Show cover of Hitting The Mark

Hitting The Mark

Conversations with founders about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success with your host, brand strategist, and author Fabian Geyrhalter.


East Fork: Alex Matisse, Founder
Alex Matisse, who made it a strategic point not to name his brand after his famous last name (yes, he is the great-grandson of one of the most influential artists to ever live, Henri Matisse), co-founded East Fork, a pottery brand I cherish and study from the outside for a lot of reasons, all of which you will learn more about during this very sincere and insightful conversation. Alex and I talk about the soul of a brand and how to keep it intact, his dislike of the word authenticity, the constant – which he sees as positive – struggle that drives his artisanal 'made in the US' business, and how he and his two Co-Founders created a brand that those who know came to love and even obsess over.Yet another conversation that reminds me of why I love bringing this show to you – and why I love spreading these insights on the often intrinsic art of crafting brands people truly love.
47:13 09/16/2022
Terra Kaffe: Sahand Dilmaghani, Founder & CEO
Sahand Dilmaghani founded Terra Kaffe, an innovative at-home espresso-brewing machine that seeks to upend the environmentally disastrous use of 'pods.' Inspired by European coffee culture and the Bauhaus design movement the TK-01 machine is a beautiful piece of design simplicity and Sahand and I dive deep into the topic of sustainability, the perhaps misunderstood 'Made in China' brand, rituals associated with coffee, pinning down a target audience while offering a table stakes item like a coffee machine, and how to set off to build a lifestyle brand.An absolutely delightful conversation; so pour yourself a cup, and enjoy Sahand’s insights into building a brand from scratch.
51:21 08/27/2022
Eat Just: Josh Tetrick, Co-Founder & CEO
Josh Tetrick is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Eat Just company, a 1.2 billion dollar food startup founded 10 years ago, which is, according to Forbes, "providing justice for animals while addressing food scarcity and the climate crisis."If you enjoy a tough branding challenge, if you appreciate an improbable success story, if care about the environment and animals, if you eat eggs or enjoy the taste of real meat, then listen to this episode.As of today, JUST Egg has sold the equivalent of 300 million chicken eggs and raised more than $800 million in funding from investors like Bill Gates, Marc Benioff, and Paul Allen. It took his team 4 or 5 years to have a plant-based product that scrambled like an egg. At that point, they spent 3-4 million dollars and the taste wasn’t even there yet. It just behaved like an egg.Josh also runs GOOD Meat, which is not plant-based, instead, it is actual meat produced from a cell in a vessel. Needless to say, a lot to discuss about branding, story-telling, and naming, and Josh dives deep into all of it, while also discussing the intricacies of giving people something they did not know they needed in the first place. An all-around edutaining conversation.
38:02 08/05/2022
BackMarket: Vianney Vaute, Co-Founder & CCO
Vianney Vaute is the Co-Founder and CCO of Paris-based BackMarket, a marketplace that fights against planned obsolescence.6 months ago the startup was evaluated at 5.7 billion and driven by their brand DNA of 'sabotage' the company keeps old tech devices around for longer hence positively impacting the environment. And yet they found a way to attract the large tech giants like Samsung to not fear but actually join their brand.From how to keep your brand DNA flag raised high during expansion to how to maintain your brand’s tonality as you grow into new markets to how important a founder’s instinct is to build a global brand, this conversation with Veenay is absolute brand gold and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you.
50:04 07/15/2022
Schiit Audio: Jason Stoddard, Founder
Jason Stoddard founded an improbable made-in-the-US product company in the HI-FI space that is putting out high-quality, inexpensive units while innovating on many fronts. Fueled by the name Schiit his company has become a beloved brand. Schiit is only 12 years old yet 7 years ago Jason already published a book detailing the eventful journey of the garage startup. Many of you know that I am now also running a Made-in-the-US product startup that plays in the audio world called Toneoptic, so after reading Jason’s book about his  brand’s incredible voyage I knew I had to have him on the show.This is a must-listen for any company that seeks to go against the grain, anyone who believes in producing products in their home country, or those who need to be reminded that one can create a seven-figure startup out of their garage with 10k of self-funding, and of course for anyone who loves Hi-Fi. If this is not you, still listen, because this is a great one!
