How a Passion for Cooking Became the Abbio Cookware D2C Brand – Jonathan Wahl EP72

Quotes

“It’s making sure that you come into the market with an incredible product and then getting feedback from your customers validating that it is, in fact, an incredible product.” – Jonathan Wahl

• “If I give it to you, it doesn’t automatically make you a Michelin-star chef. It will help you on that journey, and it will give you confidence, and you’re going to get great results from it, but unless we provide the inspiration and the education with the tools, you’re not going to have that same level of success.”– Jonathan [12:08]

“My limited experience with more automated programs is that you often connect with people who may not be the right fit for you, your brand, or your audience, so it’s important to be working with people who are closely aligned with the same mission and values for your brand.” – Jonathan [18:08]

Affordable professional-grade cookware – with Jonathan Wahl Episode Summary

Do you have a passion for home cooking but can’t afford high-quality equipment? With Abbio, you can take your home cooking to the next level without breaking the bank.

In this episode of the Page One Podcast, Luke Peters speaks with Jonathan Wahl about cookware, how he has managed to set his business apart from others, and running a successful Direct-to-Consumer business remotely. Jonathan is the founder and CEO of Abbio, a direct-to-consumer kitchenware brand. The business stems from his lifelong passion for home-cooking and the frustration of not being able to find high-quality, high-value cookware. Their mission is to inspire home-cooks by providing affordable high-grade kitchenware, recipes, and educational tools.

Listen in to learn the importance of having a good team, how to plan a successful product launch, and how to leverage influencer marketing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why having a larger cookware set doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more successful.
  • The importance of having a good team.
  • Understanding business systems for running a successful business remotely.
  • Understanding some of the important KPIs to track.
  • Understanding influencer marketing and managing engagements.

Episode Timeline

  • [02:28] Jonathan tells us about “the set”, and how they’ve constructed their products to ensure durability and affordability.
  • [03:17] Jonathan talks about his team, distribution, and how he’s managing his business remotely.
  • [04:45] The three KPIs that are the most important to Jonathan and his business.
  • [06:35] Jonathan shares which business systems he uses to run the business remotely.
  • [07:43] Why Jonathan got in to kitchenware.
  • [09:53] Jonathan elaborates on where they do their sourcing and production.
  • [10:58] Jonathan explains why he decided to bypass Amazon and go Direct-to- Consumer.
  • [14:07] Jonathan’s strategy on launching products.
  • [16:33] How they’re doing influencer marketing, finding influencers, and managing engagements.
  • [19:22] The steps for a successful product launch.
  • [23:31] Building a remote team to be successful.
  • [26:31] Jonathan gives his views on the different variations of non-stick pans and the health safety of their non-stick pans.
  • [29:02] How their non-stick pans were constructed to facilitate food searing.
  • [31:06] Their biggest win this year, and the lessons they learned.

Speaker 1: Welcome to The Page 1 Podcast, a podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate sales. Now, here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on The Page 1 Podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters, CEO of NewAir Appliances and Retail Band, Digital Strategy Agency and Business Owners. How are your digital sales performing right now? Do you wish you had someone to create a custom strategic plan to grow your online sales? If you need that roadmap, take a look retailband.com or contact me at luke@retailband.com and we go into things beyond just your website and we can look at your Home Depot sales, Lowe’s, Target, and all this other channels that your products might be performing well on.

Luke Peters: In this episode, you’re going to hear from Jonathan Wahl on how to launch a direct consumer brand with limited resources, how he built the brand, and why he bypassed Amazon to focus on direct to consumer. Jonathan is the co-founder and CEO of Abbio, a direct to consumer kitchenware brand on a mission to inspire home cooks to a combination of accessible, professional-grade cookware, unique recipes, and educational tools.

Luke Peters: Jonathan’s lifelong passion for home cooking put him on a path that would eventually lead to creating Abbio. And now, his mission to inspire others to try home cooking for themselves. Prior to founding Abbio, Jonathan led e-commerce and operations for a coveted apparel label in Los Angeles. And outside of his business, Jonathan is still an avid home cook and his freezer is overflowing with vacuum sealed packs of his favorite dishes.

Luke Peters: Jonathan, thanks for joining us on The Page 1 Podcast.

