Can you sell concrete through E-commerce? – Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions shows how

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 43:32)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions shares how he has built a successful e-commerce business around decorative concrete countertop solutions. Interesting interview to learn about a business category that may not traditionally be linked with E-commerce.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions

00:00Introduction
01:10About the business
03:26Selling concrete via E-commerce
10:19Product education
11:22Manufacturing vs sourcing concrete products
12:42Working with manufacturers in China
16:02Selling locations
19:14Marketing
21:55Influencer campaigns and social media
28:13Financing
29:17Sales channels
30:17Warehousing and fulfillment
33:25Shipping costs
34:07Mistakes made, lessons learned
36:37Rapid fire round

Rapid Fire

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

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions

  1. An innovative product or idea and the current eCommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Social Media)
  2. A Business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip (Response: Front)
  3. Best business advice you ever received (Response: Always be learning)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Hey there entrepreneurs My name is Lucia and welcome to trap rocks. This is the show where I interview successful ecommerce 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 Dario Baldoni to the show. Dario is the VP of technology and marketing at concrete countertops solutions, concrete countertop solutions serves a wide range of products and decorative concrete for building concrete countertops. And today I’m going to ask you a few questions about his entrepreneurial journey, and some of the strategies and tactics that he has used to start and grow a business. So thank you so much for joining me today at tracklogs.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Absolutely, thank you for having me.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So anyone who doesn’t know this world of, you know, decorative, concrete and the countertops were, can you share a little bit about your business and the products that you sell?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Absolutely. So we sell products, specifically for the decorative concrete industry, I guess I should say specifically for concrete countertops. And, you know, a lot of times I say that word, right, concrete countertops, and people kind of scratch their head, like, Oh, what’s that, but they’re actually they’re quite a bit more popular than then I think a lot of people realize, and they’ve become more and more popular, you know, especially since we’ve gotten in this space over the past 10 years. But what’s cool about concrete, especially as a countertop surface, is it’s super customizable, it’s very affordable. And you can really make it look or, you know, make it look like a lot of different surfaces out there. So a lot of people have seen it interacted with concrete countertops, especially, you know, maybe at a bar or in a commercial space and don’t even realize it. So yeah, it’s it’s, it’s a cool product. And it’s it’s gaining a lot of traction for sure.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So it’s mostly for commercial space, but or is it like for home also, maybe do you like what someone built their kitchen top or something with this? Kind of?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

They definitely would. Yeah, most most of our customers aren’t doing interior either doing their kitchens or bathroom vanities are popular right now, especially with COVID and you know, people focusing how they spend a lot of their extra income using that in the outdoor space building outdoor kitchens and they’re, you know, those outdoor living areas. We’ve also seen a lot of growth there as well too. So you know, but but really from from the outdoor barbecue aspect, or kitchen countertops, vanity tops, and people use our products to do all sorts of things they make concrete furniture, dining room tables, coffee tables, steps walk apps, yeah, it’s kind of unlimited what you can do with it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Do you describe your business as an E commerce business? Or is it like more of a local business? But you know, you have the ecommerce arm do it like are you actually selling the countertops? Or are you selling something different?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

