Jack Bezaquen founded Duradry to provide solutions for people who experience excessive sweatinng. In the process he created a product that has rescrambled the very full DTC deodorant playing field and has been massively profitable year-over-year. Jason interviews him about his product development and marketing in this upbeat episode.
In this week’s episode of Ecommerce Building Blocks, Jason invited Jack Benzaquen onto the show to unpack how Duradry became so profitable in the already saturated deodorant market. The answer: when you’re going into a competitive space - go deeper. Jack did his research, found an unexplored niche in the market, and deployed all of his business acumen toward solving a specific problem for consumers. He used visual marketing and customer testimonials to stand out, and has been extremely profitable year-over-year. He and Jason discuss this as well as early investment models for CPG businesses and why going all-in and quitting your job should also have some data to back it up.
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Jack is the founder of Duradry.com, a brand working to destigmatize and offer solutions to alleviate excessive sweating. Jack is originally from Venezuela, Latin America. His academic background is in systems engineering and finance, but he fell in love with CPG 18yrs ago, and that’s what he has been doing ever since.
[00:00:00] Jack Benzaquen : Even if you wanna focus on the product, I would say to everyone just launch it doesn't matter if it's the ideal formula or, or the ideal thing. I think it's easier to dominate a niche and then you can expand. Try to change a little bit of messaging and grab more, more, more land.
[00:00:30] Jason Wong: Hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Building Blocks podcast show. I am so excited to have Jack on the show today. Jack is a brilliant founder I had the chance to meet in Miami, in person over dinner. He's a founder of Duradry, a brand working to destigmatize and offer solutions to alleviate excessive sweating.
[00:00:50] And before that, he was originally from Venezuela, he was in system engineering and finance, and now he's building one of the most exciting deodorant company in the [00:01:00] world. Welcome to the show.
[00:01:01] Jack Benzaquen : Thank you so much for having me, Jason.
[00:01:04] Jason Wong: I actually love the conversation that we had in person. And I wanted to invite you on a show because I just felt that you have such a cool story.
[00:01:12] You went in such a different part of life from systems engineer to finance and then consumer brand. How did you make leap?
[00:01:25] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah. Yeah. You know, the. I think that our paths in life are not necessarily stuff that we choose. There's a bunch of influences from every direction. Right. And that's what happened to me, you know, um, super passionate about computers and coding and all that.
[00:01:43] So was building websites when I was really young mm-hmm and then, you know, I was the, the, the kid in the family that everyone saw as, as a hustler and, and hard worker. Um, so my aunt asked me to help her build something or to help her find a product to build something. [00:02:00] So, you know, I, she told me I want something that I could sell to pharmacies that was literally her only constraint.
[00:02:06] So I found her something, a pregnancy test. And then she said, I have no idea how to build this. Can you do it with me? So I started doing that with her. Then she left a year later. And then, you know, ever since I've been in the CPG industry.
[00:02:20] Jason Wong: Wow. Yeah, you've been here for a while now. Way, much longer than I have. Like what 18 years in this
[00:02:27] Jack Benzaquen : 18 years, brother, 18 years.
[00:02:29] Jason Wong: I'm 25. So like that's like a full sized adult.
[00:02:34] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah, there's,
[00:02:35] there's a little bit of a there's there's a little bit, uh, of a Delta between my age
[00:02:39] and your age.
[00:02:40] Jason Wong: Hey, I mean, I love being in rooms of people who are much more experienced. I feel like I'm getting a shortcut in life and that's kind of why I started this podcast where myself and others in the same position, um, I felt very fortunate to be able to be in rooms with people like you and I, I felt that these conversations, it's how I get head [00:03:00] starts, you know, learning the failures, learning the successes and like calling it Building Blocks because it's really the things that you build on top of each other and being in this space for so long now. Like there's definitely a lot of things that you have seen, like trenches and waves.
[00:03:12] What are some of things that you are super excited about recently?
[00:03:17] Jack Benzaquen : When it comes to trends?
[00:03:18] Jason Wong: Um, about like this whole industry and, and consumer brands?
[00:03:23] Jack Benzaquen : Um, that's a good question. Um, There's a lot of activity. The, the only, the, the thing that excites me the most and at the same time scares me the most is that there's a lot of activity, right?
[00:03:35] So there's a lot of people creating new innovative products and, and new angles to market these products. And, and it's just a lot of activity and, and it's, you know, super, super powerful. You know, just thinking where we're gonna be in a few years from now at the same time, there's so much activity that, that maybe we are, uh, [00:04:00] just all of us jumping into a red sea.
