Smári and Jenna discuss the building blocks and foundational values that fueled Smári Organics into America’s leading Icelandic skyr brand.
Insights from Smári
On Creating a Brand that Speaks to People:
- "Love and passion shine through when your product is thoughtfully made. Taking the time to develop a wholesome product and using great, clean ingredients really matters."
- "Your packaging has to jump out at people. Effective packaging catches someone in the corner of their eye and stops them in their tracks."
- "We think about Smári as the brave yogurt of Iceland. It doesn't matter what you’re doing in life, we all need more bravery and strength."
- "Your ‘Why’ is your North star. It’s the answer to your daily questions and the driving force behind why you exist."
- "Your core values never change. The way you present them evolves. Smári has always been about healthy food for kids. That will never change."
On Growth and Expansion in CPG:
- "We craft our growth very carefully towards long-term sustainability. It’s expensive to grow. You have to identify the path that’s right for you. If you grow too fast, in the wrong channels, or at the wrong times, it can be detrimental to your company."
- "Expansion into conventional retailers is all about timing. You have to ensure that there’s a level of brand awareness with the regular grocery shopper. It’s essentially a new market. There’s a lot of education and patience involved."
- "Every phase of the business is different in terms of marketing and advertising. Rethink your strategy regularly."
- "Under promise and over deliver."
On Entrepreneurial Learnings from Year One:
- "Alone is a better word to describe the first year than lonely. All of your time is dedicated to figuring out what to do. Year one at a startup is about networking and learning. I didn’t know anything about making, marketing, or selling food but I was passionate about it."
- "The biggest lesson I learned during the first year is: Do something every day. Don’t worry about whether it’s the right thing. Just do it. If you don’t, your dream will wither away. If you make a small bit of progress every day you’ll eventually get there."
- "The key to success is how you recover and grow from your mistakes. It’s not about not making mistakes, everyone does. The difference is having the resilience to move forward."
- "Stubbornness describes me better than grit. Once I decide something I move forward with it. At the same time, you also have to accept that there’s a time to stop. Not everything you create is the right thing. Balance grit with sensibility."