Seth Goldman Spills the Tea
The co-founder of Honest Tea was stunned when Coke shut down his brand. So he’s going back into the tea business.
Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday weekend. The Morning Report will return on Tuesday.
Here are today’s highlights:
A PR person makes the case against press releases.
Ford may be moving toward a confrontation with its dealers.
What do you do when a celebrity entrepreneur takes your brand?
Seth Goldman co-founded Honest Tea, sold it to Coke, and then watched in dismay as Coke announced the brand’s demise. Can he do it all again?
PR man Josh Inglis says he has a love/hate relationship with press releases: “We love press releases because people know what they are and they send a message: this news matters. We hate press releases because they’re overused, they can involve numerous participants and lengthy approvals, they too often provide little more benefit than optics, and they do little to nothing for SEO no matter what newswires may tell you. And let’s not forget that ‘putting them out on the wire’ costs hundreds of dollars (if you’re a B2B tech company spending more than that, you’re doing it wrong). So this begs the questions: Do you need to do a press release in the first place? Could you just write a blog post with your big announcement?”
“Press releases have a rigid structure that’s been honed through a century of use – and it’s very difficult to break from tradition. That’s not to say you can’t get creative, but if you lined up releases side by side, 99 percent would be basically the same. A blog post gives you much more flexibility in formatting, voice, length, etc.”
“Writing your news in a blog post doesn’t mean not sharing it with reporters. Have your PR firm or internal comms person (or you, if you’re still at an early stage and doing it yourself) send the post to reporters who need to know what you’re up to.”
“I don’t have data to back this up, but I would argue that sharing a blog post might even have a higher impact than sending a press release because the recipient knows it’s not something being blasted across the universe – it’s almost like you’re sending them a diary entry, so it should feel more personal and special.” READ MORE
Thrift stores are doing just fine: “At the Bureau Drawer in Quincy, [Mass.] sales have been increasing for months, and while bargain-hunters make up a big chunk of customers, the store has also seen more people coming out of concern about rising prices, said Rick Doane, executive director of the organization that receives the thrift shop’s proceeds. ‘We’ve seen more customers talking about feeling the pinch on their wallets, and we’re selling more of everything,’ said Doane. Nationally, thrift stores run by Goodwill Industries International — the sector’s biggest operator — report sales up 4.4 percent year over year through May, compared with the same period last year, said Goodwill’s Bill Parrish.”
“And the U.S. secondhand market overall is expected to double in the next five years, reaching $82 billion by 2026, according to ThredUp, an online consignment and thrift store.”
“The supply chain snarls that make some items hard to find on store shelves indirectly help thrift stores too. Since they rely on donations, secondhand shops have, for the most part, been insulated from the headaches of battling for scarce inventory.”
“Despite rising operation costs, many stores don’t plan on drastically raising prices. Indeed, low prices are part of the model to keep up with a quick pace of donations, said Roth. They need to sell stuff to make room for new goods.”
“‘We can’t get stuck holding onto things,’ he said. ‘We have to keep it moving, because more stuff is certainly coming in.’” READ MORE
Ford and its dealers may be headed for a confrontation: “Ford is preparing new rules for how it sells electric vehicles, a shift that is concerning some dealers and seen as challenging the traditional franchise model. Executives from the Detroit giant have alluded to such changes for months, highlighting a future with less inventory on the dealer lot, more online transacting, no-haggle pricing and an increased focus on dealerships as service and repair centers. Ford plans to release its new EV-selling rules in September.”
“Mr. Farley’s statements about having zero inventory at dealers and sales being all online sounded to some observers like the direct-sales model employed by Tesla and other EV startups. Mr. Farley has said Tesla’s direct-sales model saves around $2,000 per car.”
“Some dealers said Ford is trying to appeal to investors, consumers, and dealers. ‘They’re caught in between Wall Street and Main Street,’ said Rhett Ricart, CEO of a dealership chain in Ohio that sells Ford vehicles and other nameplates. ‘His intentions are to motivate dealers to change, to survive.’”
“‘When things are bad, they rely on us to make them decent. When things are great, then it’s easy to say, We don’t need them,’ said [Brad Sowers, president of Jim Butler Auto Group in Missouri].” READ MORE
GDP’s first-quarter dip was bigger than previously thought: “Consumer spending, the economy’s main engine, was much softer in the first quarter than previously reported, according to Commerce Department gross domestic product revisions released Wednesday. Spending grew at a revised annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter, down from a previous estimate of 3.1 percent. The updated numbers revised the first-quarter contraction in economic output to an annual rate of 1.6 percent from 1.5 percent. The weaker estimate on the first three months of the year comes amid signs the economy is slowing in the second quarter, as consumers confront elevated inflation and higher interest rates.”
“Many economists have downgraded their forecasts for second-quarter GDP in recent weeks. Some estimate the economy expanded only slightly in the April-through-June period.” READ MORE
Can small brands stand up to celebrity brands? “Earlier this month, Hailey Bieber was sued after naming her new skin-care collection Rhode by a clothing brand of the same name. And now, Kim Kardashian is facing a similar suit. Her new skin-care line, SKKN, which launched earlier in June, recently became the subject of a lawsuit accusing her of infringing on the trademarked name of a Brooklyn-based Black-owned small business called Beauty Concepts, which provides salon services under the title ‘SKKN+.’”
“The dispute first surfaced a year ago when Beauty Concepts’ founder Cydnie Lunsford sent a cease and desist letter to Kim after her corporation, Kimsaprincess, filed trademark applications for SKKN by Kim and SKKN.”
“According to the letter, SKKN+ has operated under the name since 2018 and filed a trademark application on March 28, 2021 — two days before Kim filed one for SKKN by Kim.”
“Now, per TMZ, Beauty Concepts has filed a lawsuit accusing Kim of infringing on its trademarked name. Per TMZ’s review of the legal documents, the lawsuit claims Kim’s new brand is confusing its customers and that her team ignored the requests it made in its cease and desist letter.”
“The lawsuit also reportedly emphasizes that Beauty Concepts is a small Black-owned business that managed to open up a brick-and-mortar store after surviving the pandemic.” READ MORE
BONUS: Here’s a remarkable story Bo Burlingham wrote on a similar situation almost 20 years ago: “Terri Williamson did a textbook job of launching Glow. Jennifer Lopez and her team did a textbook job of launching Glow by J.Lo. And then their worlds collided.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
Wunderkeks Has Two Daddies: This week, we welcome another new panelist to the podcast, Hans Schrei, who is co-founder of Wunderkeks, an e-commerce bakery in Austin, Texas. Hans tells Jay Goltz and Liz Picarazzi why he and Luis Gramajo, his husband and co-founder, sold a business in Guatemala, immigrated here in 2019, and started a cookie business from scratch, going from selling at farmers’ markets their first year to doing more than $5 million in e-commerce last year. Hans also explains why he doesn’t think it’s enough just to make a delicious cookie, why he’s trying to raise seed capital, and what would happen to his visa if Wunderkeks were to fail.”
You can subscribe to the 21 Hats Podcast wherever you get podcasts.
If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren