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Welcome to a new episode of the Ecommerce Playbook Podcast! In this interview, we delve into the success story of Carnivore Snax, one of the fastest-growing brands in e-commerce, breaking barriers by selling food online with an insane GQ score of 226.8. Mark Ritz, the founder and CEO, shares insights into the unique challenges of selling meat snacks on the internet and the brand's journey.

Discover the origins of Carnivore Snacks, born out of the founder's commitment to the carnivore diet. Mark explains the significance of their focus on providing a simple, high-protein snack that aligns with the trending prioritization of protein in diets.

Show Notes:
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[00:00:25] Taylor Holiday: Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Playbook Podcast, the interview series where we are diving into the genetic makeup of the GQ giants, the brands that are growing predictably and profitably. And this week we have a monster. This is one of the fastest growing brands in all of e com and what's exciting about it is that we're going to a product category.

You wouldn't expect selling food on the internet is a difficult, difficult challenge because so much of. buying food is related to the ability to taste it, to sample it. And so, so often the distribution for products in this category exists in grocery and pharmacy and other places where you would much more expect to engage with snack food, but this brand has done the internet.

Well, and they are a GQ giant. And I'm excited to dive in today with Mark Ritz, the founder and CEO of Carnivore Snax. So excitedly where this is a similar category we've had. You've heard of Ancestral Supplements. You've heard us talk about Heart & Soil. And so there's an underlying macro trend we're going to continue to tap into.

But this is a business with a founder that you're not going to want to miss because he really has a sense. of deep care and appreciation for building a product and a community that's going to matter for the longterm. And it's showing up in the way that his data is revealed. So enjoy Margaret's co-founder, CEO of Carnivore Snax.

[00:01:43] Taylor Holiday: Welcome back to another episode of the E-Commerce Playbook podcast, and we are diving into yet another GQ Giant. And today's exciting because we're deviating off of this beauty course, we're leaving the skincare behind, and we're going into a product category You may not expect to find a GQ giant in, and that is snacks.

CPG consumables being sold on the internet. Yes, food delivered to your door, not from DoorDash. They are killing it. And so I'm excited today to be joined by Mark Rez, the Co-founder and CEO of Carnivore Snax. Mark, welcome.

[00:02:15] Mark Ritz:  What's up man? Thanks for having me.

[00:02:17] Taylor Holiday: Yeah, dude, excited. This is, this is a fun one because I remember, obviously you're a Twitter guy, you've been on there for a while and I think we started by interacting there. And I remember the first time I got a chance to, to take a look at your business and I was blown away. Like, you've really got something incredibly special here. So before we dive into the DNA and the genetic attributes of this category, what the heck is Carnivore Snax? Where did you come up with this? And what are you all up to?

[00:02:42] Mark Ritz:  Yeah, man. For sure. Well, hey, appreciate the kind words Carnivore Snax. Was actually developed by my co-founder, Sylvia Tabor. She was, she's always been in the health space. She's like biohacking and trying every little different thing she could to optimize her health and cure some underlying ailments.

And the carnivore diet was where she really found a lot of success. So she did it strictly for three years, just meat and water. Very aggressively. And I think because of that, she became more of the, well-known names during the, the very early stage of carnivore. And she was commuting very long drives to work and just didn't really have that snack that, that met her needs, which again, would just be meat and salt, you know, everything that kind of comes in.

A package on the jerky side, had too many ingredients. Marinades, she wanted to stay away from marinades. She just wanted simplicity. She created this, this product while she was working for her aunt who was making a similar product but in the pet space. And yeah, we met through my first business. She reached out and asked if I knew anybody who could make a website and at that point I asked her to send some product and we ended up partnering up 'cause I loved it.

[00:03:50] Taylor Holiday: So we, the first episode we did on GQ Giants. Was the, the crew over at Heart and Soil, I think you know, Dean and, and those guys. Well, right. There's like an overlap in terms of the customer, I think here and what they care about and it sort of sets up. What I think has been an ongoing trend of something I've been trying to bring to people, which is this idea of like find the place where the wind is at your back.

Right. Ride a wave if you can. So how much of what you all are doing do you think is connected to the fact that there is an underlying cultural trend related to carnivore diet, a pursuit of health in a different way, snacks as an alternative to sort of the processed food world. Like how much do you think you guys are sitting at the center of that and how much does that matter to you?

