Building and Scaling a One Product Business – Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 49:15)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga shares her passion for helping athletes shower and change anywhere after races and other sporting events. Kressa also shares getting funded on Shark Tank, working with Mark Cuban, and the risks and challenges of scaling a one-product business. 

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga

00:00Introduction
01:13Describe product and business
06:10Running successful kickstarter campaign
10:34Who are the cusotmers and expanding customer base
17:08Challenges during COVID and post-covid recovery
21:32Working with Mark Cuban
25:11Manufacturing
30:00Preventing copycat products
32:09Shipping and fulfillment
38:12Team
41:44Mistakes and lessons learned
45:00Rapidfire Round

Rapid Fire

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

Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga

  1. An innovative product or idea and the current eCommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Click and Carry)
  2. A startup or business in E-commerce retail or tech that you think is currently doing great things (Camping World)
  3. A Business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip (QuickBooks)
  4. A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Sara Blakely)
  5. Best business advice you ever received (Response: If you don’t love your product, don’t do it)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Hey there entrepreneurs My name is Sasha and welcome to Dropbox. 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 Professor Peterson to the show. crassa is the founder of shower toga shower. toga is a waterproof cover up that allows people to change clothes and clean up in public. And today, I’m going to ask a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey, and some of the strategies and tactics that she has used to start and grow her business. So thank you so much for joining me today talks. Thank

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

you. So Shawn, I’m very, very excited to be here. And thanks for having me looking forward to it, talking with you and giving your listeners some some valuable, valuable information that will hopefully help them on their entrepreneurial journey.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So first of all, I mean, can you describe your product? It’s a very unique product and a unique use case. What is it and how is it helping people

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

shower? toga, actually, is a I invented it in the beginning, because I do I do Spartan Races, my husband, myself, my entire family, we do Spartan Races, also known as tough Mudders. You know, Mud Runs is what a lot of people know that, um, it’s a very serious sport. But we, when you’re done, you’re filthy, and you’re muddy, and you’re dirty. And then sometimes you’re going on an airplane, hours home, or you’re driving, you know, six to 810 hours back to your place, because we raced all over the world, and there was no way to actually get clean after the races. So I invented shower, toga, initially just for me, and it was not a product that I was going to sell. That was I wasn’t even in that realm of reality. I just wanted a way for me to clean up when I was done doing my Spartan Races. So what it is, is it’s a, it ends up being a we have, we have several provisional patents on the process and on the fabric because the fabric took us a long time to develop. And it’s a wearable product you step into, there’s a system to the shower toga, so that you can reach underneath and remove your clothing easily, and then bathe with the shower toga on and then re dry off and redress. And you can do this in groups of people, like huge groups of people. 10s of 1000s of people actually was on the TV show the view, and I ended up they had me undressed in the middle of Times Square, nobody even nobody even knew. So it ends up that it’s good for a lot of different things. But it is technically a wearable product that you put on remove all of your clothing, you shower up, you decontaminate, you get clean, and you redress and you’re keeping modesty intact while you do all those things.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So I mean, it’s a very simple idea of a product, and you created it to solve a problem that you were having, at what point did you realize that, you know, I can actually sell it and create a business out of this?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Well, you know, in the beginning, people thought I was nuts. I mean, because I would, I would surely I would go to the Spartan Races, and I had my little homemade, you know, shower toga, that that really didn’t work very well, because the material, you know, held water, and even though it was a waterproof, it was a diaper cover material, actually. And it had little forest animals on it. And it really, I mean, but it served its purpose for me, and I thought, okay, you know, everybody’s gonna think I’m crazy, but I don’t care, I’m going to be cleaned. And they they’re going to spend another $150 a night for the hotel, just to go back and take shower. But it was, you know, very, very quickly, I realized that it was kind of exciting, because I would have so many people ask if they could borrow, you know, that thing? Can I borrow that thing? And I thought, really, they’re like, Yeah, I want to borrow it. And then we were racing every single weekend. And then it turned out that I would hit the races and it was gone, like 50 people would have used it, and it was just gone. And then I thought you know what the idea is there like this is a really, really good idea. Everybody loved it, but I knew that there was a ton of work to be done with the with the fabric with the patent process, there was nothing and is nothing like it on the market. And so I thought this is going to be a lot of work. So in order to make sure that it was something that was you know, going to potentially end up being a product. I wanted to do a Kickstarter and that was how I got my my star My my, my fellow Spartans are the ones that told me, We love this, this is a great idea. And then I went ahead and started filing for my patents. And after we were protected, I went ahead and did the Kickstarter, and we got funded on the Kickstarter. And that’s when you that’s when you know, it’s a good idea, because you throw it out there to the universe. And other people tell you, you know, this is a good idea, or they don’t back it, you know, and maybe it’s not the right idea. So that was when I that was when I knew that I had something now how big of a something, there’s no way to know that, really. But that’s when at least I knew I had something that I loved and I was passionate about, and I knew worked really, really, really well. And that it was worth taking a risk on.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

