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217: How Josh Meyer Built The Fastest Growing Company In Maine

Posted by Austin Brawner on September 17, 2019

 

Sometimes it takes a lot of failures before you make it big.

Today’s guest is no stranger to failure — he once invested $250K in a company that never even launched.

But now, Josh Meyer is the CEO and co-founder of Brickell Men’s Products, the fastest-growing company in Maine and the fastest-growing skincare company in the USA.

Josh joins us to talk about the challenges Brickell faced with their rocketship growth, why he’d never raise money for a business again, and his love-hate relationship with Amazon.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 6:44 Introducing Josh and his path to becoming the CEO and co-founder of the fastest-growing company in Maine.
  • 9:45 How Josh runs a business based in Maine, while living in Florida.
  • 12:23 The moment Josh realized Brickell’s success was real.
  • 14:00 Lessons learned from a $250K business flop.
  • 17:32 Some of the challenges of being a fast-growing company.
  • 20:39 How Josh assesses Brickell’s success and growth potential, and why he doesn’t trust Google Analytics.
  • 24:56 As you spend more money on Facebook, you need to be critically examining the leads you acquire.
  • 27:58 Brickell’s approach to customer loyalty programs and how it’s shifted as they’ve grown.
  • 31:10 Why Brickell is willing to sell their soul to capture email addresses.
  • 33:27 How Josh’s approach to email has evolved as the business has grown.
  • 36:49 Why Josh thinks spending money on social media influencers is total BS.
  • 39:01 When it comes to rolling out new products, if you’re going to fail, fail quickly.
  • 41:14 Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer: how Amazon contributes to Brickell’s continued success.
  • 44:54 Resources that have helped Josh along the way.
  • 48:30 Now Hiring: Brickell is looking for a Marketing Director.
  • 51:18 Three things you can do right now to start growing your business even faster.

Links And Resources

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Head over to JointheCoalition.com to learn more. Can’t wait to see you inside.

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Transcript

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I am Andrew Foxwell. Currently, let me say, my microphone is actually in a coffee cup. Not full, but it sits in a coffee cup currently. That's where I'm at. What do you got rocking right in front of you right now

Austin Brawner: I'm at home. I have a glass of Pu-erh tea with some collagen protein in it and a bowl of sardines with some avocados and hot sauce.

Andrew Foxwell: Classic Austin Brawner.

Austin Brawner: That's my breakfast this morning.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, this is hilarious because I think people think, "Oh fancy podcasting studio". But sometimes when we're on the road as we are now, I put the mic in a cup, didn't bring my podcasting microphone arm with me.

Austin Brawner: Oh, it's the worst. It's the worst.

Andrew Foxwell: Funny thing about that is I actually have one of those fancy arms that retracts, right? It goes back and forth and I can pull it close to my mouth and everything and I brought it when we were on that California road trip, which many of you actually wrote in and said hello and wanted to hear about that. But every time I would bring that thing out of the bag, out of this duffle bag I had it in, it would snap and always hit me in a private area. I was like, "I'm not bringing this thing again, this thing is staying attached to my desk if we travel."

Austin Brawner: That's funny. Yeah, it is always funny traveling with podcasting equipment typically it goes through, but if you have that big like Yeti. People, actually go through TSA, they're like, "What is this thing?"

Andrew Foxwell: Every time I go through people, the bag gets searched and they're like, "What is this here?" I'm like, "This is a microphone." They're like, "For what?" And I'm like, "Oh, it's just to record an incredibly successful Ecommerce Podcast." But that's neither here nor there, but the sardines is also classic, Austin Brawner.

Austin Brawner: Oh yes it is.

Andrew Foxwell: That's so funny. But talking about our guest today, I mean, I'm really excited for this. This is a great episode.

Austin Brawner: Yeah. Our guest today would actually approve the collagen protein I'm drinking right now because he's a skincare specialist. When I say a skincare specialist, he owns the fastest growing men's skincare business in the world, I believe. It's also the fastest-growing company in Maine. Number 76 on the Inc. 5000 list. He's the CEO and co-founder of Brickell Men's Products at Portland, Maine.

I've known Josh for a couple of years now. He's really, really a sharp guy, one of the best systems thinkers and implementers that I know, especially in marketing. He's built a team of about 12 marketing people and 45, 44, 45 full time employees up in Portland, Maine. And really they've been on a rocket ship of growth. In this podcast today we dive into kind of his thoughts around growth and talk a little bit about their story.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I mean, what I really like about this episode is you can tell that he is not phased by anything and you can tell that he has done the work himself to understand these things and with his team, right. His BS filter is very low. So I really, really like the way that he talks about the tactics that they've taken to build and sustain this growth. So I think you're definitely going to enjoy it.

