Transcending Limits Braxton Fleming’s Journey with Stealth Bros & Co., Empowering Transgender Lives & Fashion Innovation
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 59:29)
Sponsors & Partners
Braxton Fleming, Founder of Stealth Bros & Co., a visionary entrepreneur who transformed personal challenges into an empowering brand for the transgender community. A brand offering fashionable dopp kits for transgender men to discreetly store hormone replacement therapy and medical essentials.
Braxton Fleming the founder of Stealth Bro & Co, a business producing fashionable dopp kits or toiletry bags for transgender men to discreetly store hormone replacement therapy and medical paraphernalia. Braxton shares his personal story, inspired by a void in his life during transitioning and a need for suitable storage solutions. He built a community and put all efforts into the business during a difficult breakup, eventually committing full-time. Stealth Bros offers temperature-controlled bags and Sharps containers to meet the needs of the transgender community, expanding to a brand that empowers and offers colorful, discreet options. Braxton emphasizes the importance of passion, authenticity, and learning from mistakes in his entrepreneurial journey.
- 00:00:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” entrepreneur Sushant interviews Braxton, the founder of Stealth Bros and Co, a business that produces fashionable dopp kits or toiletry bags for transgender men to help keep their hormone replacement therapy and other medical paraphernalia safe and discreet. Braxton shares his personal story of transitioning and the inspiration behind starting the business. He explains that during his hormone replacement therapy journey, he didn’t realize there was a transgender community and felt a void in his life. After discovering the community, he realized there wasn’t a suitable solution for storing his medication and joked about creating his own bag. Over the following year, he built a community and, during a difficult breakup, put all his efforts into the business, eventually deciding to pursue it full-time as a passion.
- 00:05:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the speaker, Braxton, shares the motivation behind starting his business, Stealth Bros. He was inspired to create a project that would not only benefit himself but also uplift his community. Initially, Braxton wanted to generate extra funds for his top surgery without having to work overtime. He contemplated various ideas, realizing that t-shirts and hats were already saturated in the market. Instead, he came up with the concept of creating bags that would include all the necessary items for the community, allowing them to uplift each other. With the help of a friend who was a photographer, Braxton started Full Throttle in December 2017, after much dedication and hard work. He poured every ounce of his time into learning about manufacturing processes, fabrics, and other related aspects. As the business grew, he realized that the need for his products exceeded his initial community, reaching underrepresented communities in need of luxury items to carry their medical essentials. Braxton’s goal for Stealth Bros is to create a brand that empowers these communities and makes carrying medical items a positive experience. Stealth Bros offers five main products currently, including a basic toiletry bag and an insulated style with an insulated front pocket.
- 00:10:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the speaker discusses the creation and development of their product line, which includes temperature-controlled bags for medications and Sharps containers. The smallest product, the junior doop, stays cold for 24 hours and is ideal for camping or overnight trips. The backside is also temperature-controlled and more organized. They also offer a Sharps container that fits within the junior doop or original one, available in colors to suit consumers who use the product. The brand strives to make people feel more comfortable by creating colorful and discreet options. They’ve released a duffel bag with an organized compartment for medication and are expanding the product line with various colors and larger containers. The speaker launched the first product with a simple design six months after having the idea, and they found their manufacturer by searching online and reconnecting with a supplier they had worked with for a decade.
- 00:15:00 In this section, Braxton Fleming recalls how his entrepreneurial journey began through his father’s encouragement to find a need and fill the void. He started by discovering a relationship with a supplier on a wholesale app and, despite lacking funds, managed to acquire products with promises he couldn’t keep at the time. Fleming used his recently paid-off credit card to invest in his business and successfully launched with the help of his online community, giving away free products to build relationships and gain the first paying customers. He emphasizes the importance of passion and love for the business rather than focusing solely on the financial aspects.
- 00:20:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the speaker discusses how he gave away his product, which was a specific type of bag, to his friends with influential Instagram accounts. He did this to generate buzz and build a community around his brand. The speaker emphasizes the importance of putting heart and soul into your business, as it will attract followers and customers. He also notes that not having every step planned out before starting is a normal part of entrepreneurship. The speaker mentions that the product in question is a lifelong need for trans men on hormone replacement therapy.
- 00:25:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the speaker discusses the lifelong nature of hormone replacement therapy for transgender individuals. If a person has a uterus and wants to taper off hormones, they may be able to do so, but for those with hysterectomies and no other hormone-producing system, they will need to take hormones, such as testosterone, for the rest of their lives to maintain regulation. Testosterone can lead to permanent changes, such as facial hair growth, and can make individuals feel more empowered and closer to their identified gender. The individual in the video, Braxton Fleming, plans to take hormones lifelong due to their identification as a “very traditional male.” However, other individuals may choose to come on and off hormones based on their personal journeys. Hormone replacement therapy is an essential aspect of life for many transgender individuals, and while it may require a lifetime commitment, it helps them live more authentically and in alignment with their identified gender.
- 00:30:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the entrepreneur discusses his manufacturing process and working with overseas suppliers, specifically Chinese manufacturers. He found his manufacturers through platforms like Alibaba and takes the risk of working with them despite not visiting China. He describes how his relationships with his suppliers have been genuine and mutually beneficial. Braxton also emphasizes that his business is primarily about branding, as his target market is a specific demographic, and he aims to connect with customers through the unique story and authenticity of his brand. He believes that this personalized approach sets his business apart and drives sales, with his website serving as one of his key sales channels.
- 00:35:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the entrepreneur discusses his experiences with various sales platforms for his product, including Amazon and CVS Health, as well as his appearance on Shark Tank. He backed out of selling on Amazon due to the overwhelming number of orders and the demands of the platform. His product, Stealth Bros Sharp Shuttles, can be found at CVS Health stores and on their website. Regarding his experience on Shark Tank, Fleming was contacted by email and went through extensive due diligence before being chosen to film. He prepared his pitch extensively and practiced with assigned executive directors, ultimately feeling very nervous during the taping. The edited version of the show made the conversation appear seamless despite being unscripted once the initial pitch was given. Fleming mentions that Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran invested in his business after the show, though the specifics of their involvement are not discussed in this excerpt.
- 00:40:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the entrepreneur shares his experience appearing on Shark Tank and the subsequent deal-making process. Despite initial nerves, he found the sharks to be nice and cooperative during filming, with only some jokes and banter being aired. After the show, the due diligence process began, hinging on financial paperwork matching up with stage presentations. Fleming’s deal moved quickly due to his prompt actions, closing within two weeks after the show aired. Working with Shark Tank’s investment teams has been beneficial, though the real work began post-deal, with a focus on growing the business through marketing efforts, including social media, subscriptions, and paid advertising on Google, which he plans to explore soon.
- 00:45:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the speaker discusses his marketing strategies, including social media advertising, email marketing, and his affiliation with the National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He also talks about his team, which includes a marketing director, contracted workers, photographers, and videographers. The speaker expresses his desire to build a larger team to scale and grow the business. When asked about mistakes and failures as an entrepreneur, he reflects on small hiccups in his business journey but maintains that there were no major failures, as each challenge led him to new opportunities.
