In episode 110 of The Business of eCommerce, Charles talks with Ben Wieder, the co-Founder of Chassis.
They discuss what it takes to build a successful eCommerce brand in 2020 and what steps to take to grown to be a truly great brand.
Ben Wieder is the founder of Chassis, the first and only premium men’s care line specifically formulated for better performance “down there”, keeping guys fresh, dry, and friction-free all day long. He’s a branding expert, a published author, and is also an owner in Level 6 Marketing, a full-service brand performance agency.
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Charles: 00:00 This episode of the Business of eCommerce I talk with Ben Weeder about how to build a truly great brand. This is the Business of eCommerce, Episode 110. Welcome to the Business of eCommerce. The show that helps eCommerce retailers start, launch and grow their eCommerce business. I’m your host, Charles Palleschi and I’m here today with Ben Weeder. Ben is a founder of chassis, a men’s skincare product. Ben is also a branding expert, a published author and the owner of level six marketing, a full service brand performance agency. I asked, Ben on the show today to talk about how you can build a truly great brand. So, Hey Ben, how are you doing today?
Ben Wieder: 00:43 Great, Charles. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Charles: 00:45 Yeah, awesome to have you on the show. So it kind of kept it short in the intro, but can you explain what chassis is? Kinda just throw it at a men’s product, but I think you’d be better equipped to explain that one.
Ben Wieder: 00:56 Yeah, well, I appreciate it. Yeah. So, so chassis we’ve really transformed that men’s grooming really for, for hundreds of thousands of men at this point. And you know, if you look at the men’s grooming space, you know, there’s, there’s a clearly defined roles for, you know, shaving obviously is a very familiar thing. You know, fragrances, things of that sort. But there’s one area that we recognize when we launched in, in late 2015 and that was the area of what we call. And our tagline is man care for down there basically powder for guys. Guys had been using powder to prevent sweat and odor and chafing for hundreds of years actually. And but they’ve always been using products that weren’t actually designed for that purpose. Many times it’s baby powder. Sometimes it’s you know what they would call medicated powder.
Ben Wieder: 01:50 A lot of you know, people are familiar with that term. Usually it smells either like a baby or an old man. It usually doesn’t work great. It works okay. So we had this idea, you know, could we make a better powder and then could we build a brand around it? And that’s what, that’s what chassis is. So this is actually a habit. Just a, anyone wants to see that’s there’s one of our products. This is our, our ice powder. And this is a extra cooling one. I just haven’t had sitting around and but you know, that’s, that’s kind of what it is. We have a couple of other products. We have a shower primer and a a restoration cream that compliment the powders as well. And you know, it’s been going great.
Charles: 02:29 It’s funny, a lot of guys use baby powder. It’s one of those things like the locker room at the gym, it’s like, Oh, that guy smells like a, you know, like a three year old, which isn’t,
Ben Wieder: 02:37 Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right. And so we had a theory that guys, if we were upfront about it, if we just had an honest conversation in a very mature way, not sophomore, that they would respond really well to it. And, and, and it’s been, it’s been amazing. You know, we’re, we’re number one in our category on Amazon which is obviously very important place to be one. And you know, we’ve, we’ve actually inspired many followers. So there’s that first mover strategy. We’ve got a whole lot of new competitors that didn’t exist three years ago, four years ago. And you know, so now, you know, there’s a little bit of that playing defense that we’ve got to do. But you know, to still, you know, maintain our, our market leadership.
Charles: 03:21 Yeah. So how long ago was it that you started?
Ben Wieder: 03:23 So it was late 2015. Yeah, so almost say, you know, early 2016 and you know, when we were fully out there and you know, it’s, it’s been, it’s been gangbusters ever since. You know, we grow year over year. You know, we continue to enhance the product line, introduce new products. We’ve got a new one coming out here before the end of the year that we’re really excited about that I can’t quite talk about just yet. You know, so it’s, it’s been great.
Charles: 03:52 And so, and before that, so you currently, you still are, or you were a partner in a marketing agency as well, right?
