Developing a Heel-less Shoe – Olguy Songolo of the Difference

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 55:47)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Olguy Songolo of the Difference shares the true passion and tenacity that it takes to create and bring a new product to market.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: How to win friends and influence people. How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Olguy Songolo of the Difference

00:00Introduction
01:14The Product
05:51Differentiation
09:05Idea and the Story
18:05Funding
21:26First Prototype and Manufacturing in China
38:25Marketing & Promotion
41:56Sales Growth
48:39Mistakes Made
51:10Rapid Fire Round

Rapid Fire

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

Olguy Songolo of the Difference

  1. One book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs/business professionals in 2021 and why? (Response: How to win friends and influence people)
  2. An innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Tesla)
  3. A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend/Productivity Tip (Response: Halo)
  4. A startup or business that you think is currently doing great things (Response: Women Tattoo Eyebrows)
  5. A peer entrepreneur or business-person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: My Father)
  6. Best business advice you ever received or you would give (Response: Be patient)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra  

Hey there entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep talks. 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 grow their businesses. And today, I’m really excited to welcome all geese on Golu to the show, Augie is the founder, CEO and developer of the difference. And this is a brand, the very first heelers running shoe brand. And we’re going to learn a little bit more about the product and what what it is really about. And today, I’m going to ask all the field few questions about his entrepreneurial journey and some of the strategies and tactics that he has used to start and grow his business. So thank you so much for joining us today. Trep talks. And

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

thank you for having me. It’s always an honor and a pleasure, please. Thank you. Thank

Sushant Misra  

you. Thank you. Yeah, so let’s let’s begin with the product itself. Can you share a little bit about you know what I mean, this is a new concept of shoe. Can you share what what your product really is? What is different about it about this particular shoe, and what is it that helps the customers?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Here it is perfect, here it is, there’s no reason you will notice when you see the shoe, no heel. And that is what creates the difference. When we start talking about how everything started off, you understand it. But what makes us unique is we remove the heel of a shoe of a conventional shoe, which causes a lot of musculoskeletal injuries, which I will break down as we go through this interview. But this you’re actually seeing right now, this didn’t even come out yet. This is the all limited editions all black.

Sushant Misra  

So this is a new design or new color.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

This is this is the new design, I changed a lot of things in this one, Ah, man, I really put some foot forward into this design. It still has the same characteristics as the other shoe. But what I did is I changed a little bit of the material to make it aesthetically pleasing. I did a lot of tweaks because now my experience in manufacturing and also distribution has really gotten to me to a point where now I know exactly how I want to do it. And you know, spending a year in China, you kind of learn some things.

Sushant Misra  

So I’m interested like what? So yeah, I mean, so you said that it helps people with some, you know, minimizing pain and things. So do you categorize more more as kind of like a therapeutic kind of a product.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

So, to really understand what this shoot does, it’s not necessarily therapeutic. This is a shoot that eliminates musculoskeletal injuries. And when you say that it sounds so broad, it’s also saw so adverse and can sound a little bit stinging for someone who doesn’t understand science. When I talk about musculoskeletal injuries, I talk about things that we normally have on a regular basis, whether you’re an avid athlete, or not, for example, shin splints, which is known as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, knee problems, back problems, right? These are all musculoskeletal injuries that occur. And for a long period of time, we really didn’t understand why these injuries were occurring. And we thought that it was because of us. No, it was because of what we’re wearing and what we’re doing as an activity. And hence, the reason why we came up with the heel is technology, because this technology has literally innovated and disrupted everything that you know about the shoe industry. And it’s exciting because think about it, right for the avid runner that now can run and not worry about having a knee pain or back pain after 34 miles for the grandfather grandmother that wants to take her children out for a walk and not worried about her plantar fasciitis hurting her. And for just the average person that just wants to sit there and say, hey, I want to keep myself healthy and happy. It takes a lot of innovation, creativity to step into that realm, which does what researchers does and once we step into that conversation, it’s going to be more interesting, but the one thing I pride myself on is shoes as we have disrupted the shoe industry. It’s a shoe without the heel

Sushant Misra  

and like some research some actual science. I mean yeah, my question would be you know, when you think about like these brands like Nike and Adidas and Is it more that your shoe targets more like people who are older who are more prone to those kinds of injuries that you mentioned? Maybe maybe people who are more, you know, on a heavier weight side side, because you know, a company like Nike or Adidas, we’re also doing like this the same thing like a technical shoe where they’re creating these shoes that are designed towards runners or, you know, people with sports things. And, you know, the idea of that, it helps them to do their activities. Is this really just a different idea based on the same thing? Like how is it different from let’s say, someone who would buy more of a expensive brand name shoes?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