47:25 06/24/2022
Foundersuite: Nathan Beckord, Founder & CEO
Nathan Beckord founded Foundersuite, a brand that pretty much every founder heard of, used, or referenced. Nathan and I discuss if infusing brand into early-stage startup pitch decks is of importance, if a catchy or descriptive tagline suits a startup better, the power of community in brand building and we talk about Foundersuite’s Teddy Talks which involves a ginormous teddy bear. Yep, a rather varied and fun conversation that any startup founder, VC, or those working with startups should listen to. 
45:31 06/03/2022
LOOP Mission: Julie Poitras-Saulnier & David Côté, Co-Founders
David Coté and Julie Poitras-Saulnier run LOOP Mission which collaborates with major food industry actors to save perfectly good, but rejected products discarded before reaching grocery stores and transform them into products such as juices, smoothies, sodas, beer, gin, soaps, and dog treats.I have to be frank and I can cut this intro very short: I have a complete brand crush and to me, LOOP is inspirational on so many fronts that it would be silly to mention them and instead I will assume you will trust my opinion and dive right into this episode where Julie and David share the way they continue to build their ever-expanding brand upon purpose – with a twist of wit.
51:48 05/13/2022
Thrive Market: Nick Green, Co-Founder & CEO
Nick Green is the Co-Founder & CEO of Thrive Market, a membership-based online platform that makes healthy living easy and accessible to all. Since launching in 2014, Thrive Market has grown to more than 1 million paying members and become a touchstone example of a mission-driven company at scale. In addition to offering great natural and organic products at affordable prices to its members, the company donates a free year of membership to a family in need for every paid membership. The business has also been recognized as a leader in regenerative agriculture, carbon-neutral shipping, and Zero Waste operations, and in 2020 became the nation’s largest grocer to receive B Corp Certification, as well as a Certified Great Place to Work.Nick and his 3 Co-Founders set out to launch a 'Costco meets Whole Foods' concept, which is insanely ambitious and a remarkable story given where Thrive is today. Needless to say, this conversation delivered many insights into today's Zeitgeist, technology, and consumer expectations, and it was an immense pleasure being able to talk with Nick about the way in which his brand continues to grow with a strong guiding star and our planet’s health top of mind.
54:23 04/22/2022
Shit That I Knit: Christina (Fagan) Pardy, Founder & CEO
Christina (Fagan) Pardy founded Shit That I Knit, a brand of sustainable high-quality knit-wear that one would say besides its name– although the contrary is true – has become known around the world. Christina was recently on the TODAY show and Shit That I Kit was the official Team USA brand partner for beanies and mittens this past Winter Olympics, which is rather spectacular.Here is an entrepreneur who started off with brand-thinking and learned the business side along the way. So obviously we talk about the name, how it was derived, how to say it on TV when you can’t use the sh*t word, and how not to overdo the shit pun in her brand language. Christina discusses how authenticity and transparency played a big role in her brand’s success. We chat about how to get your brand in front of influencers and celebrities, how she moved her production to Lima, Peru where she is now empowering over 200 women as part of her team and she shares her Give A Shit program with us.Another favorite episode of mine is now ready for your discerning ears!
32:05 04/01/2022
Good Good: Gardar Stefansson, CEO & Co-Founder
Gardar Stefansson co-founded Good Good, a company from Iceland that makes waves around the globe with its no-sugar-added breakfast and brunch products.To me, startups like Good Good are extremely exciting since they have to embody all the components of great brand strategy: From starting with a niche product for a niche audience - while allowing the brand name and design to survive any pivots - to shared values, a great name, impactful design, all the way to creating a tribe that the big competitors can’t steal away from you. And doing so from a nordic island.Gardar and I talk about all of that and it is a wonderful story of accidental - as well as planned - brand success with many insights marketers and founders alike can learn from.
43:47 03/11/2022 Andy Hunter, Founder & CEO
Andy Hunter founded with a mission to disrupt Amazon’s book sales and put them back into the hands of bookstores. He sees his brand to be the MC and hands the mike over to the people who sell and love books. A mesmerizing uphill battle that you can witness him slowly winning by means of passion, dedication, and shared values between, physical bookstores, and last but not least book buyers that care about more than the lure of next-day shipping.As an author, it was wonderful to have Andy on the show, but also as a brand-builder since there is a lot to be learned from how he and his team have created a disruptive and beloved brand in just two years. 
