Sizing Image

197: The Inside Story of How iRestore Scaled to 8 Figures

Posted by Austin Brawner on April 30, 2019

 

Establishing trust among your customers can be challenging, especially in certain markets.

Kevin Chen is Vice President and co-founder of iRestore, a company that sells laser hair growth systems. Despite selling a product with a particularly skeptical audience, iRestore has grown to eight-figures over the last few years.

Kevin joins us today to share his story of success. He talks about how he establishes trust and builds social proof with his customers, how he became an expert in Facebook advertising and iRestore’s secret behind their success with video on Facebook.

Episode Highlights

  • 4:51 How Kevin got started in the ecommerce space.
  • 7:24 “Does it really work?” How iRestore gained the trust of a skeptical audience.
  • 9:41 How iRestore keeps their customers engaged during their hair growth journey in order to cultivate social proof once they get results.
  • 11:19 iRestore’s journey from Amazon to Shopify, to Facebook, and when Kevin realized he had a business that worked.
  • 13:14 How hiring an agency helped Kevin became an expert at Facebook advertising.
  • 15:40 The contribution of iRestore’s in-house customer service team in collecting user-generated content.
  • 18:19 How the changes to Facebook’s advertising platform have led Kevin to focus more on lead generation.
  • 20:25 Why you don’t have to be so focused on conversion objective as explained by Andrew.
  • 22:10 A conceptual example of why you don’t have to solely focus on conversion and ROAS.
  • 23:56 iRestore’s secret behind their winning Facebook video ads.
  • 27:41 How Kevin sees different paid channels working together to both drive and capture demand.
  • 30:00 The realization Kevin had while the business is growing that he’s no longer doing right now.
  • 32:26 Shiny Object Syndrome: how Kevin is learning to say no.
  • 34:25 Kevin’s input in hiring: what he looks for when hiring and the importance of mindset.
  • 36:16 What Kevin is working on right now that he’s most excited about and his goal for iRestore this year.
  • 38:11 How Kevin is approaching new product development in terms of increasing LTV and AOV.
  • 40:08 How Kevin keeps himself motivated and healthy despite the demanding hours at work.

Links And Resources

Are you ready to scale up your ecommerce business?

If you want to grow your business faster and more profitably, Brand Growth Experts can help. We’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and marketers to help them stop leaving money on the table and take their businesses to the next level.

From personalized coaching to live workshops, Brand Growth Experts will work with you side-by-side to define your marketing strategy, scale your advertising, and hire the team needed to take your business from six to seven figures, and beyond.

If you’re ready to profitably scale up your business, head over to BrandGrowthExperts.com and learn how we can help.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

Sponsor: Katana

If you’re in the product making business, we have great news for you. There’s now a Shopify app built and designed for merchants that make their own products. You can manage your sales orders, raw materials, production schedule inventory and material purchasing from one single dashboard. The name of this app is Katana.

Katana is designed for makers, crafters and small manufacturers selling on Shopify. Until now, product makers selling in ecommerce had to settle with messy spreadsheets or regular inventory management software, which can be challenging if you make your own products. Katana is built from ground up with the needs of small manufacturers in mind. Production scheduling and inventory management has never been this easy for Shopify merchants.

For a free 14-day trial of Katana, go to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/katana. And, use the code “influence” when signing up to get 30% off from your first 3 months of a paid subscription.

Transcript

Click to Expand Hide full text

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

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. I liked how you started that one like "This is the Soul Podcast with Austin Brawner."

Austin Brawner: Soul Podcast man, we got to mix it up. Got to bring the energy every day. One thing that I've been ... I haven't really talked to you about this yet, but I have finally figured out ... I've loved Twitter for a long time but I never really got why I loved Twitter. Now I get it. And I love it, I think it's incredible.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah it is. The thing I like about it, it's insane, the leveling that it does. I can find people and if I tweet at them and just blow them up they're like "Good point, thanks!" Like you can have conversations with big wigs, or people that you would never be able to speak with in real life. I've created many real friendships on Twitter, and it's amazing. It's just absolutely amazing.

