How Beard Brand Became the TOP Brand for Whiskered Consumers

By |2018-05-23T17:18:55+00:00January 5th, 2016|eCommerce Best Practices|

When you’re faced with a niche product focused on a smaller lifestyle demographic, how do you ensure success for your business? By establishing yourself as an expert of your field, and showing the awesome and cool side of the lifestyle you provide for. BeardBrand.com is a website catered toward the whiskered lifestyle, where you would receive tips, access to facial care, beard care, and a welcoming invitation to a growing community.

In the Sixteenth episode of Skubana’s E-Commerce Mastery Series where we invite experts of their respected fields to share their best practices for success, our host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz of InspiredInsider.com interviews Eric Bandholz of BeardBrand.

Topics of Discussion:

– The strategy BeardBrand came up with to enter the Shark Tank.
– Developing YouTube videos and the road to success.
– Establishing Yourself as an Expert of your field.
– Targeting your demographic with with advice blog posts and videos
– Furthering your brand by carefully selecting and creating your products

Raw Transcript: Eric Bandholz of BeardBrand.com

Jeremy: [00:00:15] Dr. Jeremy Weiss here, founder of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders like the founders of P90X, Baby Einstein, Atari, and many more, and how they overcome big challenges in life and business. This is part of the Skubana eCommerce Mastery series where top sellers and experts teach you what really works to boost your ecommerce business. Skubana is a software platform to manage your entire ecommerce operation. Today we have Eric Bandholz, cofounder of Beardbrand. They sell products for the bearded lifestyle, such as beard oils, beard wash, beard softener, beard combs, and much more.[00:00:55] They built the company to over $120,000 per month in revenue and were featured on the hit series “Shark Tank” and Eric even had the pleasure of having Lori touch his beard on the show. Eric, thanks for joining me.

Eric: [00:01:07] What is going on, Jeremy, and thank you for such a warm and friendly introduction. Happy to be on the show.

Jeremy: [00:01:15] Yeah, I definitely love the beard. What does your wife think about the beard?

Eric: [00:01:19] There’s not a lot of guys who rock beards without the permission of their wives. I…

Jeremy: [00:01:26] Was she timid? Was she skeptical at first or was she always on board?

Eric: [00:01:31] She always preferred me with a beard and my length in general was about the length of your beard, so that’s what I normally had, and then I decided to grow it out and told her I was going to grow it for like six months or a year and she was like, “I don’t know about that.” And then I get to the six-month mark, and she’d be okay with me at that length and I’m like, “I’m going to go for the 12-month,” and she’s like, “I don’t know about that.” And then I got to the 12-month and I was like, “I’m thinking about trimming it back,” and she’s like, “I don’t know about that.” So I think my wife tends to prefer whatever look I’m rocking, although currently I think she wants me to cut my head hair, so…

Jeremy: [00:02:13] Okay, let’s go for it, yeah. So what are your top two favorite beards of all time?

Eric: [00:02:19] Well, not trying to sound like a narcissist but I love my beard, not because of the way it looks but just because it’s my own and it’s something that’s really ingrain with who I am. And then of course my dad has had a beard. He doesn’t currently have a beard, but when he has a beard, it’s something that I look up to.

Jeremy: [00:02:40] I’m in Chicago. A Chicago Cubs fan and so Arrieta obviously rocks the beard, and so preparing for this I wanted to hear about…I was really fascinated with the first beard competition. How did you prepare for this and tell me about what it was like.

Eric: [00:03:00] Dude, beard competitions are something else. They’re a ton of fun if you’ve never been to one before. It’s almost like going to a Halloween costume year-round, but a Halloween costume for bearded folks, and when I was growing my beard I really got into it. I got into how to take care of your beard, how to grow it quickly, and the culture and the lifestyle behind guys who really love their beards, and beard competitions are part of that. At the time, there was a show going on called “Whisker Wars,” so that’s really how I got into it, or wanting to go to the competition was through that show.

[00:03:42] And then there was one in Portland, Oregon which at the time I lived in Spokane, Washington. That was only a few-hour drive, so got a couple of our buddies and we drove out there, and I had no expectations of what it was going to be or what it was going to be like, and then I got there and I just kind of fell in love with the people and the atmosphere and just the lifestyle. It was just a ton of fun.

Jeremy: [00:04:09] You go there to actually compete, or…?

Eric: [00:04:11] Yeah, I competed.

Jeremy: [00:04:13] What do you compete in? How do they…tell me about it.

Eric: [00:04:16] It was the 2012 West Coast Beard and Mustache Championship. I competed in the full, natural beard under a foot, so it’s funny to think about.

Jeremy: [00:04:27] How do they rate that? How do they pick the winner?

Eric: [00:04:30] I’ve actually ended up judging a few competitions as well and typically it’s going to be on the color and the mass, the density, the length, the shape of the mustache, the texture. Every competition kind of grades it slightly differently but it’s just however cool the beard is.

Jeremy: [00:04:52] So you say natural beard. What’s an unnatural beard, like someone taking steroids or something?

Eric: [00:04:58] That would be a styled beard.

Jeremy: [00:05:00] Oh, so people would style it and that’s a separate competition.

Eric: [00:05:05] Right, right. Well, it’s the same competition, just a different category.

Jeremy: [00:05:08] Different categories, gotcha. Okay, because I noticed in one of the videos you said hormones really affect the growth and the thickness, so I don’t know. For all I know, people are doing steroids to win the beard competition. I don’t know.

Eric: [00:05:21] Yeah, yeah, there’s no testing of blood work going on, so they’re a lot less informal.

Jeremy: [00:05:27] Don’t want to give anyone ideas out there.

Eric: [00:05:30] Well, you’re not really winning any money, too, so, or given much fame and glory.

Jeremy: [00:05:34] What’s the prize? What do you…?

Eric: [00:05:37] Usually it’s bragging rights and a pretty cool trophy, and the prize is really hanging out with a bunch of people and having a good time for the night.

Jeremy: [00:05:45] And you realized something though, about the people at the first beard competition.

Eric: [00:05:50] Yeah. For me, when I grew my beard out I was, and I am, a business professional, I’m a graphic designer, financial adviser, and no one in that world had facial hair. I was the only guy, and maybe some people had facial hair where it was more of your length, but no one had a big beard, and I didn’t think that should be limited to just the bikers, and the hippies, and the outdoorsmen, and the lumberjacks. I thought we should be able to grow big beards too if we wanted to, and it was at that competition that I realized that there were other guys out there like me. There are other guys who wanted to wear a bigger beard and also had a wife and kid and they’re involved in their community and they had jobs and were just normal guys. It kind of inspired me to try to unite the community and show the other guys out there that you can rock a beard if you want to, and here’s how.

Dr. Jeremy Weiss: [00:06:53] So, discovering what you call the urban beardsman.

Eric: [00:06:56] I had to…there was no term for guys like me and just to make it easy…I never considered myself a hipster, although a lot of people describe me as a hipster, but I’ve always been a business guy and an entrepreneur first. That’s who I really identify with, but I wanted something that was more encompassing that wasn’t really defined on coffee, and music, and irony. It’s more about professionalism, and style, and drive, and passion, and independence, and freedom, so we had to create a new term to describe that, and for us, that was urban beardsman.

