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Living Balls Out, from $0 to $10 million+ in Less Than 3 Years with Adam Hendle Co-Founder of Ballsy

Living Balls Out, from $0 to $10 million+ in Less Than 3 Years with Adam Hendle Co-Founder of Ballsy | Episode 168 | Business Podcast

Living Balls Out, from $0 to $10 million+ in Less Than 3 Years with Adam Hendle Co-Founder of Ballsy | Episode 168 | Business Podcast

Living Balls Out, from $0 to $10 million+ in Less Than 3 Years with Adam Hendle Co-Founder of Ballsy
Living Balls Out, from $0 to $10 million+ in Less Than 3 Years with Adam Hendle Co-Founder of Ballsy

Summary

Adam Hendle is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ballsy.  

It might be edgy to say this, but it’s no secret that balls are prone to odor, sweat and irritation. Whether your a guy or gal, we’re all effected.

Ballsy upgrades a guys balls game with quality long-lasting products formulated to keep men fresh, comfortable and confident.

Adam comes clean about how he started Ballsy as a side hustle, bottstrapped the business, hit over a million in sales his first year and then went full time where the company has grown to over $10 million in sales in three years.

You’ll love the Adam’s story and all the tips and lessons learned he offers you to help you grow your business.

Brandon: 

Hello Friends, Welcome to the Edge. 

Brandon: 

Today’s our first episode under our new brand name and I couldn’t be more excited to have an edgy guest come and have a conversation. 

Brandon: 

We’re talking with Adam Hendel, who is the founder and Ceo of ballsy, a company that you guessed it helps you take care of your balls and you’re not going to believe who actually buys the product or maybe you will and you’re going to love this story. 

Brandon: 

Adam started this as a side hustle And in his first year as a side hustle, he does over $3 million $10 million dollars and it’s still taking off another crazy part. 

Brandon: 

He hasn’t raised any money yet. 

Brandon: 

He’s been food strapping this thing the whole time. 

Brandon: 

You’re gonna love our conversation, Adam, Hendel, Ceo and founder of ballsy. 

Brandon: 

Here we go. 

Brandon: 

Welcome to the Edge podcast, your weekly playbook about the inner game of building a successful business, making you a happier, healthier and richer business owner and here’s your host, Brandon White. 

Brandon: 

Hey Adam, how are you? 

Brandon: 

Hey doing well how are you? 

Brandon: 

Brandon? 

Brandon: 

I’m doing good. 

Brandon: 

Thanks for joining today. 

Brandon: 

Thanks for having me, I appreciate it. 

Brandon: 

I just went up and got out of the shower and wash my balls. Nice, how’d that go? Hopefully with polish. This is a P. G. Podcast so we can’t we can’t go too deep into it. Fair enough, we’ll keep it service level then. Yeah right on. Well thanks for joining us all jokes aside for everybody listening. 

Brandon: 

Adam is the Ceo and founder of ballsy and we’re gonna be talking a lot about a lot of balls, but before we do that adam, can you share how you got started in this whole balls thing? 

Brandon: 

I know you had a history working video, how you embarked on your entrepreneur journey so far. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean I have kind of reflected back on how I’ve gotten to where I am today and it hasn’t been the most straight and narrow path. 

Brandon: 

It’s kind of been a bit all over the place I guess, as you would assume, landing on the balls care business. But honestly, I think a lot of my entrepreneurial background stemmed from being in a, in a band for about 10 years and I know it’s a bit surprising, but like when I boil it down, I really think it started there because very early on with the band, I had to learn a bunch of different skills, right? 

Brandon: 

I had to learn how to design t shirts, design websites, how to market shows, how to contact promoters, how to get people to, you know, to those shows, how to start to grow social, following those types of things. 

Brandon: 

And uh, it just forced me very quickly to learn a bunch of different skills. 

Brandon: 

So I’ve always been interested a lot of things that kind of, you know, I got my first taste of entrepreneurial ship, not even really thinking about it that way, but you know, fast forward on a few years, I launched a website called I am the trend, which was a, a website that featured independent clothing brands? 

Brandon: 

So a bunch of different men’s brands from around the United States that no one had ever heard of, I thought they were really interesting small businesses and I wanted to kind of shine a spotlight on them and that got the attention of a startup based in SAN Francisco called store envy and store envy is basically like a Shopify meats, etc. 

Brandon: 

And they said, hey, you built this amazing community around dependent around independent businesses, would you like to come to SAN Francisco and do that for us? 

Brandon: 

And I said, absolutely. 

Brandon: 

So I moved from Chicago, which is where I grew up SAN Francisco with my wife, luckily she was completely on board. 

Brandon: 

So we packed up ourselves in her dog and we headed west, I worked at store Envy, I think it was like the 5th employee there at the time, we had about 10,000 stores and by the time we left we had over just over 100,000 stores and about a team of 20. 

Brandon: 

So again, you know, early stage startup had to do a lot of different tasks, you know, marketing copy community, building, what have you. 

Brandon: 

And then my next step after there was, I mets the fountain, can I interrupt you just for a second? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, absolutely. 

Brandon: 

I want, I want to go back To your band experience because you can’t let that go when you hear a band for 10 years. 

Brandon: 

So when you were growing up, did you, were you like, hey man, I want to be in a rock band or alternative band and that’s what I’m gonna do. 

Brandon: 

100%. 

Brandon: 

That was my life’s goal admission, that’s all I had my eye on the prize for. And we got very close, We did a bunch of regional tours and played some big shows and whatnot. Had a couple of record deals on the table that fell through. 

Brandon: 

So it was one of those things, it was like so close yet, you know, so far. But yeah, that was honestly my my my life’s goal time. 

Brandon: 

And you were in L. A. 

