Launching, Managing, and Growing your Brand - Private Label Ep. #005
On the 5th episode of The E-comm Show, our host Andrew Maff is with Mikey Moran a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Private Label, a hair extension, and technology company helping entrepreneurs launch and manage their brands. They discussed nurturing your brand from Starting, Managing, and Growing. Learn more about how Mikey nurtured his own brand from start and to what it is now.
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Launching, Managing and Growing your Brand
Andrew Maff & Mikey Moran
Mikey Moran is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Private Label, a hair extension, and technology company helping entrepreneurs launch and manage their brands, and ranked number 278 of the INC 500. Mikey has been featured on ABC, Fox, CBS, and CNBC, and in Forbes and Entrepreneur, among others.
So if you're creating an e-commerce brand, you know the better job you are at connecting with your clients and getting them to like you, the more successful you should be. I'm John & I'm Mark, and we are John's Crazy Shop
really, this is Andrew Tjernlund with Tjernlund products. This is Dan Kaplan, of the game Stewart, you're listening to and you're listening, and you're listening to The Ecomm Show. I love it.
Welcome to The Ecomm Show, presented byBlueTuskr. The number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts share their secrets on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Ecomm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I am joined with the amazing Mikey Moran of private label extensions. Mikey, ready for good show?
Yeah, of course, I'm here for it. Beautiful.
I'm so excited for this episode. Because you have you're juggling so many different things that I'm really excited to get into B, you're the first author that I've gotten to have on this show. So we're gonna dive into that too. But let's go straight at the main thing here, and we'll touch on that. So why don't you just kind of give us a brief overview of private label and you know, we'll kind of go from there.
Yeah, so private label is a we're in the beauty industry. We do both wholesale and retail, both online, which is amazing, because I love online and e-commerce and everything about it. As well as we have the physical retail locations, five locations currently going to be seven within the next few months. And then, you know, my plans to hit 20. And then after I hit 20, obviously I'm going to say 30 and 40 and so on. So having fun with that, of course we we have a dropship program. So as you know, e-commerce drop shipping has been a big part of e-commerce growth over the last decade through Shopify. So we have a Shopify dropship app, we actually build websites to just another thing we do. We've probably built more websites in the hair industry than anyone in the world. And last five years, I'm pretty confident on that. influencer marketing platform called beauty cloud. Yeah, I did the book and probably a bunch of other things. Just, you know, basically you said I like to juggle a lot of things. Yeah, it's like a circus every single day. You
are all over the place. So I got to ask the first question that I really wanted to ask you. Why hair extensions?
Yeah, no, you know, you looking at me, you're like, wait,
this is don't you don't fit. So this is one of the great things I obviously wanted to get into is a why hair extensions? And then B, what is it like to run a company where like, if you're, typically, you're incredibly passionate about the product, I would imagine you still have passion behind it. But you don't have hair extensions, at least unless they're under your hat right now. So what's Tell me a little bit about that?
You know, it starts at that I'm a Product guy by nature and by heart, right? So whatever that product is, you know, my first product, I did Thai food, and I made these curry sauces on Thailand. So obviously, I'm not Thai. And I'm not a chef. But I had the first package Thai curry sauce sold in America 15 years ago. So that's just another one of those things, people, you know, now people are asking me how hair extensions looking at me and 15 years ago, they're like, how did you do this Thai food 15 years ago, you know, so it's kind of the same thing. So it's just being passionate about the products, still very passionate about what I do. I feel like, I'll still on day one. You know, even though we're in year, eight of the business, and hair extensions was just something that came up because my business partner, his girlfriend wore hair extensions, spent a whole bunch of money on them. And I said, Okay, this seems interesting. Back in, this is 2013, our conversation, and there wasn't many people selling it online yet. So I thought that would be a interesting project. And then it just continued to grow and grow much bigger than I thought it would be. So it just keeps growing 40% year over the year for the last couple years, despite COVID So yeah, it's just it's interesting, for sure. Nice.
It's very interesting to hear you say that because I always come across a lot of sellers who are like, you know, you got to be passionate about what it is you're selling, and you have to be really into the product and so on. And I agree I always thought like, that's not entirely true because you could really just be passionate about just product in general just selling just running a business in which case, the product can be irrelevant doesn't mean you still can't focus on it and still know how to sell it well. So it's interesting To hear you have the other side of the argument for that. That's, that's great.
