UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#36: Growing a Women's Wellness Brand with Kate Morton of Funk It Wellness

When we think of founders who live, breathe, (and eat) their product every single day – Kate Morton is definitely right up there on that list. She’s the founder of Funk It Wellness, a woman-owned menstrual health company based here in Austin, TX.
Kate went to school to become a registered dietitian, and never intended to be an entrepreneur let alone become a marketer for her own business. In this episode, Kate will be sharing wisdom about building her brand from the ground up, the struggles of marketing a menstrual wellness brand, and wearing (and looking good in) many hats along the way.
This episode is loaded with insights for accelerating your brand’s growth. You DEFINITELY don’t want to miss it if you’re in the wellness space, too. Let’s get funky!

Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:45 – 4:41] Introduction
[4:44 – 6:50] Small Wins lead to big victories
[6:51 – 10:40] Overcoming product development challenges
[10:43 – 15:03] Ways of pushing through obstacles to achieve her goals [15:06 – 17:45] Building and maintaining good business relationships [17:49 – 20:10] Funk It Team
[20:11 – 24:00] Kate’s marketing strategy
[24:05 – 29:35] Favorite thing about UMAI’s Growth Course
[29:39 – 34:24] What marketing channel are you most excited about?
[34:32 – 36:10] Biggest piece of advice for small CPG business owners [36:25 – 37:17] Outro


Mentions from this episode: 

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#36: Growing a Women’s Wellness Brand with Kate Morton of Funk It Wellness

Alison Smith: [0:45]
Okay. Welcome to the UMAI Social Circle where we taught consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Alison and Karin, co-founders of UMAIR Marketing, and we’re being joined today with Kate Morton, founder of Funk It Wellness, a menstrual and women’s health brand, and also a member of our consumer goods growth course. Kate, welcome.
Kate Morton: [1:11]
Thanks for having me. We were just saying I can’t believe it’s been, I think, about two years since the growth course, and I didn’t realize I took it so early on, and I’m really grateful. You guys know how much I love that course, and I tell everyone about it. So yeah, thanks for having me.
Alison Smith: [1:28]
Karin Samelson: [1:30]
You’re our number one hype girl.
Kate Morton: [1:33]
I love it. I tell everyone, because people are like, “I don’t know how to do social. I don’t know how to do email.” I’m like, “Go take this class.” But they’re like, “I don’t want to hire no one.”
And I’m like, “Okay. Then, go take this class and do it yourself.
Alison Smith: [1:40]
I love it. Yeah, so we have a lot to catch up on. It has been a while. For everyone listening, give everyone your background. How’d you start Funk It? How’d you get to where you are?
Kate Morton: [1:53]
Yeah, so I’m a registered dietician. I never intended to be an entrepreneur, start a business, or become a marketing person. I don’t want to call myself an expert at this point. It has only been two years. I’ve got a lot to learn. I got off birth control. I mean, it’s been about five, six years ago now, and I had such a bad experience on birth control. Everyone’s experience is different, and I definitely believe that everyone should do what’s best for them. My body just could not hang. It did not like it. It was so hard for me. I basically had a period for two years, and I was like, “I’ve got to fix this,” so I finally got off birth control, and I was so pumped.
I was like, “This is it. This is my time to shine. Everything’s going to be great,” and everything got so much worse, because I had been on it for 10 years, and so I was like, “Okay. There’s got to be something.” I started talking to my friends, and everyone felt the way I did, but nobody felt like they could talk about it, because they were like, “Periods, birth control. It’s not really something you can talk about, because there’s such a stigma and taboo around it,” so that’s where it really started. Then, I dug in and was like, “Okay. I want to use food to be able to solve this problem, because I don’t want to be putting anything else into my body that’s potentially going to hurt me.” And so that’s kind of how Funk It got started, and our first product was seed cycling, which is still my absolute.
