Suzie Yorke

Episode Description

Unquestionably, the current pandemic situation has affected the vast majority of businesses worldwide. And the food industry is no exception, especially during continued lockdowns and "stay at home" orders. However, the game can change... if we are willing and open to it.

In this brand new episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, I chat with, and coach, the amazing Suzie Yorke, CEO and Founder of Love Good Fats, a keto-friendly food startup based on low carb, low sugar snack bars.

On this episode, Suzie talks about how bad COVID hit her business, just as she was beginning an international expansion. As the conversation flows, I present Suzie with some new strategies and solutions on how to leverage her situation so she can tackle this problem and rather than breaking some old rules, we learn how to create new ones!  We even come up with a new keto version of the Queen Elizabeth Cake!

Struggling with this or any other problem? Share your story! If there's a challenge you'd like to talk about on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:
kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades and I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.

Today my guest is Suzie Yorke. She is the President and Founder of a company called Love Good Fats.

Suzie, welcome.

Suzie Yorke: [00:00:29]
Well, thanks, Kim. I'm excited to be here.

Kim Ades: [00:00:31]
So tell us a little bit about where are you in the world and what is Love Good Fats.

Suzie Yorke: [00:00:36]
Great. Well, we're based at-- I'm based out of Toronto. So I founded my company out of Toronto. We're definitely North American in scope. So we're in 15,000 doors across Canada and the US. We're very fortunate to have had a lot of success in getting on US and Canadian shelves.

And the company is just a little bit three years old, so very kind of ask lies and fast start from an idea after reading a book to some kitchen samples, to being on shelves across North America.

Kim Ades: [00:01:07]
So three years old and you're already across North America.

Suzie Yorke: [00:01:12]
Yeah, we're very fortunate. We have a line of snacks, bars, and shakes that tastes really, really good and then loaded with love, with good fats. And, you know, we had really phenomenal success within the first six weeks in Canada when we literally just, you know, made a few thousand bars and got them in a dozen stores.

And it really snowballed really quickly. So it went from a few natural health food stores in Ontario to across Canada to then, you know, the phone ringing as the US larger chains were seeing our results then wanted to talk to me.

Kim Ades: [00:01:56]
Wow. So...

Suzie Yorke: [00:01:57]
It went really quick.

Kim Ades: [00:01:58]
So you started off as a company that was reaching out, to a company that became in high-demand.

Suzie Yorke: [00:02:06]
Yeah, I just, you  know, started selling some bars, two bars that were loaded with good fats and moderate protein, low carb, very low sugar. And we were fortunate enough that banners like Whole Foods in Ontario and Healthy Planet, nature stores, like, a bunch of natural health food stores wanted to have us in their stores.

And we got into a, you know, a dozen stores in September of 2017, and then the bars were selling really, really fast, you know? So then we have to make more and we had to make more. And then we made two more  flavors. And then that's how we grew very quickly. Suddenly, you know, the phone rings and Loblaws and Costco and Metro, and then the US banners started hauling us. So it's a fast food startup story.

Kim Ades: [00:02:58]
Okay. Well, congratulations! It sounds amazing. Where are you now?

Suzie Yorke: [00:03:04]
Yeah, it's been an exciting ride.

Kim Ades: [00:03:06]
COVID hits...?

Suzie Yorke: [00:03:07]
COVID hits, so we had phenomenal success in Canada. We are a leadership bar brand in all of the large banners, and we launched two more flavors, two more flavors, more flavors, more flavors, two shakes. And then we started--

Kim Ades: [00:03:23]
So how many flavors do we have altogether now?

Suzie Yorke: [00:03:25]
We have about 10 flavors and two shakes, and we're constantly innovating. We launched three new chewy-nutty about six months ago, and those are our superstars right now. If you want to see our newest best sellers, they're chewy-nutty Love Good Fats, and they're also keto and low sugar.

Kim Ades: [00:03:45]
Okay.

Suzie Yorke: [00:03:45]
So we just launched, you know, very rapidly extended with the innovation. And then the banner at Whole Foods market wanted to meet with us. So I flew down and I met with them and they obviously knew about the keto trend, 'cause they're at the forefront of all the trends. So keto and good fats and how bad is sugar. So they loved our bars, they wanted them in all their stores. So they granted us a national listing. And we started showing up in all the Whole Food stores in February of 2019.

