Episodes

Dave Petrillo

Dave Petrillo

Dave is the co-founder of Coffee Joulies, a product that was one of the earliest success stories on Kickstarter. They also presented their product on the national TV show, Shark Tank, with Mark Cuban.

TOPIC DAVE COVERS

  • His co-creator of Coffee Julies
  • Find out what Coffee Julies do
  • How they created a prototype and started selling it to friends and family
  • How used Kickstarter to raise funds and expand their customer base
  • The Kickstarter campaign was successful and they raised 300,000
  • He preferred the approach of using Kickstarter and bootstrapping their business
  • They offered several options for backers on their Kickstarter campaign
  • They based their own campaign decisions on this research and found that it was helpful in achieving their own success on Kickstarter.
  • And a whole lot more

LINKS & RESOURCES

WATCH THE INTERVIEW

READ THE TRANSCRIPTION

Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Dave Petrillo with us. Dave, thanks for coming on the program.

Dave: Thanks for having.

Bronson: Me. Absolutely. So, Dave, you’re the co-creator of Coffee Julies. Am I saying that right?

Dave: You are.

Bronson: All right. First, tell us, what is coffee Julie’s? Because you have a really interesting story that we’ll get into. But let’s just start with what is it?

Dave: Sure. Yeah. Okay. So coffee juices is our little stainless steel coffee beans. You can see that.

Bronson: I can see a perfect.

Dave: Okay. So they’re about half the size of a chicken egg and you sell five of them. And what they do is they keep your coffee the right temperature. So you take a couple of them and put them into a coffee mug. And when you foreign coffee, it’s too hot to drink. It cools it down to the perfect temperature. And then it would close down and it actually keeps it at the right temperature for a little bit longer than it would stay normal.

Bronson: Okay. So it’s not really a heating or cooling device. It’s both based on what you need at that time.

Dave: Yeah, sure. Yeah. It’s like it just tries to maintain it at the right drinking temperature for longer because coffee is always like a little bit too hot or it’s a little bit too cold, and you never get that that window of opportunity. We sell some cups that give that give you like that window of opportunity for hours and hours and hours more than you can ever want.

Bronson: So you actually sell the the being looking metal things that do the magic and you sell the the coffee mug to kind of make it last as long as possible.

Dave: Yeah, we actually just picked out our favorite coffee alongside of our product, but this is the thing that we. We invented the interactions.

Bronson: Gotcha. That’s cool. So now tell us, how did you raise the money to actually create this product? Because that that’s an interesting story in and of itself.

Dave: Yeah, for sure. So this product was started by me and a friend of mine. My co-founder also came out. We were childhood friends and we started working on this idea kind of as a hobby. So we set a certain amount of money outside that was just, you know, from our savings. And we said if we can if we can get a prototype made and a product made for this amount of money such that we can get a real customer feedback, then, you know, down feel consider that a success by the time we’re finished tooling around with this little thing, if we have something that’s good enough to sell to somebody and reasonable to take their money and search for it, that’s a success. So we set aside £5 tops to do that. And we actually, by the time we started selling towards weight on Spirit 4000, so take a little under budget. And what we started selling the first part and it’s not a prototype to our friends family but our Kickstarter was in the habit of chose to get a wider wider customer base and it was early 2000 when Kickstarter went on Kickstarter. So it’s still kind of there only been a few projects that have raised tons of money on Kickstarter and we raised 300,000. So by the time we finished our project on Kickstarter.

Bronson: Wow, that’s incredible. Well, let’s actually talk about Kickstarter a little bit because we’ve never had anybody with that level of success on Kickstarter on the show. So I’m going to get into some of the details a little bit because a lot of people in the audience, they might be considering Kickstarter as an avenue to raise that money as well.

Dave: It’s a great it’s a great tool.

Bronson: Well, let me ask you. You say it’s a great tool. What made you pick that platform as opposed to maybe Indiegogo? I don’t know if they were around back then. When you’re making the decision or other possibilities or maybe just angel investment or VC money. What made you really kind of gravitate toward that?

