How LitHandlers Organically Boosted Its Way to 7-Figures - LitHandlers | EP. #51
On this 51st episode of The E-Comm Show, our host and BlueTuskr CEO Andrew Maff is with Destiny Padgett, owner of LitHandlers, an online store selling drink sleeves. Before getting into Shark Tank and reaching the elusive 7-figure mark, Destiny was a hardworking single mom who dropped out of hair school and went on to start her entrepreneurial journey.
You’ll love this week’s episode because apart from insightful marketing tricks, Destiny shares her life story and how she consistently and persistently built and bootstrapped LitHandlers from the ground up.
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How LitHandlers Organically Boosted Its Way to 7-Figures - LitHandlers
Andrew Maff and Destiny Padgett
I moved to Utah during my senior year of high school, finished school, and attended hair school. While in hair school, I met a guy and accidentally got pregnant. We got engaged but then I felt like I was only getting married because I was pregnant so I called the wedding off and he committed suicide. I moved back in with my parents in Texas after the funeral and decided that I would do whatever it took to be able to take care of my baby. My parents sent me to a permanent cosmetics and lash extensions course before I had the baby so that I could be working once she got here. While doing the permanent makeup, I opened a children's boutique that eventually evolved into another business a few times until we found our niche and now we sell drink sleeves with handles. We have been featured on Shark Tank, and Good Morning America and have a top shop on Shopify. All because I didn't give up.
Even if I don't want to just still make a post and send emails just don't quit because quitting is not going to do anything. Hey everyone, this is Nezar Akeel from Max Pro. Hi, I'm Linda and I'm Paul and we're Love and Pebble. Hi this is Lopa Van Der Mersch from RASA. You're listening to and you're listening and you are
listening to The E-Comm Show. Welcome to The E-Comm Show, presented by BlueTuskr, the number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts. They share their secrets about 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 E-Comm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I am joined by the amazing Destiny Padgett of lit handlers. Destiny. How are you doing? Good. Yes. Destiny started off meeting us wondering if we were allowed to curse on the show. And I said, Yeah, why not? There are no rules here. You don't want to listen to it. Don't listen. Good. That's the way the show's gonna go, though. So keep it in mind through the whole thing. Anyway, Destiny, very excited to have you on the show. I know this one's gonna be a fun one. Plus, I know a lot about you. I am very excited to dig into everything. So let's kind of get into it. Why don't I give you an opportunity and take the moment to kind of tell everyone where you started how you got into getting into lead handlers and we'll go from there?
Okay. Well, I got started is actually kind of a long story. Like it's just one business evolved into another business that evolved into another business. But basically, I was going to hair school when I was 20, met a guy got pregnant got engaged, and called the wedding off because I didn't want to feel like I was getting married because I was pregnant. We went through some things he ended up committing suicide. And right after the funeral, my parents moved me back into their house in Texas. And from there, they sent me to an eyelash and a Permanent Cosmetics course. And I was tattooing people's faces. And while I was doing that, I also was doing like a little small boutique that I would go to little flea markets and so kid clothes, which led to getting a silhouette and then I was doing vinyl on like koozies and on shirts, and then it just evolved into patterns. And then I was denied a trademark and I was like alright, what do I got to do to rebrand and like establish myself that's when I added the handle and changed the name, and here we are.
That is a crazy story. So you went through so many different things but hey, you found out what's working obviously you're here now so that's a good thing. You were also on Shark Tank, obviously how did how'd that whole thing go? Did you like it? Some people I've had several people who were on Shark Tank and it's always like some loved it some hated it. Everyone's experience was different. What was yours? Like?
I mean, I had a good experience but only because they were nice to me. I'm pretty sure they so before the show and they asked you they're like what are you going to do if they're mean to you if you don't get to do and I'm like um I'll probably cry and if they're mean to me I'll probably be the mean bag I'll drop some f so I'm pretty sure they have a piece of paper that was like be very nice to her.
That's a great way to get him to be nice to you. You gotta deal so that worked out everything went well. That's great. That's awesome. So how have things been going since the show? Pretty good.
We are in all of the academies nationwide is like 259 stores it's pretty crazy and then we've done lots of custom ones we've done custom ones for white cloth three times we've done from some for Trader Joe's it's cool like just a lot of opportunities that I didn't know could happen have happened
yeah, so the product line in itself I saw you are you start to expand the product line outside of what's essentially like a koozie with a handle on it correct like there's that's kind of the easiest like layman's terms to explain it. But you've expanded the product line into some other stuff now correct what have you gotten into?
So well first we like did other sizes. We have them for like large coffees of all sizes, but we also do backpacks we do neoprene fanny packs. Just want to be a neoprene queen. On things, like neoprene we have sunglass cases that come in that are made on neoprene. It's just an awesome material. very vibrant, very fun.
Yeah. Did you ever think that you would get this far
know when you start oh my gosh, no, I'm a beauty school dropout. I don't know, I don't even know how this is happening still.
That's pretty cool. So you I believe you've already cleared seven figures annually already correct? Yes. Let's see, like, That's nuts. How long have you had it? How long? When did the company get started?
I mean, it just depends on what you consider.
That's a good question. So when, with what it is today, when did lead handlers to get started?
So let handlers officially became lead handlers in 2017.
Yeah, that's, yeah. So obviously, you know, Shark Tank helps and all that fun stuff. But what do you think is, the leading cause of what's allowed you to be so successful in getting to this point so far?
Definitely consistency. Just even if I don't want to just still make a post and send emails, just don't quit, because quitting is not going to do anything. Just consistency I would get, I would say, yeah,
what has? What's your marketing strategy? But because like, so, one of the things I'm curious, I'm curious about like, this is not an easy thing to start, right? Like, this is a brand that you see a lot of people do similar types of products on something like Etsy or something along those lines. But very rarely do they ever get to the point like where you're at where you're at Shark Tank, you're on-site, you've cleared seven figures? Like that's not easy. So what have you done to kind of differentiate yourself from all of the others? Whether you call them competitors or similar types of products that solve the same problem? Like how have you been able to differentiate that?
Um, I think I've been able to differentiate a little bit with my patterns like nobody really has cool patterns as we do. They're all just kind of China patterns. And then also, like, marketing, marketing is hard. It was very hard to learn. But I actually got on to Shark Tank, because I actually thought that one of my tic-tock videos that went viral that they saw that because they reached out to me. Yeah, I was like, Hey, did you see my TikTok or something? Like, how did you find me? And they're like, No, we actually saw your Instagram ad. And I was actually targeting Shark Tank and employees on Shark Tank and the Sony productions in my ads. I was like, yeah.
Yeah, genius. Nice. Oh, smart. Yeah. What? So has most of your marketing has been from a paid advertising side?
No, I actually hardly ever advertise. I do it sometimes. Like, I'll maybe run like $200 in ads a month. And that's between Facebook and Instagram together. I just do a lot of reels. I do a lot of TikTok's just in post.
So you're gonna you've cleared seven figures, just doing organic social, for the most part with a little bit of paid advertising here and there. Yeah, that's insane. Have you thought about like reinvesting and starting to do paid advertising?
I thought about it a lot. And like tons of people always messages wanting to know, like, Hey, I see you're not running ads, like let us help you. And I'm like, That's okay. Like, it's just kind of a hard market. Like I can't advertise to anyone under 21. My stuff always gets flagged because it has alcohol in it. And it's just kind of hard to do that way. Because I'm always getting reported. But
have you tried influencer marketing, anything like that?
Not really. We have lots of people who follow us. And they have like, maybe like a couple of 1000 followers. And if they make a lot of posts and tag us in it, like every, like five or 10 I'll just secretly send them like a package and be like, thanks. And then they love that. And so then they just keep posting.
And this is nuts. I don't even know. I don't even know where to go with this conversation. Everything that you've done is just like, yeah, I didn't need to do that. It's been fine without it. Yeah, that's no it's everything's, it all made here in the States. So you're outsourcing it overseas, like what's, how are you making the product?