Brandon: 

No, I was in Chicago. You were in Chicago at that time. Yeah. So I bought a house with two of my best buddies and another best friend that, you know, was also in the band. And yeah, we had at it for about 10 years. 

Brandon: 

And what instrument did you play? Yeah, I I I play guitar, I played it better than, because it was the sole focus now, it’s like, you know, it’s on the side. I’m trying to teach my daughter how to play who’s who’s eight years old now. So that’s been fun. So that’s kind of, you know, revitalized by playing a little bit. But yeah, rock guitar. It was like a hard rock band. 

Brandon: 

So for 10 years, you support yourself legitimately support yourself as a banned person. I mean, that is impressive, because there’s a lot of people out there, I’ve actually we’ve talked to a few musicians and that’s really hard. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, I can’t say it was all supported by the band, you know, I was also bartending on the side, serving, you know, making cash, cash money on the side. 

Brandon: 

And yeah, being in a band doesn’t pay very well, unfortunately. So, but I loved it. 

Brandon: 

I think your point though, that being in a band, I think people think about, well, what you see is all the big rock stars, and they put their guitar and they hand the guitar to someone and that takes it, they take it and it disappears and it shows up in the next venue. 

Brandon: 

But I think I haven’t been in a band. 

Brandon: 

But my guess is from what I’ve seen after the show, looking at the musicians, loading up their stuff in a van, you basically need to do it all. 

Brandon: 

Absolutely. 

Brandon: 

I couldn’t Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head there. 

Brandon: 

I mean, you really do it all, especially early on, and we didn’t have any money to hire anyone to do anything. So that’s again, where it was like, out of necessity, necessity, I learned how to do some coding in html. CSS to build a website, how to design, you know, t shirts and, you know, what have you. So it was, it was a great learning experience and not what I, you know, I didn’t have this great plan to be, you know, an entrepreneur eventually, but I think that was the original spark to be honest. 

Brandon: 

So you’re in the band, the band doesn’t work out, you learn all this stuff, you get an offer to come to uh store envy envy, you come to san Francisco. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so that was a very exciting time because again, I was just kind of doing this independently. I was also working for my dad’s landscaping business at the time, so uh you know, it was just doing things like Phil time while I was working on the band and then, like I said, I built this website to remain creative um and you know, keep my creative chops kind of growing and I got the attention of store envy and they like what I was doing independently and they gave me a shot and said, hey, like we love for you to come out here and help us. 

Brandon: 

And I kind of started my startup lifestyle. Where do you live in the Bay Area? 

Brandon: 

So I lived in Oakland and Jacqueline and square. 

Brandon: 

So that was stark contrast, didn’t you find it to Chicago? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, especially because I didn’t live directly in Chicago growing up. 

Brandon: 

I grew up in like the northwest suburbs. So yeah, it was funny like my first couple of times, going out to SAn Francisco, I would take, you know, take the train down to O’hara report, get on a plane and then take, you know the barks and get up on 16th and mission. 

Brandon: 

And it just felt like like popping up and it’s like a completely different world if anyone’s been around 16th and Mission, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s different. Like it’s nuts. It’s nuts. It’s, yeah, 100%. And it always felt like Mario coming out of the tube, you know, into like the new world, like what just happened. 

Brandon: 

So it was, it was, it was definitely a big experience and something different and something that was exciting at the time. 

Brandon: 

Well, how was it working for a bigger company? I’m interested in that too because that’s a stark difference from even if you’re working in a landscape company and you’re doing bar stuff and you’re playing in a band, you’re still ultimately in charge of yourself not dealing with big company dynamics that it’s not a knock on them, it’s just unavoidable with that many people and that much revenue and all that sort of stuff. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, no doubt. I mean when I started there, to be fair, there was only five people. So it was a very small, tight knit startup family and we grew up Recruiter about 20, but either way it was a big difference, right? 

Brandon: 

I mean I felt a lot of pressure on myself to like they gave me a chance and like I wasn’t doing startup life before this and here I am in Silicon Valley, like working at this e commerce startup that’s raised VC funding and you know, you get kind of some of that imposter syndrome of like, am I good enough, like I was just doing this as a hobby and something I loved and I’m you know, at a VC funded start up and I need to like perform and you know, luckily john who was the founder, like he had a lot of faith and believe me and obviously saw something and he and he took a chance and I like to say I excelled and it was able to learn a lot throughout that entire experience and help that company grow and actually where I met my partner in ballsy uh was it was that storm and be as well, so how long are you at store? 

Brandon: 

M. 

Brandon: 

D. I was a story movie for about 2.5 years and what happens. 

Brandon: 

So at the end of around 2.5 years I was introduced to the founder of a company called Fame Bit and Fame bit was an influencer marketing platform connecting Youtubers and brands for sponsorship deals and now this is like 6, 7 years ago. 

Brandon: 

So before influencer marketing was a huge deal, but again, harking back to my T shirt clothing website days, I had a YouTube channel, like in 2009, promoting t shirts and talking about all these brands? 

Brandon: 

So I’m like, oh the influencers, I wish somebody would have paid me to talk about their t shirts. 

Brandon: 

I was just getting them for free. 

Brandon: 

So immediately like got the idea and was very excited to be, you know, they have the opportunity to be on the ground floor of fame bit. 

Brandon: 

So I decided, hey, let’s move to L. 

Brandon: 

A. 

Brandon: 

That’s where famed it was based. 

Brandon: 

So now instead of just my wife and our dog was my wife, our dog and our one year old daughter and uh, we drove down to L. A. And I was the first full time employee at fame bit, which was, you know, an absolutely incredible experience. 

Brandon: 

I worked there for about three years, eventually being the general manager. I literally did everything there. I built her, I designed for IOS app. I did a lot of our email copy and design community building. I bring in Youtubers and interview them, talk about how they grew their channel, all these fun things. 

