SDS46: Troy Douglas, Nexba Beverages, CEO + Co-Founder
Simon Dell: So, welcome to the show, Troy Douglas. How are you?
Troy Douglas: I’m amazing. Thank you, Simon, for having me.
Simon Dell: And you’re in Sydney as well. My previous guest was in Sydney, so whereabouts are you in Sydney?
Troy Douglas: Yeah, I’m a Bondi man in terms of where I live but the office is in North Sydney. So, I’m currently just in Nexba HQ in North Sydney.
Simon Dell: Cool. Now, let’s talk about Nexba start up. Give us your elevator pitch of what it is.
Troy Douglas: Nexba is Australia’s naturally-brewed brand, delivering naturally-sugar free innovation to the world. So, myself, I’m the co-founder, and currently, Global CEO is my role. We’ve been going eight years. We’re very much a business which spent 6 years innovating, so I guess of the IP of the company suits in the fact that we have a natural sweetener blend which allows us to create no sugar and nothing artificial products.
And both Drew Bilbe who is my other co-founder and myself, we’re just passionate about the opportunity in this food and beverage industry to accelerate natural sugar innovation in a way that will then make meaningful impact on diabetes and obesity for reducing high sugar and/or artificial consumption. That’s probably a long elevator pitch.
Simon Dell: No, that was good. Give us an idea to everyone where they can get your products. Where do you guys sell at the moment?
Troy Douglas:Nexba, the brand itself, is about naturally-sugar free products. So, obviously, our focus is currently beverages. We’re in Coles, Woolworths… Our core range is sparkling waters and soft drinks. And more recently, we’ve innovated with the likes of Coles and Woolworths to launch some more functional beverages including probiotic water and kombucha. We’ve also got tonics. So, for those of you that are listening and enjoy a bit of a mixer, you can now have a tonic mixer that’s naturally sugar free.
Simon Dell: Do you export as well or you’re just Australia at the moment?
Troy Douglas: My role for the company is we’ve been very much an Australian business only. So, we’re self-funded for 6 years, and then in January 2017 once we cracked this IP, we then went out on a bit of a capital raise process which is a massive learning curve for myself. I was driving that with a gentleman called Steve Maarbani and we’ve secured $4.5 million worth of capital.
And so, what’s that meant for us is we’re sitting on Australia being our focus core market, but we obviously identified that this innovation is a global opportunity and we picked the UK as that first and best market to crack. And what’s exciting is this week was the first time… It’ll be publicly announced in the media next week but we’re launching into… If you’re listening, don’t spread it.
Simon Dell: It’s going to probably be a couple of weeks before this actually gets to where, but yes.
Troy Douglas:By that stage, we’ll be well and truly in all Sainsbury’s, the big supermarkets over in the UK, so it’s pretty exciting.
Simon Dell:That must be a fair jump as well from a revenue perspective for you guys, to start selling into another country.
Troy Douglas:We termed ourselves a startup for many years, and I think once you’re 8 years, you can’t necessarily call yourself a startup anymore. We call ourselves now a scale up. Revenue-wise, last year we grew 156% growth; this year, expect us to exceed that type of growth again.
The UK is an unbelievable opportunity, and the partnership that we’ve got with Sainsbury’s, we could be anywhere from 1 to 15. You just don’t know where it’s going to land and how big they want to innovate like what other Australian retailers are doing. So, I can’t really quote the growth of it.
Simon Dell: Where’s the product manufactured at the moment?
Troy Douglas: Way back when when we began, Drew and myself actually imported a canning line in from Asia. So, my background was law and communications, Drew’s background was engineering. Both of us had really no idea what we were doing.
Simon Dell:That’s how all the best startups start, mate. Don’t worry about it.
Troy Douglas: Yeah. So, we actually originally from a manufacturing perspective had our own mini canning line. When we started, our first products were iced tea in a can, in the most expensive can you can pick, being a 355mL can. And effectively, the reason why we imported and did our own initial launch manufacture was the fact that nobody could pack a non-carbonated can in Australia at the time. We then quickly realized that we’re not the expertise in the Australian market on production and manufacturing.