That’s a great question. Think of it this way? Why is it different, anything that’s innovative, has to be different? Right? What we’ve done is we saw a niche and what a problem is, and we solved it. Okay. I can’t talk about other brands, because other brands I’m sure they have their research is trying to figure out what they’re trying to do. I can talk about what we’ve done. And why we’ve gotten this far. Because this is not something that happened overnight. This is a research that happened since 2030 years ago. Okay. And we solidified Yes. Are they now starting to understand what we’re doing? Yes, they are. Because you have done shoes were not meant to be as a preventative measure, it was not meant to be as something that was supposed to be performance. No shoes were just meant to work look good. If you understand the history of shoes, first of all, it was to protect feet. Start off with that. It was meant to protect feet. Yeah. Then it went on to oil, it looks good. And then it went on to literally like, well, if this person wears it, it became a marketing base. If this person wears it, then I have to wear it. Now we understand that the shoe industry can actually reflect upon how the performer what the performance is going to be. However, it has to be understood with study. Guess what? We did that. And that’s why we they’re unique. And we monopolized it, because we’re the only ones that can do that. So once we tap into when you want to ask those other questions, yeah, we’re gonna get there because you’re gonna understand why was that important? People don’t understand the importance of shoes. Why do you wear shoes? You wear shoes to protect your feet. First of all, that’s hands down. Because as we evolve as nature, we have different terrains. Yep, asphalt, grass, right. You have concrete, yep, different terrains that you’re usually dealing with. Now, as you become an avid athlete, or as you become someone else in the profession, of just running, walking or standing, you are now paying attention to what you’re putting on your feet. We don’t pay attention to our feet until what happens until we get injured. Yeah, you’ve never made a significant delay hurts. Right? Definitely.

Sushant Misra  

Definitely. Exactly. So So you had this research study and so you got this idea and what motivated you to start like can you share like the story story where where did you like you? Personally, where did you start? How did you learn about this specific idea? And you know, spend all this time developing this, you know, divine and bring this bringing the divine to market can you share that story?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Hello this technology came from my father. My father is the one that came up with it, Dr. Chan. Pinker, okay. He came up with this technology based on what he experienced himself. And so to really truly understand how this technology came about us to understand where the inventor came from, okay. So let’s understand the history. So we’re gonna step back a little bit. We’re gonna take a little storyline, right. Okay. So here we go. We’re gonna take a storyline going back to Cameroon. Okay. Yes, that’s where everything started. My father was a professor Institute. And he was teaching athletes to become professional athletes, where there was on a professional level Olympic level, it doesn’t matter. He was there he was teaching them. Now, he got injured, warming up, he was just warming up on a regular day like anybody else does, and he dislocated his patella. And it shifted. Now being very knowledgeable in the science and everything that he does, he knew what his injury was. And so when the rehab had to happen, there was a person that came in for rehab and asked him like, you’re very knowledgeable of what you’re doing. Why don’t you further your studies? He says, Well, how am I going to further my studies? Say well that further in the United States, he says, but I don’t speak English. Right English speaking what is what do I do? So the million dollar question that everybody asks me like, like everybody does is well over the last name is Sung Golo your family’s last name is Pankaj, I always get back. They asked me that a million times. And so I have to explain it all the time. Why my name is Sangamo. And my family’s name is Pankaj. So whatever it is, yeah. Okay. Are you ready? Are you everybody’s curious. So Dr. Alico Sangala is the one that helped my father to translate everything I was documents to move it to where he could come to the United States where he attended Boston University, do his masters and his doctoral studies at the same time. Okay. And it’s an honor to give a name to someone that helps you. It’s an honor, it’s a privilege. And you can understand that being from someone that understands about culture. Correct? Yep. So that’s where some Golo comes from.

Sushant Misra  

So you’re not you. I’m assuming you were not born at that time you born you were born. I was born.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

I was born in Cameroon. 100%. I was born in Cameroon. I can say very, very, very young. I came to United States in a year and a half. But I was born in Cameroon.

Sushant Misra  

So So did you or did you just change your last name? Like so initially, it was the original last name, but he changed.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

He didn’t change. Okay. My last name was given to me right at birth, it doesn’t change. Okay.

Sushant Misra  

So you were born later, like, okay, he

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

gave me my, he gave me my name right at birth, it was not changed. It was right at birth. He said, This is going to be your name. And this was going to happen. And it made sense. 100%. And I always have to clarify that. Because what a lot of podcasts and a lot of TED Talks and a lot of things that I do people always ask, Why is your family’s name PENKA. And you are Sangala. I always have to clarify that very quickly.

