Turning a physical product into a service

Today I’m talking to two co-founders about this unbelievable service they have created.

It’s a fascinating model solving a very specific pain point for a very specific group of people. I’ll ask them about it all in this interview.

Erik Rico and Oscar Llarena are the founders of Bat Club USA, a subscription service for baseball and softball players.

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Erik Rico and Oscar Llarena

Erik Rico and Oscar Llarena

Bat Club USA

Erik Rico and Oscar Llarena are the founder of Bat Club USA, a subscription service for baseball and softball players.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And I am now in Austin, Texas, like everyone else from San Francisco. I moved out of the city.

Oscar: yeah. Sounds about right.

Andrew: yeah,

Oscar: I am a local here in Austin and I can tell you that is a fact

Andrew: I still don’t know. Now that I’m here, I don’t know why we’re all moving here, but we can talk about that within this interview. That is

Erik: the breakfast tacos, Andrew it’s the breakfast tacos and barbecue.

Yeah. Yep. That’s about it.

Andrew: So the barbecue is not their breakfast tacos yet.

Erik: Sorry.

Andrew: other thing. I really like the people here. I haven’t yet gotten to see them because we’ve only been here for a couple of days, but I do like the people, frankly, there are a lot of people we interviewed or here we’re hanging out here.

They’re posting photos online. I want to be a part of the action.

Oscar: Yeah. I got a couple of Hangouts for you that we can talk about offline, or even on this interview that we, I know where I do the entrepreneurial type stuff all the time. Mozart’s on a Friday morning. If you haven’t heard of Mozart’s it’s right on the lake. It’s a great place to start.

Andrew: I have, I’ve been there a good coffee shop right on the lake. That’s the place to be. Right.

Oscar: Yep.

Andrew: All right. By the way that voice that you heard is Oscar Yurena. He is here with his co-founder and partner. His name is Eric Rico, and the two of them are here to talk to me about this thing that they created, that I would not have believed except it’s, it’s a thing I wouldn’t.

So it’s called bad club USA. And the idea is, instead of buying your bat, you could pay bad club USA, a subscription fee, and they’ll send you a bat. Is that right? Oscar

Oscar: That is correct. Yes. We’ll send you a bat. You pay monthly and then you switch.

Andrew: anytime. So three months in, I say this batch too light, too heavy too. This too, that you’ll just switch it back for me. And I do not have to explain why I don’t like it. I don’t have to pay shipping.

Erik: Nope. Nope.

We take care. We take care of all of that stuff. That was a major pain point for a lot of ballplayers baseball, softball players is the second you took the wrapper off of the bat. There’s no returning it to a sporting goods store. You’re stuck eating the appreciation almost like you would on a car driving it off the lot.

So we found a lot of people that were buying the wrong size bat, wrong certification. Uh, just a bat that didn’t fit their kid. Well, and getting stuck with this 300 5450 $500. investment

Andrew: $500. Wait, are we talking about for professional baseball players here or

Erik: oh no, no. My friend, we are talking about kids as young as seven, eight years old getting 300 5450. So, so we, we got this Idea. Uh, when I started looking for bats for my five-year-old, who’s now 12, so Oscar and I grew up.

Andrew: is Eric, by the way. Who’s speaking. So you have a five-year-old and how much would you have to spend on a bat for your five-year-old?

Erik: So, so at the time I started, I started looking for bats and I played collegiately at, at Cornell, played in Toronto blue Jays minor league system for a few years. I mean, I’m baseball, family butter on baseball, my whole entire life, Oscar and I are lifelong friends from baseball, knowing each other since kindergarten, first grade.

And when I started looking for bats for my now 12 year old, who was five at the time, there were bats for five-year-olds that were more expensive than the bats I used in college.

Andrew: Well, let me ask you this. So I did do a search on Amazon and I see, I just did a search for baseball bats. The top results. Sure. Enough is $349.

Erik: Yep.

Andrew: But if I scroll a little bit, I see a top pick here. It’s called the Z Z wait, S Z Y T. It’s obviously a no-name bat.

Erik: Hmm.

Andrew: It’s got 2,317 ratings, four and a half star root store, four and a half stars.

19 bucks. Why can’t I just get my five-year-old my six-year-old and $19 back.

Erik: You, you could. But the thing that we, that we see is performance, right? It’s the difference between driving a Honda accord, which will get you zero to 60. You’ll get the 60 miles

Andrew: He’s five years old, seven year old, 10 year old kids. They need, they need more than a Honda accord.

Erik: Hey, so you would be surprised Andrew Oscar and I early on had a conversation with a coach that had a T-ball a four year old selecting.

And he was pretty, I don’t want to say bragging, but he was pretty comfortable with the fact that he had to cut four year olds from his team. So baseball and softball are extremely competitive in every single advantage that a player can get. Since the parents are investing so much money, starting at a very young age into these careers, they absolutely want to take it in the ball and listen, the ball comes off different that 1999 bat will work and it will hit the ball.

And I’ve seen it firsthand with these high-end bats. The ball just absolutely flies off them. And there is a significant I’m talking 25 30, sometimes 50 foot difference on how you hit the ball with these high end bets.

Andrew: Even at that age, how many people in the country are so competitive about baseball? I, I took my kid to soccer. They basically made sure that everyone had got to play. I think at five years old, even let them play soccer with by balls.

Erik: Yeah.

Oscar: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it’s different, right? So the art market is, is more of the high-end kids, right? The select baseball players. So this isn’t your typical Cory league where you’re playing once a week or once every other week. Like these kids are playing five, six days a week, practicing, hitting, you know, running, playing games

Andrew: want them to be professional baseball players or because their parents just want them to give

Oscar: kids the next day, rod, every kid’s the next day. Rod Mike trout, name, name your superstar. And at the age of five and six, if your kid is taller and bigger than everybody else, you think he is the next superstar by the time, you know, it changes by the time they’re 15, 16, but that’s not what you’re

Andrew: How many kids ask, are we talking about in the country who fit this profile? A hundred thousand, a million,

Oscar: oh, what’s a $3 million, 3 million in baseball and then a hundred, 1.5 in softball. So there’s over

Andrew: million kids

Erik: Yes.

Andrew: in baseball and 1.5. Okay. So your vision was, you said, look, this can’t fly parents. Aren’t going to want to spend 350 bucks. We’re going to do a subscription service. How much money are you guys generating with this subscription service?

Oscar: It depends on the bat.

Andrew: No. Sorry. Overall revenue annual. What is it

Oscar: Uh, Eric knows those numbers are, if you come from with those numbers,

Erik: Um, so how about this with our most recent, Hey, I’m not just not necessarily comfortable in sharing all of that at the, at the moment. Um, but with our most recent, uh, ink magazine, I mean, there was over 1400% growth, uh, for up to 2020, so there’s absolutely

Andrew: 2020, his revenue was white, according to Inc.

Erik: so it wasn’t, it wasn’t published. Um,

Andrew: Oh, Inc. Doesn’t publish what the revenue is.

Erik: no, they

Oscar: Just the change

Erik: published the percentage change,

Andrew: Oh, that’s why I couldn’t find it here. Okay. So what we’re saying is it’s, it’s in the millions low, mid, single digit millions, right? Not hundreds of thousands profitable.

Erik: Correct. Yeah, yeah,

Andrew: And the only funding as I understand it, that you brought in is your own money. You guys were basically like working this as a side hustle and a little bit of friends and family.

Do you bring in any, any more professional money than that?

Erik: We have a term loan, you know, we have some other smaller lines of credits and things of that nature, but you know, we’ve just essentially.

Oscar: VC money,

Erik: Yeah,

Oscar: big

Erik: anything like that? No, no PE or anything. I mean, we just simply have taken all that we’ve gotten and reinvested in looking to grow the member base as much as possible and to really focus on our mission.

