October 6, 2020

Alli and Matt launched Sweet Logic a year and a half ago on Amazon and they have big dreams to become a big brand.

Alli shares her learnings about Amazon, product R&D, email marketing, re-branding and working with her husband.

Sari 0:04
I'm Sari Kimbell and I've done just about everything in the food industry. I have helped hundreds of packaged food business entrepreneurs and now I want to help you make your delicious dream a reality. Whether you want to be successful at farmer's markets, online, or wholesale on the store shelves, Food Business Success is your secret ingredient. I will show you how to avoid an expensive hobby, and instead run a profitable food business. Now let's jump.

Everyone, welcome back to the Food Business Success podcast. Really great to have you with us. And I'm really excited to talk to our guest today, Alli Escovedo Owen, and she is the co-founder along with her husband, Matt, of Sweet Logic. And Alli and I, and Matt all work together a while back. But I have really enjoyed following their success. And I worked with them on a rebrand, and some other fun projects in their business. But now they are off and running and just blowing things up with new products and doing a lot of great stuff on Amazon. And just really taking advantage, full advantage of everything that the marketplace has to offer. So we're gonna dig into a lot of great topics about starting and running a packaged food business. So with that, I want to welcome Alli.

Alli Owen 1:39
Thank you for having me. I'm super excited to be here and share what part of my journey and whatever I can do to help other founders and other people on this path.

Sari 1:50
Yeah, thank you for sharing with us and giving your time on this, this will be a really fun conversation. But um, you know, I know we're going to talk to you, obviously, but we know in the background, that that Matt is a big part of the the brand as well. But can you explain your background and your role in the business and also just tell us what Sweet Logic is so we all know what we're talking about.

Alli Owen 2:15
For sure. So I am an engineer by school petroleum engineer, and I worked in the oil and gas industry for four years. And that's where I met Matt, my husband who is a mechanical engineer. And we started Sweet Logic in 2018 when we both started doing the keto, low carb diet and struggled finding sweet options to satisfy our sweet tooth at night, and we're making these mug cakes every night and had to pull out like seven ingredients and there's just a hassle. So we thought you know, maybe there was a better way. There wasn't a lot of products on the market and we kind of had an entrepreneurial spirit and I wanted to have more flexibility and freedom in my job. So we transitioned in to me being full time in the business and Matt worked full time as an engineer still and yeah, but before we did that we did take like eight months off and traveled in our van across the country. But now we've been plugging away Sweet Logic for about a year and a half seriously and gaining some pretty good traction online and on Amazon and are looking to go into retail this year as we have planned this year and then COVID hit so next year maybe.

Sari 3:47
It was a rough time to we were ready to launch right Right.

Alli Owen 3:51

Sari 3:54
So unfortunate timing there but the fortunate side was that online sales were were going big and yeah, you guys already had a great Amazon presence as well as your online your your home store. Um, so you guys have never- side note I somehow I work with a lot of engineers that's really interesting. I love it because you're on it. You're like give me the facts, let deal with spreadsheets. Let's go. But it is funny that I attract a lot of engineers that I work with. You don't necessarily think of engineer and you know food brand-

Alli Owen 4:37
No you don't

Sari 4:37
entreprenuer going together but you guys just have these like side passions, these side hobbies, I guess that you want to turn into businesses. So I love your photos of you guys traveling around in your van as well. Fun you got to do that. Now have you guys been entrepreneurs before this?

Alli Owen 5:00
We had tried to start were Matt and I were both really into the financial independence movement like early retirement, and investing and saving. And so we had started a blog and a YouTube channel, previously, that we still post on occasionally, and came out with a course on helping people understand their money habits and make better money decisions. And so that we kind of started but we realized quickly that we didn't want to be the face of our business. And that it was very, very not aligned with like, the, the lifestyle that we wanted to live, I guess, and kind of fell out of the passion for that, too. And I could see us like, one day coming back to that when we don't want to do it for money. I think we also felt weird about, like, asking people to pay us to help them with their money when they're already in a bad money place. You know, and it's like, I can't do this for free, because it's like my time, but so we tried that. And it's still a passion of ours, but

Sari 6:14

Alli Owen 6:14
that the paying and getting people to pay for that kind of fell out of our values.

Sari 6:19

Alli Owen 6:20
So I could see us one day doing it just you know, pro bono or just putting out free content.

Sari 6:26
Right. Right. Well, yeah, when you guys are, you know, you sell your business for billions?

I don't know about billion.

Alli Owen 6:34

Let's hope for millions!

Sari 6:39
Fair enough. Fair enough. Do you think how do you think that has helped you being an entrepreneur kind of pursuing that for you and your your current business?

Alli Owen 6:51
I think we are very capital efficient and savvy with where we spend our money. We've been able to bootstrap the business completely up to this point, and run it pretty profitably now. Attempting so in some months or less, but I think that really helped us to put the money in the finances as a really high importance to track everything. And to make sure, you know, we're not spending more than we're making in the business sense, because it's easy to do when there's tons of opportunities and things to spend money on

Sari 7:33

Alli Owen 7:34
to grow your business.

