Brand Building through Social Media and Giving Back with eCommerce Entrepreneur Yong-Soo

Episode 164

On today’s episode, we have the pleasure of interviewing Yong-Soo.  Yong-Soo left a successful career in cryptocurrency software engineering to found his first 8-figure e-commerce business Urban EDC, a venture with an impressive social media following. He then went on to launch GrowthJet, a Climate Neutral Certified third-party logistics company. Yong-Soo is passionate about sharing his experiences with other entrepreneurs so they can start companies that are both profitable and sustainable.  Welcome to the Show Yong!

How can the guests contact?  website, email, social?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yongsoo

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yongsoo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/yongsoochung

Growth Jet: https://www.growthjet.com/

Urban EDC: https://urbanedcsupply.com/

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00;00;24;06 – 00;00;52;01
Speaker 1
Welcome, everyone to the Firing the Man Podcast. On today’s episode, we have the pleasure of interviewing young Sue Yong. Sue left a successful career in cryptocurrency software to found his eight figure e-commerce business, Urban EDC, a venture with an impressive social media following. He then went to launch Growth Jet, a climate neutral, certified third party logistics company. Yong Soo is passionate about sharing his experiences with other entrepreneurs so they can start companies that are both profitable and sustainable.

00;00;52;02 – 00;00;52;26
Speaker 2
Welcome to the show.

00;00;52;26 – 00;00;54;01
Speaker 3
Thanks, guys. Thanks for having me on.

00;00;54;02 – 00;01;00;19
Speaker 2
Absolutely. So first things first. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your path to becoming an e-commerce entrepreneur.

00;01;00;23 – 00;01;22;13
Speaker 3
In 2015? I was at a cryptocurrency startup in San Francisco. I joined the company early on. Whiteboards in the back went to end of 2015. There were a lot of regulations that were coming by and our team was literally blocked from proceeding further because of regulations. And so at that point, you know, I had a decision to make because I always liked power.

00;01;22;13 – 00;01;42;19
Speaker 3
And I like to, you know, just keep making progress. And I just this about like, you know, really, really stuck, just not being able to compete before. So, you know, I started dabbling in some sort of things that I found interesting. So actually, the first item that I wanted to get into was where these headphones that I had were like earbuds.

00;01;42;19 – 00;02;06;09
Speaker 3
So they were like high fidelity earbuds. And I actually got them on wholesale and got like $10,000 worth of way that. Bosworth Eventually, without doing any investing or anything, which is a huge mistake. And so I got those and I initially I was going to do an Amazon FBA. So, so, you know, I reach out to a lot of these providers that would do all the prep work or at events in the shops or distribution centers.

00;02;06;10 – 00;02;27;08
Speaker 3
I found out that it’s a lot harder to sell on Amazon and just, just putting them up on Amazon, right? So they just were not moving at all at that point. You know, I had to hit it and I decided that this was, you know, this is back in 2013. And so I felt like the market for ecommerce moving slowly towards, you know, Shopify and or direct to consumer market.

00;02;27;11 – 00;02;51;17
Speaker 3
And so I thought about kind of pivoting more in that area. You know, I was looking at things that I was buying on a regular basis and spending a lot of time on it. You know, these are things like pens, like titanium machine pants, everyday carry I bought these earphones are now selling on Amazon. Maybe I can repeat this and sell those earphones as kind of like as part of the everyday carry store, right?

00;02;51;17 – 00;03;11;07
Speaker 3
So I launched a shop called Urban EDC to Buy and EDC stands for Everyday Carry. At that point, you know, I actually bought stuff off of Amazon because I learned my lesson that my cat needed to validate first. So I had all this inventory just like not moving at all. I actually created a wait and see with you mention of creating a channel.

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00;03;11;07 – 00;03;31;02
Speaker 3
The rest of these headphones were sort of an interesting way, I guess. And so yeah, eventually you got, you know, sold the at Barnes and stop kind of pivoted It’s a little more you know we got a pocket knife in the store now flashlights buy bars ability tools and so it’s definitely evolved since that’s kind of how it you know, how I first started getting in comms.

00;03;31;02 – 00;03;46;03
Speaker 4
That’s awesome. Yeah. Thanks for sharing your own shoe. So I have to ask you a question about the cryptocurrency. It sounds like you you were involved in crypto very early and so I Yeah, I heard. I heard all these stories. Are you one of those guys that are on the like the crypto cruises where you got in super early or not?

00;03;46;03 – 00;03;54;16
Speaker 4
There was a story that I heard about, I think it was someone that bought pizza with Bitcoin that sort of was right. Any crazy stuff with their crypto stuff or was it too early on?

00;03;54;16 – 00;04;11;05
Speaker 3
Well, actually it was. I mean, it was early. So I actually joined the company before Etherium was around and actually the dollar, it was during our our office and I actually saw him in a matter of when that happened. I mean, this is still early. And so I did you know, I was fortunate enough to invest in some extra time.