46:00 02/18/2022
Satisfy Running: Brice Partouche, Founder, CEO & Creative Director
Brice Partouche founded Satisfy, a performance fashion brand for runners to unlock the high. He wouldn’t say it, but I can: Satisfy is quickly developing into a cult brand and we spent ample time talking about Zeitgeist, culture, and community. Brice and I discuss how NFTs can be used to create access to a brand, the link between running and creativity, and how every product line starts with a story at Satisfy. A fascinating conversation.
48:45 01/28/2022
Thrillist: Adam Rich, Co-Founder
Adam Rich co-founded Thrillist by sending out an e-mail newsletter to 600 people about things to do in NYC. Well, as they say, the rest is history. I talk with Adam about how a newsletter turned into a trusted brand and a global multi-platform media monster hitting the eyeballs of more than 300 million people a month, how understanding and sticking to your brand’s DNA is key to brand growth, how emotion and data demand to co-exist, and why thinking about your brand’s legacy must inform your brand’s every action.
43:35 01/07/2022
Houseplant: Evan Goldberg & Michael Mohr, Co-Founders
Together with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Michael Mohr founded Houseplant, a lifestyle brand rooted in cannabis that creates and curates thoughtful, design-led original products.By unifying the words “house” and “plant,” the brand has created an entirely new cannabis experience through curated, one-of-a-kind expert insights from Rogen and Goldberg that marry perfectly with well-designed, premium Housegoods.In this episode with Evan and Michael, we dive into the similarities of crafting a movie versus a brand, why pricing is key to positioning, how to create a welcoming brand in a misunderstood and jaded business segment, and how you can perfectly plan something yet it can still misfire. And that is in a way the challenge, but also the beauty of entrepreneurship and brand building, and I can guarantee you that you will not only gain a lot of insights into brand strategy but you will also greatly enjoy the company of these fine gentlemen on today’s show.
47:30 12/03/2021
Intelligentsia: Doug Zell, Founder
Doug Zell is the Founder of Intelligentsia Coffee, a beloved brand that established itself as a leader in what came to be known as third-wave coffee.Intelligentsia embodies a quest for superior quality and sophisticated design, but it is furthermore about the overall impeccable brand experience that those of us who have visited one of the 15 US locations have come to expect.Doug is a masterful brand builder and his insights from not only successfully building, but carefully expanding the Intelligentsia brand over the past 26 years is, just like the brand itself, rather illuminating.
52:30 11/12/2021
Savor Beauty: Angela Jia Kim, Founder
Angela Jia Kim founded  Savor Beauty with a strong brand ethos inspired by a career as a concert pianist. What caught my eye about Angela's brand was how she checks off all the boxes a brand in her space should, and she does it seemingly with ease: farm-fresh small-batch organic products, cutting-edge technology, 100% non-toxic clean formulas, made locally, supporting various deserving communities, cruelty-free testing, minority-owned, et cetera, et cetera.And Angela understands that her brand ethos is the guiding light that makes all the difference in the why, the what, and the how of her brand. A wonderful episode, also because she shares with us how the person who sued her over her brand name gave her transformational business advice.
43:59 10/22/2021
Breeze Airways (JetBlue, and others): David Neeleman, Founder & CEO
David Neeleman is the Founder of 5 airlines and changed the way people experienced surprise and delight by flying JetBlue. During the pandemic, he launched his latest airline brand, Breeze, and I sat down with David to talk about what branding means to him, what makes great company culture, how a book inspired the JetBlue brand, and his preferred airline naming process (in the case of JetBlue the name was derived the Friday before a Monday launch).Needless to say, an episode that is packed with insights from a truly amazing brand builder I believe all of us are thrilled to hear from on the subject of branding.
27:22 10/01/2021
Drink Monday: Chris Boyd, Co-Founder & CEO
Chris Boyd is the Co-Founder of Monday, a Southern California distillery that crafts non-alcoholic spirits such as gin and whiskey. The brand is only a year old and its impeccable design caught my eye from day one. Chris and I talk about how community and authenticity are key to building his brand. And he is walking that talk as he has 1,366 shareholders to who he is reporting.And of course, we talk about the power of design and how the big question ‘why’ should be fundamental to any entrepreneur’s journey of building their brand. A spirited conversation all around.
