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Travis Rosbach is the Founder of HydroFlask, Repeat Entrepreneur, Father and Fun Guy

Travis Rosbach is the Founder of HydroFlask, Repeat Entrepreneur, Father and Fun Guy | Ep. 97

Travis Rosbach is the Founder of HydroFlask, Repeat Entrepreneur, Father and Fun Guy | Ep. 97

Travis Rosbach is the Founder of HydroFlask, Repeat Entrepreneur, Father and Fun Guy | Ep. 97

Summary

Travis shares stories about how he built HydroFlask, two previous companies before that, and…

Shares some never before stories about how he smuggled a sailboat out of Venezuela, lived in Australia for a year, why not right?! And a few other really great stories about his life as an entrepreneur.

As importantly…Travis shares his lessons learned from sourcing products in China, and a ton of other high percentage business tips and lessons that can you can put into action quickly to help you build your business and grow sales.

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More Information on Build a Business Success Secrets

Brandon: 

Hello, friends. Welcome to the show today. We’ve got an incredible episode with Travis Rosenbach, the founder of Hydro Flask. The most used water bottle in the entire world I know you have on this episode is packed with so many great stories. 

Travis told a few stories that he’s never told anywhere else, and it is packed with so many high percentage tips that I can’t even count. 

You’re gonna love it. Here we go. 

Welcome to build the business success secrets. The only podcast that provides straight talk for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, starting with an idea or growing your business, this show is for you. We’ll teach you how to build a strong mindset, powerful body and profitable business so you can achieve success. 

And here’s your host, Brandon. 

See White Live. 

Travis:

And my video is going and there’s Brandon. 

Brandon: 

Right on, man. Thanks for joining me. 

Travis: 

Thanks for having me. 

Brandon: 

Gosh, you’d ride around in my truck so often. I hear you all the time. Now I get to actually interact with you. It’s so cool. 

Brandon: 

Well, I appreciate that. I didn’t know you were a listener. 

Travis: 

Of course I listen Right on. 

Brandon: 

Well, pay attention. 

Travis: 

Well, cool house, Oregon today. 

Brandon: 

It’s awesome. 

Travis: 

Yeah, it’s, uh, decent temperature. 

Brandon: 

I just heard something really, really interesting and being down in California. I had somebody in Utah’s just talking to and he said, I’m in Utah. 

Brandon: 

It’s a It’s an eastern suburb of California, and I I’m gonna start saying I’m gonna say I’m up in Oregon, the northern suburb, California. 

Brandon: 

Well, don’t blame us. 

Brandon: 

If people start coming to your town. 

Brandon: 

I try to tell them we’re full, but they just keep coming. 

Travis: 

They do. 

Brandon: 

I heard they’re exiting, but they’re also coming to the coast. Apparently, uh, so I don’t know, Oregon is a good spot that you guys got good weather. 

Travis: 

Yes, but I don’t want you guys to know that they say this. 

Travis: 

I spent a lot of time on a project in Eugene. 

Brandon: 

And when it was nice, it was nice. And when it wasn’t, it wasn’t for real. 

Travis: 

Yeah, it gets nasty. 

Brandon: 

Probably about October and then about July gets really beautiful. 

Brandon: 

July, August, September. Great time to be in the valley after that. 

Brandon: 

Not so much. 

Brandon: 

Well, the fly shop there, uh, has a tap that opens at four. 

Travis: 

So it was right there off the main street. 

Travis: 

So And when it was when it wasn’t nice outside, there was a place to go. 

Travis: 

There you are. Yeah. Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Well, thanks for joining. You know, I’ve been excited because you have a Really? 

Travis: 

I’d say I was trying to I was riding the palette, and then I was like, Is it interesting? 

Travis: 

Is it unique? 

Travis: 

Is it? 

Travis: 

It just sort of happened. Uh, and you’ve had such a diverse background going from I want everybody here how you went from being a dive instructor and how you wind up that. 

Travis: 

And then you then you found this company that I have right here. 

Travis: 

Hydro flask, somehow, uh, in your spare bedroom effectively. 

Travis: 

And that that’s a great inspiration for people out there. So how did you Where did you Can we go back to like the beginning? Because I know you have an interesting story too, about somehow. Your mom was had a vineyard. 

Travis: 

Oh, Well, um, kind of kind of Kind of. 

Travis: 

Yes and no, we I was my mom and dad owned the land that was to become Willamette Valley Vineyards. 

Brandon: 

They were three owners prior to to what it is today, which Islamic Valley Vineyards. 

Brandon: 

So my grandpa had purchased the land as a sort of a wedding gift to my parents, and however they got divorced pretty quickly thereafter. 

Brandon: 

And when my dad took off, my grandpa sold it to a woman who said she was going to put in a vineyard. 

Brandon: 

And they said, No, no, no, no. 

Brandon: 

There’s no vineyards in Oregon. 

Brandon: 

Grapes only grow in France, not Oregon, France, And I don’t know if it’s true enough, but the story goes that they pretty much laughter right into the loony bin. 

Brandon: 

Don’t know if that’s a PC way to say it these days, but you get the gist of what I’m saying, the insane asylum or whatever. 

Brandon: 

She then sold it off to the people who took off and started Willamette Valley Vineyards. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, that’s incredible. 

Brandon: 

And is that What do you think? 

Brandon: 

That’s the first winery in Oregon? 

Travis: 

I would say I don’t know if it’s the very first, but I would say as far as I know as being an Oregonian, it’s definitely the first that was on the map. 

Brandon: 

There might have been a little bit smaller ones here and there, But it was definitely the first that had a, like, a full blown, just awesome tasting room. And, you know, Schrag to sell. 

Brandon: 

So they go from Yeah, because Because we can’t grow grapes in America, right? 

Travis: 

Only France. Can we all know that? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, of course. Um, so then what happens after? 

Travis: 

After that? 

Travis: 

You You like your Your mom sells it. 

Travis: 

But you’re still in Oregon? 

Travis: 

Yes. Um, So my mom and I stayed in Oregon. She got remarried to a Vietnam vet who had PTSD. 

Brandon: 

Agent Orange exposure. Not not one of the most friendly of of souls at that time. Anyway, I had two brothers had my two brothers and then my mom having three boys. 

Brandon: 

She always wanted a daughter. So she took off to Romania and to go to the orphanages to go adopt my sister. Well, she didn’t quite make it to the orphanage. She found a Romanian gypsy. 

Brandon: 

Um, right there near where she was staying and adopted my sister. So there were four of us, uh, in my mom’s house, and times were tough. 

Brandon: 

I mean, we we got by, but I definitely learned to hustle at a very young age and and by my own Air Jordans. 

Brandon: 

How do you do that? Were you selling lemonade? 

Travis: 

I was just thinking about this the other day and, um, story I haven’t really told before. But I figured, like the statue of limitations is up, so I can kind of tell some of these stories. 

Brandon: 

Um, the first kind of hustle that I had was I got held back in first grade because I started first grade too early. And they changed the law from September to October 5 to 6, or whatever the numbers were. 

Brandon: 

So I I did a fun run the first year of first grade, and I kind of got the hang of it. 

Brandon: 

I don’t really like running. This sucks. 

Brandon: 

I don’t really care about making money for the school. I’m not really into it. 

Brandon: 

The second time I was in first grade, there was a fun run in the fall, and it’s like, Okay, I got the hang of it. 

Brandon: 

I know what to do. 

Brandon: 

So I went, We lived on a hill. There is. The governor lived at the top. The governor’s mansion down here at the bottom was the homeless people. 

Brandon: 

The train tracks, but it was flat and we lived right in the middle. So I went down the hill on the flat area and walked trying to collect money from the fund run. 

Brandon: 

I didn’t do very well because nobody down the flat area had any money. 

Brandon: 

Go back and we’ll call him Little Johnny because his name is John Little. 

Brandon: 

Johnny lived at the top of the hill and he, like, cleaned up. 

Brandon: 

He won the pizza party, he won all the ice cream, and it was like, Huh? 

Brandon: 

Okay, well, he lives up in the rich neighborhood. 

Brandon: 

I was down the poor neighborhood. And so in the spring of my 2nd 1st grade, as soon as we got the form that it’s fun run time and I put air quotes around fun because it was never fun. 

Brandon: 

I went straight up to little Johnny’s next door neighbor, uh, and hit her up before Johnny could get there. And I kind of worked my way out of that one house. 

Brandon: 

Like, literally. 

Brandon: 

I used his house as like the pivot point for everybody else. 

Brandon: 

And he’s still one, and the way he won was he had his dad write a check. 

Brandon: 

And that’s how he came up. The most money was like, Fuck, I’m sorry. My language. He cheated. 

Brandon: 

So next we like to keep it real here. 

Travis: 

Okay, Um, so the next fun run, I was like, All right. 

Brandon: 

I don’t really care about the school, because no matter what I do, Johnny is going to take it. So I did the same thing that I went right up to the next door neighbor’s house. And I said, Hey, look, I think what you should do is sponsor me per lap instead of a flat fee. 

Brandon: 

She says, Well, how many laps you’re gonna do? 

Brandon: 

I said, I don’t know. Like, look at me. I don’t really run. Maybe five or six. I don’t know. I just kind of trot and she goes, Well, okay, how about, you know, $2 a lap or whatever the number was? 

Brandon: 

Okay, cool. 

Brandon: 

So I go from door to door just doing this plan of just pay per lap, and we should be okay, because I’m not going to really run so fun. 

Brandon: 

Run comes and I’m not having fun. 

Brandon: 

And I’m not running. 

Brandon: 

And they entrusted me to write down how many laps I had done to go out and collect. And so what I did is I made a copy of it. 

Brandon: 

And on the one at the from the school, I wrote down five or whatever it was, but the one that I took out to the rest of the world to go collect my money. I put like, 25 or whatever the number was, and I basically I collected all of that money for myself and gave the school based on what the number was on the original one. 

Brandon: 

It’s a little Johnny one, you know. 

Brandon: 

He got the pizza, he got the ice cream. But I got the Air Jordans. And so I think you got a prize. I got the prize. And again, it’s only because the statute of limitations is up. And since then, my karma has come back. I’ve had millions of dollars stolen from me over the years, and so, you know, it all came around. But that kind of was my first sort of hustle was the fun run. You know, we get candy bars for Little League and there were 50 cents and I’d sell them for a dollar and keep half the money. 

Brandon: 

That was smart because you’re smarter than I. Because I ate all those and I picked the ones had the most almonds. 

Travis: 

I did love those almond ones. Gosh, those were the best. I would feel the bottom of those things. 

Brandon: 

And I was like, Oh, this thing’s got three. They probably all had the same amount, right, because they were hidden. 

Travis: 

But I always wanted I don’t know how that worked, my poor mother, but they were good back when chocolate was chocolate, right? 

Travis: 

Like that’s what deals did. Good. Yeah, it’s not the plastic wax than it is today. 

Brandon: 

No. And you know, I’m a big chocolate fanatic. 

Travis: 

Have you had a Cadbury egg lately? 

Brandon: 

No. 

Travis: 

It’s awful, Awful terrible. We had one yesterday. My daughter and I and I hated it. She loved it, but she’s four. She doesn’t know what it was like back in 1980. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, like things were, you know, I feel like I don’t know but you, Travis, but it’s like one of those things where you say, Oh, back back when we were kids. 

Travis: 

But you know what? 

Travis: 

I don’t really care, because the truth is back when we were kids. 

Travis: 

The food was real, right? Things were I don’t know. It just seemed play was healthy and outdoors. 

Travis: 

Yeah, right. 

Brandon: 

Right. 

Travis: 

Yeah. Interest. 

Brandon: 

What was that? 

Travis: 

I just was thinking adventures as you were talking about riding your bike. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, Yeah, I go out and build a jump. 

Travis: 

You know, it was it was different helmet to There was no helmets back. 

Travis: 

Did you know I actually feel bad. 

Brandon: 

I gave my brother once a bike that really we used to take them apart and put them together. And I was like, Oh, it’s fine right down the hill and broke his arm. 

Travis: 

Um, but statue limitations, statute limitations. 

Travis: 

I’ve always felt bad about that. 

Brandon: 

I was like, Mom, my little brother broke his arm, but he healed, and he’s fine. He’s still as mouthy as he was. So, um, what are you going to do? 

Travis: 

So you figure out that you can make a profit is basically what really happened. 

Travis: 

So then what? 

Travis: 

So then, um, my grandpa came knocking on the door when I was 14 and he said, Hey, do you want to meet your dad? He’s down in the U. S. Virgin Islands. 

Brandon: 

I was like, Yeah, how old are you right now? 

Brandon: 

I’m 40. 

Travis: 

To know what back then? 

Brandon: 

14. 

Travis: 

So, like your grandfather, you’re 14 years old. 

Brandon: 

He says, Do you want to meet your dad? What are you thinking at that moment? 

Travis: 

If I have an opportunity to get out of Salem in the wintertime? Yes, please. Yeah, Your answer. I had no idea. I thought I was going off to a completely foreign world, and I and a lot of sense I was. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I really, honestly was. And this is way pre 9 11. So you could put a kid on the airplane and just send them off into the unknown. 

Brandon: 

Ended up in Saint Croix and met my dad, and he had scuba diving shops. 

Brandon: 

So I was like, Okay, here we are in the U. S. 

Brandon: 

Virgin Islands. Well, have you ever flown before? 

Travis: 

When I was 12, as soon as my mom got divorced from my step dad, I took off to I sold everything I had. I had a TV and a bike and I sold them both. Made 99 bucks, bought a round trip ticket to Phoenix, went down to visit some long lost, far off unknown cousin or second and or whatever it was. 

Brandon: 

And I remember very vividly coming back on that flight at 12 years old. And there’s this really attractive flight attendant who came and sat on my arm rest and just chatted with fans like, I remember looking at her going, Ha, yeah, I’m gonna do this more fly more, become a flight attendant. 

Brandon: 

I became a pilot so much I want to hear about that. 

Brandon: 

But I have to say I think the flight attendants were nicer back then. 

Brandon: 

Uh, that’s not a common commendation. 

Travis: 

Anybody listening out there that I don’t like flight attendants is just that I, uh when I flew a lot, they were mean, Yeah, for the most part. 

Brandon: 

Uh, well, maybe not. 

Travis: 

For the most part, you just remember that that maybe you remember the bad ones, right? 

Brandon: 

I don’t know. 

Travis: 

Kind of like any business. 

Travis: 

Really. You know, you always remember the negative experiences. 

Brandon: 

You do it. That’s that’s true. 

Travis: 

You remember the Yeah, I find that like I get it, I get an email every once in a while, back from the email list of like, just just mean. 

Travis: 

And what do they say? 

