Heath Squier of Julian Bakery firmly believes in practicing what you preach. Through masterful social media marketing, and carefully selecting ingredients for their products, Julian Bakery became the go-to source for consumers’ paleo diet needs. Heath Squier believes in his product so much so that he consumes his own products, has lost weight, gained muscle and now presents his new healthy lifestyle as a way to show the diet’s success.  

In the Twenty-Second episode of Skubana’s E-commerce Mastery Series where we invite experts of their respected fields to share their best practices for success, our host, Dr Jeremy Weisz of InspiredInsider.com interviews Heath Squier of Julian Bakery.

What this interview covers:

  • How select and smart marketing was essential for food diet products
  • You need to be willing to spend the funds to sell a good product. If you’re afraid of spending the funds, find a way to change the product.
  • The different audiences for each social media platform.
  • Selecting the right team for your business
  • When to accept money so you don’t harm your business in the long run.

Raw Transcript: Heath Squier of Julian Bakery

Jeremy: [00:00:15] Dr. Jeremy Weisz here. I’m founder of Inspiredinsider.com, where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders, like the founders of P90X, Baby Einstein, Atari, many more, and how they overcome big challenges in life and business. This is part of the Skubana E-commerce Mastery Series, where top sellers and experts teach you what really works to boost your e-commerce business. Skubana is a software platform to manage your entire e-commerce operation.[00:00:40] Today, we have Heath Squier. He is master food-formulator and CEO of the Julian Bakery, which is a company that develops and sells transitional Paleo foods. Products include Paleo and primal products, like the Paleo protein bars, Paleo wraps, Paleo cereal, Paleo chocolate, and much more. They’re grain-free, gluten-free, GMO-free. Heath takes them, himself. We’ll talk about that. Heath learned the benefits of using vitamins and whole foods from his mother, Barbara, who’s a certified nutritionist, who founded the original Julian Bakery in the 1990s, I think it was 1990, by combining his background, running tech companies, with his parents’ brick-and-mortar. Heath has grown the Julian Bakery into a worldwide brand. Heath, thanks for joining me.

Heath: [00:01:28] Yeah, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Jeremy: [00:01:30] I always like to start . . . And you have the “Primal Show,” which is great. People should check that out. Fun fact. I always like to start with a fun fact. There’s two interesting fun facts. There’s more, if your wife told us some good ones, but you have a black belt or going for your black belt in karate.

Heath: [00:01:45] Yes.

Jeremy: [00:01:46] You take over 100 vitamins per day.

Heath: [00:01:51] I do, maybe like 20 or 30 different types, but it all adds up.

Jeremy: [00:01:55] So what do you take? What do you actually take? What vitamins?

Heath: [00:01:58] I like to tinker. It’s my own kind of bio-hacking kind of method to either brain boosters, to amino acids, to . . . As I approach 40, I’m trying to boost testosterone, decrease my estrogen. There’s a lot of things. I wouldn’t call them supplements, but more herbs and Chinese medicine kind of formulas, that help us men as we age, increase testosterone and decrease estrogen. That’s kind of . . . There’s a natural decrease of testosterone over time. So I like to tinker, as well as I love things like brain boosters and stuff like that, like Huperzine. There’s just also . . .

Jeremy: [00:02:37] Yeah. Yeah, just lay them out. Which ones do you take? I’m curious. What should . . . There may be someone, older male. They’re like, “What should I be taking, Heath? What do you actually take?”

Heath: [00:02:49] For me, right now, it’s like [inaudible:00:02:51]. There’s something called horny goat weed, which is Chinese medicine, that’s for brain boosters. You got Huperzine for decreasing estrogen. We actually sell this product called Estro-X, which decreases estrogen and increases testosterone, naturally. So there’s so many people in the health and food industry which are just supplementing testosterone. I just find it . . . My goal and my passion was really to find vitamins that could do it naturally, without having to do a testosterone replacement therapy.

Jeremy: [00:03:35] Right.

Heath: [00:03:26] I want to keep my levels as high as possible. That way, I’m feeling great. I’m energized through the day, and I can shed fat easily. So when I do work out, you’re getting the maximum result by keeping your testosterone levels high. Even with women too, they have the same issue where their ovaries produce testosterone, as you know. Their level has decreased also. So it’s really about being in balance. I think so many people are out of balance because of food, and the food is throwing their hormones completely out of balance. They’re over-estrogen-ized because of the xenoestrogens in the food.

Jeremy: [00:04:00] Yeah.

Heath: [00:04:01] So it’s really . . . I found a certain set of vitamins which really help balance the hormones and get optimal results, because I’m busy, and when I go to the gym, I want to get the maximum results. You’re not gonna get results unless your hormones are in balance, at the end of the day. You can go as much as you want, and the fat is still gonna be there, unless your hormones are balanced.

Jeremy: [00:04:24] That Twitter picture is not Photoshopped. That’s actually you.

Heath: [00:04:27] That’s me. Yeah.

Jeremy: [00:04:28] Okay. Yeah.

Heath: [00:04:30] That was last year. We did a whole photo shoot and spread. I’m really into practicing what I preach.

Jeremy: [00:04:35] Right.

Heath: [00:04:36] So that was my goal. I’m gonna do probably one more photo shoot as I approach 40. I want to . . . My goal is to get an eight-pack by August, which is when I turn 40.

Jeremy: [00:04:46] It looked like, on that picture, you have an eight-pack.

Heath: [00:04:49] It’s almost there. If I want to like . . . I want to go all the way with it. It’s something. As you approach 40, your testosterone levels . . . It’s harder to boost them, and you really have to be in the high 800 range in order to achieve that. There’s no other way around it.

Jeremy: [00:05:05] So what about any . . . The brain boosters . . . You talked about, obviously, the testosterone, estrogen. Any multis or Bs? Or what else is in that mix that you like?

Heath: [00:05:16] For multivitamins and stuff like that, I do wheat grass. I do ginger shots. So I try to get more of my vitamins and nutrients from there. I take Omega 3, 6, 9, all the different Omegas. But yeah, for vitamin-wise, I try to take it all from food.

Jeremy: [00:05:35] Yeah, yeah. That’s smart. So I want to get into the early days and the background, but first, I want to hear some of your top strategies. First, what are some of the best-sellers on the Julian Bakery?

Heath: [00:05:48] Right now, our protein bars are just . . . This is going through the roof. We have eight flavors now. We’re planning on launching at least eight more flavors on the current line.

Jeremy: [00:05:59] Wow.

Heath: [00:06:00] We’re also expanding into kind of a new diet, called “pegan,” which is the blend between veganism and Paleo.

Jeremy: [00:06:09] That’s hilarious. Did you coin that term?

Heath: [inaudible:00:06:10] No.

Jeremy: [00:06:13] Oh, it’s out there. Okay.

Heath: [00:06:15] It’s been out, but I think that it’s very interesting because a lot of vegans think that they’re really healthy, or just by being a vegan, that you’re gonna lose a bunch of weight. I like to take the approach where if you’re gonna be a vegan, at least eat foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature and that promote optimal health.

Jeremy: [00:06:35] Yeah.

Heath: [00:06:37] So I plan on launching a variety of food and bars during the next year that will really be for that type of diet, as well as kind of exploring more of the primal diet products, which basically is a Paleo diet that incorporates more grass-fed dairy only, not just dairy, any kind of dairy, but grass-fed specifically.

Jeremy: [00:07:00] Because strict Paleos don’t eat dairy. Is that . . .

Heath: [00:07:04] That’s correct. Yeah.

Jeremy: [00:07:05] Yeah. Yeah.

Heath: [00:07:06] So it’s very limiting. If you do well on dairy . . . I completely awful on dairy. It causes all sorts of mucus and inflammation for me. But if you do well on dairy, a lot of people do well on grass-fed, like whey protein, for instance, or raw dairy and things like that. So I think for some people, it is okay, but I personally think it’s better just to avoid dairy altogether.

