Mojo's microdose mushrooms come in a tasty, chewable form and allow people to enjoy the benefits of mushrooms without feeling overwhelmed - and doing anything illegal!
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Under The Hood: Stefany from Mojo

From day 1 to $100k in monthly revenue, Mojo's off to a hot start. Here's how Stefany built this up.

Welcome Stefany! Tell me about Mojo & also Gwella

So it’s the same entity. Gwella is the parent company and Mojo is the product. Gwella started off as a psychedelics knowledge hub with how-to guides and trip support tools. And Mojo is our first flagship product. It’s a gummy that mimics a mushroom microdose experience. It gives you the same energy, mental clarity, focus and mood lift that a psilocybin microdose would, minus the illegal ingredients. 

Is the idea that at one point, there will be some deregulation in the mushroom category and you can be one of the first in-market with a product ready for consumers? 

Absolutely. We started this company because we love psychedelics, and we do hope that the brand that we are building along with our growing community continues to resonate as legalization occurs - and eventually we can put out a shroomy product line. 

Exciting. So where are you at in the story of Mojo?

Mojo’s only been in-market for about a year. We've started with 2 part-time people, including myself  - and we've grown it now to an 8 person team, doing about $100k per month across all channels. We started D2C and now also sell in-store across about 16 states & 35 stores. So there's been a lot of growth within the past year, but we're still growing and hoping to surpass that.

Take me back to the time when you said: “Ok - I’m ready to go full-time on this”. What was that like? 

Prior to Mojo, I ran another startup building greenhouses in the Arctic. I did that for about 8 years. So for that startup, making the jump to full-time was definitely daunting. For a while, we were bringing very strong revenue and I had a team working full-time under me, but yet I was still part-time. I didn’t feel ready to be a full-time entrepreneur yet. 

It wasn't until 3 years in, following a really bad day at my other job, that I realized I didn’t need to do this. That’s when I finally made the transition to a full-time entrepreneur. So for Mojo - because I had already had that experience, it was much easier to go full-time into Mojo. I gave myself a 6 month plan to go full-time and executed on it. 

On the acquisition front: Have you run into any facebook banning issues?

Yes! Any time you mention anything regarding “microdosing”, “mushrooms”, “mood uplifts” - you’re gonna get a slap on the wrist. So we've definitely faced those bridges and we’ve come out on top, getting ourselves unblocked. 

But as a result of those restrictions, we have been really focused on building our community organically and not relying so much on paid. We do a lot of that via sampling with micro influencers as well as different types of value aligned brand partnerships. 

Any other learnings on acquisition? 

Well - what’s been surprising is how quickly we expanded into retail. We hadn't planned on it. We were a fully D2C-only play. But then we started getting inquiries from retailers. So that’s when we developed our wholesale arm. 
The other big win’s been around referral marketing. That’s worked quite well for us. 

What’s the retail playbook? How do you get into retailers? 

We responded to inbound interest and also proactively started reaching out to independent retailers. 

Since then, we've brought on a few different brokers that are targeting different channels for us and pitching us on our behalf. 

Any learnings on the brokers? 

Well. We've been burned by brokers that operate on a retainer model. So now we operate on a commission-only strategy. 

And finding them really comes down to word-of-mouth. I get a lot of inbound emails from brokers, but usually - those aren’t the best ones. Naturally the best ones don’t need to do as much outreach, they get referred via their existing customers. 

Typically the commission they charge is hard to negotiate down. Retainers can definitely be negotiated down however. I’ve seen proposals for $2.5k / month to $15k / month. But again - we’ve moved away from retainers, we’ve been burned enough!

Tell me more about your referral tactic: What are you doing? 

Last year we offered customers a good discount on our product, and also offered a free 5-pack of Mojo to send to a friend if you provided us with their email address. We took inspiration from Ruby

What was neat is the frictionless opt-in process, all we needed was 1 email address, and we’d handle the rest. That worked really well. But it was also very costly - so this year, we’ll do something similar - but perhaps not giving away a 5-pack ;)

Let’s talk about your team: You’ve got 8 people now. How did you hire? What do they do? 

We were looking for hires that had a very niche background: An interest in mushrooms, an obsession for wellness and a very solid D2C marketing background. So what we ended up doing was tapping into our network and meeting almost exclusively with folks who knew at least 1 member on the team. 

The main areas of talent on the team are operations, product and marketing. 

Let’s chat about fundraising. Are you bootstrapped? 

Originally we were bootstrapped. We eventually raised a small round and now we’re raising our official seed round. 
This isn’t me and my co-founders first startup, so we’ve gone back to investors we trusted in the past. And then we’ve been meeting more investors via pitch competitions, outbound outreach & also doing interviews like - so for any active angel reading, we’re raising! 

Let’s talk about the stack: What are you using? 

We use Klaviyo, Sprout Social, Skio, Unbounce, Postscript, Junip. Those are our heavy-hitters.

Last question: What's your key to success? 

First is the product. So many products in the supplement and wellness space claim they’ll change your life, and ours actually will. We've seen that in reviews. And then secondly, we have such an all-star team that has such a wide range of experience (regulated, unregulated, D2C) - that experience has been critical.