Startups in the consumer products industry have to spend more on marketing and advertising than they make off a single sale.
The key is that customers keep coming back.
That is the story behind Scott Dancy’s Buffalo success story, Azuna, which makes all-natural odor removal and cleaning products based on tea tree gel.
Founded in 2019, Azuna was doing $200,000 in monthly revenue by the end of 2020. Sales doubled last year. Dancy expects them to triple this year.
“We have something that works and we are well above the industry standard in recurring customer rates,” Dancy said. “We are investing heavily in e-marketing and adding new products.”
Azuna is made by a local contract manufacturing firm and shipped by ARCA, a local logistics firm. The startup recently closed on about $1.7 million of a seed round that is expected to land at around $2.5 million.
Local investors include Launch NY, ACV Auctions co-founder Jack Greco, former Buffalo Filter CEO Samantha Bonano, the S1 investment group led by Ron Faso and John Baldo, ARCA president Greg Shoemaker and others. Harold Ehrbacher, chief operating officer at Northtown Automotive Group, invested after his company started using Azuna products to remove smells from used cars.
Azuna will be on an upcoming episode of the television show Motorhead Garage, on a segment about removing smells from automobiles.
The key now is to invest more heavily in new products and on advertising, specifically on YouTube and Tiktok. Dancy said Azuna’s product development and advertising are geared around all-natural alternatives to products with toxins in them, such as odor plugins or dryer balls.
It is extremely difficult to achieve lasting traction in consumer products, which requires not just marketability but repeat business. That’s why Dancy and his backers in Buffalo and beyond are so excited.
“We have an all-star team of employees and investors and a growing, health-conscious customer base,” Dancy said.