Building a High-Performance Travel Equipment Company – Chris Clearman of Matador

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 47:17)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Chris Clearman, founder of Matador, a high-performance travel equipment company shares his background as a product designer working at GoPro and deciding to start his own company. Matador creates innovative, high-quality, and functional products for the adventure traveler market. Chris shares his experiences in gaining early traction through design and tech blogs reach out, as well as having a good marketing strategy along with a great product.

Episode Summary

Chris Clearman, the founder of Matador, is a product designer turned entrepreneur who identified a gap in the market for lightweight travel gear. With a background in industrial design and experience at power tool conglomerates and GoPro, Clearman started Matador as a learning experiment to gain knowledge in various aspects of business, including fulfillment, retail sales, and website building. His first product was the pocket blanket, a compact and waterproof outdoor blanket that became a top revenue earner for the company. Clearman sourced the unique fabric from Japan and Korea and improved the storage by sewing fold lines. Despite initial slow sales, Clearman’s background in product design and determination led him to success. He scoured design blogs for PR opportunities, and one post led to a snowball effect of publicity, sustaining the business for several years. Today, Clearman is still leading the product group at Matador, which focuses on innovation and creating high-quality, functional products for the adventure traveler market. The company’s success is due to its ROI-focused strategy, effective marketing, and adherence to brand identity. Clearman also emphasizes the importance of marketing and Picasso’s quote, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of everyday life off our souls.” Clearman’s business journey has taken him from humble beginnings to leading a successful and growing company, and he encourages entrepreneurs to maintain a balanced perspective throughout the adventure.

  • 00:00:00 In this section of Trep Talks, host Sushant interviews Chris Clearman, the founder of Matador, which designs, manufactures, and distributes high-performance travel equipment. Prior to starting his own business, Chris had a degree in industrial design and worked for a power tool conglomerate and GoPro, where he focused on product design and new product invention. Inspired by his entrepreneurial urge and his experience in product design, he decided to start Matador as a learning exercise to gain knowledge in areas such as fulfillment, retail sales, and building a website. The simplest idea he brought to market was the pocket blanket, a waterproof and compact outdoor blanket, which became a top revenue product for the company. Chris’ background in product design and engineering, along with his determination to learn the business side of things, led him to the success of Matador.
  • 00:05:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the founder of a travel gear company discusses how he identified and pursued his product idea. Initially, he noticed a gap in the market for lightweight travel products and drew on his experience in both hard goods and sewing to create unique, utilitarian items with low upfront costs. Having limited resources, he focused on sewn products and eventually launched his first item, the pocket blanket, as an affordable yet high-value product. Despite the long hours and hard work during the initial stages, he persevered and experienced success. The criteria for selecting this product idea revolved around feasible execution, affordability, and potential profitability. The direct-to-consumer approach was pursued due to its simplicity at the time, but Amazon’s emergence as a significant platform for small businesses eventually became another essential distribution channel. The overall focus of Clearman’s business lies in creating functional, lightweight, and easy-to-carry travel products.
  • 00:10:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the inventor discusses the creation of his product, a pocket blanket. The blanket is made of a 20 denier rip stop nylon with a polyurethane coating and a PFA-free DWR backer. Clearman had to source the fabric from Japan and Korea due to its novelty and the limited availability of such lightweight, durable fabric at the time. He then improved the storage of the blanket by sewing in fold lines to help it fold into a compact size, creating a product that could fit in a wallet instead of taking up the space of a Full-sized blanket. The pocket blanket gained popularity around the same time that bringing chairs and large blankets to concerts were banned, making it an appealing sneak-in item. Clearman chose not to use crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter to launch his product as he saw it as a learning experience rather than a means to build a sustainable business, instead opting to sell the blankets on their own website and on Amazon. Initially, they had a handful of thousands made but faced disappointing sales due to the lack of traffic on their website.
  • 00:15:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the speaker discusses how he used design blogs to generate PR for his product, Matador’s Pocket Blanket. He scoured the web for cool products and emailed the influencers of these design blogs, showcasing them the blankets and other items he believed would appeal to their audience. One blog eventually posted about the product, which led to other blogs picking it up, and eventually reached major tech sites with millions of unique hits per day. The sales went through the roof, sustaining the business for several years. The speaker attributes the success to having a good product and product-market fit, along with effective lifestyle marketing and designing the product to fit the design blog aesthetic. He was able to reinvest the revenue into developing two additional soft goods products, using the same factory contacts and inventory strategy.
  • 00:20:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman”, the chief product designer shares that he is still leading the product group at his company, although they have a team of designers and product marketers to help. When it comes to bringing a new product to market, the criteria have changed over time. No longer resource-constrained in development, they now focus on how the product fits into the brand and where they want it to go. They also need to believe that there is a significant audience for it and be able to transmit the value proposition to potential customers in a matter of seconds. Many ideas have been killed due to the inability to tell the story within that timeframe. They are primarily focusing on the adventure traveler market, although there is some spillover into luxury and outdoor markets. They do not cater to everyone and do not patent their designs, instead focusing on innovation.
  • 00:25:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the speaker discusses the importance of protecting innovations through patent infringement suits and maintaining high prices on Amazon to prevent copycats. The business has been proactive in filing lawsuits against infringing sellers and raised product prices on Amazon to make it less attractive for counterfeiters to copy. They’ve also avoided being a category bestseller on Amazon to prevent copied products from flooding the market. In addition to selling direct to consumers and wholesale in North America, the business maintains direct brand retailer relationships with stores such as REI and The Container Store, as well as international distribution partners in Europe, Japan, China, and Korea to service different markets without price competition. Despite selling fewer quantities on Amazon due to higher prices, they prioritize direct sales on their website, resulting in higher average order values and customer lifetime value.
  • 00:30:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the topic shifts to the European market, which is growing quickly and may overtake Japan in sales for the business. The reason for the success is Japanese consumers’ preference for small, high-quality products and the aesthetic appeal of the brand. The business uses a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) company for fulfilling orders in the US. Their experiences have included missed inventory during the holiday season and gross overcharging for warehouse space. The biggest lesson learned was the importance of having contact at the warehouse to ensure a smooth operation. The marketing strategy includes paid Facebook and Instagram ads, PR efforts, and supporting retailers by linking PR articles to their websites to drive traffic. The business also offers customized signage and other promotional materials for free to retailers to help sell the brand effectively in-store. The return on investment from PR efforts is difficult to measure but significant due to the innovative and unique nature of the brand.
  • 00:35:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the entrepreneur discusses his bootstrapped business that has seen significant growth due to its ROI-focused strategy. The company, which mostly consists of design, marketing, sales, and operations teams at its headquarters in Boulder, also has sales reps across the US and Canada, and production in China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. With a flat company structure, Clearman, who began knowing only about the product aspect of the business, now manages every part of it and has achieved a level of freedom that allows him to travel extensively. Despite facing challenges such as the Grasshopper ban on CO meaning their activities were illegal for two years, the business’s financials are strong, and Clearman has been able to take a significant amount of vacation and explore Europe and Asia on a motorcycle.
  • 00:40:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the entrepreneur reflects on his business journey and shares his thoughts on retirement and marketing. He reveals that he hasn’t had a strong desire to retire as he enjoys what he does. However, he acknowledges that he was too conservative with marketing efforts in the past, missing out on opportunities for significant growth. Chris emphasizes the importance of marketing, stating that it’s essential for businesses to have a marketing strategy along with a good product. He also recommends the book “The Accounting Game: Lessons from the Lemonade Stand” for entrepreneurs to build a solid foundation in accounting. Chris also mentions AI as an innovative product or idea in the design process and text expander as a productivity tool.
  • 00:45:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Chris Clearman,” the interviewee discusses his experiences with project management software and startups, highlighting Zbiotics, a company producing Prebiotics for preventing hangovers, as an impressive business. He then expresses admiration for entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, who successfully integrated their passions into their businesses. Chris shares his best business advice, which is that “nothing is as good or as bad as it seems,” encouraging entrepreneurs to maintain balanced perspectives amidst successes and failures. Chris’ products can be found at Matadorequipment.com.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: The Accounting Game by Darrell Mullis and Judith Orloff

