fbpx

Episodes > Season 3 Episode 1

How BlendJet builds a healthy community

Ryan Pamplin, CEO and Co-Founder of BlendJet

What's in this episode?

This episode we’re chatting with Ryan Pamplin CEO and Co-Founder of BlendJet.

We chat with Ryan about the freak accident that left him on medical leave for months and how that gruelling ordeal inspired him to try to better people’s lives and resulted in the creation of BlendJet.

BlendJet are also masters of eye-catching content, like their video of a BlendJet making a smoothie in space (real story, they actually did that and you’ve got to hear what was actually in that smoothie). Ryan shares with us how they started this genuine and quirky content creation style as well as how their brand engaging on social media results in a fervent community of passionate BlendJet customers and subscribers.

Speaking of subscriptions, we chat with Ryan about the success of their JetPack product subscription program as well as the retention strategy they use to entice customers to subscribe.

So let's get started!

Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn. Check out BlendJet.

Episode transcript

Scott Meiklejohn: Hey, thanks for listening to Hit Subscribe, a podcast by Recharge created to educate, inspire, and connect the subscription commerce space. I'm your host, Scott Meiklejohn. And on today's episode, we're chatting with Ryan Pamplin, CEO and co-founder of BlendJet. We chat with Ryan about the freak accident that left him on medical leave for months, and how that grueling ordeal inspired him to try and better people's lives, and as a result, create BlendJet. BlendJet are masters of eye-catching content, like their videos of a BlendJet making a smoothie in space, which is a real story. They actually did that and you've got to hear what was actually in that smoothie.

Scott Meiklejohn: And Ryan shares with us how they started this genuine and quirky content creation style, as well as how their brand engages on social media, which results in a fervent community of passionate BlendJet customers and subscribers. Speaking of subscriptions, we chat with Ryan about the success of their jet pack product subscription program, as well as the retention strategy they use to entice customers to subscribe. But enough with the preamble. Let's get to it. Ryan, thank you so much for joining us.

Ryan Pamplin: Great to be here. Thank you so much for having me, Scott.

Scott Meiklejohn: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and a little bit about BlendJet?

Ryan Pamplin: Sure. So I'm Ryan Pamplin, CEO and co-founder of BlendJet, creators of the portable blender. I actually have my BlendJet two here in carbon fiber. Not that I have a McLaren P one to match this or anything.

Scott Meiklejohn: I was going to say, if you're just listening to this, you're about to hear the beautiful sounds of this thing firing up.

Ryan Pamplin: That's right. And if you like the sound of this, you might enjoy the ASMR videos we make with this, that you would think is a lie. But actually we have like 50 plus million views on Facebook and Instagram and YouTube of ASMR with the blender. Don't worry, it's not my voice.

Scott Meiklejohn: I want to get to it later because I love that stuff. Yeah. Fire it up.

Ryan Pamplin: Here it is. Let's go. Sounds pretty quiet. You can still hear me over the sound of it. The nice thing is there's no cord. So if you want to hide it in the fridge or the cabinet while it's blending, you can do that. But it is pretty to watch, the light swirling around. Yeah. People tend to get hypnotized. And it only takes 20 seconds and that's it. We're done. I had this full of ice. I had coffee, and I shot of coffee in there. Espresso, I guess you could say. I had vanilla, cinnamon, little bit of maple syrup. So it's my daily routine.

Ryan Pamplin: And the terrible thing that you could do to yourself with a BlendJet is turn it on while you're drinking. So fortunately we have a lock feature. So you just hold it down. Very rarely do I ever hear stories with millions of customers around the world. Rarely does anyone ever say, I sprayed myself in the face. But I have seen it in a few photos that customers have sent and they've taken it in stride and thought it was pretty hilarious. So user error, they say, which, lock mode.

Scott Meiklejohn: What a great feature. Definitely a handy feature that you built in.

Ryan Pamplin: Cheers.

Scott Meiklejohn: Well, thank you for joining us. Oh, there's so much to get into here. I want to talk first about the origins of BlendJet. Can you take me back to 2017 and what started you on the path here to BlendJet?

Ryan Pamplin: Sure. Yeah. It's been a great journey and you I'm super appreciative to all of our customers, to my colleagues for making it all possible. If we go back, I've been an entrepreneur my whole life, 2017, I had a freak accident. I cracked my head open and ended up on medical leave for a year, almost died. It was pretty bad. I ran into a concrete pillar in a parking garage, to be honest. I was running forwards, but looking backwards and then my car was parking itself. And I thought that I should pay attention to where it was going, the car, so it wouldn't run into anything. Should have probably paid attention to where I was going so I didn't hit anything. But unfortunately, this was actually 2016 that this happened, 2016, 2017, whatever. It happened. This is one of the symptoms of pain in your head as you don't remember stuff.

Ryan Pamplin: But I cracked my head open, ended up on the ground and you don't want all the details. It wasn't pretty. So ended up in the hospital and then ended up with severe post traumatic head injury. And it was about a year of recovery, and it was many months in bed, and it was smoothies and protein shakes every day to get better. That was my baseline. And before that I had helped build the first holographic computer. So I was building this thing.

Scott Meiklejohn: So cool.

Ryan Pamplin: And this was actually called Meta.

Scott Meiklejohn: I was hoping you'd share this. Yeah.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. So the assets of the company, the name did get acquired as you probably know, hence Facebook is now called Meta. So that was just a crazy thing. I was giving keynotes alongside Bob Iger and Steve Wozniak and getting to meet my heroes like Tim Cook. I mean, pinch me, right? It's just like, is this real life? And it was real life. It all happened so fast that you don't even have time to soak it in and reminisce. It's like, oh, I got a demo today of the headset with Steven Spielberg. And then right after that, I got to be ready for Larry Page. I mean, it was crazy.

