Startup Spotlight

‘Back end’ logistics may not be as ‘sexy & fun’ as consumer branding, but they are key to securing shelf space, says Pretty Tasty Tea exec

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

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Bovine collagen infused Pretty Tasty Tea may be new to the functional beverage space, after launching in February, but the team behind the beauty-from-within brand includes industry veterans with deep expertise in distribution strategy and retail management – giving them insight into what consumers want, and what buyers need in exchange for shelf space.

“We are a startup coming from second base. The brand itself, all the marketing and everything are completely built from the ground up. It is an entirely brand new. But, what we have are the advantages of really strong finance, really strong operations, some pre-existing relationships in the industry and a team of veterans that have been doing this for a combined 60 years,” Pretty Tasty Tea​ Co-founder Chase Slepak told FoodNavigator-USA.

He explained that this experience – along with the lessons he learned working for his family’s distribution business – will help the brand avoid some of the common pitfalls that sink startups. This includes getting so wrapped up consumer marketing, which Slepak described as “the sexy, fun part,” that entrepreneurs fail to meet the needs of retailers and distributors.

“So often, entrepreneurs in the space, focus entirely on brand and product, and entirely on how the consumer sees it, and not necessarily opening up their eyes to see that if you can't sell a distributor, and you can't sell a retailer, you'll never have to worry about selling a consumer” because the product will not make it to shelf, he said.

Pretty Tasty Tea keeps retailer, distributor needs in sight

That is why, he said, the Pretty Tasty Team is equally focused on the beverage’s benefits for retailers and distributors as for consumers.

“With Pretty Tasty Tea, what makes it interesting to a retail buyer is we are not first to market but we are very early on. It is also a category that is proven. The collagen supplementation category is proven,” and consumers know the benefits and retailers can see growth and additional runway for demand, Slepak said.

The product price point at $3.99 a can or $40 for a 30-count stick pack is also appealing to retailers because it is low enough to drive trial but still maintain margins and a premium placement.

Pretty Tasty Tea also packs its single serve cans in a 12-pack for easy storage and shelf management by the retailer, added Slepak, who said the intentional decision acknowledges the value of real estate in the back of the store.

'If you commit to this brand, it will be here'

Finally, Slepak said, Pretty Tasty Tea has lined up a stable supply and sufficient capital to ensure retailers and distributors that if they take a chance on the brand, the brand will deliver.

“There is nothing worse for a retailer or distributor … than takin ga bet on a brand, and putting it on their shelves only to find out that they either couldn’t maintain stable supply, had supply chain issues, or even worse, ran out of money and had to wind down. It is a big investment for a retailer and distributor to a brand,” Slepak explained.

He added: “We are in a really great place. We are well capitalized right now. We have great expertise in supply chain and operational management. We’ve got nothing but the best supply chain partners. We’ve built redundancies into our supply chain. So, I can confidently go to a retailer or distributor and say, ‘If you commit to this brand, it will be here.’”

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