PODCAST EP 62
Simon chats with Ben Wong, CEO of Academy Xi.Listen Now
Simon Dell: So, welcome to the show. How are you?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I’m very well, thank you.
Simon Dell: You had a bit of a busy day, I hear, today.
Cinzia Cozzolino: I’ve had a lot going on today, which is quite normal for me. I think I attract chaos and I like it.
Simon Dell: Join the club. So, let’s start off a little bit by just finding out a bit about Smoothie Bombs. Because I know a lot of people know the brand, and I know you’re sold in lots of places around Australia, but tell us a little bit about the actual product itself.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Okay, so the product is a smoothie booster that I created because I had a fussy eating daughter in the family, as a lot of us have. I had just finished my degree as a nutritionist and I’d learned all this great stuff about food, and what nutrients were great for certain things, and I had my own daughter at home that was really skipping breakfast and not really doing much lunch eating. She was a problem child, basically.
And so, I came up with this idea. Originally, it was the chocolate flavor because I thought, “Oh, it’ll drink be like a chocolate milkshake. We’ll do with that.” So, I put all this good stuff in, particularly things like iron, because teenage girls are generally pretty low in that, and just put together a concoction of nuts, and seeds, and things that I knew were going to be really good for her and sort of went from there.
Simon Dell: When you were doing that — obviously, you’ve got a nutritional background. You weren’t even thinking that it would be something that would eventually become a product that sold around Australia?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Absolutely not. I was trying to solve this problem in my own home, and I was consulting as a nutritionist. I had a clinical that I was going to work at. And while I was in there, I was kind of thinking, “Jeez, people really don’t know how to eat breakfast.” I actually saw the issue more outside my own as well. I thought, there’s a real problem here, and then I went back and looked at a lot of research, papers, especially in Australia. 1 in 3 Australians skip breakfast two to three times a week.
And that, to me, was shocking. For example, I can’t leave the house without having breakfast. I’m one of those people that just needs to eat as soon as I wake up. So, the idea of someone not being able to stomach food in the morning is foreign to me.
Simon Dell: How many outlets do you sell into at the moment? What’s your reach across Australia?
Cinzia Cozzolino: At the moment, I’m in close to 1,000 stores. I’m in Chemist Warehouse, which is in every state of Australia, but I’m also exporting already. I’m in New Zealand. I am in Bahrain, of all places. I mean, this supermarket chain in Bahrain that’s doing really well.
I’m about to enter the Korean market because I’ve been negotiating with a distributor there that we’ve been setting up the product to be suited for the Korean market, so I need to sort of change some of the things on the packaging, but that’s going on. And we’re about to ship out to the US.
Simon Dell: Wow, okay. That’s fantastic.
Cinzia Cozzolino: So, there’s a lot going on. That’s part of what happened this morning.
Simon Dell: No wonder you’re busy. What I thought I might do is, because the first question I tend to ask everyone, just take a step back: What was your first job out of school? What was the first time somebody actually paid you for doing something?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I was employed as a journalist for the local community paper.
Simon Dell: Wow.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah. What I was doing during the last three years of school, was I was running a rock magazine that was part of the school magazine. I had a little lift out that I created. So, I was very music-driven. I was a big fan of music. I played in bands. I had a passion for words and lyrics. So, that was where I was when I was in my teens and my 20s.
I got a job as a journalist, even though I hadn’t gone and done a degree. It was just like — they liked my writing. They got me to write stuff about the community. Often, it was music stuff that was going on because I knew lots about that. And that was the world I was in prior to discovering nutrition.
Simon Dell: Does it feel like you had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak back then? Is that something that you thought you had, or just now you look back in it, you perhaps did, but you weren’t conscious of it at the time?
Cinzia Cozzolino: You know what? I was definitely entrepreneurial. I wouldn’t have thought that at the time. But here’s the story, this is a cute little story. When I was in Grade 3 at primary, I used to buy corn kernels, and go home at night and pop them, and then put them into sandwich bags, and then sell them out of the back of my backpack in the school ground at recess.
Simon Dell: How much you were getting for a bag of popcorn?
Cinzia Cozzolino: You know what? It was $0.10 at the time, but I was buying the popcorn for about $0.30 a bag and then I was making about ten of them from each bag. So, I was actually making a lot of money for a 7-year-old, or I was 8 or something. I was like that kid in the school ground at recess that all the kids would come running up to and made sure they got their bag of popcorn.
The funny story is that I got dragged into the principal’s office later saying, “Hey, look, it’s actually, you’re not allowed to do that.” I’m like, why? Like, I don’t understand. What? I’m making money. This is good, isn’t it? And they’re like, “No, no. You can’t do it.” So, I’m like, ah, damn.
Simon Dell: I was going to wonder how quickly you got shut down there. The school police got on top of you.
Cinzia Cozzolino: It was a long time ago. They do.
Simon Dell: So, back in the journalist thing, I’m interested. When you say you played in bands, did you play a musical instrument?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I do. I play guitar, and I sang as well. I did that pretty much in my — My 20s was pretty much a music — my life was music. I was a big fan of Chrissie Hynde. She was like my idol. So, I did a lot of work around the scene, work behind the scene with music. I ended up marrying a musician and I had two children with him.
We’re no longer together because that became really complicated, but — and subsequently, because of the lifestyle, I think that’s what drew me to nutrition because I was like, “I really got to — People are going to get healthy. Everyone here is just a little bit not healthy.” So, I was at that passion for food and being healthy just innately.
I think also because I would get sick really quickly. I couldn’t drink much. I couldn’t do a lot of that stuff because I just couldn’t handle it. So, I liked being healthy.
Simon Dell: One of the things as I get older, I sort of discover my tolerance for alcohol has decreased drastically. I start building an allergic reaction to it. Your body can’t break it down as quickly as it used to. So, you get kind of congested and all those kind of things. It’s a really state of affairs.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah. I was always a really crap drinker. I was a one-pot-screamer, you know? And it never suited me, but I kind of really liked the wild boys, because I kind of thought, “Oh, wow. They can do it.” And they were attractive to me in the 20s, and then I got to 30 and I thought, “No, they’re not that attractive. They’re just hopeless.”
Simon Dell: So, you went into nutrition.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yes.
Simon Dell: What sort of triggered that? I mean, obviously, you saw these people around you that weren’t healthy, but was there sort of one defining moment or a triggering moment that sent you off in that direction?
