Josh Snow: Founder & CEO of SNOW

Episode 515

On this episode of The Kara Goldin Show, Josh Snow, Founder and CEO of SNOW, shares the story of how SNOW is revolutionizing the oral care industry with high-quality products that are unique and game changing. Josh opens up about why he created Snow, how he’s built and expanded the brand, challenges he has faced along the way, the challenges and opportunities in the industry and more. He also offers advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, highlighting the need for tenacity, community, and a focus on personal growth. Have pen and paper ready. You don’t want to miss a minute of this powerful episode with so much to learn and be inspired by. Now on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

Resources from
this episode:


Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show, we are so excited to have our next guest. Here we have Josh Snow, who is the founder and CEO of a company called Snow. And we’re going to hear all about it. Josh is not a first time founder. He has founded multiple other ventures has over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience under his belt, he’s on a mission to revolutionize the oral care industry. And we’ll get into talking a lot more about that, from selling his first company for seven figures at just 17 years old. To founding like I said, multiple other successful ventures in multiple industries. So as a visionary behind snow, he’s dedicated to innovation and, and really digging into the oral care industry. I thought I knew what he was doing with his first product that came out. And now I see he’s just growing like crazy. So I’m very, very excited to see what Josh is up to and all of his wisdom, we’re gonna get to hear a lot more about it. So thank you so much, Josh, for joining us on the show. Welcome. Kara,

Josh Snow 1:59
thank you so much for having me. And I’m a huge fan of yours and what she was hinting beyond. So it’s a pleasure to be here today and excited to share what I can evaluate. Amazing.

Kara Goldin 2:09
So we Josh, and I just figured out that we’re both from Arizona Phoenix, Scottsdale area. So I’m very, very excited to hear that another entrepreneur is doing it from the Arizona area. Very, very cool. So So tell us a bit about you. And you were a young entrepreneur right out of the gate in in diapers, not really, but but almost right. You you have an entrepreneurial spirit from a very, very young age. So tell me about you. I mean, how did this all come to be?

Josh Snow 2:46
Absolutely. Yeah, I guess looking back on it. There definitely was a pattern of entrepreneurialism, throughout my activities and things that I was interested in. But it wasn’t something I was comfortable with. For a while. So as a 1314 year old boy, I started. It came from a desire to want to build something want to do something that I just was itching for series at a young age. Within, I think, an older soul of just wanting to create something. I started making websites. So I learned how to make websites. at the public library. Actually, we didn’t have a computer at home and my school library. So I was building these, essentially blogs. And I was writing the content myself with pseudonyms. And I wanted to get more people to the website. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. And so I learned about search engine optimization, which was a game changer for me, because I could figure out how to rank higher in Google, which meant more people read my blog. And then I found a program by Google called AdSense. And I could put ads on these blogs that I was building. And then that was the first time I made like, 20 cents in my sleep. I was like, Oh my gosh, I made 20 cents on someone clicked on an ad on one of these blogs that I put together. That was huge for me. And so that kind of started the path of, okay, if I can drive traffic through search engines, can I drive traffic through social media and that whole intellectual curiosity getting paid to build websites for businesses to then manage their media? So I was paid to learn Google AdWords and Facebook ads the early days. So eventually, I got to a point where after doing that, through my teenage years, I went on to ASU. I was in and out of there in two years, because I knew that I knew that I had to graduate as the first in my family to graduate. College. I knew that was before it is important to me. I have worked really hard hard throughout my high school journey and was able to graduate valedictorian, so I was on some scholarships that were academic based. And I wanted to really utilize that. So while I was running my business going to college, once I got out of college 2013, I said, Well, now I’m ready to start my own brands, I want to not just drive traffic for brands, not just create content and all these other things around it, I want to do it from the ground up. And at the time, I happen to be going through jaw surgery. And as my brain wanders and kind of thinks of opportunities, as well, a lot of people have teeth, it’s a really big market. All the odds are stacked against me, which at that time, I was seeking that level of intensity to hold my attention long enough to build something great spine needed something that was going to get me out of bed in the morning, that when times were going well that it would still dry the energy. And then when times are going bad, it would lift me from that basin of self doubt, and all those things. So I said, Well, oral care. And I noticed at the time, I look back on it now and I go, wow, that all that energy I had sold might be a couple businesses name, namely my agency. I was like limited our time. And so snow in many ways saved my life. Because it came about in a time where I made some money. I had this kind of Wonder Boy syndrome, where it said, What am I going to do next and and I really thought internally, what’s going to drive me forward because I figured out at that time, I’m starting to figure out that the pursuit of happiness, and I’m going to have a certain when I make $5,000,010, or a number or certain team size, that that would be this pinnacle of euphoria and worth the track. What I found is that I find more joy and passion in the track than in the destination. And in that pain and in that struggle. And so that was the start of me kind of figuring a little bit of that out. And then saying I need a business to match products, product founder market fit. I’ve got to find something in oral care I’ve always been interested in and the halls were completely stacked against against me. And I said, Well, if there are other people that think like me in this space, it’s a very big market. And as long as I don’t give up, and we continue to listen to the customers, we’re going to have something of a household name. And that could be something we build. And that’s what really call that inner entrepreneur toward a market that is incredibly difficult. And that has that started the now eight year journey of snow. And that was the initial start of of that I’ve since built and sold several businesses in different industries while building so and one thing to point out as I’ve taken $0 off the table from snow across the entire journey, we bootstrapped the first 100 million dollars in sales. So there is a bigger reason why that business was started in particular to a lot of the other businesses I was starting and that’s why I’m still here today I wake up with this joy excitement because every day there’s a new challenge instead of stone it keeps me It keeps me going it gives me

