Beardbrand: Founder Gets it Right After 10 Years of Failed Businesses – with Eric Bandholz

You’ve heard that every overnight success is 10 years in the making? For today’s guest, that saying could’t be more literally true.

Eric Bandholz is the co-founder of Beardbrand, a site that caters to the urban beardsman by providing high quality beard oils, mustache wax, grooming kits and more. Eric launched his business in January of 2013 with 3 partners and was able to grow the business to five figures in just seven months.

But it took 10 years of failed businesses to get to Beardbrand.

Eric is really open about the success he’s had with Beardbrand – but he doesn’t hide the fact that for the last 1- years he’s tried to start different businesses and none of them have succeeded. In today’s interview you’ll learn:

  • 5:58 – why Eric likes to have partners in business
  • 10:58 – why it’s more important to build a brand than a product
  • 18:21 – how Eric keeps getting press coverage from places like Yahoo! and the New York Times
  • 20:52 – the Beardbrand marketing strategy
  • 29:48 – how to fight loneliness as an entrepreneur
  • 38:49 – the hardest part of Eric’s job
  • 40:01 – how Beardbrand is building a location independent business even though they sell a physical product

Show Notes:

TRANSCRIPT
Andy:              Welcome everyone to another episode of Starting from Nothing, the Foundation podcast. Today we have Eric Bandholz on the show with us.Eric is the co-founder of beardbrand.com, a site that caters to urban beardsman by providing high-quality beard oils, mustache wax, grooming kits and more. Eric launched his business in January of 2013, so eight months ago, with three partners and he’s been able to grow the business to five figures per month in just seven months. Even though I don’t think I’ll ever grow a beard nearly as cool as Eric’s, I’m excited to have him on the show with me. Eric, what’s up man? Welcome.Eric:                 Thanks Andy. That’s a warm introduction. Appreciate it. [Inaudible 00:01:00] the kind words and …

Andy:              Absolutely. If you’re just listening to the podcast, I highly recommend you check out the video and you can see how incredible Eric’s beard is.

Eric:                 Well, you know, it just grows on me. I’m sure you had a great beard as well. You just have to give it some time.

Andy:              Yeah. I just got back from Burning Man and didn’t shave for like ten days. It’s just … I look like a little boy.

Eric:                 Well, you know, I’m sure you look like more of a man after ten days maybe now.

Andy:              A little bit. Tell me about beardbrand.com. Like what is it, how old is it, where the idea come from.

Eric:                 First of all, I would say we’re more just Beard Brand rather than beardbrand.com. We’re an online store but how we view it is more of a community. We’re trying to develop a culture.

What happened is back in February of 2012 I went to a beard competition in Portland, Oregon and had an absolute blast. Have you ever been to a beard competition?

Andy:              I was just going to ask, what is a beard competition?

Eric:                 So, I guess it would be equivalent to a beauty pageant for men.

Andy:              (Laughs)

Eric:                 Men tend to do beauty pageants a little bit different than women. They’re a lot less serious, a little bit of alcohol is involved or maybe a lot of alcohol. And then usually guys end up taking off their clothes. Not in a sexual way but just …

Andy:              In a manly way.

Eric:                 Yeah, yeah. It’s a celebration of being a man and just a little bit of ridiculousness and just a lot of fun. It’s competitive but it’s not really competitive. People get into it but … if they lose, they’re not going to pull hair and catfight and stuff like that.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 So, I had an absolute blast in Portland, came back and said … there’s a group of guys out there who don’t fit your typical or your stereotypical beardsman look. So, traditionally, when you think of someone with a beard, you think of a guy that … is maybe a biker or a hippy or an outdoorsman or even a homeless guy. But what I noticed is there’s a trend for … we coin the term ‘urban beardsman’ who are more professional or they’re more professional with their careers and they tend to like more urban things like drinking coffee, going out with their friends.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Rather than your traditional beardsman thing. Maybe in the person not really wanting to wait around for someone else to do it, which I would totally jump on board, I just went ahead and create a beard brand to cater to the urban beardsman. We started off with a blog and some videos on YouTube. That was February of 2012 that we did that. I can go into the story.