[00:04:02] Right, right. Um, but yeah, love the innovation that's that's happening in the, in the category and definitely, uh, love the, the DTC aspect of it. Although it, it, it like it lost its wrap yeah, after Casper and a few others, but I truly truly believe in this business model, not in the typical sense of just building the whole business on top of that, but as a, as a way to allow you to allow you to, you know, keep the business afloat and sell your product, know your customers iterate on the messaging of the product, on the formulas and then, you know, go omnichannel, right?
[00:04:44] That's the, the big thing that I'm, you know excited about when it comes to DTC, per se.
[00:04:50] Jason Wong: I love that. I actually was just on Twitter today. Um, and I saw Moiz Ali, founder of Native, um, yeah. Post about tweet, threat about, [00:05:00] um, how, when he first started his deodorant company, he went on Etsy and bought something from the Etsy seller and white-labeled it to his, because it was just easier to start.
[00:05:10] And obviously like back then, you could do that. It's a lot harder now because of how easy it is to do it. And so there's a lot more competition, but back then, starting a Native Deodorant Company by white- labeling was very possible. You, you can stand out. Yeah. Um, and I, and I know that for your company, you're very product focused.
[00:05:27] This is something fundamentally different than any other offering in the space. How did you make your first stick of deodorant?
[00:05:34] Jack Benzaquen : Dude, it was such a difficult thing for me because I arrived into the US as a, as an immigrant. I, I came here, uh, uh, with no network, uh, I didn't know, contract manufacturers or, you know, bankers, I didn't even have a social security number to be able to, to transact online or to, do business or anything.
[00:05:55] Right. So to grow or to find these [00:06:00] manufacturers was, was kinda, uh, tricky until, you know, I, I tried so many things and right until I found one that could help me, uh, uh, you know, do something different. Right. Um, and then from there I kept iterating on the formula. Right. Like making it better.
[00:06:23] Jason Wong: I love that it's like you could see founders that are so product focused, that they're just making something so unique.
[00:06:29] And which brings me to the next question, the, the owner space
[00:06:32] Jack Benzaquen : But wait, the thing that is that I think it's key is that even if you wanna focus on the product, I would say to everyone that that is listening, just launch it. Uh, doesn't matter if it's the ideal formula or, or ideal thing. What you are buying is a chance to iterate on it.
[00:06:56] Right. Don't be afraid of people saying, oh, you know, I tried this [00:07:00] brand. I didn't like it. You know, that's the cost, you know, there will be others in the future that, that those are the ones that, you know, you're gonna actually, uh, uh, get, like, if you ask Moiz,, he'll for sure uh, share that thought, uh, right.
[00:07:15] I can't talk by him, but, but I'm sure that you just launch something and then you iterate on it.
[00:07:21] Jason Wong: Absolutely. I think like your time in the space is more important than like trying to time it by going with like a perfect product, because what is the perfect product, right. Um, what is our product? Every single brand that I've launched we've launched was something that looking back, we're like, oh man, that's kind of embarrassing, but we're thankful that we launched it because it gave us that foot in the door to iterate.
[00:07:45] Um, I have a Selzer company that I invested in when they invest uh, when I invested in their brand, the selzer didn't taste good, but it has such a good brand and story. And I know that the founders are good people that I'm like, I know that they can [00:08:00] iterate to make this better. So I'm investing in the founder.
[00:08:02] Um, on the consumer side, they are investing in the product by buying the product. They wanna give it a try. But you wanna at least get them within your, your, your circle to try it first and say, Hey, actually something better's coming, we're coming out with a 2.0, we're coming out with a version 3..
[00:08:18] Think of it like software, right? Like there's so much updates. The iPhone didn't come out with an iOS 15. They came out with the first version, which looking back was horrible, but they had to start somewhere. So your advice is great. I tell it to everyone else. Don't be afraid to start, just start and then fail and then learn from it.
[00:08:38] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah. Yeah. And, and don't care what people say or think about your product, pay attention in a, in a very, uh, objective way. Never take anything personal, like we're playing a game and that's it.
[00:08:55] Jason Wong: Yeah, absolutely. I actually had a tweet today. I was like, you know, building in [00:09:00] public is, is a chance for you to get feedbacks that you might not even want to hear because it hurts. But people give you those fee, those feedback because they care, you know, the, the deodorant space is very competitive. There's a ton of brands coming up here and there. And like you said, in the beginning, it's, it's a lot of activity. Yeah. But you guys are obviously standing out. How do you make your brand stand out in a very saturated space?