Travis: 

Hurt people, Hurt people? 

Travis: 

Yes, right? Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Her people. It’s not always easy to remember that when you get those emails as a Brandon, Uh, no, I get them. 

Brandon: 

And I’m like, Is this am I even doing anything helping people, right. Um but I think, Yeah, you gotta fight through that. I had that. I learned that I learned that lesson, but back to the Virgin Islands. So the difference between Oregon and the Virgin Islands is basically night and day. 

Travis: 

Do you decide to stay there? 

Travis: 

I did. However, I was held back for school. They said that I had to go home and go to school, so I’d go down in the I’m getting major feedback. Are we okay? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I’m okay. 

Travis: 

Okay. Cool. Um, yeah. I basically took off. And, um, every summer, Thanksgiving holidays, Christmas break, spring break, I’d go back down the Virgin Islands. 

Brandon: 

And then when I was 16, I moved down, and I was like, Okay, I’m here. 

Brandon: 

I’m just gonna go to the private school. Everything’s good. 

Brandon: 

I took the placement test for the private school and they said, No, no, no, you don’t know math at all. We’re gonna have to hold you back a year and had already been held back once. And I was like, Yeah, I don’t wanna be held back twice, so I returned to Oregon. I graduated on a Thursday, Monday morning. I was on my way back out of the V. I Oh, cool. 

Brandon: 

Is our sound okay? 

Travis: 

Now I’m still getting feedback, but I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

Well, you can’t talk like that. 

Brandon: 

It’s OK. 

Travis: 

It’s just a little distracting. 

Brandon: 

But flies, it’s working. 

Travis: 

It’s working. 

Brandon: 

But I should be going through my mike. I don’t know if that’s on your undermined. 

Travis: 

I got road castor and practical. 

Travis: 

I don’t know if it gets real bad, we can reconnect. It could be zoom. 

Travis: 

Okay. Actually, that’s better. I’m good now. I’m good. Okay. Right on. Good. 

Brandon: 

Or I’m good. Yeah. All right. So you go to the Virgin Islands and what do you What do you decide to do? 

Travis: 

Or did you have a plan or what? 

Travis: 

Well, my dad owned I think it was one dive shop or two. 

Travis: 

He ended up with, like, three or four and a grocery store, and it was extremely exciting because I’ve never really been in. 

Brandon: 

I would like the joke was that it wasn’t a Third World country. It wasn’t even that. So we were only 2.5 world country, and I’ve never really been in that situation before. The first time I ever got shot at us in 14 years old, on that first trip or second trip and you got shot at did not get shine. 

Brandon: 

Why were they shooting at you? 

Brandon: 

Because, well, the best I could tell, he says. 

Travis: 

We’re coming down into Christian instead, and there’s a little bit of a bottleneck into the main town. 

Brandon: 

And I was with some tourists in a rental jeep and we come in and we stopped at the bottleneck. 

Travis: 

I look over and this guy hops up. 

Brandon: 

He goes, Hey, white boy, Pop, pop, Pop! 

Brandon: 

Or and luckily, the guy driving had the the you know, I don’t know the presence, I guess get out of traffic, go around and bypass and get us out of there. 

Brandon: 

And it was exhilarating. 

Brandon: 

It was It was it happened so quick to I don’t think there’s really time to go. 

Brandon: 

We’re dead. 

Brandon: 

Didn’t have that, but we took off to a fast food chain and had dinner, and we were kind of shook up. 

Brandon: 

And then as we were pulling out of the parking lot, he hit a pylon. 

Brandon: 

And when we hit that pilot, I was in the back. 

Brandon: 

I was like, they’re here to shoot us again and that that’s when I got really nervous, as I was really scared. 

Brandon: 

All three of us just, like, stop like, Oh, shoot, They just hit us. 

Brandon: 

Now we’re going to get shot. 

Brandon: 

We look back and it’s just a pile on. 

Brandon: 

Cool. Um, that’s kind of how the V I went, the dive shop would get broken into quite often, and we finally got an alarm. And so every time the alarm would go off, we would grab the the artillery and head down towards the action. 

Brandon: 

And it it, um you know it. 

Brandon: 

I put some hair on my chest, I guess. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think when you see your life passed before you, uh, you get perspective. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, And that was the first time. 

Brandon: 

And it seems like it happened quite off kicking, you know, whether it was a on the boats and I thankfully, nobody ever on my watch ever died, but I would have people on other watches, other dive trips or other dive boats or parasail boats that had died and would have to show up at that scene. 

Travis: 

Being around death like that, it really made me realize that you’ve got to live while you can live. 

Brandon: 

And because you never know when you’re gonna be on vacation and die. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so did you. 

Brandon: 

Do you think that you learned things about retail that you later carried forward? 

Brandon: 

Absolutely. 

Travis: 

I think one of the first things I ever really learned was remember very vividly being in the gift shop one day and my dad’s color blind. 

Travis: 

And I opened up a box of T shirts was like, Dad, this is the most ugly, disgusting color shirt ever. I can’t believe you buy these shirts like, please let somebody else be in charge of purchasing. 

Brandon: 

This is not a good shirt. 

Brandon: 

This is no, no. 

Brandon: 

That’s the number one best seller. This is the cruise ship. Passengers love them. 

Brandon: 

I said, I’ll get out of here. Just watch what happens. All right, so we bet you know, a couple of beers or whatever Sure enough, the cruise ship passengers showed up, they bought them out, and we sold out of the ugliest shirt I could ever imagine. 

Brandon: 

And he says, You see that? It’s never about what you want. It’s not about you. It’s about what they want. You don’t know what they want. They don’t even actually know what they want. Case in point. However, if that’s what they’re gonna buy, that’s what we’re going to sell. 

Brandon: 

Okay, well, I’m gonna sell somebody something that they want and do it very well. 

Brandon: 

So that’s really a lesson. 

Brandon: 

And listen to the data. 

Brandon: 

I like that. 

Travis: 

Let’s get rid of it. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I’m a data guy, but it’s really listen to your customer, right? Just I mean, you never really do know until you make contact with the customer and ask and listen. 

Travis: 

So are you doing dive? 

Travis: 

You are doing dives like out on the boat, taking people diving? 

Brandon: 

Yes, I started out when I was 18. 

Travis: 

After I graduated high school, I started out as a dive master, and then I went to ST Thomas belong Go Bay Resort and became a dive instructor. Paddy 15 81 90. That’s my number and then did that for quite a while in ST Croix came a dive shop, and they went over to ST Thomas, where I moved into Sapphire Beach Resort and worked in ST John at Bob and Anne Marie’s Loki dive shop. 

Brandon: 

And then I eventually got my 50 ton while I started with a six pack and then a 25 ton. 

Brandon: 

And then I moved up to a 50 ton U. 

Brandon: 

S. 

Brandon: 

Merchant Marine boat Captain. 

Brandon: 

So you go from Dive Master to Boat Captain, which is very natural progression. 

Travis: 

Like it kind of caps out being a dive instructor at how many students you can have and how much money you can actually make. And I really enjoyed reading business books. 

Brandon: 

I still do. 

Brandon: 

But I wanted to read more. And so, being a boat captain, I I couldn’t listen to the radio. I couldn’t have, you know, there’s obviously no cell phones back in the olden days, and so I could read my books and so I became a boat captain, Really, as I could well hang out with the wives, was part of it, but also read my books as well. 

Brandon: 

And where you. 

Brandon: 

What were you doing? 

Travis: 

Cargo. No passengers. Mainly I was doing I I did a lot of scuba diving boats where I would help them. We had we had a number of different boats. We had a rapid deployment seal team boat. That was a semi rigid inflatable did that and a little bit bigger. Dive boats with Bob and Anne Marie over low t got onto a yacht and 100 ft mega yacht. 

Brandon: 

Or, um, I guess I don’t know where Mega yacht might start at 110 ft. 

Brandon: 

So I may be I may be false. 

Brandon: 

It’s a big boat. It’s a big ass boat. 

Brandon: 

Did a lot of ocean rafting, high speed Big Twin five fifties on a rigid, semi rigid inflatable with cruise ship passengers from ST Thomas. And we go down to the British Virgin Islands just having all kinds of fun going, snorkeling and going to the Willy T, which is a real famous bar where if you jump off topless, you get a free T shirt. 

Brandon: 

It only applies to women. I never got a T shirt. 

Brandon: 

I thought you probably can’t do that these days. Like that would be That’s a That’s a very big bias. 

Brandon: 

It is. 

Travis: 

It is. And I would ask them all the time, like I just jumped off topless. Where’s my shirt? No, Travis, you can’t get your shirt. You know that I could probably do. 

Brandon: 

Probably should actually. 

Brandon: 

Well, in today’s world, you can do all sorts of crazy things that I don’t quite understand. 

Travis: 

So you have been sued for sexist T shirt giving outing. 

Brandon: 

Are they gonna shoot for a T shirt? 

Travis: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Um So how long do you do this boat, Captain Thing? 

Brandon: 

I was on and off. 

Travis: 

I say I was in the V I for on and off. About seven years. I left and became a pilot and then came back as a pilot and flew and captain and instructed, and I’ve mastered kind of for seven years. 

Brandon: 

What was your favorite business book that you read while you were being a captain? 

Brandon: 

I think the millionaire mind was kind of the one that, like, this is cool. 

Brandon: 

It kind of gave me a new perspective. 

Travis: 

The millionaire next door was okay. Also in some parts of that was better, but not maybe as good, but pretty much anything. 

Brandon: 

Brian. Tracy, I think that he has an author back in those days was really spot on, and it really gave me a foundation and a a business. 

Brandon: 

That’s where I got my business. 

Brandon: 

Schooling was from Brian. Tracy. 

Brandon: 

What was the biggest lesson for you from that book, man? 

Travis: 

Bring in asking the hard questions. I would say Take care of the customer and they’ll come back. It’s a lot less expensive. It’s a lot easier to have a return customer than it is to get a new one. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think that’s a great a great lesson. Did you Did you just decide that? 

Travis: 

Hey, I’m a boat captain. Now I want Did you fly a floatplane down there? 

Travis: 

I did. Yeah, I flew seaplanes. It did. It hit me in the back of the head. You know, I just learned this word the other day, so keep using as my vocabulary word Sara bellum back. Yeah, right. You didn’t know that? I’m teaching you stuff here spitting knowledge. 

Brandon: 

Hit my cerebellum. It came out. 

Brandon: 

You’re a pilot, and I was like, Fuck, I don’t know what that means. 

Brandon: 

And so I had literally just walked off for the yacht, and I walked away from a six figure job and I had zero. 

Brandon: 

I had $11 maybe $12 in my pocket, and I moved to ST Thomas, found a place got down to the laundry mat, took my clothes in because I need to go and get a job. So I need to wash my clothes. 

Brandon: 

And while my clothes were washing, I went next door to the grocery store to get my macaroni and cheese and gallon of water. 

Brandon: 

Now, as I was checking out, there is a magazine like Piloting magazine, and it was one of those moments in my life, and it’s happened a couple few times where the lights turn on the church. 

Brandon: 

Herbs come and sing and there’s harps and the pretty maidens dancing and I went over. I picked it up and I was like, I held it up like I found the holy ground. 

Brandon: 

I was like, Look at this. It’s a flying magazine and none of the same tone. Ian’s understood that I was holding the Magic Golden Ticket right there, and so I had to put my macaroni and cheese back to afford it, but I bought the magazine. 

Brandon: 

I went home, I drank my water and I went through that magazine. And I knew right then and there. I’m a pilot and this was about August of 2000 and I got right there in. 

Brandon: 

My great grandma died and her house was open. So I moved back at a free place to stay. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, I found out about student loans and I was a pilot. 

Brandon: 

September like 5th, 2000, and one was like one of my first flights September 11 happened that put a massive, damp run. 

Brandon: 

Life moved over to band. Oregon, kept flying and went down to Arizona and started flying out of there, getting multi engine time and some jet time. 

Brandon: 

I came back to Oregon, I flew skydivers, which was a lot of fun. 

Brandon: 

Really dangerous, really scary. And man did I love it. 

Brandon: 

Why is it dangerous? 

Travis: 

The plane, The plane I flew, I had taken over the guy’s job who had augured were crashed before he was flying a bigger caravan, which I really wanted to fly the caravan. 

Brandon: 

But he crashed the caravan. So I got his job, and then the plane I was flying was just a really, you know, it’s like a death box. 

Brandon: 

And I used to wear a parachute myself, and it was like an old ass military World War two Vietnam area. I don’t know what it was. It was old old parachute. I’d strap that on. 

Brandon: 

Dang, I really hope I don’t have to wear this or use this today. 

Brandon: 

Um, And then after I left, the next guy crashed the plane that I was flying. So, yeah, when you open up the door and let people come out, sometimes they’ll hit the plane and or their shoots all open and their chutes open, it hits the tail, and then you just you just auger. 

Brandon: 

I mean, the whole thing just goes down, so you got to hopefully get yourself out if you can. 

Brandon: 

You know, there’s not a lot of hope for the guy who hit the tail, but you just gotta get as far away as possible. 

Brandon: 

I loved it. I just loved it. It’s just dancing with death. 24 7. And I, you know, I became certified started skydiving at that time, but then I really wanted to go fly the seaplanes for the airlines went down to the, uh, Seaborne Airlines. And just by, you know, one question I got in. You know, the test was really difficult for me to I’m a bit dyslexic when it comes to some of that. 

Brandon: 

But so I call that a pivotal moment, by the way, which one? 

Brandon: 

Well, when you picked up that magazine and, like, just knew you just made a decision right there can’t explain it. 

Travis: 

It just happens. 

Travis: 

I remember the woman’s face. The first woman I looked at, I was like, I didn’t say it out loud because that would have been, you know, to theatrical. 

Brandon: 

But I was like, Do you see this? 

Brandon: 

And her face was like, What are you looking at me for a white boy? 

Brandon: 

You know, I was like, I was the only and I thought, Well, maybe this is like just a like a race thing. 

Brandon: 

Like maybe they don’t understand. Or maybe this is the same Tony in thing. If I was back in ST Croix, maybe they would have got it. Maybe in Saint John, they would have understood. But I’ve got this magazine that says that people fly airplanes and it’s possible it was amazing. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think it’s interesting how you can remember everything during those pivotal moments. 

Travis: 

It’s like a hypersensitivity. 

Travis: 

Like, I remember what I was wearing and everything about it changed and it changes. 

Travis: 

Your life does a big, pivotal moment. 

Brandon: 

You’re right. 

Travis: 

You’re absolutely right, Brandon. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I remember. 

Brandon: 

I was playing lacrosse in summer league, and I actually, ironically, I did not know that about you, but I actually repeated the first grade as well. 