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Chris Clearman of Matador

[00:00:08] Introduction to TrepTalks and guest Chris Clearman
[00:00:23] Chris Clearman’s background and introduction to Matador
[00:00:42] Sushant introduces Chris and discusses his journey into entrepreneurship
[00:01:21] Chris Clearman shares his background in product design and previous experiences
[00:02:00] Transition from working at GoPro to starting Matador
[00:03:00] The inception of Matador and the story behind the pocket blanket
[00:04:41] Evolution of Matador’s product line and the decision to focus on travel
[00:06:00] Balancing work schedules and the early challenges of entrepreneurship
[00:08:00] Criteria for selecting a product idea and considerations for execution
[00:12:26] Sushant Misra’s perspective on Kickstarter and crowdfunding
[00:13:00] Initial challenges in launching the product and marketing strategy
[00:14:09] Launching the product on Amazon and other platforms
[00:15:00] Guerrilla marketing strategy to get the product featured on design blogs
[00:17:00] Importance of having a good product and product-market fit
[00:18:00] Reinvesting initial revenue and sustaining sales through PR
[00:19:00] Introduction of additional products and reinvesting profits
[00:20:00] Sushant’s role as the chief product designer and product development criteria
[00:22:00] Evaluating products based on brand fit, target audience, and storytelling
[00:23:00] Qualifications for launching a new product, including market appeal and storytelling
[00:24:11] Market Focus: Adventure travelers and global market distribution
[00:25:13] Patent Protection: Strategies for protecting innovative designs from copycats
[00:26:00] Pricing Strategy: Preventing copycats by raising product prices on Amazon
[00:27:00] Sales Channel Strategy: Balancing sales between direct-to-consumer and third-party platforms
[00:28:25] Channel Partners: Collaborating with retailers like REI and supporting their sales
[00:30:12] International Markets: Success in Japan and the growing market in the EU
[00:31:00] Fulfillment Challenges: Experiences and lessons learned from various 3PLs
[00:33:00] Marketing Mix: Emphasis on paid social media advertising and PR efforts
[00:35:56] Team Structure: Overview of the team composition and global manufacturing partnerships
[00:38:00] Entrepreneurial Journey: Reflection on achieving entrepreneurial freedom
[00:40:00] Balancing Freedom and Business: Enjoying freedom while staying involved in the business
[00:41:00] Motorcycle Adventures: Exploring Europe and Asia on a BMW 1250 GS
[00:42:00] Mistakes and Lessons: The importance of marketing and storytelling
[00:43:00] Rapid Fire Segment: Quick insights on books, tools, innovative products, and more
[00:45:00] Acknowledging Peers: Admiration for Richard Branson’s approach to life and business
[00:46:00] Best Business Advice: Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems; maintain balance
[00:47:00] Matador Equipment: Visit matadorequipment.com to explore the products

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Chris Clearman of Matador

  1. Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: The Accounting Game by Darrell Mullis and Judith Orloff)
  2. An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT)
  3. A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend/Productivity Tip. (Response: TextExpander, Asana)
  4. A startup or business (in ecommerce, retail, or tech) that you think is currently doing great things. (Response: Zbiotics)
  5. A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Richard Branson)
  6. One networking tip or building and sustaining valuable professional relationships.
  7. Best business advice you ever received (Response: Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to TrepTalks This is a 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 Chris Clearman to the show. Chris is the founder of Matador. Matador designs, manufactures, and distributes high performance travel equipment. And today I’m going to ask Chris a few questions about his entrepreneur journey and some of the strategies and tactics that he has used to start and grow his business.

So Chris, thank you so much for joining me today at Treptalks. Really, really appreciate your time.

Yeah, glad to be here. So, uh, you know, I was just telling you, uh, that I really like a lot of the products that you Have on your website. It’s like I have to assume that you are or you have been or [00:01:00] someone You know is an avid traveler like you kind of capture a lot of the problems that travelers face, especially any traveler who is Who wants to travel light?

So can you share a little bit about your background? Um, what were you doing before you started this business and what really inspired you to

start this business? Certainly, so, um, my background is product design. Um, I have a degree in industrial design, which is basically Uh fancy fancy name for product design And, um, after college, I designed power tools for one of the big power tool conglomerates that owns half the brands in home Depot.

