Work In Progress Podcast
Episode #

Dripkit Podcast ☕️ Ilana Kruger on scaling a challenger coffee brand through partnerships

Dripkit founder Ilana stars in this podcast episode to discuss the development of Dripkit - an innovative coffee brewer selling single serve on-the-go drip coffee.

 min listen

A conversation with...

Ilana Kruger
CEO & Founder

Hosted by...

Harvey Hodd
CEO & Co-Founder


Dripkit founder, Ilana joins us on the Dripkit edition of the podcast to discuss the development of Dripkit - an innovative coffee brewer selling single serve on-the-go drip coffee. We first explore the inspiration behind Dripkit [3:29] and its early product development phase [4:31]. Ilana then details how the brand successfully launched with the help of a Kickstarter campaign [8:22], valuable partnerships with Verve and Stumptown [14:34] and a savvy PR strategy [20:52].

We reveal the impact of Dripkit’s efforts to supply key workers with free coffee during the early days of the pandemic, and Ilana’s subsequent appearance on the Today Show [23:27]. Our chat is rounded off with a discussion of the brand’s retention strategy [29:10], long-term sources of growth [33:55] and future plans to make their product 100% compostable [35:40].

Full transcript

Harvey [00:00:04] This is Work in Progress. A podcast by Blueprint covering e-commerce, growth, strategy and retention. Welcome to the Blueprint Work in Progress podcast. I'm Harvey Hodd, co-founder and CEO of Blueprint. Today, we're chatting to Ilana founder and CEO of Dripkit. Dripkit are making premium pourover coffee accessible on the go drip coffee. The innovative paper filter fits in your hand and lays flat to travel anywhere. Ilana started the business after seeing a void between instant coffee and high end retail coffee where convenience really shouldn't come at the cost of quality. How are you doing Ilana? 

Ilana [00:00:42] I'm great. Harvey, thanks so much for having me. Excited to be here. My first podcast. 

Harvey [00:00:48] Oh, awesome. That's cool. It was exciting going through the research for this. Yeah. It'll be good to dive into the last few years of the business. So for listeners that don't have a ton of context. How could you sum up Dripkit in your own words? 

Ilana [00:01:03] Yeah. So Dripkit essentially is an innovative coffee brewer. It's a single serve pourover coffee brewer that comes with freshly roasted and ground coffee already inside. So all you need to make a delicious barista quality cup of coffee is hot water and a mug.

Harvey [00:01:19] Perfect. I guess when I saw you guys, I think I've always just generally super interesting about that blend between super high and coffee. And you have to go somewhere too, it's extremely expensive a lot of the time. I guess you pay for that quality but then the kind of middle ground between that and the convenience. I think you've touched on Keurig and those kind of Starbucks, etc. That middle ground was super interesting. And so kind of going back to the start before Dripkit. You worked in various roles, somewhere in eCom, you've had a bit of social media in there, like how did that go into mold your love of brands, I guess. And the creation of Dripkit. 

Ilana [00:02:00] For sure. Actually, I think it starts like way before that I had my first job when I was 14 and I had my first retail job when I was 16. And I always really loved everything that went into like being at a store, like the customer experience, merchandizing, curating beautiful things, helping people find what they want. And as I got older, I kind of transition working offline doing those things to working with online brands, doing the same things. And my earliest memory of the career that I wanted after, like being a dolphin trainer had subsided, was wanting to have my own store, like, I love this idea of traveling the world and creating beautiful objects. And I went to school for art and design and as I got older and I started working more with online brands, it kind of became clear that this was a natural fit for me, that now that I was older or the adult iteration of my childhood dream was really creating an online brand.

Harvey [00:03:01] Well, yeah, super interesting. I think for us, we're seeing like an explosion of super interesting innovations across generally CPG over the last few years. And I think with Dripkit the brand kinda really came through it. I guess that was at the forefront of everything. And how did the genesis of that happen? So you went kind of the first steps of building that and the business as a whole. How did that start? 

