Episode 179

Lessons from the Trenches

Nick Raccuia - Sinless Snacks
October 20, 2021
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KetoBrownie (now rebranded as Sinless Snacks - https://www.sinlesssnacks.com/) started where a lot of great food brands start - in the founder’s kitchen.  Nick Raccuia’s story is a great one, full of insights and inspiration, successes and failures.  It includes nailing product development on a few products and failure with other products.  It covers periods of near burn out followed by the power of partnerships and strategic investors.  

Now Nick’s company produces two of my favorite sinless and guilt-free snacks: the original Keto Brownie and the Sinless Snacks cereal bar.  

Here’s a look at what we cover:

  • Knowing your customer is the key to product launches. Learn from NIck’s product successes contrasted with a few painful flops.
  • The benefits of a strategic investor and how to find them
  • Not launching on Amazon soon enough
  • Packaging and transit issues
  • How obsessing over your customers and products leads to wins

Nick Raccuia

Via LinkedIn


Sinless Snacks (formerly: KetoBrownie)

Via Amazon

Via Instagram

Mentioned in this episode:

Ryan Daniel Moran

Capitalism

Episode Transcript:

Brett Curry:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the E-Commerce Evolution podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. Today, we're talking about brownies. We're talking about Ketobrownies, but more than that, we're just talking about e-commerce growth and product development. I always get great feedback from listeners when I interview a founder and we get to hear their story. Today's founder you're going to absolutely love his story, the ups and downs of his brand, lots of lessons to unpack, and fun to be had.

Brett Curry:

It's my pleasure to welcome to the show Nick Raccuia. Nick is the founder of Ketobrownies, some new, kind of exciting in the works. With that, Nick, welcome to the show man. How's it going?

Nick Raccuia:

Thanks, Brett. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me. It's going awesome. I'm definitely excited to hop on and talk Keto Brownie and tell you a little bit more about our story and just the progress over the four, four and a half years.

Brett Curry:

Really excited to dig in. Just a quick story about how we met, I'm an investor with Ryan Daniel Moran's Capitalism Fund, and we'll hear the story in a little bit, but Ketobrownies is now part of the Capitalism Fund. So, you and I actually met at Ryan's lake house kind of talking business and stuff. Before that, Ryan sent out to all the investors and some of the people, some Ketobrownies. I get a box of Ketobrownies. I'm like, "Well, I'll eat anything. I'll try anything." I liked healthy food. There was quite a few in this box. My business partner, Chris Brewer, was out of town. So I was like, "Well, I'm going to eat a few of these brownies and I'll save a few for Chris." It's only fair. We invested in this stuff together.

Brett Curry:

So, I ate the first two and then I decided that Chris didn't need any Ketobrownies. He was gone for a few months in Florida, so I ate all of the Ketobrownies, and I regret nothing. The snack is fantastic, and lots of good stuff in the works, new products, stuff like that. We can talk about that in a minute. Let's first talk, Nick, about where did the inspiration come for this product? How did the idea come to be? Just kind of walk through that story because it's pretty interesting.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, definitely. It all happened pretty much in 2016. My background is accounting, so I was in accounting for four or five years. Super stressful, crazy work hour industry. I didn't have good eating habits. I was barely exercising, so I was like 30-35 pounds overweight. It was awful. I had no energy. I wasn't even fitting into my dress clothes. I was always trying to diet and eat healthy, but nothing ever stuck. Then I found out about keto, so I started doing keto in mid-2016, and it worked magically for me. I dropped 30-35 pounds in I think six or seven months, like no problems.

Brett Curry:

Wow.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, it was just-

Brett Curry:

Have you been full keto since 2016, or close to it?

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, pretty much close to it, yeah. There's sometimes where I'll take breaks, maybe holidays or something like that, and just kind of give my metabolism and body a change. No, I feel the best when I'm just eating keto: low carb, low sugar. So, I try and eat that way pretty much all the time. I had great success with keto, but back in 2016 it wasn't even close to as popular as it is now.

Brett Curry:

Right. Right.

Nick Raccuia:

I think there was only maybe four or five brands out there, or at least four or five brands I could find, so I bought all their snacks and tried them all just to help me stay on the diet. But I didn't really like the taste of some of them.

