Pete Taylor was seven years into Spiceology, a direct-to-consumer seller of seasonings, when he semi-retired. Having founded the business in 2012, Taylor had hired executives to run it, allowing him to reflect on his future. That was three years ago.
“I took a year, moved to Maui, and reflected on what we did right with the brand, what we did wrong, and why,” he told me. “But I’m a serial entrepreneur. I get itchy.”
Fast forward to 2022, and Taylor’s next venture is Midas Brands, a multi-site consumer package goods company which he started six months ago. Its first brand, a DTC organic-food provider, launches soon.
In our recent conversation, Taylor addressed his plans for Midas, including the focus on influencers, DTC selling, brand diversity, and more.
Our entire audio conversion is embedded below. The transcript is edited for length and clarity.
Eric Bandholz: When did you start Spiceology?
Pete Taylor: In 2012. I called it Savor X initially. The premise was similar to Blue Apron. You would get certain hard-to-find ingredients in the mail for a specific recipe. It was subscription-based and would include a QR code to scan for a shopping and prep list and then a video of me cooking. That was it.
I eventually switched to a conventional spice company. It’s been a wild ride. We’re the fastest-growing spice company in the U.S.
Bandholz: You raised outside money. Why?
Taylor: I had mentors before Spiceology that influenced how I perceived success. One gentleman asked me, “Would you rather have 100% of a million dollar company or 10% of a hundred million dollar company?” That implanted the concept of being okay with a smaller piece of a larger pie.
Bandholz: You filmed an appearance on Shark Tank in 2014, the same season as me, but yours didn’t air.
Taylor: You and I were in the same room preparing for the recording, but we weren’t allowed to converse.
I was pitching Spiceology. I prepared for months. The experience overall was incredible. I loved it. There were a lot of rules to jump through.
We filmed my presentation. It was a great episode, but it never aired as you mentioned due, I think, to an audio problem. The staff at the show wasn’t forthcoming about what happened. It was a bummer, but we didn’t let it hold us back. We just kept moving.
Bandholz: Let’s talk about Midas Brands, your new venture.
Taylor: Midas Brands is a startup focused on selling consumer packaged goods. Three years ago, I had just hired a CEO at Spiceology who was doing an incredible job. The company was performing well. He built a fantastic executive team and handled things I was not eager to do. I ended up semi-retiring.
I took a year, moved to Maui, and reflected on what we did right with the brand, what we did wrong, and why.
But I’m a serial entrepreneur. I get itchy. I found a partner, Scott, and we asked ourselves, “If we did this over again, what would we change?” We assembled a consortium of CPG folks with industry experience. We’re the slum dog millionaires of CPG. We all started talking, putting pen to paper, and developing a plan. We decided to launch multiple brands across a couple of industries.
That was about six months ago. Again, we’re focused on CPG. We have a unique formula for execution. We’ve been building four brands in stealth mode and will launch our first one in August 2022. It’s called Pacific Northwest Provisions. Think Patagonia Provisions, the organic food provider, but more Northwest-centric.
We’re launching with just food, but it could evolve into more product lines. We have a line of trail mixes and caffeinated energy bars. Most are latte flavors. We also have wholesome energy bars with butter-free ingredients, great Northwest flavors, and a line of coffee. We’re launching with close to 20 SKUs. Our unique formula is building brands with depth and meaning. Our products are innovative and better for you.
A second brand sells oat-enriched products. It’s called Oath, as in an oath to provide nutritious and wholesome ingredients. Think oatmeal, oat milk, and granola. The oat category is roughly $35 billion in the U.S. alone. We’ve partnered with Yumna Jawad, a friend of mine and the influencer behind the site Feel Good Foodie. She has millions of followers on Instagram and TikTok and gets 10 million pins monthly on her oat-related recipes.
The next brand is called Olympio. It’s a nutraceutical concept — vitamin supplements — focused on health and wellness.
Last but not least is our barbecue brand called Fire. We’ll have a full line of products — lump charcoal, craft, briquettes, fire starters, and all the condiments. We’re developing that with Derek Wolf, another friend, who runs Over The Fire Cooking.
The golden touch for building these brands is partnering with influencers who have millions of followers around a community. We’re developing our concepts with them.
Any brand we launch has to check a lot of boxes. We understand the value of it being influencer-centric. We know the importance of direct-to-consumer and omnichannel selling. We’ll be purpose-driven — more than dollars and cents. We’ll produce content integrated with our influencers and products.
Midas has world-class talent and excellent industry knowledge with each team member. I had many questions in Hawaii about how to mitigate risk and scale fast and furious without compromising the business. That’s why I brought people into the discussion early on — before hiring anyone, raising money, or building a master plan.
It’s not foolproof. But we’ve been meticulous. We’ve all made every possible mistake and benefitted from the lessons.
Bandholz: Where can people learn more and reach out?