00;04;11;05 – 00;04;26;27
Speaker 3
I just kind of, you know, I wanted to forget about it. And, you know, I feel like we’re meeting like, I don’t know. I just feel like if I make an investment in something ends up, you know, and it really blows up, my crypto has risen here. It doesn’t feel like I really earned it. And and so I almost don’t want that to be called.

00;04;26;29 – 00;04;33;13
Speaker 3
You know what? I’m No. One for me it’s like are you’re talking about like I mean he’s forever going to be known as the Bitcoin pizza guy, right so.

00;04;33;15 – 00;04;34;25
Speaker 2
Right yeah.

00;04;34;28 – 00;04;55;02
Speaker 3
Yeah I get it. So I just didn’t yes, I mean, I was really fortunate to get it early and to be where I am because, you know, I got in as an early employee. I was at the company as a software engineer, and so I was actually very fortunate. And to be honest, like after, you know, blew up in 2017, I was like, man, like, should I have stayed a little longer?

00;04;55;02 – 00;05;12;21
Speaker 3
Right? You know, I don’t really regret my decision just because, like I said, I just don’t I don’t want to be I don’t want to be known as like, oh, yeah, you know, that guy like, yeah, my brand new investor, whatever, whatever. And now he’s like, Yeah, maybe on yachts or whatever. Like, like that to me is not the story that I want people to know about me.

00;05;12;21 – 00;05;16;20
Speaker 3
And so I’ve kind of like moved, moved on from that. Yeah.

00;05;16;20 – 00;05;37;27
Speaker 4
No, absolutely. And now it’s always, it’s, I think crypto probably is like one of those things in a, you know, kind of like a once in a lifetime like thing that comes out and is so volatile. Risk reward is like so out of balance that it’s just crazy. And so moving on to e-commerce and so you’ve got a bunch of experience with, you know, starting a company, kind of pivoting, moving into another one, figuring it out.

00;05;37;27 – 00;05;44;01
Speaker 4
Can you go over some of the kind of the fundamentals of business operations, kind of what you learned and just the audience?

00;05;44;02 – 00;06;02;22
Speaker 3
Yeah. So I think there’s like three key systems when you are trying to build a company. The first one is you need to be able to build brand awareness. So this is like marketing. This is, you know, getting people into your shop essentially. So all the activities that you do, get people aware of your brand, that action shop, you’re on your site.

00;06;02;22 – 00;06;22;01
Speaker 3
That’s all part of this nervous system, which is like brand. There is an awareness. And then the second part is value delivery. You know, if someone orders an item, then how do they actually get that item to their house? Right? So this is stuff like customer service, your personal logistics, maybe like a follow up email sequence where you ask them if they’re happy.

00;06;22;01 – 00;06;39;27
Speaker 3
This is all part of that value delivery system. And then the third part is, and I’m more of a general operations. And so you’re looking at both of those parts and you have be looking at metrics or like dashboards, make sure like shipments are not late or, you know, your retention rate for your customer is high and like things like that.

00;06;39;27 – 00;06;57;29
Speaker 3
So that’s like our gas process or system that you should really think about. And I always like to start with yourself. So when you first begin a new venture, obviously you’re going to be doing most of the work like 99.9% of it. But then as you grow, you want to hire specific roles and then do those tasks along with your teammates.

00;06;57;29 – 00;07;17;20
Speaker 3
And so I call this the Iwe Bey framework. And so step one is as the AI part, where you’re doing all the work. Step two is like the part where you’re doing the work alongside your team and like getting all the standard operating procedures in place. And then the third step is replacing yourself from the day to day operations where your team is handling all of that for you.

00;07;17;20 – 00;07;36;26
Speaker 3
And so at that point, you can take a step back and really look at your business. As you know, from a brokerage, you know, like high point of view and saying, oh, this is where we need to keep expanding, right? So these are like expansion paying or, you know, figuring out strategic partnerships, perhaps even like transitions. So those are like more high level benefits that you should be looking at.

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00;07;36;26 – 00;07;47;06
Speaker 3
You know, that we get that you would never be able to do if you’re actually working inside the business, right? So those are kind of three levels. You have systems in place for all three of those. Then I think you’re in a really good place.

00;07;47;06 – 00;08;10;15
Speaker 4
That’s awesome. One quick follow up question on the branding play now for all of the Amazon listeners here. You know, if you go into a large marketplace like an Amazon or a Walmart, they’re bringing the eyeballs to your products. Now, direct to consumer, you’re in charge of, you know, getting eyeballs in front of your products. And so what are some avenues and channels that you’re using and you’re seeing success with getting eyeballs on products for a for a direct to consumer brand?