So, we sold off that machine later on when we secured our first customer, being 7-Eleven, back in 2012 and that’s when we began manufacturing partnerships with other Australian contract packers. We produce in Melbourne and Sydney. And from the UK manufacturing perspective, clearly it’s not the most commercial model to be shipping Nexba across from Australia to the UK. We have done that for our initial launch, but clearly our model is about taking our IP and then partnering with established contract packers in other markets.
Simon Dell: I’m going to take a big step back right to the start because you went to university and studied law, didn’t you?
Troy Douglas: Yeah, a double degree in law and communications at UTS.
Simon Dell: And again, weirdly, which was exactly the same as the guy I’ve just interviewed prior to you, I did law as well. At what point did you go, “Fuck this. This is not any fun.”
Troy Douglas: It took me probably pretty early on because it actually took me 10 years to complete my law and communications degree, and it was very recent. It was this year I actually finally completed it. I think early on, I think obviously yourself and the other person that was previously on, when you are in school and you do quite well from a mark perspective, you kind of get led in a number of pathways. But for me, I just wanted to have I guess a general degree, but I was always passionate about brands and business.
So, I think the moment where I realized that I wasn’t going to be a lawyer was probably when a lady called Sharon Williams who runs a company called Taurus Marketing spoke at uni in the first year that I was there. Just hearing her talk about customers and business got me excited. I then went up to her and said, “Can I work with you and be an intern?”
She said yes, so I ended up working full-time with her and studying full-time. And then I reflected on, “Should I actually give law a crack?” So then I read an article in the magazine, and this guy David Wilkie who was a partner at Allen & Overy, he kind of was the guy that I looked up to.
And I thought if I was going to do law, I think I want to hear about this guy’s journey. So, I just kind of hit him up on LinkedIn, ended up having coffee with him, had a conversation, and then he hired me as a paralegal at Allen & Overy. I definitely wasn’t expecting that because when you’re in the law world, you usually need the amazing marks, and I definitely didn’t have that.
But yeah, he took me in under his wing. I had an amazing learning experience there, and then at the same time, that’s when Drew Bilbe, who is also my brother-in-law, he kind of came to me and said, “I think there’s an opportunity for better-for-you beverages in Australia. Do you want to join me?” And I was like, “Why not?”
Simon Dell: Let’s talk about the brand journey. I used to work in the beer industry, beverage industry, so I kind of was quite passionate about that space. But I think that a couple of questions I sort of want to start off is get an understanding about how the brand came about. Now, for those who don’t know, I did the Nexba brand, is it bastardization, on the beach that Drew was sitting in when he came up with the idea. Is that right?
Troy Douglas: You’re one of the first people who has told me that story, and that is right.
Simon Dell:10 out of 10 for me.
Troy Douglas: Yeah, exactly.
Simon Dell: Gold star goes to the top of the class.
Troy Douglas: Yeah, a place called Rio Nexpa. We didn’t like the sound of the P and ultimately we wanted a name that didn’t have a meaning so we could create a brand that was ownable and could go into different directions.
Simon Dell: I guess creating that, you’ve got a name, you’ve got a concept. From a brand perspective, what sort of came next after that?
Troy Douglas: Yeah. It was very much about product. So, I think the brand has evolved, even though we had a massive refresh in the last two years in terms of our logo itself, it was always this bubble with ‘Nexba’ in it. But quickly, what we realized is because we were, I guess, revolutionizing existing categories with naturally-sugar free, we then wanted the brand to evolve to be renowned for that. So, we actually put ‘naturally-sugar free’ in our bubble.
I think that’s the brand evolution from a physical logo. From the business perspective, I think our vision and mission’s always been quite similar. The only thing that’s really evolved is it did take us 6 years to crack the naturally-sugar free ability, which was to match that taste. Because we quickly realized consumers don’t want to lose out on taste even if they realize that health’s important. So for us, it was, surely, there’s a way to make great-tasting things that are also better for you than the alternatives of sugar or artificial ingredients.