Ryan Pamplin: We raised a 100 plus million dollars. I was in all those meetings, helping raise money, showing demos, meeting all these luminaries. And at the peak of it, I hit my head on a stupid concrete pillar and then I can't even talk correctly or remember dates or think straight. I'm good now. But the company got acquired while I was on medical leave and it took a good year for me. To me, the brain is just not something people understand. It's just complicated. You've got the Neuralink of the world and the colonels created by Brian Johnson, founder of Braintree. He took all his Braintree money and invested in creating the first computer brain implant. Elon came later. So I use Braintree. I love it. I think it's great.

Ryan Pamplin: So it's very interesting to look at the brain space and you look at what these guys are all trying to do and [inaudible 00:06:38] creating this incredible new technology for computer brain interfaces. But the reality is we don't know nothing. You don't know. We are so early in understanding the human brain. So I think these technologies are going to help a lot with traumatic brain injuries and just understanding what the heck is going on. The regimen for recovery is so antiquated. It's so old.

Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah. Learn to lie there.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah, don't do anything. You know what they said that's the most true and helpful advice, but also ridiculous? No cognitive load. So it's like, okay, don't think.

Scott Meiklejohn: Don't think deeply.

Ryan Pamplin: Don't have stress. So that basically means don't live and just ignore the news and ignore the world around you because it's a stressful world that we live in. But long story short, when I got better, I really wanted to, my whole perspective on life just morphed. Right?

Scott Meiklejohn: Of course.

Ryan Pamplin: I no longer cared about just trying to make money and try to be successful. I admit I wasn't really focused on trying to make money. I was trying to change the world and build the next paradigm of computing with some of the smartest people in the world. Before that, I built software for measuring video ads in the internet, that got acquired. And that company continues to do really well. It's been 10 plus years. And it's funny. We actually used it now to distribute our TV ads.

Scott Meiklejohn: So wild.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. It's like everything is full circle. It's like literally like the Meta thing, the Meta becomes this other thing.

Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah. And I just came back.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. So I'm waiting for what happens next. Maybe Facebook wants to get into the blender business. Who knows. But I mean, it's Meta, right? So it could be about health and consumption and tracking-

Scott Meiklejohn: In the virtual space. Fire up a smoothie in the Metaverse. Why not?

Ryan Pamplin: ... There you go. Maybe we can come up with a device where you wear it and then you eat broccoli, but it tastes like chocolate.

Scott Meiklejohn: Let's try. I know a guy. We could go for it.

Ryan Pamplin: And then you wear the ARVR and it looks like chocolate. So you sell the whole thing.

Scott Meiklejohn: I'm down. I'm totally down.

Ryan Pamplin: True story. Many years ago, McDonald's created broccoli that tasted like chocolate. That's actually not something I invented in my mind. This is something that actually happened. And they decided not to release it and not to market it or do anything with it because it was maybe too strange using for kids. Yeah.

Scott Meiklejohn: Sure.

Ryan Pamplin: But as a kid, I always thought, man, I wish broccoli tasted like chocolate and then McDonald's did it. And then they let me down and never put it out there in the world.

Scott Meiklejohn: Well, it's funny because that kid dream right there leads us to you wanting to make things healthier, leads us all back to BlendJet. Yeah.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. So I mean, the dream for me post traumatic injury and mostly being recovered was, okay, you know what, health became my number one priority in life. I think when you're 20 something and you're in Silicon Valley, you're just like, I want to do everything and become hugely successful. You look at success as a monetary thing. You're like, oh, okay. How much money am I going to make as a result of this exit? What you realize, especially when you get to know a lot of people who have had exits is everyone that's like post exit, they're all very focused on making the world better. And after you go through a health issue, you realize that no amount of money in the world matters if you're going to die. And when you face your own mortality, you're just like, Okay, priority number one, don't die.

Ryan Pamplin: And when you get better, you realize that, all right, I just need that baseline of health and I also just need a baseline of not having financial stress because I'm taking care of enough. And then beyond that, what can I do to make the world better? What can I contribute? And I think in my case, what I figured out that I could contribute is I knew how to make myself healthier. My health hack was just have a smoothie and a protein shake every day. And my theory was, well, if people out there had something more convenient than McDonald's drive through, then they would probably consume that instead.

Ryan Pamplin: And I reconnected to my buddy, John, he's my co-founder, CRO. He and I were doing Facebook 10 plus years ago together. I taught in Facebook ads when it first started. It was in beta. He took it, became a master and ended up helping launch a ton of huge, huge brands, did stuff for Uber, Glassdoor, Adam tickets, a bunch of Disney movies and spent a fortune on the platform.

Ryan Pamplin: And when he and I reconnected he said, "Well, I'm so glad you're healthy. What are you going to do next?" And I said, "I'm going to work with you." And he said, "What? You are?" And I said, "Yes." And he said, "What are we going to do?" And I said, "We're going to help people live longer and healthier lives." And he said, "Wow, that's profound. How are we going to do that?" And I said, "Well, I don't know. But I do smoothies and protein shakes every day." And he said, "Well, I do that too. I go to the gym and I pay seven bucks. And I was doing it in a big loud blender, and it was hard to clean and it always took too long and I made too much and just a very disruptive and unpleasant process."

Ryan Pamplin: I think generally, if things are unpleasant and disruptive and time consuming, people aren't going to be able to make those into habits. You got to have a strong amount of willpower to be committed to the process of making a smoothie in a big blender every day. It's easier just to go to Jamba Juice. Like why are you going to go through the trouble? And I think my feeling was, gosh. I really, during my health episode really came to rely on smoothies. They're just inconvenient. And the blender form factor pretty much came out in like 1928 and didn't evolve. And I was like, "How? Everything else has changed." I got the Dick Tracy watch. I got everything. We got flying cars for real now. The Jetson. I don't know if you've seen that. I was watching videos of it earlier. I definitely want one of those. My wife is like, "No, you're going to kill yourself." But I'm like...