Travis: 

Um, and you’re dyslexic, and I am dyslexic. 

Travis: 

I still can’t spell It’s embarrassing, but, uh, now I just tell people like, Hey, if I get to the white board and I can’t spell I’m not dumb, I just can’t spell. 

Travis: 

Yeah, but I remember I can remember like you. 

Travis: 

I can remember the chalk on on the sideline and I saw this kid who had his name is Derek Radar ball. 

Travis: 

And he had I had heard that he was going to stay back and repeat his junior year. 

Travis: 

And I remember at that moment I saw him on the hill, and at that moment I said, I am going to go to a new high school and I’m going to repeat my junior year because I just feel like that’s what I want to do. 

Brandon: 

I wasn’t happy where I was. 

Travis: 

And honestly, Travis, next day I drove the boys lot in school in Maryland and they took me and it and it honestly changed my life. 

Travis: 

But at that moment that that like like you’re describing, I can actually remember that when I met my now wife because I can remember her shoot. 

Travis: 

I can remember everything. 

Travis: 

So it must be. 

Travis: 

Do you think more people have these pivotal moments? 

Travis: 

I think that I would, I would ask, assume that the vast majority of humans do. 

Travis: 

It’s just what do you do with it once you got it is the kind of decider. 

Travis: 

Do you think it’s Do you think it well, I don’t know about you, but I had There was not a doubt like I wasn’t scared, right? 

Travis: 

No fear, right? 

Travis: 

It was just That is what I’m doing. 

Travis: 

So I wonder. 

Travis: 

I’m interested to hear if other people have that because these pivotal moments change. 

Travis: 

I mean, I imagine that completely changed your life. 

Brandon: 

Maybe you never go on to do six other things or meet five other people. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Brandon: 

What did your wife say when you have that moment? 

Brandon: 

Did she Did she say Then I didn’t tell her. 

Brandon: 

I had the moment until later. 

Travis: 

But did she have the same moment? 

Travis: 

Or did she like, That’s a good question. 

Brandon: 

Maybe we should get her. 

Travis: 

I think she just came home from teaching dog school. 

Travis: 

Um, uh, I actually I don’t That’s a freaking good question. 

Travis: 

I’m gonna ask her when she had her pivotal moment. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

God. 

Travis: 

Now you’re like throwing down some deep stuff on here. 

Brandon: 

Travis, I’m sorry. 

Travis: 

I should It’s a question. 

Travis: 

It’s a good It’s a good It’s a great question. 

Travis: 

I’m gonna ask her when. 

Travis: 

Uh, she was excited. 

Travis: 

I told her I said I said I was doing the palette time before, and we’ve got an old dog and I couldn’t feed them right away because I was taking a shower before I got in here. 

Travis: 

And I said, She’s like, What are you interviewing that guy who founded Hydro Flask? 

Travis: 

I was like in seven minutes, and I need you to feed the dog when I get home because I got to get on there um So I’m going to tell her that you I’m gonna figure that out, and I’ll email you and tell you, uh, when that moment happens. 

Travis: 

So how long do you fly planes? 

Brandon: 

Um, oops. 

Travis: 

I just dropped in a metal water bottle home. 

Brandon: 

Um, I would say it was probably 78 years I flew for the airlines. 

Travis: 

No, no, no, no, no, no, not that long. 

Travis: 

Five years, about five years. 

Travis: 

Why’d you quit? 

Travis: 

I’ve had enough. 

Travis: 

And I flew every single airplane that I ever wanted to fly. 

Brandon: 

The only one I didn’t get to fly that I was a little bit bummed about was the d C. 

Brandon: 

Three. 

Travis: 

But it’s a tail dragger. And I was I have a lot of fear, but a phobia, but not a phobia. It’s like I don’t want to pay for a plane if it, um ground loops and it flips over and tell draggers out of Tennessee to flip over. 

Brandon: 

And so that was one reason we had a DC three flying out of ST Thomas when I was flying in ST Thomas. But I didn’t fly it because the mechanic who is supposed to be the airline mechanic turned out to be a car mechanic and was using, like, Kmart parts, uh, airplanes. 

Brandon: 

And so I was like, Hey, you want to fly the DC three? 

Brandon: 

I’m, like, not this week. Maybe next week when we get a real mechanic, and then I never got that opportunity again. Um, but, uh, yeah, I flew. I flew a bomber. I flew all kinds of jets. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So you were You had your you were type for jets. 

Travis: 

Yes. Yeah. Actually, I have more time and jets than I do. And anything else which is is kind of a rarity. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Travis: 

Did you ever fly a mall? 

Travis: 

Seven. No. No malls? 

Brandon: 

No. That’s what I learned on a mall. Amphibian. 

Travis: 

Amphibian? Is it the one that is it The one that has, like, a big, bulbous nose. And your feet are like in the water, is it not? 

Brandon: 

That one. The malls. The mall is like a Cessna. 

Travis: 

Typical. What is at 1 52 or whatever? It’s anybody who’s a mall pilot out there will probably just kill me for what I just said. But it’s a more of a simple plain like that. 

Travis: 

Um, but it is slow I mean, you know how it is, what floats. 

Brandon: 

And, um But I had so much fun. I used to scope fishing holes. 

Travis: 

That’s why I learned to fly. 

Travis: 

Where? 

Travis: 

Well, uh, you know, I was fanatical about fishing for a really long time. 

Brandon: 

And in the Chesapeake Bay and the winner, the all the tributaries in the Bay are crystal clear. 

Travis: 

So I and my my friend had this small seven and he was an instructor, and I wanted to fly or whatever, but we would just fly at water level. 

Travis: 

I’m pretty low. 

Travis: 

And I would just mark all the places on the GPS in the winter. And then I would go back there when the fishing season started. 

Travis: 

That’s awesome. And those malls have fabric wings is that they actually do it. 

Brandon: 

Scared the crap out of me and they would put dope on it, and it smelled like bananas. 

Travis: 

I remember reading about the Bush pilots up in Alaska and the malls I went, I had the option was like, Do I go north to become a Bush pilot or do I go south to become a warm water pilot? 

Brandon: 

I went south, but Yeah, I do remember those those malls. 

Brandon: 

And they had really big flaps too. So you can drop the flaps and you can fly really slow and really big, proportionate wings. And so you can really go. 

Brandon: 

We weren’t really slow. We used to fly the from Virginia Beach all the way up to, uh, there’s a launch pad I forget right now where you can’t go past government airspace. 

Travis: 

But we would fly the whole thing just really slow and you could just see incredible. 

Travis: 

I mean, you know how it is. You can see incredibly cool stuff. 

Travis: 

Um, but I haven’t. Do you still fly? 

Travis: 

No, no, it’s it’s a conundrum. I mean, I I used to, you know, I used to fly charter jets. 

Brandon: 

And then after after my exit from the HF company, I would charter a couple of planes myself here and there. 

Brandon: 

But I you know, they always let me sit up front when I charter. I mean, if you’re paying for it and you ask, they’ll let you. But I don’t want to pay 100 and 50 bucks an hour to go fly around Central Oregon, which I’ve done, you know, for hundreds of hours, so I’m kind of cheap like that. 

Brandon: 

And I don’t want to quit smoking. 

Brandon: 

And I don’t want to cut smoking cannabis. And I don’t want to cut my beard. And I don’t want to get my medical back to go fly airplanes again. 

Brandon: 

That’s that’s fair. Um, that makes sense. 

Travis: 

Yeah, I I love it. 

Travis: 

Mhm, but half moon Bay fog, non instrument rated. 

Travis: 

What type of jets did you fly? 

Travis: 

My jam. My lane was the Lear 35. That was the one I had fast yet falling. So cool. I remember so clearly the very first time I’d actually gone through flight safety in Orlando had gone through all the training and all the tests and everything to become a Lear type rated pilot. 

Brandon: 

And yet I’ve never actually even seen one in real life, which I didn’t, of course, tell anybody that. 

Brandon: 

But we walk out on the tarmac and I’ve got my suit on my epilepsy. 

Brandon: 

And here I am a pilot and I don’t even know what jet we were going to. 

Brandon: 

And because the sim doesn’t look obviously like an actual Lear and the pictures in the book don’t look like reality. But I have, I don’t know, a couple of 1000 hours in leers. 

Brandon: 

Um, Hawker I had a guy who had a hawker that I used to fly with. 

Brandon: 

Hawker Uh what is that? That’s That’s dangerous, isn’t it? 

Travis: 

It is. Yeah. It’s a big, burly jet. It was It was It was like riding that like a bull. It was kind of like who this is kind of fun, but kind of dangerous, And it was just kind of clunky. 

Brandon: 

Um, but then a falcon was kind of similar. 

Brandon: 

Falcon 10. Uh, yeah. And and it was fast, and it was It was like, one of the first. And we got to go international with it too. Which was you took a Falcon 10 international. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I gotta go down to, uh, see, I went as far as Venezuela, which was been to Venezuela. 

Travis: 

Uh, you know, the whole other story with pirates and stuff, but I got to Venezuela, and then I commercial back and they went on to South Africa. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, that, uh, that I I am a falcon 10 fanatic. 

Brandon: 

Only because I used to be the fastest commercial jet. 

Travis: 

I mean, passion, passion, and it’s the same size as seven. 

Travis: 

Oh, seven, which I always kind of got a kick out of its like people say, Well, how big a planes did you fly it and say, Well, equivalency of the 707 and not everybody knows what is seven. 

Travis: 

Oh, seven is because they’re a bit archaic now. 

Travis: 

But it’s kind of fun to say that I flew something equivalent to a seven something. 

Brandon: 

Right. So, um, I can’t help but ask What? 

Travis: 

When did you travel to Venezuela? With pirates. 

Travis: 

Well, I didn’t travel with them, but when I was, we encountered him. When I was probably 19, we had some Italians working in the dive shop, and they said, Hey, we want to go down to this place called Louis Raucous or Marguerite Island, which is a really nice place to dive. 

Brandon: 

So what they did is they chartered a boat out of the mornings in ST Thomas. Excuse me in Tortola. So we chartered this catamaran. I’m not a blow boat, captain. I’m a power boat captain, but I do enjoy a little bit of hanging out on blue boats too. 

Brandon: 

We bring it over to ST Croix. 

Brandon: 

We just put all of the gear on it. 

Brandon: 

And these two Italians took off to less raucous. 

Brandon: 

The Italians come in, they do their charter. And everybody left, including the two Italians. They took all the money and they took everything. And they just left the boat down there. The mornings is going, Hey, you’re on the hook for this boat. You know, you got to pay for it or get it back to us. 

Brandon: 

Well, it’s in Venezuela. What the hell is it doing in Venezuela? You were supposed to have Venezuela. Oh, no, no, we didn’t say Venezuela. We said somewhere else. 

Brandon: 

So Captain Casey, about Captain out of ST Thomas, and I flew down to Caracas, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen anybody with automatic weapons like it was. It was pretty intense. It was pretty cool. 

Brandon: 

And, um, that was a heck of a trip in Venezuela, but we should probably keep it under R rated or are no more. So it was a trip going to Venezuela, and, um, my dad and his then girlfriend now wife, came down to join us, and we you know, it was super sketchy. 

Brandon: 

They’re like, Nope, you can’t leave. 

Brandon: 

The Italians completely screwed us over, you know, thousands of dollars and park fees and this fee, and they were just totally trying to get one over on this. 

Brandon: 

So we’re like, Okay, you know, we’ll go through the system and we’ll, you know, we’ll do the whole thing. 

Brandon: 

And then we took off at, like, two in the morning and we just just again Statue of limitations. We just took off. And we were on that first night and we had to fast, high speed boats come up on us and circle us, and they were circling us, and certainly this. 

Brandon: 

And so we turned off. All the running lights were turned off all the cabin lights. We had a flare gun, a baseball bat and a machete. And my dad, my dad. At this point, we had also smuggled a fair bit of pull our beer because we got to pull our beer for super cheap. 

Brandon: 

And so my dad was just completely drunk. He was wasted, passed out his girlfriend, Suzanne. 

Brandon: 

She was completely seasick. And so she was useless. So it’s basically Captain Casey and I up on deck with a flare gun a baseball bat and a machete, and they just they would zoom in and then they’d stop and they’d circle and then float and zoom in and then float. 

Brandon: 

And they did that for about five hours. 

Brandon: 

And it was just It was one of the most terrifying experiences. Five hours of my life. And what may be really scared is that Captain Casey was scared. I mean, he’s this old, you know, this whole pirate or not, Pirate is this old boat captain, you know, from back in the day, and and to see him nervous about and he told me he’s like, Yeah, if they just dump us overboard and they show up in whatever port they can say that they found it and then they sell it, and that’s how they make their money. 

Brandon: 

Like that’s actually a pretty good, you know, racket for them, but not create for us. 

Brandon: 

Hopefully, they’ll put us in the dinghy and set set us loose, and it’s at that point we start looking for the digging. 

Brandon: 

We realize we don’t have a D. 

Brandon: 

So oh, it’s good for them because if they went back to Venezuela, they were going to owe money on that boat anyway. 

Brandon: 

Would that be the ultimate Carmen? 

Travis: 

Hey, you guys owe money. 

Brandon: 

The government, that would be That would be a sad twist of ironic fate. 

Travis: 

Wouldn’t that’s crazy. 

Brandon: 

So I guess they just were waiting for you to either jump off, give up or something. 

Travis: 

I don’t know. I don’t know what happened, but I do remember, Don came and they floated away Sort of one last time. 

Brandon: 

And we were just like we were exhausted. 

Brandon: 

It was We put up the full sales and we just booked it right back. 

Brandon: 

And we were surrounded by a pod of dolphins at that point. And so it was just kind of like, you know, Yeah. 

Brandon: 

It was beautiful, positive energy around you. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it lifted, the harshness lifted, and that took over. 

Travis: 

It was awesome. 

Brandon: 

That’s a cool story. 

Travis: 

I haven’t told that story before. That’s that’s you got that from me, Brandon. 

Brandon: 

They say I have a natural talent. My wife says that I just asked too many questions. She tells me I have to stop asking questions at 11. So then I do podcasts after 11. 

Travis: 

Go. Yeah, at least you got to schedule a little bit of structuring your life. That’s good. And after to keep you on task to got to adapt. 

Brandon: 

Um, so you quit being a pilot. 

Travis: 

Do you have a plan? 

Travis: 

No, None whatsoever. 

Travis: 

I was living in Palm Beach, Florida flying out of fair Wind Air Charter, Stuart, Florida And they kept asking me to come in on my days off and fly. 

Travis: 

And I only had two days off a month and I was living in hotels, eating in restaurants. 

