Episode #22

Stefany Nieto from Mojo

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In this episode of Beyond the Inbox, host Sam and guest Stefany Nieto, the co-founder and CEO of Mojo, discuss the challenges and successes of marketing and selling microdose gummies in the wellness industry.

Stefany shares her insights on Mojo's marketing strategy, which involves targeting both advocates for microdosing and those who are not solution-aware. She emphasizes the importance of convenience, taste, and form factors in differentiating Mojo's products from those of competitors. However, she also notes the challenges of copywriting for social media platforms, which frequently update their community guidelines and restrict what brands can say about their products.

The conversation then shifts to Mojo's retail strategy, including the challenges of expanding into retail stores and the importance of being involved in community events. Stefany also shares the story of how Mojo has helped customers who have been scammed by fake dealers posing as Mojo distributors on social media platforms.

Stefany shares her insights on Mojo's marketing strategy, which involves targeting both advocates for microdosing and those who are not solution-aware. She emphasizes the importance of convenience, taste, and form factors in differentiating Mojo's products from those of competitors. However, she also notes the challenges of copywriting for social media platforms, which frequently update their community guidelines and restrict what brands can say about their products.

Show Notes

  • (00:00) Introduction
  • (01:17) Stefany Nieto's background and how Mojo got started
  • (03:45) The changing public perception of psychedelics
  • (07:30) The resurgence of alcohol brands and other vices
  • (08:46) Mojo's marketing strategy and its evolution over time
  • (09:52) The challenges of marketing on social media platforms such as TikTok
  • (11:05) Mojo's target audience and how the company speaks to different types of customers
  • (12:46) The customer journey when visiting Mojo's website for the first time
  • (14:22) Mojo's subscription strategy and challenges in acquiring new subscribers
  • (15:50) Strategies for acquiring new customers, including micro-influencers and retail expansion
  • (16:48) The issue of scammers using Mojo's content to sell illegal products
  • (20:29) How Mojo differentiates itself from other mushroom-based wellness products
  • (22:33) The challenges of copywriting when marketing Mojo's products
  • (23:45) Mojo's goals for the year, including retail expansion and new product innovations
  • (25:48) The challenge of increasing Mojo's Amazon rating and strategies for doing so
  • (26:59) Where listeners can go to learn more about Mojo

Read the transcript:

Sam (00:01): Stefany, welcome to Beyond the Inbox. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us.

Stefany (00:06): Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to chat with you.

Sam (00:09): Me too. Can you tell us about Mojo's origin story and how it came to be?

Stefany (00:15): For sure. So Mojo is our product. Gella is the parent company. So I mean, all of this really started because my team and I really wanted to bring accessible psychedelics to communities anywhere, everywhere. We're big fans of psychedelics and the benefits that they can provide to people. And so we wanted to figure out a way to bring, you know, again, accessible psychedelics to the market. Meaning how can you mirror the effects and the benefits of, you know, psilocybin and psychedelics without actually going underground. And sowela, again, parent company. That's where we talk mostly about psychedelics. That's where we provide trip support tools a dosage calculator, a mushroom wiki, while Mojo is the product where we actually provide the benefits of a microdose without the illegal ingredients. So Mojo provides energy focus, mental clarity, and a mood lift completely legally. We're on, you know, Amazon, we're in Urban Outfitters, all those different places.

Sam (01:12): I have so many follow up questions. So one I wrote down here is for our listeners who might not be familiar, can you explain the concept of micro dosing and how it relates to Moros products?