Jeremy: [00:07:42] So you created the term urban beardsman. That’s pretty good. I like that.

Eric: [00:07:45] You like it?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Eric: Thank you.

Jeremy: [00:07:48] So, I want you to talk about the urban beardsman because we talked right before I thought it was interesting. You were like, “Jeremy, it’s not just about the products,” right? So what’s it about?

Eric: [00:07:57] It’s about helping men feel confident with who they are or who they want to be and giving them the tools, so a lot of…we’ve had a lot of competition pop up and there’s always been this hyper-masculinity like, “You’re not a real man unless you have a beard,” or some inappropriate things I probably shouldn’t say on your show that are derogatory to women. That’s not us. We want to say, “You’re free to grow a beard and you’re free to shave a beard and it doesn’t define your masculinity. It doesn’t define who you are as a man, but who you want to be internally, we want to give you those tools to be that and not feel pressured to be someone who you’re not.” And one of those tools that we provide are beard grooming products. They help you look good in a professional environment, but we also provide a lot more.

Jeremy: [00:08:56] Give me some examples of what else, because I definitely will dig into the products and everything like that, but tell me what else.

Eric: [00:09:02] Beardbrand started off as a content website, as a way for guys to be able to find information about taking care of their beards. So we’ve got urbanbeardsman.com which we provide daily content on how to dress yourself, how to have style, how to rock it with your beard, how to find clothes, how to look great, how to feel confident. And then we’ve got, of course, our YouTube channels, which provide a lot of help and assistance. And then we’ve got our Tumblr page which is providing inspiration, right? So it can provide guidance on how you want to get…what point you want to get to in your life and where you want to go and really have that guidance and that drive, rather than just letting life come to you, but you take that control and you take that action. So those to me are as much of what we do as a company as selling the products. For us, the products really kind of fund that other stuff.

Jeremy: [00:09:57] Yeah, and I do notice the information content you put out is pretty enormous, and I want you to talk…I was going to save this for later, but I definitely want you to talk about the social media presence and how that’s grown and what you’ve done to grow it. Maybe start with YouTube. You have some really cool how-to videos. You guys have over 70,000 subscribers on YouTube. I think I was watching one, “All Men Should Grow A Yeard” the other day. And you have over 100,000 views on that. So tell me about YouTube, how you grew that, and what you plan to do in the future for people who…I want to grow a following on YouTube and provide great content.

Eric: [00:10:44] The first thing is growing a YouTube channel is a lot of friggin’ hard work. It’s not something that…

Jeremy: [00:10:52] Tell me about that hard work early on today because people see that and go, “Oh, he just probably blew up overnight. He’s got 70,000…” but it wasn’t always that easy. What was…?

Eric: [00:10:59] Oh, no man. Dude, let me tell you. Nothing in my life has been easy, or at least to me it doesn’t seem like it’s been easy, but it’s been fun, so I wouldn’t say it’s been difficult because I enjoyed doing it, But YouTube, man, that first year I think I had 300 subscribers after 12 months and…

Jeremy: [00:11:20] What were you doing in that first year?

Eric: [00:11:22] Pardon me?

Jeremy: What were you doing in the first year as far as content goes?

Eric: [00:11:28] My first year, the content really just sucked, frankly. I had no vision, no guidance, no strategy with YouTube, so I was just going up there and maybe one month I’d create a video and…I know one video is just of me. It’s like 30 seconds and I just go like this. That’s all the video. I thought, “Oh my God, this is going to go viral. There’s going to be billions…” and looking back on that I’m like, “What the hell? What was I thinking? This is idiot.” But I did have one that did really well. It was a how-to beard grooming video and that’s when I realized this is what the people on YouTube want. These are the videos I need to create, so it was really being in tune with what kind of videos my channel was finding success with, and then creating more videos along those lines.

[00:12:18] It kind of built on itself from there. The first year was only 300 subscribers, and then the next year was 1,000, and then it was 10,000 and then…the beauty with YouTube versus every other social media platform out there is they really reward creators. They want you to create. And if you create a lot, they’re going to thank you and they’re going to show you to more people. So it’s unlike Facebook where if you create more, they’re like, “Hey, give me money, man.”

Jeremy: [00:12:50] You could only write [inaudible 00:12:51].

Eric: [00:12:51] You got to pay to play [off of] Facebook.

Jeremy: [00:12:57] You saw a turning point with the how-to videos. What else did you discover with your YouTube creation journey?

Eric: [00:13:04] With YouTube, for me, I’m a public book, and I’m pretty open, and I share pretty much anything everyone asks me, so I’m always answering comments to the best of my abilities and responding to things, getting engaged, and watching other people’s YouTube channels, and commenting on their videos, and then sharing it on different communities as well. So I brought people who weren’t on YouTube to the YouTube channel, or took the conversation to different areas. I, of course, was active in these beard competitions and these beard clubs. I lived what I was talking about, so I think what’s really important is that authenticity, and I’d like to say that I’m pretty authentic. Yeah, I think that’s really a core attribute to YouTube as well is just being who you are.

Jeremy: [00:13:58] Eric, I noticed that right off the bat when I was reading your “About” page, this guy is more open than way majority of the people out there. What’s the most personal thing that you’ve shared with someone?

Eric: [00:14:12] We’re pretty public about our infertility troubles, which I think is generally a very private affair, but for me, I needed to talk with other people to work through that and to overcome the challenges. And I feel for anyone out there who is struggling with infertility right now. It was probably the darkest point of my life.

Jeremy: [00:14:37] That’s what I’m referring to with that was on your “About” page. I was like, “Holy crap, Eric, this is personal…this is some deep stuff.” What made you decide to share that?’

Eric: [00:14:46] Well, it was…so I don’t know if I shared that on my “About” page, but I shared it on the “Shark Tank” page.

Jeremy: [00:14:55] No, you definitely…oh, maybe it was the “Shark Tank” page. Yeah, it was one of the pages.

Eric: [00:14:58] So the reason was…one of the things we talked about on Shark Tank was our infertility struggles, and I wanted to have our voice out there if they included that in the conversation. So it was in tune to that as well, and I’ve talked about it in my YouTube videos as well. It’s part of my life and I think it’s a way that I can help others out there who are struggling with it because it is typically such a private thing that people don’t even know where to go to get inspiration, to get help, and to find that community.

Jeremy: [00:15:42] So, for people who didn’t watch Shark Tank and didn’t read it, if you could just talk a little bit about what happened and maybe some advice for people who may be struggling with that right now because it is a really, really difficult subject.

Eric: [00:16:00] In regards to Shark Tank?

Jeremy: [00:16:02] No, I mean what happened with the infertility.