Brett Curry:

Snacking is tough, right? I did keto for a hot minute. It was literally three or four weeks. My wife and I tried together. She hated it. It was not the best overall experience. I did lose weight. Snacking is hard. What are you going to eat?

Nick Raccuia:

Outside of life-

Brett Curry:

.. sugar and nuts even, right? So, you're eating butter

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, sticks of butter. But yeah, you're pretty limited. It's like some nuts, you can do beef jerky, stuff like that. If you're on the go, it's super tough. Or even if you want to run into a convenience store or something, your options are extremely limited. Back in 2016 there wasn't much to choose from. I tried some of the snacks out there, and I just didn't like any. So, I essentially just started making brownies in my apartment for weeks and weeks on end. I went to the grocery store a bunch of times, got some ingredients and started putting stuff together.

Brett Curry:

Did you find recipes online and then modify them? Or are you just making stuff up?

Nick Raccuia:

It was a little bit of both. I was doing a ton of recipe research. The thing is with keto, there's only so many ingredients you can ..

Brett Curry:

Right, it's got to be pretty simple.

Nick Raccuia:

.. pretty simple.

Brett Curry:

.. few ingredients, yeah.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, if you look at most of the recipes online, it's always the same ingredients over and over, just varying quantities or different sweeteners and stuff like that. Yeah, it was modifying some recipes I found, and then just having fun, playing around and seeing what tasted good and what worked. I started doing that and just using that as kind of a snack to keep me on keto, and eventually started with my first manufacturer to kind of the recipe shelf stable and getting ready to be mass produced.

Brett Curry:

That's got to be tough. I will just interject for a minute. These are prepackaged brownies, so you got the chocolate... it's like double chocolate. It's like chocolate with chocolate chip.

Nick Raccuia:

Chocolate. Yeah, chocolate with chocolate chips with almond.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, which is fantastic. It's prepackaged. A couple hundred calories or whatever. You can use it as a meal replacement.

Nick Raccuia:

Yep.

Brett Curry:

You got the perfect blend of being dense, but also not dry, and not too flaky. It's just the right consistency. It tastes very natural, because it is, it's got natural ingredients.

Nick Raccuia:

Right. Right.

Brett Curry:

I love then there's also the peanut butter with chocolate chip. That's phenomenal. You've got the blondie as well. Shout out to the blondie. It's good. I do like the chocolate on chocolate, and the peanut butter better-

Nick Raccuia:

Better, yeah.

Brett Curry:

But yeah, I've been on a kick where I eat about one a day. It's great to eat at either breakfast replacement or pre sometimes a better lunch replacement. So yeah, it's just fantastic. So, you had to work with a manufacturer then to get it shelf stable.

Nick Raccuia:

Yep.

Brett Curry:

What was that process like, and then where did you go from there?

Nick Raccuia:

Essentially I took my recipe and was just like, "Hey, this is what I came up with. This is really what I want as the base, but I know this isn't shelf stable," so we're gonna need to add preservatives and stuff like that just to kind of keep water, and mold and get all that kind of stuff situated to be a shelf stable product, to actually sit on a shelf for six to eight, 12 months. We just went back and forth. They kind of tweaked a few things, added a few things, and sent me samples. Then it was just back and forth from there just making sure it tasted as close to the original as I came up with, but also being good for shelf stability.

Brett Curry:

.. botulism or something.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, exactly. No mold growth or anything like that.

Brett Curry:

Right, right, right, yeah.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, that process took probably another few months of just back and forth with samples, looking over the nutritionals, making sure it adhered to keto and all that, and wasn't too high in any of the sugars or something like that, and make sure that the fat levels are proper. That was another few months of back and forth testing on the recipes.

Brett Curry:

Cool. Tell me, when did you realize "Okay, I've got a real business here. This is not just going to be tasty brownies for myself, but people want this. There's a real business here"?

Nick Raccuia:

This is the first ever business I created too, so it basically two in one for me. I think maybe when I started my Instagram page around that time, and then I put the first production run in. It was super small. I think only 400-500 boxes. It was around that time where things were starting to get real in my head that "Hey, this is a lot of money I just paid for this product to be made."

Brett Curry:

So it's 400-500 boxes, so in each box is like a dozen or something?

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, exactly. Yep.

Brett Curry:

So then you start posting on Instagram. Did they fly off the digital shelf so to speak? Or was it still ..

Nick Raccuia:

I took pre-orders, and I was just doing basic email opt-ins. I was getting tons of emails, tons of likes and shares, and people just saying "Oh, I really can't wait for this product. Looks so good," and stuff like that. I was just trying to build up an audience and some engagement.

Brett Curry:

Nice.

Nick Raccuia:

I took pre-sales and all that, and I think my first month I only did $2,000.00 in sales, but just out of nowhere it kind of hit it that it was like "Oh, wow. This could be something. You just got to keep working at it and scale it up now."

Brett Curry:

That's awesome. This pre-launch strategy, you're getting people engaged and interested, and email lists and all that. Were you following a formula? Or were you following Ryan Daniel Moran's teaching? Or other people? Or you're just kind of making stuff up?

Nick Raccuia:

I was just watching and reading as much as I could on business and e-commerce at the time, and trying to see what was working at that point. It really was just Instagram with link and bio, opt-in link and bio. We're going to do pre-orders. So I just kept doing that, posting every day. I did a few giveaways once the product was launched, so I gave away some free product emails. That worked really well. It was just basic go to the link, opt-in, and you'll find out when we launch. I was just doing a good job of emailing pretty consistently and just having it really personal and storytelling like, "Hey, this is what's going on with the brand. This is about to launch."

Brett Curry:

The storytelling behind the scenes, here's ..

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, exactly.

Brett Curry:

The products and stuff like that?

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick Raccuia:

Even to this day, with my email marketing, I just sent one a couple of hours ago. It's just straight text. I don't use any pictures or videos, or anything like that. I want it to be a letter or an email from like a personal friend. I think that's the best way to do it, and just tell stories, and-

Brett Curry:

I love it. If you have the right tone, if you have a tone that really resonates with your market, then just the text only, in the past that was the easiest way to get it delivered. You would include images, you'd include video that the ESPs don't always deliver. That's not as much of an issue now. It's pretty to get images and stuff delivered through email now, but still, I like the plain text only.

Nick Raccuia:

Same.

Brett Curry:

I think it's pretty great. Are you telling stories about the diet and about healthy eating, and about what you're doing, kind of showing who Nick is? Or is it more of the story of the products themselves?

Nick Raccuia:

No, I do pretty much everything, a little bit of everything. Today's I was just looking at some of the Amazon reviews on my product, and I kind of did a "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets". That's what it was, I just picked out a few bad reviews on Amazon and just kind of talked about .. Yeah. That was actually Ryan's-

Brett Curry:

.. one of my favorite-

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, that was actually a suggestion from Ryan, so I have to give him credit on that. I'll do that. I'll just talk about new products. I'll send a picture of one of the new products I'm developing. I'll be like, "Hey, sneak peek," and talk about the product, when it's coming. I'll do some "Hey, I found out this is the best meal on keto, so this is what I ate today."

Brett Curry:

Nice.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, just everything from the ups and downs. I know one time last year I had a good one that it was when Amazon was going crazy with COVID stuff, and they sent me back an entire pallet of my product to my apartment. So, I just took a picture of-

Brett Curry:

We don't want this anymore. There's a whole pallet. Oh, great. I'll just -

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, in my small apartment.

Brett Curry:

Forklift .. my apartment.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, the guy unloaded it on my apartment front doorstep, and I was just like, "Oh man." I had a couple of friends and we loaded 70 or 80 huge boxes into a small room I have here. So, I just took of picture and told the story. It was like, "Thanks, Jeff Bezos. This just showed up." I used that as an opportunity to have a sale to move product quick, like "Hey, get these out of my apartment. Here's 10% off."

Brett Curry:

There's just certain people-

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

Who love stuff like that. They love that you're kind of the down and out, or obstacle, challenge, whatever. They love to hear when you stick it to the man as well. Yeah, it's a great excuse for a sale.

Nick Raccuia:

Exactly, yeah.

Brett Curry:

Fantastic. Let's talk about a few things about kind of what you got right, what you got wrong. Let's start first with, what do you think you got right in the beginning? What did you nail? I know the product is great. What else do you think you really did well in the beginning stages?