Scott Meiklejohn: I would love the quippy made robot. That'd be like super convenient, but I totally agree.

Ryan Pamplin: I mean, we're in the future, but somehow the blender we're living with is from the past. And how do we fix that? When we started talking, John and I just realized that like, wow, both of us really rely on these things every day. Gosh, there's probably a way to make this better. And he's like, "Well, if I could just teleport a smoothie anywhere, that'd be amazing." I was like, "Well, I don't think we could do that yet. But maybe BlendJet 19."

Scott Meiklejohn: The teleport BlendJet.

Ryan Pamplin: That's right. In the future it's coming. But I was like, "I think we could build a portable blender probably." And we looked, it was blue ocean. There's nothing out there. It was very exciting. We started working on getting the IP. We decided, you know what? We're going to invest with our own money. We're going to make this happen. So we brought in Brian, who's our VP of Ops, and brought in Catherine, my wife who helped take care of me while I was sick and used to be a commercial actress, now stars in our videos, leads our 50 plus person customer experience team. And the four of us built this thing starting in 2017, launched in June of 2018, had 7,000 units start. Brian basically took the napkin level concept and turned it into a real product. And then ended up interviewing dozens and dozens of manufacturing partners, found the right one who really bought into our vision.

Ryan Pamplin: I had actually spent a lot of time in China for Meta. So I had met a lot of people who were really interesting leaders there, people who led Tencent and all these different companies, some of which were our investors. So when I went for the first time with Brian to China and we were meeting the owners of these factories and these suppliers, and I'm showing them pictures on my phone of me with all these people, they're just like, "Oh my gosh. You know that person? And I'm like, "Oh yeah." In the US, like you and I, we don't know these names. It doesn't matter to us, but it meant a lot over there. So we were really able to leverage our credibility as individuals and our track records to build these initial relationships and get them to make outsized bets on us that we were going to win.

Ryan Pamplin: And I think from the beginning, everyone just believed in the concept and believed that we would win. I remember the first 7,000 units came in and John said to me, "If we don't sell these, you're going to have to buy all of them from me." And I was like, "Wait, what?" It was a joke, but I think he was probably serious.

Scott Meiklejohn: Well, could I take you back to that Friday? Because I think it was such a cool moment. When we first spoke, you talked about, you're sitting there, Friday, June 2018, 7,000 of these things show up at your curb and you're looking at them and you glance at your wife, and you glance at your phone, and there's this choice you make. Can you tell us about that?

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. I mean, what do you want to do on a Friday? It's dark, you're in an office. We're a little 2000 square foot office across the street from the Oakland Raiders headquarters at the time, Alameda, California. And we're sitting there and everyone left except for us. And all day we had these people come in that were 10 people that moved all the inventory in. So the inventory got dropped in front of this office building, which was not a warehouse. It was a mazed, a carpeted hallways to get back to our office. And it was the most inconvenient location, the building, for a large amount of inventory to be delivered through. And these guys just all day banged the carts into the walls and made all kinds of holes in the walls. And you've got like a massage place and you've got like a logistics company, like all these different things that are like offices. They're not fulfillment centers. And we just block the entrance the whole day with basically a big semi truck and we're just unloading all day.

Ryan Pamplin: And then we get to the end of the day, we're all tired and we're all pitching in. Right. I mean, we're not above it. So we end up at the end of the day sitting there, Catherine and I. Everybody's left. And I go, "Okay." It's seven o'clock on a Friday. We want to go hang out. We want relax. We're just exhausted. And I'm like, "Okay. We got to film an ad now." She was like, "Are you crazy? What are you talking about? We're not filming an ad right now." And by the way, she was my girlfriend at the time. So really I'm lucky that she ended up my wife after that. But I was like, "We got to film this. We got to do this because it's a Friday, the weekend. If we got the ad up, maybe we could sell some over the weekend, get some momentum, come in, and Monday things are moving and shaking."

Ryan Pamplin: She was not happy. She was like, "We don't have any fruit. We don't have any fresh ingredients. We don't even have any silverware. We don't have any plates. We don't have any lighting. We don't have a camera." I was like, "Listen, we have a tripod, we have a phone mount. Okay? We have a ring light. So I think we're good to go. I got plastic utensils from some of the take out food we ate at lunch and I got paper plates. And I have about strawberries about a week past their prime. So I think we're good to go." The banana might have been more brown than yellow, but it's yellow inside.

Scott Meiklejohn: Sure.

Ryan Pamplin: So we made a video on my phone. We just made it up as we went and we filmed it and we gave it to John. I think everyone was pretty surprised including myself, that we made something with very limited resources. And then we put up the video, John ran it and it just started working. And within three weeks we sold out of our first 7,000 units. And from that point pedal to the metal until the end of 2018. And then we had over 100,000 customers in 100 countries and then we just kept pushing, right? So by the end of 2019, over a million customers, by the end of 2020, millions of customers. Now even dramatically more than that. This year's been dramatically bigger than last year.

Ryan Pamplin: And now we're in every major retail store and we never tried to reach out to any retail. We have an amazing director of partnerships, Erin Kristovich. She's been at three unicorns before, and then she joined BlendJet. She never dealt with retail, but what had happened is we had so many inbound retailers hitting us up, Walmart literally saying like, "We want you in the store." Target, "We want you in the store." My strategy from the beginning with them was, "No, thank you." And it wasn't because I don't want to be in Target or Walmart, it's because most of the time they were like, "Well, we'll start you online only. And then based on how that goes, we'll put you in the store." No. I spend so much money to market online and to become successful online. And then you just want to take a piece of my online pie because you're going to outrank me. You're Target, you're Walmart, you're going to be bigger than me. I can't let that happen.

