54. Eric Bandholz: Building BeardBrand’s Organic Marketing Machine

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The Brand Builder Show
54. Eric Bandholz: Building BeardBrand’s Organic Marketing Machine

It’s a huge honor to have a legend of the eCommerce space join us on the podcast this week Eric Bandholz.

Eric launched BeardBrand in 2012 in order to scratch his own itch and has since built it into one of the leading beard product brands in the world.

The real driver of success behind BeardBrand is its monstrous organic marketing efforts.

With over 2million YouTube subs, 600k TikTok followers and 1m+ monthly blog readers, BeardBrand drives almost all of its sales through organic channels.

In this episode Eric broke down how they started with each channel, and the approach you should take too, even if you’re a small brand just getting started.

We also finished up talking about how to find meaningful balance as an entrepreneur in the middle of hustle culture.


Episode Links

Talking Points

00:00 Introduction to Guest: Eric Bandholz
00:38 Backstory of BeardBrand
03:15 Eric’s Favorite Five
07:04 Starting Out BeardBrand
14:27 How Organic Marketing Helped Grow The Business
16:00 Why Go For Organic Marketing?
17:55 How Paid Ads Worked For BeardBrand
19:50 Expanding To Other Countries
21:30 TikTok Marketing Strategy – What’s Causing The Growth?
25:55 Importance of Bringing Value To Your Audience
28:20 Repurposing Content Across Different Platforms
30:01 BeardBrand Team
31:05 BeardBrand’s Fulfillment
31:54 Building BeardBrand’s SEO
37:04 What Does A Normal Week Look Like For BrandBeard’s CEO?
41:31 Advice To Aspiring Entrepreneurs
44:15 Where Can People Find Out About BeardBrand

Ben Donovan  00:00
Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of the brand builders show. Today’s episode is a special treat, we have the legend that is Eric Bandholz with us, Eric, welcome to the show today. I hope I haven’t just butchered your name. The first thing I did
Eric Bandholz  00:14
I think you just called me Eric. Right. Did you call me Eric?
Ben Donovan  00:18
Eric Bandholz  00:19
Did you get my last name? Yeah, you got that? It’s a common name,
Ben Donovan  00:22
Bandholz? No, I tried, but yeah, Bucha. That was it?
Eric Bandholz  00:26
No, no, it’s fine. Yeah, it’s not a very common last name. So I don’t take any offense of people misspelling it or spelling it wrong stuff, man.
Ben Donovan  00:37
Good stuff. Well, it’s an honor to have you on the show, we’re going to be talking about the rise of Beard Brand, a, you know, a real success story in the world of online marketing ecommerce brands. And this honestly, so much we could talk about, because I knew how much of an established and successful brand Beard Brand was. But then, you know, researching some more and realizing how much you guys are killing it in the world of organic marketing was a real eye opener. And so I’d love to dive into some of that. But before we do, give us a little bit of the elevator pitch, how did you get started in ecommerce? Fair, the two people that are listening that don’t know what the brand is, give us the kind of the backstory on that.
Eric Bandholz  01:15
Yeah, so Beard Brand is a men’s grooming company we started after I used to be a financial advisor. And there’s a pressure to look and dress a certain way which I get it and I understand, but that that way was not me. So I ended up quitting at the financial financial advising firm, started my own graphic design business started growing my beard out. And in that journey of growing my beard out, I realized, you know, there’s not really like a lot of support for guys who didn’t fit the traditional stereotype of a bearded guy, you know, like back in 2011 12. You’re either Grizzly Adams or Duck Dynasty, or ZZ Top. And those are cool dudes, like, I got no beef with them. But, you know, these hands were made for keyboards. They weren’t made for, you know, axes and guitars. And, you know, I started to realize there’s other guys out there like me, and Beard Brand was started as a way to help these guys have the confidence to, you know, grow their beard, but more than that, you know, just kind of rock their own style and be themselves be true to themselves, and, you know, grow. So, as we’ve grown, we’ve bootstrap the business from, you know, like a $30 Shopify plan up to a seven figure business and enjoyed the journey along the way, and trying to build a business that we’re not going to sell or exit, maybe something that I might be able to pass on to my kids, if I’m lucky. So that’s kind of it and the 30 seconds, I guess.
Ben Donovan  02:55
No, it’s awesome. I love it. Because you’ve obviously solved a pain point for yourself in the business. And some of the best businesses are built by doing just that, aren’t they so nervous, really. I love the backstory. Obviously, we’ll dive into a lot of the story albeit brand for the content of the episode. So there’s lots more we can pull out from that. Before we dive into that we like to ask our guests, their favorite five, it’s a little bit of a slot, we do just open up, help our audience learn about some new things, but also give us an insight into how you operate. So I’d love to ask you those number one, what is your favorite ecommerce brand? Other than your own? Of course.