Kim Ades: [00:04:19]
Wow.

Suzie Yorke: [00:04:19]
And then the phone didn't stop ringing since then. And then we just kept making more and more bars, Canadian versions and US versions and, you know, great across the US and across Canada and all the stuff that comes with rolling out a food product across North America.

Kim Ades: [00:04:37]
Amazing. So, three years in, COVID hits. What's going on for you now? What is your greatest challenge?

Suzie Yorke: [00:04:46]
Yeah, like, it's unfortunate. I mean, COVID's been devastating across the world and on multiple, multiple levels. When COVID hit for us, we had a quick five prong strategy and keep our employees healthy, keep our brand healthy, keep our cashflow healthy, et cetera.

But the bar category got hit. So the portable on the go snacks and nutritional bars got hit really hard. At first, you know, the first four to six months, we got hit like the category, but we had some strong programs and stores and we had displays. We had a Love Is Love celebration of diversity program in Canada. So we had a lot of activity in the stores. So even though the category was down, we still kind of had some good plans in place.

But then as, you know, the lockdown goes and the pendant then goes from two months to four to six to eight to 12. And now we're really kind of bracing ourselves that the world will not reopen and people will not be, you know, on the go until late into... for this year.

It takes a toll on small companies. You know, we're self-funded, angel funded, and you have a category of on-the-go snacks and bars that is fueled with a discovery. So consumers go to the store, they stand in front of the shelf and they pick this one, one bar here, one bar there, one bar there, one bar, there they go home.

They try six different bars and that's how they discover new brands. And that's what led to such phenomenal and unprecedented growth, is discovery. You know, it's a $2 to $3 item. It's not like a, you know, a $10 box of cereal. So there's massive discovery in the category. There's displays, there's end cap.

And all that went away. You know, consumers don't even want to reach into a box to buy a single bar anymore. They're buying, you know, Maltese and multi bar boxes and stuff. So it's just been literally devastating for on the goal. Consumers are at home and-- Sorry. Consumers are at home and they prefer to bake, you know, cookies and brownies and snacks instead of buying on-the-go snacks.

So it's been a very, very difficult, like, when you're a startup and you're juggling rapid growth. And then you kind of have, you know, the brakes put on, just as consumer habits dramatically change. It's certainly been very challenging.

Kim Ades: [00:07:28]
So I have a few thoughts and you can throw them all out. You can take one, you can take half of one, but here are some thoughts.

I think, you know, as I hear your story and it's fascinating, I'm like just amazed at how quickly you grew. But as I hear your story, I think one of the greatest things that happened is you literally-- you really, really leveraged the trend and the needs of consumers, by focusing on healthy fats, but also low sugar items fitting into the keto profile.

So now the question becomes, what new trends can you leverage? Right. So, times have changed. What are the trends? So, not that I'm the trendiest person in the world, but I am a little bit in touch with some trends and I'll throw some at you that maybe could be useful for you.

So you just mentioned that people like to bake. They like to stay home. And so the question becomes, so what can you provide that will compliment their baking that allows them to bake with healthy fats. So rather than provide a complete bar, a complete product, what part of a product can you supply that they would buy to put in their baking? So that's one question.

Suzie Yorke: [00:08:52]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:08:53]
Question number two. So that's one thought that I had.

Suzie Yorke: [00:08:57]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:08:57]
Number two is TikTok is a massive trend. And so how do we leverage TikTok? And it might be to use your bars in an ingredient-- as an ingredient in a larger baking product.

Suzie Yorke: [00:09:11]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:09:12]
So there's everything on TikTok. It's incredible. So what would it look like if I broke up the bar and... You know what, I found out on TikTok, there's something called the Queen's Cake. The Queen's Cake is basically softened-- not softened, liquified chocolate with cookies inside. Bad, bad, bad, bad.

Suzie Yorke: [00:09:40]
Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:09:40]
But what if the softened chocolate was keto chocolate and the bars were inside?

Suzie Yorke: [00:09:46]
Yep. That sounds pretty good.

Kim Ades: [00:09:48]
Right? So now I have a recipe that I can share that is highly appealing to people who care about keto, which is a lot of people.

