Yes to Carrots is the name of a hot line of skin care products made from carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Ido Leffler, the co-founder of the San Francisco–based company, recently fielded reader questions on launching and building the business. Here are some edited excerpts:
How many investors did you pitch before you landed your first round of capital?
One thing that was really important for us was that we pitched the right people. We focused on about 12 different funds that were specifically consumer-growth focused and able to meet our needs. And our careful research paid off: We ended up securing eight terms sheets, which is almost unheard of.
What did it take to land shelf space in Walgreens?
When we walked into our first meeting, we thought we were prepared because we had mockups and a great concept. But we were actually unprepared, so they sent us home with a list of questions and made us show how we were incrementally going to bring business to their stores, how we would support logistics, and how we would support the marketing of the products. But we found them to be willing to work with a small company such as ours because they thought we had an opportunity to grow.
How do you formulate a pricing strategy?
Our pricing is based upon what we call a guilt-free pricing model -- we don't think you will feel guilty buying a moisturizer or shampoo that retails for up to $14.99 or $15.99. We also look at our competitors, and we always try to be a better value than them.
What advice would you give to a start-up entrepreneur?
Be flexible. We came into this with what we thought was a solid business plan, and we threw that plan out the window about a month into it when we saw that we were growing faster.
Is it weird for a bald man to launch a shampoo line?
I'm very lucky that my wife has incredible hair.
To view an hourlong video chat hosted by Leffler or chats hosted by other top entrepreneurs, go to www.inc.com/live
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