[00:09:25] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah, that's a good question. Um, the first thing that I did is I chose a very specific niche. Um, I think it's easier to dominate a niche and then you can expand. Uh, uh, you can basically yeah. Expand your product line, um, and then try to change a little bit of messaging and grab more, more, more land. So that's one, uh, at the beginning go niche.
[00:09:50] Um, B I went as radical as possible when it came to branding. Um, it wasn't like, like you see today now, if you [00:10:00] Google it, uh, and check the images, you'll see how horrible it was. But that's why, you know, last year we went full, into the red to represent the brand. Not only because it's very distinctive, but also it, it conveys the power, uh, of, of, of the brand that, you know, and that's one of our values, right?
[00:10:20] Effective, powerful products. Um, also with the messaging go radical, um, You do everything that can set you apart, right?
[00:10:32] Jason Wong: Absolutely. I think the brand branding stood out. I, I love the packaging that you guys had.
[00:10:37] Jack Benzaquen : Thank you, thank you for that..
[00:10:38] Jason Wong: And you're right about the niche. Like you're not just making a natural deodorant or like a deodorant that smells good. You're you're tackling a very specific problem. And once you have that North Star, everything else just falls into place. You're solving a specific condition of people that has excessive sweating, which I don't really see other people do. Maybe like more medical focused products would do that. [00:11:00] But your goal is to bring that to the mass consumers.
[00:11:02] Yeah. So that everyone can have access to it. Yeah. Um, In order to stand out, pick something that is truly, truly cord, um, and really double down on that. And you're right. Like for me, when I made the lash company, mm-hmm three, four years ago, it's a very competitive space. You can go into Walgreens and pick up a pair of lashes for $2-3.
[00:11:22] And so people are like, why would you sell a pair of lashes for $14-15? Well, yeah, we are not just making any pair of lashes. We're making lashes that actually fit. And you could wear every single day. and that's something that no one else was really making. No one was focusing on comfort when everyone was focusing on looking good for short periods of time.
[00:11:41] Yeah. Or focusing on looking good for long periods of time. Yeah. Things that can last all day things that will stay on. Even if you sweat, even if you jump around. Yeah. So. You know, even in a very saturated space, there's always problems to solve. And I'm the way that I do it is I looked at reviews. I asked people around, I looked at [00:12:00] site reviews and I saw even in this big space, there was people that were still having problems with it.
[00:12:05] And it was common across the board
[00:12:07] Jack Benzaquen : 100%. You know, one of the advantages that we have Jason, is that, uh, incumbents usually build their products. They're optimizing for cost, basically for profit, right? Um, and there's a lot of, a lot involved there, like ingredients that they choose economics of scale, all that, but they're optimizing for cost and for reach.
[00:12:32] So they have to sell to the majority of people and they need to make it the cheapest they can. But if you wanna build Yeti, Or if you want to build, uh, Doe Lashes or Duradry, it's not about reducing or optimizing for cost, but for the problem that you're solving, in my case, in the case, excessive sweating in your case is lashes that won't fall lashes that you can use every day and lashes that fit perfectly on your, [00:13:00] uh, eyes.
[00:13:02] Um, right. So, so that's one of the advantages that we have.
[00:13:06] Jason Wong: You need to really show the problems with the things that people have already in the space. Um, I saw this company called BlendJet. They, they make blender bottles and like, if you've been working out or even just being around here, you know, that blender bottles are nothing new.
[00:13:21] Um, but they are like, you know what? The traditional blending bottle sucks. We're gonna make something that it's the same size, but just has a little blade in a bottom. Yeah. you know? Yeah. And they're like, you can clean it easier. You can bring it everywhere. It's like having a blender in a bottle. Yeah. And it's cool.
[00:13:36] Yeah. And when you're listing out all these like solutions to existing problems, people are like, okay, there's a billion other blender bottles out here, but this one, this one solves a problem that I have. Yeah. Yeah. And, and that's how you down in the saturate market. Yeah. And I love that.
[00:13:50] Jack Benzaquen : Funny, funny thing I had, I built, uh, a blender bottle competitor.
[00:13:57] Jason Wong: Really?
[00:13:57] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah. Very, very small, very, very small. [00:14:00] Like I only got it like to 1-1.3 million a year. Uh, and I sold it, uh, to focus on Duradry of course.
[00:14:08] Jason Wong: And, and it's obviously doing very, very well for you. Uh, looking at the marking that Duradry doesit's either complete either UGC's or a lot of education stuff.
[00:14:18] What's your approach to making sure that people learn about Duradry through content?
