S3 E14: How to build a great business while keeping your promises with Steph Hon (Founder & CEO, Cadence)


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Steph Hon, Founder & CEO of Cadence, a beautiful, modular, and customizable container system. Steph and Mariah talk about:

  • the inspiration behind Cadence and bringing routines on the go,
  • quality product design with a first-of-its-kind magnetic and modular container system,
  • developing the correct messaging for branding,
  • how to be clever and focused with social media strategy,
  • & more!

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors


product, cadence, brand, feel, people, capsules, retention, day, bottles, routine, build, branding, pack, buy, talking, team, label, super, patagonia, thinking


Mariah Parsons, Stephanie Hon

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles. Ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. Hello, everyone, and welcome to retention Chronicles. Super, super, super excited for our guests today. Stephanie, I should have asked you this before we got call. We got on the call. But do you prefer Stephanie or Steph?

Stephanie Hon 01:12

Steph, please weigh in formal.

Mariah Parsons 01:15

Okay, love it. Okay, it's super excited to have you here stuff. It's gonna be a great, great recording. I know I've been looking forward to this for a while. So if you could say hi, give your intro just like a short little brief background for our listeners, that'd

Stephanie Hon 01:28

be great. Absolutely. So it's so nice to meet you in person, which has been so nice, but as close to in person as possible, and I will give a brief TLDR. On me, my background just started in the movement and dance space. And that just led my focus to be obsessively on how we move impacts the way we feel. Fast forward to my job and film I was on the road, I would work on marketing pieces for companies like Red Bull Patagonia, The North Face via the parent company and main company that I was working for. And that led me to an increased amount of frustration over how I just could not bring my products with me. So I was buying single use plastic leaving products I actually needed behind and at the end of the day carrying everything in giant plastic bags that you feel very cluttered and clunky on top of being hypocritical for using so much waste. And all of this really came to a head with the realization that my routines were just a few of the many routines that were out there. So I was in a road and I would talk to parents who had to pack for their kids, but also had an amazing sense of style and didn't want to give that up just because they had to spend a lot of time getting organized, right, or how people bring their medication with them or organize their kitchen. So the idea of routines at home that we wish we could do better. And also wish we could bring on the go with us really became my focal point. And from that point on, it was just how do I solve my own problem to start with. And so that really began cadence. So at the end of the day, what we are is we solve problems we feel like are worth solving, and we solve them through innovation through product systems. So our first solved problem was how do you travel and leave your home whether it's for a day or a month, with your personal care routine in a way that feels incredibly beautiful is something you trust, first and foremost, right? No leaking exploding products. And it's like the absolute worst. Yeah, and just really enables you to be in the moment, right? Like, our whole mission is like, bring you calm and control no matter where you are or what you're doing so you can be more present, focused and appreciative of the moment that you're in. Yeah, I love that. I

Mariah Parsons 04:08

love that you brought up like, having your routine at home and still being able to, like use cadence while you're at home. Like it's not even, like while you're on the go, right? It's like just part of your routine that you adopt in because it's like, okay, I know I can take these like capsules with me whenever I'm traveling. But like also the aspect of being able to, like, get used to or like add this to your routine is like fascinating to me, because like I have right like my bottles and everything. But it does feel like chaotic when I'm trying to like pack and I'm like thinking through I'm like okay, what do I need? And then it's like, in that moment, I'm thinking about, okay, I need all my essentials, but like, more often than not, I'm missing one of them when I get there, right? And I'm like, oh my god, like, how can I forgotten this or something and it's just in the spirit of moment you're not going through your routine right then and there when you're packing. So it's like, easy to slip your mind if you don't have a list or something which I'm, I'm not like a list person when I pack which is maybe what this is telling me I need to do. But like that exact moment is like that, that thinking through that process is really, really like curious to me, because I've never until kind of be introduced like cadence and thinking through like what I wanted to ask, he was like, that's a really interesting aspect where it's like before you start to pack,

Stephanie Hon 05:30

yes, and the beauty of the cadence capsules, you know, with them all being magnetic, connective. And labeled, it's your packing list. That was one of the things that was most exciting back when we were prototyping and utilizing our early versions of the product before we launched was I recognized it was essentially a physical packing list. Because you right, you're right, you said it perfectly. You don't do your entire morning and night routine, when you're packing, you can maybe do 50% of it, the capsules, you just grab them on you bring them with you, or you can quickly eliminate the ones you don't need, right. So that's a physical manifestation of something that is right in front of your face. And the goal always has been keep them out on the shelf, right? Because they beautifully stack their this honeycomb or you can make it whatever shape you want. Because they're interlocking and interconnecting. There should be they are beautiful enough to leave out there. So it's not something you're digging around in your closet, right that you haven't used since your last trip. And they're dusty. And you're like, oh, is this clean? It's a sturdy, it was just my shampoo or my cleanser, right? That's such a negative experience. It does not make me want to put my expensive moisturizer and serum into that bottle. So the whole point yes, is that it's out the shelf. It's beautiful, whether it's there for our function, and then you just whisk it away wherever you're going without without too much thought and time put into packing.