00;08;10;15 – 00;08;37;04
Speaker 3
Yeah, it’s a great question. So, so this really depends on where your initial target audience is taking out. So for everybody to see, people are taking photos of things that they were carrying with them on a daily basis and posting on Instagram. And so Instagram was the primary channel for us to generate brand awareness. And so actually when when I started Train, you see, I actually started the account as a repost about so repost other people’s photos and give them credit, of course.

00;08;37;04 – 00;08;56;05
Speaker 3
And then they would actually bank me like, Hey, thanks for reposting my photo. And then some of them might follow me back and I built this accounts about 10,000 followers. And then at that point that’s actually when, you know, that was a good place to launch the brand. And so I think it’s really important. Find out where your customers are hanging out and then go into that community and talk to them.

00;08;56;05 – 00;09;13;04
Speaker 3
Hey, what’s your pain point? Like, what do you want to see? And then kind of build, you know, goals with that. This concept called build in public, where bringing your audience with you try to solve a problem that you may have or that they may have, and then that kind of like get your early supporters on board and then yeah, just grow from there.

00;09;13;04 – 00;09;34;27
Speaker 3
And I would definitely say are one one strategy that’s really helpful is collaboration. So look for people that have strengths. So this strength can be like a content creator, like they’re really good at making, you know, whatever viral YouTube videos, you know, you can find them and then work with them, build a relationship better. So like the number one rule of collaborations is don’t treat these as transactional relationships.

00;09;34;27 – 00;09;50;26
Speaker 3
So they need to be genuine. So it could take up to like six months to a year to build that relationship. But you know, for example, content creator, you work with them and then you might send them products and you know, they’ll, they’ll plug it into their videos or whatever, right? So and then there’s other collaborators to deal with, like brands, for example.

00;09;50;26 – 00;10;11;07
Speaker 3
So like a brand to brand collaboration and share their product to both audiences. And then the really part of collaborations that we’ve done is actually a co-created product collaboration where you have either a brand or a content creator. You can partner up with them and create a product together. And so at that point, for example, or content creator, they’re going to be selling their own year review.

00;10;11;07 – 00;10;28;18
Speaker 3
And great. The great thing is you have the relationship with suppliers and you have, you know, all the simple stuff figured out because a content creator does not have that right. So it’s kind of like play their strengths and definitely collaborate with other people, do a cool stuff in that industry to grow it, right?

00;10;28;21 – 00;10;38;15
Speaker 4
Yeah, I don’t know if you saw me, but I was anybody that’s watching on YouTube, you probably saw me. I’m taking notes down here on on all of these tactics that you’re sharing. So those are awesome. I really like it. So over you. David Yeah.

00;10;38;15 – 00;10;56;16
Speaker 2
Those were I also was taking notes, you know, and interesting, we actually had a meeting today internally talking about how do we point our social media people in the right direction. And I think a lot of our listeners run into this where maybe social media is an afterthought or maybe it’s something that they’re doing on their own. And I do kind of want to go down this tangent, if you wouldn’t mind.

00;10;56;16 – 00;11;10;09
Speaker 2
So say one of our listeners has been handling social media themselves. They hire somebody now you now it’s the I we they okay what would be some of the first things you would coach them on and strategies you would implement with a new social media manager.

00;11;10;09 – 00;11;27;25
Speaker 3
I think a lot of people across social media the wrong way. Most people approach it as you know, we have something that I don’t like that we want to tell you or I have something I wanna tell you, right? So it’s like it’s like a it’s like a broadcast system. But in reality, social media network is you got to be like, quote unquote, social on it.

00;11;28;02 – 00;11;45;10
Speaker 3
So you have to talk to people, so you have to engage with your followers. And so if you go on it and you you’re constantly just broadcasting. I mean, people are getting tired of that, really. So but your gauge of them, like if someone calls a photo of their new pocketknife, for example, and we come in and say, Hey, that’s awesome, like, you know, how do you use it?

00;11;45;17 – 00;12;05;06
Speaker 3
Or just ask them what a simple question, right? I they love that stuff. And there it goes. I would be like, oh, you know, I just went fishing or whatever. And, you know, I use a service and like that little interaction there is going to like he’s going to be so much more feels so much more a connection to your brand just because you just need you cared enough to just ask one question back, right?

00;12;05;06 – 00;12;32;06
Speaker 3
So I think social media or do it wrong where they just yeah, that’s one way street of a broadcast system where it really is supposed to be a two way street interaction, you know, just talking, engaging with each other and I found that you do that properly, that, you know, they’ll tell their friends like, hey, guess what? Like, you know, this company actually responded back to me on a on a post and it’s handwritten and like they love that great example is like we had customers give us feedback so we got a feedback email.