Eric: [00:16:06] My wife and I obviously were infertile and we had to go the science route is the way I like to phrase it. The old fashioned way didn’t work. I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but for us there’s a lot of struggles with just the emotions and the fact that you want to have a family and you want to become a father and a mother, but that’s outside your control. And for a lot of people, how they view themselves and how they planned having their lives involves being a parent and having children. And when that’s outside of your control, there’s things like adoption.

[00:16:46] And adoption, while it’s easy for people to say, “Hey, why don’t we just adopt a kid?” There’s a lot of steps involved in the adoption process. And not only that, you’re putting yourself out there for people to screen you and to say, “Hey, you’re worthy to have a kid,” or “You’re not worthy to have a kid,” or whatever it is, and then the complexity of dealing with the adopted child’s birth mother, and there’s so many things that go on and so many emotional aspects. We went through IVF three times, and then on the fourth time we finally had success, so each one of those times, and even before, leading up to it…

Jeremy: [00:17:30] It’s like a roller coaster.

Eric: [00:17:31] Yeah, yeah. You get your hopes up and you get your emotions up, because you’re doing it because you think it’s going to work and you hope that it’s going to work and that things will come to fruition. And then when you get the bad news, it’s just that roller coaster and the long car rides home of just remorse. It’s like a death, a very close death in your family every single time you have a failed procedure.

Jeremy: [00:17:56] I appreciate you sharing that on your site and it’s just very powerful. So, talk about Shark Tank for a second. What happened on Shark Tank that we didn’t see, and then I want to just talk about the actual experience itself.

Eric: [00:18:17] Our total time in front of the sharks, or my total time in front of the sharks, was about 45 minutes, and they cut that down to about 5 minutes. And I signed a bunch of papers that say that I can’t really talk about stuff that’s not public, so…

Jeremy: Gotcha.

Eric: [00:18:33] I can talk about my experiences of dealing with Shark Tank.

Jeremy: [00:18:38] Yeah, what were you thinking before you went out there?

Eric: [00:18:40] We were super excited about being on the show and the opportunity of partnering up with sharks to be able to take our business to the next level. And for us, we were very excited about our business and what we’ve done to this point. I think what we’ve done isn’t the norm for a business and the success we’ve had isn’t what happens with most businesses, and we’re very fortunate for that and we recognize that, but it’s still been very challenging for us as well. But looking through all the other Shark Tank episodes, my father’s like, “How are you going to deal with five offers?”

[00:19:19] Because what we’ve done is so incredible, and what we’re building is so revolutionary. We’re changing the way that men are grooming their faces and we’re creating a whole new industry. We’re creating the beard care market, which did not exist before our company started, so I was like, “Man, we’re going to have to get on all these offers and how am I going to put them down nicely and I feel like a jerk or like a…” but we didn’t get any offers, which really just, frankly, shocked me and surprised me. I wasn’t planning that at all.

Jeremy: [00:19:56] Did you have a strategy going in, like, “I have in mind I want this. I’d like to ideally have this one if I didn’t have anyone else,” or…?

Eric: [00:20:03] Yeah, we targeted Damon as our top shark. We view Beardbrand as a brand and what he did with FUBU, his ability to build a lifestyle brand with apparel was more in line with how we were building Beardbrand.

Jeremy: [00:20:17] Because he was the last one in at the end.

Eric: [00:20:19] Yeah, and we did our pitch, we called him out in our pitch. And he’s the only guy with facial hair, even though it’s a small goatee, at least he does rock a little bit. And I thought for a moment there that he was going to come in with an offer but I think…the Sharks kind of feed off of themselves as well. They see everyone else get in there, they also want to get in there, and then I think they see no one else jumping on board and they get cold feet as well. So I think maybe if I caught Damon on a different day we may have been telling a different story.

Jeremy: [00:20:52] Was there, and maybe you can’t talk about this, but it sounded like at the end he almost wanted to invest, and they may have cut this out but it almost…I felt like, and maybe you couldn’t have done that, did you think about going with a counter offer back to him, or was that cut out?

Eric: [00:21:10] No, no. I didn’t do any kind of counter offer, and the other thing is we’re really confident with our business and our ability to grow our business, and we found a lot of success up to this point, so we’re not a desperate company, and we’re not going to give up the world. The sharks bring a lot of value, but there is a tangible amount of a value and we weren’t going to undersell.

Jeremy: [00:21:31] That was your evaluation, you were sticking to it.

Eric: [00:21:33] Yeah, we left a little bit of room in there to negotiate. I think…what did we offer, like 15%?

Jeremy: [00:21:40] Fifteen percent for 400,000.

Eric: [00:21:44] Okay, so I think we were willing to go up to 20% equity for the same amount, so we would have gone down to a $2 million evaluation at the time. So I think we did leave some room in there, but we did our due diligence as well on what the market rate for a company of our size would be, and our IP portfolio, and our volume and stuff like that, so I felt really very confident with our valuation.

Jeremy: [00:22:10] I was surprised you didn’t get an offer as well. What was the after effects like?

Eric: [00:22:16] It was good. The day of, I had Google Analytics open and I think there was 7,000 simultaneous users, and it was just like this giant spike, and I was watching a map of all the cities, where the cities were loading of people watching it, and you could just kind of see it flow from East Coast to West Coast as it got aired in the different time zones. That weekend sales was just…it was a really good month, and then it was perfect timing, too, because it led up to the holiday season when people threw it in for stocking stuffers. Our product’s a great product. It sells itself.

Jeremy: [00:22:57] What were sales like that month of Shark Tank?

Eric: [00:23:00] Well, we aired on the 31st, so technically it was the last day of the month. We don’t disclose our numbers anymore, but it was…that November was two or three X what the previous was. But for everyone out there who wants to be on Shark Tank, let me also taper your expectations. It’s not this golden ticket where you’re on the show and then all of a sudden you go from $1 million in sales to $100 million in sales. There’s a lot of hard work and there’s a lot of companies that they don’t talk about anymore who have either gone out of business or they’re kind of petering along, so it’s not this automatic thing. The success stories are almost the rare ones with them. But it is helpful, it’s definitely…that publicity is very helpful.

Jeremy: [00:23:56] It’s huge, yeah. So, let’s go back to YouTube for a second and then…because YouTube you’ve grown, and then Tumblr is big for you too, so talk about the Tumblr growth and what you do on Tumblr.

Eric: [00:24:05] I love Tumblr. Tumblr is a really easy way to curate a certain lifestyle that you’re going for, and they make blogging super easy. And you’re able to just convey who you are by curating these photography, so Tumblr is probably one of our first platforms and we’re able to produce so much content on there. We do something like 10 or 15 posts a day.

Jeremy: [00:24:30] Seriously? Wow, that’s amazing.

Eric: [00:24:32] Yeah, but it’s just the platform allows you to do it. That takes maybe 15 minutes of work to do that much content. So it’s really a great way to be active in front of your audience and get people to come back, and it doesn’t really drive a lot of traffic to our website, and I don’t think it drives a lot of conversions, but it’s just more about building that brand and telling our story. It’s a real useful tool for that.

Jeremy: [00:24:57] And then I noticed that you have a lot of cool pics on Instagram. You have a huge following on Instagram, too.