[00:04:30] Mark Ritz:  I think it mattered a lot more when we first got started in the first year or two. I think you've probably seen it play out with paleo and keto, and they've kind of. You know, hit their peaks and we see it to maybe kind of lose its ground a little bit, maybe even in the wake of, of carnivore. And I think that the carnivore community made it really easy for us to launch, validate the concept, have a customer segment to go at.

But if I've noticed anything that has been instrumental to rapid growth because I do feel like we've almost exhausted that. That market a little bit. And it does, you know, continue to grow, but it's, it's really been protein. Like there's been this new found or refound prioritization of protein as the primary macronutrient and we sell five ounce bags traditionally.

You're looking at like one and a half ounce bags when you're going in stores and you're buying jerky. And when you can look at the back of our package and see that there's 75 grams of protein on the low end and 120 grams on the high end, depending on which cut you're going for, it's, it's really easy to get your protein in.

So we've really started to tack that angle and it's opened up a really, really large audience for us. And so that's kind of how I'd speak to that.

[00:05:48] Taylor Holiday: Yeah, that's awesome. I just looked while you were talking, I was looking at go Google keyword trend volume around both carnivore diet and protein. And both of them peaked over the last five years. Their interest peak level was in January of this year. So yeah, that, that's super interesting and I think so that when I think about GQ score 226. A Duckweed brand. And if I look at the unique attributes going down your score, there's one which is the efficiency of new customer acquisition in a product category where food is hard to be efficient on first order profit. Because generally speaking, this is a sampling problem, right? Like this is like people want to taste the thing and buying what is not cheap stuff on the internet is a pretty big risk. And so it seems like part of this is you're able to overcome that in some ways with the people's understanding of carnivore and else. But the real magic here is that like. The customers endlessly come back. You guys have 180% increase in LTV in a year. 60%. In 60 days. Like people freaking love this product, right?

And so that, that you combine those two things together where you have this cultural trend overlaid with something that is really freaking awesome and it's a powerful combination.

[00:06:57] Mark Ritz:  For sure. I mean, speaking to like first purchase too, when I first. Thought about how I wanted to sell this product. Having worked for Costco for 12 years, I knew that I wanted to sell more of it than anyone, you know? Sure. I wanted to create some really competitive pricing. I wanted to make sure that I had this foundation of margins, that that was comfortable, but for me it was just like if I could sell more of it at one time than anybody else.

We got a better, we got better potential of being profitable on first purchase, and that's what we've done. I mean, first, first order a OV is $90 plus on meta. And I, I would probably lean to say that in the jerky space you see a lot of these small packages that are like bundled and like each package costs in somewhere between like 10 bucks and 15 bucks.

And so for me it's just like big bags sell as much of it as I can.

[00:07:51] Taylor Holiday: That's super interesting. So that was like a very intentional thought that was rooted in sort of your Costco experience, like, so what's is that? Is that, gimme a little bit about the history of how that your experience at Costco informed that idea.

[00:08:04] Mark Ritz:  I just, I, I, I became obsessed with their model, man. I mean, you know, I started literally taking chickens out of an oven there and then moved into membership. And once I got into membership and I had a computer in front of me and I started to fall in love with, I. Some of the numbers and just the impact of how the memberships worked.

I really started to understand, okay, here's why they sell things in bulk. Like they do it at a lower margin, but to just generate right. More contribution, like, it's, it's pretty simple. And for me, I was just like, look, this product's so good and so unique that I'm pretty confident in our ability to, to, to sell a lot of it and be able to, you know, keep 'em coming back.

[00:08:47] Taylor Holiday: What's fascinating though is that like generally speaking, if you think about loading up the first purchase, there's a trade off. To the rate at which you'll acquire the second purchase, but people are flying through this stuff, dude, like you're getting them to come back quickly as well. So is the consumption rate something that you had to educate around and work towards saying, Hey, this is how much of it you should eat?

Or is that just naturally the behavior that customers started displaying?

[00:09:11] Mark Ritz:  Well, it's probably not a juicy answer for you, man, but I really do think that it. How different unique the product is. It's just, it's a, it's a different chewing experience and texture that melts in your mouth that really satiates you. And they're bigger pieces, so it's not like little pieces, you know, and our top sellers are, they're bigger pieces and it's just really easy to go through a bag.