00;12;32;06 – 00;12;49;06
Speaker 3
So we asked them after each purchase and somebody like responded and it was like, Hey, you implement this on the website and like I just happened to be on, but you’re not. Then this is like a Saturday. So I was just like, well, Saturday I sat there and I like quickly implemented it and I told them, Hey, like we did this, like, check it out, where are you going?

00;12;49;06 – 00;13;07;11
Speaker 3
And he was like, ecstatic, literally, like he emailed me, like I got back from him. And then I went on to read like maybe an hour or two later, and he was like, Oh my gosh, you guys are best. Like, awkward. Like, that’s so cool that you can feedback. And so I just feel like it’s, it’s kind of like just, you know, you just got to care about your customer.

00;13;07;11 – 00;13;13;01
Speaker 3
Your customers are they’re obviously they’re going to buy stuff nearby at the same time they’re human and you got to build that relationship.

00;13;13;08 – 00;13;36;29
Speaker 4
So yeah, I really like that. It and the broadcasting piece is kind of like it’s like, I don’t know, a lot of the social media that I’ve been exposed to is like critiquing the broadcasting and then looking at the metrics and seeing where you’re getting the engagement. But I think your messaging going to do is like more or less like treat, treat your customers like humans and have interactions and build trust and relationships with them and I really like that went down the rabbit hole on social media.

Sale

00;13;36;29 – 00;13;52;23
Speaker 4
So I want to circle back and say, what are some ways? Because social media, everything we’ve talked about now is kind of like branding, building that trust. Now, how do you drive revenue with social media or, you know, just continue to drive that that human contact and relationships or how do you how do you drive revenue?

00;13;52;23 – 00;14;09;28
Speaker 3
Yeah. So social media also, I should mention, is all about building trust. I call it this like so there’s like two different parts to it. The first part is Discovery. Discovery I call that I call it these engines of discovery engine is, you know, all the channels or all the tactics that you’re using to get your brand noticed.

00;14;10;03 – 00;14;31;04
Speaker 3
So, for example, if you’re posting really great organic content on YouTube, etc., then YouTube algorithm is going to love that and they’re going to like put you up into people’s speeds or playlists or whatever, and they’re going to show that video over and over again. And then in that video you could have like a you’re like this product, you know, go check it out at whatever website, plug your something there.

00;14;31;04 – 00;14;49;15
Speaker 3
And then so that’s the discovery platform because they don’t know who you are and their discovery for the first time. Right. And then at that point they could subscribe to your channel. Or if you’re on like Instagram, they can follow you. And so that’s a very, very important moment because now customer has actually opted in to receiving posts from.

00;14;49;15 – 00;15;04;06
Speaker 3
Right? So that’s a very different relationship where discovery is like you have no idea. You’re just scrolling through your dude scrolling and you’re like, Oh, this is kind of a cool video. So you click on and you watch for 5 seconds, right? But then when you’re when you follow something brand, then you’re like, okay, I’ve like, what this brand is doing, man up all of them.

00;15;04;06 – 00;15;24;00
Speaker 3
So I could see more posts from them that change the dynamic. And then I would say emails. And you want to also get them on your email list. So follow is okay with that. Email is really the driver because it’s the platform. So you’re not going to be, you know, if YouTube changes their algorithm or like read banning altogether or stories about Badoo and then you lose all your drivers, right?

00;15;24;00 – 00;15;45;01
Speaker 3
So you want a deep platform, all your followers to e mailing list because nobody owns email these. So once you get them on an email, then it’s just going to be okay. And so email is a great way to build trust. Podcasting is a great way to build trust and it can take a long time. So for ecommerce owners, I really recommend having a fantastic welcome flow on your email sequence.

00;15;45;01 – 00;16;04;12
Speaker 3
So when someone you know enters their email and send them a welcome email that says, Hey, thanks for joining the family, here’s what you can expect from us looking for and then you can follow up every like 3 to 4 days being like, Oh, by the way, I started this company because of X, Y, and Z reasons. You know, I really want to make sure you’re taking care of.

00;16;04;12 – 00;16;19;08
Speaker 3
We have really great customer service. You ever need anything from us? Email us. Right. 30 more might be like testimonials. All of these people would love us because these reviews and then you know, one of these email welcome series, you can also ask them a question like, hey, like, you know, what do you want to use? What do you use?

00;16;19;08 – 00;16;37;28
Speaker 3
Or pocketknife or just say reply and let us know like that. That’s engagement. Also like we talked about, right? These are all so but email and podcasting are engines. And so we talked about Discovery engine earlier, which is, you know, your brand awareness, just getting people to know who you are. And then the trust engine is like, we’ll know who you are and that given you are making that possible.

00;16;37;28 – 00;16;51;28
Speaker 3
But then you’ve got to build that trust to a certain point where they’re like, All right, I’m going to make this purchase because this person or this brand is so awesome. They’re so cool. You know, I really want to just like, support them and then they make that purchase. And then at that point, you also keep nurturing them like, you know, how’s how is your person?