Nick Raccuia:

I think aside from a relation on focus on product development, I was doing that for months and months, going back and forth. I went through dozens of recipes and just focused on making the branding look really good. That was probably the number one. Number two, just knowing the customer really good-

Brett Curry:

Which, by the way, that is the number one, right?

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

If you don't have an awesome product, then everything else is going to be pretty mediocre.

Nick Raccuia:

Right.

Brett Curry:

Great marketing is only great if the product is great.

Nick Raccuia:

Exactly.

Brett Curry:

Obsessing about product always pays off.

Nick Raccuia:

Definitely. That was kind of obviously main number one. Number two, I'd say is just knowing the customers really well. It helped for me because I was the customer so I know what I was looking for, like "Hey, this is needed to kick my sugar craving," so I know what it needed from a taste standpoint, what the nutritionals needed. If your somebody who's not on keto, it's going to be really tough to make a keto product that tastes good, and what ingredients that go into it, what the macros need to look like, how your blood markers need to look after you eat something like this. Knowing your customer was super vital, and that also kind of ties in with the storytelling and all that too, with the emails. It's pretty easy for me to write keto emails when you're doing keto day in and day out.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick Raccuia:

So, knowing your customer and then let's see-

Brett Curry:

Which I think really that should speak to hey, it's okay if you own a business and you're not the customer. I think it's quite a bit easier if you are. If you are living the keto lifestyle and selling a keto product, that's ideal. If that's not you though, you better with somebody that is. Either partner closely with them or work with them. You need to have that inside scoop, and you need to be able to speak the customer's language, it's on the product for the customer, talk to the customer with your email marketing and social media marketing, and things like that. So yeah, super, super critical.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, definitely. Like you said, I think working with influencers could be a big advantage there if you don't have that inside expertise, or finding a partner who maybe is in the food space, or something like that. Yeah, definitely product development, know your customer and then I'd say another big one was I collecting emails and building the audience from day one so-

Brett Curry:

Media that you own. Audiences that you own so to speak is super valuable, right?

Nick Raccuia:

.. yeah.

Brett Curry:

The email list, it's not going away anytime soon.

Nick Raccuia:

Right.

Brett Curry:

And really, it is your business, especially if you're selling a consumable or any kind of product where they're repeat purchasers. You need that email list.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah. Yeah. I was pretty much focused on that, just building the audience from day one. I didn't sit around and say "Hey, this product's not going to be on the shelf until six months. I'll try and sell when I get it in six months." I was collecting emails from day one and then that kind of just really helped kickstart the launch and it's been one of my strongest revenue drivers to this day.

Brett Curry:

Then it's beautiful for new product releases and product launches .. you can leverage it in so many ways.

Nick Raccuia:

Yep.

Brett Curry:

Let's talk about what did not go so well? What did you not get right? And maybe kind of a question to go along with that is, what do you wish you would have done sooner? You can answer whichever of those you want to answer.

Nick Raccuia:

I think the biggest thing I kind of messed up on was not getting my second and third product out faster. I focused on the bars for the first two years, which is good. They needed the full attention obviously, and I was able to get a couple of flavors out, it went through a couple of reformulations, and new branding and all that. The space was growing so fast and it was still a lot of wide open space, especially for the brownie mix, and the fat bomb mix, and the chocolate nut butter, which were the products I launched after, but at that point I feel like the market was almost a little too saturated, especially for brownie mixes. I was ranked number one for the term "keto brownie" on Amazon for a long time. If I had got another two or three products out there, it definitely would have been a completely different revenue trajectory if I had those up way, way sooner.

Brett Curry:

Yeah.

Nick Raccuia:

It probably took me almost a full year to get another product out. I essentially fell behind a year there. I feel like I could have gotten that out and things would have turned out way, way different.

Brett Curry:

I'm just curious, I think this is always interesting to see the entrepreneurial journey. Were you just too taxed or too pulled to develop a new product? Or why did you develop that second -

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, I think a lot of it is economics and being a self owned startup. It's like hey, all my time-

Brett Curry:

Bootstrapping.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, it's just like all my time's going to the bars. I'm doing marketing myself. I'm doing logistics, operations, customer service. By the time you get all that done, when are you going to have time to develop products?

