#27: Maya French - Beverages, Bear Attacks & Chicago
Hey everybody, welcome to the show on this the podcast I have my friend and my friend. She is the CO founder of Koya one of the most delicious plant based protein beverages. You'll ever have in your life and I really do mean that. These things are super delicious. If the chance and you find Koi, K., o. a. and let me say. The Vanilla bean is out of control. It's super delicious. We talk about where she came from the beverage business. All kinds of crazy stuff and it really hope you enjoy it. Please welcome Maya French. Maya, how are we? How are you pretty good? Thanks for coming on this show narrowly intro gnarly interim indeed. Just, get out and start dancing or something house Andrew. You feel it makes me feel really hype. Unlike I'm ready. We're fist-bump and right now. You can't see because this is audio only, but yeah, it's what we're doing. So I have a bunch of questions for you, so the beverage business is like this really crazy business right so you're basically taking a heavy liquid and shipping it across the US. There's the whole different distribution system where you're dealing with a lot of smaller direct sales, distributors, and asking you for equity, and and sort of there's like almost a mafia component to the whole thing like what's been like the deal with. Oh. Yeah I, mean I think every year is different stage of the business which we have to deal with. Different people so starting out. It's probably really easy you're. Innocent. You don't really know much, and you can kind of use that to your advantage. But also being conscious of not being taken advantage of by these big guys, but we were very lucky early on because we received a national deal with whole foods, which opened up with unify nationwide, so we really didn't have to worry about any smaller distributors until later so that just you know stores are able to look at look at the log and pick us out, or we go to the distributor shows and be right in front of the people, so they can. Just you know order than there? This year we're really starting to open up into smaller DSD's and that's tricky because of the mafia aspect. The Mafia's real his actually. They have these territories like wait. Will you know this distributor that we're working with this larger district? Services to store in this territory. So how can we make it work? Oh, we can't. We can't work with you, and then you see your competitor the next month, and all these accounts and you're like. Exactly! So I mean it can be really really hard to navigate just like being strategic about who you choose your partners and then. The equities! That was not on the table for us. As it shouldn't be exactly as it should be anybody out there, it's easy equity. Yeah, that's kind of wild, so see I started off in whole foods and. For, those of you listening that are in the food and beverage beverage Biz that means that essentially you don't ship directly to whole foods. You shipped to a distributor and the distributor actually ships to the retailer itself, and so to go straight into unify. That's kind of a crazy setup for these. DSP's to rank, is they're? They're distributing everywhere exactly until their territory is. Dorrie and even like for some places we switched over to Diaz de Just because we need, it more is on the pro on the product and DISD also work as a merchandiser. If you have a really close relationship with them, they'll take really care of your product versus you shipping into these big distributors, and they kind of leave it on shelves Oh God can spend extra money for merchandisers. Gets really confusing. Those guys are almost like a glorified trucking companies. Yeah, they are. Like give them a bunch of margin. Just ship things in a truck and it's it's a monopoly till yeah. I wonder what will happen. with unify and in whole foods, so Amazon acquired whole foods a couple of years ago now and Amazon is kind of well known for the whole distribution and fulfillment thing exactly Joe. Donald is going to happen unify, but shaking into boots. Yeah, I think so I think so and insecure. Probably the same I know, but what does that mean for us for as brand you know? Are. We going to get you know. I don't want to curse. You. fucked. Now. Do they have all of this control? That's a great question. I wonder I wonder if we will yeah, you know I mean they could totally do it completely. Do they already do it on Amazon Dot Com if you're vendor brand, yeah. We don't sell on Amazon. Amazon fresh now we'll see what other opportunities there on the future, but yet can be. It's that's a problem, and also the barrier to entry will be hired to right right because a lot of these brands. You know they're bootstrapping. A lot of these brands. Their big thing is to get into whole foods. That's like their main goal is like once you get into whole foods. Then you're. You're golden. Everyone else wants you. then. That's the perception, so if these ranch are focusing on that and the barrier to entry is much higher than you know what's going to happen then right? I, don't know. That is fascinating wholefoods is they've always been that? I don't know that like local forager like not quite a farmer's market, but we're still cool. You know to like take the new and innovative and in weird brands in. I hope that never changes even with the Amazon Component. Yeah, I hope that never is either you know i. read something. Really. Funny Today was not funny. It's really sad. That like I think one day buyers expect one person of brands till like make past a year once they get on a shelf. Yeah I. Just read that on. If it's you know that numbers factual, but. It seems little on par just knowing that. Especially in beverage, the amount of cash start up capital that you have to have to launch a product like think about everything goes into production ingredients like everything goes into your call especially with those refrigerator product shipping, so yeah, it's really hard to sustain. Pass a year right and is everything that you guys ship is at all refrigerated. Who Yeah and so having all refrigerated supply. Supply Jane is a whole different cost structure. Right because you know instead of just being able to ship something via Fedex. Got Worry about that thing getting warm and you know if you're shipping pallets and trucks of these things that dollar amount adds up pretty quick, it does, and of course there are way more trucks available that ship. What is it that I'm sorry? Non Perishable Yeah. Word, what does the word only perishable? But? Yeah, they're a lot more people that ship nonperishable. Then there are shipped perishable, and then you have to think about. To See like direct consumer, are you do that? No, no, no, so like for us. What we're doing is using ARDITA. See more as a place where