Sushant Misra  

So your dad, your dad came to the US to study? And yes, you came along with him.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

And he came here on the Fulbright scholarship. Well, Fulbright, yes, came on a Fulbright scholarship. He did his master’s in his doctoral studies here in the United States. Well, and that’s what led us to understanding where the shoes come from. So as we translate to the story, I will tell you this. Once we were here, my father wanted to understand as an added person that was an athlete and a runner. Why are we still getting injured? Why are we still getting injured? Think about what he says. All right, well, is it the way we run is the way where we were? Or is it the way we land? So what he did, he took a camera, and I could not. I was still young. I was with him at the Charles River at Boston University. That would take a camera go right there, Charles River and record people running just their feet and their landing pattern. Okay. Yes, me? Yes. And based off of that, he realized that there was the problem on how people are landing related to the musculoskeletal injuries of what they’re facing. Okay. So, on that stance, he said, Well, I just realized something. Our shoes that we’re wearing is a problem. Our shoes don’t allow us to land the proper way that we’re supposed to. And how did he come up to that point? He said, Well, let me do this. And you got to laugh. You took a pair of shoes and cut off the heel. And he went off for a run. Okay. Came back. So wow, this feels good. This is okay. Well, let me see if this feels the same way for everybody else. And what he did he cut off my shoe. Now, I have three sisters. I’m the youngest. So imagine I’m waking up getting ready to go to school. I’m waiting to see my parents. And I see he’ll cut off I’m like That was what’s going on my shoot. He’s like, just take it and go to school. I’m like, What do you mean? Gotta go to school? Okay, so I put on a shoot.

Sushant Misra  

I mean, I mean, that’s that’s really the, the invitation to get mocked by your

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

ear. Of course, of course, I went to everybody was laughing at me. Everybody was laughing at me. It was. It was like, it was like, what’s wrong? You can’t afford shoes you’re already asking. I’m like, no, no, it’s not a problem. I came back my father said to me, how would the shoes say what the shoes, you worried about the shoes. I got laughed at. He says, but were you comfortable. And I was, but I didn’t realize it. So he said, Hey, if my son at this age can be comfortable with this shoe. Let me see how it is going to be pretty sisters. My mom and my mom was working in a nursing facility at the time. So she was on her feet for 12 hours a day. Did that that came back. Great. Sorry, we got to follow a path. I have something. Okay. And then he did a cross cultural study, my father traveled, and I was with him. And the reason why I did the diaper on certain languages. But we went to Spain, we went to France went to Cameroon, we traveled everywhere, because now he wanted to know if this removing the heal can help athletes lander and reduce the amount of injuries that they have. So when that once that happened, came back and said, Oh, this is something

Sushant Misra  

so I guess, yeah. So I guess my my question would be if and what all the results, like documented in our research, of course, it was a resistance to my question would be, because I know a little bit about how you find out your business. Right? I believe it was mostly your own personal investment.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Yes, yes, we did.

Sushant Misra  

So my question would be why Why didn’t you go pursue like more of institutional funding, like, you know, angel investing or venture when there was some proof, like, from from your dad was at Harvard,

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Boston University, Boston, you know,

Sushant Misra  

so there’s like this proof of result of, you know, this product really solving a big problem, and really disrupting, you know, the shoe industry? Like, you know, someone can say when you bring this to them that okay, you know, this seems like an interesting idea. Maybe it’s going to require some education of the market, but maybe worth interesting because the upside seems huge. Why haven’t you tried like, getting funding for your business? Was it more of a personal decision or?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

No? So honestly, once we actually came to a prop to fruition, as far as bringing in production, what ended up happening is, we had a couple of nurses that came at us and said that you wanted to invest in the company, but didn’t see the growth. They were so busy on taking equity. Okay. And that’s what kind of deteriorated us from trying to deal with anybody else. Because we did this ourselves. I lived in China for one year by myself. Then we funded, we didn’t take any funds from anyone else alone. So we did this as a family. So as an investor coming in, it’s more in a sense of, Well, do you believe in us one? Do you see where we’re about to go to? And what are you bringing in? Because a lot of investors just wanted to just take take take, well, we want to have this we want to do this, you tell me what you’re bringing. I worked hard. My father worked hard. Our family worked hard to get to this point. We are the only shoe that has a helix technology scientifically proven to eliminate plantar fasciitis. Jonas to me, no one in the world can do that. No one. And we’re now doing a doctoral study research as going through another university that’s going to allow us to actually help diabetics for neuropathy, phase one and phase two. So why haven’t you had investors is because, well, some investors are very greedy. Let’s be honest, I’m not gonna say they’re sugar coated. And I’m young, they see a young entrepreneur that came up with such an amazing idea. They’re like, Okay, well, he just wants money. No, I want someone who’s gonna bring in ideas and not just capital. Come in with ideas. yours come with with capital, and also coming with how we scale. Because that is what it is. My father created a shoe that eliminates half the musculoskeletal injuries that you are experiencing. And that would taps into diabetics. Whoa, why wouldn’t you be excited? Like, it is a boom, let’s get into it. Let’s dive into it. But then you’re doing the world of business. So it’s like, okay, world of business, will I want a piece of the pie? You got to deal with that, and I respected? But here’s the thing. The pie is 360 degrees. Don’t try to take on 80. Okay.