Eric: [00:25:04] Yeah, Instagram, we got lucky and had a nice post on Buzzfeed and that took us overnight from 15,000 to 50,000 followers. And we’ve always had a very purposeful type of a branding image of what we wanted our audience to think of when they think of Beardbrand, and it is that man who wears a beard, who’s stylish, and who cares about his image, and cares about who he is, so it’s always been purposeful on how we curate that.

Jeremy: [00:25:39] Eric, I want to talk about the product journey a little bit. What are some of the best sellers that you have?

Eric: [00:25:47] Well, beard oil is really our bread and butter. Beard oil, for me it’s like my caffeine, my daily caffeine, I gotta have it.

Jeremy: [00:25:57] So what do you use personally? On a daily basis, which beard oil, because you have a large selection?

Eric: [00:26:03] We’ve got nine different fragrances right now, and that’s among four different lines.

Jeremy: [00:26:09] There’s Lumberyard beard oil, Temple Smoke, Four Vices, Tree Ranger, Spiced Citrus, so what do you like? What are your favorites?

Eric: [00:26:17] I’m biased to a few of them, but Temple Smoke right now, for me, it’s awesome. I love…it’s Oud. I don’t know if you know that fragrance, but Oud is just this really deep, mythical, smoky, mellow aroma, and I just love those kind of deep, dark notes. For me, it’s just awesome, and the Four Vices is kind of the same way, but Four Vices is different because it’s just kind of like gritty and dirty, and it’s not like something that you would imagine a fragrance to be. It’s very subtle. It’s not going to blow you out of the water.

Jeremy: [00:27:01] What’s the most popular one for others?

Eric: [00:27:03] The most popular one of our White line is our Lumberyard, and then of our Silver line is Tree Ranger. If you’re going to go with any of those, you really can’t go wrong with those, but we do have such a wide variety and scent is so personal. It kind of depends on what you like.

Jeremy: [00:27:23] What did you start with? What were the first couple?

Eric: [00:27:27] Our Silver line, we launched the Silver line all together.

Jeremy: [00:27:30] So you have a White, a Silver, and a Gold.

Eric: [00:27:34] Yep, and then we’ve got the limited edition Black line.

Jeremy: [00:27:37] I have a question about that one.

Eric: [inaudible 00:27:40] So we started with the Silver line, and that’s really our flagship line, and that’s where, if we ever have a new product, we start with our Silver line and go out from there.

Jeremy: [00:27:53] How did you know what to start with? You can go in any direction and there’s so many fragrances out there.

Eric: [00:28:00] Yeah, there’s really an infinite amount. For me it was I got inspired by the name Tree Ranger, which was…I’m a little bit dyslexic and I was trying to remember what my friend did for a living. He’s a forester in Washington, and I’m like, “What are you, some kind of…” I’m stumbling over my words. I’m like, “A tree ranger,” and then I’m like, “Oh man, that’s such a cool term, tree ranger.” And of course that’s another term that I don’t think anyone’s ever used before, and bought the domain, treeranger.com. And so we used that as inspiration. And then so that was my baby, and then my cofounders each developed a fragrance that they thought they were going to love. So Jeremy came up with Tea Tree. He’s a big fan of tea tree stuff. And then Lindsay came up with Spiced Citrus, so it was more of like three different people, three different types of…

Jeremy: [00:28:55] I got it. Three personalities, three opinions on that.

Eric: [00:28:59] And we wanted something that was kind of different and broad so that it wasn’t all the same, so we tried to have the citrus one, and the minty one, and then the woodsy one.

Jeremy: [00:29:11] At what point in the journey, Eric, you decide to introduce product, because I know for a long time you were just producing content for people in this urban beard lifestyle.

Eric: [00:29:21] Yeah, so it was probably about 12 months that we produced content, and it was really kind of seizing opportunities. I got contacted by a reporter for the New York Times who was going to do an article on beard care, and just reach out to me as an expert in the field. And so I knew that there was gonna be an article. And with Jeremy and Lindsay, at the time, I said, “Hey, do you want to turn this content website into a real business and sell some products?” And that was really what sparked the product line business of Beardbrand. And we actually started reselling someone else’s products off the gate to get started, and just threw it up, literally, one day before the New York Times posted live. And then from there…that’s what business is about, seizing opportunities as they come and then working your ass off to create [opportunities].

Jeremy: [00:30:20] What was the first product called that you got?

Eric: [00:30:23] It was a beard oil as well, just from a competitor.

Jeremy: [00:30:28] Oh, so it wasn’t private labelled? It was just there.

Eric: [00:30:31] Yeah, we were just acting as a retailer.

Jeremy: [00:30:32] Oh, I gotcha. Okay.

Eric: [00:30:35] We didn’t have our own line of products out there.

Jeremy: [00:30:38] So, what made you reach out to Jeremy and the other cofounder?

Eric: [00:30:42] We had known each other in the business community in Spokane and we had worked together. We were like business friends. We had worked together on a startup weekend team, and I don’t know if you’ve ever done a startup weekend, but I really found a lot of value in it. And it was there that we were like, “Hey, we work well together. Let’s get into business.” And we tried doing this other business and we weren’t able to get that up and running. There was too many roadblocks. And it was like that New York Times, where I’m like, “Hey, I’ve got this opportunity. The other thing’s not taking off. Why don’t we just come on board and do this and make it work and build?”

Jeremy: [00:31:24] Yeah, I love that. You’re like, “Okay, this big article’s coming out. We better have something to sell to these people.” So after that, you’re selling someone else’s product. I like the evolution. When did you first say, “Okay, we need our own product.” How long after?

Eric: [00:31:39] I think it was really early in the phase that we had the vision of having our own line of products, so for us it was more of just being able to execute super-fast. We needed to work with another company. But we launched that website really in February. It was January 28th, but in February 2013.

Jeremy: [00:32:00] You guys were good with naming, Beardbrand, some of the names on there are very clever, very catchy, the Urban Beardsman, Beardbrand, I love it. Do you have a method for coming up with these names?

Eric: [00:32:14] I guess it’s just one of my skills. I don’t know. Some of them are definitely more challenging than others. My favorite is probably Four Vices. That was one of those that I got the name and the concept for the product before we even developed the product. Usually we have this vision for the product before we actually create it. And Four Vices, I’m like, “The beardsman’s favorite vices,” like, “What does he love?” and it’s cannabis, tobacco, coffee, and hops, and then we brought those…

Jeremy: [00:32:50] Oh really? That’s funny. I love that. I knew your story, Eric, before you were on Shark Tank, and so I had a hypothesis. I had a theory. I thought actually Lori was going to invest and start to turn some products into male fragrances. That’s what I was…internally in my mind when I saw the commercials that you were coming on, that’s what I thought was gonna happen, because I knew that you had different fragrances with the beard oil.

Eric: [00:33:19] She asked me, actually, about if I was going to come out with more product lines. And the vision is yes, but we’re really focused on our core right now, and that’s what I told her. And I don’t think they’re ready for a long-term investment. Maybe if I told her…

Jeremy: [00:33:36] With the products, I think a challenge with a lot of ecommerce owners is they want to…what do they do next, and how many…what the rate of product development is. What is your strategy on those two things?

