Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Seizing an
Unexpected Opportunity

Josie Johnson is the founder and CEO of Josie’s Best Gluten Free Mixes, a top 8 allergen free baking mix brand. Josie’s Best GF recently finished a segment on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals where they had scale quickly and effectively to make it happen.

The Origins of Josie’s

I started creating my own baking mixes so my husband and I could enjoy breakfast together again. Big family breakfasts were a huge part of my family life as a child and when I was diagnosed with food allergies (gluten) all the food we loved for those moments were no longer something I could enjoy. After discovering products I could eat, they left me wanting something different so, we started making our own. We never really intended to start a company, but as our products have become more popular and well known, we’ve had to learn new ways of not only managing a growing business, but also doing it with three little kids in tow.

In the early stages of the pandemic (early 2020), Josie’s Best saw a huge increase in sales. Fortunately, ecommerce was well established, we had a pantry staple product that was shelf stable, and we were able to keep producing by using smaller supply chains. It didn’t hurt that people were now stuck at home and baking more. This increase in sales afforded us an opportunity to connect with more customers and continue building a lasting relationship.

When GMA Came Calling

At the end of the summer we were approached about a possible product spot on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals. It was, and continues to be, a huge growth opportunity for us. The first big hurtle was putting a pitch together for our product and offer the best deal possible to the viewers. Another major hurtle was ensuring we had enough product ready to ship to match the demand that GMA’s Deals and Steals was projected to generate during their one-day flash sale and massive viewership.

Our pitch had to include:

  • What product(s) we were offering
  • Product discounts
  • Flat rate shipping (this was a huge hurtle!)
  • Volume of product ready to ship at time of sale
  • A date we could be ready to go

We were putting a pitch together that was well beyond what we had ever done before and it was challenging to conceptualize that scale of this opportunity. Additionally, JBGF uses a co-packer to mix our product (who is also a small, family run business) so this was a huge piece of the puzzle to ensure they could handle this project. Also, we had to organize and manage our largest packaging run ever. Finally, after a few weeks of preparation, we were able to secure a signed contract .

Now all we had to do was pull the whole thing off! With the contract signed in October and the segment airing in January, the timeline was very tight to get all the packaging completed and delivered, product made and ready to go.

JBGF offered a variety pack (one of each mix) for the segment. This was a decision made early in the process, which helped immensely in streamlining the labeling and shipping process. Had we allowed the customer to pick which mix they wanted in each pack, the process would have been much more labor intensive.

Making It Happen

Laying out the operations of this project was an huge undertaking. Every small detail from how the product goes into a box to how it went down the road had to be planned out; especially because shipments had go out quickly, and we were using only our small team to do all the labor. It was the first time we had to really look at a shipping line and each step in the process, the time it would take to put a label on each box, how we got each box on a pallet, did we have enough stretch wrap, tape, labels, and most importantly people, to get everything out the door on time.

We definitely met a few challenges getting everything built and ready to go. Our attitude was always that we could and had to make this work. We just kept pressing forward and figuring out the challenges that we were presented.

We were managing every aspect of the sale including:

  • Customer service (calls, emails, social media outreach)
  • Backend of the website
  • Payment processing (via PayPal)
  • Shipping label creating and printing (we used Ship Station and rotated several Rollo printers)
  • Physically putting labels on the products, getting the shipments palletized, on a truck and ready for UPS to take them to their final destination.

We had just enough people and everyone had a big job they had to execute. The day of the sale was exciting and scary! We were up way before the sun and watched our sale go live and the orders pour in. It was emotional and incredible to see our product on national TV and we were off to the races! Our planning really paid off and the systems we created worked beautifully. We got everything out the door on time.

To say this was a huge undertaking for a very small business that works with small suppliers is a rather large understatement. This project leveraged all the time, resources, and know-how, we could possibly muster. However, it was truly an opportunity of a lifetime at this point in our business and we are so incredibly grateful for it! It has been a springboard for Josie’s Best GF and offered brand awareness that was monumental for us. If we could do it again, we would!

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