So we make the patterns here, me and my best friend slash manager. She's, I taught her how to make seamless patterns, and she's been killing it since. And then we just send our patterns over to China. They make manufacturing, we're granted our patent over there. And they just send them to us and we shipped from our warehouse.
Like it's you, you have this way of making everything sound so easy. Like someone's gonna listen to this and be like, I could do that and then they're going to tank because this is not it's not that easy. So you clearly have some kind of knack for it that you've been able to do this and yet you're like, yeah, and then I just ship them like what's the
like I just do the thing.
Yeah, just do it or shut up. Yeah. What are you doing? Have you been having any supply chain issues? Or are you just like one of the lucky ones where like, now we're fine?
I mean, it's been pretty good. Like there are small delays a little bit but then we just shipped to switch the air freight. And we ended up having to like raise our prices a smidge because it costs a quarter more to airfreight. But yeah, you got to do what you got to do.
Yeah. What's, what's the game plan for q4? Are you guys doing any kind of like big campaign around it? Are you just going to kind of write it out and see what happens?
Just write it out. So, when we made this deal with Academy, they originally wanted handlers but they didn't want to sell them for the retail prices that we require map pricing. And I didn't want to make any of my boutiques mad. I was like, well, let's compromise, how about you get sleeves without the handles and you can sell them for the prices you want? Because they were just wanting them to sell them for like three and $4. I'm like, I can't do that. But then they were kind of like, I just had a meeting with them the other day. And they were like, we need the handles like people need this. This is your story. And so starting in q4, we're rolling out the handlers into Academy. And I'm gonna let them go a little bit below my map pricing because it's Academy. And I did catch a lot of backlash from my boutiques anyways. So. Yeah.
Awesome. That's nuts. Like, it's just such interesting. Like, all my standard questions. I'm running low on because you're just like, No, I don't need to do that. I'm fine. I don't want to wear what makes it fun. What? So where are you planning on taking the company like, you know, you've passed the seven-figure mark, which is very tough for a lot of companies? And you know, you've started to expand the product line, like where do you what's the end goal.
So the end goal, honestly, the end goal is I want to be the next big. Now I don't know if people know this, but the lighter company big also owns the trademark for the word koozie because that's who makes them. I want lighters, I want pattern nighters, I want pattern tumblers to go inside the handlers. I want pattern chapsticks to go inside the pocket. Like that's where I'm going.
Interesting. So you that's, that's big. So that's, you want to start competing, like creating the things that your products are currently holding?
Yeah. Just trying to stay in my lane.
What, uh, what? That's it's a great add on what um, what have you started that approach yet? Have you kind of started looking into what that's gonna take?
Yes, the lighters are kind of hard because of all the shipping butane laws. So I'm still working on that we have some samples of some tumblers coming. I'm really excited for them. I hope that they turned out as cool as I'm expecting. But I don't have very high hopes because nothing's ever as good the first time. It takes a little bit of tweaking. Yeah. So soon.
We'll have tumblers that are gonna be awesome. I love that's a great idea. Because it's a fantastic add a lot of people they think, you know, you got to expand the product line vertically. And this is almost Wait, no, they expanded horizontally. This is almost vertically. I don't know, you're saying the product line differently. That's what I'm trying to get at? What? So you made a deal with Daymond on the show? How's working with him going?
So we haven't really done much working together? Um, yeah, he was fully willing to close the deal at what we said on the show. I think I have commitment issues. And so I was kind of like, oh, I don't know if I can answer to somebody like, things just keep working out for me when I'm doing them myself. If there was someone else in the mix might mess it up. And so he's been really nice. Like, he's been very helpful. Like, any questions we'll answer. His team is super cool. All super cool people and we're all cordial to each other. But now we didn't go through with the deal.
Oh, interesting. And your head you're doing fine. So yeah, it is what it is. Do you see like an increase in sales every time there's some kind of like, repairing of the episode or anything like that?