- 00:50:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the entrepreneur discusses his philosophy towards failures in business. He shares that instead of viewing setbacks as failures, he approaches them as lessons that can be applied to future endeavors. He cites an experience with the retailer CVS, where he lost tens of thousands of dollars but learned valuable insights about retail business. He emphasizes the importance of financial smarts, learning from mistakes, and maintaining a positive mindset to sustain through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
- 00:55:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Braxton Fleming,” the entrepreneur shares his current focus on building his brand and creating his own products, which has left him less aware of new business tools and productivity tips. He recommends Notion as a useful software for organization and productivity.braxton also shares his sources of inspiration, which include motivational speakers such as Steve Harvey, Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Jim Rohn. The speaker highlights the influential impact of Gary Vee’s books, “The Seven Daily Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Think and Grow Rich,” on his life. Braxton also emphasizes the importance of finding a need and filling the void as the best business advice he has ever received. Throughout the interview, Braxton promotes his business, Stealth Bros., which can be found at www.stealthbrosco.com or by searching for the name on various social media platforms.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co
|[00:00:52] Braxton’s Entrepreneurial Journey
|[00:01:37] Discovering Transgender Community
|[00:02:56] Finding a Solution: Creating the Bags
|[00:04:43] Turning Passion into Business
|[00:06:21] Launching Stealth Bros Co.
|[00:07:31] Expanding Vision Beyond Transgender Community
|[00:08:38] Identifying Unmet Needs in Underrepresented Communities
|[00:09:40] Overview of Stealth Bros. and Co. Products
|[00:12:35] Starting with the Idea
|[00:13:25] Designing the Initial Product
|[00:14:11] Finding a Manufacturer
|[00:16:00] Funding the First Round of Products
|[00:18:48] Starting with No Pressure
|[00:19:15] Connecting with the Trans Community
|[00:22:00] Building a Community and First Sales
|[00:24:00] The Lifelong Nature of Hormone Replacement Therapy
|[00:26:56] Exploring Testosterone Replacement Therapy
|[00:27:35] The Impact of Testosterone on Empowerment and Identity
|[00:28:37] Navigating Transgender Experiences and Understanding Hormones
|[00:29:45] Addressing Feminism, Toxic Masculinity, and Human Biology
|[00:30:41] Sourcing Products from Chinese Manufacturers
|[00:32:46] Branding and Connecting with a Niche Market
|[00:35:00] Sales Channels: E-commerce, TikTok Shop, and CVS
|[00:36:24] Journey to Shark Tank and Preparing for the Pitch
|[00:38:50] Shark Tank Experience and Dealing with Editors
|[00:40:48] Post-Shark Tank Process and Closing the Deal
|[00:41:47] Working with Mark and Barbara
|[00:42:10] Post-Shark Tank Challenges
|[00:42:54] Managing Business Finances
|[00:43:33] Marketing Strategies
|[00:44:44] Subscription Model and Customer Loyalty
|[00:46:31] Building a Team
|[00:48:46] Learning from Mistakes and Failures
|[00:54:14] Book Recommendation: “Seven Daily Habits of Highly Successful People”
|[00:55:27] Productivity Tool: Notion
|[00:56:11] Inspirational Figures: Steve Harvey, Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jim Rohn
|[00:58:15] Best Business Advice: Find the Need and Fill the Void
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey)
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response:)
- A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend/Productivity Tip. (Response: NOTION)
- A startup or business (in ecommerce, retail, or tech) that you think is currently doing great things. (Response🙂
- A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Steve Harvey, Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jim Rohn)
- One networking tip or building and sustaining valuable professional relationships.
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: Find the Need and Fill the Void)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to TrepTalks. This is the show where I interview successful e commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders and ask them questions about their business story and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.
And today I’m really excited to welcome Braxton Fleming to the show. Braxton is the founder of Stealth Bros Co. They produce fashionable dop kits or toiletry bags to help keep the hormone replacement therapy and other medical paraphernalia Needed by transgender men safe and discreet and today i’m going to ask Braxton a few questions about his entrepreneur journey and some of the strategy and tactics that he has used to try to grow his business So Braxton, thank you so much for joining me today.
I really really appreciate your time.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Oh, I’m excited to be here and super, super excited to chat with you today.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: [00:01:00] So very interesting business. Maybe we can get started with a little bit about yourself, your story. I know you have an interesting story and maybe you can share a little bit about your motivation for starting this business.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Yes, for sure. So, um, as you mentioned, I’m a transgender man, which means I was born a female at birth and I transitioned about seven years ago is when I started my, um, hormone replacement therapy medication and. You know, during that journey, really what it was, what was that when I, I didn’t even realize, let’s just start from the beginning.
I didn’t realize, I didn’t even know that there was transgender people. I spent literally most of my twenties feeling like I had, um, A void in me. And I honestly thought that I needed to change careers. I kind of felt like I was a licensed practical nurse. At that time for seven years. So I had been a licensed practical nurse since I was like 19 years old.[00:02:00]
So, you know, my family and everyone was telling me, Oh, you’re fine. You’re perfect. You’re doing all the things you need to do. You’re making money. Just continue going to school and you’ll be fine. But I was going to school and I was doing all these things, but I still felt this major void in my life. And, um, I happen to be researching different things online.
I’m just like a big reader. So I was reading different things online, just trying to pick up something new. And I came across a video of a transgender man, and it was really weird because At that time I was within like a lesbian relationship and you know, my girlfriend was like, Oh, like, is that something that you wanted to do?
And I’m like, no, no, no. Because it was really foreign to me and I was very ignorant to the whole community. Um, so I was like, no, I don’t want that. But for whatever reason, it just kept drawing me and I kept watching more and more videos. And as I watched these videos, I realized that, hey, look, you know, I, this may be like.
My missing puzzle piece to my life and I went to [00:03:00] therapy and so forth and then after that I was recommended to go to a specialist to get on the hormone replacement therapy. And during that time, I felt so connected to this new community that I had found. And I was like, assessing them indirectly and, and realizing that they didn’t have anywhere to put these medications.
So I was already a nurse for seven years at that time. So I was kind of like indirectly doing all these things while learning about my community. And then once I actually started the meds about like Five or six months after I went to the doctors, um, I realized that I didn’t have anywhere to put them.
And I’m like, well, where can I put it? So I went to the store and I just saw regular toiletry bags. And I’m like, but this isn’t organized to like, how I need to put my medication in. Like I wanted to sit upright. There was a lot of different things. So I joked around and I said, I’m going to make my own bag.
And mind you, I was just like. three or four months on T at this time. [00:04:00] So the entire year went by and in that year, I created a community. I, I gained so many new friends. I talked to so many different people. I indirectly started to build this community around me. Um, and then I went through a really bad breakup.