Sari 7:37
There's so many things, and I get emails all the time from clients, you know, should I do this? Should I do this? Like influencers? And

Alli Owen 7:44

Sari 7:45
everybody wants some money from you. And they all promise the moon right, but totally do that a lot. Yeah. But um, I mean, that is really great that you guys came in with a money mindset. I think that is probably one of the biggest issues I see with, especially food business entrepreneurs in this in this package food business. They're just so passionate about their project and their brand and their food. But they haven't really had that money training. And you know, and that's one of the first things I do. And a couple podcasts ago, I talked with Tera Johnson, and we talked a lot about being profitable, and managing your cash flow and doing those forecasts. And it's it's not the sexy fun part of running a business, but it's so necessary for sure for success.

Alli Owen 8:42
Yeah, and in a business like this, which is low margins, and it takes a lot of money to fund cat, you know, to fund inventory. And just managing all of that, you know, and looking to go into retail, you don't get paid right away, you have to

Sari 9:01

Alli Owen 9:03
it can be very stressful financially. So,

Sari 9:06
Yeah, yeah. I think people are always a little bit surprised when I say when I tell them how much money they need to like really, to do this seriously. And to really get started. Because it is a product based business and you have to put all, all of it out upfront, you have to lay out all the money up front, the kitchen time, the inventory, the ingredients, the packaging time.

Alli Owen 9:35

Sari 9:35
All of that has to go in up front. So you know, share with us what you're comfortable with, but kind of what did that financial situation look like when you first came in?


you were it was a different looking product. I had a different name. You know, you certainly have elevated the brand. And that's one of the things that we did together. But yeah, just share with us a little bit more about kind of your bootstrapping mentality. How you came into the business? What was your mindset? And then as you grew it?

Alli Owen 10:04
Yeah. So we, the way we bootstrapped the business was in our previous jobs, we saved like 70% of our incomes for four years. Like basically the whole time we were working. So we were saving a significant portion. And doing that, through frugal ways. You know, having roommates in the house. We still have roommates now.

Sari 10:28
Oh my gosh I didn't know that.

Alli Owen 10:29
Yeah, yeah, buying really crappy cars, and just, you know, living as cheaply as we can. And, you know, we realized too like, those things like nice cars, and fancy houses, like those don't really bring us joy anyways. And so it was more just like a values choice to have, like, these aren't important to us, like, what is important to us is being able to put money into things that we're passionate about. And so we made those decisions from the beginning of Matt and I's relationship and our entrepreneurial timeline. So starting, you know, we launched very basic with a ugly foil pouch with a sticker on it on like a free Shopify, I think it was $10 a month Shopify website or something like that. And, you know, that was at the end of 2018, and had one flavor, and had an Instagram page and sent some to some influencers for free, you know, sent free product.

Sari 10:30

Alli Owen 10:36
And they reviewed us and that kind of drove our first initial sales. And then we wanted to get into a subscription box, Keto Crate was the one we really wanted to get into. And they told us, this was in May of 2019. So after about six months in business, they told us, they really liked the products, but we needed custom printed packaging for that. And so they were also it was about a 10,000 unit order. And so with that, we were like, Well, with that order, we can buy custom pouches, because before we weren't selling barely anything, you know, $1,000 on our website.

Sari 12:11
So even you had a different package even from when I met you guys then

Alli Owen 12:14

Sari 12:15
It was pretty okay, so you really started with the bare bones? Were they Avery labels? Please tell me Are

They were printed from our home printer.

Yes. Those are my favorite! I love it! I do like just start sometimes you just need a minimum viable product just to get it going.

Alli Owen 12:36
Totally, they were they were ugly, but they did the job. And our name then was Primal Noms, too. Yeah, so that was the name we started with. And then we upgraded our packaging, got custom Printed pouches, and really was like, ooh, these are so you know, really felt like we you know, elevated it a lot. But you know, Matt, and I didn't know anything about branding or design or, you know, what catches people's eye and what's important on shelf. And so we spent some time going to Naturally Boulder events and just learning as much as we can about the industry and talking to our consumers to really trying to understand who they are, what they wanted from us and how we can best communicate who we are to them on in our brand and in our packaging. So that summer, last summer 2019, we decided to change the name and ran an Instagram contest to determine our new name. And one of our customers came up with Sweet Logic. And it just made sense to us. Because we are, you know, the dichotomy of being a sweet, indulgent treat and a logical low carb keto friendly option. So it really fit us. And when we talked to her, she said she picked logic because we're both engineers, which I thought was cute, too. I didn't even think about that.

Sari 13:58
With you guys, that's the brand and your personality.

Alli Owen 14:02
Totally, really fit. But then, you know, going into the design portion of it, I was really lost. That's when we came to you. And you introduced us to Christopher and we really worked through, you know how to design our pouches to be ready for retail shelves, that was what we wanted, where we want it to be. It took, you know, three months and then a couple more months to print them and get them ready. And then we launched the new Sweet Logic brand in March of this year.

Sari 14:34
Yeah, which we weren't too far off. I mean, it always takes longer.

Alli Owen 14:37

Sari 14:38
But I think you wanted to launch it in January.