Eric Bandholz  03:32
Yeah. You know, one of the brands that I think does really cool stuff is coffee brand called Onyx. They just have a really beautiful website, great product. They’re using some, in my opinion, like cutting edge fonts, I tend to be more of a design heavy guy. And I just think the and then the experience I get when I buy it from their their store is just like beautiful unboxing beautiful packaging. And it’s just the whole the whole package from you know, introduction. So
Ben Donovan  04:04
how do you how do you take your coffee?
Eric Bandholz  04:07
I like an espresso. But if I have to travel, I’ll throw a little bit of water in there and do an americano
Ben Donovan  04:13
had you down for a black coffee man for sure.
Eric Bandholz  04:17
Yeah, you know, it’s, I mean, this is a little bit of a tangent. But as you get older, it might be a little bit harder to keep the pounds off. And one of the easy ways to stay lean is to cut out cream and sugar from your coffee. So that was a goal of mine about a decade ago, and the goal you have to do is learn how to love the taste of black coffee. And then once you go down that rabbit hole, you can find out how amazing coffee can taste and yeah, it’s definitely not like the stuff you get at a gas station. Definitely. When you invest a little bit of time and energy into it.
Ben Donovan  04:51
Good. It’s not just ecommerce tips, we’re rolling out some life tips to okay number two favorite software or tool that helps you run your business or life
Eric Bandholz  05:02
Well, I feel like I want to be doing justice to ShipStation. Which, if you’re here in the States, they were on a commercial, we did a little case study with them. So that’s been plugged a lot, but you know, like, for me, you know, the everyday tools like Slack and you know, even just like Apple Mail is, is it’s kind of basic, but I’m not much of a guy that goes down the software rabbit hole. I know everyone’s using notion nowadays or airtable crap like that. But it’s a bit of more old school guy. That’s
Ben Donovan  05:39
cool. No luck. It’s good on so Okay, number three, your favorite organic marketing channel. You’ve got a lot.
Eric Bandholz  05:45
Yeah, this is a no brainer. Yeah, YouTube, YouTube drives half of our business. So, and I’ve been on that platform for a long time. And it’s certainly got his headaches. But yeah, YouTube’s Great.
Ben Donovan  05:57
Yeah, we’ve got some follow up questions that I’m resisting asking because we’ll get into those in a minute. But favorite paid marketing channel?
Eric Bandholz  06:07
Well, we’re only doing one paid marketing channel right now, which is, you know, Google, I guess P max, which also runs YouTube, as well. So yeah, I guess that’d be my favorite. I don’t really like paid. No, I guess, you know, let me take that back. I wanted to go with a post pilot and doing our direct mail. I think that’s a pretty cool solution out there right now.
Ben Donovan  06:30
Yeah. niceness and your favorite business book.
Eric Bandholz  06:36
It’s an old book. I read it a while ago, but it’s called Eat People by Andy Kessler, with the basic idea of, you know, outsourcing the talent that you’re not good at? And focusing on the things that
Ben Donovan  06:50
yeah, nice, good, good recommendation. Okay. Thank you. For those, like you say so much that I want to dive into, I feel like I wish we had sort of five hours, but we’re going to try and fit it into sort of the next 20 minutes and pull as much goodness as we can out of this. You talked about how you bootstrapped a beard brand from a $30 Shopify plan, all the way up to seven figures. How did you get your start with products? Did you just were you doing some kind of drop shipping? Was it small amount of orders? You know, talk us through that first phase of taking the plunge investing some money into this crazy idea of starting a business?
Eric Bandholz  07:25
Yeah, you know, beard brand existed for about a year before we started selling products. So I had the blog, and the YouTube channel and a very small following probably like 300 subscribers on YouTube and several 1000 visitors to the blog. And I had, because I was creating content, I had been approached by someone who was selling beard care products. And basically, I just asked, I asked him if we could resell this product as a kind of a traditional retail structure. And he was getting for that. So he sold me some products and put it up on the stores started selling with other brands that were just like a traditional retail play, we always, to a certain degree, I always had a vision that we had to have our own products. But the beauty of Shopify and the world is like you can dip your toes in the water, you know, find someone on Etsy who has a cool product. And then, you know, like bring your value through what we did, which was organic content. And then you’re able to generate revenue that way. So that’s kind of how we’re able to bootstrap by not having to pay $30,000 for inventory up and running and once of r&d, and then that
Ben Donovan  08:39
first phase of growth, as you say, it’s it’s been a bootstrapping journey. What did cash flow look like? Did you grow quickly? Was there ever a point where you thought about having to bring on investment? How was that sort of early journey?
