Founder Spotlight: Crowdfund Your Way to Success with Alex Drysdale
Okay.i, thanks for taking a time to join the interview, today let's. Start with a quick introduction for. Those who don't. Yet learned about you who. Are you and what pieces to use that. So. I'm Alex trestle I live, in Winnipeg, Canada most, of the time and I. Started a business called quick nutrition, where we developed, a protein, powder made out of crickets. Yeah. It's not a sauce interesting. And, then that you've got the idea of great nutrition, from reading. And ethic about crossing face, - am i right, yeah. Just one morning I had. Spent. The prior, year, in, Europe being mentored in e-commerce from some friends of mine and. Yeah. I quit my job got, it everything I was in before and just built, a prototype site, to kind of learn all the ins and outs of basically. Online, on. My sales what it takes to build a website market. Drop shipping all everything, to do with e-commerce, and, I. Decided. Once you know I had, a good bearing on that that I wanted to do something that, was more. Sustainable. I was in Canada and I, was just flicking through Facebook. One morning and saw. An article that actually, confers posted, about. Cricket. Protein bars and that this company had get, garnered a lot of investment, so, I kind, of thought, it was an odd thing but I've been in the health and fitness my whole life and Tim Ferriss is usually you, know quite on the ball with all the new things so, I decided, to give it a look and was just blown. Away by the benefits, and just sold on the idea of it within two paragraphs. Good. Good and, I'm curious about what happened. After you, read. The post and find, out more about cricket. Protein. For, us through the process of how. You brought, up that and develop your product. Yeah. Absolutely so, when, I first, heard, about it, they, were doing protein. In, bars and I don't, really ever eat protein bars so I want. To give them a try but I was. Just looking at what where they got the crickets. To see if I could use them more, in a protein shake or smoothies and the, Oracle did mention the the farm intimal farms that they were reusing and. What. I did right then and there was ordered, some for, myself actually first, before that I looked to see if there was anybody, actually. Making a cricket, protein powder out there just. Because I wanted to use it myself. Just as to replace the way that I was using and. Yeah. So I ended, up couldn't, find anybody online there was a couple businesses talking about it and. Nobody. Had, actually made a actual, working prototype, or had sold any protein, powder so. I ordered, some quick. Ground-up crickets myself the farm sold. Those and I, actually, called them and talked, to them a bit about the idea and they really really liked it so yeah they sent some product, over and just in my coffee grinder at, home I. First. Was, you know grinding up with different ingredients, you know I was waiting for it to get ship that went bought some other just raw proteins. You know stevia. Cane, sugar. Vanilla. All, these different things I thought could be good to make it you. Know a good mixable. Ready, to drink protein, powder and in the meantime also used it my smoothies, in that. Then. When it came time to. Turn. This into a business I realized, I had something I liked it you know I seen all the steam that was picking up in the cricket industry. As far as edible insects, I. Basically. Got on Google, and just searched how to manufacture, protein. Powder and then. I spent a few days, on there just learning. All I could and getting to different. Numbers for different factories, or brands, and as. Soon as I had like a big sizeable, list that I knew would take a long time to get to right just got on the phone it started calling, people one. After the other for about two weeks straight and there, was a lot. A lot a lot of rejections, in there and finally, like actually. The last person, on my list they. Didn't want to work with us work, with us either but, they said. They had you. Know some some factory, they knew down the road that might be interested in working with us and sure enough when. I gave them a call they. Were really interested, in it so going. Forward with that I told, them kind of my ideas and it took a took, a while for us to get on the same page but.
