We love products
We’ve always lived by two product rules at Thankyou:
For a while now, we’ve dreamed of Thankyou products meeting you in many more moments. But to get there we can’t do it alone. We partner with designers, creators, innovators and scale partners to help bring Thankyou to the world.
There are two ways we redistribute wealth from consumer choice:
We make products and sell them to you directly at thankyou.co.
We intend to design and create products and then, through the Thankyou Licence, work with world-class partners to make and distribute Thankyou products to the world. This is a very efficient and effective growth model, and we’d love to take you on our journey to develop the Thankyou Licence.
Developing the Thankyou licence
This changes everything
After 13 years of running a traditional product company, we realised we were a long way off the vision that founded this organisation. A deep dive into the data in our history showed that our track record for launching ideas was great. But our track record for sustaining those ideas at scale, competing against the world’s biggest companies, was average.
David Kidder, a global marketing leader, talks about walking away from what you are average at and going 10x (all-in) on what you’re best at. Then we saw a business model that the more we looked into we couldn’t unsee it’s infinite potential - licencing the Thankyou brand.
Here are some examples of this model you may not be familiar with:
- Adidas makes and distributes Yeezys (Kanye West’s brand) shoes;
- Nestle makes and distributes Starbucks coffee pods;
- Disney licenses its brand to hundreds of manufacturers in clothing, toys, stationery and even baby products;
- and The Coca Cola Company licenses their formula to manufacturers and distributors in every corner of the world…
We thought if the system can unlock this model for a shoe, coffee pod or a sugar drink and in the process make billions for shareholders, why not turn that same key unlocking potentially billions of dollars to right a wrong, to help end extreme poverty.
Thankyou’s role is to design and create products and ideas, find the right partners who can help bring these ideas to global scale sustainably, hold these partners accountable to ethics in the supply chain and deliver the money raised to our impactful change-makers on the front line in developing countries. To be very clear these partners do not own Thankyou but instead have a licence to make and distribute a specific product category for a specific region.
The power of The Thankyou Licence? It starts with taking the Thankyou Personal Care range from two of the smallest countries on the planet to the planet. Where could it stop?
If you are like us once you see Thankyou you can’t unsee it. Could Thankyou be found in almost any product category? Under this model, it’s as simple as finding the right partners willing to join the mission.
Why did Thankyou take this path? Read more Show less
Because we tried almost every other path we could over 13 years. Our goal isn’t to run a nice little social business that makes a difference. It’s to tip the scales and flip the system of the $63 trillion consumer spending.
To win in business you have to play to your ‘sustainable competitive advantage’. Let’s look at every category we’ve ever entered as case studies. To the left and right of Thankyou on the shelf you have the following:
- A supermarket or retailer’s home brand and often an additional ‘psuedo home brand’ - one that doesn’t have the retailer’s name on the packaging but they own. These products receive premium shelf space which some days doesn’t feel fair, but the supermarket’s sustainable competitive advantage is: they own the store. It’s their call.
- An independent brand that owns their own factory & has access to investors or significant capital. Compared to us, these brands have the ability to generate a higher profit margin (because they own their own factory, we work with contract manufacturers) and they have access to huge amounts of capital to keep pumping into sales promotions & marketing. This is their sustainable competitive advantage.
- Multinational competitors who own their own factories have international supply chain efficiencies and access to huge amounts of capital. They are often the most cashed-up and in many cases have been in their respective category for decades. This is their sustainable competitive advantage.
- Then you have Thankyou. We don’t own the store, we work with contract manufacturers and because of our all-for model we don’t have access to huge amounts of capital.
So, while we don’t have the sustainable competitive advantage that our competitors do, we do have an advantage. We believe it’s the brand, purpose & the power of the movement of people who stand behind it. The only challenge was our competitive advantage wasn’t sustainable. Every time we went head to head with the competitors in a category we executed an amazing and successful launch - but very quickly everyone else would use their sustainable competitive advantage to wear us down and in some cases, crush us.
You can read about our last two launches that should have taken 6 months but took 4 years and almost ended us here: Moon shot. These, and the entire journey, helped inform this pivot.
This new model flips the game we’ve been playing on its head. We partner with organisations who have the ability to sustain products in the market through their competitive advantage, while we focus on our own competitive advantage, together amplifying the Impact that can make to see a world where not one person lives in extreme poverty.