Ilana [00:03:26] Yeah, I mean, I think that the product came before the brand. The brand had always been a part of it. And I think that the biggest thing we wanted to get across with Dripkit was this idea that it was convenient, like you've touched on, but also that it was fun and that it was really intuitive and that it was completely accessible to anyone of any skill level. And those things that we really wanted to shine in the brand, we really wanted to come across in the product as well. And so when we started thinking about the best way to create Dripkit, we really dug into how it could show up and be all of those things to someone who is extremely like in it with coffee, like world class barista and also someone that literally, like my roommate, just made cowboy coffee the other day with a paper towel and like, hurt my heart, but also like I wanted to be for him, no matter where you're at in your journey, like we wanted to create a product that would work for you. 

Harvey [00:04:31] Okay. Yeah. And that makes complete sense. You went through five hundred prototypes, right? So it wasn't just like, here we are, where we go. What was the process like that? Did you have to just do a really extensive customer research? I knew that that was a little bit of inspiration from a brand in Japan. How did that come about? Because that's a lengthy kind of testing phase, I guess, and costly. 

Ilana [00:04:52] Yeah, it wasn't as expensive as you would think. Since we did a lot of the labor ourselves, as with most things in this company, we're still very small in lots of ways, but also very mighty. I think that the Japanese product, as you mentioned, we did a beta test with before we started the design process and the overhaul of own product. And we tested it with friends and family and it kind of trickled on through their friends and family and naturally expanded and we reached out to every single person that had tried the product to get their feedback. And overwhelmingly, what we heard was love the concept, think it's really cool, takes too long, don't understand it. I messed it up. I broke it. Like all these things. And so it was at that moment that I kind of was thinking, ok, there's really something here and I feel like this could be a really interesting product for an American consumer. But if it's going to be for an American consumer, it needs to completely change. It needs to be fast. It needs to make a bigger cup of coffee. It needs to sit above the cup. There were a lot of design elements about the beta test that just weren't intuitive or attractive to a consumer that is used to a malita cone, you know, you wanted it to sit above the cup because when it doesn't and it kind of sinks inside then you have take it out, it's messy, like no mess. I don't want mess. So that was a big thing. And so we started designing it ourselves. Like in my living room, on my living room table,. 

Harvey [00:06:28] I've seen some great photos of the first designs of the prototype. made out of paper and all those different shapes. It looks amazing. 

Ilana [00:06:35] It was really one of my favorite parts of the process for sure. Just like figuring out, ok, well, we can't do this, this, this, this and this. So how can we solve the problem? And so after that, we hired some industrial design grad students from Pratt, which is down the block from my home and which is like art school in New York. That got us a little further. And then eventually we're like, okay, we need to call in the big guns. So we reached out to one of the top industrial design firms in New York called Prime Studios. They've worked with Harry's razors, Urban Stems, Lola, like they really like aces at product development. And the founder, Stuart Harvey Lee had seen the Japanese beta product in his travels for years and years and years and was so excited about the design challenge that he actually we cold emailed him and he responded the next day, being like, I love this. I want to work with you. Let's let's do this. Let's redesign this for us. I think one of the things about Dripkit is that it's fun and it's interesting and it's innovative and it's exciting. And I think that that's actually gotten us a long way. We are passionate about the product. We're creating our passion about the industry in which we sit and that passion mixed with the innovation of the product and just the fact that it's fun to use. That went a long way in terms of our just ability to get things done. 

Harvey [00:08:03] Okay. Yeah. That makes complete sense and I think, like you said, one of your favorite parts of like building. I think that's that ideation and creation of a star. I know exactly what you mean. And like, it's so kind of celebrities and just exciting. And then that let on I guess through multiple testing, but then ultimately led to a Kickstarter campaign where you fueled the first step of the business. Right. I guess great for a number of reasons to build that initial community to raise that cash that you needed to. I assume those test runs like firstly it's not easy to raise crowdfunding on Kickstarter that amount. And then how did that kind of progress? How did you go into that? How did you prepare for that generally? 

