On my radio show, Launch Pad, I talk with entrepreneurs about their startups, and once a month I choose an Elevator Pitch Of The Month. This month my selection is Joey Zeillinger, Founder of Allbirds. Listen to our in-depth, hour-long conversation here.
First of all, I should say that I’m wearing Allbirds right now, and I wear them about 30% to 40% of the time, so clearly I’m a fan. I bought my first pair after Joey Zwillinger, the founder of Allbirds, came and spoke to a class of mine a little over a year ago (full disclosure, Joey is a Wharton MBA alumnus, although he wasn’t a student of mine), and he made the pitch to me that I really ought to be wearing Allbirds. I’ve bought a few pairs over the year.
Clearly, Joey has both a great product and a great pitch.
Courtesy of Allbirds
Allbirds elevator pitch: “We set out to make the most comfortable shoe in the world. What we did to do that was strip away every single detail of a current construction of a shoe that is unnecessary and either takes away for comfort or is focused on dropping cost or doing something else that’s unrelated to our customer. And then we engineered and innovated a fabric where we packed in fibers from the merino sheep that are about 20 percent of the width of a human hair that are typically used in $5,000 suits and we engineered a fabric that was strong enough to make into a fabric that could be an upper of a shoe, that’s the part that’s above your foot. And we constructed what we think is a great shoe. And we did it in a way that was incredibly sustainable for the planet.” Listen to Joey give his elevator pitch.
From the consumer end—the end on which I’m wearing shoes—this is a great pitch, with lots to appeal to me, especially around comfort and sustainability. But what I think is really fascinating about Allbirds as a company is in their brand, and their dedication to building that brand.
Courtesy of Allbirds
I was shocked when Joey told me how much Allbirds initially spent on brand. No startup I’ve ever heard of takes even the first ten percent of their financing and puts it against brand. But here’s what Joey has to say about their spending: “We put almost 20% of our initial budget we ended up spending on brand. And I think every dollar was worth it.” That 20%, by the way, came to around $400,000-$500,000—a huge investment for a startup.