In this episode of The Physical Product Movement, we’re joined by Colby Bauer, Co-founder of Thread Wallets to discuss how to build an authentic ecom brand, when they shifted from fulfilling orders themselves to outsourcing and what Colby would do differently if he started again.
Listen on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here.
Don: There’s never been a better time for physical products than now. My name is Don Andrew Bay, and I want to learn from the best minds in the industry. This is the golden age for consumer products. This is a time where anyone can go from zero to financially independent. This is the physical products movement.
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But if you want to get started, there’s no lengthy demos, no binding contracts and the free lasts forever free trials are a thing of the past. So go to fiddle.io/podcast today to see the latest episodes of this podcast. And also to get started. We have an amazing guest today. I am going to pick this man’s brain.
He is brilliant. His name is Colby Bauer. He is the founder of thread wallets. These things are really cool. He brought some for me to play around with, and I’m excited to figure out how this brand came. To be so, uh, let’s uh, let’s get started here. Thank you for joining me today, Colby.
Don: Likewise, tell me your name and the company name of your company.
Colby: my name is Colby Bauer and I’m with thread wallets. Awesome. Um, not, not to be confused with Fred Wallace, we get that all the time on the phone, dude. It’s like, they’re like, and who’s this where like, this is thread wallets. They’re like Brandon wallets. So our mascots, Fred Wallace, the walrus.
Don: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. My last name is drew Bay and so it’s D R O U B Y. And so I’ll get mail all the time for doc Dr. Bay.
Colby: Oh my gosh. That’s wonderful. Nice.
Don: Fred wallace, Fred Wallace. We’re here with Fred Wallace, the founder of threads.
Colby: Like needle. Oh, is that like needle and thread? T H R E D wallets thread while it is a minimalist Carrie and Carrie accessory brand.
Um, that promotes originality. And, um,
Don: so tell me about your, this is, these are awesome. Yeah, your product’s amazing.
Colby: Yeah, thread while it’s the idea for the thread wallet, that’s our flagship product, which is just an elastic loop and a key ring attached. It all started in 2014. I was at a class at BYU Hawaii, and I, um, we were taking this class that, uh, sorry, it wasn’t more of a class.
It was more of a conference. And the title of it was. In 24 hours launch a Kickstarter campaign. Oh, really? Inside. I was like, let’s do this. I went to the conference and. Throughout. I was learning a lot about kickstart a lot about just product in general, but some of the examples they used were wallets, these minimalist wallets, and these campaigns surprisingly were hitting like $300,000.
Plus I was like, Whoa. I was like, let’s do like, I can do that. Like, that’s just an elastic loop, you know, but, and this kind of, at the same time where I had just lost my wallet in the ocean. And so I was using a rubber band and I loved the concept of a rubber band. Cause it was minimalist, but. Every time I looked on line for a new wallet.
They were always just like, you’re black and Brown. If they weren’t minimalists, they were very bulky. You know, they were just leather. And so I thought. I could bring this category to life because nobody’s focusing on it as far as the, in the way that I wanted to, which was I wanted to put a brand to it and I wanted to bring them to life with expression on, in the design and the styles and the colors, and that, that speaks to me.
And I thought that would speak to a lot of other people as well.
Don: It’s the design of all of these are so unique there and they’re amazing. I love it. Cause it is. It’s true. It’s, it’s kind of weird how. These emerged originally, you know, not specifically, you know, elastic wallets, but that space just feels so male dominated, like you’re saying with like the black leather Brown leather, but I mean, these are stylists for everybody.
Colby: Yeah. Actually surprisingly enough. 70% of our audience is female. And I thought it would be more male because of like what you said, it’s more dominated like that minimalist wall at the front pocket while it’s just like ingrained that we keep the slim wallet on us, but women have a clutch or a purse, and they’re just like, they have all these accessories, they got to carry.
So I actually never thought that it would become more female dominant, but it has. And I think it’s due to, um, a replacement or an alternative to. Your purse. Yeah. Now women don’t have to carry around a massive person anymore. Cause it’s you got everything you need right there.
Don: That’s so cool. I think if like my wife, she’s got this giant, like this giant thing full of cards, she never uses and stuff.