Jeremy: [00:07:30] Yeah. So the protein bars. Let’s talk about the [inaudible:00:07:33]. Which was the first that you came out with?

Heath: [00:07:35] We actually launched six bars.

Jeremy: [00:07:37] Six bars at once.

Heath: [00:07:39] To start, and then added coconut shred and just recently [inaudible:00:07:44] fudge. Then we have a vanilla pudding coming out, but we have glazed donuts, cinnamon roll, chocolate mint, all these extremely unhealthy flavors, which is really . . .

Jeremy: [00:07:55] Right. I saw a Cinnabon, a donut, cinnamon roll on the cover. I’m like, “Should I be eating this? This looks too good.” Right?

Heath: [00:08:04] It’s really trying to give people back what they are taking away from their diet when they go Paleo. So a lot of people are like, “Cavemen didn’t have donuts.” Well, it’s not about that. It’s about trying to get people . . .

Jeremy: [00:08:15] How do you know? Were you there? No, I’m just kidding.

Heath: [00:08:18] Trying to get something back to people that they may have taken out of their diet when they do go Paleo. It’s also educating people about Paleo, while giving them health food that’s disguised as junk food. From a marketing standpoint, we’ve seen just tremendous results from the style of advertising, because, one, it gets people’s attention. The first thing everybody does when they look at it is they’re gonna look at the label. They’re gonna like, “What’s in this glazed donut Paleo protein bar? It can’t be Paleo,” and then they turn it over. Yes, sure enough, it is, because it’s gluten-free. It’s dairy-free. It’s legume-free. It’s free from all this stuff that would prevent you from normally having it. So it definitely works. I think that’s what it’s all about in this day and age. You have to do something that’s over the top, because the market is so saturated, especially in protein bar market, that you have to do something that’s really gonna stand out.

[00:09:15] I think that’s what we’ve done with the bar line. I see our business, as a whole, has been growing 50%-plus, year over year. I think it’s really being creative and innovative in this space that is so overly saturated with just products and ingredients that cause emotion . . . gastric distress, I would say, not emotional distress.

Jeremy: [00:09:41] Gastric distress could lead to emotional distress.

Heath: [00:09:45] It really does. So many bars with just tons of sugar, alcohols, and inulin and all these ingredients which just wreak havoc on your digestive system. At the end of the day, you’re bloated. You feel worse after you eat this bar than you did before. Our bars are all about pre-biotic fiber, and now we’re adding pro-biotic fiber into it. So you’re actually . . . Your stomach feels better after you consume our bar than before.

Jeremy: [00:10:14] I want to talk about the development and the idea of the flavors and the bars. So six bars. What’s your process for developing . . . Because you could develop any flavors. Right? What’s your process . . . What’s the most popular bar to those six? Then how did you develop?

Heath: [00:10:32] It’s really depending on the protein source. For instance, egg white is very neutral-tasting. So you could almost put anything with it, in terms of flavor. So it was really coming up with flavors, like the glazed donut, for instance. A maple glazed donut would have a maple-y taste. So it would be kind of soft and chewy, like a maple glazed donut would. So we all know that everybody loves donuts. Right?

Jeremy: [00:11:03] Right. So is that how you thought about it? What does everyone like, but they shouldn’t be eating? What’s your process for thinking of flavors?

Heath: [00:11:10] Marketing background.

Jeremy: [00:11:10] Yeah.

Heath: [00:11:11] So I come from what’s gonna sell first, and then how do we make it.

Jeremy: [00:11:16] Then you back-track.

Heath: [00:11:17] Yeah.

Jeremy: [00:11:18] Yeah. So what’s in the glazed donut?

Heath: [00:11:22] It’s basically egg white protein, pre-biotic fiber. You have a maple extract sort of flavor. Then there’s sunflower seed butter. So it’s these really just basic ingredients with just no junk. There’s no sugar alcohols. There’s no gluten or just anything that would cause you to have issues. People are responding really well to it.

Jeremy: [00:11:49] Yeah. So the original bar of that, do you whip it up in the kitchen with your mom and try different ingredients? Or what’s your . . . You’re the master food formulator. So I want to hear your process for this.

Heath: [00:11:59] Well, my mom has stepped aside since 2011. She had a stroke, unfortunately.

Jeremy: [00:12:05] Sorry to hear that. Wow.

Heath: [00:12:06] So she’s no longer a part of it, but that being said, I think her focus was more on bread, and my focus was more on addressing my allergies and my dietary issues, struggling with weight back in 2010.

Jeremy: [00:12:27] Really? It’s hard to believe, by looking at those pictures.

Heath: [00:12:29] Right. Well, that’s just . . . Like I said, I like to practice what I preach. So I started on my own journey and quest to develop these products, including bars and protein powders, and all the products we have today were really designed for myself. If other people like them, and they want to buy them, then so be it. You know? But I was on a quest to find optimal health for myself.

Jeremy: [00:12:53] Right.

Heath: [00:12:54] The end result was these products that actually work when you consume them and you combine them with diet. So my mom didn’t have so much any input really in the products that we have today. We took this . . . Back in 2009 and ’10, we started transitioning from a traditional bakery, that was doing low-carb and low-fat products, and started really focusing on low-carb, then going grain-free, then Paleo. That drive and those formulations were done by myself, because I would like . . . I wanted to have bread on my diet. You know? So all these products were really . . . They really stemmed from that.

Jeremy: [00:13:38] Yeah. So with those, you put the bars out. What’s the best method to actually sell them? You’re consuming them. You know? But you want to get them out to the masses. What worked best?

Heath: [00:13:51] We’ve been a long-time partner of Whole Foods. So they’ve been very gracious, and we’ve been able to really develop new products, and they’ve been taking them on nationwide. Then we also offer a variety of [inaudible:00:14:06]. It’s really online and Amazon. We have so many different partners and small retail health food stores across the country and now world, that sell our products. So it’s nice formulating new products now because we can just roll them out into this great distribution network.

Jeremy: [00:14:26] Right.

Heath: [00:14:27] It definitely was hard to achieve that in the beginning, but I think . . .

Jeremy: [00:14:31] Yeah. What was the first product that you got into Whole Foods?

Heath: [00:14:37] I would say it was a slew of different breads, basically, like sprouted breads. It was all of our bread. That led to our other products. Now they’re starting to take our cereals and crackers and so forth.

Jeremy: [00:14:52] Yeah. Yeah, the cereal looks cool. I want to try that one.

Heath: [00:14:56] Yeah, it’s amazing. So it’s not so sweet, like Frosted Flakes.

Jeremy: [00:15:00] Yeah. It’s only coconut. Right? That’s what the cereal is made of.

Heath: [00:15:04] It is. It’s only coconut, but it’s dehydrated in such a way where it makes a flake. You know? It’s not like our coconut shred. It’s actually a flake. It’s crunchy, and it’s like amazing . . . Imagine the best-tasting Raisin Bran you’ve ever had. You know? That’s what it would taste like if you added raisins to it.

Jeremy: [00:15:24] I could trick my daughters into eating this.

Heath: [00:15:27] Oh, yeah.

Jeremy: [00:15:27] . . . this healthy cereal that tastes good.

Heath: [00:15:32] Yeah. No, I think you bring up your kids. My daughter is three and a half right now, and now my formula is really starting to focus on food for kids because it’s just so over-saturated with sugar and just the junk out there and GMOs. It’s just insane what’s going into these products for kids. A lot of the newer products that are gonna be coming out will be very kid-focused.

Jeremy: [00:15:59] Yeah. So what’s one of the products that’s inspired by your daughter, that you’re creating because of her?

Heath: [00:16:03] We’re working on pancakes, like . . .