Ilana [00:08:45] For sure. I mean, to be honest, I find that the preparing you need to do for a Kickstarter is very similar to the preparing you need to do to launch a brand. So it was kind of like many Dripkit launch. And one of the reasons that we did it, it was because we wanted to be sure before we went and like really said, ok, we're launching this business that the community was there to support the product we were creating. Like there's no reason to create something that doesn't need to exist, especially in today's world. And we wanted to be sure that people wanted the product. And overwhelmingly, the answer was, yes, we want this thing that you're building. So the way we prepared for it was that we did a ton of outreach press like as a team internally. We hired a friend of mine who worked in Beauty PR to kind of like train us and help us with outreach. And he also helped us, plus another friend with the launch press outreach for the actual official launch. And a lot of grassroots organizing, like every single person that we'd ever met, got an email. This is going to launch. Please support it. OK. This is actually launching. Please share it. OK. Were this much fun? Like, you cannot do a Kickstarter if you have any reservations about, like asking for things. Because I mean, I don't think that you can really have a business if you have reservations. One thing that having a business has really taught me is that you're going to get so many no's, so many, but also you'll get a surprising amount of yeses and you just don't know unless you ask. And you have to deal with a lot of your own inner demons, like to get to a point where you can just be like. Pardon my French, but fuck it, I don't care if this seems nerdy or weird or crazy to everyone else in the entire world. Like, I am committed to this thing and I'm gonna do everything that I can in my power to make it succeed. 

Harvey [00:10:48] Yeah, I guess it's like you're saying kind of that Kickstarter is almost a reflection of generally building a business at large and then navigating those next 6 to 12 months. So you started off post that it was entirely distributed DTC online. How did that go? Because it's not the easiest thing. Acquisition and general awareness, etc.. What were some of the pillars you placed on a post that successful Kickstarter launch of the next six months? 

Ilana [00:11:18] Yeah. So post the Kickstarter, we were accepted into an accelerator which really helped us get enough capital to do our first production run. And then on the tails of that, the Kickstarter mix with the accelerator. We raised our first round of capital and then launched the brand with the intention of being completely DTC. In February of 2018. And we were excited about being. It sounds so tacky when I say it now because it's just so not my philosophy anymore. But like the Warby Parker of coffee or, you know, the Harry's of coffee. And there's a very intoxicating feeling when you depending on what area or what kind of group or a niche you find yourself in when you start your business. We started with a Kickstarter and then were immediately accepted into a pretty techy accelerator. So the voices that we were hearing were very much high growth, fast growth like exponential growth, Y Combinator like go, go, go, go, go, go. And so it's hard to kind of be self reflective and say, is this really what I want? Is this really what's best for my brand? Is this really what's best for my life and my business, this kind of growth? Because you're going so fast, right. And so we were growing. We were like, we're going to grow fast. We're going to be the Warby Parker of coffee. And to be honest, it was not right. It didn't work. We didn't raise enough capital to be that aggressive in online acquisition. And I think that if we had stepped back and began a bit more reflective, which is very difficult to do when you're in that environment as a young person and who had never had a business before, we would have realized we had spent so much time creating this very innovative product. We should share that innovative product with everyone in coffee and not just keep it to ourselves. And very soon we realized that that was the best path forward and quickly, within four months of launching, launched our first roaster partnership with Verve out of Santa Cruz. And it was just like successful beyond our wildest dreams. And that was the moment where was like, oh, oh, right. It's a coffee product. It should be for coffee people. 

Harvey [00:13:49] Yeah. Yeah. And that makes complete sense. I think we see it a lot in some of the guys we chat to and generally read about is that that hyper growth model that has been here is like in some cases amazing, in some cases fits the bill and many it just doesn't fit the criteria of the business. So the industry, the category, that founders, demographic, whatever it may be. A lot of the time it just isn't a fit that it's forced kind of on that. And I guess that leads to so many different dynamics and issues. But like. Yeah, refreshing to hear that taking those binges off a bit. I like that narrative and being more true to the business, the brand, yourself, etc. And then going going forward with Verve. I know Verve was the first of now a couple of omnichannel kind of distribution plays and collaborations and partnerships. So Verve and then Stumptown last year. So did that then become kind of core to the business versus we were kind of exclusivity DTC led. Now it's actually more kind of where our audience are, we are, 

Ilana [00:14:57] Yeah. I think that one of the really great things that the Verve Partnership and then consequently the Stumptown partnership did for Dripkit was really put us on the map in a way that. Sure, we could have with digital acquisition. But when you're working with a product that's so much about taste and it's high end and it's gourmet and it's craft to have the approval of two of the most renowned coffee roasters in the country who have been around for over 20 years, like 40. Collectively, that did so much more than an ad could ever do for us. 