There’s actually started with another guy, John, who’s a good friend of mine who had just had a baby and was working from home. He ended up taking a full time job and we kind of split directions. It was kind of on the back burner for a while. And then out of the blue, I was maybe putting a couple of photos up on Tumblr every month and maybe a blog article once a month or once every couple of months. I wasn’t really involved.

Out of the blue, a reporter for the New York Times contacted me saying she’s going to do an article on beard [inaudible 00:04:33] products. Cool. I’ve been in the Wall Street Journal digits before and I’ve been in a couple other local pieces. So I tend to find media somehow or they find me. This time, our Facebook page only had like a hundred likes. It wasn’t like we are this big, established organization.

She talked … this was in November, December. I got details. I got a good hour-long conversation with her. She told me this article was going to take time for her and she’s doing … but she would contact me before it went on. At the same time I was working with the partners I was now trying to build up another business; in a completely different field.

Andy:              What was the other business?

Eric:                 It was in a staffing business. It was a new way to kind of outsource town for companies. One of the other partners is a staffing … he’s got a staffing business and he [inaudible 00:05:38] a new division but …

Andy:              This sounds way more fun.

Eric:                 Yeah, yeah. That kind of stalled out and things didn’t go well with that but three of us still wanted to move forward and I was like, “Hey, we got this article coming out in January then the January … maybe we could threw up a few products on our store, see if we sell it.” It kind of go from there. Like, yeah, sure.

I was okay with getting up equity. One of my challenges with businesses has always been trying to find partners. I don’t like doing it alone. I like sharing the wins, I like sharing the losses.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 To me … I’m not here to make a billion dollars; I’m here to … like you, to live free, to live location independent. I don’t think I need to be the next Zuckerberg to do it. So, anyways …

Andy:              Beautiful.

Eric:                 I’m totally rambling on. This is a long story.

Andy:              So this what happened. The reporter contacted you November or December of last year.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Andy:              You didn’t have any products, right? You were just blogging.

Eric:                 Yeah, so we’re just blogging. We had no e-commerce or anything like that. We literally pushed up the website live, maybe like … I think it was a day before the article published. We didn’t even have any products on hand. We never planned on drop shipping, we always wanted to carry our own product and send it out.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 So, we are really fortunate to find vendors who are likeminded and I think that’s … in part of our success so far is working with vendors who share the same kind of passion for what we do. We’re not just pushing out crappy products that you can buy at Walmart but we’re finding handmade stuff kind of boutique.

Andy:              So take me back now. You’ve been blogging for almost a year. Had you gotten much traction from people?

Eric:                 Yeah, I mean we were … we were probably getting … I don’t know, like 50 to a hundred hits a day. Which I want to say is a lot of traction. But, you know, we are out there enough to get notice. In the beard community, it’s not a saturated market so you don’t need to do a lot to get up to the top.

One of my videos, How to Grow and Maintain a Beard, has gotten over 130,000 views. I think that’s really been the catalyst for a lot of the traffic to Beard Brand.

Andy:              Got it. Got it. So that’s brought a lot of your traffic in and this report [inaudible 00:08:23], probably through that video or through the stuff that you’re putting out. And was that the initial idea? Like, oh, we’re doing this article for New York Times; we should have some products to sell.

Eric:                 Yeah. It was … let’s do business, let’s do Beard Brand, okay, well, here’s a perfect timing kind of thing. I think we would have move forward with or without the article but it really just kind of helps jumpstart it. And when I look back … go ahead.

Andy:              No, go ahead.

Eric:                 I was going to say, when I look back to those times in that one article I’m thinking, oh man, we’re going to be on the New York Times, it’s going to bring in millions and millions of dollars. This one article is just going to make us rich and all those things. In a broad end like … that first month we build a $1,000. So, we brought in … it showed us that there’s clients out there but looking back on it now, we’re doing a $1,000 a day. That took a whole month.

