Katie Jesionowski from MySuperFoods Discusses Snack Foods and Business Growth
Katie Jesionowski is a co-founder of MySuperFoods, a food brand that is committed to empowering parents and growing healthy, SuperKids. MySuperFoods creates organic and gluten free, nutrient dense food for kids and families. In this episode, she shares some of their early success and how most recently they've adapted to the pandemic to keep growing their business.
Below is an edited transcript from our conversation with Katie.
Andrew Matranga: Hello, everybody and welcome back to Stickers on the Mic. It is Friday, February 19th, and I am very excited today to be dialing in Katie Jesionowski from MySuperfoods. Katie, welcome to the show.
00:00:49 Katie Jesionowski: Thank you. It's good to be here.
00:00:51 Andrew: Where are you dialing in from today again?
00:00:53 Katie: I am calling in from Summit, New Jersey, Snowy Summit.
00:00:57 Andrew: Summit, New Jersey. Snowy summit. There's been a lot of weather all across the country right now. Your company is MySuperfoods Company. That's what that is. What is MySuperfood?
00:01:09 Katie: We make Superfoods for SuperKids. We have three lines of organic snacks for kids; cookies, granola bites, and mini popcorn chips.
00:01:18 Andrew: That's fun. What made you want to start a food brand?
00:01:24 Katie: Back in 2009, I was living in Manhattan, pregnant with the twins. As you can do in New York, and anything you're doing, you can find people online, doing exactly what you're doing, however weird it may be. There was an online mom-to-be group, Twin Moms subset, and a further subset delivering within three months of each other. Silvia, my business partner was on bed rest at the time looking to just make her way downstairs for a coffee, put a note out to the group, and five of us showed up to say hello. We became friends over that shared life experience and freaking out about what was to come and found pretty quickly we delivered within a couple of months of each other, that we both had a lot of passion around food and we made all the food that our infants ate and just became friends.
I left my job in advertising just before I had my daughters. She stayed in banking for 14 months after her son and daughter were born, but then, left with the intent to start a company. That was kind of what she was doing. I was out there not totally loving the stay-at-home-mom thing. It was not a hundred percent for me, but I was shaming myself through that process, not really knowing what to do next. She came over. The kids had a playdate, four 18-month-old droolers rolling around on the floor. We just started talking about companies and she thought maybe baby food.
In 2009, for anyone who has kids that are around 10 years old, that's when squeezy pouches completely took over the world. Literally, I remember they were just this little strip on the end of the aisle at Whole Foods, and then, they were the entire aisle. So, baby food companies were doing it right. They were transparent. They were clean. They were organic. They were doing what we wanted them to do, but what about after-baby food? We had this great chat. We were talking about what we wanted as consumers, as mothers. Then, she went home. She sent me a text later that night that said, "Do you want to do this with me?" I turned to my husband and I said, "Do what?" We met the next day and the notebook I brought with me is about three feet from my left arm and we just started going.
00:03:43 Andrew: SuperKids, this is a fun piece of your branding. Can you talk a little bit about developing that?
00:03:55 Katie: Yes. Actually, in this notebook, we tossed around the idea of wanting to build a portfolio of snacks. We never wanted to start out as a farmer's market baking from our homes-type brand. We wanted it to be a brand that people came to know and trust. We also knew that kids as young as two and three influence purchases. I knew that from my advertising background and further research that we did when we were starting. We knew we wanted to make it fun. We tossed around a lot of different words, but "super" is a fun word to say. It has a lot of different fun meanings, superheroes, and also Superfoods. It literally was just brainstorm around all those things. We wanted to-- We never would have started the company until we were mothers. So, our kids were the reason that we were starting this. We created these little characters and we modeled each one after one of our own children. The little purple SuperGirl is my daughter Rachel and her SuperKid name is Oxi-Rae, because she fights antioxidants with her little blueberry shield. I remember sitting around looking at the backs of boxes when I was eating my cereal or my snacks, and so we had these little characters, and these stories for the kids because they're very much a part of the brand.