Right. And our mission is not just about getting a kid, a bat it’s we know the value of baseball and how awesome baseball is and all the life lessons that you learned from playing this game that translate into adulthood. So we want to power, confident ball players that love the game, reached new Heights and are prepared to leave their mark on the world.

Like that’s, that’s what we really want to accomplish. And we know having a great bat, having a great glove gives you more confidence, lets you learn those life lessons from baseball and then take that into adulthood. Cause look not, everybody’s going to be Mike trout, not everybody’s going to be John Carlos, Dan and get a $350 million contract, but you can take those lessons from a game that’s really, really hard where you fail seven out of 10 times and you’re amazing.

Right. And, have that translate very well later in life.

Andrew: And, um, well, you know what, let me just say this. This interview is sponsored. I always say it at the stop of the interview, but I got really carried away with it. With the, with the description it’s sponsored by HostGator. If anyone out there needs a website for their business, they should go to hostgator.com/mixergy.

You’ll get a great price. And it’s sponsored by overpass when you’re ready to hire salespeople. And frankly, you people, you guys, Oscar and Eric, you might need a salesperson or maybe a team of them go to overpass.com/mixergy to hire them. Right. I see how it works. The bats are, they are the used bats that they’re getting to use.

Oscar: No brand new when the wrapper

Andrew: So wait, I buy, I get a brand new bat. I say I don’t like it. Three weeks later, you’ll send me up another brand new bat, and then I could switch multiple times a year.

Erik: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew: How does this make financial sense for you?

Erik: so, so for us, what we’re able to do is. Give discounts when a person does switch the back, excuse me. When a person does switch that we are able to put it back out on memberships. So we put it back out on a discounted rate and we’re still able to get that asset to perform in a way

Andrew: it as a, sell it at a discount.

Erik: can, we can put it

Oscar: we’ll put it back on subscription.

Erik: We can put it back on a subscription at a

Andrew: some people are buying subscription, whether they’re paying subscription where they’re getting a bat, that’s already been used.

Oscar: And we’re, we’re a hundred percent clear and transparent on that. So there’s a specific section on the site that’s new and then lightly used. So there’s a lightly used section that basically says it’s been opened up someone who’s used it for a small amount of time and we’ll discount it X amount of percentage

Andrew: And that’s a different plan,

Oscar: different it’s same plan, just a cheaper rate, essentially.

So we’ll just kind of 10, 15, 20% depending on the condition.

Andrew: And the plan starts at what? 20 bucks a month.

Oscar: Yep. Do we have plans that low it, depending on the bat you choose, they go up to, you know, the, it, all the monthly price, all depends on the price point of the bat. So $500 retail bat. It’s not going to cost you $20 a month, obviously because math doesn’t work.

Andrew: Okay. Now I’m with you guys and I see it by the way. I have your revenue here in front of me, but since you told our producers private, I’m gonna, I’m gonna not say it. Uh,

Erik: Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Eric, you were in the minor leagues for the blue Jays. How exciting was it when you got called up? When you got into the minor.

Erik: So, so funny story on, on this, I, I was Ivy league player of the year in 2002, got a lot of buzz played on a great summer league team. A lot of very high draft picks, even a majorly Goldstar played on that team. And when draft day came, it was actually a little bit disappointing at first because I thought I was going to get drafted a little bit higher than I did.

So I was a 22nd round pick. Uh, I thought I would be in the top 10 rounds, maybe felt good about myself and then kind of had this news flash. But once the scout showed up to my house with the paperwork, I mean, it was, it was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. I mean, it’s four years that I wouldn’t trade trade for anything.

I mean, I really learned, learned a lot about the work ethic needed and the other, really one of the key takeaways, because I, I worked my butt off. Right. I mean, I was, I was in great shape and sometimes, you know what, Andrew, you’re just not good at it. And that’s Okay. Right? Like that was one of the things that I took away from that, that man, you know what, there are a lot of great players out there and you know what, and the baseball side, I was not good enough, but I wanted to find the thing that I was, you know?

Um, so, so being able to,

Andrew: that transition when you spend so much of your life saying I could be in the major leagues, I’ve got it. If I keep wanting it, if I keep willing it, if I keep working at it, I could do it. And then the world tells you, no, you can’t. Why does not rock your world and make you think maybe I’m delusional.

Maybe I just don’t have what it takes to even understand what it takes

Erik: it did. it did. I mean

Andrew: how do you recover from that?

Erik: the first month, the first month was really hard and actually the crazy story about when my career ended, uh, spent my first two years in the minors as a pitcher of my lab, as a hitter, my last two years as a person. Sure. And I’ll never forget. I, I had been around the game long enough that? I knew when cuts were coming during the season and we were going a long road trip and they, and if they’re going to cut somebody, they cut you right before that road trip.

So I vividly remember hiding in the bathroom stall, hoping that they thought I had left for the day. And next thing I know, I hear Tom Bradley was our pitching coach. Eric Kenny wants to skinny, he was a manager can Joyce Kenny wants to see you. And I knew it was coming. And the crazy part is that my wife had just quit her job driven up to Lansing, Michigan.

And 10 days later, I got released. 10 days later, I got, I got sent home and it was, it was a bummer. And this may sound a little crazy, a little childish, but the thing that really started rolling getting me rolling downhill, I guess essentially in the right direction was I’m bummed out the whole ride home, man.

We stopped at Disney. I mean, it sounds crazy, but I walked in and I saw that castle and I smiled for the first time in two days, I was like, I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be okay. Like

Andrew: Why I would like to, at times in my life find that Disney world I imagined I was going to hit these tremendous Heights. Be billionaire by now. Right? I’m not there. It sucks. How do I, how do I, what is it about Disney world that let you get past it? I don’t think Disney world is going to do it for me, but I want to know what it is about that that I could take away.

Erik: You’re So so for me, what it, what it was, was it, it was taking me out of, out of a place where I was really unhappy, but I understood right away. That, especially since I had just gotten married that there’s a next step to life. And listen, my early baseball is probably a little bit easier to step away from because my first year in rookie ball, I made $850 a month.

So it’s not like there was an 80, 90,000, a hundred thousand dollars salary that I’m walking away from and, oh shoot, what am I going to do? Like I actively, and this is Testament to my parents and the direction that they sent me in. I mean, I actively sought out an Ivy league school because baseball was going to end one day and I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

So for me, it made it a lot easier. And why Disney world was able to set me back easily in the right direction is because I had been planning for this day, since I was 17 years old, I knew it

Andrew: happened earlier than you imagined, you thought there’d be more before this day, but the day was you were preparing for it at some point. And one of the things that you did was you went to an Ivy league school. You also, I think it was Oscar who told us that he you’re, you’re a marketing guy that you have the marketing sensibility.

Am I right? Oh, Oscar. You’re the guy who

Oscar: I’m the

Andrew: How did, how did you pick up on the marketing stuff

Oscar: for back live itself.

Andrew: for in general? How did you become someone who could take on, what do you mean?

Oscar: actor. So, um, my background actually, I’m a computer engineer with a paper degree that says computer engineering. Uh, uh, I started at Vanderbilt, went to Vanderbilt for my freshman year, ended up back in Florida, international due to, um, financial constraints.

So very similar to Eric, you know, we weren’t super wealthy. Um, and right in college, got my first job at IBM in the bay area. So I was in San Jose up near you for about three and a half years. And got married, wanting to move back to Florida and eventually got my way back home to Miami, where I was looking for a job.

I was out of work. I needed something to do. My life had changed. Circumstances have changed. And somebody called a head, hunter called me and they’re like, Hey, there’s this little ad agency around the corner. They need a developer. Do you want to go try it out? And I said, yeah, sure, whatever walked in five and a half years later, I picked up on the marketing side.

