Craftmix, Unbundled

Craftmix has seen great traction on corporate gifting platforms, and is already stocked in 1300 stores since launching retail in 2022.

Food and Beverage as a d2c product is an interesting nut to crack. These products often need to be sold through multiple channels before getting a 'big break' like a grocery store partner. This means that F+B brands must consider wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer, alongside other online distribution networks. After studying a few viral F+B brands, we wanted to chat with a founder in the space to get some more color on how their ecommerce challenges differ from those faced by fashion or homegoods. 
Craftmix creates delicious, all natural cocktail mixers that come in pocket-sized packets. They've raised ~$500k to date. Craftmix was started in 2019 when JT, an avid entrepreneur (JT launched his first ecomm platform in 8th grade.) and former bartender, realized there was a void in the pre-packaged cocktail market.  After founding various startups, JT received an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea of Craftmix, and he knew this was the one! JT, alongside many brave roommates, friends, and team members, spent over 6 months testing different flavor combinations and formulas to create the delicious flavors you know today!

Craftmix’s Tech Stack:

  • Ecommerce Backend: Shopify
  • Wholesale: Faire
  • Corporate Gifting: Goody, Sendoso, SnackMagic, Snappy, Postal.io
  • Ratings & Reviews: Amazon, Stamped.io
  • SMS Marketing: Attentive
  • Email Marketing: Klaviyo
  • Payments: Square, Shopify, Quickbooks, Stripe
  • Returns: Shopify
  • Logistics: Nutriient, FillStorShip
Snapshot of their tech stack

Which tools, if they broke, would put operations on hold? 

Shopify, and maybe Attentive and maybe Klaviyo. The only absolutely vital one we have is Shopify, because we have so many different partners plugged into our backend and it’s the engine for our eCommerce store. We use Attentive and Klaviyo and they work fine, despite having their issues, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we didn’t have them. It would be the end of the world if one of our logistics companies stopped fulfilling!

Okay, so let’s discuss logistics. What does logistics look like for Craftmix? 

We like to keep our customers delighted and surprised, and we have some custom shipping requests - we include a prize card in some of our Amazon orders. We include a stainless steel shot glass in some of our orders from our D2C website. Our current logistics solution is made up of a 3PL in Southern California and a warehouse in Utah. Smaller companies offered us more customization and flexibility for our logistics without the rigidity of the bigger players. 
We learned quickly that we wanted to work with a logistics partner that can get things done on the fly, and adapt to our products when we had new stuff launching. One important use case for us was that we have SKUs that we send to Amazon, which are slightly different from the SKUs that we post on our D2C website. EasyPost needed a barcode for every item, even specialty things we would ship that are not for sale. For example, we wanted to ship T-shirts to influencers, but they’d need to have a barcode on them - even though those items weren’t for general sale. 
Craftmix Mint Mojito

You use both Attentive and Klaviyo - and there seems to be a run on this category at the moment. Have you considered switching? 

For me, I’m a minimalist. The less products I have, the less I need to manage. In this category - I’m always open to switching to a new provider, but they need to make it worth my time to set up all of my messaging flows again. With a lean team, it’s all about capacity for us. Ultimately, I’ve found that Attentive has won my business because they are great with customer service, setup help, insights/suggestions, and were willing to give us free gifts in order to earn our business. 

How do you think about innovative marketing with rising CACs?

I’ve been seeing lots of innovation coming up with Shopify plugins that do cross promotion and cross branding. I like these free ways to do marketing that doesn’t take a big chunk of my marketing budget. Honestly, I see digital marketing as a luxury tax for most brands - you have to throw so much money out there to get a result (and most of the time an unprofitable one). I’m interested in innovative ways to generate more traffic. One way I’ve discovered that works is to offer cross-promotion within confirmation emails, which features other brands. I’m in the beta of trying it out with Spently, so TBD on how much traffic it’s led to. 

Tell me more about your distribution strategy - where can readers find Craftmix? 

Right now Cratfmix has 4 main distribution pillars: corporate gifting, d2c, wholesale, Amazon. We’re very popular on corporate gifting platforms like Goody, Sendoso, SnackMagic, Snappy, Postal.io, etc.. Goody in particular has a very interesting way of capturing orders, instead of having a plugin - they have an AI element to the product that places an order on your website at the exact same time that a corporate gift order comes in. Wholesale is a major part of our business. Faire is great - so simple. Traffic has gone up and up since launching with them a year ago. However, marketing qualities on Faire are a little limited. It’s difficult to get a Faire topshop option - when we did hit it, we found that it didn’t change the order volume in the end. 
Regarding retail, we are stocked in 1300 stores since launching retail this year in 2022. We’re currently hiring a sales team now to help support our current stores. We’re working with Kroger, and proving out this customer use case to start pitching the rest of the grocery chains and building velocity. We’d eventually love to open a flagship store and a bar. 
Craftmix Passionfruit Paloma

If you had $100k to spend on new technology, what area would you spend it in? 

I’d love to get Kroger’s Market6 Platform which helps you track your sales and metrics throughout your category. Generally, I care about profitability and simplicity so that’s where I’d focus the spend.

How can a new ecommerce vendor catch your attention? 

When a company is confident in what they do, in their product, and when a company puts themselves on the line, it gets my attention. I will always ask - what will be my profitability on this? For example, how many views/clicks/traction actions can I get if I joined the Klarna marketplace for example? Conversion rates and ROI are the most important metrics here. For new vendors - I always like the proposition that starts with a free service, they show their value to me, and then the service becomes paid. Attentive did this, we were with Postscript and Attentive gave us a lot of stuff for free, made it really hard to say no. Get someone’s business by putting skin in the game - that’s what founders are doing every day. 

What’s next for craftmix? 

We already have a huge following when it comes to cocktails and mocktails. So we will be focused on product development to make more flavors and start dipping into adjacent product categories. I’ve always loved product development, I’m a perfectionist in general, and I’ve been developing products my whole life.

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