The Secret To Launching A Successful Podcast
Twin sisters Sari and Lauren Feingold launched their podcast, Creative Cravings, with one goal in mind: to nourish our creativity. Beyond food, there's also a whole lot of inspiration and conversations about tapping into your creative power. Thanks to our partnership with Office Depot OfficeMax, we are sharing their founder story and how they built a thriving community by bringing creativity and kindness to the table.
B + C: What set you on this podcast journey?
Sari: First of all, thank you so much for this opportunity to share Creative Cravings global podcast, business, brand, and community with Brit + Co. readers, especially on Women's Entrepreneurship Day! This is a dream come true for both of us. A lot of factors actually play into our entrepreneurial journeys and into bringing Creative Cravings podcast to life.
Within the last several years, Lauren and I, individually, realized how much we had loved and lost creatively expressing ourselves. The feeling of consuming others' creations, yet rarely creating anything ourselves, made us feel like we were not living our lives fully. We both had cravings to create and share something nourishing - for ourselves and for others - but we did not know what, and that feeling was eating at us!
Through countless conversations with each other about being multi-passionate, we realized that we do crave the risk/adventure of trying new creative challenges, like podcasting or making new recipes. It feels great to cultivate and share our creative gifts: playing piano + ukulele, storytelling, singing, hosting, writing rhyming poems and song parodies, cooking, baking, painting, dancing, etc. Since all of these creative outlets have positively contributed to our well-being and mental health, we knew that we would be exactly the right "Twin Tastemakers" to co-found a business dedicated to helping others live more fully, too - specifically, by celebrating their journeys of chasing their food cravings, life cravings, and creative cravings. It has been a bumpy road, and after bootstrapping for a few years, we are now crowdfunding so we can create an epic Season 3 in 2022!
B + C: What problem are you solving for your audience?
Lauren: Creative Cravings is a global, cause-driven lifestyle brand, edutainment company, and community for anyone with a craving to live more fully. During the pandemic, so many people turned to creative outlets at home (beyond TikTok, haha!) and they still are. Despite the heaviness of the last couple of years, it's amazing that more people are finally able to prioritize rest and self-care through discovering new, hidden talents. The seed of our mission - helping others to feel both FULL and FULFILLED - stems from us asking: "How can we chase our truest cravings in life as confidently, and joyfully, as we follow our food cravings?"
It's safe to say, our audience values crEATing as a key ingredient for living life to the fullest. They crave food for thought that inspires, entertains, comforts, and fuels them in the kitchen, in their careers, and in life! We are excited to keep creating content, products, and experiences that enhance their well-being.
B + C: What startup challenges have you faced along the way?
Lauren: My mantra is: If it were easy, everyone would do it. The entrepreneurial path has so many peaks and valleys, and one of the most challenging parts is planting seeds way before reaping the benefits. Sari and I wear a lot of hats, and most of the time, we have to roll up our sleeves and figure it out. We could not be more proud of ourselves for creating and sharing something we love that expresses who we are, but we have faced the challenge of "do we give up?" on multiple occasions.
Though podcasting is a $1 billion industry, it majorly reflects the voices of those who already have huge audiences and teams of people working with them on their shows. This leaves talented indie podcasters treading water to keep up, simultaneously looking for a new model to make and raise money for our hard work. Indie podcasters have so much to offer! We don't want to give up. We want to be good examples to other indie podcasters who wonder if they will ever "make it."
B + C: What strategies helped you overcome those challenges?
Lauren: In times of struggle, being open and honest with myself, Sari, and friends in and outside of the industry has made me feel better. Having a good cry does too, not gonna lie. Creative pursuits like singing, playing ukulele, and cooking also pick me up in moments of sadness or frustration. Also, when in doubt, I walk it out at the Chicago lakefront or commit to at least 20 mins of at-home yoga.
Sari: Agreed. I always remind myself that good things happen just one step at a time. Also, staying expansive, thinking big, and creating "blueprints" for future plans helps us to overcome feeling small. We're both dreaming up a lot for Creative Cravings, including in-person creative getaways (think: camp), fun group workshops, a wearable product to help entrepreneurs with anxiety relief, and a cookbook inspired by our Creative Cravings podcast guests, episodes, and even our podCAT, Gracie.
B + C: What would you say are your top 3 successes so far?
Lauren: The most fulfilling success is when you reached out to us to share the things you're loving and learning from our work. Being able to create friendships and memories with our Creative Cravings podcast guests, listeners, clients, and customers is the best part of this entrepreneurial journey.
Sari: Talking with dream podcast guests whose creative work we've supported for years has meant the world to us! We are also grateful to feature family and friends chasing their creative cravings. Some favorite guests include globally renowned dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling, Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, our Disney-loving-creative-kid-cousin, Ilan, and our mom, Dr. Carole Landman, D.D.S.
Being selected in the Top 30 pitches of Selfmade's Spring 2021 pitch competition is an honor. Also, we have both returned to Selfmade as Mentors for Summer '21 and Fall '21 cohorts. Finally, investing in the Almost 30/Your Podcast Pro competitive accelerator program for podcasters allowed us to find others who relate to our experience as they grow their shows and businesses, too. We also utilized the knowledge gained from the program to land affiliate partnerships and dream brand collaborations/giveaways.
B + C: How have you approached marketing your brand and raising awareness?
Sari: Good question! We honestly view marketing as building real connections with those who align with our values. We are grounded in our intention to create with flavor, i.e. we know our brand ethos is to be inspiring and educational, and to never be boring! So, we are always thinking about how to connect with and serve others through these lenses… case in point: this incredible opportunity right here to meet you, wonderful Brit + Co. reader!