00;16;51;28 – 00;17;03;18
Speaker 3
It’s like, Oh, that’s up. But well, yeah, that’s that’s kind of a key. Key things to remember is like the discovery engine into your trust engine and then continue that to nurture that relationship and then you’ll get those sales If you have those two probably base.

00;17;03;18 – 00;17;08;11
Speaker 4
Yeah, that’s dynamite. I’m taking more notes here, so I really liked those responses. David, over to you.

00;17;08;11 – 00;17;13;00
Speaker 2
Can you talk about taking a passion and turning it into a successful side hustle?

00;17;13;01 – 00;17;37;16
Speaker 3
First of all, if you found your passion, that’s a really hard thing to do. A lot of people struggle with that. So like, that’s great that you get to that place. And so after you’ve found your passion, I would say definitely look at your skill sets and look at your past employment history. So, you know, if you have a lot of writing gigs under your belt and you enjoy writing, then you could marry whatever industry you’re interested in with your writing and like write about that topic.

00;17;37;16 – 00;17;55;24
Speaker 3
So like you’re really into sports and you’re a great writer. Then you can be the next Bill Simmons Right? And this right editorial is on sports, right? So I think it’s kind of like going to marry the interest that you have the industry with a skill set and that combination that it’s a combined diagram where there’s like overlap that’s kind of like your sweet spot of where you want to be.

00;17;55;24 – 00;18;14;14
Speaker 3
So yeah. And then I think really honestly, it’s about just, just getting your reps in. So like if you’re a writer, for example, like your first few articles are going to be terrible, but that’s okay because like, you know, you’re not going to become covered, you know, like, for example, I’m sure even like, like LeBron James, when he first started playing basketball, I’m sure he wasn’t nearly as good, right?

00;18;14;14 – 00;18;30;18
Speaker 3
So you have to get through that bad part in the middle to get to where you want to be. And you only get better by like this, constantly experimenting and failing. And that’s kind of like the whole thing. It’s like, yeah, you’ll do something and you’ll look back on it five years later. Wow, that was so bad. But that’s good.

00;18;30;18 – 00;18;54;00
Speaker 3
That’s great, because then you realize, Oh, I’ve improved so much, right? And so I think these are like underrated, under appreciated things that people really don’t talk about because a lot of these shows and podcasts really highlight successes like, oh, like look at this person, They’ve been X, Y, and Z. Well, really, it’s like five, ten years. Like really being terrible that got them where they are, where they are, and so like that, that’s really like where the good stuff is, right?

00;18;54;00 – 00;19;02;20
Speaker 3
So, so yeah, I mean, I would say just, just stay at it, stay consistent and eventually you’ll, you’ll just, you know, not to click like you won’t even notice it but it automatically. Yeah.

00;19;02;20 – 00;19;22;09
Speaker 4
That’s awesome. And you know great point there on you know people are just see the you know the little windows of time where success is but they don’t see the maybe the decade prior to that of of grinding and grit and hustle and so yeah, I always like it when we have entrepreneurs on the show and they highlight that it’s because it’s we should talk about it more.

00;19;22;09 – 00;19;38;07
Speaker 4
I think I think we learn more in that decade ever than we do that little window of success. So next question. So I know you’ve got experience, you know, kind of growing businesses, giving back sustainability, etc.. So how can a bootstrap or, you know, small business kind of grow or evolve and also give back to same time?

00;19;38;07 – 00;20;04;23
Speaker 3
Yeah. So I think that giving back and retracting are can be done at the same time because I think that if you have the right values in place as a brand, then that will actually be a competitive advantage for you in the marketplace. And so let’s say you donate like 1% to the planet or whatever, that could be enough for Someone was deciding to promote your products to say, I’m actually going to support your brand because there are actually a socially responsible company.

00;20;04;23 – 00;20;23;28
Speaker 3
And like this other company, it’s not. And so you’re absolutely at that point, it could be shown as like, you know, it’s almost like a differentiating factor. I don’t know if you’ve heard the term purple cow scapegoated, but yeah, I mean, that’s kind of like you want to stand out from the crowd and having strong values with, you know, having a social good attached to your business model is very, very strong.

00;20;23;28 – 00;20;45;03
Speaker 3
So I think that we shoppers can utilize that and then also attract a lot of customers who you want to attract. And so one thing that I also tell a lot of entrepreneurs is like you don’t want everybody as their market because that means that you will attract you’re going to dilute yourself and you’re not going to build that core group of community members or tribe members.

00;20;45;03 – 00;21;07;04
Speaker 3
That stands for something. So you want to be selective about who your customers are. And so if you have those values and you know you’re sustainable or you know, you’re giving back somehow that people who also feel that way are going to support you and join you, whereas people who are like, you know, not don’t care about those things, they’re going to go somewhere else where all they care about is like price and speed of delivery, I guess.

