Daniel Kitay from FUNDAY Natural Sweets: Guilt-free Lolly Love | #317

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No sugar coating as Daniel talks about his cool lolly startup

ep 317

Daniel studied a Bachelor of Commerce & Laws and was admitted as a practising lawyer in Victoria in 2015. Daniel has a passion and love for brands and business and after many years working in technology and retail (Luxury Escapes when it was first started, and working for the worlds #1 vitamin and supplement brand BY-HEALTH). Daniel founded FUNDAY Natural Sweets, Australia’s first health confectionery brand in 2020 and launched online and offline in 2021.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Daniel Kitay, founder of FUNDAY

FUNDAY Natural Sweets is a confectionary brand making lollies with no sugar or sugar alcohol added.  Daniel’s own weight loss journey left him missing out on the joy of one of his favourites treats and inspired him to create a replacement. FUNDAY’S unique formula maximises taste and eliminates the frequent trips to the loo that many ‘healthier’ lollies can bring.  They have a five-star health rating, contain around 100 calories per pack and can be found in Chemist Warehouse and Woolies. Daniel shares how a unique influencer box helped FUNDAY achieve lift off,  the journey to having a profitable Amazon presence and how a brand crush set the tone for his mission to make lollies cool. We also hear how FUNDAY  managed to entirely recoup its startup costs through profit in less than 12 months!

“New brand, new person, new format, new price point…there was quite a lot of risk”

Daniel Kitay

V1 website by Daniel and friend

“We would just do some sneaky stuff. We’d go into competitors’ websites that were doing interesting things and right click, inspect and see all the apps that they were using and the themes that they were using and all that sort of stuff. And between myself and our graphic designer – he was working two days a week at that time – our first hire, we built the website. So the website you see today is built by me and our graphic designer. And we use Shopify because it was the simplest thing and integrated with everything. 

And I knew what would happen designing a website. You can go really hard, get developers, and then things change, and then you’re always going back to developers, and it’s really challenging.  I had seen what another brand was doing in the States. They were using a page builder called Shogun. And we integrated Shogun. And even though we were making no sales, a couple of hundred bucks a month to use this thing. But I knew that if we built it well from the beginning and we could control it, we didn’t need to go and spend thousands of dollars every month on developers every time we wanted to do a sale, every time we wanted a new product. 

So we developed it using technology at our fingertips that allowed a graphic designer who had just finished uni, by the way, and myself to develop a pretty decent website. People still comment how nice the website is. It’s very much a V1 and we are developing a V2 right now. But it’s got us to the point of doing 10 orders in the first month to thousands of orders now, even on our current website that costs us a couple of hundred bucks in app fees.”

Don’t give up

“We had some pretty tough conversations in the early days because they (Chemist Warehouse) liked the product, they liked the way it tasted. But certain aspects in terms of packaging format and price, they did not believe that it would do well and it would succeed purely because they hadn’t been tried and tested. So I was just so annoying. I would just constantly go to their office and drop off new samples and I would send them emails all the time. And part of that was to say, well, it’s done super well overseas. We’re always years behind. Like now we’re ready. This is what we’re doing. You have to back it. 

And I wish it was that simple, because I had to sign a contract that said if we don’t hit the required hurdle run rates, we have to buy back all the stock. So in the end, it came down to just belief in the product and the brand and backing myself that this is going to do really well. 

And now we sort of laugh at those hurdle rates. That six month period’s finished. Now we are growing their confectionary space and super thankful for the people that were involved that actually eventually just took that punt on us.”

Capture those impatient customers

“We ran our own direct to consumer, we still do, but it can take a day or two to dispatch a product, depending on how busy you are. The idea of going fulfilled by Amazon and saying, you take control of it. Customers’ expectations for delivery are just shortening, and that’s purely because of Amazon. And if you’ve got an impulse product like confectionary or chocolate or some other impulse item, you want it now, like you buy it now, you want it now, you don’t want to wait four days that we were taking. So moving to (Amazon) was a critical step to capture those customers that were very impatient.”

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