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June 15, 2023

How Bloom’s Greg LaVecchia Built a 9-Figure Supplement Brand — EP 029

Greg LaVecchia

Listen on:


Adam Robinson: All right. Another episode of Leaky Funnels. That’s my new podcast name, by the way.

Greg LaVecchia: I like it.

Adam Robinson: Because every session that comes, it’s what we do, we fill the funnel. With me is Greg LaVecchia, and he is a Forbes’ 30 under 30, all-around badass serial entrepreneur. And I’m going to let him tell you why you should listen to this dude because he’s absolutely crushing it. That’s the short answer. But give me the 30-second background on Bloom, what it is, how hard you guys are crushing it, how it came to be.

Greg LaVecchia: All right. I’ll start with current time. So, current time, I mean, last 52 weeks in Target, the L52 in Target IRI data, we have the number one selling SKU in the entire health and wellness OTC/VMS department.

Adam Robinson: That is unbelievable.

Greg LaVecchia: Greens product right behind me, it’s only been there for six months, it was already number one in the last 52 weeks.

Adam Robinson: Honestly, I’ve never heard of anything like that.

Greg LaVecchia: Well, no. So, our peak week of sales in February or late February was the highest week of sales for a single SKU in the history of the department. So, more Vital Proteins, more than Quest Protein Bars, like whatever the product is, we have that record in the entire department.

Adam Robinson: But like my question still, have you ever heard of anything like that?

Greg LaVecchia: Well, no, because it’s the record of all time.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That’s pretty cool to be in the middle of that, right?

Greg LaVecchia: Why it’s cool is because I’ll kind of backtrack a little bit. We were direct-to-consumer in our Shopify’s spoiled brats. I wish we met you way sooner because then we would’ve been playing the Shopify game even harder with you. So, we did that for about a year and a half. Then we were just on Shopify and Amazon for, now it’s been two years. And Amazon has been great to us. I mean, in January, we did 12 million on just Amazon. We were by far the number one selling greens in the country, and of course, definitely on Amazon.

The thing with Amazon is it’s great cash, right? And it’s great cash flow. And especially when you’re on there and you have your supply chain set up and you’re growing the category yourself and you’re competing with silly brands that don’t really have a brand and they’ve actually built just a product, Amazon’s fantastic. But what happens when you’re on Amazon is the loyalty of the customer. I’m finding and I’ve spoken to a lot, like Unilever, about this. The loyalty of the customer on Amazon just isn’t there.

So, in the short term, when I was playing Q1, just trying to hit record top line, Amazon was great. Our Target customers who now are also in Walmart, you’re building a moat around your business, right? There’s not another popular brand of greens in Target, and there’s definitely not one at Walmart. And if they want to get into that store, it’s going to take them over a year to get in there, even if they crush their pitch in Minneapolis, right?

So, I’m recreating just a moat around our brand that we can’t create on Amazon because someone buys our greens on Amazon, they’re getting flooded with other suggestions of converting to another brand, right? And that’s not happening in Target. So, the Target customer...

Adam Robinson: I didn’t think about that. That totally sucks. They’re going to give you recommended products of someone else’s stuff.

Greg LaVecchia: You buy an Oral-B toothbrush on Amazon, you’re getting targeted with other brands of toothbrush, even if you have all of your PPC through the roof, right? So, I mean, the same thing’s going to happen when you’re running Meta ads. The same thing is going to happen is if someone shows interest in my supplement company, they’re going to get targeted with other supplement companies. That’s just how it works.

But there seems to be just a major safety net that you put around. I mean, it comes with its own risks, obviously, but a major safety net that goes around you when you can really gain a presence in Walmart and Target. And with the presence that we’ve now been able to establish with these numbers that we’re setting, they’re going to treat us as such, like they’re now loyal to us as partners to their brand. But it’s funny because everyone always told us, so the brand launched in 2019. I’ll give a little backstory on myself and my wife. My wife and I, Mari, co-founded the company Bloom, and we’re bootstrapped to this day. But Mari and I met in college.

Adam Robinson: Do you have a revenue level that you say publicly, or is it just like you don’t say that?

Greg LaVecchia: This year, we’ll do nine figures in our fourth year.

Adam Robinson: Congratulations.