00:05:23 Andrew: Yes. They're quite a lot of fun. That was something that really stood out to me. I was doing some homework on y'all. Then, how do you apply that into your storytelling and your marketing? Does it go into the products themselves as well? How do you integrate the characters because we're doing that here, we have Saul the Sticker Ball? How do you introduce things that are non-literal in a way to your brand and to sell this product?
00:05:54 Katie: Yes. Absolutely. Right off the bat, the colors, we want everything to be bright and fun and colorful. There seems to be this trend we thought a lot with the baby food and I think the trend being, like a clean white-label or even brown label, pulling on that natural tendency, I think. As parents, we were seeing that a lot in baby food, I think, to imply the cleanness of the products, the ingredients. We have since seen it in kids' brands and, I guess, traditional adult brands.
We know our kids like fun colors and so that's always been in everything that we've done. Our SuperCookies or MySuperCookies are actually shaped like the Superkids. That's really fun to watch little kids eat, who don't know that anyone's watching them eat because they're always eating the heads first. It doesn't matter what. It's this funny little thing that I think we all did with animal crackers. Go straight for the head. I don't know. It gives us some strange joy. That's obviously the biggest infusion of the SuperKids into the brand. We now have six kids between us. They're telling us what they like and what they don't like so any innovation, they're the first ones we go to.
00:07:15 Andrew: That's cool. Folks, if you're listening here, it's mysuperfoodscompany.com. I'm going to stay with the cookies here for a minute because these -- cookies are good. [chuckles] Just in general, I like cookies. I'm a cookie dad, for Girl Scouts, and for Brownies so I've been doing cookies for a few years. These are your own thing and you got to figure out a way how to make them without that pent-up demand, make people want them, Girl Scout cookies aside.
The way you package these things up, you've got variety boxes. You're selling them in 50 packs, which is interesting, because you're shipping these. We'll get to shipping and logistics especially. We talk about that all the time on the show. When did you decide to productize stuff like this or was that always the plan? I'm sorry. You've got the single box, whatever, and then, the variety packs, which are cute, and you have a little throw in there, too, with seasonal stuff.
00:08:11 Katie: The first product was MySuperSnacks. Those are granola bites as a soft bite, like a soft bite bar in bite-sized pieces. That we first created in a single-serve pouch. Almost immediately, we're asked, "Can we get this in a bigger bag?" It was different reasons why that couldn't happen right away. We took that add a couple of years of product knowledge and then, we launched the SuperCookies a couple of years later and it was in a family-sized box. The very first question we got was, "Can we get these in a smaller bag?" We realized--
00:08:49 Andrew: You can't win. [laughs]
00:08:52 Katie: You just want what you don't see. I want to see all of it and then I can choose. I get it. I do the same thing as a consumer. I always want some other option just to see which one I like better. Fortunately, the customers have spoken and we have been able to navigate through that. One thing that we recently announced to our email subscribers and on social media is that the boxes of MySuperfood cookies are actually going away. The cookies themselves are here to stay, but the smaller bags have spoken. That's just far and away more successful. I think, no surprise, people like single-serve. That's a pretty common thing that we see across all categories. We're not so on-the-go these days, but I think we all hope to be again. That certainly has continued to trend over the last year of global pandemic life. As a small business, we have to make those choices especially now to optimize. We're always thinking about that, what our capabilities are, and then, what our customers ultimately want.
00:10:00 Andrew: That's interesting, too. We've been talking a lot about this on the show for the last year almost now, which is astonishing. Figuring all that out, you have a recent post that we were talking a little bit before the show, but I read it. It's interesting. You're talking about how this is our space, we packed everything up, we almost released, these are tough business decisions that are outside of making cool-shaped cookies that kids like. That's the part that you get jazzed about and go out or whatever. That's what you sell, but then, there's the thing that keeps you going. You talk about what an accomplishment it is to have a space. That's a big deal, especially when you're in all these bootstrap businesses that I talked to, it's like, "I'm in my kitchen," or how do I say it? Then, it's like, "Oh, we got a space." Now, I love coming back to our old customers to talk about that. There's a big rollercoaster there. Talk to me a little bit about next how do you plan that and things are settling a little bit, but let's talk back through April, May of last year.