I will seed cycle till I no longer have a period, and that is it. I will never stop. You can’t make me stop, because the second I don’t do it, the next month I feel terrible, and so we’ve got seed cycling. We’ve just released a new food-based vitamin for the menstrual cycle, which is awesome. That took a year to create and 125 tries. It’s naturally food stable. It’s got plant-based vitamin D and calcium. I’m really proud of that product. But then we’ve also got a libido product, which is maca, and then we have a peri-menopause product, which is Revitalize, so we started out with one hero product and now we’ve kind of branched out, because we really want to provide aspects for everybody, not just periods, but all different type at hormonal issues. That’s a long-winded way of how we got started.
Karin Samelson: [4:07]
That’s so awesome. How you built it and where you guys have come in this short amount of time is super exciting, and it’s not just you, right? You have a co-founder as well.
Kate Morton: [4:17]
Yeah. I have a co-founder, and so she’s in Denver, actually, and so it’s really interesting. She’s a graphic designer, and I’m a dietician, so legitimately no business school was involved in the making of this company.
Karin Samelson: [4:31]
Classic. That’s super normal. I mean, I didn’t go to school with marketing. Neither did Alison, so you do what you’re passionate about and what kind of happens. We’d love to know what has been thus far one of your biggest wins?
Kate Morton: [4:50]
Well, there’s one win that we’re not able to talk about yet that I’ll have to share with you guys when it’s live. It’ll be live sometime between November and May maybe.
Karin Samelson: [5:00]
November and May. You’re giving us the longest time period.
Alison Smith: [5:05]
It’s so mysterious. I love it.
Kate Morton: [5:07]
It’s so mysterious, but I think the biggest win, like when I look back, and I guess you don’t know what you don’t know. I look back at all the obstacles we had, launching a brand in a pandemic, I lost my house during the snowstorm, and Funk It was in my house at the time, and the only room that didn’t get damage was the room that Funk It was in. There’s all these little things, and I honestly feel like my biggest win to date is just still being here, like two years in with a business that’s still growing month over month. I was sitting outside our offices on Springdale in East Austin, and I was sitting outside in this big fluffy bean bag today, and the most amazing, beautiful, pregnant woman walked by.
She screamed at me and was like, “I love your products. Do you work there?”
And I was like, “Yeah. I work here. What’s up?” And she was like, “Your company helped me make this baby,” and it was just the coolest experience. Since we’re online, I don’t get too many in-person, cool experiences, and that literally just happened. And she had her Boggy Creek farm bag. She’d been to the farm. She had her big hat on, and she was just so excited to talk about her period and her journey, and so I think honestly the biggest win is just still being here, being able to help people with their periods.
Alison Smith: [6:29
That is insane. I love that happened today.
Kate Morton: [6:32]
It just happened today. It’s like, “Perfect timing.”
Alison Smith: [6:33]
So you’re like, “What a great moment.”
Kate Morton: [6:35]
It was so cool. I’ve been riding that wave all day.
Alison Smith: [6:38]
Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. I love that you’re a dietician, so it’s really important for you to provide medicine through actual food. Tell us more about your experience of developing your product and any challenges that you had to overcome.
Kate Morton: [7:01]
Yeah. Seed cycling’s been around a long time, so I definitely did not invent seed cycling. I just took my own spin on it. That’s something that I was really passionate about, and nobody was selling high quality organic or B-Corp certified farms from the US or Europe seeds that were already pre-ground, and that took us a long time to figure out how to do because seeds are very volatile. When you’re buying seeds at the grocery store, you know how they come in clear packaging? They shouldn’t. The light kills the nutrients in them.
And so I never thought I would know this much about seeds in my life, but I know a lot about seeds now. I think the biggest challenge in the beginning with developing these products is, while I didn’t invent the idea of seed cycling, I wanted to make it convenient, effective, and transparent. And so that was something that wasn’t already on the market, and that took forever. It took a whole year just to figure out how to grind the seeds in a way. We have a proprietary process now where we process them, keep them super fresh, do not mess with the nutrients, and we get them to the customer within four to six weeks, and so that was tricky. I had never owned a business before, especially in food, so I called 300 co-packers.
Alison Smith: [8:14]
Karin Samelson: [8:16]
I didn’t even know there were 300 co-packers.
Kate Morton: [8:19]
Oh, there’s a lot. I mean, I would just find these co-packer lists online, and just call and call and call. Even if they weren’t related to me at all, I would just call them, and so that was a huge challenge. Then, actually Morgan, our all-mutual friend ended up introducing to me my current co-packer, so it ended up being through a friend where I found a co-packer. It wasn’t even any of those 300 calls.
