The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

26. High-growth and its unique challenges

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Last fall, Eric Morse sat down with three impressive entrepreneurs to discuss their journey, and lessons learned on resourcing for high growth, shaping culture, and learning from past mistakes.

On the latest edition of the Ivey Entrepreneur Podcast, Eric Brass, HBA ’05, Founder of Tequila Tromba, Debbie Fung, Co-Founder of Yoga Tree Studios, and Anton Rabie, HBA ’94, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Spin Master, discuss high-growth and its unique challenges.

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneurship podcast from the Pierrel Morrisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Abbey Business Goal. My name is Eric Morris and I will be your host for this episode. All right, so with that I really want to get directly into our pound. So these are all three just fantastically successful entrepreneurs and, frankly, pretty nice people, and that's why they're here today. Really. I've been fortunate to have a relationship with each of them over the years and I wanted them to be here, to be able to tell their story about about growth, and each of them has gone through periods of high growth, through periods of stagnation, through periods of perhaps even set back, and so what I hope that we'll have a chance to hear a little bit today is their story, some of this success is, some of the mistakes that they've made along the way, and then give you guys a chance to ask some questions. So with that, I'm going to I'm going to start with Anton and just let you tell your story about spin master. Well, morning, nice to see everyone. You know, spin master, what very few people know is started from just unbelievably humble beginnings. Every everything. You look at the company from the early days, you know we had when we started the company, there was no sea capital, private equity, V S, nothing. We just started. We started the company with a little bit of money that we had made from a university business call camps faces, and we started with our own you know, with seven eight thousand dollars our credit cards to some vinegar and and we started with just a huge amount of passion and tenacity and whatever it takes, attitude. But you know the company, I mean the phone used to ring in my death it's but so when we started the company, the the first concept that came to us was Earth Buddy. It was a grass that like, could she have bet? So? What happened was my partners, my partner Rene and the CO founder. He's grandmother came from Israel and she kind of smuggled. She was like in her late s and she opened up this this person she's like and she pulls out the Sawdust and grass seed and and then she had this article from the television newspaper. It was like the whole spread of the inside and how the the grasshead, Earth Buddy, had become a pet rock in Israel. So what we did is we took it and we went into my partner's grant kitchen, these mother's kitchen, and we literally took like a beaker, we took all this cooking stuff and we started to reverse engineer it, like how much grass seeds, Sawdust, Nylon. And then I when we drove in our car to Kmart at baby, a village at that time, there was a kmart right on the side there and my grandmother used to live across the road and we we went, we bought all of the hosary at the Kmart, everything and we're sitting there at the counter and the ladies like, what are you doing? So it's just important to to understand that every part about spin master in the early days was incredibly humble and we really you know, there's a late professor from western I think, David Burkogne. Yeah, and he said growth hides and multitude of since right, and and we were a great example of that. You know, when you're growing, a lot covers up mistakes in the company and I think that's one of the most important things to remember today and and we're actually having a bit of that right now. Because we go through different cycles as an organization. But we made like one of the questions was what mistakes we've made? Every mistake. There's no mistake we haven't made. It's just some of them are larger than others. But you know, for us our story is about this unique three individuals, kind of like a rock band. We would never be here if it wasn't for each other. I wouldn't be sitting here if it was for my partners. They wouldn't be sitting there for it wasn't, you know. So it's that story where the three of us are as opposite as you can imagine, right, and that's the magic of the company. is how we you know, we come to the table with such different mastery or skill sets or unique ability, whatever you want to call it, and spin master at the end of the day, is about it's started. I mean now, now it's different. We're in a totally different stage and wood drives. Wood drive success today is really different. So we have twozo employees and twenty nine countries and you know most,...

...very very little of our sales are in Canada. It's most school. It's a global company. I mean we are public, but I try to not think about that. I was interviewing a board candidate yesterday. This is lady in the states and and she's like to tell me how the companies changed since you've on public and I'm like, well, actually, I tried. I do my best to not let anyone think we're public because I want to make sure that the spirit, the values of the organization and I want to make sure that decisions are made with a long term focus, because the problem with come public companies is that they have a short term Lens. So I'm always like the bad person, trying to really make sure that the company, the entrepreneurs spirit and all the values are kept at the forefront and that we operate the same way as if we were I mean, obviously the finance department's different. You know, that's a that's a nice transition. Plant want to come back and talk about values in just a minute a time. So when we go to debby and w tell us a little bit about your story. Yeah, I mean, that's a that's a great story. I'm not sure we doesn't hear me, but our family is a fan of spin master. Thank you again. Hatcham Mose lives in our family. Let me just get my mic on. I'm not sure if I had this right. It's okay. Can you guys here? Yeah, okay. So I'm Debbie. I'm the cofound of Yoga Tree Studios here in Toronto. My story, it's also a very humble story. I'm not a public trading company. I'm a very local story. I founded a studio thirteen years ago with my husband at the age of twenty four. We both graduated from University of Waterloo. We both security full time position. I myself was also a buyer at Canadian tire for the longest time, I think you know, graduating ready for a full career. There was a pardon that, that thought that, you know, if we were to carry this throughout our life, is that the right direction? So what we did? We did a eat, pray love. We actually took a leave of absence, left their company and went to India. So my husband, Jason, who's also the cofound of yoga tree, he went to my sore India, if you guys all know Yoga, he did his training and Ashtangun classical Hatha, and I went to northern India, JI board, to study are your vedic medicine. So that was a six month journey and at that time were we weren't really thinking about finances, we weren't thinking about how to get the capital to build a Yoga Studio. We just really want to immerse herself in Yoga and that was our goal. COMING BACK TO TORONTO. We then thought, Hey, you know what we're already made of. This far Jays of God's teacher training certification. I'm training at your faded medicine. We need to do something about this. And that was the day that we'd have thought it to find a first lease. In our industry, especially retail industry, there's two things that really would make a break a retail number one is the retail rent. Number two is Pierroll, and we learned it very hard in the early days, with very minimal experience, that if we don't refine these two items, which we can talk about the sticks afterwards, you're screwed. Especially marches and retail now, especially the store friends, getting more challenging. So in two thousand and seven we open a first studio on Thorn Hill at the corner of centers, Center Street and Dufferent. It was hard. I think we didn't know that then. We're graphic that. Well, we offer free yoga the whole day. It was a holiday and no one came. It was Hanka and no one came and we were wondering, Hey, we offer yoga. There's only eleven people, counting myself and Jason. We sat in two classes. It doesn't look empty. What are we going to do? We have to pay rent, we have to pay our payroll. So then we thought, you know what, if we don't make it in the month, we're not going to be here. That's off the whole month free. So the whole month of January two thousand and seven, anyone comes in, no flyer needed, no tags or strings attached. You get free Yoga. A month in. I don't know how that happened. Sale started coming in. We make sure that our prices were reasonable. We make sure that offerings continue to say the quality was and that Carr is through in our second month, third months, fourth month and memberships were starting to trigger it. In two thousand and eight we sign up for a second leagues in Richmond Hill. What we noticed was that the class offering we're able to diffirst of all, unlike other studios at that time. Two Thousand and seven, the Yoga Industry in Toronto. They were very segregated in a free different styles. Either your beat grim uther in Moksha, either you are in downward dog and your focus in Ashtanga, but that's about it. The valleys of your trade. that the difference between Yoghishi was that we very much value the differs. Same classes, meaning we offer heated classes on head classes, restored if and go on and on. But fast forward, you know,...