Ryan Pamplin: So I think they're amazing partners and I love them. I love Bed Bath and Beyond. Bed Bath just does such a great job with merchandising in the store. And we're in Kohl's and we're in CVS. All these places. Launching with Costco soon. And they've always reached out to us, which is great. But we've always said, "If we're going to give up a piece of the online pie, then you've got to give us mass retail, every store, because I need the opportunity for discovery and the sell through in your stores to make up for the online pie that you're taking away from me, because otherwise you're just going to raise up my CPA and I'm actually going to have to turn down my advertising. And then my retail sell through is going to be lower anyway. So it's not in your best interest to take a piece of my pie without giving me something in return because the long term effect is bad for both of our businesses."

Ryan Pamplin: So I think this strategy was the right strategy. And I think in the beginning, it's really terrifying when you're a startup and you're saying no to the biggest retailers in the world. We also have always said no to Amazon. We don't sell on Amazon. I don't want to sell on Amazon. As a consumer, I use Amazon all the time. It's very convenient, same reason BlendJet's successful, convenience, hard to beat it. But I think the problem with Amazon is there's very little regulation. So anybody can sell anything. And as a result, you get all kinds of people. We have 75 plus patents on our technology. We have dozens of trademarks. So the last thing I want to do is be in a marketplace that's full of people that try to imitate and knock off and I'm constantly shutting down. Because then if you Google BlendJet, Amazon's probably going to outrank us.

Ryan Pamplin: And then it's going to be like, Hey, do you want to buy a BlendJet or would you like to buy one of these knockoffs? I don't want to be next to that. And more importantly than that, I need to own the relationship with my customer. I need that phone number. I need that email address. During this last month, our revenue from email has been insane. Literally over 22% revenue coming from email. Totally insane.

Scott Meiklejohn: That's awesome. I love that idea of owning that customer relationship. And I even wanted to take it back to when you guys first made that video. I have a theory of why it's successful. I mean, hell, I'll share it now. It's just so genuine. And I think you were so quick to the game of, yeah, there is something for these polished ads, big budget things, but there's something so relatable about this very organic relationship. Here's our product. This is what it is. You guys have fun with it. You know what you are. You have a good brand tone. So I'd love to talk to you further about that intentional community building you guys have done, owning that customer relationship and how you set it off the top. Your YouTube game is flawless. You got an ASMR video. Let me look at it here in my notes. Oddly satisfying Blends has 2.7 million views. I think the one I looked at came out in January. That's crazy. So where did this strategy begin?

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. Even more views by the way, on YouTube and Instagram. So actually over 50 million views on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook combined. And the videos generated crazy amounts of revenue. So I come from creative. I have an [inaudible 00:23:24]. I had a CAN award. I had a super bowl commercial. That's what I did before I created the software for measuring video ads, Blend ads. So it's in my blood. Actually the person I work with now is this guy called JT, John Tierney. And he is our filmmaker in residence. He's just extraordinary. I mean, I love him. I love everyone that works at our company and we all love each other. I mean, we're we're like a family. We've all been very productive during COVID, but I think that's the one downside, is like we don't all see each other as much. But we've maintained that strong bond and that connection. And I think this probably couldn't have been born during COVID, but thank gosh, we all really bonded prior to COVID making us all start working from home in March of 2020.

Ryan Pamplin: But there's another guy called David Basheer and actually we still work with him. He helps with the YouTube comment and the scripts and different things. He used to be my head of production and my creative agency back in the day. We're talking over a decade ago. These are just brilliant creative people that are able to pull off so much with so little resources. I know how to video edit. I know how to do audio. My wife stars in the videos. She's our voice of our ASMR content and almost all of our ads. She's the voiceover. Her hands are very famous. Anything that could damage her hands, she's not allowed to do because those hands are very critical to our business. If anybody knows who insures Beyonce's body parts, please get in touch because-

Scott Meiklejohn: Reach out.

Ryan Pamplin: ... Yeah. We need to insure her hands. So we're always trying to come up with new concepts. We have a creative call every single week and it's about an hour. It's my CRO, John, who's my co-founder, and it's JT and I. The three of us just brainstorm, what can we do? And what should we do? And we're always trying to come up with new, crazy ideas and at the same time we're also working on making sequels. So our number one performing ad during this holiday season is what we call BlendJet focused 3.0. So you can imagine there was a BlendJet focused 2.0 and a 1.0. And that ad format, which we invented is very successful and we will continue to make variations of it probably forever.

Ryan Pamplin: You show new colors of the BlendJet, you show new models, you show special additions, you show different ingredients, different locations, you change it up and you keep it fresh. But at the end of the day, the selling points are very consistent. And the hooks change on the opening of the video. So "Hey, this is the best gift for the holiday season." "Hey, our black Friday sale was on now." And then you like go off the deep end and you end up with 14 oddly satisfying blends and a BlendJet too. And how we ended up with that is really, it's a variety of different people contributing. So it's John, my co-founder at some point saying, "We should do something with ASMR. That would be cool." And then it was honestly reading the comments.

