Surfside, Fla.-based Peekaboo Organics founder Jessica Levison wasn’t planning to become an ice cream manufacturer. She was a lawyer before opening a boutique scoop shop in Miami 13 years ago, which became popular for its delicious flavors and creative ingredients.
When Levison became a parent, she had to learn to satisfy a new type of customer: her kids. They were refusing to eat their veggies, but eager for ice cream at the end of the day (something Levison found hard to oppose). So she decided to experiment with ice cream flavors that secretly included a full serving of vegetables, and Peekaboo Organics was born.
Launching in 2019, Peekaboo’s delicious line of organic ice cream packed with hidden veggies is available around the country at Whole Foods Market, Bristol Farms, Earth Fare and other retailers. Peekaboo is also a certified B Corporation — committed to issues that include sustainability, reducing child hunger and empowering women in the workplace.
Like many other brands, Peekaboo found retail to be a learning experience as it refined its recipe for success during rapid growth. Peekaboo got its foot in the door at regional Whole Foods Market locations around Miami, but its distribution quickly expanded from there.
“Retailers immediately recognized that consumers were eager for a better-for-you ice cream option,” Levison explains. “Consumers were really driving toward snacks, indulgence and desserts that brought them closer to balance.”
Things were on a clear growth trajectory, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Hide veggies, not data
Overnight, the pandemic changed how customers were shopping in grocery stores. Peekaboo needed to adapt, and the pandemic served as an opportunity for the brand to focus its distribution channels to optimize both efficiency and velocity.
“With COVID, it’s hard to be nationally distributed when the entire world is shut down — especially as a small brand. Focusing regionally is really important for small brands in particular,” Levison reflects.
Data were key to this effort, but they were nearly impossible to access. Without being able to afford big-ticket data services or hire whole teams dedicated to crunching numbers, Levison and her supply chain manager did their best to collect and dissect data from various vendor portals to get signals.
“Before Crisp, even thinking about data was overwhelming and infuriating,” she remembers. Levison wanted quick access to insights so she could focus her time on taking action instead of spending hours digging into data for insights herself. So when she heard about Crisp, she didn’t hesitate.
Data are the first ingredient
Levison now has the data she needs at her fingertips, which drive the brand’s strategy and how she manages each department. Crisp is saving Peakaboo’s director of supply chain alone two to three hours per report, but Levison also loves that anyone on her team can get into data. “Truly anyone can use Crisp,” she emphasizes. “It’s easy for anyone who is not a data person to understand what’s going on in the business, and not just at a high level, but at a granular level that can drive action.”
When the team was thinking about prioritizing distribution, data from Crisp’s Velocity Dashboards were critical.
“Data really helped us determine where we are strong, where we should be leaning in and where we might want to scale back,” Levison explains.
As the team found, focusing their distribution growth on areas where the product performs best is core to developing strong velocity numbers.
The Peekaboo team also uses Crisp to inform marketing direction. Using the data, the team targets advertising and social media campaigns based on their points of distribution and retail partners. This makes marketing spend much more efficient and effective. It’s particularly easy with Crisp’s heat map feature, which helps Levison and the team quickly find sales hotspots to focus on. They also look for areas that are performing slower where they may want to pivot their marketing strategy.
On the sales side, Levison starts by viewing data at the high level to see if the trend lines are moving in the right direction. Then granularly, she can monitor re-orders and make sure buyers have product when they need it. For instance, if she sees that a shipment was sent a few weeks ago but the retailer hasn't re-ordered, she can ask her broker to look into it and see if additional support is needed in the form of marketing materials or coupons.
Healthy growth ahead
Levison’s team will continue using data as a guide as they take on new opportunities. After appearing on Shark Tank late last year, Peakaboo has seen sales grow across retail, direct to consumer and e-commerce. It also recently released two new flavors, Unicorn and Cookie Dough (with hidden zucchini), as well as mini-cups, and will be tracking the product’s sales as they roll out further.