Jonathan Wahl: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Luke Peters: Cool. So did I capture everything there in the introduction or anything you want to add?

Jonathan Wahl: No, I think you really captured an overview of the company. I think the most important note, which I’ll reiterate again is that this business really comes from a lifelong passion, both myself and my co-founder for home cooking. We were experienced and exposed to home cooking from a very, very, very early age and that’s what led us on this journey to want to do our own kitchenware company. Luke Peters: Okay. And really quickly, what type of kitchen products? Just so the audience understands what you guys are creating.

Jonathan Wahl: Absolutely. So our flagship product is what we call The Set, and it is the only five pieces of cookware you need for 95% of your stove top cooking. We use a construction that’s really popular in industrial kitchen settings for its durability, but with really important design elements for the home cook. And we sell that at an accessible price. We really try to make it so that there’s no longer a money argument for buying cheap, disposable cookware, and replacing it regularly. We just want you to buy Abbio.

Luke Peters: That’s awesome. And we cook a lot at my house. So we’re going to stick the script, we’re going to talk about how to launch a product, but then I’m going to probably be asking you some non-stick questions later on. Try and do a-

Jonathan Wahl: Let’s do it.

Luke Peters: All right. Cool. So we’ll have fun on this one. So let’s talk about the business itself, just so everybody listening kind of has an understanding of scale. This is a newer launch, I think about a year ago, we were just talking about. How many team members and do you handle the warehousing yourself? Are you outsourcing that? Let’s talk about that end of it.

Jonathan Wahl: Sure. We launched the company back in September of 2019. So yes, to your point, we’re just celebrating our one year anniversary this month. Our team is small and fully remote. Prior to COVID, I was actually considering what the right moment might be for our first physical office space, now I’m not so sure that’s necessary because we’re doing great. And obviously we avoid the overhead and the expense associated with having the physical office space.

Jonathan Wahl: We were doing, your question regarding distribution, we were doing our own distribution out of a warehouse in Seattle, which is where the business is based until very recently, but we’ve just outgrown it and instead transitioned to a really fantastic new 3PL relationship, which we think is the right long-term strategy for the business, because we want to focus on making great kitchenware and not managing [inaudible 00:04:28].

Luke Peters: Makes total sense. And it’s great for you to figure that out early. There’s certain, I don’t know, lines in the sand where my company, we decided, “Hey, we’re really good at this and not good at that.” And sticking to what you’re good at makes it a lot more fun as well. So I’m sure you’ll appreciate that more as your business continues to grow. Can you share with everybody listening here and all the business owners, which is the majority of our listenership, what’s your most important KPI that you track? And the one that’s led to your success so far?

Jonathan Wahl: Well, look, I really wish there was just one. There are many, but I think I’ll give you the three that are the most important to me and the ones that I look at nearly every day. The first is qualitative and it’s our customer reviews. The product, the basis of the product is about improving our customer’s home cooking experience. So the question we’re constantly asking ourselves is, are we making home cooking more fun and more accessible? If the answer is yes, then we’re on the right track and the best way that I have to measure that is through the reviews that we’re getting on our product, through the website and through surveys.

Jonathan Wahl: The second KPI that I look at every day is a little more qualitative and that’s our return rate for our direct channel. I’m asking, are the customers who are getting Abbio products keeping it? Are we blowing them away with the quality and the construction of the cookware? And if yes, then I’m really pleased with our results and we’re on the right track. Good news there is that so far we’ve managed an under 5% return rate, which I think is pretty phenomenal for the industry and consumer brands in general. So I’m again very happy with that and I keep a close eye on it because if anything changes, I’ll be the first one to want to change something.

Jonathan Wahl: And then lastly, and maybe the least surprising, I look at profitability because we’re a small bootstrap brand and that requires obviously extreme control over all expenses. So profitability at the individual order level to monthly to quarterly results is very important for us.

Luke Peters: Great, I mean, that’s a good mix and it’s really interesting and I think bodes well for your future success that two of the three are focused on product quality. Those were good reviews and return rate. So that’s really insightful. Talk about business systems. So, you’re remote, I guess if you’re outsourcing the shipping of the product, you don’t necessarily need an ERP, nor would you want to invest in one, but do you have a specific business system that you are able to run things on? Or what’s the glue that holds things together?

