One of our favorite projects of 2017 has been producing conference videos for the FounderMade Future of Food Summit that took place at Hudson Loft in Downtown LA on April 8, 2017. During the day, we filmed a promo video, all of the panels, 6 video podcasts, and one “consumer discovery video.” After editing all of the footage, which consisted of invaluable knowledge and advice from successful food entrepreneurs and investors alike, certain themes began to emerge. Instead of keeping them all to ourselves, we thought we’d share some of our takeaways! Start by taking a look at the promotional event video for a sneak peek into the conference.


Ask the experts for help

Even industry titans have been where you are at some point, and they eventually got through it, so learn from their experiences! Read their books and articles, and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them for advice directly. If you can’t reach the person you want to speak to, ask other people you’ve met (especially those with great contacts!), if they can connect you with someone who has had experience with a problem you’re facing. People are often a lot more willing to help than we give them credit for!


Network your butt off

In order to be able to ask for help, you need to have people whom you can ask! Go to industry conferences like FounderMade Future of Food and Natural Products Expo West in Los Angeles or Natural Products Expo East in New York, and make connections! Bring business cards and collect the business cards of those who can be useful to you. Make sure to always ask how you can be a resource to them! Being part of the same network can be a helpful jumping off point when reaching out to those you’ve met or want to meet.


When times are tough, don’t give up

Expect to fail, and when you do, fail quickly. Don’t be afraid to pivot. A lot. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing–the real why, which is probably to make the world a better place in some capacity. Ooshma Garg, the founder of Gobble, said that her “why” is, “To bring people closer together and to give you more quality time with your loved ones.” That’s what inspires her to wake up every morning and work into the night.


Get a mentor

Having a mentor is like having a north star. Check in with them often, and ask them to give you real feedback. If something isn’t working, perhaps it just needs more time, but perhaps you’re doing something wrong that they can help you see. They’ve probably had a similar experience to you at some point in their career!


Know your market and your position within the market

Investors want to know that you’ve really don’t your due diligence and that you’re not operating off of some unproven hypothesis. Know the size of your market. Know your competitors, their strategies, where you stand amongst them, and what differentiates you. Know your numbers and your game plan inside and out. Prepare evidence that shows that your game plan is feasible.


There is nothing more useful than getting real feedback on your products while building a loyal following of customers. Involve your community in your brand. Show up to the demos, tell your story, and start conversations with customers. Make it a two-way conversation. Get feedback from them and make them feel like they’re a part of the process. Ask them for flavor suggestions. Ask them what they love and what could be improved. Building personal connections will leave lasting impressions on your target audience.


Perfect your story

As Simon Sinek espoused in his now famous TED Talk, “Start with why.” People fall in love with your brand and products because of WHY it exists, not just the product itself. Of course, we recommend going through the experience of creating a brand story film, like the one we created for Tea Drops below, so you understand how to tell your story most effectively and you have video collateral that can be used to sell your story and product 24/7 on your website and social media channels.


Know your distribution strategy

However you decide to distribute your product—whether that’s online, through retailers, or other channels, make sure you know it ahead of time and can make the case for why your strategy is the best given your resources and capabilities. Don’t be afraid to start small and in your own community. Build a base of brand evangelists and expand from there. Don’t assume that making it into Whole Foods or Starbucks is a good way to get started, because there are so many things that can go wrong if you’ve never done it before, such as supply chain problems.


Focus on velocity, not sales

When seeking funding from investors or placement on retail shelves, you need to be able to show the decision makers successful case studies within a channel that prove that people really like your product. Start by building a case with one retailer and expand from there. Focusing on your product’s velocity, not small sales across multiple stores. One company that did a great job of that is RX Bar, which started by selling only online and to gyms. When products flew off the shelves at one gym, they were able to convince other gyms to carry their product. Once they had that test case, they used it to get investment and expand into other channels.


Keep refining your product based on feedback and analytics.

Ooshma Garg, the founder of Gobble, summed it up the best: “Like Google, constantly become more relevant for your buyer and community through strong data infrastructure and analytics.” We hope you found our takeaways from filming and editing Foundermade’s Food summit helpful! Beauty brands, investors, and enthusiasts, make sure to check out Foundermade’s upcoming Future of Beauty summit taking place on June 2, 2017, at Spring Studios in New York.