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Ep. 28 – How to Launch a Challenger Brand with Fiona Parfrey of Riley

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Fiona Parfrey – marketer, entrepreneur and most recently co-founder of Riley – talks to Eric about disrupting not only a market but a culture surrounding women’s health.

Riley is a sustainable menstrual product company that operates on a subscription model (which makes sense considering most periods come pretty regularly!) coupled with a strong B2B model, whereby companies stock period products in toilets. This requires a change of culture and a destigmatisation of women’s issues and women’s health – and Riley is up for the challenge. To learn more, visit

To listen to this conversation on your preferred streaming platform, click here.

If you prefer to watch this episode, visit (and subscribe!) to Rival’s YouTube channel.


Fiona: That's a huge part of our brand is trying to break down the barriers and destigmatize everything to do with female health in general. So we made a very conscious decision that when we were launching Riley, it wouldn't just be talking about periods and selling tampons and pads online. It would be a much wider conversation that we wish we had had access to when we were young, young girls.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler and this is Scratch Bringing You marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rule book from scratch for the world of today.

Hey everyone, my guest today, Fiona Parfrey co-founder of Riley. Riley is an eco-friendly period care company based in Ireland. They are looking to disrupt what is a very established, incumbent dominated market for care and beyond that women's hygiene and health. I met Fiona a couple months ago, which is fascinated by how they're thinking about building the business and building the brand. She actually was part of the inspiration behind the Puffer Fish Challenger report and research that we put out a little while back. So it was great to continue the conversation with her. You hear about her journey as an entrepreneur, something I can definitely relate to how they think about at Riley, how they think about their investment in marketing. And this reminds me of the conversation with Sfrom eos, where a lot of these challenger brands are very good at making sure that they keep some of their investment in focus for kind of 10 x ideas experimentation.And so they definitely do that at Riley, how they've been able to drive a lot of buzz and PR in the industry and how that was an intentional part of the strategy that they've been able to execute well, the challenges that they're facing along with many other d TOC businesses in navigating the new digital performance landscape, post iOS changes and post tracking and all that. They're doing a lot on TikTok. That seems to be where they're going to be doubling down. And then we also talk about purpose, which is really at the core of a lot of what they're doing, their passions as people and entrepreneurs, but also how that fits into their business strategy and how they view that driving the growth of their business. So really interesting conversation with Fiona. I know you're going to enjoy it and it's great to hear from a true challenger brand here on scratch.

All right, my guest today, Fiona Parfrey of Riley. So Fiona, I'm going to let you give the overview of the business, but what I will say before we get into it is I'm really excited for this conversation and I appreciate you joining. So you joined one of our rival round tables in Dublin, which is kind of a mixture of marketers, entrepreneurs, small groups that we get together just to have conversations about modern challenger brand building. And I was really fascinated by the conversation of Riley and how you're building the brand, how you're building this challenger and this disruptor in the personal care F M C G space. And we even had you submit a quote for a research report that we put out around the Pufferfish Challenger brands of how challenger brands are able to make themselves appear bigger than they are. So anyway, very long-winded way of saying I'm really excited to continue the conversation with you and I think our audience is really going to find it interesting. So thank you so much for joining. How are things over in Ireland with you and the business and everything?

Fiona: Great. Yeah, thank you so much for having me Eric. I'm very excited to be here. So yeah, Riley, as you mentioned, we are an eco-friendly period care brand and we want to provide high quality period products to people wherever and whenever they need them. So whether that's delivered to their door on a subscription service basis or whether it's in the bathrooms of their office of their university or whether they walk into a restaurant bar cafe and they need a product there and then so we launched the business just last year. It's very, very new, but as you mentioned, we are really trying to disrupt an industry that we feel is ready for that and it's been a great journey so far. We're growing really quickly and hiring and expanding, so we're very excited.

Eric: Amazing. So let's start with a little bit of your story. So you have a marketing background. This is not the first company that you've started, so you have some experience as an entrepreneur. Talk to us a little bit about your journey of coming to Riley, the background that you have, the experience that you built up, and then I guess maybe a little bit of the origin story of how you decided to start this business specifically.