And it's actually interesting that you say that because one of the things a lot of people don't realize is with me not wearing hair extensions, I am not partial to any particular product. So all my product development and you know, products we sell, or have our clients sell for drop shipping, it is all client based feedback that has grown our product line and the way we do things. It's not like, Oh, I'd like this hair or I don't like this hair. So I don't really want to sell it, it doesn't matter what I'd like it's all client base. So that's actually been somewhat of an advantage have been very partial to the actual products. That's a very
good point. I didn't even think about that. So you had mentioned obviously the elephant the room COVID? How did that go on the retail side? And on just just inventory management and all that fun stuff that we've been still having issues with? How did it go for you guys?
Yeah, it actually worked out pretty well. One of the things I talk about a lot in entrepreneurship is building relationships, I have fantastic relationships with our suppliers, you know, pre COVID, I would generally spend about a month a year in China working with suppliers, split between two different trips. So when COVID hit, it was one of those things where we knew everything in China was shutting down. And I said, holy cow, this is going to be a problem for everyone in the industry. So there was literally a few hours left before the last flight to get out of China. Then I told my team to go into the office, which they maybe weren't allowed to do at that time. But that's neither here nor there, at this point, go into the office, box up as much product as you can in send me everything you possibly can. They had the whole all hands on deck. But they went in, they got a lot of product out which pretty much saved us for the couple of weeks that things were really shut down. And there was a lot of uncertainty in the market. But after that, we actually ended up doing pretty well because we've gotten to the point where we have so many clients that we supply that you know, we buy so much that we kind of have a first right of refusal on a lot of stuff. So there definitely was some changes in the market some shortages and whatnot. But we honestly because I believe that relationships we've we've fared very, very well. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about
the other. No pun intended the extension of your business, in which case you help companies basically, it almost sounds like you have like kind of like an out of the box solution of in the beauty market. Like I saw, obviously you wholesale, you have drop shipping options, but you also have another arm of your business where it's almost like a service of helping people get up and running on the beauty side specifically with hair extensions. Am I right? Yeah, hair
extensions, we're getting in more on the cosmetic. So basically one stop shop, you can come to us or build your website, we have a whole branding website dedicated to the branding of the products that we have built out even templates where you can design your own labels for products, pretty pretty much every single thing you can need to get your business going. We also do on the back end, we don't really talk about ever who our clients are. But we actually have been partnering with certain celebrities to launch their brand. Because mostly, you know someone that's on TV or a very well known, they're really good at the front end, they can post on social media, they can have it on their shows and this kind of thing. But on the back end, supply, inventory management dealing with customer support, they are horrible. So we have a pretty good partnership program for celebrities where they can come on board, we handle everything on the back end, very private, we help them with the branding and everything else. And on the front end, they do what they do, they can wear the hair, they can talk about it. And those actually have worked out really, really well for us.
You find a lot of e-commerce sellers are gonna say all of them, but are typically very, like, they're only really focused on their business. And you really went into like, six or seven different revenue streams at minimum, what gave you that idea to kind of go in this direction of helping people basically, you could argue, kind of compete with you a little bit even though you still have control of it. Like what what gave you that idea.
It was just another like you said, it's just another stream of income. So we we have a bunch of them. And it has made us you know it at the end of the day, you could say, you know, it's a smaller thought process would be Hey, we're competing with our clients, but actually the big picture of things we're all working together so all our clients are technically working together. Because what it does is it gives us additional buying power and different sourcing capabilities that If we were a smaller company, we wouldn't be able to do like I have a whole new line of custom products coming out. And the only reason why I can do this is first I have the knowledge of the products. But second, because of the manufacturing side, we have really good relationships and really good understanding so the capabilities of what they can do and or training them for certain products. So with the bottom, the market is so big, it's like a $10 billion a year industry. So, you know, even though technically we could be competing with one, one or another, you know, people also generally like to buy from who they like. So the client, you know, our clients are really good at building those relationships with their clients. And you know, I honestly, this is the crazy thing we have. So many times I've heard the story, someone says, Hey, you know, oh, I bought from this company, private label, I don't really like it, but I love your product. And it's the same product 100% the same product. So it comes down to people in e-commerce, or just people, Cust clients they buy from who they like. So if you're creating an e-commerce brand, you know, the better job you are at connecting with your clients and getting them to like you, the more successful you should be because hands down this is this is like a perfect example of same product. They don't like us, but they'd like to other clients, same product.