Eric: [00:33:52] Well, the entrepreneur in me wants a new product every single day, to be honest, but that’s not quite realistic with all the things that need to go into production. But when you have new products, it makes it easy to talk with your customers and tell them what’s going on. So ideally our goal is to have one new product release a month, and sometimes it’s as simple as new packaging, like a smaller bottle or a bigger bottle. And then sometimes it’s an evolution of a new type of comb, but it’s still a comb. And then other times it’s a completely new product, like a beard softener, which no one’s ever created before. They all have varying time levels to get into, but as an entrepreneur that’s…part of the challenge is staying that focus of what are you at your core, and how do you stay within your core and not get distracted, and then how do you continue to invest in your business and grow your business as well.

Jeremy: [00:34:59] So what goes into the product? How do you create the product?

Eric: [00:35:03] So, we’ll get an idea for a concept, and how we want it to perform, and how we want it to act, and who we want it to serve. Generally, we’re really in tune with our audience and our customers because we are on social media. We engage with our audience, and so we get feedback all the time for what they’re looking for and what they need, and we take all that input and we formulate a product based on those needs and just do a lot of development, and testing, and working out all the kinks.

Jeremy: [00:35:35] What does that look like, the development testing? Do you work with a scientist? Is a formulator involved? How does that work?

Eric: [00:35:45] Yeah, so we work with a chemist definitely for a lot of the water-based products where shelf stability is a paramount concern and formulate and everything outside of our skill set. But there are some products, like the oil-based products, the natural products that we can formulate in house, and then work with our production team to do all the testing and then work with a lab to be able to test the stability of it and the expected shelf life and all that stuff that goes involved with [inaudible 00:36:26].

Jeremy: [00:36:25] How do you decide where to source it, because I know you could source it probably…some people will source stuff from China or U.S. What was your thought process on sourcing?

Eric: [00:36:36] Yeah, so for any of our grooming products, anything that’s going on your skin that’s going to be made in America, a lot of the raw ingredients, you can’t have everything made in America because do jojoba plants even grow in America? I don’t even…right? So there’s some of those base ingredients. And we’re a global company, too. We’re not…we go wherever the quality is, and America’s got some awesome qualities, so it makes it great to have a lot of…especially in the grooming and cosmetic space, America’s probably the best place to have that produced. So we look for wherever that best source is.

Jeremy: [00:37:19] Was it hard to find?

Eric: [00:37:21] Yeah, dude. Man, let me tell you. That’s a very challenging part of the business is finding sources for things and finding vendors who can not only serve you where you’re at today, but also either grow with you, or either you outgrow them or you’re not at their stage. Every company’s serving in a different size company, and then if you’re growing rapidly, that can all change within five months or six months, and you have to find completely different sources, someone who can keep up with you. It’s definitely a giant challenge.

Jeremy: [00:37:57] Yeah, I can see, early on initially, it’s the questions you ask to find the right source would be difficult if you’ve never done it. What kind of questions were you asking to go down that pigeon hole to find this is our perfect manufacturer and sourcer?

Eric: [00:38:17] The beauty when we started, we bootstrapped and we started by just selling one item, so we were making stuff out of the kitchen ourselves and…

Jeremy: [00:38:26] Really?

Eric: [00:38:26] Putting it together, yeah, yeah, so we were really bootstrapping and…

Jeremy: Wow, that’s serious, yeah.

Eric: [00:38:31] Yeah. A really good story I have is with our box maker. We had this idea for the ultimate beard kit. The shaving guys had all the fun. They had all these beautiful black walnut razors, double-edge razors, and their $300 kits with their shaving bowls and all that crap. And I’m like, “Where’s all the premium nice stuff for the guys with a beard?” So we wanted to make the ultimate beard grooming kit, and so we just tried to find a box maker. And you can find…at the time, we were only selling one or two of them, so we’d order like 20 boxes, which a guy with a garage in his backyard can make, and then those things just like boom. They were gone in no time.

Jeremy: Really?

Eric: [00:39:24] Yeah. Our customers just loved them, and so we tried to find someone who could make in that, maybe, 20 to 100 units at a time, and there’s no one. There’s absolutely no one out there on the face of the planet, so it was like the guy who could make 20 of them, and then the guy who makes minimum 500, and that was a struggle for us. We took a huge risk and we ordered 500 of them.

Jeremy: [00:39:55] That’s a lot of capital for a growing business.

Eric: [00:39:57] Oh yeah, yeah. That’s tons of capital, but it’s also our highest-price point unit, and it moves a lot of product for us. It sells everything in there, so it was really important for us to have, but it was just at the huge risk of finding that vendor. And that vendor’s like, “Sorry man, I can’t do it. I can’t do units less than 500,” and so that was a huge challenge for us to be able to find that vendor who could produce high-quality stuff.

Jeremy: [00:40:27] Eric, talk about…you’re very customer-centric. You’re always listening to customers. You’re very active on social media. What’s something that some of the common things that customers are saying, and because they were saying it, you created a product to fit that?

Eric: [00:40:44] On YouTube they always ask, “Hey, do a video on this,” or, “Hey, do a video on that,” and then they’re really hounding me right now for a beard balm. We’ve been working on it.

Jeremy: What is it?

Eric: [00:40:55] It’s a beard balm.

Jeremy: [00:40:57] Okay, what is that?

Eric: [00:40:58] It’s similar to a beard oil but it’s a solid-based product.

Jeremy: [00:41:02] Oh, balm, okay.

Eric: [00:41:02] Yeah, balm. So, it’s a little bit heavier. It’ll give it a little bit more control, but we want to develop it to where it really stands out on the marketplace, so we’re really fine-tuning it and making it leaps and bounds above everything else. So it happens every day, and it happens…we get emails with people just saying, “Hey, when you gonna come out with this,” or, “When are you going to do that,” or…

Jeremy: [00:41:31] So, besides beard balm, what else do people want?

Eric: [00:41:35] It could be anything from brushes to a higher-hold mustache wax, or there’ll be crazy items that I don’t even know if we could formulate, like something to waterproof their beard. I don’t even know. Put some Teflon in people’s beards, I don’t know, maybe.

Jeremy: [00:41:53] I love your explanation of the education of the other beard oils. You’re like, “A lot of them have silicone in it and it coats it,” and the way you explain it is very educational, and then, “When you wash it out it dries out,” so I could see why you’re getting this feedback from people, but as business owner, it’s gotta be hard. What do you attack first? These are customers who want you to create something so they can buy it. So what’s next in the pipeline if you can share, or whatever you can share, based off of that customer feedback?

Eric: [00:42:30] We kind of keep it under wraps with what’s coming out, so just gotta go to the website every single day, see what comes out.

Jeremy: [00:42:37] Talk about the black label, the Black Marble.

Eric: [00:42:441] Dude, that stuff is gnarly.

Jeremy: [00:42:43] You see $25, $25, then Black Marble is $80, so I’m like, “What’s in this Black Marble?”

