Frida CEO on consumer behaviors during COVID-19

Chelsea Hirschhorn, Frida CEO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how business has been during COVID-19 and her business outlook for the rest of the year.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Let's continue this small business conversation, and our next guest has actually weathered the pandemic pretty well, continuing to build their business over the last 14 months. For more on that, we want to bring in Chelsea Hirschborn-- or Hirschhorn, excuse me, the CEO of Frieda. Chelsea, great to have you.

You make products, if people aren't familiar with it, for infants, for new babies, also for new mothers. When you talk about how your business has transformed over the last year, talk to us just about how you navigated that very difficult time and what your business looks like today.

CHELSEA HIRSCHHORN: Sure. Thanks for having me. Yeah, it's certainly been a challenging year, which is pretty consistent for all businesses of a variety of sizes, regardless of what the nature of your challenge is. I think the difference for us which really enabled us to survive and, dare I say, thrive was the fact that very early on at the inception of the business, we knew that we had to meet our consumers-- parents, moms-- wherever they were shopping.

And so we adopted a pretty deliberate omnichannel strategy that included traditional brick and mortar retail-- think Target, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart-- in addition to all of those digital platforms owned by those retailers and, of course, Amazon. So when you think about the last year and the way that consumer behavior in retail shifted, particularly online and to Amazon, we were sort of equipped to navigate that transition and be there where they needed to get their products.

SEANA SMITH: And, Chelsea, also consumer preferences, amount of money that each individual is spending, has that changed at all over the past year?

CHELSEA HIRSCHHORN: You know, we-- I would say that our products fall into the classification of must haves as opposed to the nice to haves. I think if we were in a category or industry of luxury items or nice to haves, we may have seen a more deliberate shift away from some of the mastige or premium brands.

But the reality is that the needs that we service and the problems that we solve are fairly ubiquitous and fundamental to the extent that you have a child under the age of three, they likely don't know how to blow their own nose, and you are still cutting your kid's nails or brushing their teeth, and so because of the ubiquitous, consistent nature of the problems that we solve, we really didn't weather any of those transitions alongside some of the luxury items.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Forgive me for being late to the discussion-- I've been dealing with Apple tech issues with this computer. But I am curious-- when we talk about the growth of your business, I mean, you're nationwide people have access to it. But is it word of mouth from one mom to the next?

CHELSEA HIRSCHHORN: You know, we definitely credit-- we call it word of mom. We credit word of mom, and word of mouth, and that grassroots, ambassador-esque type of following. But we also have additional awareness letters that we pull, particularly with respect to the medical professional community.

The nature of our products are such that the first stop for most parents is often their pediatrician or for women with respect to our feminine care line, their OBGYN. And so that's a really valuable resource for us as far as awareness-boosting tactics and the creation of sort of this cult-like following and these natural ambassadors who perpetuate this word of mom.

SEANA SMITH: Chelsea, in the last segment, we were talking about the best locations for small businesses right now. And I believe you're located-- you're headquartered in Florida, correct?

CHELSEA HIRSCHHORN: We are. We're in Miami, yes.



SEANA SMITH: Miami was number two on that list, moving up a few spots from last year. I'm curious just to get your take just about the envir-- the business environment in Miami right now and whether or not that has substantially changed.

CHELSEA HIRSCHHORN: It's really-- you know, we've been here for 10 years. It's substantially shifted in the past 18 months for the better, as you guys were discussing in your previous segment. Miami has become a magnet not only for consumer products brands, tech brands, financial institutions I think that it didn't take long for people to appreciate what we as former New Yorkers had appreciated about a decade ago-- that the lifestyle in Florida, particularly in Miami, makes it really easy to live a balanced existence.

And so often, I found myself in New York choosing my professional self over my personal self. And I think in South Florida, you have a slightly healthier balance, and you're able to sort of appease some of those concerns, particularly post-pandemic, with respect to an outdoor lifestyle and remote work a little bit easier than you are in some of the more congested urban cities that once attracted a lot of those industries.

ADAM SHAPIRO: As someone who grew up in Coral Gables, I used to joke that it's the only place in the world where you can go to a kosher Cuban restaurant and get sushi prepared by a Creole chef. So here's to South Florida. I left. I love New York, but I understand what you're saying. Thank you so much. Chelsea Hirschhorn, Frida CEO, we wish you all the best.

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