Eric Bandholz  08:53
No, I mean, I think the way we value things at Beard Brand and the way we want to build the business, like there’s always opportunity to bring in money, but we didn’t want the strings that come along with that, whether it be third parties kind of dictating the way you grow, or how you grow or how you focus or what kind of products you carry, or just the stress that comes along with, you know, debt, leverage and making those bills and you know, having to put your company your products on sale to generate cash flow and things like that. So, you know, if we didn’t have cash flows coming in, it was pretty much as simple as like, we don’t pay ourselves and then when we have money coming in, we pay ourselves so the business can always scale back down. Well, not right now. But, you know, the way we built the business is it could always scale down to zero, you know, and still continue to exist and thrive. Not that yeah, that I want to do that. So we’ve done a lot of two steps forward, one step back as we grow, maybe we grow too fast or miss allocate some of our resources and we need to get back to The things we do well,
Ben Donovan  10:00
yeah, has there been any clear sort of inflection points with that commitment to bootstrap. And while you’re, you know, at loggerheads, maybe there’s tension points where you’re like, Oh, we really need some extra cash flow, but we’re, you know, dead set against it. And you’ve had to, because of that, you know, make some hard decisions.
Eric Bandholz  10:19
No, I mean, I feel like maybe I’m an anomaly. And maybe it’s because of my my finance back, back in, or maybe it’s just because of my like, incredibly risk adverse cash flow management, like I’ve never needed money, like, I’ve always had enough money. And that’s kind of true with like, my personal life. And I think maybe part of that has to do with like, not having, I guess, when it comes to eating, as they say, like, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. But but in building the business, you kind of have the same thing where your, your eyes are bigger than your wallet. And, you know, we’ve just kind of maintained a modest expectation for growth and allocation of our cash and resources. And, and then I keep a lot of cash available in the event that we have periods of, of hardship, so it’s not a growth at all cost type of company, where, you know, like, we have to be hitting certain kind of growth targets, it’s more of a profitability first.
Ben Donovan  11:22
Do you feel like you don’t have that same maybe drive to make it growth at all costs? Like is that a personality thing is that you know, you’ve managed to keep your ego in check, because it can become like quite an ego driven world, right, growing a business, but you seem pretty down to earth pretty chilled. Is that a personality thing? If you had to learn that the hard way?
Eric Bandholz  11:45
Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, in your intro, you kind of hyped me up, and I’m like, Man, I am not all those things that you described at the beginning of the podcast, that’s for sure. You know, for me, there is ego that, that I’m constantly battling. And as a face of the company, and the founder of the company, you know, you’re you’re not that without a little bit of ego. And there is a competitive spirit and nature to me, where I just want to win. And I have, you know, odd kind of comparisons for other entrepreneurs who, you know, I love and respect, but I still want to beat. But at the end of the day, you know, kind of what we learned, I had a very challenging time with my business partner, and we were eating a lot of ramen trying to grow at all costs, it was very stressful, our relationship was very strained business relationship, and, and it was not fun, we’re in the business, you know, like, I was probably losing hair. And you know, what we kind of realized at the time, the business was doing about $3 million of revenue. And if you’re hitting 20%, profitability, that’s $600,000. And you split that three ways, you know, you keep half of it in the business, which is 300k, for the business to grow. And then 300k among three founders, you know, that’s a pretty good life that you can have where you know, you’re able to put food on your table and a roof over your head, and then have the freedom to do what you want in life. So if you’re a solo founder, and you get to a million dollars, or a million and a half dollars, like you’ve essentially made it in life, and then everything beyond that, in my opinion, is just nicer cars, nicer houses, nicer clothes, but it’s not fundamentally going to improve your life. So that was kind of the I want to say the breaking point knows. What’s that point, that turning point, or whatever for us is just like, we won, like, we won life’s lottery with a $3 million business. And it’s more important to enjoy the journey from here, then you can continue to be stressed out, you know, trying to do something that really isn’t going to enhance our lives that much.
Ben Donovan  13:58
Yeah, I think it’s really refreshing, you know, from the outside looking in, at least to see that there is that drive, there is a little bit of healthy ego, which I think you’re right, every you know, entrepreneur needs a little bit of that. But there’s still just a real sense of realism. And I can almost get that relaxed sense from me, which is, yeah, like refreshing for me. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs that just feel like you’ve got to hustle till you die, and you got to beat everyone grow as quick as possible. So, yeah, no, it’s good. I mean, do you think that a part of that is because of your strength in organic marketing, because that must help your margins in comparison to your competitors that are putting a lot into paid?
