Founder-Led Sales Startup: Tips and Tricks After 8 Years of Selling with Karen Frame (S3:Ep15)

Nov 15, 2022 | Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast

My guest today on this episode of Sales Talk For CEOs is Karen Frame whose company Makeena, is on a mission to help people live healthier lives on a cleaner planet.

She talks about the advantages of having a founder-led sales organization.

The obvious advantage is being close to your customers and making sure that your product is solving a real problem for them.

The not so obvious advantage is using scarce capital to hire a brand and consumer success team for her two-sided marketplace instead of hiring a sales team.

One of her earliest lessons about selling came from a successful Silicon Valley startup CEO who taught her it’s never too early to sell. Whether that be customers, investors or future employees. She continues to follow this sage advice.

Watch the podcast below or on our YouTube channel.

Highlights of this Episode:

[1:45] We connect you with brands that are better for your health and better for the planet no matter where you shop

[5:24] I’m going to take the mall kiosk concept into the 21st century. Everybody’s got a handheld kiosk in the palm of their hand. And now I can really help people buy better anywhere they want to shop.

[8:06] I was giving up a lot in my career to really focus on building something where I felt like I was helping people lead healthier lives on a cleaner planet.

[10:25] I learned from a Silicon Valley CEO named Praveen that you don’t really have to have everything all together before you start selling. And as a founder, you’re always selling. You’re selling to investors, team members, in my case, consumers, brands, and partners in the industry.

[14:32] But the mission is around helping brands really understand how to move their product off the shelf. Where are they doing well? What is their competition doing?

[15:53] So when I started Makeena, I knew that I wanted to be a Certified B Corp because when I launched Natural Interactions, this interactive touchscreen kiosk system in the 1990s, I had sat on a steering committee for business for social responsibility. And I knew that business could be a force for good.

[19:13] And when brands saw this (a Certified B Corp), they’re like, “Oh.” And immediately they trusted us more.

[34:11] Keeping customers delighted as we continue to grow the company is really just about listening. And this is one of the reasons why I think it’s really important for a founder to continue to sell no matter what. You have to listen to the feedback you’re getting from your customer.

[37:06]  Being the founder with a small scrappy team, my first real hires are brand delight people that are continually talking to the customer because I can’t do that all the time.

About Our Guest:

Karen, Makeena’s CEO & Founder, is passionate about being an entrepreneur and making the world a better place.  She firmly believes that building a technology company in the natural products space will encourage people to shop healthier and lead to a cleaner planet because Makeena will make it easy for them to make smarter choices.

Karen became an entrepreneur in the early 1990s when she moved to Boulder, Colorado, and built and operated two interactive touchscreen kiosk companies, one for the real estate industry (InterActive Properties) and one for the natural products industry (Natural Interactions).  After that, Karen was general counsel for a number of emerging growth and publicly-held software and data analytics companies.

Karen earned her degree in accounting and business from Indiana University and a CPA and law degree from the University of Illinois.  She also attended Oxford University, focusing on international business transactions, and taught Principles of Business for Entrepreneurs in the Cross Campus Entrepreneurship Certificate Program at the University of Colorado.

About Makeena:

Makeena is a rewards app that connects shoppers with “brands for good.” Available on iOS and Android, Makeena enables shoppers to buy eco-friendly, healthy products from any source, upload receipts, and then earn cash, freebies, and samples. Brands and retailers receive critical business analytics and shopper profile data to expand their presence in the market and increase business. Makeena is a Certified B Corporation. For more information, visit

Resource Links:

Karen’s Social Media Links:


Makeena Social Media Links:


Go to to download the app.

You can learn more about and connect with Alice Heiman  in the links below.




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