INspired INsider with Dr. Jeremy Weisz | Inspiring Interviews | Entrepreneurship | Inspirational Stories | Business Lessons |

Quality Control matters tremendously to Matt Geddie and is what has set Skinny and Company apart in a very crowded market. Matt is the co-founder of Skinny and Company. Skinny and Company produces Coconut Oil products that have their origin in the jungles of Vietnam. They bootstrapped the company to over $800K in revenue per year and have a special patent pending technology on how they extract the coconut oil.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:55] Introduction of Matt Geddie and his coconut oil product line.
  • [3:08] What Matt saw that told him existing coconut oil products could be improved.
  • [12:24] The biggest skeptic Matt’s company has been able to turn around.
  • [18:10] What worked for sales early on and what works now.
  • [20:40] Some of the surprising sites that gave great traction.
  • [24:10] How Matt plans the content he’s producing to fuel the content marketing machine.
  • [28:04] How the team determines what customer requests to explore.
  • [36:23] The biggest sales ever for Skinny and Company: $200K in 3 days.
  • [47:20] Challenges with retail sales.
  • [53:27] Specific challenges of e commerce Matt highlights.
  • [1:05:06] Understanding the game makes it possible to make a profit.
  • [1:09:19] How Matt and the team financed this bootstrapped company.
  • [1:11:23] The first employees that were hired and how they navigated the process.
  • [1:15:35] The sales channels and process of building a sales department.
  • [1:21:06] The struggles of setting up the first factory and production facility.
  • [1:24:25] Matt’s lowest and proudest moments.
  • [1:23:00] How Matt and his team leveraged a trade show for massive success.
  • [1:30:04] Why “Skinny” in the name?

In this episode…

Quality Control is almost a buzzword in business - but it’s a buzzword for a reason. It matters more than almost anything. That’s the mantra you’ll hear from Matt Geddie over and over. Quality Control matters so much to Matt that he’s ensured that every step of the production process for Skinny and Company products is something the company directly controls. No freelancers. No contractors. Skinny and Company handles every step.

On this episode of Inspired Insider Matt Geddie shares the journey he and his family have been on to bootstrap Skinny and Company and build THE dominant brand in a very crowded market. Coconut oil and coconut products have become all the rage and Matt knew that in order to become the powerhouse they wanted to be they’d have to do something different. When he discovered that the quality of most coconut products was way below what it should be, he made quality control the first order of business.

When a market is as crowded as the coconut oil market is, you’ve got to have something very clear that sets you apart from the competition. For the team at Skinny and Company, it became clear almost immediately that they could make their mark by making the very best coconut oil in existence. That meant that they had to take control of areas most companies outsource. It was the right move and the rest is history. With over $900K a year in sales, Skinny and Company is taking over the market in just under 3 years.

Most companies that grow to the size of Skinny and Company within a relatively short period of time as they have, do so on the back of investment or seed funding. But consistent with their different approach to business Matt Geddie and his family have funded the venture entirely on their own, bootstrapping the whole thing from the beginning. You can hear their story and the way they’ve leveraged their success every step of the way to keep the company growing on this episode of Inspired Insider.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect with Skinny and Company

The Sponsor for this episode

This episode is part of the ecommerce mastery series and our sponsor today is Acuity Scheduling.

Acuity Scheduling enables your clients and customers to easily see your real-time calendar availability, self-select the time that works best for them, and easily book (and pay for!) their own appointments in advance, sparing you 89%* of current headaches, mix-ups & grunts of frustration.

Direct download: mattgeddiefinalinterviewfile.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Great Company Culture is huge to  Alon Ozery.

 

He started what is now the Ozery Bakery with his father  in 1996 by scraping together money from family to fund a business loan that got them established in a small 700 square foot sandwich shop in Canada. His brother Guy joined in also. Since then they have grown into a 90,000 sq ft facility supplying grocery store chains and natural food stores all over the US and Canada with their natural products.

 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:27] Jeremy’s introduction to today’s guest: Alon Ozery.
  • [1:16] The lowest and highest points Alon has seen in business.
  • [2:00] The power of customer emails for the company morale and success.
  • [4:00] How Alon and the company celebrate the wins.
  • [6:10] Ways the company supports the community and community events.
  • [7:47] Advice to entrepreneurs getting into the food industry.
  • [10:12] Establishing profit sharing and employee ownership.
  • [12:50] Alon’s favorite product recommendations.