Harvey [00:15:44] Yeah, it gave you like a platform and validation almost.

Ilana [00:15:47] Exactly. And I think that really helped with our growth. It really helped put us on the map as something that people could trust. Like Verve's stands behind this product, Stumptown stands behind this product. This is the product. So first we launched just digitally with Verve. And then quickly, we were in all of their stores. And then quickly after that, they were selling the product to their wholesale accounts. So with Stumptown, It was the same model we launched online in their shops and for their wholesale accounts at the same time. And that also really allowed us to have access to a distribution channel so much quicker than pitching individual coffee shops across the country, because these roasters had these very deep networks that they had grown and built lovingly for 20 years. These relationships with coffee shops that are so proud to serve Stumptown, so proud to serve, the signs in the window, say "we proudly serve", you know. And so for Stumptown and Verve to come in and be like, look at this really cool new product that we have for you guys to share with your customers. That was a really creative and exciting way for us to have another distribution channel that kind of piggybacking on the success of our partners. 

Harvey [00:17:05] Yeah. No 100%. It's those partners is so credible for so many people and share the same kind of audience then. Yeah, it makes a ton of sense. Not just that point of view, but also kind of like you touched on financially distribution wise, like it just makes sense. So that's super interesting. And then I guess one of the points there was the shared audience like, how did you see the audience from the start? How did you think about it as Dripkit? Because I think we see a lot of products that are tied to affluent urban millennial demographic and it's so vague now and this line is so blurred, it very much kind of like dial down into that a bit more. And like. Yeah. How did you think about that? 

Ilana [00:17:48] I mean, I think that when we started obviously thinking in this high growth way that we were, we totally were like, oh, millennial consumer. But as you pull the curtain back and you get your products out there and you really start to like, look for that product market fit and who's actually buying your product, it was really interesting. I thought it would be a lot more novice's, but really it's a lot more coffee pros and a lot of people that use it for work and camping and on the go. And when they travel like that made sense. That's definitely something that we were definitely targeting. One of the other really interesting groups of people that gravitated towards our product were like nurses and doctors and medical workers and pilots and flight attendants and these people that have non ordinary 9:00 to 5:00 schedules because it makes sense. Right. Like, you maybe work the night shift or you have to be there at 4 a.m. or you are on your feet all day and the company coffee machine is not the company coffee machine that Google has. It's like the one that the hospitals had in their cafe cafeteria. Not even a cafe for 30 years. And so that was really interesting. And it kind of led seamlessly into initiative that we recently started, once Covid all kind of hit, which was giving back to health care workers and providing them with a great cup of coffee. And a lot of the feedback that we heard from nurses and doctors who received their gift, their Dripkit gift was like those machines were shut down. They could not even get a coffee. I mean, coffee shops in Brooklyn are open again. And most around the states, you can definitely get curbside. But in the beginning, there was no curbside. People didn't know what to do or how to react. And especially if you worked the night shift, those coffee shops aren't open anyways. And that felt really amazing to be able to not only give back to these incredible people who are so heroic and brave, but to provide them with. A cup of coffee, which can do so much to make your day better at a time where they literally could not get one anywhere besides their home. 

Harvey [00:20:09] Yes, that makes sense. I guess you touched on it just then. Something as small as coffee can really be a very monumental point in the day, especially when it's very low and times are extremely hard like have been for those key workers but I think yeah, super interesting about kind of dialing down into that demographic, someone that I actually didn't ever have access to great coffee because of X and Y. Very interesting because like you said, you wouldn't have kind of understood that from the start. And then I guess it has been about where all those audience is, how to speak to them, as DTC has still been kind of a really key part of your distribution. And I know PR has played a role within that, like you've been in so many great publications. Forbes, Business Insider. The list goes on, Have you placed a strategy around that. I know there is clearly a very compelling story to be told. So, yeah, it's interesting because I guess a lot of the time, it's a huge PR team. How does that work? Like the relationships around that? I know Maude had a really interesting PR strategy so yeah it would be super interesting to hear. 

