ABOUT THIS EPISODE
We all know those people.
The people that won’t stop talking.
The people that never seem to be quiet long enough to hear what is ACTUALLY being said. They’re too interested in what they THINK is being said.
Unfortunately, this is the category that most entrepreneurs get lumped into.
Loud. Obnoxious. Won’t shut up long enough to take a breath.
Bobby Besant is not one of those entrepreneurs. He’s anything but.
Episode · 2 years ago
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Episode · 2 years ago
5. Being an Introverted Entrepreneur: How to Survive in a World That Wont’ Stop Talking w/ Bobby Besant
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
We all know those people.
The people that won’t stop talking.
The people that never seem to be quiet long enough to hear what is ACTUALLY being said. They’re too interested in what they THINK is being said.
Unfortunately, this is the category that most entrepreneurs get lumped into.
Loud. Obnoxious. Won’t shut up long enough to take a breath.
Bobby Besant is not one of those entrepreneurs. He’s anything but.
You're listening to the IVIONTRENORpodcast from the Pierre L, Moriset Institute, Forente Preneurship at theIvy Business School in this series, Ivientrepreneur an Ivy Faculty member,Eric Janson will anchor the session Ar Entrepreneuris born or made. I don'tknow if we'll ever get a definitive answer on that question, but I can tellyou that my guest on this episode of the Ivientrepreneur Podgast was dead,set on starting his own business for as long as he can remember. As soon as hecould walk, he was wandering the floors of his dad's printed company, which waspassed down from his grandfather and before he even got to university. Hehad a series of entrepreneural ventures under his belt Bobby Beesant, thecofounder of iconic buring. Is The entrepreneur behind ready to drinkbrands like dusty boots. hardwoot beer, which is a category they created inCanada, cottage springs bancasodas and kabanicos Moscow Mules, but beforebobby successfully watched iconic, he took a whole bunch of swings. He ranstudent businesses, scurb boats and cottage country and even successfullypitched a new alcohol concept on dragonsdon twice in this episode. Wecover bobby's founding story. Why he chose an e, typical career path? How touse age to your advantage and his biggest advice to his twenty year.Oldself enjoy this episode with Iconic Rowing Cofounder, boppy BEESAP, all right. Let's get things fired uphere, so I'm here with Bobby beesant. How are Yo, I bobby have never beenhappier how you doing couldn't be better 're, going to go through alittle bit about your story today. Your entreprenerial journey so actually wantto start. If you don't mind with little bit about you as a human andunderstanding a little bit about where you grew up, how you were influenced and where theheck these entreprenrial inclinding inklings may have come from yeah. Well, I mean it's it's somethingthat I mean as far back as I can remember, I've been just interested inbusiness and I mean I think a lot of it was influenced by my by my dad. Initially Imean even when I was like not even in double digits out of age.We were talking about businesses. He would get me fired up about an ideathat was like, I think back to now, and it's like no one's going to buy that.But he would get me fired UPF about stuff and just is always putting littlelittle nuggets out there, and I mean from a very early age, he was KINDOFthrown into the business world as well. So there was kind of really threegenerations involved. There was a a business that his father had originallyoriginally bought. That was struggling an and P, and then he ended up passingaway very young at forty eight years old, and then my dad had to leave university at the age ofnineteen or twenty and kind of jump into the driver's seat of this failingH, business. It was in the paperboard manufactury making boxes for consumerpackage goods companies for the most part, and I mean the big opportunitythat he saw n andgraphs grasped on to which ultinately made him successful inthe end was read at the beginning of the private label kind oftransformation in North America, when President's choice started coming outand no name, and that and that kind of stuff, so I mean I grew up around- thatwent to the office office with him. Every weekend walked around the plantsat in his office printed off thousands of pages of nonsense for, for whateverreason I just always enjoyd kind of the the vibe of being in a company and kindof the the environment, the magic of theenvironment. So I mean literally as as long as I can remember there as nothingelse. I want I to do in the world besides bean entreprerneur, Bein business, soyeah it really just comes through the bloodline, a I mean even an interestinglittle quick antidote. This week I actually met up with a lawyer who hasmet now three generations of my family. My grandfather, who I never even met mydad and now me and kind of seen the journey throat kind of fifty years ofof our antbreneurial family. Does he say anything like D? You look likesound like look like act like anything like that R I mean yeah. I I definitelyhave like kind of definitely some tendencies m. That came came from mydad. I mean I I like to have a good time and like to joke around. I mean Ithink, I'm a little better looking but yeah. I know he he he just thought itwas it w. It was Kindo neat and I n I'd actually never met him before, but uhit was. It was kind, O cool just to just to sit down and and kind of Harsome stories from like way back in the day when, when he was involved with,like my grandfather, who I mean, sounds l, a cool guy from everything I'veheard so 's dealt with three generations or had the privilege ofworking with three generations of Bvans, exactly yeah cool cool. So, unlike a few others, including myself,I mean there wasn't a whole lot of...