And I was forced back into my father’s home at 27 years old. And I said, you know what, I’m going to do something. And I decided to put all of my efforts that I put into this relationship, into my business. And at that time I was working a home care nursing job. So I was working with a baby and she slept majority of the time.
So I was able to spend like 10 hours on my computer and just kind of like dive into like, The manufacturing of a product and just really learning all about business. And I did that for about a solid, like three months before I decided to [00:05:00] say, I’m going to move forward with this. And I kind of genuinely did it as a passion project, more like something to be involved with my community.
And two, because I was tired of working overtime and I needed money for my top surgery. So I was like, how can I gain extra funds? I don’t want to work overtime. So I want to create something. It’s really crazy. Cause like all while I was thinking about this, I also was worried about my community because I was like, I don’t want to come out with a t shirt or hat because there’s so many other guys that are out there selling t shirts and hats and apparel.
I have to come up with something where I can have their hat. their t shirt, their shoes, and my bag all in the same picture to promote these items and we can uplift each other. So that was really a big part of why I went down the lane of creating the bags as well. It’s like all these little pieces that came together as I was building community.
And then, um, I reached out to one of my good friends who [00:06:00] was a photographer and I said, Hey, can you help me with this project? Um, he thought it was genius. And as the more people I talk to, they’re like, this is. This is a needed product. And then once I released, I think I really like jumped on it in like August of 2017, and then I launched a business-like full throttle, December 20th, 2017.
So I put literally. Yeah, I put literally every ounce of my time into creating, figuring out, um, like the manufacturing process and just kind of like asking questions, you know what I mean? Not really knowing what to do, but just asking those questions and seeing how far the supplier was willing to go with the dimensions and the colors and the textures.
And as time went on, that’s how I learned more about fabrics and things of that nature. But, you know, that’s how I really started was just really a passion project, um, to just. Push it out there for my community. Um, and then once I realized that the community needed it so much as I was telling [00:07:00] people at my job in my workplace, they were like, my dad’s a diabetic.
Oh, my, my fiance, she’s going through IVF. You know, I take B12 injections. There’s heparin injections. There’s so many different. silent communities that are suffering carrying around these medical items because they’re scared of the stigmatization around society and their views on injectable needs. And I realized that as the business was growing and that’s when I really tapped in to say, you know what, this is bigger than just my community.
This is All underrepresented communities, let’s build a luxury brand for them to give back to these people who have been suffering in silence, excuse me, for so many years, and let them feel good about who they are, if they’re going to be dealing with this chronic illness for the rest of their life. They might as well feel happy about carrying their medication around with them instead of hiding every single time they have to take that injection or take that medication.
So my, my goal really for Stealth Bros is just really to uplift those communities like how [00:08:00] my community uplifted me. Um, you know, and that’s what makes our brand different than other, um, tooletry brands.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, that’s so interesting because I think, you know, you know, some of the things that you described kind of are the The right ingredients for starting a business, right?
So you identified a need of a product that was, it was kind of an unmet need. So, you know, you were trying to find a product that would meet your needs of, you know, this unique set of products, but you couldn’t find it. So that was a need. And then you found a community, you know, so, you know, a community of people who are going to need these kinds of products.
And also, I think, um, you know, your product, I think, you In your research, you know, phase, you probably realize that, you know, it’s probably even though it’s going to require some sort of investment, it’s not like so much that you have to go out there and fundraise and things like that. I definitely want to know more about that.
But before we go [00:09:00] there, you know, maybe can you talk a little bit about your products? Like, what is your product selection looks like right now?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Okay, so we have right now we have five main products. So our first product is our original job. I can actually show you if you like. This is actually one of our first products we came with it’s like a basic toiletry bag, which I recently just put some new loops here for your sharps container and or your vials of medication and then on the interior there’s some other small pockets that you can also use.
And then behind me here, I think there’s, there’s one here. This is our junior dop kit, which is actually a little bit smaller. This is actually one of our insulated styles. So you can open up the front pocket and it pretty much all this is insulated. So if you have a cold medication, you could put this in here and it’s going to stay cold for four to six hours.
[00:10:00] If you decide to put like a small ice pack, which we, we don’t sell, you can buy that separately. Um, you could place this in here and it will stay cold for like 24 hours. So like you’re going on an overnight trip or something like that, camping, this would be like your ideal thing that you want to keep if you’re a diabetic or someone with, um, like temperature-controlled medication.
And then we have, um, the backside here, also temperature controlled, which just has like a little bit more zippers and just more organization so that when it does come for that time, you’re not scattering, trying to find all the things that you need to have a seamless process. Um, to get that done. And then we have our, which I, I don’t have one next to me right now, but this is our sharps container.
I don’t know if you can kind of see that on there. It’s a small shuttle and it actually goes within the junior DAP or an original DAP. And it’s made for travel or for just a small, discrete way to put away your sharps. If you have children, if you have pets, you could put it high up in a counter. Nobody’s going to notice it there.
Um, so we, we [00:11:00] create those in different colors because there’s really no. Manufacturer right now that’s creating colorful sharps containers to suit the consumer who’s actually using the product. And that’s what, like I said, our brand is all about making people feel more comfortable. So they come in purple, green, and black as of right now, but we’re expanding our products, you know, all the time, um, especially different, different colors.
And then we also carry a larger sharps container, um, which is meant for at home to sit on your dresser. As you’ve seen before, like at hospitals, you’ll see the hazard. Sharps container in the big yellow or the big red. But, um, we have it in black, we have it in purple, we have it in green so that you can like kind of find your style and, um, make it a little bit more comfortable for you within your space.
So those are, that’s the four main first products. And then we have a duffel bag, which we just recently released and that duffel bag. is made to keep, um, we have a specialized front compartment that is organized to hold all your medication. So this way, if you don’t want to bring your adopt kit with you or if you’re going like a three day trip, [00:12:00] you can just put all your medication within this large bag with your clothes, your shoes or whatever else you may have.
Or you could use the front pocket for your medication and then you have our kids. It’s for your hygienic or whatever other things you may have. Um, so we’re just trying to make it more versatile so that people are able to, you know, feel free about where they’re going. So those are our five main products, but our main seller is the junior dot, the small one right here.
And that comes in a ton of colors and we drop different collections and different fabrics all the time to switch it up. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, and can you take me. To the beginning. So you, you know, you had an idea around, you know, you said August, uh, September kind of timeframe. And then you launched in December. So in like a three month timeframe, right?
Um, Can you talk a little bit about, you know, once you had the idea, once you kind of figured that, you know, this may work, what were the next steps? Like, did you, and you were [00:13:00] talking to manufacturers, can you walk me through that process? You know, what did you kind of come up with the product first and then started to market?
Or were you doing some of that concurrently? Can you talk me through those first? A few months when you were designing the product, coming up with the idea, setting up maybe your website and things like that. And how did it lead up to kind of the launch and getting your first customers?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Awesome. Yeah, sure.