Mariah Parsons 07:03

Yeah, it's funny, you bring up the point of like, not putting, like not sure if they're clean or dirty, because I feel like everyone knows like those little travel bottles, right? That you buy whatever, CDs, wherever. It's so funny, because it's always like, okay, when I get home, I'm gonna clean these right, like, I'm gonna make sure there's so, so well taken care of, and then you get home, you're exhausted. And then you're like, yeah, like, clean it out. And then next time comes around, you're like, where are those little things? Like, I don't even know where I put them. Like how I clean them. It's like it's just a disaster, because you don't touch them until you're gonna go travel and like you need them again versus cadence, you're able to, like you said, incorporate into your daily routine.

Stephanie Hon 07:47

Yes, yes, exactly. The material we chose was so specific, so that the efficacy of whatever you put inside stays the same as if it were in its original parent bottle.

Mariah Parsons 08:00

Oh, that's okay. That's super interesting. Can we talk about that like a little because I don't know, like anything about this industry, right? Like anything about like product design and whatnot. So it's always fascinating for me to get the time to like, sit down and like walk through some of those details that might not have made it on the site, right? So like, how are you going through and testing like, making sure that the efficacy stays true, and no matter what's in the bottle? Yes, the

Stephanie Hon 08:23

number one thing is the seal, we have an industrial seal on the capsule. So if you think about most travel bottles, it's one of those closures where there's a hinge and it just click shut, that's not truly airtight and sealed. Our products are completely airtight, you could submerge them in water and nothing is getting through. So that's one of the facets of how our capsules are leak proof. It is three rotations of the cap. And that cranks down on an industrial seal that we have, which makes it so that there's no air leaking out that product inside is really protected. And we were able to do that while still having a material mix that we can be proud of it's 20% recycled ocean bound plastic 30% regrind from a manufacturing process and the rest is virgin material, so that we can really have a product that lasts for the ages and is truly durable. But those are a number of the elements that went into making a product so protective of whatever anyone can throw inside.

Mariah Parsons 09:35

Okay, super interesting. Yeah, cuz I'm like, because I know just from being familiar with cadence, obviously the material like ratio that you just described, of like the intentionality to have a material that you're proud of, and that is helping take being or help helping take away some of our issues around plastic and helping with sustainability. But then I was also thinking I was like, how How do you try and make sure that, like, you're finding the balance between what you want the quality of the product to the, and making sure that it matches, like the mission of cadence. So it's like, it's like, I would imagine, like a fine, a fine dance between the two that you probably were like, testing every little iteration until you found the first like the perfect mix.

Stephanie Hon 10:24

Absolutely, that's exactly what it was the ocean bound material we use, which is from a company envision plastics, I just like to shout it out, because it took me six months to find work with us. And they were phenomenal worked with us when we were pre launch. And I feel like, you know, it's our job as brands that have been out there in the world to spread it to other folks starting companies. So envision plastics is amazing. And that material is not even made for the type of manufacturing process we're using, we have just modified our manufacturing process in such a way because our product design is so unique, we've also been able to find a way to manufacture with that material because it is post consumer. And at the same time had to figure out that exact fine line between Okay, when do you use so much of this, where then the product isn't made for life anymore. Versus Of course, we don't want to be making 100% Virgin plastic products ever. So our goal is the company is always iterating always getting better it is it never stops. And so we're proud of where we are. But we're always focused on how we can how we can do better and how we can do more. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 11:37

I think that's really admirable. And I think that comes through in your branding, which I want to talk about a little bit later. But before we do while we're talking about product iteration, for anyone that hasn't seen the capsules, like you have this little like clickable, like label that you can put on the top, and we kind of referenced it earlier but I realized I was like if someone hasn't seen cadence they might not be able to track so like you can kind of you can like swap out the little tiles on top. And I think it's isn't a magnet but holds them in there.

Stephanie Hon 12:07

Yes, super seamless. No in dense or anything just magnetic.

Mariah Parsons 12:13

Yes. So how was like that process in terms of like making sure that the seal and the plastic and every every other component works well with like now this added magnet and label? And was that part of like the original? Like thought process? Because I feel like that's something that's like so unique. Like usually it's just like a label, right? It's already pre printed like you can't switch them out. So how did how did you like come? How did you come to that conclusion?