Jeremy: [00:16:09] It’s on the site. Yeah.

Heath: [00:16:11] We have a pancake mix, but there’s these little silver-dollar pancakes, which we’ll be releasing. That is something that we really want to go after. Then also, kids protein bars, so kind of half the amount of protein of a traditional bar. A lot of the bars out there are just packed with sugar and GMOs and just junk. So really trying to go after that market will be something exciting.

Jeremy: [00:16:35] Yeah. What’s in the pancake mix? What’s . . .

Heath: [00:16:38] It’s just like coconut, almond flour, egg white. It’s all basic stuff.

Jeremy: [00:16:42] Yeah. So for people who are like, “Heath, I want to be in Whole Foods,” what are some of the disadvantages and advantages of being in Whole Foods?

Heath: [00:16:53] I don’t think there’s any disadvantage. Really it’s just one more outlet. People love convenience, whether it be Whole Foods or any natural food store. It’s really the convenience factor, the instant gratification of not having to wait for the product to be shipped to them. So Whole Foods is great. They’re like any other chain, where they have different buyers that have a submission period. They sell some of your products. If the buyers like the taste and the packaging and everything, then you get accepted into a region. That’s why you have to be really creative and keep coming up with great-tasting products.

Jeremy: [00:17:35] How hard was it to get in, originally?

Heath: [00:17:38] I think it’s definitely a lot more difficult now. We’ve been with them since, I want to say, like ’07 or something, long time ago. There wasn’t as much competition, but depending on the category . . . For instance, we started with bread, and now we’re in cereal. It just depends on the category. So I’d say it’s much more difficult now because there’s so many people that want to be in there. So that’s why when I do formulate products, it’s got to be something just over the top that’s just better than everything else on the market. So when I formulate, I will buy everybody’s product out on the market and do market research.

Jeremy: [00:18:16] Try it. Yeah.

Heath: [00:18:18] Then come up with something better. To be honest with you, it’s very easy to do because most people aren’t choosing the best ingredients, or there’s just much more superior ingredients now.

Jeremy: [00:18:28] Yeah. Yeah. I can see a disadvantage being when you compare online to there. Obviously you’re selling it at wholesale, compared to . . . If you’re selling it on your website, it’s full retail. Right?

Heath: [00:18:43] Sure, in a way, but to be honest with you, online, you’re advertising. Right? So you have that huge chunk of advertising that’s coming out of the margin anyways. Where in Whole Foods, they’re selling it and pushing it. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s going in Whole Foods or selling . . .

Jeremy: [00:19:03] You think there’s a wash there.

Heath: [00:19:05] Yeah, because, additionally, online, now to be competitive, you have to offer free shipping. So there’s another margin hit on top of the advertising costs and getting people to your site. So I would say it doesn’t matter, either way. You make about the same amount.

Jeremy: [00:19:21] So that’s the offline. Talk about some of the best online strategies to sell the bars, whether it’s on Amazon or your site. What works well for online?

Heath: [00:19:33] If you’re gonna launch a product in today’s age, don’t be afraid to spend money. You know? If you don’t feel comfortable spending money, then you should probably not launch that product because . . .

Jeremy: [00:19:43] Yeah, because your background is in Internet marketing tech stuff. So I’m really curious what you think the best methods are for this.

Heath: [00:19:51] I think now, today, there’s conversion codes with Google AdWords. There’s Facebook. It’s really all about the cost per acquisition, so ROI on the money spent. So if you have a good product, and you have a good website, you’re gonna have a great ROI. Now with these conversion codes in place, you can spend as much money as possible. If the ROI is low enough, then you can spend as much as you want, and you’re gonna get an incredible return on your investment. So I think don’t be afraid to spend money if you have a good product. If you’re worried about spending money, or you’re not getting any great ROI, then your product probably needs to be improved or changed, or your website.

[00:20:38] So my strategy has been to refine our website or refine our message to create a product that’s unique and that people want. There’s got to be a demand for it. Just to make the best product possible and market that product to as many people as possible. So the market is saturated, and we cover multiple categories where the market is extremely just full of so many products.

Jeremy: [00:21:07] Yeah, how do you stick out from that? Yeah.

Heath: [00:21:10] Just . . . We started off small. Back in, I would say, 2009, we started doing AdWords. We were in 40 stores, nationwide. Right away, we jumped to like 100, 200 stores.

Jeremy: [00:21:28] Really?

Heath: [00:21:29] Because the advertising not only brings in online business, but you also have that customer education, and it creates a customer demand within the stores. So then the customers start going in the stores.

Jeremy: [00:21:41] They ask for it.

Heath: [00:21:43] Yeah. So then that just grows your footprint.

Jeremy: [00:21:46] Yeah.

Heath: [00:21:47] So it’s money well-spent.

Jeremy: [00:21:48] That’s amazing. So you went from 20 stores to 40 stores. Then what was the upward . . . What was the next big milestone for stores?

Heath: [00:21:56] I lost count because, through distribution, you kind of lose the full number, but it’s thousands. Now we’re in stores worldwide. We’re really seen in Australia, UK, Canada. It’s all opening up, and we have all of Europe.

Jeremy: [00:22:13] The structural process that you had to go through to get into Australia? Or do the people who distributed it in the US to Whole Foods also had connections in Australia?

Heath: [00:22:24] Just a different distributor. Then you work on different packaging that’s compliant to . . . So they kind of handle all the specifics.

Jeremy: [00:22:34] Logistics.

Heath: [00:22:34] Yeah, because every . . . The nutritional facts change. So you have to basically recalculate all the formula for their nutritional facts.

Jeremy: [00:22:45] Yeah. So you mentioned conversion. What did you mean by conversion code?

Heath: [00:22:51] Well, Google and Facebook both have conversion code, which is installed on your website. So that code basically enables you to track the sales.

Jeremy: [00:23:02] I see.

Heath: [00:23:03] So let’s say your ad is running on Facebook. We’ve all seen the ads. You click on it. You go to your site. They check out. Facebook captures the dollar value of that sale and sends it back into your Facebook campaign, the total dollar amount and . . . So then all of a sudden, let’s say if you spend $1000, it tells you you get 100 customers.

Jeremy: [00:23:26] Yeah. Have you found, on Facebook . . . A channel like Facebook . . . Do people like a certain product best from Facebook? Or does it . . .

Heath: [00:23:35] It doesn’t really . . . It just depends on who you’re marketing to. So there’s different audiences. Facebook is pretty incredible, where it starts developing audiences based on the people who buy. So then you start getting these huge segments of people to market to. So it basically starts gleaning information from every person that buys, whether it be demographic information, age, what they’re into. So then you start developing audiences based on those specific people that are buying.

Jeremy: [00:24:05] Yeah. One of the things I noticed, Heath, is you guys have really good social media presence. Can you talk about the social media strategy a little bit?

Heath: [00:24:18] Well, Facebook used to be amazing, in terms of giving . . . You would post something on there, and you’d get a ton of free traffic, but that’s . . .

Jeremy: [00:24:29] Now you have to pay for it.

Heath: [00:24:30] Now you have to pay for it.

Jeremy: [00:24:31] Yeah.

Heath: [00:24:31] Instagram is like that now, but it’s gonna change really quick. Basically you’re gonna start paying for that few 30 seconds to a minute you’re flipping through Instagram, those pictures. You’re gonna pay for that.

Jeremy: [00:24:46] You think that’s gonna change.

Heath: [00:24:47] Yeah. It is. As you like more and more things on Instagram too, it gets more competitive for that maybe 30 seconds to a minute you’re spending on Instagram, flipping through the most recent updates from people you’re following. So Twitter has finally come around to being something that’s of interest. They also have conversion code as well. But they had a tough time until recently. They would charge you for traffic, and they actually weren’t sending the traffic.

Jeremy: [00:25:19] Really?