Um, it’s really crazy because, um, I had a product in my mind that I wanted to do. I wanted to have a bag specifically for those needs. Um, but when I first, my first product actually was very, very simple, even more simple than the first product I showed you, it had like one main pocket in a zipper and that was it.
And that’s kind of what we launched with. It wasn’t until almost six months later that I launched the more detailed product because as I was growing [00:14:00] and learning the business in the first few months, I was asking more questions to the suppliers and learning them as well. Um, but just to back it up a little bit, bit more before that.
The way that I, because people ask me all the time, how did you find a manufacturer? They’re like, Brax, how do you find a manufacturer? You know, and it’s a great question. Um, I really just Googled everything and that’s the God’s honest truth. I, I literally went to Google and I said, customized bags, customizable bags, minimum quantity, order bulk.
Purchase bags. I literally put those words into Google. Um, and then different manufacturer, um, wholesale supplier websites start to pop up. And one of those websites popped up that I actually was affiliated with. For 10 years, this is, I swear to God, I have proof in the pudding. I can show receipts 10 years under my birth name [00:15:00] on this website.
It’s crazy because just to back it up a little bit more, my dad’s also an entrepreneur my entire life. My dad has always told me to find the need and fill the void. He’s been saying this to me for my entire life. I never knew what it was until I started this. Business, but we used to always try to find like kooky ideas and try to like, we used to do a lot of fun stuff together and we still do.
But, um, you know, I guess I must’ve signed up to this thing, not even realizing what I did, but either way, I had this established relationship under my birth name with this man, with this, um, wholesale. Pretty much. And, uh, I, cause it, cause I tried to put my email in there and it’s like, you already have an account.
So I’m like, okay, cool. So I went into there and I started to search their products. And then once I found a product that I liked, I then reached out to the supplier and said, Hey, are you able to do this amount? Are you able to do that amount? And normally they. They want to do 500, 000 and they wait a [00:16:00] month.
I barely have any money. So I literally begged the supplier. I said, look, if you let me buy a hundred or 300, I promise you the next time I come back, I’ll buy 500. I was making promises. My ass couldn’t cash at that time, but I was so determined that I was just saying anything to get the product. Um, and pretty much my supplier said, and I’m still working with the same supplier seven years later, um, and we’re doing fantastic, but, uh, She said, okay.
And we did the first round of products. And that’s literally how I got the products here. And just to back up to tell you how I had the funding to do that. Um, I had a capital one credit card that I had recently maxed out on my ex girlfriend and I had just paid it off before I moved back to my dad’s house.
I had 4, 000 on that credit card. And I had just finished paying it off. So I said, I’m clean, blah, blah. I said, you know what? I’ve wasted money before I’ve wasted money on everybody else. I’m going to invest on [00:17:00] myself. So I use that credit card to initially buy the first round of products. I use that credit card to buy that LLC.
And I also use that credit card to start up my, um, my business. Bank account and all these things to get the EIN and so forth. Um, and the way that I found all that out was how to wiki on Google. You can find how to start a business wiki on Google, put that in there. It’ll tell you step by step how to get an EIN, how to get an LLC for your state.
It’ll tell you that you just have to read. This is the thing people don’t realize is very easy to start a business. You just have to follow the steps and read what we provide you. Um, and that’s kind of how I got started. And like I said, all at the same time, I was a licensed practical nurse. So I was already in my career.
I was already making over, you know, 29 an hour or so. I had money of my own. So it wasn’t like I was, um, put in a position where this business had to make [00:18:00] money. It was more like I said, like a passion project and just something that I wanted to do to create extra funds. So I didn’t have pressure. And I feel like that’s really important to highlight for.
Other entrepreneurs is that a lot of, a lot of people who say they want to start a business, it’s because they want to make a lot of money. They want to have the freedom, but that’s not how you start a business. You start a business because you love what you’re doing and you want to help someone else.
That is what we start the business. And then the money will come from you doing those things. So you don’t worry about the money. And, um, I think that’s how I started it and that’s why it’s been doing so well. Um, I’m stressed about it. It’s not a big deal, but the beginning, I really had no pressure on my business at all.
It was really all about the love and just really creating something fun and exciting for my community.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And how did you find your first customer? So you got the manufacturer, you, I mean, Your product is somewhat, I would say, simple, you know, it’s a bag and, you know, of course, you know, [00:19:00] manufacturer has to customize the, you know, the design and so forth.
Um, and, um, you know, you set up your business. What, what happened next? How do you find the first customer, a first paying customer?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Right. So, um, after I had used that little bit of money to set the, you know, the online shop and all those things during that whole first year, before I even started that business, I created relationships with so many different trans men online because we related on so many different things and there’s this whole community.
So when I got ready to start selling the product, I took about 25 bags and I reached out to all my friends and I said, Hey, I’m, I’m going to start this thing. I said, I really would love to see like how you feel about it. I’m going to send you one of my products for free, of course. And just let me know how you feel about it.
I never asked them to repost it because back [00:20:00] then that wasn’t a thing. It was more of like, you know, I feel like it was like more of authentic and genuine, like, Oh, I’m just going to send you my product. Like, it wasn’t like, I’m going to send you this and you’re going to make me three reels and an IgE story.
You know what I mean? Like how it is now. Um, so I pretty much gave it away to all my friends and a lot of my friends had high, high influence. Some of my friends had 160, 000 followers. Some of them had 50, 000, some of them had 20, 000, some had 2000, you know? So I gave them away at first, like five off the top of the 300.
And that was it. That’s all I did. And all I did was have high quality images for the Instagram that I created. I created an Instagram because I knew I had to do that because that’s where my platform was. That’s where my community was. Um, so I created the Instagram of course, along with the LLC and all those things.
And my photographer, I put out only high quality photos. Like I had, I had all these photos like [00:21:00] generated like a couple of weeks before, because I was building hype to releasing it. So I was telling people about it online and talking about it all while sending out like 25 bags of different people for free, not asking for anything in exchange, not asking, just letting.
Tell me directly in a private message. Hey, how do you like this? And what was happening is that the people I sent it to were saying how much they needed it. It wasn’t even a want, it was a need. They had to have it. And then they reposted it and they made videos of it. And then the fact that trans men take a shot every single week, they were using the bag and they were showing it.
Every single week. So then more people and then it was like a snowball effect. I mean, it just started to roll. We sold those 300 bags, I think less than two months. So it happened very quickly. And then at that point, I knew that it was. Bigger than what I wanted it to be because I was thinking I was going to sell [00:22:00] 300 bags in a year.
I thought it was gonna take me all year to do that, but it moved so quickly. Um, and it just, it moved. It just, just was done in timing. It just aligned the way it was. People ask me all the time. Well, how did you know to build a community? How did you know to, um, send the bags? How did you know to do all these things?
It. These are things that you don’t know as an entrepreneur. These are things that come with the work that you put in. So if you’re grinding until five o’clock, talking to suppliers in China because you want that bag to be perfect, the outcome, the fruits of that labor will result in the the sales and all these other things.