Sushant Misra  

I mean, I want to I want to get to the most interesting part of your story, which I’m personally very interested in is really the prototyping design process and your visit to China finding the supplier, and really getting this to, to the different versions, the product that you’re selling now in market. Can you share a little bit about you know, so you thought that okay, this, I couldn’t I can create the product? What did you do next? Like, did you how did you find the supplier in China? And what motivated you to go to China? And you said, you lived there for about a year?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Yes, I lived there for a year. How did I find it? So let’s be completely transparent. God founded? Okay. Yes. I didn’t know nothing about shoes, suppliers industry? No, I did not. But what I did do was I did a lot of research, and I stayed up a lot of nights. So here’s the reality. Number one is I live in Massachusetts. So we’re on the East Coast and dealing with any manufacturing company in, in China, you’re dealing with a 12 hour difference 30 an hour, depending on the time zone, and then when you go through time changes. Correct. So I had to literally talk to manufacturers every day. Every day, I went through over 2030 4050 6070 over 100 manufacturers just trying to talk to them because I had to be up at two o’clock in the morning. And because of the time difference.

Sushant Misra  

And are these manufacturers you do find them through Alibaba are different.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

No, I literally looked them up to Google. Okay, and I was reaching out to them. I was reaching out to them. We were first. Well, we started off by Skype. Now now that we have innovation, right?

Sushant Misra  

Were they were they able to speak English?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Some of them did. Some of them didn’t. Hmm. Yeah. Now I speak Mandarin. So I can I can have that conversation.

Sushant Misra  

So you can you can speak Mandarin. I

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

watch how I can have that conversation now

Sushant Misra  

in one year like you can I hire?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Or you don’t understand my story. I hired a tutor to come and teach me from the university shaman to come and teach me because I speak French. I speak English. I speak Spanish like, but I’m not just the simple, simplistic person. Okay. Yeah. And so for me, it was more of a sense of I want to understand, like, how do I get to this point? And how do I get them to work with me?

Sushant Misra  

So the teacher was in Massachusetts, or was it in China? I’m sorry, the teacher that you hired for the learning language learning? Oh,

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

I was living in China. Okay, I had a I had a, I hired one of the students from the University of Xiamen, which was literally 45 minutes from town where production? Yeah, haha, yeah.

Sushant Misra  

So So you talk to you spoke to the suppliers. And you ended up striking a deal with one of them that

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

will get you the reason why I went with him was what was because every other company that I was dealing with, they were just more plugged in on just trying to get money for me. They just want it. Alright, send us the money. Send us the money send us. Yeah, you’re understanding what I’m trying to do. And so when I met this one supplier, he said to me, he’s like, Can I see it again? And I showed him the prototype. He says, You have to come here. Yeah, he said, Yeah. Did

Sushant Misra  

you did you build the prototype in? In the US? How do you build

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

I made the prototype in us. Okay. Okay. Yes. And it was, okay. That’s why I was like, I can’t What I can’t prototype an actual sample production of this. It was too expensive. And that’s why I was like, yours is the hub of production. That’s why I started looking at China and other countries. But China is the hub of production when it comes to shoes. Let’s be honest. Yeah.

Sushant Misra  

So the prototype itself, sorry, sorry to interrupt you. So the prototype. It’s, it’s very interesting because I mean, this is The real process. And I’m very, very curious to know like, the prototype did you actually get some like, someone’s help to create it? Or did you create it yourself?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Myself? Okay,

Sushant Misra  

we’re on a software or Yes, I

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

did it all myself. Thank you don’t was help was I was I did it myself, I grinded it out, and I got it done.

Sushant Misra  

Okay. So you had the prototype and you found the supplier.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Let’s step back, I had my dad’s design from what he did for his dissertation and his patent. So I already knew what it had to look like. I took what he did. And I turned it into an actual prototype. It was quite challenging, because he had a lot of details in his prototype, and you can Google it, you just type in Dr. PENKA, helix biology, whatever you see it. What I had to do is make it aesthetically pleasing. Okay, that was the biggest challenge for me. Because I’m like, how am I going to turn this to make it look good, and to the point where you’re going to want to pay this price point, as it solved your problems?