[00:14:24] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:14:25] Jack Benzaquen : Now that we're building in public right here in this, in this chat, um, I, I have to be the first to admit that we're lacking when it comes to, to social, to, to show, you know, a cool fun lifestyle around the product to, to add that layer of of what a brand is, which is not only, uh, the product and, and, and, you know, the effectiveness and the messaging, but also the lifestyle part of it. Right. What it means. So we're, we're definitely lacking there. Um, but having said that, UGC definitely works very well [00:15:00] for us. Not only for ads. But also, uh, uh, on our website or, or emails.
[00:15:08] And we, we try to use it as much as we can because in my business, most people have tried a bunch of antipersperants. Nothing has worked for them. So they're very skeptical. They're like, okay, I'm not gonna spend another, another, you know, 20, 30 bucks on this and it's gonna be a total failure. Right. So UGC that actually feels authentic because it is authentic has been the key to get them, uh, over that, that, that skepticism.
[00:15:39] Jason Wong: Yeah. Going back to that point of like building in a very saturated market, everyone's got, have that objection of like, oh, what is this? This is just another deodorant. This is just another lash brand. UGCs is a great way for you to counter that objection, because you're able to start with the hook of I've tried 30 other deodorant brands, and this is the only one that works.[00:16:00]
[00:16:00] Yeah. It's very hard for you to communicate that point through a graphic or through like a professional ad, because it's not believable. Yeah. But UGCs, I, I know I sound like a broken record of saying that so often, but truly it's how people are convinced to try things because they see that other people also have the same objection, but then they overcame it by buying.
[00:16:18] Jack Benzaquen : You know, I have, I have, I agree with you. I have an extra, an, an additional layer to that, to that statement or my theory. Okay. Mm-hmm so we, um, like our brain is a super computer and we can read another person's, uh, communication, not only verbally, but, uh, you know, the, the, the, miniscule movement of, of face muscles, right? Like, like expressions. So UGC, if it's authentic convinces people, because when I watch something and I see your face, and I feel like you're telling the truth, [00:17:00] it's different than uh, any other type of communication.
[00:17:04] Jason Wong: And that's absolutely right. People just trust people more than they trust brands. Yeah. And I I'm sure you've ran like ads through influencers accounts and it's like more believable when you see influencers talking about it than just saying, oh, it's from Doe, it's from Duradry.
[00:17:19] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah.
[00:17:19] Jason Wong: I saw your growth after talking to you. It's a very impressive growth. The like year over year growth is really hard to achieve
[00:17:28] during this time of market. What would you say is the trigger. To your hyper growth success at their dry, especially like during this time.
[00:17:36] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah. So, so honestly for me, uh, uh, and maybe I told you that over dinner, um, was to focus on this brand because when I go to the states, Jason, I, I, I like, I left what I had in Venezuela.
[00:17:49] I still. You know, was managing it remotely, but, but, you know, I knew that the country was going down. So I started a bunch of businesses selling bottles on Amazon selling, you know, diagnostic test kits on [00:18:00] Amazon. Um, uh, I don't know what else I had. Like I had a bunch of things. Um, so I was spread thin, but once I decided to go all in, it definitely made a big change.
[00:18:12] Um, it, it, it's a very cliche, uh, uh, movie, this one, I think with Al Pacino that he's giving a speech in the, in the locker rooms. And he says, you know, the game is you win it by inches. And that's the truth because, you know, one day you optimize something another day, you have another idea, but you need the time and the effort, uh, focused on one thing.
[00:18:36] Right? So, so that's the first thing that I would say, um, secondly, is, is optimizing the funnel. Doesn't matter how much traffic you're sending. If that funnel is not optimized, uh, doesn't matter how good your creative is. If that funnel isn't optimized, you won't go anywhere. Uh, and optimizing the funnel. It it's, you know, more, [00:19:00] uh, nuanced than, than it seems. You have to test.
[00:19:03] You have to, you know, come up with the new ideas that aren't necessarily iterative, but leaps, um, So that's the second thing. And when I think about the third, I'll let you know.
[00:19:15] Jason Wong: I love that you said that the key to you growing your business significantly was that you just dropped everything and focused on one. Um, and I know a lot people are gonna be like, okay, that's a little risky. How do you, how did you like mitigate risk? And just say, I'm gonna full cent, this one business, putting all your eggs in one basket, which, you know, I've heard from other founders that is the way to grow, but the hesitation is like, oh man, I kind of wanna hedge my risk.
[00:19:39] And so I'm gonna do all these things. How, how did you go about it?
[00:19:42] Jack Benzaquen : Okay. I'm gonna tell you the truth that not that very few people say, and the truth is that I didn't go all in until I saw that there was traction. Right? So when I, when people say, no, I went all in. I didn't know what was gonna happen. I didn't have, [00:20:00] you know, money to pay rent.