Greg LaVecchia: Thank you. Yes, it’s going great. We’re really excited. But what’s most important is just happy customers, happy takers.

Adam Robinson: Hey, same to me.

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just like seeing people come back, honestly. That’s the stat I look at the most. But what our story is, is Mari and I met in college, so we’re still in a dorm room. Mari goes through her fitness transformation. And she posted on Instagram. And it got a lot of likes and a lot of comments. By no means did this transformation like organically go that viral. And if it did, it wasn’t like she was getting hundreds of thousands of followers from the gate.

I was a digital marketer. I said, “Mari, let me just put whatever couple bucks we have, probably not even $100, behind some Meta ads and had the CTA follow you. And let’s see what type of traction this fitness transformation gets.” It starts getting flooded with followers. Everyone’s saying how can I have a similar transformation? We start selling $5 instant download PDFs. The greatest business ever should never stop if there was no COG, right? So, over a million of those things, and then Mari is training all these people, even though they just paid $5. And we’re getting this incredible community of women who have these life-changing transformations physically and mentally. They were sharing about the whole journey, whatever.

Start selling our first physical product, which was cotton resistance bands that I found. The amazing manufacturer in Pakistan sold over a million of those things. You had to buy the booty band in order to use the instant download PDF workout guides, and then that’s going great as a business. Hit the ceiling on that. Then it’s total saturated market of instant download PDF workout guides and booty bands. Everyone’s like, “What supplement should I take with the workout guides?”

So, our first product– so then Bloom was born, and it was pre-workout protein powders, recovery powders. We’re addressing this market of women who lift weights, which is like the coolest community, but it’s a very niche community. So, looking back, it’s easier to say this, but we continue to hit the ceiling of how big we can really make that community, especially in a more saturated space as more female supplements are entering the market. And then we release this greens powder. So, that’s what’s on the TV behind me. And our customer...

Adam Robinson: Will you swivel a little bit, so we can see the TV.

Greg LaVecchia: So, what’s cool about the greens powder when we launch this is– so this is now 90% of our revenue, almost. So, what’s cool about this greens powder is our customers went from women who lift weights to any woman in the United States. And at this point, we grew Mari’s following up to 1.2, 1.3 million on just Instagram. This is pre-TikTok. We’re talking 2019. And we understood influencer market because she was doing deals herself. And she’s just an amazing– she just understands the market very well.

And so, what I did is, the business was now about a year or two old, and it was basically just Mari and I. We’re doing like $20 million a year. And we had a head a customer service, and that’s pretty much it and like some contractor graphic designers. And I was like, “We need a right-hand person to build out just the craziest influencer program.” And I need someone that could have access to the bank accounts day one. No one wants to work for us. We were like these random kids in Brooklyn who, like– no one even knew what Bloom was. It would have been weird to join this influencer’s brand, whatever. I call my best friend from high school who was crushing it on Wall Street. So, I’m 28 now. He’s also 28.

Adam Robinson: Was he the other guy at the table?

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You met him. That was Leo, who’s now our COO. And I said, “I need you to quit what you’re doing on Wall Street.” He was crushing it in biotech venture capital. I need you to copy and paste in your boiler room your sales floor and make that in our company for influencer marketing. And he did just that. So, now, at this point, we have probably what’s the largest in-house, if not full agency of TikTok and Instagram influencers, women in the United States with women followers.

Adam Robinson: Just the reason I’m smiling is because I was sitting next to the tab chocolate guy. It’s like a sexual...

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah, yeah, I like them. I never tried them.

Adam Robinson: He’s got 3,000 kids in this Discord all posting the same video on TikTok every day because he knows...

Greg LaVecchia: That’s f*cking awesome.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah, it’s crazy. What is that? But it’s way, it’s not influencers, it’s just like kids who want to make money online.

Greg LaVecchia: That’s like a TikTok arbitrage. I’m talking about like...

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah. So, talk to me about what that sales engine looks like. Like, what’s the motion? Who is it that you’re going after? How do you get in touch with them? What’s the deal like?

Greg LaVecchia: I’m not a performance marker. I’m a brand awareness top-of-funnel marketer. That’s all I know how to do. So, all I’ve been trying to do is get this word blown in front of more people’s faces as many as I can. So, this program now on TikTok alone gets over half a billion views a month across our network. So, we’re talking like two or three Super Bowl ads every month. And it’s comical if I told you how much we spend on it, right?