Um, I was kind of in their skunk works team, and I was one of the three people responsible for all the new product inventions. So they would have, they say, we want to do something innovative with circular saws, or maybe more specific. Um, and we would find a way to solve the problem and build prototypes and really kind of bring that idea [00:02:00] to life.

Um, from there I was, uh, scooped up by GoPro, uh, in there, the camera company in the early days when they were, uh, at like Hero 2, transitioning to Hero 3 and moved to California and worked for them for three years doing all the kind of product design and new product invention work, doing basically the same thing on a team of what was originally like, uh, one, then two, and then up to six, I think for the new product invention team there.

Um, so I’ve always kind of ridden the line between, uh, design and engineering, like kind of creative engineering of sorts. Um, while I was at GoPro, uh, a year and a half in, I decided to start my own thing. You know, I had some exposure to Nick Woodman, who’s the founder of GoPro. Great guy, very smart. But ultimately you realize like these founders are, they’re not superhuman.

You know, they’re, if they can do it, I can do it. Um, so I had, I had always had kind [00:03:00] of the entrepreneurial, um, urge, if you will, and, um, I had tried a couple of things before, but one in particular that got pretty far along, but not quite over the finish line was a medical product. Um, that I was trying to sell to some of the larger pharma companies.

It was patented and really interesting product. Uh, got a lot of interest, never quite made it over the finish line. And, you know, I was looking at my options and if none of these companies wanted to take it under their wing for FDA approval, I didn’t really want to commit 10 years of my life and raising millions of dollars for development to that specific product.

So, um, the way I got into Matador was asking myself, what’s the simplest idea in my notebook? I just need, you know, I know the whole back end. I know how to design product, develop it, manufacture it, bring it all the way to launch. But I have no idea how to, how to do fulfillment, how to do retail, like wholesale sales, how to, you know, build a website [00:04:00] and e commerce website marketing.

I didn’t know any of that. Um, so Matador started actually, it’s just a learning exercise said, what’s the simplest idea in my notebook. I need to get the other half of this experience as it relates to launching product. And so the idea was what’s called the pocket blanket. And it’s been, you know, it’s still one of our top revenue products, even though we barely focus on it.

Um, it’s a blanket that you sit on. So if you go to a concert, you can unfold it. It seats four and it folds up the size of a, like a men’s, a small men’s wallet to fit in your pocket. And it’s waterproof, keeps you clean. You don’t have to lay down your coat, ruin your coat anymore. So that was the simplest idea.

I brought it to market, um, did some interesting guerrilla marketing that I think we’ll get into a little bit later to get a launch and ultimately it took off and went viral online and then, um, later it became a question of like, do you want to be a blanket company? That’s not very exciting. Like what do you [00:05:00] actually want this to be?

And my passion then, and still now was, was travel in particular, like adventure travel, and it felt underserved. So we took the brand in that direction. We’re, we’re sewing, we’re sewing lightweight, lightweight products with this blanket. We have a good factory contact there. Um, and we, I also had a ton of hard goods experience from the rest of my career, like we could, we could do some really interesting stuff that a lot of companies can’t having experience and abilities on both sides.

So dove into the travel market and that’s where we’ve been for the last 10 years. Awesome. Worth mentioning, that, that overlapped GoPro by a year and a half. So I would work during the day for GoPro, then I’d go home and work an eight hour day on my own thing at night and then sleep eight hours and then do it again.

So it was pretty nonstop for a year and a half. I mean, it, it paid

Chris Clearman of Matador: off, so I guess it’s all worth

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: it. It

Chris Clearman of Matador: worked out in the end, but whew. It’s a lot. Are you still working 16 hours

or [00:06:00] no, no, no. I’ve got it. I’ve got a pretty cushy work schedule going on as of late. It’s it’s better and better as time goes on.

Okay.

That’s that’s good. That’s good. Yeah. So you are a product design, uh, development person. And I think that this is, um, Probably an important topic for entrepreneurs who are kind of getting started, you know, coming up with the right idea. I mean, you said a couple of things. You said you had probably had a few ideas and you went with, you said the simplest one.

Um, what was your kind of criteria for coming up with, um, A product idea. To me, it sounds like you were not kind of invested in one idea. You were very flexible. So you were really thinking it from an entrepreneurial perspective, not necessarily, Hey, I have this good idea. If, you know, I I’m putting a hundred percent into this.

If it doesn’t work, you know, then I’ll be disappointed or something like that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, no, that’s a great observation. And you’re totally right. It’s [00:07:00] As a product person and like an inventor by, you know, by personality. And I just so enthusiastic about that. I have hundreds of ideas in my notebook, many of which are potentially viable ideas.

So, um, the way I chose was for this particular instance, I was looking through and I was like, which one of these could I actually bring to market with the resources I have available to me now? And at the time 11, 000 in savings. And I knew I couldn’t do hard goods like molded plastic because the tools to mold these things cost more than that.

Right. So I wouldn’t have any money for inventory. So I kind of narrowed it down to sewn products because sewn products, you don’t have to, you don’t have a lot of upfront costs. You what you pay in is the inventory that you get Um, and I was looking for something that I could eventually get to adequate margins once I hit a decent economy of scale Um, and this this kind of panned out it fit all the criteria.

So ultimately it was what can I execute? You know working [00:08:00] on this at night by myself with no additional resources What can I bring to market and have actual sellable inventory of for eleven thousand dollars? Um, and then I also wanted it to be small but relatively, relatively expensive for the size just because I didn’t want to waste all of the margin and freight.

So, yeah, there were very much like hard business requirements that. ended up being the selection, um, the cause of selection for the product idea that I pursued. And were you always

Chris Clearman of Matador: thinking that, I’m assuming direct to consumer because it’s the simplest way to execute or distribute products, that was kind of one of your criteria or, um, or not?

Um, yeah, I mean, honestly, I didn’t

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: know enough about the distribution side of business at that time to even really make these decisions. I didn’t know how, how difficult or easy it would be to get this into, uh, like mass market retailers or mid market retailers. Um, I knew at the time, this was pretty, [00:09:00] I mean, this was 10 years ago, so Amazon wasn’t what it is now.

