In this episode, we’re joined by Mitch Barnard, Founder, and CEO of Wildpack Beverage, a rapidly growing co-packaging and co-manufacturing multi-site facility for both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
Mitch’s personal story is truly inspiring. Coming from a non-educated family, initially having no particular interest in studies, and getting into universities thanks to his sports results, he accomplished a law course. Eventually, he decided to become an entrepreneur and start his own business.
Mitch describes how Wildpack Beverage focuses on taking brands that are smaller than Coca-Cola and doing about 70% of the manufacturing before taking their products from an idea into canned finished goods sitting on a shelf. He also dives into the size of the beverage market, the opportunities it presents, and why the market is underserved and archaic relative to the individuals it serves.
He also highlights consumers’ behavior and how it impacts the beverage industry. Mitch believes that people constantly crave new products, which gives the beverage market the space and flexibility to be innovative.
Ken: Welcome to the Physical Product Movement, a podcast by Fiddle, we share stories of the world’s most ambitious and exciting physical product brands to help you capitalize on the monumental change in how, why and where consumers buy. I’m your host, Ken Ojuka.
Ken: In this interview, I talk with Mitch Barnard, CEO and Founder of Wildpack Beverages. Mitch talks about the massive opportunity he and his firms see in the beverage market that is currently growing at 23% per year blowing many other categories out of the water. He talks about why it makes sense to distribute your co-packing so that you’re close to your target cities and why he sees that as a key
to brand success. He also talks about the common mistakes food and beverage entrepreneurs make when scaling their brand and how you can avoid them. Mitch is a smart and driven beverage manufacturer that has been uniquely positioned to see brands succeed and fail. So his advice today is gold. This was a great interview and I hope you like it!
Ken: Hey, good morning, Mitch. Thanks for joining me. How are you doing ma’am? I am doing great. I’m doing great. I appreciate you taking the time to jump on and spend a few minutes with me for those who, um, who don’t know you want you to tell me just a little bit about yourself.
Ken: Um, you know, where are you calling from that kind of thing?
Mitch: You know, among other things, the CEO of wild-type beverage, Inc, which is a publicly traded manufacturing company. I’m currently at this exact moment sitting in Vancouver, Canada, um, in my townhouse downtown, spending about six months of the year here in six months in LA. And we’ve been flying around all over the place during the pandemic, which has been interesting.
Mitch: But, today I’m here.
Ken: Well, that’s awesome. And I definitely want to dig into that. Um, but we usually like to kick things off with, um, with a quote or, you know, there’s a saying or a phrase that means something to you. Do you have one in mind that you could share?
Mitch: Yeah, there’s an interesting thing that, one of my early mentors, he was actually my philosophy teacher and undergrad, told me when I was kind of lost, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
Mitch: And he said it doesn’t really matter what you do. You want to turn your life into a perpetual motion. Um, that’s kind of the quote. I’ve always found it to be super interesting because as I’ve analyzed highly successful people and tried to mimic a lot of the traits that they have, one of the things that you typically notice about them is that they never stop moving.
Mitch: Um, and while they’re prudent in decision-making, they always make decisions and they’re always moving forward in some respect, even if it’s not the most optimal way, it’s kind of what I’ve tried to do in my life. And it’s what we try to instill in all of our high level people. A good one for me. And one that I constantly think about.
Ken: That’s pretty awesome. And I think it’s very applicable for entrepreneurs and those who want to, um, you know, do some of the changes or make some of the changes, um, in an industry like you. Right. Come in and just shake things up. Just keep moving. I think that’s great. That’s great advice. Um, do you, I’m just curious, do you, um, are you still in touch? With that mentor?
Mitch: All the time. It’s really interesting. I’ve been very fortunate that, um, I’ve kind of known early on that. I’m gonna need a lot of help to get to where I want to go. So I’ve been, you know, I haven’t been super shy. You mentor me and that kind of stuff. And I stay in pretty close contact with those people, you know, my direction to becoming a lawyer was wholeheartedly because of, um, you know, this gentleman.
Mitch: And, so, you know, I kind of owe it to him, to continue to dialogue and keep learning. You know, he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
Ken: Nice. Well, yeah, let’s, let’s talk about that. Right. So, um, you’re in the beverage industry, but you’re a lawyer. So once you connect the dots for us a little bit,
Mitch: I mean, my whole life has been a series of oddly.