Sushant Misra  

Make sense? So the supplier said, you have to come to China? And you did you go there with the plan that you’re going to stay there for a year? Or did you know you were thinking that okay,

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

I went it may give up the me tears a little bit. Because every time I talk,

Sushant Misra  

I’m very interested in this.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Not because I’m gonna get emotional. I’m gonna get emotional. Or second DB VP. Alright, cool. Just making sure you’re here to check sure she’s there. So when it was time for me to go to China, I did not know where I was going into. Okay. And this is the emotional part of it. So please, excuse me if I pause sometimes, because every time I talk about it, it still hits me on an emotional level. Just to be honest. I was supposed to be there for three weeks, three weeks. And I ended up being there for a year. Hmm. I’m gonna say it again. I was supposed to be there for three weeks. And I ended up being there for one year. So first, I had to get visas for business and everything. And it was quite a challenge to get that. I mean, no that I mean, no, I had to get a business visa there with the manufacturer. I didn’t know that. So that process alone was already difficult as I was doing it. Okay. Now moving forward. Once we get everything situated, I’m in China. Okay, here I am.

Sushant Misra  

And you don’t speak the language and you don’t

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

speak the language. Ariane was a black guy. I don’t know. I don’t know nothing. I just want to get a shoot done. That’s all I want to do. So here’s the reality. I think my first prototype done up the shoe, it didn’t work out. It was a disaster. And then my designer left me.

Sushant Misra  

The supplier left you are

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

no my designer, not my supplier, my suppliers in China, the designer who designed the one I was designed to shoot with me. They did everything together. He he left me, he was like, I can’t stay here no more because the conditions that we were living in were a little bit difficult. Okay. He left me.

Sushant Misra  

So um, so the designer was different from the supplier. Yes, of course. And you were working together with him in the supplier factory or

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

100%. Okay. And he left me, okay.

Sushant Misra  

I assume you were paying him or was he working? Yes. Okay. And he left

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

me. He like left. Like, the next day I woke up. I’m like, where’s he gone? Okay. Are you saying okay, no, it’s not okay. He left me. You understand what it means to be left alone in a foreign country and your designer is the one that’s going to help you with your production of what you’re trying to establish. Okay. He left. So now at this point, I’m like, Whoa,

Sushant Misra  

I’m just one number something that you know, I know.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Of course, I know him very well. But he left the fact that he left is what threw me. He abandoned. What I’m saying. Yeah. So for me, it was more in a sense of wow, what do I do? And I understood why he left. I wasn’t upset or mad at him. It was just more of a sense of Damn, you really just left me with myself. Think about it. Think about if you come go anywhere in the world and you meeting someone that you relate it to them and then like Okay, good. Yep. You wake up the next morning and they’re gone. How you gonna How you gonna process that? Yeah, yeah, exactly. He’s, uh, yeah, yeah, you’re not gonna process that it’s gonna take you a while. It’s not easy. So that’s what happened to me. And I’m like, wow, he just left me and I still got to produce a shoe.

Sushant Misra  

So he left you within the first month or so. Okay, so what did you do next time.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

So what I did was, I tried my best to produce a prototype of what I thought would be a shoe. Okay. That’s what I did out because now we’re stuck. But I said, Okay, we got to figure it out. So I said, we got to produce something that I think might be a shoe. And once I did it, I sent it over to my father. And my father called me up and said, are gi This is not my shoe. Huh?

Sushant Misra  

Yeah. So So technically, that was not right. It was

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

not technically. I mean, design wise, it was not, it wasn’t. My father said, it’s not the shoe. He said to me, come back to the United States. And we’ll try to see how we can make a better version of the shoe. Okay. To be honest with you, I heard the disappointment in the voice will go against me, you understand that this is a point when it comes to family, I heard a disappointment, my father’s voice. And my mother’s in the background, saying it’s okay. It’s gonna work out. I’m handed disappointment on both the voice and I’m like, You sacrificed everything. And I can’t even produce a shoe. So at that point, I said, Okay. Got it. We hung up on my phone, and I couldn’t sleep. I call my dad the same day. And I said that. He said, Yes. I said, I’m not coming back to United States. He said, what I said, I’m not coming back to the United States, is what do you mean that come back to the nurses, I said, I’m going to make the shoe the way you want it. I’m not coming back into the shoe is exactly the way you want it. So at that point, we burnt up all our finances, because remember, when do this, but we don’t have investors, we don’t have we don’t take in loans when I do nothing. This is all family based. So when my father and my mother saw that I was serious, we can collectively as a family and said, Okay, well, how do we solve this? How do we focus on what we’re trying to do? And that’s when we said, Okay, you got to be in China for a while. And that’s I ended up there before all year. Because at that point, I said, now we got to focus on that.

Sushant Misra  

So, so basically, from there, so from there, you basically created other prototypes and just refine the design, define,

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

okay, I grinded, I grinded. Failure is not an option for me, you understand.