Alli Owen 14:42

Sari 14:42
So we're

Alli Owen 14:43

Sari 14:44
off but but you know, we also like made a decision to find a new designer and kind of, you know, really make sure that we were getting the best possible design and totally next step for your business and it's, it's gorgeous. I mean, he did a phenomenal job. And then I'm actually talking with Karen was sweet and savory design on another podcast and she's picked up the work from there and her for your latest products. So yeah, such a beautiful packaging. It really jumps off the shelf. I highly recommend everybody go and least check out their their packaging and branding, because it's pretty phenomenal.

Alli Owen 15:24
Thank you. Yeah, Christopher did a great job. He still designed all the new mug cake flavors too that we launched. So yeah, he he did those and then Karen did the full size.

All right. Yeah.

Ones the pancake in the Logica and all of those. Yeah,

Sari 15:42
Yeah. Which I want to talk about product development, too. But yeah. So yeah, you guys have boots just to finish up the financing and kind of the money side of things. So you guys have bootstrapped your business. You are making your products still, right in the kitchen?

Alli Owen 15:57
Not for long, though.

Sari 15:59

Alli Owen 16:00
One more production run.

Sari 16:02
And then what a co Packer?

Alli Owen 16:03

Sari 16:05
Good for you.

Alli Owen 16:07
So excited.

Sari 16:09
That is really exciting. But still from I mean, over two years, you guys have been in there making your own product and doing production days. And you know, I mean, you do have a benefit that the product is shelf stable. You know, it's relatively easy to make- you're not baking anything. There's


equiptment for packaging, like it's pretty efficient to go into to product.

Alli Owen 16:35
And yeah, the co-packer, a lot of co-packers we talked to would be doing it the same way we're doing it. So that didn't make sense. If we had to wait until we got to the volume where we could fully automate it. Right.

Sari 16:47
Make sense? Yeah. That's really exciting. Yeah. Patience on that say huge step.

Alli Owen 16:53

Sari 16:53
milestone in your business.

Alli Owen 16:55

Sari 16:57
But so yeah, we did some forecasting. And I know your goal has always been to, yeah, to bootstrap this as long as possible and not take.

Alli Owen 17:06

Sari 17:06
any equity or anything. And, and you guys made a lot of sacrifices along the way, and are probably still doing that. But

Alli Owen 17:14
Yeah, in terms of like how much we've put in. I mean, we started with barely anything. Like I think we put in $5,000, the first year. And then last year, we put in another 20 to fund the inventory to make for those subscription boxes that we got into. And then this year, we put in more. I think total we've put in about 70k, of our money. And then we got a 30k SBA loan.

Sari 17:48
Oh, nice. Okay, so you have gone ahead and yeah, borrowed some money to?

Alli Owen 17:53

Sari 17:53
I mean, it is a stairstep. And every time you, you know, go into the next level of business, like, you need capital, that's part of running a business, I appreciate you sharing those numbers. Because, yeah, I think people don't always understand like how much money it

Alli Owen 18:08
How much

Sari 18:08
takes to really fund your growth, like, you have to put the money in ahead of time. Totally, man.

Alli Owen 18:14
And it's scary, because it's like, this is betting on something that's not certain. And yeah, you have to take the risk of, and, you know, you can make a smart risk judgment where like, you know, even if we went out of business, after you know, just sold off all the product we had, we would still get all our money back out of it. So it's not like we were, we're making this bed that is completely gonna banish all this money into the air, like spending $70,000 on a designer to do just packaging or something. Right, you know, so it's, it's sustainable for us, but everyone also has their own risk tolerance. And yeah, you know, has to evaluate what they're comfortable with. And for us, we haven't been comfortable asking friends and family for money. Just because it, it feels like, like, we know, if the bit something were to happen in the business and that money were to be gone, we would still want to be able to pay them back. Just like our ethics, right?

Sari 19:21
Yeah, sure.

Alli Owen 19:22
We haven't felt like we needed it there. So our next round is we are doing an angel funding round but mostly just for strategic investors that we think could help us and give us more connections or

Sari 19:42
Yeah, that access.

Alli Owen 19:44

Sari 19:44
advisor level super important. Yeah, I think people really underestimate the power of having a good advisory board and, and finding key partners that maybe aren't in it as a financial investment but are investing their time and experience and you

Alli Owen 20:01
For sure.

Sari 20:01
that could be a whole other topic of a pocket.

Alli Owen 20:04
Yeah, definitely.

Sari 20:08
Well, then let's, let's switch gears a little bit. The holidays are coming up, you guys have a fantastic I mean, you have done a great job with social media and your email marketing. Really, obviously, you did spend some time and whether it came naturally or you just kind of learned as you went, but you have some great marketing tools. And all of that is going to you know, Amazon is probably how what, what percentage would you say is your website versus Amazon as far as your sales go?

Alli Owen 20:45
Amazon is now a large, very large portion. I would say it depends on the month, but it's anywhere from 50 to 70% of the business.

Sari 20:55
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. So. So what is your holiday plan look like for especially regarding Amazon, but in general? I mean, you guys have email marketing, influencers. You've done a great job with that. You know, your social media, what and so yes, can you share with us some of your plans for blowing it out on Amazon?