Austin Brawner: Josh. Man, welcome to the show.

Josh Meyer: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Austin Brawner: Well, I mean, this is... I feel like this is a long overdue podcast. I've wanted to have you on for a while and really, really happy to have you on now and to kind of talk through some things and get to know you a little bit.

We've already given our listeners a little bit of a background of you, just kind of an intro, but why don't you take about a minute or so and tell us about yourself personally and we've talked a little bit about your business and what you're doing.

Josh Meyer: Yeah, so 34-year-old entrepreneur, grew up in a very small town in Maine. I'm talking 600 people with one stoplight. Didn't grow up with any type of entrepreneurial backgrounds and very hard-working parents, but never really envisioned myself opening a business or even owning one.

Went to college, graduated the whole dream that they sell you. You're going to get a college degree and make a bunch of money and be happy. Probably about two months, maybe a month into my first full-time job. I thought, wow, if this is the next 40 years of my life, like about like, I'm out, no, thank you. Like this is terrible. Like typical young person. I think I knew better. I want to do my own thing. So I just started looking at what's the best way to do my own thing. And that was obviously through entrepreneurship.

I started dabbling, teaching myself how to code, doing little, like just small little businesses on the side with buddies. None of them were really going anywhere. Left Maine, moved to California, started a Groupon knockoff for Maine that was actually pretty reasonably successful. Sold it to Maine's largest media company with a buddy. Very small success, but just kind of kept fueling the passion. Like, "Whoa, like I can do this. I can make a business happen." Tried for a couple more years to make something happen. Moved into financial technology and Matt and I... Matt, my business partner now, we started a financial technology company, invested a quarter million dollars in it... Didn't even launch.

Just, we very didn't understand the sheer amount of money that it would cost to build out the tech platform that we wanted to. So that was a huge failure, but we just really wanted to work for ourselves and make something happen.

And from that Brickell kind of got started. Like I said, never really saw myself as an entrepreneur, as a business owner. I just wanted to kind of live my life how I wanted to and I knew working for someone else that wasn't going to happen. So after a lot of tries and failures and successes, small successes, Brickell Men's products was born and we're now the arguably fastest growing skincare company in the world. And it's been a wild, fun ride.

Austin Brawner: Diving into what you said a little bit about your desire to work for yourself and do things kind of your way. One thing I... After getting to know you a little bit realized was that you have a business based in Maine, but you actually don't live in Maine. Could you talk a little about how you set that up and where you're living? Even though you've got a business that's headquartered up in Portland, Maine.

Josh Meyer: Yeah. So I've never owned a business with someone else where I've actually been in the same state as them. I've been what's the guy's name who, Tim Ferris, all about, like the four hour work week, hiring freelancers living wherever you want. I always thought that was so amazing. I'm the type of person, I love to live in different places. I'm very, very grounded, routine orientated, don't like to leave my house, but I just love the freedom of knowing that if I want to go live somewhere else for a year or so, I can do it.

Like I lived in Maine, in Boston, San Diego, Miami, now Fort Lauderdale, and owning businesses where I can just basically work, be on my phone and I'm pretty much at my desk or pop on my laptop and be, and as long as I have WIFI or I can get a hotspot on my phone, I can work.

I've always gone at a business like that and I've achieved it. And the way the Brickell set up is our entire warehouse, office, our 44 full-time employees. They're all in Maine. Portland, Maine. That's where my business partner is, everything is up there. All the production, manufacturing, marketing, customer service operations, that's all there.

But I live in Fort Lauderdale and I work from home. And of course there's amazing benefits. I'm an introvert at heart who was a homebody. So I wake up and my office is right the next room over. And of course I love that. But when you're trying to grow a business and you have employees and you're trying to get everyone on the same page, you miss a lot of that person to person interaction. So every quarter or so, maybe a little less, I go up to Maine and I go up there for a week and just kind of go through the routine and being there and working with the employees face to face.

So there's a lot of... It's good from a lifestyle perspective, but as you grow the business, it does have its challenges.

Andrew Foxwell: Well, I mean, you guys have been growing incredibly fast, outrageously fast. One would say you're now the fastest-growing company in Maine in number 76 on the Inc. 5,000 list, which is awesome. Congratulations.

Josh Meyer: Thank you.

Andrew Foxwell: When was the light bulb kind of moment when you realized this thing was going to take off? I mean, was there a moment in time that you knew that you really had something special?

Josh Meyer: I get asked that a lot honestly, there was never a light bulb moment. It was always in... Matt and I have talked about this before, we just have just kept taking the most logical next steps and they've always worked out and we've always just kind of kept rolling.