So we definitely are primarily ecommerce It is by far our largest sales channel we do sell through some distribution a lot of decorative concrete or specialty construction stores across the US and Canada and we have our own retail store as well but we are primarily ecommerce about 80% of our sales are so that’s that’s our main focus and that’s how we categorize ourselves but we don’t sell the countertops themselves. So people don’t come to us and say hey, I need this countertop, can you build it for me? No, we sell the products to allow them to be able to build it so we sell a lot to di wires that’s that’s a very large segment which I’m sure we’ll get into discussing more later. And we also target the contractors you know, the professional market to concrete contractors and you know, Home Builders as well so, but but we do primarily sell to them online.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So basically what you’re selling is kind of like some sort of mixture that people mold to build concrete. How can you describe like, how, how would someone go about building that countertop? And where do you come in that picture?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Certainly certainly. So how we got started is actually a forming system. So it’s these PVC forms that you can screw down on top of your cabinets to actually hold the concrete their molds to pour the concrete into which allows you to pour the concrete in place typically See how this was done before, as people would template their cabinets, build molds out in the garage, pour the concrete, let it cure, and then, you know, carry those slabs in and put them in place. But with our system, you’re actually able to do that all in place. And it takes away a lot of that guesswork and having to deal with these super large, heavy slabs. You don’t have to seem them, because you can do it all in one piece. So we got started with the forms, but we’ve grown from there into a one stop shop. So yes, we do sell the concrete mixtures we sell admixtures to strengthen concrete, we sell stains and integral pigment two ways to color the concrete. And we sell sealers, you know you definitely concrete is a porous substrate, you want to make sure that it is sealed well. So we sell, you know, a whole line of sealers, we sell tools, accessories, you know, just a whole offering to kind of allow people to come to our store, get everything they need to build their own countertops.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And can you share a little bit I mean, so, you know, before we started the interview, you shared that your dad actually as the one who started this business, can you share a little bit about you know, what motivated you to start like this concrete kind of business? It’s a very, I guess, niche or unique political thing?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Definitely. Yeah, so he was a contractor, a residential home builder for 30 years prior to starting this. And concrete countertops are just one of those things that just they were gaining popularity and kept kind of popping up at a lot of the builder shows you would go to. So he wanted to try them in any did a couple inspect homes and in customers homes. And the whole idea for the product, those forms I was telling you about were built, you know, were designed around the idea that there should be an easier way to do this, because he went through kind of what I was saying before where you have to template them and build the molds out of lumber. And it’s a labor intensive process. So that’s when he came up with this idea for the forming system. And you know, that’s kind of how it all got started. That was maybe back in 2008 or nine. And it did take him two or three years to get a patent on that product. It was rejected once. And then finally he did and he you know, he really you just did it because he thought it was a good idea. He didn’t have too much experience with concrete countertops. And like I said he was building high end homes for a long time. But he just thought it was a good idea and kind of wanted to go for it and see what he can do with it. So that’s that’s how it started.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So and from an E commerce perspective, like how did you think that this could become a good ecommerce doesn’t because if you think about it, like E commerce businesses, usually I’m assuming like the product is heavy or you know how, what motivated you to start the ecommerce business? And then we’ll get you get into like, how did you actually grow that?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, heat. So I basically he had this idea, he got a patent on the forms, he finally was able to get somebody to manufacture them. And then he was kind of like, alright, well, now what do I do? You know, being a contractor, he didn’t have, you know, a lot of knowledge of E commerce or, and this was this was back in 2010. Maybe, at this point. So it wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. And he took you on taking the forms to a couple trade shows, showed them to some people who really liked the idea, you know, oh, yeah, cool. We can sell this in our store. And then he kind of just decided, well, I should have a website. So we had somebody, a local developer build like a very rudimentary basic ecommerce store. It was built on big commerce at the time. And he just, there was seven skews. I think it was just the forms and they came in different profiles. So different edge details that you can use. And he put them online and yeah, then he didn’t really know what to do. So he he kind of waited and you know, he might get a sale, you know, a couple of months, maybe if he was lucky. And then that’s, that’s kind of when I came in, I graduated college in 2012 with a degree in computer science, and I was kind of like, well, let’s you know, let’s see what we can do with this because it’s there’s a good product here for sure. Everybody you showed it to in the industry really liked it. But now it became well how do we reach the right people, you know, online, so

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So the traditional art alternative of this product would have been just a regular countertop like granite, marble and so forth. And so you came up with this new product. Was there? Like, was there an education component of this? Like, we have to educate the market on what this is about? And how did you do that, like, through an E commerce or online channel

