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How A Celebrity-Founded Company Finds Its Brand Voice and Owns its Supply Chain, with Execs from Hello Bello

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If you’re tired of all the supply chain issues here’s an idea, create your own supply chain. Okay, that’s easier said than done, and it’s not actually feasible for a lot of companies. But, there are parts of your brand, your logistics, and your strategy that you can own 100%, and when you do, good things happen. 

On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, I chatted with Erica Buxton, the President of Hello Bello, and Jessica Tennant, the senior vice president of marketing at Hello Bello, a brand that is making premium products available to everyone — especially parents and families. Hello Bello was cofounded by actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, a couple who came from humble backgrounds and knew that access to good, safe, environmentally conscious products shouldn’t be granted only to those with means. As a result, everything at Hello Bello is made to connect with and be available to parents and families of all kinds. And as Erica and Jessica explained, this ethos shows up everywhere. They talked about how owning your story and your brand voice is key, especially when it comes to marketing. And they also touched on why having a strong omnichannel strategy from day one is critical. Plus, they do get into what it means to actually own the supply chain, and all the ways that can open up new opportunities for your business. Enjoy this episode. 

Main Takeaways:

  • One Voice: When thinking about developing a brand voice, you have to make sure this is established early and that it’s concrete. In order to have a brand people know and love, everything you put out should look and feel consistent, that way your brand is easily identifiable and consumers can become loyal to it. 
  • Working Together: Having a strong omnichannel strategy is important. And it’s also key to remember that your DTC business doesn’t have to compete with your retail partners. They can work together in a way that allows the customer to have access to your products in as many places as possible. So when thinking omnichannel, think about ways to create good bonds with your retail partners or the brick and mortar side of your business so that you create an ecosystem where one part of the business feeds the other.
  • Owning The Supply Chain: For many brands, it seems impossible or simply out of reach to build your own factory. But as much as you can, you should try to own the elements of your supply chain. Not only will this insulate you from many of the delays and price hikes you see in traditional supply chains, but it will also allow you to take control of the quality of your products from start to finish, so you know you are always delivering the best products and you can iterate quickly based on what your customers need. 

For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.

Key Quotes:

 

“This was launched really trying to look for that hole in the market between premium products that were at premium prices and low-cost products. And so how do you find that sweet spot in the middle that allows everybody to have access to these premium products?” –Erica

“Long gone are the days where you’re like click this yellow button and convert, right. People want more than that. They want a brand that they can go to, that they can trust… So it’s like, okay, how do we relate to people and talk real talk, Hey, do we post something at 12 in the morning? Because we know that our audience is going to be up or four in the morning or do we do something fun or exciting for them that just shows the little moments in parenthood that matter. And so one of our brand’s values is really focusing on parents and leaning into how we can celebrate parents in those moments.” –Jessica

“We have full control of the supply chain. So we’ve now have control of the pricing. We have control of the quality. And I’ve got my quality lab sitting right around the corner from those diaper lines and they’re monitoring every single day what comes off that line… So it really gives us full control over both supply chain and quality control of the diapers. So it’s super exciting for us. And it actually is really a key piece in sticking to our mission of these premium products at low prices.” –Erica

“When we launched, we launched with Walmart, but we also launched with direct to consumer — we went the gate really strong with both. I would say it’s very hard to launch a direct consumer diaper brand, I don’t necessarily recommend it, but if you have to do it, do it with a partner like WalMart to help offset that. And then also they can work together, right? So a lot of times we see our direct consumer customers needing an extra pack of diapers or wanting to go get some bubble bath or whatever it may be in between their shipments. And so oftentimes they’ll go and supplement from Walmart or buy it on Amazon or whatever it may be. We really, truly want to be wherever our customer needs us whenever they need us. And so that is part of that strategy is expanding to grocery and retail and other retailers, drug stores, places like that, so that people can pick up those products.” –Jessica

Bio

Erica Buxton is the President of Hello Bello. She was previously the CEO of EQtainment and as the Chief Operating Officer for Razor USA. Erica also worked for Mattel and oversaw finance and strategy for ~$5B retail portfolio of Barbie, Hot Wheels, Monster High and Ever After High.