Dave: Okay. So first the answer between Kickstarter and other crowdsourcing platforms. There were neither radical concert or crowdsourcing platforms around. When I was on, when we were looking at which wanting to see a Kickstarter had the most number of projects out there and they had a lot of data available. So the really cool thing about Kickstarter is that you can kind of look in and see what other companies have done in the past and what works for some people and what didn’t work for other people. And we kind of we spent a lot of time pulling data off that website and coding and studying kind of what worked for other people in order to make ours, you know, hit all the checkboxes that we thought was the recipe for a successful project. Yeah. So Kickstarter had the most information available to that effect, so that’s why we chose Kickstarter. And then for Kickstarter versus other funding rounds is that’s just not the style of business that we are. So we decided, Hey, let’s take this small amount of money and see if we can get to it. Get to answer the question of why this we we did it successfully. We got to ask dollars and we went out, you know, found no customers that wanted to buy any of it. And some venture capitalist wanted to give us some money to keep trying to find new customers that want to buy. I think that would be stupid. So we kind of we picked a product that was easy and affordable to do on our own specifically so. That we could take the bootstrap out? Kind of.

Bronson: I got you. So you really knew the route you wanted to take and you had a product that would allow you to take that route. And it makes sense.

Dave: Right? We didn’t want to make a motorcycle or anything that would cause, you know, it’s too stressful.

Bronson: Yeah, I know. I hear you. In my own company, that’s kind of the same way I think about things as well. You talked about how you kind of looked at what was already been done on Kickstarter and learn from that data. And I want to get to that in just a second, but let’s back up another step so we can really understand the whole process. What were you offering on Kickstarter? Because usually there’s different levels like level one. We give you this, we get this level too, you know. What were your kind of value propositions on there?

Dave: So it’s funny that things that we offer on Kickstarter are still the only things that make my business that sells for a year and a half later. So a set of opportunities on Kickstarter was $40, which was it was a discount on the end of $50, which is what we sell for now. So they’re ten bucks apiece. And then we had the perfection package for these mugs. This is like this, and they are all made. This is a thermos insulated travel mug and we just buy this with their are and put our love on resell it just because it’s the best mode that you could possibly use with these these two with this thing. And that was $100 on Kickstarter. And then we had a wholesale pack, which was 20 sets of five for any coffee shop that wanted to buy them and resell them, which Kickstarter has since specifically disallowed. So you’re not allowed to do that anymore on Kickstarter. It’s against the rules. But now that we’re that, we’re pretty good for us. So we said if we want to go on Kickstarter or to crowdfund coffee, can we make sure we just sell coffee mugs or not T-shirts and buttons and all this other stuff that’s just going to be a headache later on?

Bronson: No. Makes sense. How did it work out in terms of how many people bought the wholesale as opposed to the other levels? What is it surprising or is it just like you expected? Only a couple of people bought the wholesale.

Dave: It wasn’t really surprising the amount of people the farms, surprisingly didn’t seem to raise it, so that was really cool. But with download you can do this yourself. You can download the data from our project and look at how many people buy at $50. How many people buy it? $100. It’s just a nice exponential decay, so it’s not what you’d expect, and it’s pretty much does. That’s the kind of numbers that I would download it to look at for other Kickstarter projects. When we were choosing how much money to charge for these things and it was surprisingly accurate to other people’s projects, is how much, how the data came in.

Bronson: Right now, this is what I’m really interested in, is this research you did on other companies on Kickstarter, because that’s really growth hacking. I mean, that’s really getting into the data, seeing what the data teaches us and then making business decisions based off of it and not just hoping and wishing so. Right. What did you do? Like you say, this is publicly available. Literally, you just me on their profile page. You just went and grabbed the numbers. Did you put it in Excel yourself like that? Walk me through that process of research because that’s really interesting.