Cinzia Cozzolino: That’s a good question, because I was a single mum down living along the cost, and I’d spent probably — The kids, when my marriage broke down, the kids were 2 and 7. So, I went into overdrive parent mode doing the things that I knew needed to be done. So, I just put my head down, bum up, and worked a lot of jobs and tried to get enough money so we could pay the bills and do all that.
But as soon as my kids got to an age where they had started — They were both at school, and one was starting high school, and the other one was old enough to do some stuff, I kind of had that moment that I thought, “I need to do something. I need to change my life now. Because if I continue along this path, I’m just going to be working somewhere for $20 an hour and I’m never going to gain anything that I want to do. I’m going to have to sit in this. I’m not going to break free from where I am.”
So, I did have that moment where I thought, “What am I going to do? How am I going to double this up, do something, tilt it in my favor, where is my passion, and follow it?” I happen to be walking down the street in the city with a friend of mine, and there was an open day at Endeavor College, the Nutrition and Naturopathic College in the city, here in Melbourne, and it was an open day and I thought, “I’m just going to go in there and have a look at that.”
And I went in and sat through a couple of the discussions, and I thought, “This is what I’m going to do.” I’m going to actually do this. I like the idea of this. It resonates with me. And so, that’s how it happened.
Simon Dell: When you sat in there and listened to that talk — so there was other talks that you listened to that day as well, was there?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah. They were all about nutrition, though, about doing a degree, getting into doing a degree in health and nutrition. And so, when I heard them talk about what the degree entailed and what it was about, I thought, “I’m going to do it.” Mind you, incredibly naively I said I was going to do it because I’ve never done any real official schooling. I’d never sat an exam. I’d never done —
So, I’ll just give you a little step back. I grew up in the 70s, right? Melbourne in the 70s was very school — I went to a really alternative school. We had no structure is when I discovered, they started to think, “Let’s give kids a different way of learning.” And I went to one of those schools. So, I had no structure in the way I learned. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t a great idea, but it’s got me where I am.
But I had gone back, I thought, “Yeah, I’m going to do this degree. How hard can it be?” But I actually sat my first exam ever at 42, and that was a complete mindfuck, let me tell you.
Simon Dell: I can imagine. I sat my last one at 21 and I still have nightmares about sitting exams at 44.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah. It was insane. And so, I was learning about biology, and pharmacology, and stuff that I — I think if I was going to be told what I had to do for those four years, I probably wouldn’t have done. I think I went in there blindly, which is actually a little bit about the way I work in general.
I think that what happens with me is that I don’t think that much, and that works in my favor. I think a lot of people that are really deep thinkers prevent themselves from doing stuff. I’m as shallow as a wet rag. I don’t think much. I just do it.
And then once I’m there, I just do it. And then once I’m there, I just go, “Oh god, how did I do that?”
Simon Dell: Yeah. I think there’s a lot of people that get stuck in the overthinking things, getting stuck in vicious cycles of thinking things and analyzing. There’s a good argument for just doing something and seeing what happens, and then sort of going from there.
Cinzia Cozzolino: That’s right.
Simon Dell: Yeah, and I guess that’s got you to where you are now. So, you mentioned the point when — that you created this product for your teenage daughter to consume. And for anybody that wants to see the peer review in action, the video on the front page of the website’s an absolute classic.
Cinzia Cozzolino: It’s good, isn’t it?
Simon Dell: It’s very funny, very endearing as well. It really kind of shows the personality of the brand as well as the personality of you two as well, which is fantastic.
Cinzia Cozzolino: We’ve got an incredibly close bond. I mean, we work together. She’s my rock, really, and I’m her rock. When one of us is down, the other one kind of helps pick us up. So, it’s great to work with my daughter. I love it.
Simon Dell: What point did you realize you had a commercial product on your hands? Obviously, you realized that what you were sort of feeding your daughter was working. What point did you go, “You know what? This is something that other people will buy”?
Cinzia Cozzolino: A few of my friends were starting to buy them from me, and I was selling a little bit of the ones I was making at home through my clinic. I would bring them in, and people would try them, and buy them. So, I was developing a bit of a market on its own through where I was.
Then I mentioned the product to a friend of mine that had a cafe and he said, “Hey, why don’t you bring me some here? I wouldn’t mind giving them a go.” I was working another cafe and they said, “We’d love to have them here. We’ll try and sell them.”
It ended up becoming a product that was being sold wholesale to cafes initially, because they saw the value of how quick that would be from when they got bond by orders, and they had to make healthy smoothies. It was like, “Hey, this is a really good idea. We don’t have to have all the little bits and pieces” and whatever stuff was on didn’t have to think much either. They just dropped one of those things in.
And so, really initially, it went from home, to a couple of friends, to a few of my clients at the clinic, and then into cafes straight away.
Simon Dell: When you went from those, when you went to the friends first, was that you just saying to them, “I’ve got something that I’d like you to test out and give me some feedback on”, or were they asking you about it?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Both ways, a bit both ways. They were interested and they’d heard about me creating these Smoothie Bombs for my daughter. They knew that there was something — that I kept saying, “Hey, she’s really great now.” Because they’ve all got kids as well, so we all talked about how our kids could be skipping meals.
So, they kind of knew about it. And then some of them I did trial out. Like, with that particular cafe, I just said to him, “Do you mind if I bring some in and make up some smoothies on the spot, and hand them around to your customers, and get some feedback from them?” I was lucky enough to have that. I’ve got some real-life customers that didn’t know me, and me making them the Smoothie Bombs and then trying it.
I actually had a little sheet of paper where I gave a little questionnaire saying, “Hey, would you love to try this smoothie? Can you answer this questionnaire for me once you’ve tried it?” And all of them said, yup. So, I ended up having hundreds of these sheets of people commenting and giving me feedback about the taste and what they would pay for it, that sort of the thing.
Simon Dell: When you got that feedback, was it all good or were there people going, “This is horrible. I don’t like it.”
Cinzia Cozzolino: I did get a couple that picked up some points about it, and I took that on. In fact, to be honest, I’ve been making them officially for customers probably for just over 5 years. And in that time, I have done a lot of changes to suit what feedback says. I think it’s really important. You can’t put blinkers on when it comes to something like your product.
You need to listen to what customers are saying and really try and create something that is going to make them happy.
Simon Dell: You’re not the sort of person that goes into a spiral meltdown if someone says something negative about the product, or anything like that?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No. I reckon it’s good to know what they think. Sometimes, you do get a little bit emotional about something that gets said. Like, I often respond to someone that might go, “You know, we brought them home and they’re not breaking down.” I’m like, “Are you actually crumbling the bomb into your…?”