Jessica Tennant is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hello Bello. She has worked in marketing for The Honest Company, Pharmative, Launched.LA, and more.  


Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce

 

Transcript:

Stephanie:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Up Next in Commerce. I’m your host, Stephanie Postals, CEO at mission.org. Today, I’m really excited because we have another round table today with Hello Bello. We have the president of Hello Bello, Erica Buxton, joining us, and we have the senior vice president of marketing, Jessica Tenant. Erica, Jessica, welcome to the show.

Jessica:

Excited to be here.

Erica:

Hi, thanks for having us.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I’m very excited, passionate, as I told you with many children in my life. There’s a lot of reasons why I’m happy y’all are on the show and I’m excited to hear about, how the company’s been growing and expanding and all the things you’re doing here in Texas. So a lot to talk about, but first I want to hear a bit about your backgrounds before we jump into Hello Bello, and maybe Erica, we can start with you. Tell me a bit about what you did before Hello Bello.

Erica:

Yeah. So I’ve had a unique career path. I think the funny story with me is my first internship in college. When I got my degree in chemical engineering was working at a diaper factory manufacturing diapers. So I feel my career has fully come full circle. Now that I’m now building our own diaper factory, but in between there I’ve worked in pharmaceutical research and development. I ran strategy and finance for Barbie Hot Wheels and Monster High. In the CPG industry, I was employee number one at an ed tech startup. And then most recently I was the chief operating officer at Razor making scooters.

Stephanie:

Wow. That’s a really wide ranging background. I love that. All right, Jessica, what about you? What did you do before Hello Bello.

Jessica:

Not quite as exciting as Erica, no chemical engineering background over here, but I’ve been in marketing and advertising my whole career. So whether it be on the television side or worked for search engine marketing, been on the agency side, been in house at a lot of companies and been working in the CPG space for the last of about six years or so. So lots of E-commerce subscription experience, but also this CPG world too.

Stephanie:

Cool. Okay. So I know Hello Bello launched in early 2019, and it’s all around premium and affordable baby products, but can you give me a high level pitch up all the products you are actually offering right now?

Jessica:

Well, you can see some of them in our background.

Stephanie:

Yes beautiful.

Jessica:

Of course we have diapers and wipes. We also have a whole suite of baby personal care items ranging from shampoo and body wash to conditioner, to lotion, to baby oil, diaper rash cream, everywhere bomb. We’ve got a whole suite of baby care products. We also have a kids line. Some of my favorite fragrances, watermelon, coconut expanding kind of on that side too, to just make sure we can suit the needs of our customers as they grow up as well. So we have a kids line there. We do some cleaning. So we have laundry detergent, surface wipes, whole suite of cleaning products available on our website as well.

Jessica:

Oh, and then another huge category is vitamins. So we have a ton of gummy vitamins for kids, adults, all of the above. So really just meeting the family needs across the board. And yes, our products are all developed to be extra gentle and formula so that they’re soft and gentle on babies, but I personally use them too. So they’re really great for anybody to use, not just babies, which is great.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I love that. I mean, you all really offer everything, which is nice. I mean, for a family, you’re like, “Yeah, I just go to this one brand and I can get everything to cover for my whole life, which I love.” Where did this idea come from? Because when you look at the baby market, I mean, man, it’s like, you’ve got big incumbents, very competitive, lots of little ones popping up. To where did this idea come from Erica?

Erica:

So I think this was launched really trying to look for that whole in the market between, premium products that were at premium prices and kind of low cost products. And so how do you find that sweet spot in the middle that, allows everybody to have access to these premium products. So it was really kind of marrying those two together and finding that sweet spot right in the middle to allow everybody access to premium products. And that’s really kind of, as Jess said, originally to the Genesis of the company, is that premium for all model. I don’t know, Jess, you want to add to that but.

Jessica:

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s really the ethos and Kristen Bello and Dax Shepard as some of the co-founders of the company, they were born and raised in Detroit. So very real life experiences dealing with people who were not as fortunate as they are today, being celebrities, living in Los Angeles, being able to afford any products that they want. They really just felt it wasn’t fair. So they joined forces with Sean Kane who was one of the original founders of the owners company and some other wonderful co-founders and formed this with the support of Walmart. So being able to make those prices affordable, we really had to have a partner like Walmart and could have never done it without them.