...enrpeneurers in my family. I think itwas for me it was driven more like an inte inside motivation for you, itsounds like you saw something that you liked about the way that your dad wasor the life that he had or the excitement or the buz aroundencpernership, and that's why you knew that you wanted to do it like whatabout it, got you yeah. I mean he just. He just always seems so kindofpassionate about about everything like He. He could work. Eighty eighty hundred hours a week,kind of no problem just 'cause, he loved it and I mean just kind of seeingas much as I was young going going to t e the plant and everything I just. Icould see kind of the the magic of being done, and I mean ive asked him totell stories over and over and over again Kinda just about his his journey, and I mean as much as hewas not in not in a new worald business. It waspaper board manufacturing, I mean just to see someone kind of work towardsbeing the absolute best at what they do was pretty cool, so kind of I've alwayskind of wanted to try and do that as well. In my career cool, THAT'S NEAT! So then you, I guess as a child, youhade these entrmenarl ambitions, which is really cool, and then you went toWestern yeah. I went I went to Western, I mean even before that I had a fewlittle businesses in the summer and high school and whatnot little side,households or some side, Hussles yeah, actually one of them or the bast majority of them were with mycurrent business partner Cam. We we actually met working on a gas stock inin cottege country gas stock, like yeah filling up boatsgagass, do YEAHOC, Oing up boats, bout, a Canadian thing, a gas dog. It's a cottaging thing I' gota marina, I gue M, so we would uh our day. Job was phon up boats, but we werealways trying to figure out little side Hussles. That would I mean a ernestsome extra money, so we were doing we were doing boat detailing. We weredoing property management. We were doing landscaping kime of up in cottagecountry. We kind of also used it as a a platform to meet a bunch of interestingpeople that I mean we thought we saw us quite successful, so I mean we use itas a as a networking opportunity, as well kind of back in high school, and Imean kind of using your age when you're young to to get in front of some coolpeople as as a huge asset for sure smart. I worked at a private golf clubsort of viewed it as the same thing. It was a bunch of these members that arethere because they've done something right and if I could try to pick theirbrain here and there for nugets like what is it? What do you do you, drivingup playing golf three days a week and you're pulling up to a nice carwondering what this guy does and asking them some questions about that. Wellstill, Stillo this day, some of those guys that we met well still call up onoccasion and either get together for a drinkor. I mean some of them. They'veeven they've, almost been investors for US periods of time too, and just neverknow in different projects. We were going to undertake yeah. No, you you!Never you never want to burn a burn, a relationship. I mean you always want toalways unsure to everybody you meet as as good as possible CAS. You never know.You never know. Speaking of you and I met when you first went to school here,so I was teaching at Western at the time first year of business, yeah Eryouwhen I et yeah, I came a as a young naive first year. Sure didn't reallyknow, didn't really know what to expect. But H I mean from the GECKO businesswas naturally my my favorite class, and I mean I think you made it that muchmore exciting 'cause. You had a lot of great stories to tell as well. I meanlike a big chunk of business, is just being able to story tell in order tomake people relate to it versus just riggitating stuff out there. So I meanthat yeah, that's how we met, and I mean I H: We've KINDOF kept in touch alittle bit over the years, so it's kind of funny how things come full circle,and I mean what is it nine s? Years later, ten years later now I'm sittingback here now, I'm I'm trying to learn from you now I'on the the tables ofteran. This is this is really it's cool, it's cool for me to be n, the otherside of it so- and I remember just to touch on for a second in class. You were you're a good student, but Iwouldn't say you were one of the most outspoken students. I wouldn say youwere people have this perception of entrepreneur as being you know,boisterous and loud, and I wouldn't say you're not at all shy, but I wouldn'tsay that you were. You know one of the people in the class that werparticularly loudor, I don't know, does that. Yeah I mean for me like when I'm whenI'm in a situation where I mean I know, I'm not the the smartest person in theroom or I don't have the most knowledge of the room, I prefer to listen. I meanin a classroom setting there's a ton of...