people can buy things in bulk or they can't do that in store. Just, appeasing the customers he ask, it's a it could be a place where you can offer exclusives tryout, maybe product for. The consumers react to it. Get some feedback, but is it a sales driver for us being a perishable product? Now Yeah? That's actually really interesting way to to use it though right because if you know, you're selling perishable product that has to be cold all the time, and you can't have sort of a DC giant business as a result than what you do, then you do stuff like that. It's actually a really interesting and creative way to view it actually. How did you guys come with that? That's a really good question and. Obviously City well, we. We had an opportunity last year. Where we could begin selling online, and so we were like okay well, let's just do it, but you know now we can. We have the ability to have subscriptions and have a loyal customer base, and you know kind of like really built out like a newsletter program again. give you know exclusive deals to our loyal customers, and so we saw this entire way the we can kind of build a community online through this little driver and we just we're refining it now. Of course you kind of just push things out. See Rakes refine later. But I think it's been. It's been going pretty well for us. Just as an awareness driver, and appeasing those loyal loyal customers or even customers that are in bumble fuck, Minnesota. Have no health food stores, and your them and they really wanNA order the product then they're gonNA. Order it online, but that's awesome, and so when you guys I got into whole foods. What was that like? What was the you know, so? You have a ton of beverages snacks, and in even retail store and he grocery store. You can have five thousand skews something like that even more and so like what really hooked on like. What was the process like? Like talking to the buyer, and and doing all that so we before we got into whole foods, we run about forty stores that was across two states so Chicago and Michigan and then we actually lived really close to the regional office in Chicago of the whole entire Midwest well so winner for meeting. They allowed us to do a test in two stores. I think it. Lincoln the Kingsbury Location and Lincoln Park location so Nick Lakeview. Like, very link apart, so did that. proved ourselves out, and then were invited for that big big big meeting. Because, of course they're really excited about something. That's new and innovative. which it was you know at the time when you see some competitors now, but we were kind of at the forefront of the nut trend on, but during that time it's really funny. We went to a rebrand to so then again. The skepticism came from whole foods or like. Are you guys ready for us? You know we need you. Guys have all your ducks in a role like you need to have. Your production facility already lined up for co-manufacturing the self. Manufacturing is no more like can't do that anymore. You need to have a shelf life. That's like past thirty days where you're only real ended thirty eight show. Like, we had all these things that we were getting away with. And when you get to whole food, you really have to have all your ducks in a row. You have to have funding. We have to be prepared for whatever they're going to whatever deal. They're gonNA. Give you, so. We actually had stopped selling Oliver other stores In at the beginning of two thousand sixteen kind of just went back to the drawing board, reformulated no change process method to get a longer shelf life. We rebranded. We came up with quakes richer five before and yeah, we presented the whole foods. They were super impressed the. National L. which is amazing and never happens, and then there's like Yay, but then because I only fuck. We're going from forty to four hundred stores overnight. As amazing as Get in there, right? You got your product you doing doing a reform which co manufacturing facilities, who no longer doing self manufacturing, and then and then also changing the name and the. I mean that's a lot of stuff to do such a short amount of time, oh yeah. I'm like how heaven aged have no idea I. Remember was like twenty four hour days from anywhere from like reformulation to dislike brand name expirations, and like everything was packed into that short period of time. That's what it takes. You have to grind for what you want. There's no cutting corners when it comes to that. This is the big time. It's like you've been playing in the AAA who've been fighting in the. Tough man competitions, and all of a sudden in the AFC calls like well better. Have all of your training in line? You don't get another shot like. If you go, and you promise that whole foods buyer like yeah. Hey, we're GONNA. Have this big national rollout, and then you say like you just didn't ship product Oh that almost happened. Did you really yeah? Here's a juicy juicy, and this wasn't setup by the way I didn't. Like all too convenient array. So, yeah, you get one chance and so we had actually picked up and moved to La and wanted to be really close to our action facility. Thank, God we did. Thank God. We had ordered materials enough for two runs. And not just one because we went into check one day just right before it was posted ship nationwide, and we found one box. Spoilt started checking all the boxes. The entire production run spoilt. Shit Oh yeah, do would yes. My stomach was in my ass. Can't even imagine it's like the worst. It's like all of your dreams. I just flush down the toilet. So, we called in. A favor. Like Oh. My God like here's our situation like you know or else. We're out of business. They let a slide in for like an emergency. Run you know we had to. It was actually it was like something as little as like missing kill step. We didn't have before because when you're scaling. Of course. So you know fix that. Shifted. You're good to go into the store. I know I mean I mean if we if we. So we could have the problem with that is when we shipped. We weren't like we were a little bit late, so we didn't hit. All the stories are once so that we had to kind of catch up with out of stocks and I'm starting at the Voids That was tough. It was like three months of lake, chasing our tails, trying to fill the voids that we missed on that first shipment, so nothing was perfect we had everything and he had dreams there, and then it was just like oh! Here comes the the downward spiral. That always happens when you have you know everything happens great, and you're like okay. What when Shit GonNa hit the fan I know it. And then it was hitting the fan wild. That is so wild and the voids. Again basically means that your product just isn't on shelf and a place to should be on shelf exactly, and did you go around and say okay now we're just going to go