Brandon: 

So it did a lot of different things there. 

Brandon: 

And then towards the end we were actually acquired by google. 

Brandon: 

So you know, that’s kind of the kind of the dream, right? You’re in the start up and uh, you know, google comes calling and uh, got to see through an acquisition and go through that entire process, which was very stressful and eye opening time. 

Brandon: 

So I’m curious out of all those interviews you did what youtubers who have grown their channel. Do you remember what some of their key takeaways was on, how they actually grew the channel besides buying people like real, I’m saying that lovingly but real viewers honestly, I, most of the most like I guess the theme that resonated the most, which is consistency of content just making sure that you’re hosting every, they set up a schedule and they abided by that schedule and over time. 

Brandon: 

You know, it seems like the algorithm picked it up like viewers understood when to tune in and that’s kind of how they got the ball rolling. 

Brandon: 

Isn’t it interesting that it’s not the magic pill, but it’s just some simple execution and staying on track. 

Brandon: 

It’s all brute force and just, you know, hard work. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I think that’s exactly how I got to where I am today. It wasn’t, you know, I didn’t go to some like ivy League school and like I ended up at google, I was working at a landscape company. Like I, I do you know, I went to the University of Wisconsin Whitewater have a marketing background but like I remember reading books at my desk about google and just being like, man that’s just like got to be incredible and then fast forward 10 years later, like I worked at google like it was, you know, so and that was all just from hard work and like building out things and projects and working on myself and my skills and that opened doors along the way and opportunities? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think there’s one thing that he said, definitely having gone to good schools and writing using that as leverage, but there’s another thing to be said just being and I think this isn’t just about yourself, it’s about companies or products, if your stuff is really good, people will find you use it and talk about it. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, you gotta, it doesn’t happen overnight. 

Brandon: 

I was reading the that mail chimp got acquired by into it yesterday and and and Ben and I follow each other on Strada. 

Brandon: 

So, you know, I was, I feel like I know this other side of him that’s like exercising with his kids and doing all this thing and you know, one day I think this weekend he’s riding bikes with his kids and the next you hear that he he sold the company but I was going to send him a note which I need to do be like, hey man, I read about your overnight success, you know, he was working on a male chimp for 19 years. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, strap the whole time. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, and just did a good job, right? 

Brandon: 

Male chimps showed up every day and they did a good job, so I think there’s something to be said for that, but you really have a wild ride because like you said, you’re going from band landscaping to working at google, how was that, did they require you to work there for, you know, year to year, how did they, how did that work out? 

Brandon: 

So I did have an earn out after after a year, so I could have left at any time, but obviously, you know, it’s incentivized to stay and like, I was excited to be there to be honest, I mean, I never worked at a large scale company, it was smaller, you know, scrappy startups and obviously, you know, google is kind of a pinnacle place and tech to work and I wanted to one know how that experience was and to just like the experience of working in a much larger scale and uh, it was definitely an eye opening experience to say, you know, to say the least. 

Brandon: 

And I really did enjoy my time there and google moves, I think about as fast as you can for a large company of that size, but it’s still nothing compared to like start ups and ultimately, like, that’s what I kind of missed the most and that’s when, you know, I guess I was, you know, in the background, I had the idea for ballsy, you know, during fame bit and I was working on that on the side and then this google acquisition came along and I was like, well, I’m not going to work on this balls business, like, I’ve landed the dream job at google, right? 

Brandon: 

Like, this is like life goals complete and then after about a year, I was like, man, like, you know, I, I launched palsy and it was getting a lot of traction and I said I need to do this right, I need to, I need to take this full time and you know, dedicate my time towards it and, and that’s what I ultimately did, which was a very interesting conversation to go to your manager at google and say, hey, I’m leaving and they’re like, why? 

Brandon: 

I’m like, well I started a balls care business, I’m leaving google and uh before we talk about, I’m interested in that conversation, how did you know, we sort of skipped over it and you did it quickly, but you were doing it as a side hustle. 

Brandon: 

How do you even come up with this idea? 

Brandon: 

Like that inspires you to, I mean to do that. 

Brandon: 

I mean literally it sounds made up, but the fact of the matter is it was a shower moment uh idea about a shower product and I just so happen to notice on this day how many different products my wife had for all areas of her body and this is like 2016 remind you and like at that time, like men’s personal care was like, here’s your like four and one value. 

Brandon: 

Ushers your three and one value wash and then there was like more upscale brands like Kiehl’s and you know, things like that and it just didn’t like those brands while they make great products, it just didn’t resonate to me, like they didn’t feel fun and engaging in a brand that I would be excited about. 

Brandon: 

So it’s really kind of this, like I said shower moment a high idea of can I build a bold, fun, playful Brandt that delivered a high quality product and then also focused on an area of a guy’s body that for whatever reason had been overlooked before, so like ball wash was like the immediate idea in the shower, like jumped out like google searched and no one had ever made ball wash and I was like I’m either the craziest guy in the world or I’ve found some white space here and then I spent the next six months trying to figure out the answer to that question out, How are you doing that? 

Brandon: 

So my first, my first kind of soiree into this was I went to whole foods and bought a bunch of essential oils and plant extracts and you know, coconut butter and all of these things that I’m like all right, I’m gonna build my own wash, quickly realized that I’m not a very good chemistry formulate er but it was fun to get my hands dirty. 

Brandon: 

So then it went to, I need to find somebody to kind of kind of do this for me, I’m a much better marketer, the chemist if you will. 

Brandon: 

So I literally had $5000 set aside to launch this business, which is pretty laughable for a products based business. 

Brandon: 

So I called a bunch of different manufacturers of the, you know the course of the next six months on and off and most people said, you know The budget is just too small. 