Mitch: Oddly connected dots, I suppose, to use your analogy. Um, and nothing seems to, if you look at it from a distance, make a whole lot of sense. Um, but it all makes a lot of sense when you really dig into it. So, I mean, my whole backstory is I grew up on a farm in rural Ontario. Um, you know, nobody in my family ever went to university.
Mitch: I ended up getting to go to university because I was good at throwing lacrosse. Um, so I ended up getting to go, I never applied to university or anything like that. It was never part of the plan. Um, and it just sort of happened all the six weeks before school started. So I went there and I did that. I had no idea what I wanted to do.
Mitch: Um, and you know, the biggest thing when you’re a student athlete is staying eligible. Um, especially if you’re like me and you don’t come from an academic family or background. Um, so I ended up teaching philosophy because everyone thought it was near impossible. Essentially. And that’s where I got the really awesome mentor that I was telling you about.
Mitch: And he kind of sat me down and was like, look, man, you know, you have some gifts that I think other people might not have. And it really, for you is going to come down. It’s just like searing your, um, you know, your desire drives into the right stuff. You know, at the time I was, you know, pretty high level, um, at the sport I was playing and I was doing a bunch of other sports and, um, you know, seeing a lot of great success and I just wasn’t really paying attention to academics or anything.
Mitch: Pause I’m business-related. Um, and he sort of was the person who pushed me into that. And, you know, I started to do really well at school. I ended up writing, getting into law school, having never met a lawyer in my life. Um, it was just sort of, you know, some random thing that I was like, well, this is kind of the next extension, you know, it’s something else to try to win at.
Mitch: Um, so I ended up going to LA. Um, and then the way law works is super odd. Um, the reason why I was lost, well, I should say actually it never really appealed where it was more for me to learn about business because I didn’t know anyone who had ever done business. Um, frankly just having grown up where I grew up.
Mitch: Um, so it was a way to get around those people and kind of understand. And I remember I called my dad my first week that I got there and I was like, I think I’m going to come home because these people just, you know, these are all individuals who, you know, went to the best schools and undergrad and, you know, they did the greatest internships, you know, all these massive companies.
Mitch: And I’m just so underwater here and I’m never going to fit in. It was kind of like, you know, suck it up, get it. figured out and, and I stuck it out and I do really well. Law school got recruited to a very large law firm, um, early on, when did that, um, kind of worked my butt off. And then my best friend actually convinced me to quit to become an entrepreneur.
Mitch: And that was the Genesis, um, wild pack, um, where he was like, you know, this, this life that you battled for, just leave and go in and make no money and partner with me. And Um, we found a couple of different things while pack is the one that took off, you know, here we are today. Now my chief growth officer and our other early partners, our CFO.
Ken: Yeah. It’s um, it’s interesting, you know, first of all, that feeling that you felt at law school, you know, that, Hey, maybe you’re the one who doesn’t belong or, you know, you’re in over your head a little bit. I think that’s actually really common, right. I wonder how many of your other classmates felt the same way, you know,
Mitch: I was to be clear though, I was definitely wearing a John Deere t-shirt. I cared more about working out in school, um, at the time, even though I was doing well in school, um, you know, and, I didn’t even really know. I remember we were all talking about, well, what firms do we want to get recruited to?
Mitch: And I remember asking. One of my classmates. I was like, well, what are the good ones? Cause I don’t even know.
Ken: Um, and then the other interesting thing about your journey is that law has actually, um, you know, it’s a pretty, you know, logical path to business, you know? So I think that your idea to, Hey, this is how I’m going to learn about business. Isn’t that isn’t actually that far fetched, right? Like, I think it’s, I think it’s a good plan for a lot of different, different people and future entrepreneurs.
Mitch: Yeah, no, it definitely is. I mean, I wish it was my bright idea, but frankly, again, it was my mentor in undergrad who said, Hey, look like you seem like you really want to be, frankly, a business person. This is a really good way for you to get there and meet those people. Um, you know, the biggest thing, and I think, you know, obviously talks about this all the time is that, you know, lawns finance are really, really great pathways so long.
Mitch: You know, keep your eye on the overarching vision, which is to ultimately become an entrepreneur and build something. It’s very easy when you get into law or finance to get louvered away by the certainty of that paycheck. Right. Um, and just sort of get stuck in it. Um, so like staying laser focused on the vision is really, really important.
