Operations

Coworking with Oisin Hanrahan

He’s co-founder and CEO of Keychain.
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Oisin Hanrahan

3 min read

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Oisin Hanrahan is co-founder and CEO of Keychain, a platform helping CPG brands find manufacturing partners, used by brands like Utz, Momofuku, and Starkist.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in retail? If you ask any CPG brand, “What is the hardest part about running your business?” they’ll tell you that it’s finding the right manufacturing partners—the companies who can help them actually produce and package the products we find on store shelves. Today, this massive industry operates completely offline and is dominated by time-intensive vetting at trade shows and via brokers. We actually just announced our core product that will make this process easier: a streamlined marketplace that connects brands, retailers, and manufacturers so they can find the right partners through one simple search.

One thing we can’t guess about your job from your LinkedIn profile? I realized how confusing it is for people with food allergies to find products they can safely eat, which brought some of the flaws in the CPG manufacturing process to my attention. One of the reasons I started Keychain was to make this process simpler.

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on? It’s really hard to choose just one. So far, leading Keychain’s launch has been incredibly rewarding. What we’re building at Keychain helps brands and retailers solve their biggest supply chain pain points, helping them easily find the right manufacturing partners, shorten production cycles, and develop even more compelling products for shoppers. If we can take an extensive process down from months to a few clicks, we can really unlock innovation, speed, and product development for the whole industry. And as a consumer, you’ll see more high-quality and affordable products on the shelves than ever before.

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Which emerging retail trend are you most excited about right now, and why? If you couldn’t tell, I’m particularly excited about increased transparency in retail. More businesses are openly sharing information about their product sourcing, manufacturing practices, and ingredients. Consumers tend to favor brands that are doing this over those that aren’t; people want to know exactly what they’re buying and where it’s coming from. Consumers are demanding this transparency from the brands they love, and I’m excited to see this continue to shift.

What’s your go-to coffee order? Scratch the coffee, I’ll take a mint tea.

Worst piece of advice you’ve received? “Play it safe.” Early on in my career, I was told to stay low-key and follow the lead of others. As an entrepreneur driven by a passion for building brands, sticking to my comfort zone was never in the cards.

What was your favorite retail product when you were 15, and what’s your favorite retail product now? When I was 10, my favorite retail product was definitely some sort of Irish snack—probably Dan Bars, they were delicious. It’s a bit less exciting, but I’d say my favorite retail product today has to be the leather notebook that I use to organize my days. I really don’t know what I’d do without it.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.