Jonathan Wahl: Sure. We primarily operate on a combination of Shopify, QuickBooks, the Google ecosystem for email, docs, sheets, et cetera, and Slack. Between those four, we’re pretty much able to manage all the aspects of our business. All of our modeling and financials are primarily offline for now. I’m actually quite a big fan of NetSuite as an operating platform from my previous role running the operations for an apparel brand. And that will make sense for us eventually, but for now we’re in great shape with the four platforms I mentioned.

Luke Peters: Awesome. Yeah, we’re on NetSuite and it’s a big implementation, I guess it’s a lot easier when you’re starting out, but it sounds like you’ve got things handled. And I know QuickBooks actually for startups, they do have a cool online version. I’ve had some experience with that and it’s not as robust as a NetSuite, but it kind of gets things done.

Luke Peters: Why don’t we just dive into the product now? So why kitchenware? You talked about how you had a passion and a background for cooking, as well as your co-founder. Give us a little bit on your background and what brought you to this moment?

Jonathan Wahl: Totally. So when we were, my co-founder and I, when we were living together after college, we mostly poor quality, cheap pans, which were absolutely degrading from our cooking experience. So we started upgrading our kitchen, but as we did so, and as we were realizing the importance of good cookware, we were super frustrated by the lack of high quality, high value options. And we immediately recognized the opportunity.

Jonathan Wahl: And so we started doing some research. We started talking to professional chefs. We started talking to friends and family. We talked to home cooks of all skill levels and we hit on three things really early on in our research that drove everything else that we did from that point forward. So the first is that the world of cookware is way overwhelming, even for a confident home cook. I mean a basic search on Amazon for professional cookware, pro cookware returns more than 10,000 results. So there’s really no way for an aspiring home cook to know what to buy, where to get it, or how much to pay.

Jonathan Wahl: The second thing that we figured out early on is that the market in the US has largely moved towards cheaper, inferior cookware construction, cookware that you dispose of and replace regularly. And obviously, we wanted to solve that. And then lastly, we found that customers in the United States have increasingly moved towards bigger and larger sets of cookware, thinking that they need 15 or 18 or 21 pieces of cookware to have success in their home kitchen. And that’s just not true.

Jonathan Wahl: So after identifying that issue and the others I mentioned, we spent the next two years working alongside industry experts, doing a ton of testing in our own home kitchen, testing every possible combination of materials, coatings, applications to make the cookware that we wanted to solve the three problems that I mentioned before.

Luke Peters: Great story. And where did you end up sourcing? How does that look in your supply chain?

Jonathan Wahl: Yeah, we got lucky early on in the sense that there was a bit of a [inaudible 00:10:02] and that we convinced one of the world leaders in cookware manufacturing to partner with us in this business. I’m sure at the very beginning, we were not worth the hassle as a result of the extreme attention to detail and design that we demanded from them. But we’ve really flourished in that relationship since then.

Luke Peters: That’s awesome. And is that now, are the lead times coming in from overseas, so they’re longer lead times? Or do you have any of this coming into domestically?

Jonathan Wahl: We do all of our production overseas, which allows us again to design and produce this extreme high quality product at a price point that’s accessible for that aspiring home cook who previously has been purchasing really inexpensive, disposable cookware, primarily through big box retailers.

Luke Peters: Yep. Okay, great. That’s kind of laid the foundation here, but for the audience, what we want to jump into is a couple subjects here. We want to talk about direct consumer expertise and product launches. And I thought what was really interesting about your brand is that you’re bypassing Amazon. You’re focusing direct to consumer, you’re owning that relationship, there’s a million reasons why that’s great.

Luke Peters: I think a lot of the audience, so maybe they’re not doing that because it is different, it’s a different skill set and it can be very difficult, especially if you’re paying your customer acquisition costs and lifetime value and all those things. So why don’t we start with this one is, why you’re bypassing Amazon? How did you make that conscious decision to focus direct to consumer?