Like it was every combination of things I've learned and all the failures, they were applicable to Brickell on day one. And we're always just making right moves and just moving the needle.

I mean I can say like three months after we launched we got into Men's Journal and that was like "whoa, like this is a thing." This is people like this huge company that I've read their magazines they wanted to put our product in there. They're on the pages of their magazine. Like "Whoa, this is the thing. This is real."

So that's really when it became a real, but as far as the light bulb, no it's just sales just always kind of slowly grew and then they quickly grew and we were just too busy to really go, "Huh, yeah, we've got something here." We always just were like, "crap, we got a lot of work to do. We got to keep going."

Austin Brawner: I definitely want to go into what it's like to kind of navigate that much growth because you guys have been growing really fast, but before we get past it too far, when it brings something back up that you mentioned, because you kind of, you talked about it for a second but then went past it, which was you launched a company, put into and 250k and then didn't even launch.

At the end of that, how were you feeling about that business? Like how did that make you feel and also what did you learn from that experience that might have translated to your success at Brickell?

Josh Meyer: It wasn't like to think about that when I say it. It's like wow, like that seemed like it'd be emotionally damaging like to someone. But honestly it was... We knew it was not going anywhere. We went to go raise money, they wanted a terrible deal and I was like, I'm not taking this money to have someone else own me like, no thank you. I'd just rather eat the money and try else. And we both just, there was like a month where we grieved a little bit over the loss, but it was all right this really sucks but we need to do something.

I guess if anything it ignited us to just look like what other opportunities out there, what is there to do? We learned a ton. I mean, honestly I learned so much I mean just countless things and what to do, what not to do.

I mean Brickell is an e-com company. I learned so much more about web development, digital marketing. Just the growth in that period was huge. I mean, the big thing I learned is that if you don't know how to code, you should really try to start a business where you do not have to depend on paying people to code for you unless you have a ton of money.

And so I learned all about raising money with that whole endeavor and I knew it was not for me. I honestly think the whole concept of raising money is very much glorified. And many people go and give away parts of their company when they don't even need to go out and get money and they shouldn't. It's just, it's sexy. Like, oh, I raised $100,000. I raised $500,000 or a million dollars. Yeah, that sounds sexy. But you give up so much of your company and your vision and what you want to do and how you want to do it. And I just don't think a lot of people, they just do... They take that course because it's trendy, but it might not be best for them. And so that was really big for us as we, Matt and I completely own Brickell we have no investors, we have no outside investment. We spent all of our money making sure of that. And I have never want to take anyone's money to make it grow.

Austin Brawner: It's interesting just when you think about that dollar amount, $250,000, it can be framed in two different ways. One of them is that if you guys are both to go to business school it costs that same amount of money. It's probably way more valuable than going to business school.

Josh Meyer: It was.

Austin Brawner: But going back to Brickell now, because that's kind of going to be the main focus, a lot of times people hear numbers like it's hard to put in perspective the actual amount of people see number 76 on the Inc. 5000 list. They see you're the fastest growing company in Maine. And they're like, "Okay, that's awesome. That's really, really cool. Wow. I wish I was like that." But there's a lot of challenges that come with, growing that quickly.

What are some of the challenges that you faced over the last couple of years as you guys have really picked up steam? And with those challenges, was there anything that you didn't expect that kind of popped up as you grow? And maybe it'll be helpful to give people a perspective of how many people you've hired over that period of time.

Josh Meyer: Okay. So from it, I mean, there's challenges growing any business, whether or not you're going from $0 to $100,000 and the biggest challenges... The beauty about e-com is that you can create systems and use technology that allow you to scale, like Facebook, you are Google ad words, you raise your budget and boom, there you go, you're spending $100,000 more per month. So the beauty in e-com in obviously any type of digital-based business is the ability to scale quickly. And that's why obviously tech companies sell for very high multiples.

The challenge and, honestly this is really all Matt, is scaling a production environment going. We now have at least three different warehouses because we started in Matt's living room, he was filling bottles with lotion and sealing them and capping them and taking that and then moving to his garage and then buying machinery and then getting our first warehouse outgrowing that in six months and then moving into a bigger warehouse and then moving out of that warehouse into another warehouse. And you having to build, I mean we now have $300,000 worth, probably more, of machinery, creating a production environment.

So honestly that's all Matt. And props to him, that's really been the biggest challenge is keep the manufacturing side of the business and keeping that growing, making sure that we can output because I have an obsessive desire to grow, which is good and bad sometimes. So it's been a lot of like, "Hey Matt, we need to grow quicker. We need to get more of this product, we need to make more of X." And having him being able to support that is really where the big challenge comes. And then also our manufacturers being able to keep up with our growth too.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I think the scaling, obviously everybody's thinking about that and you guys, since we... I mean I've known about you guys through Austin for a long time as well and following along. I mean, I think it's that relentless dedication to growth. And I think the other thing that runs parallel to that is really understanding the data side of it. And really knowing what you truly have. I think a lot of times people grow and they're like, "Oh, that's decent, let's keep going." And they don't examine that from the outset.