Brandon: 

Like we usually started 5000 units, not $5,000, you know, to try again. 

Brandon: 

Thanks, but like you know like so you know, it’s kind of discouraging but again just kind of brute force kept calling, kept calling and I finally ran into a manufacturer in Michigan who is a smaller family run by product care, personal care business that focused more on natural products And literally three minutes of the phone call and telling them about the Brandon idea, they’re like, we absolutely love it. 

Brandon: 

Like we want to help you build this and I was like I might only by like 500 units to start like we don’t care, we see a lot of ideas and we would love to help you formulate this. 

Brandon: 

So that was kind of the first big break and we spent the next, you know, six months or so formulating what is now ball wash and a solid cologne which is called nut rub, which is a ball safe cologne. 

Brandon: 

And we launched both of those products basically black friday weekend of 2017 And I said we had 500 units and we sold out of all of them in the 1st 24 hours and that’s kind of where we’re balls, he was off to the races. 

Brandon: 

So a few questions. 

Brandon: 

You’re working nights and weekends effectively during the six months. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

And actually all of 2018, I continued to work nights and weekends at Google. 

Brandon: 

Uh you know, so I was working full time at Google and I was working nights and weekends on ballsy for all of 2018. 

Brandon: 

So, uh, yeah, you sell out on black friday. 

Brandon: 

What did you do to, to create that demand? 

Brandon: 

How did people find you? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so, uh, good old Facebook Facebook ads at that time. 

Brandon: 

So I literally just created four ad sets for different demographics and interests and three of them were male targeted. 

Brandon: 

One of them was female and they all did well, but the female-based audience absolutely crushed it. 

Brandon: 

I had like a 10-1 or like a 10 row as on it. 

Brandon: 

It was absolutely ridiculous. 

Brandon: 

Well, that’s a, that’s a comment on either of their husbands or boyfriends. 

Brandon: 

Well, it’s interesting. 

Brandon: 

It’s very interesting and I’ve got to be honest, like I was not thinking about marketing towards females at all. 

Brandon: 

Like, it was like, this is obviously a very male product I’m gonna target towards males and two things happen. 

Brandon: 

One the female audience blew up and I just take a step back and say why? 

Brandon: 

Well, one gifting season. 

Brandon: 

Okay, so a lot of women are buying gifts for their guys and that makes sense into something that I personally didn’t realize as much as a lot of women by personal care products for their household. 

Brandon: 

Like I’ve always just bought my own stuff. 

Brandon: 

But Apparently a lot of women buy it for the entire family. So there are a kind of a buyer and then those two aspects. So it was a great launching pad and I’ll say to date 65% of our buyers are female. 

Brandon: 

So it wasn’t just that one holiday moment. It’s, it’s you know, currently happening, it happens in june and july like more females by the product and mails. 

Brandon: 

Well I think that’s a testament to say that You should always test because if you had not allocated that one facebook campaign to women, you could have missed the whole opportunity. 

Brandon: 

Absolutely. 

Brandon: 

And you know, shame on me a little bit for not thinking that, you know, picking that through. 

Brandon: 

But I did put up the asset and it did work. 

Brandon: 

But then you got to quickly realize and figure out why it worked and then continue to scale it up. 

Brandon: 

And after we sold out of those 500 units, I called up the manufacturing, I was like good news and bad news, good news is we sold out. 

Brandon: 

Bad news is we sold out. So what can we do here? And they made us 15,000 units in two weeks and we sold out of all of them. 

Brandon: 

So you’re kind of a launching pad, you’re, you’re, you’re running facebook ads, were you able to, if I can ask, I mean its initial kick off. It’s a side hustle, you don’t have overhead and I mean you’re working out of your bedroom for or spare bedroom. Were you able, was that still net positive by running the ads between your customer acquisition, cost and cost of the product? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it was. We had an incredible role as out of the gate and every year so ballsy remains bootstrapped and we’ve run the business profitably every year in business and basically a double business every year. 

Brandon: 

Well, congratulations. That’s incredible. 

Brandon: 

Thank you. 

Brandon: 

And are you still, are you still, I want, I don’t want to, I’m going to ask this, but I still want to go back to figure out how we got from, you know, how you quit your job and whatnot. 

Brandon: 

But are you still running facebook ads to do this or is this a guerilla campaign or how is it? How are you continuing this crazy growth? Yeah, facebook and instagram are still our primary levers. I mean we do, we do some things on, you know, across several marketing channels, but right now, uh, those are still the two big suburbs for us. 

Brandon: 

And I got to ask you this because just popped into my head because we were, I was just talking to our marketing lady the other day, has the IOS update hurt you. 

Brandon: 

I mean you have enough buyers I think if people were smart and they had their lookalikes, you could at least build that. 

Brandon: 

But has that hurt your campaigns recently because of that update? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean it definitely hasn’t helped. But we’ve just had to look at things a little bit, we’ve had to take a step back and we look at our marketing spends, you know, what we spend per day and then what channels there are and then we back out like what that actual acquisition cost is. 

Brandon: 

We’re not relying as much on facebook anymore for like their attribution settings because you lose a lot of tracking now. So it looks you were just to go into the ads manager, it looks, I think worse for people than what it sometimes is. 

Brandon: 

So you’ve got to kind of take a step back and say, all right, what do we spend today? What our net new customers like? Do we spend anywhere else? And you kind of divide those two and then, yeah, you know, to the point that you made, I think starting out right now is probably a little bit harder for businesses than like one like ours who is pretty well established. 

