Hi everyone and welcome to this River Source Logistics podcast. Today, we are meeting with Phil Williams, the founder of Coffee Gator, to dive into his journey in building his brand.
Some key points from the podcast
- Define the personality of your brand. If your brand was a person, who would that person be, how would they talk and how would they act?
- Maintain consistency in your brand and messaging
- Pay attention to the unboxing experience that your customers will have. Maybe update your packaging
Thank you Phil for joining us today and let’s start off with how you became an entrepreneur and what your journey has looked like.
I would say that I have been through three periods of my life that couldn’t be more different from each other.
The first period of my life was as a farmer. I was raised on a farm in West Wales and I grew up milking cows and driving tractors.
The second part of my life was as a journalist. I worked as a Tv producer for BBC. And lastly, I became an entrepreneur. Even though these three parts are very different from each other, they have all had combining effects that have helped me in my journey.
Being a farmer has really helped me as an entrepreneur because, in a sense, farmers are entrepreneurs that use their land and elements to produce something to sell. More than that, it taught me about consistency, work ethics, and perspective. Journalism gave me a lot of insights into PR, artistic creatives, how to create materials for your business and I believe this is why I am more in tune with my brand than perhaps the average entrepreneur. Deep down, I am an artist, I love to create and make things and I like to make things look nice.
What was your intention for the brand when you started Coffee Gator?
My vision was basically to not have to continue working for the BBC. I had been working as a journalist for about 10 years at the time and I really know it wasn’t for me. I had a dream of being able to work remotely and living in Barcelona. I basically wanted to quit my job and move to Barcelona.
About 8 months after I had kicked off the Coffee Gator brand, I was able to fulfill that dream.
What were some of the biggest obstacles that you faced when you started your Amazon business?
My biggest obstacle has always been myself, in many different ways. Particularly my lack of skills and lack of knowledge when it came to being an entrepreneur. Having never really worked at a real company, I lacked that business understanding. Not understanding how to use spreadsheets, data, financials, etc. So not having the technical knowhow and skills, along with me personally having a lot of mental clutter was a big obstacle. My thoughts, beliefs, and my mindset are my biggest obstacles.
What were some challenges that you faced that ended up being a opportunity for you to grow?
One thing that comes to mind is a Deal of the Day that I had scheduled for Prime day in 2018 that went completely belly up. We were really excited about this Deal of the Day because you normally generate about 10 times the revenue with those types of campaigns. So to be able to sell a huge amount of volume, which we had forecasted to be about 1 million in a day, we needed a lot of stock. To have a lot of stock, we needed to put a lot of cash in which is a big risk, but we went ahead with it and invested the money. It ended up being a horrible experience.
There were so many logistical challenges that I still don’t fully understand. Our shipment ended up being delivered to the wrong port and there were all kinds of problems trying to get the shipment delivered to the Amazon warehouse. During this experience, I was so stressed, so scared, and frustrated. What I learned from this experience was that I needed to accept what was happening and give myself permission to feel stressed and worried actually helped those feelings go away. That was a game-changer for me, in my own happiness and ability to deal with stress. After going through this experience, I don’t really feel stress or get that worried about things.
What do you believe sets Coffee Gator’s brand apart from others?
I think that consistency is something that we have focused a lot on. Maintaining consistency in color codes, imagery, fonts, and defining the personality of the brand. I sometimes use the analogy of, if your brand was a person, who would that person be, how would they talk and how would they act. And then also having consistency in your brand messaging. We created Coffee Gator to be a fun and somewhat informal brand so we need to maintain that type of message in emails, inserts, packaging, and the unboxing experience.
In my farmer days, I remember a farmer who used to give tours around his farm, and his primary goal with that was to promote his heard since he sold livestock, but he used to say that he could persuade people to purchase before they had even seen the cows by maintaining the yard and farm. And I’d like to think about branding in a similar way. If you have great packaging, things look great and images look nice, people will be won over before they have even tried out the product.
When something is presented beautifully to us, we tend to like it better even if it is the same product.