...different perspectives, obviouslyaround the room, then there's the the PRAF. I actively try and listen morethan than I talk, and I mean I try. When I talk, I try to make the wordskind, a count versus just kind o talking to hear my own voice Um aspretty as it is M. I I definitely prefer kind of listeningand kind of trying to synthesize the conclusion in my head based off ofeverything that I hear I mean I mean I think, to some degree I think I attimes I need to talk B. I need to speak up more, but I mean for me. Listeninghas helped me kind of learn all sorts of things and uh yeah, so cool. That's it's a goodanecdote. I think people have this perception that entreprenors are acertain way and I think they'll come in different flavors and types and sizesand yeah I mean I think, fining, like e good balance, like obviously someonewho's overbearing, it's a it. Kinda gets hard to be around someone likethat too much and then something ist too quiet and it's hard to hold theconversation with it's it's too much on the other other end of the Specmi liketo just have like good, healthy, back and forth dialogue. Where you can learna little bit fror me, I can learn a little bit from you. Yeah, a we'll getinto a little bit later, but coming off is not shy. I mean it. Didn't stop youpretty much. If we measured talk time when you wereon Dragonsdon twice, you spoke up probably more than anybody else, soit's not like you're a shy person. No, I mean I would say like I mean I wouldactually say, I'm I'm more introverted than extroverted. However, when I'm in it, when I'm in a scenariothat kind of requires kind of presentation- you almost you almost puton this- I D not alter ego but you're, acting in a sense to present in a waythat projects confidence n- in that you knowwhat you're talking about and when you do know what you're talking about itmakes it that much easier to to do that. So I mean makes making sure you'reprepared for any sort of and a presentation whether it's on DragonsDener in front of a buyer is is, is critically important because other thanthat itwould be either talking in circles or or not talking at all, butyeah. No, I I I enjoy presenting, but it was. It was certainly like publicspeaking, I would say, was more afer of my when I was younger than it is nowcool Col. so, let's get into I! I do want to get into dragons en here and alittle bit before we get there. So when you were we met when you came to Western, youthen went to IV and an HP two. We do a project that I'm actually teaching nowcalled new venture project. So in this project students come up with not ideas. They come up with problemsto address with specific ideas or solutions, and they put it into aessentially business plan. So you participated in the new ventureprojects. I did YEA unsurprising onsurprisingly. You had an idea that you broughtforward for the new ventare project. Can you tell me a little bit about that pros what the idea was or what theproblem was that you identified and a little bit with that project for you'cause. You have an interesting story. That's going to lead ton, my questionsabout dragonstn yeah. Well, I so I mean thinking thinking back to Kinda. Hadthe new venture project went for me, it started off as an ideation session. So,like there's a couple few people in the group or whatever, and we all KINDOF-threw all sorts of ideas out there, and I mean ideas are very abstract when youjust throw them other it's hard to really know if one's going to goanywhere and Kinda one night I had this very university student orientedrevelation when I was when I was at a friend's house having a few drinksbefore we were going to go out later. I noticed a lot of people were bringing a kind of a full bottle of alcohol, afull bottle of mix and the vast majority of the time kind of a lot ofthat was left behind. So I had this concept that if you could make a twocompartment bottle that separateed the alcohol fror the mix. Not only would itallow the the person to have both be able to purchase both at the samelocation, ECAUSE EN Ontario you're buying Baca you kept to buy the Co,then you have to go over to the convenience store it'd be moreconvenient to carry for the person, but it would also create a new a newexperience for for for the customer as well having basically B, basicallybecomin your own kind of bar tender and mixing mixing your own hiher andcocktails, and the idea of separating them out we were using. We would usereal fruit, juces versus all the artificially flavored other stuff. Thatwas on the market at the time, so that was kind of the germ of the ideato improve the predrinking experience for the university student with a coolconcept, and I ended up pitching that to my group as a potential idea- and Imean given the stage of life were a all...
...ad at the time it seemed it seemed likea home run idea, so we actually ended up pitching it to h to the to the newventure project. I guess profit the time and then waited for his feedbackon whether he thought it was a good idea or not, and he ended up comingback to US shortly after and he had two main two main pieces offeedback, one being the lcbos incredibly difficult to getinto work with expensive. The chances are very low of getting a product inthere. It's just T it's too hard, the other being commercializing a very customizedpackage and product was going to be very expensive and difficult. So heultimately canned the idea and told us that we needed to come up withsomething else for for the new for the new venture project, which we did,which was actually a pretty cool idea too, and it could have been a fun oneto explore as well so to rewind for a second. So you you got in a room withyour group Trye to come up with a bunce of idas yeah, too abstract yeah, andthen you went to a party yeah and in your own experience,experienced a problem mhm and that then led to the idea of of sage age. The twocompartment bottle and I mean I think, like a lot of the kind of the bestideas they come more from experience than just sitting in a chair and hopingthat something hits you in the in the face. I mean even some of the biggestcompanies in the world. Now Uber Erbian B, they were all started with a asimple painpoint that h the founders ad. So I think the more you can get outthere when you're trying to idiate is, is probably better than just allsitting in a room and hoping something miraculous comes to you or even a lotof great companies are started by people who did work in another business.I noticed a nish opportunity that no one just sitting in a chair couldhave ever come up with themselves. 'cause they weren't involved in thatspace, so yeah yeah. So that's that's great. Vice I mean get outside thebuilding you can. You can have a hunch towards an idea, but I think gettingvalidation, especially when you're we call it scratching your own age yeah is,is good, that's good advice. So when you first got it going so I asta stayon sage for a second, so it got rejected from the PRAF, which isinteresting. I rejected it. How did you decide who you were going to focus on withthat specific idea with sage? How did you? How did you decide that this was aproduct for a specific segment of customer? Well, I mean sage, I mean in my mind the taricdemographic was. Was that university student I mean it was almost like. Iwas somewhat creating a product for kind of myself 'cause. I I kinda didthe same thing that I was I was witnessing, or people were kind ofleaving half of half of what they brought behind when they went to thebar. So I mean I'd say I was creating a product for myself and then also I meancreating it for my friends that were around me, that's Graan, so you didn'tcome up with an idea and figure out who would be best for you experienced theproblem yourself and you thought I know there's better thananybody. Tha is for us. As for the university student yeah, I mean I itKindo came from, I mean witnessing the problem and trying to put a solution toit, versus coming up with e solution and trying to backtrack and find thethe problem for that particular solution. So I mean this: is the sagebottoe s? It's always it's a relatively simple concept, but I think diving,deep Ininto, whatever problem you're trying to solve or whatever littleinkling of an idea that you have is the best way to is to really is the bestway to find a real sustainable product, both from creating it as well as producing it andmarketing it. If you do all the right steps in preparing leading up to it, you should have a pretty good idea,whether you're going to fail or succeed and easier when it's something that youdon't hate doing, yeah exactly I mean in Tha. In the stage case it was, Imean, kind of doing what you love in university, that I could condone either way to eath their own, but yeah I meandoing something that you, you did socially of something that you y. Youknow you knew well so the PROFITA good point. The ECO systemin that case was a huge challenge o I gant to come back to the cue, the Lcbo,at least in Ontario, as a massive barrier for a lot of people, Tona competition in the alcohol space with big budgets MHM. Andso...
