THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
Oliver Goulden and his company, FounderSix, have carved out a unique niche. They partner with digital native talent to launch their brands, focusing on the beauty category.
Oliver shed light on how FounderSix operates as an incubator and operator, transforming influencers' visions into tangible products. He detailed the comprehensive support FounderSix provides to influencers.
They're not just a guiding hand; they're the architects and builders behind the scenes. From branding and product development to fulfillment and customer service, they manage the entire lifecycle of a brand. This allows influencers to focus on what they do best – engaging with their audience and bringing authenticity to the brand.
One of the key takeaways from the discussion was the importance of authenticity in a successful product launch. Oliver shared a launch story that resonated with consumers because the influencer was deeply involved and genuinely passionate about the product.
This authenticity and a strong product-market fit make a brand stand out in the crowded beauty space. Not all launches are successful, and Oliver was candid about the reasons behind failed ventures.
A lack of authenticity, product strength, and expertise can doom a brand. Influencers must be genuine and knowledgeable about their products to build trust with their audience.
Key Points from the Episode:
- Introduction of Oliver Goulden and FounderSix
- FounderSix's partnership with influencers to launch brands in the beauty category
- The hands-on support provided by FounderSix as an incubator and operator
- Example of a successful product launch with an influencer
- Elements of a failed launch and the importance of authenticity and product-market fit
- Process of partnering with influencers and the value brought by FounderSix
- Discussion on the ever-changing landscape of social media and staying updated on emerging influencers
- FounderSix's recent funding round and focus on launching multiple brands
About Oliver Goulden:
Oliver Goulden, the co-founder of FounderSix, boasts a dynamic career spanning over two decades, marked by his expertise in spearheading marketing and business strategies for start-ups and multinational brands across Europe, the United States, and Asia.
Specializing in beauty, Oli plays a pivotal role in his capacity as a strategic partner for influencers, facilitating the successful launch of consumer brands. His visionary approach and extensive experience uniquely position him at the intersection of influencer collaboration and brand development.
Oli's contributions reflect a deep understanding of global markets and a commitment to fostering innovation in the ever-evolving consumer goods landscape. With an impressive track record, he continues to drive FounderSix's mission of empowering influencers to establish and flourish in the competitive realm of consumer brands.
FounderSix is a pioneering venture that collaborates with digital-native talent to catalyze the launch of their beauty brands. Going beyond mere financial investment, FounderSix fully immerses itself in each brand's incubation and operational aspects, alleviating influencers from traditionally challenging tasks like product development, manufacturing, eCommerce, legalities, and operations.
By addressing these often-overlooked facets, FounderSix enables influencers to concentrate on crafting exceptional brands and nurturing engaged communities. The company's scalable infrastructure ensures seamless collaboration with world-class partners from inception.
As co-founders and equity partners, FounderSix provides influencers with the simplest, safest, and quickest pathway to entrepreneurial success, transforming their creative visions into thriving beauty enterprises. This unique model positions FounderSix as a trailblazer in the intersection of influencer marketing and brand entrepreneurship.
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Josh (00:00:05) - A thoughtful listener before we get going. Did you know that my company up My influence.com has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my influence.com, where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my influence.com, where you'll see shows like Experienced Focused Leaders Podcast. If you're seeking insights on transforming customer experiences, you can't miss the Experience Focused Leaders podcast with your host, Alex Kovalenko. Alex, the CEO and founder of relay two, brings his rich background from Stanford MBA, Wharton BSc and the University of Pennsylvania B.A. he's a smart dude, along with his real world experiences of building organizations across global hubs to the forefront of this engaging podcast. Now, each episode is a deep dive into the world of customer centric strategies, where Alex and his guests, seasoned business owners and industry veterans, share their invaluable insights.
Josh (00:01:32) - They discuss the latest trends, offer practical advice, and reveal the secrets behind exceptional customer experiences and business growth. Are you a business owner who values customer experience above all? Then this podcast is your go to resource. Better yet, if you've got unique insights and strategies that have helped you stand out in your industry, we'd love to have you as a guest on the show. Share your story with a community that's as passionate about customer experience excellence as you are. Tune in to the experienced, Focused Leaders podcast for your weekly dose of inspiration and practical tips. Let's push the boundaries of customer experience together. With us right now. Oli Goulden. Oli, you are the co-founder of founder six. You're found on the web at founder 6.com. Really excited for this conversation. Ollie, thank you so much for joining us.
Oli (00:02:30) - Thank you for having me. Josh. Really, really happy to be here.
Josh (00:02:33) - Yes, absolutely. So give us an overview of your work by the way. Very exciting. And I'm excited for the person that's listening to our conversation.