Suzie Yorke: [00:09:58]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:09:59]
Okay. So one, two. Number three. I don't know if you've heard of Clubhouse. So, Clubhouse is a new social media platform where people gather in groups for voice to voice contact or communication, and they gather around common interests. So I will guarantee you that there is a lot of interest in keto based lifestyle. And so that's a conversation you want to be joining.

Suzie Yorke: [00:10:29]
Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:10:29]
To say, "Hey, here's where I am. Here's my struggle. How do I do this?" They will not only help you, they will become spokespeople on your behalf.

Suzie Yorke: [00:10:37]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:10:38]
And so we're changing the way we approach things. And in your case, it's by leveraging trends.
The last thing that I want to share with you is I actually recently signed up myself for something called the Keto Krate.

Suzie Yorke: [00:10:54]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:10:54]
I don't know if you've heard of that.

Suzie Yorke: [00:10:56]
Yeah, we provide our samples for Keto Krate.

Kim Ades: [00:10:59]
Amazing.

Suzie Yorke: [00:11:00]
Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:11:00]
So, I don't know if a subscription based model to send stuffed snacks home to people on a monthly basis can also be part of a different strategy for you.

Suzie Yorke: [00:11:13]
Yep. We've participated in a lot of the Keto Boxes Keto Krates, and they're fabulous.

Kim Ades: [00:11:19]
Yes. But what if you created one.

Suzie Yorke: [00:11:21]
Oh, okay.

Kim Ades: [00:11:22]
What if you offered a subscription-based direct to consumer offering?

Suzie Yorke: [00:11:28]
Yeah. And if you go to our website, or if you go to amazon.ca or amazon.com, we have subscribe and save. And the subscribe and save is growing exponentially, especially in the US. Yes.

Kim Ades: [00:11:41]
So, and then the last thing I want to say is that again, like your game needs to change from... You know, I understand Loblaws and Metro and Costco is a huge client of yours...

Suzie Yorke: [00:11:59]
Yep, yep.

Kim Ades: [00:12:00]
...supporter, but the game is changing. And so the question becomes, how do we reach consumers more directly?

Suzie Yorke: [00:12:06]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:12:06]
And really, you know, another form or another avenue for you is to look at who influencers are in the world, who are really talking about eating healthy, and leverage those influencers in partnership together. So...

Suzie Yorke: [00:12:21]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:12:22]
You know, your whole entire question is how do we reach consumers directly?

Suzie Yorke: [00:12:25]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:12:27]
Yeah.

Suzie Yorke: [00:12:27]
I agree. My career has been in consumer packaged goods. Started as a Brand Manager and all the way to the VP of Marketing. So, about 25 years. And in the old model of consumer packaged goods, you just drove awareness and trial to the consumer, but you sold through the large retailers. And then now with direct e-comm business, you know, you have a chance to sell directly to consumers.

So definitely our direct to consumer business has increased, our social media has amplified. You know, I literally started with one Facebook post and one Instagram post. I went around my neighborhood drop 35 samples. There's a Whole Foods very close, so that Whole Foods was honestly out of stock because it's 35 samples and the social posts on, you know, my community in Facebook. So, small little steps.

But definitely being able to provide consumers a great e-comm experience by Amazon and our website is been a really big strategic plan for us. And we've accelerated that with COVID.

Kim Ades: [00:13:42]
So, I don't know if you ever watch Ellen. Ellen DeGeneres.

Suzie Yorke: [00:13:46]
Yes! Yeah. Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:13:47]
There are a series of people that she found through social media. One of them, I think her, her, her handle is T H E M B I. Thembi.

Suzie Yorke: [00:13:58]
Okay.

Kim Ades: [00:13:59]
Think I got it right. But now she's on the show. And what she does is she teaches people, I think she's a vegan, but how to eat certain foods. But she has a character, she has a personality, she has a style, she has a way about her. So it's not only about "here's what I eat", but here's the character to put it out there. And I think for you it's how do you take your products and associate them with that interesting, dynamic, entertaining personality.

Suzie Yorke: [00:14:30]
I agree.

Kim Ades: [00:14:31]
Yeah. So, those are just some thoughts on my ideas that might be useful. I don't know if you've probably thought of all of them or if any of them are new for you.