That's amazing. I mean, talk about a prime example of just community building. Like if you really focus on your brand, and you build a community of people. That's that's just so funny that they literally add your product didn't like it, that's amazing to me. It's really interesting. Like, I know, this is one of our earlier episodes, you know, we do these obviously in advance, these are alive. So I've interviewed a lot of sellers already at this point. And there are a lot of them that do have, you know, additional things that they do and you know, other businesses of some kind. You're the first one though, that is really impressive how you took your e-commerce business, and found a ton of different streams of revenue and diversified that business instead of like creating six other businesses and like all of yours kind of intertwine and help each other together. It's amazing. But that also kind of turns into, you're also clearly on the podcast circuit. I've heard you on a bunch of them. You've been on TV several times, you are an author, like what's the you organize yourself? How do you manage to do all of that?
You know, that's, that's a common question I get. I am I live by my Google Calendar. Right? So if it's not in the calendar, and it's something it's jelly, maybe not going to happen. my to do list is really, really important to me. Being able to communicate with my staff is a lifesaver. And you know, having the right staff to help implement a lot of these ideas, keep a lot of the things going is really crucial. Having a developer that works for me full time is an absolute lifesaver, because there's definitely times where it's like, things go wrong, and you're like, Oh my God, who am I gonna have to fix this because things will go wrong. So yeah, it all but it all does come together. That's all, I used to have the common entrepreneur problem of trying to do too much, but it was all over the place, right? So it's like, I'm in beauty. But you know, there's people that are like, Oh, I'm in beauty. And then I have this food business, and I have this other business, they're not related. You know, the one thing I said no matter what I'm going to do is if I'm going to do additional businesses or brands within the business, they have to be related to the main business, they all have to work together, they all have to help each other and really, at the end of the day help our clients. So that's really key. And that's what we did. Makes,
obviously a ton of sense personally, for the business. I would imagine you probably leverage a pretty good amount of automation as much as you can in my practice in that. Yeah, for sure. What, what what's your tech stack? What is it you're using to kind of help you keep everything as a, you know, a well oiled machine?
Yeah, so we're on Shopify plus, and Shopify plus speaks very well with most of the Shopify apps at even a higher level. When I'm using a specific app, I generally get in touch with them, because I'll give them hell about features they don't have. And they're like, this new guy on the program on this platform, like already sending me things that I need to fix in my apps or my business, you know, but um, you know, so Shopify Plus, you know, Clay vo klaviyo for email, I think is fantastic. I've tried, I will try other platforms like you know, Active Campaign nice and just to be able to get up for some of our smaller brands just so I can get feedback to our client base. You know, as far as right commendations are kind of other things to help them with their business. We have some custom built stuff that we've done because I have some you know, I don't have a development background but I'm really good at what I call speaking developer. So a lot of people don't understand the difficulty of working with a developer and developer so that's that's been a huge strength that you know, I've been doing for quite some time. I'm trying to think of some of the other apps like grow wave I like for rewards and rewards and reviews on a lot of our sites. Yeah, you know, WordPress, we did we we built a couple 1000 WordPress websites over the last couple years, five years for clients, and we hosted everything on flywheel, so get flywheel, great WordPress hosting system. I know there's WP engine as well. flywheels come a long way just in the last few years, even though we are moving a lot of our client side stuff over to Shopify, because you know, Shopify, for us their ecosystem, it's really hard to beat at this point. I mean, I explained to people, well, why Shopify? Now, why not WordPress? Well, Shopify is a publicly traded company, they got to make money, so they always have to be the leader in what they're doing. So for most applications, for most people, I recommend them unless you need something crazy, custom done. So yeah, I mean, I love the technology side, the automation and setting up the flows and everything else to kind of keep things as simple as possible. Working with developers, you know, for site speed, and everything else. This past few months, I've really worked with some people to help with very specific stuff, as far as AV testing and conversions. You know, additional flows, more complex stuff. I've done all the Facebook, Instagram marketing, which I eventually hand off to somebody. But I love doing all of this stuff. But then it comes down to how much time you have. And that's where you get into the agency side.