But what’s funny is when the program really started to scale, our logo was this B, just this B. And everyone, all the Google Analytics and all the Amazon Analytics were the B brand, the B greens, and no one knew our brand’s name because all I was asking influencers to do was just show it in a video. There’s no f*cking sales pitch, just show it in your video, right? And they all love taking it anyway. So, they were just like doing their morning routine, just showing the bottle. They were taking their greens, and so, everyone was seeing is B bottle.

And so, then we had a very quickly pivot to our wordmark Bloom being on every bottle. So, that’s when I realized some of the flaws with very much top-of-funnel, low informative marketing. And so, from there, yeah, we’re just talking about finding female influencers in the United States because we’re only sold in the United States with women followers in the United States, right?

Adam Robinson: And you can see that? I don’t know anything about this world. You can tell that, or is it just sort of like looking through their comments and stuff, you can sort of?

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah. I mean, it’s pretty obvious. I wouldn’t say that at this point, I’m even an expert. We have like 50 women all under 25 years old. They just f*cking love TikTok and Instagram. And so, they’re on there all day. And at this point, our network of influencers...

Adam Robinson: And they know, yeah.

Greg LaVecchia: We know their birthday, we know their engagement date, like we’re sending them. We know that they’re coming to the headquarters, they’re hanging out with us. So, we have great relationships with all of them, which is a big part of that. Big part of the program is the relationship management. And that’s pretty much more than half of our entire top-of-funnel marketing. And that just has been a complete gasoline on the fire of a business that was already doubling, tripling every year prior to TikTok even existing. And then, the big question was, can we translate this D2C success to retail, right?

Adam Robinson: Can I ask you one question before that? So, have you thought about buying

Greg LaVecchia: You know, I’m the worst negotiator in the entire world.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, I know.

Greg LaVecchia: If I went down that rabbit hole of trying to get them, which I definitely have done a couple of times, it would end up being like by mistake, a seven-figure transaction.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah, I paid 800 grand for

Greg LaVecchia: Oh, that’s awesome.

Adam Robinson: But for me, it was totally worth it. How much is your website percentage, your revenue?

Greg LaVecchia: Now, it’s 20%.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. So, like, me being, it’s above 100% of my revenue, if that makes sense. Because anyone who’s talking about it in the community hears that name and they’re like, I need to know about it.

Greg LaVecchia: Of course.

Adam Robinson: But it’s not really the same if it’s only 20% of people going to that place to buy that, right? Because you sort of type it in, you know what I mean? So, yeah, I might not, like you probably would have to pay close to seven figures, if not seven figures, and especially hard you’re crushing it. It’s like the effect of it, I just don’t think it’s anywhere near the same as me.

Greg LaVecchia: And a woman, just shout-out to her, she has a business that’s named Bloom, whoever owns it. And she just did not want to cooperate. Maybe she didn’t realize how much I would be willing to pay for it, but she’s not willing to cooperate. I’ve hired negotiators to try to handle it.

Adam Robinson: Anyway, back to what you’re saying. So, yeah, I think, getting to this thing of retail and...

Greg LaVecchia: Translating D2C success to retail.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah, so, my question is when is it okay, because you said initially, it’s like we play the Shopify game, we got to wherever we got to, and then we’re like, now it’s time to go bigger. When did that happen for you? What should people be looking for in their business to know that it’s time to take it to the next level? Is it like slow down in D2C? Or is it like it’s going so fast in D2C? You know what I mean? Like, what is it? What were you feeling?

Greg LaVecchia: I got obsessed, or we got obsessed. Not that we even have anyone related to data on the team, but we would just go on Google Trends every week. We would just check the Amazon search trends every week. And we were like, “Oh, we’re growing this category ourselves at this point.” We’re not taking market share from any other greens companies. Most of our customers were the first greens they’d ever bought. A lot of time, we’re the first supplement they’ve ever bought. So, it’s a very unique gen. A lot of the customers are Gen Z and they’re not replacing their greens. So, we’re building awareness.

Adam Robinson: Is it just the awareness on TikTok? They’re on this platform and the first time they’re hearing about this is because you’re the first person talking about it on TikTok in an efficient way?