into every individual retail location, and just talk to the buyer and get it on shelves. Like how did you solve that that problem of stores that should have product not having it after the initial delay. Well, that's pretty tough, right? You can't do it on your own it. It was only three of US literally. Three of US I working for the company at that time, so we had to hire merchandisers, and those merchandisers were people feed on the street who can go into every single store? And you literally had to be like micromanaging like like making lists every week. Did you check this out? Check this off? Thankfully, whole foods like gives you data, so you can actually like. See Imagine if it was another store. Yeah, it's hard very hard and a lot of stores don't actually do that a lot of stores. They don't give you the data to look at exactly. Like thousands. Hannity, that's another one of those barriers like you're saying right like once and once you hit the big leagues. You got all your ducks, and you have to have the funding and all those things and one of those reasons that you need at least the funding opponent. Is that well? If you want to know what storytelling in and knowing, you have to buy data packages very expensive very expensive. Yeah, it's almost not fair. Yeah, you might say it's built for giant multi-billion dollar multinational corporations for. It now you see a Only one person survived. Because you're like Oh. My God I just thought you. Throw the product on show in. It's their right and it sells because people like an looks cool boots food. Meyer should be fine. NEW Quite that is yeah, so now you're getting the DISD thing. And and so these are they primarily going into like convenience stores, and that sort of thing? Yeah, they're hitting all those up. Mom and pop accounts for you that the the big guys won't touch because you know they. They work with minimum at the little. Guys can't afford, so it's like. How do you you reach the Danny's little local market DSP? Those are the guys. Will actually go in there and put your signs up and plays and things, and if you experienced yet any of this sorta like yeah, now, beverage industry knife fight stuff where like people are ripping your signs down and peeling your stickers off coolers and like all this insane shit. I cannot recall that being done to us but I it's so funny I literally went into a store. The other day to whole foods actually No, we have had it you. Like having more space. Other deals came in and ages bullied you out of your space, and they made more room for their product, which is a competitor, but no recently went to whole foods I was looking for this. T- that I really like clean energy and They were like. Oh, well, it should be a cold cooler, but now it's on the dry shove. Oh, but their competitor was just in your earlier this week moving stuff around dirty, so it makes sense I was like all that's. That's what happened. Yes, what happens there? It happens actually in the snack part of the business to, but especially in in convenience like there's just this culture going in there and ripping people shutdown. That's rude. It's crazy. Yeah, and know the stores. Larger stores are cracking down on that on. It's probably why they don't want them in the store that much. So that's why they have these plans. And then they're just itching. They're like waiting for the the plan again kind of. Like you know, wait out over time. IS COMING NEAR The sales and do whatever they want. Mess up the shows again. Awful Grazie and your products actually really interesting because. I'd consumed. How many brands like protein shakes like all of them? And you know from the from the metrics Teva Sido Sport. Naked Pineapple protein, which is like a million grams of sugar and. It's. Protein Lice alone is like twenty seven. For. A protein shakes, and you look at the. New Jersey bearing like wait a second are like for every one gram of sugar. There's point six grams of protein. Sugar converted into. Maybe, they're under shipped. What's going? And then the cool, the cool thing about yours is like it's it's plant based right, and that's oftentimes associated with sort of bad taste, or at least a has historically this chalky kind of weird taste, and yours does not have that. It's like extremely delicious. Ilia really I mean taste is number one right? If a person tries your product, they taste it and they have a bad experience. They're not coming back. You get that initial sale and that's it. No repeat customer, so that's why taste is always number one. Did you know when you're thinking about the taste element of it was? How did you think about the formulation of that? Was it? These are the flavors that are popular now. That we've tried and tested and we think are good. Did you try to consumers? And like? How did you come up with those flavors and then and then formulate them because like I said they're. They actually taste really really good, yeah? I mean it's a little bit of. Let's start off with the basics to vanilla and the chocolate. Let's make the chocolate really like rich like a cow powder. So once we had those we were very fortunate to have really good relationships with the smaller mom and pop shops that will allow us to go in and demo the product even when we're in the middle of formulation just. Just like try it out and consumers get their feedback. We go back to our little commercial kitchen and reformulate according to like what the masses thought. Okay. Oh, it's a little bitter. Okay, so like. Let's make a little lighter and little just like sweeter on the taste. Just kind of adjusting I think that's the beauty of having a small business and startup because once you get. Bigger, it's really hard to go back and reform late in the just like every week, so we did that until we felt like we had a really really great flavor. It was like selling out like crazy and then when it came to extensions is like well. What appears well with Almond Milk? So before we had a Pumpkin, we had chai. You're kind of looking at a even like. Oh, we're drinks starbucks coming out, you know and then again the same process going into the stores, identifying the product and getting feedback adjusting accordingly. Ryan, so you do all that in the early stage in them. That way by the time they're does come knockin. You're like yeah, no problem we can. Go! Check out this vanilla bean protein chain was up. And so now you have a kito line of products, and so does all the hotness. At the current moment, a lot of people don't even know what that is. Actually I was looking at Google trends, the other day and googling Tito, and just like other words people are searching for and they're like is Pasta Kito and or chips keyed. CARBS. Exactly, it's like obviously no people have no idea, but I feel like. It just shows you that the word