Jake Karls the founder of Mid-Day Squares shared his journey of building a $100M chocolate empire, focusing on the challenges and unique strategies that led to success.
Overcoming Challenges in Logistics:
Jake discussed the challenges of shipping refrigerated chocolate, highlighting the difficulty of maintaining freshness without preservatives. The initial hurdle was deciding on a logistics strategy, which was expensive and intricate due to the need for refrigeration. This challenge prompted innovative solutions to ensure product trial, such as an online sample program, where they hand-delivered bars to customers in Montreal, Canada. This approach built early traction and allowed for personalization, setting the stage for the brand's growth.
Building a Following and Unique Strategies:
The second challenge was building a following when nobody knew about the founders. To address this, Midday Squares implemented a unique strategy. Instead of expecting customers to make a significant upfront purchase, they created an online sample program, charging only 25 cents per bar. This not only encouraged trial but also involved personal interactions by hand-delivering the bars and gathering feedback. Additionally, they shared their story on social media, showcasing the behind-the-scenes journey, creating viral content, and transitioning into a DTC and retail brand.
The Power of Personalization and Authenticity: When asked about balancing authenticity with maintaining a positive brand image, Jake stressed upon the importance of being unapologetically authentic. Mid-Day Squares implemented impactful practices, such as sending Polaroid pictures and personalized notes to first-time customers. Despite the challenge of scaling, they automated the process while ensuring a personalized touch, creating a sense that the brand cares about each consumer. Jake underscored the significance of humanizing the brand, whether through videos, handwritten notes, or mentioning customers by name, to establish a deeper connection beyond transactional relationships.