Greg LaVecchia: TikTok and Instagram, man. All social media. It’s still all digital, It’s still all social media. I’m not really buying my f*cking billboards out here. I’m not doing podcast either. I buy some sometimes, but they’re f*cking stupid. This is for my ego. But no podcast marketing, all Instagram and Meta, TikTok. And most of that’s through influencers, right?

So, we were lifting the entire category ourselves and just using Amazon as a barometer of the entire marketplace, which it f*cking is, right? Like, Amazon’s is the GOAT, like they are a barometer of what shopping trends are. I was going to Target every month and I was saying, “You guys need to get us on your shelf.” And they said, “No, we spent all of 2019 pushing these superfoods and none of them sold. I replace all those superfoods with collagen and collagens are selling fantastic. Screw your superfood. It will never sell.”

Adam Robinson: So, can I ask a technical question? When you say I go to Target and I tell them to buy a product, where are you going? Is there a guy you go through? How does one go to Target when they’re in a situation like you, where you’re like...

Greg LaVecchia: Every retailer is different. Every retailer is different. Some retailers, you have to have a broker. Some retailers, you don’t need to have a broker. We do choose to use a broker for every retailer we’re in, which is just Target and Walmart at this point. And I don’t want anymore for a while. So, we do choose to use essentially a middleman between us and Target and us and Walmart, although we do directly communicate with them at this point. But it’s essentially us and our broker just asking for a 30-minute Zoom call, right?

And it got to the point where we even flew in Minneapolis a few times for Target and for meetings and they still just zoomed in to the call, like they didn’t even show up to it in person. I mean like– and my ego took some big hits, like don’t get it twisted like this. It was hard. And I was about to give up on it. And I was like, you know what? We’ll never be able to compete with these college kids, right? And superfoods are dead, like retail doesn’t want it. And then, finally, they gave us 600 stores. We’re on the bottom shelf. We’re immediately like top five selling supplement in the country, even though we’re only in a third of the stores.

Adam Robinson: Can you attribute that to digital marketing awareness? Yeah, it’s like, this is just sell-through. It’s not people going to a store and being like, “What is that down there?” Like, you’re driving people. They’re not expecting to see it and they see it, so they buy it, or is it something else?

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah, it’s funny. Most D2C brands launch in retail, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, whatever, and they don’t announce it, right? And then it doesn’t go well. And that’s why there’s this big conspiracy, misconception, whatever that D2C does not translate to Target and Walmart. And yeah, sure, if you’re some random Chinese-owned Amazon company trying to launch to Target because you do well on Amazon, that’s not going to work.

But we have a brand that we built. We have a brand integrity, like Bloom is a brand. It’s not just a product. So, when we did launch in Target, our community was behind us for that entire process. They followed Mari. Our co-founder, my wife was posting about this entire journey. I mean, they’ve seen every day.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, like kind of work public-ish thing.

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah. We all see, like on LinkedIn, like the Mid-Day Squares or some really cool brands that are sharing their journey. We shared the whole journey before the company even existed to over a million people, like they’re not the first brand to ever do that.

Adam Robinson: By the way, I’m doing the same thing. I’m making a f*cking docuseries. Did I tell you that?

Greg LaVecchia: You don’t need to tell me. I follow you on LinkedIn. It’s awesome. And you’re sharing numbers. I’m too much of a bitch to share numbers, so it’s really cool you’re doing that.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. It could come back to bite me in the ass here. We’ll see. We’ll know in the next 12 months. I got competitors popping up now for no reason, literally no reason other than, like, I’m sitting there screaming about how hard I’m crushing it. And I thought it was going to help me hire more better people. And now, I’m like, well, I don’t need to hire anybody else now.

Greg LaVecchia: That’s hilarious.

Adam Robinson: So, what’s it doing?

Greg LaVecchia: They hear the TAM and they go after you. So, we get like a third of the chain on the bottom shelf with one SKU, like one forward-facing product and it starts to crush it. And this is in November. So, I’m like, listen, resolution season 2022, 2023 is about to start, put us in full chain, I’m begging you, because we’re getting comments, I can’t find you in the store. And our customers were pissed, right? So, we’re only in a third of the stores.