...two thousand and eleven, two thousand and thirteen, two thousand and fifteen, we were aggressive in growing our market into the downtown core. One thing we notice is that if we continue to stay at the capacity we were in and in uptown, we would never be able to operate in the efficiency and the synergy that we wanted to be. So two thousand and fifteen was the year that we open our very first flagship at the heart of Bay and done that. It's a tenzero four a square feet studio. At that time we became one of the largest studio in Toronto, but at the same time we also make sure that we stay relevant to our community. It was also a time in our growth period that we decided to take a break in our growth between two thousand and seven, two thousand and fifteen, we continue to sign leases, continue to find new locations, continue to be at the very core center of the highest traffic towns in Toronto. But to that's the fifty took a break because we realize that we needed to make sure we refine our system. How many do we currently have? Five and this year, since two thousand and fifteen, we are ready to open our sixth studio. Two Thousand and twenty. It should have been two thousand and nineteen. Two Thousand and twenty would be a very exciting year for us. We have studio opening at the corner blore and avenue. It's at one hundred and twenty, one floor, and we're excited about the opportunity. Thanks, just right. Thank you. or Yes, sir, you're the youngest company up here. Totally about your story. Well, it's Nice, Nice match we have. We have toys, Yoga and Tequila. Love more does the world me. I figured if that wouldn't fill the room. Ye, really so. I think I was in the first entrepreneurship class. Yeah, it's so. It's you did very well instilling a bug and me that never left. You're blaming me something sometimes I do blame you. That curse your name. So I you know my entrepreneurship story. I went down to Mexico and exchange with Ivy. Back in two thousand and five. Most of my smart friends went to Hong Kong, Girl France or Switzerland. I went to Guadalara, Mexico, and I did so because I want a new experience, I wanted to meet new people, wanted a little bit of a kick in the ass and you know who's to be quite honest, also wanted some nice, nice weather and a good time as well. And, fancy me, unexpected actually, when I was down there I ended up falling in love with Tequila. So I had that with typical Western experience of Tequila being that terrible shot at that horrible bar at that CD hour of the night and ended up trying good to kill for the first time and said wow, this is incredible. It's like drinking a scotch, Cognac, fine wine. Came back to Canada, worked a work to day drop in financier about six years and to spend a year in the UK, but had that bug in me about about Tequila and I noticed that there was a gap in the market place. So and it's which still exists today. Tequila's very top and bottom heavy. It's either close your eyes, plug your nose, hope for the best shot, which is based on price, or the Pan of your chest, look how much money I'm spending, type product which is more about, you know, showing off versus versus substance in the bottom and there had to be a middle grown. There had to be something that was ultra premium accessible but the same time spoke to a demographic that cared about not just what the brand is and how much it cost, but where's it come from, who makes it and what's a pedigree behind? So the problem is I'm not a great nextic. Next, I'm not a great Mexican, Petiti the case you you can't tell. Better to be lucky than smart, which is sometimes a theme. A good friend of mine on exchange happens he be guy named Rodrigo Sadano. Rodrigo's father is Marcos Adana. Marcos Hoddano was the original matter distiller of Little Tequila brand you may have heard of, called Don Julio Tequila. Yeah, a lot of smiley faces now. So we said, why don't? We pitched Marco to be your master distiller to create this new brand trauma. We have no idea what we're doing. It's like asking Wayne Gretzky to play your men's leg team. He's going to tell us to bug her off, but I'll ask him anyway. And so we did. And and he said, to our utter surprise, he said, listen, guys, I'll do it on two conditions, and believe me, I'm over simplifying this conversation. The one number one, I got to have a piece of this company. This is got to be distill our own, much like it's, you know, Canadian owned, and I had an Australian partner as well, Australian own, because I work for for Don Julio for seventeen years and all I got was a watch for my service, a nice watch, but a watch. It was later robbed a gun points in Mexico. But that's another that's a second thing is no grinos in the kitchen, so he said. My entire life I've had people over, you know, look over my shoulder, tell me how to produce Tequila. They don't know what they're doing. That's what happening here, and we're like, okay, where about? We're certainly not going to give you in put hound how to make out to Mike Tequila. And so, much to my mother's dismay, quit a very good job in asset managements, partnered with the sedano family and we started making trauma and very bumble beginnings for all three of us because effectively, you know, no one would give us give us a dimeback the NFL...

...into an institutions office. Now for some money for Premim to Quel in two thousand and twelve I would have been laughed at the door. So after our first production or after our first fund raise, which I was friends and family I called pity money, we ended up having about ten to fifteen grand left in marketing. And so effectively, the only way to do it was to grab a backpack, take our bottles and go bar bar but bar by, bar bottle by bottle, and sell trauma and tell the story over and over and over again. And from that we built Traumba to the number two premium Quel in Canada, number one in Toronto, number two in Australian number one in Melbourne. And now when the fastest growing in the US, and this year we were named in the top ten trending to quelas globally by the iws ore, which is the kind of spirits Bible based on the length in UK. So if anybody tells you organic grass roots doesn't work, I'm here to tell you it does, with with a lot of pain. But we have three grass root companies, yeah, which is which is really cool. You know, one thing that doesn't get talked about very often, I think, when we talked about high growth companies, is is values, and having had the really wonderful opportunity to work with so many high growth companies that I find that it's actually central to a lot of them and I know Anton and I have had this conversation. I'm not sure that that we've had this conversation, but you know, they shape the way you make decisions and about the opportunities you go after and the partners that you take on, but so many other things that happen within organization. And so I've asked each of them to talk just a little bit about the values that they use or that they've taken into the organization as they've grown. Well, I think we should just step back on the whole values topics and put a little bit of context. Is, firstly, for me every topic depending on the phase of spin master. It's different right because we've gone through so many phases as a company. So when you when you think about the values for spin master, in the first ten years, really it was just about living the values and because you're touching everyone and everyone is watching, you know you don't have to hang up any values on the walls, you don't have to talk about the values, you just live them. When when you're in a start up phase now spin master, you know, having twenty nine countries, you know and you know the scale of the organization is different. Is Values is very different. At a company our size and it's it's it's really a an ongoing challenge to keep values front and center and to keep people living the values. It really takes a lot of work and and I got to put a lot of time into it and in the early days I never put any time into it. Again, I was just living the values. So first I'll just list some of our values, but then I'll kind of share with you some of the things that I'm learning today on how to keep the value is front and center. So our values are integrity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, open mindset, partnerships, driving results in collaboration. So when you when you think about values in a company like spin master a cup, a couple things come to mind. One is, as a leader of an organization, no day goes by where I don't meet with people on the front line and I ask them this question. Are there any impediments or barriers to you living your values when you're working during the day? Because I what I want to do. What my role is to understand. Okay, where are people having trouble living the values? Like say, for example, someone says to me and supply chain. Well, I'm having trouble being entrepreneurial because there's too much biocracy, or someone says to me in Mexico I'm having trouble with integrity because, you know, things are done differently here. So my my role is to really to constantly unders to pulse check the organization right. And one of the things that I learned from one of our board me members, Ed Clark, who's is one of the wisest men I've ever met in my life, is you know, when an organization gets to the size that we are, is that you've got a continuously pulse check the organization and you can do it with easy surveys, right, and so I think even for you know, you guys should think about how do you anonymous? How do you get feedback, this feedback loop on where are you in your values? Because like, for example, collaboration, ten years ago it's been master with hire it's dipped in the last year. So so now through now I can kind of probe and ask questions, you know, where are the tension points on the collaboration of the organization? But it's, you know, when it comes to values at a company our size, it comes down to, you know, hiring people to match your values, rewarding people to match your values, having, you know, clear rewards and recognition.