Brett Curry:

It's a time and capital-

Nick Raccuia:

Time and capital were huge there.

Brett Curry:

Totally. Totally. Tight on both-

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

Which makes sense. Anything else you wish you would have done sooner? Like, "Man, if I could go back in time until 2016 or 2017 .. something, here's what I would say"?

Nick Raccuia:

I think outside of get on the products, focus more on product development is actually probably looking at investment or getting on some partners to help. I knew I needed an agency or somebody else to help, but financially... especially with an e-commerce food brand, the margin's already pretty tight.

Brett Curry:

They are.

Nick Raccuia:

With the product ...

Brett Curry:

.. lot of people that aren't in the industry don't know, the margins in e-commerce are pretty tight.. the game.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah. Yep, especially with fulfillment costs and then you have to have an ad budget, and then the product cost, all the shipping costs, all that stuff, the packaging that goes into it all, the extra ingredients that go into it. Yeah, your margins get super -

Brett Curry:

You're paying a dollar for a product and you're selling it for $10.00.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

You should be making a ton of money. whole lot of -

Nick Raccuia:

A whole lot of stuff. Yeah, it adds up quick, all the software and all that stuff.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, for sure.

Nick Raccuia:

I'll tell you, looking at funding for sure, because since getting it, it just kind of unlocked so much of my mental capacity, and my time and just . the projects we can start doing and the snacks we start developing.

Brett Curry:

I'm curious, then in terms of... Did you have some hesitancy to getting funding? Because I know a lot of people say, "Man, this is my baby. This is my business. I don't want to give up any equity."

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

Was there some of that at play? Or was it just "I don't really know how to find an investor." What prevented you from finding an investor earlier?

Nick Raccuia:

I think it was a little bit of all of that. Yeah, this is my business. I don't want to give any of it up. I don't want to deal with a boss, somebody coming in telling me what to do. How do I know this person's actually bringing value outside of just cutting a check, because at that point I can just maybe go to a bank and get a loan or something.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, nobody's going to care as much as I do .-

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, exactly.

Brett Curry:

I'm buying a partner that's not going to bring me any value. What's the point?

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah. It seemed like it was more headaches than it was worth, but come to find out it's not the case.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah. It's just so true, getting in a strategic investor, a strategic partner and have huge benefits. I'm not just thinking that because I'm part of the fund that is invested in your brand, and I'm an investor outside of that as well, but I do believe it. If you have the right person, the right investor, the right partner, it can make a huge difference. If you have the wrong one, it's terrible. But getting the right investor and/or partner is huge.

Nick Raccuia:

Is huge, yeah.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. How did that process come to be? How do meet Ryan Moran? How did that all come together?

Nick Raccuia:

I met Ryan a while ago, like five years ago now I think. I actually joined the Online Incubator with another entrepreneur, Billy Murphy, who had a 10 week beta program. I went through his program and that set the initial groundwork for "Hey, this is how you launch an e-commerce brand." And he went over high level marketing and stuff like that. He was really good friends with Ryan, and Ryan actually came and spoke at one of his really small meet-ups. That was the first time I ever met Ryan. From there, we just chatted mainly on Instagram. He always really liked the product, so he would buy some and I would send him stuff, send him new products that I was thinking of making, and stuff like that. I just always connected with him through social media.

Nick Raccuia:

Then back in 2020 I was actually trying to sell the entire business because I was feeling a little burnt out. COVID happened. My main product actually went out of stock and went down, so I had to do a reformulation which going to cost a lot of time and money. I just kind of got pretty beat up last year, so I was trying to sell the whole business. I just texted Ryan and said, "Hey, do you know anybody that'd be interested in buying this brand?" That's when he launched the Capitalism Fund. So, it worked out awesome.