...how did you? Even if we fast forwardnow to post new venture project? You somehowcome back to stage, so you must have not liked the idea that you did for thenew enterproject. Then you end up coming back to sage. Well, I would say,like I was kind of working on Ong, both kindo concurrently after it got denied,as as a as a project idea, a friend of mine who had had had a few other littlebusinesses with growing up was actually in in London that weekend visiting hisgirlfriend at the time, and he came to my my my room, my at my student houseand I kindof pitched him this sage idea to see what he thought and to see if,if, if it was something that he maybe wanted to kind of join in on thejourney with- and I mean he was at the same stage- Alife is me and he he sawthat it could be a really kind of unique transformative product for thefor Kinof, the Alcho industry and how people kind of consume drinks. So westarted this was at. I guess we had to start coming up with ideas, the end of Third Jur. I think it was orbeginning of fourth year, that's Rightso. We kindof tinkered with thisidea of this two compartment bottle, for we had another year of school leftthat tinker with with this thing and try and understand the feasibility ofit lot of research quote unquote to do yeah, I mean a lot of research. Interms of I mean we didn't know anything about like the alcoindustry besides howto how to buy it, and we didn't know anything about the packaging industryin terms of plastic bottles, I mean my family. History is more on thecardboards out of things, not the bottle side of things I mean I did. Iwill say I did get some warnings from my my dad that customized packages oror can be quite expensive, but I think I was just a little too, maybe a littletoo strongheaded and and saying that no, it can be done and it actually it canbe done. We did pull it off, but uh so hold on before you get to what whathappened then? So you graduated, you made the decision to not do thetraditional thing would just go, get he job yeah. So I mean a lot of prettymuch everybody in ninety, probably ninety nine percent of of thegraduating class Um went off and and got different jobs and a multitude ofdifferent fields, but I mean I I just had this again: undepressable drive to try andstart a business and I'd been like waiting. My whole life to essentiallykind of do this for real all the other littlebusinesses I had kind o growing up are just like little side, hussles littleprojects here, little projects, there practice practice for the the ragetspractice yeah, but this was kind of like the opportunity. where I mean wecould go for it. We have really nothing to lose at this point in time or wecould go off and get jobs and potentially get comfortable N in thatscenario and not have the desire to do it five or ten years down the road. Iwant to cease that out for a second, so a lot of students that I'm in front ofnow think about you know if I don't get my first, if I don't get the internshipthis summer Y, a if I don't start off in whatever industry, if I don't startoff t whatever company upscrewed, I yo know I'm in a bad place. What wouldyour message to people who don't get their dream?Internship right off the Batby, I would say stay patient, stay curious and keepsearching because pretty much everyone that I know that graduated and maybe achunk of them got their drained job they're no longer at that dream, jobanymore, because they just realized that it wasn't there the bll in the end,all th they like the Romantict size, whatever that career was withoutunderstanding all the kind of underlying stuff that goes into it Imean for me, I mean I coming from kind of an entrpreneurio background andfamily like I knew it. Was' wasn't going to be pretty at first, I knew wewere not going to make a lot of money. We were goingto be like living onscraps to start. Do you expect you expected the chaos crae yeah? I meanRobin Noodles, whatever yeah like like one of the the kind of pieces of life adviceweet, my friend Cam and business partner, Camand I got when we were working one of these odd job companies up an up incottage country, from a successful guy up, thereis happinesss equal toexpectations over reality, so keep your expectations low or lower,and you end up being a lot happier than if you have these wild expectations andexpecting the reality to to catch up God. I love Thatat's good advice yeah,so I mean we kind of knew that we knew what we were getting into. By doingthis, and I mean...