Stefany (01:25): For sure. So, micro dosing itself is just ingesting typically a 10th of what you would for a regular, I guess, normal trip or a macro trip. Depends, there's so many ways to call it. But the typical like psychedelic experience where, you know, it's six to eight hours long, you the colors are really bright. You might see some, you know, the clouds moving in funny, silly ways. That's a traditional trip. While microdosing will not give you that, the point of microdosing is to boost your energy, your focus, your creativity and your mood, while not giving you any hallucinogenic experiences. Now, when you traditionally microdose with psilocybin, which is the act of compound in, well, what people might consider magic mushrooms you still will get a little bit of a, like the colors will look a little bit brighter. It won't give you any type of trip in terms of like, nothing will be waving around or anything like that. But I do find that like colors are a little bit brighter now with mojo, we aimed to replicate that experience without the psilocybin. So without the ingredient that makes, you know, these types of substances illegal. And so with mojo, you still get the energy, the focus, the mental clarity and the mood lift that you would with the traditional microdose, but without the illegal ingredient. And also we, it does, doesn't have any hallucinogenic effects. So colors aren't as brighter as they would be with a psilocybin microdose, but that's how they compare.

Sam (02:55): Can you tell me more about what inspired you and the founders of Mojo to create this line of mushroom infused gummies? I'm so curious to hear more.

Stefany (03:07): Yeah, I mean, I think we all have our own paths that led us to psychedelics. For me personally, I've always been in the wellness space. I, previous to Guila and Mojo, I actually used to build greenhouses in the Arctic working on food sovereignty. And so wellness is just something that's I'm really passionate about and interested in. Now, with that said, once the pandemic hit I kind of got to this place where I just didn't really know who I was anymore. I, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue down the path that I had been on with my previous company and realized that I needed to figure out what my passions were. Like who was I beyond my company. Funny enough, psychedelics did help me get there, <laugh>, but I had been a psychedelic advocate on the underground for quite a long time.

(03:51): And I was, you know, your resident mushroom girl amongst my friends and family. And so it just kind of made sense for me at the time in terms of switching into psychedelics. Now what I wanted to do, I wasn't necessarily sure I just wanted to bring the joy of psychedelics to more people. Like that was kind of the, the baseline. And then I met my co-founders who had the same idea. We just weren't sure, we knew we wanted to do a product, we just didn't know what it would be. And Mojo itself is actually the original base formula was one of my co-founders base formula was when he was in university as like a natural Adderall type of option, like a natural Adderall. And so we kind of dug up that formula recipe and then we tweaked it, like we tweaked it for about six to eight months. Just testing out different ways to kind of mirror the effects of a traditional microdose, knowing that we couldn't necessarily mirror the effects of a macro dose or, you know, a regular trip. And we didn't want to, we wanted to stay in the legal lens. So yeah, it just took a bunch of r and d testing on ourselves, figuring out how we could best you know, mirror those benefits. And we got to mojo.

Sam (05:00): It feels like the public perception of quote psychedelics or whatever you want to call it, has changed so much over the last 10 years. You're hearing so much about it now in mainstream podcasts, and I believe John Hopkins University is doing studies on it, and it seems like it's developing such a positive perception in the public now. Why do you think that is? What has changed over the last couple of years?

Stefany (05:29): That's a great question. I think the pandemic has really helped spur that interest. I like to say when people couldn't travel abroad, they traveled within. And whether that meant, you know, psychedelic trips or just exploring functional mushrooms as a whole, adaptogenics nootropics, like these type of buzzwords really popped off during the pandemic as people really dug into their wellness. How do they survive the pandemic? Like whether it's their mental health, their physical health, like mushrooms really came up as a star during that time. And so as a result of that, I think there's been a positive spin on what they can do for you, whether again, your mental health or your physical health and jumping on that train, a lot of people, including myself, that, you know, were advocates for psychedelics before the pandemic saw the opportunity to be like, yes, I, like I stand behind this.

(06:17): You know, you might have this preconceived notion that psychedelics are for a certain type of person and you know, they're drugs and they're bad and all these things, but then you have people that are in other more, I guess, I don't know, respected roles or positions of leadership and they're coming out and saying that they support psychedelics and all of a sudden there's this positive kind of attributes to the space, which has, I think in, you know, led this resurgence for research for for companies and startups and services that there's just been such a positive spin to it. And I really, like, I'm sure it began pre pandemic, but I think the pandemic really just put a spotlight on it.

Sam (06:57): It's so interesting and I really feel like the narrative has changed so much because when I was in school, we were taught drugs are bad if you do drugs, X, y and Z will happen. Whereas now you're seeing these super successful people talking about microdosing and mushrooms and everything in between, and it's really changed the narrative quite a lot, don't you think?