Brett Curry:

I know someone pretty closely, me.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, exactly.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That's awesome. A couple of things to underscore there, I think this is just a great a business principle, getting involved in meet-ups and meeting influencers in the space, and going to events, and staying connected and just being a really cool person. I was an at an event, recently it was one of Ezra Firestone's events. I was speaking at it, and someone gave me free products when I was there. It was an amazing product. It was actually pants for my wife. This is so cool. We connected and I'm helping him, and we're talking and stuff like that. Just making those connections, you never know where that's going to go. Just purely from a networking standpoint, it was awesome, but maybe you want a partner, maybe you want to look for a deeper relationship.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

You're going to find those through actual in-person meetings, and then just being a cool person. Awesome. Kind of walk through anything that you feel like is useful or instructive about that process of bringing on an investor. Even though you knew Ryan, and he's a good dude and he's well known, it's still kind of scary to bring on an investor.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

What was that process like?

Nick Raccuia:

The main thing that made me feel most comfortable was that he just essentially said, "Hey, I want you to just keep running the business like you run it. We're going to be hands on, but we're not going to be steering the company. That's still what we want you to do because you know how to do it best, you know what products to make. We're just going to be there to support you with financial and capital obligations," and just high level advisory like, "Hey, we'll give you our input, but you have the final say on these things." That was what really made it all make sense. Not to mention, all the networking connections they bring. I was able to get several agencies on board within the first two months of working with them. That was a huge help, just to get somebody running all the Amazon and also the digital marketing, and stuff from that end, web development, all the things that I really hated doing I was doing. It just was making me not enjoy running this business, to be honest.

Nick Raccuia:

So, being able to get some help there and allow me to start focusing on making new products is just a win/win for everybody.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah. Really, taking the steps to free you up to do what you're brilliant at, because you're a mad scientist when it comes to these new formulas and creating products that taste amazing. You can't do that though when you're running the Facebook ads.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, exactly.

Brett Curry:

Which it sounds like you hate.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, I hated it.

Brett Curry:

Why do that?

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

Partner with somebody to do that. Great. What advice would you give to someone if they may be in a similar position as you, either maybe they're burned out like you were and thinking about "I'm just going to sell the whole company" or maybe they're just thinking a strategic investor, what advice would you give them as they're trying to find this person or this group?

Nick Raccuia:

I think what, like I said, is most important is making sure your visions align, and that they're the right fit. So, however much due diligence or research, or networking with them you need to do. Maybe see what kind of other businesses they were in, how they were doing, speak with people they work with. Someone like Ryan, it was just easy because I'd known him for five years and I've been... But at least even if I didn't know him, he's got hundreds and hundreds of YouTube videos and articles, and blogs, and emails, and products he puts out. With the internet age, it's really easy to dig in and see who this person is, what they've done.

Brett Curry:

Sure.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, I would say just focus on people who have either done what you want to do, or have a hand in somewhere you want to go, instead of just relying on a lot of these people who just say that they do this, and have no experience doing it right now.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah, and I think one thing that's really important to keep in mind is that we all hear the horror stories of private equity comes in, fires everybody, changes the whole direction of the company, runs them in the ground. All these horror stories. That certainly happens, but the deeper I get into this game and the more I start investing and meeting private equity groups and stuff, there's a lot of really great people. Ryan is unique, but there are other funds and other investors that are like that, that say "No, I want you to run the business. I want you to execute your vision. We're going to help you. We're going to help you with capital and with our network." So those investors do exist. Yeah, it's probably worth looking.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, and if I were to go back in time I would have done this deal from day one. If I ever start another business, I know from the get-go I'm going to look at it.

Brett Curry:

.. investor, yeah.

Nick Raccuia:

Yep.

Brett Curry:

Absolutely. Awesome. Cool, so let's talk about then what's next for the company? I know there could be some things that are secret and under wraps.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

We love to have breaking news on the podcast, but also don't want to spill the beans too quickly so to speak. What's next?

Nick Raccuia:

Right now, I'm working on two new stacks, but I probably won't... I already told you before the show, but I'll probably keep it between us for now.

Brett Curry:

I think it's good. Yeah, part of me is "Okay, it'd be fun to talk about, but I'm also investing in the company. I kind of rather nobody copy it."

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

The snacks sound amazing, and I can't wait to try them. We'll leave that teaser there. These are two, I think they'll be wildly popular snacks, but yeah let's keep it under wraps. Go ahead, continue.