Stephanie Hon 12:42

Yeah, so the sides of the capsule for anyone listening besides the capsules are all magnetic. And then there's the label that we're talking about that is awesome magnetic, that has been part of the design from day one. And everyone told me I was crazy. we infuse this in a beautiful seamless way. I mean, people were throwing out wild things like Velcro, who wants to go, they'll

Mariah Parsons 13:06

travel bottles, right? Going back to like the 80s Right.

Stephanie Hon 13:11

But you know, we're not a Container Company, we are a product innovation company that is tackling this very big problem and we knew we just shouldn't even try and solve it if we couldn't come up with a amazing never before done solution. And so the impact of that connectivity is so massive and something where you kind of have to see it before and after to really feel it but it's almost like this is a wild example but you stuck your hand into a jar of dry rice, all those rice grains would flow through your fingers like water versus picking up a rice cake. It is together and it's with one hand right if we took all of our products and removed the aspects of them that connected them, it would feel terrible you wouldn't be able to pick it up with one hand it would you would be knocking these lightweight little plastic bottles all over versus making all of our capsules magnetic hexagonal, I mean you're picking up a system it's an entity you're not they're not going all over you stick your hand into your bag and not fishing around for things so so much of it was this focus on what is the movement that I as a human being need to do when I'm interacting with this product and whatever it needs to be should make me feel more common side then then more chaotic yeah

Mariah Parsons 14:36

yeah cuz I can imagine like I feel like too it's kind of like a I feel like you could see it in movie but like someone's like rushing to like make their flight or something and like knocking over their bottles like they're getting knocked into like the sink the toilet like the floor everywhere, right? Like and then you are like they're just being tossed in a bag or suitcase or toiletry bag, whatever. And they're just like you're trying to scour to find them but it is so nice that you can just like like you said, great before, by the way, as well with the rice and the rice cake, that you're able to just like in one fell swoop, get it and do whatever you need to do.

Stephanie Hon 15:08

Thank you, I appreciate that.

Mariah Parsons 15:10

I will be your height person, believe me. Um, okay, so I know we've been obviously talking about product design and, and whatnot. And you gave a background to like, how you how your background influenced where you went with cadence, but it's always, I always love talking about branding. And so how did you take like, your background with movement and how that influences your daily routine? And then start to think through what you wanted the branding and the messaging to be for other people who are going to be, you know, interacting with cadence?

Stephanie Hon 15:49

Absolutely, you know, the brand and the product were developed at the same time, both with lots of love. I was working my full time job at the time and working consulting gigs on the side. So it was a labor of love on nights and weekends

Mariah Parsons 16:07

and doing the thing.

Stephanie Hon 16:09

Yeah, I mean, I think one of the best parts about building a business is you get to do it, you get to be inspired by all the things you wish were done differently, whether it's in life, whether it's in the place you work, and you're able to make good from all of all of it. And so the brand really came from a place of I wish there was something beautiful out there that was in this category. In this category. It was almost like rewinding to pre reusable water bottles, right? Like there was a time when no one was walking around with swells and hydro flasks, and we were all carrying that me before our time, we were walking around with Poland spring bottles, or whatever it may be. And then suddenly, the shift happened where people recognize Well, I'm using so much single use plastic. And I'm honestly spending a lot more money throwing all this out of a single use plastic out, I will invest in a 40 $50 bottle, but not just not just because it's reusable, though, that's a big part. And I would hope that's why people switch over. Also, because it's more beautiful, because it's in the color that I like, and it's shaped nice. And it makes me feel good when I whether I go to my yoga class, or I'm going to work or, you know, sitting at the park, and that transition had not happened for the space at all right? Like we we had transitioned into a world where we're actively taking time to develop our personal care routines, the things that make us feel us investing into those routines, right. But then when it would come time to transport that we were then faced with a $3 plastic bottle not manufactured well, not something that's going to last you and then that's kind of where things start to implode. And so it was a really cool opportunity as a brand to say I'm going to be the first brand in this space, we're going to make a brand that actually has a heart to it, that cares about the world. And most importantly, I always want to emphasize this has a product that backs up everything that the brand means. I think there are a lot of companies, which is a totally different business model. And, you know, one that I'm aware of that are really focused just on building the brand, they take a product that kind of exists and re make it for that particular brand. We felt and I felt it was so important that if we're going to do this a had to be both. If we can make a beautiful brand, but not develop a product that actually changed the way things were, then there's really no point in existing and being and you know, vice versa. So I strive to have a brand that feels very human, and has quirky parts to it that will hopefully never go away. I feel like that's part of the magic of following a brand from the early days. And I see it go away so often. And so that's my mission constantly is how can we keep up the part of us as we grow and build that is heartfelt? That we do things just because it makes people happy and puts a smile on their face, right? So we're very much about long term ROI and every decision that we make,

