Below is our recent interview with Jakob Schiller, CMO of Taos Bakes:
Q: For those who haven’t heard of it, what is the best way to describe Taos Bakes?
A: We make delicious snack bars from whole ingredients that actually taste good.
Back in 2010 our two ski bum founders got tired of energy bars that tasted like cardboard and decided to try making their own out of a community kitchen in Taos, New Mexico. That led to our first flavor (Peanut Butter Chocolate + Butterscotch), a lot of hard work, and our story as a Made In New Mexico company.
Today, Taos Bakes are sold across the U.S. at stores like REI, Whole Foods, and Natural Grocers, and we operate out of a 100% solar-powered factory in Questa (an ex-mining town just North of Taos) that’s home to a thriving wholesale, retail, and e-commerce business.
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Q: The consumer packaged goods (CPG) space is incredibly competitive, how are you staying nimble as you build a customer base?
A: Consumers are really doing their homework to understand both how food is made and where it fits into their lifestyle and daily routine, so having a clear, executable strategy around the entire customer experience is critical.
We’ve prioritized feedback from our customers + community as a primary driver of our product development and marketing. Our tech stack includes Shopify, Amazon, Google Analytics, Google CPC, Facebook Ads, and Zendesk, and in a very short period of time we’ve developed the ability to pull data and feedback from a range of digital channels to complement our retail/wholesale performance.
Q: What’s something that’s different about Taos Bakes compared to other snacks on the market right now?
A: Unlike many of our competitors we don’t use a base formula or injected flavors (yes, that’s as gross as it sounds) and we never use cheap fillers like soy flour or rice puffs to pad profits. We had a pretty fun time highlighting the differences in our Leave The Blandlands campaign with the Harmon Brothers that launched back in July, which is already over 2M views on Facebook alone.
We are a craft snack brand, meaning we create each flavor profile from scratch with whole ingredients, and we’re obsessed with taste and delivering snacks that are delicious…not just something that meets the most recent diet fad.
Q: How are you reaching people both in-store and online?
A: Over the last few years we spent a lot of time building retail and wholesale partnerships. That’s led to shelf space at Whole Foods, REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and a ton of local retail shops and markets.
This year we committed to expanding our digital footprint and are using a blended multi-channel strategy that includes both Shopify and Amazon to reach our existing customers and new ones. Coupled with a rebrand from Taos Mountain Energy Bars to Taos Bakes we’ve taken a huge step up, and we’re on track to double our revenue by the end of the year.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We’re enjoying some fast paced growth right now. After a couple of years focusing on the basics we’re about to release a new flavor in November, and we’ve got 3-4 new flavors queued up for 2020 that we’re expecting to be a lot of fun.
We also have a ton of pride in our home state of New Mexico. We’ve been inspired by the international presence of brands like Jackson Wink MMA, Meow Wolf, Marble Brewing, and New Mexico United, and the latter two we’re forging partnerships with to help grow New Mexico’s profile as a place with a unique culture and a deep love of innovation.