Andy:              I’m so excited everyone to really dive into this because, yeah, in January, eight months ago, you did a thousand dollars that month, now, in September …

Eric:                 Well, we launched January 28.

Andy:              January 28.

Eric:                 Yeah. It wasn’t really even January, it was …

Andy:              Wow, like three days.

Eric:                 Yeah. So February … I think we did a couple hundred dollars in January and then February we did a thousand. And then in March we dropped down, we only did like 600 bucks in March.

Andy:              Wow! Six hundred bucks in March and now you’re doing … yeah, about 25, 30 grand a month.

Eric:                 Yeah. We just did under 25 last month. We’re hoping to get up to 50 or hundred for the holidays.

Andy:              This is awesome. I love … first of all, thank you for being so open with your numbers because it’s … I think it’s really important to learn from people who are just like a step or two ahead of you. I think it’s really important to study people who create exponential growth in their business. You guys are doing that.

Looking at the numbers from the pre-interview, you said a thousand in February; like 600 bucks in March; April, 2 grand; May, 4 grand; June, six to seven grand; July, 15 grand and about 22 to 25 in August. This is incredible. Where is your revenue? Where people finding you?

Eric:                 Social media has been a huge part of our business model and our strategy. It really … how we’re different than probably a lot of businesses that you might work with. It’s not necessarily about the product but it’s about the brand. We’re very heavy on building a brand, building an image, building a community of people who are likeminded. I guess that takes more time than … just these kind of … spend $10,000 on AdWords and then get $20,000. We didn’t do it the easy way, we did the hard way but we see the results of that.

For instance, our last email campaign, we had a 60% open rate and a 23% click through rate. That’s been consistent. Our monthly blast, we get anywhere between 50 and 60 percent open rate. [Inaudible 00:11:51] are really engaged with the brand and they’re really connected. It makes it easier to exponentially grow because what happens now is we’re getting to a point everyone’s taking the photo of their beard oil package when it comes in, they share it on Instagram and their friends are … “What the heck is that?” kind of our problem.

Now … because no one knows what beard oil is and that’s our main driver is the beard oil. We’re essentially pushing a new product that the market’s not very knowledgeable about and then from there hoping to grow it.

Andy:              Are you incentivizing people to post on Facebook and Instagram? Their package photos?

Eric:                 No. We don’t do that. We kind of just stick with our own philosophies and do good work and if people like it then they can do that. And I guess we could be more effective and … those kind of …

There’s two aspects to a business and we’re probably … I’m probably a little more different in that. We’re really appealing to the emotional side. There’s not a specific science that we’re following, it’s more of just this feeling. This feeling of coolness, of awesomeness that we’re trying to build and we help people identify with it. Maybe that’s probably not the best business strategy but it’s good for us. It’s how we operate.

Andy:              Yeah. I think almost all businesses are driven by emotions more than project for sure.

Eric:                 People want to buy from people they know and they trust and they want to buy from people who they want to be like and who their friends want them to be like.

Andy:              It’s really cool. I checked out the site and it was … I didn’t really know what to expect and I browse around the site it’s like … it’s like wow, these are guys with style. They’re stylish dude with cool beards and cool haircuts and … yeah. It’s just a really cool sub-culture I didn’t even know existed.

Eric:                 Yeah. It didn’t exist. In my opinion, Beard Brand is the only company that is marketing to these guys. Again, there’s other beard product companies out there but none who are defining the lifestyle and the image of who these guys are and they’re awesome people. It’s a great community.

Andy:              How did you know what products to put in the store when you first opened?

Eric:                 Our main vendor, Jeremiah down in Austin, he contacted me from my Tumblr blog and gave me some free samples. So I reached out to him and asked if he did wholesale and he did. So we started with his products which I had been using myself, so it’s easy way to start. From there we just do research, we kind of see what’s been posted on Tumblr. Tumblr has been a great source of inspiration and kind of see what people like and what people are yearning for. [Inaudible 00:14:54] have been great.

