Hiring for a new brand is a unique challenge that requires attention and skill. Deciding where to begin can be tricky, especially when you’re balancing new hires with the voice and thought leadership of a creator, but we’re here to help.
While you might initially want to gravitate toward filling executive positions, it’s important to not pigeonhole yourself into only bringing on people who do the high-level work. Yes, big picture thinking is important, but you need to make sure you place an emphasis on hiring people who will do the work and focus on the more granular tasks that need to get done.
So where do you begin? Simply put: sales, operations, and finance. Now let’s dive in.
Sales: Chief Revenue Officer or Head of Sales
Of course, sales are important. If you want to grow as a business, you need a skilled and dedicated sales team to help drive revenue. Yes, the creator can leverage Instagram and TikTok as tools to grow the business, but you need a strong sales team to really lock it down and drive the numbers home.
When it comes to sales, it’s crucial to look beyond DTC strategy and focus on expanding to in-store presence. While digital marketing and e-commerce are naturally a big part of most — if not all — creator brands, to survive in today’s marketplace, you have to integrate a brick-and-mortar strategy into your approach.
For TBH, a hazelnut spread company created by actor Noah Schnapp, getting the products on shelves was crucial. “My thought was that we had to meet Nutella where they were at, which is on the shelf,” Elena Guberman, the CEO of TBH said, reflecting on the company’s decision to bring on a salesperson early on in the company’s hiring process. Because retail has such a long cycle, the leadership team at TBH placed an emphasis on this hire. “We brought him on pretty much right after launch,” Guberman said, “And only now are we seeing the fruits of our labor.”
By nature of their platforms, creators might do a great job diving into the DTC world — because of the tools that Shopify and social provide — but when you think beyond digital, that’s where the real growth happens.
Rare Beauty, Selena Gomez’s brand, for instance, has found success in its partnership with Sephora. Not only is this a great way for the brand to expand its footprint, but it also provides Rare Beauty customers with the opportunity to buy products that might be sold out online.
With a CRO or Head of Sales running the sales-focused ship, a creator brand has a wider range of opportunities and more potential when it comes to implementing a true omnichannel strategy.
Operations: Chief Operating Officer
So your creator brand has a sales strategy in place and you’ve made the necessary hires, but how do you actually get your product into stores?
As anyone who has worked in the CPG space would know, focusing on supply chain and operations is necessary if you’re trying to get your product into retail, and when you’re ready to scale, you need someone who can zone in on international strategy.
This is where the work really gets done, and this skill set won’t necessarily fall under the natural strengths of the creator. In fact, it likely won’t. This is where you need to focus on hiring if you’re looking to place an emphasis on scaling and growing. You have to hire an operations team if you want to scale.
While the Chief Operating Officer role is crucial, make sure you go beyond the executive level, hiring people who will help make the sausage and keep the products moving.
Logistics are deeply important when you’re running a business, and oftentimes, companies run into issues they never saw coming. For some products in the cannabis and gummies space, for example, operations teams have to confront and navigate state-to-state regulations and restrictions. This is where supply chain directors and managers come in, too.
For Calirosa Tequila, Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo’s brand that launched in 2021, the first hires were commercial- and marketing-focused. Outside of his own role as president of the company, the first person David Gimpelson brought on worked in a commercial role because the company needed help with production — everything from sourcing bottles and corks to getting labels and figuring out the shipping situation. “Focusing on warehousing and the logistics of making the product and bringing it to the U.S. is a very important role,” he said.
Business operations are a crucial focal point in order to keep the lights on, whether you’re talking about a creator brand or not. The lifeblood of the company comes down to how things run internally and how the company functions. While creator-led brands are having a special moment right now, it’s important to not focus on the flashing lights and shift your attention toward the functionality of the business itself.
The less glamorous aspects of running the brand are often the most important ones — whether it’s the e-commerce platform, sales database, or payroll. Hiring in these areas will keep the lights on.
Finance: Chief Financial Officer or Chief Revenue Officer
In today’s professional environment, with constant talks of a recession, it’s crucial to have your company’s financial team buttoned up. Hiring in this space will set you up for long-term success.
Oftentimes, this means making sure everything is in line so you don’t have to make reactive decisions when financial situations don’t go as planned. Looking at projections and taxes, for example, will set you up for success, even if it feels daunting.
Bringing on strong financial leadership will help keep your company — and your investment — protected. It’s important to know how far behind or ahead you are financially, and sometimes this can come down to the smallest of details.
Assessing wholesale and distribution fees and making cuts where necessary could ultimately help keep your company afloat.
Marketing: Chief Marketing Officer
From the outside looking in, there’s often a common misconception that a creator (and their massive audience) provides a brand with most of the marketing power that’s needed.
While having a built-in audience and a person who specializes in getting the word out definitely helps, you need a team that can capitalize on that resource and make magic happen.
The right Chief Marketing Officer — and the people you hire to work with them — will know that marketing efforts don’t stop with the creator. That’s where it starts. The venture studio that TBH works with, for example, places a heavy focus on marketing because they often work with celebrities and people who have a high net worth.
Plus, bringing on a marketing team takes some of the business pressure off of the creator, and instead, places it on experts who can make sure the sausage is being made and promoted.
“For any consumer packaged product, you have to have that story that is always told when you’re not around – when you’re not standing next to the shelf, telling people a story” Gimpelson said, reflecting on his conversations with the sales team at Calirosa Tequlia. “That storytelling is done through marketing.”
Interested in building your creator brand or working for one? Reach out to us to start the conversation.