I mean it's the whole textbook thing of values. It's real and it's live. It's been master but at the end of the day, value start at the top and people need to see, you know, you living the values. I mean one of the values which has really being a game changer for spin master as partnerships. So if you look at any of our hits or big franchises and for example Bacca Gun, which we did over a billion in sales just wholesale. That's not even including like the t shirts or the underwear or the backback, so you know the toothpaste or anything like that. But when nine years ago, when we launched Buka Gun, the story of Bacca gun was an inventor came to my partners and brings us like little this piece of paper with they had this metal ball and it didn't even function properly and and and it was just as raw idea from this inventor in the states. Shelley and the guys looked at it and they're like, what happens if we go to Japan and find someone who can help us with the mechanism? Because it wasn't because Bacca gun will you do? Is You know what Bacca Gun is? It's a TV show where the TV shows made in Japan. It's Japanese anime, which boys in that age group love Japanese anime, kind of like pokemon and transformers and all that. So the whole story of Bocca gun is basically an inventor comes shows us a concept, we take the concept, which is very early in raw. We then take it to Japan. We have saga help us with the Engineering on the mechanism. Then we have TP company called TPM or team. They did the animation. Can't remember the and and then we had chorus Nelvana. They helped us with the broadcasting. So what we did is we created a partnership where we said every single toy that's sold or any merchant I had sold, there's a twelve percent revenue that comes into a pool and of that pool of twelve percent, the inventor gets certain percentage, saga gets a certain percentage, chorus and Alvana gets a certain percentage and the Japanese anime company gets a certain percentage and spin master gets the percentage. So we created this like global partnership where each person was playing to their strengths. And spin master would never be where we were today if it wasn't for partnerships. And our company is is littered with history of partnerships. Paw Patrol as a partnership with an inventor in the UK and and keep Chapman and NICKELODEON's a partner with us. But we're constantly sourcing the world for people who are are the best at what they do in a certain areas and certain verticals and partnering with that. I should I should point out at Tiet that that sounded really easy, but it really turned the business model in the industry on its head and I think you guys deserve, you know, obviously a lot of credit for for doing that and been amazing how we've been able to departner with so many different players in that industry. I mean, I'll just conclude on the topic of values. Is Values is it gets really challenging when you're dealing with so many culture, so many offices. Of Our two thousand employees, there's only six D and fifty of them in Toronto, and and you have all these subcultures, right. So it's there's no day that I spend more. If you would have asked me fifteen years ago, if you would have said to me, Oh, you're going to spend time, you know, x percentage, you're a day on values, I would be like what right? And and it's just so critical right now. And we got to constantly have a feedback loop measuring how we're doing and and things change and people. I'll give you an interesting thing we did. You know, it's humbling. How you know, you got to always keep asking your employees. We found out about a year ago that people were confused about the value partnerships. They're like, how do how do I working in brought Aslava, Slovakia, how does partnerships tie into my role when I'm working in supply chain? And I'm like, well, actually, partnerships is an external value, not an internal value, and we hadn't even made that delineation clear year ago. So now we've gone out to the company worldwide and we said, hey, of all of our values, yeah, there's only one which is very externally facing, which is partnerships. And if you work in the legal department, make sure that, if you're working on a contract for Bacca gun right, that how it affects you. Is We want you to make sure that they feel like once the contract signed, they feel happy, right, and and we're not just grinding them on small points. So we're not being unreasonable and we want people to feel good after it. So partnerships has an application to certain departments in our company, but it's more an external facing value. Yeah, thanks. So for us at Yoga Tree we have three values and you...

...know, and these three values really ingrained in what we do and what we're about a yoga tree. So our values are community. We have five studios in Toronto and each of them operate in very different community. We have a Richmond Hill and fall, which is more of a kind of suburban community, but we also have our downtown core, which Richmond spedne up based on us, and also young and the egg. When we talk about community, we echo that in the things that we do and also how our staff translate that in their own way. For example, community means that to us. It means that, for example, what we value in what we have in the members in the community. For Long Story Short, I think community to us, especially in our downtown market for example, we allow our staff and empower them to basically operate in what they want to do. Sorry, they're just kisses right now. So for us, I think you know, we talked about values topic community. We talk about empowerment, we talked about diversity. We in the early days a lot of times is entrepreneur. We do a lot of things our self. The hardest part for me was to let go and let our staff to determine what it means to them and what they want to do. So I think the biggest challenge for entrepreneur like myself who in the early days started the company between myself and my husband. Then we also grew a family. Same time in two thousand and fifteen and two thousand and sixteen was how can we stay relevant to our community but also allow us to let go and delegate some of the work. We over time had to also reflect on the values to make sure that, yes, is relevant to us, but is it relevant to the staff who comes in every day and lives and breathe, Seeoka Tree? And that was a time where we allow out our staff to really that a whole power session. We actually got a third party to come and see MC can a management system to really reflect. Yes, in the early days we came up with the values our self, but it was also a time for us to really reflect to see if these values were still relevant. And I think going back to in tell what he was saying. Yes, in the early days or start up, these are the values and go through cycles and we definitely went through cycles. We definitely went through are growing pains where the starter of the companies values were no longer relevant to to what it was. So now we still have a core values, but these values are translated in the meaning that our staff it also interprets and they also have to live and breathe what they believe these values are. So community is one to us. Community in the sense that, again, we operate in these different markets. We also allow them to pick and choose what they want in class offering. For example, young and egg and Ridgeman's DNA. We have more of a millennial demographic. We offer classes like flow in the sixth we offer classes like hit yoga up time in a suburban market. We allow our management to select classes that are more geared towards a suburban market. That includes Prenado classes, family yoga and kids yoga. Last but not least, we also very value diversity. Diversity not just in the people we employed, the people we work with, but diversity in the sense that the class offering needs to be diverse. Class offering diversity means that it should be accessible to majority of people. It should be accessible in a sense that I have our rightist, I have hip replacement, I have scoliosis. The range of product, the range of classes, needs to be accessible and Theys to be diverse. So those are three values. Cool. Yeah, some some really, really interesting, interesting points. And know on that culture thing, the what's, what's important in Mexico sometimes isn't as important as it is in Canada and it took us a while to realize without you know, both from a profitability standplayer or a production standpoint, but also from not being your head against the wall too many times, that you have to adjust for the cultural aspects new deal with so many or different cultures, and I do. But Mexico is we have ten people down to Mexico and it is challenging. It is challenging for us. We know we have a few really key key values. Thinking Act differently, collaborations to do one for us empowerment and and outlove your customer. So in terms of you know, for us on the collaboration side, if you ever sit in one of our meetings, we really try to foster a no bullshit approach where it's a free flow of ideas. So in the sense that you know you'll sit in the call with the US, for example, you'll have to part time ambassador in Washington state telling our US how to sales, that he's wrong and here's why, and the US head of sales doesn't get upset about that, isn't going to offend it because it limits the free flows of ideas and as a result of setting up a structure like that and encouraging people to have such input. They feel in power and some of the best ideas we've ever had for Traumba have not come from creative agencies, they have not come from, quote unquote, you know, C suee executives, they've come from they've come from people on the ground on our...