Mariah Parsons 19:29

yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I love that you drew the distinction of like having a brand with a product that backs up that branding and like makes sense. And I'm curious to if you off the top of your head, like what would you say is like the quirkiest thing that cadence does like I'm just curious because you're talking about that. And then a follow up question to that as well is Why do you think brands start to lose? that core key aspect, once they start to, like, get bigger or, you know, have other stakeholders who are driving the force, so to partner for you.

Stephanie Hon 20:13

Okay, great question. You know, for us, it's probably and this isn't too quirky, but we'd like showing the behind the scenes of our team in our different little hubs. We have an tiny Innovation Center in Montana, we have an Innovation Center in Brooklyn. And then we have our fulfillment center in upstate New York. So it's everything from, you know, the basketball court and our fulfillment center, or our table, you know, to our development process, which, you know, we get pretty fun with, I'm in design side. So I love it when I see the people behind the brand, but not in an overly curated way. Like I just want to know, like, what's the attitude like in the office? Yeah, what like, I just want to know, there's thought going into things I'm buying. And so that's why we like putting our BTS out there, because we're not like outsourcing the design to someone else. We're here till 11pm on a Friday, because we're so excited into obsessing over this one small detail of the product we're making. So BTS, though, I wouldn't say that's too quirky, but I love it. But it's so fun. Yeah. And then the second part of your question was Why do brands lose that, like feeling of loyalty from customers? I think it's because well, probably unpopular opinion. But I think it's, it's a compounding impact of decisions made early on, for example, we have been really careful with one investment. We've taken most of our investments from boutique firms, the right folks, and a majority of founders, so people who are invested in building something different. Versus, of course, there are firms out there who and it's their business model, it's truly not negative, but you go into it, knowing that these folks want their money back and five years. That's not how that means you cannot make decisions that are going to make an impact seven and a half, 910 years down the line, because that's not what you're building for. You're building for an immediate fast exit. That's not to say that companies cannot, you know, build a great brand and have an incredible business prospect. I mean, not at all, but it's about what the expectation is, is it about having a really successful exit while also making sure you're doing it with the right company, at the right time. And with the right investors. I mean, it's all of course, not black and white, but I think brands lose it because you stop doing the thing that's gonna buy that long term experience, right? Like we we are so conscious of that. What is that? Um, you know, at New Year's that non alcoholic spirits drink what? Oh, Marinelli, Martin, Ellie's other Yeah, Belize, for years had a beautiful tin foil wrapper, like a traditional champagne bottle. It's iconic. It's like, what makes you feel like you're drinking this non alcohol like, that makes it feel special experience?

Mariah Parsons 23:40

Yeah, it's like, it's part of why you want to get honestly.

Stephanie Hon 23:46

Exactly. And they removed it, right, because it costs a little bit more, it's more sense towards your cost of goods. But like what is Bartonella is without that you like that my moment of joy is removed. You know, it's things like that, that brands do when they're so focused on the immediate bottom line. That removes the feeling of care that someone would have there very few brands that I followed from the beginning that I still have art for now. And it's all because of decisions and reasons like that. To end on a positive note to this and I like brands like Patagonia to write because I know that they're constantly investing in being better both for product and for the world. I am like you will take all my money I will always go to you even though you are a large brand and corporation because I know that you're constantly working on yourself like actually believe you in what you're saying versus the opposite, which happens to a lot of brands.

Mariah Parsons 24:48

I love that you bring in like the positive example of Patagonia as well. And I think it's also like, we talk a lot about obviously we're in the post purchase space. And so we're talking a lot about like buying behavior and keeping the Customer excited while they're waiting for their product, and it comes up, like a couple, like, you know, every so often, but like buyer's remorse or like guilt around purchasing something, especially when you don't immediately have it in hand like you do in retail, like you're not walking away, where it's a direct transaction where you see your money, you know, is given to someone else, and then you have a product in hand. And so it kind of like it also for me, it ties into like, what brands I'm purchasing from, and if I like what their mission, what their branding, what they stand for is all about. And also like how does purchasing from them make me feel. And if it makes me feel good, then obviously it's a, it's a better customer experience. And I'm more likely to go back, but it just simply feels good. Like, that's a point enough for me to go back. Like, you can dive into the psychology of it all. And that's what my background was in. So like, I'm always always fascinated by that. But like just for a consumer standpoint, where I'm able to say like Patagonia, like I'm the same way where I'm like, if I see their brand name versus competitors, I'm like, Oh, I'm going to go with them because I like them better. And I like their branding and their mission. And I can recognize it for what they are versus other people that I don't know about, or it doesn't have the same connection, or what's the word, I'm looking for the same connotation of the branding that Patagonia or these other brands that have stayed loyal and like they, in my eyes, like they made their mark off of being different because they were doing so many things that were for the betterment of the world, for the betterment of the environment, kind of before thinking about like their parties, or their stakeholders getting rich. And it's great, because they have a new build, right? They're huge corporation. But it makes you feel better as the consumer to like, have that narrative in your head rather than, you know, like, fast fashion or things that are not not helping our world but really hindering it.

