Founder Caron Proschan says improving Simply Gum's social media presence will be a priority in 2018.

Before launching her own line of vegan gum online, Simply Gum founder and CEO Caron Proschan knew she had to get the branding right.

“Our name is Simply Gum and we wanted to be simple, so we wanted a simple aesthetic,” she says. “When I was looking at the grocery industry, there was a natural product in every category, but not gum. Regular chewing gum, I think, no longer resonates with millennials and other young people.”

Developing a website that stood out and was unlike that of any other gum or candy retailer was a critical element in her plan. “Our goal was to create a site that was visually appealing and reflected our core values of simplicity and quality,” she says. Rather than look to competitors’ sites for inspiration, she looked at the sites of brands across a wide range of categories.

Proschan worked with Simply Gum’s creative director and a photographer to explore several different photography styles and layouts before going with the company’s current design, which features crisp images on an airy, white background, featuring the natural ingredients—such as peppermint, ginger and maple—in the brands’ chewing gum and mints.

Simply Gum

The home page of Simply Gum.

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The layout and images aim to engage shoppers and encourage them to learn more about the company’s products rather than to hit them with a sales pitch right off the bat, she says.

“We knew there was a real opportunity for us to tell our story and build a direct relationship with our consumer in a new way,” she says. “That’s what inspired us to come up with something that was not a traditional e-commerce layout but was something that would really resonate with our customers.”

The site is built on the Shopify platform.

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Proschan declined to specify online sales figures for Simply Gum, which launched in 2014. The retailer sells online via SimplyGum.com; Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500; online-only organic grocer Thrive Market (No. 244) and online marketplace Jet.com. Third-party sellers also list Simply Gum products on Walmart.com, the online marketplace operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 3), and eBay Inc.

Simply Gum also is sold offline in Whole Foods stores (now owned by Amazon) and apparel retailers Urban Outfitters Inc. (No. 40) and Anthropologie (an Urban Outfitters brand). Proschan says she thinks selling her products in stores has helped drive traffic to SimplyGum.com.

“Bricks-and-mortar retail works hand in hand with online,” Proschan says. Consumers may see the brand initially at a Whole Foods store, and after they buy the product there and like it, they can go directly to the source at Simply Gum’s site, she says. Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters also sell Simply Gum products online.

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Proschan says one of her main priorities is to capitalize on consumers’ initial interest and grow the brand’s online sales by generating more awareness on social media.

“Because we’re small and new, we do have a lot of new business,” she says. “Social media is something that we’re starting to focus on in terms of our own Instagram presence. We are starting to invest in good photography and telling a nice story on social media. We will start experimenting with some digital advertising.”

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