Lqd was founded by Melbourne-based Anthony McDonough and Chris Glebatas. Both men living very different lives prior to founding Lqd. Chris was an investment banker and Anthony, although being an organic chemist, had spent his life in marketing. esprit talks with the boys from Lqd to share ‘how to’ and advice on going global.
Most favourite part of creating Lqd
It’s not often in life you get the opportunity to create something exactly the way you want it, without compromise. We had the opportunity to create the perfect products, packaging, branding and communications strategy without the usual constraints – time, cost, speed to market, product quality and efficacy trade-offs. This resulted in Lqd being a brand that maintained its honesty and integrity through the chain from concept to creation.
Best advice to break international water for a brand
Do your ground work in your local market first. Make sure your product is better than your competitors and you’ve proven you can beat them before taking the product off shore. We knew we had a superior consumer proposition before we entered the USA, as we were already beating our international competitors where we sold against them head to head in Australia. This gave us the confidence to know that we could also do it internationally as well.
What does the overseas wholesale/buyer look for in an Australian product?
Authenticity has been one of our most important brand attributes. Everyone says they have a great story, but what the buyers have enjoyed from us, is that our story is genuine. We live and breathe what we say, in all facets of our brand, from product efficacy all the way through to our social media and in-store presence. Our products have been developed in Australia to withstand one of the world’s harshest climates, and this is something people can relate to. Everyone loves Australia – so you can always use this to your advantage, as long as there is a genuine reason as to why this fits with your story.
How does Lqd overseas shipping, distribution channels operate?
We’ve now established a warehouse in the USA, currently in Kansas, which gives us a central distribution point that can cover both the East & West Coast in the most efficient time frames. We deal directly with the retailers through our National Sales Director, and supply through EDI from our warehouse to theirs. We don’t use distributors, as we develop the relationship with the retailers ourselves.
How should we approach the overseas market and how best to pitch a brand?
You have to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and understand why it’s in their interest to stock you over the 100s of other brands that they are meeting with over the course of a year. If you can’t work out a rational argument and be able to back up what you can offer with something that others can’t, then you’ll never make it onto shelf. With Lqd, we had an established customer base in the USA who already loved our products and were waiting for us to align with a substantial retail partner. Bloomingdales was the obvious choice for us and our consumers, as that is where they shop. We knew we had a superior product offering versus their competitors and that consumers would come to Bloomingdales specifically to buy us – we could drive more customers into the store as well as give their customers a reason to come back to Bloomingdales.
Any Lqd gold you would like to share?
Persistence is the key, as no matter how good your product and/or story is, you might just hit a buyer who is having a bad day. You can’t afford to take no for an answer. Even if you initially get a no, you need to keep going back over time until the no turns into a maybe and then persist until the maybe turns in to a yes. Also, make sure you have a clear prioritisation with retailers of where you want to be and where you don’t want to be, because, if you make the wrong move in the short term, it can damage your longer term strategy. Sometimes it may be the smarter move long term to say no, than to accept every offer that comes along.
Learn more at lqd.com.au