And like, this is a perfect solution. It’s amazing. So you had your Kickstarter samples are going, wow. People are freaking out about this, even though it was just, you know, an idea. When did you decide, okay, I’m going to do this for real now.
Colby: Um, honestly, I took a lot of validation before I was actually ready only because it was at this time in my life, kind of a fork in the road where I was graduating school.
And I had an opportunity to be a financial advisor, kind of follow my dad’s footsteps footsteps there. Um, I wanted to pursue playing professional soccer, and then they had this idea that it gained some traction, but it. Like the Kickstarter did well, but it wasn’t a home run by any means. It wasn’t hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Our first Kickstarter did 8,000 or second did 30,000. So it wasn’t like a. A no brainer at this point. Um, so it took a little bit more, um, push at it really required my wife and I, um, we sat down together and we said, let’s just give it six months and just see where it takes us. And if in six months it’s a no brainer, then obviously let’s go.
If, if not, we’ll revisit it and figure out something, but that’s kind of our. That was our like game plan. We push as hard as we could. We launched a second Kickstarter campaign and then we really started focusing on Instagram and influencer marketing. So those were two massive waves that we kind of caught early on, um, that we just kind of took advantage of sending tons and tons of product out to influencers with no strings attached.
There was no like, you need to post, you need to post, you need to be like, there’s nothing. It was just. See if you like the product, if you want to, you can post. And we got some really good names posting and that’s really gained some traction. And then after our Kickstarter launched our website and honestly it was a no brainer.
Does the revenue numbers within the first week were like, yeah, this is
Don: awesome. That’s incredible. Yeah. I love that. We’ll give it six months and see how it goes. Just dive in, you know, all the way in and see. So the thing it’s interesting, cause there’s new Kickstarters every day, people are trying to do, you know, new products every single day.
Right. And it sounds like what set and correct me if I’m wrong, what set you apart with your Kickstarter and making it successful as you also accompanied it with. Influencer marketing Instagram, you hit it hard on all fronts instead of just, you know,
Colby: totally. Yeah. If you think that Kickstarter is going to do all the work, you’re, you’re wrong, there’s a lot more of behind the scenes that.
You just don’t see with these massive campaigns that do really well. Um, the ones that are raising millions and millions of dollars are also spending millions of dollars on ads and like Facebook and Instagram and wherever else. So, yeah, definitely. It requires more of like a diversified marketing. Um, you can’t rely on even just one influencer to think that you’re going to hit it out of the park.
Like it’s you have to yeah. Get it out to a lot of different people. Um, I think that’s one advice I’d give for anybody starting a product, um, outside of the product, just the marketing aspect of getting that into the marketplace. You can’t rely on one source or one person or anything like that to, to make it big with that said you should simplify simplicity wins the day, nine times out of 10.
So you need to really kind of focus and narrow your, your marketing channels, but you, you can’t get, um, two single-minded where you’re just kind of putting all your eggs in this one basket thinking it’s going to work.
Don: Yeah. That makes sense. Did you guys use anybody from marketing to assist you or was it all
Colby: yeah, yeah. Um, the first Kickstarter, no, that was more of like the class project. Um, and you can go watch that it’s horrible and laugh and I’ll, you know, cringe, but the, uh, we did use a company called funded today on the second one, and they were the same company that had raised a lot of money for campaigns. Prior and actually after us.
So, um, one of the other competitor wallets that, um, we’re good friends with them, nomadic, they were named basic while at the time you can check them out on Kickstarter to there. They raised, I think, uh, I can’t remember the number, but it was over a hundred thousand dollars and it was a similar wallet. So we thought, yeah, partnering with funded today.
We would do something similar. We ended up not, we only did 30,000, but without funded today, we wouldn’t have done. Anywhere close to 30,000. So it was, it was worth it for us.
Don: Well, that’s good to know. I mean, cause that’s the type of thing you see the debate all the time about, you know, dude bootstrap at all is worth using people.
But I think, you know, when the people I’ve talked to so far, it usually is smart to use some assistance there just because it’s like, these are professional marketers have done it before, but you know, That’s good. That’s cool.
Colby: Yeah. I think relying on people who specialize is also extremely important because if you’re, I know you’re all.