Fiona: Yeah, sure. So I guess becoming an entrepreneur wasn't really something that I set out to do. It kind of happened quite naturally. I started my career in Dublin with a company called Patty Power, which is a gambling business. I was on the online side of the business. So really in the nitty gritty of the digital marketing I had the joy of working in the social media marketing team there, which for anyone that knows Patty Perro, they'll know that their social media marketing is just really fun. And I had a great time and I learned from some really clever people. I learned I suppose the value of numbers and I suppose that's where I picked up a really data driven approach to marketing. So I loved my time there, but I moved over to Australia in my early to mid twenties and that's where I entered the startup world. So I started working for a beauty brand over there called Sand and Sky and I joined, it was a skincare brand. I joined the week of launch. There was three of us on the team there and it was a crazy journey. We grew the business so quickly in the first year and I loved coming to work every day because it was so challenging, but so rewarding. And I suppose I could see the direct impact I was having o on the business, which you can't necessarily see in those bigger companies that you're working for. So in that sense I just felt like this is exactly what I want to be doing. So again, we built out the team and I had such a great experience there. But when I left Australia then to move back to Ireland, I was kind of backpacking around Southeast Asia by myself and I thought, what am I going to do when I get home? I didn't have a job lined up and I was really at a point in my life where I wanted to do something that I would be super excited about and would be the right next move for me. And then I thought, you know what? I've just been part of this really exciting startup journey and I feel like I can do this myself. So I kind of started thinking what is it that I'll do? And I love to travel, I love to experience other cultures. I've been lucky enough to travel quite a lot throughout my twenties. And I just thought it made sense for me to move into the travel industry paired with my e-commerce, digital marketing experience. And so I started working on an eco-friendly backpack brand, specifically tailored towards females in terms of the ergonomic design of the packs that they would be lighter and built for female torsos. And so I never really looking back, I never really believed that it could be this big massive brand, but it was more so an exciting project to work on that I was learning so much and I launched to market and was just running this little Shopify start off, but by myself with in-house products that I had designed and navigating this space with a completely bootstrapped business and it was going quite well. Then of course the pandemic comes along and overnight my target market just dissipates. It's gone. It doesn't exist anymore. And that was a really, really difficult time. And I think it was a really difficult time, not only because Covid was so uncertain for so many people, but also because I was alone. I didn't have anyone else to talk to you about it. Yes, I had a good network and I had friends and family, but in this space with Sun Drift my brand, I had no one really to turn to. And so I suppose I pivoted the brand a little bit and diversified to help it survi survive. And I grew it into being an outdoor lifestyle brand. Again, things started to pick up cause I had identified, excuse me, that people were valuing the outdoors so much more having been locked up during Covid. And so that was great and it started to pick back up again. But then I guess the idea for Riley came about with two of my friends. And the difference that I felt when I thought about both of those businesses was that Riley really triggered an emotion within me and a real passion. It wasn't just something that I liked and I liked to travel and I thought this was really interesting. It was something that I felt deeply passionate about changing and improving. And so that was the difference for me. So I had a choice to make which one do I focus on? And I chose to exit Sun Drift. I sold it to a media agency who are building it out in the US now and decided to fully focus on Riley. So I mean, I can tell you about the story about how Riley came about, but I feel like I've been talking for a very long time now.