Dave: Yeah, sure. So on Kickstarter, there’s a few things that you get to put on your product page. I think there’s a lot of things that make it hard to serve some successful is our our business success market service kicks forces you to kind of condense all of this stuff it’s all this stuff it’s go it’s business just one page you get you get one video. You get to sell like a couple products and then you get a description. That’s it. So you have to you have to condense everything down so that you can share it with your friends and then they can share with their friends. Before, when I was working on the project, I was like, Oh yeah, we’re doing this thing and we got this Facebook page and I can give you some or whatever, but there wasn’t just one central location where you can go. So, you know, every single project has that. And we looked at the only dials that you can change or Kickstarter or how long is your project on or are you seeking to rates and what you’re selling? And then it’s how you present a project to the potential backers. So some of those are numbers. We decided that 30 days was definitely the best amount of time to. But the thing up for later data has shown if you go on Kickstarter slogging through the data like Tag, there’s a lot of a lot more of this that’s that’s available like kind of after after we have been finished with it. There’s a lot of other people who are interested in data Kickstarter. So that’s like excellent reading for whoever’s like, right. But by, you know, 30 days we decided it was the most important or the best length of time to choose. And we also decided that shooting for a small amount of money is much more likely to get you success or even a large success and shooting for a giant amount of money at the time when we when we post our project, no one had asked for a tremendously large amount of money had ever received it in product design. So that’s changed since since we’ve been on. But I still think that if you’re going to if you want a large. Money over there. Use Kickstarter to reach it. You should rethink what you’re trying to do to see how you could make a smaller, incremental step with a small amount of money. Yeah. And then shoot that. And if you get a lot more of that, then you’re just pleasantly surprised.

Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. That 30 days was the right number for length. What was the right number? What did you ask for on Kickstarter? What was the amount of money you asked?

Dave: Where? $9,500?

Bronson: Who is your break up a little bit? 9500. Yeah, yeah. Okay. 9005. So 30 day is 9500. Did you come to that ten k mark? Also by the data you saw other companies that asked for ten K usually funded the campaign and had even more.

Dave: 10 to 15 was a sweet spot for product design. You could, you know, you can reasonably find enough friends and family and Facebook friends to kind of get you there. And if you had a lot of success, you would get past that by a lot. And I think that if you’re a backer or a Kickstarter person and you see this runaway project that’s totally smashed school, you’re more likely to kind of jump on the bandwagon of a successful project than you are to root for the underdog of someone who’s like way far away of a goal, because you’re kind of at that point, you’re kind of gambling with your money. So that was one of the conclusions that we made is like people are way more likely to just say, okay, if I if I buy this now, I’ll get it at some time in the future. I don’t have to worry about whether it funds or not. Yeah. If you’re trying to shoot for the strike or people are like, Oh, this is to work anyway, so how am I going to actually help, you know, like they’re not as willing to take out their wallets and help you out now.

Bronson: It makes sense. The psychology is off there. So, you know, you looked at the timeline, you looked at the amount to ask for. Were there any other variables of data that you were really looking at or is that those are the main two?

Dave: Well, the two of the tiers. So you get to choose how much.

Bronson: Okay. So what did they tell you about that and how you act on it?

Dave: We you know, we saw that $20 at the time was really great for a lot of people looking to get free 20 bucks credit to get in on what you’re doing. And we we were looking to make this more of a high end product at the time. So we crunched the numbers and say, okay, it costs us this much to make it. And if we say $40 to make this much and sell it for $80 or make a lot more money, but the to do the math on Kickstarter said that even if we lose all that margin which is a lot just how about $40 dollars, so many more people will buy it. We’ll have more success in that race and then trying to go for, you know, a little bit of extra margin, that product. And, you know, it’s hard to say what impact that had exactly on our product. But like I said, it is the curve. The price elasticity curve when we download it later was definitely not linear. It’s, you know, it’s exponential. So as you lower the price, more and more and more people come to the device.

Bronson: So it seems like you really you got close to not be you weren’t greedy. You made sure you asked for as little as possible. Overall, you asked for as little as possible with individual buys. So really, you weren’t trying to to be greedy. You were trying to have the minimum there that you could and then kind of blow it out of the water. Were there any other variables? Do things like videos matter to things like the copywriting on the page matter? Those are traditional things that we no matter what websites. How much do you think it mattered with Kickstarter and how did it affect you guys?

