We had the good fortune of connecting with Morgan Lerner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Morgan, what do you attribute your success to?
Finding our whitespace. In other words: what makes us different! Not only does the fact that we are a banana bread-dedicated company set us apart in itself, but we also do monthly innovative flavors to surprise and delight our customers. But we go further, beyond product innovation. We further differentiate ourselves through the unique community we’ve cultivated online – the #GonanasFam of our customers and over 1000 ambassadors. We’re always thinking how we can lean into our unique personality and brand to deliver unique value to our customers. Ultimately, It’s the combination of our “whitespace” differentiators big and small, that build our BRAND and make us WHO WE ARE. It’s a commitment to innovation, but more importantly, it’s the most fun part of what we do and we love doing it!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What makes our company stand out is how much we value each and every one of our customers. What we learned early on is that banana bread is meant to be shared. That being said, every customer is so important because they can spread the GoNanas love to their circles, which creates a ripple effect of growth for us. Additionally, we learned that most people who try our products become repeat customers, so we quickly realized how important every customer is for our business. We go as far as direct-messaging every one of our new followers with a personalized welcome message. We also heavily focus on text message marketing to reach each of our customers directly and in a more personal way. This also translates to our ambassador program of over 1000 passionate foodies, where we work with accounts of all sizes, from those with only a few hundred followers to influencers in the millions. At the end of the day, we are two women with a passion for this business, and we love getting to connect with our customers. Every customer, ambassador, or even just social media follower is a key part of the #GoNanasFam.
In regards to lessons, there’s too many to count, as by nature, every day as an entrepreneur brings it’s own unique challenges and learnings. That being said, I’ve narrowed it down to my top 4 lessons (you can learn more about these on our new podcast coming this August – “Bite Into Business”): 1) Take action. Don’t sit on your idea or overanalyze it before testing it out in the market. Starting a business is an iterative process, but if it’s something you’re passionate about, just get started so you can learn if it’s worth scaling in the first place. 2) Do the market research. This encompasses both customer feedback (and lots of it) and competitive research. This will help you narrow in on the unique value you offer your customers that your competitors don’t. 3) Build your data. Track everything from the beginning, and use those data points to not only set goals and fuel your growth, but to act from a more strategic, factual place. Less guessing, more data = a more strategic path forward. And last but not least, 4) As I mentioned previous, find your whitespace. Continuously innovate to set yourself apart from the competitors. This has a compounding effect, that is essential for long term success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So I would hit up Blue Bottle for Coffee, industrious co-working spaces during the work day, and Erewhon market in between for that work-week fuel and just browsing the aisles… naturally this would be my activity of choice. Weekends I would 100% be the first one at the farmers market and I’m a sucker for a view, so I would stroll through the gardens at the Huntington Library (maybe picnic with a bottle of Rose) and catch sunset at Griffith park. I would end the weekend with a bike on the Strand and dinner at Destroyer if we’re feeling ~fancy~
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All the female entrepreneurs and business owners out there – seriously HUGE SHOUTOUT! Running your own business is NOT easy, especially as a female in the male-dominated space. For so many years, my business partner and other co-founder Anie and I were viewed as just 2 young girls running a small bakery business as a hobby. Many didn’t take us, nor our idea, seriously, especially with our upbeat and positive personalities. Despite the doubts around us, we kept going, with full-faith in what we were doing. Seeing where it is today, compared to where it was sophomore year of college, gives me such a sense of accomplishment. Yes, we are 2 young and bubbly women, but we run a tight ship. We consistently analyze all of our business activities and have a very clear, data-driven strategy. We work our butts off, day-in and day-out. None of this happened accidentally in my opinion, but rather, through hard, smart work. The SAME is with you, and I see you!
Other: You can also find us on Tik Tok at @Gonanas and in the App Store (Apple and Google Play) under “GoNanas” (you get 20% your first in-app purchase)