Ben Wieder: 04:00 That’s right, yes. Yeah, I founded a level six we’re a full service marketing agency in 2005. And you know, when you run a marketing firm like level six you know, there are regular opportunities that present themselves, you know, just organically you’re going to talk to startups and things like that. And oftentimes those conversations lead to, you know, would you like a little piece of, of, of this company, you know, in exchange for, you know, services. And so chassis is an example of that. You know, I was in the very early days that when, when my cofounders came to me and we started having the conversation you know, I, I said, look, I, you know, I’d, I’d like to be a part of this. And so, you know, we, we run everything out of the same office different teams obviously. But it’s a, it’s a really good model. It’s worked really well for us and there’s a lot of synergy back and forth. You know, we still have our clients on the agency side and I’ve got a lot of help, you know, from an employment standpoint with some great people on the agency side. But I’ve also got a lot of great teammates on, on the chassis side of things too.
Charles: 05:01 Okay. So this was somebody who came to you with a marketing client. So someone came and they said, I have a different product or they had some product background and you said, yeah,
Ben Wieder: 05:09 Well in this case it was actually my brothers. This was a little unusual. This one was my brother’s usually, it’s not my brothers, but they came and said, look, we’ve got this idea. And I said, you know, that’s a good idea, but I may have a better one. And I just, it’s something that I had saved for a rainy day. I threw it out there. They loved it instantly. We worked together to hone that idea. And then you know, the rest is history. So it took, it took a long time to get it off the ground because when, you know, the, the dirty little secret of, of the beauty industry or grooming industry is we would say for men is that most products are, are what we call derivative products. So what you would do is you would go to a chemist and you’d say, I want to make the world’s best powder.
Ben Wieder: 05:54 And the chemist would normally, well, what’s the best powder that you know of so far? And I need to start with that formula and then make it better. Okay. So what’s your benchmark then? I’m just going to add maybe one new ingredient, maybe a new fragrance. I’ll throw in a new package and we call it a day. So almost everything you see when you walk up and down the Isles, you know, of a target, let’s say our derivative products, they’ve, they’ve evolved over time. You start with whatever you think the benchmark is and you make it a little bit better. Right. In the world of powder we found that that wasn’t working. You know, we went through a few chemists who sort of operated the same way, but you know, we quickly realized that, you know, if you’re just going to take baby powder and add a different fragrance, it’s not really any better.
Ben Wieder: 06:38 I mean, it smells better. Sure. But it’s not really any better. And that’s it was tough. I mean, we, cause that’s the way that it really works. And at the 11th hour we found a chemist out of California we were ready to throw in the towel and this guy’s name is John. And I said, John, look, here’s what we’re trying to do. I don’t know if you can help us, but we really need to start from scratch. You know, all new product that’s never been done before. And he immediately said, I can make you the world’s best powder. I know how to do this. Cause I’ve actually, he actually said, I’ve thought about this myself. I’m a powder guy. It’s going to be expensive, you know, not, not the not his costs, but the, the actual cost of goods, the formulation itself is going to be expensive to do what you want.
Ben Wieder: 07:21 And I said, that’s fine. We don’t care. We just want the world’s best butter. We’ll figure out how to sell it later. You know, if it’s good enough, it’s going to sell. So, I mean, to this day where the most expensive powder out there, you know, I mean it’s, it lasts a long time. You know, for $20 which is our, our MSRP. I mean, you know, most people will get, you know, at least three months out of a bottle. Most people get well over six months out of a bottle. So when you, when you break it down that way, it’s not bad, but it’s certainly more than a $3 bottle of baby powder, you know? But, but again, we’re out selling that because there’s value there. People understand that, use it. And it’s really comparing apples to oranges. When you look at what this stuff does compared to traditional products,
Charles: 08:00 What was she, was it your background or your brother’s background? Bro. Brothers, right. Plural. Was it one of your brothers background or your background to Nota engage with a chemist and start that process? Like how did you even,
Ben Wieder: 08:12 Yeah. Yeah. So my, my one brother who’s, who’s most active with me in, in, in chassis, Noah yeah, he actually came from CPG consumer packaged goods specifically in the, in the grooming areas. So he had a little bit of a background, just enough to be dangerous. I mean, he didn’t die, you know, he was more on the sales and marketing side, but he knew enough to be dangerous. And, and to be honest, it was a lot of trial and error. I mean, you know, we, we hired and fired three other chemists before we found John. So, I mean, it gives you an idea you know, this stuff isn’t easy. There’s, there’s a lot of you know, trial and error and, and you just gotta kind of work through. And I think that it really, it’s honestly, chassis is a story of perseverance because you know, I didn’t understand the derivative nature of these, of product development and in the beauty space until we did this.