Kara Goldin 8:31
a lot you had a few other companies before starting snow including frost smile care. Can you tell me a little bit about that? And was that sort of a precursor to snow?

Josh Snow 8:43
No, actually frost snow came before frost FOSS is our kids kids line at frost on social shop frost calm that’s our kids version of Snow of snow around okay, yes no around it’s snow definitely came first. In terms of snow is the first brand and now I have a knowledge as well with Kim Kardashian, his best friend Elian V which is in haircare. And so I’ve been able to kind of build upon that platform, but snow is the first one where the formula packaging every single piece of that business was internally developed from the beginning of you know, let’s not private label, let’s not use anything that we don’t really or I feel really confident about. So that was the that was the first one but I had worked on several I was partners and several other businesses and in snow I’m a solo founder. So it was really unique and a lot of a lot of ways.

Kara Goldin 9:49
So your first product with snow. Uh, your first SKU was what

Josh Snow 9:56
our teeth whitening kit. Yeah, our teeth whitening system And how

Kara Goldin 10:00
did you like what did you see in the market that was really missing? Because obviously, there’s solutions probably not as good. No, but there’s solutions that claim to be out there working, you know, over the counter stuff that you can get at CVS. But also, you could go into a dowel office. But what what did you see was really missing that you said, you know, I can solve this problem for the consumer. And I just need to get it out there. Yeah, it’s

Josh Snow 10:30
a great question. There were, there were a couple of things. upfront that I recognized. On a personal level, as a consumer of teeth whitening and ordered products, I looked at my own experience, and as someone has been embraced as multiple times jaw surgery, so I had a lot of consumer experience myself in seeing some of what was out there. And the, what I found from our personal experience was that the packaging was lacking. That was the first thing before I even open the bottle, then the formulation, you know, what’s in the ingredients, the cleaner ingredients and emphasis in that area. So I thought that, you know, we could potentially feel better for you oral care, or perhaps with vitamins in the toothpaste, which we had now. And how do we kind of elevate that area, and I saw it happening across other categories. In my dog food, my dog’s food had more vitamins and my toothpaste, and there was more transparency for shampoo than my mouthwash. And that’s how I was left feeling. So I said, I think that oral care which man, woman and child brushed her teeth two times today, I think eventually it’s going to matter to those customers. And I might be early, I might be late. But I know that that’s something that I would want out there. So that was the initial appeal. And it was the first product. It was, how can we bring a professional level experience with the LED technology into the home and eventually plugged into their device? And then subsequently wireless? How do we bring that experience spa like experience into the household with efficacious ingredients that would deliver the result. But the goal is always and always built around me, which has sensitive teeth. So can we drive the results, while not causing the sensitivity that someone might expect? So that was the initial thesis that I saw an opportunity for teeth whitening system that would deliver that in an at home scenario for a fraction of the cost. And to date, we’ve sold well over a million of those systems. And we’ve iterated upon it several times. But in the very beginning, that’s what I noticed. And I did do a read every Amazon review that I could get my hands on for everything that was out there, so that I can understand what what are the consumers asking for that perhaps the brands haven’t responded to?