Eric: No, it's really interesting and I think I can definitely relate to what you said, and I'm not going to remember the exact wording, but it was being an entrepreneur wasn't kind of like the always on ambition of something you knew you were working towards. I kind of feel that way even with Rival. I think if you play out my life in career a hundred times, a lot of them end up with me being an entrepreneur and starting a business. But 30, 40, something like that. And it's actually something I'm passionate about. And this isn't necessarily on the marketing topic, but I know there's people listening that are via more into the entrepreneurial side as well. I think this idea and a lot of it is pushed by Gary Vaynerchuk, the guy that I worked for a long time of you're either an entrepreneur or I think it's much more of a spectrum and a lot of it comes down to circumstance. Do you have the right idea? Do you find the right co-founders at the right time? I don't think that there is an entrepreneur strand of DNA that either exists or doesn't. Of course, dna, nature, nurture all that professionally as well as personally leads you into a direction where you're more suited to this type of crazy reality. But I think that's really important for people to hear with successful entrepreneurs out there like yourself is it's not like that was the only thing that you ever did. You had jobs, you learn things, you worked within big organizations and now the second go around of trying yourself as an entrepreneur. I'd be curious maybe within the Riley founding story, two things. How much was it kind of an instinctual like oh, and also personally for you, but albeit anecdotally, hey, this space is ripe for disruption and I'm passionate about it, versus more of the, you mentioned being more data driven. Did you sit down and size the market and look at the incumbents and all that? Because for me, I think there's so much happen, so much disruption happening within the CPG space within personal care specifically. I don't know as much about the period care space, but I would imagine that it is just as dominated by a few big incumbents, the p and gs, the Unilevers of the world that are very slow traditional to catch up to what the modern consumer wants and needs and the cultural conversation that surrounds this product in this category. So what was the balance of the more analytical, yes, there's a business opportunity here versus the intuition and the passion that led you to start you and the two co-founders to start the business?

Fiona: That's a great question because I think there's a nice mix of both of those in our story. So the idea came about very organically in that myself and Lauren and Anya, who are my co-founders and great friends were catching up after a very long time having not seen each other due to the pandemic having a glass of wine. And the idea stemmed from a convenience factor in that we were in Anya's apartment, she got her period and there wasn't any period products in sight. We checked our handbags, we checked every cupboard of the house, nothing. And so we were drinking wine, we were getting a bit hyped up about this. How does this happen every month we know that our periods are going to come yet every month this happens to us. Why are they not just delivered to our door when we need them? Why is this another thing that we as women have to think about and plan ahead for? And that got us a bit, I suppose, frustrated and we said, why don't we create something? So then we started to look into it, and this is where that emotion that I spoke about earlier, this is where this was triggered, was that I don't know whether it was naivety on our part or whether it's because we're not told about this, but we discovered once we started having a Google and looking around that the period products we'd been using our whole lives since we were young, teenagers are actually manufactured with up to 27 hormone disrupting chemicals. So bleach, pesticides, and there's toxins and it can be good for you. We were angry that we didn't know about this and we were very frustrated that there wasn't something better out there. So that was when we went from wouldn't this be a nice business if they were delivered to our door to feeling compelled to do something about it. So that was obviously a great, as I said, wine fueled conversation. And it was only the next day when we were sitting around having coffee that we kind of looked at each other and we said, is there a business in this? And so with slightly heavy heads, we started crunching the numbers and we spent the full day basically figuring out the market size and the barriers to entry and all of that. It was a really fun Saturday afternoon and we kind of realized within about probably six hours of work that there is definitely a solid business plan and idea to go after here. And so we started working on it straight away.

Eric: And between yourself and your two co-founders, what are their backgrounds quickly?

Fiona A similar background to you or where do they come from? Which we were very aware was probably our biggest downfall from the beginning. So my background, as I mentioned, is an e-commerce, digital marketing and brand. Lauren is a salesperson so marketing and sales, but very sales driven. And Anya then has her most recent job was an account manager in Salesforce. So she's worked a lot around people and again, account management and selling. Now that's all great because obviously to start a business you have to be able to market in and sell it. But none of us had, besides from my limited experience of developing products with Sun Drift, none of us had product development experience. None of us had finance experience. Now I had obviously done all of this in my previous startups life, so that had helped. But we knew once we launched the business and saw growing that these were gaps that we needed to fill quite quickly.

Eric: Sorry, lost my train of thought for a quick second, but can you just give a couple stats to give people a sense of the size of the business to the extent that you can share headcount revenue? I don't know if you can share that or how much money you've raised. What stage are you at right now?

