Case Study: A bedding company with a sense of humor

Today I have a guest who seems to enjoy the fact that he’s got this business that sells sheets in a market where people have no way of differentiating sheets and no interest in trying. Instead, he decided to go all in with personality.

Colin McIntosh is the founder of Sheets and Giggles, eco-friendly eucalyptus lyocell bedding.

I invited him here to talk about how he’s built it and what happened with his previous business. I also want to find out what he’s going to do now that the world is changing.

Colin McIntosh

Colin McIntosh

Sheets and Giggles

Colin McIntosh is the founder of Sheets and Giggles, eco-friendly eucalyptus lyocell bedding.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew Warner 0:05
Hey there freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am maybe the last time that I’ll be recording out of my office here in San Francisco. I mean, no kidding. We don’t know when we’ll be allowed back in. We’re under lockdown. And you know, this is getting a little bit too too much into today’s date. Yeah, who knows where things are going and it is heavy, but I’m really appreciative that with my schedule being so tight today that Colin McIntosh said, Yeah, I’m still gonna be there. I’m going to be recording and it’s tough times but I will be here to tell you and your audience Andrew, how we made this new company and made it so successful. Colin McIntosh is the founder of sheets and giggles they sell sustainable Eucalyptus Lyle Lyle, sell sheets, I don’t even know what lyocell is. But when I say

Colin McIntosh 0:54
what is it, I tell you all about it’s basically it’s um, it’s the newer version of cellulosic radon, which if you’re familiar with Like bamboo fabric, bamboo viscose. That’s the first generation of the process making turning plants into a fiber to turn into yarn. And then Eucalyptus Laos I was the third and latest generation. So it’s a little esoteric, but that’s what I love about it is that it’s like a newer kind of unknown fabric that I get to introduce people. I think as I’m talking to you, you’re in your bathrobe,

Andrew Warner 1:19
being in bed but in the bathroom

Colin McIntosh 1:24
today, so to be clear for the audience, there’s other videos that we’re shooting today that I don’t always wear this is very on brand. But this is actually the first thing I ever purchased when I had the idea about an SMG embroidered bathrobe. Clearly I had lost my mind. When I decided to found upon base bedding company.

Andrew Warner 1:41
I have a really fun set of photos on your site. Interesting. Interesting. You just seem to enjoy the fact that you’ve got this business that you’re you’re in a business that sells sheets in a market where people have no no way of differentiating sheets and no interest in carrying it. Paying attention to what one sheet is how one sheet is different from another or one bar is different from another say I’m going to go all in I got this personality I’m going to slap it on everything. I’m going to get in my bathrobe I’m going to take photos I’m going to get in bed I’m gonna take pictures from my side I get I guess to my friends in bed with me,

Colin McIntosh 2:17
Tony and Tony and Dan Yeah, those are the guys on my my left and right so those those photos actually so me in bed with you guys so we can talk about why I did the veggies thing but that photo specifically is our most successful photo three men in bed with avocado face masks on drinking red wine. I don’t know why our customers love it many many of our customers are women, many men to I don’t know why they love it but they do. And you

Andrew Warner 2:39
know I catching and it’s on your website. And every time I scroll past it, I have to stop that just for some reason. Like I always noticed something else. Oh, they’re drinking what looks like my low and then I scrolled past next time it’s Oh,

Unknown Speaker 2:52

Andrew Warner 2:54
Yeah, speaking of fact, checking before the interview started, I said there’s no way for me to fact check your revenue. How can I tell that it’s real and then We went back and forth. He said, Andrew, let me just do a screen share stop recording here and I’ll just show you the numbers. He showed me his dashboards over and over and we got an understanding He’s doing well. I invited him here to talk about how he’s doing it and how we got here, what happened with his previous business, and what he’s going to do now and in the future, as the world is changing. Let’s hope not that we go Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first if you have a business in mind, and you want to get going with it, go to Hostgator comm slash mixergy they’ll help you put up a website to promote it, or if you’re just playing around, that’s a great place to go and experience.

Colin McIntosh 3:32
What it’s like to create in the sec, it’s called Hostgator check them slash mixergy. The second is top towel. If you’re hiring developers go to top towel comm slash mixergy. I’ll talk about those later first. Colin, what do you feel comfortable saying to my audience about the revenue Where are you guys revenue wise, I feel comfortable saying that it is our we’re in our second 12 month period of sales. So we’re in month 18 of sales of shipping and this year in 2023 fiscal year I feel competent, saying that we’ll do over $5 million in revenue.

Andrew Warner 4:05
We’re looking forward looking face month was doing how much would you say?

Colin McIntosh 4:10
highest the highest month was 400? grand? Yeah. 400 grand. Okay, that’s

Andrew Warner 4:12
not typical. But that’s where that’s where you are.

Colin McIntosh 4:15
That was that was that was our recent high watermark? Yes.

Andrew Warner 4:17
Okay. And the site, by the way, the site that you showed me, what was the dashboard site that you were using?

Colin McIntosh 4:22
It was awesome. It’s called shout out to glue. We just started using it geo Ew, it’s really fantastic. It’s so basically it plugs into your Amazon back end as well as to your Shopify back end. And it pulls out all your data in ways that you know, normally I’m just manipulating Google Sheets and Excel spreadsheets, basically figuring out top sellers, you know, buying habits, what people are buying demographics ltvs and my favorite thing is that for Amazon and actually allows them to see my LTV and repeat buying habits as well which is like, really, really funny. That’s usually pretty black box when it comes to Amazon. And so, um, it’s been great. They Really fantastic onboarding. If you reach out to them ask for Mark. He’s the guy that on boarded me. He’s really fantastic. That feel like I’m doing glue at that. But that was the metric site that I was showing you. Yeah.

Andrew Warner 5:11
Let’s go back to the business you are in before it’s called reveler.

Colin McIntosh 5:17
Well, yeah, it was my prior prior company. I was not the CEO. But I was on the founding team and had a Biz Dev.

Andrew Warner 5:22
You’re the guy who sat down and wrote out the business plan for it.

Colin McIntosh 5:25
Yes, yes.

Andrew Warner 5:26
Back in 2013. You were the guy did you present to TechStars the accelerator

Colin McIntosh 5:31
that was actually my friend Jackie back in 2015. She was the founder and CEO and she pretty I wouldn’t say, you know, single handily, but oftentimes, I’m sure it felt like that for her. Um, you know, basically did Kickstarter, one Denver Startup Week back in 2014. got the attention of TechStars and then got into the 2015 boulder class and then that’s basically was living in Seattle at the time, I was helping part time with everything that she needed from the company’s perspective as wearable technology company. Similar to Except more in the emergency function, so if you pressed it, it would send out an emergency alert to your friends and family. And I drove down 20 hours from Seattle for TechStars 2015 to Boulder and an on one week notice and became part of the founding team at that company and did that for two and a half years before I founded SMG.

Andrew Warner 6:17
Why would you consider to co founder with co founder equity and co founder say in the company? these are these are

Colin McIntosh 6:25
moot questions that I you know, don’t don’t matter at this point anymore. But I would say for a number of reasons. One is because I you know, it was Jackie’s baby, she founded it to help fight sexual assault and violence, which was the cause that she was closest to, you know, she found that for her little sister, anybody will tell you, you know, the story that she would tell was very moving on. And then I think also from a strategic reason, you know, I was 25 years old had no consumer electronics experience. I was asked when I came in, do you want to be coo coo CSO and I I basically said, Look, I’m just thinking of VP of business, let’s hire a CEO over me that has consumer electronics or consumer experience, retail experience. That’s exactly what we did. And so it

Andrew Warner 7:10
was also I get the sense that you felt you weren’t ready. You weren’t right not to get too deep in your head, but you felt it was you playing a head game with yourself in that situation? Am I right? Did we

Unknown Speaker 7:22
just meet? I feel? I don’t know. I don’t

Colin McIntosh 7:26
know. I’m saying you know, me, you know, you feel like you’re actually you’re, you’re hitting to the core of it pretty deeply, pretty quickly, which is, you know, I turned 25. The week we went into TechStars. In 2015. I was, you know, 24 year old kid living in Seattle, working in b2b software. I had no idea about anything consumer electronics or anything like that. And the only thing I could promise TechStars and promise, Jackie, is that I was going to work 16 hours a day, every day for the next three months, for 1600 dollars a month. And that’s what I did. And so that’s that’s how we started. Did you have an agreement with her? Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah. Yeah. independent contractor agreement.

Andrew Warner 8:00
That was it. Meanwhile, you were the guy whose dad was a lawyer.

Unknown Speaker 8:04
Yes. Yeah.