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

means definitely. So that’s kind of how we grew is through that education process. Here, this is all Bootstrap, there was no outside investment, it was a hobby, you know, kind of a passion project of his, if you will. And once we had that first initial website, we’re like, alright, well, we got to show people how to use this, this product. So we started making YouTube videos. And, you know, we made one or two videos, put them on YouTube, they started getting views. And, you know, people would watch the video, learn how to use the product, find our website through it. And that’s kind of what started the initial growth there.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And how, like, it took getting the product itself, is it something that you manufacture yourself? Is it something that you buy from like China? How, what is the process of getting the products together?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, so I mean, now in our store, we have over 700 skews. So manufacturing, it comes from a lot of different places, our our forms that we’ve been talking about up to this point, they’re all extruded PVC, and those are manufactured overseas. So we have a QC person there in China, who, you know, kind of runs or looks after our manufacturing arm. But we have a lot of other products, you know, our all of our cement products, and our coatings and sealers. Those are pretty much all manufactured here in the US through just strategic partnerships, and you know, people willing to private label for us.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Can you talk a little bit more about, you know, working with a manufacturer in China, and you mentioned, you have like some sort of quality control person who’s working there. I mean, I, when I talk to a lot of E commerce businesses, I always hear every once in a while, you know, horror story about ordered a product and you know, they got something very different or really bad quality or something. Can you share a little bit about, you know, how you built the relationship with your suppliers? And what is the role of how did you find that quality control person? What, how does that process work?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, good question. So, I would say we’re a little a little lucky, we found this person. So my, at the time, my uncle was getting a product made an extruded PVC product, he had this invention, it was a, basically a rack system for totes for those big plastic totes. And he hooked us up with with the person he was using, I don’t know how the story goes exactly how their relationship started. But, you know, he, we’ve been working with him since the beginning. So I would say, dealing one to one. With the factories over there could certainly be difficult. A lot of times, there’s a language barrier that gets in the way. And like you said, you know, you can give them a purchase order and maybe never see stuff or maybe to stuff that isn’t up to your, you know, specs at all. So you definitely have to be careful. But when working with the intermediary we have, who speaks the language and spent a lot of time over there at the factories. It’s, it’s definitely made it easier for us and kind of gave us that peace of mind. And, you know, we make sure we always whenever we’re designing a new product, it’s always, you know, we get the tooling made. And then we get samples, we start prototyping it here, we 3d printed, then we you know, get the tooling made over there. We get samples, we check all the specs, make sure everything is good. And then there’s that aspect of well as their manufacturing is the quality going to stay like they sent you the sample. So that’s why I have having somebody there on the ground who’s kind of responsible is very helpful.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Anyone else who’s trying to find that kind of health in China? How do you like what would your recommendation be for them? And do you actually ever visit China to you know, supplier factory to actually see how things are building or just to build the relationship with them or something like that?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, definitely both. Not since COVID. But before we would go there pretty much once a year, either my dad or myself But one to have that relationship with the factories and the owners of the factories there. You know, and they’re generally they’re proud of what they’re doing and what they’re making for you, they want to show you the whole operation. And it’s always good to get over there and see how things are done. But we also, you know, when you’re there, we usually try and line it up with the Canton Fair, which is one of the largest trade shows in in the world. So if you’re looking to get something manufactured overseas, that’s probably not a bad place to start. Because pretty much every factory there has some representation at the trade show. And you know, you can source just about anything, and you can actually talk to people. And usually, there’s, there’s enough English speakers there that the communication isn’t too difficult. So it’s a great way to source new products and you know, meet meet the actual owners of the factories.