Alison Smith: [8:43]
Wait, so were the other 300, they were saying no, or they just weren’t the right fit for you?
Kate Morton: [8:48]
Some weren’t in business anymore. Some were not the right fit for me. Some just said, “No. You’ve got no experience with this business. We don’t take on small…” MOQs was a big one, like Minimum Order Quantities. I was like, “I just need to order 100 seed cycling kits,” because I was making it in my kitchen when I first started, and then I started to outgrow that really quickly. I needed a manufacturer, and so they ran the gamut of reasons why they didn’t want to work with me, but man, they all had some reason they didn’t want to.
It’s crazy, because now we have four manufacturers, and it’s awesome and so much easier. But I had to get my foot in the door with the product development, and then with our newest product, there’s nothing else like it on the market. 100 percent food-based vitamin that’s shelf stable and specifically for the menstrual cycle. That, there’s a reason there’s not any on the market, and we ran into pretty much every obstacle we could find, but I learned a lot about food development from our partner who helps us with that. I mean, I flew out to Colorado so many times in the past year, just to be in the lab and help with it myself, because I’m a little bit of a control freak, so I felt like I needed to be there, much to probably their annoyment. But we’re all good now, so all friends, so it worked out.
Karin Samelson: [10:09]
I need these cycle bites. I will be purchasing them later, because I need the ease of just having it ready in my mouth. Obviously, you knew that, because that’s why you made it, and I am so excited to get them. But another thing I wanted to bring up on the challenge front really quick is in the sexual wellness space, and I feel like we do talk to some brands, and we haven’t ever actually, us as an agency, marketed one just yet. Can you talk a little bit about those obstacles and what you’re doing, any tips for brands that are coming up with the same obstacles?
Kate Morton: [10:48]
Man, it’s really hard. Because we are a period care company, and so you wouldn’t think that menstruation, you wouldn’t think sexual wellness in general would be shielded. Look at the movies, look what you see on Netflix, look what you see everywhere. We’re okay with it in every other aspect, but we’re not okay with trying to actually give people good products, and so even period care, we get flagged on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and every social platform. Probably at least once a week, we have something taken down or flagged, our ads are removed, or whatever it is.
And so it’s really crazy. I know you guys went through the whole battle with me on my Instagram store. I just emailed Instagram, I think, 100. Not 100. That’s an exaggeration. That one is a hyperbole, but a lot of times, and so I think that is really challenging, because they don’t want to show your ads to people. They don’t want to help show your profiles to people. Being shadow banned is a real thing. Sometimes your content sucks. Sometimes you’re shadow band. Who knows. But it’s one of those things where, I don’t know, it’s really hard. A lot of our videos will get that weird censored over it, and you’ll click on it, and it’s literally just someone talking about their period.
Alison Smith: [12:06]
Yeah. I mean, that’s just not right. Facebook even talks about what their policies are, and they say, “You can say vagina, and you can talk about sexual wellness.”
Kate Morton: [12:19]
Can you, Facebook? Can you?
Alison Smith: [12:22]
Exactly. You see all the time that things get flagged for literally those things, and then you see products that are being marketed organically and paid that aren’t great products.
Kate Morton: [12:36]
Well, also men’s products are way less likely to get flagged. They’re way less likely to get flagged, like erectile dysfunction products and anything in that realm. I’ve seen them on Facebook so many times, and there was actually, I think it was the beginning of this year, I forget who it was, but a reproductive justice group, they really put together this massive survey for sexual wellness brands and were like, “What’s getting flagged? Can you show us examples? Can you send us in screenshots?” So it was a long survey, but I know that I did it and a bunch of my friends in this space did it, and they actually went to Facebook, I’m pretty sure, and we’re like, “This is actually what you’re doing. You say you’re not doing it, but you are.”
Alison Smith: [13:20]
Yeah. That’s great. It’s kind of the pink tax thing but happening on meta. Ugh, that’s so frustrating.