...we tried to start the company reallylean, so it wasn't like we went out N and raised a bunch of money and got gotcomfortable salaries. We didn't make any money for but the first couple ofyears but hold on you. You did start t lean, but you were so in twenty fifteen.You actually appeared on dragon sand for the first time MHM with sage. Canyou maybe walk us through that experience so yeah after we e we fully decide tha. We weregoing to go ahead with the with the sage concept out a university. We hcontinued to tinker with the idea and try and pull it together. Akind ofnother litlefunny stories, our first prototype was a hand, blowing glass bottle and bottlethink it cost us a thousand dollars and weere. It was three hundred and thirtythree bucks a piece, and we didn't have much more than that. We actually gaveit to a friend to take some pictures for us that we were going to use totelptry and pitch investors. It fell over and broke so hour, first quarter TP, and then wediscovered three Da Printing we actually stoord at three Da Printingback in back then yeah. We started how many printing phototypes after that,twenty fourteen fifteen. I guess that's it's become fairly common now, but itwas early enough, earlyash, yeah yeah, I mean they're, not super cheap either,but I mean you can get like one that at leastprove the concept not maybe not pretty, but for a hundred and fifty bucks,something like that. So yeah we started three printing after that realizedglass is not the way to go h. So how did you get one of you applied to be on dragonsthen? So? Yes, and no so we W, we did know we Kinda knew who one of the Plike producers was there, and we kind of reached up to ask about the processof how could we get on the show and andand whatnot? She kindof told us that, like, Oh, you have to apply and youhave to go through kind of jump through these hubs. You got a pitch to theproducers. First generally, we were able to basically finegl our way in so wedidn't even have to do the audition step and just go rat to the live showsskip the augition. We basically skinand skiped the audition yeah, basicallybecause th this producer kind of knew, we we were already about and thoughtweuld make an entertaining story to put up there, so we, but typically yea youapply you have to addition to the producers. Then they cut it downwhether they like you or not, and then you go to the. I guess the taping showsafter that. So I mean the first time we showed up. We didn't really knowwhat to expect. I mean was obviously seein the show a bunch of times on TV I mean for me like the experience. It was actually a lot more like a realbusiness negotiation than I expected it to be just based on how they kind ofcut and edit the pieces they make. It seem a little bit more showy show Businessy, but you reallydig into the into the nitty gritty, and I mean they can make. You look like an idiot,pretty quick if I'll put the up at the link in the shownotes here yeah, butyou so that when they cut to you behind the scenes- and it's the three of younegotiating in the back room- that's real time legitimately talking throughyes you're, going to take the deal yeah so you're there, for I think we were there for about an hour.It's fast, actually yeah an hour, maybe an hour and a half I mean we've been able to connect with acouple of the people that had pitched on it before and they kind of gave usan tidbits in terms of how to make the the the pitch go assmoothly as possible in front of them. So we ere wel well prepared it. KINDOFcomes back to the the preparation point and but yeah S, it's all it's all alivetime! There's no! Like cut this tat, it's a full a one hour hour and a halftaping one shot. If you get offered a deal generally, it's it's good togenerally it's good to take a deal, a matter. What and work on actually closing it behind the scenes.'CAUSE, I mean like, like any deal in business, Um, all the ones that I'vebeen involved in trying to negotiate. They all sound great when they firststart and a fraction of them ever actually closed for for one reason oranother, so you guys did really well. Actually, there wasn't seemed like fromthe very beginning, despite the fact that you would call this a afirst, wl problem. RIDLING S, wasn'twe talk about in our classes a Gushi neckwound, which is a very visualyeah? I remember that turn Goshn. It sticks with everybody and they talkabout it's the big burning problem that you really need to Tik into and thinkabout Um, and I I would say that at least from my perspective, this isn't agushing neckwound en. At the same time,...