Jonathan Wahl: Direct to consumer is, for us, simultaneously the best and really only channel where Abbio could launch. It’s the best channel, because to your point from a moment ago, I get to have a direct conversation with my customer about their current cookware, their home cooking habits, and how Abbio can improve their overall home cooking experience. And then I get to inspire them through educational recipes, videos, tutorials, et cetera. The analogy I like to make about cookware is that it is not like other consumer products in that, if I give it to you, it doesn’t make you automatically a Michelin star chef. It will help you on that journey and it will give you confidence and you’re going to get great results from it. But unless we provide the inspiration, the education, with tools, you’re not going to have that same level of success. So the two go together and the direct to consumer is the best channel in order to be able to facilitate that.

Jonathan Wahl: Then, for all those same reasons, it’s the only channel where we could launch and be successful because if I put Abbio on the shelves of a big box retailer, or even a specialty kitchenware store while we’re still young and new, I would very much be relying on the brightness of our packaging or an excellent salesperson to steer a home cook away from what they’re buying today, those 15 piece sets of disposable cookware and to consider Abbio instead.

Luke Peters: Yeah. That makes total sense. Talk about how you launched the brand with limited financing. We’d love to hear that bootstrap story.

Jonathan Wahl: Yeah. I think that the most important thing for us was prioritizing the things that really matter. So for example, I see a lot of consumer product brands, particularly in the direct to consumer space, spending many, many, many 10s or 100s of 1000s of dollars on their logo and their visual identity before they’ve even designed a product and confirmed that it solves a real customer problem. So we cut out everything that wasn’t important and focused entirely on making the best possible product. And then everything followed from there, figuring out how to tell the story, how to build the website, how to photograph the product in a beautiful way, how to launch it, how to get the word out to the end customer.

Luke Peters: Great. And then let’s move on to marketing. So you had this vision and this whole conversation has been really around product quality, which is great to hear. But still I think you got that great background in marketing, so I’m sure you put that to use. And what’s been your strategy on launch? How do you launch products? Maybe you can give us some KPIs around that as well, so those who do have direct to consumer sights can compare it to what they’re doing.

Jonathan Wahl: Sure. Well, I’d spoken to a number of founders and marketers who swear by one channel. So they’ll say, for example, that paid search is the best strategy for them because of their ability to reach and market customers at the bottom of the funnel. Or they’ll swear by some audiences on Facebook. But ultimately, being dependent on a single channel, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook or paid search, or even SEO or Amazon for that matter, increases your risk and puts you at the mercy of others.

Jonathan Wahl: So we’re really thinking about, well, what happens when Google changes their algorithm? Or Shopify, our e-comm platform, releases a new feature that allows you to launch some sophisticated campaign with just a few clicks? Well, if that was your advantage from a marketing perspective, then your strategy is kind of toast. So instead, our ethos is constant testing and innovation across all channels. The same thing that we apply to our products, we apply to our marketing.

Jonathan Wahl: So we tested all the marketing channels that you’d expect from a direct to consumer brand, and probably even a few that you haven’t, and we’re not tied with single strategy or recipe, because that landscape is constantly changing. We evolve with it and we place an extra special focus on the channels and strategies where we actually get to own our own customer.

Jonathan Wahl: And I’ll give a more tangible example of that. We work with a diverse set of influencers, ranging from niche bloggers with loyal followings, to professional chefs, and even celebrities in the food space. And when most people think of the word influencer, they immediately associate it with maybe Instagram or TikTok, but that’s not really the goal for us. The goal for us is for potential customers to learn about Abbio from someone they already trust and they admire, and most cookware shoppers start their search for cookware online. So if you go online and you search for Abbio and you see the extensive coverage from that wide range of, again, bloggers and chefs and influencers, that the most to the breadth and the results of our strategy.

Luke Peters: Wow. I love influencer marketing. So why don’t we dig in there a little bit? How are you doing it? How are you finding these influencers? How are you managing the engagements? There’s a lot of ways you could go, there’s obviously, maybe you’re using a platform, maybe you’re just… I mean like a CRM type of platform that aggregates influencers and lets you find them. Maybe you’re just finding them the old-fashioned way by actually looking for prominent chefs. Would love to hear how you find them, how you set up the engagements, and what value looks like in an engagement?