Fiona: Yeah, we're very early. There's five full-time employees including my three, myself and my two co-founders hired two others. We work with about four part-time freelancers, consultants we have, what can I share with you? That's a really good question. We've raised 775k to date and we know that I suppose to achieve or ambitious growth plans, we will definitely have to do a much larger raise possibly next year. We've about so we've got two sides to our business. As I mentioned, the direct to consumer subscription model size where we've got about 2000 active subs subscribers that could be a little higher now. And we've got a whole range of big corporate clients that we're really proud to be working with. So kpmg, Accenture, Vodafone, press up hospitality group to name a few. So that's been really, really exciting for us. Probably the thing that we're most proud of is the start that we have achieved when it comes to helping the planet and helping people. So we work with two partners to help fight period poverty. A portion of every single sale that we do is donated to fighting period poverty. So we work with Positive Period Ireland on the ground here in Ireland to donate products to homeless shelters, to direct provision centers, places like that to people that can't afford to purchase them. And then we work with an Irish registered charity development pom oja who are based in Kenya. It's a charity very close to my heart cause I actually volunteered with them in Kenya for a couple of months a few years ago. And they do fantastic work there to fight period poverty. And we sponsor doctor led school visits and donate products to young girls there as well, a lot of whom are missing school because of their periods. So just over a year we've donated over 15,000 period products to people that need them the most and that's that we're really proud of. And then I suppose as an eco-friendly business, we've saved over 600,000 period products ending up in landfill. So yeah, look, we're a small startup growing quickly and what we've done to date we are, we're very happy with.

Eric: So I want to talk about the kind of purpose side of it to use I guess more the marketing term but the social environmental, economic good that you're doing. But taking a step back before we drill in on that. So thinking about the brand and the marketing strategy, can you talk us through how you did that at the beginning? Maybe it sounds like it might have been you in terms of within the founding team, thinking about the brand, how did you think about getting to the name, getting to the positioning, what did you want it to be? Did you do a whole brand book? Was it much more organic? What's the story of how the brand and the early marketing strategy came to life?

Fiona: Yeah, I mean it's interesting because again, I think it was quite organic at the start, but then we did really sit down and think about this and this all stems from us wanting to help in some way with female equality. Essentially women have less resources, less power, less influence. That's something that I've cared personally about changing for a very long time. And care is a small part of that. But on a wider scale, female health in general is a massively underserved market. When you look at the stats of studies that have been done, females are have been represented underrepresented massively for the history of time. That's something that needs to change. And one way that we realize that we could do that with Riley is by sharing information and educational content about female health, not just in period care. So that's a huge part of our brand is trying to break down the barriers and destigmatize everything to do with female health in general. So we made a very conscious decision that when we were launching Riley, it wouldn't just be talking about periods and selling tampons and pads online. It would be a much wider conversation that we wish we had had access to when we were young girls. So there's a lot you can do with that. Then from a marketing perspective, I suppose content is so important. You mentioned Gary there a while ago. He's the biggest advocate of that. And for us, we wanted to make sure that we could be speaking to people on all sorts of channels, but in a way that was really relatable absolutely not patronizing and as authentic as we could be because essentially we were our own target market and felt so strongly about this. So talking about it in a way that says, Hey, if you didn't know about this, that's normal. We should be taught about it in school, but let's talk about it now. And so that's been a huge part of our marketing brand strategy so far.

Eric: And so what does marketing look like right now? How much can you break down the strategy of what you're doing? So that makes sense at a high level, but in terms of the channels, the investments, what's driving the sales, what's building the brand, take it down one level for us.