Dave: I mean, that’s another thing that we looked at, but that was like more just kind of look and feel.

Bronson: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. So the most important thing with Kickstarter project is kind of what I was, I was hitting on before is that it’s simple and easy to understand. So on Kickstarter, you might be browsing through product projects, someone might be sending you this link, you know, and you are only going to open it for 5 seconds. You need to capture the attention of somebody within a few seconds, and if they’re going to watch your video, you want to actually get them to get go to the end. So we have been working on this for eight months. We had all this crazy ideas about it, all this different ways to explain it or whatever, and you have to just take it back and make it so, so simple that you think it’s just way oversimplified and that you’re really not doing yourself justice and how you explain how cool it is now because you really have to like do a couple of edits of the video and do a couple of the copy on the page, because all of the people who are coming to page are seeing it for the very first time. So if you we basically what I say to other people who are thinking about Kickstarter is make your videos, get your point across from Kickstarter. The project at the end is going to tell you whether or not your video or your idea was good enough or people actually want to see your movie or buy your products. The only thing you can do is make sure that it’s clearly explained. So when you’re sharing your preview of your product with your friends or your preview of your Kickstarter page, if they’re like, I don’t understand what you mean here or like what this does, that’s a huge problem to fix. If they’re like, Yeah, I totally get it, but I don’t think it’s for me a stupid idea. Don’t worry about that kind of stuff, because what you’re looking for is like even if 10% people think it’s a great idea that way, it’s like, totally, yeah. Yeah. But you don’t want to have something that’s just too confusing. So yeah, that was one thing that we noticed about other Kickstarter projects is make videos short, make it simple, get across a couple of things. One was that you have the credibility and the wherewithal to deliver on whatever it is that you say you’re going to do. So you have to explain your your credibility, why you’re the person to do this. You have to explain the value proposition to product. So they’re actually getting something that they would be willing to pay for it. Just say.

Bronson: Yeah.

Dave: They want your Kickstarter is not the store. But when you’re selling product design stuff because there’s a lot of similarities you can’t ignore, you can’t just say, I really want to do this. You should just give me a bunch of money exchange for not selling value propositions. Then the last thing about Kickstarter is you have to basically make it clear that you can’t can’t proceed without Kickstarter. So you’ve done all this work all this way, and the missing ingredient is those people to help you out. So we we were in that situation. We had done all this work. We had the prototypes in. And just like all the other product design projects on Kickstarter, once you get to this point where you go talk to manufacturers and they say, okay, marketing, seriously, our first order is going to have to be for X now problems. A lot of experts say, okay, we’ve got to meet all the testing just to bring down the truth. Instead of that, that gap between four working prototype and ship practices, you think maybe the game. And a lot of people underestimate that.

Bronson: Yeah, no, that’s great. Actionable advice that you’ve given us about the campaigns on Kickstarter and kind of how you saw it. And I think it’s I think it’s good advice. Let me ask you this. Were there any drawbacks to raising money on Kickstarter? It almost just seems like too good to be true. Is there anything about it that’s, like, really negative that you’ve experienced after the fact? Maybe?