Kara Goldin 13:01
And you were only direct to consumer when you first launched? And how did you figure out product market fit? And you looked at Amazon reviews? But you know, as you started to roll out the device? I mean, how did you start to figure out that you were actually doing it? Right. I mean, this was not a something that you had launched before, right? physical products were you had done other companies, and you knew how to launch companies, but this was still kind of new for you. Yeah. Like, how did you know that you were onto the right path? It

Josh Snow 13:38
was a stupid question. It was It was terrifying at times, because I had enough success that I was putting a limb out there. But I couldn’t sleep without our bow to sleep without thinking obsessively about the oral care market and, and the brand and what would it? What would it be called? And, you know, what would it look like? And so I knew that that conviction was going to be very important. Because it’s very exciting to start a business. It’s very exciting to launch the first product. And we know this is that it’s in those difficult moments when things don’t go as planned, where why am I really doing this? And so I think getting really comfortable with that. Then going into Facebook ads, which was the first traffic source for snow, very easy for us to throw a few ads out there calling out what was different about that first system and just see what people you know, be interested in this. Turns out they were so starting to see return on a few 100 bucks a day then a few 1000 bucks today. And so Okay, now we’re out of inventory. I need help shipping it I need help with customer support. So that started very early on but the figuring out Product Market Fit also happens sooner. And I also chose it, I think that I was realizing that if I choose this, and I’m in a space that could create a lot of enterprise value by creating a wedge in there, I’ve got to stick with it for at least five years. So I wasn’t looking for a quick payoff. But I was looking for quick customer feedback. So what I did is I started calling the customers on Shopify when we launched and asking them paces Josh would still want it when we do order when we do not order boy Miko order again, it turns out that these customers were very open to having a conversation about they were excited to receive the product, how do I use it? And so early on, that kind of confirmed it, and once we had more customers coming in to reviews started coming in. I said, Wow, this is something that this is something I could build a brand around.

Kara Goldin 15:55
Would you say that you know, the beginning you just mentioned like Facebook, we’ve had a lot of people on talking about, you know, Facebook and social media overall. And sort of, you know, that’s how many of many people have grown their brands or many people have reignited their brands in some cases. But how do you think that’s changed for you? I mean, you mentioned also SEO, do you think that that was incredibly important, if you had to weigh the two of them Facebook versus SEO? Or was it a little bit of both or other channels? Like what what kind of helped to really make your, your brand take off?

Josh Snow 16:33
Yeah, it’s, it’s definitely evolved. It’s ever evolving. But certainly in the last few years, it was heavy on Facebook ads, because the Facebook algorithm was strong enough Instagram influencers as well, with the algorithm. Now that’s changed the TIC tock. There’s just there’s streaming, there’s so many new alternatives, and some that are rapid scale tic tock shop. So some of these areas, which is very exciting as a marketer at my core, that the world is shaking up a bit. We’ve had to adapt the business and take advantage of omni channel approach. So we’re with Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, a Macy’s, CVS, and we’ve got a few more rolling out this year. So we have built omni channel distribution and prioritize that. Really, since COVID. It’s really to round out our business, Amazon direct to consumer, and then how we drive those customers has also evolved. In the beginning, it was just Facebook ads layer on Google ads, and Bing Ads, and then some influencers, some paid influencer stuff. So it kind of is that track. Nowadays, we’re looking at marketplaces a lot more intimately. We’re [email protected], for example, where we wouldn’t have looked at that before. In a lot of these retailers have created multibillion dollar retail media networks, where now you can run Instacart ads. So if we’ve got product and CDs, what does it look like for us to send Tiktok traffic to our Instacart page and drive some sell through there. And so a lot of things have evolved. And in terms of channels, we’re still a heavy spender on on the meta platform through Instagram and Facebook ads. But we’ve now started to move toward community and community building and affiliates and a lot of other areas that we’ve added on top of there that we see success with. Ultimately, it comes down to three to four channels that are going to drive the majority of businesses that I see in the space. And for us, retail is a big one. DTC continues to be a big one. And our subscriber base, it’s hard to build a subscription program outside of your own website. It’s a lot more difficult. So anyway, longer answer, but it is something that’s it’s hugely important.