Stefany (07:20): It absolutely has. And I get it. Like I grew up in a Catholic Spanish household, you know, like drugs were the devil. If I smoked cannabis, I would die. Like that was a hundred percent. You know, what I was, I was raised with, I didn't even try cannabis until I was like 18 or 19. Like I was so scared of any type of drug. And I feel like now people are, they are having more open conversations. And I think part of that as well is that alcohol has gotten a bad rep. Mm. more studies have come out where it's like, alcohol is terrible for your liver. And you know, that's always been the case, but people are, again, part of like really digging into wellness. It's like, well, what is these things, these vices almost like have an effect on, on my body?

(08:06): And how do I treat my body more as a temple? And I feel like that really again, kind of started and has gone on from the pandemic, but I feel like there's this other shift happening now where people are wellness out. People are like, I want, there, there's the, what is it called, like a pendulum swing where it's like, it went really wellness for a while there and now it's coming back. And so I think that there's gonna be a resurgence in, in alcohol brands and other maybe vices that people may have been like, eh, not so much. Not like letting go of as they say, there's always a phase. But I, I think yeah, that's kind of what, what spurred it.

Sam (08:46): I want to shift into Mojo's marketing strategy. How has it evolved over time and what has been most successful?

Stefany (08:54): Yeah, that's a great question because we've gone through a variety of different phases ourselves from who we were targeting as a team and as a product to what platforms we were really targeting and, you know, putting our, all our eggs in one basket type of deal. And as a small company at that, like we're four people you know, trying to figure out where to best put our ad spend and acquisition strategy spend. So I, I'll I'll give you both what were like, what didn't work versus what has <laugh> TikTok I would say is the answer for both. Tiktok at the beginning, fantastic channel for us. We grew really quickly. We had, we went viral a few times, like it was phenomenal. That said typically, you know, social media platforms, their community guidelines are updated all the time. And so things that we could say aka talk about microdosing and mushrooms all of a sudden is a no-go.

(09:52): Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so we've had to go back and like change our content, update our scopes, figure out different types of influencers and you know, people knowledgeable in the space to talk about and what they should mention about mojo. And so it's constantly like a tug of war just figuring out what we can and can't say, going back and updating our content or risk being shadow banned or just deactivated. So yeah, I feel like TikTok has been both. The other thing being just testings getting people to actually try the product. We've run two campaigns today where we just gave out free product up to a certain amount, like our well quantities lasted as they say. And that was awesome. Like we got a lot of returning customers from those type of activations. But obviously they are pricey <laugh>, so it's but it's a good one.

Sam (10:42): Who are you targeting? Because we've talked about how the public perception has changed and I'm curious, are you targeting people that were already or already are rather advocates for microdosing and so on? Or are you targeting people that maybe aren't solution aware? How are you addressing that in your ad creative and your marketing in general?

Stefany (11:05): We get a little bit of both. We get people that are, that, you know, come to us not because they care about micro producing at all, but because they like energy focus and mood lift. And then we'll get people who are kind of scared of psychedelics, don't wanna dip their toes into, you know, the, and the illegal product, but they wanna get the same benefits so they, you know, they find us that way. And so the way that we kind of speak to this, I guess both types of targets is benefit based. We really focus on the benefits of microdosing beyond just microdosing. When we've focused just on microdosing, you get that catch 22 1 on one side, yeah, you're get getting the people that are really interested in psychedelic microdosing and don't wanna get, you know, some sort of psychedelic, but you also get the folks who are like, oh, you guys aren't a real psychedelic, like, ah and that backlash always, you know, it kind of just sucks. So we really just try to be transparent about who we are. Like yes, we're called Mojo microdose, but it's because we're inspired by psychedelics and microdosing and we really just focus on the benefits that we can provide for day-to-day living.