Austin Brawner: It's interesting. I feel like I've been diving in a lot more. I've had Twitter for a long time, been observing, I've been diving in a lot more. Posting my thoughts, it's been great. The downside though, is that I have to restrict myself because I spend way too much time. So I can easily spend way too much time on social media, it's my love-hate relationship with it.

One of things happened recently is, I was like "Oh, I love Twitter." And then I was like "Why am I spending so much time on social media?" And just went through this process of rechanging up my phone to restrict it so that it wasn't right away. Breaking that initial pattern. But, oh man. It's interesting. It's definitely one of the coolest tools out there and yeah, love it. You can follow both of us, if you guys like this. Mine's @A_Brawn and you are at...

Andrew Foxwell: @SexyFoxwell420, no just kidding. It's @AndrewFoxwell.

Austin Brawner: I thought it was @FoxDaddy.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, exactly. @AndrewFoxwell, so yeah. I would love to connect. But you know what else is cool? Our guest today.

Austin Brawner: Our guest today is awesome. Somebody who we've wanted to bring on for a while because he's doing some really interesting things and is a true operator scaling an ecommerce brand. He's been doing it for about five years. Four or five years. And this business has just taken off well into the eight-figure range. He's an exciting guest. His name is Kevin Chen.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah Kevin is really an interesting guy. I think he has truly woken up every day since he started this business and said "Not gonna stop. I'm going to try this and I'm going to try this and I'm going to try this." And he's done a lot of thinking, he's done a lot of learning, and we're excited to have him here to go through some of those learnings. So, without further ado, let's welcome him onto the show.

Kevin Chen: Yeah thanks for having me Austin, Andrew.

Austin Brawner: So I'm really excited to have you on the show. I've wanted to bring you on for a while. We've given our listeners a little bit of a background about who you are, but why don't you take a little bit of time and tell us about you personally and give us an overview of what you do, and what you're working on. As if you met somebody for the first time.

Kevin Chen: Yeah, absolutely. So we have an interesting story of how we started. Back in 2003, my Dad and his partner had started a quit smoking laser clinic business in Los Angeles. The short version is that it was a location where people came in and got low-level laser treatments for about 30 minutes. There was audio therapy, and pretty girls treating you. And the idea is that by the end of it, you would quit smoking because it would help you overcome your addiction. So that's how the business got started, it was a very cool concept. But unfortunately, it was not the best business model. You essentially lost a customer if you did a bad job, and you lost a customer if you did a good job. So we learned our lessons there and fortunately, on a trip to Canada, we learned about a laser treatment that was used for treating hair loss. So we thought, why not bring this to the home?

We made a pivot in the company and decided to focus on our new product which is the iRestore laser hair growth system. And with that, that's how the brand was conceived and born about three years ago. For me, I've been working on the project and been at ecommerce for almost five years now. My focus has been on Amazon, and that's where we cut our teeth and started getting exposure for our store. One thing led to another, we went onto other channels. Set up our own Shopify store, and had now been scaling through different advertising channels digitally. So that's the story there.

Andrew Foxwell: I think it's pretty amazing. We're going to get to the points around growth and how you have thought about growth, and how you've really really scaled. I want to get into Amazon, but before I do get into that. I want to get your take on something that I think a lot of people are wondering when they think about hair loss. Or restoring it. The days of Doctor McGillicuddy's cure-all, you could rub it on your head and it would grow your hair back. This has been something that has been truly around for a long time. And you've really seen success with it because your product is successful, it actually does what it says. How have you, from the beginning, built trust in your product and into the experience.

Kevin Chen: That's a great question, I'm glad you asked. It's funny because actually one of the first things that anybody ever asks me, it's always the same question, which is "Does it really work?" So, there's your number one FAQ. For us, it's really about cultivating social proof and getting our customers to do the selling for us by, not only speaking to it but also sharing results. That was something that we knew from the very beginning was going to be key in persuading people that this technology works and that our brand is trustworthy.