Already wearing so many hats when you’re starting a business, the more you can outsource and let people focus on what they specialize in. You’ll see a lot more efficiencies and you’ll see way better return. There’s obviously things you can’t outsource right off the bat, you know, um, production, you probably can fulfillment.
You probably can maybe even bookkeeping or an accountant, you might be able to. Um, but like, Advertising that might be kind of hefty. Um, so that one’s kind of, you might have to wear that hat the way I structured it early on with our, uh, his name’s Logan, England, he does all of our digital marketing. I structured it in a way where the base payment wasn’t so high so that I could actually afford him, but then I incentivized him with the net profit so that he was incentivized to make us money, but also, um, you know, Not spend too much, like we’re actually netting money.
So then I’m going to pay him a percentage based on net. So you got to get creative sometimes when you’re outsourcing. But I think the advice there is you don’t want to fill your plate too much. You’re obviously going to be wearing hat, a lot of hats, multiple hats early on, but if you’re. If you’re wearing too many hats, then that’s when you start to lose efficiencies, you can’t focus on the things that actually will bring you the, the greater return.
And so what I decided early on was I can, well, it took me awhile. It took me like two years before I actually decided this. But, um, getting things off my plate helped me started to focus on creative and marketing, which is where thread. Excels. That’s where we want to focus. And that’s where we’re good. We don’t care to be the best shippers, like who cares if thread walls is going to be the best fulfillment company.
So I’ll outsource that to somebody who does care to be the best fulfillment company, you know? And so I think that that will help any young entrepreneur.
Don: I understand. And that’s where I’m curious. So you do the Kickstarter and then how did you even go about beginning to manufacture these
Colby: n-house dude?
That sucks so bad. I’ll tell you. I, I probably have cancer lung cancer from all the fumes. I inhaled depressing those wallets. Um, it took way too long before I decided to outsource. I think it was a fear of mine that there wouldn’t be quality or there was a. Anyway to answer your question. We raised enough money to buy machinery, to make the Walton house.
I was just buying all the materials like the elastic out of China, actually. No, that was out of LA. Other things were out of China. Basically brought all these parts here. Um, the elastic was white, then we bought the printer. So we’d print onto the elastic smart and then sew it in house and pack it, you know, all the packaging in house and ship.
It, it, it was, it took a lot of time. Um, and it slowly took more and more time as the orders increased. And that’s when I was like, why are we focusing on this? Like, let’s get this off our plate. So if I could go back in time, I would have done that from day one. Um, and that way I could focus more on growing the business.
As opposed to just maintaining it or trying to keep up. Um, there was a PA I will say a pro of doing it in-house that I held onto, and that was being nimble. We didn’t have any minimum order quantities we had to hit in, uh, when we were doing on the production. So I could test. Any style I wanted and just kind of see what people actually gravitated towards.
So it was really nice for just to kind of like validate what designs people wanted early on and kind of test a budget at one time. That’s great. And that I held onto for probably too long, but I, I think that was the pro I like being nimble in that regard. Um, but again, if I could go back to him, I would from day one, get it off
Don: at your maximum. Production point. How many were you guys doing by yourself?
Colby: Probably so 50 orders a day, probably. And, uh, so you had to stock inventory. So what I would do is I would just do, like my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday was all production and then, um, McKenzie, my wife would manage the fulfillment, but I would just try to basically keep up by demand.
Um, Kind of looking at like the track record and like, that’s how I would gauge my inventory. I was always low. It seemed like I was always trying to keep up and it’s so bad trying to do that and probably gave me some ulcers. But
Don:it’s impressive though. That’s so impressive. And then that point, you know, I, I’m just curious to know from, from that point, you know, you’re overwhelmed or decided let’s get this out of in-house. What how’d you approach that? What did you do? You know, you hopping on Google again, people,
Colby: um, Alibaba, there’s a lot of reasons sources out there these days. Um, this is when I’d probably, uh, rely on maybe like a third party company, like a supply chain company to help. Um, but I just, I had, I decided I was going to do it.
So I went on alibaba.com and started to vet through different factories. Nobody was making elastic wallets though. That was one that you couldn’t just search and find a ton of factories. There’s certain products you can do that. Like if you’re, if you’re manufacturing, socks, for instance, it’s like, you can find a thousand factories in a split second.