Eric: [00:42:51] Yeah, well it was a special project with Tobias van Schneider who was with Spotify as the lead graphic designer, and he’s just like…we’ve done a profile on him in the past and he’s just this incredible person. You should interview him to talk about someone who’s an awesome person.

Jeremy: [00:43:14] What’s his name?

Eric: [00:43:14] Tobias van Schneider.

Jeremy: [00:43:18] Not too many of those, I’m sure, if I search on Google.

Eric: [00:43:20] Yeah, exactly, and he’s got a killer beard as well. So I reached out to him and I think…I don’t know how the conversation came up, but we talked about doing a collaboration, and he had…really this was a collaboration between us and him, and we wanted to create the most sophisticated, the most luxurious high-end product on the market. We didn’t want to spare any expense. We didn’t want to limit ourselves with any ingredients. If we thought it was going to be the best, if we thought that was going to be the most luxurious, then we were going to do it.

Jeremy: [00:43:56] I love that, yeah.

Eric: [00:43:57] So he designed…he flew into Austin and we formulated the ingredients together and we came up with the fragrance together, and he designed the packaging as well. We don’t show this off. It’s almost like a little surprise for our customers, but it comes in this beautiful little box, [inaudible 00:44:22] box.

Jeremy: [00:44:23] Design is key, right? If you’re…yeah.

Eric: [00:44:25] Yeah, so for us it was almost like just have this beautiful bottle that could just sit on a shelf by itself where people just want to display. That was the vision and the goal that we wanted to have with the product. And the way we look at it, too, is the stuff we produce is super high-end, and I know there’s always going to be someone producing something cheaper out there, but we wanted to go the Bentley route or the Rolls Royce route and really produce something that no one’s done before. And I think we definitely did it, and Black Marble’s a really badass product.

Jeremy: [00:45:03] So what’s in Black Marble?

Eric: [00:45:05] Well, it’s our base oil, really what’s special about it is we’re using tamanu oil, which is this phenomenal oil to help, not only condition your beard, but it has the ability to help with the…it’s called scarification, the ability for your skin to literally heal. So it’s a beard oil, but it’s also a skin care to help keep your skin looking the best. So we market it as not only a beard oil, but it’s also beard oil and skin care. And we’ve got a higher percentage of fragrance in there, like natural essential oils that is almost in lines with a cologne or a perfume, so it’s just a really premium product.

Jeremy: [00:46:00] Did you know about that particular oil before you started this formulation, or is it through the research that you’re like, “Oh, this is the most premium thing we could put in this bottle”?

Eric: [00:46:13] Tamanu oil, I was reading up. I’m immersed in our products as well and just the ingredients out there. And I don’t know how I ran across it, but I ran across it and I’m like, “Man, I’ve got to produce something with this,” because it’s got some incredible attributes.

Jeremy: It’s healing, yeah.

Eric: [00:46:31] Yeah, so it’s definitely a wonderful oil for your skin. And the people who are going to invest in that type of product for themselves, it’s more than just their beard. It’s taking care of themselves and their whole body.

Jeremy: [00:46:49] Eric, so two things I want to talk about is, for ecommercers listening to this, what’s a must that works the best for you to boost sales, or some of the strategies that work best, and then some of the mistakes to avoid in the ecommerce journey? So start with the what’s worked best for increasing sales outside of Shark Tank that’s more replicateable?

Eric: [00:47:13] The best thing is you’ve got to do two things. Well, you’ve gotta do a ton of things, right? [inaudible 00:47:19]

Jeremy: [00:47:21] Just two things. For everyone else you just do these two things and that’s it.

Eric: [00:47:25] Yeah, two things [inaudible 00:47:25] and you’ll be making millions of dollars. You’ve gotta build trust, right? You’ve gotta help people understand, the people you’re working with, you’re gonna deliver on what you promise, and you build trust a lot of different ways. It’s through a well-designed website, it’s through beautiful photography, it’s through reviews on your website where they can read what other people are saying, and it’s interacting with your customers, and talking with them, and chatting with them. Building trust is important, and then it’s that authenticity and doing something that you’re passionate about. Companies that just try to get rich and make a bunch of money, well, there’s plenty of companies that do that and are successful.

[00:48:10] If you’re a small guy, it’s really hard to compete with that, so we like to sell on that bond that we have with our customers, and building…or really, I’ve got a poster, you watched my videos, “Change the way society views beardsmen.” That’s what we’re trying to do at Beardbrand, and being able to unite our audience and our customers along that cause and having our products be able to sell or fund that process, is really what moves us, being more than just a company that’s selling products.

Jeremy: [00:48:44] It’s a long-term view to build the brand and that’s what it seems that you’ve always been about.

Eric: [00:48:50] Yeah, absolutely, and it’s what I have skills doing too. I don’t have skills on arbitrage, and beating someone in price by a penny to go after that dude who wants the cheapest stuff out there. I don’t live that life. I don’t buy that way. I’m not trying to find the cheapest stuff out there. I value my time and my convenience more than a couple of dollars.

Jeremy: [00:49:13] So, build trust. What’s the second thing?

Eric: [00:49:15] Build trust and be authentic. I guess they kind of go hand in hand. Then it’s just hustle. It’s just hustle. Tell everyone. Get everything out there. Be passionate. If you’re doing something you love it’s easy to hustle because you’re passionate about it. You can talk about it for days and months, years, but if you’re trying to sell something you don’t really care about, you’re going to burn out. You just can’t do it.

Jeremy: [00:49:42] Has anything worked in particular with paid advertising?

Eric: [00:49:45] Yeah, we buy ads. We do organic. We do it all, so we don’t limit, but we do AdWords, we do a little bit of Facebook. Facebook doesn’t work too well for us, and then we do retargeting as well. And then we buy ads on a couple of websites that we support like Reddit, The Society for the Bearded Gents, Accidental Bear, these are beard-related websites that we support as well.

Jeremy: [00:50:16] Yeah, so any celebrity sponsors yet?

Eric: [00:50:19] Yeah, well, we’re building our influencer network, which is really cool, and we do Urban Beardsman profiles, so we’ve had a few people. We’ve had Mike Napoli buy some stuff from us who is with the Red Sox. During their World Series run he bought some stuff from us, and we’ve got…I don’t know if I can be public with this or not, but…

Jeremy: [00:50:42] Well, don’t say it if you can’t.

Eric: [00:50:45] We’re interviewing Ryan Hearst who was Opie in “Sons of Anarchy,” and then if you watch “Game of Thrones,” Hodor, he’s one of our users, so we’ve got a few. There’s a lot more I could probably…

Jeremy: [00:51:00] Do you find it to be a close-knit community as you get entrenched in it, or not yet?