Ryan Pamplin: So at one point I started responding to the YouTube comments. We actually never responded as most brands. We never responded to YouTube comments. And YouTube wasn't a very big channel for us. We started responding to the comments because notifications were coming into my phone and I saw them and I was like, "Oh, well, this is pretty interesting. Maybe we should respond to this." So I just started responding and I ended up on a Friday. This seems to always happen on a Friday. I'm sitting there on a Friday, again, of course Catherine would love to stop working and hang out. But I'm there until midnight at my computer answering YouTube comments. And I noticed as soon as I started responding to comments, even a couple month old comments, people were responding and engaging. And what's really crazy is the algorithm on YouTube started spending a lot more money on YouTube ads.

Ryan Pamplin: And what I realized is, okay, there's some type of signal happening to YouTube that, Hey, there's more engagement on this video, give it more views. And all of a sudden YouTube became a major channel for us. I really spent a lot of time reading those comments and really honing in the voice. The voice is a little dark. It's a little dark. It's not mean, but I'll give an example. If someone comes on and goes, Hey, why would I buy a BlendJet when I can buy one on Alibaba? It's like, well, that's not a BlendJet. That's not even going to blend an ice cube. So we could just tell them that, right? But instead we're like, "Hey, we've got a great video for you to watch when you get that product. It's a haterade recipe."

Ryan Pamplin: So I think as a brand, we just try to be funny. And we get so many defenders. So many people are so passionate about the brand because we do feed people just great content. So the way the ASMR thing all went down is I read the comments and people were saying, "Your videos are so oddly satisfying." And I was like, I literally said, "What do you mean by oddly satisfying?" And people were like, "I love watching everything swirl around and blend. And it's so beautiful. I watch it on Loop while I go to bed." You're watching blender add on the Loop while you go to bed? All right. Well, this was not-

Scott Meiklejohn: Thank you. I guess.

Ryan Pamplin: ... Yeah. Thank you. This was not a one off thing, right? We heard this a lot. So I said, "What if we combined oddly satisfying with as ASMR?" And we brought those concepts together and then we wrote the script, I wrote the script, most of it. It's a collaborative effort. So everybody helps, JT, sometimes Dave, Catherine. We come up with the script and then we shoot it. That was in my kitchen. We shoot it all ourselves and then we record the video separately and then we edit it all together. And then we just put it out there and we see what happens. And at this point it's pretty rare we make something that doesn't take off. There's a difference. Sometimes a failure will get a couple million views. A successful will get 100 million views. We've reached over a billion unique people with our video ads in the last 12 months alone, just through Facebook and Instagram, not to mention all the other platforms.

Ryan Pamplin: We're top advertiser on the platform. Video is our lifeblood. We make new video every single week. We have many different people working on video. It's a difficult strategy because you're always trying to reinvent yourself. So I would say half the time we're doing what we know works and then half the time we're experimenting and doing crazy stuff. And when the crazy stuff hits, that feeling is so good. Because it's like people are haters, right? Even your people, right? If you do something crazy, you're like, "We're going to make an ASMR video. We're going to blend stuff and people are going to watch it. And they're going to buy BlendJets." People are like, "Okay. That's cool. Good to know."

Ryan Pamplin: And then you put it out there and then it's like a viral sensation. And you're like, "Okay, this worked." And then everybody's like, "Can you make more of these please?" So I think it's fun. It's fun to do that crazy stuff. We're about to release a brand new special edition, Lisa Frank BlendJet. So this is very exciting. So there's three versions of this. And the creative that we're filming for this is 90s themed. And it is one of those things where we are going off the deep end for sure. And I think it's fun, right? It's more fun for everybody. You get to put all your passion into it, all your excitement. And as a result, you end up with, I think really creative fun ads that don't feel like ads.

Ryan Pamplin: I mean, if you read the comments on YouTube, a lot of people say things like, "This is the best ad I've ever seen." "This is the first ad I've ever watched in entirety." "This is the first time I've ever bought something from an ad." And there's not one or two or three comments like that. There's hundreds of comments like that. I mean, I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful to the people that they feel this way. I'm so grateful that we figured this out. I'm grateful that the product is helping people. I mean, forget all the advertising for a second. The thing that matters and the reason there's a community, it's not because the ads are good, right? The reason that BlendJet is successful is because the stars have aligned. And the reason the stars have aligned is because we started with a very significant problem. People don't eat healthy because convenient food is not healthy and healthy food is not convenient. And we fixed that. That was our thesis. And we did it.

Ryan Pamplin: And on average, our customers use our product one or more times per day. That's a lot of usage because a typical blender gets used less than three times per month. When you look at that, you're like, wow, what are these people doing with this? Well, number one thing is replacing fast food at lunchtime. So my competition is not other blenders. My competition is McDonald's. My competition is fast food, it's drive throughs. So we're not really a blender company. We're a convenient food company. Our goal is to dramatically change the eating habits of our customers. And that's what we're doing at massive scale. Millions of people every day are using a BlendJet and they're making things in it that are far healthier than what they would be eating otherwise. And as a result, their lifespan is extended. The quality of their life is improved because they're not going to have the chronic health issues that they would've had if they kept eating the way they were eating.

Ryan Pamplin: But we do not market this as a health product because if you do that, it's not that fun. I don't want to be told about my health. Ugh, I'll deal with that later. What I want is fun colors. I want the leopard BlendJet. You know what I mean? That's fun. I want the geode. I want the one that matches my Atari or my station wagon.

Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah. I wouldn't fun all the station wagon. That'd be a great fit.

Ryan Pamplin: Totally. So you look at the community and we invest so much money in content that doesn't necessarily make us money. So for example, every week we have a very high quality, very well done recipe video. And that recipe video is free. It's free on YouTube. We email it to two million people that have subscribed to our email list. And those videos get tons and tons of views. People end up making the recipe. And there's so much content that we're constantly feeding to our audience that then encourages usage of the product. Look, if you've got your favorite pattern or color, and it's sitting out, you don't put this in the cabinet and hide it, you leave it on display because you're proud of it. And it becomes this daily reminder to have something delicious and nutritious and that encourages the stale use and it keeps us top of mind.