One thing that we really focused on was making sure that we gave units out to people with influence and product review blogs and things like that. To make sure that we can get our third-party reviewers to talk about us, rather than only through our own website.

Of course, in the U.S. the Amazon marketplace is a huge influencer in terms of reviews and the place that it stands our consumers minds. So understanding how to cultivate reviews through Amazon and also Google, and broadcasting those through advertising. That's really the main key for what we're doing. And it's essentially important because, for our product, it's a very skeptical audience. It takes a lot of convincing. They're used to getting different types of snake oil ads from other types of hair loss companies.

That was really a focus from day one for us. We really got good at just getting those assets, getting that voice from customers and then amplifying that through advertising.

Austin Brawner: So when you're doing that, this is something that as I've got to know your business a little bit more. It's a long process to go from initially receiving the product to seeing results. Many other companies in our space, you send somebody a pair of boots, they get them, they take a picture and say "I love these boots." It doesn't really work that way with your product, it's over a period of months. How have you been able to cultivate an audience and keep people engaged to be able to incentivize them to come back and share results months after they initially make that purchase?

Kevin Chen: Another great question. What we do is from the very beginning, our influence comes from two types of people. One is an influencer as I mentioned, one is customers. So, with influencers, we always make sure to have an engagement where we can follow up with them. So they'll create content from day one, we'll follow up, say, month three. And then follow up again at month six. So that's how we're able to get a lot of content, especially video content. That's really good from influencers.

On the consumer side, it's about having a good email follow up sequence. We use Klaviyo, just like many people out there do. And we make sure that we have a very good post-purchase sequence that doesn't really focus on selling them, but focuses more on education and setting the right expectations and then, of course, asking them for photos. Because you can't go back in time obviously, so we make sure we get their before photos so that when they do have good results we can access that and go back into our database and grab the photos.

That's how we've been able to cultivate a lot of social proof and I think with something emotional too, that people tend to want to document it and want to share it if they really do have good results. That's been beneficial for us.

Andrew Foxwell: Listening to this story, when did you know this was going to work? Talking about history, when did you know you had something special here? Did you even have a Shopify store, by the way, at the beginning?

Kevin Chen: No, so our very first ecommerce sale was through Amazon, so when we first started it was 100% Amazon. I'll be honest, I didn't know what I was doing. I just posted it on Amazon, I started listing, and I'm waiting on that first sale going "Wow, somebody actually wants to buy this." And that's how we got started. When we started having some success on Amazon and moved off Amazon to Shopify, that was a lot of work, first of all. But getting that started, initially was very difficult to gain traction.

In ecommerce in the United States, you really get spoiled by Amazon, the traffic that it has. The conversion rate that it has, and the sort of momentum you can build very quickly by capturing demand that's already there. But once you move off Amazon, it became very challenging to get sales. Think the ratio was 95:5 in the beginning. But we started working on different channels, one at a time. Started with email and Google and Bing, then we moved off Facebook. I think the moment I realized how this could really work was when we were able to get Facebook to work.

I realized that if you wanted to grow your business, you need to have a channel that could generate massive demand, rather than just capture demand like Pay Per Click does. So once we were able to get Facebook to work and scale and take a very aggressive approach in reinvesting back into it, that's the moment I realized that this thing could work.

Austin Brawner: As you dove into that and went from Facebook working, to Facebook scaling, you kind of became an expert at Facebook advertising. How did you start learning about Facebook advertising and as somebody who is leading the marketing, what was your process with getting started with Facebook advertising?

Kevin Chen: So when we first got started, it was a lot of podcasts. And to this day it's a lot of podcasts, like this one. A lot of blogs and training courses. I was willing to invest in a lot of courses because I knew the return would be there with the business. Frankly I think anyone in my position, if you have a business that is generating revenue but you don't have any clues about Facebook, a good starting point is hiring a really good agency that can help guide you through things and help learn and absorb a lot of the technical aspects but also process and organizational things that you can pick up by working with an established agency. So for me, the combination of those learning resources and working with an agency really helped me get up to speed and learn a lot about Facebook. Just seeing someone else operate it and essentially looking over someone's shoulder.