That's interesting. So I didn't expect you to be running your own social media considering like Shopify Plus, you know, I try not to get into numbers, but we can all assume probably what you guys are doing in revenue, run and running Facebook, and Instagram specifically is a challenge to do it yourself, if you know B to get it done correctly. And like you said, obviously, build a community and clearly you're doing it well, if you have people coming back to you that have tried your product, how are you managing running that yourself, and if everything else is covered, but you still are obviously doing all this other stuff?
Well, I just recently hired, I was gonna hire one marketing assistant, I ended up finding two great people. So hired to so the Facebook, Instagram, and they run that now run the social media, which helps a lot. And I'm really trying to, I'm trying to take myself, I don't want to say out of the business, from my perspective, that I'm not working on it every single day, or whenever I feel like it. But more from a top level perspective. So we can grow faster, because sometimes as much as I love to do the complex stuff, because if it's easy at this point, there's no way I can do it. It's just, if it's if it's easy, it's literally like if someone's like, hey, Mikey, can you build a website, for me, it's so painful, because it's so easy to do. So I try to work on the impossible stuff, or kind of try to think of like, really complex marketing things and complex flows. And if some, you know, if the customer does this, they're gonna see this type of video, you know, I'm really waiting with iOS, the iOS update, so see kind of where we're going to be with all the tracking and be able to do all these really cool stuff that you could do with Facebook. So I'm kind of looking to see where we're going with that. So yeah, it's, it's a lot. But when, when you love it, and it's fun, and it's challenging, then, you know, it doesn't feel like as much as it sounds, probably
these people that you're bringing on to help you with marketing and really anything else. How are you deciphering whether to either a, hire full time employee B, outsource it to freelancer, or see go to an agency like what's what's your approach there.
So I actually at this point, I do all three. So most of the daily tasks, tasks that that are not overly complex, you know, I have in house, I will hire somebody for specific tasks, maybe it's a short term project or something like that. Hire contractor for those. And then the agency side I like to get into specialists on certain things. So like right now we're really redoing all our email flows for the private label site. Once I'm done with that, then I'm going to move over their private label wholesale. And once I'm done with that, I'll probably move over to one of my other sites. And really see this actually kind of segues into my second book. I plan on writing is, you know, okay, we, we took the business. And when we started we had I literally was broke my other business I got wiped out. So I started this business literally with nothing bar the initial investment just to, with my business partner to get it started. So we scaled it up and you know, to get seven figures is pretty cool. And it's I mean, we did it in, I guess our third year, so that was very, very exciting. And then, then you have to go through this shift in your business like, we got to eight figures. And that's like, where I think a huge fall off is for e-commerce and for just business in general. Because you have to go through this dramatic shift to be able to do something like that. Right? So you get there, but then you have a couple options, you can say, Hey, I'm going to take a bunch of investment at this point to grow the business, which is something I don't want to do. Or you can be really creative work with the best people in the industry, you know, really utilize your contacts and manufacturing and really focus on every 1% of the business and how to improve it. And then see where the business can go from there. So we're we look like, you know, things are still growing. So it's still heading in the right direction. So it's really about having the right people involved in your business. Yeah.
Did you bootstrap the whole thing? Or did you get investment? It sounded like you didn't get any, what was your What was your initial start there?