Stephanie Hon 27:11

Yes, exactly. You can build a great business, that is a fundamentally strong, excellent business. And at the same time doing it in a way that's better for the world and keeps your promises. That's the hardest trio in the world, but one that we are constantly

Mariah Parsons 27:34

aiming for. Yeah, and it to me, at least, from an outsider perspective, it seems like you all are able to do that, like you said, because you made those decisions early on that enable you later to still stay true to your branding. But I also I also feel like because you specifically you're aware of that, and like have seen other brands go through that, you know, as a founder to like protect against it as well, right? Where you're able to bring in your own experience from the brands that you follow, or the brands that you like, or the brands that you've seen, and be like, I know that it's really important for me not to do that. And like it's a different business model, right, like you said, but it's not the model that I want to work with, with cadence.

Stephanie Hon 28:23

Absolutely. And it really takes a whole team to do that. Right? It starts with the founder, but I'm very lucky to have the team that I do, especially in areas that are all about efficiency, right? I am so lucky that we have the ops team that we do. They are constantly running with our design team going above and beyond. I mean, the things I asked them to do we have a big launch coming up. And the things that I've asked them to do. They look at me on Zoom, like I'm five beds, and I'm like, but imagine how good it's gonna feel this, and they know it, they feel it. Yeah. And they're like, All right, we're gonna make it happen. But again, it is all because of having people who are excited to build differently while also making it as efficient as possible. But having folks who can go okay, I understand the nuance of all of this and we're gonna have fun while building it.

Mariah Parsons 29:23

Yeah, that I love that you brought that that others other piece in that other side. Because obviously you want to have efficiency and having a great team to lead and guide you through that is everything right? Like I love also that you told the story of like, they're like, what, what do you want us to do, but that's so relatable because you're like, I know you can feel it too. And like you can feel the difference. That'll make that's exciting.

Stephanie Hon 29:53

Yeah, I mean, if we're thinking about efficiency, right, like all of our products are custom. We can't pre pack anything. You know, yeah, well buy or build your six or build your tribe on our website that is completely custom picking and packing and lasering. And engraving of all of the labels that people choose, right? Someone would come and say, That's not efficient. Why do you just sell preset bundles. And while we do sell preset bundles, we always wanted customization to be at the front and center. And I think that's why again, that's why people come to us, because we know that people's routines can be four products, or they can be 18 products, people buy like 24 capsules from us, sometimes big, giant supplement routine, they want to carry their jewelry, they want their skincare, hair care, body care, then they want to buy a set for their kids. Right? If we were to say, here's a pack of four and a pack of eight, you would just feel like, well, I'm trying to fit myself into this product versus the way it really should be, which is like we fit around you. So efficiency in the right places is great, but it has to be in the right places.

Mariah Parsons 31:07

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I didn't even think about how, yeah, every are like most packages that you're dealing with are custom made because of your ability to obviously, label and like, like you said, match the routine, or match the product to your routine. So that's like crazy. That's a whole I feel like we could talk about that. Like, I'll even get through that with a whole other episode. But I do want to ask like, so do you know off the top of your head, like what the division might be between people who are getting like those pre packaged or pre bundled sets, and then people who are completely making like their packs of 20 for their packs of 18? Do you know like the breakdown between the customer profiles?

Stephanie Hon 31:57

Yeah, so our build your six and booger 12 are all customizable. Like you can choose your color, you can choose your label, and then you can add individual capsules on top of that, just kind of like a base set, if you will. And 90% of our orders are people customizing. They don't want to just buy something that's pre labeled, even though they're really buying the same things everyone else is for the most part, and that's data that helps us make sure we're giving people exactly what they need for their routines. But people want the breadth and width and room to customize and build for themselves.