And the third of the stores that we were in weren’t on college campuses, weren’t in cities where all of our customers live. So, I was like, listen, I’ll give you a million dollars of just marketing expenses, which is just you pay, or stocking fees, I forget what they refer to it as, give you a million dollars, put us full chain for two months, right? And we were immediately number one by far for the entire resolution season.

So, sometimes, you just need to put your money in. These are businesses. Target is a business. Walmart is a business. If they don’t want to take a chance on you, say, there’s no chance. I’m already giving you a million in complete profit, put us on the shelves, and they’ll do it. So, put your money where your mouth is and there’s no excuse. We’re a bootstrap brand. It’s like, I’m just throwing around a million bucks around here. I can’t just buy around here. So, it was a big risk that we took and it very much paid off. So, they put us in full chain, and then we just start to– now, they’re rolling out the red carpet for us very much so, where we consider Target to be our main partner in this business.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, I mean, this is just the age old story of like, you roll the snowball up the hill and it’s so f*cking hard and then it crosses the apex of the hill and it is rolling down by itself and getting bigger, right? That just sounds like the journey with those retailers. It’s like you’re having to do so much. And then if everything works out and you get in there and it f*cking lightning in a bottle or whatever, like it’s pulling you.

Greg LaVecchia: And don’t get me wrong, I used to be 100% Shopify business and life was glorious, right? And then we could control everything. Now, we’re playing on a retailer’s terms. We’re getting cannibalization from those retailers on our more profitable channels. So, it’s very much a step back for three forward, which is hard when you’re a bootstrap business. And I tried to set a record amount every month. So, to take a step back is very much out of my comfort zone. But now, I’m starting to recognize the long-term value of being in these retailers. And I know people were looking for us there. So, the last thing I want to do is they’re going to Target and Walmart and they’re buying another greens because we’re not there, right?

And I think, the last thing that I’ll say about retail success is you need to send people there. The same way you’re spending a million a month or whatever it is on Facebook ads trying to send people to your website, we’re just running an ad saying we’re in f*cking target. When you’re there on Saturday or Sunday doing your Saturday or Sunday Target trip, stop in our aisle and pick us up. And there’s no attribution when you’re in retail. So, if you’re a direct-to-consumer or even a PPC Amazon junkie, there is no attribution when you’re trying to make sales in retail. So, throw all that data down the drain and just hope, here’s rolling the dice.

Adam Robinson: How do you think about it? Is it just marketing efficiency ratio now?

Greg LaVecchia: Just a blended CAC. You pretty much like, what’s your CAC? You divide that by the four channels. That’s what we try to do, but I’ll tell you like our conversion point on Meta ads is still a sale on the website because I was running ads at the top-of-funnel prospecting ads saying go to Target. And the comments were just nonsense. Like people who had no idea what our product was, definitely, I could tell who they were that they were not going to end up being a customer. And I was like, if you run a complete top-of-funnel paid digital ad, they show the people who click. They’re not showing the people who buy.

And there’s 80% of Facebook that clicks on sh*t, but they don’t buy sh*t. And if you’re running a top-of-funnel prospecting at a Meta to tell people to go to retailers, it’s going to show the people who click, they’re not going to waste it on those really valuable 20% of Facebook users, right? And this is like kind of my theory. It’s kind of also what I’ve chatted with some people at Meta about. So, I still run all digital ads with a conversion point being a purchase on the website, even though I’m saying go to Target. That makes sense?

Adam Robinson: So, if I’m thinking back on three recommendations you have made about this retail thing, number one, use a broker. That’s your opinion.

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah, yeah, just because if you’re a small league company, like we do.

Adam Robinson: Number two, if you actually feel that the right treatment’s going to help, you got to pay to play and just figure out a way to do it. And then number three, you got to send people there.

Greg LaVecchia: Definitely. And don’t stop.

Adam Robinson: Like, you definitely need some people there. And then number four, don’t run a prospecting ad to send people. There’s still run ads for people to buy on the website because it’s not a matter of, like, it’s the type of people they show it to rather than– prospecting is a waste of money effectively, because they’re showing it to people who click and don’t buy.

Greg LaVecchia: Which the greatest quote of all time is 50% of my marketing doesn’t work and I don’t know which 50% that is. And I tell our team that. I spend, I take a risk. What started at 20,000 every quarter is probably now up to 500,000 or a million every quarter, just trying something new, so whether that’s a big YouTube commercial or whether that’s streaming or whether that’s podcast ads. And I would say three out of the four attempts are complete flop, but one out of the four every year is a big home run. And so, that’s kind of how I think about our marketing and always try new things, but yeah.