And again, it's just like if people are paying attention to their protein and they're like, all right, I want to get, let's say 200 grams of protein in, I can eat a bag of this and be halfway there. And so I think on the protein side, there's some education that really helps, but the taste and uniqueness is definitely what keeps people coming back.

[00:09:51] Taylor Holiday: So we combine first order profitability that's supported by. A high a OV that gives us the ability to be aggressive in bidding, right? To go out and pay a good CPA to and still make money. You've got good LTV and a long horizon and a short horizon. We've got good product margin right in the category, again, supported by the price in the A OV. I. The other thing though, when I watch, so we get to work with you guys in a growth strategy perspective. You get to work with Chase on our team and the biggest challenge I see in this business is actually usually related to the supply chain and it appears from the outside looking in, and I'm sort of just a lurker in your Slack channels mainly, is that you have like a really high standard for like what's gonna make it out the door, right?

So talk a little bit about how hard it is to actually make this product and where the complexities lie in scaling that portion of it.

[00:10:39] Mark Ritz:  Man, it's super hard. I always tell people I, I'm running two businesses, one business that I had no idea I would ever run, right? Like. Been in the e-commerce space for seven years. So you got the e-Commerce digital side. That to me is really one business. And then the other business is the manufacturing business.

So there's a lot that goes into capacity planning, which is a hindrance and asset management, you know, through the financials. But then with the supply chain, because we source only meat. From regenerative farms. And then the key here is in the US right? New Zealand is, is where a lot of people go to get regenerative regeneratively raised meat.

'cause that's just how they've done it forever. And it's just the abundance and the cost is a lot less expensive to source from there. It it, it was a challenge, but you know, the thing is, is like. What we did really early on is we recognized that that is always going to be the biggest bottleneck in our business because we haven't really experienced too many issues on the marketing front.

So I invested heavily into supply chain. Like, you know, I have arguably the best aggregator in the attributed space. That exists. And I mean, he's on our account full time and we're, we've got a number of different partners and I think our grip on the supply chain has been arguably the greatest key to our early success in our rapid growth.

So is it difficult? Absolutely. But one way I balance that. Is, and this is, I think, frowned upon in many businesses and it does cause a lot of internal issues when it comes to shipping and just process a lot of SKUs. So one of the reasons brought in a lot of kus is to be able to have things that are similar to other things that may go out of stock, and we can educate on that.

The other thing is, is that we are committed as a company to try to make this as profitable. Of a transaction for our partners because we care about them so much. And in order to do that in this space, you gotta try to buy as much as the animals possible. And they call that whole carcass utilization. So we are now a very enticing customer to many regenerative farms out there who are now coming to us.

And so it's made it a little bit easier and taking the pressure off.

[00:12:59] Taylor Holiday: So I love, there's so much there, man, that I think is a counter to common tropes of how to think about e-commerce. A lot of times the complexity of supply chain is a thing that may turn someone off to an industry, but in almost every case of the successful businesses that I see in this GQ analysis or in our partners, is that they have. Audit. They have leverage in some portion of the business from competition, whether it's they have access to a giant audience from an influencer that creates leverage in new customer acquisition, or they have leverage against an influx of competition. 'cause the supply chain complexity that they've solved and the relationships that exist on that part of it.

And one of the things that's hard about e-commerce is that so quickly in a category where the barriers to entry are low, all the profits get competed away. There are people that will come in and undercut price and undercut price and sell on Amazon and take more until it eventually all just disappears.

Like Calo Rings was the ultimate example of this, right? It's the silicone wedding ring with zero barrier to entry. And when we started the game, we were the only ring on Amazon, and now you can go buy a hundred of them for 5 cents from 50,000 different providers. All the profit gets competed away, but you've actually gone out and.

Dated. No, no, no. We're going to overinvest in this complex problem. We're actually gonna value our suppliers. We know that it's rare and it makes it hard for entrants to come in and compete with you, right? Like there's just, it would be very hard to recreate what you've developed, which continues to allow you to grow efficient.

New customer acquisition, because the supply side of competitors is pretty small, and I've noticed this with everybody that's in this space, is that the supply chain is pretty small, and so it's hard to get in the game. It's hard to come in and compete.

[00:14:34] Mark Ritz:  Yeah, you, you've said it extremely well. It's positioned us to defend against newcomers, which we are seeing them. But you know, the relationships we've built over, over the last three years and the volumes obviously have been instrumental. I.

