Dan McCormick Of Create Wellness: 5 Keys To Launching A Successful DTC Brand

October 26, 2022
4 min read

Dan McCormick, co-founder, and CEO of Create Wellness shares his experience with product development, prelaunch strategies, and inventory planning for startup success.

After years of taking creatine supplements and diving into scientific research, Dan McCormick came up with an amazing product idea that could change the game. Fast forward today, he is about to launch the world’s first modern creatine gummy brand.

In this episode, Dan shares lessons and strategies that make it possible to:

  • Come up with a business idea without the guesswork
  • Discover the right path to validating an amazing product idea through product sourcing
  • Successfully manage pre-launch inventory planning for operational excellence

Tune in on: Apple | Google | Spotify

“I think in today's world, in today's ecommerce, it's too expensive to continuously acquire customers and not monetize them over a long period of time. But with every other product, especially if it's a lower AOV product, you really need strong subscription or repeat dynamics.. ”

- Dan McCormick, founder of Create Wellness

Meet Dan Mccormick

For the past years, Dan McCormick has built a wealth of experience leading the finance and operations for modern retail brands such as Parade and Away. Nowadays, he is Chief of Staff of Not Boring, a media and venture capital firm, where he produces content for the #1 newsletter on Substack, with over 115,000 subscribers. 

Aside from writing about the the most important emerging businesses & trends shaping the world, he is now on a mission to reverse Creatine stigma as the Co-founder and CEO of his soon-to-launch company, Create Wellness. 

Connect with Dan on: LinkedIn | Twitter

About Create Wellness

At Create Wellness, they believe that anyone living an active lifestyle can benefit from proper creatine supplementation. They are on a mission to promote wellness by reversing the creatine stigma, launching the world’s first monohydrate gummy that is tasty, convenient, and packed with pure creatine monohydrate.

Learn more about Create Wellness on: LinkedIn | Website

The Checkout episode 47 unpacks:

In today's episode, Adii Pienaar and Dan McCormick, co-founder and CEO of Create Wellness, discuss the journey of product development and operational strategies to a successful product launch. Here are the highlights:

[2:24] — Discovering a gap in the market to develop a new product

  • Create is bringing to market the world’s first and only pure creatine monohydrate gummy
  • There is a gap between the perception of creatine and the reality of creatine. Create is bridging that gap
  • “We define the market as anyone that lives an active lifestyle or regularly engages in muscle strengthening activities, and that's around 100 million people.“

[5:11] — Reversing the product narrative to differentiate your brand

  • Dan combines his 10-year experience of taking creatine with data-driven methods to understand the customers and reverse its stigma in the Market
  • By combining education, approachable marketing and modern go-to-market strategies, stigmatized supplements can go from misunderstood to widely accepted in mass markets 
  • “We need to do a better job of distributing and making that science accessible to a mass audience.”

[7:14] — Dan’s 5 fundamentals for new business success

  • Dan’s 5 fundamentals: repeat dynamics, road to high margin, natural omnichannel transition, marketing tailwinds and self-identifying customer
  • Aside from repeat consumption dynamics and an omnichannel approach, you need a gross margin of at least 60% to be a successful physical product company today
  • “For Create, we'll start a really strong ecommerce business on our Shopify website. But the goal here is to be everywhere that consumers buy supplements today.”

[12:18] — Finding the right customers

  • Initially, you don’t need 1 million Instagram followers but if you can find a niche audience to explore product-market fit, you can scale from there
  • “Starting out, having that narrowing factor is gonna make us a more efficient marketer and help us build a tighter knit community in the beginning stages.”

[13:58] — Behind the 4-month product sourcing journey

  • Dan hit a wall after reaching out to 25 gummy manufacturers in the US and was told the exact specs he was looking for were basically impossible to make 
  • They ended up finding a supply chain consultant who referred them to a gummy co-manufacturer flexible enough to take on the project as an R&D experiment
  • “This partner ended up with a proof of concept that we were really excited about and from there it's a process and exercise of sampling, iterating, providing feedback that can take from 1 to 4 months”

[17:57] — The benefits of building strong relationships with suppliers

  • Being a good partner to the people that you're working with means they can can go out of their way to prioritize your work and go the extra mile for you
  • There's a time to squeeze every cent out of a deal as possible but when you're starting out that’s probably not the time
  • “You don't wanna set yourself up for failure with bad agreements or bad contracts, anything like that. But you wanna start the partnership on a really strong foundation and build from there.”

[20:13] — The power of good story-telling

  • Whether ito investors, to potential employees, to customers, and also to supply chain partners, you’re always selling
  • Adii: “The ability to tell good stories is crucial because I think sales is just a story”

[24:14] — Effective strategies for placing initial purchase orders

  • It’s best to find a partner that doesn’t require 100% of the PO upon placement and is willing to extend terms beyond delivery 
  • Dan would rather miss sales on an initial launch than have way too much inventory he will be unable to sell
  • “Everyone told me— just be conservative on that initial PO. Something's gonna go wrong, you're gonna get feedback from having the product out in a scaled manner for the first time.”

[27: 05] — Inventory planning to avoid stockouts

  • Inventory will be prioritised for customers who signed up in the first month
  • If you're on a 10-year journey to building a massive business, you want the first 1000 customers to have an incredible good experience and tell their friends about it
  • “Make sure that you're making your earliest customers as happy as possible, rather than getting over your SKUs and trying to chase any kind of artificial growth goal.”

[29:57] —The single most important factor in success

  • Dan’s brand-building strategy: how can we be the best player on Tiktok?
  • “Jumpstarting the brand on TikTok, but then making sure that we're satisfying customers, making a really strong product that will give us the lasting power to become the brand that we wanna become.“

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