I do Advisory work in Consumer Packaged Food Products, primarily in the natural and organic sector of the Specialty Food Marketplace.  Clients range from small entrepreneurs to Market Leaders. 

I am probably best known for my brand work but I’m also good at bringing clarity to challenging and confusing situations of any kind - both with critical analysis and creative problem solving.  It might be fair to say that chaos and uncertainty is my comfort zone. I enjoy the diagnosis as well as the nuts and bolts work of fixing things or bringing a vision to life. 

One of Dancing Deer's Award-winning signature products, the Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake.

One of Dancing Deer's Award-winning signature products, the Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake.

I built Dancing Deer Baking Company from the ground up and enjoy sharing the hard-won wisdom, whether at the Board level or deep within operations. I enjoy collaborating closely with management or if needed, building teams and leading them to successful execution. 

My wheelhouse is in nutrition and healthy lifestyle products and I have a sweet spot for companies pursuing a triple-bottom-line aspiration for positive social and environmental impact. Mission is really important to me.  From my baptism in entrepreneurship at age 19 I've been pursuingideas about how to positively impact our world through business.   If you have a mission challenge or aspiration I'd like to help you with it.  

On some projects I collaborate with colleagueswho are active investors, Board Members and Food Entrepreneurs.  We come to together on projects when it makes sense for the client and for us. Please email me (trish@trishkarter.com) if you are interested in a consulting engagement.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Below are some examples of recent completed works which illustrate my range of capabilities.

Note:  Since I can't use identifying images from my clients I offer instead a virtual ski with me through the Blue Hills -- with some visual connection to the client dynamics.

Note:  Since I can't use identifying images from my clients I offer instead a virtual ski with me through the Blue Hills -- with some visual connection to the client dynamics.

NEW PRODUCT LINE CREATION 

CPG New Product Creation and Launch in Natural/Specialty Channel  The task here was to clarify client-perceived white space for a new product opportunity for a $3Billion CPG company not presently competing in the Natural/Specialty Channel. Once clarified, my job was to lead internal team in all aspects of product design and development and go to market vision, including developing project guardrails, target customer profile definition and research validation, flavor profile, name and Brand development, formulation development, purchasing (involved new source materials) all aspects of package design and development (function to form to look/feel), production approach, COGS and financial planning, advocacy with internal management and in-person sales effort to target retail customers.

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OPERATIONAL GROWTH

Assist well-established Specialty Food Brand  in execution of very large new customer program   A small, high quality specialty producer landed a potentially “company-doubling” opportunity and didn’t have the internal resources to execute within the tight time parameters. I advised through the process from clarifying scope and critical path to connecting the client with resources to execute including purchasing, finance, production planning, fulfillment and marketing resources to harvest the opportunity in the broader marketplace.

CATEGORY PIVOT

Advise Small Specialty-Food Brand on move to adjacent category and Brand RE-definition   This client had an established product but low growth potential and inadequate margins.  I helped the team evaluate the current business and then clarify thinking about the adjacent category opportunity.  This included helping to refine strategy at the Board level, develop value proposition, create guardrails, clarify target market and customer profile, develop and refine Brand look/feel/language, conduct in-market consumer insights research to validate beliefs and assist Founder/Entrepreneur in navigating the many pitfalls inherent in dramatic and rapid change and new infusion of growth capital.

MARKET INTERVENTION

Refine Problem Definition & Advise on New Market Approach   A venture-funded company in the personal energy space was meeting with great success in filling an ambitious launch pipeline of retail outlets, but the sell-through was very poor. We delivered a problem definition and recommendation in a very time-sensitive context. Asked to develop new positioning for the product, we recommended a complete overhaul of the product, packaging and configuration as a result of our consumer insights and market research, should the company choose to move forward. We made a broader recommendation about the financial strategy of the venture.

STRATEGY OVERHAUL

Strategic, Operations and Market Redesign for an under-performing Product   In this case the product itself was excellent and offered a powerful sell against the $1 Billion category market leader. However the sales and profitability were dramatically underperforming relative to potential.  We examined every aspect of the go to market strategy, sales plan, cost structure of the product and the organizational overhead. We were so convinced of the market share as well as financial potential of our new strategic and operating recommendations that we lined up Private Equity to back our management recommendations. 

GUIDANCE ON GROWTH FUNDING & STRATEGY

Guiding an Entrepreneur through Capital Challenges and Organizational Growing Pains   When we first engaged, a small, thinly financed operator was in a cash crisis while simultaneously navigating the complexities of the rapidly growing and changing organization. Now through the worst of the crisis, I continue to serve as a strategy and operations Adviser and Connector to resources, and intellectual capital, as needed, from Commercial credit and Angel resources to Marketing and Sales high level strategy and tactics at the most basic level.