Then we developed our beardsman kit internally, so we came up with that design and put it all together. We can’t keep that along the shelf which is …

Andy:              What was that?

Eric:                 It’s our beardsman kit so it’s … it’s got pretty much everything you’ll need if you’ve got a beard.

Andy:              Oh, wow!

Eric:                 Yeah, yeah. You’ll be able to take care of it and …

Andy:              Oh, wow! And this sells for $175.

Eric:                 Yeah. Yeah. Part of my challenges with the business is trying to keep them on our shelves so that I can sell more of them.

Andy:              Oh, wow!

Eric:                 Yeah.

Andy:              This is really cool. What are margins on something like this? This looks really nice.

Eric:                 Yeah. As you can tell, we’re … We’ve got about a 50% margin per markup [inaudible 00:15:52].

Andy:              Beautiful. Beautiful. This look awesome, dude. Did you design these or are these all Jeremiah stuff?

Eric:                 The Beard Brand product is our own product that we developed internally. They’re the ones with the silver label. And then the ones with the [inaudible 00:16:11] are Jeremiah’s products. The wood boxes are ones that we facilitated. The ceramic bowls, we facilitated that. We’ll be coming out with a mustache wax. Coming up really soon. I’m really excited about that so it’s been …

Andy:              Tell me how your … how you’ve grown so quickly. Has traffic spiked as much as your sales have? Or is it the people are just … people are buying stuff over and over again? What really causing the … you know, to go from six or seven grand to 15 grand the next month is a huge spike.

Eric:                 Yeah. We’ve … we’ve gotten a little lucky. I think the growth from six to 15 grand was pretty much organic growth. We did connect with a male model, his name is Ricky Hall; beautiful man over in London. Got him some of our products and he took pictures and posted it up on Instagram. That gave us a boost of a couple thousand dollars in sales.

Andy:              Nice.

Eric:                 This past month, in August, we were on the front page of Yahoo which was a huge spike for us. I would say that drove an additional five, $5,000 to us, maybe a bit more.

Andy:              Let’s talk about … it sounds like you’re [inaudible 00:17:46].

Eric:                 Yeah. I don’t … I think you kind of mentioned it before is … you’re thankful that I’m open with my numbers and I’m an open guy, right? You Google me, you’ll find me. My Reddit account is Bandholz so I don’t hide behind anything. I am who I am. I’m out in the public. My Facebook stuff is all public so I’m pretty easy to get a hold of. If I tell my numbers, what are you going to do? What’s the harm in sharing that?

Andy:              Yeah. How did Yahoo find you? And what was the article on?

Eric:                 Yahoo found us from the New York Times article and she looked through all the links on the New York Times article and said we had the coolest website. Part of that luck is our hard work in making sure that we’ve got a cool website. So she’s … yeah.

The article was … I think it was a little bit about beard transplant, a little bit about beard maintenance. It’s just like a really quick, short blogger to cool on. They’re beauty side of Yahoo but they … I sent them my picture and I didn’t expect them to … she’s like, “Yeah, we may use it.” But anyway, I sent it to her and then she put it on like the header of the article and then that photo was on the front page of Yahoo and all my friends from …

Andy:              Do you feel like a celebrity?

Eric:                 No, not at all. Not yet. Maybe when I get on TV.

Andy:              We’re joking about that at the conference recently like, do you know what happens when you become internet famous? Nothing.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Andy:              Nothing.

Eric:                 I actually have had … I was at a bar in Spokane for New Years and a guy came out to me and he knew who I was; a YouTube video. So, that was a little weird.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 One of my friends in high school was talking to a buddy up in New Jersey, a gamer he games with. He’s snooping his Facebook profile and he’s like, “Hey man, I recognize your friend from YouTube videos.” Those are the two little things. But we’ve got a marketing campaign push that is going to be really PR driven that were kind of in the works now. I don’t want to release it but … the bearding story is a good story. It’s a warm story, it’s a friendly story. Companies talking about it.

Andy:              What’s the bearding story?