Andrew Foxwell: That's one of the best ways to learn that I've certainly found is watching what people are doing an agency level. And courses are a mixed bag. Obviously, the ones that I teach are the best. I'm just kidding. But I think that it is interesting because there's a lot of different inputs and a lot of different ways to do the same thing too. I might do it a certain way, other people might do it a different way. But you arrive at similar results.

As you're building this, I know that you have done a lot with video. And I know that you have done a lot content wise. As you said, you've had social proof that you've used in post-purchase flows etc. How have you integrated that across your ads? Whether on Facebook or otherwise, how have you taken those things and from a processing standpoint, do you actually say "Can you use this?" Or do you just say, if they share something with you, that automatically you have a disclaimer that says, "yes, we can use this."

Because I think a lot of people struggle with user-generated content. And in all of the ads that I see of yours, you're utilizing a lot of that. And you're using much more of it than most people that I've ever interacted with. How do you build that process in of gathering user-generated content and where does it live? Do you use it in all parts of the funnel, do you use the middle, top, low? Etc.

Kevin Chen: Yeah, that's another great question. For us, I think it starts with email. With capturing emails. It starts with having a really good in-house customer service team. That was one thing that we really focused on day one was to have really, really good customer service to allow us to differentiate. We control our entire flow and email so we would do a lot of automated emails to customers that ended up in a conversation at our help desk software, which is Help Scout. We basically instructed all of our CSRs (customer service representatives) to look out for any good customer testimonials, to look out for anyone that's raving about the product, and make sure to tag them and follow up with them for social proof.

So essentially we had instructed our team to make that a point to look for those things in the communications. And by actively triggering those conversations through automated emails, that's how we can get a lot of inbound leads with a lot of people that offer social proof with photos or reviews. Then with a good system of getting creatives through to our database and having our CSRs then follow back up with those people in a few months, that's how we're able to cultivate a lot of the social proof. It's a long process and involves a lot of people and automation. A team effort between CSRs and marketing. But fortunately, that process has worked out for us over time.

Austin Brawner: I love it. When you think about your guy's product and the importance of customer reviews, it's like by investing the time and energy into it, it creates the moat around your business that when people are looking for hair loss solution, if one has 100 quality photo reviews or video reviews and the other one has five, it's very easy to choose the one that has a lot more quality reviews and it's a lot harder to catch up for competitors.

I love that you went through that process because a lot of people when it's a difficult process or something difficult to do. No matter what it's difficult to track down people for user-generated content, they just sometimes don't do it. So it's great to see you guys diving into it and focusing on it.

How has paid social for you guys changed over the last year? For everybody, it's changed but you've been spending a lot over the last few years, what have you seen specifically in terms of how it's changed and how it's affected your business. Are you doing anything different to what you were doing 12 months ago?

Kevin Chen: I think it's definitely a question that depends on per account. For us it's been a lot more focused on things like lead generation rather than going straight for the sale. With Facebook Messenger leading the way, it's changed the landscape a bit of Facebook advertising and what's important. I think especially for us, I think I speak for most products with a longer sale cycle and higher ticket items, you really have to focus more on that lead generation aspect, especially your mid-funnel traffic, in order to get a better return on your ad dollars, essentially. Because you're buying that right to communicate again with a customer without having to pay additional dollars.

