wanna grab a coffee I’d be happy to grab you one!
All the best
C
 

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OP
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Sprocket

Sprocket

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Crazy small world!
I grew up in High Wycombe. If you’re ever about and wanna grab a coffee I’d be happy to grab you one!
All the best
C
Ha how funny! Where are you now? Yeah that would be fantastic! My youngest starts school in September so let’s plan something for the autumn. You never know, I may have a product by then lol
 

NewbieBrit

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Ha how funny! Where are you now? Yeah that would be fantastic! My youngest starts school in September so let’s plan something for the autumn. You never know, I may have a product by then lol
I'm still in the area, I'm coming off the back of a big learning curve with my last ecom business and just feeling the landscape for the next venture! Have you got anything in mind....?
 

Stargazer

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Am going on holiday for a fortnight next week and will be back mid June so happy to meet up.

You know The Shire Horse on the A4 at Maidenhead? (A404 from HW then turn right towards Reading)

If you know how to send your number to me then that is fine. I can't figure out how to message you. (Yes I am that bad with computer stuff)

Dan
 

NewbieBrit

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Sounds great, yeah I know the place. I'm still trying to get to grips with the site too :) can't see how to DM...
you can drop me a skype if that's cool - @ogvcam
 

Tommo

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Where are you in the UK?

There are lot's of Food Festivals at this time of year going into Autumn. I imagine there will be some wherever you are.

My brother lives in Thame, Oxfordshire and always goes to Thame Food Festival which is usually very small, high priced, artisan food and drink stalls.

Other festivals nearby are cheap and cheerful.

So you can test different price points to different markets.

The good thing about festivals is you can hire a stall reasonably cheap and you have hundreds/thousands of hungry people for PR and photo opportunities and partnerships. eg Vegan wine and your Vegan puddings can cross promote.

There are also Agricultural shows, car shows, etc

I always think whatever you sell there needs to be an element of you, face to face with your audience for that feedback loop.

Sounds like you have a good idea at a time Veganism is growing quickly in UK

Thinking about this do you remember things like The Pepsi Challenge or Daz Washing powder?

You could do a fun interactive taste challenge to the non vegans (obviously)

Dan
Thame is the murder capital of the UK lol
My favourite TV series Midsomer Murders
 
OP
OP
Sprocket

Sprocket

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Hey all, Wednesday update time!

This week I’ve learned not to be so smug... turns out my sample order of packaging wasn’t going to be free after all, just an agreement to a low initial volume to test the product so I am going to have to purchase packs up front. This is ok, it’s not a massive financial investment, just not as good as free lol.

Physical product:
I’ve had samples of packaging through filled them & taken them to the local postal shop to test and they qualify for large letter postage which will keep p&p costs down to circa £2 a pack.

Ingredients are ready, packaging will be ready shortly - we’re almost ready to manufacture the first batch!!!

Branding:
Branding has had a breakthrough this week. I’ve been reading research reports on millennials and it highlighted the trend towards nostalgia and nostalgic products and brands. I’ve decided to position to trigger feelings of nostalgia and good vibes - happiness. I’m thinking of giving it an 80s feel with a modern twist. Following a meeting with my designer I feel like we’re on the same page and I should have some mock up labels, holding page etc in the next couple of weeks.

If anyone is struggling with brand I’d really recommend trying to get a good research report and talk to your target market as much as possible. Doing this gives you much better focus, clarity and direction - I just hope it works for me!

Social:
I have stalled on social media because lack of brand direction. Now I know what direction we’re going I’m going to get a communications plan together to plan posts rather than posting sporadically.

I also need to identify influencers

Issues:

I don’t know why but I’m doing all this stuff BUT I still feel like I’m action faking. I don’t know what it is. My heart is truly behind this product, I’m growing to love the brand and I have a long term vision for the business, yet I don’t feel like I’m really “doing it” yet. I suspect that it’s because I need to prove that it’s financially viable - that I can sell it and turn a profit. I feel like I’m playing / being naïve…

Things that have helped me this week:
I’m feeling a bit terrified at the moment. I have started to build this business and as yet sold nothing. My brain keeps freaking out at me, comfort of the norm is so appealing, at times I’ve wanted to give in and take the pressure off. The things that have kept me on track are keeping my goal in mind. I have a cheque written to myself for the future sale of my business, just looking at it motivates me!!

Also meditation as helped calming my brain and stopping the incessant chatter and worry. Also listening to the podcast “what’s this Tao all about” has such a relaxing effect - really focusing on the present moment and not worrying about the future.


Next steps:

Marketing / comms plan:
I work on this business around kids schedules and other part time work, this makes progress feel erratic and at times chaotic. Now the brand is well on the way to being born I will develop a bit of a marketing plan for the launch and after. I hope this makes me feel like I have more control over communications.

Financials:
I need to update my costs to include updated packaging costs and postage. With this and some competitor research I need to decide on a price for my product. I need to think about how to test pricing...

Distribution:
Ultimately I’d like my own e-commerce site however until i have proved that the product will sell I think I’m going to distribute through Amazon. I’ll need to learn amazon selling and associated costs.

Thanks for reading - I’ll update again next Wednesday,
Lucy

PS I would like to start to add more detail to this progress thread - could any admin move it across to the inside please? I meant to post it there initially but messed it up.
Thanks!!
 

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