Eric:                 The trend for men to grow out beards. Kind of a small niche … small business kind of happy people like … it’s a warm story that isn’t totally normal. The competitive bearding, that’s normal. People … it’s just kind of weird enough that people like talking about it and then it’s not too weird where people get offended. It’s kind of like this really good spot for getting media coverage.

Andy:              What are you doing for marketing?

Eric:                 Our marketing strategy is a lot of social media which is me spending my time connecting with our audience. And then we also purchase social media ads on Facebook and we also do remarketing.

Andy:              Nice. How’s buying ads and doing remarketing? Is that pretty profitable for you?

Eric:                 So when you look at it from a … I spend a thousand dollars marketing, how many sales do I [inaudible 00:21:39] in that? It’s a battle wash or even negative. So we spend a thousand bucks on buying ads and remarketing. I think that results in about a thousand direct sales. But when you factor in, just like the branding and the customer for life and potential for that to grow, things that aren’t exactly tractable … Again, this kind of goes to the emotional aspect. I think it’s paying for itself.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Once we started doing that remarketing and social media advice, is really when we started seeing a big ramp up in our sales as well. I think that was probably our $6,000 a month was around when we started buying it so we spend a couple of months.

Andy:              Do you know … it’s probably too soon to relate to a lifetime value of your customers but I assume once people buy something from you, they’re going to keep coming back. Is that …

Eric:                 That’s the plan. Our beard oil is consumable. It will take about three months to go through a bottle of beard oil. From 25 bucks that’s pretty good buying [inaudible 00:22:49].

Andy:              Beautiful.

Eric:                 But I [inaudible 00:22:51], right? Hopefully, we can keep them in every three months, keep that $25 sale. Average order is about 50 bucks right now.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Thirty to 50 bucks. If we figure that we’re going to do … ten orders over the course of two to three years, that’s $500.

Andy:              Beautiful. Do you have a long term vision for what you wanted to be ultimately?

Eric:                 Yeah. Of course. Like it’s about this lifestyle and how I like to phrase it is like Beard Brand is going to be what DC was to the skater scene or what Nike was to the athletic scene or Lululemon’s been to the yoga scene. Beard Brand is urban beardsman. Our goal is to build the company large enough where we can really have enough … to the beard stand style and beards are cool. Because when you think about a lot of these niches are driven by organizations that keep them relevant; because it’s in their best interest. I’d like to keep beards relevant and … I don’t think it’s a fad. I think there are going to be waves where it becomes more popular, less popular. Men will always grow beards.

Andy:              Yeah. I love how it’s almost like the purpose of your business is to create a shift in culture at some level.

Eric:                 Yeah, absolutely. We’re creating new terms. Our marketing campaign is really where we want to shift society and the one that I kind of talked about. It’s going to be really cool. We really want to change the way Americans speak about bearded people.

Andy:              Tell me about how you found your partners for the business.

Eric:                 So I’m thinking back to like when I first met him or when I actually knew that they are capable of being partners? Spokane is a small town. You go to networking events and you meet people that way. My two partners are:  Jeremy, he owns a business doing carpet clean and franchise business, [inaudible 00:25:05] and then Lindsey. She also had her own small business and she also works for the man right now. I met both of them at networking events here in Spokane. We decided to do a startup weekend. Not as a group but I convince everyone to go to a startup weekend. I’ve done a couple of them. I always have a blast.

Andy:              Yeah, they’re so fun.

Eric:                 Yeah. They’re a blast. If you don’t do a startup weekend that’s … go to beard competition and then go to startup weekend.

Andy:              Absolutely.

Eric:                 So in that order.

But we ended up on the same team. We worked on a project and we found out that we work well together or we have similar vision. It was from that startup weekend that we decided … the project that we worked on as startup weekend, we didn’t want to continue but we knew we wanted to work together. That was really …

Andy:              That was really what? Say that again.

Eric:                 Yeah. That was the start of our partnership.

Andy:              Got it. One thing that came up in the pre-interview is that you guys haven’t talked about the equity piece yet. What’s that like? That’s really interesting to me.