Just a little bit. Just a smidge. Yeah, a little bump. Cool. Yeah,
man, you're challenged to interview so it makes it so interesting how lackadaisical, which is gonna be my sad word of the day. You just it's and it's true. I mean, some people do you talk to them and they make it sounds so complicated like, no, just ship it, you're fine. Yeah. Yeah, just try it. You're good. So you bootstrap the entire thing you haven't taken on any investment? Nothing. Nope. That is impressive. That is pretty cool. What I'm what? What's your, what's your motivation, like your personal motivation to kind of keep growing?
So my motivation was losing my daughter's dad, I kind of had to do something, I was gonna be a mom, and I had to take care of my kid. And then a little bit later in life, after that happened, my dad sat me down. And he was like, Hey, listen, Destiny. Like, I know, this is hard. This is very challenging. But you can either let it define you or you can let it define you. Don't you choose? You choose what you wanted to do. And I was like, Alright, this is not going to be who I am. I'm not going to be the girl whose baby daddy committed suicide. I'm going to be someone out there providing for my kid and taking care of her. And then when I got married, two years later, just a little over two years, I was finally like, Alright, I think I'm ready to date. He said, wait two years before you make any major decisions. And like at the two-year mark, I was like, I'm ready to back out I met a dude who I went to church with when I was growing up. We got married. And he wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom. And I just couldn't do it. That is not me. I tried to homeschooler and No, no, we need to be paying more. Like further into the marriage, it's been 10 years now. But it came to this point where we were kind of fighting. And he was the breadwinner. And I was like, I will never allow myself to be in a position again, where I'm relying on someone else to take care of me. Whether divorce, death, or something like something happens, he gets hurt, like I need to be able to help and take care of our family too. And that's my motivation is I don't ever want to have to rely on someone else.
Yeah, yeah. To your point. It's interesting. Do you think one day you will exit the company and have a big payout? Or do you think this will be something that maybe you hand down one day?
I don't know. My daughter's so she wants to take over all the time. But she thinks that she can do it without having college experience too. And I'm like, No, ma'am. If you go to school, you can. But then I tried to trick her to I'm like, how about you just go to school for law and then you can be my lawyer. But now if the right number came along now I would definitely sell for sure.
We all would. Yeah. So throughout this entire interview, you have been so lacking, and it's amazing. And all of your answers are just like yeah, just you just go and do that, which is great. And I so I got to ask like what is what do you think is like your mindset as you're doing stuff that you're just fine with just like testing things here and then just continuing to do it and trucking along with it instead of doing like, you think like the average ecommerce seller like I gotta do paid ads. I gotta do influencer Mari I gotta do all this stuff for email. Like there's this list of things that everyone says you should be doing. And you've kind of ignored all of that and just said, No, I'm gonna do what works. And I'm going to disregard everyone's stuff that they say like, what is? What is it basically, that is allowing you to just kind of keep at doing what you know, is work?
Just keep doing it. Sometimes. Like, I wonder if maybe I could do better if I was actually doing those things. But then like, I think I'm also a mom, I'm also a wife. I'm also a sister, like, I can't give my entire life to this. So I give it what I have. And it works. If you like, put passion into it. Even if it's like 70% As long as you're doing it every single day, things will work out eventually. And that's my mindset. It's gonna be alright. It'll be good.
Make sense? Just do it. You're like, great. It's your Nike slogan for the day. Really appreciate you having the show. This was great. This was a blast. I would love to give you the opportunity. Let everyone know where they can find out more about you. And then of course the handlers
on our social media. We are just at lithandlers on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Don't follow our TikTok unless you're okay with stoner talk. Because we talked about that kind of stuff. And just our website lithandlers.com Amazon Etsy. Yeah, just Google everywhere.
Appreciate it. Yeah.
Thank you for having me.
Yeah, thank you for being on the show and everyone who tuned in, of course, thank you as well. As usual please rate review, subscribe, whatever on whatever podcast platform you want, or YouTube or head over to ecommshow.com But as usual, thank you all for tuning in. And we'll see you all next time.
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