Jonathan Wahl: Yeah. The first few were certainly more challenging, an unknown brand in the category. So we started with the folks that we already knew about in our personal lives that we followed, that we were interested in because of, again, our lifelong passion for home cooking, both chefs and bloggers. And once we got the cookware into the hands of a few folks who were able to validate the quality of the product and try it for themselves, it was really a snowball fest from there. They provided introductions to others and put in a good word for us. And we’ve really been able to expand our ability to connect with people just through seeding products and giving people an opportunity to test it for themselves.

Luke Peters: Yeah. That is awesome. And then is there like a platform? Or you’re just getting these introductions, and it’s more of an organic way of finding new influencers? And then it sounds like you probably keep working with the same influencers and just build a relationship that way?

Jonathan Wahl: It is organic and I’m a strong proponent for that. Certainly that it’s a lot of time and it’s not something that you can “automate.” But my limited experience with more automated programs is that you often connect with people who may not be the right fit for you, your brand, or your audience. And so it’s important to be working with people who are closely aligned with the same mission and values for your brand. And the only way that we can do that is by seeking out these people or having them introduced to us directly.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And are these chefs on, is this YouTube mostly or Instagram or a mix? What channels are they more prominent on?

Jonathan Wahl: Channel agnostic, but we believe that channels like YouTube and blogs, websites are the best place for inspiration for home cooking, much more so than Instagram, so we focus on those channels where we can actually really help people home cook.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Same thing here at NewAir. I love talking about this. We like those channels, all the reasons you’re talking about, but also they’re evergreen, the content’s always there, there’s SEO rankings involved where it’s kind of here and gone on Instagram. So it is a different… I know Instagram is incredible for certain brands, and even ours, we use it, but it’s interesting how you’re thinking along those lines, maybe with a little bit of a different intention for your brand.

Luke Peters: Jonathan, let me put you on the spot, if you could break down your product launch process into just five steps, it doesn’t have to be five, but just so we can piece it down so everybody can get an understanding of, the product’s already been designed, so now you’re going to introduce it to the market. How does that look over a period of say a couple of weeks or even a couple of months if it goes out that long?

Jonathan Wahl: Good question. So there were a few important steps along the way for us. The first was the gifting and the seeding that we just spoke about and that from a timing perspective happened long before we intended to launch the product to the general public. Obviously, it takes time to cultivate those relationships and to give people a chance to live with your product. So we started that many, many months before we launched and that’s one of the things that allowed us to launch already with a good headstart in terms of having those positive reviews out in the world about Abbio’s product.

Jonathan Wahl: Another key moment for us was the design and the launch of the website itself. Shopify, as a e-comm platform, has certainly democratized that and lowered the barrier entry. So it makes it, I think, easier than ever to launch a brand through your own direct channel online, but it’s also very easy to end up in the trap of having an experience online that’s very generic and looks just like every other brand that’s out there that’s been able to launch on that same platform. So it was important for us to launch in a way that would tell the Abbio story and differentiate it as well. So first the seeding, second was the website build out, and then we clicked go, and then we launched.

Luke Peters: Right. But how about specifically, so let’s say you have a new product coming out next week, what are the steps when you launch it? It sounds like first you’ll go out to your influencers, but then is… Build your paid campaigns or are you creating multiple pages of organic content to get different? Because sometimes, like you said, Shopify is on the product page, it can be good, but it is very similar to so many other sites because it’s so ubiquitous. Do you guys create videos? What are the types of things when you are ready to bring a new product specifically to market that it looks like over the ensuing couple of weeks?

Jonathan Wahl: I’ll speak a little bit about the content, because you mentioned that and I think that’s really important. Like I spoke about a little bit before briefly around cookware and kitchenware being a tool, and not a finished product in and of itself, but something that requires some additional skill in order to get the best possible result. As a result of that, for us, it was very, very important to make sure that we’re providing the inspiration for home cooks on the website.

Jonathan Wahl: So that’s as simple as recipes, which I think a lot of people do well, but we’ve also focused on some video series. There’s one in particular that we’re excited about. We have a partnership with a chef up in Seattle who’s really fantastic. His name’s Joel Gamoran and he is very much focused on sustainability and simple home cooking. And so the series that we did with him is called Seconds and it’s about the meals that you can make with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your refrigerator and in your pantry. So that is an example of the type of content that really speaks to our customer, fits really well with our brand, and gives people a reason to come to the website and check out Abbio beyond just the product itself.