Stephanie:

Okay. So what does the partnership look like? I mean, not many people started a company and they’re like, “Yeah, Walmart, they’re our partner. No big deal.” So what did it look like having Walmart as your partner from like the very beginning?

Erica:

So I think they were very involved as we developed out the product line alongside Kristen and Dax and the founders, and really helping us again, find that sweet spot that was missing, that they felt in the market. And so working alongside with them on what were the right price points? How do we formulate products to hit those price points? Where do they see gaps in the market and really partnering to fill those gaps with the products that we could develop. So I think it was really, working with them to build a brand together and then figuring out the best go to market strategy on shelf at retail.

Stephanie:

Does the relationship look any bit different today versus like when you were just kind of early days launching, how has it maybe expanded or changed?

Erica:

Yeah, we’ve definitely as just mentioned, have continued to grow in various categories. So we’ve expanded throughout the store, which is really exciting, but we’ve also expanded into other channels. So now we are solid at grocery and drug and are launched on other mass retailers. And so we’ve definitely that relationship has evolved as we still keep that a very special relationship to us and work together very closely with them, but we’re also figuring out how do we grow as a company and expanded other channels and in appropriate way to.

Stephanie:

Yep. So I’m thinking about the marketing today to reach new consumers, I mean what are some of your favorite things that you’re doing because your marketing looks very different than I would say many other baby product companies and it’s fun. It’s funny. It’s very different. It makes you think you’re like, “What are you even selling?” Oh, okay now I get it. So tell me how you all think about, marketing and finding new consumers and unique ways. Jessica I’ll throw this one to you of course.

Jessica:

Yeah. I think to answer your first question about what’s my favorite thing that we’ve done recently? I think, I mean, obviously the television commercial that we just launched was probably in my career. My favorite project, I’ve been a part of, I think, just seeing Kristen’s desire to have this song become something in the future. Everybody pick up on it. It becoming a reality, us involving Donovan and licensing them. They Call Me Mellow Yellow song, changing the lyric to they call me Hello Bello. And then also ride or diaper, all these fun cheeky things that a lot of brands would never even think about doing it just, that was so fun. And then being part of the whole production and seeing the story come to life and how do we create this Hello Bello land. And it’s so fun because I’ve enjoyed allowing potential customers to have a look into the personality of the company.

Jessica:

So what you see in that commercial is very much what we get on a day in and day out basis from Kristen and Dax. So it’s like, Dax had a lot of direction components that he wanted us to do when we were on set and pretty sure him kicking his leg on up at the end of that commercial was definitely not in the script, the diaper cannons. He’s like, “I have a T-shirt cannon let’s kick diapers out of it.” And we’re like, “Okay.” But that’s what makes Hello Bello so fun and so special. And that commercial has been super fun. And I think the other question you asked, would you mind repeating that one one more time so just so I make sure I hit it.

Stephanie:

Yeah, how you’re thinking about going about finding new customers, yeah.

Jessica:

Yeah. I think for us, it’s about building a relationship. So, and that’s one of the things I love, my background is very driven by data and performance marketing and things of that nature. So being able to build that relationship with customers and then see that return is fabulous because long gone are the days where you’re like click this yellow button and convert, right. People want more than that. They want a brand that they can go to, that they can trust. And when you’re a parent, I mean, I’m sure Stephanie you’ve been through it. You have your sleepless nights. So if we can do it.

Stephanie:

Still they’re not the past.

Jessica:

Okay. But, we will have them forever because even with my five year old sometimes stands up in my bed. So it’s like, okay, how do we relate to people and talk real talk, “Hey, do we post something at 12 in the morning?” Because we know that our audience is going to be up or four in the morning or do we do something fun or exciting for them that just shows the little moments in parenthood that matter. And so one of our brand values is really focusing on parents and leaning into how we can celebrate parents in those moments. And that’s what I think I enjoy doing a lot is really speaking to the parents, solving those problems and making them feel they’re part of something bigger than just a diaper company or of CPG brand. And that’s what’s probably the most exciting part of it.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I like the way you all kind of make light of things too, where it’s like, “Oh yeah, we need to laugh a bit at the insanity of having kids.” And what’s actually happening day to day. I mean, when thinking about your marketing campaigns and just your company in general, you can really see personalities and it really feels authentic. And there was a lot of thought put behind everything that’s done, but what does it look like behind the scenes when you’re trying to decide, what should the brand voice be like and what should this marketing campaign be like? Because when I was watching the ad, I was like, “Oh, I feel I definitely can tell Dax’s influence, a lot of this, just from knowing what I know of him.” And then I see the pieces of Kristen. I’m like, “Oh, that definitely feels like her here,” But how do you all, as a team come together and be like, “This is how we’re going to speak to our consumers. And here’s how our marketing campaigns will fit into that.” What does that look like?

Jessica:

I think we have a really clear brand voice and we’re lucky. I think that that was developed early on by our team at brains on fire. Wonderful man named Ben Hart helped really develop that brand voice and it doesn’t change. And I think that that makes it so much easier for us behind the scenes as a team, because that’s one thing that we know exactly. Everybody knows what that voice is and what our tone is and how we want to approach it. And so it makes it really easy for us to all come together and really brainstorm. It’s super collaborative behind the scenes. We really treat it like there is just one lane and we are all heading towards the same goal and that path to get there. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on the supply chain team or the customer service team or the marketing team everybody’s opinion matters. And we love getting that family feel because that’s what helps us really, I think develop some of our best campaigns.

Stephanie:

Erica, anything to add to that?

Erica:

No, I mean, I think again, it’s more of this, we’re all in this together. And I think a lot of us are moms on the team. And so we live and breathe it every single day. And so we do feel we’re all in this together. It’s like, we live that to the fullest. I think Jess and I were just joking about our kids and the morning. And so I think it’s like I said, a part of our lives every single day at work and at home.

Stephanie:

Yep. Yeah. I agree. How have you all thought about hiring and kind of keeping that same culture that you want to build up and making sure you find the right fit, because you all grown pretty quickly. And so I’m sure at a few times in your company life, it’s felt like a bit of a scramble to find the right people and put them in the right places and maybe reorg them a bit. What does that look like behind the scenes to grow and scale quickly while also making sure you find the right people?

Erica:

Yeah, no, I think it’s a great question. I think it’s evolved quite a bit, especially through the pandemic where when the pandemic started, everybody was pretty local and pretty in LA and in the office. And then very quickly that switched. And so as we were rapidly growing, we also were kind of making this shift to working remotely and then also utilizing that to expand our team across the country. So now our head of sales sits on the exact probably about as far across the country as he could from Jess and I. And so really figuring out how to keep that culture and make it work. We’ve been very, I think, picky about our hires, but the opening up the geography has definitely allowed us to kind of bring in more top talent, which has been exciting.

Erica:

And then when you add in relocating our distribution center to Texas and then opening a manufacturing plant, we’ve, I think doubled in size in employees the last year, approximately, and are continuing to rapidly grow. So it’s been a very big focus to keep the culture and keep the talent that we’re trying to hire, but also hire the people that we need. So it’s definitely, I think, an ongoing conversation. I think I talk about it every single day with our amazing HR team that is hit the ground running and is filling all of the gaps that we have right now. So it’s a daily discussion on how we keep that, but something we monitor very closely.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Are there any fun tips or tricks that you’re finding when it comes to hiring remotely where you’re like, I asked this one question and then I know, I know when I know, or like anything that you’re doing right now that maybe would help another company who’s trying to hire virtual teams.

Erica:

I mean, I think you quickly, when you ask people about our products, you very quickly can see the people that have gone to Walmart or gone to their local retailer and bought the products and tried them or talked to their, or using them with their kids or have talked to their best friend that just had a baby and had them tried the diapers. So one of the biggest questions I engage with is have they even gone out and tried the product test to, really have a passion behind it. And I think Jess, you and I both, most of the people we interview, it seems they do have kids and they’ve tried our products and they love them. And that’s I think a big winner for me when I’m interviewing that they’re already passionate about the brand before we even get into kind of the qualifications for the job.

Stephanie:

Yep. Jessica, anything to add when you’re thinking about your marketing team?