50:23 09/10/2021
Crossnet: Chris Meade, Co-Founder
Chris Meade, 28 years young, a Forbes 30 under 30 nominee, invented a new sport with his co-founders that mixes Four square with Volleyball.  Today you can catch Crossnet on ESPN and the product sells in over 3,000 locations in the US and around the world. Chris and I talk about naming not only a brand, but a sport, how to create not only momentum but a movement, the latest in digital marketing, and why communication, internally and externally is key to brand success and, as usual, we touch on a lot more. If you are an entrepreneur in the D2C space, listen in. If you are any kind of marketing professional, listen in. Much wisdom is to be gained from this conversation on how to get e-commerce traction in today's environment. 
39:48 08/20/2021
von Holzhausen: Vicki von Holzhausen, Founder
Vicki von Holzhausen utilizes her background as a designer for Audi and Mercedes to innovate on materials that are truly sustainable through her eponymous vegan leather bags and accessory brand. Vicki and I discuss the weight of her brand promise, The Conscious Code, how she bootstrapped a luxury brand, how she showcases accountability by using her last name as the brand name and so much more.  
41:48 07/30/2021
Hint: Kara Goldin, Founder & CEO
Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc, the brand synonymous with the leading unsweetened flavored water in the US, loved by millions. Within minutes of listening to Kara, you will understand why she became as successful as she has and why she is such an influential voice in business. Kara shared an outpour of crucial lessons for both entrepreneurs and marketers alike, and her first book, Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters, was released last October and is now a Wallstreet Journal Bestseller. Needless to say, an episode not to be missed. 
52:35 07/09/2021
Coolhaus: Natasha Case, CEO & Co-Founder
Natasha Case founded Coolhaus with her then-girlfriend – now-wife – in 2009. Inspired by her architectural background and a drive to create the best ice cream sandwich available, the couple bought "a piece of shit postal van masquerading as an ice cream truck’ on Craigslist for $2,500 dollars and towed it to the Coachella Music Festival using AAA." The rest is history. Today Coolhaus is the top women-led ice cream company in the U.S. and can be found in over 6,000 grocery stores.  Despite its growth, Coolhaus remains true to the authentic origins of the brand: represent positive change, push the envelope for the future, and create high-quality ice cream and plant-based novelties for all to enjoy. Coolhaus, with its quirky visual and verbal brand language, inspires the next generation of diverse founders, entrepreneurs, and creators to live out their dreams; and on today’s show, you will see just how they do it.
49:04 06/18/2021 Jeremy Parker, Co-Founder & CEO
Jeremy Parker bought the url to disrupt the boring and outdated promotional products industry. Swag should stand for something new, and be bought differently, and it should be stuff people actually want to keep. That vision turned into reality as had 2000% growth over the last three years, made it onto Number 218 on Inc’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies list, and counts TikTok, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Mercedes, Starbucks, Google, and Spotify as its customers. Even during this tough past year, where events were canceled and offices shut down, the brand kept growing while most promotional product companies laid low or faltered. In the end, Jeremy's brand succeeded because he kept a razor-sharp focus on the ever-evolving customer experience. There are many brand and marketing lessons in this episode, from smart brand positioning within a commodity vertical to leading with empathy, this is an episode not to be missed.
45:34 05/28/2021
Awe Inspired: Max Johnson, Co-Founder & CEO
Max Johnson built a tremendously impactful business over the course of the last 4 years through simple necklaces that celebrate female goddesses and leaders. The brand, Awe Inspired, was born out of Max's mother’s desire to empower fellow cancer survivors. From the journey of blindly walking into brand agencies on Madison Avenue to learning how personalization and shared values are key to the future success of their jewelry brand, Awe Inspired is exactly that: Inspiring. If you were wondering if taking a political stance is the right move for your brand, or how to navigate picking up the phone to call your customers to have them help you in creating the next iteration of your offering, to thinking of your brand as an actor, this episode is full of awe-inspiring – yes, I had to go there - nuggets of brand and marketing wisdom. And, who knows, you may even be moved to tears when you hear the brand story.