Ben Wieder: 09:08 I mean, now that I understand it, I now understand to explain that, you know, whenever we’re going to develop a new product that Hey, you know, we’ve got to start with a blank slate. But the fact of the matter is, I’d say 95% of those out there in this space, they don’t want to do it that way. You know? So if you, if you find the right guy or, or the, or the right girl to do it, you know, you can, you can really make a pretty good impact in whatever you’re trying to do.
Charles: 09:34 Yeah. It sounds like that’s one of those lessons you would never, I would never think of that going into it. I think most people wouldn’t, you kind of just go talk to the first cold people take their word is face value and you know, kind of just say, okay, let’s just add some fragrance on top of this and call it. That’s, that’s how, that’s how everyone does it.
Ben Wieder: 09:50 And I will say this, I mean not to sell ourselves short. I mean we got really, really nerdy in the process. Okay. I mean myself in particular, I mean we had a conversation the other day with our chemist John, cause like I said, we’re developing some other products right now. And I don’t remember what the ingredient was, but I, I, I was talking about this ingredient and off the top of my head I said, well, correct me if I’m wrong and the reason that we want to increase the percentage of that ingredient would be to do X, Y, Z. And he goes, that’s exactly right. And he [inaudible] and it’s just because I think to do it, you, you as a brand leader have to understand what you’re putting in there. I understand every one of the ingredients that we have in here. I know what they do.
Ben Wieder: 10:33 I know where they’re sourced from. I know why we put them in there. I even know the safety rating of every single ingredient in here. And you know, I mean, that was done purposefully, so it was a little different. And, and, and, and John has even told us that number one, he had to have an open mind and he also had to have really no ego going into it because we came to him with a, a list of, you know, maybe 20 or 30 possible ingredients that we thought should be included in our original chassis powder. And he, he took that seriously. Now they couldn’t all work for, you know, different, you know scientific reasons that are way above my level. But he looked at our list of ingredients and said, you know what, some of these actually make sense. You know, it’s never been done before.
Ben Wieder: 11:16 But I mean we, we went through as a team, and this is no exaggeration, went to all of the ingredients in the EWG database which is like the entire database of, of, of personal care products basically. And research every single one of them and broke them all down and started winnowing down when I went down. And then that’s how we got with that list. And that’s how, you know, we gave him something to work with. You know, and he’s told us that’s highly unusual, but I think it’s also highly unusual way for us to do it, but B, to have a chemist with thick enough skin and you know, no, to think that, Hey, maybe my customers actually know what they want. You know, maybe they have a point there, right. And maybe we can work together to make something truly world-class. And so, yeah, I think it’s that synergy that, that really got us to where we are.
Charles: 12:07 It’s always amazing when I talk to retailers is, is this spectrum right, of people that at one end just kind of resell someone else’s products. They know very little. They’re just kind of like a pure marketing machine all the way to someone that does this, like our teas and all handcrafted something. And this is like, and there’s a whole gray or in between. It definitely sounds like you guys are more towards very deep inside the product. Very specific.
Ben Wieder: 12:33 Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. I think, you know you know, I, I think, cause here’s the other thing, from a marketing standpoint, it’s easier to build a premium brand. I think. I’ve built plenty of commodity brands as well. You know, from the agency side. And I think there’s, there’s different ways that you do that. But I think, you know, for me, you know, when you consider that, you know, we’re, we’re the most expensive in our space and the market leader at the same time. I mean, that’s when you know, you’re achieving something, you know, that’s when you know, you’ve reached it. And, and I have a client in mind. I have a, a large client of mine on the agency side, they’re in the automotive industry in, in trucks. And you know, they’re basically the most expensive truck out there and they’re also number one market share at the same time, you know, which is again, I think that’s, that’s when you know, you’re doing something right, cause you’re selling value, right?
Ben Wieder: 13:25 They’re selling value. We’re selling value at the end of the day. I mean, it’s still, you know, their truck might only be a little bit more than the next truck, but it’s going to get better fuel economy. It’s going to last longer. It’s going to have a better warranty, it’s going to have better resale value and on and on and on and on. And that’s how they’re able to make it all work. And I think, you know I’ve always admired them and I think in, in much the same way, you know I’ve tried to model a lot of what we’re doing at chassis and off of them.
Charles: 13:53 Hmm. So when you say, so you’ve worked with other you know, put yourself as a premium brand and what was the term you used for other commodity brands?
