We caught up with the brilliant and insightful James Richard a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
James, appreciate you joining us today. Do you manage your own social media?
Social media can be a tricky thing to navigate. In the past we have had our friends help us make content for social media and that was awesome. It helped us not have to worry as much about the face that we were putting out there on the internet. I always thought outsourcing to a team would eventually be best but I think I have come to learn that social media, depending on the industry, might not be what really drives your sales. It is always good to have a presence on the internet but at the end of the day should I be paying someone for something that does not help us grow significantly. We did a lot of bootstrapping in the beginning and I think you should bootstrap things when you can. Plus when social outlets can see the founders/ employees regularly they better relate to that company and what they do on a daily basis. If you want to hire someone for social media, hire someone in house who can share your day to day and give people an insight to what the company does and is all about.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Bizi is a supplement company. We started this company in 2020 right when the pandemic hit. My co-founder and I had just graduated college and we thought it was the perfect time to start our company. We had been working on it as a fake business in college and even won a few pitch competitions with it during our time at Belmont University. The idea was born after my younger brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and he was struggling to get the nutrients that he needed. He went on a diet to help with his symptoms and it worked well.
While he was on this diet however he was restricted in some of his nutritional intake and he needed to supplement along side it. However when he went to take supplements many of them contained the exact ingredients that he was avoiding in the first place. (When he ate those illegal items he would have bad reactions and end up in the bathroom for hours or even the hospital). We noticed that he ate a lot of honey as it was one of the only sweeteners that was allowed on the diet. That gave us the idea to use honey as the vehicle to get him the pure form of the nutrients.
See unlike traditional pills and gummy vitamins we threw out all the fillers, artificial ingredients and excess preservatives and made honey the main ingredient along with the vitamins! Our clean vitamin solution not only tasted great but was actually better for you. Our vitamins/supplements are packaged in honey sticks and the idea is to take one honey stick a day for you to get the nutrients that you need! We offer a vitamin C, D3 and super honey blend to help boost your immune system and take care of your body!
Our goal is to make it a tasty and transparent way for everyone to get their nutrients without having to worry about excess ingredients! You can find us on our website gobizi.co or on amazon!
We’d love to hear your thoughts about selling platforms like Amazon/Etsy vs selling on your own site.
One thing we learned along the way of this business was where to sell. Initially we wanted to do a direct to consumer model and for that we used Shopify! We thought that we would just drive all of our sales to our website and we would be good! While that is still somewhat true, we learned that lots of people actually use Amazon to buy supplements. We used to pay lots of money to Facebook and Google to try to get people to our site but the cost of acquisition was rising constantly throughout our launch. It became quite ineffective to advertise there. Then we wanted to get into retail but also realized that to break through to stores we would need some reputation or have a big reason why the customers would buy the product for sure.
Our current plan is to sell on Amazon till we can bring evidence that our product does move off the shelf. After we have become more established we plan on showing that information to retailers across the country to show that if buyers bring us into their stores it is not a huge risk because people will buy the product!
Shopify and Amazon are great to help us sell because Shopify is super user friendly and they offer lots of support when you need it. Amazon is great because people are already looking to buy items there!
Shopify can be hard though because you will need a way to drive a lot of traffic to the store. AKA lots of advertising dollars. Amazon is tough sometimes because you can be at the will of their platform. If they want to change something then you have to do it or you will be taken down!
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
One lesson I had to unlearn would definitely lose the ego. When we first started I felt like I knew how I wanted things to go and how I wanted the brand to be perceived. I was approached by a friend who asked us if we wanted to change the company name (at the time it was vitamin honey) and make it something more approachable and have better branding/ logos. I initially did NOT want to do this as I felt I had all the answers. But then after some time to think about it I decided that letting go of what I thought I knew was best for the company.
I had to be open to other opportunities and thankfully I was. We got amazing branding and a great new name and logo for our company (Bizi). This lesson showed me that you don’t have all the answers and that sometimes you need to listen to other people to get more insight to how to improve your business.
As an entrepreneur you need to always be learning. You might have some of the answers but never ALL of the answers. Keep learning and that will help you grow your business now and future businesses.
- Website: https://gobizi.co/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gobizi/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letsgetbizi
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/vitamin-honey/
- Other: Amazon link : https://www.amazon.com/Honey-Propolis-Pollen-Ginseng-Ginkgo/product-reviews/B0B8JHGZJQ/ref=cm_cr_unknown?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=1&filterByStar=four_star
Ethan, Noah, Regan.