What was the inspiration for your business? What inspires you daily?
Munk Pack was inspired by a need in our own lives for healthy, portable snacks. We love being a part of the healthy natural food movement, and we are inspired daily by the response we get from our consumers and friends. It’s definitely motivating to see and hear how people are enjoying Munk Pack and how our brand is a part of others’ lives now too.
What’s been your road to success and critical success factors along the way?
Our overall trajectory is a success story, but we are still only a fraction of the way where we plan to go. Along the way there have been hurdles, and for us the greatest challenges were pre-launch. We still feel that getting to market was one of our biggest accomplishments. Critical success factors have been our willingness to shift approaches and adapt, and our ability adopt various skill sets, from branding to product development, operations, and on to sales and marketing.
Describe a mistake you made with your business. How did you fix it?
We initially developed a different packaging design, which was based on a slightly different product concept and positioning. We shared it with target consumers and industry veterans whose opinions we valued, and the feedback was that it wasn’t quite hitting the mark we were going for. Rather than launch in a package we weren’t 100 percent convinced would succeed, we went back to the drawing board and re-emerged with something we’re very proud of.
What’s your best piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Start hiring before you have an urgent need to fill a position, and take time to communicate with your team. It’s important to plan for growth and to build a team that will grow with you. Taking the time for interviews, training, and collaboration as a team is one of the most important investments you should make in your company.
Where are you going? What is the vision for your business?
We see Munk Pack growing into a national brand sooner than we anticipated. We will be expanding and deepening our reach as we grow our team and increase distribution channels. We see a lot of potential in the market for our products beyond existing channels for spouted pouch products.
What was the first retail account you landed?
We walked into a handful of independent natural retailers near where we live. The first was Palmer’s Market in Darien, CT. We had just received product into our warehouse the week after Natural Products Expo East, and we had some great leads, but we were eager to get started before distribution kicked in. So we hand delivered our products to start.
Has anything surprised you about working with independent retailers?
Nothing has been surprising. We’d heard that working with independents is great because you have closer access to buyers and greater feedback, and we have found that to be the case.
How do you position your products in mass, natural and online?
With the growing space for natural products in conventional grocery and online, the positioning is relatively consistent across channels. The challenge with our products has been that they are a new category – adult pouches. Not every retailer has an ideal location for them that makes sense for their customers. It requires work at the store level to understand best placement, but overall, in any location, buyers and consumers alike seem to get that this is a natural grab and go item that appeals to health conscious consumers.
How do you develop relationships with retailers and educate them about your company’s story?
Having a presence at trade shows and in store is important. We sometimes drop in at stores and introduce ourselves. Other times, buyers actually reach out to us after reading about our brand or seeing us at a show.
What most helped market your product in the beginning?
Before we had much of a presence in stores, there wasn’t much we could do except build brand recognition and exposure through social media and PR. We did giveaways and participated in subscription boxes to help drive online sales.
What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?
We like to slip in a hike on the business itinerary, watch a mindless tv show addiction occasionally, and treat ourselves to a little panne cotta for dessert.
What's the inside scoop on yourself?
Michelle was a nationally ranked junior tennis champ in high school, and Tobias was an aspiring soccer star. Not quite World Cup material, but he has great German soccer genes.