The initial start was $14,000. And then we put another 14,000. in. So total was this is in 2014, total investment was $28,000. You know, we're like I said, we're an eight figure company, we own a couple million dollars in real estate. When I say own that means paid off. So you know, one thing I was not going to do in this business, which was something I did in my first business as a unexperienced entrepreneur was, as money started coming in, I still treated it like a startup. So I'm like, okay, we need a solid foundation, you know, where our offices, we need to own it. And when I say own it, we have to have it paid off. I don't want a monthly payment, you know, as people like, oh, money's free now. And I was like, Yeah, but once you go through a failure in a business, and you have that uncertainty in your life, like me, my day to day, my thought processes, everything else, it's, I feel so much better, because I'm not it's like, you know, for people that don't have a business, I try to explain it like this. I said, Imagine if you didn't have to pay rent, what would your life be like? And they're like, Oh, my God, my life would be amazing. And I said, it's the same for a business, if you don't have to pay that rent, it just makes business easier. You know, whether you can do smarter things with the money or not. So, you know, I still am somewhat frugal about the investments or the investing back in the business and not taking too much money out. But we still at this point, haven't you know, we've talked to some private equity, and at this point, still have declined everything. And I mean, we don't at this point, honestly, we don't really need the investment. The technology side is having the hybrid system honestly, it's phenomenal because we have the product side. So it's like, you have the product side and then the technology side, we're obviously technology if you can do it. Well, it's digital. Yeah, the margins on digital are pretty good. Yeah. You reinvested back in you kind of do the things the right way. Be smart about things and you can run a pretty successful business. That's
I mean, that's obviously and I'm sure you're aware, incredibly impressive. And you know, I I completely agree. There's, there's a time where maybe you need an investment if you're worried about getting to market faster than a competitor or something like that, like, okay, that I understand. But there's I find there's way too many sellers out there who go and grab alone or go and bring on investment and give up equity in their company and like why like, What's the rush? Why are you like you don't you're not dying tomorrow, let's you know, take your time. Like if I find that the most successful sellers I end up working with are the ones that just took their sweet time getting where they were going cool, calm, calculated decisions as they were going their way. And just like you said, like treat it like a startup the entire time. And then you can just do it the whole time. You can keep complete control of your own companies.
Love it completely accurate. Yeah, I think getting the money route. I almost say it's like the easy way out. Right? Yeah. For me, I'm like, I embrace the struggle. I don't care if things are difficult, or you know, you know, some people, the social media highlight reel where you have these entrepreneurs that are, you know, selling so much less than they're driving a Ferrari like, yeah, cool, but like, that's not helping the business that's not helping the client so a lot of people get as they get bigger, I see them getting less client focus. And once that happens, oh, you just I just don't see where the growth is going to come from. Yeah, no, I
agree. Um, are you so we were talking about what you have in house, things like that? Are you using a three PL? Or do you have your own warehouse?
No, we have our own warehouse. Nice. So,
how's how's your whole supply chain thing going right now, obviously, we q4 coming up, everyone's in a panic. It's wildly expensive to do anything. How are you dealing with all that?
there? We're good, man. I mean, look, you know, I went through the 2008 2009 debacle of all that, and you know, I've gone through enough failure and mess things up. And, like, everything we do is so far ahead. And I'm thinking so far ahead. You know, that the planning behind stuff like it, it's, it gets so intricate, I usually don't even tell my staff because they think I'm crazy. I used to tell them about plants, here, here, here and there, like this is they don't even they just like it's too much. I just stop. And I'm like, okay, you know, so just just planning, being really smart with stuff. Yeah, we were fine. You know, it's gonna get better. Like, you know, for us, my goal next year is to buy kind of like a retail slash warehouse space in Vegas, for West Coast logistics, and then eventually we're going to go mid country, middle of the US probably the year after, you know, it's really about acquiring the real estate. You know, people are stuck on the Amazon mindset where they're going to get something the next day. So how do you do that as a small business, right? Like, I have a love hate relationship with Amazon. I love it, because I can order stuff. And generally they have warehouses all over the place. I hate it. Because for small businesses, it's, you know, some of the small businesses that are very Amazon focused yet could be great for you. But I'm building a real brand here. Like, I don't think it's a good place to do it. So you know, I'm looking at the logistics within the different places, different cities, to be able to get products to clients faster at a lower cost shipping costs to us because you got to also put in perspective, shipping costs aren't going down. They're never going down from
here. No, they're only going up. Are you selling on other marketplaces besides Shopify? Are you selling on Amazon or anywhere else? Or is it simply your website? Yes, the
website, you know, some of our clients are selling on Amazon, and that's fine. We've thought about selling on Amazon people like Oh, you're missing out on millions of dollars on Amazon. And maybe, you know, we're spending a lot of time on the physical retail store side, kind of like the allbirds approach. Right? So authors, wildly successful online. Actually, I live in Atlanta at a place called Ponseti market that there's an all bars 100 yards right here they opened their 20 I think is their 20th store. So I was in there all excited, they open because I'm a fan of their shoes. So you know, it's it's really taking the online where a lot of our competition is overseas, what we want to do is do something that our overseas clients can't do. And that's run a kind of a retail and when I say retail, our prices are generally 30 to 40% less than that standard retail, but a retail type showroom in different cities. Because for our clients, they love it.