Suzie Yorke: [00:14:42]
No. Well, I mean, ingredients, we shifted to pretty much right away in March last year, and how to include our bars in recipes. And, focused on that, we chose to not go launch ingredient based products, 'cause we were wanting to also--

We had five strategies and wanted to make sure that we first and foremost prioritize just keeping our employees and our brand healthy and where we're at, 'cause there's a strong business there between e-comm... so we kind of chose to stay away from new product innovation and ingredients.

But we're, you know, COVID is going on for two years, so we're really looking that. I'm a huge fan of TikTok, so, it's really just come down and we have one social person and I just got my ring lamp and we're going to be starting podcasts, but we've not quite... you know, the data on TikTok says 50% are below 24 years old. Our average consumer is...

Kim Ades: [00:15:48]
But it doesn't matter how many people in that age range are still interested in keto.

Suzie Yorke: [00:15:54]
Yeah. Like, the keto fat-- the keto nutrition plan is, like, universal. So yeah, so we're definitely looking at those platforms. We've tried to get our bars on Ellen, about 10 times also on the show at the last two years.

So it's a lot of how are we able to be scrappy? We have less budgets, we have less people, and we have less time.

Kim Ades: [00:16:24]
Scrappy and fun and...

Suzie Yorke: [00:16:25]
Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:16:25]
...totally creative and, you know, kind of breaking the rules a little bit on traditional marketing strategies and...

Suzie Yorke: [00:16:32]
Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:16:33]
...you know, having that personality and it could be very well be you to say, "let me show you what I do with this stuff"

Suzie Yorke: [00:16:40]
Yep.

Kim Ades: [00:16:40]
Right? Yeah. So, I hope that's useful. I hope that helps. I'm going to go find your products now and go try them because I'm definitely a keto person. So thank you for bringing it to my attention. I'm going to go hunt it down now.

Suzie Yorke: [00:16:57]
In which part of Canada do you live?

Kim Ades: [00:17:00]
I'm in Toronto too!

Suzie Yorke: [00:17:01]
Okay.

Kim Ades: [00:17:01]
In Thornhill. I'm in your neighborhood practically.

Suzie Yorke: [00:17:04]
So Nature's Emporium carries all of our products and then of course, you know, Loblaws, and so we've been all the large banners in Fortinos, and Costco and Walmart...

Kim Ades: [00:17:16]
All the places!

Suzie Yorke: [00:17:17]
Yeah, you definitely have a lot around Thornhill.

Kim Ades: [00:17:21]
Amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining me on this podcast. I hope that you got some good ideas or at least some encouragement to keep moving in the right direction. I wish you amazing success. I'm super excited about what you're doing and I can't wait to see the Queen's Cake with your keto bars.

Suzie Yorke: [00:17:38]
Yes, I think that's going to be my first TikTok post.

Kim Ades: [00:17:41]
Try it. I'm happy to share my recipe with you, if you want.

Suzie Yorke: [00:17:44]
Okay! Yeah. Send me your recipe and I'll have a look, and then we'll play around with all of our different bars and figure out how we make this the most decadent.

Kim Ades: [00:17:52]
And you know what else you could do? You could take the guys, so the guy who posted the keto rec-- not the keto, the Queen's Cake, what you do is you say... you have one of those...

Suzie Yorke: [00:18:03]
You do a duet?

Kim Ades: [00:18:04]
Yeah!

Suzie Yorke: [00:18:05]
Yeah. Okay.

Kim Ades: [00:18:07]
And what you do is say "it's my version". I'll find it for you. I have it.

Suzie Yorke: [00:18:10]
Okay.

Kim Ades: [00:18:11]
I'll email it to you.

Suzie Yorke: [00:18:12]
Perfect.

Kim Ades: [00:18:12]
Thank you so much.

Suzie Yorke: [00:18:13]
Thanks, Kim.

Kim Ades: [00:18:14]
I got excited there. For those of you who are listening, if you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me.

My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

If you have a challenge that you want to talk about, but you're not so willing to share on the podcast, please reach out to me as well.

My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

Suzie Yorke, thank you so much for spending this time with me.

Suzie Yorke: [00:18:39]
Thank you, Kim.