Jessica:

I think we’re in a very unique situation right now because excuse me, because we’re not confined to a location. So I would say I recommendation would be to really sit down as a company and figure out how important it is for you to have people in a location. Are you guys going to go back into the office full time? If you’re not, what’s it going to look like? What are the requirements going to be? And then how does that work with your team? Because I think a really great example for us is we just had to fill an email role and by opening it up and having that conversation that we didn’t necessarily need that person to sit here in Los Angeles, opened us up to a whole ton of talent across the country that we might not have been able to tap into previously because the LA world is small or I’m sure if you’re in New York, the New York world is small and you’ve been kind of fishing in the same pond for a long time.

Jessica:

So my advice would be, really think about location and what that means. And see if this remote lifestyle is going to function for the company. And if you were to have somebody who lived outside, what would that look like, right. Make sure you know what that will look like. And we want you in the office once a quarter or this or that, but don’t confine yourself if you don’t have to, because there’s amazing talent in this country that you might not have known about before.

Stephanie:

Yep. Yeah. That’s a good point. So I want to talk a bit about the move to Texas and opening up. I think a factory there, and I want to hear how that idea even came about, because when you think about affordable, keeping something affordable, but then also high quality, I’m like, that’s already hard enough to do. And then bringing distribution or manufacturing here into the us or in Texas, like, “Oh, well, how are you guys going to do this?” So I’m sure most brands listening are kind of like, “I don’t know how you’re going to keep your costs down and stay the same company.” So where did this idea come from? What was a driving force behind it and how’s it going?

Erica:

Yeah. I mean, I think this idea came from almost the very beginning. It just took a while to kind of to get to this point. I guess not that long, actually a couple years, but for us it feels like a while from when the idea first started to now actually producing diapers in Waco, Texas, which is really exciting. But I think it actually, you almost kind of answered the own question is we did it. So we have bullet control of the supply chain. So we pulling out have control of the pricing. We have control of the quality. And so, I’ve got my quality labs sitting right around the corner from those diaper lines and they’re monitoring every single diaper that comes off that line, the raw materials I control the sourcing of them now and what goes into that line. So it really gives us full control over both, supply chain and in quality control of the diapers. So it’s super exciting for us. And it actually is really a key piece in sticking to our mission of these premium products, although prices.

Stephanie:

Yeah, that’s great. Are there any stories when it comes to opening that up and anything where you’re like, man, I would’ve maybe thought about that differently or I wasn’t really expecting that. Anything to share around that.

Erica:

I mean, the fun part’s been is we’re really creating a world class diaper facility. And I think having worked at manufacturing for a large part of my career, I’ve never seen a manufacturing plant with white floors and I think when our team first, came up with that idea, I started laughing. I said, “There’s no way.” And now guess what, we have a manufacturing plant with white floors and it looks beautiful.

Stephanie:

Sweet.

Erica:

I think we own the only purple diaper line in the entire world, which is really fun. We have these beautiful murals, the outside of our factory is again, just totally goes with our brand. And so I think back to kind of really just putting the brand first and foremost, our diaper factory completely reflects that. Which has been really fun. Having worked in manufacturing for so long to have, be building a plant that has that as part of it. Once it’s fully done, I mean, we’re going to have a purple diaper line, a pink diaper line, a blue diaper line, white floors, beautiful mural, hot air balloon stuff hanging from the ceiling. It’s a fun place to work and it’s been really fun to build so.

Stephanie:

I could see consumers wanting to go and check it out and kind of see what’s behind the products. Especially if you were able to show them the outside the inside, who wouldn’t want to go there and see a different type of facility. I mean.

Erica:

Yeah. The reactions during our grand opening, we gave tours and we took people through and I think Daxs reaction was actually my favorite just blown away. I mean the diaper line spits off 800 diapers a minute. So you can just imagine how fast those are moving through. And I think people when they see it in person, it just kind of blows your mind a little bit of how fast it moves and all of the different things that that machine is doing at any given time. So we got to see firsthand some of our consumers reacting to see that in person and everybody was just blown away by how cool it’s.

Stephanie:

That could be a good TikTok video. I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the TikTok videos coming out where it’s showing behind the scenes of how something gets made from seeing 800 diapers. You spit out of a machine in a minute. I think that could do pretty epic. I want to see that.