I love that it makes a lot of sense. And that's I mean you're you're a rare find an e-commerce seller over eight figures right now that's not on Amazon, most of them start on Amazon, then they go to Shopify, a lot of them. I hope I hope all of them are listening to this episode so that they know that yes, you can be successful on Shopify too many of them I believe, start on Amazon and try Shopify for a little while and then give up on it. And it's amazing to me and like you. I don't think that should be the case. If this is your brand, this is your baby, you need to be on Shopify and I love that you're not even on Amazon. I I applaud you for that. Yeah, you
know, it's it's a tough approach sometimes, but it's just something about it. And you know what, we're doing quite fine without it. So I'm like, you know, yeah, maybe we could be doing a little bit better. But there's something about that ecosystem that I just don't like as a brand. You know, as a consumer, it's one thing but as a brand, it's a whole nother thing. Yeah, in my eyes as
a brand to be so reliant on another business is just it doesn't seem like a smart move to me, like, you know, we help sellers with kind of the omni channel approach. So if they are an Amazon, then you know, we'll make sure that you look good on Walmart and eBay and your website and all that fun stuff. But at the end of the day, like the full focus should be on your website like it really needs you. You get to keep all the data you get to, you know, control where your customers are at and how your brand sounds and how it looks and you have so much more control. Amazon e sellers we work with who like just gets suspended just because Amazon's algorithm like was wrong for a minute. And then their businesses basically shut down for two weeks until they can get ahold of someone that gets Just it's such a nightmare on on the seller side,
I think I learned my lesson about a decade ago with the same situation. So I don't know if you remember Facebook, about 10 years ago, you could build these apps that were built into Facebook. And it was like Facebook used to have tabs on your profile, and business pages had tabs, these tabs. So I built this thing called social menu. Right? Well, I had my developer build it, and it was I was marketing it is called social menu. So it was 100% reliant on Facebook, right? It's Facebook's platform is built on Facebook, but oh, my God is Facebook, where's it gonna go? Right, it's not going anywhere on investing money and build this thing. So it was this cool thing where restaurants could put their whole menu in their own tab on their business page. And then, you know, I could say, like, hey, let's go out for lunch today. And I'd send you like a menu item be like all this, get this and it would post on your feed and it would show up in the newsfeed on all this stuff. It got it running. And it was like really good. I got a couple restaurants signed up. And then Facebook decided they didn't want the tabs anymore. And basically all these types of apps just went away. So ever since that one time, I didn't even spend that much money on it. But at the time, it was a ton of money to me. You know, I was so reluctant of building a business on somebody else's platform where they have full control now and you know, people say well, you building it on Shopify, that's a whole different type of building. Right? So yeah, I think people need to be really careful because honestly, if your products successful on Amazon, you know what they're gonna do.
They're gonna make you they're gonna rip you off, rip you off.
It's very easy to do. I mean, I know people that specialize in you know that Amazon works within the manufacturing side that does this, right? And it's it's not hard, and then they put it on there, they sell it cheaper and then you get squeezed out and then you're like, oh, man, I wish I you know, listen to those guys about building the Shopify site and having my own website and everything else. We might
have to have you back on the show just to do an entire episode of us just bashing Amazon because this is this is so fun for me I I also have a love hate relationship, obviously are on the marketing side. We do a lot of services on Amazon, stuff like that. But then, like, you know, you turn around and they change something and that affects the seller, and now their business is down and they start panicking and they're calling us and it's like I Amazon. Jeff Bezos just stayed in space. Yeah. But I was
gonna he's gonna live forever because the investment in that company, you know, I don't know if you saw that one. Like invest in the company to basically re re engineer your your cells, the rejuvenate or something. It's called it's like something like Tom Cruise type movie stuff. Yeah, so Bezos is gonna live forever, so we're gonna have to deal with them.