Ryan Pamplin: So when holidays roll around, you're like, Gee, what should I get from my 10 friends? You know what? She loves leopard. He loves carbon fiber. That guy likes camo. So I got them all covered. I'm just going to BlendJet. And we do this great tiered sale, right? We do a percentage off of one, a higher percentage off of two, a higher percentage off of three or more. And as a result, you get these people coming and buying like 10 units and just everyone on their list is getting a BlendJet. I think BlendJet is good for anyone who has a mouth. That's the target market.

Scott Meiklejohn: I wanted to echo that sentiment completely of, when I looked at your YouTube channel, when I looked at your socials, the positive sentiments there, the people raving about the product, this isn't fluff. This is a 100% true. You can look it yourself. I saw that comment itself that said, "I just sat through this whole video and enjoyed the whole thing. I didn't even realize it was an ad." Yeah. The positive sentiment there is just overwhelming. And it's so nice to see. I love for anyone, no matter your vertical, how important that is, that your relationship with the customer doesn't stop after they purchase the product. You can keep them, you can make them a fan by supplying them with this content that encourages them to use the product and maybe use the product in ways they didn't know about. So I think that's brilliant. I love all that. It's so rewarding. The other thing I wanted to talk about was these jet packs products that you have. I think that's very cool, especially that there's a marketplace growing. You're busting one out right now. What's this one you got?

Ryan Pamplin: This is the strawberry, banana protein jet pack smoothie. These are delicious, nutritious made in California. It's free dried fruit. So it's a big innovation in terms of how you actually prepare a smoothie. Fresh fruit is great and fresh fruit is not always easily accessible. I'm talking to you from Puerto Rico. You would think it's an eyelid nation. It has a lot of fresh fruit. Nope. People don't eat a lot of fruit here. They don't eat a lot of vegetables. It's very weird, but it's the culture, right? The food is different. The cuisine is different. So it's a funny situation because I actually struggle to get good ingredients that are fresh. So I'm pretty much forced to use either frozen fruit or more often than I'm using my jet packs.

Ryan Pamplin: So jet packs are awesome because you can get them one time for 399 or you can get them on a subscription for 299. Most people try it and then they end up subscribing. I think in the beginning, of course we use recharge for this and that's fantastic. In the beginning, we had a lot of people subscribing right off the bat. And I think that was a mistake actually. I think we were pushing people into subscriptions and then the churn rate was really high and it doesn't look good. It looks nice that you get a lot of people joining and subscribing, but then it doesn't look great because everyone's canceling. What you find though, is that there's that like quarter of people who are staying subscribed for the long term. So I think the model we're experimenting with now is Hey, why don't you just buy them one time and then we have an email flow that we say, Hey, Scott, it's been a month. You probably have consumed all of your jet packs by now. Do you want to replenish? Are you thirsty for more? We got you covered.

Ryan Pamplin: So I think that strategy is the right strategy. I think the value of a subscriber who you force into a subscription versus... And when I say force, I don't mean trick. I just mean you push them in make that the default option versus making it not the default option, making it more of an opt-in option. The quality of subscriber that's choosing to subscribe versus being led into subscription it's high. It's a much higher quality experience. And I think people get upset too, if you have subscription as the default and they'll just click, click, click, click, and they don't pay attention. And then they're like, "You made me subscribe. I didn't mean to subscribe." And we would never do anything like that. We would never try to do anything to damage the customer relationship.

Ryan Pamplin: So I think that's really important to think about when you're building a subscription program. But if you make something great, people are going to want to subscribe. So we have our smoothies and then we did our protein smoothies, which are plant-based protein. Everything's delicious. The people that created all of these with us are the same people that created some of the most iconic beverages ever created in the history of the world. I can't say the names probably, but it's very tasty stuff. Actually our newest, latest, greatest thing is jet pack lattes, which are just insanely delicious. So you've got your frappuccino type flavors. They're not frappuccinos, that's a Starbucks beverage. But they are blended beverages, which... Blended coffee beverages. You've got a mocha, you've got a cinnamon dolce, you've got a vanilla, you've got a matcha green tea. You've got a cha. And these are really good. You just add milk, you add ice, you blend. And you've got a coffee shop quality frozen, or non-pro beverage that you can make in your BlendJet in 20 seconds. They're very addictive.

Ryan Pamplin: I love the protein jet packs. I mean, these are really good. I have at least one a day, but the coffee ones... I mean, I have a very fancy, automatic Italian espresso machine that grinds the beans, pulls the shot, does it all. And I'm probably not going to use that at all anymore because it tastes better out of the jet pack and the BlendJet than what I can make in my fancy machine, even with my frother and all that stuff.

Scott Meiklejohn: I going to say, does it take 20 seconds to throw in and then fire it up? Yeah, that's it. It doesn't.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah, it's the convenience and also the health. We're so good at optimizing for flavor without adding fake sugars or any artificial stuff. So we're working with really high quality ingredients and then it's all vacuum sealed in here, right? So you're not going to have any degradation of flavor. Even if you wait a year to use it, it's still going to taste great. Everything we do is about convenience and everything we do is about trying to make it easier for the consumer to have better choices than they would otherwise. So smoothies, protein shakes, people take it to the gym. Margaritas are pretty good. Ellen DeGeneres did one of those on her show with a BlendJet.

Scott Meiklejohn: They take it to space too. I've seen. They take it to the upper atmosphere.