So for us, it's been more of a shift in that direction and actually, I remember going through one of your trainings Andrew, and you gave a very good tip for Black Friday, which was to run teasers ads and to get people into your Facebook Messenger funnel and then broadcast to them after. So those are kind of the transitions that we're making now to put more of a focus on getting the customers information and following up with them afterward, rather than going straight for the sale and looking only on return on ad spend. I think as you scale an account, and we've really grown that ad spend from last year to now, with that level of scale, I think you'll naturally have a declining return on ad spend so you have to really take a look at other metrics and take a look at other ways of measuring success in order to have that result on Facebook.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, so this goes on a topic that I'm going to do a flash episode on at some point about because it simply doesn't get talked about enough in my opinion. Which is that we don't all have to be focusing only on the conversion objective. I'm just going to get nerdy here for a second, but we don't all have to be focusing on the conversion objective all the time. And sometimes, like I was just speaking to a colleague yesterday, who does a lot of product launches. One brand he's working with comes out with stuff all the time. So he actually started doing Facebook events and driving people to the event with screenshots and videos of the product page and is remarketing to those people that have RSVP'd as interested in the event.

Clearly, an interesting idea. And it's built off of what we talked about in Q4, which was, in Q4 build something early, for example, doing things like running ads for engagement and then be able to use engagement custom audiences. Running ads not just for purchase but run them for a page view. And you're gonna have traffic that's cheaper to remarket off of. Running things, like you said, lead ads. Being able to remarket off of lead ads. So that's really one if you have a longer purchase cycle that does make sense, but it's also an effective thing to do in terms of what we all need to do which is diversify our prospecting traffic. It's all about thinking about how we can get different hooks and angles from the ad side but also from the targeting side of bringing people in.

Because not everybody lives in that conversion objective. So I'm glad to hear you mention that because I think that's a really big part of it and I think that is a shift that we've all seen in the last 12 months.

Kevin Chen: I think I can speak to it a little bit more conceptually about how someone may be able to justify that. The way that we think about it is, for us obviously the category is hair loss. How much is the value of a lead? How much is the value of a person that has self-identified as someone with hair loss to a marketer like us, or another brand? So conceptually, thinking about it, you can assign a value to that lead. Basically, if you assign say a $30 value to a hair loss lead, but you have a cost per lead of $5, you've actually had a return of $25 on that lead. So I think that's one way of conceptually thinking about it where you don't have to be so focused on conversion and ROAS. But still conceptually have a positive ROI on your lead generation campaigns, if that makes sense.

Austin Brawner: It does make sense. I think that's a very good way to look at it. It's something that's talked about a lot more in higher ticket enterprise level software, or high ticket sales, poor cost per lead. But in ecommerce, it gets ignored because often the product's average order value is such that it's harder to focus on leads. But at your guys level, your average order value makes a lot of sense to be breaking it down in that way.

One thing I'd love to hear your take on because you've got quite a bit of experience on it, is a lot of people will make videos, promote them, not see very good results, and then say "Oh, that video doesn't work for us." You guys have consistently hit winners with video. How do you approach creating videos and what have you learned over your last three/four years of advertising that helps you create videos that win on Facebook?

Kevin Chen: Great question. So I think it's a combination of a couple of things. One, we definitely put an effort behind getting video shoots in there and work with really great videographers to help us edit these things. Our in house content team does a great job of recognizing what's important, what's going to resonate with our audience, and then putting out great content every week.

We have a weekly creators meeting to make sure we're moving things along in the pipeline for videos because it's such an important element of Facebook advertising to get new creatives in there and test different things out constantly. Another thing that you can do with video advertising is, I would encourage everyone to just try to take advantage of existing assets and create a lot of different cuts. Not only different cuts but also create different dimensions. So you can use apps like Animoto, or you can get a videographer to do this. Just create a bunch of things. Do the vertical orientated ones, do the Instagram ones, do the squares, do all the dimensions. Cover all the placements and just try it out. I think that's how you can get the most bang for your buck in terms of videos because it does take a long time to produce.

And on the other end, we also have people make content for us. So user-generated content is big, I mentioned earlier. Influencers are huge for us. So getting a lot of influencers to produce content and coaching them through the things that are important about our device, and the benefits, and then just letting them do their thing. And having them submit content to us monthly or maybe every six months. Just getting the cadence in there with a constant stream of influencer content allows us to have a lot more content to deal with. From there it's about understanding all the assets you have and then you can start doing creative things, like creating a compilation video with all your influencers or you can start mixing things together. Commercial an influencer, or testimonials, you name it.