00:11:05 Katie: Those six kids, so we have-- they were home March 12th. We packed them up from school and they came home. To be honest, even if there was a space that was available to us, which, by the way, there was, we couldn't get there back then, especially it wasn't even like we both had part-time help. Even that stopped because, also, by the way, we're very grateful that we could make those choices because a lot of people couldn't. We could go home and we could do what we all thought we were supposed to do. So, we did. That story is really important for us to go back to because that January, last January, our landlord, who we had been with in two separate spaces for five and a half years sent the lease to renew the space for another three years and we had every intention of signing it. We had one or two things that we thought maybe we could talk to him about doing this, but it was so minor. There was literally no reason why we didn't sign it. We had every intention of staying. Then, Q1 2020 got very busy, which was great. It just got buried under a pile of my desk and we didn't have to sign till October. No. He wasn't upset about it and no one was asking. Thank goodness we didn't because we ended up not being able to get out of that lease and the lease ended in November. We ended up making it through and paying off that lease, but I don't know what would have happened if we had to pay for a space that we couldn't use for three more years, but it is a big deal.
We started the company out of our apartments in New York. We both moved to New Jersey. We worked out of the house that I'm in right now in a different room for a while, and then, we were in an office and it is a big deal. It is a way bigger deal than I think you could ever realize unless you've done it. It's such a big deal to open a door to a space. That's just for this idea that you had one day that you brought to life. It was just as big of a deal, I think, to close that door, but there's literally no time for guessing about what's going to happen in the future. It's just like tactical get through the next phase.
00:13:33 Andrew: Yes. I couldn't be in my studio. I've really only recorded a couple episodes in the last year and we've all made it work. Like I say, I'm very thankful that I was able to and that is not lost on me or our business has continued as well and that's one of the great success stories that I'm proud of with what we've been able to do here. Then, also for our customers who had to make these really hard choices, it sounds like this was one of those decisions that was made for you, too, though, which was nice in a fortuitous way.
00:14:08 Andrew: Yes. Absolutely.
00:14:12 Andrew: [laughs] Again, folks, if you go to-- it's MySuperFoods on Instagram if you want to check it out. That's the handle, @MySuperFoods. We'll recap that at the end. I thought that was a very telling story. Your social is a wash, of course, with beautiful photos and all that stuff. When you're doing entrepreneurial work and you said you have a co-founder, do you have other-- is it just the two of you?
00:14:40 Katie: At the moment, it's the two of us and one of our employees who is now on a part-time basis, unfortunately, but we had to make some tough cut backs. Yes. We're down to the OG.
00:14:57 Andrew: Right, but you're not baking? You're not baking [crosstalk]
00:15:00 Katie: No. No. No. Oh, no.
00:15:01 Andrew: You know what I mean?
00:15:01 Katie: Yes.
00:15:01 Andrew: That's what I meant, too. How does that part of the business run itself?
00:15:05 Katie: We have co-packer partners for all of our products. So, all of that. I mean, that part, honestly, being in food, it was this weird thing to be a food brand when people were clearing shelves of stores last spring panicking. So, you're like, "Are our partners going to stay open? What if everybody there gets sick and--? By some miracle, one of our partners had to shut down. They shut down for three weeks when they needed to shut down just to be overly conservative, but that was it for the whole year. Packaging partners and ingredients. That's pretty incredible I think. The hard part for us and I think some people-- I don't think they've maybe expressed so much I wonder, but we are a food brand, so we can operate and that's amazing because a lot of small businesses can't or couldn't.
However, we're in this weird healthy snack space that shelves of the stores, the pastas, the beans, the sauces, and the baked goods were all being wiped away and people were turning back to their nostalgic decadent treats. These organic snacks we're like, "Wait a minute. Don't forget about us." It hasn't been easy because there's not as many people in the store. There's a lot of people getting other people to shop for them. We're a discovery brand. We're a small new brand. We rely on sampling programs that are no longer and all of those things. That, I think, has been the biggest hurdle for us and the reason why it's been a tough year.
00:16:55 Andrew: Yes. I can only imagine. Well, when you said you were getting the word out and getting your brand out there and we're talking about the heroes, that's actually what drew me to your story was I saw these superheroes come around. I love iconography like that. I have kids, so there's a lot of superheroes in my life, but it's interesting to see superheroes that are original. That's why I was like, "What is all this?" That's why I reached out. What are you doing with these stickers that you've printed out?