Alli Owen 21:18
So pumpkin spice is out now. Our pumpkin spice monk cake, and is Yeah, delicious. Big bestseller. Everyone loves pumpkin spice. And we are going to do Prime Day. I think we have a 15% off coupon for Prime Day, which is the second week of October.

Sari 21:39
Oh nice!

Alli Owen 21:40
But yeah, in terms of holiday plans, we do do about a Black Friday sale. It's like the only sale of the year we do and it's Buy One Get One 50 percent off. And that last year, that was a really big day for us. So we'll see this year. how that goes. In terms of Christmas, normally we kind of go a little quieter around Christmas because people aren't really eating normally, you know, they're they're not

Sari 22:12
I guess I could go either way people are like I need a deck an entry but I'm strike trying to stay on my diet. But yeah, people probably

Most people aren't eating their diets around Christmas.

Although this year could be totally different.

Alli Owen 22:27
Yeah, it's true. Who knows what to expect this year. And then January is a month we're excited for because we haven't had the new brand ready and been, you know, in such a good position on Amazon, as we are now. This year. So yeah,

Sari 22:48
Yeah. I remember, you know, during that at Whole Foods Market, like, you know, Christmas was all about the gluttony and all the sweet things and everything. And certain brands just did terrible during the holidays, but then January man that was like their month to shine. Yeah. Well, man said weight loss powders, all the vitamins and

For sure. Yep.

Anything like getting your diet back on track related. So yeah, that makes sense. Wow. So are you guys gonna put in more more dollars? Like spend dollars? Sponsorship dollars on Amazon? Do you have a plan to increase that over the?

Alli Owen 23:37
No, we're staying pretty consistent with what we've always wanted to be profitable. Yeah. And so we never want to spend more than at least right now spend more just for the sake of growth? And so, yeah, we spend about 15% on ads on Amazon, but it's still profitable. Okay, so that's, yeah, that's where we'll stay. But we're just expecting higher search volumes in January for the terms like keto dessert and you know, keto treats to go up. So are low sugar low carb treats. So that's kind of where we're expecting more growth in January timeline.

Sari 24:28
So you typically 15% of your sales? Is that kind of how you have the algorithm.


I'm remembering that correctly. No, that's

great. So

Alli Owen 24:40
We have a consultant that does Oh, yeah.

Sari 24:44
Are you working with Shannon or somebody else?

Alli Owen 24:47
No, we're working with Leon Lewis. Okay. is really great. Yeah. He manages all our ads. And

Sari 24:54
Oh, nice.

Alli Owen 24:55
Yeah. has, has worked at Rebel and Health Warriors. So a lot of CPG Amazon experience is great for startup friendly. Yeah. Okay have crazy fees like,

yeah. A lot of agent.

Sari 25:11
Yeah, for sure.

Alli Owen 25:12
Yeah. Um, but I did great Shannon's course.

Sari 25:16
Yes. And I'll put the link to a little free mini course of Shannon's for food brands and in the show notes, but Okay, so you kind of have a plan for Amazon. And obviously, you have to ramp up inventory to some extent for you know, the holidays and into January.

Alli Owen 25:35

Sari 25:36
So that's a big capital outlay. And then you're working on your email strategies? You guys like I said, you have some great email marketing? Seems like you stay on top of like cutting edge can trends and things is that you? Or I know, you have an assistant too.

Alli Owen 25:56
Yeah, I mean, I think I am just a nerd about those things. I just like him, follow a lot of people on Twitter and sign up with a lot of email lists that try to keep me in the know about different marketing and news related things. But I do feel like, you know, there is limited capacity as a founder. And I probably don't do as much as I could, as everyone thinks in terms of like, email marketing, and

Sari 26:29
Sure there's always more that you can do.

Alli Owen 26:31
Yeah. There's always more.

Sari 26:32
You do a great job

Alli Owen 26:34
Ah thank you.

Sari 26:34
and a nice blend of personality, you know, being personable with people. You do have, I mean, just the fact that you do have a funnel a marketing funnel, when somebody opts in to your email list is, I mean, I can't tell you most people don't that I work at and don't even know what that is. So for people who don't know what that is, when somebody opts in to your email list that you have, how many do you guys have like three or four?

I think we have three, yeah.

Three, okay. You know, somewhere between like, three and five would be kind of high, but that you have an email sequence that gets sent to them, you know, on the first day, and then the third day and, and so you're just sharing more about you and the brand and the product and, and then you're offering them, do you offer them a free gift or something?

Alli Owen 27:25
At the end? Yeah, if they haven't purchased yet, I think Yeah. $5 off.

Sari 27:30
Yeah. So you can set up some pretty savvy things in there. Do you guys just still use MailChimp or using? No,

Alli Owen 27:37
We use Klaviyo which is awesome.

Sari 27:40

Highly recommend

So you'd recommend it?

Alli Owen 27:42
Right? Yeah. It's so easy to set everything up. MailChimp was not intuitive to me.

Sari 27:47

Alli Owen 27:48
It's cheaper. I mean, Klaviyo is more expensive. I think it's $160 a month.

Sari 27:53
Wow. But yeah,

you guys have a lot of sales. I mean, you know, yeah. And I, I mean, people out, you know, wonder like, Why spend money on ads for emails and things? But I mean, your emails are so key. How big is your list?