So can you talk about how you assess each opportunity for growth? And the kind of the numbers or even calculations you're looking at to know like, yes, let's do this. I'd be curious to hear your take on.

Josh Meyer: Yeah. So I kind of laugh at that question because we have so many homegrown systems, we're obsessed with attribution. We do not remotely rely on anything that Google Analytics tells us. We don't rely on anything that Facebook tells us, any marketing platform. They all lie. When you put them all together, they're all claiming attribution for revenue. So it's like, hmm. So you're saying one, you're all coming up with this money? It's like, no.

We utilize access databases. We have spreadsheets. We have daily tracking systems, honestly, to distill it down for you. Our sample kit offer. If you go to our website, you can see we pushed the crap out of our sample kit. That's how we're getting our product into your hands for at a very, very low cost. And it's a great offer. I'm obviously biased.

We know that we grow because the more we sell those, the more we get into people's hands, the more we grow. So we... And we sell that through various different channels and we're relentless about finding out what our true CPA is, cost per acquisition, to get as many as those kits in people's hands. And that's a combination of Facebook ads, Instagram retargeting, or just web retargeting, organic growth, flyers, different metrics, different things that we're trying. And email marketing, which we go all in on and we really try to distill down to, "Okay, what is getting this kit to people's hands? Is it Facebook? Is it..." And we do it based upon seasonality. And even down to the week.

We track, we know, okay, this week's going to be really bad for Facebook ads. So we're going to probably lower budget. And within reason, once you start spending enough money and you have enough data you can see trends and appropriately manage either ad spend or amount of emails. We're fanatics about that. Like people say, "Oh yeah, we look at data to make our decisions." What we usually want to hear what they do. It's like, "Oh, okay. So you look at Google Analytics, well, that's not enough." You really have to go and create your homegrown systems, I think if you're going to do it right.

Austin Brawner: Using your homegrown systems, are there any insights that you found that may be counterintuitive or any things that you've discovered that have led you guys to change the way you spend on advertising or changed the way that you feel about maybe even common marketing channels?

Josh Meyer: Facebook keeps getting more and more expensive. Instagram keeps getting more and more expensive. Their attribution is spotty at best. You really need to, and it's really not hard to do any of this attribution. It's a lot of just common sense. I mean, you take whatever your offer is, whether it's an email lead or it's getting product in hand and you just need to do the math yourself, like, okay, Facebook might be telling you that you're paying $60 or whatever per lead. You really need to go and look at all the different sources that you're spending money on to acquire that lead and then break it down on a daily basis.

Like, okay, how much should we spend in this channel and that channel and this channel to get whatever X amount of leads to really know what your costs are.

Does that kind of answer your question? I mean that's how we do it. I mean, obviously I'm trying to think about how many other business. I mean we can have a unique offer about how other businesses could look at it.

Austin Brawner: Yeah. My question was more like, are there any ways recently that you've changed your spend based on things you've learned from the data? Like you're like, "Oh, okay, we realize we were spending all this money here. This actually isn't that helpful. Or it's driving junk or whatever." That's kind of my question is just interesting because you always hear people talking about 'ramping up on Facebook and Instagram' but there's definitely different levels of quality and when you have attribution levels, when you have attribution, like a focus on attribution, sometimes you can find that different channels are a lot more profitable than other channels.

Josh Meyer: Yeah. So we've spent so much money on Facebook that they gave us a rep, which is obviously, Facebook just doesn't give out a nice dedicated rep who's been absolutely great. But we've realized that a lot of the spend that we've been spending is acquiring. The more money we've been spending, we've been acquiring junkier leads. Matt and our growth manager looked at our data. And so not only had our CPA numbers, but then we went and looked at the people we are acquiring and we found the more money that we're spending, the worst leads that we were acquiring.

So to kind of answer your question is not only do you have to look at like the cost of what you're doing to acquire these people, the more money you spend, you need to look at, okay, well how did those people perform? Are they as good as your best customers? Are they your worst customers? Like where do they fall?