Heath: [00:25:20] They were completely over-billing. It was a real issue. Facebook actually had that in the beginning too. They would say they sent traffic that wasn’t picked up by anybody, including our server, but they . . .

Jeremy: [00:25:33] That’s how good Facebook is. They can send you traffic, and it doesn’t even get detected.

Heath: [00:25:37] Yeah. So Twitter recently fixed it. So I got to commend them. I think that it’s just another platform where you just got to really spend a lot of time watching your ROI and money spent. There’s so many tweaks and tricks to basically being able to . . . It could be your landing page. It could be the picture that you’re using. It could be the text you’re using. You never know. There’s just so many different facets of . . .

Jeremy: [00:26:04] You got to test it.

Heath: [00:26:05] You just don’t know what the audience that you’re marketing to is gonna respond to.

Jeremy: [00:26:10] Yeah. Then part of the social media strategy is the content. You know? What you do is actually produce some really great recipes on your site. That, I’m sure, drives a lot of attention. What are some of those popular recipes you’ve put out?

Heath: [00:26:27] To be honest with you, I’ll go to a . . . I’m kind of an on-the-go person. We get a lot of recipes. We have tons of recipes from people on Instagram, taking pictures. So a lot of the recipes are actually from our own . . .

Jeremy: [00:26:40] User-generated. That’s great.

Heath: [00:26:43] The most popular ones are when I’ll go to Rubio’s or Chipotle or on-the-go meals, where I go out and get some shrimp, throw it in a coconut wrap, throw some salsa and avocado in there and take a picture of it. People love on-the-go recipes because . . .

Jeremy: [00:27:00] Quick, easy.

Heath: [00:27:01] I don’t have time to cook. So I do . . . I really enjoy cooking, but I’m always on the go. So I like to teach people how to grab some food when they’re out, come back, and throw it in a wrap when they get home. You know? Just to make eating really easy. I think all the recipes are really around that. I love grass-fed ground beef with avocado and salsa on it, in a wrap. It’s just so easy to do. I’ll cook at home. Cooking up some ground beef just takes a couple minutes. It’s so easy. You toss it in the wrap and good to go.

Jeremy: [00:27:38] Yeah. So from the selling standpoint, there’s a lot of great information. What about on the . . . What mistakes do you think people are doing for e-commerce? What do you see people . . . What mistakes are they making?

Heath: [00:27:53] I’m guilty of this too, and it’s really not even my fault, but I think it’s something that the creative . . . There’s not enough great graphic or web designers or people out there that are developing great sites. There’s not enough of those people, and they’re so heavily saturated. We’ve been trying to launch a site for the last year, and it’s like there’s not . . .

Jeremy: [00:28:18] Like a re-brand? Or different site?

Heath: [00:28:19] Like a redesign.

Jeremy: [00:26:21] Redesign.

Heath: [00:28:21] New e-commerce platform. I think the future is really in making checking out easy. I think Shopify does a great job of that.

Jeremy: [00:28:31] Do you use Shopify? Or do you use something else? No.

Heath: [00:28:33] I use a custom [inaudible:00:28:36] WordPress on the back-end e-commerce side. Basically I like the new e-commerce packages that are coming out, and they allow for auto-order. So you don’t even have to think about ordering. You just set it all up, what day you want it delivered, and it delivers. I think that’s kind of the future of e-commerce, is just an auto-delivery program, where you don’t really have to think about it. So I think that’s something that more people need to implement, and we’re looking forward to doing that also, especially when you’re on a diet. Let’s take a protein powder. You know that there’s 30 servings in it. So maybe you go through one a month, and then you go through X amount of coconut wraps. So you could set up an auto-delivery.

Jeremy: [00:29:19] Right. Not think about it.

Heath: [00:29:20] It makes your diet really easy. I think everybody wants to have more time. So the easier you can make it for people to order, the better. I think poor web design . . . We’re really looking . . . We have all the pictures taken on a nice white background. We haven’t even updated our site yet because we’ve been waiting for this complete redesign. I wish there was more great web designers out there. You know? There’s just not enough.
The ones that are out there are either really slow, or they’re not . . . They’re just on their own time table. So I think it’s something that everybody struggles with. Great creative people, good creative people, they’re just so busy. There’s just not enough of them.

Jeremy: [00:30:07] Yeah.

Heath: [00:30:08] It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at them. They’re just so busy between your work and everybody else’s.

Jeremy: [00:30:14] Yeah. What’s another mistake you see people making? That’s a good one.

Heath: [00:30:18] With just their site?

Jeremy: [00:30:20] The e-commerce in general. I know you do a lot of market research, and you’ll get all the bar . . . It could be from a buying experience. You go out, and you purchase all the competitors’ products.

Heath: [00:30:34] Sure, not having PayPal would be a huge one. You know? Take PayPal. It’s the easiest way to check out. You know? PayPal just makes it seamless for people to check out. They don’t have to worry about their credit card information. So I think that would definitely be one. Just trying to make checkout as easy as possible. Even our checkout is not where I want it to be. So it’s definitely something that we continue to try to improve.

Jeremy: [00:31:00] How do you want to improve your checkout?

Heath: [00:31:03] I think just being able to have less steps. You know? Trying to get people checked out within a couple of steps. If people have PayPal, I think that it’s basically like two or three steps. [inaudible:00:31:15]. If you were to check out outside of that, it’s too many steps.

Jeremy: [00:31:19] Yeah. So I want to go back to early on, Heath. Obviously a big influence for you were your parents. They were kind of ahead of the trend of this health thing. So what did that look like in your household? What did meals look like? What was your mom cooking for you, back when you were a kid?

Heath: [00:31:36] We ate a lot. Everything was organic, and she was . . . We had our own garden. I actually grew up in Costa Mesa [SP]. Basically we had goats and chickens.

Jeremy: [00:31:50] Really?

Heath: [00:31:50] Fruit trees. We had all sorts of . . .

Jeremy: [00:31:53] What kind of fruit trees? What did you have?

Heath: [00:31:54] Apricot. We had just a whole vegetable garden. She was into homegrown gardening way before anybody else was, way ahead of her time. So we ate a lot of just organic rice. Back then, carbs didn’t really matter. None of us knew about gluten either. Actually I’m not a Celiac, but I have an autoimmune issue with gluten itself.

Jeremy: [00:32:21] Really?

Heath: [00:32:22] It actually triggers me to just . . . My whole autoimmune issue . . . I just shut down. I start getting really tired.

Jeremy: [00:32:30] You get a lot of fatigue.

Heath: [00:32:32] Yeah. I really had a problem with brain fog during school. Not until really in my late 20s, early 30s, did I start noticing that after I had a sandwich, I’d get extremely tired.

Jeremy: [00:32:46] You saw a pattern there.

Heath: [00:32:47] Once I started removing the wheat from my diet and all gluten and, eventually, all grain, that brain fog went away. I had a lot more clarity, and I had steady energy throughout the day. It wasn’t really blood-sugar-related. Sure, that does cause a spike and an issue, but this was just a complete over . . . I would go take a nap.

Jeremy: [00:33:08] You rejected it. Yeah.

Heath: [00:33:10] In my 20s, why am I taking a nap? Right? So I had the same sort of issue in school. Unfortunately nobody knew about that back in the day.

Jeremy: [00:33:17] Yeah, even now, it’s hard to diagnose that. How do you know what’s causing it? It could be like, “Oh, I just didn’t sleep.” You know? It could be a million different things.

Heath: [00:33:26] Sure. I pay attention to my daughter, for instance. I also have an issue with dairy, where it just makes me extremely nasally and a ton of mucus. Are your kids mucus-y? Are they having energy all day? Are they feeling sluggish? How are they performing in school? I think there are signs. You just have to pay attention to them because they’re not gonna be able to communicate, “Hey, mom and dad. I got brain fog.” They don’t know what that is.