Further to ‘sustainable competitive advantage’, another driver for this partnership is that some of the worlds biggest companies are ahead of everyone in helping solve complex supply chain issues. Thankyou’s had the intention, the passion and have invested years in the journey but we are missing one critical ingredient - scale. We’ve watched the journey of some competitors over the last 13 years and we are impressed by their work in this space. This partnership only makes more sense as Thankyou goes to a global scale, sustainably.
What does this new model look like compared with your old one? Read more Show less
More efficient! In our old model, we did everything inhouse, or where we did outsource, it was to groups who, reasonably, added a margin to their costs (manufacturing, warehousing etc). There were a lot of costs involved. As we scaled, the amount we had to invest for growth began to outweigh the return we were able to generate for Impact. While the new model may appear to have lower margins, it has greater scale and efficiencies to generate those margins, enabling Thankyou to achieve as good as, if not a better than, result.
Why would a company that can do it all themselves want a Thankyou Licence? Read more Show less
Logos are made overnight, brands are built over decades. Thankyou’s 13 years into building an authentic purpose driven brand. Its rich brand story and journey are not easily replicable. It’s a known fact in the industry that it’s really hard to create authentic brands with purpose and get lots of people buying into that idea. For global manufacturers this isn’t something that they can all do, which is where this partnership comes in.
Are you guys being a little naive to how some of these companies operate, aren’t they ultimately driven by profit, not purpose? Read more Show less
We’d like to believe that every company we work with is driven by purpose and making a difference - many genuinely are. But we are not naive. The hard reality is that shareholder pressure may stop them living out their passion for purpose on some days (enter the dark side of capitalism). This partnership does not rely on a partner ‘wanting to do good’. If Thankyou has you, the consumer supporting us, then big ‘consumer’ goods companies are faced with a problem. They know you will choose Thankyou so they can either make the product for you and make slightly less than they would on their own brand, or watch a competitor of theirs make it and lose out completely on the sale. Competition is a foundation of capitalism and we are using it for good. We don’t think profit and purpose have to be mutually exclusive.
How much does Thankyou get for a product sold under the Thankyou Licence? Read more Show less
Licensing industry standards range between 1% and 18% depending on the category and the nature of the partnership. With the first one it has to tick an important box: be on or above industry average license fees for the health and beauty category. If we look at our 13 years of trading history as a company our average net profit was 6%. Some years were much higher, some were lower. But the bottom line is we can make as much money (if not more) running this model. This is a more efficient model for our mission of getting the most money we can to our impact partners. Whilst the % ’s sound small this is all about scale. The top 150 companies that license their brand or brand assets account for $260 billion in retail sales.
Is Thankyou ok that the partner makes money? Read more Show less
From day one the Thankyou model has been about win-win’s that lead to long term sustainability. For 13 years our manufacturers and distributors made money, it’s what made the model sustainable. We need our partners to be able to sustain this model in their business for decades to come. So yes, we are very much ok that our partners make money.
What’s stopping them from poorly managing a category, making an average product or making unethical decisions? Read more Show less
The fundamentals of the agreement include performance, product quality and our code of conduct clauses which our partners must adhere to. Our team of licencing management experts are there to hold our partners accountable. If they don’t hold up their end of the partnership they could lose the licence and see it go to another one of their competitors.
Is Thankyou selling out? Read more Show less
Far from it. This is not a model where we are selling Thankyou. Instead, we are letting partners have use of the brand in certain categories for certain periods of time. Thankyou, the brand and entities are owned by the Thankyou Charitable Trust.
We’d heard it said that 80% of what you do someone else can do. 15% is what someone who you train and apprentice over time can do. That leaves 5%. The 5% that only you can do. What you are best in the world at. It’s what makes you, you, or in our case Thankyou, Thankyou.
Our track record for launching ideas was great. But our track record for sustaining those ideas at scale competing against the world’s biggest companies was average. We’ve gone all-in on our 5%. And through the Thankyou Licence, we want to partner with others who’ve figured out theirs.
- Amplifying impactful change-makers exponentially
- Leading a movement to create a global change
- Generating ideas and creating buy-in to that idea
- Delivering a world-class brand experience
- Breakthrough launches
- Brand Development, communications and creative
- Curating epic partnerships and gatherings
Not our 5%
- World-class global manufacturing and distribution
- Deep investment into specific categories to ensure long-term sustainable growth and market-leading position
If you have the ability to make and distribute a new Thankyou product under The Thankyou Licence we’d love to chat. But maybe you don’t have that. Maybe you are a startup and interested in partnering with Thankyou. As Thankyou is rapidly building its network of partners we’ve got some creative ways of curating epic partnerships to bring product ideas to global scale and making global impact!