I went from a developer to a tech lead to a user experience designer to a UX lead to creating campaigns for some of the major brands in the world. Volkswagen burger king Coke, zero

best

Andrew: was this? This was Crispin Porter

Oscar: correct. That’s right. CPB. Yup.

Andrew: this is after being a software engineer at IBM,

Oscar: Correct.

Andrew: by the way, is this what you look like when you worked at IBM? Let me see if I could show you on my iPad. Is this you?

Oscar: Oh man, I don’t know.

Andrew: can’t be no, that’s not you that’s

Erik: No, That’s

Andrew: that’s Eric. Yeah. Yeah. Eric, what the hell are you doing with this tie?

You’re a baseball player. You look like an IBM.

Oscar: Well, he went to the corporate world, dude. That’s what

Erik: So, so I didn’t jump right, right into this. Andrew, I’d still had a little bad taste in my mouth after.

Andrew: and this is your enterprise Rent-A-Car days.

Erik: So, so right out of when I got back, I’m like, man, I gotta, I gotta start earning some money. And you know, what’s funny. I was talking about this to, uh, one of my former managers who started his own business locally here in Miami at the time, at the time I thought I was way too good for that job.

I mean, I took it because they look I’m back in Miami. I don’t want to move anywhere else. My wife has a job. It’s something that came up. They have.

Andrew: Which job was this? That did that

Erik: is the enterprise, the

Andrew: the enterprise? Rent-A-Car this branch manager. Can I, can I say I won’t be too good to be a branch manager at enterprise. Rent-A-Car dealing with people who come late and then tell you that they shouldn’t have gotten the Sebring car.

Erik: know what, it wasn’t even that you’d tell you the truth. It was being out in the July, Miami heat And a shirt and tie vacuuming a fricking car. That

Andrew: go, this is not the life I was, I had dreams.

I was going to be a major league baseball player. People were going to cheer and now I’m vacuuming and people are pissed.

Erik: Yup. And, and so, so for me it was, it was a swallow your pride type moment. Right. But the thing that I learned from That not just the sales aspect of listen, if you can get somebody to pay for that damage waiver, you’re going to pay for anything.

Andrew: Okay.

Erik: Uh, but, but also also what it took, if you really wanted to run it.

And I, you know, enterprise pushes this stuff and I know, you know, it’s a little cheesy at times, but it really did set me up for what it takes to run a business yourself. And my parents listen to my parents had a. Had their own business, a printing company for a very long time. There are a lot of, there were some ops, but a lot of downs.

So I never wanted to work for myself, but I learned a lot from that. And when I left enterprise, I was really happy. I got another job and started moving into healthcare that focused on patient experience. And actually before I, before I started doing back club full time, I was the executive director of patient experience and analytics for a health system here, here in Miami.

So I was, so, yeah, it was Baptist health, south Florida. then university of Miami health system. So.

Andrew: when you say the damage waiver, let me come back for a second here. I’m fascinated by this. What are some of the things that you learned when you were trying to sell the damage waiver to customers? How do you sell it? How do you get them to say yes, Oscar likes it.

Oscar as a marketer, he knows what I’m

Erik: Yeah, well, so, so first of all, if they like USD easier to sell, of course you’d do those little things. Like enterprise would push the shaky hand, welcome and attend to them. Right. So if you, if you gave them good service, they like you, they’re going to be more likely to, to get the damage waiver, then you frame it properly for them.

Right? Like, so a lot of times, if someone on a one, two day rental, Hey, look, you know, why not just spend the 50 bucks today? So if anything happens, somebody brings up your car in a parking lot. You don’t have to worry about it. Just give me the car back and go. So you, you, you, you found, you found the right value propositions to convey to the person and to hit them as, as much as possible with it.

And they said, no, they said, no, it was

Andrew: get the value prop. How do you make them like you so quickly? You shake their hand? What else?

Erik: So, so right away. no look, no enterprise was very big on the professional and look, it’s a little bit different. Now I run the company, we’re in a warehouse, so it’s not the same suit and tie stuff, but enterprise was very big on that professional look. So right away, you know, you’ve got, uh, a good first impression that’s going to, that’s going to help them trust you.

And then, and then, uh, help you sell some damage waiver. Now it’s not, listen. It’s not an 80% conversion rate, right? It’s a, it’s a really hard sell. And if you’ve got a credit card with it, use that instead, you can cut that out

Andrew: Cause it comes with the credit card. Often, and it also, okay. God, by the way, my friend Sam Parr, who runs the hustle, he says, he asks all the time when he rents a car, if he could get a discount and he often will get it. Is that a possibility? Is it it’s one of his examples of how you need to negotiate and ask all the time?

Does it work?

Erik: Never, never hurts to ask.

Andrew: doesn’t work sometimes. Is there, you had a ability to do that

Erik: Uh, occasionally, I mean, it, it, it really, it really depended. Yeah. I mean,

Andrew: Maybe if I shook your hand and hugged you.

Erik: depending who

Oscar: to, if you got the damage waiver, maybe.

Erik: Hey, listen, Andrew, you can, uh, you can go anywhere and you can ask for a discount, right? Like it never hurts to ask. I’ve learned that I’ve learned that here with, with backup a lot too, is that it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Right. Like we can figure out, figure out something and just, if it makes sense, right. And that it’s going to be, it’s going to be scalable. So, you know, if enterprise or any other business has a, has a system in place that makes that easy. Yeah. You’re probably going to get a little bit more likelihood if, you know, give and take.

Um, but yeah, just, it never hurts to ask for sure.

Oscar: And I will say, you know, that, that the whole idea of the value props, Andrew, I mean, that’s one of the things that we try really hard on backlog is to make sure that you understand the value we bring, because we don’t want to be just about a bat. Right? We don’t want to be a transaction. We want to make sure that you understand there’s a relationship that we’re gaining with you as our, as our members.

Andrew: Truthfully, the value makes sense. Once you understand how much of that costs and that you have some flexibility to adjust. And I, I, I get that the value makes sense once you get it. I find it probably, it’s hard to explain because nobody’s looking for it. I might complain that about cost a lot, but still go with local, go to local bat place.

And that place go to the local sporting goods store and buy a bat or Amazon, or find frankly, ask another parent and then go get what they get. I think that it’s just a shocking thing at first to accept. And then maybe even before that, I’m not looking for it. So I wouldn’t think to go to bat club USA.

Oscar: You’re you’re 100%. Right? Right. Yeah. And one of the first things they say that everybody comes to us and says, why don’t I just buy it? And I said, when’s the last time you bought a CD? When’s the last time you bought a movie, right? You don’t, you don’t do that anymore because you don’t need to. All you’re doing is using it.

It’s a service. It’s a piece. It’s a commodity. Now that you have to use, you need a bat to play baseball. You need a glove, you need a bat. There’s nothing, Annabelle. Those are the three things you have to. And if you’re going to go and you’re going to spend the money on it, why not help? Why not let us eliminate or reduce that cost or spread it out over time and use it in a way that’s most beneficial to you because every baseball bats are just like cars every year, a new model comes out guaranteed.

And so there’s tweaks to it. The technology

Andrew: believe it. I could understand when the technology gets better than an iPhone, but the technology in a bad changing so dramatically year after year, that if the family would say, let’s go get the next bat is shocking. All

Oscar: Well, I mean, think about it this way, right? Like, just think of it. If you go to, even to the major leagues, think of the dead ball era versus now, right? Like 10 years ago, you had to hit the ball perfectly to get a home run because they made the, the dense, the ball. So it wouldn’t travel as well. They may tweak to the baseball, how tight the strings are or nodded supposedly.

And now the ball flies more, same as things with a bat, the density of the wall of the bat, how well it bounces off it. Ricochets. What is the propensity to

Andrew: I get it. I’m surprised, but I’m not I’m incredulous. I believe it. All right. Let me take a moment. Talk about my first sponsor. It’s HostGator anyone out there who needs a website? Hope. If you have a business, you need a website hosted, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. When you do you’ll get there a reduction in their already low price.