Nick Raccuia:

That's the major focus now, is getting new snacks out, something I haven't been able to do for a few years just with all the logistical and nightmares I've been talking about and everything just being on my shoulders. We have the agencies on board, so we're aggressively scouting marketing now, going into heavy customer acquisition, and then just trying to roll out the new products over the next hopefully two to three months we'll get a few out there. That's just the main goal, just new products, more customers, growing the brand.

Brett Curry:

New customers and going hard new customer acquisition.

Nick Raccuia:

Acquisition, yeah.

Brett Curry:

Now is the time to do that. E-commerce is still hot, even though as we record this the world is opening back up. It's pretty open in my part of the world, my part of the country. But e-commerce is still growing, so now is a great time to double-down on new customer acquisition.

Nick Raccuia:

Yep.

Brett Curry:

Anything you've learned from the agencies you're working with? Has your mindset shifted at all when it comes to new customer acquisition from what it was pre-agency?

Nick Raccuia:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Honestly, the biggest mind shift I've had with customer acquisition actually came from Ryan during our meet-up last month, where I was just hesitating because self-funded I've always had to focus on profitability, like "Hey if this isn't making money, I'm not going to be able to pay myself or eat, so it needs to be profitable," whereas when you have an investor funding, and you have a customer acquisition model where it's okay to break even or even bleed a little bit up front. You can be a lot more aggressive on customer acquisition. That's been the biggest mind shift probably all for me actually, which is just like we're going to aggressively focus on top line revenue and customer acquisition.

Nick Raccuia:

We understand if we're going to bleed a bit for the first few months on acquiring those customers, like the lifetime value, getting customer information and data, and then new product launches coming down the pipeline. We'll definitely be able to recoup that cash. That's definitely been the biggest shift.

Brett Curry:

Awesome. As an ad guy, I'll speak to this a little bit, we have some clients come to us and say "Hey, we need to hit a 5-6X ROAS," or return on ad spend. "So, for every dollar we spend, we need to get $5.00 or $6.00 in sales." That can happen on some channels. On other channels it's not really possible. What happens you say "Hey, I can actually do it 2X," so spend it all and get two, or even in some cases spend it all and get a $1.50 because you're all about new customer acquisition and growing. That doesn't just allow you to double your spend or triple your spend. Sometimes it's like a 10X increase in volume on what you can get from your ads because to get to that 500 or 600% return on ad spend, you have to be so focused and so narrow in what you're doing that you're really limited.

Brett Curry:

So, if you can, if you have the funding and if you're able to break even on new customer acquisition because you know what your lifetime value is, or you have funding, then you can do some really creative stuff with advertising and grow so much faster. Awesome. Good for you, that you're doing that. Fantastic man. If people are listening and they're thinking, "Man, I'm hungry. Keto or no keto, I want to try the brownie," how and where can they find your products?

Nick Raccuia:

The best place is just either my website, KetoBrownie.com, or Amazon, you can search "ketobrownie" all one word. We have three flavors: peanut butter chocolate chip, blondie cookie dough, chocolate almond. Those are the best places to try it. I would highly suggest you microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds.

Brett Curry:

You know what's weird, I've eaten a lot of these things now. I've never tried the microwave thing.

Nick Raccuia:

Oh, you never tried it?

Brett Curry:

Dude, I don't know why.

Brett Curry:

I think I've heard you mention that before and I've never tried it. That will be next on my list is to microwave the brownie and give it a shot. Also, if they go to your site and sign up for your list, then they'll know about new product releases, and these two new amazing products that are coming out soon.

Nick Raccuia:

Yep. We have a popup for a discount, or you can just go to the footer and sign up for the email list and you'll start getting emails from me.

Brett Curry:

Awesome. Nick Raccuia, ladies and gentlemen. Nick, thanks for taking the time, man. This was a lot of fun. Really excited about the business, and excited about where it's headed. I can't wait to be a small part of it as you continue to grow and take over the world here.

Nick Raccuia:

Yeah, definitely. I appreciate you having me on.

Brett Curry:

All right man. Sounds really good. As always, thank you for tuning in. We'd love to hear from you. What ideas do you have for the podcast? If you haven't done it, we would love that five star review on iTunes. It helps other people discover the show, and makes my day. With that, until next time, thank you for listening.

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