Under The Hood: Kun from Pricklee

Under The Hood: Kun from Pricklee

Cactus Water? Yup! And we're talking to the guy behind the coolest cactus beverage on the market

Welcome Kun! Pricklee is creating an entirely new category - cactus. How are consumers responding?

We launched February of 2021 and our growth has been largely organic. For the past two years we’ve been laser focused on perfecting our product and branding because we’re creating a new category. Now that we know what works and what doesn’t, we’re going to step on the gas and push all our growth levers and expect to hit 300% growth in 2023!  

 

What are those growth levers?

I can answer this from a few perspectives. I’ll start with retail! We now understand exactly what our promo strategy looks like, and it starts by making sure that we have the absolute best product and packaging in place. This is super important because a lot of discovery happens on the retail shelves. We ended up rebranding Pricklee and saw a 2x lift in retail velocity. OurD2C channel and community really informed the rebranding because you can test so, so quickly.

 

Then, in the terms of long-term D2C growth were investing in our subscription program, and driving top of funnel discovery with as much of an organic TikTok strategy as possible. We’ll be launching a few programs in 2023 that will allow us to create authentic content, while keeping costs low and sustainable to allow D2C to act as a secondary, convenience channel for customer to rediscover Pricklee. When we really looked at the math behind cost of acquisition online, particularly when you factored in creative costs and media buying, it made it very difficult to see D2C having a pathway to profitability as a standalone channel.

 

Lastly, we’ll look to really lean into experiential marketing in 2023 to maximize brand discovery at a point of benefit, ideally around the happiest moments of our consumers’ lives. Dollar for dollar, retail and experiential marketing will ultimately drive the greatest amount of brand discovery for our product, and lead to the most cans in hand, possible.

 

Tell us more about your subscription program.

From a beverage perspective, I'm pretty convinced that subscriptions are probably the only way to drive profitability via paid media specifically and long-term online growth. And even that is a challenge.

 

We’ve been using Prive for our subscription software. Right now, Prive is probably the single most important D2C revenue driving tool in our tech stack, and we’re looking forward to leveraging it to be a tool that drives community, rewards, and referrals more in 2023.

The D2C channel for beverage brands can be tough with the cost of shipping because of the size and weight of the package. The only way to reduce shipping costs is to increase the AOV of the product. But when it comes to DTC, the beverage world is still missing a cost-effective way to bundle and personalize the experience for each customer.

 

Why sell Pricklee on Amazon, GoPuff, etc?

It all comes back to brand awareness. You also want to make sure there is profitability built into those channels. These last mile delivery services do a great job of actually building out programs when it comes to where they test where they launch brands. And so, I think aligning those types of platforms to areas that you have dense retail saturation, I think also just further reinforces your brand and just gives customers multiple touch points to discover your product.


Amazon, goes without saying has by far the greatest buying power of any platform, so not having has a big impact on offering consumers a convenient way to pick up your product. It goes as search goes.

 

Are retailers looking at any DTC metrics as a due diligence?

Yes, they’re looking at reviews, Amazon presence as well as followers and engagement on social media.

 

What is the most underrated marketing tactic?

I think the most underrated marketing tactic is building case studies with those early brand partners. Personally, we’ve found momentum by leaning into the accounts that have supported us from the beginning and building case studies around them that we’re then able to leverage to get into the next retailer. Product demos are also very underrated. I still do as many demos as I can because it allows me to refine our pitch and just master how to talk to about our product to different people. Demos provide qualitative insights that no amount of data will truly ever give you.

 

What's in your tech stack?

Prive (subscription), Klaviyo (email marketing), Postscript (SMS), Stockist (Store Locator), Okendo (Reviews)

That's it! Thanks for talking to us Kun.