Ilana [00:21:21] Yeah. So I kind of mentioned that earlier when we did our Kickstarter launch we worked with a friend who had a background in beauty PR. And then one of my close friends and advisers had worked for a long time in media and comms. And she also helped with the strategy for PR. We've only done it internally since launching. And I think one of the reasons for that is that press is amazing and it's definitely part of our strategy moving forward. And it really moves the needle, especially the most recent press that we got, which was television, which we've never had before, which is insane. But to have an agency for hire is extremely expensive. And we just have not been in the place where it's felt like the right investment for us. And so we've just done it ourselves. And we usually curate outreach based on a launch or a new partnership or a new product and then have some general just outreach maintaining relationships. And we've built a lot of friendships in media and community since launching. And so I can't speak to what it's like to have an agency on record because we never had one. I think it could be really amazing. But I also think I listen to Eva. So it's top of mind. One thing she says is it's so much about relationships and I just completely agree with that. Like, if I was a writer and I was getting pitched 1000 times a day, I'd definitely be more likely to listen to a story from someone that's an actual founder that has become a friend. Especially because the founder journey is such that trope right now. The archetype of a founder is an interesting thing, people want to write about that. So I think that it goes a long way when it is being pitched from me. 

Harvey [00:23:10] Yeah, yeah, 100 percent. And we've seen a lot. You mentioned Eva. I guess with yourself that one to one relationships brick by brick is pretty much like core to any strategy, especially in PR. And then you touched on it very lightly with coverage with the Today Show, which was pretty mad and so how did that come about? How did you prepare for it? Like, was there anything to take advantage of it offering that coverage, like crazy coverage. 

Ilana [00:23:39] It was crazy and I didn't know what to expect. And it was beyond all of my wildest expectations and dreams. Like I just I had no idea because I don't have a television. I mean, I have a TV but does not have cable like it has Internet channels. There is a better way to say that. But anyways, I have Netflix, whatever the like. And so I know that the Today Show is a really big deal, but I don't think that I fully understood the impact of it because it's not something I watch regularly, although now I do. So the way that it happened was actually super organically. One of the nurses that received a Dripkit box, her best friend is a producer on the Today Show. And so she reached out to April. Crystal said to April, I just got this amazing gift from this company. It's really cool. It's a female founder. You should talk to her. She's a really cool story. And so people reached out and it came to our customer service email. And at first I was like, this isn't real because like, you know, you get some of those beyond TV pay five thousand dollars or something like that. She had a legit NBC email and so I responded and it was real. And so we had an initial conversation. We were both really excited. And then they just yeah, we recorded it on Skype, which was funny. And I had been spending the earlier part of Covid in Pennsylvania at my parents house. And so we had two different shots, like one from my computer and one from my phone. And somebody may switch like my mom, like moved in, like turn the camera on. And it was like a family affair. It was really sweet. And I'm very grateful to them and thankful to April. I think she told a beautiful story. But truly, the thing that's the most exciting about the whole opportunity is that we were able to fulfill almost every single request for coffee that we got from a health care worker. And that's the whole reason we went on to like spread the word about this campaign and initiative we were doing. And so I'm very happy at the results. But mostly I'm happy that we got to get coffee to almost every single person that asked. 

Harvey [00:26:16] Yeah. That's amazing. It's also great I guess that that whole opportunity came not from just kind of sales outreach, it came from a place of generosity and something that you were just doing very well that organically spread. So that's really great. As a result of just the mass coverage, that can only be good for DTC and general kind of acquisition online. I've watched the coverage and just being out to tell the story. it's an amazing thing. You can't ever really convey that in an ad or that deeply. So did that kind of shine through in the results online and just general kind of acceleration of your DTC ops? 