[00:14:49] Taylor Holiday: I am interested too. So like the other thing you do is you run a really solid lean team, and I've gotten to know Mark, your fractional CFO, who's just a fricking awesome human. Obviously we work together, you work with another agency. That's awesome. Like I, I'm curious how you think about building your team and how much of it is outsourced and how lean you've kept it.

Like tell me about your vision for building the Carnivore Snax organization and how you've approached it.

[00:15:16] Mark Ritz:  Well in, in the beginning I think because I've just had my hands on a lot of things in the e-commerce space, starting with email, and I think it, when you get involved in email marketing, like it almost forces you to have to really learn every. Every corner of the e-commerce side, even operationally, which led me to op opportunities to become directors, director of e-comm for a couple different companies before this.

I think that that's helped 'cause where we're extremely lean is on the digital side, and I, I keep it that way and we're getting to the point where it's getting maybe a little too lean on that side. But I've kept it that way because again, the, the focus has been. On the manufacturing side, like that's where we've prioritized building our team.

I mean, look, our product is, it, it does not take a short amount of time to make, I mean, it takes a long time and it requires a lot of hands. And so we're, we're at 50 employees, 15 minutes down the road, 12,000 square foot. We're actively looking for a second warehouse now and building leadership over there.

To the point where I can go there less, which has happened recently and it's been great and it's allowed me to come back in here and do some of the things that I need to do. That, that's been the approach. It's been prioritizing the manufacturing and operation side because if you don't have fast shipping, if you don't get things right on the operational side, if you're not making a great product, if the quality control, if somebody's not heading that up, you are gonna run into issues with the business there.

So I've really just chosen to continue to hire and allocate resources over there until I feel like I'm at my wit's end on the digital side.

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[00:17:47] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. That's such a, that level of focus on the understanding what the core value proposition of the business is and really ensuring that your competency lies there, I think is where a lot of people miss the temptation to trying to go do all these things at once, right? Like, I need everybody here all the time.

But as a leader, like you're, you're a finite resource. Your ability to focus and drive attention. And so to be able to layer in experts as needed along that journey while you construct, I think is is super, super interesting. One question I have and you know, so I mentioned Mark, your, your fractional CFO, who's just a awesome human.

He and I have gotten to spend a lot of time talking together. 'cause he's, he's compelled by sort of a similar vision I have to making marketing and finance come together more. And he, his vision is a lot about helping an entrepreneur self-actualize into what they want the business to do for them. And what your financial goals are and your dreams of the business, and really making sure that the strategy aligns to that expectation. And when I think about carnivore, like you're growing at a really great rate, but you probably could grow faster if you wanted to. Like how are you thinking about what the expectations you have for this business are and how do you hold those? Like, what's the constraint in your head that's keeping you at the consistent pace that you're on, and where does that come from?

Why are, why are you able to resist the temptation to try and go faster and harder? I.

[00:19:07] Mark Ritz:  I, I think there's a couple things there. Number one, quality, and I think you, I I, I had a tweet. We had our first experience where like, I, I felt like we grew a little quick and, and we were missing two small steps in the process that just completely got pushed to a side and it really had an impact negatively on, on the product.

And so, so that's, that's like number one. I just, I just know it. I see it. I see. When we grow too fast and you get a lot of people involved, that process can break. And so I, I'm somewhat patient on that side. I think it helps that the company's been, you know, PR pretty profitable as well. Kind of takes the stress off there, but you know.

It's also, it's also timing related of making large purchases because in order to to grow this business, it's predicated on large pieces of machinery, and that's where Mark like really helps. I mean, the, the day I, I went out and hired Mark was the day that I just didn't feel comfortable anymore making big financial decisions.

I'm on my own because I just, I, I really wanted to feel confident in the timing and so to be able to model this out. It really helps. And we're, we're okay with the pace, like the whole, I'm, I'm pitched every day on Amazon services. I'm pitched every day on, you know, potential wholesale stuff. And again, you gotta look at supply chain and, and I just, I'm really comfortable with, with how profitable we are and maybe it's a comfort thing.

I, I don't know. But you know, looking for a new warehouse that's gonna unlock some pretty serious growth. So.

[00:20:43] Taylor Holiday: Yeah, I think it's, it's one of the hardest things, I think when you're in the midst of a moment where success and that the wind seems to be at your back in a way that. The market is sort of there for the taking and to think about how aggressively to move into that moment. And I've experienced it both ways.