Jessica:

Yes.

Stephanie:

Just do that for me, Jessica, just a one off.

Jessica:

When we post a video like that, I will give you full credit.

Stephanie:

There you go. Thank you.

Jessica:

Yeah, it’s super cool. And just a lot of people have actually already expressed interest. So when we announce the opening, people are asking about tours already and we will be ready to probably, I would say back half of Q1 of the coming year to do some tours for people. And so people want to keep an eye on our website. We’ll have a page up for the factory in particular and a place that you’ll be able to sign up for that when it’s available, because people do want to see it. And as Erica said, I mean Dax’s reaction was priceless. I FaceTimed my father because that just felt like the right thing to do in that moment of how crazy cool is this? I was like, “My dad’s got to see this.”

Stephanie:

That’s when you know something’s good. You’re like calling my parents.

Jessica:

Yeah. I was like answer your phone. This is so cool. It’s really unreal. So we will work on getting people tours, but also showing how cool it is to the public, because it’s really awesome.

Stephanie:

Yeah. That’s great. I mean, in one way you can also think about what you all are doing. Could kind of turn into a case study for a lot of other companies who are like, “No, I can’t do anything in the us.” I mean, I’ve honestly heard that so many times on the show of, I mean, cause I always ask like, “Oh, why don’t you bring it back here? Sounds like there’s a lot of issues happening elsewhere. Why not bring it into the US?” And I don’t even know if newer brands would even think about that today or even medium or larger brands. And so do you all ever think about putting out some kind of case study, be like, “Yeah, it might be more expensive initially. However, here’s all the costs that we get to control now and maybe is break even, or here’s why you want to go forward with it anyways.” You guys could be that case study if you wanted to.

Erica:

Yeah, no, I think we’ve definitely had brands reaching out and asking questions around that. So I think in the future it would be fun to do something like that to help promote, bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the US.

Stephanie:

Are you thinking about doing more than one plant? Is there a plan to do many more all around the us or is it just like, let us start with Texas first. Let’s see how this goes.

Erica:

I think we’re going to start with Texas. We originally were rolling up three lines there to begin with. We already just expanded in now adding a fourth line. So we’re very quickly expanding in there and there’s more room to grow within that facility. So we’ll see where it takes us, but it’s definitely, I think opened up the possibility of bringing on more manufacturing as we continue to grow.

Stephanie:

Cool. And tell me a bit about the tech that you guys have seen implemented when it comes to, it’s here, it’s in the us, you can go and visit it. Is there any pieces of technology that you guys are implementing in the plant or distribution centers that are maybe different or you’re trying something new out that maybe would’ve been harder to try out overseas if you didn’t own the full process?

Erica:

I mean, I think on the diaper lines themselves, it is the state of the art newest technology, which has been really exciting. So that’s allowed us to do things like, really move toward zero waste and implement different ways of doing things like the way we cut the ears off the diaper actually is done in a way that there’s no waste, which is very different than how some of our competitors do it and create a lot of waste. So we’re using technology in ways, whether it’s moving to a more sustainable process to producing more high quality diapers and doing it faster. So I think right now our focus has really been around the machines themselves and then starting to look at other ways, I think to implement beyond that.

Erica:

I know as we’re filling orders on the DDC side and stuff, it’s been as we build that facility out and incorporating new technology there. So it’s something we’re constantly looking at. I think the biggest, most focus right now is really on the machines themselves and then figuring out how we can expand beyond them.

Stephanie:

Cool. So you just mentioned D to C and I want to hear a bit more on how you all are thinking about that because to me, if I were to launch with Walmart, it’s pretty hard to get away from something like that and be like, “Now I’m going to go direct to consumers and figure that out.” So how are you thinking about connecting one-on-one with consumers while also being in retail while being basically everywhere? What does that strategy look like now?