Alli Owen 28:09
Our list is 5000 right now.

Sari 28:12
Okay. Yeah. And the fact that you're getting a still a good portion of sales through your your native website I think is testament to that email list.

Alli Owen 28:24
Yeah, definitely. And, yeah, we have some abandoned cart sequences set up and sequences if they haven't purchased in a while to kind of be like Hey, what's up?

Sari 28:37
Those things are so so key. I don't even think people realize like all the cool things you can do. Because you're on Shopify, right?

Alli Owen 28:43
We are. And okay, yeah. And Klaviyo has all of those templates already, like built, you just go in and, you know, make it your own. So, and cool. It's really nice. Yeah. And it's easy to make them pretty.

Sari 29:00
Yeah, yeah, you guys do a great job of that. I'll I'll put a link to that in the in the show notes for people if they want to check out Klaviyo. So and then, and then you guys have some good influencer relationships, too, right?

Alli Owen 29:15
Yeah, we have we started with influencers on Instagram, because that's where I hung out the most as a millennial. And I went to Keto Con as well last year, and met a bunch of them in real life and just kind of started forming friendships and relationships with them. And so yeah, we we have paid an influencer every now and then for like a specific recipe that we want them to create with specific content, but for the most part, we've just sent free products in exchange for reviews on their pages, and they're, you know, they get free products and they get to make content out of it. For us the key has been focusing on smaller influencers, like 5000 to 15,000 followers, because they're more likely to want to work for you for free or for product then, you know, if you go after a 200,000 Instagram person, they're going to be like, well pay me $2,000 for.

Sari 30:21
Yeah, I think people underestimate those micro influencers and how, how great they can be for your business. And he totally just take some free product. They're looking for content, right?

Alli Owen 30:35
Totally. Yeah. And they, you know, then you get to repost their content. So you get, you know, content, and it kind of shows like social proof that other people are buying your product, or using your product or like your product. So that's been good. We have an affiliate program as well. Okay, that right influencers get 10% of every sale that they direct to our website using their code. And that's pretty easy to set up within Shopify is just an app called affiliate Li that we installed.

Sari 31:11
Okay, great. Yeah, I think you guys, you've done a great job of just kind of taking advantage of all those little pieces, and certainly the niche that you're in the category, right, keto, and all of that lends itself nicely to having a lot of influencers. But I think in most categories, there's there are people in totally about, you know, barbecue, or family meals, or, you know, there's, there's somebody for everyone for every product, I think.

Alli Owen 31:40
Totally, and the hardest thing that they think it takes the longest is just finding them. I mean, keto people are, I think, the easiest to find, because they're pretty fanatical about being keto, and use all the hashtags and, you know, tag each other and

Sari 31:57
Yeah, how the system down?

Alli Owen 31:59
Yeah, seem pretty crazy. Right. So I think the the hardest part is like finding them. But just take some

Sari 32:09
and establish that initial relationship, you know, building, building some trust, and

Alli Owen 32:14

Sari 32:15
yeah, but I think once you can get a great product in their hands, they, they tend to get pretty excited about it.

Totally and free. You know. Yeah.

Yeah. For sure. So, let's see what else um, as far as let's see. Oh, you had a great topic was like, totally off off the we're getting off topic of the influencers and advertising. But I did love your, your topic of like, Just a quick note on how is it working with your spouse? How is that? Do you recommend it?

Alli Owen 32:53
Uh, sometimes? No. It's great. I mean, Matt, and I really have complementary strengths. So that's been really helpful. He's definitely more of your typical engineer like operations, very detailed. His spreadsheets. I know you've seen them. Sorry. They're Yes. They're kind of crazy insane. And I'm definitely more of a vision type person. And so I do a lot of the sales and marketing and that more brain of things. So we definitely complement each other really well. The heart, the challenge is we're both very driven people and we both will put the business before ourselves and before our relationship sometimes, which is not healthy for anyone's relationship. And so we have to be intentional about, you know, not overextending ourselves and trying to have some sort of balance and not just always be talking about the business too. We'll be like, Okay, this dinner, we're not gonna talk about the business. We're just gonna talk about other things, because, uh,

yeah, I think that's the biggest thing. Yeah. for people who work together. I know. I talked to Zorro. Well, Dora, same thing. Like, you just have to create some rules. Yeah.

Sari 34:20
What do we talk about? Business? That's all I do.

I know. I know. Well, we did have interest together before. Let's talk about that.

So funny. Yeah, but I do think it's important to have maybe it's not a formal business partner or you know, a spouse but you know, I feel like that is sometimes I feel like I am people's like, yeah, unofficial business partner, just somebody to bounce ideas off of and questions and what do you think about this and just having somebody go to it can be can you imagine doing this on your own?

Alli Owen 35:01
I couldn't I would have quit already. Completely honestly.


Wouldn't be able to do it. Yeah.

Sari 35:08
So getting help of some kind, finding support and not doing this in a vacuum. Super important.

Alli Owen 35:15
Definitely. Yeah. And there's so many, you know, communities to that I've found helpful, like Facebook groups and that have also, you know, the other founders want to help you, too. And I have probably a call once a week with a different founder, someone who's either, you know, ahead of me, or I'm the head person that's ahead of them and I'm trying to help them. It's kind of you know, it's just kind of how I feel like the industry is. Everyone wants to help each other. Yeah, so

Sari 35:47
I love that that you're Yeah, but I mean, you've been great. I've sent people your way to, you know, who aren't as far along to talk to you. But then I know, I've also connected you with other people who are way further along. And I and I know you do a great job of making those connections and so important to have advisors and mentors, and then also be that to somebody else. Not just have it be


Just take take take right?

Alli Owen 36:12
Yeah, yeah.

Sari 36:14
Balance. Yeah. Um, so what about you guys have done a lot of product innovation lately? I mean, you came out with you just had one plate. What was the first flavor?

Alli Owen 36:24

Sari 36:25
Chocolate? Of course. Yeah. And then you had four flavors. Right?

Alli Owen 36:30

Sari 36:31
Or did you have five?

Alli Owen 36:33
So we had four, and then we had pumpkin spice. Okay.

Sari 36:39
So that was the rotating seasonal flavor.

Alli Owen 36:44
And then we had orange in there. So we've kind of, and we use that we have two flavors we've discontinued. And then we introduced four new flavors this summer, too.

Sari 36:55
Right. Right.

Alli Owen 36:56
So we're kind of testing. We're testing a lot of things.

Sari 37:01
So yeah. And you worked with a food scientist, right to develop the? Do you still have the ones are you you've launched those ones? Right? The ones that you just added water?

Alli Owen 37:11
Mm hmm. Yeah, we launched those this summer.

Sari 37:14

Alli Owen 37:15

Sari 37:15
What's been the response on those? Because I know, you know, your your original product, you have to add the egg and the butter. Right?

Alli Owen 37:23
Yeah, it's been interesting. It wasn't what I expected. I think. Even though it's not as convenient adding butter and egg, people like that product more, it seems. It's hard to know exactly like in terms of sales wise, because we only have, like three months of data on the new products. And just, you know, the new product hasn't gained as much momentum on Amazon just because it's newer. So it's hard to we haven't made like a final decision yet. Or final, you know, but people like both. And I think having the just add water makes it more convenient, more usage occasions. But it's not as big as the add butter and egg. And it also is more crumbly, because it doesn't have the egg as the binder, it has egg powder. But you can only add so much. And you know, it doesn't it doesn't act the same as a fresh egg.

Sari 38:22
Right, right.

Alli Owen 38:23
Yeah. And so that, I mean, the just odd waters are really delicious, but they're like half the size of the add butter and egg. Even though like the weights are higher on the just add water in terms of how much powder we use.

Sari 38:35
Right? I mean, yes, cuz Yeah. But then you just had water. Well, and I guess, you know, you guys were kind of thinking like, well, offices, you know, people at work would want an afternoon treat.

Alli Owen 38:48
Yeah. But everyone's home.

Sari 38:51
So now everybody has access to eggs and butters. Yeah. So that kind of changed potentially skewed the results a little bit, but

Alli Owen 39:00
for sure. Yeah. And yeah, I think the the older, like the original flavors are a different palette than the newer flavors that we chose to just add water. You know, it's the newer flavors we chose are kind of more trendy. And new, you know, and the older flavor or the original flavors are more

Sari 39:23
comfort kinda


old school.

Alli Owen 39:26
The carrot cake. A lemon popppyseed.

Sari 39:27

Alli Owen 39:28
It's like more of old school and the new the newer ones are like red velvet and confetti, which are more like trendy flavors.

Sari 39:35
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Interesting. So yeah, it'll be interesting to see what direction you guys go with that if you end up turning them into the egg and butter.

Alli Owen 39:44
Yeah, I don't know. We definitely haven't made decision. Yeah. So yeah.

Sari 39:50
Yeah, more data is definitely, definitely necessary. For sure.

We need to do some more

And then you launched a pancake?

Alli Owen 39:58
We do and that was a fail.

Sari 40:01
Oh, no! Well, thank you for sharing that. But not everything is like a winner out of the gate. No. Why do you think that was?

Alli Owen 40:11
Yeah, we made it in our home kitchen. Like, we formulated it, Matt and I based on the confetti, mud cake mix, basically. We just kind of took that base recipe, and tweaked a few things to make it into, like less sweet, less dense, like, flatter, you know, pancake. And it works fine when we made it ourselves. And then we're trying to figure out what happened. The only thing we can think of is we changed a supplier for one ingredient. It's the same ingredient. But

Sari 40:54
Oh, interesting.

Alli Owen 40:55
Now, when we went into manufacturing for it, the taste is good. But the texture is very crumbly. And so doesn't hold together very well. Which I mean, you need when you want a pancake, you want it to hold together.

Sari 41:08
Yeah. Oh no.

Alli Owen 41:10
So that was disappointing. And you know, we got feedback from customers on that, which is always hard to hear, right? That negative feedback. And so we're kind of taking a step back, we've pulled them off the website, we're trying to figure out if we can salvage what we have in inventory. We have like 1000 in inventory, if we can, you know, say, if you add an egg to it, then it'll stay together and add kind of like, a sticker on the pouch that says that, um, or if it's something that we just have to kind of sell to one of those discount distributors that can give us, you know, 20 cents for of our cogs, or you know, give us 20 cents

Sari 41:59
Which you hate to do that, because you kind of don't want your brand name getting attached to Yeah, the highest quality product, but then what do you do? Yeah, what do you do with bags?