00:17:35 Katie: The beautiful space you see behind me that our listeners cannot see--
00:17:39 Andrew: It is beautiful, by the way. She's not joking. It looks clean and it looks efficient. It looks like a place where people do work. So, that's important.
00:17:45 Katie: Yes. There's a lot of work happening here. This was a home office. I moved everything out. When we emptied our office, we have storage space. It's holding a lot of things, but I basically took everything that could fit into this room to recreate a place, to relaunch our website, to offer e-commerce, and to let our customers find us for the first time it launched at the end of September and every single order is packed right behind me. I've had pallets of product delivered to my driveway. I have been working with packaging companies. My UPS driver, I already knew before, but I'm getting to know a lot more because they're coming several times a week to pick up porch-fulls of orders, but those stickers, I'm able to put in boxes. I'm able to include notes and thank you's and all the little things that we couldn't do if someone else was doing it. Sylvia and I were just talking earlier. The hope is to obviously grow it to a point that we can pass it off to someone.
The worst problem that happens is this becomes too much, but for now, it's really nice to have that contact with customers in a time that we really are grateful for our customers. A little surprise sticker goes a long way. As you know, they're really high quality, so they're nice to hold and to feel. You can put them on your water bottle or your notebook or the art project that you just created. I have kids. I know that they like stickers and they're fun. It's a nice little surprise. We also have other things that we're starting to use them for. I think stickers are just a nice way to send a little extra message.
00:19:37 Andrew: Yes. I can see them all laid out on one sticker sheet, too. I was like, "Oh, there's so many fun things to do." Then, you can even productize them, too, but it's nice to give a moment of delight for that. That's a big deal for us. We talk a lot about that here. You're also in stores or were in stores? There's a store locator on this. You said this brand new site, which gets it going. What does that do for you?
00:20:01 Katie: We are in some stores. Our strategy at this point is focused on e-commerce. Thankfully, quite a bit of our business comes from Amazon. We also work with Thrive Market, which is a great e-commerce retailer, if you haven't checked them out, and you like organic food, you definitely should. I'm a customer of theirs myself. Those businesses really did take off for us last year, those were already two of our strong partners. Our on-site, as you can imagine, is a small piece of that pie, but it's just growing. We have some other e-commerce and outside traditional retail partners, but we do work with Whole Foods. We do work with ATV but we're-- The growth of our business is coming from e-commerce at this point.
00:21:01 Andrew: That's fun. Well, it's also good to have a focus. You can own that customer journey a little bit better. You've been able to negotiate those partnerships, some of those are big names, and Amazon, pretty crowded, but once you've got customer loyalty and that whole reorder where it's just like add to the whatever that feature is where it's like a subscription.
00:21:24 Katie: Subscribe and save.
00:21:24 Andrew: Yes. Subscribe. Thank you. It sounds like I know-- I used to work in subscription business, but getting people to subscribe to stuff is just one less layer that they have to do. As you continue to finetune your website, what kind of testing and/or advertising experiments do you try with that? Because again, you said food is-- especially it's a prepackaged thing. I think there's a pretty big demand for that, especially now because of sanitary-- you know what I mean?
00:21:53 Katie: Yes. Absolutely.
00:21:54 Andrew: How are you testing and experimenting?
00:21:57 Katie: The nice thing for us is that because I'm literally the one packing it up, just today, we're talking about, "Well, maybe we can launch a small sampler of the MySuperSnack line. Those are our bestsellers, the top three categories, those three flavors. What if we just put together a small box of a few of each of them? Those types of things, like the variety box that you were mentioning before, the large variety box is also one of our top five sellers. We offer a winter version with a snowman mask and a postcard to send to someone that you haven't been able to see.
Those tiny touches are very easy for us to just let it up. Literally, all I need to do is make sure I have the pieces and I could just add it to the website. That part's pretty cool because that allows us to test it a little bit and see, can we scale this? Then, we have also more variety boxes that we're starting to create for Amazon. Those are really taking off. There's something about that gifting, especially now, but also just in general, the variety of it. That's been really cool to be able to put into practice.