Adam Robinson: Is there any way that you feel like you screwed up in this retail thing? I mean, it hasn’t been that much time, so it’s not like you got setback or whatever. But was there a major mistake that you felt like was just a result of it being the first time around or whatever, now that you know you would have done it differently or something?

Greg LaVecchia: Well, I’ll tell you what I’m dealing with right now. What I’m dealing with right now, like literally this week, is Target needs to know what we’re going to be bringing in to Target for the reset in April 2024. And they’re like, what new products...

Adam Robinson: Mind you, it’s June 2023 right now.

Greg LaVecchia: Yes. Yeah. And they want to know at the end of the month, what are the two new big Bloom products that we’re going to bring in. When I was direct-to-consumer at Amazon, I’d come up with– I’d finish that product off a month before we launched it, right? And so, it is slow. Retail is really slow in terms of resetting, in terms of when they need to increase the inventory, their ordering, or whatever, especially if they want to get a new product in. So, I’m like, wait, what do you mean you need this? I thought you needed this in Q4, right?

So, now, I’m running around to the R&D team, running around to formulate. I was running around the manufacturers trying to come up with these new products for 2024 April. And I have six weeks to come up with samples to at least show them that I’m going to have something good for them. And they’re going to try it. I’m going to go to Minneapolis and put some bars or whatever it is in front of them and say, “This is 90% to what you like. I’ll have a product for you in April.” And that’s what I’m hoping for. So, that’s tough. That’s really tough. It holds you to a higher standard, but they could just say no. And then I won’t have a new product in Target in 2024, which would suck.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah. Would they kick you out or you just sell what you have?

Greg LaVecchia: Greens will still be there, but even if we’re number one, they’re not going to put us on end caps and on aisle– they want new products to bring people into the shop, even if you’re crushing it, right? So, if you go into Target right now, Vital Proteins, collagen, which are still crushing our department or beating it, but they’re crushing it, it’s like they’re not going to be front and center because they’re three, four, or five years old, right? They want that new product. So, I need to come up with that new product, which isn’t really my comfort zone also. Bloom isn’t exactly like a product innovator.

Adam Robinson: But you just are going to have to do it.

Greg LaVecchia: There’s not an option.

Adam Robinson: Is that literally you? Or is that like you have sort of a guy who’s like, dude, give me ideas and we’ll collaborate.

Greg LaVecchia: Luckily, most of my team is like around 25-year-old females, which is our customer. And then, we have a network of people we trust in terms of like trying new things. And we survey the customer line, like what they want to see us make, which you need to take with a grain of salt. But it’s pretty much myself, my wife Mari, and our COO Leo, I mentioned, who are just trying to come up with what the next product is going to be. But we don’t have a giant in-house product innovator planning this.

Adam Robinson: A lab coat who’s got a big hair, and he’s like, here’s the 17 options.

Greg LaVecchia: We work with those people, but they’re definitely not in-house. And they need direction.

Adam Robinson: Wild, man. So, Target and Walmart, those are the big two physical ones in the US. Is there like a next thing you’re trying to...

Greg LaVecchia: It’s Costco. Costco, The Beast. Costco is a beast. We’re going to be going up to Seattle next month to kind of talk with them about what they see for us in 2024. So, I think, as I said, Bloom is a brand. It’s not just a greens product. I mean, we have a full product line, but most of the sales is this greens product and I’m very excited to see what other products we can put this Bloom name on. I see it being a family brand and having products across for the entire family. I’m sure it will organically coincide with Mari and I’s personal life. She has Bloom babies getting started.

Adam Robinson: Right, exactly.

Greg LaVecchia: So, I’m excited to expand the product line while we’re still having this incredible hero SKU and just continuing to learn about how to maintain and thrive with these relationships with retailers because there’s nine-figure brands that are just in Target.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, which is wild, right?

Greg LaVecchia: Wild. Target’s awesome. Walmart’s awesome too.

Adam Robinson: You’re in this incredible position of good fortune to where you’re going to show up at Costco and it’s not cold, right? They will, to some extent, know who you are or no?