Mariah Parsons 32:33

Okay, that's really interesting. That's higher than I thought I would have thought it was maybe like 8020 or like 7030. But wow, that's yeah, that's, that's impressive. Okay, so we've been talking a lot about branding and just honestly, like everything under the sun, I feel like but I want to talk about like, social media marketing strategy, because you guys have a huge following. So can you walk us through? You know how you and your team are approaching? Like you have your branding? How are you sharing it with the world?

Stephanie Hon 33:05

Yes, so we are predominantly on Instagram, Tik Tok, we do YouTube shorts, it's where we've spent the majority of our focus. We also are constantly building a really heartfelt and robust community. The data we have most folks hear about us from word of mouth first, and paid media second, which is something we're proud of. That's, and thank you. And, you know, it's, it's funny, when I think about a social media strategy. There are, of course, these little things that matter. But at the end of the day, what I really think matters is to actually be thoughtful about it, which sounds like such subjective woowoo advice, my like, I look at our captions before they go up, I look at our, our feed, we have an amazing creative team and an amazing brand team. But I think a founders job a lot of the time is to be that set of eyes that pushes everyone and everything a little bit right. Does that actually feel good? Or what about this wild idea? And of course, that's the gift you get when you're not completely in the weeds all the time working on something. So it's a huge team effort. But I look at it, and I feel like you can tell like I can tell when I land on the Instagram page. And I'm like, wow, like this was really thoughtfully put together. And I'm really invested into this brand and product versus when you see something and you're like there's just something missing. It's like when you meet a person, right and you have an immediate warmth and connection to them versus someone who they're not a bad person or maybe just not your person or they're busy or they're distracted right? You can tell when someone's busy and distracted. I feel like it's the same thing for social media. In all marketing, you know, it's it's I'll see a subject line that our amazing copywriter has written. And I'll be like, What about just tweaking this a little bit? Or I feel like this feels a little bit too, like remarketing to someone would we really say that so I feel like the trick is actually caring and not being afraid to spend the time to get it right. We spend the time if we do anything, which is and a strength, always right, your greatest strength is also your Achilles heel. But we are meticulous in everything we do down to the ad copy to the Tick Tock caption.

Mariah Parsons 35:42

Okay, I love that. Yeah, it could be a double edged sword for sure. That's very relatable. What would you say? Like, what are the things that like stick out to you in terms of like how to be intentional and thoughtful? When like writing those captions? Like it can be like more like tactical advice or higher level? Because I think like for me, what always sticks out is like something that seems they're like someone, someone that's able to convey like relevancy to like, what's going on in the world? Or like what's trending or like, a holiday, right, like seasonality plays into it. And that's always like, when someone gets like punny, like, that's what stands out to me. Of like, someone be like, oh, like you were able to, like, think through this and just be like, a little something extra, just like to catch your eyes. So what kind of like catches your eye when you're going through a feed?

Stephanie Hon 36:31

I think of course, the product first and foremost, right? If it's a product I'm not interested in, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it. I think product is usually the answer to a lot of my questions about marketing, I think you could have an amazing product. And if you don't have a great like team behind it, that is very tough place to be in. But even if you have a great team, and the product is not great, it will be short lived. And so I think it really comes down to product, right? We have the gift of having a product that is very unique. And people have not seen it before, right? Hexagonal magnetic capsule system is not something that is not the day to day. And so it helps a lot when people are like, Wait, what is that I haven't seen that looks really beautiful. And they you know, then click in and explore. And we feel like, how can we fit in to the moment, but let's not change what we're doing for the moment, right? I think we have a very unique marketing philosophy and that most of the things that we do are quite evergreen. It's not about this is trending. So let's do it. Like it will go out of trend. And then you will be out of trend. So as we build cadence and design the product, a big mission for us is how can we think about things that are timeless? And how can we infuse that into everything that we do. And believe me, sometimes we get it wrong. And sometimes we get it right? And it's just about following your gut, again, a little bit of woowoo advice, but I it hopefully if this helps even one person, it would maybe pop into their head at a moment where they're about to approve something that they feel like they maybe want to say something about but everyone's ready to ship it out. And no one's saying anything. I feel like it's those moments where you like, you want to say it, but it's a little stuck into your chest and you're like eff it, is it a big deal. And maybe 80% of the time, it's not a big deal, but I really don't live by the philosophy 80% And that's fine. Again, certainly there are times. But if you have that mindset, most of the time, that's the feeling your brand is going to give that it's like, it's okay, it's average, like it makes it by Yeah, it makes it by it's not bad. But is it something that you know, I'm think of certain brands and like their captions, like are really funny. You're like, wow, there was a very funny person behind this. And I like this, right? Like, that's clever. It's smart. And so I think it's just those moments where you take the time and invest the time and you're willing to be like, I know we like looked at this three times already. But we just need to pause this for one more second, like one small word can change