Kate Morton: [13:28]
That makes me so mad. I’m giving a TED Talk next week, and the pink tax is in there. I’ve been trying really hard to find the numbers of how much money Texas makes off the pink tax, but of course they make it really difficult, but it’s somewhere around $20 million a year.
Karin Samelson: [13:48]
Pink tax. I mean, short from just reaching out to support, I think that’s definitely one of the main things you’ve got to do, but just even language on your videos, language that you use, it’s just so specific.
Kate Morton: [14:03]
And I think it’s really tricky, because when we talk about language, one of the big things we’re trying to do is use medically accurate education, but then on TikTok, when I have to spell period different, spell vagina different, or spell sex different, that’s not teaching the next generation the medically accurate terms for our bodies. There’s a lot of research that those pet names and things like that are actually what cause a lot of confusion later in life, especially when it comes to sexual experiences, so I don’t know. It’s hard, because on TikTok, you know have to get around it. I understand to a point, but I also am like, “These are biological terms.”
Alison Smith: [14:45]
Well, something I do think that you really excel with is relationship building, and I know that’s a big part of your process of taking this brand from 0 to a 100 in two years or so, so would love to hear how you go about developing these relationships. I’m laughing, because I’m just imagining you calling 300 co-packers, and just calling anyone on the phone to make a relationship, but would love to hear how you make relationships and how that’s affected your business.
Kate Morton: [15:25]
I think something that we’ve really honed in on is working with people who have the same values as us. It’s not something we’ve always, in the beginning, done, but I think that’s something that as we’ve gotten more into it, having the same values of inclusivity, authenticity, transparency, medically-accurate education, so that’s how we filter a lot of our relationships. Honestly, I know social media gets a really bad rap, but I do think it can be a really cool place to meet people. I’ve got so many friends, especially we launched in the middle of the pandemic, where in-person just wasn’t an option.
It wasn’t a thing anymore, and so I made a lot of actual real friends through Instagram and TikTok while I was building Funk It. But I think the biggest thing that brands get wrong and nobody’s perfect, we’re not perfect either, but is that it is a relationship. Say, if you’re working with influencers or whatever it is, we’ve just really tried to now work with people that we enjoy working with. Do we talking to them? Do they talking to us? Do we actually want to be friends and interact with our content? And I think people are so special, and I think that’s such a big part of business. I think it’s a part that’s missed a lot.
What’s your relationship with your customer? I still do all the customer service, and that’s on purpose. It’s because I want to be able to connect and know exactly what’s going on in my business. I know that’s something I’m going to need to let go eventually, probably in the near future, but I want to have a relationship with my customers, my suppliers, my co-packers, my manufacturer. I want to actually know the people I’m doing business with and who are doing business with me, and I think it’s actually probably one of my favorite parts of my job, is the relationship part. I’m getting better at talking to people in person again. I feel like I got kind of awkward for a while.
Alison Smith: [17:18]
We all did.
Kate Morton: [17:22]
I forgot how to do it, but I don’t know. I’m really grateful for everyone I’ve met through this aspect, and business is really challenging, and it can be really, honestly, just horrible sometimes. I don’t think people talk about that enough, like having your own business is not always rainbows and butterflies, but when you like the people you work with and you enjoy the people who are supporting your brand, and they can connect with you, I think it makes it a little bit easier.
Karin Samelson: [17:46]
And you’ve been building a little bit of a team, right? Who’s on your team?
Kate Morton: [17:51]
Our team is ever changing, because our business is ever changing. I do all of the marketing right now that you see, and then a lot of other random things. Then, we’ve got Claire, who’s in Denver, and she does all of the brand, and she just got a really good eye when it comes to brand and making decisions. I’m someone who wants to throw everything at the wall and try everything, and she’s a really good north star of, “That’s not on brand for us. I don’t like it because of this, this, and this,” or “I do like it because of this, this, and this.” So she’s our brand director and our north star when it comes to anything like that. Then, we also have two amazing part-time social media gals. They are just so fun. They’re in college, so they definitely keep us young, which is good, and keep talking to us about all the cool Gen Z things, which is always nice. We all have BeReal now as a team.
Karin Samelson: [18:51]
No. That’s so funny. Wait, how did you find them? How would you recommend people find help like that?