Josh (00:02:39) - Because what we're talking about is just it's something that just didn't really we were talking about this added like this method of product launches and marketing, like it just didn't really exist ten years ago, but now it's just so powerful about these just huge launches. But I'll let you kind of fill in and and give us the context of what we're talking about here.
Oli (00:03:03) - Sure. No worries. Thanks for the introduction. Um, so so it found a six. We partner with digital native talent to launch their own brands, otherwise known as influencers. Uh, and we focus primarily on the beauty category and we we're not really just investors in the businesses, although that's obviously a valuable thing to, to offer. But we're also very hands on as an incubator and operator. So me and my business partner Peter have got, you know, many years experience in scaling ecommerce brands from scratch to multimillion dollar valuations. So we're there to really partner with the influencers to, to build their brand from scratch. And I guess the the model there, which you were alluding to is, is really based around the influencer creating the majority of the marketing materials, uh, and being able to sell to that organic audience.
Oli (00:03:54) - And founder six then does everything else behind the scenes. So that's everything from the branding to the product development, fulfillment, supply chain management, customer service, accounting, legal, uh, all the stuff that we say that they probably hate, we love. So if we if we want to have a line, that's our line. And the model really also means that we spend very little funds on marketing in the early stages. Uh, and that's an obvious advantage to get to profitability very quickly.
Josh (00:04:25) - Yeah. So let's illustrate an example of of a campaign or product launch that you've been able to do. And again, people go, oh yeah, no, I've seen these. And yep, they make a lot of money. Or do you know, again make a big impact, uh, you know, with, with the product launch here. But I'll let you kind of describe maybe an example or two.
Oli (00:04:44) - Well, I mean, I would say probably a very famous one. Uh, is Selena Gomez's rare beauty, uh, or Hailey Bieber's road, but to to use one of our own examples, we work with, with influencers who probably got a, a slightly less large following than those two.
Oli (00:05:01) - Yeah, we actually launched two of our brands in in October. One is called Anna Blue, which partners with Lauren Perez, and the other one is called Ravi Beauty, which partners with a makeup YouTuber called Ali Clyne's. So that's a perfect example. If we if we take Ravi, for example, Ali's been running her YouTube channel for for six years. Uh, she's got an incredible loyal following. If you look at the comments in her YouTube channel, it's literally we call it the kindest, safest place on the internet because it's just so amazingly supportive and loving. All the all the people that follow her are just incredible. And, you know, we've been talking to her for over two and a half years on how we launch this brand together. And we, you know, her vision for for the products is amazing. We work with an incredible manufacturer in Italy to make the products. And like I said, we launched only two months ago and it's been an absolutely phenomenal success so far.
Josh (00:06:01) - Yeah.
Josh (00:06:01) - All right. So I'm so curious about kind of like where you fit in. Like how you like, who is it that's conceiving these ideas? Is it the manufacturer? Is it the influencer? Is it you saying, wait a minute, I think we could find the perfect influencer kind of work with them to figure out if they're ready for prime time, and then if they're interested, we could put together everything and do some really great business together. Is it? Tell me how it works behind the scenes?
Oli (00:06:31) - Yeah, sure. I mean that no two deals are the same. So? So they always come from different places, but it usually starts with the influencer first. So we don't find a product and say, wow, this is amazing. Let's go and find an influencer that we can launch this product around. We do it really the other way around because I think that that feels more authentic. And and we want the influencer to be part of that whole process from the very beginning. And very often they bring the expertise and and vision, you know, that is what makes it successful in the first place.
Oli (00:07:03) - So usually what happens is that we approach an influencer who fits our criteria that we have behind the scenes. Uh, we would sign a co-founders agreement with them. Um, so it's a legal contract where we both have equity in the business. No money is is passed between hands. It's really a business that starts from scratch, uh, for each brand. And then we work together very closely on a business plan, on a product roadmap. And I think, you know, the days of, of a celebrity or influencer just putting their name on a, on the side of a packaging and expecting it to sell really well over. We've seen plenty of big names fail in this space, uh, especially in the last five, five or so years. And I think the scrutiny on on influencer brands actually higher than it's ever been before. And so, yeah, you almost need to go beyond expectations. You need to surprise the audience that you've you've been able to come up with a product that is significant, different from anything else on the market, that solves a market need and is truly innovative.
Oli (00:08:07) - And that's what we're really there to help guide the process. And that's where also the the manufacturers come in really well too. So working with with great partners is obviously what we need to do. And our team personally, the product team is, you know, very, very forward thinking. We've got chemists on the team. The R&D segment of what we do is, is really, really strong to help get that product to market.
Josh (00:08:31) - Yeah. All right. So here's what I'm curious about. What are the elements of a failed launch that maybe you've seen in the past the you know, whatever you do, don't do these three things which we've seen and whoof!