...team. And one of the other elements we have on the empowerment side is we really believe in a decentralized organizational structure. So the traditional structure in the in the liquor world at least, is it's very top down control from headquarters. Here's what you do here in March Moors and here's here's here's how to do it. That's not the way we operate it all. We have very small regional teams with leaders that have huge empowerment to make decisions. We put a ton of trust in these gut and these guys and girls, and I should say mental ladies and really these guys are tasked with a ton of responsibility to execute quickly and if they worked at a large company like a Diagi or Prenoy card, it would take them ten to fifteen years to reach this milestone. This level responsibility, but with Traumba, if they show success on empower them really quickly to three years. And I'm a big believer. I think it's an old, maybe an old patent quote that says don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and they'll sup they'll surprise you with their ingenuity. And I'm a true believer in that. And the old structure of top down, I think, is it's not the way to go. To the structure of fast, fluid, nonlinear or you trade an element of chaos, but you gain such mobility and such execution that you're able to effectively ut maneuver your competitors thinking act differently. So one of the things when the challenges we have, we started a brand where we're so story reliance and so brand religned versus product relined, is, you know, we thought, well, let's mimic what works for another company, their story and adjusted to ours. If we did that, we would have been dead a long time ago. The world. You know, as crazy as it sounds, the world does not need another to keel a brand. Okay, so if I went and told a story kind of, you know, built a better mousetrap, on an existing story, it wouldn't resonate. So for us we had to effectively, you know, really be different. If you look at, you know, if you read biographies or look at other things that are in terms of history, a lot of the key pieces of, you know, of ways people succeed is to be different in carve, carve that path, and being different also mean standing for something, having, you know, having a belief within your sales team. So you turn those sales people into into storytellers, you turn your your employees into preachers, and I can tell you every single one of our employees at trauma could walk across the street for a significant wage increase, but they don't, and one of the reasons is because they truly believe in what the brand stands for. And the last thing is is out loving your customers. We certainly don't have we certainly can't outspend our competitors. So we have to effectively outlove our customer and I'm a big, big believer of good will. I'll spend some times, you know, if the transaction is going to give me a two hundred value, I'll spend five hundreds to keep that customer happy, because I think that good will is going to accrue in that, relationships going to build and it's going to turn. You know, it's not going to be three in all games going to be a threezero game. And it doesn't always work and it's still moralizing sometimes when you do something for some you know, for a customer, and they don't recognize it. But overall it's been been a massive success. So if somebody, and in the past this has happened, I've gotten calls at eight PM on a Saturday saying Eric, we rented a trunk, doesn't happen anymore. Eric rented a Traumba. Can you deliver emergency case? Yeah, I'm going to go to my garage and I'm going to wish, like, what are you doing? Are you crazy? Like, no, got to keep this customer happy. And I didn't charge a customer anything for it. But once my garage, put in my car, drove down to the bar, dropped off a case. Maybe I had to drink and then and and and and then came back and there was no monetary gain from that and sometimes it didn't even add anything. But I would say that overall it was one of the it instilled that culture and I think that that lead from the front is a big thing too. If I'm if I'm going to ask my team to do something, I have to be prepared to do it myself. Absolutely. You know, values really underpin culture and culture such an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to growing a successful company. You know, when Don Bell, who was one of the founders at West yet, told me a long time ago this is Eric. It's so much easier to build and nurture culture than it is to come in and try and change it, and that's something that's always kind of resonated with me when we talk about this topic, and it sounds like you guys are all doing a good job of building and nurturing the culture and how important it is, even even when you're better famously successful. I'm going to skip around just a little bit. Let's talk about mistakes. You know, we've all made mistakes. Anton, tell us you know one that comes to mind or your biggest, or however you want a frame it. Well, firstly, just silly, so silly. Fun fact when it comes to alcohol that I was meant. I was when I was traveling, I mentioned to someone that I've never been drunk in my whole life. So people, when we're out at dinner in Slovakia and I told some of the staff that, they were like seriously. Then my kids are like yeah, no, I've never been drunk. So anyways, it just in some...

...some provolous not important fact. That's why something else was maybe a bit more important. So, for the less, if you drink Tequila and only to kill it for the entire night and hydrate, well, you will have no angle next day. Yeah, in fact, I challenge you all. But this is a business build right. So you know, as I said before, I mean we've made every type of mistake. We really have. And you know, I think that there's a couple of really big things that I wish we did earlier in our cycle, like, for example, having an operating president for for so many years, for fifteen, seventeen, eighteen years, we had this co you know, Co President in the company. The company would have run better if we would have brought in a the right type of operating president earlier, because my partner and I we there was a lot of friction when it came to the day to day, like even silly things like the executive s no p cycle, ordering inventory, the smallest things, even how we would run a meeting would be different. We're totally aligned when when it comes to building the companies. That values, the strategy, putting truth on the table, radical transparency. We have great conversations. They're tiring, but they're very, very strategic and and we really challenge each other in a great way. But I think that the the whole company would have been better if we would have brought in a global president earlier, you know, and I there's a lot of reasons why. So I think that's one mistake. The other mistake is if we would have had someone who really who could the whole town side of the business. I was, I was telling you how we've, you know, hired this lady Tara Deacon, who who's was the chair of the Talents Association for the world and she, Tara, just joined us from Td Bank. She was she was the head of talent for a hundred and sixty eight thousand employees and then before that she was a city bank in in the US ran talent for three hundredzero employees. But more importantly, is more importantly, is you know how you know the depth and the thoroughness and the quality of how she assesses talent and how to grow talent, how to even the talk about talent, frame the conversation the talent. So, you know, spin master would be a much stronger company if we would have had a chief talent officer earlier at the level that we have earlier in our career, and that that's huge. I mean I you know, I could literally spend the whole morning talking about talent. You kind of alluded to it and especially you know, we're living in a world today that to everything's changed. We're were at. The reality is you can go on Linkedin and say Spin Master, head of anything, and you go on Linkedin, you can see the name of the person to send them an email say I'm debby. Would you you know, comfort for Yoga and then let's talk about your career. So we're in a word, talent if you're in downtown Toronto. That's the reality. Right. Everything's changed. I mean twenty years ago would be okay if you had an attrition rate. You know, you'd be good if you're a six, seven, eight percent. Now you're good if you're below twelve percent. Right, so it's just, you know, and loyalty is different right now, right everything's changed when it comes to millennials and talent and people's expectations of flex work hours. So I wish you know that's one of the mistakes we've made. I think also we something I've have been shared before is I think that's been master we would have taken a lot of grind out if, early in the stage, if all three founders had full psychological assessments, okay, and there was a complete transparency in each founder's blind spots inherent by bias and the way they bring their brain processed. And I there are no business schools that say this, but the the the faster you put Selfwarren, as a truth, on the table on about the leaders of the organization and say Hey, this is my blind spot, this is my inherent bias, this is how I process information, then you know, everyone can get into their lanes quicker and you take out so much grind right. And that was a huge mistake that that we made, probably costing me a lot of my life right because of the because it's such a serious topic. I think that right now we're in a world today where I'm a huge believer in all psychological tools. You know, my kids at the age of nine had full psychological qualitative, quantitative proactively. All three of my girls got tested just...