Brandon: 

We have recurring subscriptions for people like our names out there a little bit more. But yeah, definitely interesting times. I think for most e commerce brands, especially coming out of last year where basically anything worked during the whole, you know, covid shutdown and everyone was a winner and I was like, wow, you know, anyone could launch a Brandon to be profitable. So it’s been kind of you know, from a truck in reverse and like I think it’s going to shake for better or for worse, it’s going to shake some brands out and then you know, the cream usually rises to the top and you just got to figure out, you know, the new landscape and how do you get around it? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I agree with you. I think starting out would be hard. I think this, you know, it’s going to be a double whammy with the new update IOS 15 with email, although I don’t know how many people, I mean a brand like yours, that is a clear, I mean you can send out content like how to do things and you know around the idea, but at the end of the day you want people to click. 

Brandon: 

So I think, I think, you know the clicks are going to work but it’s gonna be really hard to clean our email list, don’t you think? Absolutely they’re just, they’re being relentless this year. 

Brandon: 

I mean killing us left and right here, you know, I’m an apple, you know, user, but I’m kind of thinking about switching here better, you know, Yeah, I don’t know what the trick is going to be around it to figure it out. But I think for at least me adam I can say that I don’t have my any images load unless I actually load that image so I don’t know how many people have done that. 

Brandon: 

You know maybe people like you and I are technologies and more advanced but you know opting into that for people is definitely going to hurt us but let’s go back and talk about, oh I do want to say I think your suggestion is what people should be doing and they’re not doing is if you’re just looking at your Facebooks console you are in my from what we’ve seen and what it sounds like you’re seeing you’re seeing inflated customer acquisition costs correct. 

Brandon: 

And and we’re having to now between all the things that we use have to go in and then look at click funnels and then look at our convert kit and then look at our credit card every day and then or you know you can look at that for facebook for the most part. 

Brandon: 

And then basically unfortunately back to the Excel spreadsheet that’s yeah we’ve got a spreadsheet. 

Brandon: 

My partner broke, he’s more in the weeds on the numbers but he’s built up the we call the caC attack sheet or every day. 

Brandon: 

He’s like you know in the spreadsheet, filling it in kind of manually but it definitely gives us a better picture of you know the health of the business and true acquisition costs are so you You’re working at Google you’re doing this side hustle, you’ve done it now, it sounds like about 18 months as a side hustle, you’ve gone through 15,000 plus 515,500 units, you’re probably reordering what happened like is there a moment you’re working at google and you say mic drop? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, pretty much so yeah, we still those 1st 15,000 units in december of 2017 and then going into 2018, you know, the first thing I did was reach out to my partner now brock who I had met at store and be he has a great e commerce background and like I just absolutely loved working with him when I left store and we had like The last day I was there we had lunch and I said one day somehow somewhere we’re gonna work together again. 

Brandon: 

Little did I know I was going to be in a balls business but he was, he was my first call and it was you know, obviously very happy and thankful that he agreed. 

Brandon: 

So we spent all of 2018 trying to figure out if that was just like a little holiday blip or is this something that we could maintain and continue to kind of grow. 

Brandon: 

So we try to validate that question and we finished our first full year with $3.5 million in sales. 

Brandon: 

Uh yeah, so I, I guess the answer was yes, you know, this can be a sustainable business over the course of that year, as mentioned, we had two products, we added one more which was sacked spray in a big unlock that we had that year was bundling all three of those products together and what we call a sack pack which raised a Ov. 

Brandon: 

So you’re laughing over there? 

Brandon: 

Brandon? 

Brandon: 

How can you not laugh like, I mean, I mean this podcast is full of puns today, so yeah, what we do sack back. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I like it. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

So the sack pack was ultimately kind of a game changer in terms of HIV and profitability. 

Brandon: 

So yeah, we finished it like they said that first year with $3.5 million in sales profitably. 

Brandon: 

And that’s when I knew, I basically knew it in november. Like hey, it was time to take this door october november, it’s time to take this full time. It was also around the time around this time I was starting to think, you know, should we raise some capital and you know, put a little more fuel on the fire and we could talk about that. We ultimately did not, but in In December of 2018 I went to my manager at Google and I let him know that wouldn’t be leaving google to work on ballsy full time. 

Brandon: 

And I will say like I was absolutely thrilled about how supportive my manager was and then to one of the VPs had caught wind and like they were the one that championed the deal and he just so happened to be at the L. 

Brandon: 

A. 

Brandon: 

Office and he pulled me aside and he was like, what are you doing here? 

Brandon: 

And like I started this business is doing this bunch and he’s like, please, there’s the exit go, like you need to do this and if you ever want to come back, let me know the doors open. 

Brandon: 

So like an absolutely amazing experience. 

Brandon: 

And that gave me a lot of confidence. Just like, you know what I was doing was on the right path that said, I’m not very like risk tolerant. 

Brandon: 

Like I, I like safety to a certain degree and after I let him know that I was leaving, I did not sleep for about a week. 

Brandon: 

Like I was nervous, you know, I’ve got a daughter, I got my wife and I’m like, you know, for most people who like $3 million Google, you know, there’s, you know, it had upsides to and I’m like, maybe I could just keep working on ball Z you know, part time. 

Brandon: 

And I talked to my wife and I’m not ashamed to admit like in tears almost like am I making the right decision here and she like, boom, boom, like backhanded slap made basically and said, You’ve got this and no matter what, I’ve got your back and like we’re going to do this and stop being an idiot and that’s what I needed to hear. 

Brandon: 

Stop being an idiot. 

Brandon: 

And so yeah, we took palsy full time in 2019. 

Brandon: 

I put on my partner Barack full time and as well as my partner Eric and Cisco. 

Brandon: 

So still today balls is basically run by four very close friends. 

Brandon: 

So how are you? 

