What inspired you to start your business?
Fear and uncertainty. My parents’ business was failing fast. They were declaring bankruptcy and the house was in foreclosure. Starting a business with my siblings was the best way I could see to help support my family. We didn’t want life to simply happen to us ,so we did everything in our power to take control of the situation.
When was a time you came close to giving up?
We were bringing in about $30K a month in revenue after three very hard, long, exhausting years of working 7 days a week. The three of us were doing the selling, marketing, printing, designing, purchasing, shipping, cleaning, accounting and everything else all on our own. It had taken us a lot of energy and sacrifice to get there and we did our best to squeeze out every bit of profit — only to find at the end of every year we either lost money or were flat on the year. That kind of effort was unsustainable and there was no future in continuing to stay in this business without results.
We were all exhausted. I was 20 at the time, and decided I was ready to move on. But my brother forced me to keep working on it. I promised him I’d stay for a few more months, and that’s when we doubled down on our marketing efforts. Within a month, we went from bringing in $30K per month to $200K per month in revenue. Game changer. All the sudden, we were a million-dollar company. The growth was extremely challenging, but there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.
The next phase wasn’t any easier to be honest, but it had a future and I’m really happy we stuck with it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
This exact phase of the business. It used to just be my family and I running every aspect of it, so we couldn’t take more than just a few days off a year (and that was pushing it). Today, I am no longer day-to-day in any single department, we have pros handling every aspect of the business. I can focus on things that really move the needle such as company culture, talent, M&A, and innovation. It’s a really exciting time for RushOrderTees, SouthbySea, and TheDealRack.