Ryan Pamplin: That's true. That's one of those crazy videos. And that one I'm going to just call out everyone in my life because everyone was like, "You can't send a blender to space." And I was like, "All right, watch. Watch me. I got you." And sure enough, we did send a blender to space. We did make the first movie in space and it was really hard. And I got to give a shout out to our friends that sent into space in Europe who actually did it for us. It's cold in space. I don't know if you guys realize. It's like negative 60 degrees and things freeze rock solid at negative 60. You got to do a lot of special stuff to try to blend at that kind of altitude. So little inside secret for you, it was pure alcohol. It was a jet pack and pure alcohol. That's what we blended. Because water or any liquid would've frozen solid. And in fact that happened in some of our test flights that we did before the successful flight. So best to use something that won't freeze, if you're going to ever send a blender to space.

Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah. So that margarita, like you mentioned, that'll do up there.

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. I mean a really, really stiff margarita. Yeah. And the guys in the video from [inaudible 00:43:04] to space, they actually took a sip of the alcohol mixture when it landed. I mean, they put on a good face while they were drinking it, but I don't know how it tasted. I don't think it would taste very good.

Scott Meiklejohn: A little strong. I loved that insight you shared about subscription. And we've seen that a lot here where customers just want autonomy, just like you said, convenience autonomy. They want to be able to control the products they're getting. And so what a great retention strategy to give them the product and then let them know in that email flow, "Hey, by the way, for your convenience, you can just get this with a click of the button on subscription and we'll start supplying just a great, great retention strategy."

Ryan Pamplin: Yeah. I think you want to get them hooked first and then get them to like it and then be like, Hey, maybe even give them some incentive. If you want to subscribe to 30th of this a month, then maybe I'll give you something nice as an incentive to do that. But building that kind of business is key, right? I mean, the hardware business that we're in is a wonderful business. We're the top selling blender direct to consumer by far. We're taking over all the retail shelves and that's a wonderful business. And I'm very happy with the impact on the world. But the reality is what you blend inside is actually the biggest opportunity, right? Because the amount of money people spend on food is far greater than the amount of money they're going to spend on blending hardware.

Ryan Pamplin: So if you can be part of what they're blending on a regular basis, then that's great. And we actually do have BlendJet marketplace. So for our us customers, if you go to marketplace, you're going to see products from all of these amazing partner brands and companies that we work with. So you've got orgain, you've got 310 nutrition, you've got these guys, unicorn super foods out of Australia. You've just got-

Scott Meiklejohn: [inaudible 00:45:02] Beyonce's brand. Which brand was that?

Ryan Pamplin: ... We do. It is the best protein for all the single ladies. That's 22 days nutrition. That's a great one. I think we aren't going to try to be everything to everyone. So the goal is really offer all of the best of everything. And there's a lot of brands that reach out to us that want to be in marketplace. And we're just like, "It's not going to do well with our customer base because it doesn't taste good. It doesn't blend well. It doesn't taste good. It's just not a good fit." But we've got everything. So if you're a hunched over coder type, then we've got soylent for you and great product by the way, even if you sit up straight. Great product still. 310 nutrition, which is great. PB2, which is the powdered peanut butter. We've got Pitaya Foods, frozen fruit.

Ryan Pamplin: I mean, it's crazy that we're shipping frozen fruit. The secret is we're not shipping it. So we work with Pitaya and they ship it. And our stores are connected through Carro, C-A-R-R-O. And it's this amazing platform that basically connects one Shopify store to another. Even if you subscribe, then we're taking the subscription order to recharge. And then every time that a new order gets put in, we're pushing that order into their system and they're shipping it just like any other DTC order. We've also got tenzo matcha. We've got some of our accessories on there.

Ryan Pamplin: It's a really cool thing to be able to offer more of the ingredients to people, to be part of their daily blending. And it's a great way for us to help our customers identify what a lot of the best brands are. And the ways that we find those brands, it's our own personal favorites, but it's also looking at our recipes groups. On Facebook, there's a group that has 80,000 plus people who share recipes every day. It's called BlendJet Recipes. That is a group on Facebook and that's totally organic. It is just grown. We don't advertise it. It's just grown organically to this huge community of people that are very passionate.

Ryan Pamplin: And actually there's people on there like this amazing woman, Shane, who was in a video with us, where she talked about losing 65 pounds. And that's all real. She really lost 65 pounds. She posted on the Recipes group of before and an after picture of herself and we were all blown away. Got over 1000 likes on Facebook. And then we reached out to her and said, "We'd love to talk to you." So I spoke to her on the phone and she just had such a moving emotional story that I had to talk to her more. And I said, "God, could we just maybe do something on video together? Could we tell your story because I think you'd be an inspiration. You already are, but I think we can make you even a bigger inspiration."

Ryan Pamplin: So we did a video with her and ran it as an ad and it's been extremely successful. And it definitely is reaching a whole new market. But tapping into our own community to understand that they like oddly satisfying ASMR, to understand that these motivational stories and these transformations are beautiful and make you maybe tear up a little bit.

Scott Meiklejohn: Of course.

Ryan Pamplin: Because if you do it, you feel stuff.

Scott Meiklejohn: It's you in the feels.

Ryan Pamplin: I think as a brand it's hard to fake all that stuff. So you either do it for real or you don't. And if you do it for real, then people see that and they feel it. And then they vote with their dollars for you. And if you try it and you fake it, people see through that stuff. This is 2021, nobody's getting away with the stuff that you used to be able to get with back in the day. It's just not going to happen. So I think the best thing to do as an entrepreneur is identify a real problem in your life that you want to fix and create the solution, and preach from the mountaintops about that solution. And I think that's what we've done. Obviously the accident was terrible. It's a weird thing to say, but I'm glad it happened, right? I mean, it was torture. It was hell for me and for Catherine and I survived.