Oli (00:08:47) - I think the most important thing is authenticity. I think consumers are really savvy these days. They can sniff it out if they feel like someone has come in last minute and and then they come and say, I've been working on this brand for many years, but they're announcing it a day before launch and it's obviously not them. That's that's been part of it.
Oli (00:09:09) - I think the audience smells that a mile off. I mean, I love the guy, but Brad Pitt, when he launched his skincare brand and then said he doesn't use skincare, was like a bit of a faux pas. So you, uh, but but I would say authenticity. Super important. I would say the strength of the product. You know, it's like any other brand, right? There needs to be product market fit. You need to be doing something different in the market, and it needs to be something that the customers want to buy when they see it. So those two things I think are probably the most the most important. And we see two often than not people not doing it right. And I think that that is perhaps ego at play or, you know, not being an expert in the category and thinking that they can suddenly go into someone else's territory and, and dominate it. And ultimately, you know, if we're talking about skincare or makeup, you know, you want to be buying from someone that knows really what they're doing, right? So, yeah, you know, maybe, maybe you've got the science base and then a celebrity can help endorse it.
Oli (00:10:14) - But like having a celebrity as a as a founder, they need to be really experts in the area.
Speaker 3 (00:10:19) - Yeah.
Josh (00:10:20) - And that's interesting. And I think that that's been an evolution that I think that we've realized. Whereas back in the day, I think we learned this pretty quickly, that just being a celebrity is not enough. Like it's you can fail at that. Right? Right. And I think we've all seen some failed celebrity campaigns. You noted a couple of, um, some big ones. Um, yeah. But I agree with you. Right? I've studied and led on consumer behavior for about 16 years now. And I agree with you. Listen, you can't snow consumers like someone's going to sniff it out, then word's going to get out and everyone's gonna be like, yeah. And we all know too, you know, how critical it is that the delivery is done well by the influencer. Themselves, right? Because if they don't believe in it, everyone's going to know. And, um.
Josh (00:11:06) - I wonder, do they kind of huddle with you in terms of like, okay, I've been thinking about this for some time. This sounds like it might be a good time, but I'm nervous as heck because I don't want to screw this up. Can you help me?
Oli (00:11:19) - Absolutely. Yeah, that happens a lot. And like I said, every single person that we partner with so far comes from a very different place. Again, if we take Anna Blue's an example. Uh, Lauren Perez, her her parents are both Moroccan heritage. And so, you know, she's been using natural ingredients, natural oils that she's had shipped from Morocco to LA all the way through her life. So she's been concocting these, these hair oil, uh, remedies at home based on on traditional remedies that her grandparents shared with her parents, shared with her. And, you know, we were really captivated by that story. We we love that story. And but obviously, she she's never started her own business before.
Oli (00:12:03) - She's never run an e-commerce company before. And so what we're able to do is take that kind of that dream and that vision and really, you know, bring it to life and also not just bring it to life exactly how it was, but like add science on top of it, add research on top of it, add our entire team's expertise into how to position it in a way that is going to be even more interesting to the audience. So I think that's a perfect example of of kind of the value that we bring. But obviously there's lots of different variations. Some people we've been having conversations with dermatologists who have got like a precise formula that they've been working on for years and and using on their patients that they then want to commercialize. We speak to other people that have never really they don't have the idea, but they they just really want to become an entrepreneur and, and move away from just doing content creation. And so, you know, equally, for us, it's very exciting to have those conversations.
Oli (00:13:04) - We've had many, many over the years. It's it's incredible. And, you know, what we look for is yeah, a great story, uh, a territory that we, we feel like we can go into confidently together and above all else, like a very good working relationship with with the talent. You know, we're going to be co-founders for a long time. So we need to work together, you know.
Josh (00:13:27) - Well, congratulations on your funding round. By the way. 12 million is going to give you a little bit of runway to work with. So that's exciting. Um, what does growth look like for you at this point? I mean, are you at a position where you pretty much know all of the influencers that are kind of on deck or on your radar or like, how do you grow in scale?
Oli (00:13:49) - The amazing thing about social media is it's so ever changing and fluid. So, you know, whoever was great last year is maybe not so great this year. And there's new people emerging.
Oli (00:14:01) - But yes, you know, I would say we have a pretty good handle. We have we've got great tools that we've built ourselves that help us like keep track of those things and a team that that kind of keeps their finger on the pulse about where things are going. We've got a great network of of talent agents that that will feed us like, uh, promising new talent that they're getting on their books. So. So I feel like we have a pretty good sense of, uh, who we want to work with and where they're going to be coming from. Like you say, uh, the funding round that we just secured is is amazing. And our, our investor Katie Capital is has been extremely supportive through supply chain delays and issues. They just really got our backs. And that's an amazing thing to have as an investor. And really the mandate is to create more brands in the next couple of years. So yeah. Um, you know, we we're very selective with who we work with.