Ben Wieder: 14:02 Brands, right. Yeah. I mean, and so
Charles: 14:04 What would you say, what is the, what’s the difference marketing? Like what are some of the things, because it’s almost like a completely different process. Whole different mindset. Marketing and premium versus commodity brand.
Ben Wieder: 14:14 Yeah. And there’s gray areas. I think first of all, it’s always you’re walking on thin ice when you try to explain to a client that they have a commodity brand. Right. Cause I mean, they don’t want to hear that, you know, so let’s say we have a client that’s an insurance and in their space and they have a very good insurance product. It’s a great insurance product. Okay. And they believe it’s the best insurance product in the space and it minute and it very, it very well may be, I mean, they’re, they’re the market leader in the, in the state of Florida for what they do. But at the same time, I bet you if I talk to their direct competitor, they would think they have the insurance product for the state of Florida. Right? So you know, at the end of the day to a consumer when they’re looking at insurance as a, as an example, you know, does it have the coverage I need and is it priced right?
Ben Wieder: 15:03 You know, the, that’s really what they care about. And, and do I have confidence in that product? So you know, I think that with commodity products, it’s a lot about selling familiarity, right? Familiarity is a really big thing with commodity products. You want somebody to feel like, I know this brand already. You know, this isn’t like some fly by night company because you know, they check your checking off boxes. You know, where when you’re talking about chassis, you’re talking about a premium product. You know, you’re selling an experience a little bit more. You’re telling a brand story a little bit more. You know, there’s just, it’s a little bit of a deeper connection. You know, that’s why, you know, a name like chassis that, you know, once you get it, once you understand, that’s like the undercarriage of a car.
Ben Wieder: 15:46 You know, most guys are like, Oh my God, that’s, that’s pretty genius. You know, the name for, you know, for the, for that brand. But at the same time, a lot of guys don’t even know what a chassis is. You know, a lot of guys aren’t car guys anymore. They’d never heard of it. They don’t even know how to pronounce it. They think it’s a French word or something like that. And, and you know that. But that’s okay too. That’s worked well for us. I think the fact that, you know, maybe we are from France, I don’t know. You know, and, and I think there’s that little mystery behind it. And, you know, you look at you know, package design on a premium product. You know, I talk about this all the time that you know, if you look at our bottle, sorry to hold it up again, but you know, you notice there’s a lot of white space here, right? You know, there’s, there’s only a couple of colors on it too, right? We don’t have the whole rainbow, we don’t have metallic, we don’t have shadows gradients. It’s, it’s clean. It looks high in, I mean it’s, it’s probably one of the biggest anomalies in design that the simpler the design, the higher end it appears. Which is highly counter-intuitive, right? I mean you would think that the more involved designs might be the better products, but in fact that’s really not how it works. So it’s,
Charles: 16:54 Yeah, it’s one of those strange things with design. It’s literally, it’s like higher end brands, like a kind of easy example, like a stereo, right? You go into this like cheap Sarah store. The cheap ones have like flashy knobs and everything, but then you go into to start the higher end ones. They literally use these basic black boxes.
Ben Wieder: 17:10 Yeah. Like a Dennis Dennin or whatever the progression. Yeah.
Charles: 17:14 [Inaudible] then on whatever, it’s the most boring design in the world. But the sound is just like ridiculous over the top thing. And then you go into these like basic, you know, Panasonic ones in Walmart and they have like flashing lights and like kind of
Ben Wieder: 17:27 It, it, it, and, and, and think about this way. Like, so there’s the other end of the spectrum and this is not what we wanted to do. But look at, look at Bose for example. And I hope I don’t get any bad emails from Bose, but I was at a, a, a charity event the other day where the giveaway for the event was this Bose all in one speaker thing. I mean it was like a $250 giveaway, you know, I think, I forget what it’s called, but it looks beautiful, you know, has the Bose brand name on it. It sounds good, you know, I mean it’s not bad, but it, but it definitely doesn’t sound as good as a true high end. Audio product would. Now there are those that would say what I think that what I’m saying is crazy.
Ben Wieder: 18:09 Like no way. Bose is the greatest sound of anything that ever existed in the history of audio. But you know, they’ve created a brand that makes you believe that they’ve created a very clean design. They don’t have a million different products, you know they, you know, they, they, they do what they do. Well, you’re never going to have a bad experience. You’re never going to plug a Bose speaker and it sounds like garbage. You know, it may not be done in quality or something like that, but, you know, I mean I think that that’s, that’s their, that’s their space. They’ve found a niche. And I mean obviously there it’s, it’s, it’s working for them.