Um, most people didn’t realize that you could just list your own product on Amazon. It was still pretty, it was still pretty, a pretty tight marketplace at that point. So, We listed there and then the direct consumer was an obvious thing. I knew we could build an e commerce website. I didn’t know how, but I knew it could be done.

So that was ultimately like the fallback, you know?

Chris Clearman of Matador: Um, so your first product, uh, the, the, the pocket blanket, what was the innovation is the, is the, is the innovation there and also in a lot of your products, like the bags and stuff, because. It seems like a lot of them are really, um, I mean, the value proposition of your business to me seems like it’s really focused towards utility, right?

It’s, uh, uh, either lightweight, easy to pack foldable is the innovation, um, or, or one part of the innovation, the fabric or the, the, um, [00:10:00] the thing you’re using, the material that you’re using in these items. What, what is the material for this pocket blanket?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, the pocket blankets, it’s a, it’s a nylon. It’s changed several times over the course of the course of the years is fabric technology updates and stuff.

But it’s basically, it’s a, it’s a really fine 20 denier, um, ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating and the DWR backer, uh, with a PFA free DWR backer. Yeah. So the innovation there was that these fabrics were relatively new. There wasn’t, there wasn’t much for 20D fabrics. And I remember having to order fabric to build prototypes with from Japan.

That was the only place you could get it. And then ultimately the fabric at the time was. For production was ordered through Korea, but there wasn’t like in China, they weren’t really making fabric of this weight. Um, and this tenacity is, it was pretty durable for, um, for what it was. And then we were applying a couple of coatings to it.

And then one of the big things we realized was like, if you [00:11:00] fold fabric, it ends up being a lot smaller than if you just try to wrinkle it together and shove it in a stuff sack, because every wrinkle has like a radius to it. Right. So all of these thousands of wrinkles, they take up a lot of space. So, put on, we sewed in these fold lines, it was a folding guide that showed you exactly, you just pick it up by this line and then line number two and three, and it basically folds it back into the perfect proportion to store it.

So instead of being like a wad of fabric the size of a basketball, it was a nice folded package the size of a small men’s wallet. Um, then we added some built in like corner stakes metal corner stakes and a few other things to make it not blow away in the wind and Um, yeah, it was a product that people wanted about the same time.

They were outlawing like bringing chairs into concerts And also bringing in full size blankets to concerts so people could sneak these in in their pocket, which was really good Just kind of during the one of the big music festival, uh crazes

Chris Clearman of Matador: Awesome. Was, uh, was Kickstarter [00:12:00] or crowdfunding a thing at that time?

Like, did you kind of go in that direction at all? Because to me, it seems like, you know, this kind of a product, especially given that, you know, there’s so many travel enthusiasts out there, you know, or, you know, a lot of people would appreciate this kind of a product. Uh, and I would assume it would be easy to raise funds through a crowdfunding campaign for this.

Did you ever go in that direction or you kind of launched directly on e

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: commerce? Um, launched directly. So Kickstarter was, it was probably in its heyday about this time. It was, it was very, very big, but, um, I’ve never felt that. Well, part of the deal was I wanted to do this as a learning exercise, and I don’t think Kickstarter is a way to really understand business and launching a product and that sort of thing.

So I didn’t want to take advantage of that platform. Um, I’ve also felt that Kickstarter does a very poor job of indicating future success or success beyond Kickstarter. So most [00:13:00] things that Kickstart don’t have, don’t have realistically much of a future beyond that. Um, there’s very few places where you get.

A five minute video to explain your value proposition to a customer, you know in the real world at retail You’ve got to catch their eye at a glance as they’re walking by and you have a quarter of a second to catch their eye And then maybe three seconds to tell the entire product story with your just your packaging Um and on the online shopping world is no different at this point So I think kickstarter just never appealed to me as a realistic learning exercise or a realistic way to build a sustainable long term business Um, so we’ve, Matador’s never done any crowdfunding.

Awesome.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Um, so you started out with about 11, 000 and you had a product. Um, can you talk through a little bit about, you know, how you got this product? Um, how you got your first customers and where did you find them? Like, did you [00:14:00] put this product on Amazon or eBay first, or, you know, you created your own website and then ran some ad campaigns?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, yeah, it’s funny. Um, so like I said, I didn’t know the second half of the process. So I had this product. It was stacked You know, all of the walls, this was just our little house outside San Francisco. So it’s stacked all up the walls. It’s out on the back deck and pallets under tarps. Um, my partner, Jamie, she’s like, you’re never, we’re going to have this forever.

What are we going to do? How

Chris Clearman of Matador: many, how many did you order?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, I don’t know. It was a handful of thousands, like a few thousand, but it ends up taking up a lot of space in a tiny little house. Um, so they were, um. Let’s see, we did, we built the website and then put, put them on Amazon. It’s like, all right, the website’s going live and turn it on.

And of course nothing happens. You know, it’s pretty disappointing. Nobody, there’s zero traffic. [00:15:00] There’s no, there’s no backlinks. There’s no, you know, PR there’s nothing. So, um, blogs.

Being a product designer, I’d, Oh, I, every day I would go to uncreate. com or gear patrol or awesomer, the cool actor. You know, all of these, uh, all these sites, there’s a dozen of them, you know, just see what products are going. And I had noticed that once something kind of gets posted on one of those sites, they’ll start all the other sites would be like, Oh, that is cool.

And then they’ll post it too. So I picked out a couple of the most influential ones and I went and made a whole bunch of different email accounts. And I was scouring the web, finding a whole, all these different, really cool products that I thought would appeal to the people that run those sites. And I’d be like, Hey, have you seen this cool ax from grants versus Brock and this cool jacket from black diamond, and then also this cool blanket from this brand called Matador that’s new.

And I [00:16:00] was, I would just make these different compilations and submit them in different ways over the course of a couple of weeks. And then eventually, um, one of these sites posts the pocket blanket. They’re like, I guess they thought it was cool. And they post the blanket and then another one posted. And then pretty soon all of these design blogs, uh, have it up and it’s on like a.