Greg LaVecchia: So, it’s a woman who has been the buyer for the department for 40 years. And everyone who works at Costco, there’s no turnover. So, like Target and Walmart, they...

Adam Robinson: This is incredible. Probably why they crossover, right?

Greg LaVecchia: They don’t want to fix what’s not broken, but it’s very odd because you would think that they want to bring in innovation and whatnot. But generally speaking, Costco likes what performs well in Target and Whole Foods. And so, just because we’re crushing it so much in Target, I think we’re going to have a really good shot, but nothing’s in yet.

Adam Robinson: What about Whole Foods? Is that a...

Greg LaVecchia: So, Whole Foods, you need to use a distributor. So, distributors are very different than just having a broker. A distributor, let’s say Unify is like pretty much the biggest distributor that you would use, they buy your product and then they can kind of do whatever they want with it, aka, like they could also put it on Amazon, aka, they can do whatever they want with it.

So, I’m trying to not use a distributor as long as possible and just to maintain at least a little bit of control that we can still have of this company, and therefore, we can’t go into Whole Foods because Whole Foods only uses distributors. But we’ll see, maybe we’ll be able to skip that once we get big enough, right? But I like the idea of Whole Foods. I don’t know how big, I think, I personally like their supplement department, but I don’t know how much velocity they really do out of that department.

Adam Robinson: It is more just selling overpriced, the same version of everything else that.

Greg LaVecchia: I like Whole Foods, though. I personally like it.

Adam Robinson: So do I. We have this grocery called H-E-B in Texas, and they have this concept Central Market, which is like kind of what Whole Foods was before Amazon bought it. They’re such a good company, H-E-B. And Central Market is like, it is a grocery paradise. It’s unbelievable.

Greg LaVecchia: I’ve heard amazing things. I’ve heard amazing things. Everyone was telling me about H-E-B.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s good. It’s good. Dude, this was very insightful. So, let me ask you about like, where do you see Bloom in five years? I’m out there yelling about it and it’s not even what I care about, but I’m just getting a lot of attention yelling about like building a unicorn in 12 months, who knows? Probably going to do it, want to try.

Greg LaVecchia: No, it’s happening.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. You and your wife, like what you want to do with this? Is this something that’s like a lifelong pursuit for you? Is it like, let’s sell it to Nestlé, and then do another one? What are you guys doing it for?

Greg LaVecchia: We’re young. My wife and I are both under 30 years old. I didn’t even know, like, we could sell this company until very recently. Like, I didn’t realize that was even a thing. I didn’t know what venture capital was. I was just out here trying to grow Bloom. There’s a lot of options on the table and we’ll see wherever it takes us in the next few years. But I feel like we’re just getting started in terms of how big this could get. So, I try not to think about too much. And I found a period of my life when I do think about it too much, it’s very distracting in terms of the creativity you bring to the day-to-day business. And so, I’m trying to think about it less and less, and that seems to pay off.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, I think it’s the right way to approach it.

Greg LaVecchia: If you were trying to raise money, you can’t be day-to-day CEO and being on the roadshow trying to pitch.

Adam Robinson: I even worry about, like talk about like the perfect financial partner or whatever. Like, maybe take some dough off, like you don’t have to worry about it more, and like they’re in to like with some growth capital. And then like, dude, somebody else at the table, like...

Greg LaVecchia: For sure.

Adam Robinson: They don’t know what you do. They can say they do, but they don’t know why this got to be. But my friend here, there’s this private equity firm in town called Vista Partners. They invest in SaaS, one of the biggest SaaS private equity funds. And he worked there for 11 years, and his boss was the guy who ran the investment side of the business. They do investment in investment banking, but his boss always said, “Businesses get bought, not sold. You build a great business, it will get bought.” Do not build a business to sell it, especially to someone specifically, right? Businesses get bought. Someone will come by your great business if you just keep your head down and do it.

Greg LaVecchia: For sure. I mean, I hope that’s true. That’s the mindset I like to have. I’ve never sold a business, so I don’t know.

Adam Robinson: I’ve sold one. I worked on selling actually this one for six months, and the buyer walked away the day that we were going to sign the APA.

Greg LaVecchia: Oh, my gosh.