But you can’t think too much about how that money is gonna come in. You kind of really just gotta put your heart and soul into what you’re actually doing and people will feed off of that. And I think that’s what. Really built my business to what it is today.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And you know, that is so important because a lot of the times I would talk to entrepreneurs and that, you know, [00:23:00] I asked them, you know, what is your best business advice and a lot of the times, you know, entrepreneurs say.
The best business advice is to just get started. Right. Um, and the thing that you said, you know, it’s like you got started, you did not know you did not really have all the steps, but you kind of figured that out as you went. Right. And I think that’s, that’s the, that’s the important thing is, you know, if somebody is, you know.
It’s thinking of going down this path and they have this idea that they have to map every step out before they get started. I think that’s the wrong way to do it. It’s like you have to get started and once you get started, like, you know, then you will figure out what the next step is. And, you know, sometimes you have to change your plans and things like that.
But unless you get started, it’s like there isn’t, there’s never going to be a perfect plan. So. Which, you know, your story kind of, you know, reflects very well. Um. So you, you know, you’re a manufacturer. So one question I was [00:24:00] curious that you were talking about this is, you know, the injections. Yes. Is this something that a person has to take lifelong?
That’s kind of like a lifelong need or is this, you know, you’re taking it for a period of time and then you kind of stop.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Um, it is a lifelong, um, it is a lifelong situation or whatever you want to call it. Um, yeah, it is lifelong but it’s just like I tried to really. Explain it to, um, you know, CIS males or CIS females, um, biological born females or males that as men age, their testosterone decreases.
And a lot of cisgender men are on hormone replacement therapy. You just don’t know because they’re scared to speak about it. Which is okay, and that’s why Stealth Bros is here. Um, you know what I mean? And as we get older, trans, trans men, um, that are [00:25:00] on hormone replacement therapy, you know, I’m sure that as you get to a certain age, if you would like to taper down, Then that is acceptable.
It just depends if you still have a uterus. Or not, because then you have hormones fighting each other and you have to have, you have to be in the world to have least form because you have to be, you have to be regulated. It affects your mood. It affects so many different things in your endocrinology system.
So you have to, you have to have some hormone in your body. Um, you know, So you will have to take it lifelong. But let’s say, you know, a trans male has a hysterectomy, which means he has no uterus, and he’s on a lifelong, he’s on testosterone. He will have to take testosterone for the rest of his life because he has no other system in his body creating a [00:26:00] hormone, um, to keep him regulated as a, just a functioning hormone.
Human being. I mean, um, so yeah, it’s definitely a lifelong thing, but like I said, you can, you can stop and still remain looking like this. Of course, there may be some subtle changes, but majority of the changes are like permanent changes like facial hair and things of that nature. Um, so you kind of like, It’s just, it’s really based on, there’s so many different, like for me, I’ll be taking it lifelong because I’m a very traditional male I like to look at myself as, but there’s a lot of people who are on the spectrum where they’re non binary where they feel fluid or they want to be one way or the next way that’s, you know, I respect those people and they may choose to come off, they may choose not to, but it’s really based off of the individual’s journey, really, honestly, but for me, I know that I’ll be taking it Lifelong as long as it’s safe for my body and things of that nature.
I mean, that’s
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: very interesting because [00:27:00] Now I do see on social media or you come across, you know posts and so forth where even Men as you said, you know over time like as you age your testosterone levels start going down and you know you do you do see the People talking about testosterone replacement therapy, where you’re, you know, uh, injecting testosterone and, and, you know, they really sing praises about, you know, what that can do it, like, you know, it can make you feel like, you know, 20 year old man or something like that.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Because their libido increases and all these, you feel stronger, you have more. sense of empowerment, you know, testosterone really does hold all those characteristics. That’s, that’s one great thing about being, you know, trans, especially for me, because I lived as a female for 27 years of my life.
So I understand how a woman feels, but I also understand how a man feels because I am now, [00:28:00] you know, testosterone, testosterone dominant within my body based off the medication. So I feel and think how male feels and thinks because of the testosterone. And it’s, it’s very, it’s very exciting and different because, you know, women are always like, well, why are they always, you know, going after the girls and why are you always doing this and doing that?
Well, honey, I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s just part of part, part of part of the male system. And it. It’s not an, I really, you know, you, you always see like, Oh, the little boys are chasing the little girls. Well, yes, because their testosterone is growing and it’s raising and it’s raging and they’re there.
That is, that is part of the human biology. And, um, you know, that’s one of the great experiences of being trans is that I really get to. Kind of tap into this, you know, male, um, thought process because of the testosterone, but also having a perspective of the female base because I was living in a female body [00:29:00] and went through female puberty, uh, you know, for 27 years of my life.
So obviously I’m very well aware about that. Um, but. Yeah, it’s really crazy. It’s, it’s, it’s very interesting. Um, I understand why people are very like shocked by it because even sometimes today, even I’m shocked by it. Um, but I’m just thankful to be living my truth and just, you know, living my, living out my life the way that I, that I choose to.
So I’m thankful for that.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, it’s, it’s so interesting. I mean, I don’t want to go down that path because my podcast is more, you know, more, more business, but I, I mean, it’s, it’s really fascinating because, you know, right now the political environment is so charged with all of these topics, right? And, you know, the whole topic of feminism and, you know, toxic masculinity and all these things.
And I think. You know, someone like yourself who has seen kind of both the female side and the male side can understand that not everything is toxic. You know, it’s like men, a lot of the times are driven by biology, right. And it’s [00:30:00] just as women are. And, um, so yeah, there’s definitely a whole lot of discussion that needs to be had there, but I will, I will skip that for this part.
Um, so let me, Yeah, let me let me ask you about your manufacturing. So you said you so you’re a manufacturer. Are you working with Chinese manufacturers? Are you
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: working? Yes, yes, I am working with Chinese manufacturer. Everybody is overseas. I have one. I have One, two, three. I have four manufacturers I work with.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. And can you talk a little bit about how you found them? Did you ever visit China or did you work with like a platform
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: like Alibaba? Yeah, I never visited China. It is like, um, you know, sort of like Alibaba, sort of like that. Um, and yeah, I just contacted them. You kind of take the risk, you know what I mean?
Um, and just Like, well, my sharps supplier, because we [00:31:00] really do everything through email. It’s not through like the app base. So it’s kind of, it’s not scary because we’ve been working together. He literally started in his position at the sharps manufacturing the same time I started the business. So we’re real up buddy, but, um, It was risk.
You know what I mean? Like I’m going to send you 4, 000 or whatever, and you just have to wait for the product to come in. But he’s always been there. And I feel like. You know, the people have always been so genuine with me overseas. I, you know, it’s a, it’s a touchy subject politically to speak on China and to say how you love China.
But at the end of the day, the people that I have encountered, I won’t speak politically as a whole, but the people that I have encountered directly, you know, I have a lot of love for them and they’ve, they’ve. Supply me with products and I’ve had no issues. And if there have been issues, we’ve been able to, um, come to an agreement on those things and move forward.