But what I had to do is I needed to start thinking through. What other elastic products are similar to this? So what I ended up searching was, uh, you know, like those captain arm bands, like soccer players were. Yeah. Okay. So I thought that’s a very similar product, right? There’s the same printing process.
There’s um, it’s the same loop, you know, it’s probably a similar elastic or they have access to other elastics. So I started searching those companies and that I landed on some good ones. Um, another one was the same process and this took some research to figure out how to print on these things. But the same process that you use to print on elastic was also done on lanyards.
Oh. So I also started searching lanyard companies. So then I could basically say, can you print on this elastic? And then all you have to do is cut and sell it. And so anyways, I found what I did, my process was I would find five to 10 factories that I felt were good. And then I would narrow it down. I would ask them for their minimum order quantities.
I’d ask them for their lead times and obviously cost of goods. And so I did that. And then I asked for samples from like the top three to five ones that I thought were, you know, fit, fitting in, in my cost of goods and all that. And then I’d say, can, can we run samples? So I’d maybe run five different samples with five different factories and then kind of gauge on more than just how the sample turned out.
I would also gauge on their communication, how they were with communication, understanding what I wanted. Um, being flexible, being responsive, and then obviously the sample, how close did they get to what I wanted? And then how willing were they to, to revise? So that’s kind of my, that was my process early on and it, it works and I would still use that same process.
Don: Did you feel like you had to make any compromises from the, you know, the type of Walter producing before to now going to massive manufacturing,
Colby: the original one, that original wallet. Uh, it’s called the elastic wall. We didn’t see any sacrifices or compromise in quality or any of that. I was, I was worried big time on that because we were, so there was.
It’s kind of a temperamental elastic. Sometimes it would get holes in it. And so I was worried that like they would rip and all that. And you know, so obviously we have defects still within our product. Sure. Every company does, but the, um, uh, my biggest fear was holding me back from just letting go and letting, letting them do that.
And I came to realize they’re actually doing a better job than we did. Right. Awesome. So as far as quality goes, no. We held on to that same product for maybe two and a half years before we launched anything new. And that’s when I started to, I guess, question, um, Like just, how do I expand my product line?
How, what am I going to compromise on my brand? Or on the quality? Or like what, what’s the next price point I hit. There’s just a lot more that you have to think through when you’re launching something new, but yeah. That original wallet now at to answer your question. No, we didn’t compromise anything.
Don: Well, they’re amazing. I mean, I, I can pull on these things and they’re, so flags are.
Colby: Rollercoaster approved, meaning we went on the roller coaster with them, with cards in them and, uh, it
Don: you’re good. These are amazing. So that’s my, my next question for you. It’s fascinating to me, you know, looking into these wallets, there’s, there’s kind of this trend happening, um, you know, locally with, it’s not just, you know, our age group, but you’re hitting, you know, these high schoolers and junior high schoolers.
This is like a, this is a trend going on, you know, what how’d you go about doing that and getting them into their hands.
Colby: That is a good question. I didn’t think the brand started off the way I expected or maybe wanted, I initially thought, you know, because of my lifestyle, like, you know, the surf skate, snow industry and those types of brands.
And so I thought that’s kind of where we would go. But you start to learn that women buy 80% of goods in this world. And, um, especially early on riding the Instagram wave, there’s a lot of influencers pointing at the younger demographic and the female demographic. And my wife was in charge of marketing.
So it naturally went that way, which is, it was beautiful. We had a greatest aesthetic, you know, um, we hired some really good photographers out of Hawaii and elsewhere that. Provided some really high quality content. And, um, it’s, it resonated with the younger female demographic. It has slowly, we’ve acquired older demographics, the male demographic, but I am, if I could go back in time, I would do that all over again.
I would focus on the female and young because you’re getting, you’re getting these customers at a young age and then they can grow with your brand and females are driven. Um, By like the cute factor of a product where at least this is what we’ve learned within thread females, they focus more primarily on the, like the looks, the aesthetic of it.
And then the functionality they’re both, they both come, but once like fashion comes first, then function. Whereas men focus on the functionality first, then if it fits their aesthetic. And so with our. Product by nature with having all these fun prints on it, girls were attracted to it and then it made sense.