Simon Dell: When people see your packaging, you’ve got that kind of natural cardboardy colouring with the bright colours, and the logos, and very clear taste cues on it, and also in a clear bottle. Why did you go down that road? When you did the refresh, who did you work with on that? Was it something you guys came up with, or was there another agency or a designer involved?
Troy Douglas: Yeah, absolutely. There was a really amazing agency in Sydney called Frost*collective that we worked with. I think way back when when we started, it was literally myself and Drew working with designers that we knew, friends evolving the brand. And what we did do is that we just started to do a bit more testing and see what resonated with consumers. And I think the challenge for us as a brand in a marketing message sense is that sugar free as being made synonymous with artificial and die t category is not that type of impact.
So for us, what we needed to do is: How do you get naturally-sugar free across? And even when you do get naturally-sugar free across, what does it actually mean? That’s why on our branding from a product perspective, on the top, no sugar, nothing artificial is kind of our definition of naturally-sugar free, and then it’s very much we back up proof points on why the products are… The other benefits we also have on the sides of the products.
It’s a big process, because how big do you want to actually make the brand itself? How do you build brand equity as you grow? And ultimately, I think what’s exciting for us is our secret to having self-funded for 6 years and survived was very much about customer collaboration with big retailers on developing innovation jointly. So, that meant that we did want to put Nexba quite significant on the packaging to build that trust.
Simon Dell:For those people that do go and have a look, I’m guessing the video that you guys recorded has got the old branding on it.
Troy Douglas: Yeah. That does need a refresh. I get nervous when I see that because I was a little bit younger and fresher.
Simon Dell: I actually haven’t watched the video but I’m going to watch it now, now you’ve just said that. But yes. So I mean, you’ve got the white can. The branding looks fantastic. You mentioned earlier on there was some collaboration. Did you go out and test it or was it just kind of shoved it in front of some friends and family and went, “What do you think of this?” or did you do a proper focus groups, and going out there, and ask people what they thought of the new branding and packaging?
Troy Douglas: I think when we were in startup land for 6 years, it was completely friends and family and what we liked in testing. And then as the business has grown and evolved, clearly, your ability to have access to data or distribution which allows you to then test rates of sale… So, I think we did trial by error, made many mistakes along the way, but ultimately now we have done… It was a process of, “Does this resonate with some focus groups, etc.”
And the positive impact, and this is a refresh that happened sort of last year, and obviously when you change packaging it takes time to flow through into the market. It’s now flowed through and we’ve had a significant uplift in sales, which is nice. I feel like we’re making — because your biggest marketing tool in food and beverage is your impact on shelf, so you need to prioritize your focus.
Simon Dell: And again, back from my history and other people that I know, selling into the Coles, and the Woolworths, and the 7-Elevens of this world, that itself is an epic battle and we’ll talk about that in a minute. But once you’ve done that, you’ve then got the challenge of getting the end consumer to pick a product off the shelf that they have got no fucking idea of what it is. They don’t know how it tastes. It’s a completely alien brand to them, and all the fantastic packaging in the world can sometimes still not get over that. What other marketing things did you do to sort of breed that awareness and encourage trial to the end user?
Troy Douglas: It’s a great question. I wish I had knew the exact answer. Ultimately, we have seen a lot of businesses over an 8-year journey backed by multinationals launch and fail with significant marketing spent on items. So I think what we very early on realized, and part of our story was a gentleman called Peter Baron that we call the Godfather of Nexba. He invented Sipahh, the flavored straws, but he instilled that in us because he’s seen many businesses lose a lot of money trying to put marketing niches behind it.
And I think what we then focused on was it’s very much a distribution and shelf space, how do you encourage the retailer to give you significant shelf to then draw the opportunity of the 20% of undecided people to give your product a crack. And then the ultimate reason I think for why Nexba’s been able to grow is due to the fact that we prioritize taste, and then you create this thing called taste loyalty.