Like, sometimes, the description, I’ve learnt that they need — some customers need a little bit more —
Simon Dell: Some people are stupid.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Are stupid. So you know, subsequently, we’ve made a really clear description on the new packaging. We’ve done it really clear so they can see it, because that’s something that I was getting some response from. Because people were thinking — ah, look, I’ve had so many different things being said to me about what they could be. Like, do they fizz up when they go inside a smoothie? I’m like, no.
Of course, they’re thinking a bath bomb. No, I haven’t got anything in it that makes it fizz up. We get all sorts of — And people often get surprised when they pick it up and take the lid off and see that there’s five little bombs inside. They think that there’s liquid in there. So, I think the big struggle has been, or the biggest challenge, has been educating the consumer about what it is.
Simon Dell: I would say to everybody. If you do want to say it once again, like a 30 second video on the front page of your website, kind of explains it so simply. You’d have to — beyond that, if you don’t understand it past that, you probably shouldn’t be making your own drinks. That’s all I’m going to say.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yes.
Simon Dell: The questions I really want to ask you now, because I want to ask these based on the fact that, hopefully, there’s people out there listening that are going, “You know what? I’ve got a great idea for a product” or “I’ve got an idea for”, not necessarily a food based product, it might be any kind of thing.
And to me, as somebody who has also sat there for years and gone, “Oh, I could probably make that and do that”, I think the process scares the crap out of a lot of people. I want to get an idea of, once you realize that you’ve got a product, so you’ve got people that like it, you’ve got cafes that are taking it, you’ve got friends that are telling you how good it is, you’re getting feedback forms from strangers telling you how good it is, where did you go from there? Where do you move from making something at home to it becoming a bigger product?
And specifically, the first question would be the manufacturing. What were the steps that you took from making it at home to actually mass-making it?
Cinzia Cozzolino: That was a very big step in my progress with this brand, because I had been making them at home, and then I moved into a commercial kitchen. So, I had to do the right thing by the council so I had a proper kitchen but still hand-rolling them and was starting to get RSI from the amount of balls rolled.
But we got a really substantial order from Dubai, of all places, from the Palace in Dubai. And this is no joke. I’m just going to say it. I’m going to tell you my joke: I can say that I have sold bombs to the Middle East.
Simon Dell: Right, okay.
Cinzia Cozzolino: I don’t know many people like that, but yes. I have sold bombs to the Middle East.
Simon Dell: So, how did that order come about? Where did that come from?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I had a small distributor in Dubai, and she was supplying a lot of stuff to the Royal Family there. She basically showed them — This is the early stage packaging she showed them, and I only had two flavors at the time. And for Christmas, they put in a substantial order, which meant that we had to do a lot of rolling.
I had my eldest daughter who lives in the US. I contacted her and said, “You wouldn’t believe it!” Because she really loves Dubai. She had done some schooling there, and I said, “You wouldn’t believe it! I’m selling to the Royal Family in Dubai.” She goes, “Mum, how on Earth are you going to do that?”
I said, “Oh, we’re hand rolling it!” She goes, “Oh my god! That’s insane!” I’m like, “No, no, it’s fine.” And so, she kind of planted that seed. She goes, “Mom, you can’t scale up. You absolutely can’t scale up while you’re working like this. You need to get a manufacturer.”
So, I did go out and try and find someone that would do it. It took quite a while, actually, because a lot of the places I went into, my volumes weren’t large enough yet, not for them. To get a good manufacturer, you need to be doing something like 20,000 units per flavor, and there was no way that I needed that many at that point. I couldn’t do it.
I didn’t have the money to be able to do that sort of production. And then it was too scary, because then what? I’d make them, and then what if I couldn’t sell them? So, I had to find —
Simon Dell: And presumably, you had to find the cash, as well.
Cinzia Cozzolino: And find the cash.
Simon Dell: Cash flow would’ve been an issue, because they’re not going to make it and take the money 2 months later. They want it upfront.
Cinzia Cozzolino: No. And bear in mind, I was a single mum. I had money. I was very good at paying my bills and doing the right thing, but I didn’t have a lot of excess money at all. So, it was me finding a manufacturer that was going to give me a go and believed in the product, knowing that it was going to be a slow start and then hopefully it would improve.
So, I did after interviewing a few places and going in to see them. I’m still with them. I am at that point where I’m pushing it, like they’ve been growing with me the whole way. We are getting bigger and bigger. So, I am looking at the idea of maybe picking up a 2nd just because it would be good to have the ability to make the volumes that I need without worrying about it.
But right now, that’s different things that happened. The bigger you get, you have to look at different places to do it.
Simon Dell: If someone out there wants to go and look for something like that, is that something that you just sat there and Googled? You just sent, “wholesale food manufacturers”?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I did.
Simon Dell: Okay. Wow, alright, and then you just found them and started just ringing them up or emailing them?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Just ringing them up, asking about whether they had the capacity. See, mine was particular because I needed something that could roll a ball. So I was like, “Do you have the capacity and the machinery to do a ball shape?” and things like that. So, you need to know some of the points that you want to ask them, and then they will tell you.
I’m looking at larger manufacturers now, and it’s very hard to get into the very big ones. Let’s look at it in a monetary term. They have machinery and they have certain amount of runs on each money that they know will make them a certain amount of money. So when you approach them and say, “I want you guys to make some product for us”, they look at you in terms of how much money that 4 hours that they’re going to give you is to going to make them.
And generally, they’ve got them all booked out. So, it’s very hard to get into a bigger place. You’re better off going to a smaller place to start with and then go from there. Well, the bigger ones won’t touch you and you’re not going to make that sort of production, so you do need to start from —
My piece of advice is really, start making them like I did, really build up that client base so that you’ve got something that you know that you’re going to have people buying them. Because no one is going to do a small run. My smallest run of each flavor was 1,000 tubes. Now, 1,000 tubes is a lot of tubes to sell.
Simon Dell: The other question, and finding the manufacturer, that’s awesome advice. What about the commercial kitchens? Is that something that, again, you just Googled and knocked on people’s doors and said, “How much to use your kitchen for a day?” Is that how it works?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I did. You know what? I am a very social person. So, when I’m out and there’s a group full of people, I’m always gasbagging about one thing or another. And really, every time I got a kitchen was because someone just went, “Hey, you know what?”
Actually, my very first kitchen I got was because the local bistro bar that’s close to my house, we would go there and have some food and drink once a week. I became good friends with the owner, and she just offered me her kitchen in the morning. She said, “Look, my chefs don’t come in to work until midday. If you want to get in here between 8:00 and midday, you’re welcome to use my kitchen to start with.”