00:23:08 Andrew: That's fantastic, yes, especially when it's a low amount of effort for you. You have to come together with all that. If you're the one doing it then-- if it was your idea, it doesn't go through four chains of command to just get to--
00:23:21 Katie: Right, and it's not-- I have all the pieces, maybe I need a different size box, or I need those extra little touches, the components that we add-in. For me to try it is a very low bar of entry, instead of making sure that someone's completely set up to ship 500, which is upfront.
00:23:46 Andrew: That's wow. We've walked through quite a bit of especially your site and just where you've been. There is a great conversation here about you're doing for social causes. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that because I think this is something that's not necessarily new for businesses, but it feels like it's very front and center right now. It's part of just a brand or as anything, almost from the start for a lot of businesses. What brought you to that?
00:24:22 Katie: That was right away. That was very early conversation between Sylvia and I about wanting to do something around the fact that we were, one, able to start a company like this, and two, be able to make it really healthy and nutritious, knowing that it was going to be more expensive than a conventional snack and therefore, less accessible to everyone. The conversation was pretty short. We landed on addressing the issue of hunger. We partnered with the Food Bank of New York City initially. We started where you are. Then, we had the intention of growing the food bank partnerships as often as we could, as far as we could, with whatever made sense. The next one was the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, because we moved there. Then, we worked with Alaska Airlines for four years. We had a bar version of our super snack in their kids' choice box in flight.
00:25:27 Andrew: Oh, wow. That's cool.
00:25:29 Katie: We partnered with a food bank in Seattle. That's where they were headquartered. They also had a mission around hunger. That was a great partnership for us. It's grown from there. We have six partners now. We have tallied among the financial donations that we've donated over 30,000 meals, but we also have donated our time. We donated our products. There's certainly whenever we can locally-- It's hard to think about ending hunger. We try not to let that stop us from doing something that can make a difference as far as addressing it because we don't want to say-- because you do. You have the conversation like, "We're such a small brand. We're just getting started," but it's like, "So what? Just get in there and do something."
00:26:33 Andrew: Sure. Also, it just gives you a little bit more motivation. How is that like Pack a Lunch social campaign? How does that work?
00:26:43 Katie: I wish it was better, to be honest. I do.
00:26:47 Andrew: On the social media world, it's like, "Whatever is going to work for people to engage? Because this one's good. This is very positive and relatively simple. All you have to do is tag the person after you bought it or whatever".
00:27:00 Katie: Yes. That's it.
00:27:02 Andrew: People love to take these lunch pictures. Come on. You're doing it anyway.
00:27:07 Katie: Yes. To me, honestly, it's like I want it to work like a billion times.
00:27:11 Andrew: Right.
00:27:12 Katie: Right. There have been lots and lots of people who discover our brand. It's actually the first thing that they're talking about on social media before they're even saying like, "I like this thing." [chuckles] They maybe even haven't tried the product, but they liked the idea of-- The campaign is Pack a Lunch. Get Pack a Lunch, all you have to do is tag us on social media @MySuperFoods. We go through a couple times a year and tally up all those tags. The hope would be that that would really create an impact and I think someday, it can for sure.
00:27:35 Andrew: It's a big tic tac toe. I could just see that and you've got a Pinterest board. There's a whole Pinterest board for something, like peanut butter-- it already has a life of its own is what I mean. It's not an unnatural hashtag, it's not on brand, but then, it's also like, "Come on, people. Just engage with us so we can help--"
00:28:13 Katie: We can help.
00:28:14 Andrew: Yes. Exactly.
00:28:15 Katie: I honestly haven't talked about it that much this last year because not as many people are packing a lunch.
00:28:20 Andrew: No. That's a good point I guess. You're like, "Yes. It was working until March."
00:28:27 Katie: [laughs] It's like eat a lunch. I don't know.
00:28:29 Andrew: Yes. "Did you eat anything today?" My kids have no problem with that. They won't forget a meal. Yes. I sometimes have to ask myself that question. That's really positive, though, and it's cool. You're able to quantify it. Also, like I said, it's one of those-- Another customer of ours has this great section on their website called Purposeful Passions. That's something you're passionate about. It gives you purpose. One thing we haven't really talked about is the SuperPops. That's just another category?