Charles: 18:45 Yeah. Cause once you get [inaudible] because once you get over a certain tear, right, then you become, until like this audio file, like specialty, you know, the guy who wants to spend $20,000 on a stereo and basically the average person audio file a niche, which is a whole different thing than a pose.
Ben Wieder: 19:03 Yeah, exactly. I was in have you ever been apt in Chicago before? That’s that huge electronic Superstore in suburban Chicago. They, it was in there a few months ago and they had a, a, a pair of speakers. I believe that the price was $150,000 for this pair of speakers. I mean, it sounded amazing, but you know, I hate someone’s buying it, I guess.
Charles: 19:29 Yeah. And there’s a group for that, but Bose hits that perfect kind of thing where it’s the average person who wants to have a really nice stereo but doesn’t really want to go to those, you know?
Ben Wieder: 19:39 That’s right. Ridiculous speakers. It’s good enough. It’s, you know, it’s good enough and it, and the design is great and it’s going to work. And you know, there’s a, there’s a reliability there, you know, that there’s a brand promise. They, they may not surpass that brand promise, but they’re going to reach it every time.
Charles: 19:55 Yup. Now how do you find, so how do you know where you are in that kind of spectrum? And then find those customers that want that level, right. Cause you don’t, if you go, if you’re trying to say with the best in the world, but only this, like, you know, we’re offering $500 a bottle and it’s like specialist, but that’s not, you don’t want to be that, you know,
Ben Wieder: 20:16 That’s what you just have to leave in what you’re, yeah, you gotta you got to find your niche and then you gotta stay in your lane. I think that that’s, that’s how, that’s what I believe. Right? So whatever that niche is, and you can do all the market research in the world you know, the third party panel studies, the you know, statistical analysis, however you want to arrive at your your niche, you find it and then you stay in that lane and you don’t try to deviate too much from that. Right. You, you trust the research that got you there. We get, they find
Charles: 20:46 It though. How do, how do you do that initial
Ben Wieder: 20:48 [Inaudible] well, I mean, you know, so for example you know, say you were gonna get into a niche say you were gonna I dunno. I’m trying to think of some office chairs, right? So you’re gonna get into the office chair game and you’re going to actually going to start in and let’s assume you’re not white labeling, you know, to your earlier point because unfortunately that is a very common thing you see today is just white labels everywhere. You know, it’s no one really makes anything. They’re just slapping a logo on it. So let’s put that aside for a minute and let’s assume that you’re actually making office chairs, right? So off the top of my head, cause I’m actually buying office chairs right now for our new office. I know that right now there are plenty of cheap office chairs that you can buy an Amazon for 150 bucks.
Ben Wieder: 21:35 There’s a few middle-grade ones you can get like an an office Depot. They’re kind of like the Herman Miller knockoffs. I tend to buy for my, my team there are about $400. You know, they’re, they’re really good and ergonomic and then you go from there all the way up to those Herman Miller’s that you know, are a thousand to 1500 [inaudible] there. And so like right now, if I’m looking at those office chairs, I would say there’s a couple of gaps. Probably there’s probably a a gap right around that $200 Mark. And there’s probably a gap right around that five, $600 Mark. And, and this is again off the top of my head. I mean this, don’t let anyone take this at you know, take this at face value. I guess what I’m trying to say, officer expert, but not an officer expert yet as I claimed to know very little.
Ben Wieder: 22:16 But in that example, let’s just assume that we run the analysis and we plot everything out pricing wise and we, you know, look at, you know, value versus comfort versus luxury versus options and, and build a little matrix and kind of plot it all out. And we find, wow, there really is a void for a $200 office chair. There’s lots of garbage ones. And then you get in that form, but that $200 price points, great. We think we can make a better office share for $200 and that’s a sweet spot. You just, you got to commit to that then and make the best $200 office chair that you can, if that’s, if that’s what you’re going to do.
Charles: 22:51 Okay. So you, so you would start kind of, you take a step back and say, I want to create an office chair, but at that point it’s still not decided what level of office Joe. Then you start looking at the landscape, plot out who’s making office shares, what price point, how do you think they rate verse each other and then start figuring out where you’re going to wedge yourself into that?
