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Yo Mama's Foods with David Habib feature #117 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #117: Yo Mama's Foods presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on Yo Mama's Foods

Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview Yo Mama's Foods Co and Founder and CEO, David Habib. In a world where food's validity is based on the latest fad, they strive to bring everyone back to their roots through healthy and delicious pasta sauces, salad dressings, and condiments. All are welcome, so dig in.

 

Devoted to making better foods and bringing people together. Whether it's their sauces, dressings, or other delightful creations, each product is infused with the passion and tenderness they experienced growing up. They want you to experience that same feeling of comfort and familiarity, as if you were sitting at your Mama's table.


Together Talks with Yo Mama's Foods feature #117 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company, mama's rules

Natural, known, back to your table

What has become a national an international brand actually started out as a basic idea. It started with David himself and his eating habits. He noticed he was suffering from bad heartburn anytime he consumed dark sauces. He never remembered feeling this way growing up. He started to dig into the back of the label and noticed how many sauces currently have fillers and preservatives. His idea was pretty basic, what if I make a sauce using only ingredients that my mom had in her pantry. This simple solution would immediately solve sugar and sodium content, while transforming the aisles of condiments as a whole. Most importantly he knew he could bring flavor back to the forefront with their products.


David told us he had no idea what he was getting into. "I didn't know what a co-man was, a distributor, anything related to CPG or grocery.", he told us. He previously was working in corporate America at Deloitte. He emphasized how it was a great training ground on how to engage and look at problems. David mentioned that he often shares with his team how they need to be really good problem solvers, because there are so many moving pieces when it comes to their business.


With his idea in mind the first thing David did was file for trademarks. Admittedly he is a visual person, seeing the logo and trademark made it tangible and real for him. In 2017, on Mother's Day, Yo Mama's Foods Co. officially launched. Shortly after they launched on Amazon and became the #1 best selling sauce on there.


David understood the criticalness of having a natural and healthy product be reliable, but also taste great. His simple solution brought fresh ingredients to consumers, saving them time on hand crafting a sauce, dressing, or condiment. All processed ingredients are removed, it is a clean label, with no added sugar and 60% sodium less than any other pasta sauce. He explained to us what his true mission was, "I've always been excited about food and creating something with a mission tied to it. The hope was to sell that to people and give them an experience that gathers them together."


Team driven

The company is currently comprised of 21 members and incredibly none have prior CPG experience. David said while some would view this as a disadvantage, he believes it has transformed the way they think, approach, and maneuver as a company. Almost all of their decisions are geared towards their non-traditional path. He joked with us that if he knew everything that went into creating a CPG company, he wouldn't have had the courage to start it. . The diversity of experience their team possesses is such a competitive advantage he believes. "Creating a company anything food related is extremely competitive and even more challenging to survive. We have managed to do that without any outside capital, no third-party fundraising. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments so far.", David shared.


He from the start has encouraged the team to have a marathon outlook. They have been calculated to grow in a sustainable way. Everything they do operationally is structured to support a long-term growth. With no outside capital, cash flow is always the biggest challenge David mentioned. Running an inventory heavy business with retailers across the country and other countries as well, means they have to run as lean as possible.


One way they implemented this was early on in their journey transitioning from a co=packer model to toll model. Their first production run was 84 jars. The COGS of a jar of pasta sauce was $5.23, rough estimation David said would place the cost at the retailer around $18.99. He knew immediately that wasn't sustainable. They took everything into their own hands and 45 days later they were sourcing everything. This allowed them to control their spend and focus in on unit economics while also developing relationships. David continued, "Our glass supplier I bought the 84 cases from them in my trunk for our first run. Today we get over 6 million per year. We have continued to use them as the partnership has grown and developed." Controlling every aspect allowed them to possess buying and negotiating power which has permitted them to scale much more quickly sand efficiently.

 

David mentioned the importance of looking at all options and being aware of how to adapt. He was 24 during the first production run and said it was very possible he and the company were being taken advantage of, given it was assumed they wouldn't make it and survive in the highly competitive CPG space. but failing was never his mindset, remember it is a marathon in his eyes. Instead he took over control and started to foster relationships that still serve the company today. He said it isn't beginners luck, but beginners curse with how many failures there are in the industry due tot he complexity. But those that can be nimble and pivot quickly will propel themselves to the best chance of survival followed by growth,

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Strike 1, Strike 2, Whole Foods Nationally

Being a natural product, Whole Foods is generally the pinnacle a company can reach. With Yo Mama's headquartered in Florida, they tried getting in their state region, but were turned down. They then tried the southeast region, but once again were denied. They gave it one more shot in 2018 on the national level and got acceptance. David stated how impactful it was to the timing for their brand and trajectory, but it also embodied their perseverance. This was the first big opportunity that would serve as a huge educational foundation for the company to comprehend how distribution and scale truly worked. David said he is extremely proud that Whole Foods is still a partnership today.