...in a proactive way. I'm a big, big believer in all the you know, there's so many incredible tools for psychological profiles and I think you got to profile yourself and share it with everyone else. Because why, why come to the why come to work and trying to do things that you think you're good at and you're not good at and then you stand and then you're creating friction intention points throughout the organization. You know, everyone should just get into their unique ability and, you know, turn turn your day into your art and your hobby and create magic. Self awareness is so important and the truth is we have varying degrees of recognizing that. Yeah, I just say on the topic of self awareness, wherever I talk in the world, whether it's internal or external, it always comes back to selfawareness. And I did a talk on Youtube on I did a tech Ted talk about eight, nine years ago, and it was to fourteen, fifteen year old students on self awareness. It was really dumb down. It was like a Ted x was at the Ontario Science Museum. But I can't say enough about selfawareness and the way you become selfaware is you got to do three six s. You got to ask people that you work with and say to them, okay, I want to ask you some questions. You don't need answer. I'm just going to write it down. I'm not judging you. What can you count on me? What can't you count on me for? You know what am I you know you have to ask people questions. You work with two, three hundred and sixty, do psychological profiling. You know, and you need to be obsessed with inviting feedback. Right when it comes to self awareness, it's self awareness is a journey and it whatever your self awareness is today, you can still heighten it, because self awareness is an ongoing journey until you die. Thanks. That be biggest mistake. Jeez. I think every entrepreneur has their own blind spots. When you're traveling at you know how your twenty, a hundred thirty, you tend to miss things. Reflecting back, there's two things that I find and one of them is continue as learning, hiring the wrong people. I think I'm resumes. You might find the best Yogi's with a passions as in their influencers. They present. You know, they teach them. Of the most wonderful classes. Having the passion in industry does not translate to doing things well, and we learned the hard way. We hire them on from, you know, early on, as an instructor, having the passion, having the drive, doing the classes right and doing the class as well and trendsferring them over to management team because they also say that they have a passion, drive and the ability to do that task well. But it's totally different skill set. I find that in different you know, in our operation, and that's why I kept myself and my husband's role very separate. My husband leads and trains all the teachers at Yoga try. He's responsible for the curriculum. I'M A set. I myself actually don't teach and we made that very clear thirteen years ago to make sure that we don't step on each other's toes. Being in business and in personal life together, it's very hard for us to make sure that we continue to have the respect for each other and continue to stay merry nineteen years after. But also, most importantly, I think you have to carve out that piece right hiring. I think one of the biggest mistake that we have is that we take her time to hire, but we don't take the time to fire fat us and it's harder to let go of someone that you really have a connection with, that you have that passion. You know together we develop that at Yoga Tree. But how do you make sure that it was time to let go, that you can do it fast and serious, and we have a challenges with that and as an entrepreneur, you often don't see that in your flying spot and you often don't see that coming until it's too late, until it becomes toxic, until it becomes something that's much bigger than the role and become a bit more than what you know the damage that they paperable to do. Second thing I find I had the biggest mistake, and I still regret it today, is that in two thousand and sixteen yoga tree, as I mentioned to you, open our flagship. In two thousand and fifteen bath and Dass and I told you that we stopped growing. But in two thousand and sixteen we made a decision, actually, which I have been this closed to you, to buy piece of land. We bought a piece of Land East wollenberry and our goal was to really spin yoga tree into something else, and I think at that time we were experiencing quite rapid growth. We were steady, but I think reflecting back to it, we were growing too fast and too much outside what were are our strength withs in, well in east wool and Berry. Our thought at that time was to buy a piece of land. We're going to be offering a retreat center, we're going to be offering wellness center and it was an investment that at that time, not we guys are in real estate. But remembering two thousand and sixteen, at real estate was pretty much at his peak, both in residential and commercial. We at that time purchase that piece of land. But little do we know, that piece of land, although...

...it was sown as commercial, it was actually residential piece of land. So we learned the hard way. You know, being a entrepreneur, you can operate a business well, but being a landowner being you know, now a whole new, you know side of business that you never explore. There's multiple challenges. We went through a lot of legal hurdles. We had to obviously go through, you know, a debate between us and the seller. You know what happened. How come is ofcommercial? How comes residential? How come this place can never be a deem as a commercial space, to be a zone and build out as a commercial space. Long Story Short, we lost half of the closet. We came to agreement, but also a big lesson for us was that continue doing what you do. I mean continue doing what you're good at. You can deviate, you can grow, but also stepping back to make sure that you know what you what, you have your solid in your foundation, but recognizing that again, these blind spots. Had I, you know, done my research more, had I done, you know, as owning variance, had a higher planner, had to hired a consultant? Perhaps I could have avoid that, regardless of what the you know, realtor listening says. Yeah, you know, it's a really common interesting okay, you know, when you start, you're starting up your business and you're trying to partner with everybody and everyone says, who are you again, you know, and it's really hard to find those partners. But as you start getting success, more and more people start knocking on your door saying hey, wouldn't you like to do this, wouldn't you like to do that, and keeping the focus on, you know, what's been successful becomes harder and harder and harder as as you become successful. It's so it's one of those rooms you know Eric Mistakes. You hear all the cliches, but they're true. You learn more from your losses and your wins. You know, I'm a tennis player and I play tennis tournaments for fun and went once you lose a match, I spend more time thinking about wasn't my fitness? Did I eat right? To eat the right amount? Before you know it was a strategy, was a tactics. You know, did I sleep to this? And then you're like and then you're making notes after your loss. You win a match and you're like great and you get on the next thing right. But I think that when it comes to mistakes, it's so important that you keep them front and center, invisible, and what we've done is our office is just here, because I just walked over here. Our brand new office is beside Roy Thompson outside of my office. We hung the products that were big mistakes and we wrote the lessons on it and they're on the walls outside my office. Right as you walk from my office down to the Master Board Room in the hall, you see us hanging up our mistakes. So one of the things I recommend is to make sure that your mistakes are shared with everyone and that they're visible so that you became so that you don't make them again and that you know everyone, continue to learn from it. I mean, I'm a huge, huge I think Ray Dahlia, you know, and he's book on principles, you know. You know he talks a lot about mistakes and learning from mistakes and the power and I think those are the inflection points where you can it helps you. The mistakes are are most sometimes the mistakes are moments where they're testing their testing the entrepreneur in the leader about their inflection moments, testing you about are you? Do you really think you can get to the next level? And what got you here won't get you there, and it's challenging you to get on the balcony, reflect, rethink strategy, rethink people, rethink process, rethink systems and to make some serious changes and to have that edge, okay, to make the tough decisions to get ready for the next days of your business. Right. It's a big read, but it's a good read. Difference between mistake and failure and that's why I purposely using mistake is that mistake only becomes a failure if you don't learn from it, and so take the opportunity to learn from those mistakes and then they never really turn into failure. I think just saw on that point. It's sometimes easier for leadership to acknowledge mistakes. Having your team and your employees and your sales people knowledge mistakes is a bit of a more challenging think, just because you know it's natural to be afraid or I didn't do it or pass the buck. So having a culture where you know you have that, it's great. It's okay made mistake because you have to learn and build from that mistake. It's funny, seems like there's a theme when it comes to mistakes on and make a million mistakes a day, right. So there's not one big mistake that I think I've made that, you know, put my company in Jeoparty and that extra zero to one of our one of our payments or something like that. But probably in terms of I think hiring is is a big theme here and one of the traps that we fell into, especially you know, in the liquor segment, is we as you grow, one of the temptations is to hire a big. You know, in executive somebody with clouts, sales experience, a Rollodex you can use and say we're going to he's going to take us from here up to here overnight. And in the...