Brandon: 

And, you know, being a pilot is a lot of fun flying fast. 

Brandon: 

I mean, like the first time I got in and we were like we did a short field full flap. 

Brandon: 

We were cleared up to, like, 20 25,000 ft and we just went It just took right off, just like a rocket ship. 

Brandon: 

It’s like it never really got better than that, you know? And so every time after that was just switching the radio dials and, you know, going through the motions, living in hotels, I met a lot of I met wonderful people, a lot of billionaires, a lot of celebrities, a lot of just really good down to earth people. A lot of, um, scandals and crooks and and and people like that to boot. 

Brandon: 

And I you know, I had a great time, but I had done that this season was over. 

Brandon: 

And so I said, I’m ready to go back to Oregon, and and so I got upset with him one day when they asked me to come in, and I’ve been trying to book my day off. 

Brandon: 

My mom was coming into town to visit, and they called me in like, No, no, no. 

Brandon: 

We’re done here. 

Brandon: 

We’re done. I’ve been telling you. I’m off this week and you’re calling me, and you’re not listening to what I need. 

Brandon: 

So I moved back home to Oregon to bend and started a fence company. 

Brandon: 

Did you save money? 

Travis: 

No. Gosh, no. 

Brandon: 

No. You spend all the money you made. 

Travis: 

I typically usually do. 

Brandon: 

Well, at least you’re honest. 

Travis: 

I have not been great with that like that. I probably could have picked up maybe some money skills. Had I been in college. I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

Maybe if my parents had taught me, maybe I would have learned. 

Brandon: 

But I didn’t really learn the money thing until uh, sort of post exit. 

Brandon: 

Mhm. 

Brandon: 

So you started a fence company? 

Travis: 

Yeah, My girlfriend at the time. 

Travis: 

We were just sitting on a couch contemplating. Okay, now we’re here. What do we do? We had probably about two or three months to live financially, and some guy just showed up in our backyard. 

Brandon: 

We just moved into this rental house and was like, I guess I’ll go see what he’s here for. 

Brandon: 

And he was there to put up a fence, and they were doing just beautiful work. 

Brandon: 

It was clear cedar, No knots. It was just gorgeous, beautiful wood. And there were a lot of subdivisions going to Californians were, you know, opening up the Northern Territory. 

Brandon: 

And, uh, I said, Well, are you doing all these subdivisions? 

Brandon: 

And he goes, No, no, we just do one and two at a time, you know? Just real small. 

Brandon: 

I said, Well, do you want to do those subdivisions and says, No, no, no. We just want to keep smoking. I said, Okay. Well, then I’m going to do that. How hard could it be? 

Brandon: 

He just laughed. And he’s like, How fun with that Travis and I walked into the house. I said we’re doing fancy, and she said okay. 

Brandon: 

And so we bought two trucks, two trailers. We went up to Portland. We figured out, like, what do you do to, you know, build a fence? 

Brandon: 

And we started the fence company? 

Brandon: 

Did you Did you run any numbers and figure out how profitable or it could be or anything like that? 

Travis: 

No, no, no, no, no. 

Travis: 

Did you Were you worried about that? 

Brandon: 

No. 

Travis: 

No, I had no money. So I wasn’t worried about not making money. 

Brandon: 

I know we’re going to go back to zero, because, like, back to just today, you know? But you know what I mean? Like, if I was that scratch, and so if we went forward and then it turned out back at Scratched, and it would have been a net, you know, zero almost. 

Brandon: 

It would have seen that as a loss. 

Brandon: 

It’s definitely a way to look at it, but it worked out. 

Travis: 

We did really well and ended up selling it and made, uh, you know, that was my first time. I made six figures. It’s like, Whoa, that’s pretty cool. Um, but what happened was 11 months in. It was, you know, it was a winter month. 

Brandon: 

It was one of the hardest, harshest winters on Ben record and, you know, 800 years or whatever the numbers are. 

Brandon: 

And I said, I’ve had enough. I got to get out of here. I’ve got to go somewhere warm. I’m tired of this, you know, It was It was It was really hard in the winter. 

Brandon: 

So I took off to Oahu, and as soon as the door opened on the plane, I could just feel the Aloha. And I called my partner and I said, Listen, you can either keep the company or you can sell it, But either way, I live in Oahu now. She said. Travis, where are you? Who are those people in the background? Are you drunk at the bar? What are you doing? I used to drink back then. 

Brandon: 

It’s like, No, I’m still on the airplane. I can feel the aloha. It’s real. I live here and I was in L. 

Brandon: 

A. Who for like, nine days like a long ass vacation to be in Waikiki almost too long, really came home. 

Brandon: 

We sold the company within a week because again everything was going up in the building sector and moved to Maui and then moved on over to Oahu. 

Brandon: 

And was that a pivotal moment? 

Brandon: 

Like picking up the magazine? 

Travis: 

It was It was It was, Yeah, It was kind of a hybrid of all of the best of all worlds, because I really enjoyed the Virgin Islands. But the Virgin Islands can be, um it could be a very difficult It can be a very difficult place to have a business and stay safe. 

Brandon: 

We had friends killed, raped, robbed on the regular. And I love the Virgin Islands, and I don’t want anybody to not go there for what I just said, because it is a great place when it’s a great place. 

Brandon: 

But Oahu and the Hawaiian Islands were more American, but still paradise. 

Brandon: 

And so it felt like a nice hybrid where we could actually do business with business people. 

Brandon: 

And we could also live in the tropics. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I watch, um, the Waikiki Surf line cam on a regular basis. 

Travis: 

I can’t watch that because I live here now and I can’t go do that right now because I’ve got a daughter until she’s 18. I’m here in Deschutes County. 

Brandon: 

Were you surfing? 

Travis: 

Yeah. 

Travis: 

So you surf those waves in Waikiki? 

Travis: 

Uh, well, yes. Yeah, yeah. Not the big ones. I mean, I had a I had a long board. I wasn’t like, Yeah, a little, You know, rocket. 

Brandon: 

Those are like, gorgeous waves. 

Brandon: 

I look at that all the time. Uh, I was actually talking about it the other day, but, um, how long do you stay in? 

Travis: 

What? So do you get a job in Hawaii? 

Travis: 

Um, well, so originally, I went over to Maui and then, um, to become a business broker and the business broker. 

Travis: 

I went to go work with trying to sell me either company the first day I got there. And it’s like, Well, hold on, dude, Like I’m here to learn business brokering from you. Well, I’m selling it. I’m getting out of here. You should buy it. 

Brandon: 

So I don’t want to do that. So I moved to We moved to Oahu, and I started out as a getting my real estate license to become a business broker to broker business deals. 

Brandon: 

And I didn’t really like the guy, and I didn’t really want to work for him, and I didn’t really want to work for anybody. And so, um, in the interim, I took a job selling, you know, there was a fancy title like exotic luxury, pre owned vehicles like Mercedes and BMW and Ferrari. 

Brandon: 

And I was horrible at it because I knew the mechanics of the pretty pretty car was not that great. 

Brandon: 

And I didn’t actually, my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to sell something I didn’t believe in. 

Brandon: 

So I did that for like, a month. 

Brandon: 

I was like, No, I can’t be a used car salesman. I know too much about the car to, you know, look, somebody in the eye and give them a, you know, shake their hand and take their money. 

Brandon: 

So, um, some how it hit me. 

Brandon: 

I guess this was another one of those cerebellum moments. Signs. For some reason, there was a lot of sign shops I kept hearing. Everybody has a sign shop in the law who and everybody had a plotter that would cut vinyl. 

Brandon: 

And then they take the vinyl and they read it and then take that and then transfer it and they put on the vinyl and it’s a beautiful banner and I’ve got a sign shop, and so it’s kind of like Okay, well, if everybody else has got a sign shop, let me take a stab out and see how well I could do it. 

Brandon: 

And so, uh, my girlfriend at that time, she and I went to Florida to a sign show, Um, convention s G I I think it was called and we just said, Hey, how much does it cost to start a sign company? 

Brandon: 

They’re like, Well, what do you need? And we’re like, Well, I don’t know what you tell me. Well, you’ve been in the sign industry for years. What do you need? I have not been in the sign industry for years or ever, but I know I hear the word plotter. 

Brandon: 

And so I know I need a plotter, and they’re like, Oh, boy. So I mean, they saw us coming, obviously, and they sold us a whole sign shop. We went back to Oahu, opened up a lot. Who signs and screen printing right there in, uh, Waikiki Honolulu area and had a lot of fun with it again. 

Brandon: 

Didn’t really do a plan. 

Brandon: 

You just listened to you. 

Travis: 

Just believe that there was demand in the market and that we could do better than the market that you could build a better product. 

Travis: 

Better mousetrap. 

Travis: 

Absolutely. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Travis: 

Just by getting a digital printer, we are already ahead of the game. 

Brandon: 

And it worked. 

Travis: 

It did until my brother ran it into a wall. We were moving it from this room to that room and he hit the printer on a wall and it broke this little hairline fracture in this plastic part on the roller tracks that printed. And so when it would get warm, they would expand. The whole thing would go it just mess up the whole entire 12 ft banner. It would have to start over. 

Brandon: 

And so we’d be there till 23 o’clock in the morning. And I didn’t know that it was a hairline fracture in the rollers until the day we sold it. And I was like, uh, looked in. I see that hairline fracture is a 25 cent part, and it it cost, like, tens of thousands of dollars of, you know, just redoing stuff. 

Brandon: 

But when you asked if it worked, did you mean that. 

Brandon: 

I mean, the printing company did, but it’s interesting that the printer didn’t work too. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, but yeah, but the sign company work. 

Travis: 

It did. Yeah, we learned a lot. I mean, I learned a lot about, you know, Photoshop printing banners, printing brochures and business cards. And, um, you know, working with agencies. 

Brandon: 

We worked with a lot of the top agencies and just learned so much about marketing and graphic design in general and just built up a really big RGB versus C M Y K, and the whole whole side of business that I did not get at the, uh, the fence company I picked up at the sign company. 

Brandon: 

And then one day I just had this kind of like, sinking sick feeling and I said, It’s all over. 

Brandon: 

It’s done and we didn’t quite know what that meant. 

Brandon: 

And it was The economy had just crashed in the States. 

Brandon: 

We have the O. A. You know, You know what happened in L. 

Brandon: 

A. And at that time I was in Honolulu, I was thirsty. I went into a sporting goods store to buy a water bottle, and there were no water bottles on the shelf and I said What happened? 

Brandon: 

And the guy said, Well, you know, we pulled him because there might be this thing in plastic. We’re not real sure what it is, but it might not be good And I said, Well, who’s going to fill up this shelf? 

Brandon: 

You know, there’s this huge wall and all the shelves were empty. There are only three bottles left and the whole wall is empty. 

Brandon: 

So well, who’s going to do this? Because nobody. There’s nobody to do this Sara Bellum. 

Brandon: 

I will. I’ll do this and the guy laughed. 

Brandon: 

But in the time that I said, I will and he laughed, which was just a bill a second I saw the future. 

Brandon: 

I had a vision of me standing up on the stage talk about these water bottles, and a decade or so later I mean, U c l A. 

Brandon: 

And I was standing there talking, and I had this like ho jesus, like a whole deja vu. 

Brandon: 

Almost moment. 

Brandon: 

So did you sell the print shop at that? Like, did you come back from that and say, Hey, print shops over? We’re selling this. We’re gonna build water bottles. 

Travis: 

Yeah, literally. Yes. Yeah, I didn’t tell the employees just like that, But I did ask. I asked one of the employees I said, Hey, water bottles, what do we do? She says, aluminum. There’s this one brand. It starts with an s. It’s awesome. It’s like Okay, great. Maybe I’m not doing water models. I went and bought That s branded water bottle from the local Pata Gooch. And it was awesome. It was had a great texture. It’s just beautiful. It just felt really cool. But then I drink out of it and it was like the whole The orphans was just too small and I couldn’t get ice cubes in it, and I dropped it, dented the gold stuff on the inside. 

Brandon: 

It flaked off. And I was thinking about when I lived in Australia. 

Brandon: 

I read this article about people have parakeets in their kitchen and they’re dying from the Teflon toxicity. 

Brandon: 

And I’m thinking, Is this Teflon in my water bottle? And where did it go? Did I just ingest Teflon? So I called the company. 

Brandon: 

I asked him, I’m like, What’s this gold stuff? And they’re like, No, no, we’re not. 

Brandon: 

We’re not gonna talk about that or not Get out of it. 

Brandon: 

And so I do want to come back to this moment. 

Brandon: 

But you did mention that you lived in Australia and I have to ask. Like how? What? Where in the story? Did you go to Australia? 

Travis: 

Uh, so I kept going back and forth ST Croix, ST Thomas, ST Croix, ST Thomas, ST Croix, ST Thomas. 

Brandon: 

And finally, I was like when I was in fourth grade, no third grade when I was in third grade. 

Brandon: 

I’ve heard this story about, well, Crocodile Dundee had come out and, um, one of the fourth graders, he was a bully. 

Brandon: 

I don’t remember his name. And also I definitely call him out. Um, he had his grandma come in to share a story of being in Australia. And I remember in fourth grade or third grade, it was a 3rd 4th grade split. He was in fourth. I was in third, but we’re together in the same classroom. 

Brandon: 

I was like, I’m going. I live in Australia, I’m going Australia. And so I just put all of my effort into getting to Australia and, um showed up when I was probably about 20 and lived there for a year. 

Brandon: 

Okay, Well, I just wanted to fill that chapter and because I You got all this stuff that So you did Australia. But we’re not gonna even go into that. We’re going to come back to this to this water bottle, because I do remember, I actually have. 

Travis: 

So I have all hydro flasks right here. 

Travis: 

I got, like, all these hydro flasks, but it didn’t start with them. It started with whatever that company, as you’re saying and they dented. 

Travis: 

I’m not beating up on them because the reason that they were in the early days, that’s all that we had And they had some cool designs, candidly. 

Travis: 

But they do rust. 

Travis: 

And I remember I actually have the orange, the orange one that I used to keep everywhere. 

Travis: 

And I looked in there. 

Brandon: 

I was like, that was like rust. 

Travis: 

I was like, Should I be drinking that? 

Brandon: 

And I was like, I didn’t see that. 

Travis: 

I just Yeah, kept going, Kept going. 

Travis: 

So how do you that pan torn that Pantone orange? 

Travis: 

I remember that very vividly. 

Travis: 

I know exactly what bottle you have. 

Travis: 

Yeah, I have it. 

Travis: 

I have it upstairs I kept it. 

Travis: 

I kept it mainly Travis, because, um, it was for me, uh, was the thing that I had across my journey from, like, that point as an entrepreneur. 