Man, I did not know that. All right, that's what we needed. Yeah. All right, let's, let's surpass Amazon before they end up suing us for this episode. So you mentioned obviously surpassed eight figures. Fantastic. What do you think was because so I completely agree with the you know, the milestones you'd mentioned, I see. 1 million, 5 million 10,000,050 100 those are the ones that I always find those are the difficult kind of things to get over. You have to really change your business to get to those areas. What do you think was it that really helped you get over that 1 million mark than that 10 million mark? And what do you think? I don't know have you have you surpassed 50 yet is that no, not yet. That's what do you think? And then what do you think will get you to 50
you know, so the 1 million mark was just brute force day in day out like doing what ever we needed to do just to survive in the business. Right so that was like, you know, that was the basically working for somebody else 50 hours a week while running the business in the morning and after and on my lunch break till I built up enough employees then I came on I was technically the fourth employee for the company. So I didn't you know, I did all that for two and a half years before I paid myself my first dollar. Right? So we were investing that money back in to grow the business. To get to the you know, the the 5 million mark was just focusing on what we did well, and replicate that as fast as possible. Right, and really honing in on that 10 million was tough, man, like, you got to make changes. And by nature, people don't like changes and when I say people, you have to deal with staff, right? And staff is generally the hardest part of almost any business is staff and having the right team because we all have different personalities, different backgrounds, different expectations. So it was really honing in on the staff and kind of getting their mindset, you know, really to understand that, hey, we're gonna have to make changes, some things might be uncomfortable for a little bit, hey, you know, we're gonna have to go through some changes, and it's going to be the for the better of the company, and then we're all going to together. So I think that really helped me really focusing once again on the brand, really doubling down on, okay, we have sales now it's about the brand, right. And really building the brand, building our community was really important, I actually run the largest Facebook group for starting a hair extension business, we're at about 38,000 members. This is a group I've been posting in and running for seven years straight. You know, doing more for the community, giving back to the community, we do a lot of different things. You know, I personally give away a new laptop to somebody in our Facebook group every single week, because there's a lot of people in our group in our community that need help entrepreneurs that just are trying to start manage and market their business from their mobile phone or at a major disadvantage. So we try to help them with that, you know, the retail presence really helped us here in Atlanta. And that's why we decided to expand our retail presence. And that goes to getting to 50 million. You know, I think once we're at that 20 store point, and continue to focus on building the brand, I'm pretty positive, we can get there along with building out our our product line, you know, from different cosmetics to you know, someone would come in to buy a wig, and now they get a glue, and then the glue remover and a cleaner. I mean, I've brought up our average order value from about 150 to about 200 230 to $240. And our return customer rate at this point is right around 60%. Which we're probably in a top, you know, a top top percentage of sellers as far as the return customer rate. Yeah. And that's because we're buying focus, we listen to our clients, like it's just that simple, huh? So you're, you're
a relatively young guy, at least from what I can see, what do you have a exit strategy in mind? Or like what's what's the end goal with the business? Do you have one? You know, that's Yeah, so we're building I think it's, it's tough. I don't think any entrepreneur should build a business to sell it. I don't think that's a good way to build a business. But you should build a business to sell it meaning businesses that are built to be able to be sold are generally a very well run business, your accountings, good, you're not having owners that are just or managers or whoever has the company cards, expensing everything, right? So I think it's really important to run the business like a business. And if it comes down to you know, a much larger company that would like to acquire us obviously I'm a businessman, I would look at that but at no time by building the business with the intent of saying oh my god, you know, my goal is for XYZ company have a bias like if they buy a school if not, I'm just keep running this thing. It does very well. I'm good at managing people to the point where, you know, I could take put someone more in my position, and kind of be less hands on if I chose to. But, you know, who really knows what that kind of stuff is? That's it's tough. I mean, yeah, it sounds cool to have an exit you know, I heard this really expensive consultants one time I'm sure you know, the group. And he says, you know, you make people in e-commerce make money when they sell their business, not when they're running their business. And that made a lot of sense to me, because I think, okay, I could do other stuff. But if I do this for another 10 years, I'm fine because it because we keep things so fresh within the business with new projects, because every year I say no more projects, and then we of course, always have a new brand new project we're doing. So you know, it stays very fresh to me. It's very fun at this point. It's been fun for eight years, and I don't see it changing. So. You know, but at the end of the day, it's business if someone comes at us with some crazy number, because they have to have us. Hey, hey, hey, here's a gold platter. Hell with silver platter for you. Nice. Alright, fearless beauty. Your book?
