How one can Make a Enterprise Plan, In keeping with the Strategist Behind Casper and Allbirds
In her 20 years at Inc., Leigh Buchanan had some time to develop some business ideas. She passed an expert.
Buchanan: My kitchen cabinet is full of spices that are years old. I cook a lot, but not often enough to consume the usual 1.5 ounce of paprika, mace, or turmeric before it goes bad. (The old bell pepper in particular is a real downer.)
I would like to rent spice dispensers (similar to coffee bean dispensers) to gourmet stores and high-end grocery stores. The units stored whole spices and grind them in tiny increments into small, recyclable bottles. Pre-printed peel-and-stick labels next to each spice dispenser ensure that cinnamon is not confused with nutmeg.
The price per ounce would be a little higher than buying a standard bottle, but smaller quantities mean the consumer would actually spend and waste less. The units would be replenished using customer feedback and data analysis to predict what each store would need. This business will be hard to scale, so the goal would be to build the brand quickly and then sell it to a grocery chain or a spice maker and distributor like Penzey’s.
Emily Heyward is the co-founder and chief brand officer of Red Antler in Brooklyn, where she has developed strategies for brands like Casper, Allbirds and Boxed.
Heyward: You passed the first test with flying colors, meaning you are solving a real problem. I keep throwing old spices away, which is such a waste.
However, their solution has serious flaws. Grocery store floor space is the hottest property in the world – they measure every square inch for profitability. If you got in it would be difficult for someone to attack you because you have the home advantage. But that would be difficult without a pre-existing relationship with a grocery chain ready to take control of it. And for at least a few years after the pandemic, people will be squeamish about touching handles for something to eat.
But what if you went directly to the consumer? Forget bottles – they’re too expensive to ship. Seed packets, on the other hand, are lighter, greener, and more customizable – and can fit in an envelope. One puzzle to solve is home storage: I don’t like the idea of disorganized envelopes in a drawer, but that’s another business opportunity. A lot could be learned from looking at the seed market.
From the November 2020 issue of Inc. magazine