There’s an old public relations axiom that promises “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

 

After running a consumer technology public relations firm for nearly two decades, I can tell you from personal experience that isn’t always true. If the media and other key influencers start bad-mouthing your product, you’re sunk. Fortunately for Carlos Ramirez Zavarce, CEO and Co-founder of Powerful Yogurt, he received a lot of the good kind of bad publicity.

Carlos Ramirez (@CRCevarce), CEO of @PowerfulYogurt on #Launching From Zero, #RapidGrowth, and the Power of #Collaboration Click To Tweet

As the founder of a Consumer Tech PR Agency, it may seem strange that I’m interviewing the founder of Powerful Yogurt, Carlos Ramirez. But there’s a method to my madness. I believe that the same business principles and lessons that Carlos learned in starting his company from scratch, marketing his products, and working with suppliers and distributors can be modified and applied to any industry. Even my area of specialization: Consumer Tech PR. That’s why I was eager to talk with him. Carlos’ story is amazing: born and raised in Venezuela, immigrating to the U.S., and starting a food product company from scratch with zero experience mark some of the chapters. Today his products are in over 10,000 retail stores nationwide. Do you see why I believe that Carlos has something to teach all of us,. no matter our industry? Please join me to hear the story of Carlos Ramirez, Founder of Powerful.

What does it take to start a food product company from scratch with zero experience?

Carlos Ramirez is what I consider to be an archetypical entrepreneur…and I’ve seen a lot of them in my work as founder of a Consumer Tech PR firm. Carlos has an innate drive to succeed that has manifested itself throughout the course of his life. From getting his family out of Venezuela and to the United States to starting and scaling Powerful Yogurt with absolutely no experience in the food industry, it’s evident that Carlos believes in himself and his ability to make his own path. During our conversation, I was repeatedly amazed at the obstacles Carlos faced in building Powerful, and more so by the innovative ways he overcame them. You’ll be inspired by the story that is his life – as well as by the success he’s found through perseverance and hard work. I invite you to listen.

When you have a good strategy, structure follows ~ Carlos Ramirez

As I spoke with Carlos Ramirez in this episode of Unconventional Genius, I was repeatedly astounded at his willingness to take on the challenge of creating and distributing new products he’d never even thought of before. At one point I asked him, “How did you know how to do that?’ His response went something like this… “You learn, you figure it out. When you have a good strategy, structure follows.” That begs the question, “What goes into the kind of strategy that enables a man from Venezuela to create a nationwide brand from scratch?” Carlos goes into the details on this episode, so take the time to listen.

When you have a good #strategy, structure follows ~ Carlos Ramirez (@CRCevarce) CEO of @PowerfulYogurt Click To Tweet

2 slides into his investor pitch, he was told his idea was no good. Then everything changed

When Carlos Ramirez was doing one of his first pitches for Powerful Yogurt to an investor in New York (known as “Power Fuel Yogurt” at the time), he was no more than 2 slides into his pitch before the investor said he didn’t think the idea of protein-enhanced, performance yogurt was a good idea. But Carlos persisted in spite of the objections – and by the end of the meeting, the investor was all-in. How did that happen? Not because Carlos is especially persuasive. What he believes made the difference was his own level of belief, his own level of passion for what he was trying to create. The more he enthusiastically cast the vision, the easier it was for others to see it and jump on board. You’ll get the feel for the kind of enthusiasm I’m talking about as I introduce you to Carlos in this episode.

Powerful Yogurt was just the beginning. Carlos was willing to iterate and did it well

After striking a regional deal with Food Emporium, Carlos has his first foot in the door in the retail grocery world and Powerful Yogurt had its chance to succeed. After some fortuitous mentions by celebrities like Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, the race was on. He figured out a way to do an end-run around the Whole-Foods buyer for the state of New York to get his products into local Whole Foods stores, was approached by Walmart and secured a 2000 store contract, and then the unthinkable happened: Walmart began pitching him product ideas – and he learned a new skill: iteration. Find out what it takes for a guy focused on one product type to pivot into other products that he knows nothing about, and pull it off in an amazing way. I invite you to hear the incredible story of Carlos Ramirez, Founder of Powerful Yogurt, on this episode of Unconventional Genius.

Powerful Yogurt was just the beginning. Carlos was willing to iterate and did it well @CRCevarce @PowerfulYogurt Click To Tweet

Topics Featured In This Episode

  • [1:23] The backstory of Carlos’ success: growing up in Venezuela, moving to the U.S.
  • [8:02] An incredible optimism and belief that fueled Carlos in the initial stages
  • [11:26] Working with Sergio Zyman and launching his company – from scratch
  • [16:08] Raising money from friends and investors for a 2013 launch of the company
  • [20:20] Bad press that is good press: Maximizing the exposure of a controversy
  • [24:21] Acquiring the first customers through investors
  • [32:01] Receiving a call from WalMart, negotiating the deal for 2000 stores
  • [37:10] Making the pivot to provide powerful oatmeal as well as powerful yogurt
  • [48:40] Aligning consumer needs with product possibilities in a variety of food types

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Carlos Ramirez

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What does it take to start a #food product company from scratch with zero experience? @CRCevarce @PowerfulYogurt Click To Tweet 2 slides into his #investor pitch, he was told his idea was no good. Then everything changed @CRCevarce @PowerfulYogurt Click To Tweet