Episode 27: Greg Vetter – Failing Publicly & Disrupting the Clean Food Movement

Episode 27: Greg Vetter - Failing Publicly & Disrupting the Clean Food Movement


Greg Vetter is the Founder and CEO of Tessemae’s, a flavor-forward, organic fresh food company considered to be a lead innovator and disruptor in the Clean Food Movement.

Today, Greg joins the show to tell the story of how an idea became a family business and grew to be the number one organic salad dressing brand. Greg and Jeff talk about the challenges of growing a brand from scratch, the value of continuing to innovate to solve new problems, and the importance of having drive, determination, and grit.

Key Takeaways

01:20 – Jeff introduces today’s guest, Greg Vetter, who joins the show to discuss his brand story, his ability to take action, and how athletics helped him in his entrepreneurial pursuits

11:51 – Being willing to fail publicly and bumps along the way

18:09 – Creating a brand identity in a saturated marketplace

21:12 – Building brand affinity

23:31 – Jeff takes a moment to thank one of today’s sponsors, Champion Leadership Group

24:15 – The decision to diversify into multiple different SKUs/products

27:23 – The value of spending time in-stores doing demos

33:12 – What it’s like competing with larger brands and competitors

35:41 – Advice Greg would give to early-stage entrepreneurs

40:36 – Working in a family business

43:29 – Jeff thanks Greg for joining the show and lets listeners know where to learn more about Tessemae’s

Tweetable Quotes

“And I think so often that kills the progress required. And so much of what we’ve done is just like action creates action. You need to put one foot in front of the other and you’ve got to live to fight another day. And so often, people don’t realize the accountability required to take action. No one else is really ready to give you the level of advice required or the rules that you need to break to get it done, because they don’t want that in their life. And so, you have these people with great ideas and the idea doesn’t matter.” (08:36) (Greg)

“We’re not rewarded for failure either. We’re rewarded in school for perfection. And that’s not what the journey is about at all. It’s about how often you can pick yourself up off the ground and get up and do it the next day with a smile on your face. And if you can do that, you can do anything.” (10:25) (Greg)

“There’s interesting ways to do things that are still healthy. Our creamy dressings are a great example. We emulsify them with egg instead of dairy or whatever weird powders or thickening agents are out there. And that came because we wanted to stay a ‘clean eating’ brand and we wanted to avoid as many allergens as we could possibly avoid.” (20:08) (Greg)

“And so when we were thinking about the brand, it needed to be timeless. It needed to be scalable, right? It couldn’t be region specific. And it needed to be authentic. People needed to be able to get into it and go, ‘Oh, wow. I can’t believe this story is real.’” (22:18) (Greg)

“If it doesn’t taste good, I mean I don’t even know why we’re doing it. That is the only purpose of something being in a bottle and being bought, in my opinion.” (26:58) (Greg)

“And so, when you get into more traditional marketing methods, you get farther and farther and farther away from just the initial gut reaction of a person walking into a store or experiencing a product. The further you get away, the less you know. And so going into the store and just hearing what people say – it doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong – you really get an understanding of, ‘wow, people really like the fact that the ingredient panel is simple, or there’s no thickening agents in it, or they love the freshness of the taste.’” (30:02) (Greg)

“One of the doctors did an off-site training session and said, ‘You guys aren’t a Management Team, you’re a gang. Everybody has super high achievement. Everybody has super high aggression. Everybody has super high endurance. Everyone has low empathy.’ And so everybody was, ‘I’m right.’ And, as the CEO, I had to figure out how to be a good leader while not stepping on their toes because they didn’t want that at all.” (41:38) (Greg)


Resources Mentioned

Greg’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregvetter/

Tessemae’s – https://www.tessemaes.com/

Tessemae’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/Tessemaes

Tessemae’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tessemaes/

Tessemae’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TessemaesAllNatural

Tessemae’s Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/tessemaes09/

Tessemae’s YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqGGBh0806OINwiDeT1sEMg

Greg’s Ted Talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/greg_vetter_the_dinner_habit_the_recipe_for_change

Episode Sponsor

Champion Leadership Group – https://championleadership.com/

Small Fish, Big Pond – https://smallfishbigpond.com/ Use the promo code ‘SaaSFuel’