00;21;07;04 – 00;21;22;29
Speaker 3
But like, they don’t care, right? So they’re not going to buy for you. And that’s okay because you didn’t want those customers in the first place. And so it’s kind of like you flip the script and say, How do I make this socially good part of the business model where I can utilize it as a tool to attract the customers that I’m looking for?

00;21;23;00 – 00;21;32;04
Speaker 3
That’s the way to think about it, rather than like, Oh, I’m bootstrap and I’ll have the money, how can I still get back? I think that’s a little bit the wrong way to look at things. I think it should be the other way around.

00;21;32;05 – 00;21;49;22
Speaker 2
One follow up question to that is when I think of giving back, I often think of a percentage of revenue is given to X organization or for every widget we sell, we plant a tree. Are there any creative ways that you’ve found that maybe make a higher impact or, you know, have a higher impact to your customers?

00;21;49;22 – 00;22;20;20
Speaker 3
I think that if you say that you plant tree, for example, for every product sold in that kind of incentive, the incentive is really compelling because the customer feels like they have control. Like literally like I buy this product and they will plant the tree on behalf of my purchase rights. I think it’s very clearly, clearly laid out like that, where you’re empowering the customer, especially if they’re making the decision, like, I buy this product, they find the tree, I buy this competitive product, they don’t do anything like, okay, I’m going to buy this product because I want to play the tree.

00;22;20;20 – 00;22;31;25
Speaker 3
And so, like, they’re making that decision themselves. And I think that that’s really worked well for them. Well, for us too, because we actually have a product that we plan to treat more. And that’s a that’s a really compelling reason to support the product.

00;22;31;27 – 00;22;39;22
Speaker 2
So that one as a consumer has always got me is plain to treat, because who does who is against us. Yeah, I.

00;22;39;24 – 00;22;41;24
Speaker 3
I to be against planting trees.

00;22;41;27 – 00;23;06;19
Speaker 2
Yeah I really like that one And there’s not many other things like that kind of live in a divisive society. But I would say everyone is on board with planting trees, so I really like that. So can we turn the corner and start talking about product research and identifying profitable products too? So I spent a good bit of time today on urban EDC and you have some super cool products, so I’m interested like maybe some general rules that you use in make.

00;23;06;20 – 00;23;09;29
Speaker 2
More specifically, how did you identify those awesome products to sell?

00;23;09;29 – 00;23;28;17
Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I think this is true to me because it depends on which stage of your business your business is in. And so at the very beginning you don’t have an audience bathroom. And so I like to just start from my own problem. You know, every day when you’re doing bangs, you’ll see things that frustrate you, right?

00;23;28;18 – 00;23;45;15
Speaker 3
Like, I mean, there’s a reason why, like a spoon is the way it’s shaped, right? Because you’re trying to, like, eat cereal or whatever, right? So imagine if that spoon was like, I don’t know, like extremely heavy or like, or plastic or whatever. And like, it’s not you’re not using it back. Like, you can use it. Like, that’s a problem that you see on a daily basis.

00;23;45;15 – 00;24;12;04
Speaker 3
Like if you are feeling a little bit of friction during your day with whatever being that you’re interacting with of a product, like that’s a good opportunity to really question like, Oh, can I make this better? Right? And I think that it’s important to start with your own experience because you’ll get your best time into that and then you’ll kind of like really get to know that part where they were all versus like equals on the other side and like, oh, you know, like hairdryers like, so I don’t use hairdryer, right?

00;24;12;04 – 00;24;25;17
Speaker 3
But oh there’s a market for the market as it’s used for hairdryers. Like how do I get in like, be like that’s a little bit harder because you just don’t know the market at all. And how do you, you know, you can’t really approach it from an angle. It might mean. So I think it spawns a step in your own problem burst.

00;24;25;18 – 00;24;54;13
Speaker 3
And then the second step I think is, is look at products that are similar and look at their reviews and see what people are either saying what’s really great about it or complaining about because that don’t give you insights into what you should improve on or boy, your product, whatever you’re interested in. Right? So were the an example like it’s they’re like goons on Amazon or whatever and like read through thousands of reviews and see like is it weight, is it you know, dimensions or whatever it is And get a sense of like how you can improve that on it.

00;24;54;19 – 00;25;13;05
Speaker 3
And then after a while, like for example, you were mentioning or ABC, you can build products directly at the back of their customers. And so that’s kind of like that important collection point where you get to a certain point and you no longer have to be that restrictive. So you just ask your customers, what do you want to see next?

00;25;13;05 – 00;25;29;02
Speaker 3
And there was a sell you you shouldn’t take all of it for, you know, four nights. Don’t take all of 100% of that in back. Like just see a pattern like no one person might really want this, but like, all the other people don’t want it. So I think you kind of have to look for patterns instead of just listening to individual DBA.