And so we found like the challenge with any large growing company is you need to spend more money to grow, but are you capturing the right people? And so we've actually curved back a lot of our Facebook and Instagram spend in and out kind of thing, dreaming up and thinking of new ways, new channels to go after. Because even though we're selling a lot more sample kits and driving more customers, we found that they were not really people that were that great.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. I mean, just to comment on that as the resident Facebook guy that's common. That's a common story, unfortunately. And I think especially with an offer like what you guys have it's something that Facebook algorithmically, their ad algorithm is not necessarily built the right way to have that be steady because they're fine. They know you want to spend more and they have to go to people that are less and less relevant. And that's going to be not as good of customers. And I think what you guys do better than, I mean a lot of companies that I know out there is that loyalty play and your approach to loyalty and how you take care of those people that get the product in their hand.

And I don't want to go into any specifics in terms of the actual dedicated tactics that you're using. But can you talk about how you view loyalty and taking care of these people that have bought from you or have purchased from you and kind of your philosophy on how you make them feel like a VIP right out of the gates? Because I think you do it really well.

Josh Meyer: Yeah. So I mean, one of the companies I admire is a Zappos. And if you've ever bought a product off of Zappos, you know that they treat every... If you buy one product of Zappos, you're automatically enrolled in their VIP program and you're just like, "Wow, like I'm a Zappos VIP, sweet like I only bought one pair of shoes." But it just makes you feel really good. I mean, like any good e-com company and of course Amazon is very, very good at this is you just... You can't physically talk to them. You can't, it's not in store. You can't make their day better by like, "Hey, like we're going to take care of this for you." You just have to do it virtually.

So really it's, as long as the customer is clearly not abusing policies or something like that, you just do whatever you can to take care of them. We're very big on very, very big on emailing people and we take care of those people who give us their email, who want us to connect with them and special offers.

We push our rewards program very hard if you spend a certain amount of money with us we do special VIP deals and that's actually something because of the fact that we've discovered that, even though we're spending more, we're acquiring not as great of a customer, we're starting to do kind of, I guess what is the inevitable. Now we have a lot of customers and we're focusing more on taking care of them.

We're going to be coming out with some new concierge services, doing anything we can to take people who already like us and make them love us. And if they already love us to just go above and beyond and to take care of them.

And it's really common sense, but when you're starting a company, all you do is focus on growth is like, that's, it's like, "Oh, how do we get more customers?" But you have to really then sit back and go, well why spend all this money to acquire new customers when you already have people who like us or love us, let's make them love us even more.

So now we're kind of starting to obsess and focus on what we can we do to make our customer happier. I guess one thing note is that because we're an e-com, we do lose a good portion of our customers to buying off Amazon. So we have to ride the fine line of trying to keep them on our site, keep them happy. And if they do become an Amazon customer, we're still happy they're buying our products, but try to take care of them over there, which obviously can be a whole can of worms because you're dealing with Amazon.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, no question. I definitely want to dive into Amazon a little bit later. But before we do that I want to go into email a little bit because we've worked together a couple of times at a couple of private intensive workshops and you have a really strong focus on email. I'd love to hear kind of what is your mindset around how email should relate to your business and what type of an impact has it had for you guys?

Josh Meyer: Yeah, so we sell our soul to get your email. We're a luxury brand, but we are pretty obnoxious about getting your email. But for good reason, we make 50% of our revenue off email, which as I understand is a very high amount. But email is the best way I simply can understand or anyone can say texting is the way the future of social media. It's like, no, getting someone's email and communicating with them is still the number one way. And I don't ever see this really ever-changing at least not for 10, 20 years to communicate with your customer and tell them about offers and personalize because you can track so much, you can get so much data.

It's the number one most important thing. And I'm so glad that I read articles when I first started the company saying, you should do everything you can to get emails. And that I chose Klaviyo right out of the gate. I didn't try to use MailChimp. I didn't try to use a system that wasn't built for e-com in that I just embraced email. And now we just have so much data, so much personalization. There's just so much opportunity that even we at our size don't capitalize on. And any business, not capturing emails. I mean anytime you talk, you talk about doing it. And I still think that a lot of people just don't do it.

They send a couple of campaigns. I have maybe a lead, a drip initial welcome campaign or flow and that's it. But there's so much you can do it that you should... And we found you can pretty much email people every day and most people are not going to unsubscribe. If they're like your brand and they're open to you, they're just going to ignore your email and they're going to open it when you have something good to say or not. So you should really email people as much as possible.

Austin Brawner: Just going in that a little bit more. As you have evolved and you've grown, how has your system for managing email evolved? Did you initially take the lead on it? And then how did you transition that? Because I do hear from a lot of clients that they just feel like they don't have the bandwidth for email. How have you approached that and how has that system evolved as you guys have grown?

Josh Meyer: Yeah, so that's an excuse on their part because if you get something like Klaviyo, you set up flows, I mean it's an upfront investment, but once you do it, it's all on autopilot. I mean, you can literally set up flows to never really have to email people if you really don't want.