Sushant Misra  

So the reason I’m so interested in your China story is because anyone who’s created trying to create a product, usually the approach that they take is, you know, they would contact the suppliers through Alibaba, maybe they will send the design, and then the supplier maybe will create a prototype and send back the, the prototype for approval and feedback. So it’s like they’re doing this process of scores, you know, through mail. And then once or even if the design is known, you know, it’s usually done through mail. Do you recommend like, what have you learned about China like their manufacturing? Industry? Do you recommend someone to actually if they’re trying to create that product, initial product? Is it much better to go there stay there for you know, a few months, do that in person with the supplier or manufacturer? And that way, you are much more likely to get a better result in terms of the product would like in terms of your learnings, what would you recommend to other people who are trying to build products are trying to improve on a divine?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

I feel like it is always going to depend you know, it depends on what you’re doing and to what level you want to scale. Everything’s been almost scalability, let’s let’s be honest. Like when you deal in the market that I’m in, you have to realize on how far you want to scale. Not only that, but to who you’re bringing you who you’re going to bring it And that’s I created a shoe. I definitely love my dad invented a shoe and I created a shoe that’s like, wow, we’re doing a whole research study right now that’s going to be FDA approved, and Medicaid approved. Which We’re disrupting innovation. And to disrupt innovation can cause controversy because a lot of people come to say, Well Well, what did I do? I thought I was doing things Nah, it’s okay to think that you did something that you’re not doing and it’s perfectly fine. Because the reality is this when I made this shoe, I made it I said, Whoa, this is a problem and you pay some serious amount of dollars to put claims because the sit here and say listen, this shoe with no heel it’s no heel as to get tested to Intertek Intertek is one of the high us people that do the research studies based on where Germany Okay, have a shoe that is going to be a research study, to eliminate plantar fasciitis to help diabetics who’s going to challenge me. But now the question is, it’s not about who’s going to challenge you. It’s more in a sense of how the hell that this little 36 year old person came up with this. I didn’t come up with it. My dad did. Back then. All I did was turn it into something that’s functional. That was good, because aesthetically, it looks good. Diabetics don’t want to be looking like Oh, my she doesn’t look good. It No, they want things to look good. It looks good, aesthetically pleasing, you want to wear it and be part of what you are. That’s what I’m promoting. And at the same time. You tell me what needs to be the next step. Because people do not understand what has to happen in order to scale. And that is what the difference does. We scale, we bring things to another level. You’re doing it the same way too.

Sushant Misra  

So for now, you have a product for you created a product that that, you know that your dad says yes, this this is what you know, I intended for it to be how many shoes did you create in your first batch of production? That you started selling? 3000 3000? Yeah. And so I guess, you know, once you have the product, of course, and you’re trying to bring it to market, the next part is marketing and promotion? How do you get other people to see or understand the benefits that you’re trying to sell the product that you’re trying to sell? So that they can can can buy it right and start using the product? Can you share a little bit about those initial days when you launched the product? And even now, like how are you marketing it? How are you? How are you getting the fields for people to buy this?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

So like any thing that you do like any brand, right, it always requires you to market and marketing is also based on a lot of things. shout out goes my sister. Marketing is based on a lot of things is based on number one Who you trying to target. Right? We try to reach and the viability of what you’re who you’re trying to reach. So that comes into acquisition cost, what are you willing to spend to acquire a customer, but based on what you’re doing, you don’t have to spend money to acquire a customer I have a shoe that just Hey, grandma does not have backgrounds, hey, you’re no longer worried about your knee problems? Do I have to pay money to acquire you know, I don’t if I have to pay money to acquire you then that’s just based on the fact that I want to scale at a very rapid level. And most companies that do that is based on the fact that they have competition I don’t have competition I’m gonna say right here in the mic. I only competition is myself. Okay, yes. No other company could create a shoe they have tapped into try to make a shoe without a heel. But they can’t go into development because they’re not going to infringe on our patents because we have patents, okay. So, what I can say is this, come up with an idea. Rather than fight, try to collaborate collaboration is going to be the best thing that you can ever do. Because when you collaborate, it allows us to be involved. And I’ve learned that a lot, because for me, I want to collaborate. I want this to be everywhere. Yeah, wherever you base that up, I want them to be there. Because we solve the problem. That’s actually a problem. It’s a problem. It’s a problem. Who wants to be standing on their feet having back problems? Who wants to be having knee problems, lower back problems, musculoskeletal injuries, and when you say musculoskeletal injuries, people start to say like, oh, yeah, he’s talking to fancy Okay, well, is this simple? Do you answers? Oh, yeah. Do you have knee problems? Yes. Are you diabetic? Oh, yes. Oh, man. Now you tap into something that makes a little bit more sense. So the reality is this. I went through the research, and I’m still going through the research because we’re actually still conducting it. So and I want people on before I finish, I want people to know that we’re going to solve this, we already started solving this. So the question that you have to ask me is the question number to ask you is, let people know that we hear. Okay. Go ahead, please.