Jessica:

It’s total omnichannel strategy. So when we launched, we launched with Walmart, but we also launched with direct to consumer, went out the gate really strong with both. If anybody listening, I would say it’s very hard to launch a direct to consumer diaper brand don’t necessarily recommend it. But if you have to do it, do it with a partner like Walmart to help offset that. And then also they can work together, right? So a lot of times we see our direct consumer customers needing an extra pack of diapers, or wanting to go get some bubble bath or whatever it may be in between their shipments. And so oftentimes they’ll go and supplement from Walmart or buy it on Amazon or whatever it may be. We really truly want to be wherever our customer needs us whenever they need us. And so that is part of that strategy is expanding to, as Erica mentioned, grocery and retail and other retailers, drug, places like that, so that people can pick up those products once your kid’s out of diapers, you might not need a diaper subscription.

Jessica:

So we’ve gone ahead on the direct to consumer side and created additional subscription. So we have a training pants subscription, and then once you’re at a training pants, you can go into our fundamental subscription, which basically just allows you to bundle everything except diapers. Cause hopefully Stephanie, you’ll be there soon with the twins and be out of it. And then when you’re out of it one day and then when you’re out of it, you can still bundle all the products you love and you can change them every months and things like that. So we have tried to build solutions across the retail space, including direct consumer that meet the customer’s needs. And we rely very heavily on our customer service team to help us and guide us and tell us what those customers are asking for.

Jessica:

And we try to build them as quickly as we possibly can. So other examples of that would be, just using that feedback to create a new diaper design. They asked us last year for Thanksgiving diapers and we made Thanksgiving diapers this year. And that was literally because our customer service team said, this is what our customers want. So they want other bundle types. They want to see us in other retailers they’ve been asking for, we will try to do what we can because we just want to make sure that we’re there for them.

Stephanie:

That’s great. What’s one of the craziest requests you’ve gotten from a customer?

Erica:

I think our fragrance-free line that we just launched was a big one, a big request from our customers, a lot of kids with sensitive skin. And so they drove that. So it is a huge source for us is how we develop new products and try to meet their needs. So a lot we do dig in really heavily to our consumer feedback on a daily basis.

Stephanie:

Yeah, that’s great. So, I mean when thinking about messaging, because I mean you’re basically everywhere. How do you stay connected to your customer if they’re going to Walmart and they buy one thing and they’re Amazon, they buy another thing and they’ve got maybe a subscription program here. How do you form a cohesive message to these consumers that are kind of out doing their thing everywhere in the world.

Jessica:

We just try to make sure that our team is as together and cohesive as possible. So making sure that our sales team is talking to the marketing team is talking to the supply chain team, talking to the product development team. We are all on the same page so that no matter where that customer is experiencing the brand that it feels cohesive. So I think that this, they call me campaign is a really great example of that. We were able to, if you see our ads on social or you go to the website or in store, there’ll be some components maybe that will come to life in the future right. So how do you make sure that everything feels cohesive as a brand and that will be seen throughout kind of, I think this coming year and making sure that really like what we’re doing in store matches what we’re doing online matches what we’re doing in social. So that, that customer feels it no matter where they are.

Stephanie:

Cool. I love that. All right. The last thing I wanted to ask was what you’re most excited it about over the next, like one to two years? It can be a project you’re working on. It can be anything you want, but what are you most excited about? And Erica, I’ll start with you.

Erica:

I mean, I think for me, it’s really on the manufacturing side. So bringing this back to what we talked about is bringing this manufacturing plant to life. And I’m so excited for the team that we’re hiring down there. Waco has a 40 year history in diaper manufacturing, and we’re the first brand that a lot of these people that have worked in diaper manufacturing, their whole life are getting to work for. And so they’re super excited to now bring a brand to life. And so watching this plant grow and develop and build it out and the talent we’re hiring and the team and culture we’re built down there has been really fun. And I’m excited to see where that goes as we push there.

Erica:

And I think again, that just allows us to really continue, especially in an environment like now, where there are a lot of supply chain issues and a lot of people are raising prices and so to try to maintain, our brand ethos of keeping prices as low as possible and the products as premium as possible to continue to build that out and provide that for our consumers is going to be really exciting. I think in the next couple years it’s going to be very critical. So to me it’s build that out and really becoming that fully integrated vertically integrated company with manufacturing footprint.