Andrew Warner 8:04
You got to talk about how your dad made deals with you,

Colin McIntosh 8:08
huh? Oh my god. So this is like slightly both one of my favorite things about my childhood and as I get older one of the things that makes me realize how we approach things way I do. So my dad was an attorney, still attorney. He just merged his law firm two months ago. Really happy for him. Yeah, he merged with a bigger bigger law firm. Yeah, so I’m really, really thrilled for him. Um, basically, when I was a kid, my sister and I had to negotiate our allowance. So my dad what he would do is he’d actually sit down across the table from us every year on January 2, and he would basically say All right, here are the chores we need done for the next 12 months his annual contract, and it would be pricing for chores would be 25 cents of the dishes. 50 cents for setting table 25 cents for mopping. yard work was the big one yard work was like 75 cents and it came out to a total For me 325 my sister 350. And my parents were pretty well off. And, and this is the funny thing about it is I had no idea no concept was going up that we were well off as many privileged kids don’t. And I worked my ass off for you know that $3 and 25 cents. And if I didn’t do a chore, he would Xerox a new copy and put on the fridge every single week. And he would have to check off that we did the chore. And if we didn’t do the chore, we didn’t get paid for the chore that week and so very early on and taught me contract negotiation. It taught me you know, you get paid for the work that you do. You know, and just one of those things where the older you get, the more you realize the impact it had in your side.

Andrew Warner 9:40
I mean, now trying to think about how to raise my kids. And I wonder Do you think that this was helpful was it overbearing it was what part of it was helpful?

Colin McIntosh 9:49
It was very helpful because I think that like when you’re a kid you really have you really struggled with the concept of money, and like what it is and what it means and like what it means to have a job I mean your child right also, by the way, my daughter Harvey’s been under the sheets the whole time. No. Okay. So basically, I think it taught me the concept of money and like the concept of working for money, and the concept that like, I think a lot of my friends in school, they would get an allowance. And they would basically just get it, you know, whether or not they did anything for 20 bucks a week, 10 bucks a week, whatever it was. And I basically had to work for every single quarter. And that was something that I think was really impactful for me were angry at the time. I mean, I didn’t get it at the time. I just thought that that was, you know, the way that you know, you rate you’re raised with sort of blind obedience in some ways where it’s like, yeah, this is the way we do things in my house. My friends do things differently. I will say when I got straight A’s, I got a 10 bucks, which again, is privileged to get any money for straight A’s. My friends used to get some of my friends used to get like 50 bucks per a

Andrew Warner 10:54
hard part that no matter what your parents do, there’s always someone out there who’s doing better. And I guess that’s part of the lesson. My kids say he’s five years old, incredible saver. He’s at 30. He’ll tell you to the penny, how much you saved up. But he’ll also tell you that his friends have $100 bill. Why did they get $100 bill from their parents and thankfully like, like you said, Every family remember howard stern saying every family is a cult? Like, yeah, you have your own version of the world with and how everyone else is different. Maybe they’re worse than you and whatever. You’ve got it. You’ve got a harder but also better anyway. Yeah, no. Mine accepted. Hey, that’s not there. They’re not learning.

Colin McIntosh 11:33
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you can even tell them that you’d be like, Look, you know, and this is what my dad would tell me when I said, Look, my buddy, you know, so and so gets 50 bucks per day on his report card. Why do I only get 10 bucks for straight days? And my dad says yes, because I expect you get straight days. And he’s like, and so and then he’s like his parents clearly don’t expect him to get it right.

Andrew Warner 11:56
Totally going with that, you know, I have to tell you, there’s a part of me that is wanting to do it. Set of interviews, that is nothing but how to raise an entrepreneur with the parents of the people I’ve interviewed with the people who I’ve interviewed, talking nothing about the childhood of the entrepreneur just to get a sense of what it’s like, no sugarcoating. No, it has to be learned. contract. It doesn’t have to be what you had. It could be just let them do whatever they wanted to climb trees. Turns out one day, they were an entrepreneur, it could be what you said. But through all that, I feel like we’re gonna learn a few things we can bring back. And I just learned one thing that I could bring back his parents don’t expect much of him.

Colin McIntosh 12:28
Yeah, it was it was a private, it was a private thing. It was like it was like, This is what we expect of you. And so we know we’re gonna shell out 10 bucks every quarter. And then it’s like, his parents probably never think they’re going to give them a single $50 bill.

Andrew Warner 12:40
And that’s, and I

Colin McIntosh 12:41
like that, like, because it was like, when I was a kid, I remember thinking like, yeah, I guess it was easier for me to like, work hard and get straight A’s than it is for him to whatever it is, and it wasn’t special for him. It was special for me. So that was kind of that was kind of cool. Yeah, but um, then parenting topics. I don’t have any kids. I’m sorry. 30 this year and look at me I’m in a bathrobe drinking gotcha you know so that’s that’s fair and I wish I can drink scotch I’m going to be driving from here

Andrew Warner 13:11
actually I got hard kombucha from a pass gas so good flying embers I’m totally opening that up. I got Yeah, sounds good. Wait. You then at some point the company didn’t work out Were you with that company with? Why am I like worried about mispronouncing it?

Unknown Speaker 13:29
malaria Well, yeah

Colin McIntosh 13:30
Oh eraser was Spanish red well, arts to fly again. So about survivors of sexual assault taking play it again.

Andrew Warner 13:37
Okay, yeah, we do with them till the end.

Colin McIntosh 13:39
I was I got laid off at 1pm on a Monday, September 25 2017. terrible day, September 25. As my day my favorite baseball player died in 2016 Jose Fernandez and it’s, it’s the day I got laid off at 1pm on a Monday with all my buddies the next year. So Now it’s September 28. And then a year later, September 25 2018, I won first place at Denver Startup Week with sheets and giggles. So, I guess it all kind of all kind of come together at the end. But yeah, so um, I got laid off with my friends and we had three hours to wrap up on three hours of partnerships was really difficult. We mean by three hours of partnerships as well so basically three years of partnerships with we were a nationwide retailer and target Brookstone, you know, HSN QVC I don’t want to talk about too too much to get into too much detail because there’s a you know, there’s always some stuff that can stir up in terms of people that were involved and as far as I’m

Andrew Warner 14:40
always more interested in the person I’m interviewing and in your personal headspace and your personal life than I am in the company, but

Colin McIntosh 14:46
really formative for me was extremely when you when you when you spend three years and you know the company was sold and accelerated sale and that sort of thing. Um, but when you get laid off at 1pm on a Monday with you know, 15 years You’re really close friends and coworkers were 20 at that point, actually. And you know, you’d come so close to turning that corner. And it was a mission that you really believed in and we’d help save lives, we’d help a lot of people. Um, it’s, it’s painful. I mean, the first thing we did was by 4pm I think we were all just wasted. Um, so that was kind of the first thing you get laid off at 1pm you that’s what you do. And then, you know, later that night, I was I was telling my friends I was like, at this idea for a company and I was at the Rockies game with them. Then night, serendipitously, my favorite team, the Marlins were in town, a drunk girl standard 59 home runs, I thought for sure he’s gonna hit 60 that day. But, but in any case, I you know, I kept telling my friends, I get this idea for this betting company. I kept telling him I was like, No, no, listen, it’s like the commodities market. highly fragmented, largely traditionally physical retail and not completely brought online yet are some big names in the space. Not very impressed with the content, like so on and so forth. And my friends were like, okay, man, like they’re, they’re like, okay, you let us know how that works out.

Andrew Warner 16:09
We’re excited about it because

Colin McIntosh 16:11
it’s not that they weren’t excited about it. My friends are very encouraging my quote my former co workers, in fact, my my former team member, one of my one of my good friends, Nick, he actually did my first photoshoot with me, he helped me get the company off the ground. He’s really fantastic guy. He couldn’t join me full time, unfortunately, because he works at Google. And he had given up those benefits for startup benefits. But, but yeah, so basically, they just, I mean, when you get laid off, and you’d have a few drinks, and you start telling people about a pun based betting company that you want to start, people might look at you a little askance, and that’s totally fine. And I think

Andrew Warner 16:47
this made sense. So I don’t

Colin McIntosh 16:48
know did my buddy my buddy Paul shot the portfolio. He ended up being one of my first investors. I love them. I’m T. I told him about the idea about a week later and I found that the The company three weeks after getting laid off, so I was serious about this. I told my buddy Paul, this he’s an investor. And Paul’s response to me was like, What the fuck are you talking about?