I use HostGator. It’s been serving me. Well. I like it. They just fricking work. I don’t have to think about hostgator.com/mixergy there. It’s so good. I’m just going to do a quick add for them. All right. So I think you said it was Oscar who had to buy a bat for your, your son, right? Oscar. Oh, excuse me, Eric.

I’m looking at Eric and I’m saying Oscar. Um, it was Eric who needed to get it for your son. You said this doesn’t work. How do you make the leap from? This is expensive too. I think I have an idea.

Oscar: Great

Andrew: this isn’t the, this is the idea that you guys are running with now is not what you had at first, but how did, what was the process?

Erik: Well, I wanted to try to figure out a way to make the best bats accessible. Right? So, so I started sitting down and, and manufacturers are very strict on how much you charge. I can charge less than the minimum advertised price of the manufacturer sets. Um, I’m stuck. I’m stuck by that. But what I can do is figure out a way to make it accessible while adding value, right?

So it’s not simply a financing play. This is us giving the flexibility of a, of a monthly payment, But also the opportunity to have the perfect bat. So it makes a really big difference for a lot of kids where you may have a $250 bat. That is the right bat. That’s perfectly fine. That’s what we

Andrew: were you saying? Well, you thinking to yourself, maybe this is my, my business idea. Was it a process like that where you were sitting around saying what’s the next business idea? What’s the next thing I do? Maybe I can find it. No. How did it come? What was the, what was the first

Oscar: I remember vividly. I remember this is Eric came and visited me in Texas, um, with his family. And he, at the time he forgot to mention this, that after baseball, he decided when his kids were old enough to play, he decided to run an academy as well while having the day jobs and figuring stuff out. And so he came and he’s like, man, these bats are so expensive.

I got kids on my team that can’t afford them. I can’t use my discount cause that’s violating the rules of the manufacturing relationship I have because I am an owner of academy. I have a relationship now, what can we do? And we’re sitting there and he’s like, yeah, I just got this iPhone, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And it literally came down to like, do you think we could split up the payments?

Andrew: Ah, because when you buy an iPhone, you could do monthly payments to pay it off. And you said, can we split up the payments and let people basically buy it on credit? Essentially, a monthly fee. Oh, that’s a great idea too. All right. So then the two of you said, why don’t we partner up on this and start a business?

Oscar: Yeah, that’s essentially, that’s pretty much how it worked. I mean, Eric is the operations guy and the CEO and I’m the marketing guy and I can do the websites and the technology and stuff. So we said, you know what? I think we can put this together. Let’s try it. And so we went to his academy, he went to his academy, he talked to a few of his parents and said, Hey, is there any interest in doing something along this line?

Boom, right away, we had 15 people ready to roll.

Andrew: people saying, if you could let me pay monthly and not pay all at once, I will do this to get the right bathroom. My kids got it. And that’s your first customers and your first test, uh, you told our producer, we did not want some piece of garbage first website. It had to be right. What did you mean? What are we looking for in the first website?

Why was it so important?

Oscar: Well, so the hardest part is truly understanding why to do this versus buying it and then allowing them an easy way to pay. Okay. Forget about it, right? So again, like, we don’t want, you, can’t be sending an invoice every month and saying, okay, go pay a bill. Like you do your electricity bill. This has to be a recurring payment model.

It has to be attached to a credit card on file because there’s a lot of, um, fraud that we had, we had to prevent on our end. And so when we set up the site, I looked for, uh, a platform that was obviously e-commerce because our entire business is e-commerce. We don’t have a furniture store. There’s, there’s no physical other than our office building.

And from that perspective, we wanted to make sure it was easy to navigate. We knew what the conversion rate, we could see the analytics behind it, and we could understand what was working, what

Andrew: Because you’re the marketing guy. You knew what you were looking for. What’d you build on Shopify. Do you build on something else? You Shopify. And then what did you use to allow yourself to do recurring, uh,

Oscar: So, uh, we ended up creating a custom solution for that, that attached to Shopify, with an integration, with a payment processor, which is strange.

Andrew: Stripe? Because Stripe let’s know Stripe lets you do monthly payments

Oscar: does so,

Andrew: an end date.

Oscar: correct. And so there’s a recurrent, the recurring aspect is the payments are processed through Stripe. The front end to shop was Shopify for the e-commerce, but then you had to connect the two to make sure that one, every time you made a payment, you work pro you were not processing an order because it’s liver once paid 12 times.

Right? And so there was a lot of intricacies and nuances that we had to customize for us. And that’s where we, where we made the site work.

Andrew: Okay, by the way, I’m in this Airbnb here in Austin, Texas, I thought I found a nice spot here in the living room where there’s not a lot of echo. And now there’s a refrigerator that, you know, how

Oscar: It’s coming at you.

Andrew: go and stop. I don’t know if you guys can hear it. If the listeners hear

Oscar: we can’t.

Andrew: I’m hoping the mic fixes it.

I did not recognize how great I had it. When I had that office for basically my whole career at Mixergy, there was an office setting and now I get it to actually set up a recording environment. Anywhere is not easy. I

Oscar: And by the way, I think he made a great, great strategic move to move to Austin, Texas. I’m just going to put that out

Andrew: Why, what do you think it is about Austin? That I’m going to like?

Oscar: Uh, you know what? I think the people are nicer here. I think there is a huge tech vibe here. There’s a, there’s an entrepreneurial spirit here. I mean, it’s, it’s the epicenter for one of the biggest conferences in the world, which has stopped by Southwest as you know, ACL.

If you’re a music, lover is here as well. Um, and you can walk down anywhere downtown, and you’re going to find an entrepreneur that is trying to come up with a new idea that will probably have a conversation with you about what he wants to do. It’s great. I love

Andrew: and frankly, I found that in San Francisco, we literally said something as we were walking, we could find people to talk about anything. This was maybe seven years ago. And we threw out a conversation about big cloud, big a bit, uh, Bitcoin, excuse me. And then there was someone who was right in front of us, willing to jump in and he’d done this crazy stuff with Bitcoin.

And it was a great conversation. But what I also wanted was a little bit of distance from tech. And I feel like I could get that here.

Oscar: You can

Andrew: they have horses, they have hobbies they have right. That lives. Um, I

Oscar: music every corner, by the way, too, if you’re well, in normal circumstances, you could, you could go to any bar and there’s somebody playing an instrument in there or outside, and you’re going to enjoy

Andrew: love that. And that’s a bummer for me that we’re now right now in the heart of COVID I actually was here a few weeks ago to look at a house that my wife liked and she said, fly out there, go see if you can get it. Um, see if we like it. And no one was wearing a mask today. Uh, people are wearing masks in different places.

I see that, uh, they’re not out as much and not out as socially, but that’s a bummer, but you’re right. It’s the people I do like that there’s enough tech that I can get, get into great conversations, but also I can take some distance and, and have, uh,

Oscar: And there’s great food here. There is great food that it’s

Andrew: Even for

Oscar: no San Francisco. Yes, yes,

Erik: I’m sure.

Andrew: Really?

Oscar: there’s no San Francisco, but it’s getting there. Like I

Andrew: You told me to about taco deli. Where else should I go? I took my kids to taco deli yesterday.

Oscar: taco deli. Um, what type of cuisine do you like?

Andrew: Anything truthfully? Anything

Oscar: Uh,

Andrew: though? The more exotic, the better, but obviously when you’re vegetarian does exotic is not that weird.

Oscar: ramen ramen fan.

Andrew: ramen. Yeah,

Oscar: There’s a place called Robinson studio, which w very well known. Um, they actually have a bunch of different types. Like they have a hot pot type place. They have an ice cream place, everything that city is the end, but ramen is a great place. There’s a couple of sushi places here that are pretty good.