And that was like, “Oh, that’s awesome!” And I paid her a little bit of a fee to use the kitchen. That was a really great initial step out of my house, which allowed me to grow a bit more.
Simon Dell: That’s amazing. I guess people don’t even think about that, using empty capacity for things like restaurants and stuff like that, is an option if you want to go and experiment, or you want to go and try things out. Now, as long as you’re paying them and as long as you’re not leaving the place in a complete disaster mess, I’d imagine most of them would be happy for the extra cash.
Cinzia Cozzolino: That’s right. And that was really a good thing for her. Look, she was in there in the mornings anyway doing some paperwork, so she was happy to know that someone else was there. And she knew me because she would see me there regularly, so it was like — she was lending me a hand, but I was helping her as well. That was really brilliant. That was a great first step for me.
And it’s because I asked. It’s because I kept going, “I’m looking for a kitchen. I need to find somewhere” and she offered. And then the next step when I got my other kitchen was really because I’d been talking about it, a friend of mine contacted me saying, “Hey, I’ve heard of someone. They need to share a kitchen. Would you be interested? This is their number. Go and see them” and then I did.
I liked it. I’m actually still there. I’m still at that particular place, that I did — the kitchen. I’m still here. So, it’s become my test kitchen and the warehouse office space.
Simon Dell: Going back again — Sorry, I keep going back because I like to know at least how you did these things. And I think a lot of other people would as well, because as I said, at the sart there, I think that scares people, how you go through those steps. And each one of them is quite a big step, you know: moving from a commercial kitchen to a manufacturer is a big step. Moving from one manufacturer to another manufacturer is a big step. They’re all big steps for people to be taking.
You mentioned the distributors. And again, this is something that’s absolutely fascinated me because in the background, I worked in the alcohol industry for about 6 or 7 years, and I would see often there was a lot of distributors sitting in the middle that helped those smaller brands get reach and capacity in bigger customers.
But also, what comes with the distributor is obviously they want to take a margin as well, which is the downside of not selling direct to some of these customers. You’ve got distribution in Bahrain, you’ve got Korea — the US, I’m guessing, comes some way through your daughter or maybe…?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No. Actually, the US is an incredible story as well. I’ll tell you about that later. But with the distributors here —
Simon Dell: Yeah. Let’s go — The Dubai one, and the Royal Family one, where does she come from?
Cinzia Cozzolino: She literally found me on Instagram. So, she found me on Instagram and then we started talking. We did Skype. We met each other. We liked each other and she was like, “I really liked her. Bring your product in. I think it would suit our market here, especially the expats, and it would really work.”
So, that happened in 2015, we were doing it back then. And then it became hard to import it, so we stopped doing that, but I’ve now got another distributor here in Melbourne that does the whole of the Middle East and Asia. And so, they are bringing much easier. Because in the beginning, when I was dealing with the smaller distributor, it was me and her.
I’d be mailing it, you’d have to get it through customs, pay the duties, and there were always relatively — There would’ve been probably 500 tubes and pretty much a mixture. It was never a massive amount. It wasn’t loads, so we kind of managed, but it was expensive and I think — I don’t think she’s running it anymore. It was just something that she really had a passion for and we worked together at the time.
Now, with the large one that I’m with, they literally just put in orders for pallets and I deliver to their DC, and they do all the international exporting. I don’t deal with that all, which is really great.
Simon Dell: Right. So, there’s distributors who can take products from Australia into foreign markets that actually have offices and depots based in Melbourne, and Sydney, and Brisbane presumably?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yes, absolutely. There are definitely ones here that can do that.
Simon Dell: So, if people out there and listening and they, again, they’re either in a position where they want to expand, your advice would be to talk to some of those distributors and get them to perhaps do what sounds like the heavy lifting and the leg work on your behalf. I presume you lose some margin in that respect.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah. And listen, bear in mind, these things, these people have been doing them for a long time, so they are moving container loads of food to these places. So, for them to put four or five of your pallets is there than you shipping them over with another shipper that’s on your own. You could make a mistake.
Because there’s a lot of areas that you can make a mistake, and it can cost you a lot of money. Like, in terms of — Once it arrives into the docks, the customs can stop stuff. If you don’t know what you’re doing with your customs paperwork, and you’re going, “Oh, just send it in”, you can get it stopped and it can be sitting in the docks for a week or two. That’s costing you money the whole time it’s doing that.
You’ve got to be really aware. You’re better off, when you’re doing things like exporting, when you get to that point, that you’re dealing with people who have done it and know all about it. I’m kind of dealing with that a bit at the moment going into the US, because the US is very strict about how you import food in there, and there’s so many rules, and regulations, and paperwork that you have to do.
You could be shipping pallets there and they could get stopped and returned back, and you just lose that money because you can’t get any of that back if it was your fault by not knowing what should’ve been done.
Simon Dell: So, tell us the US story then, if it’s a good story.
Cinzia Cozzolino: It’s a great one. Look, I go to the US once a year at least because my daughter is studying there. She’s at uni. She initially was in Boston, so we went over there a lot. Now, she’s in California in San Francisco, so we go there.
Simon Dell: That’s a bit easy to get to, as well.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Much easier, and the weather’s a little bit nicer in winter, too. When we go there, I have a favorite store there called Anthropology. It’s a clothes and homeware store. It’s like all girls, love it. It’s just got great clothes. It’s a little bit pricy, but it’s beautiful. They have really beautiful homewares and all their stores are just designed beautifully. Everyone loves them.
We’re big fans. And I follow them on Instagram, and I’m always commenting. I’m always liking their posts and being very active on their platform. So, I think that’s how they found me, because what happened is — I’m an insomniac as well, by the way. I was looking through my emails in the middle of the night, and there’s an email from Anthropology.
And I’m like, “What? What are they emailing me for?” And it was basically their buyer said, “We really love your product. We’d love to consider to bring these into the US to be in our store. We’ve got 200 stores around the US, and the UK and Canada. Get in touch so we can talk about it.”
I jumped out of bed and woke up my daughter and I go, “Oh my god, Anthropology has just run us! Like, they sent us an email.” It was pretty exciting. And so, we’ve been doing backwards and forwards in trying to get the whole process going to get on the shelves there. And of course, I had no idea what that involved.
My product is certified organic in Australia, but of course, the certification is not recognized in the US and nor is the — I had to basically rejig the whole label for the US. I had to change my packaging, basically. So, that’s what I’ve been doing the last few months, trying to get it so it’s approved by the standards that need to be.
