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Sweetkiwi with Ehime Eigbe feature #123 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #123: Sweetkiwi presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on Sweetkiwi

Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the chance to speak with Sweetkiwi and Ehime Eigbe, Founder/CEO. Sweetkiwi is an innovative, frozen dessert that satisfies a sweet tooth while supporting a healthy gut. Using premium, natural ingredients sourced from family farms within our communities, Sweetkiwi’s frozen whipped Greek yogurts are packed with functional nutrients like protein, probiotics, fiber, and immune-boosting superfoods. As seen on Shark Tank!


When did the company begin?

2020

Story of how it was created?

I was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid and made a complete dietary change. But I still had a big sweet too so it was really hard. I needed something that I that could fulfill my sweet cravings without impacting my dietary change. Something that has some really great nutrition including reduced sugar and what was available wasn't the answer. I started playing around with Greek yogurt just because of the nutritional components, the high protein. I had so many iterations making it for myself. Then I started taking it to work for colleagues and sharing with friends. People really liked the product. At some point people started placing orders and I thought if people will actually pay for this, there might be something here. I have to say my boss at the time was super supportive and encouraged me to look into starting this as a business. I began doing some research into the industry and even got a job at a food place, a restaurant, to understand what all went into running a business entailed. I also enrolled at Penn State to take a course on manufacturing ice cream.


Meaning behind the name?

Sweetkiwi means like a golden kiwi. Typically they are tart but also sweet. I thought the product was a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

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What separates your company from competition?

The nutrition that we provide, makes us the only product really solving for that. The products support gut health, general wellness. In my research when I was trying to cure my fibroids I realized one of the big reasons for a lot of the diseases that we have was the lack of nutrition. That became what I was trying to solve for, making sure that every time I ate I was getting really decent nutrition. I started paying more attention to the daily values of protein, daily values of fiber. That became a focus of Sweetkiwi. A whole pint contains about 45% of your daily recommended protein, 50% of your daily recommended fiber, 15% of your daily recommended vitamin C, and it does have probiotics as well. I started paying attention to a lot of studies that have been done that shows the presence of probiotics helps your body generally absorb more nutrition.


Define the strengths of the company?

The product. We have an amazing product to start with. We have an amazing brand story and persona, I would say that those are top strengths.


What have been the biggest challenges?

Funding has been one. Funding was a big challenge and also just navigating cpg. It's really, really different from anything that I've ever done. Learning how it works, but as they say experience is the best teacher. If I knew what went into it, I don't know if I would have had the courage to start it. It is such a beast to tackle and so many layers. I just wanted to sell my yogurt! But it has been such an incredible journey so far.


Reflect on a goal you set and how it made you feel to accomplish it?

We wanted to reach 2,000 doors last year. That was the big major goal that we were trying to hit. And it didn't pan out how we thought it was going to in terms of what stores were going to align, but it finally did and that was really amazing how that kind of played out. That definitely made us feel really great, it was a great validation of the product.


Goals for upcoming year + Next phase of the company?

We're launching yogurt bars, which we're really excited about.


We got a license with the Smurfs. They have a movie coming out early next year and that's a big partnership for us. So that was such a huge win for us.


We really also are focused on food service and we already started making a lot of headway with hospitals, schools, and airlines. The goal is trying to diversify our channels a bit more, that's been a big focus for us this year.


What were your concerns about making this transition?

It was definitely scary. And I never ever thought in my life I would be an entrepreneur. I always wanted to work for the UN and make a difference. I've been serious about that since I was probably in high school. So this was just something that came out of left field. I

think even when my boss said it, I felt the fear. It is so ridiculous to create something you know nothing about. But I found that, I don't know what I don't know, but I learned as I go.

And that's the most important thing.


I was definitely afraid to make the transition, getting paid every two weeks and transitioning into a life where you're not getting paid. You don't know when sometimes you're going to get paid. It was definitely scary, but I was really passionate about what I was doing.

And I felt like that I could make a difference. Around this time I would work in the mornings from seven to four. Then I started working at the restaurant from five p.m. to midnight. One day, I really took stock of that experience because I had done it for almost four months. What I realized was that five p.m. to12 p.m. was the best time of my day. That is when I knew it was time to make the move all in to Sweetkiwi.


How have you learned to be the face of the company?

I think I grew into it to be honest. I've gone through a lot of growth, I was never this person.

I was never in front of the camera, I worked for Citigroup. I never even thought I was a spokesperson or I could be the leader of a company. So for me, it's just been a nice transition and getting comfortable. As you're growing your business, you say you want more exposure so you ask how can I get people to find out about this. Then you get an interview and it's like oh my god, this is a great way and I'm not really thinking about the fact that it's front facing. I'm just thinking about the fact that I get to tell people about this amazing product and get some exposure.


I think maybe that's the mental shift for me. That's the mental difference. Like even doing Shark Tank, I think I was terrified the whole time. I felt like I was going to throw up every day. It didn't help that I was pregnant too. But I think that one thing that the Shark Tank experience taught me was. it has to be something that you're absolutely passionate about.