Jeremy: [00:33:53] Right. How did that . . . As a kid . . . Right. You don’t want to be different from the other kids. Did you reject that way of thinking and the foods when your friends may be eating Twinkies and whatever else? What was your . . .

Heath: [00:34:06] Yeah, to be honest with you, I was embarrassed of my lunch. You know?

Jeremy: [00:34:09] Yeah, what did your lunch . . . Do you want to trade this goat milk for your Doritos? They’re like, “No, Heath. Get away from me.”

Heath: [00:34:17] That’s how it was. Yeah. It’s unfortunate because I actually was so embarrassed, I wouldn’t bring out my food in front of other kids. My mom would put like raw onions in. So my lunch smelled, and nobody else’s did. You know? So things like that, sure. But I think nowadays, that being healthy and having healthy food is actually kind of cool. It doesn’t have to be so . . . It’s not so different anymore.

Jeremy: [00:34:41] Yeah. So when you were growing up, Heath, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Heath: [00:34:46] Probably wanted to be in the military.

Jeremy: [00:34:52] Really?

Heath: [00:34:52] Yeah. Some special forces or something like that. I don’t know.

Jeremy: [00:34:58] When did your parents . . . Your parents started the bakery in the ’90s.

Heath: [00:35:02] Yes.

Jeremy: [00:35:03] So how old were you when they started the bakery? And were you kind of part of that process?

Heath: [00:35:10] Like 15 or something like that.

Jeremy: [00:35:14] Okay. Too young.

Heath: [00:35:15] Yeah. I grew up in the bakery. I grew up. My mom was always trying to help people, to help them reach better health, whether it be through vitamins or through selling organic bread. At the time, the fad was really low-fat diets. You know? Which, now that I look at it, it’s not . . . I understand the purpose of it. You cut out fat, and you’re cutting out nine times the calories from each gram of fat [inaudible:00:35:46]. The problem was they were still keeping their carbs high. So if you go low-fat and low-carb, you’re gonna get way better results than keeping a high-carb, high-fat, which we all know stores tons of fat on the body. So I think it’s not completely . . . It wasn’t completely a bad fad. They just didn’t have it all the way correct.

Jeremy: [00:36:07] Yeah. What did you see your parents go through with starting and running the bakery? What lessons did you learn from them?

Heath: [00:36:16] When you’re a small business owner, you really can’t do everything. Sure, you have to in the beginning, but know when to delegate. Know when to . . . Know when doing every single task in the business is keeping you from growing the business overall.

Jeremy: [00:36:36] Yeah. You saw them doing too much, not delegating enough.

Heath: [00:36:40] Yeah, and they never got out in front and was able to really grow their company the way they needed to. I think finding the right people for the right position, which frees you up as a business owner to grow the company and formulate or be . . . just innovate in general. A lot of business owners just get stuck in the day-to-day grind. You know? I think that’s a real problem because then their business just dies. You know?

Jeremy: [00:37:10] What made you decide to join them eventually? Because you were in tech and computers for a long time.

Heath: [00:37:15] My dad passed in ’06.

Jeremy: [00:37:19] Sorry to hear that. I’m bringing up all this bad stuff with your parents.

Heath: [00:37:23] It’s okay. Then my mom ran it for a little while, but the business was really growing at the time and . . .

Jeremy: [00:35:31] They needed help.

Heath: [00:37:31] I came in, in like ’09, because she started having some heart problems and stuff, just to try to free her up. So I think the loss of my dad kind of triggered . . . There was a tremendous issue with stress. She was married for like 45 years.

Jeremy: [00:37:50] Wow.

Heath: [00:37:52] It’s just a lot for somebody to deal with.

Jeremy: [00:37:54] Yeah. She had to do that and run the whole business and everything like that.

Heath: [00:37:58] Yeah, I kind of saw an opportunity where they were selling bread online way before . . . I never thought it could be done.

Jeremy: [00:38:06] They were. So early on, they were doing it.

Heath: [00:38:10] Yeah, they started their site like ’07 or something like that, ’06. It was in the beginning. I was like, “No, don’t sell bread online.” They did it anyways. It ended up really taking off. Then their site got so big where I was just like, “You know what? Let me apply what I love to do, which is marketing, with their business, and then also run the company,” and it ended up working out.

Jeremy: [00:38:34] So you went on board in 2009 with them.

Heath: [00:38:38] Yeah.

Jeremy: [00:38:38] So what did you implement when you got on board?

Heath: [00:38:44] We started advertising. That was really the first thing. You know? There was no conversion code. So you were really advertising blind. So it was kind of like you had to compare your existing sales to the days when you would advertise. So then you started comparing. All right. Well, if you spend $100, it added this many customers. There was nothing adding it up. So you were rolling the dice. But since nobody was using AdWords back then, or not as many people . . .

Jeremy: [00:39:16] Right. Like the Wild West.

Heath: [00:39:18] Yeah, the market was huge. It’s far different than today. Really Google has changed a lot for us. We used to spend the most amount of money with them. It’s definitely not that way anymore. They actually came out and did a video with us, where we had such great success with them. You’ve seen the Google display network, but that network has really died for them. It’s just not as effective anymore.

Jeremy: [00:39:45] What’s the biggest challenges, Heath, of growing so fast like that? Because it comes with challenges too.

Heath: [00:39:50] Sure, just finding the right people as you grow. So growing your company and growing as fast as we did, you have to find people that you can depend on. You know? That are cool people. Sometimes you never know until they’re on board, and they just start becoming flaky, or they have personal issues. So we have such a great team now. I don’t think you can . . . You can’t do it by yourself. So I think really spending the time finding the great people you can depend on is key.

Jeremy: [00:40:27] What kind of staff do you need to run the business? I know you were mentioning one thing your parents didn’t do early on was get people to do different tasks.

Heath: [00:40:37] Sure. I was always of the mindset where, because I’m a big-picture kind of person, delegating to managers for each department is really important. Then having those managers feed you that information and what’s going on in the day-to-day business allows you . . . It allowed me to really get out and grow the business as a whole and stay focused. So the first thing I did was really departmentalize and put managers in place over each department. I think before we had a lot of automation, we were up to like over 80 employees at one location.

Jeremy: [00:41:13] Wow. That’s a lot.

Heath: [00:41:16] Then automation . . . We were able to really cut our workforce in half and then really weed out the bad people. Now I think it’s a great model for any business owner, to really put key people in place over each department and then have them funnel either to another general manager, and then the general manager reports to you, but it’s really simple. [inaudible:00:41:43] won’t do it. So a lot of people try to be that manager in every department.

Jeremy: [00:41:47] Yeah. What kind of automation?

Heath: [00:41:50] Whether it be production automation . . . So you have . . . Instead of rolling bread by hand, you have a machine that cuts and weighs it and packages it to bar automation. You can do it by hand, or you can have a machine cut it and weigh it and wrap it. So it just depends on the product.

Jeremy: [00:42:08] Yeah. Yeah, that’s . . . 80 people is a lot to manage. So when you came on, you put a lot of processes in place. What was the next big milestone you hit once you took over in 2009?

Heath: [00:42:23] I think in ’09, as we grew, it was really trying to find the right people, so weeding out the bad ones, developing automation. Then also, at the same time, keeping an eye on the different trends that were going on, whether it was low-carb. Then really in like 2010, ’11, you had zero-carb come out. Then you had grain-free start to be real popular back then. Then obviously Paleo.

Jeremy: [00:42:55] So you had to kind of think about putting different messaging on the site and on the foods? Or what do you consider with that?

Heath: [00:43:02] It was really just changing our products, our product line. So we did away with the entire original product line too and then started developing products that were grain-free and gluten-free and low-carb, high-fiber. The products were really in line with my own dietary needs at the time. So I was formulating around my own diet because I went from, I would say, like 220 down to 187, just through diet and working out. I was working out the same, and I was just dietary change at that point, four or five times a week, do some cardio, some weight lifting. It really all comes down to diet at the end of the day.