Andrew Warner 17:11
I was like, friends like that. Yeah,

Colin McIntosh 17:13
I was like, Yo, I just come from, you know, it was a it was a wearable tech company, like it was new tech, it was pretty cool. It was, you know, we were in physical retail, like we were, you know, we were covered in TechCrunch, and all that stuff. And then I was just going off about betting and my friend Paul was like you are, you’ve washed your mind. And I was like, I’m gonna do it. And he’s like, all right, well, then I want to invest because he knew because he knew. He knew me. So he wrote me, he wrote me one of my first $5,000 checks, um, and, and so basically what happened was, we are really

Andrew Warner 17:43
before we go, before we go deeper into it. Let me tell you, I’m gonna talk about my first sponsor. Then we’re going to come back in a little bit more about that, that decision making process when scotches app by the way,

Colin McIntosh 17:52
it’s actually it’s really good to blend Scotia and it’s a 16 year. It’s fantastic. I go to Scotland once every Three or four years of my dad. It’s where he hails from. And we play a couple rounds and pick up a couple bottles and it’s a really fun father son thing to do. We did it last year, in May right after TechStars. I got off the stage at TechStars. April 24, April 25. Morning, I was on a plane to Scotland my dad, so it was a nice little, you know, but anyway,

Andrew Warner 18:23
yeah, that that’s such a good way to celebrate with your dad too. Yeah, it’s great. My first sponsor is a company called top talent. Are you guys remote team, by the way? We’re no we’re actually based in Denver. But we do have people in California and in Florida as well, Florida. I remember interviewing people like hitting shots and heat and why do you hire from top towel? He said, Well, they’ve got a matcher you tell them what you’re looking for. They get to that right person who else can do that for you? I’ve

Colin McIntosh 18:48
seen I’ve seen top sales ads on YouTube. I actually I’m a former recruiter. So I used to be a recruiter. I started my career at a hedge fund called Bridgewater associates. I don’t know if you know but ask you about Bridgewater. Yes, I

Andrew Warner 18:57
made a mental note, as I interview someone So, he told me about the principles but anyway, yeah, so let’s do a recruiter, what did you What do you know about top towel? I

Colin McIntosh 19:06
didn’t know. So this is back in 2013 when I was a recruiter so only top towel existed but um, basically the the 90% of recruiters time now I feel like I’m doing an ad for top talent doing that, like, your response was gonna have me I’m talking about them. So basically 90% of recruiters time you’re going to pay a recruiter 25 30% of somebody’s starting salary and 90% of that recruiters time is going to be spent on sourcing candidates and screening them. And that’s it like that’s, the more the manpower comes in. And so top towel from what I understand is basically a automatic way to source and screen and passing qualified applicants without having to spend any time on that. And so that’s why you can do it a much more right. They’ve done it ahead of time they’ve got their network, all you have to do is talk to the man or Matt the matcher and they go into their network and find you exactly a bunch of entrepreneurs who I’ve interviewed and they love it. The one issue that people have had is well tell only does remote people they have remote first company they’re probably the biggest remote company now. Well, actually, I shouldn’t say that I don’t I don’t know, I’ve heard that. And I want to substantiate it before I even bring it up.

Andrew Warner 20:07
But they’ve always been big on it. And now I think people are finally starting to say, you know, maybe remote developers, if they’re really good, makes sense. And so tell us all about that their speed, their cleverness there, we’ll get you people who will blow your minds and if not, don’t hire them. All you have to do is go to top tau comm slash mixergy. When you throw that slash mixergy at the end, you will get 80 hours of top towel developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no risk trial period. I say very fast. I’m gonna say it again. Top as the top of your head talent talent. That’s top slash mixergy TLP TL comm slash mixergy

Colin McIntosh 20:41
great app. That wasn’t Yeah, he wasn’t he wasn’t to the Dan leba tard show by any chance on ESPN. Oh, what does he do? My favorite pocket exactly the same thing in the middle of the show. They do the ads. It’s very organic. Sometimes we’ll talk to the guests about it. Sometimes we’re doing bits while they’re while they’re doing the ad. And it’s great because with the problem with you know podcast ads, right? You hit the fast forward button four times in a row, and then you basically lose that. We spent 10s of thousands of dollars on podcast advertising 100 100,000 a thing. And you know, I know as entertaining as our ads are their pre roll or mid roll their post roll. They’re very skippable. And so I like library to the best I do to you know, the other problem with it not being library is it’s so insensitive to the situation I’ve had. I love listening to gadget podcasts as a relaxation thing. And they will sometimes rip on 5g, and then they’ll throw it to an ad and it’s like, put a room. Verizon five, right,

Andrew Warner 21:33
right. Yeah, exactly. I think that they will help cure cancer with five.

Colin McIntosh 21:37
Right? Yeah, yeah,

Andrew Warner 21:40
yeah. So you clearly did your analysis, but at the same time, you were thinking to yourself, maybe no more startups for me.

Colin McIntosh 21:49
Right. It was one of the other It was so so basically, when you get laid off and you lose your health care and you don’t get your last last week’s paycheck, you have to buy back your laptop before you leave the company. Basically you and that was though I took below market salary for, you know, three years work at this company and you know, you’re in your mid 20s and you’re buddies that I went to Emory University all my buddies are bankers I started my career at a hedge fund, you know, you see everybody accelerating in their career and making more and more money and you know, the, the trade off the hours for and they put in the dues. But basically, it was like, all right, I used to live in Seattle, I had a great life in Seattle, great friends in Seattle. I’m either going to go work at Amazon, I was very interested in the Alexa team at the time is 2017 height of you know, Alexa craziness and the amount of units they were shipping. I thought about applying for a few open roles. I had friends that work there on the Alexa team on different teams. And basically, I was like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna apply for this or on the other end of the spectrum, I’m gonna do something totally crazy and start my own company. For me. I’m going to be founder, I’m going to be CEO, and I won’t have to rely on anybody else for good or bad decisions. It will be entirely on my work ethic and my decision making ability and There was nothing in between. I wasn’t going to look to the startup. Basically, it was just an hour never sort of thing I was, I was 27 years old I I had three years worth of fantastic connections from TechStars in the boulder Denver area, I had really amazing mentors that I knew would want to potentially back me and become my first investors. And, you know, basically that was it was like I said, Now or never were like, I could have gone to work for another company then had another idea, but I just gotten done scaling, a wearable tech company, then a lot of physical retail, then a lot of Amazon channel marketing. I, you know, when you look at competitive advantages, a lot of people in my peer group have no experience of physical products, mostly people and software companies. And so I knew that if I had my own product that was a four and a half star or higher product. That was my own brand, that had a low complexity supply chain, and a massive commodities market where I could differentiate the brand And the product versus everybody else out there, I knew that we could be successful. And so I basically I sat down and I said, Okay, if I’m going to start my own company, what do I want it to look like? And I literally wrote out my perfect business model a sheet of paper. And I wrote down massive commodities market, zero brand differentiation, zero brand loyalty, highly fragmented, no market leader that I have to chip away at largely physical retail, so I can bring it online with the direct to consumer model. And then the last piece was, you know, there’s low complexity supply chain, no Bluetooth, no firmware, no software and stuff. And then something that I could also crowdfund on. And I also wanted something that was fun, because I just spent three years with a sexual assault prevention company. And while that was really fantastic, from a mission perspective, it was also exhausting. And so I basically looked at, and this is a true story. I looked at all the domains that I owned, and

Andrew Warner 24:52
why you did that. Can you tell the alarm story? Yeah, it was amazing. Yeah.

Colin McIntosh 24:58
So this is so this is what inspired means I have a mentor who’s one of the co founders at alarm calm and she’s wonderful person. Um, and I once asked her, I said, What inspired you to, you know, found alarm calm and, um, you know, it’s not the only reason but she basically said that this is back in, you know, the 2000s. They, they looked at all the one word domain names they own and they own alarm calm and there’s a lot more than one into it this obviously, but they own alarm calm and they said this would be really a fantastic name for home security company. And that was kind of one of the catalysts of starting what’s now a, you know, massive home security company in the United States worldwide. Um, and so I was really inspired by that story and the power of a brand name and just the power that can be, you know, behind a brand name. And so, I looked at all the domains that I own, I usually buy a domain whenever I think of a business idea. I own a lot of fun based domain domains as well, and I owned sheets giggles calm

Is the money name it’s a funny name for a big company that’s why I just

Andrew Warner 26:03
thought hey maybe one day I might own a betting company when

Colin McIntosh 26:08
when you’re when you’re geared and I think all your listeners will agree with this like when you’re geared towards you know starting companies or being an entrepreneur founder like you are constantly thinking of new business ideas you see something something jog something just a joke or an offhanded comment or whatever it is. And I was actually I was watching war dogs with Miles Teller no joke, you’re seeing a movie milestone Jonah Hill. I want I’m dying

Andrew Warner 26:31
to see it. It’s not on any platform that I know.

