From Slime to Jiffpom toys: Why we invested in Brandable, the future of CPG
Earlier this year, I spent a significant amount of time traveling around the country to visit mass retailers. From catching a red eye to Minneapolis, Minnesota (in one of the worst snow storms in years!) for a meeting with a toy buyer, to taking multiple connections in order to get to Bentonville, Arkansas for a meeting with a food buyer. I was living the life of a CPG salesperson and the comments I heard firsthand from Retail buyers reinforced what I already knew to be true: CPG is a sector ripe for disruption.
“This food is exactly what young kids tell us they want these days, but no one else is making it.” — Food Buyer
“I have been looking for a toy exactly like this for years, but no one has brought it to me until now.” — Toy Buyer
“There hasn’t been any innovation in spices in over 25 years.” — Spice Buyer
With that said, I am thrilled to announce our Series A investment in Brandable, and that I’ll be joining the board.
Brandable is a modern day CPG company, disrupting categories such as toys, food, wellness and beauty. They’re going after a huge market where U.S. CPG is $670B and they’re doing it differently from anyone else.
Brandable creates brands for GenZ and Millennials — generations who watch less traditional TV and spend more time online. They are voracious consumers of YouTube and social media, and follow many influencers on these platforms. Instead of buying TV spots to advertise, Brandable launches its brands in association with hyper-relevant social media influencers with massive reach. The influencers get a share of the pie in their associated brand so they are owners themselves.
We are in a special moment of time, which shows no sign of stopping, where influencers are impacting our purchase decisions and allowing brands to be built far faster and far cheaper than before. Brandable is pairing each brand with an authentic influencer to that category (e.g. Karina Garcia with Slime and Jiffpom with toys) which is resonating with their target demographic and products are flying off the shelves.
There are several other things unique to Brandable that caught our attention:
- The CEO, Oliver Bogner, is an authentic founder and intimately knows this demo (given he is a Millennial himself!). Creativity and sales are two of his super powers and we see this with every new concept he designs and brings to market.
- Brandable knows that physical channels still dominate CPG. 90% of retail sales still go through traditional brick and mortar channels. Walmart sees 600M customer visits each month, and Target 240M. As a result they sell through both online and offline channels seamlessly. Retail distribution channels allows the masses throughout the U.S. to get their hands of these products, rather than keeping new brands exclusively in the hands of those who drive popular culture and trends. Their distribution in Retailers together with online allows them to democratizing access to products.
- The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation. At Lightspeed we have seen, understood and invested in many Millennial businesses — GIPHY, Snap, GirlBoss and HQ Trivia among them. One of Lightspeed’s areas of focus is finding founders who have a unique view of the Millennial customer and build a strong product around that thesis. This is exactly what Oliver Bogner has done at Brandable.
How to experience Brandable
Food / Drink
Super Snack Time — beef jerky in a variety of pizza flavors and sold to you in a colorful pizza shaped bag at Wal-Mart and here. This is the first product of many food SKUs in this brand launching over the next few months. The influencer is Epic Meal Time, who have >20m views on YouTube.
Beauty / Wellness
Queen V — Launched last month in Walmart and here as a feminine hygiene brand with a variety of influencers. It turns out women have been using products on our most sensitive area with the wrong PH balance. This product, made for women by an all female team, will flip that PH around.
Slime — Hasbro is valued at over $12B, yet their hero product, Play Doh, has barely changed in decades. Brandable launched their own Slime exclusively at Target with Karina Garcia as the influencer behind it. Brandable has also developed toys with influencers including Brodie Smith (1M Instagram followers), Guava Juice (1.3M Instagram followers) and Jiff Pom (8.7M Instagram followers).
Pet food, pet toys and the wider pet space is seeing innovation by incumbents and Brandable is making their mark here, too. They have developed products with influencers such as Happy Pet with Dr. Evan Antin, which will be launching at Petco this summer.
Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on what’s happening in the CPG space very soon…
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