00:29:03 Katie: Another category that launched 2017 and was our first kind of a little bit into the savory snack. We got some really good advice pretty early on. We have that idea of the portfolio of products. Just naturally, I think, you start to think, "Well, what else?" Then, your brain just goes all over food. This mentor that she's now become a mentor. She said, "Don't leave snacks. Just stay in snacks." It's hard for your customer to remember you anyway, but if you're suddenly in that aisle, this aisle over here, it's impossible. It was such good advice now looking back. We love the pops because they're fun size and they're crunchy and delicious, but they're also a puffed product. So, it doesn't have that popcorn texture that's difficult for younger kids. As a parent, just like it takes that out of the equation. It's the popcorn experience without popcorn.
00:30:15 Andrew: Yes, because there's quinoa, flax, sunflower, chia, and then corn as well. That's such a nice mix.
00:30:22 Katie: Yes. It's a great base without that kernel experience that doesn't always mix well with kids.
00:30:30 Andrew: No. It doesn't and maybe even some adults. All I was going to say was, how did you come up with that recipe? What does that recipe testing and all that stuff look like for you all, because that's maybe the thing that started the thing that you have now was you were cooking something before you created a business. How did this new one come out like that?
00:30:50 Katie: Well, we've gotten much better at the product innovation now because that the first product started literally in my kitchen. I found this really super clean granola bar recipe, and then, went to Whole Foods and bought every ingredient I could find, and just started mixing them up. I would make a batch or two in the morning while my daughters were locked into their high chairs. Then, I pack them up in a double stroller and take them over to Sylvia's apartment. This is definitely for our older viewer or older listeners, but her doorman eventually thought that I was a drug dealer because I was dropping off unmarked paper bags to her like six times a week. [chuckles] I said, "What a better cover than a double stroller?" No. They're granola bars. Once we found our food scientists--
00:31:40 Andrew: That's wild. [laughter]
00:31:42 Katie: It's not a joke. He literally called her up and was like, "What is happening up there?" [laughs]
00:31:47 Andrew: Oh, my God. That's so funny. Anyway. Sorry. Keep going.
00:31:53 Katie: Yes. I'm like, "Hey, man." Once we found a food scientist, and we said, "Hey, this is the thing that we would like you to help us bring to shelf stability," because certainly, what I made wasn't going to do that. It took him about 25 versions to land on what we all agreed was an excellent product. Then, at the end of that, he said kind of head in hand, "Next time, can you tell me what you're aiming for and give me some nutritional guidelines because normally, this takes me like three or four tries." We said, "Oh, yes. Sorry."
Backing into something is actually way harder than we thought it would be. With the pops, after the cookies, we became very good at, "Hey, can we try to include these types of ingredients and hit these sodium levels? We think that maybe this flavor, and this flavor, and this flavor would work, but are there other combinations that you think would be good," and went from there. Then, he helped us develop those products. It's a much easier process once you have that background [chuckles] I think.
00:33:04 Andrew: Exactly. Now, I have to say it. Now, these are nice. You said at the top that you accordion between like small and big and small sizes and whatever quantities or however the packaging looks. What about those big old bags that you can get at Costco? You know what I mean? Is that--
00:33:21 Katie: Here's the thing--
00:33:22 Andrew: Tell me why that doesn't work for you, for instance, because I-- that's me because of the way our lives are right now but like--
00:33:27 Katie: Yes, but you said you have three small children. So--
00:33:32 Andrew: Voracioius never not--
00:33:33 Katie: In your house, snacks are coming in by the pallet. Just like my house with these orders, you are getting pallets dropped off to your driveway.
00:33:41 Andrew: Effectively. Yes.
00:33:43 Katie: That's where you-- that's why our 50 count sells.
00:33:46 Andrew: There you go. That scratches that is so that you have an inventory as like a parent or a provider.
00:33:50 Katie: Yes. It's like we know we like this. We know that we like these other. I have seven brands at all times. It's not like my kids are-- my kids will come in here and eat our snacks regularly. We have a lot of variety. Everybody needs more than one thing. Anyway, we actually talked about those big bags because I will buy them pre a year ago for big parties when I have them or when I'm having a group of people over.