Eric:                 We’ve got … I mean we’ve talked about the equity aspect of it and we’re kind of on the same page. From day one, we value the business that like … with all my blog and the website and the likes that I have, we valued it at like 16,000. It was a really small evaluation for the company. I’m totally okay with equal partnership so what I said is, “Hey, we can buy end for … what was it like? Four thousand bucks will get you 25% share.”

Andy:              Beautiful.

Eric:                 So, we had that policy from day one. There’s actually three other partners, there’s four of us total so it would have been 25 each. The fourth partner … he also had another business and his other business was really starting to take off. He cannot commit to both so he kind of parted ways.

It’s still a working progress but, really, my business is that we’re really planned and [inaudible 00:27:27] and … the business plan and everything is [inaudible 00:27:31] and [inaudible 00:27:31], all of those are failed. But if I can just like sell, just let me sell. Let me bring in business and then we’ll figure it all out on the long run.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 As long as I can trust the people and as long as we have similar long term vision and goals, we all want to build independent lifestyle. We don’t want a Zuckerberg, we’re not trying to get rich, you know.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 None of us are in a position where we need the money from the business right now. It’s finding people that you trust and like.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Once you have that then … the paper is paper, right? The paper is as good as it is as verbal in my opinion.

Andy:              Yup. Tell me a story of a business that you did right, the right way with the business plan and everything that didn’t work out.

Eric:                 In 2008 I started a business called Wakomo. It was a vinyl graphic business. I did the business plan, I crunch all the numbers. To a sense you have to crunch all the numbers; make sure you make money. I found all the vendors, I created all these designs, I created an e-commerce business from Magento; I did all these things. But what I didn’t do is I didn’t have any partners and once I got to that point where I’m like, “Hey, I need to start dumping money in the marketing,” I got cold feet. I said, “I don’t know if this is going to work.” Everything I’ve done at that point was my time, my skill but not my dollars. If I had a partner that could say, “Hey man, this is a great idea. You’ve already sold a couple [inaudible 00:29:20]; we’ll just scale that up.” It probably would have move forward. But for me it’s very difficult to work alone.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 All I’d say even … the bigger challenge for me more than the business plan is finding people that I trust and I can work with. For me personally.

Andy:              For people … a lot of people listening here are people who are in the starting phase. [Inaudible 00:29:44] stuff it probably … maybe, they made some little bit of progress with it but they haven’t really found the thing yet. If you would give them advice what would you tell them about getting started?

Eric:                 If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re just listening to successful people. You’re not listening to my interview back in 2008 when I’ve been trying to start a company for five years. Still, at that point, haven’t created anything. Subsequently had a series of projects never get off the ground.

I’ve been trying to start a business since … I majored on Entrepreneurship at USC and I’ve been trying to start a business for ten years. It’s taken a long time. It’s taken a really long time. But as I’ve learned, probably the thing that I’ve learned most is the events around the nation that can help you connect with the people who are likeminded who also want to start.

In the past I would try to push my friends into starting a business. They really don’t have the entrepreneur drive when I should have been going to things like startup weekends and startup networking events and meet ups and things like that where other people who also want to be entrepreneurs. That probably would have cut five years off for my process.

Andy:              Wow. Yeah. So how important is community for you? Like be surrounded by people that share that value?

Eric:                 For me, that’s everything. I know there’s a lot of entrepreneurs who want to work alone but for those out there who want a partner, who want that team aspect, there are events out there for you to connect with and you should be going to all of those and meet those people.

Andy:              Yeah. And even for the entrepreneurs that want to work alone, I think … we’re writing some scripts for our launch right now. I feel like … sometimes the loneliest people in the world are entrepreneurs. Even if you have partners and stuff like … it’s just like a lonely road to take.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Andy:              And I think even if you are a person that does want to run your business all entirely by yourself, you need that group of people around you who are doing the same thing.