...past we put that first and we put culture second and we said, you know what, it's fine and we've done we will hide the same mistake. Hire Him, hire her, you know, will gain all the benefits from all their connections. People say wow, they got they got this person, and will adapt them to Traumba afterwards. I think that that doesn't work. It doesn't work. Thankfully we've corrected that now. We've hired a you know, we've hired a veteran who we put culture first and sale second. But Education is a lot easier than reeducation, because you're hiring folks that have five, ten, fifteen years experience, that have done it a very different way than Traumba, and trying to tell them, hey, you know, you can't do it that way anymore. Gonna do this way. They're going to say, well, hold on, I built my career doing it this way. I'm not going to change. You guys have to adapt to me. So put in culture second and sales first. Never a good idea and one of the actually some of the best people we've had at Traumba have been outsiders, having people that have had no experience or very little experience within the segment, and they've been able to mold we've been able to mold them and they've adapted to our culture and they've been some of our absolute top and boys. Think another thing that that we've learned along the way is, in we touch upon it before, is is that cultural aspect. You know, I started to try to treat our Mexican production facility, have we have ten employees, done and next we have our own office down there. I tried to try to do business down to Mexico like I did in Canada, and that caused a lot of pain both on our on our operational standpoint, but also from my, you know, from my mental health standpoint as well, because it's a different cultures, different set of values. It's a difference, you know, just different way to do business and again, they're not going to adapt to me. I have to adapt to them. I also know that another thing as well, which is, you know, correcting your your mistakes, not reining the same mistakes important, but also sometimes the pass is a bit of a shell. So sometimes don't just take a formula that worked and copy and paste it. You know, there's no sacred cows and I find in the business world and we've tried. You know, we tried to effectually take a form of that worked in in Toronto and New York and Miami and tried to put into Los Angeles and kind of ignoring some of the outside stuff that was going on, and it didn't work because we set off work to your work, to your works here, and therefore it's going to work in another market. It's a just because we were watched to copy and pace. So I think that repeating your success is sometimes can be as dangerous as not correcting your mistakes. Cool mention the quantumship program Wi was a part of. We Wa a couple of their folks in the room. Part of that program. We do a survey every year and every year, you know, the number one issue keeping entrepreneurs up at night of these high growth companies is talent. You know, people in talent and we we we've heard it heard of from all of our panelists and finding the right people that fit with the culture and have the capabilities to continue to move the company forward is so, so critical. Probably one more question for me and then we'll open it up to the audience. So I'd be thinking, you know, if you were to give advice to the group, you know, kind of a really key learning that you'd like to pass on. What might that be? The first I'm really looking forward to the questions. I enjoy uncomfortable questions. I I. I really I try to spend as many hours of my day uncomfortable as possible. So I kind of wake up uncomfortable, then I go to bed uncomfortable. Right, so I wake up in the morning and I play tennis in an uncomfortable fashion and then I go to the office and I'm uncomfortable and then I come home my girls make me uncomfortable. So so I'm really looking forward to some uncomfortable questions. People tend to stopping on one foot or something. Well, I play people's better than me, you know, and try to figure out different ways to win. anyways. So question is about if you were to pass on one thing to Y. Yeah, I think it's important to understand that as the business evolves, you know you it's that the whole concept of resetting strategy right is, I think the days of having a powerpoint and having a business plan and then, you know, following the business plan is those days. You know, I don't think that's the way to run a business. I think that one needs to constantly be resetting strategy and you know, for us, for an example, of how we reset strategy over ten years ago, we were like content is king and these are all the benefits to owning our own content, and that's when we created an entertainment division. We're in entertainment company right, as much as we are a toy company. Both. So entrepreneurs they get they get too they get too married to the whole. You know, this is the strategy has to take to. The...

...strategy to me is is. You know, one of the themes today is entrepreneurs need to be on the front line right. That's what separates. If you if you look at the last twenty years at the founder led companies outproduced companies without the founders on average. Both of the statistics are being published by being Mackenzie, all of them and there are three reasons why founder let companies and one of them is being on the front line right and getting all that information from customers from the marketplace, from employees and everyone in resetting strategy based on how the market places is changing. So that's one really big port. And I think the other thing is is that the larger the company goes, it goes back to talent. And when you talk about talent, it all starts with yourself, right, how you show up. I'm still working on you know, like, for example, I've small. You know, I'm working on how can I become a little more structured than the business, because now the company requires me to show up differently, like when I stand, when I walk into a meeting and spin master today versus ten years ago. I have to be a different person and it's tiring because that's not my natural reptilian response, my DNA, that's not who I am, but I need to as a leader of the organization, I have to show up differently. Right. So, so much in business comes down to mindset, the underpinning of mindset. Okay, psychology, anxiety and security, ego. Right, and what people need to do is they need to put truth on the table, have radical transparency and people need to talk about where are your pressure points when it comes to anxiety, ego, insecurity, self awareness, mindset right, because you know, if you do the five wise and you keep going to the root, cause you just going to keep going down layer by layer, you're going to eventually hit people. And when you hit people you're going to get into mindset. And how open is the person? Does a person of a fixed mindset or an open mindset? I mean there's great there's a basic book from Carol Dweck called Mindset. It's just the most basic book ever and it talks about the difference between a fixed mindset and an open mindset. Right, and that applies to everything in life. It applies to parenting, applies to politics, applies to business, applies to yourself, applies to plant, tennis, whatever you're doing, right. So so I think that that's you know, I think that as leaders you need to get comfortable understanding psychology. You need to get comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics, which is, you know, people psychological profile. Right and and again, you know, I you know, we'll see if they come to comfortable. Okay, so just rephrase. I love listening, Anton, but just want to make sure well on track with a questions. Just one thing, one piece. Okay, I'm in the health and wellness industry. I think for us, more than profit, more than growth, it's really happiness, and happiness in the sense that I think you can only achieve that by having work like balance. Even if your business don't last, your family last. For me, I have two young kids and I think you know how do we make that happen? For me it's really achieving that, making sure that a yoga tree. All my staff we enter the same thing. Most of them are millennials. You don't have to put in the most hours at work. That's not how we measures access, but you do have to make sure you achieve great results. We use a law of tools to make sure that work like balance. It's achieved a yoga tree by having technology, home base, Trello. We use collaboration like slack. We use feedback like High Frederick. But I think the most important thing is if you're happy at work, if you're able to have that flexibility, you're able to carve out, you know, meaningful life beyond just working at her studio or taking classes. I think for us that's longevity. How do you because businessing sustainable, that's sure. So it comes down to toys, Yoga toys, deal go and Te Quilla. Those are three perfect Combo. We should take this on the road. We package and do a partnership. All right, how about you? So it's a great question, I think. I think kind of how we started the company was effectively ingrained culture of us and great culture with us to be successful. If we didn't start this way, probably wouldn't have been and by that met by that, you know, when we start the brand with effectively, you know, tenzero dollars in a story where no institutions would give us a nickel. And you know today it's very, very, very different environments, but back in those days they would literally off to set the room. And so what that did to us. I remember first business planned up, we gave out to an industry expert. It came back with more red ink on it than black ink and the words impossible. Can't be done unless you have a million dollars per market or something something like that, and so we had to look at...