Colin McIntosh 26:34
Good movie and basically Miles Teller in the beginning of the movie, his character is selling bedsheets out of the back of pickup retirement communities. And he basically is trying to sell these for high price and the retirement communities are telling him like what Why the hell would I buy your bedsheets? You know, my people that live in my community they they don’t care how nice their bed sheets are there you know, they’re here for fight. They’re, you know, really callous statement and you know, I was with my ex girlfriend. She’s my ex for a reason because I’m talking neurotic and I was like, This is ridiculous. I was like he didn’t do any market research. He has no idea who his customers that no pricing research, he has no idea what his value proposition is, you know what? pause the movie and I wrote a business for bed sheets company literally did this that night. Yeah, like in like June or may 2011.

Andrew Warner 27:19
Your business plan and by the way, the wonder you’re not dating, okay.

Colin McIntosh 27:23
Exactly. No. So it was it was basically naming the company brand value brand promise channels, points of differentiation, what I would want to do was, was about designs of the sheets and like, you know, less so about the materials and it was gonna be, it’s gonna be bamboo. You know, it’s going to be sustainable, that sort of thing. And so it was it was all these different things that were just pieces of the puzzle. I would only go direct Amazon, I wouldn’t do any physical retail because at that point, we were need even physical retail and I was not enjoying it. Um, and basically that was the the spark When I whenever I think of a company to start I always ask myself what’s the funny name for blank? This is kind of where I gravitated into the

Andrew Warner 28:07
example of I

Colin McIntosh 28:08
mean that you own sunglasses have full com I own I own work from Rome calm I think that one is actually a really good one instead of work from home work from Rome marketing writes itself right? It’d be like a anybody feel free to steal his idea listening it’s a really fantastic idea to be like a remote year if you guys know remote year Yeah, but for one month instead of 12 months in one city instead of 12 cities, you could charge a higher monthly price and specialize in one area instead of 12 different areas. So it’s actually really fantastic business model. Um, and I own What else do I own. My worst one I ever bought was instead of Wake Forest, about Wake Forest calm and I tried to sell it to Duke and UNC that was a waste of money.

Andrew Warner 28:52
So I went back into the internet archives to see what the site look like. It looks like pretty early on you got a Shopify store on there. All right, well, just I don’t know silly, but almost their idea. It’s an unmatched comfort unbeatable price save the world where you’re going to donate 100 100 day return policy. You know it

Colin McIntosh 29:14
also unlimited return for all for now. Oh, is it? Yeah, so we are like arbitrary triangles,

Andrew Warner 29:19
all this stuff. But it wasn’t really an idea then it was just you tossing up a quick landing page to see what happens.

Colin McIntosh 29:26
Yeah, no, basically, you’re probably looking for like January 2018. If I had to guess.

Andrew Warner 29:31
That’s pretty spot on. Yeah. So we’ll be off by a couple of weeks or so.

Colin McIntosh 29:35
I’m, I’m pretty. Like I have that. I love like thinking about the site iterations that we’ve done. The site’s been pretty static. We I like to think we’re actually doing a full rebuild right now. Um, but basically, uh, yeah, January 2018. I sat down. So two years ago, January 2, I sat down with my intern, Haley, Haley. She’s awesome. And I basically said, All right, here’s what we’re gonna do. A crowdfunding campaign for this bedsheets company that started and we’re going to prove that people want sustainable that sheets that are high quality at an affordable price better than Brooklyn ins better than Boleyn branch is better than parachutes pricing. And we’re going to do it on crowdfunding because frankly, I don’t think anybody’s going to give me money for this pawn based betting company that I started. So we have to crowdfund it. Um, and so basically, when you’re doing crowdfunding, you there’s simple math to it. And I’m not sure if you’ve talked people about crowdfunding that before. But basically, whatever your goal is, you want 30% of your goal on day one. So we had $100,000 six figure goal to prove the market demand for this. We had raised very little money we had raised about $60,000, from friends and family, although I promised them that I would not spend a dime of that until I validated the idea and I would only spend my money until that point in time. Um, we basically said, Okay, we’ve got about three months ahead of launch on May 1, where we’re going to want to call a certain amount of emails ahead of time, how many emails we need to collect. So $100,000 goal $30,000 on day one was what was necessary, we had a $70 average price we knew and an average person ordered 1.5 units, then that basically meant that their average order value be $100. And if you need $30,000 on day one with $100 average order value, that’s 300 customers period. And if on a crowdfunding campaign, almost 100% of your day one customers are going to come from your email list, an email list reasonably converts at 3% 2% if you’re doing something bad 4% if you’re doing something good 1% if you’re awful 5% if you’re amazing. Then basically we need 10,000 emails in order to guarantee 300 customers on day one, and that’s exactly what we did. We did 11,000 emails, we got those in eight weeks. And so we threw up that landing page on LinkedIn I saw

Andrew Warner 31:48
that offered free pizza and bedding.

Colin McIntosh 31:52
sheets giggles calm, we still give away two free pizzas every single week.

Andrew Warner 31:56
That wasn’t you messing around that was

Colin McIntosh 31:58
we I literally Will on the Domino’s app order pizza for two customers every single week. I am I do it myself because it’s fun. Um, any problems with pizza delivery. I outsource that to my team. I but like I you know, when I when I was starting this company I was like what are some ridiculous zany things that like I’ve always wanted other companies do for me. And I was like, well, companies have a lot of money. A lot of times VC companies have a lot of other people’s money. Um, pizza pizzas cost 16 bucks. Let’s just start sending people pizza. And the thing about that is that it’s so much more of goodwill to buy somebody dinner, they can eat in bed and send you UGC, for that, that pizza party they’re having in bed than it is for sending them like if I send like a $15 $20 gift card to Amazon or something like that. It’s like very tangible, goodwill on and so we did that we got a lot of emails from that. Um, you know, people were signing up because we were giving away pizza every single week. So what else did you do to guys to get people to sign up? We were We were basically doing Facebook ads. We did like 50 different ad variants. We did like eight different landing pages, retesting headers, h1, different images, different value props, different pricing, different calls to action. And we actually ended up capturing 45.4% of emails, from visitors to our landing pages over those. I saw that

Andrew Warner 33:15
in here.

Colin McIntosh 33:16
There’s ways to get that. So basically, we, we had to be built an extremely powerful brand almost immediately we in February 2018, the whole goal of the brand and the reason why we have the handwritten calligraphy, for the logo, we actually I did the logo, the first thing I ever did in October 2017 when I founded the company, basically I wanted people to see this company and immediately think that it was something they had never seen before, something that they’d never heard of before and you get this bedsheets and something that they you know wanted to be a part of because of how much fun it looked like we were having. And I just wanted people to smile because I have a firm belief that like people buy more things when they’re happy. And I think they’ll actively avoid avoid buying from you if they’re not happy. Be like Comcast. And so so basically, um, you know, I, I threw up a bunch of different landing pages I use kickoff labs in order to build the landing pages hooked into my Shopify and Google Analytics really easily ran a bunch of different Facebook ad variants. We spent like $1,000 in a week with content that we had shot in February 2018. Like I was saying earlier, February 2018, that was our big big launch photo shoot me and probably 12 my friends. It was Super Bowl Sunday. I’ll never forget that day. Tom Brady lost the Philadelphia Eagles was fantastic. And we just got, we were drinking whiskey. We were smoking cigars. dataverse we were smoking some other stuff on and we were ordering pizza and having fun in bed. And we were doing ridiculous things we brought in two by fours into the bedroom with a circle saw. And we had our models my friend Virginia who just had a baby actually saw a two by four in half on camera. Somebody slept in the back the background just for the bit. sawing logs. That’s it like snoring like that’s the only thing like literally like I had this bit in my head and I was like we’re gonna saw literal logs in the bedroom and everybody was like, alright and I was like and that’s like I like doing a central bit for a photoshoot and that was the central bit for this one was the the climax of the photoshoot. I

Andrew Warner 35:21
thought though I thought what you were going for with that was it is so comfortable it’ll get you sleeping so soundly that even if

Colin McIntosh 35:29
you won’t know that multiple things right that you could let this word connotations, sawing logs, chopping logs and terms let’s do

Andrew Warner 35:35
this little who What did you call it this deal? So basically, it’s a terrific deal.