And we’ve had to register the manufacturer to be FDA-registered. There’s a lot of work in bringing food into the US, and they’re very strict about what you’re allowed to say and what you’re not allowed to say. But this morning, we literally got the whole go-ahead and we’ll be getting the shipment out into them for summer, which is fantastic.
Simon Dell: Oh, cool. So, how many pallets are going in that first shipment? What’s the volume that they’re taking straightaway?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I think about 4.
Simon Dell: Okay. I bet you must be extremely excited.
Cinzia Cozzolino: I am so excited. And you know, they’re not really a food player, but I think they’re looking at introducing a bit more wellness and stuff into their homeware section, which is great.
Simon Dell: Right. And there’s normally I ask at the end, but I’m going to ask it now: What’s the next step for the US? You’ve obviously got one customer there. How do you go from 1 customer to 10 customers? Would you put a salesperson in North America? Would you just encourage the distributors to work harder for you? Where do you go from there?
Cinzia Cozzolino: That’s interesting. In the US, I don’t have a distributor. I’m going direct to them. So, it’s just us. There’s a couple of things I need to do in the US to make it work. What I’ve got to be very aware of is, and I’ve learned that by being here in Australia, that it’s one thing to get your product on the shelf; it’s another thing to make them sell.
The way you do that is how you market it, and how you get your message across, and that education. Now, in Australia, it’s 28 million — because I’m talking about 350 million people. It’s a whole different strategy of how I’m going to do it. Of course, I’ll look at things like Facebook and Instagram.
We already have quite a good following of American customers online. We do sell already to them online, and we’ve got — They’re one of the biggest overseas buyers from our online store, but we already communicate with lots of them via social media. It’s just a matter of now really homing in and making them aware of the product.
This can happen in different ways. I think I’ll have to start going there and doing trade shows so that I start to get into more places, so people are more familiar. I have even toyed with the idea of Amazon there. Will it work? Could I put them on there? Would it be something that would be worthwhile?
I think I have to look at the possibility of influencers there because they are on those platforms that might help me get people to become aware of the product. There’s going to be a lot of work to get the product known there, and I think a lot of PR.
Look, ultimately, I would imagine that I would eventually look at manufacturing the product there for the US market in the long run — if it took off. I mean, when it takes off, should I say.
Simon Dell: When, exactly, positivity.
Cinzia Cozzolino: When it takes off, I would definitely look at setting up a manufacturer there to do that end of it. It would make much more sense.
Simon Dell: Yeah. Look, as we come to the near end of the interview, there’s some questions that I really, really want to get to you before we run out of time. I want to talk about the brand, because I think one of the things that I liked, that I saw straight away when someone suggested I interview you — and thank you, whoever that was, thank you very much — I just want to sort of say how the brand was created, and specifically a couple of things.
First of all, the name. I mean, obviously, it’s probably not the world’s most complicated name in the world considering what it actually is, but did you play around with other ideas or things like that before you settled on Smoothie Bombs?
Cinzia Cozzolino: You know, the initial product when I made it at home, when I was calling it to my daughter, was Nutrition Bomb. It was a nutrition bomb. This is when we had the raw cacao one. We used to call it Nutrition Bomb.
In fact, the first lot that went out into cafes were called a nutrition bomb. And then, I wanted to make it even simpler so that people kind of got it. There was no denying what it was. Although, let me tell you, not everyone gets it, even though it says what it is.
Simon Dell: I can imagine.
Cinzia Cozzolino: We had this customer come up and say that she thought they were hair dyes. I’m like, how do you get hair dyes from the word Smoothie Bomb? I don’t know.
Simon Dell: Oh my god, yeah. Anyway, okay. So, who decided that you’d switched the name?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I think I did. I think I got to that point where I thought it needs to be simpler, and I’m just going to call it what it is.
Simon Dell: Okay, and that was no second guessing yourself on that?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No. I just thought it was going to be really useful. And the product, the actual tube was another thing that I had in the back of my head. I’ve been thinking about the whole idea of the tube, and I really wanted it.
And I originally did some pricing here in Australia, and it was so expensive to get the tube done. It was like $2.50. I think it was close to $3.00 a tube, and I was like, “Oh, I’m not going to be able to do that” because what am I going to charge the customer once I’ve got the food inside there? It’s going to be way too expensive.
And it’ll have to be in the 20s to be able to charge that. So, I did that —
Simon Dell: What is the RRP on it at the moment?
Cinzia Cozzolino: It’s $12.95.
Simon Dell: Okay. So yeah, $2 for packaging would’ve been insane.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Too much. And we also originally had them — We were selling them for $14.95 originally when they first came out. This is when we were still hand rolling them and all that stuff. And I thought that’s how we priced it. We couldn’t price it much cheaper than that. It helped us once we could produce more of them to get the price down.
Simon Dell: The question I’ve got then on the brand is — and again, I stress to everybody, please go and have a look at that website because I think you kind of need to see it to really understand what’s happening.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, you do.
Simon Dell: Packaging, and brand logos, and design, how did that all come about? Was that somebody that you worked with in Melbourne there, or was that somebody overseas? How many iterations has that gone through? That kind of thing.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Okay. The original packaging, the tube idea, was something that I had in mind. I literally hopped onto Alibaba, this is a couple of years back, where the whole process was really clunky back then, too.
Simon Dell: I don’t think it’s got much easier in Alibaba.
Cinzia Cozzolino: No, it’s a little bit easier now. Before, it was even more complicated than what it is now. And so, I went on there and put out a call for a tube. I’d measured the balls up and worked out the height and width that I wanted, and found a company after a few hit and misses who sent me a sample.
I tried them out. They fit, and then I had the idea that I wanted the tube. I went and spoke to a graphic designer. I already knew what I wanted it to look like. I had a really good idea about, I wanted that sort of splashing of milk, like the flavors and the colors. I’m blind, virtually. I like color. I like colors to be strong. That’s why you can see them. I like them popping out of the shelf.
I had that idea there, so I basically worked with a graphic designer to get the initial two colors right. Actually, the very first one, the chocolate one was pink which is a strange option. I remember we had a little bit of a discussion, me and the graphic designer, because she was saying, “Oh, no. It’ll be really great.” I’m like, going, “Yeah. It might look kind of chocolate-y though”, but you know, I thought, I’ll give her a go because it makes sense.