48:58 05/07/2021
TRUFF: Nick Ajluni & Nick Guillen, Co-Founders
You must have been on a social media diet to not have stumbled upon TRUFF’s masterfully designed array of truffle-infused sauces. But TRUFF is not solely a social media sensation, you can find the brand anywhere from Whole Foods to Neiman Marcus, and from the U.S. to Australia. The two Co-Founders, Nick Ajluni and Nick Guillen, have a knack for brand building and now that I have tried their products, which of course in true TRUFF fashion they immediately shipped my way after recording the interview, I can attest that this is not just hot marketing; it is one unbelievably addictive, tasty, and unique product. I am thrilled to have had them on the show to share their branding and marketing secrets with you. We had tons of fun during this interview and it is an episode I would want no one to miss out on. 
52:45 04/23/2021
LegalZoom: Edward Hartman, Co-Founder
Eddie Hartman created LegalZoom 20 years ago with two friends and built it into the best-known legal brand in the United States. LegalZoom has over 4 million customers and more than half of all Americans know the brand. I have been a customer for a mighty long time and having this chat with Eddie was just incredibly stimulating and rewarding. We talk about how celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro became the face of the company, we discuss the impact of assurance and how ‘brand’ is the future promise about something you can not guarantee today, how the word ‘zoom’ used to stand for LegalZoom before the pandemic hit, and Eddie shares tons of actionable brand advice for any entrepreneur, CEO and CMO alike. 
45:55 04/09/2021
Bonjoro: Matthew Barnett, Papa Bear
In the last episode we were in Iceland, today we are in Australia, and finally, we have a B2B brand on the show again: A tech brand that is in the business of converting, retaining, and growing your customers with delightful personal video messages sent at just the right moment. But Bonjoro is not your typical tech company – it has brand and culture at its heart. It is about creating customer love, and it is a weird brand, a fun brand, a brand that is not afraid to stand out, most probably more afraid to blend in. Matt and I talk about the importance of branding for B2B companies, about brand copy, about creating funnels for a brand that has multiple audiences with multiple pain points, and of course, we talk about the importance of bears to Bonjoro hence Matt's unusual title. Visit Bonjoro onlineSupport the show 
48:06 03/26/2021
Saltverk: Björn Steinar Jónsson, Founder & CEO
Björn Steinar Jónsson runs Saltverk, which produces hand-harvested sustainable sea salt using only energy from geothermal hot springs in the northwestern fjords of Iceland. Saltverk's salt-making method is based on the traditional methods of the 17th-century, which means that during the entire process they leave zero carbon footprint. The salt is used in many of the world's best restaurants (great story about Noma in the interview) and it was time to sit down and talk about the concept of 'brand' with Björn, whose product I have been enjoying for a little while now. It was a great pleasure and I hope you will enjoy Björn’s story of harvesting salt, his empathetic viewpoints on sustainability, trust, and brand purpose which should be inspirational for any brand builder, marketer, and foodie alike. Visit Saltverk onlineSupport the showApply for the eResonaid Scholarship
43:01 03/12/2021
Clare: Nicole Gibbons, Founder & CEO
Interior designer Nicole Gibbons set out to 'take the pain out of paint' through her brand Clare where she has pioneered an easier, faster, and more inspiring way to shop for paint. Fast Company proclaimed “The Warby Parker of paint is here” and Nicole has just been named one of Inc’s 100 Women Building America's Most Innovative and Ambitious Businesses. In a fascinating conversation, we dive into sustainability, physical retail experiences versus D2C, Clare’s unique brand language, and of course, the meaning behind the brand’s name, which could have easily been Nicole, but ended up being Clare. And you will get to know the very misleading and dangerous side of the paint industry. Visit Clare onlineSupport the show
40:22 02/26/2021
behno: Shivam Punjya, Founder
Shivam Punjya is the founder of the luxury handbag label behno which is designed in NYC but made in India. behno operates at the intersection of ethical thinking and luxury design, a space I have always been very interested in. Further, behno’s mission is to redefine and bring awareness to the character of “Made in India”, and to set a new standard for Indian factory manufacturing that improves the quality of life and safety of women in the garment trade. Shivam and I talk about how to move from exploiting cheap labor to creating a nurturing environment and community, how the company’s name encompasses the DNA of the brand even after pivots, the innovative way in which behno reacted to Blackout Tuesday last year, and much much more. Visit behno onlineSupport the show 
38:52 02/12/2021