...when you pitched every single dragonwas notding, their heads, like everyone, was into it. There was nobody thatthought this is ridiculous, not a good idea. SoI thought that was interesting. Ultimately, so you did do a deal onthat show arlene came on as a partner rsort invested. Well, we didn'tactually close Tho deal with her on the show. You did the deal on theshow on the show deal it didn't close, because we had actually just raised alittle bit of sea capital before we finally got to pitch on there. Sojust the timing wasn't right, but she was. She was very active N in trying toinvest, but one of our other investors that had come on also had a marketingagency, so it didn't make sense to have two of those in in the investor group,but no, she she was great and very, very active in trying to close the deal,but at the time he just gotd. I didn't work 'cause. You can't really you can't.You can't wait to raise money for your business, just just to go on dragonstenand try and raise it. So I mean the financing around just happened toclose a little bit before we actually got there to you. Never no one's goingto close. You got to have e on an the fire and take the money when it'savailable, because investors see so many opportunities ifthey're excited about yours. Do you everything you can to close it, becauseif you sit on it, they might be already on to something Olnse by the time y youcircle back with them. Rigt like the sails sails one on one. If it's hotcloses on it or yeah. As a friend of mine, Bori Kapern, who used to be usedto run twitter, Canada he's now at Pelmerex media, the weather network, hesays his dad's favorite saying was mchay. Well, the sun is shining. So ifthe money's there Jeo whill it's there always be closing 'always be closingokay, so you on the show accepted, didn't end up. Taking that that dealdidn't end up closing. You explain why, but you came back on dragons, then, in what yearthis is the twenty fift een was the first show twenty fifteen was when itair, but we would have taped it in twenty fourteen. You tit a long timebefore got eirs Oka and then I think, the next time we would have taped in twenty sixteen eigh twentyseventeen God. I think so. Then you sage was no longer state was gone. Soyes, Kindof th Kindo to close the loopon stage. I Will Give The the profthat turned the idea down one half of the wind, whereas commercializing acustomized package very expensive and difficult to do, especially especiallyfor a inexperienced team and it comes to customize packages, but on the otherhand, the LCB o what the sage product did for us. Is it pretty much openedthe door to every liquor board in Canada, 'cause everyone we took it towas like wow, we love it. So it really it servedas a relationship building tool with all these different liquor boards andit's really kind of what kick things off on the right for foot. For us whenthe get go and since then, we've had one of the best strike rates in termsof getting new products in Awsome, so he was right to be fair. He was right,I'll, give him the wind, but, as is oftin the case, the first idea israrely the idea and it you listen to feedback. You develop somerelationships and that turned into the new company which at the time wasiconic, yeah, so kind of repositioning the company. I guess we we we didn'twant to stick with a name that was also related to a product that we were nolonger selling, so we kindo decided to rename the the company, with kind ofthe overarching mission envision to build a iconic Canadian company and thenext kind of great beverage alcohol company N in the Canadian Industry andspecifically in the ready to drink cooler, space 'cause at the time fouror five years ago, the space was pretty much just full ofthe old boring competition, call it the SMERNO ICES of the world and games thejoke icing. Somebody like yeah, AE, really drink them. It was just kind ofa joke thing. It certainly pushes a lot of sales with that ICING ICING JOKE,but yeah. It was just full of these old kind of products that Um weren't terribly exciting. So we kindof focused on trying to usher in the more craft side of th, of the ready todrink cooler, space as it was already exploding and and beer and wine.Obviously, there's a lot of craftsproducers and kind of the nextarea that made sense for us was th the ready to drink market. The other nicething about the rate to drink market is oh, it's a blessing and a curse. Youcan gain traction very quickly with a new product, but it can also disappearquite quickly as well at it. So you...
...were on dragons and you pitched iconicand the brand at that time was how may producs, so the focus of that pitch wason dusty boots. So, at the time of thetaping we had just launched in Alberta, Ibelieve, and of the First Alcoholic Hard Soda in Canada, wead launched it in in Alberta and kindof sales had just taken off out of the gate. It was really an unbelievable. Itwas truly like a hockey stick growth curve kind O that year we experiencedbasically five hundred percent growth in ind topline revenue of the company.So it was A M B Aand. cashual management ply chain management, Ning expectations, yeah it was it was,it was a fun. It was certainly a fine experience at the time. was thereanything like this in Canada there wasn't a Alcoholic Card Soda in CanadaNo, but it was the first of its kin. This is the first of its kind, theintry's very quick to react. Now, though, so you get a lot of a lot ofpeople that follow afterwards, but a at the time. It was first of its kind, andI mean even the story of how we ended up on dragons. Then the second time was a little bit unusual. We again didn'taudition. They actually called us up and and said that one of their groups had had dropped outfor their for their last day of taping. Again we weren't looking for moneyreally at the time and they asked what we we liked pitch the first time aroundand we thought it was entertaining. Would you guys like to come back forthe second CHANC show Ecause, we technically didn't close the deal thefirst time around MSO. We had to think about it for a little bit actuallybecause a direct competitor of ours. She was on the panel, the Minhasbrewing family, who she was right away, the only one that was like no don'tlike to taste I'm out yeah. I mean I'll just leave it at a difference of opinion between betweenher and us. I mean yeah. justeveryone else was into it. 'Lleave it there. She had a competing product in market rigt tastes like sh t tastes like Algoli Rut,beer. I didn't think if it's sweet, it's because maybe of you're sweet yeah.So like her her home market's Alberta, we lauchd NOBERDA. First, we werewhooping her, but pretty good and and south through it was four to one at thetime. So I mean yeahthshe is a history of sure of it.HSURE Syo entyou ended up at the time it was dusty boots. was there? Did youhave another product? T I mean on the show. Did you show case another probem?I think it was just as boots. It was mainly oundesbus. I think we may havehad may have had a cabanic coast there, but we were therepitching, like dusty, primarily does as that, where all the files came from allthe numbers yeah that that was kind of our ourly dog at that time. So weWerewe were writing that one yeah. So then you yet two offers it's likepeople, Chris try so hard to get on the show you guys got on it 'cause you gotto ask to get on t the second time and then you' got a a second deal, sobetween H, the few ours that you had in thefirst one, the few ofrs Yehd in the second. You ended up Yeu, AD, Micheleand Joe, who offered you almost what you asked for. Then you had whack offeryou kind of like a royalty deal until he got his money back and you took Waksteel yeah. So I mean a little bit ofstrategy kind of going into into the pitch. We kind of know knewthat we kind of knew that if you made a deal w n, when you were there, I itgreatly improved your chances of of getting on on TV, and I mean we feltlike wack had kindof the the biggest personality, their equity Er, no equity,I mean his deal was not wouldn't have been a great one for at the time wewere growing incredibly quickly for the cash of the business paying out. Ithink it was a ten cent. Royalty per bottle per bottle frankly, would neverhave done that deal in in a private boardroom, but from a strategic ntonpoint of of the show business world, he seemed like the the right person toalign ourselves with. But again we didn't actually end up closing that. Ohreally that deal either no okay, no okayboth times we were there and I meanthe second time we got called twenty four hours before taping. We didn'thave any time to really prepare for it. We weren't it wasn't the right time forus to bring on n a new financial partner and obvioulyYo hate to go back and do do diligence and our current investor group justsaid it. Wasn't it wasn't the right time we didn't feel it was the righttime, so we we had to decline Bo both times but still great experiences, notnone the less cool, so yeah cool cool.