Ilana [00:27:02] Oh, 100 percent. I mean, wildly so. Yeah, I think that the way that the segment happened and the fact that Dylan and I made a coffee together and you got to see how to make a Dripkit, and she used like a measuring cup and I used a kettle. It really spoke to how the product is so easy to use and you can use it any way you want, anywhere you want. And that I couldn't have asked for anything better than that. Like, it really just spoke to the fact that Dripkit is a great and easy way to make coffee for anyone. And we did a lot. Obviously, we knew it was coming. So I worked a lot with our digital marketing team to get prepared to setup the proper flows and e-mails are really big for us. So we really wanted to capture that audience and welcome them with open arms to our community. And I think it's also interesting because it's a different audience, like a lot of our customers find us through Instagram. The Today Show audience is much older. So we do have older customers and they are definitely a part of our segment. And a lot of the nurses and doctors and flight attendants and pilots are older. And so that email portion was really important because we actually thought we'd get a really significant lift in Instagram followers. But we didn't see such a huge lift because I think the audience that is watching that show isn't on Instagram. And just because you're not on Instagram does not mean that you're not a great customer for a Dripkit. And so email is a really powerful tool for us. And I think that it just shows that idea of every DTC startups target demo is millennials just you could not be farther from the truth. 

Harvey [00:28:51] Yeah, 100%. And with that, in fact, firstly amazing that you could kind of prepare for that to fullfill the demand, etc. Because I guess that's no easy feat, especially with a complex supply chain with sourcing and roasting and everything around that. But also now I guess that mindset shifts to retention of those customers like it's a massive, massive deal. Like, how do you guys think about that? I know you said email is huge. Is it very much in the content storytelling? I know you've got a few different purchasing model, subscription, etc. Like what's the real driver there for your customer? I can imagine there is polls as well from other psychological pools from like the conveniences of coffee offerings, but then also retail.  

Ilana [00:29:43] Yeah, I think that the first thing that we always think about is how are our customers using the product? And we have a few different segments of how people use them. We actually just had the opportunity to do a really good survey. We do like one a year. For all of our customers, this one was particularly customers who have purchased more than once because we wanted to know like. It's a very giftable product. So a lot of people buy it for gifts. And we weren't as interested in that portion of our demo. And so, you know, I think that as we think about retaining our customers, we want to think about how to talk to them based on how they see us and how they use us. It's not a one messaging for all kind of thing, even though it is only one product. A lot of people use us every day. A lot of people use us just for work. A lot of people who are I would say the coffee aficionados have us as a safety like a break glass when and I think their purchasing patterns are very different. So the first one that uses us every day. They're our monthly subscribers. Right. And we have a 10 pack option and 20 pack option. And some of our customers have to 20 pack options subscription. So they're getting 40 a month. And they're obviously our everyday customer. 

Harvey [00:31:05] They're the hero customer. 

Ilana [00:31:07] Yes, we love them. We love all our customers. They are especially important. And then, you know, I think that we see it also my marketing associate and I were chatting the other day about how interesting is that like the beginning in the month and the end of the month, our biggest purchasing periods, like they are our highest revenue generating time periods timeframes because it's like. And also the beginning of the week at the end of the week are higher than the middle of the week because it's like when you're thinking about grocery shopping or when you're thinking about buying coffee or when you go into your cabinet and you're like, oh, no. Or like he said that and I was like, oh, wow, we should dig into that more and think about that. But like a lot of things with the business, it's like when you really think about it, it's like, oh yeah that makes sense. Like, when do I want to buy coffee? When do I think about purchasing a commodity that I drink every day? So there are the exceptions to the rule which are people that buys those gifts, as I mentioned, or people that just take us camping. I think it's really interesting because I've had a lot of people since the very beginning of starting this brand that is like, oh, camping coffee. Yeah, you're just camping coffee. Right. And I pushed back on it for a really long time because I don't want to I think there's so much more to this brand than just an outdoor coffee. And I think that those people will find this no matter what. Like, they'll find this anyways. And we definitely do want to speak to them more. But I think that I never wanted to narrow the brand. I think our scope is so much larger than just, oh, this is a great camping coffee. I'm not going to label us like that. So I think that I don't want to label I don't want to label us. 