Travis: 

So I look back at that when I was, like, sleeping on floors and a sleeping bag, and it’s that thing that you just I don’t want to say. 

Brandon: 

That thing keeps me grounded. 

Travis: 

But it does keep me remembering that it wasn’t always that I had five hydro flasks, a desk that goes up and down an ocean view like it wasn’t always like that. 

Travis: 

Concrete roots. 

Travis: 

So how do you, Um, So you have this basically, these water bottles that were cool, but they didn’t function right? 

Travis: 

How do you figure out I actually don’t even know how you design this? 

Travis: 

Well, how do you What do you do now? 

Travis: 

Well, first, did you sell the shop, give the shop away, or how does that work? 

Travis: 

Well, so, um, we were very, very fortunate that there was a loophole in the contract that we after the economy hit in the state, in the mainland, not the states. 

Brandon: 

The states is. 

Travis: 

When I was in the Virgin Islands in Hawaii. 

Brandon: 

This is called the mainland because Hawaii is a state. So in the mainland, the economy crashed. But it took a minute to get out to Hawaii because everybody had purchased ahead of time last six months. 

Brandon: 

Last year, there, forward planning vacations. So when that started to all kind of come down, we we were fortunate enough to get out of our lease and walk away from it. 

Brandon: 

And we basically had a fire sale and sold off. You know, the printer to a guy who was, you know, he would kind of source from us. And he was just a good friend. So he sold them the, you know, basically all the kit and you sell all this and stay in Hawaii and decide that you’re gonna build water bottles. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Travis: 

How’s that go? 

Travis: 

Tough. It was rough. It was a hard time. How do you I mean, in order to do this, I don’t know where they’re They’re made. 

Brandon: 

I assume that that you tried to go to China like did you even understand that? 

Travis: 

Or did you? I mean, that’s a It’s a tough sourcing things. 

Travis: 

I know it. I know with Alibaba and everything. It gets easier. Um, apparently, but even it’s hard. I studied in China like I back in the early days and doing business remotely and understanding what’s going on. Especially with that. So how do you what do you draw this thing on a piece of paper? What do you do that’s pretty damn close to accurate? 

Travis: 

That’s what I did, Um, there at the same company. We worked with a guy. One of our clients for customers was a guy who would do sort of like business field trips to the Canton Fair. 

Brandon: 

Back in the old days, it was called the Canton Fair. I can’t know what we call it nowadays, but basically we’re all of the factories come together under one roof and they set up a stall. And they say we’re the best factory on the planet for doing this and that the other. And this guy had a remote control vehicle shop in in Oahu and we knew this guy and he’s going, Hey, yeah, just go to China and get whatever you want made at these factories, and it’s just great. 

Brandon: 

And so I talked to him. 

Brandon: 

I was like, Well, what about a water bottle. He’s like, No, nobody’s doing water bottles like, Well, there’s gotta be somebody doing other models. He’s like, Well, let me check a check. He came back. You know, nobody’s doing water bottles. Okay, well, I know that there’s at least one company because there was a metal water bottle, single wall bottle that is down in your neck of the woods in California who was making bottles out of China. 

Brandon: 

So can we find that factory? 

Brandon: 

Found that factory? And they’re like, No, we don’t do that like Okay, well, what do we do? And so it just It was difficult because yeah, there was no Alibaba. 

Brandon: 

Google was not really a thing that I was really super proficient. And it wasn’t as nearly as robust, let alone in a communist country at that time. 

Brandon: 

And, you know, it was about a year and a half search and finally finally found somebody who said, Yeah, I’m willing to take a shot and see if it’s going to work. 

Brandon: 

And the double wall vacuum insulated sports water bottle could potentially work. 

Brandon: 

So we sold everything we had. We sold the sign shop. We sold our cutlery. We sold our every piece of furniture we had. We ended up with a suitcase, each in about $11,000 and we ordered 3000 M o. Q. Minimum order quantity of double wall vacuum insulated bones. 

Brandon: 

So I just want to go to the technology. 

Travis: 

Um, how do you understand? 

Travis: 

I don’t even double walled vacuum sealed technology. How do you learn or do something to figure out that that’s going to keep water cold and hot for prolonged period of time? 

Travis: 

Well, so, um, in between the aluminum bottle in hydro flask, I talked to my brother, who was who was living here in Dende and Ari. 

Travis: 

I had just opened up. 

Travis: 

He was working at R E I. And I asked him, I’m like, Well, why? 

Brandon: 

What do you know about water bottles? And he says, Yeah, there’s this company. It’s a single wall. It starts with a K K. And you should get one, and you’re gonna love it. And so I got one, and I I liked it for the fact that I could put my ice cubes in it. But that was about as far as it went. We’d go out surf, come back and it was so hot, I can’t even drink it. The lip was weird and it dribbled, and I wasn’t a real big fan. 

Brandon: 

And I remember that my grandpa had had an old school thermos that had glass on the inside metal on the outside and even in the Virgin Islands I had plastic on the inside and metal on the outside that kept my drinks a little bit colder a little bit longer. And so my first thought was, Well, we’ll just do plastic inside and metal on the outside. 

Brandon: 

But then BP a started to kind of get a little bit of a worse and worse rap. And so I was like, Okay, we’re doing stainless on the inside and stainless on the outside and I just kind of told the factory that that’s what we were doing and I I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

I just I just said it was going to be and they just made it happen. 

Brandon: 

They took a chance and said, because in Japan they were making like, very small little ones for, like, milk and things. 

Brandon: 

And so I was like, Well, let’s just take those and make them bigger and so Then I started traveling to China and going to the factories. And there was only a couple of vacuum insulation factories at that time. 

Brandon: 

And we found one that said yes and did you? 

Brandon: 

So you drew it and you understood somewhat of the technology. 

Travis: 

But did they help you create this because you had something of reference? 

Travis: 

You kind of Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I just drew sort of a, like a rough outline. I did do a lot of research on Oahu about different mouth sizes. I bought every single, you know, pop bottle beer bottle, juice bottle, every every bottle on the island. I owned at least one or two, and I would just take sips from it, and I Mark Okay, well, this is cool. 

Brandon: 

This is not cool. I like this. I don’t like that too big to small. 

Brandon: 

And, um, So I kind of came up with the mouth size and then drew the bottle out from the mouth size and and that’s how it’s the And then Then they had an engineer who was working there at the factory. 

Brandon: 

And I got to work with the engineer. 

Brandon: 

So you order you basically clean out your bank account and you order 3000 bottles. 

Travis: 

Did you and I imagine today I don’t even know. 

Travis: 

Uh, hydro flasks have a box that they came in packaging, or was it just attached? I don’t remember. 

Travis: 

We had a belly band, which is just wrapped around that said, you know, a little piece of real estate where we got to say what it was that we did, which was kind of fun because nobody else was doing it. 

Brandon: 

So, you know, I got to come up with how do you How do you How do you come up with a copy for something that has never existed really before, Which was I really got a kick out of that. 

Brandon: 

How’d how’d that come to you? 

Travis: 

Um well, I just put, you know, pictures of mountains and cold and snow flakes and desert hot on the other side. 

Brandon: 

And it keeps hot and keeps cold and 24 12 hours. 

Brandon: 

And, um, that’s how it kind of started and then refined over the years as we picked up, you know, better and better talent and graphic designers and things. 

Brandon: 

What’s the logo? This is a logo, right? 

Travis: 

Yes. Yeah. What’s that? Did you do that one? Um, I came up with one that was very similar to it. The first one was a wave. 

Brandon: 

The 1st 3000 bottles was a wave because we’re living in Hawaii. 

Brandon: 

And then we hired this big hotshot fancy marketing company and, you know, a huge, huge, huge, stupid six figure contract to come up with with the logo and branding, and they weren’t doing anything for us. 

Brandon: 

And one day I came in with a bunch of logos and I didn’t like any of them. 

Brandon: 

One was okay, Kind of not really, but sort of Okay, But at the bottom of the page that said 99 designs, I thought, you know what that means. 

Brandon: 

And so we said, Okay, well, we’re going to think about it. 

Brandon: 

Thanks. Bye. And I type in 99 designs on the computer web, and it showed me what that was. And I was like, Oh, you sons of guns. 

Brandon: 

And so I was like, You guys are done, you’re out. And they’re like, Well, $280,000 and we’ll go towards the exit, and, um, I opened up the I mean, they brought in their top brass. 

Brandon: 

The attorneys come in. The HR woman, for whatever reason, she came in. She was just bulldog. I guess that’s why she had her there. All the top brass comes in. We have a meeting, you know, very serious. 

Brandon: 

Big contract. Opened up the contract, and I hadn’t signed it. It was just like we’re done. 

Brandon: 

We’re done here. 

Brandon: 

So they asked. They’re like, Oh, you just go ahead and sign that there, and we’ll just go ahead and finish it for you. And my partner picks up her pit. I reached over, took the pin from her. I said, Nope. 

Brandon: 

Leave. And they did. And, um And then So I just sketched it out and then saving it all of that money, I was able to hire the first graphic designer in house. And her name was Alice. Um, Alice Robin as she was just awesome. She was from the Czech Republic and Alice and I just just doodled on paper and napkins and I would brainstorm and she would create and she would brainstorm and I would create. 

Brandon: 

We had a lot of fun. 

Brandon: 

Was it just a happy person? 

Travis: 

Yeah, Yeah, yeah, just little water spouts coming out, and it’s after I left. Um, they ran it over with a steam roller to make it flattened because, you know, corporate branding has to be flat, and it has to be very bold and very stout. 

Brandon: 

You can’t have wispy little lines because it doesn’t show up on billboards, which I I understand. 

Brandon: 

So how do you going back to this? 

Travis: 

Because this is This is the This is, like, really important stuff because we sort of jumped a little bit. 

Travis: 

But how did you get? 

Travis: 

How do you do? You sell all 3000 of these things? And how do you even sell them? 

Travis: 

Excuse me? 

Brandon: 

Well, so yeah, back up to that. What happened was we ordered 3000, but we ran out of money and we moved back to bend and moved in with my mom, and we had no money. 

Brandon: 

Excuse me? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Um, so we said, Well, can you please send us 1500 he says, Sure, because even those 1500 are not going to sell the guy in China and the factory. 

Travis: 

So what do you mean? 

Travis: 

Because nobody wants a double wall vacuum insulated water bottles, bottle there only drinking out of aluminum in single wall and maybe stainless. 

Brandon: 

But nobody’s ever going to buy him. 

Brandon: 

So whatever. Sure. 

Brandon: 

I said, you know what? You let me sell them. You just keep making them. I’m gonna sell some more. And it was kinda like the challenge was on. 

Brandon: 

And so what do you Where do you go to sell them? 

Travis: 

Uh, we went up to Portland in the Saturday market under the Burnside Bridge, and it was a really, really hot summer day. And we were, um we were told that no, we couldn’t sell water at the market. 

Brandon: 

And we said, No, no, we have a water bottle. She her name was It doesn’t matter. 

Brandon: 

Name. I can’t right now. She said No. No, you can’t do that. You can’t sell water. This guy is selling water, and he’s still elephant ears. Best elephant ears on the planet, by the way. Portland Saturday market. But I convinced her that No, it’s just a It’s just a metal bottle. We’re not selling water. She goes Okay, You know what? We don’t have room for you. Just go out by the train tracks. 

Brandon: 

Uh, and you can put up a table out there. 

Brandon: 

Sweet, Awesome. I’ll take it. And so we stood out next to the train tracks with, uh, with a little Rubbermaid table and from the sign company, we knew about branding and printing. 

Brandon: 

So we had a table throw, which is different from a tablecloth. And, you know, we knew all that stuff. We had little brochures and flyers, and I literally just filled it up with ice and put a piece of duct tape on it. Wrote Friday 7 p.m. And Saturday at 10 a.m. I forced the bottle into people walking by his hands and they’re looking at and they look at me like, What are you doing? 

Brandon: 

Look inside and there’s ice inside of it. They go, Whoa, House Whoa! And they look at the duct tape and say Friday night before and they go, How does that happen? Is that magic? It is. And for $20 you can buy some magic, and they would. 

Brandon: 

And so what happened? 

Brandon: 

And what was her name was Roma. Roma. I can’t remember her name, but we ended up having a lion that went around the corner to buy the hydro flasks, and it went past her office and she kept getting upset because she couldn’t go in and out of her office because the line would go past it so she’d come out. 

Brandon: 

And you can’t keep doing this. Well, you said we could, you know. And so the third weekend we were there, she finally gave us a booth. 

Brandon: 

Oh, that was nice of er was awesome. 

Travis: 

Yeah. And then And then people would only come to get the hydro flasks and they would buy other things and say we were her favorite and I even got free elephant ears sometimes. 

Brandon: 

Well, that was nice of er I like elephant ears. 

Travis: 

The So, How long are you going? 

Brandon: 

Are you thinking at retail or how? 

Travis: 

What are you thinking? 

Travis: 

You’re selling on the Saturday market? The country market? Whatever they was, it called farm market farmers work on Saturday market. 

Travis: 

It was Saturday and Sunday. It’s a little bit of a misnomer. 

Brandon: 

Um, So what do you do? 

Travis: 

You say, Hey, we’re gonna put these in retail stores. 

Travis: 

Well, that was always sort of the goal, but we didn’t have any real clear channel or weight that we had planned out to get there. 

Brandon: 

But it was definitely something that was on the books. We just didn’t know it was in the hopper. But we didn’t know what that meant. 

Brandon: 

And we were in Bend, where we were headquartered out of my mom’s house and her shed and, um, signed up for the Munchen music on Thursday. And we set up a little booth to be a vendor at this little fair thing in the park and Drake Park, and a guy came up Well, okay, so first somebody came up and said, Hey, I’m from the BIN bulletin newspaper. 

Brandon: 

Can we do an article like, Yeah, sure, whatever. 

Brandon: 

So we were in the newspaper as a, you know, a new startup business. It was a slow day, I guess. And then the following week, somebody came up and said, Hey, I saw you in the newspaper. 

Brandon: 

It’s like, Oh, hey, we’re famous. This is great. You know, we’re really starting to take off here. 

Brandon: 

And he said, I’m a sales rep, and I’d like to sell your bottles and I said, Okay, you know, like, what does that mean? 

Brandon: 

What does that look like because I had no clue. I had no idea what it sells. Rep was, I’ve never dealt with the cells right before. I didn’t know how retail worked and he said, Well, you know, I need 12 bottles and I’ll go out and sell them into the retail stores And I said, Well, you know, we only had, like, maybe 200 left. 

Brandon: 

So giving him 12 for free was a really big leap of faith. 