It was on like gizmodo and some of these, um, some of those I can’t even think of what they are right now The big the big tech sites with you know, millions of unique hits per day And the sales just went through the roof um, and then we had our we had our launch right we had our um, Our pr was done at least for the moment and that sustained sales for for many many Probably I was gonna say many months, but probably for a few years, you know that that level of pr we had a decent Consistent level of sales for a few years.

We also had enough momentum to hire a PR agency early on and have them pursuing more of these type of [00:17:00] organic placements. And that was huge. We’ve always pretty much lived on PR and, you know, unpaid media. Um, it wasn’t until later in the business that we got into the paid media in a significant way.

Chris Clearman of Matador: I mean, that’s kind of a testament of having a good product, I think, or, you know, having that product market fit.

In your case, I think it kind of worked out, uh, you know, at the first try, but I think where you need a lot of marketing is where you haven’t found that product market You have to kind of Repeat that your value proposition again and again. I think, um, do you, do you think that that’s, that’s what is make, make, made your product

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: successful?

Oh, absolutely. It has everything to do with the product and the storytelling. Um, lifestyle, lifestyle marketing was also kind of in a, in a big budding phase at that point. So we really picked up on that and we just showed all these cool places. People could sit and watch live [00:18:00] music or do all these things really picked up on the marketing trends.

We also designed the product specifically to look like it belonged on these design blogs that I knew I was going to target. Um, so, you know, at the time these retro, like, uh, patches were sewn on everything, like Herschel bags were having their initial, like they’re big, um, coming forth. And so we kind of picked up that aesthetic and picked colors, um, accordingly and, and really just designed to, to that, but.

You know, we use what we knew, right? I only the product world. So I figured out how to get PR using the product background that I have. Um, you know, it’s an interesting way to go about things.

Chris Clearman of Matador: And so I guess, uh, that kind of gave you enough revenue to start thinking about your next products. Um, how many months or years into your business, you kind of introduced the second product and can you talk a little bit about that?

What you did there?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. I mean, we ended up [00:19:00] putting out two additional products just a handful of months later. Um, like I said, there’s no shortage of ideas. You can come up with ideas all day long, shortage of time and resources to execute them. Uh, so we came up with a couple of other ideas. Uh, we’ve since discontinued both of them, but they were, um, they were things that we could make using the same factory contacts and they were both soft goods as well, uh, stone products so that we could use the same inventory strategy as before.

Um, and we had, we had turned over our initial our initial inventory by that sold through basically in the day that it went viral. We sold all of them. Um, so we turned that that 11, 000 dollars into. Call it 40, 000 dollars that we were able to reinvest and it’s worth noting that. I didn’t take any money out of the business for probably close to four years.

Um, so I had to, you know, I kept working for a year and a half and then had to, we moved to a much cheaper place and kind of [00:20:00] lived off additional savings while we continued to grow the business.

Chris Clearman of Matador: That’s, that’s a, that’s a very interesting thing. Um, I mean, you’re a product designer and you said, you said that you don’t have any shortage of ideas.

Um, what is your, are you, are you still the chief product designer in your company? Um, go ahead. And yeah, what is your criteria of like. Bringing a new product to market now, like, um, I, I, I’m assuming that now it’s relatively easy because you have kind of the, the audience to pre sell or at least test an idea, ask, you know, even just ask the audience, you know, do you want this?

Um, but what is your kind of Yeah. Product designing development thinking right now. And, you know, how has the criteria changed over time?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s a great question. Um, to answer your first question. Yeah, I’m still I still lead the product group [00:21:00] directly. Um, we have a handful of designers back there, hard goods, soft goods, um, and also like, uh, product marketers.

Um, that sort of thing. So, um, there are a lot of people that that help with this, but I’m still very, very involved in in the nitty gritty day to day of the product. It’s it’s what I like. It’s not something I really want to let go of. So, um, there’s that. And then, um, the second question, what is the criteria of a product that we’ve launched today?

We’re much, we’re not really resource constrained anymore as it relates to development. So that doesn’t, that doesn’t really play a role like it used to. So we have, you know, products that require, you know, many, many dollars of tooling and all sorts of stuff at this point. Um, we also have relationships with factories from the do things from, you know, CNC metal components and die casting to sewing and, uh, silicone, rubber molding, all sorts of stuff.

So we, we can pretty much build whatever we decide, um, which is really nice. Now we’re mostly evaluating, um, a few [00:22:00] things. One of the big ones is how does this fit into the brand and where do we want the brand to go? Um, there was a time where we were less comprehensively brand focused and, um, it ends up being kind of a messy, a messy story to tell, like, how does that product fit with this product?

And how does, what holds this brain together? What’s this brand even about? Um, especially when you have like 50 discreet, totally discreet products and, or inventions like our brand does. Um, you need a common thread in order for the consumer to show up at your website, uh, and understand what they’re even, what they’re even doing there, what they’re shopping for.

Um, another thing is now we have to, we have to believe that there’s a significant audience for it. We used to launch some pretty niche stuff. Um, but now there needs, you know, it needs to appeal to 25 percent of the, of the addressable market. You know, we can’t launch stuff that only like 3 percent of people are going to, are going to be interested in.

Um, let’s see another, another [00:23:00] big qualification. And this one’s, this one’s kind of the one, I think that gets missed the most, um, and relates back to what I was saying earlier is we have to be able to tell the story. And transmit the value proposition to the potential customer within a matter of a second, right?

And if we can’t do that then we don’t go forward with the product and we’ve got I don’t know how many ideas in here have been killed because they’re just There’s too much story to tell and it ends up being the discussion here is like well that would probably work great on kickstarter, but we’re you know, we’re not that company and If it can’t sell at like stores like REI, we’re not going to bother with it typically.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Yeah, I think, uh, as I was saying, you know, I, I think for adventure, adventure travelers. Um, once they see your product, like your products, a lot of the problems that I’ve encountered while traveling, your product kind of like solve them. So it makes like complete sense to me, [00:24:00] but not everybody is an adventure, adventure traveler, but, uh, I’m assuming you’re not kind of catering to everybody either.

Like you’re not catering to like the luxury travelers.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: No, we’re not. And when I say the addressable market, like, we’re mostly focused on on the people who are our market. So when we say it needs to appeal to 30 percent of the addressable market, that would be like 30 percent of adventure travelers, not just humans in general, or the US market or whatever.