And then also women are very, uh, willing to share, you know, they talk about it, they talk about their products, they compliment each other’s products. So it was kind of like a natural. Um, trend virality, I guess
Don: it seems that way. It’s interesting, you know, being involved in other podcasts and my wife’s like mom podcast, right. They, they love there’s this thing of like, loving to communicate when you find a good product, it’s like, Aw, man, I got to shout out as all my friends, like I want to spread this around. This is so cool. You know? Yeah. I can totally see how that came to play. So it sounds like, you know, there’s, there’s. In marketing, there’s always the content debate, right?
Yeah. So I’m getting a sense of where you fall on that side of it’s King.
Colby: Gotta do it for sure. For sure. I mean, uh, at least within our business, every business is different. Um, as an example, the nomadic company, I mentioned with their wallets, their demographic is probably 90% male. I don’t know the exact number, but yeah.
Their bags and their products are so functional hyperfunctional and men love that. And whether or not they share it, I have no idea, but they probably don’t need to focus on the lifestyle branding aspect of nomadic. They can focus more on the product and it’s driven by functionality. And so that’s probably where their content lies is like education and.
You know, showcasing the, the functionality of it. And so it all just depends on who your customer is and what your product is. And does.
Don: That’s awesome. So if you were talking to an aspiring entrepreneur, that’s getting involved in product, what would you, what advice would you give them to help find who your customer is fine?
You know, who it is that they need to target?
Colby: Well, I think it has to resonate with that entrepreneur’s lifestyle and personality to begin with. Um, People can see right through somebody if, if it’s not authentic. So for me, if I was to go into what nomadics doing, it probably wouldn’t come off authentic and vice versa.
If they tried to do what thread did, it wouldn’t be authentic. So for us, it made sense that we are going to point our brand at the people that. Are like us, you know, that we can speak the same language. We do the same things. And because then it comes off genuine. If you try to fake it, you’re gonna fail.
You’re gonna fall. So, um, that’s a one indicator is like, it should be authentic to who you are. Um, but then again, you just have to put it out in the marketplace and kind of let them decide. Yeah to, um, a lot of times you don’t really have all the control of who your customer ends up being. You can put out all the content in the world, but who buys it, it could be a completely different person than what you want.
And so, um, and you have to be aware of that, your end customer, you’re the person who’s actually buying the wallet might not be the same person that you took a photo and put it on Instagram. They could be one might be. Uh, sorry, I won’t, I guess I won’t use any examples there, cause that might be distracting, but I think the principle there is, you know, they could be the end customer and how you market to that customer could be, can look different.
They could be different right. To a degree.
Don: Oh, I love that. It’s it’s so interesting to me because it feels like there’s been this idea, you know, the past few years it’s been surgery, I’m like, Oh, you know, It’s all about tech right. Products, or, you know, whatever will. Yeah. But I’m seeing a new insurgence of product come in, you know?
Um, and I’m interested to hear your perspective on, on that. You know, what is it that’s causing this new wave of products to start coming
Colby: forward? There’s multiple things. I think at least within our community in Utah, you have schools pushing tech hard and it’s because. First off, there’s a been an attraction to tech and success within tech.
[00:26:05] So naturally people go down that road and, um, it’s been booming, you know, where the silicone slopes. Now what I’ve seen lately due to tech is you have an easier. Um, entry to consumer. So like I mentioned, Ali-Baba dot com. That’s a tech, that’s a website. And with their tech, you can now source things in China by, you know, email or Skype.
It’s just that easy. Whereas it, you know, back in the day you had to fly to China and it’s just like this barrier of entry was way higher. So tech has kind of lowered those barriers. Another one would be Shopify. Shopify has helped dramatically. Um, Just lay a foundation for how to build a website. And then now they have this open app platform where you can integrate all and pretty much anything you want into your website.
So just setting up e-commerce makes it with all the help of tech, um, has made it easier for creatives to bring about consumer products. Um, and then we were just talking earlier, but. Alongside the surgeons of, of, um, consumer products. Most of these tech companies, they have to raise a lot of money to make, to even get started or to cross the wire to be profitable.