When you ran the Kickstarter campaign, was it really just that you put the page together and left it for it to be run organically? Or you knew that you had your Spartan community of people who already liked this product? And so you market it to them? Can you share a little bit about how you made your Kickstarter successful?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Yeah, and you know, it’s interesting Kickstarter back then was a lot different than even Kickstarter. Now, because this was five years ago. And I actually just finished another Kickstarter a few weeks ago for a new product that we that we have now called shower to go. But five years ago on shower, toga, Kickstarter, you were still able to kind of get customer service help from them. And you really I mean, not to, not to not Kickstarter, it’s hard to get customer service help from anybody really these days. But you’re you’re really on your own on a Kickstarter. Now. The problem is the companies that you hire, to help you do Kickstarters. For I mean, to be honest with you, I think they all suck. I’ve tried a bunch of them. I I’m I have not been happy with any of them. So if you’re going to do a Kickstarter, you have to know that it is a almost a full time job just for the Kickstarter, you don’t set up your page and walk away. Now with shower toga, we did set up our page, we let our Spartan community know. But we also had people that were funding shower toga from all over the world, people that kind of saw the vision for an emergency preparedness kit, you know, for their bug out bad for, you know, any kind of disaster relief situation. I had friends that were stuck in the hurricane back in Texas, years ago. And I mean, I grew up in Texas, I had hundreds of friends who lost their homes, lost their clothes, everything was flooded, and they had that outfit that was on their back. And that’s all they had. And so it would have been great, you know, at that time for them to just be able to get into a shower, toga, even hand wash their clothes and hang them out to dry and put them back on because they were living in emergency shelters. So there were people that saw different visions for shower toga that I didn’t even see for myself, really, quite frankly, your customers are the ones that will teach you kind of where you want to pivot your product. But to kind of answer your question, I did have my Spartan community, of course, and they were incredibly helpful, but I also had my community of my friends from the horse industry. I showed jumpers I showed horses for years, and then I was a broker for high end sport horses. And that was kind of my that was another base for me, of people who saw the value in shower toga for the groom’s for endurance riding for, you know, all types of, you know, different events that we do in the equine industry. So I had a couple of different groups to go to go to and both of those groups Spartan and my equine group were really, really supportive. But it was also really satisfying to find people that did not know me, did not know my story did not and just saw the product on Kickstarter, with our goofy little on our phone video, you know, we didn’t spend any money, we just did it really, really raw. And they saw the value in it. And these were people that I you know, of course, I didn’t know when I’ve never talked to. So you’re gonna get a little bit of all of that when you do a Kickstarter, but it is a absolute full time gig. And you got to be really, really careful when you’re doing it. My best advice to anybody doing a Kickstarter is, honestly it’s go ahead and take the time to learn how to do your Kickstarter and do as much of it as you can on your own and keep these big companies out of your way that try to tell you that they can run the Kickstarter for you and they can run the Facebook ads for you and that they can get a better, you know, ROI then you can it’s all it’s all BS

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

so Now, when you know that you have a successful product and you’re selling it, of course, I’m assuming that the use case is much broader, broader than just sport and community. I mean, I can think of a lot of use cases, you know, for backpackers travelers. I mean, I think it’s a very convenient product to have. When you look at, you know, everyone, people who are buying it, like, do you find, you know, what are some of the customer segments that are like most are your, like, best buyers, for this?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