That said, the business is now in a different period where we are scaling up, so we are trialing strategic marketing initiatives and making sure that we can measure those initiatives. So, we got a really amazing girl, who’s jumped in and she’s able to do a lot more testing. We’ve just recorded our first sort of ads which are rolling out now which really is having a bit of fun about the fact that a naturally-sugar free product actually exists and what does that actually mean. So yeah, so I don’t know.
Simon Dell: So you’re saying you’re rolling out some ads. What’s her plan for that roll out? I mean, where do you put the ads? Where’s she testing out?
Troy Douglas: Yeah. I think what’s nice now that we’ve got scale with distribution and we’re getting access to data in terms of sales is we’re getting to learn a little bit more about our customer, our initial customer.
Clearly, I think naturally-sugar free is something that everybody should be interested in if you are somebody that consumes other things other than water. But it’s very much digital through Facebook, Instagram, targeting consumers that we think will most resonate to trial first, those early adopters, and for us it’s people that are probably health-aware we see as being our early adopters.
We’re also putting these ads physically into the open air cinema across Australia. We’ve done a partnership with them, so that’s an experiential kind of — you’ll see the ad, you’ll also — we’re the only sort of products available, non-alcoholic, and you can also mix it, so that’ll be served at those venues as well.
Simon Dell: Back to the other point that I was talking about there was the actual sell in to the big boys, to the Coles and the Woolworths. We’ve had people on the show who’ve experienced that. I’ve got a personal friend who three months ago cracked Woolworths for the first time. How do you do that? Do you just sort of ring up and hassle buyers? What was the process you guys went through?
Troy Douglas: Another great question. I think everybody all have their different stories. I’m sure your friend does. For us, 7-Eleven was that first big national account and that’s when we changed our business model from producing it ourselves to working with a contract packer. But we developed this customer centricity in building innovation with retail.
What’s unique to Nexba is we are the leading player with our natural sweetener blend in this naturally-sugar free space. So, I’ll tell you about the 7-Eleven. As an example, that took 18 months to get a meeting. And then when we had that meeting, Drew and I also had BP on the same day. It was literally a moment of…
And there’s a guy behind 7-Eleven who was the buyer at the time called Dean Spencer. I say his name because I think he’s worth a mention. He actually was also the guy that gave Thankyou Water an opportunity and they’re doing quite well. So I think for us, it’s having a buyer receptive to a challenger brand to give them a crack. And then what led us to more retails is clearly we made sure that we had a unique product differentiation that could hopefully add incremental sales to that business. So, that was I guess the fortunate story that we had with 7-Eleven.
And then when we talk about the big two guys, Coles and Woollies, it’s very much, again, we developed our soft drink range in collaboration with Coles. We developed our water range in collaboration with Woolworths. What’s nice about both of them is clearly they’re the big two guys, but they both believed in the fact that a naturally-sugar free alternative is a required space, so they’ve been very supportive of our brand, and knock on wood, we’ve got a really good relationship. We look forward to continuing to grow with those guys.
Simon Dell: When you sit in a meeting with 7-Eleven, Coles, Woolworths, first meeting, you’re there, presumably you guys are… You’ve put a suit on for the occasion or you’ve rocked up in shorts and thongs or whatever…
Troy Douglas: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever wore a suit, but yeah.
Simon Dell: It wouldn’t really fit with the brand, would it, if you guys rocked up in suits, would it? It’s not really… It doesn’t really fit, no.
Troy Douglas: No.
Simon Dell: I was going to say: What’s that first meeting? What do you do in that first meeting? Do you bring a pitch deck? Have you got a slideshow? Is it just sampling? How do you get these guys on board?
Troy Douglas: I think you do need to make impact. I think that we’re being… On Coles and Woolworths, I will share that what Drew and I did do is we sought out somebody who was really well-connected and talented in the retail space. Obviously, we hadn’t done it before. Steve Smyth, who is our commercial director, he’s been with the business now 3 years, he’s an incredible part of our family and he helped us prepare for those meetings.