Ben Wieder: 23:13 Yeah, I think, you know, I would say that that’s accurate. I would say that, I mean clearly there’s probably something that led you to office shares in the first place. You probably, I’m guessing you thought that you had some way to do it better or design or something like that, but you know, I mean in the, in the case of chassis I already explained that, you know, our formula dictated our price point, right? I mean, you know, we, and I say this all the time, we can make this product for less than half the price. Probably a quarter of the price that we’re making it for. We wanted to, it wouldn’t work nearly as well. It wouldn’t perform nearly as well, but we could do that. And then obviously with, you know, one third to one quarter of the cost of goods sold, we could drop our price considerably at the same time if it, again, if we, if we wanted to go that route.
Ben Wieder: 24:00 But when we decided to make the world’s best powder and put the best stuff in it, it drove that cost of goods up pretty high to the point where anybody with any experience at all in, in CPG would say, well, you’re going to have to have a premium price if you want to make any money. We couldn’t sell this for $7 a bottle, you know, just, it was never going to happen. So I mean, in other words, like in that case, we kind of let the product dictate it and then, you know, you have a little bit of wiggle room and where you want your ultimate pricing to be, but we were never going to be a a drugstore product, you know?
Charles: 24:37 Yeah. So you kind of want, you start it with that, what chemical, what kind of ingredients went into it that kind of dictated, okay, so now out of this whole huge map of, you know, you’re off the ship map, you’re like, all right, we have to be at least this section over here. We can’t, like, if we want these ingredients, we just can’t be over there. So that kind of started that. Now you have to figure out, okay, how are you? Is there no one above us? Are we really like the highest end one or is there some little wedge that we’re jumping into? Oh
Ben Wieder: 25:04 Yeah. And you know, I mean, then you get into a whole, you know, price elasticity equation. That’s a whole nother topic. You know, you know, you can get to know a whole economics discussion there and you know, how elastic is your pricing and you know, ours isn’t terribly so, I mean we’ve, it’s surprisingly we can run a sale and don’t see a huge difference either way, you know. So I think that you know, again, our, but our, our, our repeat purchase is so high right now that, you know, once you start using it, it’s, it’s really, it’s, it’s something you’re going to probably use for the rest of your life, you know, and, and just really become a part of your, your grooming routine. So, you know, and honestly for, for most guys now you know, okay, is it $18 a bottle? Is it $20 a vile? Is it $25 a bottle, you know, for the average working guy, if it’s something that’s important to you, you’re probably not going to give a whole lot of thought to that, you know, for something that’s good, you know?
Charles: 26:01 Yeah. And it kinda think you know, something to pay. So deodorant kind of symbols they use all the time. At some point you stopped looking at the price. You just know that’s the exact, like you almost have like a pitcher and that you just follow the pitcher and you skip over the price. You just know it’s roughly, it’s roughly what you’re gonna purchase it once you like, it’s, it’s right at this price. I don’t really care anymore. I’m just going to keep buying it. And that’s what you do kind of, I don’t know, just men, but I know.
Ben Wieder: 26:28 Yeah, it’s, yeah, it is. And, I mean, one of the interesting things about grooming that, you know, there’s all this research in the world that says that you know the, in fact during the Oh eight recession there’s all these studies that show that a premium grooming products and premium beauty products did not suffer very much during the recession. And the, the theory behind it is that even if you, you know, can no longer afford your nice car, or maybe you had to downsize your house, maybe you even lost your house these little luxuries in your life, you know, like a nice for a guy, a nice bottle of powder, maybe a nice bottle of nail Polish for a woman can make you feel good. And, and, and there’s, there’s some value to that because at the end of the day, I mean, you know, for most guys, you know, 15 to $20 isn’t going to break the bank either way, but if it makes you feel better it’s kinda like a, an attainable luxury, right? But it’s not like, you know, buying a new Mercedes or something like that.
Charles: 27:32 Gotcha. So once you kind of decide that’s, that’s a lane you want to be in, that should niche and I go on for that. How do you convey that to the customer? How do you, from a branding point of view, I actually tell them like other than, so we said it’s a clean design, that sort of thing, but in the price. So those are kind of the two basic things, but how else, how are you really conveying them the story and like who we are? This is who we are as a brand.