So I’ve never had any issues with my overseas suppliers. Awesome.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, [00:32:00] what about your, I mean, so your, do you consider your business to primarily be a Um, a branding exercise, really connecting with this because your target market is a very, um, defined set of people, right? So, you know, primarily your target market are like, you know, transgender men.
And then from there, you’re, you’re probably connecting with like, you know, other communities like medical, you know, diabetic community or other kind of people who use these kind of products, medical products, and they have a need to store these products. Um, Like, and I’m sure like there’s no shortage of bags out there, you know, and people can find like, you know, different kinds of bags.
So, I mean, the way you can compete in the marketplace where, you know, this product is ubiquitously available, right? Um, it’s really by branding and having a unique story and really [00:33:00] connecting with people with that story. And, you know, um. People who have like similar kind of experience and they, they connect with the message and then, you know, then they want to support you or, you know, they, they connect with the product and they want to buy it.
Uh, so do you, do you consider your, your business to really be a kind of a branding business more than
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: anything else? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Because like you said, and like I tell everybody, you know, and like my dad said, actually, he said, when I was very young, he said, it’s the most simplest products that get you rich.
Yeah. And it’s of what you need, not, you know, it’s of what you need. That’s going to help someone else as well. And I feel like I hit those boxes with my product. Unintentionally, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled. But yes, absolutely. We’re building a brand because people want authenticity. People want to connect with the product that they receive.
They don’t [00:34:00] just want to buy. Of course, like the Adidas and Nike and Louis Vuitton, like those brands are embedded in us and they’re major corporations and they are embedded in us. And we all love those brands, but nowadays the brands that are coming on. Are more personalized and smaller brands and people are connecting with those.
They want to have that unique style that, you know, I think that’s really important because people. That’s all what it’s really about like social media. It’s all about connecting and people want to connect with the items that they’re buying. They’re not going to go buy it from marshals when they know that a black trans owned business has this and it supports who they are as a person or supports their family member, or, you know, another medical need or things like that.
So, you know, that’s what we’re really trying to build off of is just like our brand story and just connecting with those communities.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, what are your sales channel? Of course you have your [00:35:00] website. Are you, is that kind of your biggest sales channel or are you? Yes, our
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: e commerce is on our e commerce is our biggest sales platform.
Um, we were on Amazon, but I. backed out of that because it was just becoming overwhelming with the orders. And Amazon has a lot of crazy things that they want you to do. So what the growing of our e commerce since shark tank, um, it just was too much for me alone to take care of at this moment. So I kind of like, I have the store, but it’s, it’s not like I don’t really push it or do anything with it.
We also sell on Tik TOK shop. And we are also in 4, 000, um, nationwide CVS health stores. So you can find our, this product actually right here that I showed you this, uh, the sharp shuttles in a pack of four. These are on the CVS health shelf. So if you go to CVS. com and you put in stealth bros, our product will pop up, get purchased it online, or you can look to see if [00:36:00] your local store has to.
Um, so we are in as well working on another retailer at the moment, but. Retail is a very large investment. It’s not something that happens overnight. So definitely moving slow in that sector because it’s very expensive.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, for sure. Talking about Shark Tank, can you share your story of, you know, I’ve had.
Quite a few entrepreneurs who have been, uh, on Shark Tank. Can you share your story? What kind of led up to you appearing on Shark Tank? What was your experience like? And I know that Mark Cuban and I believe it was Barbara Cochran who invested or agreed to do a deal with you. Did you actually go through with it?
And if yes, what has been your experience working with them and their teams?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Yes. Okay. So I’ll start from the beginning. Um, Shark Tank actually reached out to me through email, which was really weird. Cause I thought it was a [00:37:00] fake email, but they said call this number. So I called and pretty much when you’re on Shark Tank, you, you don’t know if you’re going to be on shark.
You don’t know if you’re going to air until two weeks before you air. So you don’t know and then all the way up until they film you. If they decide to film you. You don’t, you can go through thousand pages of due diligence and you don’t feel, or they can pass you on to the next step and you do film. So thankfully I was able to get through all the steps.
Thank God. Um, which was great for my business too, because it really pushed you because the show wants so much financial summaries and they want you to have your business in order. So it really kicked my ass to get my business in order. Um, which was great, uh, before I even filmed or anything. So that was one great part of the show that I really enjoyed, even though it was the hardest part of the [00:38:00] show.
It was probably the greatest part for me because it aligned me with my business and my financials. But once I like filmed and did all that, like once I, when I went to go film, I was obviously like super nervous, but I had been practicing my pitch for, for like, I think it was like Six months prior to that, like, you know, like about six months prior to that.
Um, yeah. How were you
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: practicing? Because you’re, I mean, I, I saw your pitch and it came pretty, pretty nice. I mean, you’re, you’re pretty, to me, at least it seemed like you were very relaxed. It seemed like really,
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: really. I was sweating bullets. Um, yeah. Um, I, I, you practice because basically like you perform that pitch.
Like, you know, like the initial pitch when you’re like, Oh, my name is blah, blah, blah, blah, that initial pitch, you practice that with your, you get assigned executive directors. So like they work with you throughout the whole process and they help you and things of that nature, like, you know, it’s all up to you, but they kind of like, you [00:39:00] know, keep you in line and stuff like that.
And you have to practice that pitch in front of the teams, numerous times before you even get to. steps and all these different things. So, um, you know, it’s, it’s like I said that thing probably a billion times, you know, I, I’ve envisioned myself walking down that aisle like a billion times in the gym.
Like I spent so much time hearing, I got it. Like it’s a lot of visual manifestation that took place. Prior to, um, and just kind of like placing yourself in that space. And then once you get out there, you know, don’t get me wrong. It was a great conversation and it was great, but the editors on the show, they know what they’re doing.
They know how to piece everything together to make it seamless so that there wasn’t like pauses or anything crazy. But you know, I’m sure that like after you do that initial pitch, because everything else after that is unscripted. [00:40:00] You know, once you that initial pitch, it’s like you’re just like hit with the sharks and like you guys are having casual conversation and that’s just being recorded.
Um, you know, and obviously I was nervous during that that period of time but when we talked it was like on the show they made it seem like everything was like perfect even though it was, but like, you know, editors TV it’s TV Come on, they’re gonna make it look great. But overall. It was a great experience.
Like all the sharks were super nice to me. Like nobody was disrespectful. Like we even joked on stage. A lot of the stuff that we joked about wasn’t aired, but it was really fun. Like we had, we had a great time. Um, and then afterwards you meet with the team heads and they tell our team or. And you just look at the next step, so this is in this more due diligence of financials after that.
And as long as everything you said on stage matches up with your financial paperwork, then the deal most likely will go through as long as both parties are in agreeance and. That’s pretty in my [00:41:00] deal went through very fast because I was very on it, and they’d say that they tell you they say you know this deal can take a year to go through, or it could take a month or two, based on how fast you move with the paperwork and doing what you need to do and me I don’t like shit laying around so I, as soon as things came in, I would say, Stay up to 1, 2 o’clock in the morning, making sure those things got done because I wanted to move forward.