Um, now I don’t know, compared to the bay area, I come from Miami also. So it’s always like one of these.

Andrew: Barry has good stuff, but it doesn’t have the little esoteric spots. There’s because it’s expensive to get space. You have to really nail it. You’re not going to mess around where here you can get a food truck where they’re experimenting and who knows if you know a pizza cones, pizza shaped like ice cream cones.

If that’s going to take off or not. Right. They get a food truck, they test it out. People are willing to

Oscar: Pizza’s really good here, by the way. I do love the pizza.

Andrew: actually, you know what, give me one pizza place and then give me one place where if I want to hang out with people, have a good vibe. I could go and get that.

Oscar: okay. So pizza, I’m a big fan of Detroit style pizza. So via 3, 1, 3. Excellent, excellent pizza. Um, and then if you want to hang out and get a good vibe again, like I think Mozart’s for the morning coffee type vibe, there’s a lot of people that sit there on Friday mornings in particular, there’s a, there’s a group called the regulars, uh, which I’m a part of.

And we go there and every once in a while, just on a Friday morning, you talk the talk and you hear about what great ideas

Andrew: come this Friday morning. Next Friday morning. I’m going to see you there.

Oscar: eight 30 shoes in there.

Andrew: Is it weird if I text you,

Erik: How has it, how has he got all. these? Hey, wait a minute. How is it. You got all these recommendations recommendations for Andrew and we haven’t been to any of those places on the a hundred times I’ve been in Austin.

Oscar: Because as soon as you get off the plane, you like to go to taco deli, Rudy’s barbecue and we pretty much have yours down pack. Oh, by the way, there’s a place called ATX casino. If you haven’t tried that when you had Andrews, which is a great family restaurant. Great, great spicy margaritas.

Andrew: I love spicy moderators. I love spicy anything but margarita. I want to really live it up here. All right. So you had this idea, you build out the website where you’re both working full-time jobs.

Erik: Yup.

Andrew: Okay. And then after you exhaust Eric’s, uh, parents, the parents who are part of his academy, he’s his baseball academy.

What do you get? The next batch of customers.

Erik: I mean, social media marketing, essentially, like Oscar started with a very small budget, but yeah, but. Going on to on the Facebook, putting out little ads, I mean, starting our, our Instagram account and start spreading the word there about what we have going on. And if you scroll back early on, you’ll see a lot of the cheesy posts I put out there, but you also see me with my kids making the hour and a half drive home from work to get to, to get to my eight by eight daughter’s room that I converted in the back club USA corporate office.

Andrew: sliding something on the table. Just try not to slide

Erik: Oh, does that mean? Sorry, sorry. So, so me going into my eight by eight room, that was my daughter’s bedroom that I converted in the back club USA office and processing the orders really quick and running, running over to the post office. And you see pictures of my kids carrying 10 bats, each dropping, dropping them off.

So the social aspect caught on caught on quickly. And one of the advantages that we have with back club is, you know, a lot of people say, oh, you want word of mouth? You want word of mouth? Well, the second you get one person with a bad club USA bat in their hands, you have direct access to 12 people and your target market right away, because they’re on the same team.

Andrew: uh, wait, what is it that they see it? How do they know that they get the bath from you versus somewhere else?

Erik: so, so all of a sudden, Jimmy didn’t have a very nice bat and then all of a sudden, Hey, wait. Yeah, How the heck did Jimmy get that $350 back where they switched three months later and said, Hey, what happened to your old bat? Right. So you’ve got it. So it’s not necessarily explaining the program right away, but you, but you’ve got eyes from 12 people directly in your target market.

So what you see is what we saw very early on, especially is that, that word of mouth marketing

Andrew: And you’re not putting it on the bats.

Oscar: No,

Erik: no. So we have, uh, an asset tag, but, but that’s, but that’s essentially essentially it, so it was that

Andrew: an asset tag.

Oscar: it’s our tracker.

Erik: yeah, just, just our market and our, and our

Andrew: Okay. So, so at first it was, let’s let people pay off their bat over time. And then at some point soon after you did a one bat per year program, right? What was the one bad per year program?

Erik: So we, we just essentially set it up where a, well, initially we were, we were getting everybody that signed up the saying, Hey, you’re going to commit to getting multiple bats per year from us. Right. So every six months we just set it up where you’re going to switch out, switch out your bat. But what we found was the people didn’t really want that right.

To do what they wanted was the ability to just have their one bat, have the one bat with the ability to switch whenever they wanted. So we see the majority of our members take advantage of that, of that value add, but they liked the idea of just having the one. So similar to your iPhone, where you set it up, where you can say, Hey, look, I’m just gonna make my 24 month monthly payments, or I can pay $5 more and be able to switch out a little bit more.

It’s essentially the same thing.

Andrew: Wait. So in the beginning it was the one bat pass over time. Then at some point you allowed people to switch bats on a regular basis. That wasn’t exciting enough. And then you made another twist and it was you

Oscar: Well, yeah, so, so we started with actually three plans, one bed, every three months, four months, a four by four plans, 3, 4, 6 or 12 months. So that’s how often you can trade it. And so operationally, it was a nightmare for us because, you know, logistics behind it tracking, understanding when someone’s switching, like, you know, in the early days it’s Eric and I tried to handle this ourselves.

And so what we did was, man, what, where’s the streamline? Where can we really simplify this? How do we make it just dumb it down for ourselves first and foremost. And, and that was the one bat per year plan where it says, get your bat, pay over 12 months, switch at the end for free. If you want to switch early, there’s this nominal switch fee.

Right. So you can switch any time. And that’s where we, that’s where we are.

Andrew: And that’s what helped you guys take off super clear, clear value, easy to manage. Got it. Okay.

Oscar: Absolutely.

Andrew: I can’t help. But think as we’re talking about this, what else works on this model? I’ve already interviewed somebody who did video equipment and photography equipment in a similar way, rental online, et cetera.

I’m now looking around and going first, I thought this was a crazy idea. Then I thought, what else works? Like this is a great idea. What else is expensive enough that people and, and changes enough that people would want to switch up? Camera equipment makes sense, but it’s not enough. What else are you thinking?

Oscar: Oh, we got other things in

Andrew: Oh, you’ve got other things in sports.

Oscar: Oh yeah. Other

Andrew: it feels like it makes sense to just keep adjusting for different sports and then bring it all together. Maybe change the name to one that allows you to expand beyond baseball. Right.

Erik: Right.

Oscar: Yeah. I mean the model works, right. It’s you know, think about who the target is. It’s it’s anyone that is looking for flexibility that, that is open to options and change, or that has kids that are growing, getting stronger, getting taller, getting faster that need. Tailored equipment to their body type to their powered to their position.

Right. Cause will also has positioned aspects too. So we don’t just do bath. We do gloves. We do catcher’s gear because, uh, cause catchers equipment, as you get tolerance stronger, they have different levels,

Erik: fit,

Oscar: right. They don’t fit anymore. So that still counts and bat and gloves first base and has a different glove than an outfielder than an infield.

And then a catcher and

Andrew: then I start to think about cycling, right? Kids, bikes are expensive now looking two-year-olds have a $200 bike and I get it because when a parent explains to me why their one-year-old has a $200 bike, it feels weird. And then they say, but if it’s light enough that they could control it on their own, if it’s a balanced bike so that they could just learn to balance on their own, you won’t need to do training wheels.

And then they’re going to feel comfortable when you switch them into a pedal bike. And then if they’re comfortable with the pedal bike, they’ll go on long bike rides with you and they’ll be healthier and there’ll be able to continue to develop. That makes total sense, but then you have to keep ramping up and those bikes just get bigger and bigger.