Ben Wieder: 27:57 So I mean, I think that, you know, number one, we tell the story. So a lot of the narrative that I S I started the, this interview with, I, you know, it was right on our website. And then I think you know, it is, it is getting harder in a way because nobody reads anymore. And I don’t mean that flippantly, but I mean, if we’re honest with ourselves, you know, we, we like to look at pretty pictures now. So, you know, the way that we have to tell our narrative now versus the way that we had to tell our narrative even three years ago has changed in that we have to do it a lot more with images and icons and graphics and things like that. So, you know, you’ve got your, your, your, your graphics. You may have a little comparison chart, you know, comparing chassis to a baby powder and a medicated powder and showing all the features that that we have that they don’t have. You know, so those are, those are some of the things that, you know, you have to do. And again, it’s done more with imagery anymore than, than long form narrative.
Charles: 28:55 Hmm. Okay. So even on, so like Amazon product listing you, you’re leveraging images. So you’re saying more than before,
Ben Wieder: 29:03 It’s kind of Oh, way more. Yeah. I mean, yeah, you have to, I mean, it’s just like we see it all the time is, I mean, and then just look at your own, you know, go, go get an Amazon listing or, or just a Shopify site. And you know, it’s those, you’re going to slide through the image carousel and those images could have a little words on it, right? Little call outs or little features, but you know, I mean it’s, people are making decisions faster than ever. And so much of it is that first impression, you know, having good photography, having a great brand name having a lot of good reviews. I mean, these are the things that matter. And you know, that’s, that’s where a lot of the first mover strategy comes from with e-commerce of course is, you know, the whole, you know, we were first, we were the first ones there, you know.
Ben Wieder: 29:46 So you know, reality is you know, our, our reviews continue to accumulate and, you know, somebody could try to undercut us, but at the end of the day, you know, we’ve got that, that, that lead dog position. And now it’s ours to lose. I mean, we could screw it up somehow and lose it by not, you know, continuing to make a great product by letting our customers down by, you know, making bad decisions, you know, so we still have to do our job, but you know, that’s what the first mover advantage is all about.
Charles: 30:19 Hmm. Where do you plan to take things from hair? Is it, is it building a brand now of different complimentary products? Is it, you know, version two of this product? Like what do you go from here now?
Ben Wieder: 30:30 So we’ve got two more chassis products in the pipeline, one coming out the end of this year. Another one probably coming out early part of next year. We are working on another brand. I can’t quite go too much into it, but where we’re going another brand, totally, totally separate brand, totally different brand name. I’m also in the men’s grooming space. I’m also actually, yeah, so also the men’s grooming space and also sort of taking advantage of a niche that we’ve, we’ve found, you know, solving a problem that a lot of guys have that there really isn’t a great product in that particular price point currently. And then we’re also working on one more brand. This one’s a little further out, probably another year or so out one more brand. That’s actually going to be our first unisex brand. We think that as an OS going to be a unisex brand again serving a niche that currently has one provider one, one manufacturer. But they, we think they’re vulnerable. And from a branding standpoint, we know we can run circles around them cause the brand for that, that leader in that space is very 1980s, let’s just say. So we, we think we can improve upon that and from a branding standpoint, really capture a younger audience that, that would never consider a brand with that that look and feel.
Charles: 31:58 So you said said interested in, there’s different products in a launch under the chassis brand, but there’s also different brands, you know, lunch, right? So there’s two different things. What’s, what is the thought process? What does the decision making process on what you’d want to put inside the chassis brand versus what you’d want to read through the work of creating a new brand? Because that’s a lot more work though.
Ben Wieder: 32:19 Great question. So I, and, and this is, this is a tough thing because I think that we, we debated a lot internally. You know, the chassis brand name is, is very well known. That said, our tagline is man care for down there. That’s our tagline. That was the, the line in the sand that we drew. Could we lose that and then start making deodorant? And so in all sorts of different than shaving gel, we could and that cross our mind. But at the end of the day, I think that’s where you lose a little bit of that PR brand promise, potentially. Because, you know, now we’ve gone from man care for down there, but now trust us, we’ve got the best shaving gel. You know, I’ve, I don’t know that I would fall for that. You know, as a consumer I would, I would have doubts that, that you’re, you know, you were the best powder and now you’re saying you’re going to have a great shaving gel. I don’t know. So I mean, but again, it’s up for debate and believe me that was a very intense debate internally. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong, but the path that we’ve chosen is to say, look, we’re, we’re solving problems and we can do that at a brand level as opposed to, you know, creating one brand that does everything. You know, that the Google way or the general electric way of doing things.