Where at Kalo I think we underserved the opportunity that we had. 'cause we didn't, we didn't understand how quick the competition would deteriorate the category. Like we should have gone way harder, way faster. And then early on I worked at a, a company called Evo Shield. I was like a fractional CMO there for a while.

A company had a, they sold sports equipment. And they did the opposite. They went into every product category way too fast, and the quality deteriorated. And they went from being best in class quality product to like selling socks with their logo on it in ways that just, it commoditized the brand and it deteriorated everything.

And so there's always this like window that you're trying to thread between not missing the market, they're waiting for this, all of a sudden protein's not cool anymore and carbs are in, or whatever it might be. But also ensuring that that quality exists. And I think, I'm always, I'm always curious how people process that idea and how it fits within the confines of your big dream for the business, like, and where you go from there.

[00:21:54] Mark Ritz:  I think, I think honestly like as I hear you say it out loud, like it, it does, I mean, the constraint probably the greatest constraint to actually give you guys a visual picture. It's like you, you imagine a warehouse, right? And it's got products, got steel, it's all stocked and like there's bins and people are picking and packing.

That's not how it looks at our warehouse, because you have a finite amount of equipment, 

[00:22:17] Taylor Holiday: It's like a slaughterhouse or what? What? Give, gimme a visual. What am I, what should I be picturing right now?

[00:22:22] Mark Ritz:  I mean, look, obviously our products are dehydrated, so it needs large dehydrator to make the product, but it takes very long. All right? It's just, it's not, it's not a jerky product. It's different. The time that it takes to make the product is a constraint on the business. And I. That's when capacity comes in, right?

So then you produce, I don't, let's just say 3000 units in a day. And let's say that's your max capacity and you're sitting here selling 2200, 2400, you know, items a day. And if you're making 15 to 20 different SKUs, the the reliance on. Incredibly optimized demand planning of what SKU needs to go in when you know there's a three day lead time between starting it.

F and finishing it. Dude, it is, it, it provides a lot of pressure and that's why, you know, chase is like, yo, let's go to the moon. Let's go to the moon. We got all and like, but he understands our business now, which is great. That's where it gets really tough. Is it an inventory constraint? Yes. But it's all predicated on the manufacturing capacity.

Could we go out and buy a whole bunch of dehydr with, you know, the cash in the bank right now? We could, however, we're at an electric capacity in our current facility, so that's why we're moving into a new f we're adding a second facility. So that's the biggest constraint. Man, is just like, there's just not a lot of inventory, not a lot of product to pick from, and you gotta manufacture number of SKUs.

[00:23:48] Taylor Holiday: So how about that? Anybody listening? How many of you have a constraint that's related to the amount of energy utilization that you're using in your warehouse? The literal grid can't support this man. He needs to get this man some power out there. Let's get some windmills out there or something. That's like, it's one of the things, man, I, I'm always blown away by what is the critical path in an e-commerce business. Every business has some novel problem that you're trying to solve in ways that it's like, like you were talking today, we got on the call and I asked, yeah, how are you doing? You know, it just, he had that look of an entrepreneur that just has some weird problem on his plate at all times, you know?

And so finding power supply, I love it. Okay. The la the last piece of it about this, I think. And, and this continues to be a common feature, I think in all the brands that we've spoken to as well, is that you guys don't just depend on paid media as a mechanism for acquisition. Despite being really efficient at that, you've also found ways to drive relationships and influencers, and you have a bunch of people organically creating content about you where there is a surrounding halo effect of organic demand that's created.

Talk a little bit about how you've gotten the product in the hands of influential people and how your customers have sort of gone about telling your story. For you. That's created sort of this organic marketing flywheel.

[00:24:59] Mark Ritz:  For sure. Number one, it always starts with the uniqueness of the product. Like when people take it out of the bag and then realize it's basically not jerky. Then they try it. It's something like they, they feel very proud that they found this. And so we see more action taken organically to take their phone out and say something about it or show people.

And in our ads, like what converts the best is seeing that product being pulled out. And so the fact that we have that happen organically helps us with seeding content. And it just really, it helps with the virality. 'cause once people see it, they're like, oh man, like I, I gotta try this. And in terms of, so obviously I think a lot of people know that Rogan has been a huge supporter of the product.

Again, and, and look, I mean, he had the same feeling, right? So he found the product, he bought the product, he bought a lot of the product, and he shared the product organically. And that's kind of how that relationship started. I really think that if you can make something that's just visually different.