Oh, well, thanks for sharing that I think it's good people can learn as much from your successes. Definitely. Oh, yeah. From the fall flat on your face.

Alli Owen 42:24
Yeah, this, this was a struggle. This one is very fresh to because it's just happening right now. So it's, it's okay. You know, it's like, we have to be ready to fail and certain things and yeah, we've learned from it that we tried to rush it out too soon before we tested enough, I think. And that's something that we're taking with us as we move forward in terms of, you know, moving to the co-packer, like, we're like, okay, we're not going to rush this, we're going to go slowly and make sure we, you know, cross all our T's dotting our I's. We know, all our questions have been answered. We're not going to try to just, you know, do it quickly because we want it done. So, even if it's not gonna happen as soon as we want it to, okay, right, just go slow. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay if it's late.

Sari 43:20
Yeah, I mean, it's nobody's timeline. But really.

Yeah, no one else was waiting for it.

Yeah, exactly. So I asked you this question, I loved your answer. I'd love for you to expand on it. So if you could offer one piece of advice to someone just starting out? What would it be? And you said, optimize for not quitting. So what Yeah, what do you mean by that? I love that.

Alli Owen 43:48
So yeah, one of my mentors told me this when I started the business, and it's really stuck with me. Because how my gosh, it's so easy to quit, you know, it's so easy to see no's that you get from buyers or, you know, looking at other brands and seeing their success and just think that is a reason to quit, or, you know, as we had this year, we had Duncan Hines launch a competing product and Birch Benders launch a competing product. And that was just a stab. I was like, Oh my gosh, I want to quit, you know, because it's like, they did it already. I don't need to do it anymore. But it just it prioritizes how like, optimize for not quitting in terms of how you structure your day. So like if I am having you know, like when when Bert Birch Benders and Duncan Hines launched the competing products, I took like three days off because I was like, and I just watched TV and I was like I can't. I'm going to quit if I try to work right now because this is too much for me. I feel like definitely quitting. So I just need to take some mental health days. And get, you know, my spark back and my inspiration back. And you know, talk to some other people in the industry who can give me some perspective. Because to me, that was like a death sentence. I was like, Oh my gosh, why did you like, you know, but talking to other people

Sari 45:17
A main conventional brand and a natural store brand both coming out with the same product.

Alli Owen 45:20
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But I talked to some other people in this space who, you know reassured me that this is a good thing, it's good to have competitors, because that means you're onto something. And, you know, they, those two brands have found their niche in Walmart, you know, that that's where they are. None of them are, you know, in Whole Foods, or in any other natural grocery stores, actually, they're mostly in, you know, the conventional channel. And so, you know, there's always opportunities, if, you know, if you are creative and willing to work for it. And we have a better product. So you know, it's like, do I believe that? Do I, even if we don't have the resources that Duncan Hines has to market this, you know, do I believe in myself and my company enough to get there. So back to it all. It's like,

Sari 45:24
Yeah I love that

Alli Owen 46:19
optimizing your, your day to day schedule, if you know, you're having bad days, for trying not to quit just that one day. And, you know, it's all only take a day at a time and try to get a little bit done every day and not quit every day. That's the goal.

Sari 46:40
That is definitely the goal. I think even on a bigger scope, though, I would even add, like making commitments. I mean, when you make commitments to your kitchen time, or, you know, you you work with somebody like myself, and you, you know, you invest some money, like, you kind of make a bigger commitment. Like,

yeah, I

may like, I might be having a bad day, but I'm gonna show up, even when I don't want to, because other people, you know, I've either invested money in something or other people are expecting me to show up that day or not. So I think it's Yeah, you got to do your personal personal work, but I think you can actually create some external commitments that help you to not quit when you have one bad day. Right?

Alli Owen 47:33
Totally. You know, like, Sarah gave me this homework for, you know, next week that I have to finish before our call that next week. And yeah, just like x, knowing yourself if you need those external things is important to. Um or Yeah, and how to structure them into your day to day. Yeah, that's a really good point, too, to kind of put some external motivators.

Sari 47:57
Yeah, I love the like day to day like how do you structure a day but then how can you also structure the next six months so the next you know, like, go if you're gonna go all in on this create some external accountability and structure too

Alli Owen 48:12

Sari 48:13
cuz there will be hard days and fails and you're like, this is not worth it? What am I doing?

Yep, and pancake mixes that don't turn out

and pancake mix fails. Oh man. Well, before I asked my last question, Where can people find you and go check out Sweet Logic?

Alli Owen 48:37
So we are on our website at eatsweetlogic.com and Instagram at Eat Sweet Logic. And yeah, feel free if anyone has any questions or wants to connect with me my email is Allie A L L I at Eat Sweet Logic.com.

Sari 48:54
Oh, boy. You might get some emails now. But

Alli Owen 48:58
Hopefully nice ones.

Sari 49:00
Yes, of course. They will all be nice because from from those podcasts for sure.