Mitch: And not only like to be guided, not by my mentor undergrad, but to be guided by my friends, and now colleagues to, you know, stay true to that. Oh, I think a lot of people would have just stuck in because, you know, by all external measures, Right.
Ken: Okay. So let’s, let’s talk about okay. Your business. So, you know, the elevator pitch, right.
Ken: We’ve got 30 seconds. We’ve got, you know, just a little bit and you want to tell me what you guys do. So what exactly do you do?
Mitch: That’s a wild packs, a middle-market beverage manufacturer, focusing on taking brands that are smaller than Coca-Cola. Um, and doing, you know, about 70% of the manufacturing prior to taking their products.
Mitch: Idea or concept or formula into, you know, can finish good sitting on a shelf, a retailer. Um, what’s interesting about it? You know, the exciting aspect of it is that the market is completely underserved. There’s far more demand than capacity and the market is massively archaic relative to the individuals that it serves.
Mitch: You look at the avatar of a normal CEO of middle-market beverage brands. And, you know, there are mid 30 something, who went to, you know, some type of Ivy league schools. Um, but they’re venture backed, you know, they’re very young, they’re very disruptive. Our industry is like the exact opposite. It’s exceptionally old, it’s not disruptive at all.
Mitch: Um, and you know, a good example of people. It runs on POS, whereas the rest of the world runs on Amazon or. Right. So, um, we saw a massive opportunity to build capacity against a lot of demand because ready to drink beverages are growing massively. Um, but also to completely disrupt the way that industry is kind of structured through digital.
Ken: Okay. So let’s, um, let’s dig into both of those things. You know, I’d love to hear more about the way in which you guys are disrupting the industry. Um, because I absolutely had the same experience working with, you know I haven’t built a beverage, but I have made, you know, physical products, consumables, um, you know, I largely cut my teeth in the supplement industry and I absolutely agree.
Ken: It’s really. Um, and it kind of blew my mind when I first interacted with the industry. Um, and so, but I’d like to actually start with, um, with the demand question, right? So just talk to us about the size of the market, you know, it’s growing, um, you know, what the opportunities might be for people who are looking to get into it
Mitch: Yeah, hundred percent. So the beverage market, you know, in totality, is a $60 billion market, but that’s not ours. Right. Drill down on it. Um, so where we set ourselves up, the cross section is, um, in the ready to drink category. So obviously that’s, you know, a sealed product that’s shelf stable. Um, and that’s growing at about 23% year over year as of now, which is, you know, relative to other industries, growing at a rapid rate, like almost.
Mitch: Um, or triple what, you know, many other issues are going out, so that’s kind of your baseline. And then we get more niche from there. So we are solely focused on the aluminum can format. You know, we chose that format. Not only because there’s a lot of demand there, but also because we will heartedly believe in environmental sustainability and relative to other container types.
Mitch: Um, you know, the most sustainable. So if you look at that, an interesting statistic that we always point to is, you know, seven years ago, 30% of new brands, um, products were put into an aluminum cabinet. Now about 75 or 80% are in the aluminum camp format. Um, obviously it’s not all environmental, sustainability reasons.
Mitch: There’s, you know, costs, they’re cheaper. Um, you know, a few other things they’re easier to manufacture. Um, but you know, so that’s making the growth rate in a RTD hyper concentrated format. Um, and then again, we’re middle market. So we’re not focused on the top of the market, like running Coca-Cola or Pepsi or monster red bull.
Mitch: Um, and the reason why we actually slapped ourselves there and why the demand is really kind of called it, pulling in that direction. And that part of the market is, you know, kind of. The soccer ball that’s blowing up, um, is because if you look at consumption patterns, your end consumers, you’re seeing a massive shift from, you know, I’m a bud light person who drinks the same, bud light every Saturday to go.
Mitch: I’m a craft beer person who drinks, you know, many different, um, Brand’s many different skews. And why that’s really meaningful for manufacturers is what defines, whether you co-pack with us, who’s middle-market focused or you co-pack with a massive co-packer like fresco is how large your production runs are.
Mitch: And every time you switch to skew, it’s a new production clean the system. Um, so we’re set up to run smaller production runs, virtual frescoes, and larger production runs. So if you have more brands, All of your, even though your total gallons might be the same, your production runs are smaller. Right? Um, so that shift in the way that people are consuming, it shifted the way that people build brands, which has shifted the way that people manufacture those brands.