Brandon: 

I didn’t know if we’d ever see him or those bottles again, and and I said, Okay, you know, you come, you know, you know, meet me tomorrow and I’ll give you the 12 bottles. 

Brandon: 

You know, like, if you’re serious, then I’ll know, and I’m sure enough I met him the next day and gave him the 12 bottles, and I literally just wrote them off. 

Brandon: 

We’re never gonna see him again. But then that made me realize that maybe we could get these into retail stores and my mom’s neighbour. Trudy owns Mountain Supply, which is a mountain outdoor hard, uh, outdoor gear store here in Bend. 

Brandon: 

And Trudy said, Yeah, bring me some bottles. 

Brandon: 

So Trudy started selling into retail which we thought was awesome. You know, we were gonna really make it because of Trudy. And so it was It was really great that she took the risk on us. But then the sales rep calls and says how many bottles you have left were like, Well, you know, x number 203 100 Because those are all mine and I need a 2000. 

Brandon: 

We we we got, you know, 15 little micro stores around the Northwest. 

Brandon: 

So we called. 

Brandon: 

Actually, we faxed China and said, Hey, can we get that other 1500 ended up selling them? 

Brandon: 

People do want them. 

Brandon: 

And so they sent the 1500 pretty quick because they were ready to go. 

Brandon: 

And by the time that’s 1500 reached our place, we had already sold, like 3000, and so we ordered 20,000. And so we went 15, 15, 20,000. 

Brandon: 

Uh, and I assume your margins were good? 

Travis: 

Um, yes, they were. But our overhead was pretty huge, like we had to get out of my mom’s, um, shed pretty darn quick. We started out in my grandparents garage in Salem, and we had to get out of there and moved to my mom’s shed. Had to get out there. So we took on a first. We started out with 5000 square foot at least. And, uh, started with that. 

Brandon: 

Outgrew that really quickly when the 20,000 came in. Then we had another 5000 square feet and, you know, the margins were good, but we were completely bootstrapping 100% of the money. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, when you order 20,000, where was he giving you? 

Brandon: 

I’m just just for people listening out there, Right, because everybody tries to figure this out. Where was he extending you terms, or were you paying up front? 

Travis: 

Oh, no, it’s all cash upfront. Yeah. No, it was 50% up front and then 50% when it ships. 

Brandon: 

And, uh, it was I mean, you know, a water bottle is $5.5 dollars and 50 cents, but you times that by 20,000, and that adds up pretty quick. Especially when you’re trying to bootstrap. 

Brandon: 

So, what were you doing? Like, How are you getting that money? 

Travis: 

Um, we started out friends and family credit cards, personal debt. We started out like that, and but then and bootstrapping. 

Brandon: 

But it just It just started to snowball so quickly, which is something that people don’t talk about too much is businesses. The common misnomer is that, well, if you don’t get enough cells, you go out of business. The other side of that, I guess that’s not a misnomer, because it’s true. But the other flip side of that is you get too many sales, you can also go out of business. 

Brandon: 

And so that was the kind of the line that we walked quite regularly. 

Brandon: 

And then we ended up having a 40,000 peace order that we ordered and it showed up and it was rusted and not insulated, and that really, really set us back. And that got us to the point where we had to go out and look for, um, I was going to put air quotes around angels, but I’ll just instead say VCs. 

Brandon: 

So on the what did you have to eat that order? 

Brandon: 

Cost the cost. 

Brandon: 

The worst part about that 40,000 was there was a number of just like, you know, in hindsight, good things. 

Travis: 

But at the time, it’s just horrible. 

Travis: 

Um, yeah, as soon as I found out So I’ve been in China for about a month, and I got the flu, too. 

Travis: 

Sure the pig or swine or whatever it was SARS or whatever it’s called at that time. 

Brandon: 

So I spent the majority of that month in the hospital. 

Brandon: 

I go to the factory all morning and I started, you know, like seven. And I’d get done at, like, five. And then I get done at the factory. 

Brandon: 

They’d take me back to drop me off at the hospital. Then I checked myself in the hospital like seven until two in the morning. And then I’d go over to my hotel and try to sleep for a little bit. And then they picked me up and I do it all again. And it was it was dreadful. 

Brandon: 

I came home from that trip and showed up to the 40,000 bottles. And as soon as I saw that it was rested, I was on the next plane and right back over and found out what had happened. 

Brandon: 

Um, you know, explained how we were not in a good space. And the, you know, the future of the company really hinged on this. And so we were able. I was able to talk to manufacturer into extending net 90 or net 1. 

Brandon: 

20. 

Brandon: 

And after it reached not from takeoff point, but after we get them point. 

Brandon: 

And so we I thought I was sitting at that and happy we thought everything was good. 

Brandon: 

And I get back to bend from that trip, and I get called into the bank, and my banker said, Our banker says you don’t have any more money. 

Brandon: 

I said, Well, yeah, I know it’s okay because we got 40,000 water bottles. This so we’re good. We’re gonna sell those. We’ll pay you. We’re all good, she goes. 

Brandon: 

Oh, okay. Well, as long as you have those 40,000, you guys should be fine. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, we’re good. I didn’t tell her about the rest. 

Brandon: 

I go back to the headquarters. This is my first morning back out of being in the Chinese hospitals, and there was nobody there in the in the warehouse. My partner was gone. We had an employee. She was gone. We had about 2025 day labors checking all the bottles. They were all gone. 

Brandon: 

And I didn’t know what had happened. I went over. I was hungry. I went over to the drawer to get the cash to go get some food. And I get this, like, dear John letter. And my partner said no. I got too hard. I took off back to Hawaii, and then I can Yeah, I can open up the email and I get an email from the employee that, you know, basically, she’s gone. 

Brandon: 

And she took the money. She stole the money, the cash. And she paid the day Laborers like pennies on the dollars and said, You know, Travis isn’t painting what he owes you, but he wants you to take this, you know, Penance and kick rocks. 

Brandon: 

Takeoff. 

Brandon: 

Sorry. It’s Travis, not me. I had no idea. 

Brandon: 

So kept the money. 

Travis: 

So you made this comment? 

Brandon: 

I made a note to ask you. So this is the comment that you made earlier in the conversation when you said you had millions taken from you. 

Travis: 

That was later. That was that was post. 

Brandon: 

Well, let’s hear that. But so what? 

Travis: 

Um, wasn’t this your girlfriend? 

Travis: 

Yeah. Yeah, So did she. 

Brandon: 

Did you guys get, like, mad? She get mad at you? I had no idea I had no clue. 

Travis: 

I literally walked in. I was like, Okay, well, she’s probably in the back. 

Brandon: 

Okay, Well, she’s probably in the back, you know, because we had the female employee, and they’re they’re in the back. They weren’t in the back. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I’ll say this because we are men. I don’t think that we’re always that smarter aware, but, um, were you at all was there, like, any red flag like, Hey, Travis, get your rear back here out of China, like I’m No, no, no. 

Travis: 

It was all hunky dory. 

Travis: 

It was all great. It was all really, really good because, well, not great. 

Brandon: 

And we had 40,000 bloody rested bottles. But as far as I knew, everything was Did you ever speak to you? 

Brandon: 

Have you talked to her since? Like, Hey, what made you take off? 

Travis: 

Oh, she said it just was too hard. Yeah, it was a political Yeah. 

Brandon: 

She think to call you and be like, Hey, I didn’t realize I didn’t Yeah, yeah, that’s crazy. 

Brandon: 

That that that’s crazy. 

Travis: 

But But it didn’t keep you down? 

Brandon: 

No, no. 

Travis: 

I think the worst part was that, like everybody in the back was gone. 

Brandon: 

And I was I was sitting on a 10,000 square foot, five year lease. 

Brandon: 

I’ve just been in the bank. There is no money. I know my wallet has no money in it. And if it’s, you know, if I did, it was R and B, and, uh, you know, I can’t exchange R and B for food and went to the cash jury when that cash was gone. 

Brandon: 

It was it was kind of a It was one of those sinking feelings, like, Okay, you know, what do I do? 

Brandon: 

And I was hungry. 

Brandon: 

And so I just took a couple of the good bottles and I went next door to Frank Country Catering. And I was like, Frank, you want to trade bottles? 

Brandon: 

Food? He’s like, Oh, yeah, let’s totally do that. So I got a sandwich and a mountain dew and I was back on my feet again. 

Brandon: 

So what did you do? 

Brandon: 

Well, so I put an ad on Craigslist that I needed help at Hydro flask and I got a response. 

Travis: 

Very first response was somebody who said, I do marketing. I do secretarial things. I do sales. I do this in graphic design and that I said, Come in. Let’s go. She showed up that same day. 

Brandon: 

I explained where we were, and she says, All right, here we go. 

Brandon: 

I said, All right, here we go. 

Brandon: 

And I called my family. My family came over and helped start checking, insulated versus non insulated rest versus non rust. And we just started selling bottles to get by. 

Brandon: 

And, um and then we got the call that the money was due on this 40,000 coming across. 

Brandon: 

They did not want to extend the line of credit, and that was really that was really tough. 

Brandon: 

Because, you know, 40,000 times $5 easy numbers is what, 2 50? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, 250 g. 

Brandon: 

So it was like, Okay, well, I don’t have 250 grand. 

Brandon: 

So how do you go out and get the outsiders to come in? 

Travis: 

So how that so? 

Brandon: 

Not since. 

Brandon: 

So now you’re now you’re raising money mode in crisis mode to raise the money rock and a hard spot. 

Travis: 

How’d that work out? 

Brandon: 

Um, the first one way. 

Travis: 

Okay. 

Brandon: 

You know, it was a straight interest, you know? How much do you need here? Is the interest rate. 

Brandon: 

Bob’s your uncle off. The race is cool. 

Brandon: 

Um, and then But we just kept going so much, you know, it’s like 40,000 that lasted us four months was now lasting three months, and then it lasted two months, and then we’d get another one, and it only lasts a month. 

Brandon: 

And then we needed 40,000 for here in 40,000 for their it pretty soon got up to be quite a bit, um, and in that time, once the money came back in, she came back. 

Brandon: 

She showed up, and, um, but we just We were running so thin, we had the her car got repossessed. 

Brandon: 

Our garbage cans got repossessed from our house. 

Brandon: 

Um, we were we were running really thin. 

Brandon: 

So how did you raise money? I know there’s a sort of a crazy story. Right. Um, some guy shows up and get some Guy says he can raise money or something. 

Travis: 

Well, he well, he first. 

Travis: 

He showed up and he says, I got a call from the front because we ended up getting to the point where we had to an employee upfront and she called and said, Hey, Travis, There’s this guy here who wants to see you, and I thought, He’s just a debt collector. 

Brandon: 

He’s just here to repossess something. 

Brandon: 

I don’t want to see him, you know, I don’t know A And I said Send him away And she called back and said, No, no, he’s here for a job. 

Brandon: 

Well, tell him we’re not hiring and she called back later and says he’s not leaving. He wants to talk to you like Christ. 

Brandon: 

Okay, so I went forward and met with him and he says, Hey, I want to work here I said, Well, and I didn’t tell them we were closing, but this was on a Wednesday and I was getting ready to close on Friday and and just completely shut down. 

Brandon: 

There was no more money, couldn’t pay the employees and you were done in your head, done. 

Brandon: 

And but I didn’t want to tell him that. 

Brandon: 

So I just said, I’m sorry we’re not hiding anything. 

Brandon: 

I work here now you don’t and we went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and finally goes. 

Travis: 

Okay, well, why like tell me the truth, I said, Let’s tell you the truth. 

Brandon: 

We are closing on Friday. 

Brandon: 

He says Well, why? I said because we need money. Because how much do you need? 

Brandon: 

I said million bucks and he goes, Okay, so if I get you a million dollars by Monday, can I or by Friday show up on Monday? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, sure. 

Brandon: 

Dude, let’s do that. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, let’s do that kind of skips off. 

Brandon: 

And I thought, Well, that guy is crazy, And sure enough, I write the letter. 

Travis: 

You know, I’m so sorry, folks. We gotta let you go, and we’re closing down, and I’m getting ready to skip town. And, you know, I don’t know what I was going to do next. 

Brandon: 

And Friday morning, uh, this guy shows up and the same thing. 

Brandon: 

It was like, Travis, this guy is here to see it. Well, who is it? I don’t know. He just says he has a meeting with you. What time? 10 o’clock. Who is he? I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

Again. What are you doing here? Because I want to hear about this business and told him he goes Well, what do you need? My partner says we need $882,642.79. I said, besides all that I need to sell water bottles, and he knows how much do you want? 

Brandon: 

I said a million dollars and he goes all right. 

Brandon: 

And he pulled out his checkbook and he wrote a check, and he had it to me. And I was like, Uh sure, OK. Gosh. Yeah, that’s great. Thanks, pal, but we took it to the bank and the bank said Okay. Yeah, I said, What do you mean? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, and she goes, Yeah, you know, he’s definitely got enough to come to this check. 

Brandon: 

Okay? We’ll put it through as quick as you can. 

Brandon: 

Did you negotiate? Turn like there’s a lot of things that happen here in a normal deal? Uh, do you Do you, like, say you can have 20% for a million dollars? Do you do any of that? 

Travis: 

That was never my forte. That at that time I wasn’t into the numbers whatsoever. That was her area of expertise. 

Brandon: 

She went to business school. Therefore she knew how to do the numbers. And so what they arranged, I think, was an interest only at the first million. 

Brandon: 

Oh, But then, like the very next month, we needed another million. And then the very next month, we need another two million, you know? And so that’s when the equity started flying. 

Brandon: 

And then eventually he bought her out and she got to take off back to Hawaii with with one of the employees And, uh, yeah, what a what a ride. 

Brandon: 

And then eventually. 

Brandon: 

So she leaves again, this time with funnier employees. 

Travis: 

Um, do you? And then at some point, this thing is growing. 

Travis: 

You’re raising money. 

Travis: 

She leaves. Are you worried that you don’t understand how to do the equity or at this point, you have a lawyer? 

Travis: 

Well, I so no, I was not worried. And I had a really good I p attorney, but not a really good business attorney I had. In fact, Yeah, I’d love to say his name’s Carl, but I won’t. 

Brandon: 

It was awful. 

Brandon: 

He was absolutely awful. He did a horrible job of of of a lot of things. But I didn’t. I didn’t really at that time understand the whole corporate side of business, you know, the sign company and the fence company was like I know the better Business Bureau meetings. 

Brandon: 

And I know that or the you know what? The Chamber of Commerce Chamber. I know those kind of things, and I know how to work a crowd, and I know how to network, and I know how to sail. And I knew that business. 

Brandon: 

But when they came to the corporate side of things, I had no clue. I I still to this day don’t do spreadsheets. And so I surround myself with people who do spreadsheets now. But back then there was no, there is none of that. 