What made you go the route of writing a book? Obviously, you already mentioned that you're you're doing it again. So you literally had a good experience. What's your book about? Why did you go the route? Tell me a little about that.
So fearless beauty, I think is a very honest approach to entrepreneurship. Now it is called fearless beauty, the hair business blueprint. But most of my friends they're like, hey, this isn't really about hair. And I was like, yeah, that's the purpose. You know, it's, it's really a general entrepreneurship book. But when it's your first book, through my research, and through some consultants and stuff, they said, you know, it has to be within a niche and it has to be your niche, right? So that's why I had to make it beauty. But it's a book that really gets you prepared for entrepreneurship. It's the type of book if someone said You know, what's something that before you got started as an entrepreneur, what did you wish you knew? And I was like, I wish someone would have handed me this book, right? Because I put so much into it, I did it because COVID hit honestly. And I like to travel, my girlfriend go all over the place, and COVID hit and I'm like, Well, I guess I'm not going anywhere for a long time. It's time to work on a book. I think a lot of people write books, or they have these classes and all their stuff online. And I don't mean this in a rude way, but a lot of them really haven't done much. Right? So like, they're like, Oh, I'm gonna teach you how to run a business. And I'm like, Well, you know, do you have like a seven, eight figure business? No, but you know, I show people how to do it. And I'm like, okay, I just, there's, there's something about that, that I don't like. So I wanted to wait till we were an eight figure business before I wrote a book because I felt like, I wanted this to be real, real experiences from you know, somebody that has done it, not just talk about it. So you know, the first four chapters are all about getting your mindset, right. And then it says, Okay, now that your mindsets, right, you go through the next four chapters, like let's get started. It was a great experience going through this, you know, this process was learning something new putting out a book, it's the first time in a couple years that I had self doubt about something that I was doing. So that was great to go through that I actually appreciated the self doubt and I embraced it. But the book itself is pretty damn good book. Like it's Yeah, it's, it's well done. I had some great some great endorsements for the book. And my big one is john paul, who is the co founder Paul Mitchell, you know, he's multi billionaire. It's not let me tell you, it's not easy getting a billionaire to endorse your book. Like no. So that was pretty exciting. And it was fun, you know, it was fun. That's
That's amazing. And it sounds like you and I could also do yet another episode to just pick on these inexperienced coaches because I share the same sentiment of how can you possibly say that you're going to charge me to teach me how to run a business but you've never done it yourself?
It happens all the time on social media it's so fresh
the Instagram ones drive me crazy I'm like this is a Ponzi scheme Yeah, we're gonna we're gonna end up down a road I don't want to talk too much your time Mikey. I really appreciated having you on the show. This is that that quintessential moment where I say please feel free to let everyone know where they can find you and all that fun stuff.
Yeah, so if you want to check out my book you can there's a direct link you can go to Amazon and just search for cereals beauty Mikey Moran you know a link to all my websites is on hair business blueprint comm if you want to follow my daily antics, you can follow me on Instagram it's at Moran Mikey. And I don't even really pitch my main website too often because most tech people aren't wearing hair extensions some but if you are you can easily find it through there because I don't want to retarget you because people are like I want your website and I never seen stop seeing your brand I was like yeah now you know I'm careful my retargeting and other stuff even though it's probably all messed up now with you know, the updates but whatever. So yeah, that's where you can find me and you know, feel free to reach out with any questions and, and whatnot. So yeah, I love it.
Of course, Mikey. appreciate you having me on the show everyone who tuned in. Thank you so much. Please make sure to head over to theecommshow.com Subscribe to the show on any podcast platform that you want or on a YouTube channel, whatever you prefer. But as usual, keep on selling and good luck out there.
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