Experienced Tech Marketer and Her Own Lifestyle Brand
Excerpt: On today's show, we have special guest, Kelly Nyland. She has worked with some pretty awesome brands and launched over 120 digital and physical products. After working with technology for 15 years, Kelly has now founded a new lifestyle brand, Petalfox.
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TOBE: You have a really interested background with some pretty awesome brands. Give us a little introduction to yourself, your work background and what you specialize in.
Kelly: I’ve contributed to building 6 "nothings" to "somethings" including Parrot, Sphero, ROLI & Snapchat, my dad's printing company and a marketing services agency. Petalfox is my lucky #7.
I hail from Detroit and I’ve also lived in Nashville, Boulder & LA (and almost London). I’ve built businesses in 40 of the world’s top countries on the back of international retail partnerships w/ folks like Apple & Amazon.
I’ve launched around 120 physical and digital products that all focus on some kind of emerging technology. I’ve mostly spent my time marketing products that don’t have a market when they first launch, so product/market fit is just a natural part of how I think. So many lines between marketing, sales and product development are blurred for me because they all fit together like puzzle pieces.
Which brings me to “specialize”. I cringe at the word :). I love learning. I’m a curious and fearless person. The only thing I really fear is being boxed in by an idea, a system or a way of thinking.
My roles have spanned marketing, comms, sales, biz dev, brand, creative web, ecom and product development. I’ve never played the finance or operations roles(s), but I love numbers and I’m really good at forecasting and stretching a dollar - those are more like games for me :). I spend a lot more time thinking about how to make money then how to save it.
I would say if I specialize in anything, it would be in generating good relationships with people - teams, people I hire, people I partner with or have sales relationships with, investors, leadership, etc.
TOBE: You’ve done product launches around the world — what have you learned in your experience working with different cultures on both a professional and personal level?
Learning a lot about yourself.
Morphing, changing and learning how to be a chameleon.
TOBE: Let’s get a little technical — You have an awesome background in bringing products to market, from soup to nuts. Can you walk through what you believe is the “right” process to bring a product to market? How does marketing, branding and the overall user experience tie into this?
Kelly: In my experience, usually the product you think you have isn’t for the market you think it’s for. Or vice versa.
Getting to product/market fit takes equal parts information (usually acquired thru listening) and intuition (when you stop listening and go with your gut).
Many people lose touch with what it’s like to be a consumer the minute they start thinking about their own product.
Lots of times, making money gets in the way of creating a great experience. Sales & marketing are often at odds with each other. I’ve run them both, and I’ve sat on both sides. I understand that respect for the other’s pull is what keeps them working in harmony.
TOBE: Let’s talk a little bit about branding. In your own words, what is branding to you? Why is branding important?
Brand to me is really simple. The original idea of “brands” comes from a particular person, family or community specializing in a way of making a product - tailor, shoemaker, baker…..
I think the reason brand has become so important is because we are building different types of relationships now, some would argue we’ve forgotten how to build relationships. This works for your brand on social, for partnerships, in selling. People want to work with & associate with good people.
Building a brand happens one relationship at a time, brick by brick. I like to think of premium brands being built through an investment in more romance and courtship than commodity brands. I’m obsessed with the cycle of building the relationship from nice to have, to need to have. I think I’ve learned the most about this from the French and Japanese cultures which is why they are probably my favorite places in the world.
A great resource that I recently read and reviewed: The Physics of Brand by Aaron Keller, Renee Marino and Dan Wallace.
TOBE: Let’s talk a little bit about your own brand, Petalfox — tell us what it’s about, what gave you the inspiration, where you are today and where you’re headed in the future.
Kelly: I believe that the Petalfox mission is to restore balance :)
We are building a lifestyle brand that [simply] begins with flowers. Petalfox is a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly flower delivery service. We are focused on designing small moments that are made for your desk or more intimate spaces where you work and play.
We believe that brands and experiences, like us, are important because the digital pendulum suggests that most of our lives are surrounded by grey, screens and wires. And I’m not hating on drones, droids and robots. In fact, I still plan to work on robots sometime in the future! But I would like to help now, to bring flowers, plants and green life into a bit size micro transaction opportunity.
It’s becoming more and more important for focus, mindfulness and inspiration to have these “sacred spaces” where we can create, think and do. We want to help build more intentionality in each day. Many people are feeling the grind of work & daily life and eventually escape into more artistic endeavors and working independently. The WeWork generation is on the rise, and we are here to help bring more organic life to that community and beyond.
Physical space is important. Mental space is even more important. Many of us don’t have or give ourselves the freedom to find inspiration in a book, a walk, meeting new people, etc. Our minds can be more productive and more creative when we have space.
What do we need to be successful?
Packaging - to evolve with shipment carriers, food preservation, autonomous vehicles & drone deliveries.
Rethink the part that flowers play in everyday life and the importance and inspiration we can find in green life. We hope this focus also turns into an appreciation for the environment and our earth’s ecosystem as the demand on our planet gets even greater as we pass this on to our kiddos. I have an 8 year old son who is obsessed with animals, insects and marine biology.
Create a great experience that fits into how our consumer behavior is evolving. We like the subscription model because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it. But we appreciate on-demand even more because I only have to think about it once.
So in short, Petalfox is the flat white of the flower industry. Thirty years ago, my parents used to crack open a gallon of Folgers when they wanted some caffeine. We are here to create a lifestyle brand that will hopes to earn a daily spot on your desk or coffee table. Our goal is to simply inspire one deep breath, a “reset”, in the middle of each day.
Kelly met Andrew & Jared at UNITA - a creative co-working space in Los Angeles. TOBE is a digital agency that focuses on Content Strategy, Creative Content, Growth Marketing and Digital Branding. Kelly has enjoyed collaborating with TOBE on their individual businesses and clients alike.