Sam (12:10): I'm on the website now and the one thing that really stood out for me was the photography is absolutely beautiful. The pitches of the products themselves, it's really breathtaking. It really blew me away when I saw it. I'm going through the website and my question is, when someone lands on the website for the first time, I can see I can join your email list. Are you nudging first time visitors to join your email list where you can educate them and then pitch them a product? What does that typical journey look like when someone runs on the website for the first time? I

Speaker 3 (12:46): Think people go, ways that people

Stefany (12:50): Tend to go, they either go to our quiz where it's like, what is the right type of mojo for me? We do have two strengths, so people tend to kind of figure that out. Which then also, you know, hopefully gets them onto our email list, at which point we do try to segment the different types of, I guess use cases, like why are they coming to us and then send them educational content based off of that. So that's kind of, I guess two paths cuz either way they get to their email list. And then the third way is that they just go straight to shop. They go straight to shop and they try to read through our directions and also what's in it. I find that those types of people, they are coming to us because they know the benefits already.

(13:29): And so they wanna know what, like what's behind the curtain. They wanna know what our ingredient profile is and what are the quantities, the milligrams, et cetera, et cetera. More of the biohacking crowd. Like they know what they want and they're there to get it <laugh>. Mm. so yeah, there's like, I would say that there's typically two different paths. The people that don't really know what they want and so they hit the quiz or they hit the email newsletter and kind of wait a second before they purchase. And then you have the biohackers who are like, yep, I understand all of this, like buy or subscribe.

Sam (13:58): So when somebody joins the email list after they have opted in through the website, where does the subscription part come into the sell cycle? Is it easier to sell a new customer with a one-time offer and then sell them to subscribing? What does that look like?

Speaker 3 (14:22): It's

Stefany (14:22): Much easier to sell them as a one-time, especially something that's called my Microdose, right? Like if you are not experienced with microdosing, and if you're not a biohacker, typically it's a one-time trial. Which is also why we put up the quiz as a way to help understand their tolerances. That way they order the right thing and have a positive experience. With that said, we are actually working on rec, like revising our subscription flows and, and opt-in strategy because that is something we wanna move more towards. But right now I find that people who are in the know and are more in the bio hacking sphere, they do tend to go straight for subscription. But again, it's also like we are a smaller brand. Like we, we've only been in market for like a year and a half or so and so we're still earning the trust of our customers.

(15:10): And so a lot of the things that we do, yes, it will link them towards a one time trial essentially. And then follow up and following up with them to see how they can have a routine based off of Mojo, how it's going for them, do they have any feedback and we have taken that feedback or any, any points of you know, I guess concern, whether it's through the website or through the product and tweak the website or product or anything else on their journey accordingly. So I mean, right now, definitely one time is easier, but we are trying to get more subscription.

Sam (15:43): What other strategies are working really well for you at the moment when it comes to acquiring new customers?

Stefany (15:50): Micro influencers, people love hearing from friends and family or people that feel like friends and family. So I would say that's a big one. We are also really going down the retail path, so we figure the more times you can see us in stores that you trust, the more likely you are to purchase, whether in store or online from us. And right now, one of the things that I'm actually exploring with my team right now is how can we be more involved in like community events beyond just sponsoring with through product. Like how can we be there in person to talk about the product? I always, as a consumer love when I get to meet founders that are like super passionate about the thing that they built. So we're seeing how we can be more in person in the next year.

Sam (16:30): You and I were talking a few weeks back before we recorded this episode, and you shared this story with me, which really blew me away and really emphasized the importance of community and building trust. You were telling me the story about customer that had been scammed. Can you tell me this story and how you helped them out?

Stefany (16:48): Yeah, so I, I guess for context I, every once in a while jump into customer success and I like, I like to handle tickets, see how things are going, you know I've become a little obsessed with it. And recently I got a customer success ticket that basically was this person who had seen Mojo on, I think it was like TikTok or Instagram. It's happened on both platforms where these scammers pretend to be dealers, like underground dealers for psychedelics. And they're like, we have Mojo. And I don't know if they say like, it's mojo with psilocybin. Cause if you search Mojo, like we're very clear about the fact that there is no illegal ingredients in our product, but regardless, like, you know, these people put they copy our content. First of all, they like download our videos and our static images, they will create a new page for themselves.