She wants it to sort of stand out. I’m like, “Hmm, okay.” And we tried it, and people got confused. They constantly thought that it was the berry flavor and I went, “Right, okay.” So within the next reincarnation, it looked like chocolate which made sense. You’ve got to make things simple, you really do. We had probably, from the very first lot to where we are now, we’ve changed the tube in little bits and pieces along the way, probably about 5 or 6 times.
Simon Dell: Okay, so small iterations rather than massive overhauls.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yes, small ones, just realizing — If you looked at my very first one, it had a lot of writing on the packaging, and then realizing that no one is looking at that at all. They pick it up and they don’t see it. So now, we’ve gone really simple. Smoothie Bombs, five smoothie boosters. That’s what it is. That’s what they are.
Simon Dell: So, the graphic designer that you work with, that was just somebody local?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah.
Simon Dell: Do they still do work for you or you moved onto someone else now?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No, we’ve moved on. We’ve got another chap that helps us now that literally — the poor guy, because I make him work long hours. He’s got his own job, and then I ruck up when he finishes work going, “I need you to do some changes.” Like, we’ve had to do the US ones, so we’ve just done the US packaging.
Again, probably everyone looks at them and they probably look exactly the same to everyone else, but every little detail I know the changes.
Simon Dell: You know the difference.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yes, absolutely.
Simon Dell: The final question I’ve got for you before we go to my normal final three questions is the marketing. You mentioned earlier on that it’s all very well and good selling a product to a retailer and then putting it on their shelves. Again, I know this back from my alcohol industry days. Half of the challenge, if not 90% of the challenge, is making the consumer select that product from the shelf or buy that product from a top, or a fridge, or all those kind of things.
What have you found to be your best channels for growing your business to the consumer?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I can say hands down Instagram has been imperative in the way we’ve grown our brand. We can talk to the consumer. We’re very active. Both my daughter, Lana, and I are on that platform a lot. So, people get to speak to us personally. We don’t use bots. We don’t use programs that respond to things. We literally are there.
You can talk to us there. And because of that, I think we’ve built a really strong real brand to our community. And that’s been a big part.
Simon Dell: I’m just looking at your Smoothie Bomb Instagram account now, 44,000 followers, which is fantastic. Who is contributing to that? Is that you? Is that Lana? Is that — you’ve got someone else doing that?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No, no. Lana and I. Lana does all the posts and she does a lot of the responding. I am the photographer. Generally, I do all the photos.
Simon Dell: Yeah, I was going to say, whoever does the styling obviously knows what they’re doing, but they’re you guys.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, that’s all me. I predominantly do that side. Lana runs the commentry, pretty much. She’s the one that they talk to a lot of the time. I’ve also got my own personal Instagram page which is Nutrition Darling. Nutrition Darling is the company that the Smoothie Bombs are under.
I don’t know if you knew that. That’s the actual brand. That’s the actual company name that produces it. So, I’ve got my own Instagram page and Facebook page, that is Nutrition Darling, that is more about me being a nutritionist, and the food that I make, and it incorporates the smoothies as well.
That part sort of gives that whole concept a genuine side to it. Like, you’re dealing with a nutritionist. We’ve actually started putting that on our packaging as well. So, “Created by a Nutritionist Mum for Her Kids” so that people know that it’s us. Part of the marketing is to show the consumer that they’re dealing with a mum and a daughter team. That’s why that video in the front of our website is so important to us.
That’s us. There’s no pretending. That’s exactly who we are. We drink smoothies every day. That’s what we try and market. That’s part of the way we sell ourselves.
Simon Dell: Aside from Instagram, what else has worked well for you in terms of getting that upsell or that increase in sales?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Definitely email marketing. But when I say that, I’m really conscious of not doing a lot of that. I think once a month, we will send out an email. I think that — and when we do that —
Simon Dell: What would you put in that?
Cinzia Cozzolino: We would talk about what is coming out, what’s being released. Often, it’s to our buyers already. We might have a sale on, or we have incentives for people that bring in a new customer. So, there’s always, every month, we have a new incentive.
We have ambassadors, basically, people that really love the brand. They get a key ring and they’ve got a number. With that, they get special deals and first options to things that we might have on special and things like that. We like to take care of our regular customers.
Simon Dell: Anything from a marketing perspective that you tried that didn’t work, and you wouldn’t sort of go back and do it again?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Sometimes, you have to think about when you do your sales and things like that. I can’t think of anything that comes out. What I’ve found is that when we do a sale online, it’s better to put all the flavors on sale. Sometimes, we just put one flavor on sale thinking, “Hey, look, this one’s on sale. Go for that.” It doesn’t always work. It’s better that you put the entire lot on sale. That’s a small thing I’ve picked up.
Simon Dell: Why do you think that is?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I don’t know. We can even pick the really — like our best-selling flavor. Sometimes, I think, “Hey, you know what? This is our best-selling flavor. For three days, let’s just give it to them at a good price.” And then it’ll get them talking about it and buying it. And it doesn’t necessarily work.
And another thing I find is really, really big when it comes to selling is to offer free shipping. Everyone wants free shipping.
Simon Dell: Yeah, it’s big when you look at a lot of e-commerce stats about why people buy from certain websites and things like that. Free shipping is always a big one. And I think with fashion items also, the ability to return things easily is a big one. Obviously, it’s slightly less important for you, but —
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, no, it’s true.
Simon Dell: But that free shipping is always a trigger. Do you think you’d look at any of the bigger ticket marketing channels later on? I mean, I guess one of the things that seems to have worked well for you as well is PR, is getting your face on a lot of TV shows, and a lot of magazines and things like that. Have you done that yourself, or is somebody sort of helping you with that?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I did a little bit of that myself initially, but we did take on a PR company in September as spring was coming in. And that was magnificent, because she did a brilliant job at bringing a lot of the customers to us. She put us in so many different places. And I think certain platforms like —
Social media, we’ve got it covered. But if you can get on things like television, that’s got a massive reach.
Simon Dell: What was the pitch to get you on? I mean, obviously Sunrise is the key one that I see on the website there. Did you get yourself on Sunrise or did she do that?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No, she did that. And the pitch was basically how a mum on welfare turned her fussy eater story into a million-dollar business.
Simon Dell: Right, okay. Yeah. Not meaning to sound facetious in anyway, but the media loves those stories, don’t they?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Absolutely. Here’s this mum that was on welfare, had no money, came up with this idea because she had a problem in her own family, and it turned into this big change of life experience.
Simon Dell: You hear everybody whinge about this kind of Australian mentality around tall poppy syndrome and all that kind of thing, but to be honest with you, I think the Australia media loves a success story much more than they like knocking down a success story.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, they do.