Eric: [00:51:06] Yeah, yeah, specifically in the competitive bearding world, that’s very close. Everyone knows everyone, but the broader bearded lifestyle, it’s a really big community, and a lot of variety out there as well. A lot of these guys are really different and really unique and really have some awesome stories. Our Urban Beardsman profiles, we’ve got some guys like Patchi Tamer, he’s one of our profiles. He stripped naked at a TED talk, talking about homelessness and using his stripping down was kind of like taking off his baggage that homeless people have, and then he put on fresh clothes that represented his education and his loving parents and stuff like that. It’s a real interesting talk, so there’s just tons of guys out there like that who wear beards and it’s just awesome to be able to tell their stories.

Jeremy: [00:52:03] Yeah. So what else has worked well on the journey to starting Beardbrand?

Eric: [00:52:09] Social media’s been great for us. We can really tell that, because it’s hard to really tell the Urban Beardsman lifestyle and you can’t do all that when someone’s visiting the website, on average, for a minute and a half, right? So the website’s about…but with YouTube you’ve got every single video, you’ve got that ability to [inaudible 00:52:34]. And now that I’ve got that poster in there as well in my videos, I’m excited that people are gonna know about what we’re trying to do.

Jeremy: [00:52:43] What’s been the most popular YouTube video that you’ve put out?

Eric: [00:52:46] It’s actually a hair-growing video, how to grow your hair out.

Jeremy: [00:52:50] My wife will love that. Wait, tell me about this one.

Eric: [00:52:53] Yeah, it’s just tips for growing your hair. As you can tell, I’ve grown my hair out, and I’m just telling [inaudible 00:53:00], so it’s not even related to beards and I’m not even selling anything, but…

Jeremy: [00:53:04] We need to regrow hair, that would be for the bald Urban Beardsman.

Eric: [00:53:12] I’ve got two or three balding videos as well.

Jeremy: Oh really?

Eric: [00:53:16] Yeah, I’m thinning a little bit on the crown, so I give it a little bit…

Jeremy: [00:53:21] So what do you recommend for balding people? My wife will love this. This will be her all-time favorite interview if you tell her.

Eric: [00:53:28] The beauty with balding is the genes that cause you to bald are also the genes that cause you to grow a beard, so when it goes down here you just kind of migrate it. So my recommendation is start growing a beard out, and that’s where you’re going to be able to sell. Women don’t have that ability. Men are totally lucky that we got two options. If women go thin up here, they’re pretty much damned, but we get to grow our beards out.

Jeremy: [00:53:53] Right, exactly. What about mistakes to avoid?

Eric: [00:53:58] In growing a business, you’re going to be making mistakes, and the biggest thing is that you learn from them. And for us, as entrepreneurs, we want to try everything, which is good and bad. It’s good because you get to make sure what you’re doing is right, but it’s bad because it can really distract you from getting away from your core. So we’ve sold a lot of products in the past that we no longer sell because our customers really didn’t want to buy them.

Jeremy: [00:54:29] What were a few that you realized…?

Eric: [00:54:31] I can show you. They’re really cool.

Jeremy: [00:54:35] You’re like, “I have them all here because no one bought those.” What is that?

Eric: [00:54:38] It’s Beardbrand wallet, so it’s made out of full-grain, natural leather and it’s an awesome wallet, and then we have these…well, I think we still sell our cuffs, or we may not, but it just like leather products, key chains, stuff like that in general, and we sold some shirts that didn’t do really well. We’ve never been able to sell apparel very well, so it’s that kind of stuff I gotta stay away from. Even though I love it and I think they’re super cool, my customers, it’s not going to put food on my table. And it’s not going to help us with our mission to change the way society views beardsmen.

Jeremy: [00:55:20] Yeah, no, I love that because now it’s a little bit easier in the sense of you get feedback from customers and they’re telling you what they want so you just…

Eric: [00:55:27] Yeah, and they tell us with action. Everyone’ll be like, “Oh, that’s cool, I have Beardbrand wallets,” and all right, we got it. No, I don’t really want to buy it.

Jeremy: [00:55:34] So what else did you learn so far that other people should think about before dipping their toe in?

Eric: [00:55:43] Business is tough, right, and you’ve got to surround yourself with people who can move you forward, who can get you through those tough times. I’m very fortunate that my business partners and I are philosophically aligned, so we’re able to focus on building Beardbrand rather than squabbling over things that some other companies deal with, with their business team, so me, and Jeremy, and Lindsay and I, we’re all on the same page, and we’re all working to the same goal, which is super important if you have business partners. And for me as well, I’ve had a wake of failed businesses where it didn’t even have business partners. So for me, having business partners is key, but I understand that it’s also another can of worms. That could be a whole other podcast.

Jeremy: [00:56:39] So what’s an example of one of the failed businesses and what you learned from it?

Eric: [00:56:43] I had a vinyl wall graphic business selling little trees and birds and stuff you’d stick on the wall, and that was an ecommerce business as well, and I had built…

Jeremy: [00:56:56] I have one…this is from Wall Monkeys, and it’s a wall decal.

Eric: [00:57:03] Yeah, so I sold two of them, and then the company…I got afraid, and I got scared, and I didn’t commit to buying ads. I didn’t commit to selling it and getting it out there and that’s all I did is I just sold two.

Jeremy: [00:57:21] What were you afraid of at the time?

Eric: [00:57:23] Failure, which is ironic because you’re going to fail if you don’t do it.

Jeremy: [00:57:28] So it almost scared you when you started getting sales?

Eric: [00:57:32] No, it just scared me to really double down and commit into the business, go all in. Up to that point, everything I had done had been my own time, just hacking it together.

Jeremy: [00:57:45] Like service-based, like website or graphic…

Eric: [00:57:47] Right, because I’ve got the skills to build the website, so I built the website. I designed all the decals. I had the social media. I did all the logo. All that I did in-house, and maybe I’d buy $100 worth of material for the decals, but beyond that I didn’t. I wasn’t willing to invest into ads, and I wasn’t willing to invest into…but really the time it takes to sell and build that company.

Jeremy: [00:58:12] Now Eric, I appreciate you sharing that because everyone, in the back of their mind, has that self-doubt, or some kind of doubt. So how did you get over that fear then?

Eric: [00:58:22] Well, with that one I failed, and I continued to fail until I brought on business partners. And having a good business team when you’re going through that emotional roller coaster where you’re down here, hopefully they’re going to be up here, and they can bring you up, and vice versa. You can level each other out and you can help stay track on your goals and your vision and power through everything, so that team is, for me, super crucial.

Jeremy: [00:58:54] So Eric, what kind of software do you use to run the business?

Eric: [00:58:57] Use tons of software. We’ve got Shopify, of course, is our commerce platform, which I would highly recommend. Stitch Labs we use for inventory management. We’re on Ship Station, Shipping Easy. For shipping software we use Google Apps. Internally we use Slack for our chat. We use…

Jeremy: [00:59:18] Fulfillment? What do you use…how do you fulfill?

Eric: [00:59:26] We work with a fulfillment firm out of Washington, Pacific Northwest Print and Fulfillment, that’s the company we use. They’re great, great people.

Jeremy: [00:59:37] Any particular things that you recommend for people creating high-quality videos?