It takes years and years. Um, they, a lot of times have to go in debt or they have to, you know, just raise a ton of money. Um, with that said, these investors have portfolios of major tech companies. Without seeing a return on their investment for years. And so now in the past five years, they’ve realized they need to start filling their portfolio with consumer product brands or just companies in general that are profitable.
And that usually points to consumer products because it’s easy to just give you what you give me $15, you know, TZ tax sometimes to monetize. Tech, whether it’s an app or software that can take years, you know, before you’re actually bringing in money and then to make it profitable, it can be even longer than that.
So consumers, I think a little bit easier to be profitable earlier on. And so now there’s a, an attention there to consumer products, getting investment, getting the resources that they need with strategic partners and the tech that has mentioned.
Don: Well, I saw something. I saw this crazy chart the other day and it was breaking down.
How now is a unique time in this industry? Because all of the major players, like the big. Companies that have dominated distribution for years are all being disrupted by smaller companies popping in and we’re living in this time. Now, I honestly think it’s, it could be the golden age for, for manufacturing and product.
It, it could be because you have the ability to top on a GoFund me. Get started through Instagram and influence and YouTube or whatever you’re doing. Right. And get in front of people where before you had to solely rely on retail, totally solely rely on getting into stores and distribution was a it’s a matter, but now all these companies have been disrupted by.
Amazing people coming into marketplace like you guys and, and taking it.
Colby: Yep. It’s been easier now than ever before, to, like you said, get your product out there in the marketplace and start getting sales from day one.
Colby: That’s awesome.
Don: It is awesome. It really is. And, and watching, you know, I’m obviously involved with fiddle and, you know, we’ve got the software trying to help the process of inventory be a lot easier.
Right. But it still is. It’s like you have that whole, that backside of it. Tech is difficult.
Colby: Tech has saved our lives. We rely heavily on it, even as a consumer product, especially as a consumer pack. Now we have, Oh man, I couldn’t even count how many apps and softwares we use to operate our business.
What’s beautiful about that though is now you don’t have to hire as as many people, I guess that’s a pro and a con to a degree, but we can remain very lean with our team and scale pretty dramatically. With just this tech.
Don: That’s awesome. Well, what do you think, you know, just to name a couple of them, what are the cannot live without apps that you guys are using?
Colby: That’s a definite Shopify. Yeah. Um, we use, um, There’s a lot of apps within Shopify that we use probably 20 or so, uh, one being NASCO, which is a personalization. So on our site, it’s basically like pairs well with, or kind of like upselling you to products that has increased revenue dramatically. So Nasta has been really good.
Um, Klayvio on our email marketing, um, side of things. They’re excellent for e-commerce brands. Um, let me think. Those are the top ones that keep coming to my mind. But yeah,
Don: it’s so cool. Yeah. Shopify has changed the game completely. Well. That’s amazing. I want to get, you know, we’ve we dove into the product and talked about the process, but I also just want to get to know you a little bit.
Tell us who you are. Tell us about your family. You know, whatever you’re interested in, Sharon.
Colby: [00:31:15] Yeah, i, I grew up playing soccer. Every day, um, love the sport and playing collegiate soccer at BYU and BYU. Hawaii is kind of bouncing back and forth. And then, um, I’ve always been interested in skateboarding and kind of like that surf skate, snow lifestyle.
And I was attracted to fashion and consumer products from an early age. Um, also entrepreneurship, that’s always been, I think a part of me and early on in high school, I, I was drawing some pictures with my, my good buddy on an airplane next to my dad. And we were just kind of brainstorming. It’s like maybe 13, 14 years old.
And we were thinking. Let’s do a t-shirt company or, you know, like every kid does, you know, and my dad leans over and after about an hour of drawing, he’s like, why don’t you guys actually do that? Like, just go for it. And I was like, I don’t even know where I’d start. He’s like, well, I’ll help you guys. And so he helped us get things going, but, um, you know, that that’s who my dad is.
He was always very supportive of whatever I did. And, um, that kind of fast forwarding to when I was about to graduate, um, he’s a financial advisor and he kind of laid this, this like plan for me, you know, of like how I could take over his firm and, and help grow it and all this right. And basically in essence, he was saying like, here’s a goldmine for you.