What if it worked, but a work on bikes, no bikes are heavier and harder to ship. Right? You guys have an advantage with

Erik: I mean, it’s, it’s just going to depend on, um, it’s just gonna depend on where you’re focusing. Right? So what we see, what we see with with our business is parents will invest in their kids. Right. So there’s difference between an adult with a cycling road bike that they might use every once in a while, may not be as, as Intuit, uh, as maybe you have a kid who, you know, just staying along the bike route, right?

Where, where you have a kid who’s 12 years old and the kid’s really freaking awesome at BA Amex. And you know what? I got them a $250 bike at Walmart, but that’s $600 carbon fiber bike that weighs less than is more durable. You know, being able to get them access to that. You’re going to get a parent to invest in that because they’re investing in their kids.

And even if the kid isn’t a pro, the parents are still going to invest in it.

because they want to see their kids happy. I want to see their kids succeed. And we’ve found studies that have shown parents are spending at the 10% of their gross income on their kids’ athletic career. And.

Oscar: annually, annually

Erik: And that’s not including, that’s not including, you know, toys or Xboxes or any of that.

Any of that other stuff like this is specifically on, on their equipment, on their coaching, uh, you know, and other travel.

and sources and things like that. So pretty much anything where, where you’re dealing, dealing with parents to want to invest in their kids. You’d give them the option. Now, nothing is an Oscar and I are constantly looking at this.

We want to be more than a financing company. It’s not just about the monthly payment. It’s how we offer more to again, live out our mission and to help kids enjoy the game and take those life lessons and help them be more successful. I mean, there are studies all over the place with kids that played sports, growing up, have a greater likelihood to be quote unquote successful.

Like we’ve been.

Andrew: Oh, we’re losing Eric because Eric is not an Austin where the internet connection is killer strong.

Oscar: See, this is why the fiber works.

Andrew: I have to say the fiber here in San Francisco, the internet is awful. It’s like when I was in Argentina. People call it a third world country, right? Phenomenal country. And their Internet’s better than it is in San Francisco.

Here I come to Austin. I plug my computer into the Airbnb. I do a speed check. I go, this is, this is just a simple Airbnb. I’m like 50 megabits up and down. Oh, excuse me. A hundred,

Oscar: Yeah, I got the

Andrew: down. Over a hundred up. All right. So we’ll let Eric

Oscar: Eric will be back. He’ll

Andrew: you and I continue. I get it. I feel like you guys landed on something that I’m trying to figure out what else works like that.

But it’s hard at the big takeaway for me is to say, where is it that we’re spending a lot of money and feeling frustrated. Let’s see if we can then copy the bat club model in, do it there. And I don’t have another place yet, but I love it. And I feel like you nailed something the parents do care about.

They love, they invest in, they think about as a critical part of their children’s development, uh, which is sports. And it could obviously go beyond, beyond baseball. All right. So now it was the two of you. Was there a third partner in the beginning?

Oscar: No, no. At first it was just Eric and I, uh, we, we were, uh, you know, the, the dynamic dual we’ll call it for a long time. So, um, until Eric went full time, it was just the two of us. Now we do have a third partner, which has helps us with the accounting and the finance side, but he’s more of a hands-off silent partner that just helps us out because Eric’s the operations guy.

I’m the marketing guy. I’m not a numbers guy. Can’t even claim that I am. And so we needed someone to help us with the

Andrew: If isn’t as a marketer, you’re not into, into the numbers.

Oscar: oh, analytics, I’m not into the, you know, the P and L let’s put it

Andrew: Uh, yeah, I know what you mean. It does get, especially for businesses like yours, it gets pretty hairy. I imagine because there is a cruel accounting versus cash accounting, and then in a cruel accounting, you really have a better understanding of how your business is doing, but how do you spread out the cost over what, how many months?

Oscar: Yeah. I mean, that actually comes down to like how we, how we frame ourselves. Are we, are we basing our value based on revenue? Or is it EBITDA or is it monthly recurring revenue? There’s so many different ways to do it. And you know, what you got to look at is how many members do we have each month? How much money is coming in each month recurring, which allows us to plan out better from a marketing and operations perspective.

So we’re definitely, we’re doing the math and the, in our head all the time and the calculations, but like the day job, my job is to make sure that we’re framing the value. Right? We’re, we’re making it clear to our consumers, what we offer, how we can offer it, what we can make better what’s working and what’s not.

Andrew: Ask her, are you still in a day job?

Oscar: Yes.

Andrew: Oh, you are. You’re still at that stage even though you’ve hit the Inc 5,000. Okay. So how did you know that Eric needed to, to leave his job and go full-time? What was it about the business that told you it’s time for us to have one person go full?

Oscar: Uh, well, we went from, in that first year, we went from 15 customers while we were doing our proof of concept alpha phase. So I’m going to put it to you this way. August 1st, 2016 to December 31st, 2016, we had 15 members all in Eric’s academy, January. We started the slow drip of, of social ads on Facebook, $200 a month.

We went from 15 to 1500 in that first year. That was the immediate moment where Eric and I had that, uh, oblique moment where you go, oh, this is real. We gotta figure this out quick. Um,

Erik: I’ll ask her to just add on, add on that. I mean, we had specific metrics in place. Where we would figure out, Okay.

how are we going to do the house? One of us going to do this full time here. Right? So. So once we hit those, those numbers, it was, if we really wanted to scale this thing, the way that we knew we could, someone had to be on it.

And for me, you know, I just had a little, little uncertainty on, on where, where I was at. And I felt like it was time to time to hop on board and try to make back club. Great. So I quit my job. I mean, it was, it was a big risk, Andrew. I mean, let me, let me tell you, I rolled the dice there. I mean, I took about a 30% pay cut.

Yeah, I am. I’m a, I’m a dad married with four kids and went without insurance for a couple months. Like it’s not something I would recommend to anybody, especially when you have it 10, 8, 6, and four year old. Um, ’cause, you know, kids, anything can happen at any time time, but it was, but it was time if we really wanted to make this thing great.

If someone had to had to do it, full-time all our operations were already set up, set up in Miami. So in February of 2018, I mean, I jumped on, jumped on full-time and hired our first employee. The next one.

Andrew: And what was the first employee?

Erik: Our office manager, our office, man, she’s a Jack of all trades. She’s still with us. She’s awesome. Uh, she, uh, when we moved into our first office out of that eight by eight pink room into our 600 square foot warehouse, we felt like we had a palace

Andrew: Wow.

Erik: And progressively grew that out and about grew out of that in about four months, moved into another office that was about 1800 square feet and grew out of that within a year and change.

And we’re figuring out a way to make it fit and just moved into a new, uh, almost double that size warehouse to

Andrew: of you in the only two, the only two full-time people is you and the office manager, Eric.

Erik: no, no. So now that was at the beginning, but now we have.

Andrew: Wow. So why isn’t Oscar full-time yet?

Oscar: We add made the conscious decision to just, um, allow me to run the market cutting side, uh, one because, um, um, all the way in Austin. So it was a little hard from a logistics standpoint to do it full-time and second, um, I was able to get everything done and I didn’t want to be the burden on the business and bring that up extra burden of cost at the time.

And yeah, and I think Eric mentioned this earlier, but every dollar that we’ve earned, we have reinvested into the business. And so as opposed to trying to bring on another cost of another high valued employees, salary wise for me, we said, we’ll hold off. We’ll we’ll wait, wait till the right time. And we have, uh, we have the numbers waiting there.

So once we hit a threshold, we will do it, but we’re just not there yet.

Andrew: All right. Let me talk about my second sponsor. When you two are ready to hire a salesperson and you want to figure out well, who’s the right sales person for us. Maybe you’re not doing all phone service. Maybe you’re doing some email and you want someone who could write, well, maybe you’re doing some other type of sales and you want the right person.

When you go to overpass.com/mixergy, you’ll see a marketplace where you can find sales people. Some of them are entrepreneurs who are just doing sales as they’re looking for their next business, or when they’re looking for their first business. Some of them are just house husbands, Housewives, who just need a little bit of work to do while they’re at home, but they don’t want to do manual work.

They want to do something that takes advantage of their Gabby, Venus, not their salesmen pushiness, but they’re gabbing us. Whatever you’re looking for. You go to overpass, you see a marketplace where you can find those people. You can then decide as you’re talking to them. Who’s the right person for you.

Try them. If you’re ready, you can get started. Hire them. If you’re not happy, you can let them go. They’ve got a marketplace where they could find other work. And when you want to manage them and work with them remote. Overpass that software that allows you to do it. If you want a 10% discount, go to overpass.com/mixergy, start looking around, look for the right person and you’ll see, it makes a big difference to have an actual living, breathing, human being who can close those bigger sales, like, especially for you two, it might actually be four.

Maybe there are, um, uh, what was it? Did you guys were a part of it was these, it wasn’t literally, it was a, oh, coach pitch. Maybe their coaches were in coach pitch with access to a lot of students. You want to at least get on a call with them or pitch them, explain to them why their students need to be aware of you.

But anyway, that’s where overpass comes in. Overpass overpass, the competition, overpass.com/mixergy. Alright, let’s continue now with the story because you, now you nail the market. You nail the business, you decide we’re going to experiment with sales, maybe offline sales. You go to events. What, what, what, what were the events that you went to and what happened when you, when you send people in person to those events

Oscar: Oh, so Eric and I did it first. We were the first ones to go. Yeah. Oh yeah.

Andrew: yourselves?

What are the events that you went to.

Oscar: Do you want to tell him about the Naples?

Erik: So, so we had, we had a few, uh, pretty much any tournament, uh, in, in Miami or a few in Austin. And we were trying to get to one of the main ones we did off the bat was the Florida state championship in Naples?

Florida was my wife, myself and Oscar, all sitting at a 10 at a tournament, uh, Hocking, our hockey, our memberships, getting, getting to, getting to coaches, getting to potential members.

It’s a lot, it’s a lot, you know, especially when you’re, when you’re something that no one’s ever seen before. You know, you get a lot of ears perking up and you have a lot of lengthy lengthy conversations, but we see this same thing online where we’re, it takes people a little bit too. Right. Like, cause there’s, they’ve never seen anything like us before.

So when we tell them you can literally switch out the bat for any reason, but I couldn’t do that before. Exactly. That’s our value prop. That’s why if you don’t like you, if your daughter or son doesn’t like the bat, because it’s red fine. Get the black one, get the white one

Andrew: why I thought it would make sense for you to go in person. But I think it didn’t work out for you, right?

Oscar: Oh, it was a, it was a challenge. It just, the scale doesn’t work. Right. Because, you know, if you think about it, Andrew, if I’m explaining it to you, there’s 30 other sets of parents that are walking by and we’ve lost 30 opportunities. And so while it’s great that you’re focused on me and we’re trying to close that sale with you.

There’s too many people that are we’re missing because we don’t have the scale to hit everybody. And so.

Andrew: the, the, the margins aren’t big enough that you could afford to spend a lot of time with each customer.

Oscar: That’s right. And there’s a lot of investment in, you know, and so the upfront cost and all that. So it, you know, of tournament. It’s great, great exposure. We did it for, uh, a major event at the AAA fast pitch world series, uh, in Frisco, Texas. One year, we did it in Naples, uh, for a year. And that was the year that Eric took his minivan and fill the entire backup with nothing but bad.

So it was over 200 bats in the back. It was funny, hilarious. Um, but again, like when we learned very, very quickly is it’s very hard to do the one-on-one sale in person and at scale. So it just, it to us, it wasn’t a waste of it. Wasn’t a good investment of time and effort from that perspective,

Andrew: What other marketing ideas didn’t work?

Oscar: Ooh. Uh, we actually did a, uh, a partnership with a, um, a company that does team registrations on your mobile device, where you basically sign up your team and you communicate through it. Think of like a group chat type thing. And we tried to do marketing there where you had ad space and banner space, and we invested a pretty good chunk of change and got one conversion.

And the cost per conversion was astronomical in that one. So whenever you’re gonna do that again,

Erik: right.

Andrew: know what I put you guys into, into SEM rush to get a sense of what you’re doing. You’re doing banner ads right now.

Oscar: we are,

Andrew: I see bat banner ads to say the perfect bat prescribed for your swing. you still do that,

Oscar: yeah, we, so Google ads is one of our best conversion engines, right? So if you do a cost per conversion cost per click, we have ads visual

Andrew: no, this is on red zone. Okay. Red zone.com. No. Do you know about this?

Oscar: I haven’t, I don’t

Andrew: know what? I’m, I’m misreading it. This is an old one. This is from 2017. When you started the perfect bat prescribed for your swing, you should watch out, by the way, with that ice, uh, ice water it’s coming in. Yeah.

Oscar: Oh, sorry. Sorry.

Andrew: Got it. Okay.

So banner, I’m looking@banneradsonthebaseballcube.com and a couple of other places. It looks like that’s something that you did years ago. Here we go. White Sox, interactive.com. No. All right.

Oscar: Oh, you know what that was, that was Admiral. So we did it. I did a, I did a stint in admirals where we would just start doing banner ads across the

Andrew: Uh huh.

Oscar: Uh, the conversion rate. Wasn’t great on that. So I actually cut that off actually as well. That was probably 2019. Now that I think about maybe 2018

Andrew: And you were in a bunch of sites. It looks like a sons of Steve garvey.com. I don’t know any of these places. The baseball cube.

Oscar: and that’s probably why it didn’t work. If

Erik: Yeah.

Oscar: it.

Andrew: Okay. So the big winner for you for marketing, is it just Facebook and Instagram ads with some social posts, Google number one

Oscar: is great.

Erik: One of the, one of the big things we have coming up, Andrew, uh, that we still need to see the effectiveness of it, but I’m really excited about it is our partnership with athletes unlimited. So we’re, we’re the signature bat sponsor for their upcoming fast pitch softball season. And so if you’re familiar with, with fast pitch softball and you are a lot of people had an opportunity to watch the women’s college world series here, back in June or so.

I mean, the ratings were absolutely amazing. So for us being able to partner with them and you’ve already seen our ads running on, on Fox sports one during their lacrosse season. Now during the fast pitch season, we’ll have our ads running during the games. We’re going to have signage all over the, all over the, uh, field and on the stadium walls on the on-deck circles.

So if one of these ladies has a. Sports center, top 10 play. You’re going to see our branding All over there. So I’m really excited about that partnership and advertising opportunity for us to

Andrew: All right. That makes sense. I see more marketing. I see. It seems like the future for you is, is addition. So it’s not just a subscription for a bat, but it’s gloves. It’s it’s space. It’s sales. You’re also thinking of going beyond baseball, right? What, what’s another sport lacrosse. The cost isn’t as big but lacrosse.

I imagine people need equipment for, and don’t want to necessarily buy what

Oscar: That could work. That’s a good one

Erik: Yeah. I mean,

Oscar: one on the road.

Erik: lacrosse hockey, um, golf pubs too, to some extent, although it’s a little bit, a little bit different because the market is just, just a different demographic, but pretty much anything where you have a sport where a kid can outgrow it, outgrow their equipment. There’s an opportunity.

There’s an opportunity for us.

Andrew: Right. And the big takeaway for me is anytime something’s expensive and it’s a pain and people are thinking, why does it cost this much? We should be thinking, how about if I set up a subscription service? How about if I learn from Oscar and Eric and I copy them. So if I’m looking at podcasting equipment, that’s expensive, maybe that’s an opportunity to sell it as a subscription.

If someone else is looking at, I’m trying to think of what else. It’s hard to think about it, but it hits you when it hits you and you get frustrated, but otherwise you ignore it. And maybe that’s why people are missing opportunities like bats, subscription services.