00:34:21 Andrew: Or vacation, or road trip where you're like, just because then we have it-- Yes.
00:34:25 Katie: You're going to eat it over a short period of time, but popcorn, especially, you want that to be fresh, crunchy, and amazing. We're like any sort of chip. I think the savory, in particular, bigger sometimes means less crunch. [crosstalk]
00:34:41 Andrew: Totally. No. That makes sense. You explained that. Great defensive. I appreciate that because, again, my mind right now, again, it's like, "Oh, we want a huge thing." More specifically, though, because you said that when I'm talking about volume or thinking about volume for the scale of your business, that Alaskan Airlines thing is very interesting because it's such a captive audience. The interesting way-- How did that work for your workflows and then, also, your exposure? Because that's a very small flying base. That's not Southwest or United. Those are different routes. How did that work out?
00:35:16 Katie: It was amazing. They were remarkable partners. It was year two of our business. They asked us for a meeting at a trade show, which we had never experienced before. We're kind of like, "Somebody wants to meet with us? [laughs] What?" We went into this meeting with these two amazing women and had this incredible conversation where they asked us if we could create a product for them that we weren't currently making. It turned out that we could because of the partnership that we had. We worked it out over the table in that meeting. We arrived at a price, we shook hands, and we worked with them for four years, which we're told this many years longer than most opportunities like just because of the captive audience. If you're a Alaska Airlines customer, then you're probably-- I tend to fly one carrier just mix up the airport that I am near. It makes sense that they would want the variety and the change. We were very grateful. It was a wonderful experience. They're hard to come by. We have since sought out several other opportunities like that. They're tough because they're very competitive.
00:36:34 Andrew: And traditional in a sense, even though they want to refresh the menu, it's like Coke or Pepsi. You know what I mean? It's like who's got the cheaper price for the distributor and you end up-- Are there brokerages for that or you said you met them at a trade show, but is there a way to like--
00:36:49 Katie: There are.
00:36:49 Andrew: Yes. I figured there's a way.
00:36:51 Katie: There are. We've made the attempt in the past with no success. It's just one of those things that literally just happened.
00:37:01 Andrew: Great case study though.
00:37:03 Katie: Absolutely.
00:37:05 Andrew: Also, you're like, "Okay. If this, then, what about something similar?" That's very cool.
0:37:11 Katie: It's also a great case study for-- we were at a trade show that wasn't traditionally organic food for kids. It was like, "Let's give this a try and see if it works out." The reason that they found us on the list of companies, thousands of companies is because there weren't very many companies like us and we happen to be what they were looking for right then. It's a great case study for sometimes where the other people aren't or trying something new. Don't just-- certainly look at what your competition is doing. I think that's always important, but then, also, just go somewhere else and do something else sometimes.
00:37:47 Andrew: But stay with snacks or-
00:37:49 Katie: Stay with snacks. Yes.
00:37:50 Andrew: -whatever, the guiding light, the North Star. It's like, "We'll go here, but we're staying with snacks." Very cool. That is neat. I love that little anecdote. I want to get back to our dear friends here and your characters just one last time, just because that's where this story starts. Our tagline is, "Every sticker as a story." This is the story of these super kids, which, again, speaks to me a lot as a parent. I think their story is interesting from the food perspective of course. Now, do they go on adventures? Do they have their own little narrative or is there--? You know what I mean?
00:38:31 Katie: Yes. When we knew that we wanted this team of super kids, we actually wrote out little stories about each of them. Of course, using our little, almost two-year-old kids as the inspiration, but Sylvia's husband also worked in advertising or still does and was able to get us a meeting with an animation company. They were in the city and we walked over and we said-- We have this idea. We have these stories. We shared them. They put the project out to everyone on their staff as like a-- it was a ridiculous, the award-winning work that they were putting out there.
00:39:20 Andrew: Of course. Yes. It's like a reverse RFP kind of-- [laughs]
00:39:24 Katie: Oh, my gosh. It was an insane moment. Everyone on staff drew a team of super kids. Then, we came back in a couple of weeks later, and we sat down and they put these gigantic boards in front of us. They had all the little samples, and Sylvia and I looked at each other. Then, we looked at the boards in front of us and we both picked the teams of the super kids that you know today that are the stickers that you've made. That was it. I think because it was an animation company, we always dreamed of little webisodes and little adventures but limited resources.