Eric Bandholz  14:39
You know, I don’t know anybody else’s p&l And what it looks like there’s a lot of different ways to build a business. The challenges with organic is we’ve got a pretty heavy creative team, which takes a lot of resources. So there’s just different ways to build a business and I would imagine that, you know, our competitors probably have similar Bottom line is that we have, maybe they grow similar to us or even better than us. So I don’t know what our strategy is the best or not I, you know, frankly, I really don’t care at the end of the day, they can run the business, however they want to run it. And then we just kind of do it the way that that we want to do it. And there’s, that’s the beauty of entrepreneurship is there’s just so many different ways of doing it. I think you kind of talked earlier about, you know, growing at all costs, there certainly are businesses, where you have to capture market share, or else there’s a real potential that your business is is not going to thrive, or you lose that opportunity. You know, maybe we’d like search engines, but we also have the belief that, you know, the cream always rises to the top. So if you have a well run business with a great product, give it a long enough period of time, you will be able to find success and grow and continue to grow in your marketplace.
Ben Donovan  15:56
What do you think are some of the big differences between if you had have gone with a model that was a lot more reliant on paid traffic? You talked about the costs of a creative team, which would suggest that maybe like you said, that this money that you would spend on ads, you’re just spending on creating the content anyway. So what was it about content? You said it? Was your your choice, your chosen kind of route? Favorite route? What was it particularly about organic content that made you go go that direction?
Eric Bandholz  16:27
Yeah, I mean, I think if you look back to our early days, I was not significantly successful. It’s not like I came from a previous exit, where I had millions of dollars in the bank, I think, you know, like, my family had, you know, $20,000, between my wife and I saved up, you know, from working in the, you know, working after college for 10 years. So, you know, we were able to live off of those savings and make it work. But when you don’t have enough capital or cash, you do the things that are not cash intensive, but time intensive. So, you know, for us, that was where we leaned on the organic, because I, I can create as many videos as I need to create, cuz it doesn’t really take any money. I mean, I can just hold my phone up in front of me and record a video and put it on YouTube. And I think one of it’s funny, every single business has to deal with scarce resources. And sometimes those scarce resources, our money, usually most of the cases, but sometimes those resources our time, or like creative energy or, you know, vision, and how do you, you know, acquire those resources or allocate the things you’re doing with that scarcity is what makes the difference between a successful business and one that maybe is, is flounder. Yeah.
Ben Donovan  17:54
But what about when you did have more money coming in, though, because you said that you can, you know, if you don’t have loads of money use time. And I completely agree with that. But then what about when more money is coming in? Was there never the temptation to pour a bunch of that finance into ads that could grow your reach? You know?
Eric Bandholz  18:13
Yeah, I mean, when I got money coming in, I just blow it is the reality. Like, I just spend it poorly on things that, that we have to end up like, undoing months down the road. So that’s, that’s why says, Yeah, it’s like two steps. Again, it’s two steps forward, one step back. So you know, we may have money coming in, and then we’re like, Okay, we’re gonna grow ads, and then we’ll do paid ads, we’ve certainly done paid ads in the past, and then we’re spending all this money on paid ads. But it turns out, we’re not making any money. So we’re spending $1 to make, you know, $1.20. But when you factor your product costs and their overheads, and you’re losing money. So there’ll be things like that, or I’ll be like, well, let’s do this product, and let’s do this product. And, you know, we grow our inventory, and our inventory, just balloons and we got a ton of stuff here. And we don’t have like the, the right resources to launch it, or the right focus to launch it, or we’ll be like, Yeah, let’s sell in Europe and sell in Australia. You know, it’s just like, all these things that, you know, actually being lean, for me is very beneficial, because it allows us to focus on the things that bring most value to our customers.
Ben Donovan  19:22
Do you just sell in US at the moment?
Eric Bandholz  19:26
We do, you can buy online and get it shipped to like Canada and you know, like Australia and a couple of places. But it’s not really economically feasible. feasible, because the shipping so expensive, and but we don’t ship into Europe. That’s a market we have closed off to
Ben Donovan  19:44
and is it going to stay like that? It must be tempting, surely to expand globally?
Eric Bandholz  19:49
No, I mean, yeah, one of our goals this year is to launch into Europe. So you know, we have a tendency to like evolve our products, based on the feedback from our crowd. customers to constantly improve them. And when you do that you’re changing the formulation. And then every time you change your formulation in Europe, you know, you’re going to have to run through the regulatory organizations. So that’s like an additional, you know, $3,000 per SKU. So if you got, like 20 SKU’s or whatever, what does that like $60,000. So kind of for our style of products, strategy, where we, you know, we evolve and tweak and improve our product, it gets pretty cost prohibitive. So if we can ever dial down the formulation to where we know, you’re just going to stick with it. And you know, like, some people are going to like it, some people are not going to like it, which I think is, you know, the shame of regulations that people don’t really understand, and they don’t really see in the marketplace, you think it’s like, oh, great, you know, these regulations are protecting people. And it’s true, but it’s also preventing innovation. And it kind of the unseen things that that never happened because of these regulatory burdens on companies. is kind of the downside.
Ben Donovan  21:08
Yeah. And Europe is renowned for being you know, with data protection GDPR all that kind of stuff. VAT. It is. Yeah, it’s can be a bit of a nightmare.