You know, and it’s funny because my customer segment that ends up that has ended up to date kind of being our best, you know, overall customer actually didn’t buy them. So when it was, it was a very, very weird kind of situation. When COVID hit us, like we were, we were rolling and rockin and rollin and we had a cobranding deal with Spartan so we have a lot of people that buy the Spartan shower toga, which is CO branded, it’s our relationship that we have with Joe de Sena who owns Spartan, and we have of course, we were breaking into the surf market. We were we were doing a lot of different things we were donating product for X PT, which is LAIRD HAMILTON, his fitness, his fitness, you know, company, so we had a lot of things going that were really, really good. We just launched into Camping World, Gander Mountain, over tins, and COVID head, and I had actually purchased a abundance of inventory for spring. And then when COVID Kind of, you know, threw all of us back on our heels. We started having people that own shower togas, who also happen to be worried, you know, EMTs or first responders, nurses, doctors, hospital housekeeping, so they can’t they started tagging us on social media and saying, you know, kind of as a joke, but not as a joke. They’re like, look how I’m using my shower, toga now, and they’d be in the hospital parking lot, you know, the cat declining from after their shift. So that turned into me answering it because Caitlin who works with us, she’s our brand development manager. She works with me, she’s like, we’re getting a lot of these she goes, I said, Okay, start telling them if they have colleagues who need shower togas, you know, we’ll send them free shower togas, so they can decon after their shifts. And so that turned in to much bigger thing than I expected. I I mean, within the first week, we’ve given away like $10,000 of shower togas, and I went okay, what like, I don’t even know what to do now. So I contacted Mark Cuban, who, as you know, is my business partner from Shark Tank. And I was like, okay, like, Yeah, I know this has gotten a little out of hand. You know, I’ve given away $10,000 worth so far. But I’ve got an entire warehouse full of shower Togo’s we’re obviously not doing Spartan Races, or Coachella or Bonnaroo or music festivals, nothing’s going to be happening for a while. And potentially, these could help people feel more comfortable going into their home after their COVID Positive shifts and maybe even help them from at the time. Of course, we didn’t know you know, we didn’t know does it stay on your body? Does it stay in your hair does it we didn’t know how it was contracted. And so Mark was like, go for it. He goes, I’ll make sure like, you know, we’re not gonna eat because you’re gonna have to let the company go into red. I get it. Not like he gives us money. That’s not what it how it does. But he can he helps us through that process. And he said, you know, anything you want to do like that, to give back to the Kennedy. Like, let’s figure out how to make it happen. And we had to stop it. We finally stopped it when we had given $100,000 of shower togas away to people to decon, from their shifts. So that ended up being really interesting to me, because that is the last thing that was like in my head when I had been at shower toga, the last thing and then come to find out, we had 1000s of people that it helped them feel a lot more comfortable before going into their homes with their children or their you know, their loved ones are. And that ended up being a very, very interesting dynamic. And it it kind of moved us into pivoting also into the medical side of things for shower targets. So we kind of have the athletic side, then we have, you know, the Decon and the end the medical side. So there’s so many different pivots and so many different ways that we could have gone but that was a forced way through through COVID. And it was incredibly interesting to me, you know, are no dollars, you never know.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So it kind of become like became like a charitable endeavor. or so. I mean, how do you balance it with the fact that it is a business and you’ve given away? $100,000 worth? It? The weather? Was the success story at the end or?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