Alli Owen 49:05
Nobody cursing me for my pancakes mix. Cuz I got that one the other day. That was

Sari 49:12
Oh, no. Really? We're going there for pancake mix?

Alli Owen 49:17
Yeah. Oh my gosh, people can be so mean.

Sari 49:22
It seems a bit extreme like that.

Alli Owen 49:26
It's like, I'll refund you. Why are you taking this so personally?

Sari 49:31
I was thinking about you. Specifically you person when I made this pancake mix and I was thinking how can I ruin your day?

Alli Owen 49:40

Sari 49:45
I'm sorry, but I thought Yeah, got bounced back. yet. I'm sure it's offset by it's like why do we focus on the one email right

I know right?

Right like hundreds of other posts and emails thanking you for your great products.

Alli Owen 50:04
For sure, yeah. Hard, hard to focus on the good. But it's important.

Sari 50:10
Well, and I highly recommend everyone go and opt in to their email list, if only to kind of get some ideas and see what that that email sequence looks like. Yeah, I thought that was a great tip. And, and I do that too, with businesses like myself, but also food brands, too. You know, I know everybody wants to protect their email and not want to give out their emails, but go give out your email to competing brands or brands that you really admire, and see what they're doing, like keep getting inspired by their emails and their social media posts and things like that. So great tip.

Alli Owen 50:47
That's it. Yeah, I have a whole folder in my email that's like, email ideas that I yeah, drag other brands emails into?

Sari 50:58
It's really important that I think people about doing that sometimes see what everybody else is doing. You don't need to innovate in a vacuum what's going on?

Alli Owen 51:08

Sari 51:09
Well, ah, my final question is a quote that I got from Michelle Norris that in especially around this time, with COVID, and in our food systems changing and the food industry changing, but but 'let's not strive for normal, let's strive for better'. So how do you think the industry it will change for the better this this package food industry that we're in?

Alli Owen 51:34
Yeah, well, I'm I mean, in positive news, I feel like the the attitude around being an e commerce and digitally native brand has changed. And, you know, last year when I was talking to investors, and people in the industry it was like, No, you have to have retail, you have to have proven retail sales, to, you know, be investable, to be sellable. You have to have, you know, your velocity numbers, you have to have all these retail metrics. And now it seems like everyone's like, No, no, no, you need an e commerce business. You need an Amazon business like that's, that's what's the most important right now?

Right? You're like, Oh, I got that.

Yeah. I'm like Oh Okay, you guys changed your mind in about a year. Cool. So that's, that's been positive, I think, because there's the lower barrier to entry for new brands, online and on Amazon. You don't have to know anything about the industry, you don't have any connections to post your product on your website, make an Instagram account and post on Amazon. So I think that levels the playing field for a lot of people that don't have resources going into the industry. So I think that's a positive and better change that's happening.

Sari 52:52
Yeah, hundred percent. And. And I just want to say, I mean, you also put in here like elevating minority brands and minority voices. And you know, you are a Latina woman, and obviously, a woman. And so it's really cool that you know, that you're, you're wanting to see yourself as part of the change in that as well.

Alli Owen 53:18
Yeah. And I've seen other brands, you know, partake has a black food founders cohort that they started. And we got certified. I highly recommend, if anyone is a minority or a woman to get certified through NMSDC for minority and the woman own certification. I don't remember who that was through. But I can send you the links.

Sari 53:49
Yeah. Give me the links. And we'll put those in the show notes. For sure.

Alli Owen 53:52
Yeah, the the minority has actually been really helpful. We just got that certified, like three months ago, and we got meetings with Walmart and Kroger. Just through that. So it's been,

That's amazing! Wow. Congratulations, man. Great.

The woman on one hasn't been quite as fruitful. But we'll see. Maybe I haven't worked it as much, either. The other ones just kind of fell in my lap. So I was I Oh, okay. Yeah, yes.

Sari 54:21
Heather upgrade. Yeah. Well, thank you so, so much for your time. This was a great conversation. I feel like I actually I'm like, Oh, I want to talk about this and talking about this. So maybe we'll have to have you back. And we can talk about a whole bunch of other topics. But do another check in.

Yeah. See if I've quit in six months. I'm not going to

you're not going to. And you'll be past January. You'll have a huge, huge set huge year in sales.

Alli Owen 54:52
Yeah, we will get there. Yeah.

Awesome. Well, thank you. Sari for having me. This is really fun. And

Sari 55:01
You're so welcome. Yeah, me too. All right, everyone have a fantastic week and I will talk to you next time.

Are you ready to start that delicious idea that you make in your home kitchen, or grow your existing packaged food business and take it to the next level? The most successful food business entrepreneurs have support, guidance, focus and accountability to help them make it happen quickly without wasting time or money. Plus, I think starting your packaged food business should actually be fun. Food Business Success is your secret ingredient to creating your food business dream. Please don't go this alone. Check out the private free Food Business Success Facebook group to connect with other foodprenuers, get your questions answered quickly, share your wins and receive special training and tools I only share inside the private community. Just search for Food Business Success on Facebook, or get the link in the show notes. Curious about how food business success can help you? Head over to FoodBizSuccess.com and fill out the application to see if you're a great fit for the program. Together let's make your food business dream a reality.




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