In this episode…

Company culture can be either one of the best things about your business or one of the worst. There is seldom anything in between. Today’s conversation focuses on one of the wins that Ozery Bakery has had and it centers around the happiness of employees. Alon Ozery shares how his company has been able to keep employees happy and why it matters so much to the company and to their customers.

Happy employees equal a profitable business. That’s the basic tenant of how Alon Ozery approaches the issue of company culture. He’s got some great insights into how to go about making employees the happiest part of the company which he shares on this episode.

“Why wouldn’t you want your employees to be happy? They touch every aspect of your products from start to finish.” That’s what Alon Ozery says when asked about why company culture is so important to the leadership at Ozery Bakery. He believes that the more positive an environment the company can provide to its employees, the more beneficial it will be to every product and every customer. You can hear more of his thoughts about building a healthy company culture on this episode.

“When the company is profitable, we want to share that with our team.” That statement expresses the generous attitude that Alon Ozery has about the role the employees of Ozery Bakery play in the success of the company. He understands that the company could not provide the healthy snacks and treats it does without employees who are dedicated and happy.

One of the biggest contributors to company success is the happiness quotient of its team members. Alon Ozery, co-founder of Ozery Bakery understands that point well. He’s committed to seeing the success of the employees increases as the success of the company does. On this episode, you’ll hear how he carries that out on a day to day basis.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: alonozeryonequestion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Wes Grudzien (GRUD ZEE AN) knows what it takes to be successful at selling on Amazon. Wes  is cofounder of Lullaby Lane. He helped grow the company’s  Amazon sales to over 7 million dollars annually in less than 3 years. He is also the founder of Ezonomy  where he teaches the exact methods used to grow a 7 figure business and consults with large scale sellers.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:15] Jeremy’s introduction of Wes Grudzien.
  • [1:31] The reasons Lullaby Lane was able to grow so quickly: access to suppliers.
  • [2:53] What separates the LL approach from others who sell the same things?
  • [8:31] The thought process behind coming up with new product ideas.
  • [10:22] The things Amazon private label sellers are doing well and the mistakes they are making.
  • [21:14] The type of things that make a good product bundle on Amazon.
  • [24:45] How Wes gets customers to his own site rather than buying through Amazon.
  • [28:23] Focusing on the things you can control - like inventory control, etc.
  • [32:35] Resources Wes recommends.
  • [46:59] The kind of things Wes used to do for his father’s company.
  • [53:22] When Wes originally got started in ecommerce business.
  • [1:03:00] How Wes helps new sellers to get past the barrier to entry.
  • [1:05:39] The first milestone Lullaby Lane hit online.
  • [1:14:02] The metrics to watch: inventory turnover rate / profit margin.
  • [1:19:38] Why Wes doesn’t use traditional ecommerce software like Skubana.
  • [1:30:04] What terms should Amazon sales businesses seek from manufacturers.
  • [1:32:15] At what point should an ecommerce seller consider raising capital?
  • [1:37:40] The lowest moment Wes experienced in his ecommerce journey.
  • [1:39:48] The highest moment Wes has experienced.
  • [1:41:45] The kind of work Wes does consulting with brands (a story).
  • [1:46:52] Tips for brands selling on Amazon.

In this episode…

The Amazon marketplace is a very popular starting place for many people who want to enter the ecommerce realm. Selling on Amazon is still a very realistic way to begin making a living online but it’s not without its pitfalls. Wes Grudzien has not only become very successful selling products on the Amazon platform - he’s also built a business that consults with brands and individuals to help them get a start on Amazon as well.

Selling on Amazon can work in a number of ways. The two most popular are through retail arbitrage (buying wholesale or at a discount and reselling at retail or above on Amazon) or through what is known as private label sales. Private label sales is the process of sourcing products through a supplier, branding them as your own, and selling on Amazon. Wes Grudzien has done both and is a pro at helping others learn how to create their own online revenue using those models.