Sushant Misra  

Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing, like, you know, if you have a great product that is solving people’s problem, more people need to know about it. And, and that’s, that’s how they’re going to buy it. So maybe you can share a little bit about I know, in the recent time your business has really started scaling in terms of revenues and things like that. Yes, yes. What are some of the things you’ve been doing in terms of really driving those sales and growing your business? What other business people can learn from this?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

So driving your business, let me be honest with you, it’s it’s, it’s it’s trial and error, doesn’t mean, it’s definitely a trial and error. Because you have to find who, in what fits into your business and can move for your business. You understand what I’m saying? Yeah. And when I say that, I say that in the sense of a lot of people think that it’s just a matter of just, Oh, you got a product, let’s just push it out and do this. No, you have to be passionate about what you’re into. I’ll give you a clear example. We’re having a whole podcast right now. You’re passionate about it, you’re not gonna reach out to me and find me through all of this. If you’re not passionate. There’s a certain sense of passion that allows you to do this. And I can reflect that. And when I see that, I’m like, yes, people reach out to me every day asking you podcasts. And I can clearly tell you, I say no, half the time. But I saw you and I’m like, I like your drive. I like what you’re doing. I’m down. And now we’ll make sure that whatever you need, you’re like, hey, can we do 715? Yes, we can’t. Because I was in that position where I’m trying to get to a certain level. I’m like, Can we do this? And someone said yes to me. So who am I to say no. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, because you have a vision, very clear. And yet, listen, real, recognize real, my father always told me what someone’s real, you can recognize it. You are a person that already has just stuck together, establish. So what you’re doing right now is to just grow and create growth. And I love it. And I want to be part of it. So whatever I can do, hey, tell me, and I’m privileged to be part of this. Because the honesty is when people reach out to me and say, Hey, can I do the podcast? Can I talk to you? I said, you don’t want to do this, because you understand what I’m doing. You want to do it, you just put it in a portfolio and put it in the bank. You actually reached out to me because you’re like, Hey, I see what you’re doing. I like what you’re doing. And I want to and you reached out twice. My secretary reached out to me was like, Hey, he reached up on the Facebook page. I said, Okay, put them on. Let’s go. And I said, That’s it. He’s on whatever you want. I’m going to talk to him now from now on. He’s like you Sure? Yes, he’s going to talk to me, because I am that person. And I respect that. And that, to me is what makes entrepreneurs and people grow. One advice that I would give to anybody on this once they see this, number one, humble yourself. Be very humble and be able to take advice and criticism. Human beings are not based on criticism. We don’t like it. Because it makes us feel like we’re weak. Take it, too be okay. With being okay? You understand what that means? Being okay with being okay means that, hey, I’m making maybe for $40 million, like this other person, but I’m still surviving. And the third, trust yourself and the process. Religion, I always say Believe in what you believe. Is God. Okay? All right. Okay. Okay, wherever you believe in believing, but trust in the process and whatever you believe in, because that is what’s gonna allow you to give you the extra boost to go. Because the reality is this already know where this company’s gonna go, you know where it’s gonna go, you’re a visionary, I lift you up, like, Oh, this guy’s a visionary, you know, where things are gonna go? So when you do things, you’re like, Yep, I’m lining them all up. So, let’s get to that point. I do have a question for you, though, if what made you want to start this based on what you’ve done in your past career?

Sushant Misra  

For me, it’s really about I think two or three things. Number one, it’s, I like talking to people, I like talking to inspiring people, people who’ve done something, we’re not just living life, you know, on autopilot, right, who have who have failed and succeed, you know, gone, you know, even despite those failures, you know, continuing being on a path. So I think, though, I think that makes some people interesting. And I think I want to surround myself with those people. That’s why I want to talk to those people. The other thing is, I want to share those people’s stories, right, with with others. And the third thing is, you know, it’s a great way to, to learn, right, by talking to others, and seeing what they have learned through their trials and tribulations and failures and successes. And really to bring that to, to others who are, who are on the same path, so that they can get inspiration from the stories and also learn from other people’s failures. So I think those are some of the things. But the biggest thing is I like, you know, talking to people and just hearing their story then learning from them. So I think that’s a big, big motivator for me, it’s not, I’m not doing it just so you know, I’m trying to get some clicks or something. It’s kind of like, I’m definitely finding it. Interesting. But we’re running out of time. So let me let me ask you this one question. Throughout this process of developing the shoes, if you were to think, you know, there was one mistake that you made, that you wish that you hadn’t made, or you think that if you didn’t make that it would have really speed, you know, accelerated the time that it took you to bring the product to market. What would that mistake be? And what can other people learn from it?