So there's a couple of other things wegotta get through here in the next a few minutes, but we're we're comingto a close actually on the resources side. So there's a lotto figure out in businesses like this and were pointing at your products now.So we got a whole lime up or products here, we'e got dusty boots. We've gotsome seasonal, dusty boots products, there's a couple of other brands, SpinOffs. That will we'll touch on maybe a little bit later, but there's a lot tofigure out from manufacturing, marketing distribution and with limited budgets as a start uplike how did you not get deterred by all that? There's got to be likeoverwhelm, and Oh my gosh how's. It going to work when we're up againstthese big people with comparatively unlimited budgets. MHM. How did youeven get your head around everything that need to get done? I mean, I think I think YEU TER HA. Youhave to be either a little bit kind of naive or just a little bit crazy tothink you can do it all in like a a shoestring budget and make it happen. Imean on the on the C competitive side like we knew we had a lot of othercompetitors out there, but they moved like the big guys, but they moved quitea bit slower. They weren't the taste makers. They were the taste followers,so we kind of felt hat weud get a jump out ahead of them. We could have somesuccess there, which which we have on like the resource side manufacturing Imean it really comes comes down to I mean,if you don't have the skills in your immediate team, finding the rightpeople to to are willing to work with you and help you in any sort of interesting, arrangeand, H, t howeverhowever it maymay were freeproduct or if they liked their story. I mean, I think, starting young nd andusing your the fact that you are young, as as an asset to to get services at asignificant discount or or for free it it works is, is a good way to do it. SoI mean it was a steep learning crurbon one, the last there was nothing lineerabout it. I mean the first H. First, like two and a half years,were we're kind of very hectic Tina, trying to figure out how the wholeindustry works from a regulation standpoint from a selling to thecustomer standpoint to Issell into the end users, standpoint to manufacturingand managing supply chains and cash flows. It was just one one, grand experiment that we had background knowledge to tryand manage, but until your ass is really on the lit on the line, you just find a way tomake it happen. When the stakes are high, they that old, AD ad burn the ships rightwhen you'd never know you never know how strong you are untilbeing strong is the only choice you have, and so in that case your back wasagainst the wall. It was like Oier, we go home yeah. There is there's multipletimes. where I mean. If we didn't get creative, we could have gone out of businesseither from trying to grow too quickly or some other disaster. O rbor controltakes place. We had to be very on the ball, an and aggressive and creative,to h, to stay in business, so something that you mentioned n the beginning. Youhad worked with Yourso Dan one of the partners played professional orsemiprofessional hockey from the checkpublic yeah. He originally came toCanada to play hockey playin the the WHL, the Western Hockey League and yourother partner was the one that you did all hands with yeah, so Camp Cam and Iwere working on the gas Tok from a our high school years. I don't know howold we were, probably fourteen fifteen and sixteen somemer round there and had a few little businesses alongthe way whether it was landscaping to trying to do smart phone accessories, whatevall Ortolittle all sorts of little businesses just 'cause, we ere. We just couldn'twait to try and try and do something so yeah. So it's not like you, three ofyou guys, came from a background in beverages or the industry, or anythinglike that, and I think in your case a little bit of naivte probably went along way. The fact that you thought you had a chance against these big big dogs-maybe maybe a good thing yeah I mean I, I think I think, having a little bit ofNavedy definitely helps I mean you can you can try and prepare as as much asyou want, but one thing I've kind of found in in in like this industry,dominated by a few big players for the most part, sure there's a lot of S.small suppliers out there now, but the big companies are really looking tothe small companies to lead. The innovation curb- and I mean justanecdotally, hearing from friends at work at these other companies. We'vepopped up in their internal slide shows...