No, I mean, there wasn’t, I’d love to tell you. Oh, yeah, sure, we got great PR. Sure. You know, we had a lot of people that wanted to talk to us, you know, Shark Tank, which I’m a huge, huge fan of Shark Tank, not just because I was on the show, but because the show is absolutely legit. I love the producers, I love the team. It is the best show on television, in my opinion, hands down, but not just because of that. But, you know, we got we ended up getting, you know, an update saying what we were doing for the community. But did those orders of people that appreciated what we did offset the amount that we gave away? No, it didn’t. But it’s not why we did it. I mean, it really is. And at the time, I was so desperate to just have some sort of positive impact on everything that was going on. I mean, you know, everybody felt different about COVID. Everybody has their opinions. And that’s great. I have no problem with it. For me, I just felt really helpless. And I felt so bad for people that were working, you know, 14 hour shifts and risking their lives. And you know, here I am, with a warehouse full of something that might be able to help them. I think at that time, money was probably the absolute last thing on my mind. Now money’s more on trying to kind of like, you know, recover from that is is what we’re working on on now. I don’t regret it for a second. I do it all over again. But no, it’s not something I would necessarily recommend as a great business decision. It wasn’t a great business decision, but it was the right decision.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. And so now that, you know, things are getting kind of back to normal, you know, businesses are coming out of COVID. How are you? How are you getting your business back on track? Like, what are the kinds of things you’re doing to really get the business going again? Are you are you seeing, are you seeing growth?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Like, oh, yeah, we’re definitely seeing growth, no doubt about it. I mean, growth is different now, though, than it was, you know, pre COVID, you know, we have fulfillment issues we didn’t have before we have supply chain issues we didn’t have before, you know, a container would used to be $4,000. Now, it’s $24,000. So although we are having, you know, great growth, it would have been nice to have had this kind of growth, you know, pre COVID We’d be we’d be World Domination mode right now. But, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really just a labor of love. I mean, you know, you can’t, I think that there’s a lot of people that that easily would have quit by now. That’s just, you know, I’m an entrepreneur, I love being an entrepreneur, but you know, people think we’re rolling in money, and we’re not, that’s, that’s not how it works. I mean, if you don’t have it in you to ride those waves, man, just don’t do it. And this is some big waves we’ve had the last three years, you know, not to mention the apple, iOS, the issues with iOS and Facebook, and for anybody that doesn’t know what I mean by that, you know, we used to be able to advertise on Facebook and target certain demographics, you know, do you like surfing? Do you like camping? Do you happen to buy products for surfing and camping, let us show you ad for shower Tolga because it might be something you’re interested in. And now that has that rug has been taken out from under our feet. And so, you know, that is that that alone has shut down. A lot of companies, I mean, I ton of companies and companies that were really, really doing well you know, you could spend $3,000 on Facebook and bring in $30,000 in orders. Now you spend $3,000 on Facebook, and you bring in $2,000 in orders, you know so you do the math and can’t do that for very long, it’s pretty pointless. So you have to come up with new ways to brand yourself your product but still be genuine and organic and you know, and then sometimes that can be difficult you know, when you want to push a square peg into a round hole and you’re like, Okay, being organic is also letting people know this isn’t easy. This is frustrating, you know, please take a look at my product and see what it can do for you. And you know, you kind of have to get really real you know, those days of like push selling, those are those are those are gone. That’s it for now. Anyway, so we do a lot on tick tock off, we’ve had some really, really good success on just organic tick tock, not pay, you know, nothing like that. We dabble a little bit in some Facebook stuff. But right now it’s just such a waste of money. And then the rest of it is just, it’s just me going out and hustling. I mean, I still set up meetings like we do outdoor retail show, we’ve picked up a lot of new retailers that the outdoor retail show, we’re going to be going again in June. We’re growing and camping world and Gander Mountain and over 10. And then our Amazon is strong. And although Amazon is a beast, it’s a necessary beast for any small business owner who has a product to sell. And so our Amazon is growing. So it’s a it’s a much slower growth than I think we would have had. If COVID hadn’t hit. But yeah, you know, we’re kind of going through those weeds and we’re making it happen. But it’s It’s tough. It’s tough for Sean. Yeah.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So I know you mentioned you know, working with Mark Cuban, and now that things are tougher than before, what kind of you know, what is your working relationship with Him? Do you have, you know, touch base with him on a regular basis? What kind of advice does he give you? And what kind of support do you get as kind of like a Mark Cuban company?