Jessica:

Yep. I think what I’m most excited about at this point is kind a direct consumer side of the business because there’s so much we can do. There’s so much we can learn from our customers. And especially with manufacturing our own diapers, there’s a lot we’re going to be able to do, knowing our customers love our diaper designs. I think it’s going to open a lot of possibilities for us taking data, taking technology, taking manufacturing, and figuring out really cool things to do with it. And I also just think, I started at the beginning of the pandemic the day before lockdown, everybody’s buying patterns changed. People were resorting to direct to consumer because they didn’t want to go into stores and everything is kind of been shaken up a lot. So it grew fast, really fast. We were already growing quickly and then, the pandemic accelerated a ton of that.

Jessica:

And so I’m just really excited about taking this time now that the team’s grown, taking this time to really figure out how we can take our direct consumer business to the next level while the sales team is just rocking it with all the retail. So I think there’s a lot we can do. And I don’t know, there’s pain points as parents that I want to help solve, like picking your diaper size. How do you know what the best diaper size is, that weight chart means absolutely nothing in my personal opinion, I have two children. They never did anything for me. So how do we make it easier for somebody to know what size their kid is? And could they use that on our website to then help them in store make that decision?

Jessica:

So is there a QR code that can connect the two and just really thinking about all those things that we haven’t been able to think about because we’ve just been trying to play catch, this business grew so fast. So it’s like you’ve been running, so I’m really excited about how we can do all these fun things in the future.

Stephanie:

I love that. So normally I shift over to a lightning round. However I instead want, I know everyone’s probably wondering, I want to hear the best or funniest story working with Dax and Kristen and either of you can choose, you can both answer one of you can answer, but I want to hear the best story that comes to mind. I feel you both have a good one because you both started laughing so, [crosstalk] go first.

Jessica:

I’m just trying to think what’s appropriate to actually tell on the podcast.

Erica:

I was thinking the same thing. I was thinking about the reaction of Waco on answer to a question. But I mean I laughed the other day we were on, I think it was the dad joke competition between Daxs and the team at Walmart, which was pretty funny to hear them each telling their favorite dad jokes. So that was my most, I think most recent funny story about Dax was just him firing off his favorite dad jokes.

Stephanie:

That’s good. I like that. I feel like y’all should be recording some of this and having your own series go on behind the scenes.

Jessica:

I mean, it is just comedy all the time. There are so many, I think naming our fundamentals bundle, there were a lot of names that Daxs came up with. I’m going to just avoid that topic, but I’ll just leave it to the people listening to user imagination on different things. He wanted to call it whenever we try to name a product, it ends up being funny. Our nose booger wipes are called Hello Smello wipes. Our swim diapers are called Swim Daips. Anything that has a funnies name is probably Daxs. But I would say my favorite and funniest thing was, it was kind of recently we were talking about different products and areas of opportunity and things like that. And we were just having a conversation about dish soap and Daxs and Kristen got in this hilarious conversation argument, funny situation because Kristen obviously wants to buy the better for you dish soap and Daxs wants it to work.

Jessica:

And so they have this healthy battle between what Kristen wants and that Dax is actually allowed to now use conventional dish soap at the house. And he wants to be the tester of all dish soaps, because he thinks that there’s nobody out there that makes a dish soap that is better for you and works. So it was just hilarious the way it was kind of going. But it’s also funny to know that he got special approval from Kristen, because she is so environmentally conscious and very concerned about everything that she puts on in around their family that Daxs is allowed to have a bottle of conventional dish soap in the kitchen because it’s just not worth the fight.

Stephanie:

Should approval. That’s great. Like I said-

Jessica:

Otherwise he won’t clean the dishes.

Stephanie:

I mean I kind of get his point so.

Jessica:

I do too.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Like I said, we need a TV show here. Come on. What are we doing without this? This is good content. Well, Jessica, Erica, thank you so much for are coming on and joining me today, it’s been a blast. Where can people learn more about Hello Bello?

Jessica:

hellobello.com. Follow us on Hello Bello on Instagram at Hello Bello. Find us in Walmart’s, other retailers nationwide.

Stephanie:

There you go. Erica anything to add?

Erica:

Oh, I think she covered all of our channels, but yeah, your local grocery store, drugstore, Walmart, Amazon and hellobello.com.

Stephanie:

Amazing. Well thank you both so much.

Jessica:

Thank you guys.

Episode 176