Eric:                 Yeah. Yeah. We’ve got … my political philosophies are on the Libertarian and we’ve got a Libertarian entrepreneur group here in Spokane as well that has started. Two of my partners or pretty much all my partners are in that group along with a couple other people. You’re sharing a lot of the same core values which make it easy. I imagine a lot of the bad experiences with business partners are for people who aren’t united …

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 … at the beginning. They just see things differently here.

Andy:              Yeah, totally. Totally. That’s so important. Dane and I … we’re friends for five years before we started business together.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Andy:              It just creates a really cool space because the trust is so deep, you know? And it’s so important.

Eric:                 I think there’s being friends and then there’s being friends where you’re connected at a philosophical level.

Andy:              Yeah. Yeah.

Eric:                 I think … if you’re friends and you started business, that could lead disaster. But if you’re friends … because you showed the same values and philosophic …

Andy:              Yeah. Yes.

Eric:                 Then that work out great and that’s what you want in life in my opinion.

Andy:              Yeah. Totally.

Looking back in the businesses that you tried starting and this business which is just crushing it, what are the biggest lessons that you’ve learned from the two?

Eric:                 You know for me, I have a hard time selling my time. My freelance design business Sovrnty and I did a little bit of executive recruiting, it’s very hard for me to put that value on there and kind of charge. But when I have a product that I sell, so this is the price of the product, then that’s easier for me. It’s 25 bucks. People know what the price is and they either want it or they don’t. For me, like, separating that business … then it just comes down to the team as well and I’m just building that team.

Andy:              Beautiful. Beautiful.

Let’s talk about post-purchase marketing. Shooting gears for a quick second. A lot of people think that once people buy something from you, the sales is done, but really that’s when the sale begins is after somebody gives you their credit card. What do you do for people who are first time customers? How do you continue to market to them, follow up with them, what’s that look like?

Eric:                 So, our process is … of course, it starts with new order confirmation and I would encourage everyone to buy something from our store so you can see what that’s like. No, but for those without … there’s stuff you can buy in there if you don’t have a beard but …

Andy:              (Laughs)

Eric:                 But … Pretty much I bring my voice into the process so I bring that personal level where I talk to in one-on-one level. And then we follow up with … we have a couple of freebies in our kit that … I’m nice to all customers whether or not you’re a first time buyer or second time buyer. And then of course we add them to our email list. If they … or if they opt-in and communicate with them.

But from there, it’s just trying to get them involved in the community and involved on our social media. There is a specific … after two months we’re going to do this to our new customers and that and that. Kind of treat them all equally.

Andy:              Beautiful. How like … was it shifted for you as a person? Like in the last eight months. Has there been a big mindset shift for you or like your confidence just in general as an entrepreneur. Has a lot shifted for you mentally making this much growth this quickly?

Eric:                 Well, I mean, that’s a good question. A lot of this drive is that my wife got pregnant in February so … her … I wasn’t going to be able to do that with my freelance business. I really had to get my act in the game. I’m sure a lot of other entrepreneur’s question relate to not always being focused and distracted.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Her getting pregnant has been a big part of my focus and probably a big part of why we’ve been able to grow. Like we’ve been growing and hopefully like we’ll be able to grow in the future.

Andy:              Wow. Interesting. I’ve talked to a lot of guys and they say like getting married and then especially having a kid on the way shifts everything.

Eric:                 Yeah. I mean I had a nine-month deadline and that was our goal. The kid is coming out in November whether I want to or not. Like I need to make enough money to support the family so …

Andy:              Yeah. It’s so interesting to me hearing that because it’s … the strategy and tactics matter so little compared to the ‘why’. The reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Eric:                 Yeah. In terms of my confidence, it does help to see the numbers go up. That is a big boost. But it’s funny. It’s like, once you hit that new plateau, like once I hit 15 … I’m on cloud nine with 15,000. Now, if we hit 15, I’ll be depressed as can be.

Andy:              How cool is that. It’s like the … yeah, the mental shift is so big when that happens. Life will never be the same, ever.