Fiona: So I guess when we talk about our direct consumer side of the business, digital marketing has never been so challenging. The rising cost of advertising and the challenges with tracking with iOS and all of that. So obviously we have a digital marketing budget set aside that's solely for advertising across Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads and TikTok. But we also have a portion of our budget set aside for almost experiential marketing that we don't know whether we'll actually convert into customers. And that's a little bit harder to track. So that's probably not something that a lot of small startups with limited budgets invest in at the beginning. But for us we've found it really I suppose it's elevated our brand to a different level. And so for example, we used a portion of it this year to attend some wellness festivals in Ireland and great, we didn't do very many sales there, but it's a great place to get the brand out there probably add some credibility and as you mentioned, make ourselves seem bigger than we are, which builds trust, but also a great place to talk directly to customers.There's nothing like having a face-to-face conversation with the customer. Another thing we did recently was we had a fantastic video ad created by an Irish agency here that we made the point of showing blood on, which is typically not done by lots of the larger corporates. And we promoted that all over social media, but we also took out two billboards in London that were live for about a two week period. And we knew buying those billboards, they wouldn't probably result in a massive amount of sales for us, but what we would get out of that is a photographer would go down, take some pictures for us, we could then utilize that in our email comms and our social media. And again, that's building credibility and building trust for people to realize these guys, they're a real business. So the digital ad spend coupled with that kind of experiential budget that we have is what we do on the direct to consumer side of things at the moment. And on the B2B side, we've been very lucky to date in that A lot of it has been very organic. So we're only starting now, we've just hired someone on that side as well who's working very closely with Lauren, who I mentioned is a great salesperson. We're only starting now to try and build out that strategy and what that looks like.

Eric: And you've also managed to get a good amount of press coverage definitely in Ireland. You've been across a lot of the mainstream publications in Ireland and even beyond, was that kind of an intentional thing of hey, we want to stand out in this way so that we get more mainstream earned media, or is it just kind of a byproduct of the things that you'd be doing anyway?

Fiona: No, it was definitely intentional. We had written a press release for the day that we launched and I had limited experience writing press releases for a small period back in my paddy pair days. So I kind of knew how to frame them. We did it all. We haven't invested in Peor yet, we've done it all and none of us are PR people. But what we knew was that people wanted a story. That's what journalists look for. And so we have a really nice story with ri, we're three female founders who've built this during a pandemic and we're creating a great product and a great service for people that is badly needed in a very tired industry. So once we kind of framed that initial press release and sent that out and it got picked up because again, it was a nice story to tell, we got a lot of press immediately from that. And that's when we realized the power in press, to be honest, for us, again, it's not just spreading brand awareness, but it's building that credibility for us as a brand. And so now we've started to make more of a conscious effort to build up or journalists mailing lists and spend some more time on press releases. And it will be something I think that we will invest in as a business a lot more from probably next year onwards, whether that's working with an agency or a consultant or whoever. But we truly believe in the power of press and traditional media as well. We had the opportunity in November last year to go on the late show in here in Ireland, which is a Friday night like talk show that's very popular. And we weren't sure whether it would work for us because the demographics of who watches that show, but it transformed our business overnight. And that opportunity of getting our faces on the television and telling our founder led story has had a huge impact for us. So we definitely believe that media, traditional media, there's a lot of opportunity there for startups.

Eric: And I'm curious, going back a couple steps, you mentioned the challenges of the new digital performance marketing landscape. How are you navigating that? Cause that comes up so often with a lot of our clients and the conversations that we have. I'd be curious, like you actually sitting in the founder seat running and trying to build this business, what have you found or have you found anything in terms of opportunities in that landscape right now?

Fiona: It's a really difficult place to be and to be navigating in right now. So I totally feel the pain of others who are experiencing it. We've seen or CPA's triple since we launched particularly this year. It's coupled obviously with increased competition and all of that. But what we're doing, we're not as a subscription brand, we're not focused on return on ad spend. We're focused on figuring out our customer lifetime value and whether we can actually afford these higher CPAs. It's very difficult because we only have, what, 14 months of data but we're trying to work with a analyst consultant now to try and get a better idea of that and whether these higher CPAs will work for us in the long run. Excuse me. But we are again focused on really trying to acquire customers in a more organic way. So we've just launched a loyalty program and a refer friend program.We're doing a lot of, I suppose a lot of other things alongside that as well that we need to think about. And one channel that we're really focused on right now is TikTok. The potential I think that has for small brands like ourselves is huge. So if anyone looks at our TikTok account, they'll have noticed that we've tripled the amount of content that we put out in the last month alone because we've seen the opportunities in the ads that we're doing there. But we really see it on the AR organic side of things as well. And again, it's about that connection to customers and just being real and being ourselves and having a bit of fun. So we're going to continue to focus on that as a channel for the rest of the year and see, try and look back then and see the kind of impact that it's had.