Wes attributes his company’s success at selling on Amazon to their commitment to follow typical business practices. It may sound simplistic but many who sell on Amazon don’t do adequate product research, don’t work to optimize their processes or listings, and miss many of the little things that can make for a successful sales channel.

If you are interested in selling on Amazon you’ll enjoy this conversation with Wes Grudzien. He’s got lots of insights into the way things work on Amazon and what it takes to be successful on the world’s largest retail platform. Make sure you take some time to listen to this one.

On this episode Wes Grudzien not only shares his journey as an Amazon private label seller but also the way he’s gotten involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a result. He’s got some moving stories to tell about the difference he’s been able to make in the lives of some very special people. Be sure to listen.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: wesgrudzienfinalinterviewfile.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Business Partnerships can be painful and on this episode Ryan Lee ( I consider one of my early internet mentors)  and founder of Freedym.com (the Netflix for lifestyle entrepreneurship) shares about one of his. Ryan is a  former Recreational Therapist, Gym Teacher and Personal Trainer.  In 1999 he started an online fitness business while living in his parents basement and grew it into an empire that did  7-figures per month. More importantly many of the people he has mentored have gone on to do big things.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:25] Jeremy’s introduction of Ryan Lee of Freedym.com
  • [1:19] Ryan’s lowest point business wise.
  • [3:53] One of Ryan’s proudest business moments.
  • [7:32] What went through Ryan’s head when he made 7 figures in one month.
  • [13:28] The best things that came out of a $25 mastermind group.
  • [14:00] Where you can find Ryan.
  • [14:36] Ideas Ryan wants to give away that he’ll never work on.

In this episode…

There is a stigma attached to business partnerships. Many people have had difficult or painful experiences trying to make a partnership work. On this episode Ryan Lee tells the story of a partnership he entered into that was painful on a number of levels - but he doesn’t blame the partnership itself. Instead he blames himself for stepping outside his primary areas of strength.

If you’re going to entertain the idea of a partnership you need to make sure that the thing you’re doing is well within your core competencies. That’s the lesson Ryan Lee learned as he was trying to make a fitness product into the next big thing. In the end he felt that he let everyone down because he overextended himself into areas that weren’t his strengths.

Even though he’s incredibly successful, Ryan Lee is a pretty low key, no nonsense guy. On this episode he talks about what it was like to bring in 7 figures in one month, why he’d never spend $25,000 on a mastermind group, and why he has gotten incredible value from a $25 mastermind group and has become good friends with all of the participants in the group. Ryan’s got a cool story so be sure you take some time to listen.

Ryan Lee believes that if you’re going to do something you should enjoy it. He made that statement during this conversation on Inspired Insider when he was talking about a company he built that makes up to 7 figures per month - and yet he’s going to step out of it. He doesn’t feel like it’s the best fit for who he is and who he wants to be. You can hear Ryan’s story about that decision on this episode.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: ryanleeonequestion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Gary Nealon is the founder of RTA Cabinet Store and has built an 8-figure eCommerce business. Gary is also the owner of the Rox Group, a collection of eCommerce sites in the home improvement niche. Rox Group includes one of the largest online distributors and importers of kitchen cabinets in the United States. 

They have been featured one over 80 shows on popular networks like HGTV, A&E, and many others. Gary has been featured on the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 as well as being listed as one of Philly’s 100 fastest-growing companies in the past 3 years. Gary also runs WineTrailAdventures.com and Nealon Solutions, which is a marketing company.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:37] Jeremy’s introduction of Gary Nealon, founder of RTA Cabinet Store and The Rox Group.
  • [1:44] What’s a must for sellers to boost sales?
  • [3:39] When did you first consider direct marketing?
  • [5:49] How do you get 78k people on a Facebook page about cooking?
  • [7:43] How does the messaging differ when the customer is a contractor versus a homeowner.
  • [10:25] How did you end up being featured on TV?
  • [18:24] What’s the process like for the business?
  • [21:02] The biggest mistakes people make on eCommerce.
  • [23:41] How did you diversify?
  • [28:39] What kind of follow up do you recommend?
  • [35:08] Some of the tools Gary has created via his marketing company.
  • [42:00] The trials and tribulations of a software company.
  • [45:59] How to find the programs they’ve created.
  • [46:47] The reality of hiring.
  • [54:15] How do you know when to hire?
  • [1:02:47] Adding personality to email campaigns and marketing.
  • [1:04:44] The biggest challenge in the beginning compared to now.
  • [1:07:35] How do you segment your day or your week?
  • [1:09:07] What software is essential to your business?
  • [1:12:06] Gary’s lead in story before he started RTA Cabinet Store.
  • [1:15:05] What’s been the lowest and proudest eCommerce points?
  • [1:17:22] The lesson you want to leave us with today?

