Retail Band

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

“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]

Show Notes

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
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
 [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.

Show Transcription
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 or contact me at 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

  1. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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
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Episode References:
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