Oscar: I hope. Hopefully we keep finding those niches before you do how’s that.

Andrew: Well, I imagine you want to stay with sports or do you think you want to go beyond sports?

Oscar: I think there’s an opportunity to go beyond sports. I think we’ll focus on the sports

Andrew: So what, what else have you seen beyond sports? Don’t give away too much, but give one idea. Let’s, let’s understand a little bit about how you think,

Oscar: Uh, well, candidly I think, uh, musical instruments,

Andrew: right? Right, right. Probably wouldn’t people want to own their instruments forever.

Oscar: but if you’re still in the training phase, like think about, okay, my son plays the violin and they have different scales of violence. So at a very young age, he needed a one 32nd scale. Then a one 16 scale, then a one eight scale. And so each time you got to invest in a new one.

Andrew: a different one? It looks cute when they first get it, but do you want to keep all these around the house? Got it. I say, are you thinking Eric does not like that. You answered that question for me.

Erik: No, no, no, no, no. That’s

Andrew: I thought you were shooting him that back

Erik: No, no, no, no, no. All good. I mean, that’s, that’s actually one of the, one of the things, I mean, I, that popped in popped in my mind too, because you think about again, You’re investing in your kids, right? Like, oh, so Oscars, Oscars son is, is an awesome, almost a savant when it comes to that type of stuff.

I’ll give him a shout out there. But so know as you’re, as you’re progressing through, you don’t want to store that stuff. Right. Like that’s part of it too, right? Like if I’m going to upgrade, I don’t want to have to worry about selling it or keeping in my garage and then seeing it 20 years later and oh shoot, I should have sold this thing.

And I was one of the, one of our big selling points too, is why do you have a garage full of old baseball bats, right? Or even if you have two kids, why w this was a, I mean, a tongue in cheek, but whatever. Why does little Timmy always get his brother brothers hand me downs? And he never gets a new bat,

Andrew: Hm.

Erik: right.

With that club USA, you could get them both. You can get them both a brand new bat and show them both love. Right? Never getting little Timmy that, to me, the hand me downs. So like figuring out that type of stuff, where, where people just, as they upgrade, it just sits in their garage. Perfect opportunity for a subscription.

Oscar: Yup.

Andrew: All right. Website is bat club usa.com. At least temporarily it’ll always work, but I feel like you guys are thinking about a rebrand, a new name for the future as you get.

Oscar: We’ve got a couple of domains.

Erik: we gotta be. We gotta, we got a few lined up, so we’ll cross our cross our fingers here on, Uh, what happens here

Andrew: I need that I need a resource that allows me to see what other domains somebody buys. I used to have a site that did that, and then it just stopped working and companies got better at hiding it, but it was such good market research to see what other domains people had. Um, I used to see people who they’d have domains that basically said their competitors suck.com.

I don’t know what they had in mind with it, but maybe somebody had an idea. Um,

Oscar: I guarantee you, one of those is being used. I guarantee you, one of those is being used for something

Andrew: right? Yeah, no, there’s a there’s I won’t say it because I didn’t call him out in the interview, but there was someone who was just a really nice person. And then they had these like anti competitor domains and I just, I didn’t have time to include in the interview, but boy was I curious?

All right. Oscar, Eric, thanks so much for being on here.

Oscar: thanks for having us, Andrew.

Erik: Yeah. Thank you for having us, Andrew.

Andrew: I want to thank the sponsors. If you need a website, hosted, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. And if you need a sales person, go to overpass.com/mixergy, by the way, I’m on wifi. Now this is better wifi than I had direct internet connection at home.

And in San Francisco.

Oscar: I’m telling you Google fiber. It’s amazing what it does.

Andrew: Is it all over Sanford? Is it all over Austin?

Oscar: yeah, pretty much. There are a few pockets that still don’t have it, but for the most part, the entire

Andrew: but I think the woman who owns the Airbnb, she’s got 18 T

Oscar: Well, if we also have.

Erik: fiber at my house. It’s a thought it’s a gigabyte. And I got kids on iPads and Nintendo switches and apple TV, and phones all at the same time. And we very, very rarely have any buffering streaming issues. Like it’s, it’s amazing. It really is amazing until they try to save me some money.

Andrew: dude. How is it? The San Francisco top tech center of the world. People are working from home even before COVID and their internet stinks. What is.

Oscar: You know what I think it’s the cost to make the infrastructure like that. It is not easy to do. Like I saw them lay the fiber lines in my, in front of my house when they did the Google fiber, I was on the wait list for three years for Google fiber. Like they said, they was going to be in six months. It took them three years.

But like that in itself is a mission, which is why they shut it down. And other cities.

Andrew: I wonder also that makes sense. I wonder also if it’s, if you’re using wifi, if having people all over you, because San Francisco is super crowded, it’s people on top of people on top of people, all that wifi is interfering with everybody. Else’s ability to get wifi. You know what I

Erik: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I mean?

you’ve got so many people logged

Oscar: a stadium

Erik: bandwidth, right? Yeah. think about trying to use your phone in a, in a packed stadium

It’s impossible. So I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t doubt it in Texas, you know, you’ve got a lot more spread out. I mean, Miami is a little bit different because Miami does, if you’re not in downtown, Miami, doesn’t go up. Right.

Like you’re not going to get high rises outside of, outside of downtown Miami and stuff like that. So as you spread out, like in our area in more of a residential neighborhood and I mean, the Internet’s fantastic because it’s not as, it’s not as dense and.

Oscar: by the way, Andrew, if you’re, if you’re a soccer fan, you can check out the local soccer team, which just started to give them a shout out.

Andrew: suck at all sports. I’m so bad at sports that even when I talk about it, I sound like I’m out of my mind. Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about it. I, I get it. Um, I mean, I don’t understand sports. I get the excitement for it. For me, sports was best in Washington, DC before the nationals were good, I would go and get, this is how dinky I am.

My wife. And I would go and get our chop salad where we get the exact stuff put in there. We would then take one of the local bikes. Oh, Eric, you look like you’re disgusted by this. Now. Maybe I’m misreading his face.

Erik: to like process here,

Andrew: to it.

Erik: getting your chop salad and where, where are you going, man?

Andrew: I get my local bike rental where, you know, you can pick up the local street bikes and then you peddle over to the national stadium. Their stadium was full on empty. About 10 years ago when we lived there, we would buy a $10 seat and they were happy that we would get closer to the players because the players looked like they were lonely by themselves, up on a, on a mound.

You sit there and watch and sit in great, uh, great seats and talk. And

Oscar: Sounds

Erik: Now, you know what it’s like at a Marlin’s game, too, man, like baseball. I mean, you know, you got a lot of jaded fans down here, but, but baseball Is um, it’s a very long season. right?

So if you’re not doing well and it’s very, just like that, the national, like, it’s very easy to just say, yeah. I’m not going to go, go waste my time because you know, there’s two months left in the season and you have no shot at making the playoffs.

So unless you really have like an event you’re going with your kids or something like that? or you just like being able to sit there and enjoy your salad. Like, yeah. There’s not really a whole lot of reason, reason to go, man. And if you don’t love the game, right? Like,

Andrew: I go to, I go, I went to the giants game in, uh, in San Francisco. That thing was so freaking crowded. There was no room. It’s incredibly packed.

Oscar: beautiful stadium, beautiful

Andrew: You gotta, you can’t bring your own chop salad in cause you got to buy it there.

Oscar: You have to pay $25 for a job site.

Erik: Yeah.

Andrew: Ah, right. Right. All right, gentlemen, thank you so much. Continued success and thank you all for listening. And if anyone out there is in Austin, who has advice on what I should do in Austin here? You don’t know for how long we are here for a bit and I’d love to hear from you people. Bye bye everyone.

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