Lauren: In creating a brand that is so personal to us, we know that we are the best marketing "tools" for our show and offers. A few ways we raise awareness are: thinking strategically, frequently showing our support for those we wish to work with, and taking time to ask ourselves: Wouldn't it be fun if…? regarding our creative, thoughtful marketing efforts. So far, we have only used strategies that are organic (no paid ads).
Here are the key ingredients that have helped us to reach our audience of food/fun-loving, creative, go-getters:
- Creating engaging social content that ties into the podcast and our handmade products: On the podcast, we ask guests, "What phrase would you love to see written on your mug each morning + what are you drinking from it?" This way, we can make that idea a reality for them (and you!) when you purchase a customized hand-painted mug from our shop.
- Jumping on opportunities to use our creative gifts for good, like selling our signature Cookies for a Cause in support of Bakers Against Racism and selling tickets to a live, virtual Creative Cravings podcast trivia fundraiser that we organized and co-hosted to help people pay medical bills.
- 5-Star Podcast Reviews - These help other listeners get a feel for all the goodness they will get from our show, before they even press play!
- For the podcast, we make it easy for guests to share out and share about their episode.
- Engaging CTAs (calls to action) in episodes - Each episode has an opportunity for you to participate in a creative challenge, suggested by us or our guest. Share your creation visually with us on IG using #creativecravingschallenge. We also create timely specific challenges, like our #bethelightchallenge2021 . We love to re-share your Stories when you tag us!
- Collaborations: It's great to be podcast guests on other shows that we admire! Podcast swaps are fun and can be helpful cross-promotion.
- We join other people's communities, events, and programs in order to learn about what others are needing, craving, and creating.
- We have co-created a public playlist on Spotify called Livin' Life to the Fullest with pump up songs from our podcast guests and listeners.
- Expressing our own creative cravings through our visual series, Travel Through Your Tastebuds. This global food series was inspired by a recipe we found in Brit + Co over 2 years ago! Can't make this up!
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
Lauren: Selfmade is self-care. Investing (time, energy, money) in your own growth and expansion is worth it. Also, feeling complete permission and accountability to DREAM BIG shifted my state of being, in the best way possible.
Sari: You get out what you put in! On our live Zoom calls, I always thought about how I could help someone else, in addition to getting my questions answered. On that same note, Lauren and I noticed that there was such an appetite among new entrepreneurs for needing help with brand strategy, pitching partnerships, and how to tell your story, so we started coaching and absolutely love the Selfmade clients we get to serve. Now we're both Selfmade Mentors. I'm so grateful to have new friends to check in with and mentors to turn to during the more challenging moments.
B + C: Would you recommend the course and why?
Lauren: Abso-freakin-lutely! Being a part of Selfmade is the epitome of the phrase "Surround yourself with those who refuse to let you fail."
Sari: Selfmade offered everything we were craving, all in one package. There is an abundance of opportunity to make progress and to build smaller support / mastermind groups. We regularly connect with Selfmade friends, revisit calls with Coach Jessica and Coach Emily, and we're thankful to Coach Annie for helping us finesse our new offers. Even after the course ends, you never have to feel alone, because there is always someone who can help you out, no matter if your question is small and detailed or big and visionary.
B + C: How do you complement each other in business?
Sari: We have similar strengths, but we have found a solid strategy for division of labor across all our efforts. Lauren writes notes for our show's "intros and outros," uses our editing software for post-production of episodes, and closely keeps an eye on stats so we can get a sense of where in the world people are tuning in. She also spearheaded our first Cookies for a Cause initiative by ordering supplies / ingredients, calculating shipping costs, and baking and decorating our first test batch. We both collaborate on figuring out the creative podcast episode titles, making Instagram reels, preparing for our guest conversations, co-hosting, brainstorming content for promotion, copywriting, and crafting written / video pitches.
Lauren: Sari took the lead on funding our business and creating our website, including figuring out how to set up our e-commerce mug shop and making it functional!
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Lauren: Lead with generosity. Give more than you get.
Sari: Surround yourself (virtually and IRL) with people who are good for your mental health. And, don't expect people to be mind readers - ask for help and support when you need it.
B + C: What's next for Creative Cravings?
Lauren: What's next is... Season 3 of the podcast, once we reach our crowdfunding goal by December 21, 2021.
Sari: Also, for those on our email list, we are offering exclusive opportunities to work with us 2:1 and 1:1 as you bring your creative, entrepreneurial visions to life, so sign up for our Creative Cravings Newsletter after you contribute. Our mug shop is also open for holiday orders :) Cheers!
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot OfficeMax scholarship to Selfmade done to help you grow your business?
Lauren: This opportunity to connect with other female entrepreneurs and coaches was invaluable because it brought us new podcast listeners and ideal clients. We really appreciate the opportunity to ask and receive answers to about a million questions that were holding us back! This scholarship gave us access to a lifelong community of amazing people to support and supporters for all things Creative Cravings, now and in the future.
B + C: How have Office Depot OfficeMax services/products helped you accomplish more in your business?
Sari: Using our Office Depot OfficeMax Pitch Day gift card, we're looking at a few options to improve our work-from-home space, whether that's adding a standing desk or new chairs to the living room corner that has become our podcast studio.
Reach your dreams today. Office Depot OfficeMax can help you organize & save time with a suite of business services & solutions to help you accomplish more. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax it's never been easier to think big. Learn more at Office Depot's Selfmade page.
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.