Colin McIntosh 35:40
It’s a very fast growing, you know, matures in less than 10 years. This wood You can also branch instead of harvest it grows back very quickly as well. It grows on non arable land so you don’t have to use farmland for it. It uses up to 96% less water per bed sheet set compared to a cotton bed sheet set from seed to sale and its production. And it uses up to 30%, less energy, no insecticides, no pesticides. Cotton by itself uses anywhere from 16 to 24% of the world’s insecticides by itself as a crop, which is nuts. And so basically it was it’s the most sustainable fabric in the world. And it’s also one of the most premium fabrics in the world. Everything that I’m sitting in these bedsheets, this comforter that I have this, I’m asked that we use with upcycle fabric from our factory so it doesn’t go to waste. Everything is made out of eucalyptus, lyocell. And so basically, you take the wood, but the wooden to a solution, you outcomes pulp, the pope is actually called dope. You turn that dried pulp into a fiber. It’s like it becomes a fluffy fiber. Like I get how it’s good for the environment. It’s fantastic. What do I care for me like What do I care what is Eucalyptus, cotton, or it’s a better product. So cotton is what I would call legacy product, right? So in software, you have legacy products all the time they get replaced by newer products. Thinking about cotton is that even though it’s a legacy product, It really hasn’t been unseated by anything aside from maybe like a petroleum based synthetic like a polyester um because it’s such a huge amount of production in the world every year that basically it I’m sorry sorry it’s getting in the way. Great guy the camera is good I can still see we have his own website by the way sheets slash Harvey and so basically we when we look at cotton I think about legacy products that need to kind of go away. Now that being said, Cotton’s great for a lot of different things. It’s extremely useful let’s get back to me

Andrew Warner 37:35
let’s talk self interest for me if anything Eucalyptus what happens am I sweating last Am I

Colin McIntosh 37:42
here in the morning but literally sweating less so what so the best thing about you is while so is that it’s actually temperature regulating I’m not blowing smoke, you know, I’m not just I’m not just making things up the way that some companies do in terms of their claims. Basically what happens is that it’s extremely moisture wicking and So as you sweat, it’s going to pull the sweat off of you immediately. And the thing about lyocell is that it’s going to evenly distribute that water across the fabric over the course of the night and evaporate into the air. And so in lyocell The reason before we got started I kept saying you could lift the sheets and you said no, no Andrew make sure that you say live sell if I don’t say if you don’t say live sell people are gonna think that I am cheating them. And the reason is live sell is man made product, right? And so you want to be clear,

Andrew Warner 38:26
hey, look, I’m being open about what’s in here.

Colin McIntosh 38:30
What why don’t why don’t like is I you know, the whole like bamboo thing. It’s not bamboo. It’s bamboo viscose, right? And it’s, you know, it’s you when it comes to you. It’s not what’s bamboo viscose. So this goes to the first generation of what’s called cellulosic rayon, which is rayon or fabric.

Andrew Warner 38:46
Bamboo with this other thing, got it got it,

Colin McIntosh 38:48
basically, basically, it’s the same exact process that we use, except them bu is not as sustainable as Eucalyptus as a base wood for the cellulosic round process because you cannot reuse the solvents in a bamboo business. Now we’re getting too deep in the woods. Yeah, sorry. Yeah.

Andrew Warner 39:03
I get it. I’m care more about the business part of it

Colin McIntosh 39:06
Like, who do you get to make this thing for you? How did you get it over here to your specifications? What did you do else to grow your email list? Why don’t we start with the email list? Since we’re on it a little bit. You did this Reddit post a few years ago? What’s a Reddit post? And how did you get more more signups because of it? You got you got great pre show research. So basically, we in winner we me in February 2018, is via recruiter. And the one thing that I know is that people are hungry for resume formats, and they’re hungry for good resume content. And so recently, February 2018, I sat down on my computer one Saturday, and I wrote up this big long Reddit Reddit posts on the job subreddit about how you know, hey, I’m a former recruiter. One of the things that is very frustrating. There’s my dog, bro and under the sheets. One of the things is very frustrating for me is that, you know, the best resumes always come from Yale, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and Because they teach their students proper resume formatting, and very few schools actually do this or do this in a good way. And so I wanted to democratize these resume formats. And I started off the blog post with Why is a betting company writing about resume formats like, I’m sorry, you want somebody read about thread count for the 87,000 time, like just go Google why thread count doesn’t matter. And so basically, it ended up becoming the largest the top of Buddha post of all time on the job subreddit. It’s been viewed over 2 million times to date I get emails about it every single day. We got about 1000 email signups from that just organically with no spend. And what I love about that post so so so much, um, is that one it’s, it’s, you know, it’s really good for SEO, obviously having backlinks on top on top Reddit posts on a large subreddit. But also it’s very important for I think, our initial ethos in terms of like, how and I don’t want to sound like a, like a shitty DDC founder like how we engage with our community, but like, you know, in terms of like, how we treat people and the way that we treat people the way they expect to be treated back. Um, basically I have customers email me every single day and they say, hey, I want to let you know, I got a job because the resume format that you put on Reddit and the celebrate I just bought a set of your bedsheets my first paycheck. And that is like the coolest connection that I have with people that no I don’t know how many CEOs have that type of personal connection with their with their customers.

Andrew Warner 41:26
And so this was you saying I need to find a way to get traffic to my site. I can’t wait about thread count. I’m gonna go on Reddit, right about the thing that people are asking about and that’s gonna come over and it’s not directly related, but everybody sheets you’ve got something.

Colin McIntosh 41:38
The beautiful thing about sheets and giggles is that it literally is a pun off of shits and giggles which means for no reason, just because just for fun. And that has been so powerful for me from just a branding perspective to be able to do whatever we want. whenever we want. We were We were in the street off. I’m working from home obviously, down Bullet below my apartment. We were in the street last Sunday on scooters and bikes before the quarter two Sundays ago much on bikes and on scooters wrapped in our new eucalypt this comforter like taking scooters on the street bikes down the street wrapped in it we were in the gym bench pressing wrapped in the Comforter on the elliptical like like no other bedding company is able to do this because Brooklyn in Boleyn branch parachute that Bath and Beyond they’ve all staked their claim and built their brand on this like very almost unearned, serious this like this like severity of we’re selling like the best things you’ve ever taught are coefficient of friction from the while sell is lower than Cotton’s coefficient, the coefficient of friction our sheets are more breathable, they’re more moisture wicking, but they are I see where

Andrew Warner 42:49
they’re trying to, but you’re saying look, they can’t have fun with their stuff because you’re gonna say this is the serious product. They can’t do it. The only thing that they could do is have sexual innuendo

Colin McIntosh 43:00
Their ads, right? It drives me crazy. It’s like it’s it, which is the most trite like that when I saw what I used to do when I pitched the company when I first started the company, especially at the Denver Startup we pitched on 2018, which came with like a big 100,090 $5,000 check. It was awesome. But I I beat crypto startups at the AI startups beat b2b software startups with a bedsheets company. It was cool. It was so much fun. It was like the month before we started shipping. And what I did was I pulled up three slides, and I did this and my tech stars pitch to and it was parachute Brooklyn and in Boulder. Should I feel bad that I always pick on these people, but there’s, I really respect the companies they built. I’m just, you know what I mean? So basically, I pull up a slide and it’s three other images. And I say these are three of my main competitors. These are three Instagram posts in the last month from three of my main competitors, and I would forgive you if you thought they were the same company. They’ve got the white sheets with the white walls. There’s always a French press coffee place ever so precariously on a white comforter, which is like a ridiculous place to put French press coffee. I’m such a jerk

Andrew Warner 43:59
by the way. I’m actually fact checking this as you’re talking to see if that’s what they do. I never had a parachute before. So check them out. Yeah, I see what you mean. It’s not it’s a ceramic bowl that I see on

Colin McIntosh 44:10
our shoe. There’s a phone in the bedroom, like there’s like, you know, like there’s, there’s, there’s always exposed the brick arm, you know, like, it’s just, they’re aspirational brands that frustrate me sometimes because they are. They’re aspirational and like a very niche sense, like aspirational for me is being independent, being financially free being having fun doing what you like, being with the people that you love, being with your family or friends having fun experiences, and less so about the exposed brick studio in New York City for 40 $500 a month. Um, and I think that’s where a lot of my competitors and I differ in terms of like who we’re talking to.

Andrew Warner 44:55
Okay, I want to come back and find out why tech stars even matter to you. Why don’t Want to go back there? And then, since we didn’t talk yet about how you made the product, let’s go into that too. But since you like my ads, I’m going to include you in my second ad also, it’s called hostgator. what’s what’s idea? What’s an idea that you’ve got for new businesses, somebody can launch on Hostgator? What would you suggest or an approach for finding a new business that they could launch and host on Hostgator?

Colin McIntosh 45:23
Well, I’ve got a few different things that I really want to start on the side. Um, so I don’t know if I want to go into anything in too much detail. I don’t even know if I’m able to have a time to do some of these things. I really like the sunglasses market on board. The tongue sunglasses market is very, very bored. It’s very commoditized. Um, I think that’s a really good one. I know for a fact the margins are fantastic. I own sunglasses, half Fold comm anybody wants to steal it from me. If you can come up with a better name.