So yeah, we now go in, we want to know as much as we can about their business and what they’re looking to do in their strategy, and then it’s about: “How do we craft our product and brand to be a value add for their strategy?” So, I think that’s the secret to getting an outcome, is if you’re there to add value, it’s ultimately that person, that buyer that you’re speaking with.
That buyer may change in a month’s time, so you need to survive. You need to have relationships on multiple levels, and you need to also know that you’re tying into the bigger picture strategy to make sure that you stay in. So, we’ve been in the big guys. Woolworths is more recent. 2015 was when we first launched into Coles, and we’ve had multiple products that have added value but the price point was way too high, so it’s very hard to get everything right and hit a sweet spot. It has been a teething process for years with those guys.
Another story which might be interesting to your question around impact and succeed in a meeting, this is a funny example, but for Domino’s, we were the first brand other than Coca-Cola… Obviously, the contract’s now switched to Pepsi, but we were to first brand to sell some non-Coke product in Pepsi under ‘crafted by Nexba Brands.’ So, it was a brand that we developed jointly NextGen, but for that meaning we’ve done…
The CEO, he’s obviously in the media a bit, we took him, a guy called Sugarman, a friend of ours, to wear a white latex suit and hold a bowl of sugar and we just got him to sit in a corner and the team were like, “Who’s that dude?” We’re just like, “We don’t want to talk about sugar.”
Simon Dell: Who took the bullet for that role?
Troy Douglas: It was a guy that used to be in Sydney and supported us, a guy called Brady, anyway, and then he moved. He’s back in Queensland. So, I called him up and said, “You don’t mind wearing a white latex suit?”
Simon Dell:“Do you mind sitting in a corner of a room in a white latex suit?”
Simon Dell: I bet that’s his claim to fame he talks about in parties now when he went to Domino’s that day.
Troy Douglas: Yeah, it was a really good story for us. Ultimately, that product sold incredibly well online, but when you put a brand that there’s no consumer awareness in the Domino’s region… If you’re not familiar with their stores, they’re not actually really visible, so in store it wasn’t getting attraction. But it’s an example of thinking, “How do you make an impact like this in a meeting?”
Simon Dell: We all know the social media space and we all know there are people in that area that are less positive and things like that. Do you have your share of trolls and people that are negative about the brand? And if you do, how do you deal with that?
Troy Douglas: Ithink we’re a hard brand to probably troll. I’m touching wood now, for future.
Simon Dell: Iwas going to say, I’ll ever go this afternoon if you want, but no.
Troy Douglas: Obviously, there’s the loyalists of the big, multinational brands, and cola’s a hard product. To actually crack the exact taste of cola, you pretty much need to be as artificial as possible so it’s a hard flavour to create. That said, some people really do love our cola that we’ve got. There’s things like Zendesk like practically is…
So, IT has been setting up Zendesk properly so we have a way to respond quickly. So yeah, just getting the right system in place to be able to handle feedback. We get a lot of customer feedback and customer… I think we’re quite a natural strong brand with advocacy which is awesome. So, for us, it’s more about, “How do we harness the feedback, good and bad, and use that in a way that can build our business?”
Simon Dell: You mentioned Zendesk there. What else do you guys use from a technology perspective in the backend of the business? I mean, this is kind of real sort of nerdy stuff, but it’s interesting to hear different companies using different things to streamline or automate their business.
Troy Douglas: Yeah. I think ultimately, as your team grows, it’s how do you keep everybody on the same path or vision? So, you want to try and find platforms to do so. We are still looking for the perfect task list platform. I don’t think there’s an amazing one out there. From a physical, things like finance side, Zero is a platform that I would recommend to all people in business. It’s just for scaling up businesses. It’s quite a modern version of I guess the MYOB world, et cetera, and that allows myself to be always across the finance in a much bigger way.