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Your market mostly in the US, are you selling mostly in the US or Italy?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yes, we do sell internationally. We’re about 90%. In the US, though Canada is our second biggest, by far. And then we we do have some distributors, some wholesalers overseas, we have one large one in Australia and one large one in Europe as well. They’re not, you know, they’re just resellers of our product. But yeah, they we usually give them that, like a very large territory, and kind of allow them to distribute it how they want.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Did you first go in Europe or Australia? Europe? Yeah. Okay. In terms of your target market? Have you figured out like what kind of persona or what kind of person, family or business type actually buys from you? Is there like any special characteristic of the kind of people who would buy this product as opposed to like a traditional countertop?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Definitely. So our largest audience is the do it yourselfer. There’s a very passionate group of DIY errs, and it’s even grown more in recent years, I feel like especially with Instagram, and Tiktok. And you know, these people who just want to do everything they can themselves and they learn online. So targeting that audience has been hugely successful for us. But a little side note, we didn’t realize that when we started, you know, we thought that we were going to be selling this to contractors, or concrete professionals. And you know, that that’s the market we needed to go after. It was pretty early on when we put out those first YouTube videos, and people started finding us and we were, you know, sitting there saying, well, these people aren’t contractors at all, these are just, you know, homeowners who’ve liked to build stuff. So, you know, I think it’s definitely good to not when you’re doing that research on on your target audience, don’t think that you know, everything or don’t get set in one way, you really want to be able to adapt quickly, because as soon as we saw, Wow, you know, the people who are using this stuff are just homeowners and, you know, then the lights started to click, well, how can we target them more efficiently? You know, let’s go after this segment of di wires. And that’s when things really started to to explode for us.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So maybe we can talk a little bit about that marketing side of things. So you mentioned that you have a YouTube channel, and you know, that kind of got things, things started. And when you realize that you have homeowners, the DIY kind of people who are buying your product. What kind of marketing do you do at that time? And how has it evolved over time? Because I think, you know, paid advertising definitely changed now. Can you share a little bit about you know, what was working in the past? And how has it changed?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Sure, sure. So, yeah, I mean, paid online marketing has, it’s constantly changing, right? So when we first got started, we were doing it all organically through, you know, SEO and these YouTube videos. And then we started once we started making some money. Well, we wanted to reinvest that in marketing, and we started to realize we need to target these DIY customers. So you know, one of the first places we started and still one of our most successful campaigns is Google AdWords. You know, I think everybody who’s starting a project like this, when they go online, they got to start somewhere. And usually that Google search bar is that place. So trying to meet them right in the beginning and We started tailoring our keywords to attract more of that DIY audience, you know, with how to how to make concrete countertops, DIY, concrete countertops, you know, phrases of that nature. Since then, you know, since the explosion of Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest, and now tick tock, you know, we tried to stay kind of on the cutting edge there, you know, tailoring our audiences to, you know, look alike customers in the past? And, you know, kind of, like, thinking of our sales funnel, you know, starting at the top, or how do people first hear about concrete countertops? Or where do they start doing their research and a lot of the time that’s on Pinterest, you know, so gearing those campaigns towards top of the funnel, and then, you know, maybe having your retargeting campaigns on Facebook or, you know, through through Google. So that’s kind of how we’ve we’ve done things and adapted.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Are you using Tiktok? At all?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