Tito is so sexy. Right to howl that people are just trying to find anything as Kito the trying to find it. Who? How has that product launch? Because actually? When did you launch? That was this year? Yeah, we actually launched product that the beginning of this year January. Start off fresh new year new you. So it's been amazing for us, The Trojan horse into mass markets mass retailers like Walmart and you know Costco they. They all want like every. That's all their customers are talking about the buzz of Kito so we have Akito product, and it tastes amazing. They're like we want it, and then you're like. Oh wait you have other products taste good. Okay, we'll take those two, so it's It's like ninety five percent and sales for is it did not cannibalize the core line which is amazing because that's always concerned. That was going to be question actually. Yeah, look at you. Yeah that was my next question. You know oftentimes when people introduce new lines of products or new flavors like just going to cannibalize the current sales that we're experiencing whatever it is and walking into the key line and having that sort of anti cannibalisation mindset. How did that inform your product development and the way that you marketed it like what made it different for than sort of the protein angle? What made it? Kito was just taking out of the sugar that you possibly could, and then maybe adding mcat like. How did you think through that whole thing? Yeah, so we did like a coconut milk slash coconut water base Keep that sugar really low still no added sugar Keeping the car was very low high fat, so it was like mcat we have. Very High Grade C. T. oil I think it was called C, eight, C, eight one other companies bulletproof. So. Yeah just having actually I think it's yeah, it's. So just having those call outs we changed. The call outs on the packaging Sit a little leaflet that we have the top of our packaging. It says on our core line eighteen grams of protein, but we don't call out the protein on the Keel. I would call out the mcat oil. So that's very important because you thinking about what those consumers are looking for when looking for Keita products, so it's just like. Tweaking the messaging a little bit and you know seeing with grabs consumers is were going to be changing. Our Choline Sake Koyo Protean. How quick he! So just making sure that the meshing just very straightforward right and what are the macro is like on the Keough shake five net carbs twelve rooms sugar. Let's see what else. Trying to. Talking to sugar. Protein Oh my God Three grams of sugar. What else can I say off the top? I'm not a huge. Let me grab one of those. grabble all talk talk in the interim. Kiddos an interesting thing. I was on a really strict ketogenic diet for awhile like two years and. It's actually really difficult to find quality ketogenic anything especially beverages and things like that I feel like I. Don't know when maybe you're hitting the market at the right time and being in January. It's actually really hard to define things like this. It is actually the beauty of this product is an indulgent solution for those around and Keto Diet. So when you're on Akito Diet. Of course, you have to get rid of all of your sweet indulgences. Your guilty pleasures and Canada's beyond a sugar free, diet, but here you're holding the chocolate Brownie which actually tastes like brownies? So you know no more of those. Craving it and you know I'm going to get out of Ketosis if I like Freakin Brownie like no grab your clear Kito, a hold you over in like that was like my life on the strict Ketogenic Diet right, it's like. I. Need some fruit towards them trying to. and find something to make it easier for you to stick to your goals. Yeah, that's awesome. So where are you selling the Kito one now, so we're in Walmart so we just got off exclusive with whole foods like hitting the ground running in. Were you were in I? Think it only took one month to get over two thousand counts with this one. So yeah, anywhere firm, who who just code I know offers in boulder. I know I was just there. That's what I said. Hey y'all. Whole foods, of course, airman just picked it up. So which is huge. That's great, yes. The whole foods Yep, the better knows you're. On, they're the healthiest grocery store owners, and also the most expensive Koshi store when I walk in there. I know that I'm not going to spend less than twenty dollars in. That might be for a bar. I'm single item. One of the people that work for me. They go to air. Want all the time. and. Walked in the other day, and they had this of strawberries, normal, tiny, little, plastic, thing and strawberries. And like you know how much this was much eighteen dollars. Why did you do Anik? Region. From the Burgundy region of France, but it's so good. It's like it literally like. Is So So. You don't feel that bad is especially their hot bar Oh. My God bars out of control is like I would go over to a bar versus a restaurant. Airlines bar is top notch. There I didn't know what airline was like a couple years ago and walk in that thing in Santa Monica. I'm going around like I. Don't know feels kind like new. York City Bodega a little bit, so chills really tall and. And, then I get to the hot part at Mike. That's what's going on here. What yes, and their epoch seven dollar donuts? Seven dollars donut yet would seriously. Good or what yeah has like mushrooms and ends of what? SHRIMP APP TO JIM boy. The textures perfect. It's worth seven dollars. Now I'M GONNA. have to go and try one of those. So, this is a seven dollar. Mushroom field adapted Jin donut probably Keno. It's probably packed. What else they're doing it. That'd be zero sugar, but it tastes like it's fifty. It's airlines like the experimental spot like the experimental food hot spot right now. Oh, yeah! Really expensive, but also all the cutting edge, cool shit, you go in there and see what the new trends are before. They even hit whole foods, and just the product selection is incredible. I feel like I'm in a different country. When walk in there just because they have so many cool items right I. Wonder you see Walmart Newtalk. These are Walmart right the. Warmer yeah to Walmart congratulations on that by the way. It's really really really awesome Walmart is taking more and more steps in that direction. Really really fast, right? It's like yeah, we want organic. We want natural foods. We want these things that are better for you and functional, and all these different things and I. See them doing it I wonder how long it's going to be before Walmart is like whole foods is now. A while right, think about the Walmart customer late they want to be healthy, but you know you have to kind of drive the price down because they're not gonna pay for healthy, and then on a little intimidated by so it was