But yeah, I was the one initially set it up, set up Klaviyo was obsessed over setting up these flows and all the logic. And then when it did become too much for me, I hired a freelancer on Upwork, David, and that was five years ago and David still is in charge of creating our emails, coming up with weekly campaigns and the calendar. He then works with myself and our brand manager just to make sure that we're all coordinated.

And yeah, it's just grown. The more we've grown, the more products we have and the more we can upsell or cross-sell or pitch complimentary products, the more things we have to talk about. Especially in e-com, there's always seasonality. There's always something interesting to talk about.

And even then just because you send an email about a new product doesn't mean that everyone even saw it or remembers it. So you just constantly have to tell people or remind people about the things and the stuff that you're doing and the complexity of our flows. I mean, when I first set up Klaviyo, I think I set them up to be a little bit too complicated. And then when you and I worked together, you actually helped us simplify those. So you really, you can shoot yourself in your foot and the more lists that you create, and segments, because we're notorious for having tons of segments you can really shoot yourself in the foot. So of course KISS, keep it simple stupid is always very smart to remind yourself about.

But there's just so much data, so much personalization. And I sound like a walking advertisement for Klaviyo, but they just keep releasing so many cool personalized features that just, if you're not using them, it's a no brainer.

Andrew Foxwell: Well it's... We don't mind. I mean I think they're a sponsor of the podcast and one of the reasons they are is because they're truly helpful to people and they have been for a very long time. So it's always good to hear, because I think the majority of the people that are listening to this podcast are using the product as well. And I agree with you. There's just, every single time I learned something I even new about Klaviyo, I'm like, "that is insane." Like there's, I just, it gets me excited to hear about it. I think that's a sign that they've built something really powerful.

And it's a sign too that your emails are good and the way that you guys think about it is, are good. They're helpful and people find them useful. So that's part of the reason why it works.

Let's talk a little bit about common myths. Just in terms of other ecommerce business owners falling for and what your take is they're just jumping out topics a little bit. What are some other things that you hear? "Oh man, you guys got to be doing X," lately that you just think is BS.

Josh Meyer: Spending money on social media influencers. It's still the cool, sexy thing to do but it's actually got to the point where micro-influencers, people who have less than a thousand followers are justifying $1,000 a post. There's someone out there paying them on that amount of money and it's usually a massive corporation who just has tons of budget to just waste. And if you're a small business or growing business and you're doing that and unless, you can attribute sales to it, which if you are, you'll spend as much money as possible.

But I highly doubt that there's many companies out there that can confidently justify that it's just my numbing that companies do this. Like, it blows my mind that people are like, yeah, you got to be more on social. It's like, okay, you need a social presence, but how much money can you actually attribute to that social presence? And most companies have no clue. Which is a common issue, but I mean in our company, all of our employees know if you can't justify the spend, whatever channel, we're not going to do it. Like you need to be able to justify the ROI.

And I've kind of talked about the other things. The other big one is figure out your own attribution. Don't rely on Klaviyo's attribution. Don't rely on Facebook's. Don't rely on anyone else's. Figure out your own. Come up with small little simple systems that you can use to figure out your own attribution.

And I guess the other big one and you hear this a lot just from entrepreneur videos is, especially people who haven't really started or even in your own big company. I'm kind of notorious for it myself, which sometimes my employees aren't on the same vibe as me, but you shouldn't spend a ton of money to roll out a new product or try a new thing.

Sometimes, we're a luxury brand, sometimes we throw out some stuff that isn't very luxury or on-brand looking, but if we don't do it, we'll spend a year trying to get out of product or service or whatever we're trying to get out and have no clue whether or not people are going to buy it. And so you... and you really need to, no matter how big you are, I think, remember if your customers are buying it, it's a waste of money. So you need to try new things as cheaply as possible.

You know, the whole adage "fail quickly, fails as quickly as you can," that you really need to always be doing that no matter what your size, whether you're making $1,000 a week or $100 million a week.

Austin Brawner: You look at Amazon, I mean Amazon's a good example of a company that one of the largest companies in the world and they ship stuff that is garbage when it comes out.

Josh Meyer: Total garbage. 

Austin Brawner: Because it gives them the ability to test something and they doubled down on it. And again, like battles aren't won, wars aren't won the first day. It's like launching something and getting a little bit of traction is just an indicator for being able to go back to it.

And I think a lot of the stuff you were saying about email is similar. Like you guys launch products, not launch products. You guys highlight products consistently and it makes sense because we're so close to our business that we can sometimes forget the average person, they don't care. They don't think about your business all the time. They have no idea what you even have. So highlighting them is another way just to come up with content.