[00:20:01] It's all BS. It's just a story that, that, you know, they came up with, um, You know, I, I, I think that entrepreneurs, although people think that we are super, super risky, um, I think we're we're risk, risk adverse. We just are very good at guesstimating risk. So, you know, I saw the brand growing. I felt the potential of this other business.
[00:20:29] Uh, it just a bunch of inputs coming my way. And the decision is not digital. It's, it's very analog each day, you're processing and taking a feel up pulse of the market until you make the decision and you go all in. So, so that's my take on it.
[00:20:46] Jason Wong: I love that. It's, it's good to hear like an authentic story. Um, the no BS stuff we don't, we don't like that need.
[00:20:52] Jack Benzaquen : Yeah, dude,
[00:20:52] like it's very easy for people to make it, and then after they make it, they come up with a story to make it sound, [00:21:00] you know, more exhilarating and that's the real. That's the truth, you know, every, you know, of course there's a few people that have amazing stories and they made it. But I would say that most people manufacture that story at the end.
[00:21:15] Jason Wong: I appreciate
[00:21:15] you being like, you know, true and authentic about that last question for you. What is your hot take in the CPG space?
[00:21:24] Jack Benzaquen : My hot take in CPG, uh, uh, space. Yeah. Um, VCs are making it wrong. Okay. And let me, let me unpack it before, before everyone, uh, thinks that I'm anti VC or Capitalism on, on the contrary, I'm super capitalistic, but I think that in tech, you make a hundred bets and you, your model is that you need to hit three of those bets, really big to return the whole fund.
[00:21:57] Plus. You know, the, the, [00:22:00] the growth that you promise your LPs. Right. And I think that in, in CPG, you have to do it differently. A you cannot, uh, overfund a, a CPG startup because you almost like, you know, make it fail in a few years. It's like when, when, when. This guy, I forgot, uh, SoftBank comes to a tech startup and, and puts a billion dollars and then the thing fails is because if you put too much money, it won't be managed the right way. And a CPG startup needs to grow slowly at the beginning. It's rating on, on branding it's rating on product it's rating on, on messaging. And when it fine, fine tunes, everything and the messaging, uh, you know, clicks with a, with a market, then you can scale it.
[00:22:52] Right? So it's say there are overfunding startups, um, and the model is not right. You, you [00:23:00] don't, you don't bet on a hundred startups to think that three are gonna be billionaire companies, this is what I would do. I would bet in a hundred, say a hundred or maybe a thousand startups. Uh, I wouldn't put a lot of money in each just enough for frugal uh, for frugal, uh, founders to grow. And then the model would be only 5% are gonna go to zero because that's the thing. Xs are smaller, but we're less binary. Right? Um, so only 5% are gonna go to zero. And then maybe 20 to 30% are gonna get to exits between 50 and 200 million. Right. So forget about building unicorns in the CPG space.
[00:23:50] Maybe, maybe one of them became Harrys and then Harry says, you know what? We are a uni unicorn, and now we're gonna start buying all the brands and we're gonna, you know, [00:24:00] build the next generation C uh, CPG business, like, uh, P&G or Unilever. But that's, that's my hot take. They're doing it wrong.
[00:24:10] Jason Wong: I love that. And you know, people listening to this who are still on the old wave, you know what Jack has to say, and that's his.
[00:24:17] Jack Benzaquen : Hopefully someone listens, right. And, and to founders that, that haven't been able to fundraise and they're in the CPG, uh, uh, industry. Um, I would say A.) Send me a DM. I'll send you a list of, of potential investors that, that I, that I've reached to. And, and I like made a list for myself. Um, B.) You know, as they say, you only need one, right?
[00:24:43] So just keep pushing and keep building your product. Um, maybe they don't invest now they'll invest in the future at a higher valuation. So you have nothing to lose.
[00:24:52] Jason Wong: Love that. And for people that want to DM you, where can they find you on Twitter?
[00:24:57] Jack Benzaquen : So on Twitter, Jack J-A-C-K-Y [00:25:00] B as in boy, H as in Houston.
[00:25:04] Jason Wong: () There we go. That's his Twitter and we'll link it below too. Thank you Jack so much for coming onto the show. Really love all the value bombs that you dropped and hopefully we get to meet again. Yeah.
[00:25:14] Jack Benzaquen : Thank you so much, brother. I'm I'm I'm here waiting for you in Miami.
[00:25:18] Jason Wong: You just heard an episode of the Building Blocks podcast.
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