like the products that they're accepting are more on the I. Understand this, but I'm not intimidated by. Right yes. It has had that like perfect mixture. You can't just throw in like a atomic. You know or adapt Dejan Latina's bottled and expect people to know or by especially, if it's like five dollars, it's so as not going to be a whole foods in a while. You're seven dollar. Mushroom and data didn't donuts and Walmart anytime soon. I guess unfortunately not. Don't think that's going to happen. That is why I think a couple of the very first brands I ever saw in Walmart were. SAMBA's on Yeah, yeah, it was a while ago and then I. Don't know if we're trying to figure it out. But since then I mean they've taken in all kinds of things now. It's really interesting, but it's like okay. They're taking it in. Is it moving right? That's the question that is a question and I wonder, too. If they're putting on sort of a different set of KPI's relative to your, you know your full full octane Coca Cola's in your, you know full octane flaming hot cheetos. He added. They know they're going like palettes and Palettes. They're like okay. We'll lure standards for these healthy products because it makes us look great. It's shows that we care about our consumers and people wanna hear that they want to hear that out of their favorite stored at their store cares about them, so they're taking initiative to bring in more healthy products. Yeah, and more really can move the needle to. There's such an enormous business like it's a half. A trillion dollars like a five hundred billion dollar revenue business allow yeah, well in college. Kids love it right. Some some places. where I grew up. There wasn't a super bowl. There's like a regular Walmart and then they put Sumer Super Walmart in an like way out way way way out in the country, and so like everybody from everywhere is driving like an hour and a half hour, even just get to the mart to shop four anything. Yeah, stuff by like almost a cusco. You're like buying things you know stocking up because the low price is and you. You probably have a big family. No, maybe not you, but you know. Most of people have large families. They live in the middle of nowhere. That might live in a food desert, so they have to stop at Walmart closest this thing as everything fruit deserts isn't that interesting concept yet is food deserts I? Know I grew up in one. Explain a food desert food desert. Basically, there are no grocery stores miles. You know there's no you have to eat fast food. Because there, there is no place to buy groceries insane and had the walk. I had to walk like a mile and a half to get the or drive, and what if I don't have a car? You know screwed skateboard here and so I'm forced to eat unhealthy food because it's available and it's cheap versus me going to grocery store, and picking out fruits and vegetables and cooking for myself and. Creating a healthy environment for my family. I don't have the opportunity to do so. That's what a food desert is near mostly and low income areas Yeah, it's interesting like in. Even that was a very food desert like area. Everyone's eight fast food. It's just so cheap. It just like insanely cheap, you know. Go Get yourself a McDonald's mcchicken for seventy nine cents or WHATEVER THEY COST! You know it's it's. It's a really interesting thing because they've been. They've been able to sort of. Make this really really cheap food. That's like partially, not food you know. It's like the pink slime and stuff. I know it's so interesting because you know. When we did it, we did a lot of work at the pilot plant in a perdue. So that's Indiana and there are a lot of homesteaders there and they are pro this type of like GMO food because they say you know when we exhaust over resources like water. We're GONNA have we're. We're GONNA need to create genetically modified food, but on the other end like kind of take action early then we won't have to go to. We don't know the long term effects of this type of food, either just know like right now like people are getting cancer and such, but they're all also other free radicals and things that are causing that, so there's this huge. Do we are we pro? GMO or we do need to take action now. Kind of prevent that from happening in the future. The GMO subject is really really fascinating to it, so you have like the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that are very very pro GMO and you know in places that are not America right where they don't have sort of a constant and stable agricultural food supply GMO's can actually feed lots of people and prevent them from starving to death, right exactly, and then simultaneously in the US like yeah, but you know we don't want GMO's because of welfare litany of reasons right a lot of pesticide usage roundup ready crops biodiversity of this. You know just this. Monolithic weird like you know not really a natural version of farming pesticide residue in all these reasons, and it's really interesting, delicate balance, and it's like not all are the same either right. It's like some of the GMO's are made to resist pesticides, which is like terrible, right raised. Dump much pesticide. You want on crop ill in. It never dies. But, then, if you GMO like tomato, so it lasts lake five days longer from spicing it with gene from a Mingo. It's like okay well. That's probably fine. Yeah, long as you're not like putting a budget like weird chemicals on right. Yeah, yeah, I mean they're? I'm sure they'll figure out. You know better solutions for feeding the masses in the future like He does better farming solutions. But yet totally not down with the Monsanto thing. Argument Has Guys Yeah. It's interesting right and a Lotta food. Science programs are funded by Monsanto in the wake Dow chemical and the rest of them. Have you ever taken the drive from? We're in Los Angeles now. Have you ever driven up like through Central Valley through Fresno and stuff? Where the farms are where they're decals us like like on top of each other and like just laying in their own. or even by like the orange farms. There's all these billboards and all the billboards for GMO seeds Oh. Really ask wild. All farmers out there? Yeah, and so you're driving lions billboards incentive it being. You Know Coca, Cola or Whatever new movie! Coming out instead of do that. It's like you know Gede forty-seven bieb roundup seed, or whatever like dull your crop. theod Ian Salary. was so crazy. It is really hard. Fruit farmers to switch over to organic to very difficult. Yeah, it's like you know they're. They're kind of being. You know ruled by these bigger corporations than the amount of years and like startup. cavs takes switch over your farm to organic. It just doesn't make sense, so it's. Stuck stuck in his. Yeah, it's kind of tough especially when you're