Brandon: 

Um, I forgot to ask this, are you packing this in your living room or garage? Are you doing third party fulfillment? So for the 1st 500 orders, I did those myself and then that was really exciting for a minute until it’s not, you know, go to the mailbox and I know you like all these names that I don’t know, oh my God, who are these people? 

Brandon: 

But that quickly like faiths until like I should not be spending my time putting stuff in envelopes. 

Brandon: 

So luckily our manufacturer at the time said, hey, we’ll do your fulfillment. 

Brandon: 

So it was the dream setup of a manufacturer. They take it off the line and then they did the fulfillment for us and they ended up doing fulfillment for about two years before we kind of reached a scale. 

Brandon: 

So where they just couldn’t keep up and then we went to, we went to another three pl and and and that’s where we are today. 

Brandon: 

Did you when beside your wife slapping you for a minute until you stop being an idiot. 

Brandon: 

Did you have a number that you said, I got to cover my, I mean, you know, people talk about all these formulas. 

Brandon: 

I I generally haven’t had that formula have gone for better for worse. 

Brandon: 

Like it feels like this thing’s gonna take off. 

Brandon: 

I either gotta go in or out and then I just go, but did you have a number that said, I’ve got to make my, you know, some people say I gotta make my salary once I cover that salary, then we’ll discuss it. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it was, it was pretty much that like I wanted to make sure you know, I was living in L. A. At the time and it’s not, it’s not cheap by any means. You know, and I needed to at least make my salary and that’s that’s what I did. I paid myself my salary. I felt confident after that. You know, the first full year we had, you know, a decent amount of cash in the bank to continue growth and also, you know, start paying salaries. So yeah, that first, that first, you know, I guess I was 2018 when I was working part time, I didn’t pay myself a dollar And I paid, you know, my my other partners brock and Cisco a little bit like they took kind of a part time salary to work on it. 

Brandon: 

Um, and then 2019 we change that. 

Brandon: 

How do you convince broke? I mean you guys left each other, you had gone to a new company, you call him up and be like, hey, I had a, I had a moment in the shower and uh we’re gonna do a balls palsy company and he says I’m in uh I think he laughed at first and said, are you serious? Like what do you, what do you mean? And then I showed him the numbers and facebook and he said, okay, there’s something here and he had run facebook ads before and he’s had a few other like e commerce businesses and you know, it didn’t take any convincing at all. 

Brandon: 

He said let’s do this. 

Brandon: 

So thankfully he jumped on and then my finance partner and you know, it does all the accounting and bookkeeping was the one thing I absolutely not like he’s been a friend since high school and he was like actually before I even took anyone on, he was my first sounding board. 

Brandon: 

So as soon as I could bring him on, um I brought him on and then Cisco who does creative and video, he was my next door neighbor in L. 

Brandon: 

A. And I just happen to meet him. So it’s been an absolute blast like building this brand with like three best friends and uh we have a lot of fun. 

Brandon: 

So you’re growing the things growing obviously the next year you, you jump into it, your revenue is growing and you think about raising money, what happens? 

Brandon: 

So yeah, we started talking to some VCS and private investors around November of 2018. 

Brandon: 

And it’s kind of like the the reaction that brought gave me where it’s like kind of laughing at first is as serious as it’s not and then you like show the numbers and then then things change, right? 

Brandon: 

It’s like wow, okay, there’s actually there’s some some meat on this bone here. 

Brandon: 

And uh we we honestly we got two offers. 

Brandon: 

And as holiday sales kept ramping up, we basically had to talk amongst the partners and said we could take this money. It would definitely expedite the growth of the company or we continue to boot strap and we only answer ourselves and we ultimately decided that we could do it ourselves and wanted to do it at our own pace. 

Brandon: 

And we wanted to kind of build up the company with just us. So we turned down those those offers and and we bootstrapped how much money were you thinking about raising? 

Brandon: 

I think at the time we had an offer, we had two offers for about a half million dollars. 

Brandon: 

So each. So I think we’re ultimately looking for about a million to a million and a half. You know, typical kind of c c do you think that that was really gonna propel your growth though? I mean, I assume you were just gonna dump it into marketing. So that’s exactly the question that we asked. We said, what are we going to do with this money if we had it? 

Brandon: 

And the answer was we didn’t have a great idea what to do with it. 

Brandon: 

Like we were making, you know, with facebook ads and ddC sales, you put the money in and then the money comes back out pretty quickly and hopefully you’re putting in less than you’re getting back, right? 

Brandon: 

So like the bank accounts growing and like, yeah, we could have hired more people at the time or did whatever. But like again, really early on, like I wanted to touch and still do a lot of areas of the business I absolutely love and so did brock and we’ve got a lot of expanding skill sets and then anything outside of that that we needed help with. 

Brandon: 

We thought we could hire off on kind of like an agency or a one off basis, like a one off project if we want to help, you know, with a photo shoot or things like that. So yeah, ultimately we decided that we didn’t have a great plan on how to spend that money to like grow the company more quickly. 

Brandon: 

We were profitable. Money was quickly coming in and going out and we decided, hey, let’s just keep doing it ourselves and I want to ask you, uh, I got to write all this stuff down because you’ve got so much good stuff. 

Brandon: 

The um, you’re growing really fast credit card processing people, we haven’t, you haven’t mentioned it and people don’t talk about it. 

Brandon: 

But credit card processing is a big issue with brand, especially E commerce brands that grow fast have returns and they start holding back your cash flow. 

Brandon: 

Can you talk a little bit about that? 

Brandon: 

Yes, So the only, so I guess the biggest kind of hurdle we face was with Paypal. 

Brandon: 

So Paypal all of a sudden you see, especially on holidays, you know, our balance go from, you know, let’s say 50 K 2, 500 K and like a matter of two weeks, they’re like, whoa, what’s going on here? 