Brandon: 

So what made you get to the point where you said I got? 

Brandon: 

I’ve had I’ve had enough. 

Travis: 

I want to sell this because I think that was 2012 or 2013, if I remember, right? 

Travis: 

Yeah, I had my brother had just died, and, um, I just got married to a British woman and I was ready to go live in England and go travel the planet and just be retired. 

Travis: 

And, um, I you know, my my time was up. 

Brandon: 

You know, the season was over, and I I pretty much, you know, I got into our area. 

Brandon: 

You know, I we had sales reps who got us into our AI. 

Brandon: 

But we got into our AI. We got the NBA, we got the military. We had all of the big retail stores and we had really spread out. And we were all over the place. And I was in Paris and at the Loof, and I saw a hydrophobic pills, and that was always kind of the benchmark of success was when we saw water hydro flask on the far side of the world. 

Brandon: 

Okay, we made it. 

Brandon: 

And I had that moment and I was at I remember, you know, this woman had a pink one and I went up and I asked her, I’m like, Where did you get that? 

Brandon: 

And she picked it up and she goes, This is mine. This is my hydro flask. This is mine because she loved it so much. And I said, Well, I, uh that’s interesting, because I’m the owner and she goes, No, you’re nice. 

Brandon: 

Mine. 

Brandon: 

I said no. No, I owned the company and she called her husband over, and her husband started to cry at the owner. 

Brandon: 

And I was like, I’m done. 

Travis: 

I’m done. And I got we left Duluth got in the train, and I got this text message from the home headquarters. And I was like, This is a stupid question. 

Brandon: 

You guys are asking me just stupid questions, Like, you know how to answer that. Your big kids take care of business while I’m gone. 

Brandon: 

If I can’t even leave for my honeymoon, you know, this is awful. I’m just ready to go. I just saw the bottle and I was done. I returned and set them out. 

Brandon: 

Um, you know, you spark something. 

Travis: 

So when you said you got into the military, my wife and I sometimes have people who get out of the military. 

Travis: 

They they come to our house and we let them live with us. If there transitioning or doing, uh, of course, a lot of them go to some some courses up here in Northern California. 

Travis: 

And we had this guy won’t say his last name, but amazing guy worked for an elite army unit, and we had lived with us for a month and we had just had a ton of fun, But he had when he retired out of North Carolina, he had come to bend Oregon and um he said, you know, we were using these. 

Travis: 

This is this is the actual bottle that he gave me. 

Travis: 

Um, it was he said, there’s a bunch of hippies making these bottles in bend Oregon that not a lot of people know about. 

Travis: 

And in the Special Forces were using them, and they work. 

Travis: 

And he gave my wife, and I want to give us some other really nice cool things. 

Travis: 

And that was actually this is my my first hydro flask. 

Travis: 

Um, and, you know, I was like, God, what? 

Travis: 

I think I’m innovative. 

Travis: 

Like, why aren’t I on the forefront of this? 

Travis: 

Like what the hell? 

Travis: 

I’m using this stupid aluminum bottle that’s rusted. 

Brandon: 

And, um so that was my You spark that. 

Travis: 

So how do you sell the company? 

Travis: 

Um, well, so Okay. 

Travis: 

So real quick on that. 

Travis: 

The hippies making the bottles we didn’t actually make them in bend. 

Brandon: 

That was always makes number. We’ve always been made in China, but I always marketed and put out there without breaking the law. 

Brandon: 

We worked right on. That fine line of made in China was marked, and you could have seen it. Had you been looking in the right place when you bought the bottle, but we didn’t stamp it on the outside. So there’s always been a big couple of things that that I’ve heard over the years. 

Brandon: 

The big one is that we were made in bend until I sold. Then it went to China. Always have been made in China. All of the water bottles have always been made in China. There’s no American made metal, stainless steel, double wall, vacuum insulated bottles made in China and anywhere else besides China. The other big misnomer is that she left. She took half and she started a company that sounds like 50 50. 

Brandon: 

Um, which is not true. She did not. She did steal bottles. She did start selling bottles in the Hawaiian, uh, at the Oahu SWAT me. But that did not go anywhere. So those are two big misnomers that just aren’t true. She was never my wife. Therefore, she never took half of the money. 

Brandon: 

Uh, did that. 

Brandon: 

Well, I appreciate you, uh, setting that record straight. The It’s sort of like the I actually did it too. 

Travis: 

Travis is designed in California, made in China, the apple, the apple thing But, you know, these are all technicalities that matter for the rules. 

Travis: 

And I understand all those like you do. 

Travis: 

But at the end of the day, like, you know, they it was a cool thing. 

Travis: 

There’s a bunch of hippies making these water bottles that that stay hot and cold and damn if it didn’t work. 

Travis: 

I mean, it does work. It’s it’s actually it’s actually incredible. 

Travis: 

And then when he bought that, when he bought that one, I went out and, like, bought 10 of them because they work, but going back to you selling it, Did you putting that on Craigslist? 

Travis: 

I mean, I I maybe you did. I don’t know. 

Travis: 

Yeah. No, I I did. Um uh, the So what happened was when when she was bought out, it was kind of one of those What are going to do? 

Brandon: 

I’m staying, you know, like the company was still so new and its infancy when she was bought out that there was a long ways to go, and they really incentivized me to stay. So they started really taking, you know, the investors started taking care of me to keep me in, did she? 

Brandon: 

But did were you 50 50? 

Travis: 

We were equal ownership at that point until we started taking on more and my investment. And then it started. You know, it’s just 1%. It’s just 5%. It’s just 10%. And then when she bolted for the umpteenth time and he bought her out, he’s like, Well, hey, do you have this much money to pay half of buying her out? 

Brandon: 

I don’t have any money. I don’t even have a car at this time because she just took my truck, let alone that much money to give her half of what you’re buying we’re buying her for. And so he says, I’ll cover it. Don’t you worry, don’t you? 

Brandon: 

Don’t worry. I’ll take that equity. 

Travis: 

Yeah, and so he did. And that put me in 49% And 49% is when the you know, I only jokingly have to say that the forklift came in and dropped off the corporate playbook and I look at this playbook that was 8000 pages long, and he says you stay here another four years. 

Brandon: 

We’re gonna make it well worth your while. Look at these numbers. This is what we’re going to give you, and this is what we’re gonna do. And I opened up the book and I looked at it the first page. I couldn’t get past it. I said, no, this isn’t this doesn’t set well with my heart. This isn’t who I am. This is my baby, like, don’t you know? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

So did at that point, they bought they bought you out to that at that point is very easy to buy me out. 

Travis: 

Especially with an incompetent Carl. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I’m only I’m only laughing only Travis because I’ve been down that road and I got some scars on my back. 

Travis: 

Maybe my arm. A few scrapes on my head that are covered over by hair. 

Travis: 

Um, yeah, yeah, tough lessons. 

Brandon: 

But you at that point, I can’t imagine that you didn’t. 

Brandon: 

I mean, hydro flask was relatively successful. I think, uh, the reason I remember it’s so well was because that is around the time that I sold my first company. 

Travis: 

And I mean, I’m just a business nut. 

Travis: 

Um, I’m a geek. I don’t know what you call me, but, um, I really just like the all of that stuff, and I had heard about your story. And I remember I was like, Well, the hydro flask I sold and I think you were around 12 or 13 million in revenue at that point. 

Travis: 

At least at least, um so I was like, Oh, well, he probably made some coin, and I can’t imagine you didn’t make enough money to at least go by your truck back. 

Brandon: 

Right. 

Travis: 

Um did I bought a bigger truck at a trailer to go with it? 

Brandon: 

Now you can buy a cybertruck the Tesla cybertruck. 

Travis: 

I would like one of those. I think that that will be really neat. And if nothing else, just to be like you know what? Screw you. I have one of those. Yeah, I know you may not like it or you may love it. You may hate it, but either way, I’ve got one. 

Brandon: 

My friend has three reservations because he hit the button three times. So he said he would give me one. Yeah, 100 bucks. But, um, I actually I’m going to get a Tesla, but so when you I want to go back to this because I know how I felt. 

Travis: 

Um, when I sold my first company and I had a very similar journey to you, and it was probably a little longer. 

Travis: 

I started 1996 and sold it, I think in 2012 or 2013, Um, and it was a bittersweet thing for me. 

Travis: 

I remember. 

Travis: 

I remember exactly where I was. 

Travis: 

I was scared to death that it wasn’t going to happen because when I that for me, as I’m sure for you it was the most amount of money that I had. 

Travis: 

First of all, I had nothing like you. 

Travis: 

And and I was like So my bank account’s gonna go from, like, $1500 to what I was like, You’re you’re gonna wire it right? 

Travis: 

I actually, I cost myself, like, $10,000 because I bought insurance for the escrow because I was so scared, Travis, like I really was. 

Travis: 

I was, and I and the irony of it was was that I had used that money to start a new company, and I was sleeping on a friend’s floor in a sleeping bag with no bed. 

Travis: 

And I remember hitting the I was like, Are you sending it? 

Travis: 

We’re sending it. 

Travis: 

It’s gone through. 

Travis: 

I was like, I don’t see it. 

Travis: 

I don’t see it. And then one, And then it popped up and I was like and it was I don’t know that I would I was happier than I want to say, Happier than ever, right? 

Travis: 

Because that’s sort of really definitive. 

Travis: 

But I was I was, I don’t know, happy. 

Travis: 

I was satisfied, But I was also a piece of me, like, uh, I’m not the guy anymore. 

Travis: 

How did you feel that I had that same sort of, you know, I tapped out on a Thursday Friday. 

Travis: 

Where’s the money? 

Travis: 

Where’s the money? 

Travis: 

Are you sure this is real? 

Travis: 

And I just get taking Monday. 

Travis: 

Where’s the money? 

Brandon: 

Where’s the money? 

Brandon: 

Tuesday it hit, and Wednesday I got a credit card in the mail. 

Brandon: 

It was heavy. 

Brandon: 

It was Metal is like, This is good. I never knew such things existed, and I called to activate it and go through the activation process. 

Brandon: 

And I said, Okay, well, what’s the What’s the limit? 

Brandon: 

The guy says I can hear it, but I don’t see one like no like it wasn’t like $5000. 

Brandon: 

Like, how much can I spend on this because I had had credit cards, but I maxed them out by water bottles and and he’s like, but I don’t see a limit I’m like, Okay, so, hypothetically, let’s just role play here. 

Brandon: 

I’m going to Florida tomorrow to go buy a yacht. 

Brandon: 

Yacht cost. 

Brandon: 

Let’s just say a million dollars. I can use this credit card. 

Brandon: 

Uh, yeah. 

Brandon: 

Just give us a little bit of heads up. Are you doing that? 

Brandon: 

Tomorrow? I might. That’s when it kind of hit me like Okay, Yeah. The money’s in the bank. Um, luckily, my banker cut up that car was like, No, you do not get an unlimited bank account. That that’s, you know, Travis. 

Brandon: 

No, Um, but that was like I think it was like in April and September. 

Brandon: 

I very, really remember waking up one morning, not the hydro Frost guy anymore. 

Brandon: 

It took six months for me to realized that I’m okay with not being that person anymore. 

Brandon: 

And even though I haven’t been going to the office for six months, it was the first time I really realized that that’s not mine anymore. 

Brandon: 

That’s them. 

Brandon: 

You know, those kids are on their own Now. Go and, you know, go with God. 

Brandon: 

Guys, bios, candles, mis amigos. 

Brandon: 

So, what have you, um, been doing since what happened? 

Travis: 

Who stole millions of dollars from you? 

Travis: 

Um, I don’t know that I should say Merrill Lynch, Can I say Merrill Lynch on the air? 

Travis: 

I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

I mean, this is a Brandon White Brandon. See White build a business podcast. I think you can say anything you want. 

Travis: 

I would avoid Merrill Lynch if I was a listener. Yeah. Yeah, it was just one of those things. I found some property. 

Brandon: 

Uh, it’s like I’m gonna go pay cash for it. 

Brandon: 

Went in and they said, Yeah, yeah, sure. No problem. And they gave me the cash to buy the property, and they decided they wanted to keep a fair bit on the side as well. So yeah, that was rough. 

Brandon: 

Well, since then, I imagine you’ve met. You’ve learned a little bit about spreadsheets or or fill that. What I say is don’t try to learn. I mean, you should learn it, right, But always fill your gaps with with somebody who’s stronger, right? 

Travis: 

Absolutely. And, um, that was one of those. Just like it was It was just a screw you. We took your money, um, thing. 

Brandon: 

And so I I think that I didn’t really learn much about. It’s not like I went out and did no hookers and blow like, that’s not how I lost it, you know, Like, I didn’t lose it to helicopter, you know? And I didn’t buy any thing with the letter g in it. 

Brandon: 

Um, I guess I could cover a lot of different categories, but like G five, g six didn’t buy anything like that. 

Brandon: 

They just, like, just took it, But yeah, absolutely. Since then, I’ve I’ve definitely learned that you need to get, you know, and I knew the guy. That was the thing that hurt me. The worst is I built the guys finance and back when he was working at Bank of America. 

Brandon: 

And, you know, he was kind of sold grandfatherly figure. And, you know, I just really trusted him with my money. And I got divorced. And that divorce was very, you know, clear. 

Brandon: 

It was It was she got that. I got that. No worries. Everything’s good. 

Brandon: 

And then a couple months later, it’s like, No, we took your money anyway, that’s crazy. 

Brandon: 

Well, hopefully you have enough now. 

Brandon: 

It looks like you’re you’re you’re you’re doing okay. Do you have a You haven’t done a business. I mean, you do have a business which I do want to talk about because I think it’s super important. 

Travis: 

I get a lot of people who write me and students that I’ve had about sourcing in China. And there’s a million lessons in that you can you can go really wrong. 

Travis: 

I mean, you can go broke. 

Travis: 

Um, yeah, candidly, Uh, which which, you know, if you don’t do that and it’s and I think it’s gotten I don’t want to say it’s gotten worse, but it’s gotten the Chinese market. 

Travis: 

They become smarter in the sense that they know they can have these agents. 

Travis: 

And you don’t know if you’re really talking to the factory or you’re the only way you know you’re talking to factory. 

Travis: 

In my experience, if you show up and you drive to the factory and and even then it’s still not guaranteed, I’ve been to I’ve been, um I’ve been to a lot of factories. 

Travis: 

I mean, I was I was in China, probably three times last year just by March until no more. 

Travis: 

And, yeah, I mean, I’ve shown up before. 

Travis: 

Where do you work for the factory? 

Travis: 

Yes. 

Travis: 

Yeah, yeah. 