Kate Morton: [18:57]
I know. I think we’ve gotten really lucky with all of our interns, so I don’t know if it’s the same, but we found them on LinkedIn. Apparently, the college kids are on LinkedIn.
Alison Smith: [19:10]
Like, job posting on LinkedIn, or did you reach out?
Kate Morton: [19:13]
I job posted, and we had 150 applications.
Alison Smith: [19:17]
Oh, girl.
Kate Morton: [19:18]
Which was crazy.
Alison Smith: [19:19]
I think step one, have a really cool brand that people want to work for.
Kate Morton: [19:25]
Maybe. I hope they love working here. They do all of our content. Specifically, TikTok is definitely more their domain, and then we’re finding a new cadence with organic social, because that’s the majority of what we do. Then, we’ve got an awesome fulfillment team here in Austin, and I don’t know, but they’re in here most of the time in our Austin office with me. It’s great too, because we’re two full-time and four part-time, and so it’s one of those things where everyone’s going to wear a lot of different hats, but I do feel like everyone we’ve got on the team right now is just very awesome, and they live into all of our core values, and they also really care about menstrual health.
Alison Smith: [20:08]
That’s awesome. Congratulations.
Kate Morton: [20:10]
Alison Smith: [20:11]
So let’s get into marketing a bit. You’re running all the marketing or most of the marketing. What has been the biggest piece of your success? What lever? Where are you putting your focus?
Kate Morton: [20:27]
I would say, surprisingly enough, you guys are going to laugh at this, because I hated it so much in the beginning. Email is great for us. We’ve got over 65% open rates. Our email list is bulked up a lot. I feel like it’s a really great way to connect with our customers, and we actually don’t send very many promo emails. We mostly send educational emails to teach people, because that’s important to us. Email is a great lever for us.
Paid social is always just going to be interesting for us with the type of brand we are, but we’re actually in a really good place for our paid social, and we have all profitable paid social now, which is a big win. That’s very recent, so fingers crossed Facebook doesn’t update anytime soon, and decide to change it. But I really think where we shine is organic social media, is just what we love. As a team, we all love it, and we’re learning. I feel like we had Instagram figured out, and then they decided to, I don’t know what’s going on, and so we’re definitely selling that.
But I think we all have fun, and I also really like it, because that’s where I feel like I get to connect with people the most, is on social. I don’t know. All the levers are pretty good, but I would definitely say my favorite, most fun one, would be the organic social. Then, the email is the most, we’re really good, and we’ve got a really good plan. Then, the paid is, I don’t actually do the pay. We have an advisor who helps us with that, but I feel like it’s finally in a good place, but we usually just use our organic social as our paid, like whatever does well there, and then we turn it into an ad.
Alison Smith: [22:10]
That’s awesome to hear, so all three levers are functioning, and it sounds like it’s doing well, and I just remember-
Kate Morton: [22:17]
They could always be better. They could always be better. They could always be better, but they’re good.
Alison Smith: [22:19]
You always got to iterate and all that jazz it. It’s nonstop, but I remember the first time you launched ads, and you immediately got sales too, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. It’s working.”
It was like, “Heck yeah.”
Kate Morton: [22:38]
That’s crazy.
Alison Smith: [22:38]
That was two years ago. Yeah.
Kate Morton: [22:41]
Yeah, and it’s so funny looking back too. I’ve learned so much, and there’s so much more to learn, but I just think marketing’s one of those things you could spend your whole life learning it, and you’d never know everything because it changes every single day.
Alison Smith: [22:54]
Yeah. It doesn’t get old.
Kate Morton: [22:55]
Karin Samelson: [22:55]
Yeah. It definitely doesn’t get old. It’s just something that’s, someone brought it up today. They were just like, “You feel like you know what you’re doing, and then tomorrow something changes, and you’re like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on,'” and I totally feel you with how Instagram is being a little crazy right now.
Kate Morton: [23:09]
Karin Samelson: [23:11]
And it’s driving me nuts.
Alison Smith: [23:14]
I mean, paid has also gone a little crazy lately too.
Kate Morton: [23:19]
It’s just insane. I’m like, “Instagram, just do what you’re good at.”
Alison Smith: [23:24]
Meta, come on. Mark Zuckerberg, get it together.