Andrew Warner 45:54
Without taking one of your ideas, I would take your approach and apply it to Hostgator one of the things that I noticed about you is, I think you’re hosting with GoDaddy. And as soon as you buy your domain, it just goes to the host Daddy, the GoDaddy pages that basically sell whoever’s on the site. I’m going and signing up for hosts for hosting with them. If somebody had a Hostgator account through, slash mixergy, they could buy domains damn good prices at hostgator. So basically not expensive to buy a domain name. Cheaper than GoDaddy, if I remember correctly, it’s super cheap. The thing that I like about Hostgator is they’ll give you if you pick that baby plan, as they call it, they’ll give you unlimited domain so imagine you’re with your girlfriend call me a few years. Your ex girlfriend now and you sitting down and you’re kissing her nickel you know, it’d be great lipstick that actually tastes like vanilla.

Colin McIntosh 46:49
That’s all the time with with my friends where we go into fake startup pitches. And the other day I was doing a shark tank pitch for my buddy john and i was like, and I was like rope calm. I was like Millennials don’t know where to buy rope I live in Denver where the hell can I rope I don’t know where to get rope if I need if I need a few bales of rope like what do I do Where do I go and he does the Mark Cuban impression he goes Lowe’s Home Depot Walmart

so if is available somebody

Andrew Warner 47:22
Uber ups cuz who’s got time to get alone

Colin McIntosh 47:27
I love the DTC space so so much consumer I’m

Andrew Warner 47:31
surprised you love it. I feel like people

Unknown Speaker 47:32
love it.

Andrew Warner 47:34
I sarcastically I ride it’s a sell. Yeah, it is. It’s a cesspool of Did not I wouldn’t call it a cesspool. It’s why do you think that it’s a cesspool?

Colin McIntosh 47:44
It says it’s okay. That’s really that’s really derogatory. No, it’s basically I’m selling such a prick. It’s it’s, it’s a lot of people that take themselves too seriously. And I what I love about cheating giggles is that clearly I so fucking bedsheets like I love like it’s they’re sustainable. We’ve saved hundreds of thousands of years worth of drinking water, untold amounts of pesticides, insecticides, we plant a tree for every single order. We just planted 20,000 trees last month, like it is the coolest thing in the world to me that I get to make an impact. We just donated this you notice this Coronavirus thinking around, we donated all of our extra inventory to Denver rescue mission because they need more bedsheets for their beds. Because

Andrew Warner 48:25
what do you mean extra

Colin McIntosh 48:27
weight aged inventory that’s basically discontinued colors and that sort of thing that’s sitting in the warehouse. I don’t know. But But my point is my point is that the NC space is like people, you know, it’s like, I want to I don’t wanna talk about anybody’s specific but like, it’s like we’re changing, you know, personal hygiene. It’s like, No, you sell a toothbrush online. It’s like we’re changing the way that people travel. It’s like, No, you sell suitcases like, it’s not like you know, it’s not it’s, it’s just it’s a little too highfalutin. It’s I know so many entrepreneurs, tech stars, for the people that are Like you’re smarter than I am, and that are building things that are world changing. And just absolutely, they don’t talk about their

Andrew Warner 49:07
work in terms of changing lives as much as the first company does. It’s

Colin McIntosh 49:11
always the DTC company that has to have the mission. That is the most aspirational goddamn thing you’ve ever heard in your life.

Andrew Warner 49:19
That’s a bad thing. I have to say, as an interviewer, I admire that, that what they’re doing is they’re communicating and feeling and often they believe in it, until there’s somebody and they’re done. Yeah,

Colin McIntosh 49:30
no. So until the unit metrics don’t make sense. Um, but no, it’s it’s, um, it’s, I object to it, because I think that a lot of 23 year olds buy into it. I think we as

Andrew Warner 49:40
customers or as entrepreneurs,

Colin McIntosh 49:42
as employees, so I think that I think that a lot of 23 and 24 year olds, see a job posting for DDC company, paying them $40,000 a year in a city that that’s not a livable wage, and they take the job and they work their ass off. They’ve got point 1% equity in a company. They have no ability to control the destiny of and they have no say in the board, you know the board meetings that announced raise the exit potential. And then what these kids do is they work their ass off, they work under market value they buy into the mission. And then they realize after two or three years that this there is no mission for this company. They’re a sales company, they sell widgets, they sell things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I love selling widgets. I love selling things. I love making our customers happy. I love interacting with other human beings and hearing people you know people email us every day about their eczema, multiple sclerosis contact dermatitis goes away because it is so it goes away because the sheets and they sleep through the night and that you know, beyond happy but I don’t talk about that shit because it’s not genuine and I don’t tell my employees to buy into it because I tell them that I pay the market rate and I love them and I love working with them and that’s why they should work with

Andrew Warner 50:47
me. I forget which one of Jordan Belfort books this was in but after the Wolf of Wall Street, I had a baby I needed to walk the baby through the city to just like calm the baby down. And I can’t sit at home doing that. So I went in Got a bunch of audiobooks and I’m listening to Jordan Belfort and one of the things that he was doing was selling steak door to door selling steak and he had this whole gimmick where what he would do is he say, I got this truck, we can sell the steak because because there’s a problem with the truck, I think something like that, can I unload it to you homeowner at a at a reasonable price? Because I can’t sell it it’s going to go bad anyway in the homeowners like, I got like, I got a deal here. And they and so he goes to his partner, he says, Why are we doing this for this other company? We should do this for ourselves. And the partner like is so listening to Jordan Belfort talk about how great the steak is how it’s gonna change your life in your health because it’s specific cuts of meat done in a specific way. There’s partner system. Where do we get the good meat like that? And it goes, holy crap. This guy’s been buying our bs for so long, that he doesn’t think he can ever get away from this. And it’s like, wow, I forget how bs is something that you could buy into your own bs to that point.

Colin McIntosh 51:56
You can’t you can’t you can’t read you can’t believe your own press is like drinking poison and I That’s that’s also where a lot of founders go and

Andrew Warner 52:02
I feel like I should be doing that too. Like how many entrepreneurs who are doing essentially podcasting creating online courses are basically saying we are changing everyone’s lives and talking.

Colin McIntosh 52:14
And you do like the thing is that like, I don’t want to come across as holier than thou that I probably already have. But it’s more of like i i think that you can change people’s lives. Like I the resume post I made on Reddit. Hundreds of people have emailed me saying that I got a job because of that resume post and that is literally life changing like in the sense of like you like getting somebody a meaningful, high paying job changes their lives, their family’s lives, at some health care, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s why I love being a recruiter. But like the the thing is that like at the end of the day, we are not curing diseases, we are not curing cancer, we are not going into space, be in and we are making an you know contribution into the into the sustainability space. But it is, at the end of the day, we sell bed sheets. And that’s what I love about it is that it’s a blank canvas to do whatever the hell we

Andrew Warner 53:07
want. And then you get to personality into it. And this is the thing I let me come back and add this so that we gave we gave ourselves a little bit of space from their competitors name, which I threw out nicely. I’m not the kind of person who wants to wants to play those games editor was GoDaddy. Here’s the thing if you go to slash mixer do you pick the Baby Plan anytime This is going back to the case with a friend you have a business idea, you have an idea for a new site, you just if you have the Baby Plan to buy a domain, but also one click install, throw up a WordPress site on there and now you’re really creating something even if it’s just a goofiest landing page, because only you and your girlfriend will see it. And there’ll be a way of saying, hey, look, baby, sorry that I got away from the case with this idea. But how funny is this? You show something for what you’ve done. Instead of just have the domain boom, go out to slash mixergy and change your life and the lives of everybody on the planet by having a brand new set of websites this will be a greater world if only 1% of people who are listening to this will do that. This will be an absolutely Better World Roku comm go get Roku comm roll by

Colin McIntosh 54:19
my favorite Have you ever done I oh I always I always coming off as well I feel like I’ve come off as a bit of a douchebag but I know I feel

Andrew Warner 54:25
like one of the things that’s happening to me is I am I get off story sometimes with my guests because I enjoy the conversation so much yeah it’s a given my next guest is coming in here this is my maybe my last known who that this is Jeremy I don’t know who Jeremy is. So Oh, did I say six o’clock or 630 to the to the guests. I am basically going to be here all frickin day. But when is the next time that I’m going to be able to record out of my office? I said 630 so I’m here recording. I’m basically going to be locked out of this office after today. I might as well enjoy myself if I swear if I wasn’t driving home I would be having a scotch right now to just really say Andrew, this is not bad. This is like a start of something fun and meaningful. Anyway, what I was starting to say was I’m enjoying my conversations so much lately that I, I sometimes get off story and I wonder if someone who’s listening to me could tell me how that comes across because I could see as a listener sometimes it’s fun to get the the fun personalities and the people were talking. I like

Colin McIntosh 55:25
this. Yeah, this is this is much better than like a very rote, you know, like, how would you do this? or Why do you do that? or whatever it is. I mean, there’s and there’s elements of it too within editing. That’s the that’s why why I’m liking it so much. That’s what I’m going for. And now we’re doing the meta breaking the fourth wall talking about the interview.