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Mark Okay, so honestly, I’m not just saying this mark is literally the best freaking partner you could ever have. I don’t care what anybody says. I love all the sharks. bark is the best shark. There’s no question. I, Kevin’s actually pretty amazing to Kevin and I fought on our entire episode. But I’ve gotten to know him because we went on the view together. And then I went back on Shark Tank. To watch Kevin’s of Kevin’s Orion. He’s a really cool guy to mark though I communicate with Mark weekly. That’s been for three years now. I can talk you know, I can talk to Mark like a friend. Right? Because he’s a normal guy. He’s he’s, you know, he’s so normal. If I’m mad, I can cuss. I can send emails that are like, that doesn’t make sense. Help me with this. What about this? And he’s like, whoa, calm down. Let’s do this. And so we communicate really well. And so I think that’s one of the things that I love so much about our relationship. And I also like the fact that he will listen. I mean, he listens. He, he has I mean, obviously I’m gonna listen to him 10 times more than he’s gonna listen to me because he has a lot more knowledge than I do. But if it’s a specific thing about my product, he listens. And then there’s certain times he’s like, Yeah, you know what? Okay, that makes sense. So the, the conversations that I have with Mark are probably really different than what people might expect. I’m not sending Mark pie charts every week, right? I’m also not sitting there going mark, everything’s great. Like, we’re smelling like roses. I go, Okay, here’s my dilemma this week. And he tells me all right, well, this is something you can do, or let’s get so and so on the team to help with that. You know, and then sometimes he comes at me and he’s like, look, you know, this is tough times Cresa he goes, you’re gonna have to hustle. And I know you can so better than anybody, you’re gonna have to hustle it because that’s the only you know, and so he kind of gives you those pep talks also. But he also has this wide network, as you can only imagine. And his team is they’ve all become really close friends. Like we’ve gone and done Spartan Races together. We have you know, when I go to Dallas, you know, we go get tacos and eat and stuff like we hang out. We talked on the phone, we talked about things besides business. It’s a real community. And so Mark has also hired people on that bring that sense of community to all of his portfolio companies because you know, Shark Tank companies are just a portion of his portfolio companies. Yeah, I know, a number of the people that are within the Mark Cuban company portfolio that have you know, that weren’t on Shark Tank. So he’s built quite a community. And I man, I am so glad I got him. I can’t even tell you. I just I’m so thankful that the stars aligned that way that day.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Change change the year to a little bit I know you mentioned that the material that your product is made is kind of a special kind of material. Can you share a little bit about what the process was of finding the right manufacturer? Is your product man You fractured in China or USA? And what? What can someone an entrepreneur learn from your experiences finding manufacturer?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Well, I have to, I have to say I got I, you know, I got a little lucky on the manufacturing side of things. And I initially wanted to manufacture fully in the United States. For now, that sounds good in theory, and everybody likes to say like, oh, well, you should manufacture them in the United States as if that’s easy to do. And it’s not, I will tell you that I had probably I want to say eight to 10. Different companies do prototypes for me in the very beginning. And all but two of them, rip me off. In the US, they took my money, they didn’t produce a prototype, or if they did, it was so off the wall, that it, it absolutely didn’t hit any of the buttons that we needed hit. And so I ended up going to China never had one problem, everybody was wonderful, I had no issues with my manufacturing. Now, with that being said, um, I ended up doing a combination of the both. So we have the material is made is manufactured in China. And the material was really hard to do, because I had a lot of different things I wanted done with the material, the material is a also grab one here. So I can kind of show you because the material, the silver on the outside of the shower, toga, it’s a coating, it is not part of the material, the material underneath you can see as a different color. So the reason that I wanted this coating on the material was because it also works as a hand free space blanket to keep you warm, if you’re in any more emergency conditions. And that’s why it’s the shiny silver. So my criteria for the material was it needed to be below six ounces. And that’s so for when people are doing extreme backpacking and Appalachian Trail and things of that nature, it needed to roll up really tiny and be under six ounces. So that was one big, huge roadblock, I wanted it to be machine washable. There’s another one, I wanted it to work as a mylar emergency space blanket, you know, there you go again, and I wanted it to last for years. So you have a material that’s under six ounces, that’s going to last for years and being machine washable. And then the last item was we wanted it to turn into a bag when it was done and be strong enough. So those things required some real real, you know, aggressive testing and aggressive, you know, taking chances are, and so my manufacturer that I ended up with who I’m with to this day, he actually lives in Arizona, and he owns some factories in China, in the Dominican Republic, and in Vietnam and India. So we have a combination of of the shower toga, where the material is in China, and then it gets sent to the US and it gets bundled here in the United States. Now right now, we’re actually thinking we’re going to be moving the full production to the Dominican Republic. And that’s something we’ve been working on for about the last year now for you know, for obvious reasons. So we want to see if we can go ahead and make that happen. But yeah, we actually ended up working really hard to get the patents on the fabric and the provisional patents on the not just the process, but but the fabric and make sure that you know, we’re protected. And so yeah, it was it was a we did probably 16 to 20 different test fabrics, then that didn’t work. You’d run it through the washing machine and the silver would peel off. It was too heavy. It would hold water. You know, it lasted six months. I mean shower togas last year’s the last. I have people still using the ones that we did on our Kickstarter five years ago. So the material was a big, big part of it. People think shower. toga is a really easy product because it looks very simple. There was nothing simple about it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. And I’m assuming that that is kind of a barrier to entry to, you know, to copy this product. Do you find have you? I mean, on Amazon, things get duplicated pretty easily, like from Chinese. Chinese manufacturers? Yeah. Do you Have you found any kind of knockoff for this part? repeat it.