Because this journey has probably brought me a lot more tears than not. But I've been able to stay the course because I'm so passionate about the product. And that was the same thing with Shark Tank. I wondered if they'd ask something I didn't know. When the questions were coming, the truth was when you know your business. This is something that you sleep and live. You know, in those moments, you know, that's when the passion comes.

And that's why we did well on Shark Tank. I thought I was going to forget so many things. was like, oh my God, what if they ask me questions I don't know. And the truth was every question, I did know because I do this every day. Sometimes we forget that.

I forget like this is my whole life.


Describe the journey of being an entrepreneur?

I'm learning so much, I'm so excited to continue learning. For me that was a light bulb moment when I can't stop thinking about something I need to pursue it. Maybe at my previous job I had reached that plateau and needed a new space to challenge myself. But what is incredible about CPG is I don't think there has been a moment in my business I have stopped learning.


There's always something new. There's a new friends here. There's always something different. For me, that's been the exciting part. And the fact that we get to create this product and people love it and people want the product, that's just kept me going. I mean, it has not been easy. There are days when I want to quit. There are days when I asked myself what was so wrong with everything. But the truth is, I've been so blessed and so fortunate to do so many amazing things that I never thought that I would ever get to do in my whole life and it is because of starting this company.


What aspect of entrepreneurship do you appreciate the most?

I would say just the ability and opportunity to build my resilience.


Share a mistake and what you learned from that experience?

Going wide, launching nationally. That was tough because I felt like we were small.

We had to raise a lot of money and our marketing dollars were really stretched. And so what we want now is to narrow focus and go deep, focus on one region and really win there Before we consider expanding into other regions. And I think that that was something that I didn't know. I think we were doing really well regionally and we just thought based on those numbers, it would do the same nationally. We had to learn that it doesn't work that way.


Was there a moment where you doubted the fate of your company?

I thought about this last week because you know how CPG is, one minute you're on top of the world the next minute, like oh my god my whole life is falling apart! I really thought about that last week and I said to myself no matter what happens I've lived like five people's lifetimes, I've done so many amazing things and met so many amazing people. I've gotten to speak at Goldman Sachs in the UK on International Women's Day all expenses paid.


The key has been to not give up. We take so many hits every day, and it amazes me how, you know, I can go to bed the night before thinking, this is it, we're done. And you wake up the next day and you get an email, like, I guess we're not. And we've had so many of those moments.


I remember on Shark Tank as well, as soon as Mark said he was out, I remember thinking, oh wow, this is it, we're done. And I was about to walk out and then Robert came from nowhere and he was like, wait. I was like, oh my God! That has been this journey, just one rollercoaster after another.


Another instance was when we worked out of a production kitchen and we were two months out before we're supposed to launch into Walmart. We get locked out of the kitchen and we really thought like, yeah, this it, we are done. It goes back to that being resilient thing and always finding a way through it. I like to tell people that the one thing about entrepreneurship is you've always have to be fluid and flexible. You have to be like water, find a way. There's always an option, there's always a way you just have to keep knocking on all the doors, you just have to keep asking until something happens.


Do you have a moment that brings you the most joy?

I feel like right after we did Shark Tank, that was such a high moment. We were on such a high, it was a great showing. We had over 10,000 people hit the website and so many people reaching out to us. It was really a great moment and something that I'll always hold very close.


We were recently named one of the top 10 startups in greater Washington. That was a shock for us. It came out of the blue. It was really exciting and it means a lot. We started our business in DC and to get that recognition is very rewarding. In the beginning we were doing catering and selling to apartment complexes and buildings. To see how far we've come, it's just amazing to even be on that list. I remember seeing that list every year and never even thinking that we would ever make a list that's as prestigious as that. And I think sometimes, sometimes those things may seem like they're so insignificant. But those are the things that keep you going sometimes. Just to be seen, just to be recognized, I can't say enough for what a difference that makes.


Piece of Advice

Just keep trying.

Keep tweaking, keep changing, keep adapting, like I said earlier, be like water, be persistent, just keep changing. Take the lessons, apply that, apply the things that you need to, the changes that you need to make, and be and be limber about it.

Sometimes I feel like maybe you have a great product, but it's just not packaged in the right way or it's just not presented in the right way or you don't have the right communications. But those things can be fixed. Sometimes we get down because things aren't working and it may just be one little thing or one little change or maybe just a different channel that can spark things. So just keep keep remaining curious about how to do this better every day.


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Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
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In Closing

KLS wants to thank Ehime Eigbe, Founder/CEO, of Sweetkiwi for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with Sweetkiwi feature #123 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Business Resources!

Look at our new page HERE designed to provide excellent opportunities that may be of interest to you. These are a compilation from our chats within our "Together Talks". If you have any suggestions please let us know as we would love to provide more valuable insight to our community!

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Sweetkiwi feature #123

*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!


Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

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.


Our Process?

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.


Services offered?

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 of 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.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.

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