Andrew Warner 55:40
Time to I can’t help it. I can’t help it. I’ll do an ad and then I’ll say, hey, you’re a salesman. What do you think I do?

Colin McIntosh 55:47
Now, this is great. Um, but yeah, so

Andrew Warner 55:50
let’s come back to how you got the bedding. Where’d you go? How’d you get it done?

Colin McIntosh 55:55
Well, so basically, I there was something in New York just actually just got cancelled this this upcoming week. is called market week home textiles market week. And by the way, it’s getting progressively darker in here because the sun is I noticed that it’s getting Denver.

Andrew Warner 56:07
Yeah Mandy drinking with la in the

Colin McIntosh 56:10
wind do I can do really? Start Up cliche Alexa lights on.

Fantastic. Oh god, that’s cool. Well, I’m glad you got a

Andrew Warner 56:21
Lexa Oh, I shouldn’t say the word out loud.

Colin McIntosh 56:25
Anyway. No, but so so basically I’m with something called home textiles market week. And so it’s, it’s every year, twice a year. And so basically I had enlisted the help of a gentleman named Mike Pearl, who’s a good now my director of product. My director of operations. He was a connection that I had via my investors out here in Denver, and my mentors and basically Mike helped me with, you know, getting introductions to different people that could help me design tech packs that can help me figure out how to Bring my ideas for my company to life. I was working with a few other contractors who helped me broker some meetings with some manufacturers that were coming into town from all over the world. It was a four day conference met with tons and tons of manufacturers, you know, including some from America. Unfortunately, nobody from America had the expertise to manufacturer the specific material that I want them with eucalyptus oil sell for the sustainability and premium for purposes. And so America doesn’t really use textiles anymore, unfortunately, although we are opening up an Alabama factory, this q4, which I’m really thrilled about. And so basically, I met a bunch of people talk to them about their ethics, their manufacturing practices, you know, their ability for output pricing, the whole thing. And I felt really, really good about one of the people that I was speaking with, and I signed a pillowcase at the end of the week for my first contract and that was how we got Started and

Andrew Warner 58:01
first and then it’s customary

Colin McIntosh 58:03
to sign a pillowcase. So you’ve got Yeah,

I’ve got a grant in the works. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So sign up. So I sign a pillowcase. And we, we basically our first purchase order, and this is back in March 2018. So at this point in time, we have been running Facebook ads to our landing pages that have the crowdfund for about three or four weeks. So I knew at this point, we were collecting emails like a 40% conversion clip, and I knew what our costs, you could extrapolate out your cost of acquisition from there, you can extrapolate out your net margin. And so basically, I knew that we were going to have a big crowd fund and I just for this industry, it’s commodity commodity products. So if you’re going to get somebody to stop their presence for you, and for your designs and for your colors and for your products, and your tech packs, you’re basically going to have to guarantee hundreds of thousands of dollars of product and that’s what we did. We signed a PO for several hundred thousand dollars. Which was extremely loud. Um, but I did that only after I knew running the numbers. What our day one was going to be on the crowdfund and I almost nail it to a tee I anticipated about 40 k we did 45 k on day one, ended up doing $284,000 crowdfunded over the course of that campaign, and actually ended up being the largest Indiegogo crowdfunding ever for the bedding category. And it was bigger than Brooklyn and Brooklyn into 236,000. So very competitive person. Why to pick Indiegogo,

Andrew Warner 59:33
or Kickstarter?

Colin McIntosh 59:35
That’s a great question. There were several different things I think, I think most specifically, I had done an Indiegogo, the year prior with reveler. So I was familiar with the platform. When I learned a lot I had like a big journal that I written on Penn Zoo about things that we did wrong on Indiegogo and and you know what I would do differently a second time around and I got the opportunity about one year later to do it a second time around for my own company and we had a 20% to rebel or on Indiegogo we did 151 K. And I had a two person team, as she’s saying, it wasn’t me 284 k crowdfunded. So it’s really all about preparation and experience and execution. And I’m actually writing a crowdfunding guide right now that I want to put out there for other people to be able to follow.

Andrew Warner 1:00:18
Why tech stars tech stars invest in companies

Unknown Speaker 1:00:21
and tech companies in tech. Right?

Andrew Warner 1:00:26
Yeah, you could ask David Cohen that to you probably agree with you. Um, why did he Why did you go to them? What Why did they see David Cohen by the way? Um, now he’s, you know, do you know, Dave? I do from the interviews. And then there was one interview that friend of ours asked me to interview him in person and I felt like he was just angry with me. Oh, no, no,

Colin McIntosh 1:00:42
he’s very introverted. I so. So you and I clearly are very extroverted. And God bless I love David Carr about David Brown, the two founders of tech stars. David Cohen is big time introvert. And so every time I talk to Dave Cohen, and this is I’m not The only person that said this, I genuinely am like, Don’t think David likes me. And I’m like one of his portfolio companies. So like, it’s not it’s it’s just

Andrew Warner 1:01:11
that makes sense. I’ve heard that of other people too. And I just didn’t think about it because when we’re online, I could everything’s great. But then I remember I said, he looked great. He goes, Yeah, I lost a lot of weight. before and this

Colin McIntosh 1:01:26
is a really good impression. So I love the I love Dave, I love tech stars. I owe my entire career tech stars. I was 24 years old.

Andrew Warner 1:01:34
What did you get? What did you get?

Colin McIntosh 1:01:37
So So basically, I was, you know, I had had at a college I started my career Bridgewater associates in Connecticut. I got fired and five months, I became a recruiter. I hired myself one of my clients in Seattle. And so in two years out of school, three years out of school, I had had four jobs and like, I was If you looked at my resume, it was like, Okay, this kid went to Emory University went to work at Bridgewater got fired very quickly like has had a couple other jobs in the meantime they’re totally different industries totally different functions. What what’s the deal with this person on and so we you know when when my friend Jackie with rebel I got the opportunity in 2015 for tech stars I jumped at it because I it was a company that I have found I’d written the business plan for I’ve been involved in very intimately from day one. And so I basically saw this as a way to you know, restart my career and I asked my boss at the time I said, Can I drive down to Boulder for this program and to his credit, he said, Look, man, like you this is a once in a lifetime type of opportunity ended up being twice in a lifetime. And he was like, you got to do it. And so I hopped in my car and drove down and, um, that was the mentorship that I got, I cannot overstate

Andrew Warner 1:02:53
I am specific that you got the that helped shape, shatter company.

Colin McIntosh 1:02:59
Yo, everybody. Everything so so there were in 20 summer 2015 I lived in Boulder, Colorado and my two lead mentors. One of them was the VP of global sales at a company called Spiro in Boulder. I don’t know if you know Spiro they they make the remote control joins with your smartphone. Yeah, actually

Andrew Warner 1:03:16
I’d be the founder. I didn’t hear that. It was still Yeah, I interviewed the founder of their tech stars company to

Colin McIntosh 1:03:20
Yeah. Did you introduce me to it? Was it Paul or in or who?

Andrew Warner 1:03:25
I forget at this point.

Colin McIntosh 1:03:27
So basically, so Spiro, their VP of global sales, a guy named Joe, he was my lead mentor. He’s fantastic. He’s actually starting his own company, the great American cheese company, shout out to Joe and the best she’s ever had. And so basically, Joe was had 15 years retail experience on Tommy every single thing I knew about how to sell in the physical retail contract negotiations, terms that are important to physical retailers, how to merchandise how to get set up in a store, how to sell through how to, you know, manage buyers and it was just such an incredible education that I can never repay. And then, you know, some of my other mentors were people from home advisor, people from TechStars people from really other fantastic companies as last time around folks from craftsy are mentors of mine, and from other really great companies. And one of my mentors from 2015, um, two of them, two of the three of them have become my first investors into sheets and giggles. And it’s because they are like, this is the thing that I think people I rant about this sometimes with, you know, free market capitalism and meritocracy and that sort of thing. I’m very I work I work like a dog. I’m going to work more tonight 7:15pm I’m gonna, you know, I’m going to do more stuff. I’m going to take two more videos, I’m going to, you know, type up more emails and type up some business plans for my company, they’ll be agreed on today in the wake of this virus thing. Um, and, you know, I basically, I feel like I’ve earned a lot of what I’ve got That being said, um, if my friend Jackie has made a phone call to me, tell me we get in TechStars, which she really worked her ass off for. I don’t get those mentors. Those mentors don’t know me personally, they don’t become investors into sheets and giggles and my company never gets off the ground. And so it’s also a matter of who you know how you know them what they think about you, of course, and then you know, where you’re able to take that and what you’re able to do with that opportunity. And so it was really the education I got from people in the community. And that’s what TechStars is really, really fantastic about is bringing people into the community into the into the room that are experts on different things, and just taking you to school and customer experience, user experience design. You know, everything I think about our packaging from the ground up our logo, our brand voice, our channels, our channel strategy, that all comes from my experience with my last tech stars company and and how that works into SMG and now actually, we just did two and a half Your market SMG site officially been an SMG as long as I was at reveler before I found sheets and

Andrew Warner 1:06:05
giggles I can’t believe you don’t always say that you actually know i

Colin McIntosh 1:06:09
i have to say SMG because otherwise I laugh so it’s Yeah,

Andrew Warner 1:06:14
Bridgewater real quick. What do you remember about the experience there that is created by Why am I blanking on his name? Ray Dalio. Ray Dalio. Ray Dalio, one of the richest people in the world wrote the book principles about how you should codify what you believe in how you operate, and then keep iterating and you got the principles when you work there. Right, that big book? Yeah, a lot. A lot of people listening to this podcast right? Let’s say not that many tip. We’re gonna go ahead.

