Today as a part of the ongoing MPB Insights interview series Christopher Durham, founder of My Private Brand and VP of retail brands at Theory House, talks to Kevin Hannan, National Sales Manager for Karlin Foods. The series feature short interviews with executives from private brand manufacturers consisting of five questions. The project is based on one main principle: the less useless words, the better. The goal is to give readers as much thought provoking, insightful information as possible. Less is more.
Christopher: How did you get your start in the private brand business?
Kevin: By accident really. I was working for Colgate Palmolive and I had a friend who worked for Fleming Foods. He was relentless in wanting my resume for a Private Label Sales leader for the Topeka Division.
I had the opportunity to be trained by Pepsi and Colgate Palmolive. Fleming Foods was instrumental in my being introduced to the Private Label industry. Fleming asked me to move to Bentonville, AR. and manage the Walmart business as they were entering the grocery segment. My office was inside the Walmart corporate office. The opportunities that I have been afforded are many and each of them plays a role today. I have retail, wholesale, broker, branded and private label food experience that has allowed me to have an understanding in managing my business with customers today.
Christopher: What is your proudest accomplishment?
Kevin: Selling in a premium paper to Walgreens while working for Georgia Pacific. This changed WG senior management view of premium private label items/programs.
Christopher: What will private brand look like in 20 years?
Kevin: Own Brands will play a much greater role within the online segment. This will be accomplished by having cleaner and simpler ingredients that have solidified themselves in the natural channel today. Will Amazon’s Own Brand lineup dominate in 20 years?
Christopher: If you could give retailers one piece of advice what would it be?
Kevin: When sales dip, double down on your Own Brands. Don’t run to the brands for promotional money as this money will dry up and you will be left with little customer loyalty.
Christopher: What keeps you up at night?
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