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Ah, great question. Ah, wow. To be honest with you. Not a mistake. Because doing the shoes to the, to the ability that they had to be into the perfection that they had to be, it took a lot of mistakes. So, because before you put a claim on a product, that’s scientifically backed up, you have to really know what you’re doing. Right. So there’s really, I won’t say there’s nothing, there’s always room for improvement. But there, what I would say is, we did our due diligence, and we did our scientific studies to make sure that this shoe does what it does. And I’m proud to say that since we’ve launched since 2016, we have no returns on our shoe. Huh? Well, oh nine. Everybody that works is loves it. We’ve had exchanges and sizes because maybe something smaller and bigger. But no one’s ever returning says I don’t like it. So think about we’ve sold over 2000 pairs of shoes, and no one’s ever said We don’t like it. We don’t want it. So, I took pride in understanding number one what the consumer wants. But not only that, but also how to make a product hit. It’s very important to me, because I’m a consumer of products as well. Absolutely. I like to wear things that look nice, where there’s glasses, watch wristbands, whatever the case, I like to look good. Okay. So if I’m going to do that, then I have to be also not only a product of a consumer, but I have to also be able to deliver what my consumers want. Okay, so to answer your question, it was a matter of just making sure that people want it what they want, and they get what they want. And they’re excited. We have no, I pride myself. No, we have, I’m gonna say this in the mic. We have no returns in our shoes. Since we’ve been selling over 2000 pairs of shoes, and no returns.

Sushant Misra  

banquet. That is great. So now we’re going to move on to the rapid fire round. I’ll ask you a few questions, and you have to answer them like in one or two words. Let’s go. So one book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs or business professionals? And why

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

the one book real quick, Dale Carnegie, how to make friends and influence others.

Sushant Misra  

Well, perfect Dale Carnegie. Yeah, it makes sense. I’ve read that book. Yeah, maybe an innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about? Any product

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

that honestly and a year, you wrote you wrote some Tesla,

Sushant Misra  

boom, yep, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend, or productivity tip,

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Halo, halo for software for education, because they provide all the resources that can actually help stop a student, whether it’s on a doctoral Master’s, or an undergraduate level halos. Very good. Hint. It’s a little Yep. Ha LOL, yep. Okay, call him

Sushant Misra  

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

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

So I’m going to be a little biased on this. So I try to step away from from what I do on the technological side, and I try to see what’s going on everything else. So there’s Brout there, but Cincy. And this is something that I didn’t know. Women brought eyebrows. I didn’t know women tattoo eyebrows that that’s something new. I didn’t know that. So the brow therapists Cincy is one thing that I saw when I was like, all women actually tacked to their eyebrows and actually the thing. And so that’s one thing that I would, I’m like, well, because my I have three sisters and a mom. So I’m always gonna encourage them to go down that route. And she’s doing a beast job on a percent

Sushant Misra  

appear entrepreneur or business PR firm, whom you look up to or someone who inspires you.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Oh, that’s easy. My father. Yeah,

Sushant Misra  

best business advice. I know you gave some business advice. Best business advice you ever received, or you would give to other entrepreneurs.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Patient. It’s not easy. You got to be patient. The grit, The grind is real. Be patient. You have to be patient. A lot of entrepreneurs want things to happen tomorrow, next day, right now, you have to be patient and trust the process. And we will say the process, I have to actually define the process. That’s the whole conversation, get having another conversation, but you have to trust and what’s happening, but trust yourself. Trust God. Hmm, yeah. And trust what you’re doing. It’s not going to be easy. I can guarantee I know I’m talking off of experience. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen in a day. But trust yourself and trust the process, trust God and know that it’s going to work out what to do.

Sushant Misra  

Great. Great. So thank you so much. I’ll get those were all the all my questions. I really appreciate you sharing your story. It’s definitely very, very inspiring. And yeah, spending some time with me today. Trep talks and thank you, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story. It’s very inspiring. I really appreciate it.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Thank you so much. I actually love what you’re doing is inspiring. Continue it. Continue growing it continue making it sense to make sense Because to be honest with you, as young entrepreneurs, myself and other people, they need people like you to give them a platform to feel as if they’re being inspired because we don’t feel inspired. You know, we want to reach a higher scale. We want to be on bigger talk shows and this. But here’s the reality. As any person always says, it always starts off small before it scales and becomes big. Yeah, that’s me. And so thank you, and you’re doing an amazing job. And of course, I love the glasses, so we don’t keep it.

Sushant Misra  

Thank you. Thank you.

Olguy Songolo of theDifference  

Thank you. Appreciate it.

Also, get inspired to Create a Profitable Online Business with Robert Patton – Building a Pouch Underwear Brand


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