et Oliva with Patrick Drennen Karsu feature #49 of Together Talks
Updated: Oct 25
"Together Talks" feature #49: et Oliva presented by KLS, freight company
Some Background on et Oliva
Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview Patrick Drennen Karsu, Founder, of et Oliva. et Oliva is a Mediterranean Food Brand that has been manufacturing high end, artisan Turkish and Aegean Products since 2021. It became the mission of et Oliva to produce True Aegean flavors, close to nature. Their products are inspired by the mezze style of dining, composed of small plates meant to stimulate appetite. They are a small, independent, and NGLCC certified LGBT owned and operated company. They are passionate about food security and social justice and through their continued work, they are striving to make positive impacts locally and abroad.
At et Oliva, they believe that food should be more than just sustenance. They strive to put love and passion into each of their products, and create experiences that inspire you to cook and enjoy food with your friends and family. With over 15 years of experience as a chef and a graduate of business school, Patrick brings a unique combination of culinary and business knowledge to the table.
The company was founded in February 2021 by Patrick. After 15 years in culinary as a chef, he transitioned into accounting and financing for 5 years. The Pandemic hit and he had a self-realization he wanted to do something else. He had this idea for a while, but it often remained a hobby with a few false starts along the way. Ultimately Patrick shared with us, "I am really bad at following directions – It’s not that I have some attitude problem or something, but it’s that I often times over think the instructions, so I wind up getting results that are not expected. For the longest time this has hampered my career growth. Now, as a CEO, my company thrives because of it". The idea started to gain some momentum. That paired with the timing and financing worked perfectly and he created the business while transitioning to doing it full-time.
The company is currently in almost 350 stores nationwide. In addition, they sell D2C on their website and through Macys.com. Recently they entered into a partnership with Rainforest Distribution. Patrick informed us the goal was to get an additional 150 accounts, and they have already exceeded that. He shared, "I'm very happy with our partnership with them. The one thing that is unique about Rainforest is they actually care about the product. They invest time and energy to research the product to get it in the right doors and in front of the right demographics". Their products are also available at Macy's currently as et Oliva has a partnership with them and are in discussions with William Sonoma and Plum Markets.
Innovation and Purpose
We asked Patrick what separates et Oliva from competition, he explained, "We are the first Turkish American company in North America to be providing goods to a mainline retail foray. The Turkish food industry has been standardized with exports unfortunately. Our goal was to bring these flavor profiles to this continent and make it more mainstream. On top of bringing these extraordinary flavor profiles and foods from the Mediterranean region to expand the reach, et Oliva does not use any fillers. Our products are as close to nature as possible". Even more impressive they are accomplishing this without the large traction and funding as some other companies within the space.
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The company has philanthropy baked into it as Patrick told us. When the earthquake happened in Turkey, et Oliva was the only company that donated food to Patrick’s Knowledge. He Elaborated, "Because of the political climate in the region, you just cannot be too careful when you send money. It could go to those who need it. However, it could go to certain despotic building projects; you just never know - but one thing is certain; you can't build a palace out of crackers". Adamant about providing actual value with the resources donated, Patrick and his company chose to donate their products over money so it was used in the appropriate manner.
The company also partners with non-profit organizations that help assist LGBTQ youth at risk. Patrick is hoping to become a mentor in the space to help provide jobs, resources, and a sense of community by assisting people in starting out. He is looking forward to continuing giving back and making a difference in that way.
As Patrick told us, "We don't want to follow trends, we aim to set them. We are not a fad business, we won't be billed something we aren't. We know our values and are true to them".
Throughout our talk, challenges came up for both et Oliva and Patrick personally. He stated balance was a key one, in essence scaling the company with the constraints of funding. Patrick shared that financing and getting investors on board initially, but then keeping them engaged. That often times has Patrick trying to push the needle to acquire more financing and funding with the growth on the sales size. Constantly having the pipeline built for sales + distribution + manufacturing to again balance the growth of et Oliva.
Patrick also shared the self-doubts he faced when first making the full time transition, but also those concerns still are there present day. Part of the process of being the founder. Patrick shared, "It gets pretty dark sometimes. I've considered mailing it in. But I always take a step back and look at the entire landscape. I realize how great the product is and won't let myself give up on what we are creating. When it gets rough, that is when you know you are so close".
What an insightful outlook!
As Patrick recently told us, he isn't the biggest fan of following directions, which is why et Oliva is such a beautiful opportunity for him as he can follow his passion and let his creativity truly flow.
The Creation, The Process, The Future
The product was launched in November 2021 with an array of provisions which essentially were jams, tapenades, and spreads. They in time cut out spices due to the slower turnaround time. Ultimately they were seeking products that increased velocity. And touching again on one of the challenges, having only the provisions was creating a minor problem. Patrick solved this problem by introducing the lavash crackers. Now the products perfectly paired together.
Keeping everything in perspective is a challenge at times for Patrick, but something he enjoys conquering. One way he does this is "focus on good days, learn from bad days". He gave an incredibly insightful tip of, "The biggest challenge is getting yourself to a place where you don't put yourself and your company in a position to only make bad choices".
He mentioned validation coming from a big PO or when a manufacturing partner took a picture of his product on a shelf in a market he didn't know he was in, or strangers are buying his product and they don't know who he is. Being patient but having a long-term outlook is crucial Patrick states, but remaining consistent is ultimately the secret ingredient.
Patrick ended our conversation talking about the biggest joys he experiences and enjoys, the relationship building. He told us being able to feed people is such an intimate act that is curated with love and compassion, to provide that in such a large reach is really incredible.
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KLS wants to thank et Oliva and Patrick Drennen Karsu, Founder, for for today's "Together Talks" feature. Keep up to date with et Oliva by following their blog on their website, check it out here. Follow along for the et Oliva journey with their social handles below!
Also check out where et Oliva has been featured in the following publications below!
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with et Oliva feature #49
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
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We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
What makes KLS different?
There are thousands for freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
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