when the High School lacrosse coach at St. Joes had invited the top lacrosse recruits for the incoming freshman class to his summer camp. The 3 of us, Mike, Rob & Steve, were the only ones to show up and that was the first day we met. Over the next 4 years we each excelled in sports becoming the captains of our respective teams; Rob in hockey, Mike in lacrosse and Steve in soccer.
More important than that, we built a strong friendship together through high school and college constantly talking about the businesses we would one day build and the dreams that we had. Well, in 2012, when graduating college, life hit us all right in the face and the pressure of society and surroundings pushed us to each get jobs in the corporate world. Mike was in retail real estate development; Rob in environmental consulting and Steve was in business development for an engineering company. In terms of society, we had great jobs and were on the path the success, but we did not see it this way.
About a year into our jobs, we decided that we couldn’t let our dreams pass us by and we were going to do whatever it took to get out of them and build something we were passionate about. We were searching YouTube, Google and everything in between to find a business model we could choose that would be low cost and then found Kindle publishing. We found someone online who was publishing kindle books and making a lot of money so we took his course and went through the entire 2- month course in 12 hours. Fast forward 2 months later and we had figured out a way to write and publish over 15 books on Kindle in categories of commercial/residential real estate, backpacking, paleo, CrossFit, veganism, marijuana businesses and any other niches we thought would be growing in the coming 5-10 years so we could continue building our royalties. We built up a little cash from the royalties but it wasn’t close to enough
Kindle opened us up to the world of Amazon and we found out that people were selling physical products on Amazon (initially we thought it was just Amazon selling products). We watched some YouTube videos and decided to do retail arbitrage, which was basically buying products on clearance at Retail Stores and reselling them on Amazon for double or triple the price. Our first day was a Saturday and we went to 3 different stores including Toys R Us, HomeGoods and Walmart and we could not find a single product in these stores on the Amazon barcode scanner that would be a good seller on Amazon. We basically quit right there but decided to stop at Target on the way home.
We arrived at Target and went to the clearance isle to find these 5 computer modems for $50 on clearance and our Amazon app said they were selling for $150 on Amazon. We were still extremely skeptical and were hesitant to buy these modems totaling $250 which we had no use for except to resell. One day later we sent them to Amazon FBA warehouse and were waiting for the product to go live. We checked the app again and again and finally they were live – and then GONE. Within a minute they all sold!!! This blew our minds and showed us that Amazon was a much bigger beast than we ever imagined and we have never looked back!
We would ransack the clearance aisle at Target and buy almost everything there. Once we cleaned out one Target we would move on to the next one until we had been to almost every single Target in the Tri-State. We knew this was not sustainable so we decided to use the 10k in cash we accumulated to partner with a manufacturer and build a brand within the art supplies category. We built out a product line of 5 different products and within our first 6 months we hit 6 figure revenues and we were ecstatic.
We knew that we had to work all day every day for this to work out so we drove down to South Carolina in the middle of nowhere, cooked every meal, worked out every day and worked on Amazon 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for 4 months. There were multiple times where we wanted to quit but we couldn’t fathom the idea of going back to a job. So, we worked and worked more and built up a substantial client base to test our processes and techniques with. We listened to customers needs and analyzed the data when trying something new.
We care so much about our clients and building strong relationships with them that will hopefully last a lifetime. Addressing our clients’ needs have also helped us create new solutions and businesses in Video Production and SaaS. Although this is exciting, nothing makes us prouder of the fact that we have been able to employ and change the lives of others on our team which will continue as we grow.