Jeremy: [00:43:49] What did the online component of the Julian Bakery look like in 2009, compared to today?

Heath: [00:43:57] I would say we . . . I don’t know. . . . just grown just like 1000%. It’s unreal. We’re in food. So if customers are happy, your customer base . . .

Jeremy: [00:44:13] They keep buying it.

Heath: [00:44:14] Yeah. So it’s just like it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, your level of customers. We also send out a biweekly email to our customers, letting them know diet tips and recipes and products. A lot of times, people just like it because it’s a reminder. You know? It’s like, “Hey, well, yeah. I got to work.” You know? I think we definitely do a good job of staying in touch with everybody.

Jeremy: [00:44:40] I’m just wondering, from your experience, what you slowly tweaked from the site when you took it over. Obviously you weren’t full-time. You’re probably revamping things, or there’s certain things you added or subtracted to the actual site or automation online, not just from the food preparation, but online.

Heath: [00:45:01] Yeah. We started with just bread, and then we started to develop . . . We expanded on that. So we did protein powders and chocolate and crackers and all these different products. So we were increasing the amount of products that we’re offering, and I was also selling other people’s products too, that complemented us. We sold vitamins. People were like, “Why do you sell vitamins?” Well, because why not? You’re already buying a dietary product. Why not buy some supplements as well?

Jeremy: [00:45:31] Yeah.

Heath: [00:45:32] You know? So people started to respond to this like, “Oh, I can get everything in one place.”

Jeremy: [00:45:39] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Heath: [00:45:40] Why do you sell books? Because it’s convenient. Why not throw a book in your car? You know?

Jeremy: [00:45:44] Yeah. What . . . That comes into play. What Paleo experts do you follow, that you think other people should read or look at what information they’re putting out?

Heath: [00:45:56] I think [inaudible:00:45:58] great job. Dr. Cordane [SP] are two great ones. There’s really so many, but there’s just some great resources on Thepaleodiet.com and Marksdailyapple.com. I think they have great discussion forums and great information overall.

Jeremy: [00:46:14] Yeah.

Heath: [00:46:15] That’s kind of how I started my journey, is really glean information from them. [inaudible:00:46:20] is another one that’s got a lot of information. He’s more technical. You know? But I think that there’s a lot of information out there. You got to look for the people that, A, look the way you want to look. So never take advice from somebody that doesn’t look the way you want to look, whether it be a trainer or a person giving dietary information.

Jeremy: [00:46:41] Right. Practice what they preach.

Heath: [00:46:43] Yeah. I have a real problem with that. So I think that, growing up, I saw a lot of that in the nutritional field. You have people coming over, preaching health, and it’s like they have a beer belly. You know? It’s like you obviously haven’t figured it out for yourself. So how can you be dispensing advice?

Jeremy: [00:47:02] Right. Right. It’s a good method to weed out who you take advice from, for sure. I heard about you and the Julian Bakery from the founder of Skubana. Chad Rubin loves your Paleo pizza crust. What’s in that product?

Heath: [00:47:23] There is egg whites, almond flour. We have pumpkin flour. That’s about it.

Jeremy: [00:47:33] Yeah, what’s your personal favorite product out of all your different ones?

Heath: [00:47:38] It’s lower in carbs than a traditional pizza. It’s definitely one of my favorite products, but that product . . . We sell a ton of it. That’s my wife and my whole family. They really love that product. It’s the most pizza-like crust you’re gonna have, and it’s really easy to make. You literally add water and roll it out. Add your toppings to it. I would say that’s definitely one of my favorites. Right now, I’m really into the almond fudge Paleo protein bar we just launched. It’s delicious. It’s like almond fudge. It’s really a great combo.

Jeremy: [00:48:17] Yeah. Yeah. What else would be a good lesson for people in e-commerce, considering the big milestones? You do a lot of interesting things, from online to offline. What are some more, I guess . . . What’s another big milestone that you hit? I don’t know. You talked about the staffing. What about with . . . I don’t know if it’s distribution or sales or products, some of the milestones you consider milestones as you took over.

Heath: [00:48:49] I think a lot of people are taking money too soon. So as you get bigger, now a certain size, I think we’ve been able to, fortunately, just been able to keep it just us. I haven’t had to take any partisan . . .

Jeremy: [00:49:03] People do a lot of VC, or they take on investors type of thing.

Heath: [00:49:06] If you’re growing really fast, don’t take on money unless you really have to. As you get of a certain size, money’s cheap. Go to your bank. It’s like the rates are super low, or there’s all sorts of different loans you can get without having to give up a piece of your company. I think as we grow, sure, it would be nice to get funded, and maybe there’s a proper time. But if you’re growing so fast, and you don’t have to take it, or it’s . . . You can squeeze by without taking it and do it yourself. Sure, it takes a little bit longer, but try to hang in there. Don’t take money until you really have to. I think that something a lot of people struggle with is they’ll take money from investors, and that whole company ends up folding because they have to share too much of the margin. You know?

Jeremy: [00:49:53] Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good one.

Heath: [00:49:55] So we . . . A lot of people are affiliate-based too, I think. There’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketing. We don’t even have an affiliate program. It’s something that maybe we’ll do, but [inaudible:00:50:07].

Jeremy: [00:50:07] Yeah. What’s the reason? Yeah.

Heath: [00:50:08] A lot of people give up so much of their margin, that they can’t really grow. It ends up stifling their growth.

Jeremy: [00:50:15] Yeah, I’m sure you get approached by people.

Heath: [00:50:19] Yeah. I think it’s nice. We . . . I think a lot of people give up too much money, and they really need that margin to grow. Money is better spent, really, I would say, in online marketing, because you can control the ROI if you know what you’re doing.

Jeremy: [00:50:38] Yeah. What do you consider . . . Obviously you’ve had a huge upward growth. What have been some of the road blocks that you’ve hit along the way?

Heath: [00:50:48] We make a really unique product with, I would say, ingredients, which some of them are traded commodities, but we . . . The first product that we had truly great success with was the Paleo bread. Paleo bread uses egg whites. It’s happened twice so far, where pretty much all the chickens in the US died off for a little while.

Jeremy: [00:51:11] Really?

Heath: [00:51:11] To the avian bird flu. This just happened recently, last year.

Jeremy: [00:51:14] Oh, wow.

Heath: [00:51:15] It drives egg white prices through the roof. We’re talking like [inaudible:00:51:21] ingredient. So all of a sudden, it’s like do you raise prices? Or do you stop the line? So also, you need ingredients that are really unique, that we use. Sometimes almond flour goes through the roof, or we have issues with supply. But now, the ingredients we use are in much greater supply because a lot more people are using them. But in the beginning, it was really tough. So making sure that you have a great supply chain, all the way through, and have multiple sources for ingredients is definitely important.

Jeremy: [00:51:55] That’s a great one. Thanks for sharing that, Heath. Yeah, that’s something I wouldn’t have thought of. Oh, yeah. You’re buying commodities. If those things go up, you’re kind of screwed in a sense. So what do you do with the price? If those go up, what do you decide is the executive . . . What’s the decision?

Heath: [00:52:10] Well, there’s definitely a point where you have to stop production, or you just try to ride it out. There’s many times where we lost a lot of money, I would say, and a lot of money.

Jeremy: [00:52:21] Because you want to keep the prices the same for the customers.

Heath: [00:52:23] [inaudible:00:52:23] You don’t want to stop the flow in distribution because if you do, then you can lose your shelf space. So there’s that. So you have to kind of weigh the benefit.

Jeremy: [00:52:33] It’s tough. That’s why I want to know what you did.