Harvey [00:32:58] Yeah, yeah. No, that makes sense. And then at the same time, I guess you mentioned by diving into each subsection. At the same time, if you don't dial into those, not necessarily a label. You're right. That's the wrong phrase. I guess it then leads back to that thing you mentioned earlier in terms of who is your tied demographic and then it becomes everybody. So I guess there's areas of segmentation. It's super interesting that you say with the different days in the week and how psycholigicaly you think about it. Do you think also customers think of Dripkit, I guess, again, depends on the segment but an essentiall vs a slightly more luxurious treat than their daily coffee that they might have and cost X amount, half as much or something like that. I guess you see that in different areas. 

Ilana [00:33:44] Sure. Yeah. It's a great question. I mean, I think that as we think about our growth. We're really thinking about long term. I want this product to be in hospitality in a really big way. And I think it has a really rightful place in the room. And so when I think about the end goal, where I want Dripkit to show up and how I want people to use us, we never built this product as a replacement of your coffee shop or your favorite roaster. If anything, we want to build those up. Like we work with Verve, we work with Stumptown. And if we are your everyday coffee, that's amazing. We're very happy to be that for you. But if we're not, then that's ok, too. And I think that we want to show up everywhere that you want good coffee. And so we're not just showing up online. We're showing up soon, hopefully in a grocery store and at the hotel you're going to stay at and in your meal kit. And I think every person has a very different relationship to coffee because it's a very personal experience. And some people are chemex for life and some people are only espresso and some people are  pourover agnostic. And it's a big ask to go in and say, I want you to only use drip kit forever, because I think it's anti what the industry stands for and coffee in general. And so we want to be a really, really, really great option that you have fun using and that you enjoy using. And I think there's enough of a market to cover that. We don't need to use this product every day and if you want to, great. 

Harvey [00:35:32] Yeah, 100%. And then I guess that leads on to to speak to those audiences. Do you see or how do you see, is that innovation and different products is it a proliferation of that, is it. I guess you touched on that, like naturally bigger distribution or slightly more widespread distribution in different areas of consumers lives. But, yeah, it'd interesting thing to touch on how you think about innovation of product or if thats's on the roadmap.

Ilana [00:35:59] Yeah, I mean, we definitely want to grow our roaster channel because it's really fun to get a variety pack from Dripkit because it's a really great way to try different roasters and try different coffees without having to commit to a full 12 ounce bag of beans. So I think that that'll be really fun for our customers when we have like six, seven, eight roasters on our lineup and you can get variety pack and try one of all of them. So we're really excited about expanding that portion of the business. And then in terms of product development,  100% percent, it's on the roadmap, as I said earlier, like it was one of my favorite parts about starting the company is like getting to develop the product. And I love design thinking and I love the creative challenge. And I think there's always improvements. And the biggest one that we're focused on right now is getting Dripkit to be a 100 percent compostable product is my highest, most important goal. And we all alongside that are working on starting a composting program, first in New York, which is our home base but hopefully eventually, like throughout the country and maybe the world, there's such a synergy between the compostability of our product and coffee. If you're ever farmed or know anything about composting, coffee is called black gold. It's super nitrogen rich. It's amazing for compost, it's amazing for soil. And I actually, before starting the company had been working on a permaculture farm in Israel and learning a lot more about these things. I worked on farms for most of my life, but had really done a deep dove right before starting the company. And we have such an incredible opportunity to do a lot of really good work in that area. And it's really important to me and has a really special place in my heart and life. And I'm really, really excited for the day where you can just throw your entire drapkin in the compost like that will be such a win. And we're getting there, you know, like we're we're on the path. 

Harvey [00:37:59] Awesome. Yeah, I think that sounds great. And then also, yeah, like you said, it completely aligns with pretty much everything else as well and it seems like a natural progression as such. Especially like kind of resonating with your audience. And then so taking a step back, if you kind of look over the last number of years, like your first business, growing and raising capital, etc., What is kind of, I know there'll be a ton, but what is one of the kind of key lessons that you kind of tell your younger self as a really key point? 