And when you start out, we didn’t even have a platform for the first year, like the spreadsheet stuff, and that was… And it’s funny. Like, if you’re all in, you should probably go all in. In fact, I could absolutely recommend you need to go all in with a platform like Zero or just any accounting software. You need to have that in day one.
Simon Dell: The website, what’s that… Do you know what that’s built in?
Troy Douglas: I know that the sales side is through Shopify.
Simon Dell: That helps. Because I was going to say, a lot of people recommend Shopify when you haven’t got like a thousand different products that you’re selling and things like that.
Troy Douglas: Yeah. Shopify is great and it’s got a lot of ability to integrate with a lot of different platforms.
Simon Dell: Do you have people that are ordering on, like wholesalers ordering online, or is that going through another system?
Troy Douglas:So how the big guys order from us and stuff, you building EDI systems into the ordering capabilities. And from a consumer sales side, that’s definitely an area where we can grow. Like, Australia’s a bit behind international markets with direct to consumer sales of product like beverages, the challenge being the physical size of Australia and the number of people, makes the cost of shipping for heavy products hard, but it’s definitely an opportunity to do.
So, we have it set up properly. That’s part of Tia who’s joined us. We’ve got a big refresh of our whole ecomm platform. There’ll be some changes that start to evolve in our business in the coming months.
Simon Dell:Last three questions. First one: What are some of the brands that you like, that outside of your category that you admire and buy all the time?
Troy Douglas: I’m working a lot with Nexba, so I’m probably not a giant brand purchaser, but in terms of businesses and brands that inspire me, the classic one for me personally is Virgin, and I feel like every entrepreneur, founder probably says that. I really liked Richard Branson as an individual, I was inspired by his ability to have a brand that could go into multiple different areas and stand for being that kind of challenger business. There’s a gentleman called Ray Dalio who has a hedge fund with Bridgewater. If people haven’t listened to Ray Dalio’s Principles, that’s something that’s been impactful on myself.
Simon Dell: Do you know what? I think I am the only person in the world who did not enjoy that book but I…
Troy Douglas: Really? Why?
Simon Dell: Absolutely. I’ve listened to Ray Dalio speak on podcasts and things like that. The guy’s a very educated, experienced guy. I just did not enjoy that book. Just maybe it’s just the way it was written. I know it’s going to sound really picky, but I think it was the way it was written and the way that it was presented in terms of its structure. It just annoyed the shit out of me.
Troy Douglas: You’ll probably like my business partner because I think he probably won’t like it.
Simon Dell:I got two-thirds the way through and I was just like, “I can’t.” There’s a point when he goes off and he starts talking about someone famous. I think it’s a basketball coach or something like that, and it’s a paragraph where he references this basketball coach. And then he just stops that story completely and goes back to something else and I’m going, “What was the point of that?” Anyway, I digress completely.
Troy Douglas:It’s an interesting thing you comment on. Last week when Drew and myself did this thing called the High Growth Ventures Founder Program that was set up by a lady called Amanda Price at KPMG, and that has caused us to have all this internal reflection. And you do these…
Because we’ve been in this business, it’s the only real thing we’ve done for the last 8 years. We’ve never done corporate psych, like tests on your personality traits and all this other stuff. I feel like you’d be very similar to Drew and he probably won’t like listening to Ray Dalio either because of the structure.
Simon Dell: What annoys me more is that I haven’t really been able to formulate properly why I don’t like it. I just know that I don’t like it. Anyway, let’s not talk about that because I could go off in a tangent and we will be here all day. So, any other brands that resonate for you out there? I mean, you mentioned Thankyou Water as well. I’m kind of guessing that’s within your category.
Troy Douglas: Yeah. I think in every category, there’s really… In clothing, I’ve got to… I should’ve prepared some notes.
Simon Dell: Don’t worry. I like catching people off guard. There we go.