Kara Goldin 19:02
Yeah, definitely. So many industries have trends, you are innovating in an industry, that is people just want the end result, right. They want their teeth to look good and be healthy and feel good. You’re looking to solve a lot of those problems, which is amazing. What do you think is the most difficult aspect of this for you? I’d be I feel like you’re really getting into the head of the consumer answering their questions and solving a problem for them that maybe not everybody in the industry is is helping you do do you feel like there’s a ton of education? I mean, in the case of the product, I Developent it’s about taste, right? I mean, it’s definitely people want to hear about unsweetened flavored water, but for you, there’s aspects of it where you just have to go and educate people about like you said ingredients and and how How do you tackle that?

Josh Snow 20:02
Yeah, it’s education is expensive, right. And people don’t like to change that much still have water with a hints of flavor in there if it’s good, and I’ll stick to that and toothpaste, like our, this is our vitamin infused toothpaste line. And so they’ll, they’ll use toothpaste, if you can get more than one benefit, it can whiten my teeth. And it’s got infused with B 12 and Co q 10. And it’s a really good deal that’s going to work out for the customer. And so when we look at education, we try to not change the model too much, we do have the world’s first and only sprinkle powder, which is for our customers that don’t want to change to face they’re a huge fan of a sense of Dine or a Colgate or crest and, and that’s fine. And this is a booster for us to be able to still cater to that customer and serve their need while enhancing their experience with very little effort. So education wise, something like this, where you’re adding a quick step to their routine does require a lot of user generated content influencers. We do tons of photo shoots and video shoots to showcase how it’s utilized together. We have to teach our retailers how to answer those questions can I put this on any toothpaste or put it before the toothpaste or after the toothpaste. And so that education is a little bit more expensive and extensive. But things like toothpaste. If this is makeup, these are makeup wipes for your teeth. So you have a cup of coffee and you’re on the go you use one of these these are favorite at like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, we sell these online as well. So there’s some education, but we try to connect the dots, this is a makeup wipe for your teeth. This is toothpaste you just like you know it all the time we use, but we’re using the vitamins and it’s whitening, Okay, sounds good. And so this just sprinkle this on any toothpaste you use. So we try to meet the customer as close as we can, while delivering that result that they’re expecting from something like our goal one, which we’ve sold over 5 million units of, and this is a extra strength teeth whitening serum you can use on the go as well. And so that’s what snows become known for its efficacy, a formulaic driven approach. And then packaging that would make sense to sit in a Nordstrom as well as the CDs. And so that’s how we try to we try to educate, we try not to overburden the customer, and then use the products in combination to show them like in skincare, how these products work together. And it takes some time.

Kara Goldin 22:51
You mentioned the sprinkle. I love the sprinkle. I haven’t seen anyone doing that, actually. So it’s, you know, it’s it’s great. It’s, it’s a great product. So I and what is your favorite product that you have? And maybe that’s different? It’s like asking me my favorite flavor of hint or my favorite child, right? But what is your favorite product that you’ve developed? Is it still your very first product that you developed? Or how do you think about the products that you have?

Josh Snow 23:25
I mean, that will always have I always have a soft spot in my heart. I mean, that’s the first hero product, it broke a million units, sales. And that was you know, just when nothing seemed that would have been possible at that time. So it’s just a whole different league. What I would say today, I’m a huge fan of our of our toothpaste and their boosted toothpaste. So having the vitamin infusion is a nice additive, the flavors are overwhelming, our ingredient tech is really nice. And so obviously, that’s an easy product that I don’t leave the house with, I need to travel with toothpaste, and seconds. And that would probably be our toothbrush, or toothbrush line, which has a face brush attached and I don’t have them next to me. But you could take that toothbrush head out face brush in while you’re in the shower with your face wash on. And I had kind of to unwind device, merging beauty and oral care. So it’s fun. Those are some we tried to do two or three, aha was for product view. This is great toothpaste, amazing whitening toothpaste, but it also has XYZ at it. And so we tried to do that similar model that you’ve been extremely successful with in the lighting them in that area over and over again where it’s something that’s consistent. So for us, for us, I would say for myself. Toothpaste is a favorite across the board.