And I really needed that money for CVS because I had just launched in the CVS stores, September 9th and the show aired September 30th. And my deal closed like, like within a two week timeframe after that. So it was a lot of going on. And my daughter was born a month later. So it was, um, easy time of year for me, uh, last year, but.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: amazing. What has been, what has it been like working with, uh, like, do you, do you, uh, work with Mark and Barbara or do you ever have any interactions with them?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: You work with their investment [00:42:00] teams. I have access to them if I choose to reach out, which I have and they do respond. Um, but you know, I try not to bombard them, but they want it.
They want the entrepreneurs they work with to ask them questions. They want them to be active and interactive with their teams. So, um, you know, and, and they have been helping me, um, you know, with a lot of B2B things and just like administrative things that need to be done. So it’s been, it’s been. Good, but like I always tell people, you know, when you’re on a shark tank, you get a deal, you’re not rich right away.
It takes time. It’s what they like to tell you behind the scenes is that the real work starts as soon as you get the deal. And that couldn’t be any more truer. harder than I’ve ever worked after the deal because now you have this income where you have to make sure that when you spend that income, how is that income coming back?
How are you returning that income? There’s so many different avenues and aspects to the business that you have to [00:43:00] learn and understand and grow through. So many things I even, I learned this year from just being the first year out from it. Like things that I, Probably should did differently. And, you know, there is just a learning, a learning experience, but it still takes a lot of hard work just because you have Mark human on your team.
Doesn’t mean that I’m now a millionaire and that I have all the things he has, I have to work hard and I have to continue to push my business and show him and the teams that, Hey, look, you made the right decision by investing in me and putting. Uh for the best foot and the best effort. So yeah
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Can you talk a little bit about your marketing and of course, you know every business the focus is growth, right?
Like you want to grow your business you want to get the word out you want to have more customers You want to help more people? How are you kind of doing that in terms of new customer acquisition and also? Making sure because you’re in your business. It’s you know There is a bit of a, um, either subscription or, uh, or a recurring purchase aspect to it, because, you know, [00:44:00] especially I think the, the, the, the, the, yeah, the, so, yeah, how are you building?
How are you getting new customers? How are you building loyalty and so forth?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: So right now we just started subscription so you can actually become subscribed to our sharps containers and get them every so many months at a discounted rate, so that you continuously get to have no worry about purchasing them again.
We do have that and then we with marketing we do a lot, everything is really social based and word of mouth. So, um, we. The social media is very important. The content that’s made for social media is very important. It is, it is, it is key. Um, and then of course we have our paid ads that go behind that content.
And then we have, um, which is crazy because I don’t do Google paid ads, which I am going to start soon because it’s our direct, like our direct. Um, rate, because like you could tell the analytics is so high. So I know [00:45:00] that if, if, um, I place ads on there, probably do really well. And that’s just a side thought.
But either way, the social media ads, social media content in general, providing education and providing just fun things for, for my audience to see. And then email marketing is very important. Um, email marketing, SMS marketing. And that’s really it. That’s all we really do. And then I do, I, I’m affiliated with uh, uh, organization called NGLCC, which is the National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which is really the LGBT, um, chamber of commerce.
Which, um, is a great networking tool that has given me a lot of opportunities, um, to expand into like different B2B sectors. Like we’ve had projects with Boston Scientific, which is a major pharmaceutical company, um, Bristol Myers Squibb. We work with, so we’ve, we’ve worked with a lot of, we’re working with [00:46:00] Stanford University right now.
Um, there’s a, there’s a lot of, you know, different sectors that I do personally, um, with outreach and showing up to these events and just getting my face out there and telling my story and trying to connect with different audiences, um, so that I can let people know about the brand, but that’s kind of how I’ve been pushing it.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What does your team look like right now? Are you still the solo founder or do you have other? I
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: have team. I, I, I would say I have a team member that is, I have contracted, they’re not employees, but I have contracted workers that I work with. Um, so I do have a marketing, um, he’s like my marketing director.
He’s like my right hand man. I love that guy. Um, you know, I got to give him his credit because he puts a lot of work in and he’s definitely helped build the business, um, so much this year. With our [00:47:00] emails and everything but he pretty much oversees all of our like our paid our email marketing strategies and pretty much like a marketing consultant for me.
I’m the one who really creates a lot of the content, but he kind of like puts it together and makes it, you know, grade A for ads and things like that. Um, so I work with him. His name is Sander and he’s great. He actually owns his own agency. I’d love to plug him right now. It’s called Digi Empower. Um, he’s great.
He will scale your business. So definitely reach out to him. Sander Jennings. Um, but he is my main guy. And then of course I work with photographers. I work with videographers. I’ve worked with some people who do, um, like one time off deals with like website help and, um, different things like that. But I outsource, I just outsource if I can’t do it myself, or if I don’t have the time to do it, I just outsource Fiverr is an incredible tool.
Um, use that for different things if I need to. But I tried to like right now I really am trying to build team [00:48:00] because I know that’s the only way to scale and grow. So Sander really is like my first main man that is right by my side that I’m building with and then I also work alongside like my head photographer, whose name is Cyrus Goldstein and he has Cyrus Goldstein photography so reach out to him.
And then, um, also, you. Those are like my two main people that I work with that. Oh, and then my my other photographer. I can’t forget them. Snow photography, top of the line is all my e commerce shots and things of that nature. So super important part of the team to make. You know, in a well oiled machine, I guess you can say awesome,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: um, in every entrepreneur journey, there’s always mistakes made lessons learned failure.
Um, what, what comes to your mind when you think about, um, you know, a mistake that you’ve made or a failure as an entrepreneur so far. And, uh, that that’s something, you know, you, you think that you could have [00:49:00] done without, right. Uh, what did you learn from that? And what can other entrepreneurs learn from your mistakes?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: I, I have such a difficult time answering this question. I have this question a lot, um,
because of the nature of how I started my business, I feel like, of course I ran into hiccups, there’s things that may have not gone my way, um, or product, like I’m waiting for product right now. I didn’t arrive when it was supposed to, and I have people on back order, which is annoying. Um, but these are just all small things of business.
Um, I really feel like there was no failure, I hate to say it like that, because anything that I came up against, or if a door closed, it was [00:50:00] only to open up something else for me, because that wasn’t meant for me. Or if I didn’t, if, or if I wasn’t, if something didn’t work, or like if I released a product and it didn’t work in the fashion that I wanted it to work, I didn’t take it as a failure, I took it as a lesson learned.
and to apply what I learned into the next collection that I was doing. So I was never, I really don’t look at it as if I failed in anything because I’ve been so successful, you know, even with You know, I can’t even say that there has been like an immense amount of money lost. Let’s talk about CVS, a retailer.