Eric Bandholz  21:19
Yeah, so it’s just like ask early Europeans and all your nanny state kind of stuff. We’re just be free here in America, you know, sort of freedom. Thanks.
Ben Donovan  21:30
Let’s bring it back to organic marketing then because I think that is obviously something we really want to dig into a bit more love to just look at some of the core channels, organic marketing channels, just before we wrap up, starting with tick tock because it’s kind of, you know, all ever before AI at least it was all everyone was talking about. Now chat, GBT has taken up some some airwaves but but let’s talk about tick tock you guys. Are you across your channels, you’re getting pretty massive, like YouTube, I think 2 million Tiktok 600,000 or something big subscriber base SEO, you’re getting I want to say you know the research I’ve done over a million visits a month just from organic but you know, you can confirm nor deny that if you want but let’s talk about a few of those. Those channels tick tock to start with. Like I say over half a million followers on there. Some some massive videos, obviously your product really does lend itself to video content tutorials, more of like, fun content, but what are you doing that is really causing that growth to take place?
Eric Bandholz  22:37
Yeah, I mean, I wish I could tell you there is this great strategy with Tik Tok, but it was it was basically everyone tells me I gotta be on Tik Tok. And, as you know, the 40 year old dude. I’m like, like, I don’t get it. It’s, you know, like, these are too fast for me, I don’t get it. I’m like, I don’t want to deal with it. So we worked with an agency, Ryan McGann has an agency where he just essentially scrapes our data on YouTube. And riad it to for Tik Tok, and the Tik Tok style and then re-upload it, and he’s the person that’s entirely responsible for growing that channel. I do think there’s opportunity for us to improve it and to create kind of like, short form video content first, and have it a little more polished and a little more, you know, like on point, but we’re just kind of not there yet. And it’s like, you know, one of the the advantages that we had in the early days of YouTube was we were one of the first players in the game producing content, like we were producing and then we got a lot of people who are inspired by our content started doing it as well. And I think the same is kind of true with Tik Tok, even though we weren’t super early to Tik Tok. There weren’t a lot of people who were producing the type of content we were producing on Tik Tok. So that early mover advantage to organic allowed us to get a following but you know, Tik Tok, I don’t think subscribers really matter if I’m being frank, like, it’s just such a weird algorithm that rewards content, or like very oddly, so. Yeah, like, I would just try to focus more on like, what is the engagement you’re getting in your content on a regular basis?
Ben Donovan  24:27
Do you know what kind of subscribers sorry? Do you know what kind of revenue or results in any way it’s driving for you Tik Tok?
Eric Bandholz  24:37
Yeah, I would say like nothing. Like I would not recommend going on to Tik Tok if you’re selling beard care products. I know there’s plenty of people who have had success on Tik Tok. But yeah, I mean, I, I would, I would say we’re probably not even breaking even with the amount we spend to edit up those videos. And what is driving Based on our attribution, we do a post purchase survey. How did they first hear about us? And you know, like, is driving like nothing? Absolutely nothing? Yeah, so I would not, I would not be tooting the Tiktok. Yeah. On based on my data, YouTube, on the other hand, and that drives half of our business.
Ben Donovan  25:18
Yeah, I was gonna say, let’s, let’s move on. YouTube. Yeah, cuz again, massive, like 2 million subscribers. And I think I was watching some of your content, it’s funny, he’s engaging, it kind of plays into that vlog kind of style as well. Because I think a lot of the brand owners that will be listening to this will be thinking, Well, how do I create videos every week or twice a week about my products, you know, there’s only so much I can create, but you guys are, you know, from my view, or at least are creating content that is, is not always about the product, it’s about the people that use the product. Talk to us about your whole strategy, what have you done to really grow it to this? Because it’s yeah, it’s incredible.
Eric Bandholz  26:03
Yeah, I’m, I’m a big believer in brand values and mission. And I think those are going to be your guiding lights, our core values are freedom, hunger, and trust. And our tagline, if you can see it over my shoulder is keep on growing. And, you know, when you have a mission, or like a tagline like that, it helps give you focus. So like, our goal is keep on growing, how do we help our audience and our customers keep on growing and for us, that’s more than just using the products, but it’s like investing in themselves. And, and, you know, it kind of like prevent, presents itself in like, very unique solution. Always have the same as, you know, a lot of email marketers, or entrepreneurs or people early in this space will worry about, like, how do I send out, you know, an email a week or, you know, and not like, annoying my customers? I think there’s, there’s a lot of people who think that way, or at least I know, I thought that way. It’s like, I don’t want to overburden my audience. And you need to change your mindset to say, like, how can I send out as many pieces of content as possible? You know, how can I send out an email a day? How can I produce a video a day, and the way you do that is producing content that really brings value to your audience. So when you think about it, is sending an email out every single day, like, hey, get a 20% off, 20% off, 20% off, you know, like, that, that’s not bringing value to your, your readers life. But if you’re like, hey, here’s how you can, you know, look better use this grooming technique, you know, or here’s why this product should be used this amount, you know, like, you focus on your education. So you’re bringing value for your education, or like on our barbershop channel, the big channel, we really focus on entertainment, and you know, like, the, the satisfaction of seeing the transformation for people and how that enhances their life to almost like inspire them to do the same for them. So, you know, you can you can educate, you can entertain, or you can promote, and I think there is a place for promotions, but, you know, probably only about, you know, 10 to 20% of your content should be self promotional.