After two straight denials, David admitted he and the team started doubting the ability to get into Whole Foods. But collectively they believed they were on the right track and just had to endure the current struggle by remaining on their path. David referenced a quote from Phil Knight's book, Shoe Dog, "The cowards never started, and the weak died along the way - that leaves us." He shared how he thinks about that often and centers himself on the fact that everything happens when it needs to. instead of getting caught up on wins or losses, they focus on the process and embrace the journey. David believes they wouldn't have adequately handled the volumes they have today if awarded those opportunities back in 2018 when they first sought them out. "While it would have been great and we would have figured it out, we would not have been as prepared and efficient as we are today.", he explained.


When the company got into Walmart early on it was a turning point for them. David says that partnering with Walmart makes your company a better operation across the board David believes. While mistakes with them can be very costly and expensive, it has propelled them forward to be more prepared for other opportunities to say yes to.

 

Bigger Impact

Coming up on seven years of running the company, David told us he most appreciates the variety of running his company. The fact that not only every day is different but often each hour allows him to constantly work with his team to problem solve. Not knowing what is coming can make for very rewarding outcomes, but also challenging times, but they rely on their cumulative outlook of the impact they are building. "Getting caught up in the weeds sometime sit is easy to lose sight of the responsibility and opportunity we possess, but we take a step back and on the macro level we understand what our business stands for. And ultimately what we are creating. That is really fulfilling and our driving force.", David explained.


One of those challenging moments was a truckload of sauce that ended up being stolen. David told us about a school district in Texas that reached out to source their pasta for their lunches. David and his team thought it was a great initiative and partnership. The truckload was delivered and on 30 days they had not received payment. Getting in touch with the AP, they discovered that the email used for the PO was .edu instead of .org. The scammers had done their work and utilized all of the correct names to forge the documents. David said it was a very hard pill to swallow, but he reflected back on what his mom told him, "Just be glad it happened now with 1 move instead of a customer of 25 moves. That was excellent perspective. It turned out to be a great learning lesson, we tightened up some of our procedures to be even more thorough moving forward.", David mentioned.

 

With the long-term outlook David said it can be difficult to appreciate and celebrate the smaller victories. One way he does this is walking into their warehouse and seeing all of the different states they ship to on a daily basis. Getting to know they are reaching so many people puts everything back into perspective for him. The fact that they have outgrown their immediate geographic footprint is one of the milestones they set out to hit. David shared with us a quote her heard recently, "The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next", he said how this hits so close to home because of their true end goal of being a household name internationally. The team's focus to continue building and executing their growth is all part of their plan to make their mission of people gathering together as abundant as possible. David reflected on a moment he is most proud of, in 2019 they purchased their building they are in today. At the time everyone from the banks to mentors and advisors tried to talk him out of it. David told us, "Everyone said I was crazy, it was way too large for us. but they didn't see my vision for our company. Fast Forward to today and we are looking at a new building because we have outgrown that one." It has been such a moment of validation for their company and team to achieve such great growth he told us. Ultimately he described it as the best example of following your gut and daring to be great by going against the grain.


Piece of Advice

Our conversation with David ended with him sharing his piece of advice:

"Start small, think big, scale quickly.

1st production run was 84 cases. I had goal to one day to ship globally. But that time wasn’t a massive production run. Be nimble and take feedback to make quick changes.

Be very intentional on thinking big, setting a plan and path for your team to navigate. Milestones and targets to strive to hit and how to achieve that together. That has proven to be a good driving force for us.

Scale – saying yes and figure things out later. It is kind of like jumping off a cliff and learn how to build the plane before you hit rock bottom. Most successful businesses have many periods where they may not be ready for something, but figured out how to execute the opportunity."


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In Closing

KLS wants to thank  David Habib, Founder and CEO, of Yo Mama's Foods Co for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with Yo Mama's Foods feature #117 - 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 Yo Mama's Foods feature #117

*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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