Simon Dell: I think people sort of forget that sometimes, but it’s a great example of how you pitch a story. Because you know, I think that’s what people want. There’s no point in you walking up to Sunrise and going, “Here I am creating a business” and it’s all about the product.
The product’s great, but they want an angle on it, and I think you fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you see it, had that angle for them.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, and I’m happy to look — I just think, “Well, you know, if it’s going to motivate a whole lot of other mums that are sitting at home that might’ve been in the same predicament as me as just don’t know what to do, and they’re thinking, “Well, how am I going to change where I’m at?”
They might hear my story and just go, “Oh, I’ve got a passion for this. Maybe I can do something.” You still need to have an incredible amount of drive to get a business from an idea to putting it on the shelf, let me tell you. Because there’s so many times along that path that you can give up because it’s coming — You’re being slapped in the face by the reasons to give up all the time, you know what I mean? You just keep going.
Simon Dell: What would I say listening to you is, I think what’s really clear to anybody that is listening to this, is that, yes, there’s a lot of opportunities for you to be knocked back, and fail, and all those kind of things. But what it seems to me is that the way you started, certainly right at that early point, in what was incrementally small steps.
You had a product. You gave it to your daughter. Your daughter drunk it, then it went to some friends, then it went to a local cafe. Those aren’t big steps in themselves. They’re steps, but you kind of — So anybody listening out there could sit there and go, “Alright. Well, I don’t have to go from my daughter drinking it to finding a distributor in the US.” I just need to take that first step, which is, “You know what? Invite 1/2 dozen friends around and see what they think.”
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, absolutely. I would definitely look at it in a way like that. Like, when Lana and I walk into Chemist Warehouse now and we see the Smoothie Bombs on the shelf, we still are absolutely gobsmacked how we possibly have done that.
Like, to us, it was just like, you do just put those blinkers on and you put that foot in front of the other. And sometimes, you get some setbacks and so you go, “Oh, god. How are we going to get past this one?” And then you might have a day or two that you’re sitting around on the couch and feeling glum about it.
And then a little idea comes up and you go, “Hey, you know what? We can try this.” So, you go head first into that and it works, and then you go, “Oh, cool. Okay, so I’m at this step. So, let’s try and get into the next step” because we reckon we could do this, and we can try that. So, it ends up just being — I hate to use the word passion, but part of it is your passion but it’s also the fact that you have to be prepared to just go, “I’m going to keep climbing over those hot coals and getting to where you’ve got to get.”
Simon Dell: There was another question that I was just about to ask you there, but I’ve completely forgotten what it was. I’ll be making notes here. I’ve got lots of notes, so I’m just —
Cinzia Cozzolino: You know what? I’m going to give you a little bit about — because we didn’t go deeply into distributors. I’ll give you a little bit of a rundown on distributors in Australia, too, which is really important. Because I think distributors are brilliant to have because they can get your products out to lots of different places.
But when you are a small brand and you have a product like mine which is not really — There isn’t really a market positioned for it. It’s an innovative product. It hasn’t been out there before, the idea of what it is, a preportioned booster that you put in a tube like that.
What happens is that people get excited about the idea of it, and so they want to sell it. The distributors, we had a couple of big distributors that put me in lots of stores, and then they — Because they had 2,000~3,000 items on their books, they didn’t really follow up the care that something like that needed.
So, it needs someone to go in and show the stores what it is, that it can sell. So, in some of the stores, it didn’t sell initially, and I worked out that it was literally because the actual store owner and the staff weren’t being told what they were.
And so, once I went in there, I started doing tastings. I started talking to the staff, even more so than the customers that came in there. Because once the staff knows what they are, then the staff will sell them. That’s what I found out. And it made me go — it’s really important to find a distributor, when you’re small, don’t get excited about the really big ones that can get you all those places. Work small first. Find one that’s in your hometown. Really get them to have a passion for what your product is.
And when that rep is going into stores, they actually love your product and they can sell it. You’re better off starting small in 10 stores and selling well than being out in 1,000 stores and them not selling. And possibly as you grow, they won’t take the risk of taking your product on because they tried it and it wasn’t at the right time. That’s another thing.
Simon Dell: One of the other challenges I found, and this was back from creating an app a few years ago, was that often, and certainly in retail stores, and I’m sure it’s the same for food-based stores, is that you can go in and you can do a wonderful presentation to the staff as well and say, “Look, we’ve got this new product in. We want you to sell it.”
And the staff get behind it. The staff sell it. They talk to the customer about the product, and then you go back in two months later and all the stuff have changed. You know, because it’s sometimes a very high turnover industry. And you either have to think, “Well, I’m not going to go through this whole process again and explain it to a new bunch of staff” or “Somehow, is there a better way of doing it?”
That’s a massive challenge, and one that I think it’s hard to solve.
Cinzia Cozzolino: It’s really big. And it’s also — In my case, if I had a product like popcorn, or a cake mix, or a product that people know exactly what it is, it’s a different story. You can’t put it in. If the packaging looks nice, they’ll pick it up and they’ll give it a go. But when you’re dealing with something that people do not know what it is, you really need to have that person that’s giving it the love in the store to make customers try it.
That’s why something like social media for us has been fantastic because it’s made us — We can show them films, we can talk about it, we keep putting up recipes. We give them enough value for them to go in and give the product a go.
Simon Dell: I remember the question I was going to ask you a moment ago. So, when you and your daughter are in Chemist Warehouse, looking at the product on the shelf, have you ever been in a situation where you’ve seen someone pick it up and take it to the register and buy it?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Oh, yeah. We have.
Simon Dell: Did you introduce yourself?
Cinzia Cozzolino: No. We just stood back. Although, the funny thing, the really funny thing is that we go into every Chemist Warehouse and we do introduce ourselves. We just go, “Hi, that’s our product there.” We’re probably the smallest business in this whole place, because that’s us.
Simon Dell: In the staff room, they’re going, “Who are these two?”
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, these nutters. And you’ll probably see us — If you ever were to see us in a Chemist Warehouse, we’re probably there doing selfies in front of our Smoothie Bombs. We’re there doing a little films, or we’re almost doing quick shots when we’re in there because it’s pretty — It’s still really exciting to us. We’ve been in there a year now, but every time we see it, it’s really exciting.
Simon Dell: Okay, last three questions, because otherwise, you and I are going to go on forever here.
Cinzia Cozzolino: That’s right.