Eric: [00:59:43] Yeah. The best is just to do it and to do it regularly. But in terms of products, just start with your iPhone, start with your camera, and don’t build too many barriers to get going. And as you get into it, there’s tons of YouTube videos to help you on how to do it, and I watched those. So I use an Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera is what I use, and then a 25-millimeter fixed lens, and then I’ve got…audio as well is very important, so I’ve got a boom mic, or a shotgun mic, that I use.

Jeremy: [01:00:22] What websites, Eric, do you sell on? Like Amazon, I can see you Shopify, what websites do you put the products on?

Eric: [01:00:32] We sell on Beardbrand.com and Beardbrand.co.uk, and then everything else we work with retailers, so we have wholesalers around the world. Some of the sellers are online retailers, but we personally don’t sell on Amazon or eBay or any other Etsy. Everything’s on Beardbrand.

Jeremy: [01:00:50] Do you let those people sell on any site.

Eric: [01:00:55] We have one retailer who we allow to sell on Amazon, but no one…

Jeremy: [01:01:01] I’m curious. What’s the strategy? Why that?

Eric: [01:01:04] Amazon is, what I found, is really for those analytical people who is all about the numbers and optimization, and we’re not those type of people. We’re about the branding, and you can’t do branding on Amazon, really, like we want to do it, so it’s just not our cup of tea. And we would have our manufacturing business, we’d have our retail business, we’d have our wholesale business, and if we sold on Amazon, we’d have our Amazon business, and then we’d have our content business. And that’s just really like getting your brain to spread out, so you’ve gotta really pick and choose what you’re good at and don’t let the other things be a distraction.

Jeremy: [01:01:46] So what was the decision? Tell me about the wholesaling part of things.

Eric: [01:01:51 ]That’s Lindsay. She’s my cofounder who manages that. She’s a fantastic sales person and she’s got those skills and the ability to build relationships, and we’ve got a lot of customers who just come to us out of the blue who want to carry our products.

Jeremy: [01:02:07] Yeah, that’s awesome.

Eric: [01:02:09] We want to take care of them.

Jeremy: [01:02:11] So what about competition? You were saying earlier there’s competitors sprouting up and I notice in one of your videos you hold up and it’s like, “This isn’t ours. This smells like Pine Sol.” How do you deal with knock-offs?

Eric: [01:02:27] The thing is, we try to just make it so difficult to duplicate us that no one can do that, so I think what we try to do is have a really nice website, have that really good content, have everything just be super polished where they know that this is Beardbrand, this is premium, and then we try to be everywhere. We try to have our products in Nordstrom and have our products in men’s specialty boutiques everywhere where it’s just very hard for someone else to do.

Jeremy: [01:03:09] Yeah, for sure. Eric, I really appreciate your time. This has been fantastic. Just tell people where they can find out more. Where should they check you out online? I know you mentioned a few sites. Mention them again and then just leave us with one last lesson.

Eric: [01:03:24] Cool. Yeah, so, if you Google my name, Eric Bandholz, I’m the only Eric Bandholz out there, so it’ll be me, but Twitter is awesome if you want to get a hold of me. And then Beardbrand is our website, and Urban Beardsman is our content website that we’re really proud of those. And then you can find all of our social media platforms.

Jeremy: [01:03:42] I highly suggest you check out his videos and also just the design and branding is…the logo is awesome.

Eric: [01:03:50] Thank you.

Jeremy: [01:03:51] I love that logo, so just the very simple but elegant branding and design, check it out. So, what’s one last lesson? Where should people start thinking about with their ecommerce journey?

Eric: [01:04:04] For someone who’s just starting, it’s just do it, man. Perfection doesn’t happen. You don’t want true perfection, so progress and constant improvement is always better. Tesla wasn’t invented as the first automobile, right? So you start somewhere and then you gradually improve and don’t let perfection hang you up, so just get out there and do it.

Jeremy: [01:04:30] Eric, thank you so much. Everyone, check out Beardbrand.com. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Eric: [01:04:35] Dude, the joy is all mine. Thanks so much, Jeremy.

Jeremy: [01:04:39] Thank you.

Interview Highlights:

  • [00:11:28] My first year, the content really just sucked, frankly. I had no vision, no guidance, no strategy with YouTube, so I was just going up there and maybe one month I’d create a video and…I know one video is just of me. It’s like 30 seconds and I just go like this. That’s all the video. I thought, “Oh my God, this is going to go viral. There’s going to be billions…” and looking back on that I’m like, “What the hell? What was I thinking? This is idiot.” But I did have one that did really well. It was a how-to beard grooming video and that’s when I realized this is what the people on YouTube want. These are the videos I need to create, so it was really being in tune with what kind of videos my channel was finding success with, and then creating more videos along those lines. It kind of built on itself from there. The first year was only 300 subscribers, and then the next year was 1,000, and then it was 10,000 and then…the beauty with YouTube versus every other social media platform out there is they really reward creators. They want you to create. And if you create a lot, they’re going to thank you and they’re going to show you to more people. So it’s unlike Facebook where if you create more, they’re like, “Hey, give me money, man.”
  • [00:24:05] I love Tumblr. Tumblr is a really easy way to curate a certain lifestyle that you’re going for, and they make blogging super easy. And you’re able to just convey who you are by curating these photography, so Tumblr is probably one of our first platforms and we’re able to produce so much content on there. We do something like 10 or 15 posts a day.
  • [00:49:15] Build trust and be authentic. I guess they kind of go hand in hand. Then it’s just hustle. It’s just hustle. Tell everyone. Get everything out there. Be passionate. If you’re doing something you love it’s easy to hustle because you’re passionate about it. You can talk about it for days and months, years, but if you’re trying to sell something you don’t really care about, you’re going to burn out. You just can’t do it.
  • [00:55:43] Business is tough, right, and you’ve got to surround yourself with people who can move you forward, who can get you through those tough times. I’m very fortunate that my business partners and I are philosophically aligned, so we’re able to focus on building Beardbrand rather than squabbling over things that some other companies deal with, with their business team, so me, and Jeremy, and Lindsay and I, we’re all on the same page, and we’re all working to the same goal, which is super important if you have business partners. And for me as well, I’ve had a wake of failed businesses where it didn’t even have business partners. So for me, having business partners is key, but I understand that it’s also another can of worms. That could be a whole other podcast.
  • [00:58:22] Well, with that one I failed, and I continued to fail until I brought on business partners. And having a good business team when you’re going through that emotional roller coaster where you’re down here, hopefully they’re going to be up here, and they can bring you up, and vice versa. You can level each other out and you can help stay track on your goals and your vision and power through everything, so that team is, for me, super crucial.

 

Conclusion

Be sure to utilize this real insight from a real marketing expert to help your e-commerce business grow and succeed. Stay tuned – this will be an ongoing weekly series featuring a variety of e-commerce experts looking to provide you with hard-won knowledge free of charge.

Check out our previous E-Commerce Mastery Series episode featuring Amine Khechfe of Endicia as he discusses shipping pain points for both consumers and sellers and how Endicia solved these problems.

Work Smart. Sell More.
www.Skubana.com

One Comment

  1. corburterilio December 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm - Reply

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