Once We did that you, know we sent back some samples, back and forth, I tried. Them myself and, the ones I let get tried with friends and family, then. We slowly, narrowed that down to, something that I thought would be you, know commercially, viable that the general population, would like so from, that point on I ended, up going to a couple different like a CrossFit, event in a bodybuilding, competition I ended. Up getting a booth and yeah. I just set it up and did taste tests. And wanted. To see what the reaction was from people on. Actually. People. Said hey maybe don't tell them what it is but I think, some people could have maybe got angry if they didn't know what it was or who knows what different allergies and that so yeah, I told people it was want, to get their feedback and you know the feedback was really really good so, that. Was that. Was it for me we knew we had the, samples. Now that we wanted in the formula we could move forward with and moved, into IndieGoGo. And. Yeah there's some more product development, down the way you know every time we make an order, I use the feedback. That we got from customers, to improve the product every time we your product. Great. Good so how long is the process that you just, started from when. You get an idea from, you, can your first customer, oh when. You get your that done. Yeah. The first when. I first had the idea pop, into my head I think it was somewhere in November, and. By. The time, we kind of had you know getting to know each other and, you, know going through the process of calling all these different factories, to actually having a product that I ended. Up sampling. I believe. That was from November, till May so that's about five six months there but. The second time we did a product you know I was on a same, page with the manufacturer. I knew, more. I, was, more efficient at being able to communicate with them and the language that I knew, they needed to hear to get the changes that I wanted and. The. Second time we did an iteration I think it only took about ten days to. Get that second, formula reformulated. Good. So you, mentioned that you started. On, IndieGoGo. And Kickstarter him. Mary. Yeah. So I actually made a. Whole. Profile, ready, to go on. Kickstarter. Was, set to launch on. Earth. Day and I. Don't, know what happened like it was sits in there ready to go approved, and then literally the night before kind, of suck because we had all the media attention on it as, launching, that day all the articles that had come home prior and yeah. Kickstarter. Banned, my account, and said I was, making weed, they wouldn't sell protein powders and they only give you about a hundred.
And Twenty, or, two hundred characters, to, rebut. Their decision. So. I sent them three links to other, protein, powders and they. Just spend my account. So. I ended up panicked. A little bit and. Uh pulling it all together and making a new account on IndieGoGo. And. Yeah. Just the day that we launched with that I spent. All day on, the, phone you. Know on Facebook Twitter all. The social media email, everybody, I knew that I wouldn't, annoy and reached, out to them and ask some hey if you're interested please check it out and if you kind of like what we're doing please share it and we ended up getting funded, on the first day we didn't have a huge goal but my. Goal was to hit, ten thousand dollars u.s. and if I could hit ten, thousand dollars I felt, you. Know selling that product strangers, that had never seen the product or tested, it I felt. Comfortable enough using, some of my savings to create our first our. First run for the product so at the end of the campaign. We did I think about. $16,000. On the. First order cost me like, on my end somewhere around. 25,000. 30,000. Something like that and yes. So we did that and ship. That out, from, the, was. Probably within five. Months I think my campaign, ended in July and I shipped out in November, and. Yeah. That was just a small run of product and we use what we learned from the customers, from trying that just to do some tweaks like make it less sweet we created a second flavor. And change, the, serving. Sizes and that just to kind of match some of the other look, what kind of the other big big protein, powder companies, are doing so yeah, it wasn't it's. The first time around it wasn't perfect but we, just got it shipped got the product out there like as long as well I knew that the product tasted, good and, provided. The you, know the benefits, that the customers, were looking for, that's those. Were the main things for me like packaging, and serving. Size and all that kind of stuff it, was just like let's get it out the door and we can tweak things based on what customers like later, cool. All right I think that's like, nerve-wracking. When when. First. Day, before launch then you find out your conquer band and move. Everything to, IndieGoGo in, one day yeah. You know it like we didn't, get it done in day we missed our target site which sucked because there. Was a lot of traffic that we missed because of that and and nobody. You can't get a hold of anybody at Kickstarter so. It was pretty it, was pretty annoying to be honest, and and working with IndieGoGo, was a lot smoother, and a lot nicer they have had, a lot better customer service and.