Luke Peters: I love it. And content marketing is not dead. So you guys are proving it there and you’re doing it on both ends. You’re creating this third-party content with influencers, so your product is in the hands of trusted experts that have people behind them that want to have what these trusted experts have. So you’re doing that. And then you’re also creating your own amazing content, so you’re kind of doing it on both ends and it’s working. I mean, it’s so hard to have those skillsets. Talk quickly about your team. I know you said they’re remote. May be interesting, I think, for the audience to hear just on the direct consumer side, there’s you and the founder. Are there any other key positions, remote, like maybe it’s a social person, maybe it’s a writer? Just curious how you thought about building that team to be successful.

Jonathan Wahl: Yeah, I’d say the key positions for us are first, or actually really in no particular order just the key positions overall, are one, creative individual. Could be a combination photographer and somebody who has some video skills. In our case, we work with two different individuals for those two different positions, but that’s what helps facilitate some of that great content we just talked about.

Jonathan Wahl: We also have a strong developer, which is, I think even in the Shopify ecosystem, if you want to be able to differentiate yourself, you’re not going to be able to get away with just using the generic theme. You need to be able to tell your story in a robust way and you’re going to need a scale developer in order to do that.

Jonathan Wahl: And then we have just a general coordinator, someone who understands at a high level almost every aspect of the business and can be the person running around making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to on a daily basis.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Makes total sense. And thanks for sharing that, especially on the creative side, because I do some photography myself and I used to shoot our products, but when you get a real photographer that is professionally trained and that’s what they do for a living, you just can’t duplicate that. And even in this day and age of so much can be done on a computer, still having great photography and great lighting and great scenes, especially for a brand like yours, it’s just so important.

Jonathan Wahl: It really does make a massive difference. I had a very, very, very brief moment on a couple of years ago where I thought that with a couple of light boxes and the right setup, I could do it as well. And I was very, very, very wrong. So I’m glad that we have an expert to do it for us.

Luke Peters: Yeah. It’s a work of art. You have an amazing brand, Jonathan, I’m curious, have you looked into the International Housewares Show and are you planning on attending? I mean, it’s a great place for you to exhibit your products in August next year in Chicago. I’m on the board, so I got to make sure we attract all the new up and coming brands. I don’t know if you’ve looked into that show yet.

Jonathan Wahl: It’s okay. I appreciate the plug. I was actually there last year.

Luke Peters: Oh, awesome. Okay.

Jonathan Wahl: Just as an attendee, but yeah, I plan to be there next year as well, assuming that we have a vaccine for that thing that shall not be mentioned.

Luke Peters: Yeah, well, we live in a COVID world right now so I know. We talk about that almost every episode, but great, yeah. I would love to see your brand exhibiting at the show. And I think there’s always interest. There are a lot of brands, like you said, it’s incredible. You laid out the industry perfectly because there are so many competing brands, but there’s always a desire from the consumer for a fresher look or a different quality.

Luke Peters: And before I let you go, let me talk about that and I think this is something everybody here can relate to. So I’ve got different pans at the house. We’ve got the stainless, the aluminum, I can’t stand cleaning those because… And then we have the non-stick, which I love. And then sometimes my wife’s a little bit concerned, “Hey, what chemicals are on the non-stick?” And this goes back to the Teflon days. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on, is non-stick, do you like it better than those other forms for any particular reason? And what are the different grades of non-stick? Because I’ve seen exactly what you shared, which is that some of the stuff is just useless after six months.

Jonathan Wahl: Yeah. We were inundated early on in the discovery process by the amount of so-called ceramic cookware that’s for sale. It’s commonly what you see on Made For TV ads, where the egg is effortlessly sliding around the pan. And unfortunately, it’s really only good for TV ads because, per your experience, it doesn’t last and it’s always going to be a disposable product.

Jonathan Wahl: So for us, it was really important. We’re agnostic of the actual construction, it just required a lot of research. And what we ended up with was a non-stick coating that we developed with one of the leading labs in the US that’s specifically designed to hold up to abuse in home kitchen to someone who may not always use nice, soft utensils, who might put it in the dishwasher, which in our case is okay, and who might otherwise scratch it if it wasn’t as durable and as great as it is.