00;25;29;03 – 00;25;45;14
Speaker 3
And then once you see that, then you can kind of make judgments on, you know, what product we should build next. And it’s important in that you’re you’re kind of the innovator in that area. You shouldn’t be like if, you know, you know, the old saying like, like before. And I think it’s like, know, people wanted a faster transportation vehicle.

00;25;45;14 – 00;26;06;29
Speaker 3
They would say faster horses, faster horses instead of like a car. Like people can’t imagine. Like the next thing that they need, just like an improvement or whatever it is, they’re right. So I think it’s important to, like, get you back within. Like you should take that feedback and like, really like, imagine how do I saw this thing for this customer and like, approach it that way and then you can like ask them like, Hey, what do you think about this before you do?

00;26;07;01 – 00;26;10;18
Speaker 3
Or like large production run or whatever. So I think it’s important to kind of approach it that way.

00;26;10;18 – 00;26;27;20
Speaker 4
And also, yeah, having that experience of like using those products and knowing more about them than just kind of the guessing game or using metrics in a tool. Excellent advice. So I want to jump in to I hear I hear you have a podcast. Can you can you talk about your podcast, first Class founders?

00;26;27;21 – 00;26;49;23
Speaker 3
I wanted to share my lessons to all current and future entrepreneurs, and I just wanted a medium for me to express my ideas and my thoughts. And so First Class Smarter is that channel for me to do that. And so, you know, when you first begin as an entrepreneur, there isn’t like a manual, right? There’s no manual like how to guide or being a successful entrepreneur.

00;26;49;23 – 00;27;08;02
Speaker 3
So I kind of wanted to create that. I don’t know, like, you know, these are many lessons that I’ve learned and I guess frameworks and kind of concepts of the models that I use that have really helped me. And so it’s kind of like marrying those frameworks with real life experiences that I’ve experienced kind of combined with the other and sharing that with the audience.

00;27;08;02 – 00;27;14;22
Speaker 3
So yeah, first class founders, you could buy that first class founders dot com where on Apple and Spotify and everywhere else. So very.

00;27;14;22 – 00;27;28;02
Speaker 2
Nice. And to all of our listeners that are driving we’re going to post that in the show hands. So keep driving keep your eyes open. Right so I we cannot in this podcast without talking about Humphrey Can you tell us about Harry in his following.

00;27;28;08 – 00;27;50;04
Speaker 3
Yes I said So we brought home a French bulldog. We actually named him Humphrey before we found him, but then we saw it was such an ivory that it was like just a match. Perfect mastery. And yeah, we brought it home in 2017 and we started taking photos and videos, posting them on Instagram and just people really liked his personality.

00;27;50;05 – 00;28;27;07
Speaker 3
I mean, and I’m a little biased, but I didn’t get a pretty good looking bulldog, and he just got a lot of followers. Very quickly early on. And we wanted to kind of leverage, you know, the operations that we have with ATC, like momentum logistics side of it. And so my wife, she launched a lot about it, which is a dot would take selling, you know, carefully curated, playful dog toys, leashes, harness and all that and yeah, I’ll bring is part of the the crew you know part of the team and yeah it’s kind of funny because we just didn’t anticipate that happening with bringing home a French bulldog but it just kind of naturally

00;28;27;07 – 00;28;35;12
Speaker 3
a ball ballet and we wanted to leverage our strengths and to be able to, you know, we start this new brand using some breeds.

00;28;35;13 – 00;28;42;03
Speaker 4
Audience So yeah, super cool. I had to look up the pictures of Humphrey, so I have an old English bulldog.

00;28;42;03 – 00;28;44;13
Speaker 3
I love all of it. Loving world out there.

00;28;44;13 – 00;28;52;24
Speaker 4
Yeah, they’re just great pets. I think so. Moving on here, can you explain a little bit what is growth jet and how can it be helpful to our listeners in the e-commerce space?

00;28;52;24 – 00;29;15;07
Speaker 3
Yeah, perfect. So as I mentioned earlier, we have brought fulfillment in-house. So we were originally using up our part of the deal and we had a lot of issues and this is like I didn’t hours or B service trying to find the best deal. And we had a lot of issues with like that’s for example, like literally customers were getting empty boxes, so when they were picking a packing, they would take the item out of the box and ship an empty box to the customer.

00;29;15;07 – 00;29;35;23
Speaker 3
So things like that and like, you know, $5,000 or the messy goods, like you’re just the name. And so decided to bring everything in-house. And then we lost spotted by Humphrey. And so we leverage and of our our systems are, you know, bad office systems, operational stuff. And then people were asking us like, who who’s doing it? Because, you know, I’m having a lot of issues are procurement, you know, can you help us?