Mitch: So when you take all of that, you are growing at this crazy rate type are focused in cans and it’s hyper-focused in craft sized brands, which is exactly what wild pack is solving. Um, and frankly, we were one of the first movers to look at that. Um, in any meaningful capacity, most of our competitors are like overall operators, single facilities, single service, um, processes.
Mitch: And we’re doing the exact opposite. We’re bringing all those services under a singular roof and then taking that roof and multiplying it across the U S that you have a network. Um, because the other thing about these brands is they’re massive. Sensitive to shipping costs, um, as they move into new regions.
Mitch: Um, for example, you know, if they have to ship from New York to LA, you know, in some circumstances you add 10% to your cogs, which obviously completely erodes your gross margin, which is the most important thing for a beverage brand, um, at the early stages. So, um, the market is massive. Um, you know, we put the Tam in the couple of billion range for our specific.
Mitch: And it’s growing, like I say, an accelerated kind of 20, some odd percent a year. Um, and there is nowhere near enough manufacturing capacity in that space. Um, so that’s why we’re consolidating, but also building to create more.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah. I love what you said there about, you know, um, how this is all driven by a change in consumers.
Ken: Right. And I think that, um, that it’s a shift that, that, um, that we see, but I think it’s easy to miss because of how, you know, how slowly it’s happened over time and it’s been happening, you know? Um, I was talking to my wife the other day and we were talking about how it seems like today everybody’s.
Ken: You know, which is another sort of way of looking at this shift that you’re talking about, right. Um, everybody’s tastes have changed. People are more adventurous, you know, rather than drinking the exact same thing over, you know, over a long period of time. Like your bud light example, you know, people are willing to try new brands and to try niche things that give you a different experience.
Ken: You know, some of these craft beer brands
Mitch: And it’s super interesting, right? Because like craft beer is definitely the first mover in your point. That’s kind of like a subtle shift into, um, kind of like, you know, for lack of a better term, like a foodie experience in the beverage space, but you’re seeing that just ripple into every category.
Mitch: Um, that’d be service, you know, nitro coffees are all doing weird heads of different flavors and, you know, other simple, you know, very interesting things, you know, lots of different skewers. We just saw it in the seltzer space. Um, we see it in the soda space, like it legitimately in the energy better for you energy space.
Mitch: It is like rippling across every single sector that we service, which is very interesting. No, it was one of our core theses. And so thankfully we were, but you know, to your point, it hasn’t been this like, turn that happened overnight. It has been, you know, Kind of thing, but to your point, it’s been so subtle that I think most people haven’t noticed,
Ken: It’s like everybody experiences it, but you know, haven’t necessarily put a finger on it.
Ken: Right. You know, looking up to, and to look around and say, wow, this is completely different. Yeah. Um, yeah. And, you know, obviously you’re talking about it in the beverage space, but I mean, it’s something we see across, you know, all sorts of CPG consumable type products. You know, it’s, you know, even just going to the grocery store and you look at something like, for instance, um, like a protein bar, there’s like a million brands these days, you know, that, that provide protein bars.
Ken: Whereas I think, you know, just 15 years ago, you know, maybe you had just, you know, one or two or three. Um, sitting on the shelf and I think, you know, even groceries had to shift, you know, the way that they display things, the way that, youknow, the products that they bring in, um, to kind of align with this consumer demand.
Mitch: Um, you’re seeing electric cars now as well. Right? Like it’s, it’s super interesting, um, to see all the different brands, all the different skews across all kinds of different industries. And I mean, I think it’s really, really awesome, right. Because you’re getting people at choice at the end of the day.
Mitch: Um, There’s a lot of choices being taken away from people, especially with what’s been going on with COVID with respect to, you know, our freedoms and the things that we can do. So it’s really cool to see, you know, that they’re getting options in other aspects. It’s interesting to be a part of.
Ken: You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about groceries because I just finished reading a book on it. Um, it’s called the shelf life, you know, and it’s all about the transformation of grocery stores, you know, and it actually kind of articulates a lot of these changes and from the grocery store angle of what’s had to change in the supply chain in order to be able to meet that demand.
Ken: Um, and it’s pretty fascinating. Um, and so what do you think about the end game with this? You know, like. How does this continue, you know, 10, 15, 20 years into the future? What’s your thesis on that?