So it’s still, you know, it’s still a relatively small chunk of the population. But there is a lot of spillover to you know, there are you will see people on cruise ships carrying our backpacks and using our toiletry bottles and stuff like that, like a little more luxury travel. Transcribed Um, and, you know, we make some photography stuff, photography products and there’s, there’s spillover into subsequent markets, uh, the market as well.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Uh, there is a lot of innovation on your products. Um, do you? Patent, uh, your designs at all. Like, how do you, because I would assume, [00:25:00] um, businesses in China, they would have no time, uh, making copycats. Uh, how, how do you kind of, uh, make sure your innovations stay protected?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, we do. We, we have quite a, a pretty good patent portfolio.

Um, and then addressing infringement quickly when it happens. So it’s almost. It’s almost always on Amazon, uh, this day and age. It’s just the wait for foreign entities to access the American market, the lowest lift, easiest way. So as long as we’re pretty diligent about, uh, filing patent infringement suits against the Amazon things, as soon as they pop up, um, we can keep them to a minimum.

Uh, one of the problems is if you let a couple of them exist on there for a few months. People will look and say, you know, it looks like you’re not enforcing your patents. We’re going to copy it too. And then you end up with a flood of [00:26:00] them. Um, another interesting thing that we’ve done, uh, we noticed that our best inventions had a really short lifespan.

Whenever they were put, whenever they were sold on Amazon for MSRP for the same price, they were sold as everywhere else. And what happens there is you become like the number one item in the category on Amazon, and then all of the foreign factories copy your product because it’s a, it’s a good seller.

They have that data point. So one of the things we’ve done is actually sell it, raise our product prices about 20 percent on Amazon. So it’s actually considerably more expensive to buy our products on Amazon than anywhere else. And it’s because we never want to become a category bestseller on amazon And that has prevented probably 99 of the copycats Um, there’s also a third party software like helium 10 and some others and they they pull out products for these People who are searching for products to copy they’re like, oh this product is selling well Um, you know and it shows them a list you should make you should make something like this So [00:27:00] staying out off of those lists has actually been really effective for us

Yeah, we, we sell less quantity on Amazon, but we, you know, we sell more on direct consumer or indirect consumer site, which has a lot more value for us. So like the soap bar case is a 14 product. And it’s, it’s an amazing product. It’s very unique. It’s patented. Um, if we sell one on Amazon, maybe we make a profit of 3.

By the time we pay for the cost of the goods, the freight to Amazon, you know, Amazon’s fees, all these things. If we drive that customer to our website, our average order value is closer to 100 and they’ll typically buy three items. And then we also have a very high returning customer rate. So that three, instead of a 3 purchase on Amazon, we end up with a multi hundred dollar customer lifetime value on our website.

So it’s actually worth it for us to lose a lot of sales on Amazon in order to facilitate a stronger business, uh, direct consumer

Chris Clearman of Matador: [00:28:00] business. I think, I think that’s a, that’s definitely a great strategy. Um, talking about Amazon, what’s your, I mean, now it seems like you are in a lot of, um, uh, retail stores as well.

Uh, what is, what is kind of your channel strategy and, um, how, how big is it? I, I believe you said REI is your biggest, uh, uh, third party.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. Yeah. Um, domestically, they are. So we do, um, we, we sell direct consumer. As I’ve mentioned on our website, um, we don’t have stores of our own. We do sell wholesale in the U S and Canada, and we sell that direct to the wholesaler.

So there’s no distributor between us and our retail partners. Um, so there’s a direct brand retailer relationships, and that would be stores like REI or the container store stores like that. Um, as well as a lot of independent specialty outdoor stores, um, stores, that nature. And then there’s the third parties like [00:29:00] Amazon that we still, we, we don’t sell to them.

We sell on those platforms, but in a very controlled rate and well above MSRP, it kind of as I alluded to with our strategy before. And then as you get, as you go internationally, with the exception of Canada, Um, we start to use, uh, third parties, their distributors who have a local sales force and speak the, speak the local language, that sort of thing.

So most of the EU is serviced by our distribution partner in Germany. Um, you can ship over borders really easily in the EU now. So we, we don’t, and we don’t want distributors competing with each other and have a price war, right? So we have one distributor servicing the EU, and then there’s like another distributor for the non, some, the non EU countries like Switzerland.

Um, we have a distributor for Japan, and China, and Korea, like all these, these various countries around the world. Is

Chris Clearman of Matador: US, uh, still your biggest market, or do you see like other places, uh, kind of, uh, [00:30:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, U. S. U. S. is our top market. Japan is our second and that kind of the E. U. is, is growing really, really fast right now and may pass Japan next year.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Well, that’s very interesting. Japan, is it because, uh, why Japanese people travel a lot,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: a lot or? I think, um, I think they just really like our products. They’re, they’re very specific about, they like, like small things that are executed very well. Um, small, nice. high quality products, uh, and it just resonates with them.

I think the aesthetic and, you know, the problem solving nature of the products really resonates in that market. Um,

Chris Clearman of Matador: what is your, uh, within the U S are you, um, fulfilling yourself or are you doing it through like a third party?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, we, we use a 3PL and we’ve, we’ve been doing that since, uh, since the initial batch that I shifted out of my living room, [00:31:00] we’ve been through about five 3PLs at this point.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Any, any learnings there? Um, have they kind of, uh, uh, messed up your orders? Uh, you know, any one of them in the past? Oh yeah. Sometimes I hear like

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: horror stories. Yeah, there’s been some pretty disastrous years. Um, The most notable one, uh, they got too busy and couldn’t receive holiday inventory. So for about a month, they just had our stuff, our inbound inventory sitting on the loading dock.

And we missed a good chunk of the holiday season sales because we had to be out of stock on those products. They couldn’t ship until they received. That was a disaster. 20.