(17:39): So like Mojo dola, GU Mojo, mojo Micro, like things that are very similar. Mm. and then they put up their own content using our content. And then, so you have these customers who see their ads essentially, or their content reaches out. I they, I actually got some screenshots after we chatted of the conversation and they would be like, yeah, you can buy, you know, 10 packs of Mojo for a hundred bucks. It'll be shipped here. You'd have to cash app this specific like, you know, account or username and people are falling for it. People are like, okay, that makes sense. Like, cool. And they have sent hundreds of dollars to these people and then they don't get anything. And then they come back to us and be like, oh my God. Like, I, like, I think I was scammed. I don't think this is your account, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

(18:24): And it's awful, right? As a founder, I'm just like, oh my God. Like people are, I mean, I'm flattered that you think our product is cool enough to use it as a scamming tactic, but also awful for the customer. And we've had customers who have also been threatened by the scammer saying, oh, you were trying to buy something illegal. I'm gonna tell the cops in your area, I now know where you live, blah, blah, blah. And so it's just like trying to take down a scammer, one scammer at a time and trying to use the I guess the, the process that Instagram and TikTok and these platforms have, it's so painful trying to like, you know, send 'em all the screenshots, then it's following up, following up again and again and again until they can take action. And I get it right?

(19:05): Like they don't wanna take down somebody's account if it, there's no actual issue happening behind it. But during that time, they're still posting, they're still getting customers that should have been part of our community, but instead are being scammed. And so when that ever that happens, typically, like either myself or our customer success manager will manage it. But we will send some free mojo out. It's like you got scanned, but I'll send you some mojo out for your, for your troubles hoping you like it. Like, you know, just trying to really provide a good experience despite what they've been through. And yeah, it's just wild to me that this is happening like it's been three or four times now <laugh>,

Sam (19:40): That must be exhausting being a small team as well, having to deal with situations like that.

Stefany (19:47): Yes, yes, there are. And I think any like founder of a small team, you know, it, you're, you're wearing a billion hats and so you have to switch from like reviewing your end of your financials over to like customer success and dealing with a scam to like, oh yeah, the retail, you know, launching in this retail store and I have to get like the assets to them within the next hour. <Laugh>. you are constantly just juggling a million things at once.

Sam (20:14): We've talked about marketing, I want to shift into positioning a little bit, and I would like to know how does Mojo differentiate itself from other mushroom based wellness products in the market?

Stefany (20:29): Yeah, so for us, you know, typically our competitors will have a product that is for energy, a product that is for focus, a product that is for, you know, mood uplift or mood regulation. And I don't know about you, but I have a naturopath and on my, like literally beside my desk, I have a variety of different supplements that I'm meant to take every day. Adding an additional three supplements to get that energy focus, mood uplift, et cetera, was just a no go for us. Like we just, we wanted to create a product that was convenient. You can grab it and go, you can put it in your backpack, in your purse, whatever. You can take it during the day, you can take it at night if you wanna be more social at a party or at a social event. We wanted something convenient.

(21:10): And so that's what we did with Mojo. The fact that it is in a, you know, gummy format, it's in a miler bag that you can just take with you whenever you want. You don't have to mix it into, into anything. It tastes pretty good. That's a other big thing in comparison to a lot of other competitors where the active profiles of these products are overwhelming <laugh>. And so it either tastes awful or they put it in a capsule format and you feel like, you know, you're 90 years old with your 80th supplement of the day. And then the last thing was, you know, back to the convenience factor, not having all of the benefits in one versus separating them into different products. Now with that said I understand that the profitability opportunity of splitting the different benefits into different products exists, but whenever we create a new product for us it's like, would we use it? Would we actually become, you know, routine customers? Because if not, if we feel like we're being cheated, then we don't wanna replicate that experience for our customers and for our community. So yeah, convenience, taste, form factor, all of that is how we differentiate.