...it and take a effectively, the only way for us to succeed would take an unconventional approach to build this brand, because if we went toe to toe with, you know, when of the big boys, even if we had two million dollars, three million dollars, we would have died a pretty quick death. And one of the things that we did, which was, you know, we didn't do it really super consciously, but we look at look at the strengths of weaknesses of our of our competitors, because the only way to do this is to effectively take market share from them. That to kill. Market was growing, but it certainly wasn't growing enough for us to effectively build a really strong brand on something like this. And so we looked at, okay, where are they strong and where they week and how do we effectively attack the we their weaknesses with our strengths. And so if you look at the bigger players, you know the they had. They're very big, they have a ton of money, they have huge distribution for a two distribution force and they have a lot of relationships in bed within the industry. Seems like a fun competitor to go against, right. But where are they week? They you know, they're they're they're big, their infrastructures rigid, they're slow, they're very short term oriented and very payback focus. So they're not brand builders. Their Trent, their their transactional based. So, as an example, you know, doing this was beyond belief helper for us because when they go to a bar and restaurant, they would be lined for the general manager or the purchasing director or the owner, someone who's going to make the decision, where they say, I will give you this much money marking support, you give me this many cases, jobs done. I go to my boss and say look what I've done. They haven't done anything to build their brand. They made a transaction. We would do the opposite. We would be lined to the bartender and we would tell the bartender our story and they would they would say this is you guys are ridiculous. The bartenders most of the Times has no decision making power. That you know, you could be wasting your time. They could quit tomorrow. But what we did was we ingrain that story bartender by bartender, bar by Bar, and instead of looking for payback, we built the foundation of a brand and we attacked kind of the Achilles heel again and again of our our competitors doing this and we achieved, you know, effectively by doing this, you can take down go lithe with with a slingshot. Almost the trickier thing as well, as you know, it embedded that Roy based culture on us, which is a bit easier when you have no money, but when you start to have a lot of like, a lot more money, nothing on the scale of the big, big boy levels, but to maintain that culture and maintain that payback and when you hire more people, you get far further and further remove and when they come from different organizations used to spending to maintain that Roi based culture and analyze kind of the major transaction and you're making. Does this at value? Is this building the brand? Is this helping as achieve our objective? Is something that I think has been really successful with drauma. Cool, cool, you guys. Thanks so much. Let's let's turn it to the audience and we have time for a couple of questions. I think we have microphones floating around, so rotten. Thanks very much for the post. Great Question. Are just follow going to use that? If your staff are like you're always trying to coach our unders and and if you go to the market partners and how do you? How do you? It's you know, it's a really good question. And you scale. You scale a lot more slowly than a lot of the big boys would want to scale so effectively. Is You know, hand to hand combat bar by Bar, bottle by bottle, and our strategy, you know, the conventional wisdom is you need to go into a distribution drive and being five hundred accounts and five hundred accounts, maybe you'll sell occasion two cases. Our strategies very different. Our strategy as we need to be in fifty accounts and from those fifty accounts we're going to sell ten cases per those account. We're going to serve as Heller them. They're going to all know our story and builds in a builds and it builds and that word of most spreads between one bar to another bar, hospitality to other hospitality, and there's a tipping point where it actually becomes infectious. And then you walk into a bar that you've never heard of and person Masada use ordering trauma and you're like on that, that's awesome. So I'm a big believer of scaling in that sense, slow but building that very, very strong brand foundation, because when the big boys do take notice of you, and they will, they'll try to disrupt it, to throw cash at the bar or incentivize them to pour their product. And the bartender you've already decommoditized your brand. So they're pouring it not because it's the cheapest. I mean, you know we're on some house course, for example in New York and Miami, where a bar could pay one third the cost of a Tequila that they pay for us. And so that's that's into these are high volume bars. That's tens upon tens of thousands of dollars a year. But they do it because they love the brand, they love the value proposition, they have that relationship. So it...

...embeds that rock solid, rock solid foundation cool over here. That's a good question. So again, you know, going back to we're saying, we do have five very different geographic locations. What we do weekly we actually meet with our management team and we actually give them the support that they need. It is kind of like a break o session where we review using we have a tool on the back and Cahi Frederick. So before social media is huge for us, but also feedbacks huge for us. So what we have is we have a step in between where we drive feedback internally before it gets out to to to the public, and that step is actually very critical for us because anyone was unsatisfied, anyone who has a concern or something that really triggers that culture unfit. We probably would notice it in that in that zone before it heads out to the public or heads out to something, it becomes blown full scale. Every week we meet with the managers, but we also meet with a frontline yoga visors and also instructors, where we kind of brainstorm to see, you know, if there's something that's not right, something that you guys need support on. What can we do to support each other? We may not find the answer, for example, of Richmond's but Dina, but we pick on the team. They and done that's to see if they can offer hand of support. It becomes harder, I find, especially when you know our brand at one time was experienced a lot of rapid growth. Back in early two thousand and twelve to two thousand and thirteen, we were opening one store pretty much a year and a half. That was hard for us in a sense that we didn't have that connection and we lost it at that time and we really took the time to two thousand and fifteen to really make sure that we hone in on that, to make sure or that, even if we don't have the resources and human resources, what technology can we leverage to make sure that we have the support. So, yes, we cannot call everybody over the phone to Asko, hey, how is our class or, you know, how would you come back to yoga tree, but we can use all the tools to help us with that, to to identify some of the weakness that we have and kind of STONA's back in and reflecting weekly meetings. Fun Fact, we have twenty two thousand and sixteen. When debbut was with this as she mentioned social media. We call him shifted. It's forty high growth entrepreneurs that are well pasted start up and we have a session that's hear me out, help me out, and everybody asked we please tell us what this whole social media things all about now, and we're learning as well. We recently hird your agency. What we did well in the past and social media has probably changed and I think we need to stay relevant. We actually have the same Pierre, myself and Eric Blue Door. There's no payment here, but I love that. But door, blue, blue and blue door. But but I find that, you know, we do stories. We spread ourselves across three platforms, facebook, facebook, instagram and twitter. We recently tapped on a new platform called we chat. We chat is to make sure that we stay relevant in in our as I mentioned to one of the Corpoulus diversity, we chat as one of the fastest growing platform on social media in the Asian segment. So reflecting in the demographic and people who come to yoga tree where non for platforms. But social media's ever evolving. I mean what we learn in the past in two thousand and sixteen was hoot sweet, right, who uses who sweet? Now they use other technology. So that's a channel that we're ever learning and ever exploring. But last lots to seven are gay. I'll thank you. A lots to learn. We're at the present inspiration and succeeded to start. Question is before you were eligible for investing institution. You try to deal with that one quickly. Go.