We are? Yes, yes, recently. So we do a lot with influencers. And this is probably, I mean, we started doing it maybe like five or six years ago now. But I mean, at this point, I, you know, two or three of them reach out a week, you know, saying, Hey, I saw your product here, love it, we’d love to use it for, you know, this upcoming project I have. And we sponsor a lot of them, you know, we give them all of the products they need, and the information. And they, they post about it in stories and reels and you know, tag us, and that’s been a great marketing tool for

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

us. And you’re able to track the results from those influence influencer campaigns.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, influencers are a little difficult. But often we’ll do like discount campaigns with them, you know, where they can give their audience a 10% off coupon code. So that makes it easier to track or will do affiliate links, you know, so we can track them that way as well.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

In terms of your team, can you share a little bit about you know, your European, and for your marketing that like all in house? Or do you work with, like, agency or something?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Sure. So our team were 12 full time employees now. And two part time. We, so we have a customer service or customer support team, that’s four people. And then we have in our warehouse, we have another four people. And then the rest is, you know, we’re still relatively small, right? So a lot of us do wear a lot of hats. Like, me, for example, I do all of our technology and web development and marketing and graphic design, but I’m also often answering the phones for customer support or, you know, assisting where else I can. I’m sorry, what was the second part of that question? Oh, outside agencies? Yeah. Yeah, certainly. So yeah, as we’ve grown, we’ve definitely had to seek some other help, especially in marketing, since I’m the only person here really doing marketing. That’s not entirely true. We have another girl who handles a lot of our social media, but in terms of actual marketing strategies, and doing the creatives and the copy and you know, setting up the campaigns, I do all of that. So I do use some agencies for sure. To help with Facebook, Google, and a lot of the surfaces as well like Pinterest we use in house Pinterest people and they’re they’re great like that. So it I guess it just depends, you know, how, how, how big and the campaign’s are getting because a lot of times it just becomes too much work for one person to constantly be monitoring and tweaking bid strategies and tweaking keywords and you know, if you can get that outside help for a good price and still see really good ROI, it’s kind of a no brainer.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I mean, I see you on your YouTube, it’s like your YouTube videos are quite well done. And is it your dad, who’s the main person there? Or? I’m sorry, go ahead. Yeah, and that like home production? Do you hire really good professional how to do these kinds of videos?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, so it is my dad and most of the videos he kind of started as the face of the company. So we’ve kind of kept that going. They are so funny story. When we got started, one of my best friends was he went to school for videography. He’s now a director of photography in Hollywood. But he was, he was not that status early on. And he did a lot of these videos, not pro bono, but on the cheap, just as like a side project, and they help us out. And, you know, the production quality was really good. And people would mention that all the time, like, Hey, we love your videos, they’re super helpful. So that’s when we realized that we got to kind of have to keep this up. But we do still make most of them in house, I shoot a lot of them, I’ve shot a couple of them on my iPhone, you know, the cameras on on an iPhone are pretty darn good these days. And, you know, I edit on premiere, and, you know, we have, like, cheap mics that we use. So you don’t, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a pretty decent production value on your videos, especially if you’re getting started out. I would say, you know, there’s even editing like, you don’t have to be proficient in Premiere Final Cut, you can use iMovie or, you know, you can still make a pretty good product.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So do you like when you create a YouTube video like this? Which, I mean, you have a pretty big, pretty decent following on YouTube, for example. Do you see a lot of people coming through these channels and making purchases, or these work mostly of kind of like, you know, someone came to Google and this becomes more of a research and social proof kind of thing, that the look like a good bit,

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

it’s, it’s twofold. And they started off trying to be educational, and we make them we still make them that way. Because we put them all on our website, we have a whole video section. And even on in product descriptions, if there’s a video geared towards a Pacific specific product, you know, we made sure it’s there. So people watch them and learn how to use them. I mean, a big part of what we do is making sure our customers, you know, they have good outcomes, and they’re really happy with the products and their countertops that they create, because then they share them, and they talk about them, and they tell their friends and they write good reviews. So we want to make sure that that education stays, you know, front and center of what we do. But they also function as a great marketing tool. I mean, people when they start their research, like I said, in Google, or in YouTube, those videos pop up. So even if they didn’t know that they were looking for our products, specifically, they started to watch them. And you know, then then they learned, oh, this, this looks easy. Like, let’s let’s dive into this a little deeper. And, you know, they might find themselves on their website. And, you know, we encourage people to reach out, email us or call if they need any help figuring out what they need to order. So we kind of try and take it all the way through.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. Did you? Are you your father at any point in the business? Like, is it completely self funded? Or, you know, did any point did you, like need a capital infusion to grow the business or so forth.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

It was completely self funded. Like I said, it was like a side project at the time. And then, as we started, it was only himself and me for a while. So we didn’t have a lot of overhead, we actually be found partners to warehouse our product. And we would just take the order from our big commerce store and type up the label and worldship ups and we’d fax it over to them, and then they would ship it out. So I mean, that was a long time ago. But we started doing things very slow. And as it grew, we started spending more and more money. So we were able to do it all organically. Luckily, I don’t think you know, I’m not saying that’s the right move for everybody. But it certainly worked for us

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

and your online sales channels good completely your website, or do you sell on like Amazon or eBay or other places.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