Mariah Parsons 39:17

everything. Yeah. And like how you're delivering something to I think like, when I think of like clever, I think is the best word to describe what stands out to me. So I love that you emphasize that because I was like I think of puns and it's that's more like silly but like clever, like something that like makes me laugh or like chuckle I'm like, Oh, you got me like that's, that's where it stands out. And I think that happens a lot on Twitter too. Like I see that all the time. And of course it happens on Instagram Tik Tok, and we talk about those platforms the most like Instagram Tik Tok. But like some people who are just able like, I'm like, wow, they're thinking through it and like it's just so simple. Even if you're saying like the same words or you're conveying the same Message like, even the way you put the words can like be a different way to deliver it. So it is I love that you bring up like the 80%. Like you could send it any be fine. But to like get that extra emphasis to play into like the branding and how people are interacting. And like when they think about cadence and like, Oh, those are like intentional captains. How someone wrote that is clever is like the added added bit that I feel like it's hard to achieve. But also, you're able to achieve it just with having a lot of great, like talent, collaboration. And like not being scared to speak up and say, Hey, like, this kind of feels like, we could change this. Like, even if we just took a couple more minutes to like, think about it. Because I know when I think about our social media, we're like thinking about like, okay, like, this is like the copy this is idea like, how am I How am I trying to convey it? And then like, a couple back and forth where it's like, Okay, what about this one? What about this one? Oh, no, like, I like that. That phrasing of the same thing better? Because it just sits better with us.

Stephanie Hon 41:09

Yes, 100%. I mean, the thing is they get approved are wild. Sometimes there have been planes that have had a letter missing on the side of it, right. Like to prove that. Yeah. So you know, I laugh when I think about it, because it's such high level advice. But like, if you think about it in that context, someone didn't speak up. Someone was like, Is this intentional? Because that you're missing a letter and the name you're about to put on the side of your giant plane. Someone didn't say anything. And then it happens. Right? So just the thing that I think about before shipping anything?

Mariah Parsons 41:43

Yeah, it's like someone in that room is like, Am I missing a trend? Like, it is like to maybe embarrassed to say like, it's not smell right? Like, yeah, yeah, it's easy to get in the mentality of like, like the bandwagon effect, where it's like, Okay, everyone, or like bison, it like everyone else is doing it. Everyone else says it's fine. So I guess I shouldn't say something. But meanwhile, everyone's like thinking the same thing. Um, so yeah, just wild examples with the airplane water, like things that are just so you know, irreversible, it seems like or like such a such a big decision to be made. And then something goes awry. But as we're talking about, like social media, and marketing, of course, this is retention Chronicle. So we always have to bring it back to retention. How do you see kind of like everything we've talked about? So like having a great product? Having branding, that stays true from like, start until present day? Social media, how does that all wrap into how you think about retention? On the day to day?

Stephanie Hon 42:49

Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it's a perfect lead in because retention is best incurred by folks who fall in love what's with what's in their hands. And with every touchpoint and interaction that they've had, right from the web experience, no, actually, from the first ad they saw, to the email that they got that felt kind of heartfelt, and then to the web experience that felt truly beautiful and genuine the checkout experience the email journey, keeping them in the loop along the way as their product is being sent to them to the packaging experience. And of course, then then the product in hand. To me, every moment, every investment in something quirky, or extra or heartfelt, adds $1 to the loyalty bucket. Right? Every time someone's order gets messed up by I don't know, whatever shipping provider we're using, because it is life and things happen. You know, do we get back to them in a week? Or do we know we get back to them in 12 hours, we say, even though this wasn't our fault, like we're gonna figure out how to make this right with you. Oh, my God, you have your honeymoon tomorrow. All right, we're gonna Uber this to your apartment in New York. And we're gonna make sure you're on that plane with these products Secretary make you feel more calm and happy. ASAP, right? Like that's retention. That's how we think about retention is like how can we make folks have dinner table conversations? And then of course how can we make the product so good and I know I keep coming back to product but again, I feel like the product is truly the foundation it's the legs for everything else that then makes people go oh my god, I like we get people for us, for example, saying wow, I bought these for my vacation, but I didn't even read realize that this could make remembering to take my supplements every day better. And I'm going to throw out that Monday through Sunday pillowcase. Lace, it was something where I don't have to take this giant thing with me, I can like pull one, and pop it in my bag for the day. And remember to think that I want to take, so I'm going to come back and buy some more because the product was so much better than I even expected it to be. Right people just want something that doesn't leak and explode. But instead, we give them something that feels good in your hand. And, you know, makes you excited to use the product inside. And then that's what gets them to come back. So I know I sound like a broken record. But that's