In this episode…

After facing his share of struggles, Gary has built a hugely successful eCommerce business and is seen as a leader in the industry. From bankruptcy to 8-figure business, it’s clear Gary has been through many obstacles to grow his businesses to the level they are today. Throughout today’s chat, Gary shares the highs and lows, as well as the tactics that help him stand out from the competition.

Gary talks about the number one strategy that helped him take his businesses to the next level: getting to know the customer. He discusses why it’s essential to market directly to the avatar of the ideal customer, and how it made a huge difference in his business. Gary shares why direct marketing helped him turn the corner and truly begin to reach the customer, and how the strategy differs from homeowners to contractors to house flippers.

Gary goes on to discuss more about his marketing strategy and why it’s important to offer high quality free content in order to engage the community. He shares the mindset behind sharing free recipes on the Facebook page in order to target home owners and why he rarely posts an ad for the business. Gary also offers insight into the focus when dealing with contractors and house flippers, and how they connect with them.

In closing, Gary talks about his marketing company and how they came to create automation tools, software and apps for the business. He discusses the biggest challenges he’s faced throughout the growth of the businesses, and why today it’s all about staying ahead of the competition. In closing, Gary shares his high and low point, and a final thought for eCommerce businesses.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: garynealonfinalinterviewfile.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Greg Mercer is the founder of the  software Jungle Scout which allows you to quickly and easily perform product research on Amazon. And Review Kick which helps people quickly and easily get reviews for their amazon products. In addition, Greg  generates revenues in excess of $400K per month by selling products on Amazon.

 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • [0:01] Greg Mercer’s travels over the past years.
  • [1:16] The hardest part about running a business virtually while on the road.
  • [3:09] How Greg runs his Amazon business.
  • [4:56] Jeremy’s introduction of Jeremy.
  • [5:38] The lowest points Greg has had (mentally).
  • [7:14] One of Greg’s proudest moments.
  • [8:00] Greg’s favorite success story of a Jungle Scout user.
  • [9:37] How to connect with Greg.

In this episode…

For anyone who is involved in the e commerce space on the Amazon sales platform, Jungle Scout has become almost a household name. It’s creator, Greg Mercer, is a very successful Amazon Private Label business owner himself, so his insights into the kind of functionality and features that the software package needs comes from his personal experience.

The incredible success of Jungle Scout is a testament to the success of the Amazon sales platform and the many people who are working to create their own e commerce business using its tools and advantages. Greg is like most ultra successful entrepreneurs: he saw the demand, found a very legitimate need, then figured out how to meet it in a way that provides great value to customers and a good return to him as the creator.

Be sure you listen to this great episode. Greg shares his lowest moment on his entrepreneurial journey as well as his highest or most encouraging moment. He also talks about the struggles and difficulties of working and living on the road as he travels the world.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: gregmerceronequestion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Amine Khechfe (AMINE  KESHVE) understands the power of customer complains. He cofounded Endicia with Dr. Harry Whitehouse in the 1980’s. Endicia is a leading provider of eCommerce shipping technologies  with more than $12 billion in postage printed. They  help send over 500 million parcels of mail per year and account for over 60% of all online postage printed in the US. They help businesses run their shipping operations by printing shipping labels or online postage right from your desk.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:15] Jeremy’s introduction to this episode’s guest Amine Khechfe.
  • [1:40] The issue of integration: Getting it right for software tools.
  • [5:16] The first integration partners for Endicia.
  • [11:47] How Endicia’s business goes up in times of recession.
  • [13:54] The trends Amine sees in the ecommerce space because of his work with so many sellers.
  • [20:51] How many of Endicia’s features or services came from customer feedback.
  • [25:21] Making decisions about which ideas to implement into the product, when.
  • [27:30] The business models Endicia works with and how they cater to their needs.
  • [31:05] Exciting new features Endicia is working on now.
  • [36:39] College student partnership at Endicia.
  • [41:11] The common issues customers experience that Endicia tries to solve.
  • [46:50] The trade shows and conferences ecommerce business leaders should attend.
  • [51:30] The creation of the Best Holiday Shipping Bootcamp video.
  • [55:32] How Amazon has impacted the Endicia model (Endicia started around the same time).
  • [57:49] Fun facts about Amine.
  • [1:03:21] Lessons Amine has learned from his co-founder, Dr. Harry Whitehouse.
  • [1:06:06] The challenges of having such a huge customer base.
  • [1:13:37] What Endicia learns from its competition and customers over the years.
  • [1:15:51] How to connect with Endicia and Amine.
  • [1:17:23] The lowest and highest moments of the journey.