Dave: Yeah, for sure. So Kickstarter being the biggest one I can give about raising a bunch of money, experience or specials for product design project is that there’s not really an undue burden after you finish your your funding. So people are giving you money for something that you don’t have, but you have to deliver it no matter what. This puts you at a incredibly like big opportunity to make the biggest mistake or the biggest miscalculation you’ve ever made in your whole life. So we calculated how much it would cost us to make this product. And you were totally wrong. It cost way back. So even even our like, you know, you’re shooting for like, you don’t want to be too greedy. You don’t want to make something that no one can afford, and you need to have money to make it and planning for contingencies and problems that go wrong, things that cost not the same amount of other costs. So yeah, you’re kind of opening yourself up to a huge amount of risk there. Figuring your project gets at that risk is so the whole, you know, the whole methodology, trying to meet the starting price of all these dates is that you’re going towards a bigger and bigger product is definitely the wrong way to go. Okay, let’s make this small, small step figure out measure, which is right, then do another one to another one. So when I talk to other people about Kickstarter projects, that’s why I say, okay, shoot for the smallest medical goal. You can shoot for that. Like, let’s, let’s get here first. Mm hmm. And the product. And then we have all these people who may listen to us, and we’re gonna sell some more later. And just. You have your contingency planning for when you’re going to start the madness. You probably don’t want to raise $10 million on Kickstarter. I don’t have done that because, you know, maybe if they raised one of them, they figure it out, which is they can sell 9 million more later. But, you know, think about it in in terms of how much risk you’re putting yourself at as your project figure to make a.

Bronson: Lot of sense. It’s so it’s almost like Kickstarter can end up being the opposite of lean startups. If you’re not careful, if you if you over fund yourself, you’re instantly a big corporation, but you haven’t learned anything to actually run it efficiently. So it’s almost like the worst of both worlds.

Dave: Right. So that’s my, that’s my, that’s my caveat for Kickstarter. But Kickstarter is, it’s a fantastic way to raise money for your product without taking on any investments. It’s, it’s by far the best way to come to come up with funds.

Bronson: Yeah. Do you think you’d use it again. Kind of after seeing the good and the bad of it. I mean, would you use it again on your next project?

Dave: Absolutely. I would. I would use Kickstarter. I probably will. But, you know, you have to wait for the customers. Like I said before, Kickstarter is not a store. When you buy something, you don’t you don’t necessarily get it. There’s risks. No software for the person manufacturing the product. Kickstarter is definitely a store. You have to you have to have your margins built in. You have to, you know, have to make some money at the end of the day to cover everything. And you have to have all of your ducks in a row before you go and start selling something to somebody that you don’t have yet. Yeah. So my my question with product design is, is to make sure that you really have figured out more than you think you might need to before you get money and bring these new people.

Bronson: So now you raised 300,000 on Kickstarter. I was that the number you said 3000? Yeah. Yeah. So that’s kind of the first like major highlight I think of copy Julie’s the second one that I know of at least is you actually appeared on Shark Tank. So interesting actually watch the episode you’re on you and I guess the other day was on it as well. And so, you know, when we book to this interview, I was like, oh, I know that guy. What do I know him from? He go, Yeah, he’s on Shark Tank. So let me ask you, how did you get on Shark Tank? Did you just apply and they just kind of, you know, picked out some or.

Dave: We got an email from the producer. So they said, hey, we’d like to, you know, to tell you about Shark Tank and see if you’d want to be on the show.

Bronson: So they let you out, okay?

Dave: I did. Yeah. But they said they don’t do that for very many, you know, things that that most people go through a pretty standard like application out interview process or whatever. But I think it might’ve been like our Kickstarter project or our exposure from the shark competition that got us noticed by the producers.

Bronson: Yeah, that makes sense. So you ended up with a deal on Shark Tank. What kind of deal do you end up with there? Because it was it’s kind of unheard of.

Dave: So we ended up with a deal. That was some capitalists, $150,000 in exchange for a warranty on this big winner until the church got their money back and a small quota thereafter in exchange for their projects. How many people were.

Bronson: In on that deal? That’s the interesting part, I think.

Dave: For everybody about Marketplace Deal.

Bronson: Yeah.

Dave: And Cuban did counter with an offer for $250,000 in exchange for some percentage and forget what it was. Exactly.

Bronson: So, I mean, I think it’s wise, you know, go with the four sharks instead of one because, you know, partnerships, distribution is way more important than just one big name. Go ahead. Maybe so. All right. So tell me more. Why do you say maybe?