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

We haven’t. But you know, it’s one of those things that you almost can’t completely avoid that I think it is definitely helpful obviously, that we are and Mark Cuban company. Mark owns 25% of shower toga. He has a gigantic legal team, you huge legal team. And so you know, Mark takes that stuff seriously. And I think it’s a lot harder for companies that either their, their shark or their investor doesn’t have or doesn’t allow you to utilize that, you know, that those options? Or they didn’t, you know, they didn’t get a deal that closed. And now, you know, they have to be up against the Chinese knockoffs or the already a knockoff from any country. Right? And I, you know, I mean, yeah, you worry about that as a small business owner. But I feel pretty protected. You know, although you can still have all the patents in the world, all the trademarks in the world, and somebody could still do it. But that’s when you have to call on your legal team. And we know, we’ve certainly dotted our eyes and crossed all our T’s. And, you know, hopefully what would happen is that people would know me, they know, my product, they know my story, you know, they kind of know my passion, and that if somebody did come up and try to do something that it would, you know, it would it wouldn’t really hurt us too much.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

When you’re selling an E commerce product, do you think that the kind of product that you have has benefits as an E commerce product because you have to ship it and this product is kind of probably compact and probably does not weigh you know, a lot of a lot of weight? Can you share a little bit I mean, it just does it you know, when you told the manufacturer you know, I want this item to be six ounces. Was that part of the decision process? Or was it more like you know, this product should not be too heavy for people to carry?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

No, it was it had nothing to do with the shipping. That ended up being a bonus. I would love to tell you I planned all that out in advance but no, I wasn’t that smart at the time. That just ended up coming out to be like wow, cool. It’s it’s under 16 ounces. Like this was great. It could go first class. So no, that wasn’t something that I planned. I knew that if people were going to carry it for long for you know, 2345 day you know, trips that in a backpack that it definitely needed to be very lightweight and for some people even the six ounces is too is too heavy. Even you know if they’re doing 30 and 60 days it’s probably a little bit too heavy for some for some people but no that was my my main goal is that it was small enough that you could throw it in your purse, you could throw it in your bag, take it on the airplane, it was just easy to take anywhere. As far as fulfillment goes I still do my own fulfillment out of my warehouse here in Dana Point in California. We just moved our warehouse from Georgia to California here I came out here to be with my closer to my grandkids so it but it’s um at some point you know, we will we will bring on a fulfillment company Mark has his own fulfillment company so we’ll end up you know, using them, but right now, I love to do my own fulfillment. Of course I don’t with Amazon Amazon, we do FBA fulfillment, Camping World Gander Mountain over 10 All of the smaller businesses that we sell out of you know, of course, that’s that’s the retail side of things. But when customers ordered directly off of shower toka.com I don’t know why I love it. I do it sounds so goofy, but I love fulfilling packages. I I love sending them out. Sometimes I write like to see if I have one on here. I just write like silly little notes on the bag sometimes. I don’t know, I just I still feel connected. You know, to everybody that orders from me, I really, I really, I don’t want to lose that. And I’m going to I’m probably going to actually pretty soon but right now I’m still I’m still really loving it. So, you know I kind of do that in the evenings. I go through and I prepare all my packages and try to decompress a little bit, watch some TV or listen to some music and do the packages and then that’s kind of my evening.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Could you could you fulfill the orders that you receive on your website to Amazon FBA? Or is that is that not a good strategy because that’s more expensive. You Yeah, I

