How To Go From Idea To Product with Vitaminis Founder Leslie Danford

The Quest for E-Commerce Success

Jan 4 2023 • 36 mins

Leslie is a driven and passionate team and business leader combining her personal interests with her formal business training to launch what she hopes will become the first scale brand in children’s functional food and beverage: Vitaminis (  Previously she served in strategic growth roles and general management roles at Foxtrot, Softbank-backed OYO Hotels, and global spirits company Beam Suntory.  She began her career as a Management Consultant at Bain & Company and earned her MBA from Harvard University and BA from the University of Chicago, with honors.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Functional food and beverage branding - how Leslie created a successful and healthy new beverage brand.
  • How experience in hospitality can help when starting a new business - building consumer relationships and understanding the needs of the customer.
  • How to scale a business using outside capital.
  • The challenges of finding manufacturers and how to present your new product as a win.
  • Going from an idea to a product on the shelf in just 2 years - finding the right partners and understanding your market.
  • The pros and cons of selling on  Amazon  - an easy purchase for the consumer but lacks a personal connection.
  • The importance of gut health - why Leslie is focusing on healthy alternatives.
  • Getting your product in with independent retailers - from knocking on doors to creating lasting relationships.
  • Playing the long game - how to stand out in digital marketing and create brand awareness.
  • The importance of customer feedback - reading reviews, connecting with your customer base, and planning for future marketing.
  • Finding the right influencers to market for you - someone who loves your product, not just the paycheck.
  • Leveraging subscription plans - why they make sense when selling a smaller cost, fast moving item.


Connecting with Guest:

Connecting with the host:


  • 4:42 “I spoke with a lot of fellow moms and my potential customers about what they would look for in a product, what was important.”
  • 4:56 “Working on the formula with the formulator was pretty straightforward. They kind of know the food science and the stability, and that kind of thing, and I had the vision for it.”
  • 5:05 “Finding a contract manufacturer, and actually getting the product produced was one of the more challenging steps.”
  • 6:00 “I think of it more in functions vs. flavors. So the first function I launched was immune support.”
  • 11:19 “One of the reasons I built this product, I was looking for a more natural kind of preventive way to deal with those issues.”
  • 13:30 “When I think about where people are shopping for products for their families, or themselves, you have to be on Amazon.”
  • 15:44 “Now that we’re in those stores, my focus is on making sure we’re successful in terms of the sales and the performance.”
  • 17:14 “Driving consumer awareness in today’s environment is really difficult.”
  • 26:26 “Who loves your product just because they love your product, not because you’re writing them a check? And then how can you build on that authentic fit.”
  • 29:12 “Subscriptions is really important to our brand because it is part of a daily ritual.”