Dave: Well, I mean, I can say that our our our emphasis with respect to Shark Tank, when we decided to do this project, it wasn’t like when we got the phone call. It wasn’t like us totally will definitely spend all this time working on Shark Tank as Dave and I have other things to do during the day, and we didn’t need a lot of timing except up by Shark Tank. If we weren’t going to definitely get on the show and have a good have a good exposure to it. And what we found out is that everybody that goes through the process gets on the show. It could. It could turn out to be a colossal waste of time. Yeah, thankfully it did. It didn’t end up that way. But basically what I’m getting at is we were more interested in being on the show and saying, you know, if something great comes out, that’s a good opportunity because that’s that’s bonus material. Like take a good opportunity price, you know, last week in Arkansas, which makes for a great episode of getting on the show and getting all these people to hear what we’ve done. So, so that being said, guys, we have it closed off and deals with insurance. I mean, I’m sure we’re it’s not out of the question to do that, but we haven’t we’re not working directly with any corporate option.

Bronson: So you did take their investment money or you did not.

Dave: We did not take you out.

Bronson: Gotcha. So actually, as of right now, Sprouting just became an extended commercial for coffee. Julie’s right.

Dave: Well, yeah, more or less. But.

Bronson: You know, which is still good. I mean, I watch the show all the time, and often when I see entrepreneurs playing hardball, you know, sometimes I think, why are they doing that? And then sometimes I think they’re genius. Like they’re just getting a long commercial. It doesn’t matter if they get a deal. They’re on national television.

Dave: The exposure from Target, that’s a lot. And the ratings are up on Wikipedia, but like 6 million for that for the first year. And just want to see this reruns and understand that you get to be on the ABC website that sends you out traffic and all that stuff. So it’s a real opportunity for anybody as long as you understand where the where the value is that the show brings to your company, it’s where you could line up with a great deal on that, with a great investor from that show that works for you. But, you know, putting that is the only the only thing that’s both values. And so, you.

Bronson: Know, it makes more sense. So what kind of growth have you experienced since being on Shark Tank? Because, like you said, it is a lot of exposure. You’re on national television. You’re kind of all over the Internet instantly. You know, how many, you know, units sold. I mean, what did it do? I mean, whatever you can divulge for us.

Dave: Actually, I mean, we usually don’t talk about that a lot, but I was just posting on Facebook about it yesterday, so we were on backorder. So we we had a smaller units in stock and within a few days we sold to those. That response was way more than thought it was going to be hundred thousand tweets in like two days. Wow. So we sold through all of our system commentary on backorder and we’re collecting e-mail addresses. So, you know, you have to promote it. We’re off that order. But people are still we’re still allowed to talk about it. So the arms and our arms actually caught up with the list. It shrunk it down and down. But it wasn’t until about last week that we went on that order and we tied to the total amount of orders at that time was like 5600. So I can’t say.

Bronson: How many was it again? 600 5600. Yeah. Units from, you know, January till now that you kind of sold.

Dave: 56 headquarters.

Bronson: Orders. Yeah. Perfect. So let me ask you this. You know, you’ve been on Kickstarter and, you know, raise money, which essentially was selling a product, you know, before you had one. And then you’ve also been on Shark Tank. How did they compare in terms of how much they allowed your business to grow?

Dave: So that’s one of the things that we picked up between, you know, Kickstarter was like this entire this epic project all by itself. That was we sold on six. We have. And we had to basically take that money and figure out how to not spend all and give the people what they deserve. And then when we’re done with it, we’re trying to start a business that has sales every month and has always stopped. So they’re different. And what we learned in the year after a year and a half after Kickstarter leading up certainly is. We do the best bang for our buck with direct email marketing. We don’t send very many emails per year, but those are kind of we send emails during the holidays and say, hey, you know, if you do this before they make a great gift, you should write company out. Or if your emails you don’t have them yet, you’re on sale this holiday season or whatever. Yeah, so we look around a lot for how to get our addresses because they turn out not to us. So one of the things that we got out of shirking was, okay, it shouldn’t have. Just in addition to just getting the sample going, we captured shoot about 40,000 emails. Yeah. So those are going to be valuable to us that people to just feel like by now they might feel like later they might think of us during the holidays, a good gift for their friends or whatever. So so that was a difference. We did. We got our backers from Kickstarter, which a lot of them still follow us and buy products are. Yes, but that’s a small number we were counting for, for sure. So that’s much, much better for us.