Ben Donovan  28:18
Yeah. Yeah. You talked about repurposing from YouTube to Tik Tok. And then you talked about, you know, the different types of content, email, et cetera, et cetera. One a day. Are you doing more repurposing beyond YouTube to Tik Tok? Is there a system for that? Or are you being very sort of focus to each channel?
Eric Bandholz  28:39
Now, so the company who we work with who does our Tik Tok shorts, are they called shorts does or tic TOCs will also re upload them as Instagram reels and YouTube shorts. So it’s the exact same content for three different platforms. So we’re not platform specific with our short form video. But we do have some like IG TV edits that I guess would go up on Instagram. So that would be specific for Instagram. And then Facebook, I don’t know if we’re uploading our long forum to Facebook or not, or let’s go on D. That’s kind of like a forgotten.
Ben Donovan  29:17
I was gonna say, Yeah, Facebook, Instagram, are they still a priority for you? Are they bit of an afterthought at the moment?
Eric Bandholz  29:24
I mean, for me, personally, they’re an afterthought, but we certainly produce content for it on a regular basis. So they’re, you know, we, we kind of set up the machine, or I should say, the machine at Beard brand has been set up where content flows into that. So, you know, as an entrepreneur, it’s like, once a machine gets set up, you’re like the eye of Sauron. And it’s like, what is the next thing? And then it’s like, God forbid, you know, any of my team members is like, Oh, well, you’re working on this now. Yeah. And then you just kind of jump around. I don’t know if the other entrepreneurs can relate to that. But
Ben Donovan  29:59
surely I’m sure they can. You mentioned team there. What does team look like to make all this happen? I assume you’re not recording all the YouTube videos yourself.
Eric Bandholz  30:08
Yeah, so I’ve got a couple of other content creators, Greg and Carlos, who will produce regularly. I’ve got a person who works in the barber shop, we have a barber shop right over there with seven barbers. So it’s a Beard Brand barber shops. And so one of my team members, he is kind of like the liaison with the barber shop, he is really cool guy and has a good rapport with the barbers, which I think is important to producing good content, and then he’ll film that content as well. And then we work with the third party video editor and Ryan, who I talked about as well for our short form video content. And then I’ve got an art director or copywriter for more of our traditional you know, like, direct mail needs or email needs website in us, and then a video website manager as well. So we’re pretty small team. All told, for what we’re able to produce.
Ben Donovan  31:05
I meant to ask earlier about the fulfillment on the back end of things are you do you have sort of warehousing using like three PL what does that look like?
Eric Bandholz  31:15
Yeah, we work with a three PL for or there’s, there’s certain things that kind of going back to the book recommendation Eat People was like, I don’t want to be in the business of putting things in a box and shipping it out. I don’t know how much value I can bring to the world doing that. Yeah, I think there’s companies out there who probably going to bring more value than I could bring. So I also, you know, don’t want to be, you know, putting things in jars or manufacturing. So really focusing on the things that we do well, which is communications and marketing and product development, I do like to develop, so we work really heavily on that. And then we try to outsource.
Ben Donovan  31:52
Nice, nice. Okay, lastly, on organic marketing, then SEO, you know, the Forgotten child sometimes of internet marketing is got this like own little corner of the internet marketing world. But it’s such a powerful channel, and you guys are killing it on that. You know, Atrus tells me estimates it about 800,000 visits a month, so it must be at least a million. But it’s huge. Right? That and that must be a massive way that you’re capturing your your audience, new customers? How have you built it?
Eric Bandholz  32:24
Yeah, I mean, kind of going back to early in the conversation the blog was was where we started. So we get a significant amount of traffic to our blog, and the content we produce. Our copywriter in house is very much on brand, which is nice. I think that’s kind of an area that people I almost feel like, they feel like copywriting is commoditize, where it’s like you could you know, anyone who can write and write, but I think that’s the furthest thing from the truth. So if you ever actually dig down and read our articles, or read our emails, they’re quite remarkable. Again, I’m biased because I think the world of my copywriter my team. But yeah, so we try to produce content that is engaging and thorough and in depth. And then, you know, we tried to generate links by being a good steward and being open and being transparent, being willing to vouch for other brands and tell stories, you know, we’ve talked highly about CLEVEO, and Shopify, and then you know, it’s funny when you say good things about these companies, and they tend to say good things about you, too. So that’s a great way to generate links, you know, being on podcast to like this, hopefully, you put it up on your website, or a link to beard brand. And, you know, like things like that, that we’ve been doing for 10. I mean, 11 years now. So it can’t just, I mean, it just kind of builds up on itself. We also look at PR as a link building opportunity more so than a sales opportunity. So yeah, our PageRank on our apps is like I think it’s like 73 or something like that. 72. So listen in on the day, so it’s been a lot of hard work. Yeah, certainly been a lot of hard work.