Yeah, That the the product did really well on there and we made the front page of the food category throughout. Our whole our. Whole run. Yeah. That that was that, was a much, better experience doing. It that way good, so, since launch what, has worked for you to, attract. And retain customers. The. The biggest thing for us has been, organic. I really focused, on making sure that we ranked, in Google there. Wasn't much competition in the beginning and I noticed all the other companies that had started before me were really focusing, on paid. Advertising so they weren't focusing on on the organic search results just because there. Wasn't that many people searching, for cricket protein out of three years ago but I knew you, know you can see in the trends and of course now, it's even more so that more and more people are searching for cricket protein and critic protein powder I didn't. Have a budget, for marketing, or advertising so. That, was kind of my go-to we, got a lot of really good traffic on. Our IndieGoGo campaign, so. I use that pointed. It towards, our homepage, and, Oliver social media in that and that really helped us propel and stay up in the number one and two spots on on Google so, that's been the number one thing. Beyond. That has been. Like. A word-of-mouth to our customers and it's just just, by again, doing, what we say we do making sure the cricket is in number one ingredient like people are buying. A cricket protein powder so make sure it's the most that's, you, know in, greedy n't that's in there I'm, just making a really good, tasty. Product and providing. Our customers with really good customer service and you know if there's any issues, that sometimes, we get some, I. Don't. Know like some aggravating. Customers. That really, are having, a bad day or they. Just want, to cause problems for whatever reason, but if, you feel like writing a nasty email just you. Know put it aside and, just. Be as nice as possible to, them because there could be other things going on and you, know people. Make nasty comments, not you, know they're. Usually not trying to just troll you it's like they, feel this way and they're upset so I mean, we've all been in that position as a customer, before we're some. Who. Maybe the shipping, company, wrecked the package, or or who, knows right but. Yeah. You got to be sympathetic with your customers and just provide them with really good services and give them what they want and no. Matter what that isn't there's only been a couple times right I reached out and I really felt that the customer, was kind of being unfair and I called them personally, because they had provided us with our. Phone number and we're open to communication, so. I reached out to them and just asked and yeah it turned out they were just having a bad day and we. Got it all figured out at the end and, I, guess yeah for for, attracting, customers - I did I did, a couple little marketing, and advertising, tests, and. The. The. Biggest thing that I've. Seen, like way. A head and shoulders. It. Is just working. With. Influencers. People that have an audience but, only working, with those influencers, that truly. Believe and support, your product and have tried it like, there's a lot of people that reach out and oh well, share, this on our Instagram, to our account blah blah blah blah blah but when. You do it to somebody that. You. Know uses. Your product likes, it and believes in it that authenticity, and. Like. That. Just comes through in. The advertisement. And in what when they're talking about your product like you can really tell the difference with, somebody's just advertising, versus, when they're you. Know supporting. And putting. Themselves behind a product so that's, been the number one thing and yeah, if we had a little more money right now we'd be I'd be pouring, all my all of the, efforts into, that. Great. Good, to hear that. Yeah. So let's not be about now. In the future how, is creation, doing. Today and, what. Does the future looks like. Yeah. It's been growing steadily we've, doubled, every. Year since we started the. Numbers, are huge I've been funding, and running, the comp with me basically myself, and some kind of like I hire, out low warehousing.