Kate Morton: [23:28]
People, you don’t have to be TikTok. You can be your own thing, and Instagram is still our most profitable channel. It’s still, I don’t know. I worry Instagram’s going to get a little off brand for them. Don’t be the next MySpace.
Karin Samelson: [23:46]
I know, but I really do feel like they’re taking some time to really look within. They’re going to business therapy, hopefully.
Kate Morton: [24:00]
Karin Samelson: [24:02]
To figure out what they need to do, but it’ll turn around. I’m very confident in that. So let’s move into little growth course talk. We love having you part of the community and, like we said at the beginning, you are our number one hype girl, and we are so appreciative all the people that you’ve told about it, but what was in particular one of your favorite things about the course?
Kate Morton: [24:25]
What I really liked about it was, I like the different modules. Each week is a different thing, and you’re going to learn about it, and then you can come to office hours, dig in, and figure it out. I think, for me, it’s like if you have an eCommerce business, and I know that we talked about this in the very beginning, but it’s one of those things that, even if you are not going to be doing the marketing, you’ve got to know what’s going on.
Because I remember, before I took the growth course, I had tried to hire some people on Fiver and different places, and I’m sure they’re great at their job, but I didn’t know enough to be able to even ask for what I needed. I think it’s anything in life, like to be able to advocate, do well, and really succeed, you’ve got to have a baseline understanding of what you’re talking about. I think that’s why I love the growth course, was I could spend one week learning about organic social, one week learning about emails. Klaviyo is one of those things that it took us a year to really even just be able to figure it out. They just updated it, and it’s way better.
Alison Smith: [25:33]
Oh, I know.
Kate Morton: [25:34]
10 out 10 for the Klaviyo update. That’s what I liked about it. It was digestible, and you could go back and watch it again. You could go back and read it, and then you could ask questions, because I don’t think you can learn about marketing by just reading a blog. You need to be doing it in practice, so taking the homework, being able to do it in practice was huge for me.
Alison Smith: [25:59]
Totally, so you feel you have a baseline understanding that, when you have interns or hire people, you’re able to guide them or be a part of the conversation at the very least, right?
Kate Morton: [26:13]
Yeah, and I think that’s it. We know what to look for. I think sometimes people are like, “Oh. I hired an intern. They didn’t do anything.” I’m like, “Well, I mean…”
Alison Smith: [26:25]
They’re interns.
Kate Morton: [26:28]
“Come on. They’re learning. Did you teach them? Do you know what you’re doing? They are not going to…” I don’t know. I think it’s one of those things that, if you’re expecting someone on your team to do it, you don’t have to be an expert at it, but if they’re entry level, you better understand that they’re going to need help, and you’re going to be able to, on some level, have to provide that.
Alison Smith: [26:49]
Yeah. That’s so frustrating when people bring on interns who are there to really learn. It’s a two-way relationship. They’re really there to learn from you or from your team, and you have to provide that. I mean, you probably have awesome Gen Z interns who could teach us a thing or two about TikTok, but it’s definitely a two-way relationship there.
Kate Morton: [27:15]
And I think the other thing is I’ve definitely made that mistake. I’ve been that person that just expected the person I hired to know everything. Then, I think back to times when I first got hired for jobs, and I was like, “Why do they think I should know all of this stuff? I just started.” And so I think that’s why it was helpful for me, and I also think social can be fun, and you can do it in your way. You can have inspo brands that you look at, but it’s like, what resonates with your audience and your consumer? Is it being on stories more? Is it doing more reels? Is it being on TikTok and Pinterest and Instagram? And so we’ve been a little lax on Instagram lately. We’ve got to get back on our game.
Karin Samelson: [27:57]
It’s okay now. Right now, they can wait it out.
Kate Morton: [28:00]
That’s my thing, is I’m like, “I don’t want to put time into this right now if you’re not even going to show it to anybody.”
Karin Samelson: [28:08]
Check back in a week. Let’s update some stuff.
Kate Morton: [28:10]
Yes. But yeah, I think that’s what I liked about it, is I feel like I didn’t know anything about marketing, and I also think in my experience, people over complicate things. Nobody wants to even try or get started, because it seems so intimidating, and I felt that way. I was like, “Well, I don’t know how to make an ad, or I don’t even know how to structure an email or do any of these things,” and that course helped me learn a lot about it.