00;29;35;26 – 00;29;52;28
Speaker 3
And so we actually launched without a name and without a website. So we had paying clients before website, before name. And back in 2019 we decided, hey, let’s, let’s take this thing to the next level. Without that, a website. That’s how growth Jack was born. It’s a growth jet is a climate who’s a certified third party largest provider.

00;29;52;28 – 00;30;23;01
Speaker 3
So so we offset all all of our carbon footprint many ways points on your one and we’re working on 2022. And so we talked about the whole value thing earlier. So we attract a lot of brands that care about sustainability and to kind of like, yeah, I mean we’ve got a lot of value driven brands. And so if anybody is looking for a moment and you’re a pretty fast growing brand, then hit me up and you can just email me directly at Young Sue Paycom y0ngsooh wide.

00;30;23;04 – 00;30;25;08
Speaker 3
And yeah, I can kind of make the conversation from there.

00;30;25;08 – 00;30;44;19
Speaker 4
That’s awesome. I really like that concept too, and I think it’s really, really important to have startups and have businesses like that that growing. And I think I see that expanding in the future. I think a lot of the younger generations really are motivated by sustainability and by preserving the environment. So really I like what you’re doing. I really respect.

00;30;44;19 – 00;30;46;02
Speaker 3
That. Yeah, I think it’s important.

00;30;46;03 – 00;30;47;05
Speaker 4
Yeah, go ahead. You know.

00;30;47;05 – 00;31;09;12
Speaker 3
I was just going to say, I think that you’re absolutely right in that the world is kind of like, you know, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Yeah, I feel like it’s elevating, like the whole world is like trying to elevate. And I think that values that whole social part of it is. So that’s an important part now in everyone’s minds that but yeah I totally agree with you that it’s it’s a super important part or it should be for every brand.

00;31;09;13 – 00;31;25;28
Speaker 4
Yeah absolutely. So for the listeners the hierarchy to the pyramid food, water, shelter and I think it’s happiness and love. And so like that’s a great point that, you know, that we’re getting civilization, we’re getting so advanced that food, water, shelter is becoming like ubiquitous. And now we’re kind of seeking out that last little tip of the pyramid.

00;31;25;28 – 00;31;29;23
Speaker 4
So awesome. David anything else you want to cover before we move into the fire?

00;31;29;25 – 00;31;30;29
Speaker 2
No, let’s get into it.

00;31;30;29 – 00;31;32;26
Speaker 4
Okay. Awesome. Young Sue, are you ready for the fire?

00;31;33;01 – 00;31;33;28
Speaker 3
Yeah, let’s do it.

00;31;33;28 – 00;31;34;29
Speaker 4
What is your favorite book?

00;31;34;29 – 00;31;48;12
Speaker 3
Anything written by Jim Collins. He’s got really great frameworks. It’s just a joy to read and studies like companies and just these one successful, what’s not. And I just learn a lot from him. So anything by Jim Collins Awesome.

00;31;48;12 – 00;31;49;06
Speaker 4
What are your hobbies?

00;31;49;06 – 00;32;03;00
Speaker 3
So strangely enough, I actually love building businesses. That’s I know it’s surprising, but so yeah, I would say that and then I like to take go on nature walks, hang out with my wife and our two bashful dogs love traveling. So yeah, those things.

00;32;03;00 – 00;32;06;10
Speaker 4
What is the one thing that you do not miss about working for the man?

00;32;06;10 – 00;32;13;22
Speaker 3
This one’s easy and that is politics. So I just really, really don’t like politics or politics, so. Yeah.

00;32;13;23 – 00;32;20;09
Speaker 4
Okay, excellent. Last one. What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs or those who give up fail or never get started?

00;32;20;09 – 00;32;38;09
Speaker 3
Yeah, so I think it’s important to start. So if you haven’t started yet, the most important thing and start and then at that point it’s consistency. And then after that it’s iterating based on eBay’s kind of like a three part thing. But if you can master kind of like those, those areas, then you’re in a really, really good spot.

00;32;38;12 – 00;32;44;12
Speaker 4
Excellent answer. That’s well, we’ll call that young shoes a roadmap for success. So awesome. David, over to you to close out the show.

00;32;44;12 – 00;32;51;12
Speaker 2
All right, Young Sue, want to thank you for being a guest on the Burning Man podcast. If people are interested in getting in touch with you, what would be the best way?

00;32;51;15 – 00;33;02;12
Speaker 3
Yeah, you can buy me on Twitter. I’m just a young Sue Sujan and then you can also email me if you want young Sue Intercom And then you can also listen to the podcast at first Class Founders dot com.

00;33;02;14 – 00;33;07;06
Speaker 2
All right. Well, thank you so much and thanks to everyone for tuning in. We’ll talk to you next week.

How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Jim Collins (Author) - Jim Collins (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)