Simon Dell: Third to last question is: You’ve mentioned Anthropology, but what are some of the other brands that you really like out there? What brands do you admire and sort of potentially go and buy every day, or model yourself on or what what you’re doing on?
Cinzia Cozzolino: There’s a couple of Australian brands that I really like. For example, Emma & Tom’s I really like. I actually never met them. I know that they’re local, and what I really love about them is that they’ve been plugging at it. They’ve been doing this whole branding and the whole package has been there for a long time.
They’re not really social, but their social media is really small. They’ve only got under 10,000, which is small for a brand as big as them. They’re everywhere. But what I find with them, what I really love about them, is that they’re just hardworking. They’ve got their vans that you see. Their branding is everywhere. I really like their branding. It’s simple, and clean, and you always know what you’re going to get.
I really believe in their philosophy, the way they sell it. I think they do a good job of it. Another brand — I love things like Pana Chocolate. I think he’s really done a great job of doing the branding right, and the fact that they’re really homing on the handmade and that’s really essential to that brand and how they package themselves.
As well as Loving Earth. When it comes to food, I look at a lot of food brands. I do love the packaging and the way Loving Earth has come from being — they were really small, and they’ve slowly just plugged their way through. They’ve kind of got there by just hard work, and building the brand, and growing the products that they have.
There’s a lot of them that I like. In terms of — there’s some fashion labels that I like that I think do a really good job, like Spell up in Byron Bay, there’s a certain look about them that they do well. Predominantly, I look at food. Food is my main thing that I really look at a lot of the products.
There’s a lot of small brands that started out when I was growing up through the whole process. A lot of them didn’t get up to the next level, because I think a lot of people get the excitement of getting the idea of creating a product and a brand. And then once they’re kind of in there, they realize how much work it is. It’s an incredibly challenging experience to do. It’s very, very rewarding.
Simon Dell: And what sometimes goes from a fun hobby into a small business, and it can still be a bit fun, all of a sudden starts becoming serious when you have to take on staff and all those kind of things. It becomes a bit of a…
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, and you’ve got to know. And there’s a lot of skill sets you’ve got to know to run a business. There’s so many skill sets that you have to — Initially, you can bluff your way through. But eventually, you’re going to be hitting this wall and you have to know. Like I always say when I do talks, you really do not run away from understanding the numbers of what it takes to run the business.
Passion can drive you there, but you’ve really got to know what you’re doing with the way you manage your finances and how you — What money you put towards marketing, and how you plan to grow. All that planning. You know, they all say it. It’s a common thing. You do really have to plan. And I think a lot of brands can get to a certain point and then they crumble because they haven’t done that.
Simon Dell: What’s next for you? Obviously, you’ve mentioned the US and some other markets. Have you got any other markets to get into? Are there other products on the horizon that you might be thinking about creating?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I’ve had a measly range that was out right from the start when I was doing the Smoothie Bombs initially. I always had — I actually used to make raw cakes. I used to make cakes, and I had a muesli range and the Smoothie Bombs. So, the muesli range really sat back seat for the last three years, but I’m going to bring that back out.
I’m going to rebrand them, because I’ve got — there’s three of them. There’s granola, there’s pop grained muesli, and a porridge. I’m going to relaunch them soon. So, I’ve got a little bit more just to make the Nutrition Darling brand a little bit stronger.
And we are looking at a few more products that we’re going to launch possibly before the end of the year. We’ve got them set up. We’ve just got to do some tests, look at the packaging, and all that sort of stuff. So, we are growing, trying to stay within the breakfast brunch bracket.
I think I’m staying within that realm. I’m not going to get past the lunch. I’m not going to go to lunch yet. I’m just the Foods You Should Have in the Morning. That’s the area that I think needs a lot of help with. What I’ve done, I find that I’m having to change now is, and really the last couple of years, I’ve been driven by what has been coming to me as opposed to what I had planned.
I’d go one way and then something comes and I just go, “Oh, that’s quite good, actually.” So, I focus on that and move towards that. So, what I’m really working on this year is to stay more on track to where I think I need to be rather than react to what is — I mean, the things that are coming at me are really great.
So, the Anthropology, for example, I had plans to get to the US in two years’ time, but it’s come too years earlier. And I’m not going to say no, but I’m going to be very aware. I’d like to keep my focus on what I’ve got to do here, still. So, there’s still quite a lot in Australia that I need to do.
I think I need to look at expanding to more retail here and really strengthening my online presence and that online store, because I think that’s a really great part of the brand now. I want to just make that stronger.
Simon Dell: Okay, it sounds like you’re going to be incredibly busy for the next two years.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yes, indeed.
Simon Dell: I don’t think you need anything else. Just get on with all those bits and pieces.
Cinzia Cozzolino: That’s right.
Simon Dell: Last question: If somebody wants to come talk to you, if they’ve got some questions they might want to ask you or some advice and things like that — please don’t give your phone number out, because otherwise that’ll be the end of it, but where’s the best place for them to find you and talk to you?
Cinzia Cozzolino: I would say email me would be the best place. You can email me on [email protected] Do you want me to spell it or can you put that up somewhere?
Simon Dell: Well, the other place I was going to suggest they contact you would be perhaps through your LinkedIn as well. I don’t know if you use it.
Cinzia Cozzolino: LinkedIn, yeah. I check my LinkedIn, absolutely. In fact, if we’re talking about business people for sure, definitely contact me via LinkedIn. You can try me on Facebook Messenger as well, because I’m there most of the time as well.
Simon Dell: Okay, alright. We’ll put all those links in the show notes as well for everybody. If they want to find you, they’ll find you some way.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah, absolutely. I’m everywhere.
Simon Dell: They’ll hunt you down.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Yeah. I’m on all the social media platforms.
Simon Dell: Cool. Cinzia, it’s been absolutely fantastic. We went on way longer than I thought we were going to go on for, but that’s —
Cinzia Cozzolino: I told you we would.
Simon Dell: That’s the sign of a good conversation. So, really, really appreciate your time. I hope everybody out there has learned. Even if it inspires one person to sit there and go from sitting at home with an idea and actually testing it out with some friends, that would be fantastic.
Cinzia Cozzolino: Absolutely, absolutely.
Simon Dell: Thank you very much for your time today. It’s really appreciated.
Cinzia Cozzolino: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.
For more transcriptions of the Simon Dell Show click here: Marketing Podcasts
PODCAST EP 78
On Episode 78 of the Paper Planes Marketing Podcast Simon chats with Gerry Morris, General Manager at Book Speakers Direct.Listen Now