Eric: And how did you actually triple the content you're putting out on TikTok? Is it just as simple as you hired somebody to start doing it or how did you actually get started scaling that?

Fiona: Yeah, we work with a freelancer who does some content for us, but we also just challenged our ourselves as a team or performance marketer, Meg, and has started creating a lot of content and that's become part of her quarterly goals and targets and now but then as well, us, Anya, Lauren and myself, we have I suppose a KPI to reach and how much content we create on TikTok. And we've made it really measurable. And I suppose it's just been a case of, look, it's all hands on deck for this. Let's give it our all and then judge in three to six months on whether it's working or not.

Eric: How about influencers as a channel? Have you tested that? Are you seeing return?

Fiona: Yeah, influencers we work with, we are really focused on micro influencers to be honest. I feel for us as a small startup, it makes more sense because there's a certain amount of, I suppose, authenticity and trust. I think with smaller influencers, we have worked with a number of small influencers. It's been completely hit or miss, but what we're trying to do now is build long-term term 360 relationships with authentic influencers that are aligned to our brand. So we just suppose signed on with Emma Q, who's an influencer here in Ireland who we'll be essentially she's going to become our brand ambassador rather than a one-off influencer that we work with and will be featured as a sponsor of her podcast and we'll feature on her podcast, she'll come to some events that we're doing. So it's going to be more of a long-term relationship. She's the first one that we're testing that out with and I think it feels like the right move for us right now rather than trying to go wide and fly with influences.

Eric: Yeah, and it's more the ambassador partnership type of approach than just the pay to to play influencer mercenary, which I think makes sense. And the other thing that I've seen you kind of mentioned it is like it's so hit or miss. First of all, it's a wild west out there for brands trying to navigate it. And yes, there are tools, agencies that you can get involved, but trying to find the right people, trying to negotiate with the right people, trying to make them do what they said they were, so much of it comes down to the person. And I think that's what I've found. And the advice that I'd layer on top of what you shared is if you do find the right person, triple down on it because it's so much about the working relationship and whether or not they actually care and whether or not their story blends with your story and their audience cares and all that stuff. So 100 it Comes across People you can tell, you can always tell. Yeah, and I think you can also tell from the early convers, I don't know, I was going to say it's kind of like when you interview people, but I think there's so much bias in that process as there probably is in choosing an influencer as well. And you need to be careful that it's not just your subconscious that convinces you of one way or the other. But I do think there's something to the way it feels to work with someone is probably a big indication of whether or not that partnership's going to be successful, whether you're hiring them, whether they're an investor in your business, whether it's a B2B partnership or whether it's an influencer. So it's interesting because, and we debated a lot over here and Jenna, one of my co-founders who knows so much more about performance marketing than I will ever forget in my lifetime. She's kind of not as bullish on influencers, but working with Boyne Valley in Ireland, working with consumer businesses and then also my wife now being a bit of an influencer in the interior design space, I see it work. I see her sell out products for businesses. And this is not a pitch for Leanne, but she is fantastic it as a channel. I think if you get it, it's like anything. It's a tool. And so it depends on how you use it.

Fiona: Absolutely. And I think what people do is they underestimate what they need to do to make influence on getting work. You can't just throw it out there and It's not like a programmatic buy where you set it and forget it. Yeah, it's a relationship. It's a partner if you're doing it right, I think.

Eric: Absolutely. And you have to nurture those relationships and you're so right. It comes across when people are being authentic about a brand or a product and consumers are smart. They can see that. So it's about, yeah, you're right. Picking the ones that are aligned with your brand that fit your story, that care about what your product is and then that can really work for you.