Texturally different, if that's even a word, like you're gonna get the organic shares. You know, so you think about people, oh, I'm just gonna make a new jerky, but it's gonna be a, a different flavor. Or, I mean, so I think the, the difference in, in our product is what's created that success on the organic side.

[00:26:22] Taylor Holiday: That's the purple cow, right? I don't know if you've ever read Seth Godin's book but I think this is a thing that's so underappreciated is the uniqueness and novelty catches people's eye and gives people a reason to tell a story. The other thing I've noticed is for people who are in like this. Diet process of trying to get a bunch of protein, there's a lot of like sharing how you're doing it, right?

And so one of the things, like, I found this, this company called Muscle Egg. Have you ever heard of these guys?

Okay. So Muscle Egg sells flavored egg whites that you drink. I. Okay. And I, I, I forget, I came across it on some podcast, you know, one of the, somebody was talking about it, and it's just liquid egg whites that they flavor, like there's mocha flavor or chocolate flavor or whatever.

And it's like, in terms of the protein density, it's like amazing and it tastes pretty good. And so you order it, it's a janky website. It's kind of old school. It comes in like it with dry ice, these giant containers, like probably a horrible e-commerce business from a unique economic standpoint. But like I tell everybody about it partially because I found it, and I think that.

Makes me kind of cool. Right? It's the same thing I feel like with Carnivore Snax, where it's been like, oh, you like beef jerky? Let me, let me show you this actual cooler, better thing. You know? And

I think that that novelty is, is so underappreciated. That's what it was with Calo. It was the same thing.

It's just like, oh, you, you have a wedding ring. Check this out. Like it's just people want, there's this great saying that, there's a creative agency here in LA that's like FA called First Media, and they got famous because they ran all these sites. They for like three straight years in, in the late 20 teens, they had like the most viewed videos on social.

They had sites like Blossom where they would do these like. Dessert builds and all sorts of like cl really clever social videos. And I listened to their chief Creative Officer once give a talk, and he, he said that when we think about creating, we're not creating for our audience, we're creating for our audience's audience. We want to give them something that if they share it, it will make them the hero. Right. And so that's really the key is how do you make your customer the hero in their community? And if they share Carnivore Snax with all their friends, they're cool. They showed an awesome product. And that, especially for early adopters in the early stages of brands, is so key that you're reinforcing their identity as the thought leader amongst their friends. And so there's an idea there that I think you guys, you're exactly right, it just hits on so perfectly.

[00:28:37] Mark Ritz:  It's that, that's one of our I've the best copywriter. Like, I'll, I'll. I'll put 'em up against anybody who's, who's really brought our, our brand Voice to Life since the beginning, since the Kickstarter. And that's one of the angles that we take on many of the messages is like being the cool kid, right?

Like, you're the cool kid if you found this. And, and being able to kind of flaunt that it's, it's a messaging angle that we're very conscious of.

[00:29:01] Taylor Holiday: Amazing man. So what, what's next? Where do you go from here other than continue to scale up the supply chain? Are there other product categories you're interested in exploring? Do you go to wholesale distribution? Like where, what is the vision for you in terms of where you go from here?

[00:29:15] Mark Ritz:  I, I do think Amazon is probably in the cards when I feel really comfortable enough to support the channel. When we look at the search traffic on Amazon, like, I mean, we can, the revenue that we could drive on that channel is, is pretty, pretty aggressive. So I do think Amazon's probably the next route.

I would lean this and say hopefully within the, within a year. Yeah, man, I, I do, I think there's another, there's another line that we're interested in getting into with, with the organs and don't wanna share too much on it but a little bit different of a delivery method to kind of separate us from the pack.

Then also to provide a level of convenience, you know, get your organs while you're getting your snacks. So I think that there's, there's a lot of opportunity and it's something I'm, I'm pretty aware of because I, I look, I, I understand like making, making this product and, you know, when it takes three days to turn around one, one skew, like, eh, that could be a constraint.

So bringing in another product line that's just easy to ship out. When people order it with the same level of sourcing standards I think there's an unlock there to grow the business. Pretty, pretty well.

[00:30:25] Taylor Holiday: One of the, the la Another thing I forgot I wanted to ask you about, 'cause I think it connects to this idea of ltv, is you've also pursued membership. So can you talk a little bit about membership versus subscription, how you're analyzing those values? Because this is the thing I'm really trying to work out.