In this episode…

Nobody in business likes to get customer complaints, but Amine Khechfe sees them as a blessing in disguise. That’s because when a customer is willing to express what they don’t like about your product or service, they are helping you to make it better - if you’ll take the initiative to do so.

On this episode of Inspired Insider Amine Khechfe of Endicia shares how the company and its leadership have learned over their years of shipping experience to listen to customer complaints with an eye not only toward improvement but also toward gaining insight. Customer complaints tell them exactly what the customer’s needs are so the company can up its game and create better products.

If you don’t know how to listen and learn when it comes to customer feedback you’ll wind up becoming cynical and resentful that those using your products appear not to appreciate it… And that’s the entirely wrong approach. The feedback customers provide is a gift to you as a business leader. It’s your window into their souls, into their pain points and needs, which in turn opens the door to the opportunity to increased service and more revenue.

On this episode Amine Khechfe also shares the challenges that come with having such a huge number of customers and how the company has learned to address those challenges as they come up and even predict some of them before they happen. It’s a great episode with tons of insight for ecommerce businesses.

And don’t miss the “Best Holiday Shipping Bootcamp” video the Endicia team has created. In Jeremy’s words, “The video is funny and engaging. It actually makes shipping sexy.” If you can make shipping sexy, you can make anything sexy. Check out the link shared on this episode to see the video for yourself.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: aminekhechfefinalinterviewfile.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Dealing with difficult team members is the first thing Omar Sayyed (SIGHYEED) mentioned when asked about his lowest point in business. Omar is the Co-founder and CEO of Ties.com | Scarves.com | and Alynn.com (ALAN) that started in 2000. The company started off literally fulfilling orders out of a co-founder's living room. They have managed to grow into the world's largest online men's and women's accessories retailer.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:09] Jeremy’s introduction of Omar Sayyed.
  • [1:04] Why looking at Omar makes Jeremy want to up his game.
  • [1:48] Omar’s lowest professional moment: Dealing with difficult people.
  • [9:50] The proudest business moments Omar has experienced.
  • [16:16] The timeline for acquiring Allyn.com - beginning to end.
  • [22:55] How to connect with Omar.
  • [24:40[ The story behind Sock Genius.
  • [27:54] A business idea Omar has that someone else is invited to steal: An app that allows you to insert memes.

In this episode…

One of the most difficult parts of leading any business is the task of dealing with difficult people that inevitably wind up on the team. For Omar Sayyed, he inherited some key team members when he moved into a leadership position and quickly became aware of areas where he and the team member were not in alignment. It was an issue he knew he had to deal with immediately.

What does it look like to deal with a difficult team member? Much of how to approach it has to do with the personalities involved and the issues that are revealing the need for a chat. Omar Sayyed believes that alignment is vital to a smooth working team and on this episode he tells the story of how he addressed some alignment issues with a team member early on in his leadership of his company.

The savvy and wisdom  you need to broach a difficult subject with an important team member is not something you are able to learn quickly - it takes a lot of understanding of human nature and the dynamics of relationships. But one thing is certain, the longer you delay the more needful that conversation will become. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

On this episode of Inspired Insider Omar Sayyed is going to share his lowest moment in business and it had to do with how he dealt with difficult people on his team. You’ll learn a lot from this revealing peek into the inner workings of the leadership of a successful online ecommerce company.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Direct download: omarsayyedonequestion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

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