And Fulfillment, and, final. Label design and regulatory and, manufacturing, of course. But. Yeah it's been growing well biggest. Bottleneck is always. Been money, especially when you're dealing with a physical product and a physical product that you've developed it's, it's expensive, to make that stuff and yeah you can you. Can either order. A little bit and not. Make any money, because you because if the cost per unit is really high or or a lot and not, have any, money. Left to marketing it so it's kind of a the, balance, in between of yeah. How. Much inventory can you afford and, how. Can you afford to get that product out there in time and make up make a profit to continue, growing, the company for. Us right now we're just having actually. A little bit of difficulties, with our manufacturer. And we're. Checking. On a couple different places to try and figure out where we can make our last batch because we're actually just about, completely. Out of product, right now which you know it used to worry me but I see other companies other new startups that happens all the time and yeah. It's it's not a big deal and I'm pretty, confident, that our customers, you, know aren't gonna aren't. Gonna hate us too much for for being out for a few months but yeah, we're just working on a new manufacturer, right now and as soon as we have that we'll get our new, new, new shipment, and a reiteration of product. That's. The next big thing for us you know when. We first started I only, made a, few, hundred, units and we sent that out to our IndieGoGo, people, and also sold it on the website and yeah, we made a lot of big changes between, that and our first or, our second, run of product and you, know having now sit shipped out thousands, of units we get you can start to see more. Where. People have different issues or they have different suggestions. On what, you can do to improve the product so there's. A couple big changes, that we want to make add a couple flavors into the line and there's, also a few, more products that you want to push out there but again that that's all gonna come down to finding.
A New our new manufacturer, here we can work. On the same terms with so yeah, the future looks good we're we're. Growing and I'm really happy about. It and it's. Just a matter of yeah, making the new product, here and getting, a reformulation, that's, gonna. Be, a. Lot, more able, for, some customers, to like. The vegan. Customers a lot of them want it there's, a few issues they have with the product that we're gonna change hemp, is another big one that I really, like to have them in the diet but we're, finding that a few customers, actually have, a problem, digesting. That so, we're. Gonna move remove, that over there put even more cricket, into the formula and just yeah just continue making the product better and adding, more more products into the product, line as we as we grow, good. Or hit it I think, well I. Mean that being, an entrance, challenging, especially yes, to one, person business and I am I right, I'm. Sorry yeah, yeah yes you Ronnie. Alone. Oh you, you have you have a key minor no. Yeah I'm still running most of it alone, right now I also have another. Business that I spent last. Year by averaged, 80 hours a week working, in that and so. I work on quick in the evenings that's helped me keep. The keep. Creek going, and yeah. I've made made, a couple big mistakes in the past to, almost cost, us that, almost, cost me the company and. Yeah. Thankfully, I've had this other this. Other business that I make make good money yet and it's steady and it's. Really helped me push, through and, be able to support, support. Creek without having to you. Know take outside investment, from people that again don't have the same vision and they, might see the, future, than the product but they don't you, know they don't use it they don't believe in it themselves or just looking at the dollar end of it so, yeah. I didn't really want to go in and take big investments, and then essentially. Have a boss dictating. Hey, well you have to use this ingredient, it's cheaper or hey take more cricket protein out of it because, it cost too much money I want to make the, best product possible and, yeah. Continue, moving the forward company on those valleys cuz I know you, know those things are gonna come down in price like the crickets and that we already I've already seen great price. Decreases. In there so yeah. It's important for me to to, be able to. Not. Beholden. To two, other maybe. Have the same vision, good. Yes becomes lately a few, beat me state you, mentioned just now do you mind if share one, of the mistake that you meet that you think might cost your company, yeah. For sure I I. Know. Um. Took. About a year and was focused because we had a lot of attention coming our way and there's a lot of attention coming from some retailers, and I. Didn't, know anything about retail, and I spent a year flying, around and meeting, with people and I was taking advice from people, that have been in the supplement, industry for, decades and. Quite. Honestly I went against, my gut and, like that would be my biggest advice for any entrepreneur is you know, it's. Really important, to take advice. From people, that are more, experienced. And more successful, than you and, you, know they they know what they're talking about but at, the end of the day they, don't know know the nuances of your. Personal. Financial. You. Know location. Your, exact nuances, of your business, they, don't know all those specifics, so they're giving you like a very coarse, bit.
