Erin Patinkin and Natasha Case — co-hosts of Eater’s new podcast, Start to Sale, launching this Thursday — have thought for a while about how they could collaborate. The two met when Case became an early client of Ovenly, which Patinkin opened in 2010 with Agatha Kulaga. And as business owners — Patinkin runs New York City’s award-winning bakery Ovenly and Case is the founder of Coolhaus, the ice cream brand with a devoted national fanbase — they knew there had to be a way in which their minds could meet.
“We became friends,” remembers Patinkin. “As we both became leaders, we started having a lot of fun conversations about business, growth, and staff.”
Though the business models for Ovenly and Coolhaus vary — Coolhaus is on a mass-market scale and sold at supermarkets including Publix and Whole Foods, and Ovenly focuses on the sales from its brick-and-mortar locations around New York, in addition to delivery via Goldbely — Patinkin and Case began sharing the stories and struggles of their businesses, growth, and staffing.
They found comfort in these conversations, particularly because everything they read or listened to on the business was mostly hosted by journalists, and not by people like themselves who are living it. “It was nice to have these exchanges CEO to CEO,” says Case.
They recognize that there is advice in spades for starting a business — and resources like the podcast How I Built This to inspire leaders to keep theirs going — but there’s a drought in advice for what Patinkin and Case refer to as the in-between years. “That’s what we were really craving,” Case says.
That longing is what lead Patinkin and Case to Start to Sale — a new podcast from Eater, part of Vox Media’s fall 2018 podcast slate, that hones in on those tricky years: after the start, and before the sale. “We’re bringing the CEO perspective to the questions,” says Case. “Not just as the guest being interviewed.”
As co-hosts, the duo will open up their previously private conversations, welcoming business leaders to talk openly about the grit, hustle, failure, and passion it takes to succeed, including Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, Ari Weinzweig of Michigan icon Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Witchsy co-founder Kate Dwyer, and Piera Gerlardi, co-founder of Refinery 29.
In Start to Sale, Patinkin and Case are getting the chance to turn the questions around to their guests. “As leaders, Natasha and I love getting questions outside of how we started it all,” says Case. “Telling the start-up story is fun but it gets to a point where it’s kind of old.”
“It tends to be in a lot of business reporting, when CEOs are interviewed about the growth of the business,” says Patinkin. “There’s not a lot of focus on the very specific moments in the growth of the business that were pivotal to that person.”
The conversations Patinkin and Case have with their guests on Start to Sale have become more of those pivotal moments for them, and their latest source for advice on their businesses. “We’re both still in those in-between years too,” says Case. “I think that’s what makes these conversations so special.”
When the hosts were prompted to break down a skill that’s important to their business — a question they ask all of their guests on Start to Sale — Case quickly picked brand storytelling, while Patinkin talked about how much she’s learned about effective confrontation at Ovenly. “We’re so lucky to talk to these people and it really helps us,” says Patinkin. “[And] if it’s helping us, it’s gotta be helping other people.”
Case adds: “It’s the perfect case study.”