Well, I want to dive in to Amazon real quick because I know that's a large part of the business and a part of the business that a lot of our listeners also probably have as a channel but also struggle with as a channel because it's confusing and complicated.

As your business has grown, what is your relationship with Amazon like? And how do you think about Amazon as your business continues to grow and its relationship to growth in your business?

Josh Meyer: The common saying, keep your friends where your enemies closer. That's how I feel about Amazon. They are a constant sore. I mean they're obviously, they, Amazon's wonderful in terms of you put your product on there, you're getting in front of Amazon. I'm an Amazon customer. If it's not on Amazon, I'm probably not buying it, as a human. If I have to go to the store for some toilet paper that's the worst. I'd rather just get it off Amazon.

As a seller they do things that just keep you up at night and anyone who sells on Amazon knows exactly what I'm talking about. I mean, having said once, you reached kind of the level where we sell on Amazon. They do open up programs to you. They do offer reps, they offer people who can help you navigate Amazon, which is wonderful and has made our lives infinitely easier.

But you're still dealing with like trillion dollar business. So they just have policies and just things that just happen that you just bang your face against the wall and you're like, why? What is going on? And really, and you've got to worry about people manipulating your rankings coming after you. Just the, so much shady stuff that you don't even realize probably happens on Amazon. It's just, it happens and the more you're on Amazon, the more you realize that.

But really being successful on Amazon for one, you go to have a good product. I mean, if you're selling junk on there, which a lot of people do, yeah, you can manipulate Amazon for a certain period of time, but eventually they get rid of your product or your ratings get crushed and the cream always rises to the top.

And just having a solid... It's a lot of basics. It's creating a nice looking product page, doing ABC, doing some basic keyword research, which really just means going into Amazon search bar and just start typing for variations of whatever you're trying to sell. Corporating that into your product listings, into your titles and don't make it too gimmicky. And then from there doing PPC, just some basic PPC, Amazon gives preference to people who do PPC, pay for play. It is what it is. And then asking people to give reviews. The average consumer does not realize that a five star, one star rating on Amazon means so much to a small business. And just asking them is really a huge part of that.

Andrew Foxwell: I have two really good friends that are huge Amazon sellers and it's exactly the same story. It's a very, I wouldn't say a love-hate, it's maybe a hate-hate and then sometimes love relationship. But that's incredibly valuable to hear that too. Because I think sometimes when you're trying to figure that out or make Amazon to work right, you feel like you're alone in the woods and you're screaming. Nobody's hearing it. So that's good.

So getting to some of the things, no doubt you've invested time, understanding resources and different things that are really valuable to you both for your store and your business and to your daily productivity. What are some things that you'd recommend in terms of resources to people that have really helped you along the way or you go back to very often?

Josh Meyer: There's a whole range of things. I think for you to be truly successful, your business, you just need to be really good at Googling. People are like, "How did you find manufacturers? How did you get started?" I'm like, "I just used Google. I just Googled manufacturers. I Googled how to set up email campaigns." You should just be obsessive about using the vast knowledge that's out there and understanding your industry, your competitors, the things that you want to do.

You want to set up an email, there's a million different blogs out there that tell you how to set up email and just start following some of them. Like Klaviyo's email blog is great. Austin, I don't know if you still do them, used to do a bunch of free webinars, which were awesome. We learned so much when I was first starting five, four years ago. There's so much free resource that it's really no excuse for anyone not to just be doing all this stuff correctly.

Keep yourself organized. We use Asana. There's Monday.com there's all kinds of different applications and people always really get heated about what's the best productivity and organizational software. There is none. If excel or Google sheets is works for you, then you use it, do whatever you application or method makes most sense for you and your business and just create a system and follow through with it. I spent so many years and companies before prior to owning my own business where we're constantly just trying new platforms, thinking they're going to make us more productive when we just weren't setting up the systems to work for ourselves.

There's a guy called, Noah Kogan, Kagan, he owns AppSumo or Sumo, he's got a great article called "What I Learned Growing an Eight Figure Business," and it's creepy how, what he kind of lays out like the major steps of what you need to do to create a really big, successful, scalable business. It's creepy how, I found the article a couple of years ago, how dead-on he is about every challenge, everything that you need to look at. And I review that article every month or so just to be like, huh, yeah. Because it, he sets up a really good framework that whether or not you realize it is really kind of like the key growth and I just use it to remind myself for like what a lot of the basics are to owning a big company or even growing one.

Austin Brawner: No, I think I took a look at that, you mentioned it when we were in Portland and I took a look at it and I was like, "Okay, there's some really great tips here." Just very, very concrete ideas about things you can do to kind of help set up frameworks and think about growth.