Yeah, we were spoiled because our first part to Earth, but it cost us n one s s. We wholesale work for three dollars and fifteen cents, you know, and our margins were really, really worthily, you know. And so we we were, you know, very profitable out of the gate. One of the one of the things that we did do is we used to relationship Sam costs or sample sales who paid a cod. So into in order to ship Walmart. We we sent the product to sample sales, they paid a cod and then they shipped it to Walmart in never really early in the beginning days. So you know, I don't think I'm I don't think I'm the best person answer that question because we were so profitable early, early on. I'm in retail. It's a slow growth but its sustainable if you do things right. Again, making sure that we negotiate hard actually and all of theses, because there's two things that I mentioned to you that when to do well. Number one, we need to make sure with control payroll. Number two, we need to control a rent. If we get dose those two things right and you'll be a sustainable and profitable business. We've been approached early stage on by local companies to do evirges and acquisition later on as we get more on list, like growth five hundred, when the fastest growing companies we got traction and and and people coming from the states. For us right now we have a tree. Twelve years in. We're still privately owned by myself and Jay Cent. There's no minority partner, franchise or anyone else. There's still a long way for us to grow. I find that, you know, we're not at the scale at doing a to be quite frank with you, to do to do a merger or to do apposition. I think there's a lot of work we need to do and this is a five year process. This could be a ten year process. I don't know and I think we have to recognize that. You know, there are times where you might get excited, you might get these calls. It might keep you motivated and they'll contain it can be motivated, but you also have to recognize where you are and is at the right contrary to exit, is a right time for you to MNA and we are recognized at the stage, because is not the right time. There's a lot of work we need to do. So the certainly the market and the craft spirits Tequila spaces change quite a bit. The some of the calls I get now our guys that would have returned my emails back in two thousand and twelve. But we answer your question. We swam very close to shore. We didn't exceed our means because it's such a capital intensive industry and you can waste so much money so quickly by doing things that don't necessarily generate anything for the business. But I guess stimulate, stimulate your ego and say kind of look where I am. Actually, my ex Boston finance, she asked me what the biggest destroyer of value is and when I was you know, when is that? Senior analyst, I would say, or what was it? What was the number of reason? What was a number one reason why companies failed? And I would say at cash flows and no profits, no ego. Right. So you know, I remember turning down a distribution offer. Can we started. We started first in Canada and Australia. We wanted to succeed in our backyards before we moved to the US. And I returned down distribution offer, I think it was in two thousand and fifteen or sixteen too, for New York state, for a really good distributor, because we weren't ready. I mean, and he said to me, I've never had anybody turned down distribution offer from us before because it was it was insane, but we were ready to go. So for us it was about again growing slow but growing smart, staying close to shore and not over extending. I also took no hour for two years. Personally, I took Zeros for more like many years. Yeah, you know, that's hopefully it's made up for it. You're making up for it, but if you're not prepared to sacrifice post but on a personal level, then it's going to be a lot more difficult to generate that culture within the organization in the back yard, and this time for the sowars phone years, so important. What the toughest feedback you got? You turn around doth? Well, my toughest feedback came right when I started, when I did a three hundred and sixty, and my listening skills were five point eight out of ten. I was twenty two, like around twenty two, twenty three years old, and I'm still working on my listening skills are about a seven, seven point seven now, depending on the day. Exactly. No, I mean it's...

...list and I get so much feedback every day it's it's exhausting. But does that answer your question? Yeah, I mean I would say my listening skills right. This an entrepreneurs. A lot of entrepreneurs have some form of Adhd, right, but they don't talk about it. Right, I didn't. I was never diagnosed without Adhd, but it's quite common. And first all, adhd is just such a silly label because it's such a spectrum, right, and I've never been officially diagnosed by anything, but you know, I'm sure I'm somewhere on the spectrum's comment. So. So I think that, you know, we spike high, spike low, calls and effect. Right, as an entrepreneur, there's things that make you great, right, like my energy and my pace setting, you know, and my Tenet, like there's certain things that that have been so, so instrumental in the company success. But at this size, you know, I need to show up differently, right. So it's just constantly re checking in with you. Know. You know where are you in the evolution of the company and how do you need to show up differently? On that I got a jump, you know, Eric. Do we cover everything? I think so. One more question. Yeah, it was so comfortable enough. Get back to I got you back to the office. We're still running the business day to day. Weakness, your greatest weakness, and how can you solve it? Or How do you text it? Maybe we'll have you guys. Ever felt that you've played holed and how did you solve that? Listen, my I think firstly, my whole my whole view is is spend your time not working on your weaknesses. Like who wants to die as from weaknesses? Right? That's like like my whole life is figure out what your unique ability is and surround yourself with people covered on your weaknesses, right, like so everyone should. People should spend most of your day, Eighty nine Echin of your day, in your unique ability, what makes you great and what's the one thing that you do better than other people, and then just hire people around you to cover and your weaknesses, right, and if you're able to do that, then you know, will help you grow faster. So that's just my overall anyways, good to see you these the MIC. Hear what's going on there. Some inserted training to see much. So let's go back to the first part of our question and we'll leave it with Debi in Ark and then we'll wrap up after that at all. Thanks so much, De wi. You want to check a little weakness, right? Yeah, doing too much as a woman entrepreneur, as a mom, as a mentor at as a leader, but also as a Jenitor at work. You know you're doing a lot, and I think you know saying no one's really hard in general, but you got to recognize there as a tipping point, as a breaking point where you take on so much and no longer functions that the a hundred percent capacity that you want it to be. And it took us a while, especially in the early days, because, yes, you want delegate, but cash flows also issue. Resources, having the network was also issue, and you always don't have that choice to delegate. You don't always have the choice to recognize a weakness and address it and I think that took time. It might not happen today and may not happen because of the circumstances you're in. It may not happen because of the stage with the growthrough in, but we took time to address that and slowly and slowly start delegating and start letting go. And now, as I mentioned to Eric, I'm very excited. What keeps me up at night is not work, because not cash flow. It's about, you know, what I'm going to do for school counsel to more sending pizza lunch to my kids. So there's different things and recognizing that it's a slow process to fix that, but it's something that you might have it on your agenda and to revisit that every year. It's a great point. It's another answer to the questions earlier is that when you become the choke point, you can no longer scale and you have to understand when you become that choke point in your business and start to delegate more effectively. What do you think? It's a great question. I think one of the weaknesses, that still plenty weaknesses, but something that I've recognized that I've tried to correct, is having kind of a food mindset. So taking taking a queue for my for my children, where they get upset about something and then thirty five seconds later they're on there, on to the next thing. It's it's funny, but it's really important because you don't get bogged down the past. You don't get bogged down with old issues. You said, okay, that happened, I've addressed the best I can and moving forward. Cool. I want to thank the panel...

...for coming in and thank you and Debbie and Eric text so much. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV DOT CA. A forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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