farmer right because the margins are tight already like when you're, you're not killing the game like it's. It's a tough tough business. You're dealing with weather. You're dealing with like you know just a bunch of wild pigs, coming and eating all of your Ullmann's bugs bugs anything every everyone your crap. It's like everything is left to chance, but these firemen I feel so. So bad for yeah. It's a wild wild business, and then if you WANNA, switch your farm from being conventional to being organic, you have to get you have to go through a transitional period, which is anywhere from three to seven years I. Think Right, and and you're redoing the soil and all the stuff, and meanwhile you're Burnin cash trying to convert it in hopes that you can figure out the way to farm organically. Because you're doing before, you can't do anymore. Yeah, so it's a really really crazy and tricky thing for those farmers I think, said deadly cycle. That's why the the big guys are the ones that can really afford to have the organic farms like little guys. There's no for them right. It's really sad. Wow, that's so fascinating yet. Super Fascinating you ever want to. Have Your own little more farm. Animals. Sheep Buffalo. I just want the farm for the. Twenty five dollars. Maybe a coyote. I can't keep a plant alive to save my life. Over we have enough of them. Usually get some sprinklers. Sprinkling. Live in Seattle. All the TAB, you could have if you could have a farm and you can have animals on the farm. Like what animals would you? Choose. Your top three starting team pigs goats goats, really cute. Yeah, pigs are really smart. And then The little dwarf goats, those are the best way the small ones those are sick and then probably a horse you're. Right, around run around the Dombi apocalypse horse gives me real point to point B. Deva Sword. You gotTA. Have a sort pigs and check yet. I heard I heard sheep before pretty hard sheep. Yeah, so I think I'm a pretty equipped to be a farmer. Yes cheaper. She progressed I grew up across from field full of sheep. Shaving him in the summers and selling the wool and hall, thing and sheep there. They don't have souls for sure. asshole yet. They don't care about you at all. They know it's so funny. Take hurts my heart. Moved there like why are you talking to me? Do you have food. Leave. Cheaper Very. Apparent about the way they feel about you to. They're not sugar coating shit. You Know Me Sheepish. That might be well. Sheepish is exactly where that comes from. ME. Prefer to have just like sheepdogs I think it would be better. Oh Yeah. Cool have you. Know I know time travel too much now same. I really want to, but I just can't do it, I could see you a Husky yeah. Husky Doberman. That's a move. That's cool. What kind of stuff do doing besides like obviously running a awesome, tasty, delicious, healthy successful beverage brand? Yeah, my social life is beverage industry, but I love it I love it. I. Get to travel and speak to cool people i. get the meat so many cool people like I'm always fan, grill and like. This person and they actually WanNa talk to me. And then you know I love a huge outdoor enthusiasts now ever since I moved to California I, just like dip my feet into water and now Mike Okay. Wasn't. Where's the next trail? Like Woodson next extreme sports that I could try out is like love, the great outdoors always going on like fun. Little trip did Yosemite of course boulders. They're doing some hikes and yeah with the Oregon. So you, the national parks and stuff now and so you're new to the outdoors, yes. New Three years real vet. Awesome. I go backpacking and stuff all the time and hunting and whatnot, so yeah. What? What What campsite where you at in Yosemite Parcel, which one so we did a mistrial? Brin nearly glacier point we to make it all the way up there so like half dome. Hike and then we were. is really good. Time here because that's where all the waterfalls or like at their peak, and it was just like well. It become two weeks won't be here, so we did a lot of those cool hikes and Gossiping Grief Photos. I love photography's I. Take Nature Photos all the time. Yeah, we stayed out there. I think he was just like a two day trip and you know with some friends who actually got engaged at Yosemite were. When you were there now? We want to go back. You can. Excuse good enough for me to gets Yosemite. That's ethics like yeah, well. One thing is Yosemite is ultra beautiful like nobody. If you've never gone there, you gotta go. 'cause the waterfall you go into this big valley, and there's just waterfalls falling all around you as you're driving in just like this really beautiful and epic landscape and the weirdest looking rocks you've ever seen like flat sides of cliffs and Shit. It's pretty wild. It's like you're living in a wonderland like it's like avatars. It's crazy I was like wow, the earth can do this, and this is in my backyard. It's incredible. It's not that hard to get to know. It's not I feel I. Don't know what the percentage of people are. Who get to make it to places like that, but it's not nearly as high as it should be. Yeah, you're right. I think a lot of people also a little intimidated especially by the hikes like Oh, by this is, this is so narrow like you know I'm not in the best shape I'm not gonNa make it is like no, they're they're. They're a smaller hikes and things that you can do that I see. People bring their children there all the time and you know the older people younger people people of all ages, and all backgrounds is just taking that leap, and doing it not overthinking it right? Yeah, that's right and the outdoors have a weird effect on on your brain. I. Don't know if you feel like this, but when I'm out there, it's almost like an odd sense of clarity. It's like devoid of Wifi and Bluetooth and cameras and I. Mean maybe you're taking a picture yourself on a rock. Dangling off. Close I. Am to the Pitcher Dizzy count. Like all this other external stuff you know it's just not a lot of traffic and honk and people yelling which is provide you some some additional mental clarity like. Is that something that you get out of that experience? What what drew what sort of drew you to to the outdoors? He had definitely just the chance to disconnect from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Have that mental clarity in also I, think people are just much happier when they're on the trail. You see people that are just smiling. They want it. They say hi to you and you're like Whoa. You're not like this in the city, you. You know his like a really great liberating feeling, and just to be like one with the earth. There's a search thing force bathing when people are going to the four is sort of a reignite creativity, and he just when you leave, you feel so much better, and you're ready to