Kara Goldin 24:54
So how many skews do you have now and the entire line Yeah, so

Josh Snow 25:00
we’re at, we actually had to go through a SKU reduction. In some areas, we had some flavors that were limited edition. So we had to rework that. But we’re excited for it, we’ve got a lot plan, in the next 18 months on flavors, colors, variations of our top sellers, we, we had about 60, or 70 skews. At one point on the website, we’re now down to about 3540. As we readjust that, and then we’re going to bring out some more colors and things like that. So went from one random out of 40. Now at this point that we’ve optimized a bit, and then I think, 18 months from now we’ll be closer to that 60 to 75. Number. So,

Kara Goldin 25:45
to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into a business, knowing what you know today about entrepreneurship, I, I if somebody asked me, I would say, it takes much longer. It’s much harder, right? There’s, there’s one of the reasons I love doing this show, too, is that I hear from so many entrepreneurs, and doesn’t matter what industry it is, but the peaks in the valleys. They hurt right there. They’re either your your growth is like, oh, you know this amazing, but then you almost fear when you’re going to, you know, the bottoms gonna fall out somewhere, right? You’re gonna have somebody’s not going to be able to develop, you know, what you want on time, or some retailers is gonna go out of business that you were counting, I whatever it is, I mean, I’ve heard I’ve heard it all. So what would you say to an aspiring entrepreneur, knowing what you know about being an entrepreneur? I mean, it’s got a lot of fun to it. But what else do you think? Maybe you weren’t prepared for when you started thinking about launching your own business?

Josh Snow 26:58
Yeah, it’s it’s been a journey and so many journeys, I think that, you know, there’s tenacity, and there’s figuring out your why. And there’s a lot of things that will build a good foundation for when things get tough. But I think that looking at my life, and my career and business, as she’s a seasons, like a sport, and you have seasons, and there are going to be seasons, where it seems like everything is going well everything’s working and the wind is at your back. And then there are going to be times where it feels virtually impossible, or perhaps completely impossible to continue in that space. And sometimes that might be true, depending on your situation, being able to, you know, revert that energy into something that might be a little bit more useful and impactful for you at that time. It’s also difficult because then you feel like you’re quitting or so I would say that entrepreneurship is, I don’t know anything different. And to me, it is my sport of choice. And I’m absolutely grateful, I wouldn’t change a thing coming from nothing and building all of this and losing it a couple of times and rebuilding it and I have grown so much, and I feel so grateful. So it isn’t extraordinary, and beautiful. And you can help so many people are in his path. So I love him huge. Got it. But I do think that just like anything that you become obsessed with, and it becomes a part of who you are. Entrepreneurship is very challenging, but it doesn’t mean that you can overcome them. If I looked back and said, Well, I didn’t know how to make a website, I figured it out because I didn’t know any better and just kind of put this stuff together. And I wish I could have told my younger self that everything I would want I’m going to have in terms of a team in terms of a business success or whatever it might be, and to focus on the principles. And as long as you’re yourself getting better. Get rid of any anything that’s getting in the way of you being your best self. That’s going to be so so important, especially in those early days. And build a little bit of a community even if it’s through podcasts, online forums, etc. Where you can get a little bit of doses of motivation when you need it. And people that are kind of pushing, even if it’s strangers, pushing you to kind of continue that that’s what it takes. And don’t be afraid to switch to things my first business wasn’t so it was my 15th business. And so a lot of times people want their first business, it has to be the best biggest thing ever. It’s come a name on it and these expectations that happiness and your burnout, managing yourself and burnout and stress that comes from scaling something the bigger you want to be. You’ve got overcome these levels. And it’s okay to ask for help. So that would be the last piece is ask for help. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. And I wish I would have known that at an earlier age, because I made things way harder on myself than they knew to be. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 30:17
I couldn’t agree more. So Josh snow founder and CEO of snow, everyone needs to try snow. It’s absolutely incredible. You’ll have the whitest teeth ever. Not too white, though? I mean, but Right. Yeah, you can control it. It’s a great product, multiple products and multiple SKUs in the line. So for sure, we’ll have all the info in the show notes. But thank you so much. You’re super motivating and inspirational and I loved meeting you and go Arizona. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. I would love to hear from you too, so feel free to DM me. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my Wall Street Journal, best selling book undaunted, where I share more about my journey including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks for listening and goodbye for now.