Heath: [00:52:37] We rode it out, and we definitely are still paying for it. There was definitely a lot of money lost. You have to look at this from a long-term point of view, where you’re in distribution. Provided that people continue to eat gluten and grain-free, which we feel that they will, this is really a long-term project.

Jeremy: [00:53:01] Yeah. The almond and egg . . . There’s nothing you can do, I guess. It’s tough to avoid. You know? It’s sort of like that’s environmental. Like you said, you could, I guess, get more supply partners, so maybe just to see the different prices, but probably they’re gonna not be that far off from each other.

Heath: [00:53:20] When egg goes, it all . . . Everybody . . . It’s a traded commodity. So everybody feels . . . A lot of people just go out of business.

Jeremy: [00:53:29] Yeah.

Heath: [00:53:30] Including the egg suppliers. They go out of business because they have these contracts. They’re locked into this pricing. They have to supply. So they have to go out of business to get out of them.

Jeremy: [00:53:39] Yeah. Yeah. Any other road blocks that are important to mention?

Heath: [00:53:46] I think, like I said, just really focusing on multiple sources for whatever it is that you’re making. Have more than one vendor. Definitely don’t put all your eggs in one basket, whether . . . That goes for suppliers and also product . . . Have more than one product. Don’t put all your effort into just one product. Create multiple products. That’s why we have so many products, because you never know which one is gonna be a hit.

Jeremy: [00:54:09] Yeah. What’s the hardest part about running the business now, for you?

Heath: [00:54:14] It’s really not hard anymore.

Jeremy: [00:54:18] Really?

Heath: [00:54:18] Yeah.

Jeremy: [00:54:18] Nothing is hard about it?

Heath: [00:54:20] No.

Jeremy: [00:54:20] Oh.

Heath: [00:54:22] It’s actually . . . I’m in a great place, from a business point of view. Like I said, I’ve implemented my plan of really delegating and outsourcing it. I get to focus on what I . . . I get to focus on developing recipes and marketing, which is what I love to do every day. So I’d say as we grow, I really get to focus on formulating, which is what I love to do. So I would say there’s nothing hard about running the business. It’s more about, “All right. We’re gonna formulate another product. Let’s roll it out into the marketplace, and let’s see if it’s a hit.”

Jeremy: [00:54:59] Yeah. What’s the best delegation you made, that maybe you waited a little bit too long, and after you did it, you just were like, “Thank God I finally did that.”?

Heath: [00:55:09] Oh, like I said, I saw early on, when I first came on. My mom was trying to do everything. It probably ended up giving her heart problems. You know?

Jeremy: [00:55:17] Was she just working really long hours? How late was she there?

Heath: [00:55:20] Too much stress. You know? Just not giving herself enough of a break. So I think that being said, I saw that, and I was like, “You know what? If she’s delegated more, she would have been able to accomplish so much more in her career.” But at the time, it’s . . . Owners just want to do that. They want to try to be everything to everyone and try to do everything. It’s something I learned early on that, hey, I delegated it. You delegate out each department. Communication is crucial. You know? I think that the more communication you have with your teams, especially the managers, the better. So I just kind of ran with that.

Jeremy: [00:56:01] Yeah. So Heath, what . . . If people are looking at what kind of software they should be using to run their business, what do you recommend, from shipping to shopping cart? What software do you use to run the online business?

Heath: [00:56:19] We partnered with Oz Link [SP] and [inaudible:00:56:24] .com.

Jeremy: [00:56:27] Yeah, I interviewed the founder of [inaudible:00:56:27]. Yeah.

Heath: [00:56:29] It’s basically . . . We started utilizing USPS for our shipping needs because they offered a flat rate service, which saved us just tons of money. We were really having problems with FedEx and UPS, like over-billing for certain delivery territories. It made it tough to manage our cost. They would just . . . You’d have all these surprise numbers on your bill. It was getting ridiculous. So USPS [inaudible:00:56:58] specifically allowed us to charge flat rate online or offer free shipping. Then Oz Link basically enabled us to auto-batch our orders from online and to basically generate a seamless packing slip and shipping tag on one piece of paper. It would grab our orders and then basically, on a set of business rules, process the orders in a way where we no longer had to do that. At one point, to be honest with you, we had like six or seven, eight people just processing orders, manually, at a certain point. That software, that ability to be able to auto-tag or auto make tags wasn’t available when I first came on.

Jeremy: [00:57:45] Yeah.

Heath: [00:57:45] That was a huge, huge, huge, huge boost to our business and our bottom line, because we were able to no longer have eight people on staff doing that.

Jeremy: [00:57:55] That’s a huge difference. Yeah.

Heath: [00:57:56] I moved them into shipping. You know?

Jeremy: [00:57:59] What other software do you recommend?

Heath: [00:58:01] We use QuickBooks Enterprise right now. A lot of QuickBooks products allow you to download the orders that you get online, right into the software. So it allows you to easily track your sales and add new items and stuff like that. So I think the more automation, the better. That’s what we personally use.

Jeremy: [00:58:23] Yeah, and then the shopping cart . . . I know you mentioned Shopify. Any other shopping cart platforms that you think people should take a look at?

Heath: [00:58:29] Woo Commerce [SP], I think, is definitely something that we will probably be integrating here pretty quick, so a plugin.

Jeremy: [00:58:39] Yeah.

Heath: [00:58:39] I’m not a real shopping cart master. I kind of leave that up to the tech guys.

Jeremy: [00:58:46] Yeah. I know you mentioned automation a lot. So part of the . . . A quick word from the sponsor. I’m always, personally, Heath, thinking of automation. How can I do more in less time? How can I ultimately automate things that will work better without me? That’s ideal. So what I love about Skubana, I personally use them, that I can automate inventory management with multiple spread . . . without the multiple spreadsheets or piecemeal softwares, and I can automatically send out inventory to customers from any platform, from one fulfillment center, and automate the purchase orders when they hit a certain level. Skubana does combine all the software tools to run the e-commerce business. I also love the Sku [SP] profitability report. So it tells me if things are actually profitable, if I should be keeping on with those skus or not. So on that, we talked about . . . Since it’s Inspired Insider, I always ask the question, “What’s been the lowest e-commerce moment for you?”

Heath: [00:59:47] We haven’t had one. We’ve hit the ground running. So I’ve never had a low point. We just had year-over-year growth. It’s been phenomenal. I think part of that is really, like I said, focusing on those conversion codes, automating. If you focus in on that and continue to improve your product line and your products and the convenience you use or whatever it is that you make, I think you’ll have great success.

Jeremy: [01:00:17] Yeah. A low moment . . . Since you’re automating, what about if you . . . There’s a long-time staff that you have to let go because of automation. Or do you just move them to another department?

Heath: [01:00:29] Yeah, we just move them to a different department. The people that we replaced with making tags and printing tags, we moved them into shipping. All of a sudden, we no longer had that. We had more and more orders coming in because of our growth. So we always had a place to move them to, or maybe they were interested in a different part of our business. So maybe they’re interested in baking or whatever it is. So it just allowed us to continue to hire within or promote people.

Jeremy: [01:00:56] Yeah, yeah. I wanted you to speak to any . . . There was a couple things online about . . . There was some controversy, and I wanted you to speak about that, just so they hear directly from you, instead of looking on some website that has some claims about Julian Bakery.

Heath: [01:01:13] Yeah, when I first came on, back in 2009, my parents had a . . . One of the products that we had was a low-carb bread that was out on the marketplace. It was called smart-carb bread. Back then, they were using software to analyze the bread. That gives you the nutritional analysis. So one of their breads had an off amount of carbs, because they were using the software analysis instead of what we do today, which is we send our products to [inaudible:01:01:45] labs or Lab Smart. We get a full lab verification. If you’re making a dietary product, it’s all about the macros, all about the nutritional facts, making sure they’re accurate, because it’s really the number one thing you can do.