Here’s, here’s the shovel. Basically, all you have to do is go to school and then, you know, you’ll have to work your butt off, but you know what I mean? Like it was, it was there. My personality though, was like, I want to go find my own gold mine. Um, you know, I’m gonna go figure it out myself. Um, I think that it’s not no disrespect to my dad.
It was more of the, I like the adventure. I kind of I’m cha I’m driven by. The question, Mark, you know, I’m curious and I want to figure out what I can do, what I can create. And so that’s just who I am. Um, and that still drives me with thread today. Um, still love designing. I love having my hands on every part of the business.
We have 15 employees now. Um, but you know, so relatively small, but I, I still like to. You know, get my hands dirty on, on all different departments. So super fun.
Don: That’s awesome. And are you married and have kids? So
Colby: I missed out the most important. My, yeah. So I’ve been married for five years. Um, Mackenzie Bauer.
She’s from Utah. I’m originally from Arizona and, um, we have two little girls right now. We have a three-year-old next week and six month old. Um, their names are Ray and Scotty.
Colby: The freaking best
Don: freaking best. I agree with you. Do you have any, I mean, the cool part about today is as we, you know, technology connects so many people together, it’s insane to think about the T you know, the random people that listen in to these things are here seeing.
So for anyone that is an aspiring entrepreneur in this space, or is currently one in, you know, struggling to grow or anything. Any advice you want to give them
Colby: simplicity wins the day? I think I said that once in the podcast, but simplicity nine times out of 10 will get you a lot further. So just staying niche, um, and, and nailing that down, going deeper in, in very few departments or pillars and, and just hitting those really hard.
Awesome. Um, I think another one, another piece of advice I’d give is. You don’t have to hit a home run. It can be just getting on base and then getting to second base and then third base, and then home, it doesn’t have to be this like grand slam, you know? And I think that I used to think that, so I, that helped me once.
I kind of wrap my head around just. Validating it slowly and, and letting it evolve and let it pivot. Yeah, those are, those are big pieces of advice.
Don: That’s awesome. I agree with you a hundred percent. I think I, myself, even sometimes I get caught up in this mindset of, you know, you want to be this huge thing, but these like niche companies, this is, this is impressive.
Yeah. It’s an incredible thing to build and it gives you, it opens the door to so many other opportunities. Yeah. Entrepreneurship is tough. But it, it opens the door to so many things that you can accomplish in your life. So, yeah,
Colby: I’m trying to think of there’s one other piece of advice. Oh. Um, when developing your product, a lot of times people have an idea and then you go share it to a friend and they’re like, Oh yeah, I think they already have that.
And then the person pitching the idea goes, Oh man. And then counts it off as like it’s done. Right. It can no longer happen. But if you really think about Nike. Adidas existed and Reebok existed. So would Nike be even a thing if they didn’t just wrote it off as Oh, somebody already has shoes? Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
So it’s like what? And not to knock off people. That’s not the advice I’m giving, but it’s, if something exists, that doesn’t mean it’s a reason to drop it, but then you can let it maybe make it better or gear it towards a different market, you know, like. Maybe it’s hunters, maybe it’s surfers, whatever, you know, and maybe you just put a little twist on it or you make it better or you lower the price point or there’s so many ways you can kind of differentiate yourself from that product.
And I just think like too often we write ideas off and they’re solid ideas just because somebody else’s yeah,
Don: yeah. A hundred percent. Well, even you look at the Nike example you gave, even you can even go further and say, well, under armor,
Colby: Yeah, totally. Yeah. They were one of the, actually probably a better example.
Don: You’re right. That’s crazy to me that, uh, for sure. I always, I, I kind of makes me chuckle a little bit when someone has, you know, some sort of idea and becomes so protective of the idea and everything it’s like, yeah. Idea’s not the hard part. No.
Yeah. Anyone can have an idea. That’s true. It’s the execution.
That is the impressive part and the difficult
Colby: part. So yeah, I recommend getting your idea out there and letting people rip it apart and try to poke holes in it to try to convince yourself to get out of it. And if you can’t then, then do it.
Don: Yeah. Smart. Okay. Well, thank you so much for coming on.
Colby: Thank you. This has been awesome. Don: Thanks for coming.