Eric:                 Yeah. But it’s … it’s cool and hopefully one day I’ll be like … we used to be so excited to have a thousand dollars a day and we’re doing 10,000 a day or 100,000 or whatever it is.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Hopefully we get to days like that. It’s hard to see. When we started back in February, I don’t even think … our September goals, I think, were 10,000 in September, like 15 in October and like 25 in November. We’ve already gone through kind of our own internal goals. That’s been a pleasure. I think we’ll continue to grow and I think there’s still room to grow. I still think the niche is a really big niche.

Andy:              Beautiful, man. Any other parting words before we wrap up? Anything you wish I would have asked you?

Eric:                 I don’t know, man. You’re doing a lot of … and I think people are going to find value from learning from other people. I would say the hardest part of my business is probably just … doing everything. Like there’s just never ending task. I think you pretty much knocked it out. I can’t think of anything else.

Andy:              Beautiful, man. This has been so fun.

Eric:                 Oh.

Andy:              Oh, yeah, go for it.

Eric:                 Oh, just shameless promotions.

Andy:              Oh, yeah. Please do. I would actually … I checked out the site this morning and it’s super cool. Yeah. Tell them where to find you.

Eric:                 So, of course beardbrand.com and then … If you Google Beard Brand, you’ll pretty much find everything. Our Facebook page is /beardbrand. And then our … if you want to see more videos of me, some are [inaudible 00:39:50] and some orange. YouTube is thebeardbrand is my username on YouTube. Those are the big ones.

Andy:              I will put all of those in the show notes. Oh, Santiago. Were you Santiago?

Eric:                 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I’m like you, man. I want to travel the world and live …

Andy:              Beautiful.

Eric:                 Oh, I guess that was the other thing. We could …

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 … finalize this. We’re trying to build this business to be location independent.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 So that means we’re not doing the fulfillment. We’re actually working with the Fulfillment House. Our goals are to get Fulfillment Houses in Europe and Australia down the road as well. We’re not creating our products, we’re working with people we trust to create the product. So, we’re doing what we love to do which is marketing, which is YouTube videos, which is sales. Where anything we don’t love to do, we’re putting out with the people who are competent and talented. However marketing can be done location independent.

I know a lot of your guys are software devs but I want to say, like, in the e-commerce space as well, you can do that. We’re not even drop shipping, we’re buying our own products and you can do that and be location independent as well.

Andy:              Oh, so cool. You know what, I love it. I love talking with entrepreneurs when they’re so clear on their values and what they will not compromise on no matter what and it’s … it’s really inspiring to hear that. Especially that you’re making this work, the location independent thing work with something that traditionally people will just … maybe like, “Oh, I can’t do that.” We can’t … we have to drop ship then margins get cut. They just don’t think they could so it’s really cool to hear that.

Eric:                 Yeah. It’s going to be hard. There are challenges but … Our other thing is we don’t want to really hire that many employees.

Andy:              Yeah.

Eric:                 Once you start hiring employees then you let yourself down. So we may look for 1099 employees around the nation to help customer service. Beyond that, I think we can work with all of our vendors and our fulfillment house to handle everything else. Or at least to the point that we want to grow and maybe sell it.

Andy:              Beautiful, man. Well, thank you so much for coming on today. This has been so fun.

Eric:                 Right Andy. No, the pleasure is all mine. If you ever need me back again, I’ll be happy to help you out.

Andy:              Awesome. And if I ever grow a beard, I’ll be calling you.

Eric:                 Cool. All right, man. Stay in touch.

Andy:              Catch you later.

Closing:          Thank you for joining us. We’ve taken this interview and created a custom action guide so you know exactly what action steps to take to grow your business. Just head over to thefoundationpodcast.com to download it for free. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

 

 

 

 

  • Robin Ebanks

    This interview was so refreshing! 10 years makes my 1 year seem not so bad anymore! Love his transparency. Great interview Andy.

  • Pamela J. Stubbart

    I finally read this, Eric – what a great story. Makes me wish I could grow a beard. Rock on :)