[01:02:01] What that led to us doing was, A, lab testing the product that we had. We reformulated it. So it was low-carb, using [inaudible:01:02:09] labs. Then we relaunched it. Then ever since then, now we post our lab tests online, which is great. So it’s like we have complete transparency. We’re actually one of the only companies that does that. It’s made it a lot easier. It’s just given us a whole new way of developing products. If you think about it, a lot of . . . Making a low-carb product is pretty easy. You really just start off with low-carb ingredients. It’s not that difficult to do. Especially when you are formulating, you just send stuff to the lab. Whatever they tell you it is, then you launch it, or you keep reformulating until you get the nutritional facts that you want.

Jeremy: [01:02:49] Right. It’s interesting. So I do a lot of research ahead of time. I read through some things. What was interesting about one of the claims is that they tested it, like you were saying, and they found that there was less fat in it than you claim. So wouldn’t that be a benefit? Or you know what I’m talking about? They said, “Oh,” like it was . . . There was actually less fat in the actual bread, that was actually on the label. So wouldn’t that be a benefit?

Heath: [01:03:19] It would mean that would be lower calorie.

Jeremy: [01:03:21] Yeah, yeah.

Heath: [01:03:22] There aren’t like . . . When you send stuff to the lab, it’s of that specific batch. But when you’re mixing, you could have some of the bread come out a little bit higher fat than other, but I don’t know. It just depends. So like I said, any time that we have . . . We send stuff to the lab regularly, to keep it always accurate.

Jeremy: [01:03:43] Yeah. Most companies don’t do that. What made you decide to publish the results online?

Heath: [01:03:48] It just makes it a lot easier. That way, people are like, “Oh, that’s not low-carb.” I’m like, “All right. Well, here’s the nutrition facts.” Plus, as somebody that has been on a diet, I wanted to do . . . I wanted to see that when I buy a product. I want to see. Okay. Well, how are they getting these nutritional facts? Because there’s so many bars and products currently on the market, where either they use software testing, or they’re using software just to calculate these numbers. They don’t spend $1000 to send it to the lab, to actually get the real nutritional facts. That means that their numbers are off. You know?

Jeremy: [01:04:26] Yeah. I think I listened to you talk about this, and you use the same . . . You use a lab that’s also used by General Mills and . . . What lab do you . . .

Heath: [01:04:36] We use [inaudible:01:04:37] labs, and we use another one that’s called Lab Smart, depending on the type of testing that we need to do. But yeah, they’re big labs. They’re one of the biggest around.

Jeremy: [01:04:46] Yeah. So on the flip side, Heath, what’s been the proudest moment for you?

Heath: [01:04:54] Just seeing my daughter enjoy the products that I produce, watching her crave them and want more of them. It’s like she’s excited when I come home from work because I’m always bringing back some new product and stuff like that. There’s really nothing better than to see her enjoy the products that I make.

Jeremy: [01:05:16] Which is her favorite?

Heath: [01:05:18] She loves the chocolate brownie and the almond fudge bar that I bring back for her. She loves the coconut wraps. She’ll make it into a little fruit roll-up, and she’ll eat it because it’s kind of . . .

Jeremy: [01:05:30] Are they sweet?

Heath: [01:05:31] Yeah, it’s kind of a sweet kind of coconut. So she’ll roll them up, because they’re dehydrated coconut water, coconut meat, and coconut oil. So you can roll them up almost into a fruit roll-up, and you just eat them that way. She likes the cereal. It’s tough because some of the products we have, have too much fiber. So I just cut it in half or give her a small amount of it. It’s awesome. So I’m really excited about the kids’ protein bar that we’re developing right now. But that’s definitely the best moment though.

Jeremy: [01:06:01] Yeah. Heath, I really appreciate your time and energy with this. This has been great. I have one last question. Before I ask it, tell people where can they check out your products. Where should they go online?

Heath: [01:06:12] Yeah, go to Julianbakery.com. We have hundreds of different products on there, pretty much in any kind of category that you want, whether it be cereal or bars or powders. But yeah, Julianbakery.com. We make pretty much the Paleo diet really easy because we have the biggest selection of Paleo products on the market.

Jeremy: [01:06:33] Yeah. Last question is the future for Julian Bakery. You have big goals. I want you to tell people about the goal of the company.

Heath: [01:06:43] I think really changing the way people eat and also making any diet easy are really our two biggest goals. I think changing the way the masses eat. You’re gonna see more and more people really going to a Paleo or a primal way of eating. Even if they’re vegan, you’re gonna see them really go primal or primitive way of eating, whether it be raw foods or just doing without all the junk. So our goal, as a company, is really to provide products that are for Paleo, primal, and this new kind of up-and-coming trend called pegan, which is the blend between Paleo and vegan products. So we’ll have products for all three of them.

Jeremy: [01:07:25] Right. Heath, thank you so much. Everyone should check out Julianbakery.com. It’s been great. Thank you.

Heath: [01:07:33] Yeah, thank you so much.

Interview Highlights:

  • On having products at Whole Foods: “I don’t think there’s any disadvantage. Really it’s just one more outlet. People love convenience, whether it be Whole Foods or any natural food store. It’s really the convenience factor, the instant gratification of not having to wait for the product to be shipped to them. So Whole Foods is great. They’re like any other chain, where they have different buyers that have a submission period. They sell some of your products. If the buyers like the taste and the packaging and everything, then you get accepted into a region. That’s why you have to be really creative and keep coming up with great-tasting products.”
  • [00:19:51]I think now, today, there’s conversion codes with Google AdWords. There’s Facebook. It’s really all about the cost per acquisition, so ROI on the money spent. So if you have a good product, and you have a good website, you’re gonna have a great ROI. Now with these conversion codes in place, you can spend as much money as possible. If the ROI is low enough, then you can spend as much as you want, and you’re gonna get an incredible return on your investment. So I think don’t be afraid to spend money if you have a good product. If you’re worried about spending money, or you’re not getting any great ROI, then your product probably needs to be improved or changed, or your website.
  • [00:23:35] It doesn’t really . . . It just depends on who you’re marketing to. So there’s different audiences. Facebook is pretty incredible, where it starts developing audiences based on the people who buy. So then you start getting these huge segments of people to market to. So it basically starts gleaning information from every person that buys, whether it be demographic information, age, what they’re into. So then you start developing audiences based on those specific people that are buying.
  • [00:39:50] Sure, just finding the right people as you grow. So growing your company and growing as fast as we did, you have to find people that you can depend on. You know? That are cool people. Sometimes you never know until they’re on board, and they just start becoming flaky, or they have personal issues. So we have such a great team now. I don’t think you can . . . You can’t do it by yourself. So I think really spending the time finding the great people you can depend on is key.
  • [00:49:06] If you’re growing really fast, don’t take on money unless you really have to. As you get of a certain size, money’s cheap. Go to your bank. It’s like the rates are super low, or there’s all sorts of different loans you can get without having to give up a piece of your company. I think as we grow, sure, it would be nice to get funded, and maybe there’s a proper time. But if you’re growing so fast, and you don’t have to take it, or it’s . . . You can squeeze by without taking it and do it yourself. Sure, it takes a little bit longer, but try to hang in there. Don’t take money until you really have to. I think that something a lot of people struggle with is they’ll take money from investors, and that whole company ends up folding because they have to share too much of the margin. You know?

Conclusion

Be sure to utilize this real insight from a real marketing expert to help your e-commerce business grow and succeed. Stay tuned – this will be an ongoing weekly series featuring a variety of e-commerce experts looking to provide you with hard-won knowledge free of charge.

Check out our previous E-commerce Mastery Series episode featuring Desiree Stolar of Unshrinkit.com as she discusses Unshrinkit’s journey from being on Shark Tank to selling at University Dorms across the country

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