...multiple times I cand imagine so as long as ' e as long as you're, notfollowing them and you're leading, then it's Kinda like the elephant and themost thing you can kind of run around and create a market for yourself andthey try and catch up with you D and they can. If you don't stay focuse'cause, they have the resources to just keep going at it year after year aftera year. But if you can get far enough ahead, multiple Prizat we've waunched, thesemost ene Tebad, has come out with something kind of similar the next yearand much later much later and they're, not on the market anymore. So so some interesting learnings there Imean the team that you were comfortable with. You had experience with a handful,or at least one of your other cofounders before sounds like you did a good job ofplugging the gaps. Maybe in the La Experience for lack of experience thatyou folks had s that yeah I mean we, we certainly, wecertainly tried to find kind of Mento relationships. I guessI'd call them like early on in the industry. I mean not being afraid toreach out to people that are either higher up in the industry and differentbusinesses that are related to yours and and trying to seek mensorship fromthem. I mean we were very hands on too um trying to learn as much as wepossibly could, but I mean we made a ton of mistakes in the first little bit.There was a lot of Ole ther up until tomorrow and the next day after there'sgoing to be always mistakes and failures that that are going to happen. I mean as long as you I mean eitherhave a plan B or you've made it. So it's not betting, the business, amistake generally you're able to come back from it cool. So a few few lefthear. Well, we well. We try to rap up update on where iconigis today 'causewe're looking at a whole bunch of new brands here, so we've got Capana coast.We've got cottage springs that I know have seen some great traction, maybe just a quick snapshot uptate ofwhere the brand is t yeah, so conic as a company usto dusty boots, goingstrong in the heard soda spase cobanicoast is kind. O is more of ourcocktail and a can brands so hiring cocktails. Moscow Mules, I have atwocomer Genantonic we launched and then college springs is more of our. Iguess: Callit Healthier oriented brand words. No sugar added, no carbs ninenine calories per can n that area's seeing a lot a lot of great tractionright now as well U'm. In addition to our own brands, we built an agencybusiness as well on the side, so we represent and sell other brands andproducts for for other companies that are cu complimentary to her own. Wewon't sell another hardrout beer, for example, but a couple of CRAFTBOGOcompanies and and some other beer companies, so it kindof makes our salesthe stillside of a business more efficient and allows us to hire morereps as well SR and yeah. I mean we almost got into themanufacturing space. We didn't, but yeah we're ppretty much cross Canada,the oonly probis is. We don't have a big presence in yet R or Quebec, andnot as much in BC, but every other province we've been we've been in forthe last at least three three years and keepbringing new price market every year. Awesome awesome got a few more rapidfire ones to ask you, but if people are looking online, how can they findeither your brands, your products where's? The best place to find 'em Imean in terms of communicating to people, we do a lot of that on onSociamedia facebook instagram. We do have a website at conic, brewing D, CoAsiam. It confuses a lot of people. It was one of the dumber kind ofcommunication mistakes that we made but got co and yeah. If, if you want tokind of see if, if the proict available close to you M in Ontario, go to theSBO website and just search it, a lot of the other provinces around Canadahave kind of similar websites, so you can search for the product, I mean else,be a will deliver it to you now if you want, but but that hasn't really gottena lot attraction, yet cool cool, okay. So a few more rapid fired things beforewe wrap up for good. Where do you do your best thinking? My best thinking has generally beendone, driving randomly and im a day morning, night,pretty much any time of day like driving in a car or even driving in aboat, and then I also just do like more deep thinking like just on my own, atthe cottage sitting on the dock and super quiet with one of your ownproducts in hand and absolutely had Ciro source. Of course, advice. You'dgive your twenty year old self. If you could think back to you with newventure projects, advice you give your twenty year old self, I would say, maybe just be kind of a little bit morepatient and a little bit more focused on...
...on setting the the foundation for forfor the business before just jumping right off the cliff, I would say, likeTeres. There was definitely some learing lessons in there that if wetook a little bit more time to either find the right person to help uswith the with the problem or the project ersus trying to do it ourselves,yeah like that would be one. I Mea, I would say, just just be patient 'cause,like good things. Th they take. We we thought weere going to make anovernight success whe when we first started, but things take at least fiveyears, ten years, fifteen or twenty years. It takes a long time to to buildsomething n and more take more long term perspective towards towards things.You could do it all, just not all at once, yeah exactly and you can do it alot better if it's done a more structured manner. GTT last one herefor you personally as notn. What is your superpower? What are you better atthan either your partners or most people? I'm generally a pretty creative guy, come up with alot of a lot of different ideas and I'm pretty good at kind of seeing the thebig picture of of whatever the the projector productmight be cool. That's good! It's always someone to keep you on track. Who cansee the big picture? That's good! Yeah Yeah! I mean I can see the big picture.I sometimes get a little too a little too over the over the edge. So I havemy partners kind of wring me back a little bit which Ria rea iyeah exactlyroll me in, but yeah cool bobby. This has been awesome, got a ton of goodnotes. Here got a lot of things to put in the show notes. It's been reallygood to sit down and spend in time with yoe Asi lice to catch up. Thanks Eric,I discrate my pleasure. You've been listening to the Ivionminor potcast toensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show in your favoritepodcast player, or visit Ivy dotca forward, slash entrmrenership. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.
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