Scaling Innovative Food Products At The Right Time
In Edible-Alpha™ podcast #28, Tera interviews Shari Leidich, founder of Know Brainer. Shari started down the path of being a serial entrepreneur when she found out she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She turned her love for healthy, sprouted raw whole foods that helped mitigate her MS into products under the brand Two Moms in the Raw (now Soul Sprout) starting in 2004. Her MS is in remission and her family has helped with various aspects of both businesses while she was sick and now that she is doing better.
Shortly after she left Two Moms in 2016, she began to experiment with incorporating grass-fed ghee and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil into consumer products like individual creamers, since these good fats help with neurological health and metabolism. What became Know Brainer now has instant (just add water) creamers and a refrigerated, multi-serve product. They have chosen to stay small while working out the hiccups in product consistency while outsourcing product production to co-packers, with plans to continue to co-pack with companies staffed by people they know.
Shari and the staff at Know Brainer started testing their products in their local grocery stores, but for their individual creamer products the ideal market has been online with Amazon and their own online store. They haven’t had to do much promotion for their online business thus far (which is vastly different than launching a product in a grocery store), but are investing in revamping their online store and in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Their multi-serve product is more of a conventional grocery item, and they are doing a pilot launch in about 300 stores.
Shari reflected that she knows more about how to grow the business the 2nd time around and better understands the growth cycle of the company. Now that the company is growth mode, they are seeking investment. But, they are ensuring their product has traction and their processes are tight before partnering with investors, and that has meant saying no to some potential opportunities, at least for the time being.
Know Brainer recently partnered with Nestlé via the Terra Food + Ag Tech Accelerator program to incubate their business and share ideas about approaches to scaling the brand. And, their multi-serve product is a 2018 NEXTY Award finalist for Expo West 2018, meaning they will be featured and highlighted as the front line of innovation in the natural products industry.