Charles: 33:34 Yeah. Cause you see people go both routes, right? So like you can work in either direction because if you absolutely can, and you invested the chassis brand, it’s an asset now, right? That’s something that it is you’ve built over time and people believe in that and his followers that if you come up with a, you know, whatever the other brand name is, they’re not, and you sell it to the same folks, they might not even realize you’re related in that kind of trust you have with chassis. You need to rebuild that with them on a brand.
Ben Wieder: 34:00 Absolutely. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a risk. It’s a risk. But I think then I would also say, you know, so imagine again back to that scenario where all of a sudden this tagline goes away and instead of man care for down there, maybe it just says, man care, I don’t know. And now all of a sudden you’re shopping chassis and you realize, wait a second, these guys do shaving cream. They do. So they do blah, blah, blah. I mean, you know, are, are they the best anymore or are they just, you know, another mass brand? It does everything. Okay. and I, you know, look, again, I don’t, I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong but I think, you know, we’ve made the decision that that’s the best approach for us.
Charles: 34:45 Okay. So yeah, cause there, so what would you think with the folks that when they, they come out of the gate with the general brand and they just think, you know, we’ll use this like instead of being very niche down, they just say, you know what, let’s just come up instead of skincare for down there sort of thing. You start come up with just men’s skin care and that’s how you start. That’s the Genesis, right. What do you think about that approach? And then
Ben Wieder: 35:10 Wait a second. I mean, if we could, if we could rewind the clock maybe, but again, I, I don’t know. I mean, look, I mean there are, I mean, let me say this
there are a few men’s grooming brands. I won’t name names that also make powder. Okay. It’s not as good as our powder, but they make powder and it’s marketed in a similar fashion. But those, a couple of those brands are, you know, have a hundred other skews, you know, you name it, they’re it. Everything from lip balm to shaving cream to hair gel and everything in between there. Their sales of that powder don’t even come close to this. Right? So, you know, I mean that that could be some evidence right there that show, and these are huge brands that anyone would, would, would love to be a part of, right? I’m not knocking these brands. And if you were to add up those hundred skews that they have, it’s a map. These are massive companies you’re talking about here, right? So I’m not throwing any stones, but at the same time, they’re way behind where we are in the niche that we’re in. Does that make sense?
Charles: 36:16 Yeah. And that’s one of those things you can, as much larger brands, so you can go out there. These consumer package, good brands are the juggernauts, right, of industry where they’re just these, these beats. Right? But the only, it sounds like one way you’ve kind of found to compete with them is just go very like a laser into a very specific niche. Like you are this exact product for this exact type of person. Like you can’t, you can’t go head to head with the juggernaut with this monster. Right. But you can win in a very specific place and that when you talk and you know, it’s still big enough where there’s a lot there where it’s not just, you know, it’s still a very large market but not enough for a large companies to go back deep into.
Ben Wieder: 36:57 That’s right. And I think you know, you, you combine that with the fact that a lot of these larger companies that came around before the eCommerce side of things, they also are way behind when it comes to eCommerce marketing. I mean it’s, it’s, it’s actually kind of funny. I mean, you know, the next time you’re on Amazon, take a look at the really big brands and what their presence looks like on Amazon and then compare that to maybe some of the more, you know, smaller upstart brands. And you’ll see how far behind the April a lot of these big brands are. Cause they’ve never had to do it before. You know, they, they were just worried about shelf space at a, you know, at Walmart and stuff like that. And you know, obviously it’s a, you know, we use our shelf space at Walmart or ranking in Amazon, you know, it’s two totally different things and so it has leveled the playing field and I think it’s enabled companies like us who know what we’re doing and who take a real cerebral approach to it. You know, we can, we can achieve some pretty amazing things.
Charles: 37:57 Awesome. That’s a good place to end up, Ben. That’s super insightful. If folks want to find you, kind of learn more about you or some links.
Ben Wieder: 38:04 Sure. Yeah. Well chassis for men, C H a S S I S like the chassis of a car chassis for men.com is our, our website level six marketing, the number six. That’s my agency site. And yeah, I appreciate you having me.
Charles: 38:20 Awesome. Thanks. Great chatting with you. I have a good one. Thanks. You too.
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