Once you get that good flow going, it's just about having a good process for identifying a good creative and understanding what you can possibly do with that in terms of the different cuts and dimensions.

Andrew Foxwell: So I think it's important to say, just a clarification of one thing, which is you do a lot of video link posts, which is great. I think video on its own can be hard. Although, you've seen success with that which I think is rare. A lot of people run video on their own and it's like a video with a bit.ly link at the end, a shortened link. You're using a lot of video link posts which is a really good vehicle for direct response, just to clarify that.

Now, another thing that I think is very interesting about what you do, you have a massive ecosystem. Your ads are in a lot of places, right? They're on Facebook, they're on Google shopping, they are on Amazon. How do you think about the symbiotic relationship between these things? You run ads on Facebook, do you see a lift on Amazon? How does Google shopping interact with Facebook? Clearly, there's data questions that you could get into, attribution and things which is always a very difficult conversation. But how do you see these things, as a business owner, interacting with one another?

Kevin Chen: The way I think about advertising for our business is that everything that's not Facebook, as a channel, is a channel that captures demand. So Google, Google Shopping, Bing, Amazon. Those are all channels that capture demand. And Facebook is the driver of demand for the business, so when we scale up the spend on Facebook we definitely see a halo effect where the searches on Amazon, Google, start to increase. And of course for those brand search campaigns, the conversions go up and the return ad spend goes up. So there's definitely that effect that we can measure across different channels. Though, if not obviously a direct attribution that we can accomplish without some sort of software.

So in terms of attribution, I think you just need to have a very good understanding of how brand searches and brand conversions relate to your Facebook advertising spend. I would really encourage people to think about measuring those things. And actually, a tool that you can use is Google Data Atudio. That allows you to pull data sources from Facebook and Google and anything you can think of, into one platform and one visual dashboard. That can help you measure the relationship between Facebook, ad spend, and your other channels.

Austin Brawner: That's really interesting and definitely something that everyone's asking themselves. How much is the halo effect? It is hard to measure and something that consistently as you spend, it continues to drive sales from other channels.

I want to shift gears a little bit and move from more of the Facebook advertising hat to more of a business owner/leader role. Because you guys have had a tremendous amount of growth in a short period of time. Just a few years. Like you mentioned at the beginning, you said that when you started out you posted on Amazon, you go this thing going. Now you are running a team. You've hired, fired agencies. You're continuing to manage and scale and grow your team. As your business has grown, what is something that you have changed your mind on, or in other words, what is something that as you were first starting out used to think was true, but now that the business has grown and you've scaled up, that you now really subscribe to or think is true?

Kevin Chen: For me, I think in the beginning it was me and the computer for 15 hours a day. It's really easy to think that what you need to focus on is learning more about marketing and how to get more sales and drive more conversions. Because I think at that stage in business, your direct input into the business in terms of marketing sales has translated into the output for the business.

I think in the last couple years as we started to grow the team and hire people, I've really had to take a mental shift in terms of what my role needs to be in the business and what I need to focus on. It's hard to come to terms with the fact you can't do everything, you're not superman. But I think lately I've realized that the important thing for me as a leader for the business is not to do more marketing and not to be the superstar, but to transition into a guide for everybody else on the team.

My role is transitioning slowly, but transitioning to one that's less of an implementer, and one that's more of a guide for the rest of the team. So I think my role now is not to do everything but to identify the goals and tell them what's important and be there to help them remove obstacles. So I think for me making that shift from being an implementer in marketing superstar to becoming more of a manager is one thing that I really started to realize in the last year or so. But it's certainly not an easy transition, I have to say.

Andrew Foxwell: I think continuing the building is really really interesting. You started at one point and you just have woken up every day and really said: "This is what I want to continue to do, I'm going to continue to grow, I'm going to continue to learn." And I want to focus on that learning part of it because I think you started that way, you said. But you have continued to do that. Starting from the place of saying I don't know everything that I want to know, right? So what are you not good at and where that's impacted the way you run the business and of your life?