Bronson: Yeah. So when it comes down to it, emails are really important to you guys and you got more emails from Shark Tank and Kickstarter and it’s just that simple.

Dave: Yeah.

Bronson: That makes sense.

Dave: It was actually it was actually a similar timescale, similar amount sales to kind of similar experiences. We were sort of around.

Bronson: The company for mature and ready to handle it. Yeah.

Dave: I think exceeded our expectations. The fact it’s a lot more it’s now they said okay.

Bronson: Now it’s great. Now you also have a really high profile advisor, Tim Ferriss. And actually, wasn’t it Tim, that you called during the Shark Tank episode? Yeah. Yeah, I thought that was a good move. I mean, it’s like, what a great negotiating tactic. Hold on. Let me go to call Tim Ferriss and I’ll come back and talk to you. That’s kind of genius.

Dave: And so I was and I was surprised that ABC did not highlight that more, but they only fleshed out their first 5 seconds. So a lot of people missed that. But yeah, I thought it was pretty cool and gave us advice. Advice?

Bronson: Yeah. Yeah. Well, let me ask is how do you end up with such a high profile advisor? I mean, you know, do you just know him from something else? I mean, do you know a guy that knows a guy like how did you end up with him?

Dave: So we use website our our stores post Shopify dot com so that’s our e-commerce back in the day post business competition every year called build of business competition. And in 2007 when we finished Kickstarter, we launched our store on shop in White Castle up in Shanghai, and that was sponsored by Tim Ferriss or other people. So have dinner with Tim Juice. It was like across. So we did one. I talked a lot on a few times about how we do the shooting questions every now and then and when we’re we have big things going on our business like being on television, we call him up and it was this great resource, but that’s how we got it.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Let me ask you this. You know, does having a guy like Tim Ferriss around, does it actually help you when you get advice for him? Or is it more just a PR thing like, oh, I’ll call Tim Ferriss? Like, does it really help your bottom line?

Dave: I mean, it’s definitely not it’s not so much experience as as an advisor, some call and get advice from others he has a lot of valuable stuff comes around the time he won the competition that helped us focus on what we needed to do. Yeah, but also it’s not like you can shoot the guy or anything like that. So, you know, he definitely was really great around the time of the competition.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s right. And what’s the best advice he’s ever given you? Because he’s kind of a marketing mastermind. I mean, he goes from nothing to, you know, all these New York Times bestsellers and all this stuff. What’s the best? Advice he’s given you guys about marketing or anything, really?

Dave: I think that probably the best place you’ve given us is before I ever met him. This was his first book.

Bronson: A Good Answer.

Dave: And around the same time that Dave and I think about how to how to take it out of working time jobs and how to progress on our entrepreneurial side. This must have a lot of tips in that first are still great ones. So that’s kind of where I think this year he helped us out.

Bronson: He’s so transparent. We all have access to him, really. You know, he’s not really hold anything back in his books of anything. He tells you too much for sure.

Dave: And there were other people who were winners of the 2008 competition, and one of them something called Slot Stocks. And the girl from Australia and I sat down, I didn’t want to talk to her. She said, Well, I got a copy of Kim’s book and I fell to the letter and I put my shop on Shopify and she won. You know, she did a large amount of business and she was doing interviews from a villa in Thailand while the other people around her were at home in Australia. So not there.

Bronson: But yeah, absolutely. I’ve listen to the audio version of that book countless times. I don’t even know anymore. So we talked about Kickstarter, we talked about Shark Tank, and those are not ongoing events. Those are very much like one time things. There’s a blast, you get a lot of PR, you get a lot of email addresses, but then at some point we all see this, you know, the curve drops off, you know, the bump from Kickstarter, the bump from Shark Tank, they don’t last in a year or two. I mean, you know, that’s normal. It’s nothing, you know, wrong with that. So what are you guys doing on an ongoing basis to acquire new customers? I know you mentioned emails are really important to you. Is there anything else in terms of channels for growth that you guys focus on? Are you taking out ads in anyway way or do you do social media marketing? I mean, do you do anything else at all or are you still just kind of running off of what’s happened with Kickstarter and starting.

