The New Normal PWTA in 2021

Hey Guys,

Welcome back to Products Worth Talking About — the show about disruptive physical products and the people who built them. In today’s episode, we share something a little more personal to us — our new format for the show, why we’re moving in this direction, and why we care so much about doing this show. 

The new format for Products Worth Talking About will be 24 episodes across the year, launching two episodes every month. There will be two different types of episodes each month. Of course, we’ll continue to do product review episodes, but we’ll also have some interviews where we talk to the founders of those companies. 

Let’s take a deeper look into each type of episode we’ll be doing.

Product Episodes 

The product episodes are going to focus on the new disruptive brand that is taking on the ‘big dog’ industry leader.

Having watched some old episodes and unpacked them, we came to realize that we were inadvertently picking David and Goliath comparisons — choosing established companies and comparing them to the ‘little guys’ with the guts to take them on. Our aim is to understand how to create better products and marketing to effectively reach consumers. 

We will analyze the disruptive products and to see how they are shaking up the market and if they are successfully gaining market share from the giants using four criteria:

  1. Marketing 
  2. Packaging 
  3. Distribution
  4. Sales 

To give you a taste of what these episodes will look like; here are two sneak peeks of us comparing David versus Goliath:

  • Hallmark versus Lovepop

You can watch the full video we did analyzing this matchup here, and you can also see the full article about it here. We don’t want to give too much away, but here are some key takeaways from that episode:

Hallmark as Goliath has certain advantages, purely from being around for almost a century. By remaining relevant all these years and becoming hugely successful, they can capitalize on their economy of scale thanks to years of market domination, which has led to unlimited cash, which has created an opportunity for outstanding branding and, lastly, their distribution is unparalleled. When you think of greeting cards, you instantly think of the name “Hallmark.”  

Lovepop has chosen a niche focus to target — pop-up cards — and they’re going all in! Their marketing strategy is impressive, ensuring that once you visit their website, you will see their Instagram ads. Their social media has beautiful videos of unboxing the cards and people seeing them pop up for the first time. These marketing videos on their social media platforms make your online purchase easier, making your choice of which one is best to buy as good as if you were opening them up in person. 

After considering the impact of their videos, though, we feel there is a substantial competitive advantage for Lovepop. Although the shopability of a Lovepop card in retail is hampered by being very hard to demonstrate, they’ve overcome this by creating a seamless experience on their website and Instagram so you can still see how beautiful their products look. 

Head over here for the complete breakdown to see who’s pop-up cards are leading the pack!

  • Nike versus NOBULL

You can watch the full video we did analyzing the match up here, and you can also see the full article about it here. Here are some key takeaways from that episode:

Find Your Niche: NOBULL was a great example of finding a specific niche in the athletic industry and fulfilling a need. If you start too broad, you’ll never stand a chance against the behemoth companies already established in your space. Instead, we recommend finding a specific problem and providing that solution through your business. 

Limited Editions: Limited editions are a great way to cause excitement about your product as well as a sense of urgency. 

Email Marketing: To increase awareness and loyalty to your brand, you must be willing to play the long game, which includes reaching customers through engaging emails. Plus, email marketing is very low-cost, and it has the potential to provide excellent results. The more extensive the email list, the more power you have in your market. 

Head over here for the complete breakdown of how NOBULL stood up to Nike!

Those are two examples to give you a taste of what’s to come over the course of the following year. 

That’s Product Reviews — now let’s take a look at the second part, Founder Interviews. 

Founder Interview Episodes

Every founder thus far has had an incredible story. Having created several companies ourselves, we understand the weird headspace founders can get into as though you’re the only one who struggles in the beginning. We want to highlight the struggles and lessons learned and bring them to the forefront for you guys.

As an example, you can head over to our YouTube Channel and watch the full interview we had with J. Michael Prince, or you can read the key takeaways from our discussion with him about his company, Nantucket Whaler. We initially reviewed his brand in our video “who makes the best men’s dress pants? We test them one leg at a time.”

We talked to Michael about a ton of things that many entrepreneurs think about — from getting acquired, to launching a brand during a pandemic, to what he thinks 2021 will bring. Michael has a lot of experience in the e-commerce and retail clothing space, and we were stoked to hear his insight into running Nantucket Whaler as a start-up within an established brand. In a world where online business seems to be running away with the prize he gave us a great piece of advice for a product based company:

“I still think that the greatest experience a consumer can ever have with a brand is to walk into the brand’s retail store and touch the product and talk to someone working in the store and see how other shoppers are shopping. … That little store on Nantucket Island is so critical for us because it’s authentic. It gives consumers a chance to engage with the brand at a personal level.” – J. Michael Prince

We find these interviews incredibly beneficial, and we hope you do too on your entrepreneurship journey!

Why do we care so much?

Every entrepreneur doubts themselves in the beginning. Going against Goliath can feel daunting, even impossible, and, depending on your industry, you might even be competing with extensive marketing budgets. The interviews thus far make it feel like we’re all in battle together, and more importantly, that we’re not alone. As entrepreneurs taking on big giants ourselves, hearing other stories of innovative products or even product improvements inspires us, and we enjoy sharing them with you guys. 

RT began his entrepreneurial journey back in 2013 when he started Vortic Watch Company, a high-end wristwatch engineering and manufacturing company based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Their inspiration lies in pairing classic watchmaking techniques and traditions with innovative, modern technology. A university design project inspired a uniquely vintage creation using metal 3D printed prototypes. Why not combine the cutting-edge technology of metal 3D printing with gorgeous, antique, American-made pocket watches? Thus bespoke wristwatches and a revolutionary way to upgrade classic timepieces was born. 

These watches are a piece of history, each telling its own lively tale from a time past. Their American Artisan Series watches encapsulate the American spirit by adapting classic pocket watch workhorses in a relevant way for today and preserving the tradition of  ‘American Made.’

Tyler has been in the supplement industry for several years, culminating in his current business REBL Jane, which he runs with his partner, Morgan. They’ve learned essential lessons entering the health and wellbeing industry, specifically how passionate, hard-working females focused on the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families — the “Modern Woman” — is typically ignored. Another issue has been a lack of transparency in the industry, where companies use a marketing tactic to hide diluted products behind something called “proprietary blends.” Companies claiming to produce “quality products” were cutting corners and sourcing low-quality ingredients. REBL Jane became the David trying to disrupt the industry with a clean, transparent brand for women like Morgan looking to optimize their lives. 

RT and Tyler passionately follow their inner callings to be creative and add value to their customers’ lives, and together, they bring a shared love of entrepreneurship and a desire to learn from other founders on how to build a legacy. We look forward to the upcoming year and feel excited about what disruptive products we will analyze and which inspiring founders we can learn from. 

Remember to like, subscribe, and follow Products Worth Talking About so you get the great content over the coming year delivered to you directly or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube to stay up to date.

Let us know what products and brands you want us to review or what founders you’d like us to interview!

Lastly, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to build a product-based business, check out our business plan that literally writes itself! Within no time, you’ll be ready to pitch to investors and start the company of your dreams. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time —

RT and Tyler

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