Ryan Pamplin: And as a result, it inspired something that is way bigger than me and way more value and benefit to the world than the pain that I had to go through in order to get here. So it's worth it. And it changed me. I'm not the same person. I don't think the same. I don't have the same values. I'm proud of who I was before, but I'm the most proud now of what we're doing. And the funny thing is I'm not even taking money off the table, right? I'm reinvesting every dollar back into our growth. Our revenue is huge. We haven't taken VC. We're slightly profitable. I take a ridiculously low salary. I'm doing that because I want all the money to go back into the business because I want it to be as big as possible. That's what makes me happy, is to see the business be successful.

Scott Meiklejohn: So if you go back to those early days, and you've already shared so many great gems here, but what advice would you give to a subscription brand or a DTC brand that is just starting out?

Ryan Pamplin: Don't be a DTC brand. Don't be a subscription brand. Be a brand that is creating a product that is going to have a very positive impact on people. DTC is a way to sell. It's a channel. It's a valuable relationship. Own that email address, own that phone number. Don't just go post your stuff on a marketplace. That's the race to the bottom. The Amazons of the world, those guys are getting an extremely wealthy off the backs of entrepreneurs who create stuff. And then all the search traffic goes to Amazon and then Amazon just takes a big margin. And then other guys come in and say, "There's a lot of search traffic for this. Maybe we should make a product in this category and try to steal some of their funder. Let's undercut their price." And it's a race to the bottom. Don't do that.

Ryan Pamplin: You don't own the customer. You don't have their email, you don't have their phone number. You don't get to communicate with them. It's a one time sale. It's not worth that much. You're only worth the revenue already received. There's no future expectation of earnings. Built something that is unique and special and hasn't been done before. Or if it has been done, you've got to do it so much better that everyone is going to be blown away. And that doesn't mean just the product is better. That means the advertising is better. It means the graphics are better. It means the copy is better. It means the customer service is better. It means the shipping is better. Stop outsourcing all that stuff.

Ryan Pamplin: I mean, you got to think, think, think outside the box. You cannot rest on your laurels. You cannot just get to this place of complacency because no one else is. So if you do, and you wait a year, you're going to be behind the pack. So to maintain a lead requires constant innovation, every aspect of everything you do. And that is hard, but if it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth doing.

Scott Meiklejohn: I knew you'd have some great answers for this. All of that was good. That was wonderful. Okay. Our final question. This is when we ask every guest, aside from these delicious jet pack subscriptions that you get, what are some other physical products you get on subscription?

Ryan Pamplin: Deodorant. I use deodorant, believe it or not, and I need it on a pretty regular basis. There's a lot of weird stuff in different brands. So I use a smaller brand, Herban cowboy. It's a hippie thing. But I like it. It's good. It works well and it doesn't have a lot of the nasty stuff that the other deodorants have. So I'm a big fan of that one. Oatly oat milk. Yeah. That's a good one. And Oregon is a good protein powder. I like that one. I have a subscription for that. Yeah. Those are the ones that I'm regularly subscribed to.

Scott Meiklejohn: Final thoughts here. Is there anything you want to talk about with BlendJet? Anything that's coming in the new year? You've already mentioned this sweet ad that we're definitely going to be looking out for. But yeah, this space right here for you, anything you want to tell us about BlendJet for the new year?

Ryan Pamplin: We're really good at listening to our customers. And we've got a lot of really incredible new accessories coming, new special additions and collaborations with just the most incredible brands in the world we're so privilege to get to partner with. So you're going to see continued innovation forever from us. If you don't already follow us on Instagram, subscribe to us on YouTube, go on and put in your email address. We'll actually send you content that you'll like. We're not just going to hammer you with deals, but you will get good deals on BlendJet. But we won't do that very often.

Ryan Pamplin: And I think there's a lot of fun stuff on the horizon. There's going to be great new stuff in the marketplace. And I think you're always going to see us pushing the envelope and innovating. I don't have a two year plan. I have a 10 year plan and that's ever expanding. I have plans for BlendJet three, and BlendJet four, and BlendJet five and other categories that are related to our category, but different. You're going to see a lot of innovation for a very long time. Don't worry. BlendJet three's not coming out right now. So your BlendJet two's not going to be absolute too soon. So go ahead and buy the BlendJet two, you'll be happy, 30 day money back guarantee.

Ryan Pamplin: But I would say that when BlendJet three does come out, I mean, I already know what it is we're working on it right now, it has features in it that are amazing patented features. Some are patent pending. So I can't tell you what they are yet. And they're so mind blowing and sci-fi that I think anyone else trying to buy any other blender is going to be like, It doesn't have that. I can't buy a blender that doesn't have that. I need that. That solves the problem. I just don't think there's a lot of passion in my field. I don't think people are thinking the way I'm thinking. And it's because they're not trying to solve the same problem I'm solving. So I think you can always expect a very different perspective where we're addressing different problems and creating completely unique solutions. And I think the problem that we're solving is a really widespread one. And I don't think it's ever going to go away. I think people need good food and I think that's what we're figuring out how to provide them, is a very convenient way to access good food.

Scott Meiklejohn: Well, listen, I'm really looking forward to that teleportation patent for BlendJet 19. Can't wait for that. But we just wanted to thank you so much, Ryan, for coming on the pod and we wish you and yours and all BlendJet, the best of luck for 2022.

Ryan Pamplin: Thanks and good luck to all of you out there too. I can't wait to see what you guys make.

Scott Meiklejohn: We want to thank Ryan once again for joining us. If you're interested in BlendJet, head over to blendjet.com. If you're looking for more of our episodes, check us out at rechargepayments.com/hitsubscribe. And to get the latest episodes, remember to hit Subscribe on whatever platform you're listening from.

Expand to read