Brandon: 

And they did freeze assets. I think they tried to freeze was almost all of it out of the gate, which is like a very scary thing. 

Brandon: 

So we had to spend a couple of weeks basically proving that were like a legitimate business and they ended up lowering it down to 50% that they held and then we basically over time they unlocked more and more of that cash flow to a point where like none of it was locked up. So we had to basically prove out that we weren’t some, you know, sketchy business. 

Brandon: 

But yeah, into this date, I still don’t leave a lot of money in Paypal. I just, I like pTSd from them just like decided to lock it up. So using paypal, we still use Paypal, a lot of people like to use Paypal, so we use that as a, as a payment processor. But again, we don’t keep a lot of money and then we try and transfer it out as quickly as possible. And then in terms of, you know, we’re Shopify based business. 

Brandon: 

We use stripe and shop a and we never had any issues there with funds being held up. 

Brandon: 

Wow. So stripe never has said, Hey, you’re getting a 60 day hold or anything. Your returns must be low. They’re very low. They’re extremely low. Uh, they’re less than you think like 0.5%. 

Brandon: 

Well, yeah, that’s a testament to a great product. Yeah, thanks. We like to think so. 

Brandon: 

So what’s happening now? There’s four of you running, I don’t know if you’re willing to share. Not I read it says your donate figures your, you can do the math three million double every year since 2018. You’re clearly growing your profitable, you know, you’re doing, I mean, it’s incredible. 

Brandon: 

I think it’s a testament adam people think you’ve got to grow this big team, You’ve got to raise money. 

Brandon: 

You got to do all this crap and there’s four of you and I imagine you’re working remote. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. One partner in new york, one in Wisconsin, one in SAn Diego and be here in Austin just that. 

Brandon: 

So you moved to Austin what sparked you to move to Austin. I can’t, I can’t not ask that because a lot of people are moving to Austin. Yeah. So honestly the first time I was ever in Austin harking back to the band days. 

Brandon: 

I played south by southwest and I absolutely love the city love music. You know kind of love with the city have to offer. And it was always kind of in the back back in my mind if if I was to move from L. 

Brandon: 

A. Which I did really enjoy, Austin was going to be on the list and you know the pandemic happened. Our daughter is in school but only doing zoom calls. She she was in kindergarten at the time two hours a week. 

Brandon: 

It was just like absolutely nothing. It was really frustrating. We had bought a house over in inglewood which is right by the new ram stadium. So like property appreciated. It just felt like a good time to like get out of you know out of L. 

Brandon: 

A. And like come to more of like a neighborhood my daughter is now, she just turned eight. I wanted her to have more like a neighborhood lifestyle where she can ride her bike and run across the street and you know schools are like right in the neighborhood. I used to drive, it was five miles. It took me 45 minutes to get her to school now it’s 10 miles and like in that time I was like five miles and five minutes. 

Brandon: 

So just just a different you know I think life stage for myself and I liked what Austin had to offer and you know, here we are, we’ve been enjoying it. How’s the weather difference i here and taught there? Oh it’s definitely hot, but I think this has been one of them from what I’ve been told one of the more mild summers, we did build a pool which just got finished last week, so that’s exciting. 

Brandon: 

But yeah, definitely changed, you know, from L. A. Where it’s, you know, in the seventies and eighties every day on the coast, which is where we live too, you know, it’s 95 today, but I’ll take it, yeah, you’ll take it the, so let’s go back to your company, you got four people what’s next? 

Brandon: 

Like it sounds like you have this engine down, you’re probably creating new products which and your and your facebook ads aren’t or your advertising in general isn’t on autopilot, You obviously doing podcasts, which will help exposure and things like that. But what do you think next? I mean, you go from, you know, your 10 million plus in revenue and if you double again, that’s going to be a lot of like how are you handling customer support and all that stuff? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so we do have to part time customer support people. 

Brandon: 

Uh and my sister jumps in once in a while, just been through to college to throughout college, I would help her, you know, supplementary income so that’s how support is done. But yeah, in terms of growth I mean as you mentioned are doing eight figures here and I would say 90% of it is d. 

Brandon: 

d. 

Brandon: 

c. 5% is Amazon and 5% is retail. 

Brandon: 

And I think the key to further growth and scale is unlocking amazon. 

Brandon: 

We were very slow to move into amazon for for for different reasons and then retail. And I think retail is really interesting like you know we we’ve had some talks to three years ago with like big box retail and they’re like we love the brand, we love the numbers but balls are a little bit too edgy to put on you know mainstream retail shelf. 

Brandon: 

Now those conversations are changing so fingers crossed you’ll start to see ballsy and some more Well known retail stores here which we should find out soon. 

Brandon: 

But it’s interesting I think you know it’s funny to say but I think balls are having a moment like beards had you know 10 years ago like beard care wasn’t really a thing with oils and bulbs and like now that’s a billion dollar industry and I think now balls are having just that as well um and we’re happy to continue to kind of mature that category if you will. 

Brandon: 

Why were you slow on amazon? 

Brandon: 

We really wanted to own the customer and have their email address and you know have you know not have to give up the margin on amazon as well and we knew that something that was somewhere we wanted to go, but we just, we’re in no rush to do so, but we like to owning the brand, we liked having our own experience where we control literally everything and then the email address was really important for like maintaining relations and you know, follow up purchases as it’s a consumable item. But so basically 2019, early on, we put up our two hero products, which is our ball guard and ball wash is just kind of a catch all. So we know there’s some people out there that will not buy anything other than on amazon and we just kind of organically let them grow and now both of those products have over 1000 reviews and like it’s gotten the, you know, the amazon kind of wheel spinning organically. 

