MPB Insights: Charles Kaye – CEO, Greenblendz

Today as a part of the ongoing MPB Insights interview series Christopher Durham, founder of My Private Brand, talks to Charles Kaye, CEO of Greenblendz. The series features 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.

Charles Kaye has spent four decades traversing the retail market arena wearing many different hats including manufacturers rep, CEO, product developer and marketing strategist.  His ability to see and understand the big picture has kept him relevant in a rapidly changing retail environment.

Christopher: How did you get your started in the private brand business?
Charles: I began supplying Private Label NBE household chemical products to K Mart in 1971. In the early “80’s I supplied them with NBE Private Label Motor Oil. At the time NBE was a commodity business that was driven strictly by price. Today Private Label has evolved into Private Brands or as we call it National Brands Better, which is clearly what todays Millennial shopper is demanding.

Christopher: What is your proudest accomplishment?
Charles: I have been fortunate to be a part of many exciting business opportunities during my career but I feel that being a part of a company who’s mission is to formulate and provide consumer products that are literally healthier and safer for them is extremely rewarding. To know that my children are using our products on my grandsons is beyond gratifying.

Christopher: What will private brand look like in 20 years?
Charles: Clearly the most aggressive competition for the retailer is the internet.  More than 30% of the Millennial purchases are now made on line. Retailers can only combat this with Private Brand programs that offer a distinct, proprietary value to its’ shoppers. Today 28% of all purchases are in Private brand and I believe that this will more than double in the next 20 years. Our successes and data supports this.

Christopher: If you could give retailers one piece of advice what would it be?
Charles: Get actively involved in all aspects of your own brands.  Truly understand what those brands stand for.  Launch your brand with the same marketing strategy that a national brand would employ. Make your suppliers true partners not your banker. Invest in the long term growth rather than the short term ROI.

Today’s consumer have too many choices. Make your store be that choice.

Christopher: What keeps you up at night?
Charles: Retailers that operate out of a rearview mirror, who are intimidated by innovation. The five “P’s” of basic marketing (Product, Packaging, Placement, Pricing and Promotion) still has value. Mold them to your business model and today’s available platforms. Pay attention to your data.  Look forward not behind you.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.