Ben Donovan  32:25
Yeah, I can I can see that for sure. And but the thing I love about SEO specifically, is just the compounding nature of it. I think obviously, you talked about 1112 years ago, you started and now he’s seeing those those real results then and that’s going to continue to compound and you could likely do no more work on it for a year, two years. And that would continue to grow still, because of the previous work you put in and that’s, that’s why I love it as a channel as opposed to, you know, social media, for instance, you post something if it’s not seen in 24 hours, it might never be seen again, you know, so
Eric Bandholz  34:49
there’s a I would say I want to call it a problem. But I would say it’s more of an opportunity for people who think differently than the majority of entrepreneurs. readers are thinking about how do they build their business up and then sell it in three to five years, when you have a three to five year timeframe, you’re not going to be willing to invest and things like SEO or organic content, because the same amount of work and effort right now to create a blog article and get viewed by, you know, hundreds of 1000s of people is different than, you know, 10 years ago when we did it, and it would be read by, you know, 100 people. So same resources go into it now versus 10 years ago, but the output is completely different. The same is true with organic video content and production, as well. So most people aren’t thinking in terms of 10 years or 20 years, because they’re gonna be washing their hands of the business and moving on. Whereas, you know, I’m thinking about it from how do I create a business that my kids could run? Or my business partners kids could run? And then when you start thinking in those terms, it’s like, you know, how do you really do the things that can lead to a brand that that lasts for generations? And, you know, growth doesn’t become the top priority? What comes a top priority is, you know, just an incredible experience and a journey that’s worth taking. Which I think is a really unique way of building a business that not enough people share. Yeah. Or highlight. Yeah,
Ben Donovan  36:16
I think it’s not as popular or sexy to talk about a business you want to run forever.
Eric Bandholz  36:22
Yeah, I mean, it’s like, oh, I enjoy showing up to work every day. And I haven’t gotten divorced with my wife and my kids. You know, no, my name is like, Okay, well, isn’t that a given? Like, yeah, it’s a given. But do you know how hard it is to maintain a relationship with your, your wife and your business partners and your kids and, and to also have a business that’s successful? It’s incredibly challenging. I don’t know if the general public really knows how long it is. And you see a lot of entrepreneurs who end up getting divorced or who have strained relationships with their children. And, you know, those are sacrifices you got to make and you know, not saying one way is right or wrong, but those are the trade offs that you have to make.
Ben Donovan  37:04
Yeah, and finishing up on that topic because I know again, it’s something that you’re passionate about the whole buzzword of work life balance, your firstly I’d love to know what a normal week looks like for you.
Eric Bandholz  37:18
Yeah, so I mean, you know, even beyond like relationships, you know, your your health and your fitness is really important. eating right, exercising, so I’m a I’m an avid rower. I lift weights, your base weight four times a week on
Ben Donovan  37:33
the deadlifts, man, I fully on Twitter, and I see the crushing it there, man, those weights are going up and up.
Eric Bandholz  37:40
Yeah, well, I mean, that’s the thing is if you do it, that’s what’s going to happen assuming you don’t get injured. So you just it and the same is true with business. You know, you put in the work, you put in the energy, the effort, and it will eventually go up, you’re going to have your setbacks. So lifting, lifting weights four times a week, rowing couple times a week. You know, like getting my daughter to school, take my daughter to school, and I’ve got a we have a nine o’clock standing meeting like 510 minutes. And then I tend to keep my schedule. I’m one of those guys that keeps my schedule, generally open. I like flexibility. I like being able to run late. On meetings, I like to have long lunches, I like to be able to chat around the watercooler. So I’m not a kind of a type A personality. And then I have a goal to be home at 5:15 In the afternoon, eat dinner with my family and you know, try to be a good house husband a good husband to my wife and a good dad to my my kids and have the energy to play with them. If possible. It’s challenging. I’d love to say I’m not perfect father, but I’m far there’s a lot of opportunity for growth and in some roles are all of my roles, I guess in life but yeah, and then try to hit home go to bed by you know, like nine o’clock and start the day again at 5:45
Ben Donovan  39:05
Yes, and take weekends off.
