3 Startup Brand Partnership Tips From Parsnip CEO Sally Rogers
By: Carli Evilsizer | October 10, 2019
Sally Rogers left her corporate career to chase her passion in the wellness industry and went on to found two wellness startups, Nibble, a healthy snacking company, and The Pickle, an editorial startup. We chatted with Sally about her latest wellness startup, Parsnip, a matchmaking platform for better-for-you brands. Parsnip is on a mission to connect better-for-you brands to other brands, events, influencers, and agencies to work on co-marketing activities together. Sally was inspired to launch Parsnip after realizing the data utilized in data apps had never been applied to matchmaking for brands looking for more effective partnerships. Keep reading our interview with Sally to learn more about how she launched Parsnip and her top 3 tips for startups to successfully execute brand partnerships.
Sally Rogers, CEO of Parsnip, Shares How She Launched a Matchmaking Platform for Brand Partnerships
Parsnip is a matchmaking platform for brands. They connect better-for-you brands to other brands, events, influencers, and agencies to work on co-marketing activities together.
CEO of Parsnip
Sally Rogers worked in finance and consulting for a decade before deciding to leave her corporate career and chase her passion in the wellness industry.. She went on to start two companies (Nibble, a healthy snacking company, and The Pickle, an editorial), and is currently working on Parsnip, a matchmaking company for better-for-you brands. She is on the Slow Food San Francisco Board and the Advisory Board of the Good Food Foundation.
1. Tell me a little about your background!
I spent years learning about where my food came from and the impact of certain foods/ingredients on my body, and finally had to quit my corporate career to be part of the change towards a healthier food system. My passion has now extended to supporting all those better-for-you brands out there (better for people & better for the planet): the founders and hustlers that are working to make plant-based beauty products, sustainable clothing lines, organic bedding and more! If I can make the work they do to grow their business just a little bit more efficient, and connect them with marketing partners to get the word out about their products, I’m doing my part to infuse more wellness in the world.
2. What was the inspiration that led you to launch Parsnip?
We noticed that dating sites had enabled people to find each other, but the same strong underpinnings of data had not yet come to matching companies for more effective partnerships.
3. What was the hardest part about launching a startup to connect brand partnerships?
It’s not a surprise, and most founders say this: staying focused is the hardest part! Once you put your idea out to the world and stay open to listening to your users, so much rich feedback and so many opportunities come swirling back. If you don’t have the discipline to stay focused when it’s the right time to stay focused, you’ll get swept out into opportunities that don’t actually move your business forward. This continues to be a challenge for me!
4. Why are you on a mission to support better-for-you brands?
The planet and its people are dying. We’re feeding the earth and ourselves crap. I learned many years ago that by taking care of what you put in and on your body, and by nurturing the land that we have, our lives will be longer, fuller, happier, and we’ll be better equipped to support one another and the planet. I’m on a mission to get better products in people’s hands because those products inherently make the planet and people better. That’s scalable impact that gets me super excited.
5. What was one of the brand partnerships you were most excited to see take place?
I loved seeing two female founders get together -- one with a healthy cookie and the other with a paleo gelato -- and co-create a #happynationalicecreamsandwich day recipe and then do a giveaway with their products. Talk about complementary brands, like-minded teams, helping their audience best understand their products and inspiring them to indulge!
6. When should a startup consider brand partnerships?
Complementary products + great communication is usually the simplest equation for a partnership to be a good fit. If your partner lags on communicating, or doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do, it’s never going to work out. Similarly, if your products just don’t quite go together, or your audiences don’t have quite enough overlap, chances are the partnership won’t last because you won’t get the traction and interest you’d like from working together.
7. What is the biggest mistake a startup can make with brand partnerships?
The biggest mistake a startup can make with brand partnerships is not executing their piece. If you’re responsible for copy, get it done. If you committed to photography, do it now. If you said you’d send samples by a certain date, DO IT. It sounds so simple, but once you’ve identified that right partner, you really need to execute seamlessly. Otherwise you destroy trust with that partner, and that’s no good!
8. Do you have any favorite partnerships from the real world?
Gosh, so many! But recently I’m loving the Flour Shop x Away partnership (now sold out of course!). It would have been so easy for Away to have just launched a few new colors, but instead they went after a partnership to bring a new color palette to life, and Flour Shop is just perfect! The energy of that brand, with the creator’s epic art pieces, and sweet and joyful cake creations work well for what Away is all about. Combine those brand attributes with an audience that overlaps with Away’s, and you’ve got a partnership destined to reach cruising altitude (sorry, couldn’t resist…).
9. What is next for Parsnip?
We’d love more brands, wellness influencers and bloggers, and content creators that support the wellness community to grab a free spot on our platform because we’re launching campaigns next and we need all y'all in on this!
3 Startup Brand Partnership Tips From Parsnip CEO Sally Rogers
1. Find Alignment
Don’t jump into a partnership with just anyone! Be sure you have alignment on company values (founder stories, social mission, impact goals, etc.), product attributes (organic, plant-based, sustainable, etc.), and/or audience (similar demographics/psychographics). Without the strength of an aligned foundation, your partnership will struggle!
2. Get Creative
There is just a TON of fun that can be had in working with another brand, influencer, or agency! So actually take the time to have a lively and wacky brainstorm sesh (or two!) before diving in. Think about seasons, holidays, pop culture, color, taste, texture, music, travel, etc. as themes around which to build your partnership. Being creative early is key to keeping it enjoyable and wowing your audience. Not enough marketers are enjoying the creative process these days because they’re focusing on quantity over quality.
3. Don’t Ghost
Partnering with another company is not unlike dating! It is no fun if you get ghosted once you’ve kicked something off, so don’t do it. Communicate openly and honestly throughout your partnership, so if you think it’s no longer feasible or if budgets have changed or roles have evolved, just let them know! Don’t leave them hanging.
Thanks for sharing your startup marketing brand partnership tips Sally! And any wellness brands, wellness influencers, bloggers or content creators looking for brand partnership opportunities, be sure to check out Parsnip.
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