Troy Douglas: I think businesses that I’m excited by are ones that have a framework, a profit for purpose structure. I just think there’s an ability for brand… Even like us, where I wish I wish — we were a heavily profitable company, but it’s more about we know that we’re doing a — by accelerating our growth, we’re going to accelerate an industry to become naturally-sugar free. There’s countless good brands out there.
Simon Dell: What have you got planned? So, second to last question: What do you guys got planned for 2019? So, 2018’s almost over. What’s on the horizon for next year?
Troy Douglas: Yeah. Again, there’s a lot. I think what’s been interesting for my role in the business has actually been to probably… Over the years, it’s been to make myself redundant over and over about getting incredible people into the business. So recently I had a guy called Vin Ramandhanjoined us as CFO, COO, and we’ve been really clear on our strategy for the Australian context.
It’s really accelerating growth with our core products, the soft drinks, the sparkling waters and then seeing how new innovations go with the functional… The probiotic waters are commonly just in Chemist Warehouse but clearly there’s an opportunity to put them through the bigger supermarket chains, so we’re starting to expand channel distribution in the Australian business.
My focus is really we’ve had a big bet, we’ve rolled the dice, we’re in stores in the UK. In that end itself, whilst we’re a business in high growth that just creates capital-focused opportunities. How do you align that business strategy with the capital strategy? That’s part of my role.
Simon Dell: Yeah, because I’m guessing Sainsbury’s in the UK aren’t paying you upfront for a product, are they?
Troy Douglas: Well, if they’re listening, I’m happy to move to that model, but it is a really good partnership. They’ve got this thing called the Future Brands team, and we’re one of the prioritized brands, but it’s still one of those challenges like… It’s funny. There’s always challenges at any stage of growth.
Simon Dell:How did Sainsbury’s actually come about? Was that just a contact of a contact?
Troy Douglas: Yeah. I think being 8 years in and having a performance proof point, being the Australian market, that allowed us to… It’s through good contacts, I guess. We’ve got about $4.5 million worth of investors. We’ve got some pretty amazing people in that and they’ve got a big network of people that want to support this business as well. I had a random dinner with a lady, Charlotte, and her husband James, they had a company called Good Desserts.
Charlotte and James recommended one of their commercial directors, a girl called Laura who was amazing. She helped set up all these meetings and then the model was, we’re going to go to a new market, we’re going to pitch all the key retailers in the UK. And if none of them buy it, then we’ll move on to another market. That’s kind of what happened. Went over, had meetings with more than really, fortunately… Sainsbury’s is a big player and they obviously saw that there’s an opportunity for our brand.
Simon Dell: Have you got into all of their stores or is there sort of… Do you get maybe their top 40 or..?
Troy Douglas: No, it’s a huge launch. We’ve gone into all 548 of their key supermarkets. To be honest, they would want to see an all fleet, but because the initial model is coming out of Australia. It wasn’t the best decision. Yeah, it was a challenge for us to even go into that many.
Simon Dell: Understandable. Mate, last question: How can people get a hold of you? If they ever want to ask you a question, or they want to try your products, or they just want to hang out with the pair of you in North Sydney at some point?
Troy Douglas: I’m over here down at Bondi Beach. I’m happy for people to connect via email. We’ve got our firstname.lastname@example.org, that’ll fly through to myself if anyone chats to it or whatever.
Simon Dell: And you’re on LinkedIn?
Troy Douglas: Yeah. LinkedIn is actually probably the… That’s obviously 1 on 1, the easiest way to do that, so just try to add us on LinkedIn. You can probably guess my email. It’s email@example.com, so that’s easy.
Simon Dell: Cool. Mate, thank you for your time today. It’s been really good hearing the early stages and the transition of a consumer product and a retail product and the challenges that you face. I appreciate your feedback and your ideas, and thank you very much for being on the show.
Troy Douglas:No, thanks Simon. I appreciate the opportunity. So hopefully, it wasn’t too boring for everybody listening.
Simon Dell: Not at all, mate. Thanks very much.
Troy Douglas: Cheers.