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

mean, it’s not that it’s not a good strategy, like, we do have the Amazon link on our website, because some people just prefer Amazon, I mean, and I get that I buy buy a lot through Amazon also. So, you know, prime is so convenient. You know, we’re lucky in that we don’t, we don’t hardly ever get returns, even on Amazon. And Amazon has a very high return rate for products. But we just were really, really fortunate that we don’t hardly ever get a return. But people know that if they buy off a prime Amazon, they have the option to make it all easy. If they want to return it, you just print a label return it. So I get it. The other side of that is Amazon does take a big chunk. I mean, and as they should, I mean, you know, you got to pay for, for those services, you know, but yeah, it’s a combination of both. But there are people that that is a that is an entire kind of, that’s how they do things is they really promote their Amazon listing. And it would probably be a lot less work for me if I did that. But I am a bit of a control freak, I like to have my finger on the pulse of things. I love it when a customer you know, I just had a lady an hour ago, she goes, Oh my gosh, I put in my billing my billing address, instead of the address I want it shipped to, you know, can you please change it? I’m like, no problem. Who changed? It? Can’t do that. When you do that, you know, when you order from Amazon, you know? Or if somebody emails me and has a question about something and I’m like, Oh, hey, you know what, I’ll throw that into your package. And you just ordered let me get, you know, people, our customer service between me and Kaitlyn and Connor and Joe is crazy. They love our customer service, people will email us on weekends, and we answer if you go through a big fulfillment company or go through Amazon, you lose that, that ability to do that easily. And for right now I’m just trying to really, really hold on to that for as long as I can. Because I enjoy it. I really like I mean, I’ve talked to customers on the phone before I had a guy message me last week and go, Why can’t I talk to anybody at your company? I’m like, what’s your number off call? Like, I don’t want to get used to doing that or anything. And normally, we don’t get asked that a lot. But this guy was obviously frustrated. He wasn’t real familiar with ordering things online. And he was trying to order a gift for I think it was his grandson or granddaughter. And I thought you know what, I’m gonna get on the phone. I’m going to help this guy through it normally, obviously, you don’t have to do that, you know, because maybe somebody might be more familiar with ordering online, but he wasn’t. I get that my grandfather wouldn’t have been either, you know, but if I don’t know, I still enjoy doing this.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Very interesting. I know, I know. You mentioned a few names of your team members. Mostly. Can you share a little bit about your team? Is it mostly? You know, people who are helping with customer service issue? Are they mostly remote? Or do you have an office?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Yeah, no, Connor? Well, we we don’t have an office now post COVID. And we’re not going to go back to an office environment. Everybody’s working great remotely. So that actually has turned out to be a better thing than when we had the office in Georgia. And it just makes right now this is perfect. Caitlin is our brand development manager and she handles our social media and she also kind of keeps me on track. Because I’m a bit of a you know, I don’t know, I’m sure I have adult add pretty big scale, because I’m always all over the board. She’s like, okay, Cresa here’s where you need to be focused right now. You’ve got this going on. What about this? So she kind of keeps me grounded. Joe is all things tech Facebook website. Oh, man, that the guy’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known in my life. And he just, he’s brilliant. He’s, he’s a he’s a very good ad buyer. And he’s also one of the reasons that we’re not doing a lot of Facebook right now because he knows so much about Facebook that he’s like, nobody should be doing it right now. There are a mess. Connor is my son. But he’s also our photographer and videographer. He is a full time videographer for action sports. So he is there’s a guy named Austin Keane who’s a world championship skin boarder. And Connor and Austin work together and Connors, a just I mean, a wonderful, wonderful videographer for anything action sports, and he also does all of our content. And then of course, my husband Tony is also involved in the business just to help me out when I run into brick wall, my husband actually owns a software company called the intentional trader, but he’s available. He’s also incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to, you know, anything tech at all. So it ends up being very helpful. And then of course, I don’t have to have as many other people on my team because I have my team at marks, you know, so at marks we have, we have an amazing team and amazing people that we can, you know, reach out to as well. So that’s incredibly helpful. So my team is actually like our core team. But then I have this really big team that marks you know, if I need help with some SEO, or if I need help, you know, on something in particular, for marketing, or I’m going to have to set up a meeting and I want, you know, there’s a gentleman named John who works for Mark, John kind of helped me get that coordinated and set up for like big retailers or any kind of big PR moves. And then there’s, you know, Q Harrison, who is also with Mark, all things tech, kind of really looking forward, he’s a marketer, and he’s just got an incredible vision of what’s happening for the future of, of entrepreneurship. So I’m fortunate that I have that extended team as well.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Now, in every entrepreneurs, journey, there’s always some, you know, lessons learned, failures and mistakes made. Can you share, like your biggest mistake or failure while building this business? What was the lesson for you? And what can other people other entrepreneurs learn from it?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Um, well, I’m not sure. I mean, it’s a good question. I’m not sure if it’s a lesson I’ve learned yet. What I will say is that, I knew that this was going to be a long, you know, hard road, right? I, I’m up for a challenge. I love love, love a good challenge. I don’t know that I realized the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, you know, I mean, one day you’re just high as a kite orders are killing it, you’re Amazon’s crushing it, you know, you’re doing, you know, you’re being interviewed for a podcast you get, I mean, all these things are happening, right. And then the next day, you feel like, oh, my gosh, I’m going out of business, that big, you know, retailer, we thought we were getting within the bag, now, they’re not going to do it. And it’s just this, it’s and it just is constant. It is like this all the time. So I probably underestimated the roller coaster ride. And in a way, though, it’s fun, because you’re able to recover from those down days. And it gives you confidence and other areas of your life. I’m really, really, really proud of myself and my team. And, you know, I thought I knew it was going to be hard. I just, I didn’t know it was going to be this hard. And I actually think it’s going to be harder for the next year or two, while I go through these growth stages. So you know, when I talked to other people that are getting into, into, you know, business or starting, you know, doing a startup or looking into doing a startup, it’s like I tell them all the time, you know, it’s not so much that it’s lessons I’ve learned, but man, you you really need to make sure you’re cut out for this. Like, really make sure because when the family is going to the beach, and you know, and you’re like I have to work like those are things that are you’re going to work a lot you’re going to work. I mean, I eat live and breathe shower. My family is so sick of shower toga. That’s all I talk about. I mean, we can’t go anywhere without me going, Okay, let’s take a video, and I’m gonna push on, and then we’re gonna put this on tick tock, and they’re like, can we just eat like after the video, you know, so you really have to love your product and be super passionate about my product. And I actually think shower toga is going to be a household name. I think shower, topia is going to be one of those things that everybody learned that they until they had it, they didn’t know they couldn’t live without it. And if you don’t feel that way about your product, then Oh, dear God, don’t do it. Go do something else. Please go do something else. Because man, you better love it. Because that’s the only way it ends up being worth it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Definitely. Now we’re going to move on to the rapid fire round and in this segment, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions and you have gone through them maybe one word word sentence. The first one is one book that you will recommend to entrepreneurs or business professionals in 2022 And why