Ilana [00:38:32] Yeah, I think I mentioned it actually earlier, but it's just to be a bit more self reflective. I've had the opportunity to participate in some really incredible leadership programs since starting  Dripkit. One in particular is called Bright Ventures, and it was started by a mentor and friend of mine, Lenore Champagne Beirne, and she is a leadership consultant and executive coach. And it was a turning point for me and my business and I think that it really taught me to, I don't regret anything because I think that that's just not a great way to live your life. And everything I've done until this point has led me here. But I I'm excited about building a better tomorrow and building a better future and building the kind of environment that I want to be in and I want my employees to want to be in. And I think it's really important for any founder to do that work. But to do that work around leadership accountability and really do a deep dive into how you feel. And don't go so fast and think slower it's something that hasn't been a part of the narrative for startups for a while. But I think it's slowly working its way back in because it's really important work. And so that would be something that I'd tell my younger self too when I was starting the business, kind of just be patient, be reflective and be open to growth in every way. 

Harvey [00:40:05] Yeah, I totally agree. I think you touched on it there with like you've been into it, extracted yourself from this, burnout and hypergrowth mentality and narrative that is pretty much told like unanimously across the board. Super, super important and being mindful and cognisant of kind of where you are. And things take time as well. I think that's a great lesson. And then one thing I'd love to hear as well is if you are speaking to kind of great brand operators and creatives. Who would you want to speak to, who would you want to kind of learn the strategies from. We've got some great answers, we've had some amazing guys that hopefully we can then go on.

Ilana [00:40:56] Well I love Yvon Chouinard like with the passion. I'm sure someone has said that already. I think the thing I admire about him most is his trust in himself, in his business and his employees. Trust is such a beautiful thing. And I think a lot of businesses are built without it. It's not a core value. It's not something that is in a mission statement. And you see it when it's not there, it's pretty obvious. And I think that trust does so many things. It uplifts people. It creates a environment of respect. It creates a environment of opportunity. And it also one of the ways that Yvon uses that, which I think is just so amazing and speaks to what I want to build in my business is like he doesn't work for three months out of the year and he goes fishing and he's like, if my factory catches on fire, like, don't call me, you can do it. I know you can do it. And I think that's a really beautiful thing to, like, impart on your employees. Like, it's extremely empowering. And that's the kind of business I want to work at and for and build. I want to create a place where people feel empowered. I want to create an equitable workplace with opportunity for all and especially be IPOC and trans people and like it's just for too long in this country, we have made claims that I think have fed into the archetypes and like kind of allegories of our society of like who can build a good business and what a good business looks like and what a money making business looks like. And they're just not true. And I think that Yvon Chouinard's Patagonia kind of really shows that there are so many ways to build an impactful business where everyone can make money and everyone can do good work and everyone can feel good about themselves. At the end of the day, all we want is to feel good and feel like we've done good work and that's really meaningful. And so that's my answer. 

Harvey [00:43:16] I reckon we'll struggle to get Yvon but we'll try our best. It's a great answer. I totally agree. I've read his book. I've listened to. He was actually on how I built this. And I've read a lot of material on him. And the brands so, yeah, I totally agree. And I think the trust element that you touched on is its extremely empowering and interesting and not necessarily part of the value chain that that gets recorded and kind of modern companies. And to kind of end and wrap up, where is the best place for our listeners to find you and to find Dripkit? 

Ilana [00:43:54] You can find drum kit on or @dripkitcoffee on Instagram. And I'm on LinkedIn and I'm on Instagram. That's just my name. It's gonna be pictures of my garden and flowers and coffee and things. But if you want to follow me, please. It's public. By all means, I'd love to meet you. 

Harvey [00:44:14] Perfect. Well, yeah. Thank you very much for going through everything Ilana, really great to hear the story and exciting to see how kind of the next few years progress. 

Ilana [00:44:24] Thank you so much. It was so wonderful to be a guest and this was a great conversation. Thanks for having me. 

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