We experimented with Amazon for a little bit. I’m not going to say anything good or bad about that. But it’s just because of that education, part of our business that was lacking and the customer support part of our business that’s really lacking on Amazon. So you get you wind up getting a lot of returns and we basically found that it really wasn’t helping as much as it was hurting. So as far as online sales, our online sales channels, primarily our website, we do have some distributors or other retailers who sell our products and we dropship for them as well.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And in terms of pure fulfillment, warehousing. Is it all outsourced to like a third party logistics? Is everything in house? How do you manage? Like, the shipping costs? Like the transfer to the customer? Do you absorb some of that?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Yeah, definitely. So it’s about 70%. In house, our warehousing and fulfillment, we have a pretty large warehouse. That we, you know, keep all of our inventory. And, and it’s definitely I mean, it would, we would do it 100% If we could, but there’s some limitations there. It’s nice to be able to, it just makes everything so much easier for us in terms of tracking inventory, and, you know, doing our purchase orders and our forecasting what we need, it makes it so much easier when we can actually go out into the warehouse and see the product. However, that’s not how we do everything we do, you know, private label some stuff. And in that case, sometimes those manufacturers will hold that inventory for us, and they’ll ship it as we need it, or direct ship to our customers. So we do a little of both, it kind of it just depends on the product and where it’s coming from and how much physical inventory we actually need of it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And in terms of shipping, you know, relationships.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Oh, sure. Yeah. Yeah. So we we, we ship with several different carriers, UPS and FedEx being the primary tool, especially for grounding and small package, which about 70% of our sales are, but we do have, because of the size and weight of a lot of our stuff, we do have to ship freight as well. So we have freight pickups every day, when we palletized stuff and ship it from our warehouse. Now in terms of what that looks like for a customer, we do still charge shipping on our website. It’s been, it’s a little tough, it’s probably one of the complaints we hear most often. And it’s why is shipping so high, you know, in today’s day and age, everybody expects free two day shipping, you know, they go on Amazon, not realizing you know that nothing is actually free. And when you’re shipping products like we are, you know, eight foot long boxes, or 500 pounds of concrete, that shipping adds up quickly. And it’s just not something we can absorb without, you know, our prices would be so high and we just don’t think it’s the fairest way to do it. Because now we’re trying to build an extra margin. But shipping is constantly changing. So we just pass on our negotiated rates, you know, we work hard with our carriers, you’ve mostly UPS and FedEx to get really good negotiated rates, especially on our bigger oversized boxes, because we ship so much of them. And that’s what we ask our customers to pay is those negotiated rates. So we don’t use it as a profit center. But we also don’t, you know, lump it into the cost of the goods either.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And overall, for the end customer it. It makes sense. Like even with the shipping cost, like they can see that they would still be saving money as opposed to going with an alternative option or

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Exactly, exactly. That’s what it comes down to. So even though they might pay, you know, $600 for products and $200 for shipping, well that $800 is still you know, $2,000 less than they would pay for another solid surface countertop like a granite or quartz or something so

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

cool. In every business person’s journey, there’s always some mistakes made at or failure lessons learned. I know you’re working more on the marketing side of things. Can you share? Like any any big failures or mistakes come to your mind? And what did you learn from it? And what can other people learn from your mistakes?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Sure, so Well, can you still hear me? Okay, yes. Can you? Okay, good? Yes, no, no, I can I had something going on in my ear. But yeah, sure. So mistakes we have made along the way. Um, from my point, I’m constantly evaluating, like our tech stack and trying to look at new software that will help streamline things and just make all you know, our process as seamless as possible from, you know, even collaboration between customer support and the warehouse and how do we get that all the work as efficiently as possible? I’ve made mistakes in the past with, you know, technologies that I thought would be great or work well and they were either not implemented well, which I’ll you know, raise my hand for or they you know, we weren’t trained well on them. And again, I’ll raise my handy, I might fully understand the service and how it works or how it’s supposed to work. But then making sure that my entire team understands it is well, it’s, it’s difficult when you’re, you know, just one person, I guess. But it helps that we’re still a small, close knit team. So it usually doesn’t cause too many problems. But I would say, you know, my advice there would be, you’re gonna get reached out to by every, you know, one, one to two companies a day are trying to sell me their technology or their software, whatever it is, you know, just because we have a popular online brand, people find us easily, we have a big store built on Shopify. So people are always trying to show you their latest and greatest thing. And, you know, it’s you have to be able to sift through that with some accuracy. Because sometimes there are some, you know, really, you know, cool new cutting edge services or, you know, software platforms that really will make your life a lot better. But you don’t want to pass on the good ones. But you also you can’t get logged down. You know, I can’t spend five hours a day researching, you know, everybody who comes to me, so kind of, you learn what to look for, and you know, what might be helpful, but sometimes you just have to say no, not interested at all. I’m not even gonna waste your time, you know, with a phone call, because it’s just not something we’re going to use. And then, you know, so you live in you learn in that sense, though.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Now, we’re going to move on to our rapid fire segment. In this segment, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions, and you have to answer them, maybe one word, one sentence. So short answers. For the first one is a book recommendation for entrepreneurs or business professionals, and why