Of Advice and you need to you, know sometimes fine-tune, that and I think it's really important, to focus. On your intuition and your gut and trust yourself and. That's. Something I spend a lot of last year working. On because for myself. I've had big success, when. It comes to doing, things that scare me and it's, kind of a fine line to, know whether. You. Know you're just. You. Don't want to do something because you're, afraid, because. You don't know the outcome or, whether you, know it's your intuition, telling you hey maybe you should sit. Down and go through the numbers or. Really, look into this further before committing to it so yeah. My my biggest mistake, was. Focusing. On retail, and. Kind. Of going into into. That space and making decisions, for the company based on the, idea that retail. Was gonna be the the main way. To go where where, as I should have focused on online and, you'll, manage my inventory levels, in that mindset. And made. Decisions more with the without. With, avoiding, retail excited you know I was looking at some competitors, and some of the traction they were getting and yeah, I made decisions based on based. On that and it was quite, frankly at the time over. My head a little bit and I didn't really understand, the retail, space and you. Know that. Being said for as scary. As that was and how it almost. Caused. Me to fail at this beyond something that I could repair you, know I I did, learn a hell of a lot and probably more. Than if I would have gone to you know university, for two or three years so. Yeah. I don't, don't regret it I, look back and be like oh man I wish I would have trusted my gut but I spent last year like reading. And getting. Coaches. To. Help you refocus on, you. Know my intuition, and learning learning to trust that gut feeling when it came to came, to my business, cool. I'm curious what would have been the most influential. Boobs, us all resources, to you during, these journey. Yeah. I could rap off a whole bunch here man and, I'm.
Kinda It depends, what stage you are in your business and and where. You. Know how big of an impact that can making you know you can read a book at one point in your life and it's like I was a good book and then read it a couple, years later and it's like holy crap, that really changed my life so I'll, just kind of go with some of the, the. Easy ones here from the beginning and it was like you know you, gotta fix your mindset so something like whatever, whoever works for you like something, like Think and Grow Rich. Meditations. By Marcus Aurelius is really good one. When. You start getting more into your business or even at the beginning something. Like build to sell, or the, e-myth revisited are really good again those are all kind of just, mindsets, and how to get into it. The automatic customer, again is a another, really good book I think it's the same guy that role built, the Selden that that's. A that's a really, really important, one for any business, and on how to kind of set up different. Subscription. Models and basically guaranteed, income. Then, I got my big bookshelf, over here there's, a whole bunch to go through but yeah. I mean getting. More into that it more has been more. Specific books, based, on you know marketing, problems, I've had or, you. Know if you want to get into something, that's heavily based on. Advertising. You. Know any of the click funnel guys books like experts, fee secrets, or calm secrets, like those are really, good ones too. Yeah I could, rap off a hundred, books right now it'd have been big, but those are kind of the big ones for me like the main wanted, so, I think it's important to have your mind set, my name is hit break first and then for. Podcasts. You know, I pick specific ones out I read, the BIOS a little bit so. I won't listen to everyone from people, but I'll kind of look at ones that you. Know I think can help and, you. Know can help me grow as a person so, a lot, of Tim Ferriss podcasts. A lot of drogon. Ones he has like really amazing guests, on there the. MFC eeo by. And4, Sela that for, motivation. And mindset, I think, every, single person needs to listen to that the MF CEO, that. Is such an amazing podcast, and then one of his business, partners at my let has a has. A really good podcast too and those are kind of a the, main business.