Kevin Chen: I think something I'm not very good at is understanding how to say no to people, to different meetings, to opportunities. I think it's a very common problem with entrepreneurs, is that we all have the shiny object syndrome. We want to do everything, we want to try everything and sometimes we have to just stop ourselves.

So I think that's one that that I've struggled with and I think I continue to struggle with at times. I'm certainly trying to improve on is understanding priorities and saying no to things that are not essential. I know you guys had a great topic on the podcast and that really resonated with me, with essentials and how to say no. And just eliminating a lot of the business. For me that's been a challenge because as the business grows, there's so much more to do and if you're not able to say no and earn back time for your own schedule, what happens is, you end up spending a lot of personal time on the weekends to do work, that you should've done during the weekday.

So I think that's one thing that I'm starting to get better at and work on but it's certainly a challenge for me because it's just so hard to say no sometimes. But it's a mental shift that I think anybody in the position that I am in needs to make.

Austin Brawner: As you have dialed in on trying to find the priorities that are important for you, where does that leave you with hiring? What have you learned about hiring through this process that, as you decided what the things that you need to be more of a guide, like you mentioned? What did you learn about hiring and what do you at this point thinking about when it comes to building a team for supporting the continued growth of the business?

Kevin Chen: The way I think about hiring, and this is ever-changing, but, the way I think about hiring is you want to bring someone in, especially from the marketing team, that just has the right mindset and drive. I think depending on the business, but I think for us it's very difficult to bring someone that's very established and has pre-conceived notions of the ways that things need to be done.

I really have taken more of a focus on looking for people that are malleable, that are hungry, people that just have this can-do mentality. Because I realized that in marketing and a lot of the things that we do in this company, it just changes so fast. If I need to be the person there to drive you and your learning, if I need to be there to tell you what to do, that's never going to work. So the only way that we can grow this business the way that we want to is by looking for those traits. You're not necessarily always looking for the experts. We're looking for the people that want to be the experts, that want to learn.

So that's really been a big shift for us because with some of the hires we've had in the past year or so, it's not really worked out because they might have had a certain way of doing things and a mindset that was less malleable and less flexible to what we want to mold them to be. So that's one thing that we really shifted towards in terms of who we are looking for and the type of people we want to bring into the company.

Austin Brawner: What are you right now most excited about? So over the next six to eight months, what are you excited about for business, and what are the things that you're dedicating some time to thinking about as you guys move forward?

Kevin Chen: Great question, so we've really taken on the approach of doing more structuring. Doing more goal setting for the business and trying to make sure that everybody is clear on what their goals are and what is going to be the measure of success for them. We're actually going through the process from the book Traction, and basically what that book talks about, how we need to find scorecards for everybody and make sure that that's aligned with the companies objectives and goals.

So that's one thing that we're working on that we're really excited about. Provided that clarity and allowing our employees to have success in that process, I think that's really important. And that's honestly what I'm looking forward to the most. And for me, the goal, by the end of the year, is to get the company to a place where it can grow without my help, without me in the office. That's something that I'm really excited about. I know it's a tremendous challenge and it's a huge mental shift for me, but I think that's really where we need to be at the current scale and the current pace that we're looking to grow at.

We've also got some new products coming up too in the coming months so that's also really exciting. But I think those are the two main things that get me up in the morning.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I think that's really cool in thinking about the way that you're positioning working with your employees to make sure they're growing etc. I was going to ask about new products. From a new product perspective, we're always talking about the Ecommerce Influence podcast especially this year is around bring up lifetime values, bringing up average order values etc.

How do you think about selling more products? What are the things that you're trying to do to increase lifetime value? Is it supplementary products that are similar? Obviously, they're probably complementary but are the products of the same cost as the laser system? Or are they just supplementary complementary things that are less expensive but can potentially add a lot of value? I'm just wondering. Or are you trying to diversify your product set entirely into something new?