Eric Bandholz  39:11
Yeah, I don’t I don’t really work. I mean, 11 years and you know, most of this stuff is pretty established. So if I need to work, I’ll work like we post videos on Saturday. So I’ll keep an eye on the performance for how the videos are doing on Saturday. But you know, for me, like as an entrepreneur like I don’t think work ever really escapes your brain like it’s just always there. It’s kind of over always present.
Ben Donovan  39:35
Is that not the because that for me? That’s why I’m driven to build stuff that on Monday so is because of that constant. I don’t want to say pressure but it’s always on you. You never escape it. Is that not something that makes you one day want to sell.
Eric Bandholz  39:53
I mean, I was talking about this with somebody else yesterday. I think that the most energetic time of my life, the most riveting the most euphoric time was when beard brand was starting and growing and getting those first sales from people who didn’t know the who the heck I was, and seeing the month over month growth. That was 24/7. You know, if I was awake, I was thinking about Beard Brand. And I really enjoyed that, that time. Especially if you can build a team that take over the problems that take away energy, and then you can focus on the problems that energize you. Yeah, because there’s, you know, that’s, that’s simply what entrepreneurship is, is just facing a series of problems that never end. And as long as you’re energized to solve those problems, you’re going to be able to do it forever. So I have, I have a lot of black days, or dark days where I’m working on problems that I just don’t want to solve, and someone else should be solving them. And those are the hardest times, you know, if it’s like an operational thing or manufacturing thing, like I’m not built to handle those kind of problems. But as you grow, you’re able to kind of bring on team members who can tackle those, and then your brain just gets, I mean, literally, you get to think about the things that you love to think about, and I can’t think of a better gift for anybody.
Ben Donovan  41:15
Yeah. Great, great. That was great advice. This has been obviously a sort of a quite broad conversation, there’s lots that we could dive into if we had time. But I’ve already sort of run over a little bit with you. So we will wrap it up. But if there’s one thing that you could say to young or aspiring entrepreneurs just at the start of their journey, looking back on the last 10 years, what’s the advice you would give them, you know, to maybe to your younger self, that’s just starting out in business?
Eric Bandholz  41:45
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of advice that I would give, because there’s a lot of mistakes that I made it kind of depending on where you are at the phase, if you haven’t started a business yet, I think the the number one thing that you can do is put yourself around other entrepreneurs. Find out where they’re hanging out, find out the way they think. Because to transition from a person who works for somebody else, to a person who creates your own business is a mindset change that has to happen. And once that change happens, you see the world completely different. And you think about things in a completely different way. And that usually is not going to happen by hanging out with a whole bunch of people who work for the man. So that would be my number one advice is just do everything you can to put yourself around entrepreneurs. Yeah. And then from there. The other mistake that a lot of people make is they just overthink it. They try to learn too much. They listened to too many podcasts, they try to follow too many blueprints, they buy too many eBooks. The reality is you just got to go out there and do it and sell it and then be willing to make mistakes and fail. And then to have the humility and your ego checked enough to be able to learn from those lessons. And then grow from there, make adjustments, re-evaluate, learn, grow and do it again and never stop. because entrepreneurship is just you never stop the problems. Never. They never end. So if you don’t like problems, don’t get an entrepreneur.
Ben Donovan  43:14
Absolutely. It’s really good, man. It’s really good. Someone said to me recently that a quote, imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. And I think that’s you know, echoed in what you’re what you’re saying there, get get started, get moving, steer the car on your journey.
Eric Bandholz  43:31
It’s not new stuff, guys. It’s not rocket science, like a million people say there’s a reason we say it over and over again is just you just got to do it. The world is built by those who build is something that I like to repeat a lot. Yeah, it’s not built by the best. It’s not built by the most prepared. It’s not built by the smartest is built by those who built so unless you’re building it doesn’t really doesn’t really matter really good.
Ben Donovan  43:57
Really good. Eric has been super helpful and I know you’re humble and say all the things I said at the start of the episode aren’t true, but they are true and double it again. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. You’re an absolute legend and a beast in the ecommerce space. So I really appreciate you taking time out and doing this with us. Where can people find out more about yourself about beard brand?
Eric Bandholz  44:19
Yeah, go ahead if you’re in America go ahead buy something for beard brand and you can kind of see what the experience is like and what the email flows are like and you know you can use any of the products doesn’t matter if you have a beard or no beard or if your dude or do that. The products will be good for you and then follow me on Twitter that’s my preferred platform but be wary I tend to go on kind of libertarian rants from time to time so if you’re not a free market capitalist kind of person, you may be unfollowing me shortly thereafter and
Ben Donovan  44:46
then I can confirm you are definitely a great follow on Twitter so amazing, guys, thanks for coming along listening to this episode. It’s been a great one as I’m sure you will agree check out Beard Brand bison products gift it to your friends throughout the yeah and and we’ll see in the next episode real soon

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