Adam Robinson: 75 million bucks. It’s worth a lot more now. I’m quite happy about that. But it’s very distracting. Like, I wasn’t working on the business for six months. And lo and behold, I start working on the business again, and it turns into something way bigger than I ever thought it could be.

Greg LaVecchia: That’s awesome.

Adam Robinson: You know what I mean?

Greg LaVecchia: Yeah. We’ve had similar scenarios over here, like trying to do a fundraise and then just kind of falls through.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, what the f*ck was all that wasted time for?

Greg LaVecchia: So much waste of time.

Adam Robinson: Money, the whole thing. Greg, it was great talking to you. What’s your timeline of moving to Austin?

Greg LaVecchia: We’re highly considering it. Well, Mari and I were sending each other some Zillow Links this morning. We’ll see, right? I mean, it definitely seems to be a thriving place for CPG, let alone startups overall. And we really enjoyed it when we visited. It’s a great place over there. L.A. is a great place for social media influencers and what we’re up to in terms of like a brand-building moment, but I see no reason why the brand can’t have a presence here in Austin.

Adam Robinson: Right. Totally.

Greg LaVecchia: It’s a two or three-hour flight, right?

Adam Robinson: Definitely.

Greg LaVecchia: We’ll see. We’ll see.

Adam Robinson: Well, dude, thank you very much for gracing us with all that incredible insight. I really enjoyed this conversation.

Greg LaVecchia: Hopefully someone can click it down to like a 0.5x and slow me down and try to...

Adam Robinson: Yeah, totally. And I think there’s a lot of clip-outs we can do in terms of just like two minutes of really interesting sh*t too. But dude, thanks. I’m always here If you ever have any questions about this thing. Hit me up whenever. If people want to follow you, follow the whole journey, where do they go?

Greg LaVecchia: Just Google Bloom, you’ll find us.

Adam Robinson: Google Bloom. Cool. All right, man, well, thank you very much. Signing off.

Greg LaVecchia: Awesome, dude. Bye-bye.


For many DTC brands, cracking the big-box retailer code can be a challenge.

But for Greg LaVecchia and Bloom, placement on Target and Walmart shelves has been rocket fuel on their way to 9-figure sales in just their 4th year of business.

Greg is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and the CEO of Bloom, a DTC supplement company. Along with his wife and co-founder Mari, Greg has grown Bloom to become Target’s top-selling SKU in the wellness OTC vitamins, minerals and supplement department over the past 12 months.

Today, Greg sits down with me to share how he solved the puzzle of going from DTC darling to retail behemoth.

You’ll also hear Greg discuss Bloom’s influencer marketing program that generates more than 500K social media views per month, how he handles digital advertising when focusing on retail sales, and how to handle product innovation needs with major retailers.

Key Takeaways with Greg LaVecchia

  • 00:00 How Bloom became the No.1-selling SKU in Target's wellness OTC vitamins, minerals and supplements department over the past 52 weeks
  • 03:48 The backstory of Bloom’s founding and how you can build upon one simple idea.
  • 07:32 Creating an in-house agency of TikTok and Instagram influencers to generate over 500M views per month as a top-of-funnel strategy.
  • 12:03 When do you know it’s time to chase expansion for your brand?
  • 14:19 Busting the myth that DTC brands don’t do well in big-box retailers like Target and Walmart.
  • 18:50 The nuances of using digital marketing ads to send consumers into retail stores to buy your products.
  • 23:12 The need to think further ahead with product development when selling in retail vs. selling online.
  • 28:48 The difference between a retail broker and a distributor, and why working with distributors can hurt product control.
  • 30:20 The importance of focusing on the day-to-day instead of dreaming over a future exit.

Greg LaVecchia on the Safety Net That Retail Offers That Amazon Doesn’t

Greg LaVecchia Tweetables

  • “Put your money where your mouth is and there's no excuse.” - Greg LaVecchia
  • “There is no attribution when you're trying to make sales in retail. So, throw all that data down the drain and just hope.” - Greg LaVecchia
  • “The greatest quote of all time is, ‘50% of my marketing doesn't work and I don't know which 50% that is.’” - Greg LaVecchia
  • “Three out of four attempts are a complete flop, but one out of four every year is a big home run. That’s how I think about our marketing.” - Greg LaVecchia
  • “You can't be the day-to-day CEO and be on the roadshow trying to pitch.” - Greg LaVecchia


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