00:40:02 Andrew: Totally. Yes. You answered the question, though. It sounds a little naturally and organically to-- You came up with the stories, little narratives about each person, their background, but then, by their very design and what they are, I can just see them moving like there's an ocean in them. That's what's neat, too, about a static graphic, as someone who loves design, teaches design, and writes and talks to people about designs as my job. I really like that. Now, you said you have six kids, but there's five here.
00:40:35 Katie: I know. I have two girls, the two that we spoke about in the beginning of the story, and she has since had two more. The youngest is three. We just haven't quite gotten around to-- and thankfully, she's young enough to not really worry about it. [laughs]
00:40:54 Andrew: No one's feeling left out. That's not what I'm getting at. That means there's a fun addition to that.
00:41:01 Katie: That's right.
00:41:02 Andrew: Because of those shapes, and this makes me think of custom shapes because of, again, what we do here is cutting stickers in custom shapes. With those SuperCookies, back to the animal cracker, biting the head off phenomenon. This is like a custom dye imprinting process to create this thing. How did that happen? Because that seems like it's very complicated, truthfully.
00:41:23 Katie: Well, I'll tell you, it costs about as much as buying a car, which made us both fall off our chairs. I've seen it in action. It's really cool. It's built like a giant rolling pin. It's obviously much bigger. It's probably--
00:41:41 Andrew: Six, eight feet across, whatever. It's huge. Yes.
00:41:43 Katie: Six feet across and every inch of it is a shape of a SuperKid. When the dough comes through, it just rolls over them. Then, just the excess is taken off and the cookies go down through the oven. It's pretty cool to see. That is just fun to watch.
00:42:02 Andrew: I want to see that video. I can't wait someday when you can do an on-site video shoot, because people love when we do just our lasers cutting those things. That's very, very popular for us. Speaking of social engagement, which we're never going to crack on the show, obviously. Anyone who listens, we talk about this pretty much every week, because it's a moving target, and the culture is always defining what we can even talk about and what's trendy. When it comes to things that we know people love, that laser on that machine could do everything.
00:42:29 Katie: They love it.
00:42:30 Andrew: We're not going to do it every day, but we could do it every day. I look forward to seeing that video on your site. That'll be fun. [chuckles]
00:42:35 Katie: Yes. It's pretty cool to see in person. You think about how food's made.
00:42:41 Andrew: Yes. I finally found one really close-up on your Instagram now from October 11th. That one's very good. The level of detail in the costume and stuff is just spot on, even the sticker to the design on the package.
00:42:54 Katie: That process was tough, working with the mold company to say, "Well, we don't want to lose that whole part of their face can we--?" Whatever. It's not easy.
00:43:07 Andrew: I love it. Wow. That's just so fun. That, again, we've covered a lot of ground. Thank you for sharing all this amazing information. Of course, we appreciate business. Right?
00:43:19 Katie: Absolutely.
00:43:20 Andrew: That's neat. I'm looking forward to seeing those stickers in the wild. That'll be fun. Thank you so much, Katie, for joining us. Of course, thank you to Sylvia as well for what both of you have created here. I'm sure your customers thank you as well. On behalf of your customers, [laughs] thank you.
00:43:38 Katie: Thank you so much.
00:43:41 Andrew: We already said it's mysuperfoodscompany.com, and then @mysuperfoods on Instagram. Is that your favorite social? You have five up there.
00:43:49 Katie: Yes. It's Instagram mostly. Then, everything's on Facebook as well. If you DM me, you're going to hear back from me. If you're going to watch our stories, you're going to see my face. It's really me out there. It's mostly Instagram, I would say, is where most of my time is spent.
00:44:09 Andrew: Fantastic. Well, we'll be following your story. Everybody else out there as well. Check them out and enjoy some SuperFood and SuperKids.
00:44:20 Katie: That's right. Thanks, Andrew.
00:44:23 Andrew: Like we say every time on the show, "Every sticker has a story." This time, again, it is the SuperKids. We will see you next time. [music]
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