Mitch: Yeah, so I mean, our core thesis is that, um, people are only ever going to get more particular. Um, you’ve kind of seen it everywhere.
Mitch: Um, and these trends, you know, in other industries that are all longer dated, um, you’ll see, like a new thing come out. People are just kind of happy to have that new thing. And then as it becomes a normal seat, or normality, I suppose, People will get more picky about that thing. And, you know, in the beverage, a really good example of this, like when energy drinks came out, like, oh, I wanted that drink.
Mitch: And then it’s like, well, no, that’s organic, organic. And you know, caffeine source from, you know, whatever, and then, oh, no, no, it’s organic source from green tea and zero sugar, zero sugar, so on and so forth. So I see the complexity of, you know, consumables, or CPGs or products. I’m just always continuing to be innovative and be disruptive.
Mitch: Um, I guess those are kind of the same thing, but, um, more complex I suppose, is what I actually think. I think that will just be a continued trend and be very flexible, um, as a manufacturer of those things, um, to be able to service, you know, the never-ending kind of nuances, I suppose, that continue to come up.
Mitch: So no, for us, we’re building a lot of flexibility into our strategy, um, with respect to like when we’re building, for example, a manufacturing line, um, we’re not saying, okay, well, you know, this is our current composition of customers. These are the can sizes. Um, you know, we want to make sure we can do those.
Mitch: Like, that’s not actually the question we’re asking, we’re saying, well, you know, how can we build this line so that if someone decides that a 20 ounce can makes a lot of sense, we can easily move into that. You know what I mean? So we’re kind of trying to anticipate continual evolution or innovation. Um, and I just think that’s going to continue.
Mitch: Um, we’re only getting more complicated as people we’re not getting.
Ken: Yeah. So, so why don’t we switch gears just a little bit and talk about, um, some of the things that you guys do differently, right? You talk about, um, building for, and trying to solve for the new type of brand that’s showing up and not operating in the same way as some of it, some of your incumbents.
Ken: So you know, what would you say that you guys do differently? You know, how’s the experience different for a brand that works with you?
Mitch: Yeah. So I think the biggest thing is that we, the biggest difference, right before you get into the very intriguing kind of technological things that we’re doing, but just in the general baseline strategy, um, we’re building a network of facilities that are all within a boat.
Mitch: You know, our goal was to have a facility within about 300 miles of every major and distribution center in the U S which is essentially every major. Um, and why that’s important is I kind of alluded to it earlier, when you look under the hood of a middle market or, you know, somebody who just took over New York and, um, they have the envelope there, the VC’s given them some money, and now they’re gonna extend into LA.
Mitch: When you look under the hood of that company, you realize how sensitive they are shipping. Um, so, you know, most co-packers. You know, the one facility and then when that facility gets sold out, they take the space next door, right out, another line increases the speed and they just keep doing that over and over again.
Mitch: We’re building this network because we understand how sensitive these companies are to, um, the shipping and receiving costs. Also, essentially beverage brands are just sales and marketing firms and they don’t, you know, they’re not set up to run a very complex supply chain. And once you start using, you know, different vendors in different regions, um, you start having a very complex supply chain.
Mitch: You need high level supply chain people, and that’s not what they want to be spending their money on. So working with us in a network, you know, they can come to us and say, Hey look, no, our 2022 forecast has us putting a million gallons in New York, LA. You know, whatever Chicago and Atlanta, and just for an example, you know, 250,000 gallons, and then we can do the planning on, okay, well then we need to get your ingredients to these different locations and they’re close to your industry.
Mitch: Um, and you benefit from the economies of scale. You’re still buying a million gallons from us. Um, but you know, it’s being directed. All of our facilities that we’re dealing with. So you don’t need a supply chain person to figure that out rather than working with 10 vendors. Um, so like we’re solving a lot of those types of issues for them, not only on a truck cost basis, um, which shipping cost, but also on a complexity basis, which allows them to, you know, lower their SGA, which gives these brands better opportunities to succeed.
Mitch: Right. Because if someone’s going to buy them, What they’re looking at is velocity and gross margin. So if we can solve for those two things, um, and then, you know, Geagea takes over their complex supply chain, later on that they’re in a better situation. So, I mean, that’s the overarching strategy. We’re building the system to better serve emerging beverage brands.
Mitch: Um, generally speaking, and then, you know, from our side, like you joked about earlier, you know, our industry largely has been faxing me the purchase order. You know what I mean?
