Retail merchandising company Basemakers has merged with experiential marketing agency Phoodie, creating an integrated organization offering companies in-store visibility and sampling services together under one roof.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was formalized last month, Basemakers took ownership of Phoodie and granted its founder and director Sam Miller, who will be based out of Portland, Maine, an equity stake in the parent company.
“We’re thrilled to have Sam Miller and the Phoodie team join us in our mission to build great brands through our network of strong relationships,” said Basemakers President Max Baumann in a press release. “Sam has done an amazing job in a very complex business of managing product demos and events. We can’t wait to help grow the business alongside him.”
Speaking with BevNET, Baumann, explained that he was introduced to Phoodie while working with Just Chill Beverages, the relaxation drink brand he founded in 2014.
“We were working with a lot of third-party demo companies, and they were far superior in terms of their reporting and the talent they were able to manage,” he said. “I was really impressed by what their founder and CEO has been able to do, so we started a conversation about merging the companies.”
While Basemakers works with food and beverage brands to increase their visibility at retail, Phoodie uses a network of product demo specialists and event marketing professionals across the country to execute sampling initiatives. As a combined entity, Baumann said the companies will capitalize on their shared synergies to create added value for the 31 brand partners Basemakers currently works with, which includes Health-Ade Kombucha, Hiball, Perky Jerky, Epic Bars and Koia.
“What asked ourselves what are [our partners] looking for besides what we are currently doing?” he said. “We heard them say we are doing a lot of in-store sampling, and if we had a one-stop shop that could help us alleviate the stress and frustration of managing our own demos, we would use you guys in a heartbeat. We knew that it was a really in-demand service.”
Moving forward, Baumann said the company would further explore event marketing programs outside of stores and will leverage technology to help better deliver relevant data and metrics to its clients. A smartphone app for Phoodie is due to launch later this year, allowing brands to access field reports on in-store sampling programs in real time.
Baumann explained that, in providing a broader range of retail services to its customers, the company is aiming to secure more committed long-term partners rather than brands seeking to quickly put together an in-store sampling.
“We are looking for brands that are really serious about increasing their velocity and sales, and not those who might say let’s do two quick demos in this city,” he said. “We are looking for those long-term partners to win at retail.”