Alison Smith: [28:42]
That’s great, and now you’re just a marketing guru. I love it.
Kate Morton: [28:46]
I’m trying. I was laughing. I was talking to my business coach the other day, and I was like, “I just don’t feel like I have a marketing plan.” And she was like, “What do you mean? Yes, you do.” She’s like, “It’s just all in your head, and you haven’t written it down, so you need to write it down,” and just slowing down and remembering, I don’t know. I think when you have a small team, a small company, it can be tough. I think having some practices to refer back to, or I love the content calendar. That’s a thing that we’ve used from the growth course. We still use that content counter. We just import it into a sauna, and so we still use that same content calendar and the same content buckets that we made two years ago, so I just think that, I don’t know, I could talk about the growth course all day. 10 out 10 fan.
Alison Smith: [29:35]
Yeah. Bring it back to the foundations. I love that. What marketing channel are you most excited about that is going to help Funk It just be shared with the masses?
Kate Morton: [29:52]
I am really excited about all of them right now, because I think they all have a chance to make a really big comeback. I love Pinterest. Pinterest is one that we dabble in quite a bit these days. Not a super profitable channel, but we’re an education brand, so I think it makes sense for us. I love TikTok, and I think that it’s a place to be less polished and more funny, and I would say Instagram’s definitely the more polished version.
I do a lot of the Instagram content, because I’m not Gen Z. I feel like I love Gen Z’s rawness, and so I think that’s why I love TikTok so much, is I love getting on there. I feel like it’s really real, and you can show your brand personality. Then, also you can make TikTok in two seconds. They’re so easy, and you never know what’s going to do well or resonate with people, and so I think that’s really fun. I really BeReal, but I don’t know. I kind of hope it doesn’t get monetized. I like it as just a purely social media for me.
Alison Smith: [31:06]
Kate Morton: [31:08]
I hope BeReal doesn’t get monetized, because it’s really fun. I’m sure it will. They raised $30 million, so I’m sure they’re going to monetize. They’ve got to monetize.
Alison Smith: [31:15]
I love what you said about TikToks taking two seconds, because that is something personally, for our own TikTok, I really had to get over. I would literally spend hours creating.
Kate Morton: [31:26]
It’s hard.
Alison Smith: [31:29]
Like, the best video, I thought, so educational hours. I’d post it, and it would be nothing. Then, when you just go on there and see a trending audio, and you just film your face up close and add some copy, it takes off. TikTok is not a channel to overthink, I would say.
Kate Morton: [31:49]
No, and I do think Instagram is a channel you have to overthink. Reals are more curated, more perfect, and so then sometimes I’ll go to make a real, and I’m like, “Oh. It didn’t do well,” and I’m like, “Well, I didn’t put any effort into it.” I don’t know though. Sometimes we’ll repurpose TikTok, Instagram, like we’ll interchange them, and I’ll find if it doesn’t do well on one platform, it probably is going to do well on the other one.
Alison Smith: [32:17]
Oh. You see the opposite?
Kate Morton: [32:18]
I see the opposite thing blow up.
Alison Smith: [32:20]
Kate Morton: [32:21]
I think it’s our two audiences too. They’re very different.
Karin Samelson: [32:25]
Yeah, pretty different. I think that’s something really important to know, because I feel like we’re just shitting all over Instagram because it’s really easy to do sometimes, is that you did mention it’s still your most profitable channel.
Kate Morton: [32:38]
Oh. That’s the thing, is I complain about Instagram all day long, but it’s like that annoying sibling that is also super valuable. They’re just annoying you, and so I think that it’s like, I love Instagram, and I don’t want to abandon Instagram. I also love working with different brands on Instagram. That’s something that I really enjoy, is brand partnerships.
That’s a whole other, and you guys go over that in the growth course too, like brand partnerships are a whole other thing, because for us it’s like, “Okay. Do we want to partner with people who are complimentary? Do we want to partner with someone who’s almost the exact same as us and just see what happens?” It’s interesting with the strategy of that side, but I think it’s a good place to connect with other brands too. TikTok is harder to connect. TikTok is not as connected.