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

I’m gonna, I’m gonna have to pass on this one. I can’t think of anything off the top of mind, I’m sorry.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

You don’t read books,

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

I read books. But the problem is not so much of the kind that your listeners are probably interested, I’m sorry to say,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

an innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about. Um,

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

I’m excited about the and I mentioned this before, briefly. But with social media, and now it’s been around for a while, but it’s still constantly changing. And you know, platforms are updating, you can now sell your products, you know, one click directly through Instagram. So I like to stay on the cutting edge of that space. And like I said, we’re on Tik Tok relatively new. But it’s the DIY community has blown up on tick tock, they seem to almost be obsessed with it. Because in these, you know, you see, these people are doing, you know, one to two minute clips of these wild transformations, you know, of their kitchen or bath spaces. And I’m sorry, this supposed to be quick. But yeah, I would say, staying on the cutting edge of social media and how that landscape keeps changing.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So you don’t you’re not the face of your company, social media.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

I’m sorry, what’s that?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

You don’t go on social media, like you’re not afraid of your social media channels?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Know, I don’t. I’m not the primarily primary poster. I mean, we get put it this way, people are tagging us in, I don’t know, upwards of 20 to 30 posts a day. And we have somebody full time now kind of siphoned through all that, oh, this is great. Let’s repost this, let’s, you know, save these pictures to use later. So yeah, that’s that’s not me any longer. It used to be

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip or

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

a software I recommend. So software is kind of what I do. One tool that we use that is invaluable is front. It’s, it’s an email client, but it’s kind of built around this idea of collaboration. And yeah, it’s just made. It’s just made our whole team because we’re a small team and you know, especially as we have more work from home, it makes our communication so much easier. So yeah, front email app. I would I would recommend people check out

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

a startup or business in E commerce retail or tech that you think is currently doing great things.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

I don’t have a lot of startups on my radar. But I will say that I try and take examples or learn from. I’m a big consumer online, I shop online all the time. So what I try and do is when I, you know, buy stuff from another web store is kind of I like to see what they’re doing for, you know, problems that we run into, how are they letting their customers know about shipping delays, or, you know, what are their follow up emails, their email marketing look like, and I try and take tips here and there and you know, implement them if they would work well for our store. So I would say, stay on the lookout, you know, try to always, always be learning or improving. In that sense.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to, or someone who inspires you.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

business person that I look up to. You so I apologize for the long pause. Pier that I look up to i this, this is not in the in the technology per se, but in the decorative concrete world, there’s a lot of artisans, and I’m not going to pick one, I don’t want to name just one person. But there’s people out there doing just the craziest, coolest things with this medium that you would never think is possible. So I like to stay in that space and see what people are doing, and see how we can incorporate that in our products and our offerings. And wow, this person just made this, you know, unreal table that looks like a piece of fractured stone, and it’s got water running through the middle of it. Like how cool is that? Can we do something like that?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And last question, the best business advice you ever received, or you wouldn’t give to other entrepreneurs. Um,

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

it probably sounds a little cheesy, but, you know, always try to always be learning like they’re in this in this world. It’s constantly changing. And there’s always new software and new platforms and new techniques, marketing strategies. I would say just don’t rest on your laurels. Don’t don’t think that oh, we’re, you know, we’re the top of our market right now. You know, we can just coast we always want to stay on that cutting edge.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Cool. Thank you so much for sharing your story, your story. And you know, so the strategies and tactics that you have used to grow your business. So there you thank you so much. Anyone who wants to purchase this product where where what is the best way they can do that?

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Our website, www dot concrete countertop. solutions.com.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Perfect. Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate your time today. And thank you again for joining me today.

Dario Baldoni of Concrete Countertop Solutions  

Great, thank you. Bye

Also, get inspired to Create a Profitable Online Business with Leslie Hsu – Building a Successful Beach Chair Business


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