Um thinking they would get away with it. So we got into like a little bit of a legal dispute there. Um, The biggest thing I would say the biggest learning with all these three pls is to make sure You have a contact at the warehouse where your product is [00:32:00] stored You know, there’s there’s some big ones out there and you have a central a contact at the central office That doesn’t really work when, when push comes to shove and things, and there’s a fire, like you need somebody on the ground who can go find that pallet of product, who can go, you know, pull a sample from that to see if it has a defect, like really our best experiences have been working with these small, like single or double location, uh, 3PLs where we have a contact that we know personally that works at that physical warehouse.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Um, let’s talk about marketing a little bit. Uh, so you have, you know, your direct to consumer site, um, but then also you have like these third, you know, these retailers, REI and, uh, and others, um, do you, do you help the retailers with marketing your brand at all? Like what does your marketing look like more, both direct, uh, you know, direct to consumer and also [00:33:00] the, the channel partners?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So the vast majority of our marketing is through paid Facebook and Instagram spend as well as through PR. Um, so one of the big things that we do for our retailers is, um, have the PR articles linked to their stores instead of ours. So you’ll notice a lot of the PR articles about our products linked to say REI or some other, some other store.

Um, that drives a lot of traffic for them. Um, also our ad spend in general, um, while we typically try to drive people to our website. first time shoppers of the brand, you know, maybe they trust REI’s ability to fulfill their order quickly or backcountry. They have a good account set up with that country already, and they prefer to order from there.

So there’s a lot of trickle over, uh, from our ad campaigns to the retail partners, uh, web sales. And then as it relates to, um, in store sales, yeah, we, we do what we can to offer POP [00:34:00] and to do customized signage and all sorts of stuff to kind of make the brand sell as well as we can in store. And that’s kind of a different program.

That’s like the in store marketing. Yeah. Um, in P. O. P. programs, but we do produce and distribute that stuff mostly for free, like various signed, um, all sorts of all sorts of different things. To me, it sounds like you,

Chris Clearman of Matador: you, you, you get, or you’ve been getting, uh, a pretty good return on investment on your PR, uh, uh,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: efforts.

Yeah, it’s impossible to measure the PR return on investment really. But if you see it, like our brand is innovative and our products are unique. So we ended up getting just an outlandish amount of coverage. And we’ve had the same PR agency now for quite a while, and they do a great job. So, um, Backbone Media out of Carbondale.

They’re just, they’re really excellent at what they do, especially within the outdoor and travel industry. Um, and then [00:35:00] our, our whole, our whole brand, our whole business is bootstrapped, right? Beyond that 11, 000, there’s never been any additional investment, um, which is pretty crazy. So, um, the, the strategy here is that everything, because of our bootstrap nature, everything has to be ROI positive.

So when we’re doing these marketing campaigns, we’re evaluating like, did we make more than we spent, you know, after cost of goods and all that. And if the answer is yes, then like, okay, spend more. Right. So any, any avenue where we think that, or we’re confident the ROI is positive, we’re dumping money into that.

So, uh, you end up, if you have some good ad campaigns going, spending quite a bit and giving a lot of, a lot of, uh, growth across the board and, uh, brand recognition through, you know, simple Instagram campaigns and other things.

Chris Clearman of Matador: What does your, uh, team look like right now? How many people in the team and like, what are the different, uh,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: There’s about 15 here, uh, at the office in [00:36:00] Boulder.

So it’s mostly, it’s mostly designed. And then we have a handful in marketing and, um, a couple in sales and operations. And then outside of that, there’s the 3PL in Memphis, and then another warehouse in Hong Kong that we utilize. Um, there’s also, uh, there’s about 12 different sales reps, uh, spaced around the U.

S. and Canada. Um, their territory reps. So they aren’t working out of house here, um, but they’re representing our brand out there. And, you know, they’re doing in store visits and clinics, that sort of thing. Um, and then all of our manufacturing is done, um, in three different countries. So China, Vietnam, and Cambodia at this point, and we utilize about probably about.

18 or so different factories at this point with different specialties. So we’re managing all of these production, uh, projects for the most part as well. So [00:37:00] when we design something, it’s not OEM, we’re not ordering it off Alibaba. There’s, and it’s not, um, it’s not OEM parts. Like we’re, we’re designing, you know, we’re doing this building of solid works, models, designing and engineering, all of the components, cutting the tools for them.

Having those molded it like an injection molding house or a compression molding house, or, and then we send all of those to a single location to be assembled. So you see a product like just our travel earplugs kit has eight different suppliers involved in it. And we have to manage all those projects. Um, but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting.

It’s, uh, it is a, it’s a surprisingly large business for how few people we have that actually run it at headquarters. And it’s, and I like it that way. I’m not, I’m not inherently a good manager of people. I’m more of a doer. So it’s a very flat, uh, company structure. Everybody pretty much owns their purview.

It has very little oversight. And as long as they keep doing a great job, it seems to work. [00:38:00]

Chris Clearman of Matador: That’s great. I mean, at the beginning of the interview, you, I believe you mentioned that you knew about product, you didn’t even know about any other parts of the business.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Oh, no, I know about every part of the business.

No, no, I mean,

Chris Clearman of Matador: no, now, now, you know it. Oh, yeah. But that’s, that’s where I’m going. What, um, what, what, and I believe you’re also saying like you, you have a lot more flexibility in your day and everything. So are you, I mean, kind of, have you kind of reached the entrepreneurial, uh, entrepreneurs dreamland, you know, every entrepreneur wants, I think every, every entrepreneur’s dream is to become, you know, have the freedom, right?

So have you kind of, um, reached that place? Uh, and. Like what, what, what is, what are you thinking about the most, um, these days, uh, about your business?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, that’s a good question. So in [00:39:00] terms of have I reached the dreamland, uh, it’s, this year has been a pretty, you know, we had COVID, which was anything but the dreamland for a travel brand.

They basically made the, uh, Yeah, they made the, uh, activity that we service illegal for 2 years. Um, so that was tough after that. We’ve seen we’ve seen a lot of growth. Our financials are really strong. Um, it provides more to me than I ever. Ever could have asked for, um, and, you know, as selling stuff becomes easier and the business becomes more established and, um, well staffed, the, the employees know exactly what they’re doing.