Ones, That that I spend a lot of time listening. To and. Then you know as for resources I really, like you have a sumo blog. Quick. Sprout, Neil. Patel. Digital. Marketer calm, digital. Marketer calm they're such. A phenomenal. Phenomenal high, quality. Content. Resource, and their. Conference to their conference the people that you meet there and the. Different, things that you're going to learn those they're just life-changing. Trying. To think of what else yeah those are kind of the big ones I think there's one called orbit, media - that is a really good resource, for online businesses. Yeah. So that kind of a compass is the kind, of main ones I was thinking of off the top of my head, great. Great yeah, I I have, one, last questions before we end this interview like. You. Mentioned just now that, one. Of the biggest less advice, you have for entries to receive. Feedback, and advice but, also to, trust your gut and, intuition. What, what is, the. Second biggest advice that you give and you, just want to get started or just study. Yeah. I mean there's a few things it's yeah, like trust, your gut is a big one and, yet really take advice and, be, mental. Like, don't. If. Somebody, gives you advice. Don't. Like, make, sure you follow. It and apply. It or the, very least show them evidence, of you applying it before and why, it worked and why not or if you. Know somebody gives you a couple books to read like. Read, them and then, you know shooting them back a little email later saying hey I read this and this and this and and it's, great because blah, blah blah thanks for the advice and I applied, it to my life and this is how it helped you, know like, what because a lot of people email me and stuff now for help and man. Like most people just waste your time like I used to go and meet with everybody, and but, it is just a lot of now, I just kind of give a couple books and if they read them and can show that they have liked it really, helps and, you know and me wanting to, invest more time in helping them and. Then. Yeah the other one is you. Know for negative, feedback and, trolls and angry customers, it's like yeah. Your your customers, all right and kind of the way I look at that is that, I kind, of touched on it earlier before but I mean, even, if it's really. Mean and angry and whatever like the. Person, is writing that for a specific reason. So whether. It's true or not your, customer believes that to be true for. Most most. Cases so, it's like you should really. Take to heart what your customers saying and yeah, weather like I mentioned it was just a bad day or weather hey. Maybe you, know they said it's impossible to contact, them blah blah blah blah but it's like well maybe, you got a look at the color or the size. Of the font you're using or the style of font you're using for your phone number on your website or where, it's placed or or whatever but really, seriously consider any. Customer, requests you have because. Yeah it's kind of it, should be being a customer and you. Know having high expectations and, then. Not. Having those met and then, being. Kind of blinked when, it's, like well I believe this about this product it, didn't meet my expectations and so now they're arguing with me so, for, me that's kind of how I look at it like I do, not argue, with customers. Like. Yeah. You got to really can, take and consider, their point of view and especially to a feedback, - like I, love. Working with people that are brutally, honest because, too many people are too nice, like especially your friends and family like you got to get people that aren't, necessarily. Emotionally, invested, in your your. Your feelings. Or feel, like they need to make sure you're happy like when. I've done like, startup. Weekends. And stuff like that and. We get mentored by different, VCS, or angels like I always, pick the guy that everybody's scared of because he's gonna give you the real advice, and. He's not gonna. Be afraid to hurt your feeling cuz like the, real reason for that is they want you to be successful so it's like don't, be afraid of critical, feedback or even negative feedback even even, a negative person because they might be able to pick out things that the, happy-go-lucky, positive.
People Might, meant so yeah. Those are that's, a bit a, few things so like trust your gut trust your customers, and and it's, really important to pay, attention and, consider negative. Feedback. Awesome. No song I believe. Those are good advice. So. Yeah, so trust I've got trust your intuition and customers, and also - so exit could. You go especially, critical please, feedback yeah. Oh and, don't don't, be a perfectionist -, because I have a problem with that and that. Kind of comes with you know in the book the e-myth revisited they, talked about. Working. In your business versus. Working on it so like. Ship the product like, make sure it works it does what you say but, like, the packaging, doesn't have to be perfect, you know it's. Like oh I can't you you know if you if you wait till you have the perfect fulfillment warehouse, with the perfect price or whatever it's like now I get that product out there like get, it to people give it feedback and you're gonna learn a lot more too so yeah, don't be a perfectionist. Got. It guys. Yeah. I think that, must the end of the interview today so. Thanks, for your time here yeah. For those who want to learn more about NX and Crete nutrition you can go to creation.com. Thanks. Again to Alex from. Premutation. Yeah thanks for having me I appreciate it.