Like Bamboo Earth, we have this, we have membership as well. There's a lot of people trying it and I don't, I haven't resolved for myself yet what I believe about this mechanism. So can you talk about a little bit what you've tried and what your experience has been with membership versus subscription?

[00:30:51] Mark Ritz:  I mean, admittedly, like I, I've always just wanted a membership business, right? Just because of, of the Costco experience. I mean, that's what I tried with my first business. So like being analytical about it from the beginning wasn't really it, it was just knowing the impact of a membership and being able to build an experience around it that I was really interested in.

And. Because I've worked inside of some pretty, I mean, very successful subscription brands before this. I just, I just see it. It's just no matter how you spin it, the consumer is just, they feel like the main benefit to a subscription is set it and forget it. It's just showing up at your door like that's nice, but forget It is where I think we lose out on opportunity.

For me on the membership side, like one thing I wanted to do was bring in a lot of cuts that I know I can't get in abundance. And I think a lot of people might say, well, I just, I'm just not gonna buy that. Then, you know, I'm just not gonna add another skew. So many people are, we have, you know, a couple hundred thousand, 300,000 people on the list.

You blast out to your list, whatever, and all of a sudden your stuff's like sold out in a, in a day. So I was like, okay, let's create a paid membership, give people access to Wagyu, some of the rare cuts, like that's a really cool experience and a cool benefit that, you know, maybe you could build into a subscription, but you're also asking for people to commit.

And then, you know, you're kind of eliminating the people that don't want to commit to recurring. So that was one side. I loved, you know, at Costco, I love 2% cash back and everything you buy, you're getting this commitment, right? So it's like, why would I go buy. I meet snack anywhere else when I can get 5% cash back or, you know, I mean, just think of it as like Costco, right?

Why am I gonna go over here when I'm gonna get cash back? And, and it's at a pretty affordable price. So those were like the two main levers. And then we do a lot of messaging, segmented, segmented messaging to our members. It's, it's even beyond just these limited edition cuts. We will do when, when something doesn't come out like to our standards, but we think people will like, like it.

But they'll know. They'll know it's not the best they've ever had. We'll message our members and we'll say, Hey, like, we had a batch come out. It wasn't, wasn't phenomenal, but it's, it's, it's great and we're gonna discount for you. You're gonna get 5% cash back like you always do, and you get access to this.

And so we keep in touch and there's a lot of moments to, to. I mean, you gotta think of it a, a lot of these moments on the fly, there's a lot of opportunities to build value into a membership that I just don't think are as possible in a subscription. We offer subscriptions on the website and we have many people who are subscribers and members.

I mean, why not be a member? Get 5% cash back on your recurring purchases too. So, you know, if you can stack those two together, I mean LTV on, on those customers are huge. So that, I mean, that's kind of how we think about it is, is just this more. VIP experience, 

[00:34:06] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. So I've never heard anyone call out the idea of set it and forget it, and then sort of saying, why would I wanna be forgotten? I think it's such a, like, it's such an obvious as you say it. I'm like, yeah, why would you wanna be forgotten? That's sort of the opposite of what a brand is trying to do all the time. So it's

super interesting, man. 

[00:34:22] Mark Ritz:  There are new softwares out there, so the, some of the subscription softwares are doing a great job trying to solve those problems. But again, I just think that there's, it's been the same for so long that some people won't get out of their own heads, and this allows us to, you know, more easily sell to them.

[00:34:38] Taylor Holiday: That's awesome. Well, I hope what everybody hears is the intention that this dude goes after everything with it's thoughtful. There's a genuine care from the. Quality of the product, the quality of the experience for his vendors. He even mentioned, which is a rare attribute to the care for the VIP's customers. It shows up in everything that you do, mark, and the experience in working with you. I feel the same thing. So, amazing business. Hopefully you all learn something cool about another product category, a different one than maybe the those that we have seen before. Go out and try it. Carnivore Follow 'em on Twitter. What's your name on Twitter? I don't know. Give, give, give yourself a quick plug 

[00:35:12] Mark Ritz:  it's Ritz Fit, 

[00:35:13] Taylor Holiday: Rick. There you go, at RFI on Twitter. Mark. Great to chat with you man. Appreciate the time.

[00:35:19] Mark Ritz:  Thanks.