Ken: It’s not a joke. That’s the sad part about it. I actually had that experience.
Mitch: That’s terrifying. Um, well, we did, the first thing we did when we kind of broke into the industry was we built a fully open source API ERP, um, so that we could then take that ERP is obviously managing all of our production, managing all of our inventory, you know, so and so forth.
Mitch: Um, and then we could take that and drive it to a customer UX. No feels and looks a lot more like, we always joke about a Domino’s pizza tracker than it does anything else where, you know, you can see, it’s like, oh, my cans are ready and you’re cancer going into production and it’s in this, you know what I mean?
Mitch: It makes it look. You can do all your ordering online, so on, so forth. Um, you can, you know, we’re getting a bit out there, but we want you, this is something that. No beverage brands fly to watch their production because they want to see it happen. And you know what, why not just put a camera there so they don’t have to get on a plane?
Mitch: Um, so, you know, we’re going to have log-ins where people can flip on when their productions are happening and watch the production run happen. Um, they can be there digitally in the batching rooms, um, to make sure that, you know, things are going the way they want them to go. Um, so on and so forth. So, um, you know, all of that is something that we’re building out currently.
Mitch: We’re thinking about it. Based on timelines dropping at the end of this year, T1 and then iterate on that through two or three versions next year, hopefully fully launched by the end of 22. But again, you know, it’s going to be a completely different experience where it’s, you know, the whole process should be digital.
Mitch: Um, and a lot of it should be automated relative to what you and I have gone through. Fax me your PO fax me your ingredients. You know, let’s get on the phone and fill the spreadsheet together. Um, it’s just a massively inefficient system that we’re trying.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah. And I think there’s a massive opportunity there.
Ken: Um, and you know, it’s actually, you know, the Genesis for Fiddle, you know, building software for these types of industries is that we see the same thing in the same opportunity. Um, so I know we’re getting short on time, but I want to just take a minute and maybe talk about some of the mistakes that, you see, um, you know, people that are launching beverages.
Ken: Um, make, you know, what are some things that they need to keep in mind as they try to launch their own brand or as they come and engage with somebody like you.
Mitch: Yeah. So, um, we see a lot of, you know, new brands, right? And we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve seen grants that have, you know, we’ve obviously seen brands that come through that don’t make it, which is obviously quite sad, but we’ve seen, you know, three or four brands that have come through and now they’re, you know, a hundred million dollar companies that have been sold to.
Mitch: AB or something like that. Um, so we have been uniquely positioned to see what’s, you know, been very successful for people and the best advice that I could get you a beverage brand is you need to win a city. Um, and you need to buy a city, I mean it to prove velocity in one major city.
Mitch: Um, and then leverage that to move into the next city and then leverage that moving into the next. Um, because what you don’t want to do, the thing that shows diverse brands is I’m going to, you know, kind of take my resources and spread them out, like a risk map. You know what I mean? I’m going to attack New York and LA and I’m going to TAC Atlanta, and I’m going to kind of win all of them.
Mitch: And then you don’t hit enough velocity to convince a VC that on scale, you’re going to be massively profitable. Right. Because what they’re looking at is for every marketing dollar, how many dollars of sales do you Jack. Relatively. So, you know, kind of pushing all of your resources into one singular city, um, both on a marketing and sales perspective, but also in a manufacturing perspective, because if you’re only manufacturing pit loss in that city, you’re working with one co-packer, um, and you’re, you know, producing less sort of volume or much lower strain on your cash flows.
Mitch: And then once you hit the velocity you need at the end retailer, and basically you get the like checkoff from a potential next round. Then you start planning the next city and you make a very methodical growth pattern rather than, you know, we’ve seen beverage brands that come in and they raised $10 billion on a train or something and they go, all right, we’re going national distribution tomorrow.
Mitch: Okay. Well, you might be able to do that and you might be able to get into distribution, but a month from now, you’re going to run out of marketing dollars because of the amount of dollars that you need to actually create and philosophy and all of those locations and your outlay of significant amounts of.
Mitch: To co-pack with us to get products into all of these distributors. Most of those relationships, if you don’t hit in velocity, the distributor makes you buy back your product. Right. And then you couple that with the fact that your product, most beverages now, because they’re so complex, have a 12 month shelf life.
Mitch: Um, and you know, you’re in this situation where you’ve got a ladle anywhere you end up getting stuck in, you have to do downtown or something. So, you know, it’s just synthesizing that. No one sentence of advice. It’s slow and methodical. And when you know, city by city, rather than try to chunk the whole thing off at one go nice.
Ken: Yeah. I think that’s great advice. Yeah. Well, um, let’s, let’s switch gears to the quickfire round. I’ve got four questions for you. Um, and then, and then we’ll wrap up, um, what’s one tool or resource that has helped you the most in your career mentors.
Mitch: And that sounds weird, cause it’s not like a normal person would say, but seeking out people who have been there and done it before and can give you very Frank advice has been the single best thing that I’ve done.
Ken: And what’s one book that you can recommend to the audience.
Mitch: Oh, what’s my favorite book? Um, meditation. And I’m a weird direc, so I’m a philosophy guy. Um, so philosophy is actually very, to me, very important for business because the core tenant basically is, you know, and I actually have tattooed on my arm, pain and suffering is really just perspective.
Mitch: Um, and you can change that perspective because you control it and successful entrepreneurs. The ones that I’ve seen are people who can endure a lot of problems and a lot of pain. Um, and the only way that I’ve been able to do it is by changing my perspective and seeing it more as an opportunity than as an issue.
Mitch: Um, so I would read that because meditation is an awesome introduction.
Ken: Can you say the title again?
Mitch: Marcus really is the author and it’s just the meditation. It’s very famous, very famous.
Ken: Yeah, Ryan holiday. I think he’s a marketer and he recommends, um, stoic philosophy all the time. And then I think he recommended that book.
Ken: He also wrote a book on the exact same subject. So that’s pretty much the only way I’m familiar with it, but no, I think that’s a great recommendation for entrepreneurs. Um, what’s one piece of advice that you’d give your 21 year old self.
Mitch: That’s a good question.
Mitch: We just need to stay the course, honestly. Um, and I was fortunate that I kind of did in some respects, but there were a few things in my life that I let go of a little bit too early because I was trying to do so many different things. So staying the course and staying focused, I think is the key. And it’s similar to the advice I gave to a beverage brand earlier, where you’re hyper focused on one goal and then moving to the next one.
Mitch: Yeah. You know, staying the course on something that you’ve defined as your number one priority is very important because you’re going to have a lot of opportunities and saying no to most of them is usually the right answer.
Ken: And who is one person in your field of work, maybe another entrepreneur or somebody that you look up to that you’d love to take to lunch.
Mitch: I would love to take lunch. Elon Musk, obviously he’s like my number one guy. I think I was actually, I’ve a performance coach that I talked to and we were talking about why I liked him because obviously there’s a lot of like, you know, fancy, you know, interesting public opinion about him. But the thing that I really like about him is that he’s so focused on the long-term mission that he completely disregards the immediate population.
Mitch: Um, you know, he makes decisions that are for the long term, even though it might make people hate. And I think that’s massively difficult to do, and I don’t really care so much about, you know, that he’s hyper smart and you know, he’s this weird dude. Like, that’s not why I want to go for lunch with them.
Mitch: I’d like to talk about how he actually conceptualizes and balances, um, dealing with, you know, near term issues. Cause like, you know, how many times. Production on a Tesla thing, hundreds. Um, but for him, it’s just like, it’s so irrelevant because he’s looking at a 10 year horizon in something that most people just don’t even understand.
Mitch: And I’d love to understand how his brain computes, that kind of stuff.
Ken: Yeah. No, that’s a great one. Well, to have to wrap up, you know, if somebody wanted to engage with you or reach out to you, uh what’s the best way to do that
Mitch: And shoot me an email. I am quite responsive. And if I’m not on my team, my email is on our Cedar profile and it’s kind of all over the place, frankly.
Mitch: So I’m an easy guy to get a hold of.
Ken: Okay. Yeah, we’ll put it in the show notes. All right. Well, Hey, I appreciate it. I know you’ve got another call to jump on, but thanks for taking the time. Any parting words for entrepreneurs out there?
Mitch: Just keep grinding. The hardest thing is doing it and you just gotta keep doing it.
Ken: All right. Well, that’s a good note to end on. Hey, I appreciate it. Thanks a lot, Mitch.
Mitch: Excuse me. I appreciate it.
Ken: All right. We’ll see you, bye.
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