Brandon: 

I work for the factory sourcing company. 

Brandon: 

Are you an agent? 

Brandon: 

Who are you know? 

Brandon: 

No. Well, both. I’m on a sales agent, and I also have a trading company, and I also work for the factory. Okay. 

Brandon: 

Do you have an office at the factory? Yes. Yes, yes. Do you have a desk at the factory? Yes. Yes, yes. Show up. And where is your desk? This one? 

Brandon: 

That’s not your husband on there, is it, John? No, this is somebody else. Far as this desk. Uh, that’s not your desk job. You don’t want to. Yeah, it happens. There’s a There’s a lot of scams, but at the same time, China. There’s a hell of a good job at manufacturing. There’s a lot of good people I’ve met so many dear friends over the years, and I’ve met a lot of scam artists. Some of them hail from the United States of America, and they’re not all Chinese. Some of them are American living in China. Those scammers steal from you just as fast, if not faster. 

Brandon: 

So, yeah, So now you haven’t built any more. 

Travis: 

Have you built? I guess I should ask you because I don’t know. Have you built any more products like the Hydro Flash or thought about that? 

Travis: 

I have. I’m kind of I’m kind of not building my own brands anymore. Businesses I really take pleasure from helping other people build. I really enjoy the building process. Once it gets up to a platitude place, I just kind of start to lose interest. And so I really enjoy that initial startup and being through it as many times as I have personally. 

Brandon: 

And then now that I’ve been doing, uh, consulting therapy, business coaching for so long, I’ve been through hundreds and hundreds of startups and I really enjoy that building phase. But I enjoy doing it for other people and letting them go out and be that CEO. That person on the stage, I kind of sit back, and right now I’ve got a bunch of property that I actually really enjoyed chain signed juniper trees, and I’ve got a four year old daughter and I enjoy doing that, And, um so I just work with people that I really like. 

Brandon: 

And I’m at the point where I’m fortunate enough from all facets to say no to people that I don’t want to work with, so I’m gonna I’m actually in a very happy, sweet spot. 

Brandon: 

Uh, what is, uh, chain sawing juniper trees? 

Brandon: 

Like cutting them down or trimming them just out of curiosity? 

Travis: 

Well, both I bought Zion, but typically, I drop them because they are non native species. They suck up a lot of water, and there are a lot of shade for the Ponderosa. They could and should be growing, which are the native species. And just a lot more beautiful. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, change the line is actually pretty fun, isn’t it? 

Travis: 

I love it. Yeah, if I’m not flying a jet or riding a motorcycle or jumping out of an airplane, the chain saw is the most dangerous way for me to focus. And the most, you know, economical way. 

Brandon: 

I mean, it’s really not that expensive. Once you buy a couple of them, you actually get a I don’t think if you haven’t changed solid and you’re listening like it’s a real workout. 

Brandon: 

Oh, man, it is. 

Travis: 

I mean, you’re constantly up and down and up and down. And then, you know, a lot of people would cut him, buy the book, they’ll cut a wedge, and then they’ll cut. 

Brandon: 

And then they know that they’re going to fall that way, or they know whether it’s going to fall. 

Brandon: 

But I cut them flat because it’s a heck of a lot faster. 

Brandon: 

And then I let it come down and I try to move out of the way to see you know which way again, They just kind of talk to me. 

Brandon: 

They just are like, we’re gonna pull that way. Okay, so I’m gonna stand over here nine times out of 10. 

Brandon: 

They do 99% of the time they do. 

Brandon: 

I sometimes do that. And then when I think that blade is going to get caught, I just hit it on the back side once and yeah, um, now you work with people who are doing businesses or starting with an idea. 

Travis: 

And how do you do? 

Brandon: 

You charge them equity. 

Travis: 

Like, what is your economics on how some and and Travis, how does someone even getting well, I can tell them how to get in touch with you, but I’m not going to do that because I don’t know if you want an inundation of on that channel. 

Travis: 

Um, from there. But how does how does that work? 

Travis: 

Well, yeah. 

Brandon: 

So that was, you know, that was one of the I mean, I’d never been a consultant before. I didn’t know how to charge. I didn’t know what to provide. I didn’t know. And I had a kind of a hang up on that for for a couple of years, where it’s like, What do I charge? 

Brandon: 

What do I do? And so now I’ve put it together over the last couple of years, and it’s it’s going fairly swimmingly. 

Brandon: 

I typically charge per month, and I say that we can get most things accomplished within about four months from the back of the napkin drawing, too, Uh, delivery into your third party, logistics or fulfillment by Amazon or your garage or wherever you’re gonna get it. 

Brandon: 

Of course there’s engineering, and there’s design files that we need to get that that we can obtain. 

Brandon: 

And then once we have that, we’re off the races. 

Brandon: 

And so I charged per month for about four months. Um if if after the four months it’s it’s a company that I’m interested in and they’re interested still in working with me because, like I said, you know, like I get along with most people, But I’m at the point where I say no to people. 

Brandon: 

But if we’ve both said yes and we get through the four months and everything is going well then, yeah, then we start to talk about equity and those roles. 

Brandon: 

And you are you focused on people who want a physical, you know, product? 

Brandon: 

Or is it Is it also clothing? 

Travis: 

Or do you care? 

Travis: 

Yeah, I have factories all over the place and I’m working. 

Travis: 

I work with a really great team out of India. Um, we’ve got factories in Vietnam and a few other countries, and here in America, we I mean, that’s a whole show. I mean, we can talk about American manufacturing and right now, American factories. How that’s going to make is that coming back by the way it is. 

Brandon: 

But not as quick as we had thought or wanted to. 

Travis: 

We were on a really good trajectory for dare I say, three years we were doing really well bringing it back to America in the last two years have been, um, even the last. 

Brandon: 

Is it okay to say the last three months have been less and less? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Why do you think? 

Brandon: 

I mean, I mean candidly, it’s important for people to understand. Well, why do you think? Do you think it’s that that we were back in and, uh, keep it in America and the tariffs and things like that and the things like that have been lifted. 

Travis: 

So now it’s wide open again. 

Travis: 

I do. I think the tariffs had a big part of it. I mean, when people are paying 20 to 25 additional points overnight for what they had been doing yesterday, they want to get out and go do else, whether it be another country or another business altogether. 

Brandon: 

But the tariffs really gave us a lot of initiative to open up in American factories. 

Brandon: 

As the Covid coronavirus persisted, the American labor force was staying home, collecting unemployment versus going into work, and the Chinese factories were open and they were cranking out products. 

Brandon: 

So, like I personally tried to buy an American made trailer from my property and the guy said No, we’re backed up six months. 

Brandon: 

Why? Because you can’t bring them in from China Because no, no, they’re made here in America. Okay, well, then why aren’t we making trailers? 

Brandon: 

He says, because they’re sitting at home eating pizza on welfare and collecting unemployment because they don’t want to go into work because they’re making more money, Collected unemployment than they were working at the trailer factory. 

Brandon: 

I said, Okay, well, then I know people who are making trailers right now in China. 

Brandon: 

He’s like, Yeah, you should probably do that. So it’s like, Well, I think it’s important because you you are truth on the ground whether it’s political or not, It doesn’t candidly. 

Brandon: 

For me, as business people, it doesn’t matter. What matters is is that we can’t source things here now. 

Travis: 

So you’re gonna go to China. 

Travis: 

And if you’re gonna go to China, then, um you know, you got truthfully, I can’t I can’t overemphasize this to to listeners out there if if you don’t have someone that knows what they’re doing and has been in the landscape and candidly is trusted, right, right, That’s the That’s The trust is is 100% if not 99.99% of it. 

Travis: 

And I’ve been fortunate enough that the people that I work the factories I work with, I’ve known him for long enough that they know my standards of quality. 

Travis: 

They also know that you know, this order might only be $10,000 for them or $100,000 for them. 

Travis: 

And if they go and knock this off, there’s no more dollars after that. 

Brandon: 

But if they take this 10,000 and they do right and they do the best they can, there’s gonna be another $150,000 come into them. 

Brandon: 

And so I have a very tight knit group of factories that I know the owners. 

Brandon: 

I work directly with the owners. There’s no cells agent, there’s no middleman. And it’s my role index of my trusted, you know, friends. 

Brandon: 

They’re really my friends. 

Brandon: 

I think I I think that’s really important. 

Travis: 

Um well, I wanna thank you for taking your afternoon. I could talk to you for six more hours. 

Travis: 

Probably. Um, on on a whole host of things. Anything from pirates in Venezuela. Caracas actually has very good bone fishing. 

Travis: 

Um Yeah, so does bone air that it does. 

Brandon: 

Um, And the park there, which gets, um, abused, I should say from that to flying planes. 

Travis: 

But I think, Well, definitely hook up again before we go to things. 

Travis: 

First thing is, do you have three h p t s for entrepreneurs who are listening out there who either Not just even starting a company for sure. 

Travis: 

If you’re starting a company but even have a product and they need to scale it, Um, I did not go to N B. 

Travis: 

A. 

Travis: 

I know. 

Travis: 

I want a non MBIA answer from you. 

Travis: 

I don’t know what h p Oh, well, it’s not an NBA. 

Brandon: 

Oh, sorry. 

Travis: 

So sorry. 

Brandon: 

I should probably explain that. So h p t is a high percentage tip that I’m that I made up from high percentage spot. 

Travis: 

That was the fishing spot. 

Travis: 

So we would say you’d say, Well, where do you want to go today? 

Travis: 

You say, Oh, take me to an H p s and be like, Okay, we’ll go there because we’ll probably catch fish. So I made it up. Sorry. Um uh, yeah. H p t a high percentage tip. 

Travis: 

I’m sorry um, I would say that if you get a calling to do something, do it because it will be hard and it will get harder and unseen. 

Brandon: 

Forces will come to your aid. And if it really needs to be out there, do it. I think that would be one. Is that we do need entrepreneurs Get that calling. 

Brandon: 

Please do. 

Brandon: 

I would say that the number two would be if I can do it and if I can figure it out. 

Brandon: 

I don’t like to say that everybody could, but I would say a high percentage of people could probably go out and do every bit as much, if not more, than I have. Um, and then my third one. I would say that for the younger listeners, um, the rest of life can happen later. 

Brandon: 

But live life now if you can go and travel, go and travel. If you can take those exotic, far off remote jobs on the far side of the world, go do that. 

Brandon: 

Worry about life later. Kids, family, all of that later. 

Brandon: 

I think that’s the way I think. 

Brandon: 

Those are three awesome tips for everybody, uh, and and to wrap things up. How do people get in touch with you? Who have? Actually I lied. We’re gonna do two more things. One is what is the sweet spot of the people You can help. And then the last thing is, how do they get in touch with you? 

Travis: 

Okay. Yeah. Sweet spot is people who are funded. I am not funding businesses. I did not walk away with $200 million. That was not Travis. Who has that in his bank account? 

Brandon: 

I’m laughing. 

Brandon: 

But it’s important, right? 

Travis: 

It is. I have people come and try to kidnap me. Honestly. What? Yeah, that’s a whole nother. We really do. I want to talk to you about your growing and you’re biking too. So I really do want to talk to you more. Brandon. Um, I would say funded companies that have an idea. Maybe you’re not a company, but if you have time to invest and you have money to invest, and it’s not outrageously expensive, but I will say sort of standard numbers or 75 to $100,000 to start a business. 

Brandon: 

You don’t need it all up front. 

Brandon: 

But over the next, you know, year so you’ll need about $100,000. Friends, family. You know, Big Bar is still angels, however you get it. 

Brandon: 

And, um, what was the question that Yeah, that was the So I’m just trying to look for your sweet spot of the customer. 

Brandon: 

So you gotta be. 

Brandon: 

You gotta basically be funded. 

Travis: 

You gotta be willing to put 75 to 100 to work If you have a product that that’s how you can help them. 

Brandon: 

Exactly. 

Travis: 

Right. 

Brandon: 

And can you do it for cheaper? 

Travis: 

Um, you could go through Alibaba and I would not recommend that to anybody. Like I would not want anybody I know to go through through that. 

Brandon: 

There is a lot of good on Alibaba. 

Brandon: 

There are a lot of good factories and that I’ve seen on there. But there’s a very large percentage of them will perhaps not give you what you’re paying for. And like you said, you can’t go broke doing things like that. I also seem to work with women. Really well. Female entrepreneurs are also kind of my jam. I don’t know why. I guess I just I just I really prefer women to be around and spend my time with, um and and we seem to get along really well. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, well, you seem really easy to get along with. 

Brandon: 

I am. 

Travis: 

I am now. More so. Yeah. Yeah, but But I’m really driven. I’m really focused. And I really, you know, I I want the best for all of my clients. 

Brandon: 

And so I am a little bit of a task. Masters like, Hey, what are the three Pantone’s we’re doing? I don’t know. Well, we’re not moving forward until you give me those three Pantone’s well, what? You know. But then we you know, then we talk about Pantone’s for eight hours. You know, we have a lot of fun, right? 

Brandon: 

And then how does someone get in touch with you? Who fits this? 

Travis: 

I have a company called the tremolo groups. Travis, um l o grou dot com Travis at tomorrow group dot com send me an email. Instagram is probably a really good get ahold of me. I shy away from from social media, the you. 

Brandon: 

But I actually didn’t find you on instagram, So can you give us your u r l one more time? 

Travis: 

We’re connected now. 

Brandon: 

Anyway. Travis at T u m a l o g r o u p dot com Perfect. 

Brandon: 

We’ll put that in the show notes. 

Travis: 

And Hey, man, let’s do this again. It was, uh It was a lot of fun. I’m really grateful for you, Sharon being open and sharing the true story. That that’s really wonderful. And people can People really can learn a lot from that. So I’m grateful for that, Brandon. 

Travis: 

Like I said earlier, like, you ride around in my truck with me all the time. I’m listening to you and I listen to these awesome stories and was like, How am I going to compete with this guy? 

Brandon: 

He was telling this awesome story about starting this multi trillion dollar company. 

Brandon: 

15 different businesses like, Yeah, it’s just great to be here. Thank you. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, Thanks a lot, man. So we’ll catch up on the channel that I know where to grab you and have a great rest of the week, man. And thanks again. 

Travis: 

Thank you, Brandon. Take care and be well. 

Brandon: 

Bye. 

Brandon: 

Thanks for being generous with your time and joining us for this episode of build a business success Secrets. 

Travis: 

Before we go, let me ask you a quick question. 

Brandon: 

Are you the type of person who wants to get 100% out of your time, talent and ideas? 

Travis: 

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Travis: 

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Travis: 

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Travis: 

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Travis: 

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Travis: 

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Travis: 

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Travis: 

Yeah

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