take on the world and you probably just like crush a crazy hike that you didn't think you could do and you. You feel like all my I just like crushed. His goal I'm really crush more goals like nothing could be as hard as what I did. He's like so many thoughts and amazing feelings are going through your mind. Awesome. Did you stay in ten out there? I made a makeshift tent is really funny, so we had We have some friends who actually. Live in Yosemite because he worked there, so they have a campus. Oh, we! We stayed there, but I was I was really allergic to their dogs. They had so I like went out into the truck in like made a makeshift tim had. Like a little sun roof so I could see the trees. It was real cool. Real peaceful. And it's hilarious. But. That was a rude discovery. You're like Oh. Yeah, stay in this little thing in the your dislike is close sneezing. Yeah I was like Oh I. Have Asthma, too, so it was like through excluded. The get outside in the fresh air. Did you? Have you seen any animals yet out hiking on those little frigging squirrels all. I haven't seen any like epic epic animals I mean what a coyote here and there Cayo last doesn't streets in London as like no. Other foxes. Saving! More, enough trashing animals. And nothing really cool I probably would forget a mountain, lion or something crock show. For. Bear or bear yeah, which I used to think. We're really friendly. Until I like went down the the deep dark web in south solid. All my God I'm on my favorite. Bear attack. Skill. That's right. I watch a lot of. Animal attack videos. Yeah just a prepares. You know just because it's like. What nature does like that's hey. Yeah, it's Yogi bear. Not Real. No, no boo boo also not real. Advertisement for thought they bears were right. They're cute and cuddly, and they've like eat peanut butter. And Jelly and ship yeah an honey. Generally they eat humans. Right. There was this giant giant bear that I came upon in June this year I was backpacking in Seattle and It was the biggest bear. Seem thing was e Nora's huge may Obama's by himself. Yeah it was. It was cool Razi. Unfortunately, he didn't want anything to do with us, I have my sidearm. Fortunately, so I felt fine. But yeah he was you. Don't you also realize how athletic they are? Because the bears kind of inner about this bear you know, and he's maybe thirty yards away or something like that and he's do do do do just like hanging out. Is GonNa win? Leave falling through the grass and the forest, and then he sees this log, and then he's just. fucking leaps like a cat would lead just. So fast, it's like five six hundred pound animal. was like Oh. That's the thing to be afraid of all yeah. I heard the females are more dangerous. Yeah, depends essentially two types of bears it. You don't want to really run into. One is a predatory male bear, and the other one is a female with a cubs. Yeah, because what bears also do, and the reason, the females are so protective over the cubs is after they're done eating the first thing that especially grizzly bears do is they go searching for for the female bears to go eat their cubs. Oh, yeah, heard of that! That's so sick! That's crazy. Right Guide you have. Bears are default cannibals, these guys. The females defend the the cubs, and and so if they come upon a human that they obviously don't know that you don't want to also the cubs, and so they're ready to go. And Bear Ever Eaten Bare, actually yeah, yeah, Fares are wild. That's awesome. It's a rare thing that people don't grow up with the outdoors, and then they discover it which is like really really cool to hear actually. I grew up in the concrete jungle She were intimidated by the greater doors. It was like Oh my God. There's a leaf on me got to bug. freaking out at everything by you, Kinda just like. Get your feet wet and you're like Oh. This isn't that bad. After actually. Wallace's liberate great. This is why I have not done this my entire life right you know, and it just helps you i. think overcome other things there's is a mindset is a month shift, so yeah, a lot of people think about most like people live up in an urban environments. They're very afraid to get out into nature and just enjoy with the good earth has to give us Ryan which isn't say, and that's probably why people don't really care about the environment too. Because, he's still doing. That's actually a great point. Yeah, yeah, because if you do grow up in the concrete jungle, you're used to you. know the garbage man coming every Sunday or whatever and there's trash in the streets and shit everywhere all the time and in nature like there's no one to go clean up your mess. Exactly his. You have to respect nature. And? These people they don't respect it. Because the they're not. They don't fill part of it. They just feel like maybe inconvenience. Oh well, maybe we need to build on this land. Is just yeah, it's it's a different perspective so I'm. Thankfully, there's a lot of. Talk Right now. Climate Change and sustainability and everybody's jumping on the bandwagon. As they like to do so. Maybe we'll see some change in the future I hope so, and we need more people out into the forest for sure Oh, yeah, how can we do that I don't know, but we gotta figure out some planning. We got a start like a nonprofit called Gabon the four before bitch. Kidding. It's an initiative to help. People care more about the environment has four create a healthier world to live in. A Real I do feel like there is a need for that though I really do. Feel like people would want to do it, too, they would. And so, what Where did you grow up when Abraham to grope in south side of Chicago Soundtrack Chicago, and how different is that from la? Tilly! It's very segregated You know like I, said Food Desert Everybody's just trying this revive. Some people don't even make. Too intimidated to step outside of their neighborhood because they feel like they don't belong anywhere else and then here in La. Everybody's just like you know. No one cares about what race you are more like a classes. You know everybody just like integrated living together the very calm, a lot of noise out in the street. Which I love Oh. My God I'm so used to hearing sirens all the time. Even live downtown Chicago was always sirens. Some of those getting hurt. Someone's getting shot and here is like it literally is lowland. It's like unreal. Yeah, it's the to me. One of the best places to live in the United States la is It's interesting because I think a lot of people don't know what else is now like. And they think of smog or they think of Hollywood I think if something. But it's actually not very smoggy Hollywood's very kind of small spot. You know of his ball. Part of La and it really is sort of a really beautiful place. When did you? When did you move here three years ago three years? And it was crazy because you know, I've found my place online I saw at the day I, moved in that was how abrupt the move was, so it was kind of like taking a leap of faith in seeing like well. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but this is my first time really moving away from home, so we just going to insert myself into a new environment. See how it goes and has turned out great. That's sick. Yeah, and so, what prompted the move to? La Was it for the business yet definitely wanted to be closer to co-manufacture because of course. Have that I. Do it right there? And do you think I mean? I moved to L. A. for the same reason from San. Diego before You know I feel like the bigger cities like this are certain hubs. The can have the talent in you know for lack of a better term kind of the I dunno, the societal steam of some kind that helps businesses grow Have you found that in la like feel like the start up culture here is is pretty alive and well Oh. Yeah, definitely you're running around like Oh why does it have a job why? But, yes, super easy to find talent here because everybody's like creative, everybody's like into health food, or you know definitely a large food senior, especially on the west side like Santa Monica Venice so that's really helpful just to have those resources and people you can go to not fill alone, versus in Chicago very very like maybe only like there was a maybe a couple of other food startups back then so not really anyone that you can call on if you needed help or advice or a contact, so yeah here it's like find your tribe. You know run with it the resources. The weather's always great. Everybody's like. Really relaxed. Interesting dichotomy to the hard working but relaxed. Yeah. It's an it's like you know somebody who who grows up maybe harsher environmental. He's like like I did and I'm sure you did. It's it's. People aren't very relaxed now. They're not no, not at all That's what's wonderful about the like show office and sweatpants. If you want to you, nobody's going to like you know. Take it too seriously. It'd be like Oh. You need to put on a series and be like CBS Duffy, and now this relaxing we want you to feel comfortable and be in the best mindset, so you can be creative and Mo- most productive yes. I remember there was so. We had these intern. They all had a flipflops on and shorts and. This is a while back. This dude walks in I can't remember what city was from, but one of those like Maurice Kim. Now maybe it was Cleveland, or maybe it was yeah now Pittsburgh or something, and he walks in in this full suit, and he walks into the office of his briefcase and stuff, and it looks around with their buddies and he's like Oh! This is what California's why. He's eight a lot of police. You allow him to wear. Sandals. Lobster? Nothing like. Schooling your suit. seriously. I think could function in like the Tote I. in fact I am sure I could not function in the totally suited up life. No, it'd be Raff right? Yeah, to rough just like very just changes your whole entire dynamic, and it makes you just like this PC asshole. Like just like metamorphose into. God that's hilarious. It's true you. Wear cufflinks. What the Fuck Zach yourself too seriously. Is that a pocket square? What are you doing over there? Banquet going on, you have a pocket, square and cufflinks. Can Pocket Square planting. On something in their. Awesome so so you guys right now. You're obviously just launched this new Kito Line. Yeah, the protein line. That's already super, delicious and awesome that you've been doing for a while. You're getting more distribution link. What's the next year two three years? Look look like for you and Koya. Dhamma, mateen domination combination, yes, world domination, actually our mission is to spread plant based nutrition to the masses. Yeah, you know that food desert thing kind of hits home. It's like how can we have products like Koya in grocery stores? How can we pave the way for? For other healthy products to be in these like comedian stores, and the smaller stores where you know in debt are in food, deserts, and have like you know cheap crap. Like how can we provide a better option at a affordable price and give you the nutrition? They actually tastes good, and you're not compromising on anything, so that's our. That's our goal like world domination. On! There's a bunch of very easy and AMIS for you to go after I. Feel like even in like the faking. For Protein space, so yeah, yeah, there's a lot of targets on a lot of backs right now. I feel like Oh. Yeah. Yeah, and you know what I think. The the thing I love most about this industry you know we can be. Who you be a little catty, but we're always. All of us are pretty much go after the big guys. We're not really going to each other. Actually. We're all working towards the same goal and kick them out. It. That's right. Yeah that's. Actually is a great point like it was in the food space. Yeah, you're competing maybe with your direct competitors natural foods, but really you're competing against the big guys and the incumbents, and you know those multibillion dollar CPG organizations like that's who we're really going after a unit exactly, we're a little natural food army. Foods Malaysia. Love it. So where can they find more about Koya and yourself go to just drink Koya? Yes. Nailed it K IRA is how you spell Koyo, drink Koya! DRINK KOYA DOT com. You know facebook group. We got really cool secret if you're really into. The secret facebook. What you might find right. Maybe some new recipes may be some secret product launches in the future away knows what's in their nose awesome, and what about your personal instagram? Where where can they follow you? Yes, I admire Jay French show 'em a J. French like the language Jay French on instagram drink soya. You should drink it if you don't already. It really is really really delicious I'm not saying that just because you're within striking distance of me. Go, check it out and thanks so much for Viola shows. Thank you all for listening to this show as always. If you haven't done already, please press subscribe button. Hey, you're already in APP anyway right so double tap on those air pods, or whatever you got in your ears and subscribe to Joe. Don't be shy. Leave a rating and review, and if you want slide into my DM's on the Graham at I N. G. E. R. S. O. L. L. M. I k., adding all in on the Graham or any of your other favorite social media platforms, and let me know what you'd like me to cover the show. Would you like don't like Carlos? Sorts of things and I do appreciate all of you that are listening to my voice, right? I don't know I. Just decided to go into the sukey radio voice mood, but anyway I will not bore you with any more of this tro hope you enjoyed this episode and until next time I'll chat at you in peace.