Part of our Customer Stories series, featuring brands in the Crisp network and their growth stories.
When introducing a brand new product to the market, you need to know your customer and the numbers inside and out. We sat down with SkinTē's Head of Sales and Marketing, C.J. Roberts, to talk about growth, partnerships, and how he uses data to make big decisions.
A radiant new idea
SkinTē is the world’s first sparkling collagen tea, serving consumers at the intersection of health, wellness, and beauty. Founded by a doctor-entrepreneur-chef trio, it features a unique formula of “drinkable skincare” made with organic tea, super herbs, Vitamin C, and collagen. Having overcome a series of hardships or health challenges, the all-female founding team discovered collagen as a way to improve well-being at the skin level and below. But they couldn’t find an enjoyable way to consume it... and that’s when the bright idea for SkinTē was born. SkinTē’s mission of unleashing health and beauty from the inside out has transcended to the way the company works internally, with customers, and with partners - nourishing the positivity in others at every turn.
The growth journey: building real connections
Since launching in 2019, SkinTē has grown to nationwide availability at Sprouts, with a regional presence among retailers including Albertsons, Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme, and a number of boutique shops, hotels, and health food stores. The brand’s wellness focus has resonated even more this year, leading to rapid expansion during the pandemic. C.J.’s secret to scaling so quickly? Developing quality relationships with all partners, and combining a people-centered approach with data that informs everything from branding to sales.
C.J. sees every retail conversation as a two-way street. “One of the first things I ask a retailer is, how can we create a win-win partnership?” he explains. He initiates conversations with buyers alongside a strong pitch and clear sales data, but then asks what they want to see from the company. This was instrumental to landing SkinTē’s first major retailer as an emerging brand. “Sprouts was the first big brand to really take a chance on us, and it was based on that conversation we had together,” C.J. recalls. He cautions that business relationships today have become a bit too transactional, highlighting the value in getting to know partners as individuals and building a strong working relationship.
Challenges: what are we selling here?
SkinTē has a strong and enthusiastic community of fans. But as the brand grew nationwide, C.J. realized he needed to sharpen its introduction to new audiences. “You might think people understand your product... but do they really get it?” he questions. To answer this, C.J. decided to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. One of his early goals was to put the product in as many hands as possible and see how people both consumed and described it. These real-life customer experiences were critical in shaping messaging of the product’s benefits. Data inputs are also helpful as C.J. prepares to launch a new product: getting early signals is critical to “getting out of your own head” after being knee-deep in the product launch process. “Make a great product, and listen to consumers - they’ll guide you in the decisions you make as a company,” he explains.
Data: driving with navigation
C.J. is a data power user: a strong understanding of the numbers is core to his management of sales and marketing. To achieve retail growth, C.J. needs to know purchase and sell-through data and then asks, “is what we’re doing really working?” The answer to this question informs the partnership strategy, use of staff time, and marketing spend. “I’m always looking at the data,” he says. “If you don’t understand your business based on the data, you’re driving blindly.” He’s seen this play out across the industry, with food brands often missing important warning signals: “They’re in a store and they assume everything is going great...but when you get into the data, it’s not. They’re actually at risk of losing that retailer.”
Given his reliance on data, C.J. knew he needed powerful tools at the ready. Prior to Crisp, he would spend an hour or two at a time downloading data and creating pivot tables to get a sense of the business. With Crisp he’s able to save that time, an absolute must for a small team experiencing rapid growth. Recently, C.J. has used Crisp’s heat map visualizations to spot new opportunities by geography. He can see where he hasn’t gained coverage yet, or find growth areas where marketing can add more fuel to the fire. Using business insights in board or retail presentations, he can showcase an area that’s showing promise with limited marketing spend and advocate for additional access or resources. C.J. notes that as marketing has become increasingly data-driven, understanding numbers like ROI and cost-per-click is critical to running the department. Brands need to be more efficient and effective with their resources, and having data at your fingertips makes this possible. All while staying connected to the cause - helping people shine from the inside out.
SkinTē is offering Crisp's network 50% off an online order (with this link or by using code GOCRISP), so you can try the product for yourself!
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