New York based Aussie export Jacqui Rosshandler, President of Jacqui LLC is creator of Eatwhatever, the revolutionary breath freshener that assures confident kissable breath allowing you to – you guessed it – eat whatever you like with confidence. Jacqui shares her business experiences and offers some great insider tips in this week’s AWNY Startup Story.
Tell us about the Eatwhatever story…
I created a better-for-you, confidence building business quite accidentally. Looking up at the mountains of Verbier and feeling not so fresh after a, shall we say “spirited” New Year’s eve, I wished there was a breath freshener that worked internally, was all natural and fun to use. This led to the invention of Eatwhatever breath fresheners and a decade in the natural CPG industry. A natural networker, I soon became known as the little Aussie hustler and grew Eatwhatever’s distribution from niche retail stores like Colette (Paris), C.O, Bigelow and Rickys to Amazon, Wholefoods, Duane Reade, Fresh Market and Publix, to name a few.
How long did you have the idea for this business and why did you decide to start Eatwhatever?
I had a boyfriend who used to cook with a lot of garlic. I couldn’t bare how I felt like I smelt like garlic for days. I would brush my teeth, chew gum but nothing worked. The smell was coming from my stomach, not my mouth. So I created Eatwhatever. A breath freshener that works in the stomach AND the mouth!
What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’?
The first time I went to a NY party and took one out and had a stranger say “oh my god I love those! My boyfriend steals them out of my hand bag all the time” was absolutely thrilling. Now when I travel I see them in all the CIBO airport stores and I do a little jig. I still can’t believe that strangers buy them and love them.
What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business in New York?
I suppose just realizing what you don’t know. I’m not sure that’s harder here in New York then anywhere else though.
Are there any particular technology/distribution/production challenges you have faced?
Plenty. As a mostly solo operator, I try to do all of these things and I am certainly not good at all of them. Technology is not my forte. Distribution is tough when you don’t know much about the players. It’s a steep learning curve. The only way to learn it is to ask a lot of questions and work it out as you go. There’s no degree for this kind of thing.
Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?
Digital press has been hugely successful for us. Not ads, but genuine digital PR so people click directly on a link and purchase – it’s what PR dreams are made of.
Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?
I know a lot of people in the business now and certainly consider them friends and mentors. Most people in the CPG world are quite helpful and willing to share their knowledge, make introductions etc. It’s a pretty wonderful industry in that sense.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?
Ask a lot of questions. Don’t be shy! Go to trade shows and make friends. The people who run the booths hold the key to whole lot of knowledge so don’t be afraid to ask them questions. And don’t worry about keeping your business idea a secret. If it was easy to do/produce, someone would be doing it already so be prepared to share in order to get the info you need.
What is next for Eatwhatever?
We just launched Woofmints – breath fresheners for dogs and Woofmints cologne . A line of all natural, US made pet products seems the most natural progression!
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