Dave: Well so we can identify the the bumps in traffic that come from our our media events and all of those have so far have been true. And so you’re right, those were kind of like one type things that aren’t going to last forever, you know, are our list is we keep that from, you know, going forward. We can use that as a tool to find more email addresses add to it. So for instance, we’re looking at different companies that we can partner with or to for cool things to our customer in exchange for not getting some closure on someone else’s email. It’s a double feature. So we say, Hey, we have one and they have another some size, and we give a mention to your product and give a link to your product in an article for us, especially if it’s something that’s relevant. We drink coffee all the time because I really, really like this company that makes sense. Curates Coffee. I think everybody I definitely hear about it. It’s about something we can come across bonding or rest. Yeah. So besides, those two has got me and now I have an even bigger listing. People who want to do the same thing over and over again. So that’s one thing that we that we’re doing to do is to continue with our growth, our biggest impact, it looks like, and that is an advertising marketing Facebook. So I guess we saw that. Right.

Bronson: We know there’s honesty. That’s great. Yeah.

Dave: Terrible that we we were definitely a little bit spoiled on Kickstarter and free media attention that we’ve gotten. And so it did give us a little perspective that when we got all that free or we’ve never spent money on advertising for people before, anything at all. Yeah, we get to find out where’s the free stuff or the really, really cheap stuff that that actually works. So Americans total free on paper, media subscription and that’s it. So we’re trying to get good at that because we get good at that. Still free not that that’s the best case scenario and you know, stuff like that. So that’s kind of where we’re focusing on and that’s kind of you were able to identify that by having that opportunity of a lot of free press.

Bronson: Yeah, you know what you’re saying? It’s kind of typical for people that come on the show. Most companies are not good at every kind of customer acquisition strategy, but they’re really good at one of them. So we’ll have one company on. They know everything about viral videos, but they would never, you know, do Google ads or they would never do something else. And, you know, you have somebody else like you. You learn how to, you know, utilize email list and free publicity through Kickstarter, shouting, things like that. So I think it makes sense. And that might be the one takeaway their audience can really gravitate to. Cord with this episode is how you cross-pollinate email list. I think that’s a genius tactic because email list are so effective. If you have somebody with a similar product and you can give a shout out to them, they can give a shout out to you. Nobody pays for advertising and all of a sudden you have a really high percentage of people that convert over and get on your list and buy your products. So thanks for sharing that because I think that’s just awesome insight and I think it’s going to work for a long time. I mean, it’s not like that’s a one hit thing because you can keep signing people. That’s like, well, this has been a great interview. Let me ask you one last question here. What’s the best advice that you have for anyone that’s trying to grow their customer base? And it may be a tactic or may just be a mindset. What’s the best advice you have for them?

Dave: I don’t want to be repetitive, but don’t underestimate the value of email, direct marketing and also kind of along the same lines communication with your clients, with your customer, like in the most transparent way you can. A lot of people, they finally incorporate their startup and they get into their office and you think, okay, we’ve got to just pretend that we’re this big company and stuff. But people love to hear about like the actual, you know, the actual human beings that are behind this company. And that’s kind of like I think that’s a lot of reason why Kickstarter works really well, because you feel like you’re part of something. You’re feeling like you’re right alongside the banana who’s making the product instead of just buying something cool and showing it to your friends. You’re like, you’re part of the behind the scenes look. So email marketing can help you do that because it’s a good way to communicate with your customers and the way to keep the social media something great. So that too. But emails you can kind of track and understand better if you’re trying to sell something. Yeah, emails are the best way to get people right onto your site and into the shopping cart.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Dave, thank you so much for coming on Growth Hacker TV and thanks for being so transparent about everything you guys have done around.

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