Mariah Parsons 45:38

no, I love it. It's like something like that quote, it's like, you have to hear something like 10 times for it to settle in like I'm also an optimist at heart. So I can like find a good a lot of things. But I bet honeymoon example, oh my gosh, that like just got my heart racing. Like I can't even imagine those real world examples that come into your CSV and where it's like, oh my God, my product, like it, whatever, for whatever reason, if it's like a shipment delay, like isn't gonna come soon as tomorrow, like that is wow. The hearts out to like anyone who is going through that. But I love what you said about also being able to like have your product, keep someone accountable, and like taking their supplements, like that's just such a awesome way to like, switch up. I feel like how we normally try and keep ourselves accountable like me, it's like, trying to set alarms or reminders on my phone and like, you know, they get like shushed all the time, because I'm like, I have so many. Yeah, that's really cool that that's also like another use case that I wouldn't have thought of just like by looking at the product until like interacting with it. And then you're like, oh, wait, like, there's so many different ways that I can take this and apply it to my life outside of what like I originally bought it for?

Stephanie Hon 47:02

Well, I always appreciate hearing that. And it's something we're excited to be a part of all aspects of people's lives.

Mariah Parsons 47:10

Yeah, I love it, that you have to just bring their cadence along, and you guys get to go with them. Oh, my gosh, that's so fun. Um, well, I know. We have I feel like this hour is like flown flown by. But I have one final question for you. And that is, what is like one piece of advice that you would like to impart that maybe we haven't gotten to share yet? Or maybe we haven't you really want to drive that point home. It can be like tactical or high level super related to, like funding your own business, or it can be related to just life in general

Stephanie Hon 47:47

is a good one. You know, like, I

Mariah Parsons 47:51

haven't hurt now.

Stephanie Hon 47:53

I will I will I promise this time. What I will say is one of the biggest things that our team has been excited about is the way we've structured our days. My background, too is in sight as psych major back in the day. And I did my thesis on flow, the state of flow and extreme athletes, but how to then take that stay into regular everyday life. So I'm a bit maniacal about making sure our team has time to actually do the thing that a they love doing. B they're really good at and see they're here to do. I think it's really easy to get into this like meeting sprinkled throughout the day meetings that could be half the time and done over email instead. Right? So we do no meeting Mondays, no meeting Fridays and deeper time every day from whatever time people start working to 12 or 1pm We're not we're remote team so we have some night owls on our team. So we have some morning birds. So when whenever someone choose to begin, you know, really we all have different slack emojis and statuses which is a very fun part of it. That's so fun. It'll be like call us if it's an emergency. Otherwise deep work until you know 1pm And it's been hard at first the team was not bought in. I wish our team on this one. I was like promise promise you you will be happy with it. And it really helps make sure when we do have meetings everyone's prepared setting things ahead of time. And we're excited to talk we I love I love our team was incredible. We have such amazing human beings on our team and I think we all get excited to chat, but it makes it even more exciting to connect because it feels very intentional.

Mariah Parsons 49:51

Yeah, I love that. That isn't something I've heard yet and I said that only like other guests not with you. I will always hear anything. If you wanna repeat it 10,000 times. But I love I love that. I'm also shocked that we didn't find this out earlier that both of our backgrounds are in psychology like the state of flow. So So So, so interesting. I like studying neuroscience and so very just super tapped into that. All that. So I might have been on that train way quicker than it sounds like your team. Yes. But I might have to take like the slack emojis to our team, because I love that. Oh, my gosh, that is so fun.

Stephanie Hon 50:32

Yeah, I did not know those fun slack emojis existed until recently. And we have so much fun with it as a team, those wild wild emojis you can upload to Slack, we have the best time with them. And it really helps add the camaraderie over zoom since we don't get the pleasure of being together all the time.

Mariah Parsons 50:53

Yeah, it just elevates, right. I'm also I love slack so much like, I could go on a whole other rant about that and just like reacting to things and editing messages and whatnot. So I love that and I hope other people start to just have all those animals next to their names and whatnot. But this has been so so so wonderful to chat with you stuff. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to come share your expertise and really just like be able to impart your knowledge your learnings with our listeners, because that is it's it makes my day to have these conversations. So thank you.

Stephanie Hon 51:28

Oh, of course. Well, thanks so much for having me. This is a really fun conversation. A great way to begin to close out Friday.

Mariah Parsons 51:36

Oh, I'm so excited to hear that that makes my day