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Hey, so you want one word answers, but I don’t read books. I listen to Audible and I listen to podcasts. I don’t I don’t read books and I don’t read business books because I think it’s so individual for each person. And I think you can learn a lot. Marc has some fantastic books out. And Joe de Sena has some fantastic books out too from Spartan. I have listened to both of their books. And I think they’re both brilliant. But again, I feel like business and entrepreneurship and hustle really does come from within each of us. So

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

in order to product or idea in the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

a different product other than shower toga, yes. Um, I think one of my favorite products out there right now is click and carry and it’s a girl named Kim from she was also on Shark Tank, and I use the click and carry constantly click and carry she was on Shark Tank, brilliant product. You can put your bags on your shoulder and it holds all these bags in your hands free. I use it every day.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I think I think I know which one you’re talking about is

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

freaking brilliant product. One of those Why the heck didn’t I think of that? And I do I use it constantly.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip.

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

I mean, you have to be running on QuickBooks. So I mean, we use QuickBooks Pro. I mean, I just I don’t think there’s any way around it. I’m also a big fan of Shopify.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

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

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Oh, camping worlds crushing it right now. I mean, I would say Camping World in Gander Mountain. It’s the same company but they’re absolutely killing it right now. The biggest problem for them is they just can’t get items in stock. But camping is huge. Right now everybody wants to be outdoors. So I would say Camping World Gander, cool.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Appear entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you. Besides Mark Cuban

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Sara Blakely, Sara Blakely with Spanx I’m obsessed with Sara Blakely. I haven’t met her yet, and I’m literally obsessed with her. Like I would fan girl is super hard if I saw her even across the street. I admire her because she’s fun. She’s goofy. She is smart as a whip. i There’s nothing I don’t love about Sara Blakely

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

final question, best business advice you ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs?

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

Wow. Um, you know, I’m not even sure if it was advice that was given to me by anybody in particular, but the best business advice I can imagine getting or giving would be if you don’t love your product, don’t do it. You’ve got to love it from deep in your soul. And don’t do it for the money. You got to love your product.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing your story for sharing all the business strategies and insights. If anyone wants to buy your product, what is the best way to purchase a

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

shower toga.com And also we’re on Instagram shower underscore toga, Tik Tok shower toga, Facebook shower, toga, and we’re on Amazon under shower Toka as well. And then we also have a new product out right now called shower to go, which is an attachment for a two recycled two liter water bottle. And it looks like this. It’s what we just did on our Kickstarter. And it’s a really, really cool addition to the shower toga. So check that out as well.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Perfect. Thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your story. And yeah, thanks again for being

 Kressa Peterson of Shower Toga  

here. Thank you for having me. It was fun. I’m really appreciate it. Thank you

Also, get inspired to Create a Profitable Online Business with Michael Mader – Building a Mission-Driven Socks and Apparel E-commerce Business


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