CVS has cost me tens of thousands of dollars. Did I know when I went into CVS, I thought that I was going to get all these purchase orders and make a hundred K up right off the bat. I’m being Eve, even though I have a broker and all these things, but that’s not the case. It takes a [00:51:00] long time for that product to sell if it’s not toilet paper.
And You have to have this adjustment, which I was so happy about being a supplier for CVS, I jumped into it without really understanding what I was doing. And that hasn’t hurt me because I’ve been so successful in my e commerce that I’m able to sustain my retail. If you were going to talk about doing something differently, then I would have done that differently.
But at the same token, I’m not mad at it because I’m, I learned so much. I learned so much about retail. I’m still learning every day. I’m learning about retail and, um, you know, I think that’s the beauty and being an entrepreneur is that, you know, that. Things are going to come up. It’s going to be up. It’s going to be down.
It’s going to be great. It’s going to be poor, but that’s why I have to be financially smart. And you have to put your money in places and move things around and use credit and [00:52:00] understand how to utilize your money this way when an issue does happen, you aren’t drowning because of that. You are like, you know what, I could have made 80, 000 quick, but you know what, that’s fine.
I’m just going to move this here and we’re going to just ride this train until we have to. And we’ll collect at the end. No problem. You have to have that mindset because if you don’t, then you’ll just drown. You’ll just drown. You’ll drown in your worries. You’ll drown in depression. I mean, there’s so many things that come along with entrepreneurship and, you know, being able to have just, just to create your own schedule every day.
You know what I mean? It’s really hard. And if you’re not like mentally strong enough to do that, Okay. Then yes, you can say I’ve had failures in my business. Yes. I’m so upset about these things, but for me, because it’s more, like I said, I started a passion project. I love this business. I love my community.
I love what I’m doing. I’d rather do this than anything else that if a problem comes up, I’m like, all right, what’s the solution. All right. How do we get to the solution? Okay. This happened. My bad. All right. [00:53:00] We didn’t, we ran a code. We didn’t put the code out. We lost out on 2, 000 today. No problem. What can we do tomorrow?
You know what I mean? So that’s the type of mindset I have. And that’s why I just feel like I haven’t really had any failures or any problems because I just learned from whatever didn’t work out for me the first time, or if a door closed and it just closed a hundred percent, I know that the Lord is saying that’s not for you.
I got something for you over here. Yes. So keep working, working, hoping for you to cry on here, or well, you have 14 hours in front of you. So I just try to have that mentality.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. No, I think that’s a, that’s a great advice. You know, there is no, of course, you know, you can’t, um, no matter how successful somebody is, you know, of course, there’s always things to learn.
There’s always things come up that are not going to go, uh, you know, according to plan. So that’s kind of the. You know, the lesson is to have the right mindset to be able to learn and, you know, just take the next step. So now I’m going to move on to our next segment, [00:54:00] which is the rapid fire segment. And I’m going to ask you a few quick questions and you can answer them.
Maybe. In a couple of words or a sentence or so. So the first one is one book recommendation for entrepreneurs and why? Um,
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: um, Seven Daily Habits of Highly Successful People. That’s the first book. Um, because it’s just, it’s just amazing. It’ll fix your life, the paradigms. It’ll, it’ll help you. It’ll help you just, just read it.
That’s it. Okay. Yeah. It’ll change your life. Literally. It’ll change your life.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. I mean, that’s a very, uh, very famous book, right? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. An innovative product or idea in the current e commerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about. Say that one more time. Innovative, um, an innovative product or idea that you feel excited about.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Um,
honestly, I don’t, I really don’t [00:55:00] know because I put, I don’t focus on other brands or what other people are doing. I really don’t. I, I have so much work that I have to focus on creating my own brand and my own products that I really don’t even know what is new out there because I really haven’t been really looking for the next best thing or really like, so I don’t, I really don’t have an answer for that one, unfortunately.
Okay. No worries. No worries.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: tip? Notion. Notion is a software that you can use to organize your email calendars or just like your day to day tasks. It kind of is like, um, a personal assistant. Um, and it’s free too.
That’s the best part. If you use it a lot, and of course you have to pay for a little bit more space, but if you, if you’re just starting out, it’s a great tool to get organized.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I use notion as well.
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: Yes. Okay. Awesome. Yeah, notion is
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: great. Um, a peer, entrepreneur, or business person [00:56:00] whom you look up to or someone who inspires you?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: That’s another great question. Um,
that’s a great question. I’m really inspired by people like Steve Harvey. Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, um, Jim Rohn. These are the people who inspire me, um, who I listen to daily. Um, Oseen, these are the people who inspire me and who listen to daily. And these are the, those are the people who. Who literally pushed me every day because every morning on the way to the gym, I’m always listening to one of those people.
Um, yeah, motivational speakers really moved me. Um, and I feel like that’s what really, I really got to give credit to Gary Vee [00:57:00] because Gary Vee, Gary Vee, seven daily habits of highly successful people and think and grow rich, which is another book changed my life. Gary Vee in those two books. Change my life.
I read those books right before I started my business and when I was going through a lot of turmoil changing my life and all these things, and he Gary V literally changed my life. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s great to hear. I mean, um, he definitely has a lot of uplifting message for
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: sure. Yes, he is definitely hardcore, which I am as well.
And that’s why I, I feel like I resonate with him. I listened past all his cursing, um, and all the, you know, aggressiveness, but it’s passion. You know what I mean? And he, if you really listen to what he’s saying, he said a lot of good things. He says a lot of good things, you know, that really people and push people forward.
So, um, Yeah, definitely someone I look up to [00:58:00] and definitely aspire to have his mindset of just being kind and, you know, just, just doing the work, you know?
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: For sure. Final question, best business advice that you have ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs?
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: The best business advice I received is from my father and that’s just to find the need and fill the void.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s, that’s, uh, that’s definitely the best business advice because, you know, uh, that’s, that’s how you, you, you create business, right? Without, without a need in the market, there won’t be a business. So, yeah, that’s kind of it. Yeah, exactly. That’s the fundamental of business. So that’s definitely great.
Well, Braxton, those were all the questions that I had. Um, if anybody wants to check out your products, what’s, what’s the best way to do that? Um,
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: you can go to www. stealthbrosco. com and all of our social media handles from Facebook to Twitter or X or, um, Snapchat, whatever you want to look us up at.[00:59:00]
Stealth bros co and you’ll find us or just Google us stealth bros co and you’ll find us. Awesome.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, Braxton, those were all the questions that I had. Thank you so much again for sharing your story, for sharing some of your business, uh, less earned, uh, you know, failure successes and so forth. And, uh, um, yeah, wish you all the very best in growing your business.
And, uh, yeah, thank you so much again for joining me today. I really
Braxton Fleming of Stealth Bros. and Co: appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me and you have a great day.
Also, get inspired to Create a Profitable Online Business with $60K/MONTH – BUILDING A COLORFUL EMPIRE ISHAN DUTTA’S JOURNEY CRAFTING UGLY DUCKLING’S NICHE IN THE HAIR INDUSTRY