Kevin Chen: So we're definitely not diversifying. We're still in the same niche with hair loss. So to answer your question Andrew, it's actually both. We're adding consumables, so lower ticket items, that are recurrent purchases to our product line. And that's going to help us, of course, bring LTV, and also AOV in terms of the average bundle that people purchase will increase in value. So, on the consumable side, we're really excited to increase LTV through that.

On the device side, the higher ticket item side, it's sort of the first time that we're talking about this but we are bringing on a new device that is coming very soon to the market. So that in itself is going to be an AOV driver because that's going to be a more premium model that we're bringing to the market. Through those two things, we're able to increase both the average order and the current revenue. So we're really excited to do that because I know that's going to be the easiest and biggest lever that you can pull in this business, and ecommerce is to have new products and high-quality products that people like.

Austin Brawner: Kevin, I know one thing as we're getting close to wrapping up, we have a couple more questions for you though. Because I've got you here and can ask the questions I want to ask you.

I know for a long time you have worked long hours, as you guys have been growing so so quickly. What do you do to keep yourself motivated and feeling healthy and strong and focused in the office day in and day out as you're hitting record highs and having to bring on new people?

Kevin Chen: That's a good question. It's certainly a struggle at times. Those long hours in the office can feel longer than they actually are. I think the key is going out to events, finding conferences that you enjoy and can meet a lot of like-minded people. I find that sometimes if you're just in the office all the time working, it can really put you down if you're just grinding away constantly without any goal in sight or anything that changes. So I find that every quarter or so it's helpful for me to go out there and network and talk to these different people that are in similar places as I am. That really helps give me a renewed sense of energy when I come back to the office. And of course, the injection of ideas from different entrepreneurs is always really helpful and helps us make leaps ahead with the business.

For me, just making sure that I'm not always behind the computer like I used to be and going out there to network has been a really helpful shift that I've made in the last year. And of course just staying healthy, getting exercise, and making sure that no matter what you block out the times that you need to exercise and work out. That's also helped a lot in terms of energy levels and overall mood. Those are a couple of things that I find really important.

Andrew Foxwell: Awesome. Well, Kevin, we really appreciate you joining us and sharing the story of growth and how you're using Facebook and video and email and cross-channel and your team. I feel like we really covered a lot of ground it was very interesting. Where can people reach you if they have questions or follow-ups that they want to ask?

Kevin Chen: You can find us at irestorelaser.com. So my personal email is kevin@irestorelaser.com, and if anyone has questions about what we're doing today or simply just want to check out what we're talking about from this conversation just go to our website, sign up for our email, we'll be sure to email the crap out of you and follow you around the internet.

Also, one thing I want to mention is we are actually looking for talent and are hiring. So if you are a driven smart person who wants to learn and be a marketer, be a superstar in the ecommerce space, we would love to hear from you. So you can just find us and apply on Linked in or Indeed. And we'd love to chat.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, we'll have a link in the shown notes as well over there to what they've got going on. Kevin, it's been a lot of fun, man. I will talk to you soon. Thanks so much for hopping on and chatting with us.

Kevin Chen: Yeah thanks guys, it's a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Austin Brawner: Hey guys, it's Austin again, and if you've been a listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It is an incredible resource for you, it's my online coaching community. It's really the engine that drives the Ecommerce Influence podcast. We've got about 115 members, all ecommerce business owners and ecommerce marketers. And in that community, I work with you guys one on one to help scale up your business. That could be scaling up advertising, hiring a team, diving into marketing strategy. So it's a really really good resource and we go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So if you've enjoyed the podcast, it's something you got some value out of, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com and you can learn some more information. Can't way to see you guys on the inside.

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

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. I liked how you started that one like "This is the Soul Podcast with Austin Brawner."

Austin Brawner: Soul Podcast...

Form Image

33 Tools & Apps The Fastest-Growing Brands Are Using Right Now

Enter your email to access this list of killer tools for scaling up your ecommerce business

Please enter a valid name and email