Front Row: Desiree, Hailey, Katherine, Jennifer, Paloma, Holly. Back Row: Sarah, Miriam, Chris, Brandon, Steve, Jared, Audrey, Madisen. Not Pictured: Heather, Carrie.
Keto Chow was started in January 2015 by Chris Bair; you can read “Why I make Keto Chow” for the story on that. By April 2015, Miriam Bair started helping in the evening, sales were still slow enough it could all be handled easily with Chris doing the mixing and Miriam shipping. Starting in May 2016, the volume had increased enough that we began hiring neighbors and friends to help with the growing demand. In January 2016, the business changed from a Sole Proprietorship to “Keto Chow, LLC”. Sales continued to increase and in September 2016 we moved operations out of the Bair house and into a warehouse in South Jordan, Utah. We currently are only open for a few hours each morning where we ship the orders from the previous day but we expect that eventually we’ll have full time employees fulfilling orders.
I did an interview with ShipStation (we use them for our shipping logistics, I heartily recommend using them). Here are the questions and answers:
Your Name/Title/etc. & Company Facebook/Twitter/etc.
Tell us the tale of how Keto Chow came to be.
Keto Chow came about because doing a Ketogenic diet can be pretty hard to figure out, especially in the beginning. What you can eat, what you can’t, getting enough electrolytes so you feel well, getting the nutrients you need, and the right macronutrient mix. When I started the keto lifestyle I did it all wrong and had to learn some painful lessons from my mistakes. So, I set out to make a nutritionally complete food that would make doing keto easy, and that would taste good enough that I would enjoy it (yes, the root of the company is: I made a product for myself that others seem to enjoy). I created the recipe for Keto Chow in January 2015 and from the very beginning, that recipe has been open and available on my site for anyone to use, free of charge. I also have the option available to purchase the mix if you don’t want all the hassle of mixing it up and buying the ingredients. Switching from eating sugar and other refined carbohydrates to a ketogenic diet is the only change I’ve tried in my life that’s had a substantial and lasting change on my weight and health. More than anything, I want to help others do the same thing and fix their health.
The Keto Chow website provides a ton of information on keto, from what it is to how to use it to the benefits. What spurred you to be more like a resource than just a product?
That’s actually the fault of my Dad. He ran a small business and from what I saw, his main “marketing” strategy was: provide excellent information for free, help people out, and that will drive customers to you more than trying to trick them into buying from you with gimmicks. He still does this with his photography workshops and night time photography blog. My business started as me sharing my experience on my own personal blog and helping people on Reddit. Eventually, people wanted to buy samples of the mix before making their own and eventually, it exploded into a legitimate business. The core is still there though, ask a question on the /r/ketochow subreddit and you’re likely going to get a quick response from me – or one of the countless people using Keto Chow, either that they bought from me or made themselves. The community of people sharing and helping each other is really awesome.
What are some of your own best practices that could help another growing ecommerce?
Well, like my Dad said: honest, useful content is worth more than Search Engine Optimization. SEO tricks are a sort of arms race between the marketers and the engines; eventually, they get nullified and your rankings drop. The search engines want useful info – give them that, your users will appreciate it! Also, try to be the kind of company that *YOU* would like to buy from. Ship orders quickly, send people tracking numbers (seriously ShipStation is awesome for this!), don’t require blood and stool samples to replace a damaged package! When the postal service damages a package – I, as a customer, don’t want to be put through the wringer to get my stuff. Get some documentation for the insurance, send a replacement and MOVE ON! It turns a crappy situation into a win for the customer and if they like the product, they’re going to come back for more (and likely bring some friends!)
What are you doing to grow your business in different and unique ways (social media/Reddit, contests, etc.)?
Having a solid presence on Reddit, in particular, has been one of the major building blocks of the business – but be warned: reddit can be pretty unforgiving, they don’t tolerate charlatans and can be pretty brutal if you’re less than honest. Being easily accessible to people makes for a better customer experience, be it using the live chat on the shopping cart, responding to tweets or emails (usually) within a few minutes, or whatever. Spend more than a few minutes on ketochow.xyz
and you’ll likely get a chat invite, I often get questions like “is this a real person?” I usually reply with something about “not if you ask my teenage daughters!”. Going forward we’re planning on doing some AdWords ads, attending a couple Keto conferences, but until now we’ve been growing steadily mostly by people replying to questions “oh, you should check out Keto Chow – I think it would solve your problem.”
Inside the warehouse (October 2016)
Front area (October 2016)
Outside the warehouse (October 2016)