#BrandInMinutes: An Interview With CEO Bernie Schott Of REECH

May 25, 2022

By: Kari Amarnani

#BrandInMinutes: An Interview With CEO Bernie Schott Of REECH

In today's interconnected world, the premise of brand-building gets increasingly broader and more hazy. You may be familiar with the term "brand," but do you know what it takes to build one?

Building a brand is a journey of self-awareness, conviction, and finding yourself in your business. Whether you're a CEO, a marketing expert, a freelancer, or even a regular joe, if you want to make an impact, you need to get your branding right.

Every business name and logo you see today is a product of labor-intensive branding.

The business card you received at that executive function didn’t just appear out of thin air. Someone put immense thought and heart into its design before deciding to hand it out for the world to see.

As an entrepreneur, building a brand for your business is a never-ending effort. But know this: The companies that invest in establishing great brands have a substantial competitive edge.

While the rewards are sweet, the journey to get there rarely is. But we want to change that.

Branding can be fun, quick, and easy with #BrandInMinutes

With our Brand Plan, it’s simpler than ever to #BrandInMinutes with our collection of professional branding templates and tools to help you launch the brand you’ve dreamt of for so long.

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The only way to understand the impact of having a #BrandInMinutes is to take a dive into the stories of entrepreneurs who have had to make it happen on their own.

And Bernie Schott of REECH is the perfect example of this.

We spoke to Bernie about his journey in building his brand for REECH.

Hopefully, his inspiring story can motivate new entrepreneurs, such as you, to take the leap and get your businesses out there.

1. Tell us about your business.

REECH is an eco-friendly DTC brand of high-performance yoga products.

From the beginning, REECH has had 2 main purposes: 1) manufacture the best yoga products with the highest quality materials for passionate yogis; and 2) do this in a way that leaves the planet better off than if we didn’t exist.

In the early days, REECH tested dozens of materials and combinations before landing on our signature product, the namaSTAY yoga mat.

This mat is made from sustainably sourced materials, is antimicrobial, does not have any harmful toxins, is easy to clean, extremely grippy, and is 100% biodegradable.

That last piece may have been the hardest to really nail down, but it was (and is) important to REECH that, if a REECH product gets thrown away, it will decompose.

In other words, if a REECH product gets buried in the woods, it will decompose into the soil for future plants to grow in.

REECH has also been committed to giving a portion of our sales and profits back. Currently, we’re planting at least 15 trees for every order placed. These trees absorb tons (literally) of CO2 from the atmosphere and help fight deforestation.

2. How did you go about building a brand for your business?

Originally, we started off as REECH Earth. REECH is a slight play on words/homage to the word “reach,” which is more or less what you do throughout a yoga practice. And Earth, as we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the planet.

A couple of years back, we rebranded to just REECH, not because we are less dedicated to our impact, but because it’s a little simpler and easier to recognize.

Being a bootstrapped company, REECH needed to keep costs as low as possible at the beginning. We knew we wanted a simple logo design that was easy to recognize and associate with us.

We worked with a couple of freelance graphic designers on the initial rendering, and after getting to a logo we liked, we were able to move it in-house. That’s the beauty of a simple design that’s mostly text-based.

Taking the design in-house was definitely more work than expected, but the cost savings in the early days were crucial. Plus, we learned a lot and can reproduce/make branded material a lot quicker now!

3. In your opinion, how important is it for a business to build a credible brand?

It’s crucial. Building a brand is synonymous with building trust. And at the beginning, there is no reason to trust a new brand.

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REECH made it a point to tell our story and mission in the beginning while gaining that initial level of credibility. To be fair, we still are. It’s a belief of ours that we need to earn our customers’ trust every single day.

Once that initial level of credibility is established, our products’ superior quality starts to speak for itself. Almost every yogi who has tried our namaSTAY yoga mat can tell the difference between ours and similar products by the more well-known brands.

But getting that initial level of credibility is hard. Crucial but hard.

4. How did you get your first customers?

In the beginning, REECH partnered with influential people in the yoga space who had loyal audiences. Having these influencers talk about the benefits of the namaSTAY yoga mat and the good REECH is doing for the planet went a long way in the early days.

Circling back to the prior point, REECH didn’t have any credibility at that point in time, but these people did with their audiences. By partnering with them, we essentially gained credibility through association.

5. What are your future plans with respect to building your business?

We’re constantly trying to figure out what’s next for REECH.

At the moment we’re building a team of brand ambassadors, which is very exciting! We’re also exploring B2B sales channels, so if there are any yoga studios out there that want to carry the best mat for your practice and the planet, REECH out!

Over To You

Branding has no exact formula to it, but we do know there are a few key characteristics impactful brands have in common.

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And it might be tempting to look at the successful businesses and say, “I’ll take that brand, please!” But what makes a brand work is how it speaks to you.

What makes your business authentically you? Businesses that manage to be true to who they are, what they do, and why they do it are able to create lasting, evolving connections with their audiences. This authenticity is the core of your branding.

What are you waiting for? Shine bright and #BrandInMinutes today!

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