Luke Peters: Wow. And what about the, I don’t know, the chemicals that are used? Are these all safe on pretty much all these non-stick pans? Or is that something that consumers need to compare if they want to eat off of that? Versus stainless steel or other types of cookware? Jonathan Wahl: I definitely can’t speak to non-stick industry wide, but certainly Abbio’s non-stick is 100% safe and non-toxic and it’s not made with any of the chemicals that were commonly associated with a Teflon and received quite a bit of backlash over the preceding 20 years.

Luke Peters: Yeah. That’s great to hear. And I think those were called the fluorocarbons. There was a great movie a couple years ago, I rarely watch movies and I saw this one on DuPont came out with that chemical initially and it was a problem. And what happens is, it creates a stigma in people’s minds and like you said, that’s not being used right now. So thanks for sharing that.

Luke Peters: And what about searing food? So sometimes a non-stick won’t sear, at least in my experience, well actually, they’re kind of different. Some of them sear different than others. So if you want to brown something versus using it on a stainless or aluminum pan, it can be a little bit different as well as the heating temperatures. Did you guys test for that? I think I did read a little bit on even some of your customer reviews on how your product actually sears food really well.

Jonathan Wahl: Yes. Definitely it does. And that actually has a lot more to do with the underlying construction of the pan, than with the non-stick coating itself, the non-stick coating has to be able to stand up to higher heat cooking, which the Abbio non-stick can. Again, another advantage over the common ceramic coating, but the other important factor is the underlying construction. So Abbio is [inaudible 00:29:55], it’s a combination of stainless steel and aluminum, which gives you really, really great even heat distribution and great control over your heat. And when you cook with Abbio, you will get that sear that you’re looking for and it’s a sear that at your point you can’t get when you cook with a thin aluminum pan.

Luke Peters: Cool. All right. I love learning new things. we do most of our cooking, even before COVID at my house, so it’s great. And I actually, when I was on your site, I saw that pack that you’re talking about. I think it was two pans with three pots or three pans and two pots, but it was the kit that pretty much covers 95% of your cooking. So I think that was a smart way to lay out this on the sales. Because on my end, we’re selling appliances and it’s hard to sell multi-packs. Someone’s just buying one beer cooler or one ice maker or whatever the case is. But I imagine, I really like that optionality that you have in the direct consumer side, because you can put different packages together and you can get all that value into one sale for the customer, increase the average order value, and so on and so forth. So definitely some cool things you can take advantage of that you guys are already doing.

Luke Peters: Why don’t we finish with this? I’d love to hear your one, you’ve got a strong background leading into this startup, but you started at the company with your co-founder and you guys have obviously been successful. What’s been your biggest win this year? And what did you learn from that?

Jonathan Wahl: I think that the biggest win for us this year has been the validation of the product, which I know is something we’ve talked a lot about in this episode, but in the first year of any business, but particularly a consumer product brand, it’s making sure that you’re coming to market with an incredible product and then getting feedback from your customers validating that it is in fact an incredible product. So that, for us, has been the biggest, most important milestone so far.

Luke Peters: Well, listen, I really enjoyed this conversation, Jonathan. And before I let you go, how can listeners find you, learn more about you?

Jonathan Wahl: Sure. Well, first of course, check us out at abbiokitchen.com. That’s A-D-D-I-Okitchen.com. And then anyone is also welcome to reach out to me directly. I’m at jonathan@abbiokitchen.com. That’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@abbiokitchen.com.

Luke Peters: Awesome. And we will have all the show notes in the podcast page or on iTunes, but of course on the Retail Band website, you’ll have all those links and you can learn more about Abbio and Jonathan. And I want to thank everybody for joining us today on this episode of The Page 1 Podcast, sponsored by Retail Band. And if you need a digital plan for your site and you’re unsure of how to launch products, maybe you want to learn about influencer marketing or how to sell on channels like Wayfair and Walmart and Amazon, go ahead and check us out, retailband.com. Hope you all enjoyed the interview today. I truly appreciate your reviews on iTunes. They really mean a lot and hope you join us for the next interview.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to The Page 1 Podcast with Luke Peters. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to double your online sales? Check out www.retailband.com. And don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guest.

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Contact Jonathan Wahl: LinkedIn

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