Sam (22:16): I was listening to another interview with you and you mentioned something really interesting. You talked about the difference between using the term microdose versus brain boosting when marketing Mojo's products. Is copywriting something that you have to think a lot about when you are marketing the products

Stefany (22:33): One hundreds of time? I love copywriting. I, I love reading copy, like it's such a passion of mine. And yeah, we have to figure out a different way, at least like maybe once a month to keep up with community guidelines on how we can talk about the benefits of our product. So for example, a good one's like mood, you cannot say mood on majority of platforms, like mood regulation isn't something that's kosher on these platforms. And so yeah, we have to figure out like how do I, I I have now taken to describing Mojo as like, it's your best day of your week. It brings you self-fulfillment and joy cuz all of these things lead to positivity, feelings of positivity, but not, I don't have to say mood <laugh>. So yeah, a lot, like any copy that we do, we've gotten relatively good at it, but there's still hiccups. Especially when the CH rules change and then we have to go back to the drawing board. We constantly have to figure out a way to describe ourselves.

Sam (23:31): What are some of the challenges you are facing right now? You talked about some of those challenges earlier on. Is there anything in your marketing or your sales that you are really working hard on this year?

Stefany (23:45): Yeah, I would say retail expansion is one of our big goals for the year. So just working on you know, getting that door footprint widened one of the, we just launched Urban Outfitters and I mean, part of the way that we did that, I applied online, I took all the traditional channels, but then I also LinkedIn messaged every single Urban Outfitters buyer I could find on LinkedIn <laugh>. And I was like, please take a look at my product. Like, I swear you'll like it. So just taking unconventional paths to that retail growth whenever we can. And then I would say the other thing is just figuring out, you know, what's next? Like what other product innovations do we wanna launch? So we have a few things coming up in the pipeline for the rest of the year that we're really excited for and beyond just launching new products, what type of partnerships can we, you know, earn to make these launches even splash year.

(24:41): Our products do really well in places like California and there's that old, like the whole like sober movement in California. And so part of me, I'm like, I wish I just lived there. So I could just, when I'm out and about, if I see somebody that I think could be the face of Mojo, I could just say hello. But I'm in Toronto, so that doesn't really happen often. So it's just how do we again, talk about our product and make these launches bigger and splashier and, and get into people's feeds essentially regardless of one platform they're on while still managing it as a small team. Oh, actually I'm gonna add a third one. Increasing our Amazon rating. Amazon is the wild, wild west and last year we had an issue where they mislabeled one of our, like our packages. And so people that would order, let's say two packs of Mojo, they'd get one. And so then people were coming back and leaving, not the best reviews cause it's like, well, I didn't get what I had meant to get. And so now our rating, I think it's at like 3.7 or something mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and I, I check it almost daily. I'm like, I want us to get to the 4.0. So that's one of the big things I'm also focused on this year.

Sam (25:48): What are some of the ways you plan on doing that?

Stefany (25:52): I'm figuring that out. Anybody listening to this has any, you know, best practices, please feel free to reach out to me. Right now we did the whole Vine thing that Amazon offers. It, it was all right. Like it wasn't great. We thought about doing what some other companies do where it's like insert a well an insert into the product itself, but then we thought about it like, as a consumer, I do pretty gross out If there was like a paper thing in my edible prod, like it just, it didn't fit with the tool. We're just like, that's, that's kind of gross. And so right now we're just, you know, reaching out to everybody who purchases on Amazon, asking them if they have any issues, please contact us first. Like, we're happy to provide the best customer service that we can instead of getting a negative review. But it, it's tough out there. Amazon really restricts how you can speak to your customers and how you can get that rating up. So we're just out here fighting for our lives.

Sam (26:50): Well, best of luck with us, Stefany. This has been a really fascinating conversation. Where can our listeners go to learn more about Mojo?

Stefany (26:59): For sure, they can go to Mojo Chop, that's our official website or I'm literally open to speaking to anybody at any time. So Steph with an Fre psych or Steph Psych on literally any platform, just feel free to say hey.

Sam (27:13): Perfect. Well, we'll put the links in the show notes as always. And Stefany, thanks again for taking the time to join us and all the best in the future with Mojo.

Stefany (27:22): Thank you so much.