It has started to present that freedom. Um, it took a decade to get here, but, you know, I’ve been able to take a pretty enormous amount of vacation. Um, I’m progressively riding a motorcycle, so I shipped a, shipped a motorcycle over to Europe and, um. Progressively writing that like a few weeks at a time across all of Europe and Asia and you’re just storing it in between [00:40:00] and you know, just doing a lot of stuff that I wanted to do, but you know, it doesn’t happen quickly and it took it took a decade to get there.

So I’d say yes, pretty, pretty much pretty close to being at that point, but. We’re pretty much there. I, I’ve also realized through doing that, that I just don’t really have any interest in like actually retiring or like pulling out of the business. I really enjoy doing this, um, for the most part. And I, you know, I ended up thinking about it quite a lot, even when I don’t have to, and I don’t really want that like passive income stream and just to lay on a beach.

That’s not me. And I don’t, so finding the balance where it’s, you know, I’m back for a month or two and then I’m over there doing the rides and then, you know, traveling somewhere else. And that’s, that’s really where I want to be. That’s a sweet spot for me right now. Definitely. What is your,

Chris Clearman of Matador: which, which motorcycle do you ride?

It’s

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: a 1250 GS BMW and it’s set up, it’s set up for off road. So we’ll do about by time, about [00:41:00] 50 percent off road, 50 percent on like we just finished going across Spain, uh, through the Pyrenees. Uh, Pyrenees mountains, which is really fun.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Wow, that’s awesome. Uh, in every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always mistakes made, lessons learned, failures.

Um, what has been, I mean, you’ve been running your business for 10 years. What has been kind of a big one or two mistakes that, um, uh, that you could have done without, you know, that maybe taught you some lessons. Uh, and what can other entrepreneurs learn from your mistakes?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I wouldn’t say there’s any like distinct points that are huge mistakes.

Like I was at this decision point and I made the wrong decision. Um, I was too conservative early on as it relates to marketing. Um, there was a golden era of Facebook ads and we were getting a, nearly a five to one return on ad spend and it just. Hadn’t really thought about how [00:42:00] powerful that could have been in terms of growth.

We probably could have, you know, we probably could have shaved advanced years on our growth curve had I done what I know now. So I think I didn’t, I was too product focused early on being a product person and not market market and story focused enough. Um, you have to like marketing is everything. Most product brands are started by marketers.

They don’t even need a great product if they can tell a great story. So I was coming at it the other way where I thought the product would do all the work and it’s just not. Ultimately, it’s not the reality of the world.

Chris Clearman of Matador: But I mean, I do think that. Um, yeah, I mean, I do think, you know, at the end of the product can take you maybe long distance marketing.

Marketing can, you know, definitely if the product doesn’t perform, marketing can only take you

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: so far. So, right? Yeah, you need, you really need both. If you’re going to, if you’re going to find true growth and longevity, but like [00:43:00] you said, the products, if you have a good product and you can protect it, Thank you.

You can exist on that for like what the 26 year lifespan of the patent, you know, but if you want to really grow, you’ve got to have the marketing, the marketing shops, or at least find someone who does to help you push the business. For

Chris Clearman of Matador: sure. Now we’re going to move on to a rapid fire segment. In this segment, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions and you have to answer maybe in a couple of words or a sentence or so.

Um, one book recommendation for entrepreneurs and why? Uh, the

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: accounting game lessons from the lemonade stand. And I find that most people. Uh, most entrepreneurs do not have a solid foundation of accounting knowledge. And ultimately that’s the game that we’re playing is what it comes down to.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Okay. Uh, an innovative product or idea.

Um, it could be e commerce, retail or tech that you feel excited about besides yours.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, in, in terms of tech lately, we’ve been using, I mean, I’m sure a lot of [00:44:00] people say AI, but I’m going to say specifically AI as it relates to the product design process. And chat GPT has a, uh, has a function now where it’ll, it’ll generate images for you.

Um, so you can say like, Hey, show me what a, um, a luggage tag would look like if the black, black diamond, the climbing company made it, and it’ll spit out four options and it’ll show you a bunch of options. And it really gets the designers heads going in a bunch of different directions and it’s improved our design significantly.

Wow. That’s, that’s

Chris Clearman of Matador: really, uh, interesting. Um, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend, uh, or a productivity tip.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, have you heard of text expander? Yes. Yes. Of course. Okay. Yeah. I love text expander, just programming in your shortcuts. I have full emails programs. So just. Three keystrokes and you type a 500 words, um, and then from the business side, I’d say Asana.

We implemented that several [00:45:00] years ago, um, as kind of a project management and business management software. And it has been life changing after the team accepted it and got used to it myself as well.

Chris Clearman of Matador: For sure. Uh, another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, Zbiotics. So it’s a prebiotic for preventing hangover, and I swear it works so well.

And if I could get in on the ground floor of that, I certainly would, but yeah, they’re doing amazing things, excellent product.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Awesome. Uh, a peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you? Um, I

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: wouldn’t call him a peer, but I really liked how Richard Branson did it. He combined his hobbies with his business and also managed to live his life. In a in an interesting and aspirational way, um, and not just get sucked in and become a stuffy businessman Only focused on the bottom line. So i’d say richard branson. Yeah.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Yeah for sure I mean he’s [00:46:00] created his own world right like he lives in on his own island and does what he Final question Yeah.

Yeah, for sure. Final question. Best business advice you ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I would say the best business advice I would give is that nothing is as good or as bad as it seems. So, I mean, it’s, it stands on its own, right? When you think you’ve hit the jackpot, just wait, it’s not going to be what you think.

When you think it’s the end of the world, take your time, make your decisions. It’s not going to be the end of the world. Definitely. It’s

Chris Clearman of Matador: everything is cyclical. So yeah. Yeah, it’s never, always going to be great. It’s never always going to be bad.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So yeah, for sure. Balance, balancing all things to some degree. Yeah,

Chris Clearman of Matador: for sure. Well, Chris, those were all the questions that I had. Thank you so much for sharing your time, for sharing your story and, and, uh, all your business lessons and also some failures and lessons there. Uh, thank you so much again. Uh, if anybody wants to check out your products, what is the best way to do that?[00:47:00]

Um,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: just go to matador equipment.com.

Chris Clearman of Matador: Awesome. Well, thank you again for joining me today at Treptalks and wish you and your business all the very

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: best. Thanks. Appreciate it.

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