Oli (00:14:56) - We have a lot of conversations with a lot of different people. And, you know, all the pieces of the puzzle need to fit together for us to go ahead and for us to invest our time and money into launching a company with them. But the mandate is to really launch multiple brands into next year and the year after, and hopefully there is successful as the ones we've launched so far.
Josh (00:15:18) - Yeah. Right. Right. Well, you know, again, just kind of baked into this method of product launch. I think about like all of the things that you don't have to do, right. You know, it's like if the influencer already has a built in audience, you know, you think about previous product launches that were just based on store shelves or starting a Shopify store from scratch and just dumping, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars into paid ads and hoping that it gets traction and then hoping that you get the attraction of the influencers. Right. And this is just it's exciting. What an exciting world.
Josh (00:15:55) - And just that we live in. And you know what? What we get to experience. Now.
Oli (00:16:00) - Well, Josh, you hit the nail on the head, though. I mean, really, that was, uh, Peter and I before we started founder sex. That's exactly the problem that we faced. You know, like, the amazing thing that's happened over the last, honestly, 5 to 6 years is that Shopify has made it super easy. You can set up a store in in 24 hours, right. And be selling to customers immediately. The level of entry for kind of minimum orders with manufacturers has come right down. They've seen the opportunity in working with smaller brands. And so we've seen this explosion of of new e-commerce brands, which is amazingly exciting. But it means that it's super, super competitive out there. Right. So that has driven the costs of advertising through the roof. Your customer acquisition costs are insane. You know, there's no channel that is like just the pure channel for every success story that you hear where something's gone viral, you've got 200 other brands that haven't managed to go viral.
Oli (00:16:58) - You know, it's a really, really competitive landscape. And so, you know, the the basis of founders really is to skip over that initial phase. So, so we we believe that our brands can, can hopefully scale to be doing 5 to 10 million in revenue, obviously with with marketing support. But that first six months especially, we wouldn't spend that much on advertising because you're you've created a brand that already has an audience. How many brands get to launch to an audience that's already engaged? Right? I mean, that is just such a magical formula. And so if you get the balance right of that storytelling and product market fit along with with that, you you really you're really in a great position.
Josh (00:17:43) - Ali, who should be reaching out to you like I'm just curious about, you know, folks that are listening to this podcast who should go to your website, engage and have a conversation?
Oli (00:17:55) - Sure. Well, I mean, of course, you know, if you're an influencer listening and you've always dreamt of launching your own brand, especially in beauty, and you have a decent sized audience, we we'd love to speak to you.
Oli (00:18:07) - Uh, but also, you know, people that know influencers who've had this dream. Or maybe you're a manager of an influencer or an agent of an influencer who's had this amazing idea or or doesn't really know where to start. All of those people we'd love to have a conversation with. And, you know, every week we have conversations with with aspiring entrepreneurs in this space. And, you know, we always offer as much advice as we can. We don't see everyone as competition. We see the ecosystem as a really important place, and we love sharing our knowledge. But, you know, we're looking for those special people that we would want to start a business with. So I think if you fit into that category, we'd love to hear from you. Hello founder six. Com would be the best way or in LinkedIn. But I'd also say, you know, there's other companies and founders who may believe that they can help founder six brands. And so of course we'd we'd always like to hear from them.
Oli (00:19:01) - You know, unfortunately, if with marketing agencies, you know, we're not the ideal target, but we do work with marketing partners, you know that. Absolutely. We do at different stages of the company life. But, you know, really, if you feel like you you can contribute to, um, to what the vision of founder six is and, and help our brands grow, then we we'd always love to say hi.
Josh (00:19:26) - Excellent. All right. So I'm a clean cut, uh, young 50s podcaster who loves great hair care. All right, let's do this thing.
Oli (00:19:36) - You've got great skin, Josh, as well, for all the listeners that can't see you, uh, you've got you got very good skin.
Josh (00:19:42) - So that's that's my finished DNA. My my genetics. So thank Mama Elige for that one. But there we go. Yeah. Well, listen, Ollie's been a great conversation. Your website once again is founder 6.com. That's 6.com all. It's been a great conversation. Again congratulations on the funding round.
Josh (00:20:02) - Uh really really exciting topic. Thanks so much for joining us.
Oli (00:20:05) - Thanks for having me Josh. Good luck with all your other podcasts.
Josh (00:20:13) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence common Guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day.
Josh (00:21:18) - Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.