Brandon: 

So now the thought is and we started to do this a little bit now more now is adding a few more products and actually spending money on amazon ads, which is something we’re just starting to kind of like turn the lever up on and seeing some early success. So uh we’re excited for for a new channel and I think now is the right time. 

Brandon: 

One of your common themes that I hear is is that you guys are not scared to spend money on ads, I mean, you know, people try to jump into the amazon game and they want to and you can organically sc oh it right with 1000 reviews and you get all that right, that algorithm likes you. But it sounds like you’re just more aggressive and not scared to do that. 

Brandon: 

Is that because you have confidence that you sort of figured out the R. 

Brandon: 

O. I. On the ad spend? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean it’s ticket it all comes down to numbers, you know, you’ve got to make sure like what you’re putting in like is going to make sense and if it’s not on the first purchase like house, you know, what does your lTv look like you feel confident going to make it up on the subsequent purchase in terms of amazon and spending on there. 

Brandon: 

What we found is as we spent more on facebook, our sales on amazon also went up, which obviously makes sense I think, you know, if you think about it, people see you on facebook ads and then they’ll go to their amazon to check and see if you’re on there. 

Brandon: 

And we really started to notice this end of last year when we were scaling up spent for holidays. We were, you know, we blew through our amazon inventory incredibly quick and we hadn’t plans on stocking at that high because we didn’t we didn’t put those two things together. 

Brandon: 

Um and we always take care of dDC first. 

Brandon: 

So yeah, while while our brand grew organically on amazon without any paid spend their you also got a factor in and your facebook gets spent and that does lead to some spillover, which kind of harkens back to that attack attack sheet, which I was telling you earlier, we look at what we’re spending Each day on marketing. 

Brandon: 

And then we’re also looking at net new customers on, you know, directly on our website and also through Amazon and Amazon, they don’t tell you, you know, if they’re net new or not. 

Brandon: 

So we just kind of factor 50% of our customers are new, 50 are repeating and that’s the best we can do there. But you kind of kind of look at it across all sales channels when you’re spending and marketing, even if it’s not directly on that platform. 

Brandon: 

What’s your next new hire, next new hire? 

Brandon: 

I really want to help. 

Brandon: 

I think we need to build out our content game and when I say, I think I know as you mentioned, you know personal care, there’s a lot that can be done about teaching about personal care and how to do things and our our brand is very fun and like I think is pretty easy to make content that’s engaging around that and I want somebody focused on that full time and you know, building out content and and just doing more on social media than like kind of what I’ve been able to do as just something else that I do. 

Brandon: 

So that that will be the next higher when do you think that will happen? 

Brandon: 

I’m hoping here before holiday. 

Brandon: 

So in the relatively short future here right on man, well I really appreciate you got a fun brand, you feel like it’s going to take off, it’s just gonna take one. 

Brandon: 

I mean it’s already taken off, but it’s gonna do, they get to that next level. 

Brandon: 

If you can hit amazon and retail and maybe some creative add That follows that theme of fun and you know, people share it, then you guys will be off to the races and congratulations on your success because what you’ve done is is hard, but it’s a testament that it can be done if you just stick with it and show like you said earlier, the trick is to show up every day. 

Brandon: 

A 100%. 

Brandon: 

I believe that more than anything else. 

Brandon: 

So can you leave our listeners with three H. 

Brandon: 

P. 

Brandon: 

T. 

Brandon: 

S, high percentage tips based on everything you’ve learned so far with palsy and your whole journey? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think one is just getting your hands dirty right? 

Brandon: 

Like especially early on, like you’ve really got to know a little bit of everything otherwise let’s just say paid social for, for example, if I never run a facebook ad, how am I going to know if somebody comes in if they’re going to do it better or worse than what I’m doing. So if you don’t dip your toes in learn, watch youtube videos, you, to me, whatever, there’s so much knowledge out there as an entrepreneur, if you’re not willing to spend that time, like you’re in my opinion, you’re starting way behind the april so too is as an option, your, I would say you’ve got to be scrappy, I mean early on, you know, and still to this day were very small team, you gotta get creative, you gotta push budgets when you know you’re, you’re outsourcing the photographers, sometimes you got to say, here’s my budget, like this is what I have to work with and more times than not, like they’ll meet you in the middle and there’s also a really good services out there like fiber and up work where you can get the little jobs done on a budget, it might not be the best quality of work, although we’ve had some great work on there, but it’s cheap and affordable and then three, I think it’s just having a point of view with your branch, I mean, I think what has helped us naturally is ballsy is a brand that you’ll see on facebook and instagram and it stops you and you’re like, wait, does that say bollocks like what is that? 

Brandon: 

And it leads to conversations people tagging each other and kind of organic kind of growth now, not everyone needs to or is going to have an angle like balls, but I think it’s whatever product that you’re in, you got to be thinking like what’s your angle, what makes it different, Why are people going to stop? 

Brandon: 

Because we’re just bombarded nowadays with so many brands and advertisements. 

Brandon: 

That’s the biggest question you’ve got to kind of answer. 

Brandon: 

Well I appreciate you sharing those adam and I think it’s great advice. 

Brandon: 

Where’s the best place for listeners to find ballsy and take care of their balls? Yeah, so ballsy brand dot com is the website or ball wash dot com. Either one of those will work on instagram or at ball wash and I’m at adam handle H E N D L E if you want to follow me or Adam at ballsy brand. Always happy to connect with people and uh feel free to drop me a name adam. 

Brandon: 

Thanks a lot for taking time out of your day. This is awesome. Good luck, ballsy! Thank you so much. I appreciate it. 

Brandon: 

Thanks for being generous with your time and joining us for this episode of the edge. Before you go, a quick question, are you the type of person who wants to get 100% out of your time talent and ideas? If so you’ll love our monthly edge newsletter. 

Brandon: 

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Brandon: 

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