Interview: Three Wishes' Margaret Wishingrad on How to Sell a Product That's 'Good For You'
The co-founder and CEO of the nutritious cereal DTC brand talks about giving consumers a reason to buy.
Welcome to Direct-to-Conversation, a recurring interview feature from DTC Magazine. These conversations highlight insights, advice, and innovation strategies from leading thinkers in the DTC, eCommerce, and retail space. Our most recent interview was with Micky Onvural, the CEO of Bonobos, the DTC menswear powerhouse.
In this Direct-to-Conversation, we catch up with Margaret Wishingrad, the Co-Founder and CEO of Three Wishes, the DTC nutritious cereal brand.
DTC Magazine: I think everyone who loves cereal secretly wishes that they could create their own. When did you know that Three Wishes was something that could be real?
Margaret Wishingrad: We knew immediately when we thought of it. I was feeding my son cereal as I read it was a great way for a child to learn the pincer movement. But, I disliked giving him such a nutrient deficient, sugary breakfast.
The aha moment hit me instantly when I realized how many others would love a nutritionally-dense cereal that still tasted great, especially if both parents and kids liked it.
Nothing about our packaging, aside from the nutrition facts, conveys a healthy product.
DTC: Consumers often flinch when a healthier version of something emerges on the market. They almost look for it not to be as good as what they know. How do you combat that as a brand?
MW: Nothing about our packaging, aside from the nutrition facts, conveys a healthy product. The flavors including cocoa and honey are all nostalgic and traditionally unhealthy. Plus, the aesthetic of the box is whimsical and looks nothing like the other healthy cereals, so right from the first impression, you get the feeling that what you’re about to eat is fun.
And it truly is, it just also happens to be nutrient-dense.
DTC: Food products are one of the more challenging items to bring to market. What was the biggest obstacle you faced and how did you overcome it?
MW: We launched right before COVID hit, so no one was taking their time in grocery stores, perusing new brands they don’t already love.
To combat this ding on what is typically natural customer acquisition, we set up a drive-by Three Wishes tasting experience in our driveway. We caught a lot of national and local New York media attention, especially as a family-run business, which helped drive the awareness we were looking for.
Whatever fad is next in vogue, we’re likely to be able to adhere to their standards.
DTC: As a product, Three Wishes overlaps with a lot of alternative diets, be it vegan, grain-free, Keto-friendly, peanut-free, and so on. How does that affect your marketing strategy?
MW: Diets are transient, but health isn’t.
We never sought out to make our product keto friendly or gluten free, but we were looking for a nutritionally dense formula, so whatever fad is next in vogue, we’re likely to be able to adhere to their standards.
Why would a retailer knock off a competitor they already have a relationship with to slot you in?
DTC: You've managed to get Three Wishes onto the shelves of a number of major retailers. (Congrats!) Without giving away any trade secrets, do you have advice for anyone hoping to strike up those kinds of partnerships.
MW: You’ve got to offer something totally different.
Shelf space is limited, so you need to ask yourself, 'Why would a retailer knock off a competitor they already have a relationship with to slot you in? Are you different enough? Priced better? Healthier?' There has to be a reason.