Josh has been awesome man. Really appreciate it. We're going to be kind of very conscious of your time. A couple of things I first want to talk about. I know you are looking for... looking to hire. That's one of the challenges that you guys face.

Why don't you talk a little bit about the role you're looking to hire for, because I do think there's potentially some people listening that might be interested and then also share the best way to connect with you.

Josh Meyer: Yeah. We're trying to hire a marketing director because I'm still in charge of all the marketing and at this point we've got a team of almost 15 people who need to be led and work with them to stay organized and push priorities and make ourselves better. And I just don't have the capacity to do that any longer effectively as much as I'd like to. So we're trying to hire a marketing director, be based at Portland, Maine,  a very, very important role for the company. At the end of the day we're an e-com company who's really marketing focus. So they will really be driving with me, kind of the direction of the company. And so trying to find whoever it is, wherever they might be in the unit United States to join us extremely fast-growing company to help lead that.

And we've launched a sister brand Eight Saints, which is our women's line and that has just tons of potential as well. So really working on the cutting edge of marketing and helping us grow that way.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, it's a really cool role too because like you said, it's a little bit like dual-factor where you've got a little bit of a more of a mature brand that's scaling up and then you've got a brand new one. You kind of get put on both hats and try different things. We'll put a link to the job post in the show notes. But for anybody who's listening, what's the best way for them to connect with you?

Josh Meyer: Yeah, they can just email me at josh@brickellmensproducts.com pretty open to anyone wanting to get connect with me. Just don't be annoying. If you're trying to sell me something and I say, "No, thanks." Don't keep pitching me up.

Andrew Foxwell: Hey, just wanted to follow back up since we talked last dah, dah, dah. You know, all the pitch emails. I'll stop sending those.

Austin Brawner: Yeah. Sounds like my email inbox for people trying to be on the podcast.

Josh Meyer: Okay. So now to you once, seven other emails is not going to convince me otherwise.

Austin Brawner: No. At one point I had, there was like three people working for the same person all emailing me separately about getting this person who is totally irrelevant on the podcast. And I was just like, alright guys, I forwarded all the emails to each other. I was like look what's going on here. It's ridiculous.

Well, I guess one last question because I don't want to let you leave before asking you this is based on kind of some of the experiences you've had growing your business, the ups and the downs, what's one thing that maybe some our listeners could do this week to start seeing some results? Anything that you'd recommend just kind of something that they get the action on quickly to start growing their business even faster.

Josh Meyer: Yeah, I've got three things depending on where they're at. If they're just starting, they need to do something. It's incredible when you're first starting a business, you just need to constantly take action, creating that new product, pitching it to people, getting sales, working on your website, you need to always be doing something because eventually that's going to lead to a snowball effect.

And that leads to, if you're growing, pinpoint how you're growing. If you're ramping up, you're starting to scale your business and growing you probably don't even have time to realize like how are we going to customers? Where are they coming through? And really understanding what is making you money and then driving the hell out of it because you're probably spending money in different places and probably wasting a lot of resources and time in places that aren't really driving at home for you. And so you really need to take a step back and figure out how can I best allocate our time and resources and money.

And then if you're starting to mature as a company, go out and hire the best people and Noah in his article, he says this, everyone thinks they have the greatest team. But when interacting with our businesses, you quickly realize most companies don't really have great talent. So you really need to do whatever you can to figure out how to get the best talent because they're going to make or break you.

And I see it just right now, the better employees we get, we're getting better and better at hiring, the better people you get, the better your company is going to become is really, there's no other way because the end of the day you can't do all the things you want to do. So you need to hire the best people. It doesn't even need to spend the most amount of money on those people. You need to get people who are curious, want to work, want to grow, want to get better. And those are those who you want for your business.

Austin Brawner: Awesome Josh Man. Awesome. Really appreciate it. Yeah man. We'll have to talk soon.

Josh Meyer: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

Austin Brawner: Hey there, it's Austin again and I have a quick message for you. If you enjoyed this podcast, I have something really exciting for you. For the last year and a half I've been coaching ecommerce business owners and marketers inside a group called The Coalition.

You might've even heard me talking about it on this podcast. So we have a lot of members who come on and actually share their story.

Now what launch is an experiment has become a game changer for our over 150 members. If you like me and my team of expert marketers and Ecommerce operators to coach you on your journey to scale up your commerce business, this is your opportunity you can head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more.

Again, head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more. Everything we talk about on this podcast, we go into way more depth with actionable training. You can get actually one on one help from me to help you grow your business. Hope to see you guys inside.

Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I am Andrew Foxwell. Currently, let me say, my microphone is actually in a coffee cup. Not full, but it sits in a coffee cup currently. That's where I'm at. W...

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