Eric: Yeah. Cool. I had a man, a lot of questions I don't think I'm going to get to, but the one I want to circle back to, and we touched on it a bit, was purpose. So I guess my question around this, and you've already talked about what you're doing, how much of it is clearly this is something that you and your co-founders really care about and seeing the impact that you're having, I'm sure must be amazing. And scaling the business will allow you to have more impact. So there's that side of it, can you do good? And then there's also the consumers want businesses that make commitments to these things that have an impact on the world that aren't just trying to grow only their bottom line. So what is the balance or is it that even the right way to think about it, maybe they're not zero sum things at all, but how do you think about more your personal passion for these things versus it's probably a good strategy for this to be built into who Riley is and the way that you go to market?

Fiona: That's a great question and I think for us, as you mentioned, we're passionate about what we're doing right now. Care is something that we believe that period products should be treated like toilet paper and should be ready, available for everyone when they need them. That's an easy one for us to, I suppose do good in because it's been a natural thing that stemmed from our own real life frustrations. But going forward, it is about thinking how do we grow the business and in the right way. So our vision is to be a lifelong female health brand. And what that looks like, we're still to figure out, but we are working on new product development and other ways that we can add value to women's lives. We will always do the best that we can for the planet. That's something that we value personally and we will always do right for people. But at the same time, we need to balance that with what's a right commercial decision for Riley. So it's a difficult one, but at the end of the day we, I suppose whether when we're coming to a decision making time, we need to take a step back and say, okay, if all the numbers are making sense, that's great. Are we doing good? Because we never want to stray away from that. And it's again, every kind of big decision we make on that. We go back to our company values and whether it's aligned with that. So I think a lot can change, or marketing strategies will shift over time or products and services will evolve or people will grow with us, but our core values and what we want to believe in should stay relatively the same over time. And if we're working towards that one goal, then hopefully we won't need to compromise on anything else.

Eric: I love that and I think that's a great place to leave it. So I have two quick questions to wrap things up. First is, what is one thing people should do differently in their marketing roles after listening to this conversation?

Fiona: That is a great question. I think people should, so this is going to sound a little bit I'm not taking my own advice cause I'm a very data-driven analytical person, but I do think I'm learning to take a step right back and look at the brand and what's right for the brand a lot more lately. And that's been a strategy that's working for us. And again, it's about triggering emotion in people and doing what you feel is really right, following your gut a lot more than the numbers sometimes. So again, there is a balance, but I think if you're building a solid brand and if you're building something that people will believe in and you can build a community around, generally speaking, the sales will come. So focusing on that a lot more. It's been something I've struggled with, but I'm working on and it's going in the right direction. So I would probably say that.

Eric: I love it. Last question. Who is someone that you think we should get on the show? Maybe another challenger brand, another entrepreneur, or just someone in your career that you've found really interesting and you think would enjoy this type of conversation?

Fiona: Name comes to my mind straightaway and it is choppy. She is the founder of Choppy, a fine jewelry brand here in Ireland, and she is a mentor and a dear friend of mine that I've had the pleasure to get to know over the last six to eight months. She has a fantastic brand story. Her marketing is all around storytelling and triggering emotion and all of that. And I've learned so much from her. Her business is amazing. It's been completely self-financed to date and they are doing phenomenally well. And I think that she would be a really interesting person to have a conversation. Okay,

Eric: I'll look her up. Sounds really interesting. All right, Fiona, thank you so much. I really enjoyed this. I knew that I would and I definitely learned a couple things as I'm sure people listening have. So I really appreciate you making the time. Can't wait to watch what you do with the Riley brand. And I think you've got a new customer in our household for that first period box since we have a teenager coming up.

Fiona: Oh, good to know. Well, hopefully we can help. And thank you so much for having me, Eric.

Eric: Of course, I'll see you around.

Scratch is a production of Rival. We are a growth consultancy that builds challenger brands, strategies and capabilities to disrupt categories. If you want to learn more about us, check out we are If you want to connect with me, email me at or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it and leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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