Alison Smith: [33:33]
Yeah. Instagram is community. TikTok is views. I think someone just told me that today.
Kate Morton: [33:41]
Yeah. I feel like TikTok is, get as many eyes on it as possible, and Instagram’s like, you might not get as many eyes on it, but are they the right eyes? Honestly, most of the time, yes.
Karin Samelson: [33:51]
Yeah. When everything’s working properly, yeah.
Kate Morton: [33:54]
I know. I was just looking. I was like, “I have some notifications on Instagram. What’s going on?”
Karin Samelson: [33:59]
Ooh, exciting.
Kate Morton: [34:02]
I probably shouldn’t have the notifications. I’ve got my Shopify notifications on. I’ve got Instagram, TikTok.
Karin Samelson: [34:06]
Oh my gosh.
Alison Smith: [34:08]
Well, those are fun, the dings. Love the dings.
Karin Samelson: [34:09]
Ooh, you wild. You have all those notifications?
Kate Morton: [34:11]
But I don’t have email on my phone.
Alison Smith: [34:14]
Kate Morton: [34:15]
I refuse.
Karin Samelson: [34:18]
Alison Smith: [34:18]
I like it.
Kate Morton: [34:18]
I just compulsively check it in my browser.
Karin Samelson: [34:24]
Yeah. That checks out. Kate, thank you so much for your time. We want to leave this right before we sign off. What would be your biggest piece of advice for other small CPG business owners who may be listening in?
Kate Morton: [34:42]
Yeah. If you’re listening, I would really lean into social media. I still see a lot of people who are really hesitant, and it’s scary. Putting yourself out there, and it’s something you have to make a decision about, but I do think putting yourself out there, if you’re a small business, people want to connect with you. That was really hard for me for a long time. I was like, “I don’t want to be in any of the content. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that.”
For me, it was really ego and fear getting in the way. Then, I started putting myself out there, and then people could connect more with me and the brand, and then I felt more connected to my customer. I know it’s scary. You might be like, “I’m not a video person. I’m not like a camera person.” I was not either. You should see, and I’m no expert now, but you should see some of the first pieces of content we put out compared to now.
You can do it. You can connect with your customers, and it’s free. Organic social, it’s free. It takes your time, but I guarantee, in the beginning I had more time than I had money. That’s why I will die on the hill that organic social media is not dead. It is alive and thriving. 15 percent of our revenue comes from organic social, and that’s free, and it’s probably more than that. That’s just exactly what I can track through Shopify.
Karin Samelson: [36:04]
I love that. What did you just say? I didn’t have a lot of money, but I had time?
Alison Smith: [36:10]
I had more time than money.
Kate Morton: [36:12]
I had more time than money, and so organic social is time.
Karin Samelson: [36:16]
Kate Morton: [36:17]
Not money.
Karin Samelson: [36:18]
Love it.
Kate Morton: [36:19]
Yeah. That’s it.
Alison Smith: [36:21]
Yeah. I love that end statement. Well, Kate, tell everyone how they can get ahold of you, where they can find Funk It. Yeah.
Kate Morton: [36:31]
Yeah, so is our website. You can go check it out. Our Instagram is Our Pinterest, TikTok, and Twitter are just funkitwellness. I actually own the other FunkIt Wellness domain, but I made it when I lived in New Zealand, and I got locked out of it, so I own both of them. I can’t get into the other one, and now all of our friends are on this other domain, so we’re going to keep it. But that’s where you can find us, and I’m based in Austin. If you’re listening, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. I’m coming off of birth controller. I’ve got a terrible period,” or “I don’t know anything about my period, but I’d want to,” just reach out. Come by the office, come hang out. We love to talk.
Alison Smith: [37:15]
Awesome. Thank you, Kate, so much.
Kate Morton: [37:17]
Thank you guys for having me.
UMAI Social Circle is a CPG, agency-driven podcast based out of Austin, Texas. We’re excited to share more behind-the-scene insights, chats with industry leaders, and whatever else we learn along the way. Follow us on Instagram @umaimarketing, or check out our website, Catch you back here soon.

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