Colin McIntosh 1:06:43
No, so Okay, so um, there’s a lot of good people that were to Bridgewater. In fact there’s a lot of some of the smartest people ever in my life at Bridgewater, you know, they’ll saying if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. I was never the smartest person in the room. Bridgewater like they like they are they are really gifted People, um, that being said, I fired in five months, because I just couldn’t exist in the culture they had built there. That there, I would encourage people to read Glassdoor reviews, so they know not just, you know, being bitter. But basically, they have 200 and something principles that you’re supposed to operate by. And inside of Bridgewater, people would talk on this back in 2012 2012 2013. So I don’t know what it is currently. But people would talk like, hey, you’re violating Principle number 75 minutes and then somebody would say, No, no, I’m following principle 114 you are violating principle 162. And, and this is how people would, would interact with each other. And so when when you codify your culture, and you have these rules that are very rigid in some ways, and sometimes contradictory ways, um, and you put 1300 people in the same building in a petri dish following those rules.

It’s just not what you expect. Or maybe it’s what you’d expect. It’s, it ends up being

almost like a dystopian, dystopian Steve strong award,

Andrew Warner 1:08:22
you’re describing almost a religious cult where I could say, but this Bible, basically what you’re saying is it becomes the Bible of the company. And the problem with the Bible is there’s no character rotation.

Colin McIntosh 1:08:38
Yeah, and, and so, yeah, and, and, you know, the Bridgewater is researchers unparalleled, I mean, they’re, you know, they’ve made a really good name for themselves. Really fantastic company. When you, if you had to tell somebody that had ketchup on their face, you would tell him, Hey, you have a little bit of ketchup on your face right here and you would tell him that Because they’re your friend, and you don’t want to look like an idiot, and that’s how Bridgewater describes being honest with people and that feedback and that transparency and not not telling somebody something because you’re gonna hurt their feelings. That’s how they describe it. The reality of it is, oh my god, you fucking idiot, look at yourself all over your face. You clearly have never looked in the mirror before you don’t know anybody else. He’s on you. You got to clean that ketchup on your face right fucking now look at you, you’ve got damn asshole. And that is like, it’s, it’s, it’s funny to like, describe it that way. Um, in hindsight, because when I was there, I just was so uncomfortable. I didn’t fit in and I just, you know, I got like, go quickly and, you know, they tell you something different about me. They tell you that didn’t fit into the culture and, and to their credit they you know, they they have a fantastic alumni network. I people reach out to me, other Bridgewater alarms that are, you know, entrepreneurs and, you know, the people that are high up at Bridgewater reached out to me and we have a good relationship with people there. And it’s it’s just not for everybody like and it’s clearly been very successful for them. Um, but it just wasn’t something that I could just them.

Andrew Warner 1:10:09
I interviewed another founder who had the opposite experience TK cater, he is the founder of tout app, people should go to my site and search for tout app or TK his experience was he got the those I guess it was photocopied at the time the boards Yeah. People but

Colin McIntosh 1:10:27
yeah, photocopy The, the principles in the in a photocopy but also they gave you a lockdown iPad, and every meeting you would take a iPad survey of who followed the principles the most during the meeting. Oh, wow.

Andrew Warner 1:10:40
Okay, so his experience was this is amazing because it’s also systemize it I guess. He might come at it from like a programmer point of view where he’s fascinated by how people would program but I think they may seem this alternative point of view. They told me my greatest weakness was my empathy. Way to turn that into your spring. Right? how angry Are you that you don’t have sheets and giggles calm, furious?

Unknown Speaker 1:11:09

Andrew Warner 1:11:10
Yeah, at least it’s not being used for anything and now you keep, like registering your trademark and letting people know it’s a registered trademark. There’s no way that

Colin McIntosh 1:11:18
Yeah, yeah, um, yeah, we were aggressive with with that way we see we do it. There’s a board game called sheets and your goals There seem like nice people. We don’t really have coverage for that. But yeah, I mean, I would love to have sheets and giggles calm That being said, that night and June 2017. When I watch more dogs, I got shingles calm. I got at sheets giggles everywhere. No. So I wasn’t the first person to think of the pun. So the domain was taken. Some of the social handles were taken on everything, but some of them were whereas sheets giggles which is just the brand name without the ampersand. It was available everywhere. And so that’s what I That’s why I jumped on. I also like cheap VIP jack, calm, eco friendly. You go up the sheets calm they all they all redirect to my website.

Andrew Warner 1:12:11
Of course you do. Boy, your dog’s name Harvey right? Yeah, he’s right here looks really good on camera. I like it the way that I always love when my dog when I had my dog just would face forward almost like he’s a

Colin McIntosh 1:12:24
he’s a model. He’s extremely photogenic. He’s also extremely malleable. I can kind of just,

Andrew Warner 1:12:29
yeah, he looks like he’s wondering what you’re doing. Right?

Colin McIntosh 1:12:32
Exactly. He’s a very he’s a very good boy. I love him. He’s, he’s getting me through this semi quarantine. And he’s, yeah, he’s biting my finger and he’s good boy. He’s half jack Russell have thoughts and the quietest thought you ever made in your life. But he’s such a good model. And I love him. And I just don’t know. Honestly, what I would do without him. He’s and he’s also very cheap, very cheap retainer. So

Andrew Warner 1:12:57
I see him I’m flipping through your Instagram now and I see my There you go. Anyone wants to go check out the website. It is a fun website. It’s a fun company. You can see them at sheets I cannot review the the sheets. I’m not a sheet reviewer, but I can review the company. I can get it. I don’t I feel very guilty when people send me gifts. But I will tell you, I did go to Amazon and just look at the reviews. Every time we’re talking. I I search everything. I just lost the name of the founder of Sphero. I interviewed I even like check myself Spiro. Who did I interviewed the founder, Paul, Paul, Bavaria. Yeah, and yeah, this was back in Wow. It’s like 10 years ago at this point.

Colin McIntosh 1:13:40
Paul’s been a he’s you know, he’s helped me with some things he’s in Boulder is you’re at Boulder, Colorado, by the way. extremely tight knit Tech Community extreme like like, you know, and you’re sorry, I actually never answered your question why TechStars was interested in the bedsheets company in the first place. I remember I sat down with somebody from TechStars when we We had just one Denver Startup Week 2018 we were revenue positive. We were very lean. I was the only full time employee. You know, you’re doing I think October, November 2018. We did like close to six figures. It was like, like, November was like 90 K, like our third, like our second month in sales. And I asked, I was sitting at TechStars folks, and they were like, yeah, you know, calling usually, companies come in that are, you know, not revenue positive, not profitable, that have, you know, you know, that don’t really have a product or that aren’t marked yet. And I was kind of like, sitting there like eating my food. And I was like, don’t you think it might be good to have one of those things? Yes. And no, they meant in a in a better way than I’m making it sound like you know, they help people go from zero to one. But it was it was really funny to hear them say that and those exact words. And so basically I, you know, I was a known entity I’d been through 2015 program, the MDS of TechStars boulder knew me they knew who I was they knew how hard I worked they knew the type of person I was. And I think that it also comes with you know, having somebody who’s a little seasons on stage and with the in with the community of investors and with the people in the class and you know, a lot of times when things got tough and it’s a pressure cooker environment, right 10 companies 13 weeks one room, um, it’s it’s intense. And I think that having somebody who had been through a program before also was appealing to them, because I could, you know, kind of guide people through it a little bit And truth be told, we ended up raising the most money out of anybody in our class, like a competitor. You know, and I love that I always love that I love all love. You know, the whole Why is a bedsheets company in tech stars. I love that until dead like that’s the funniest thing in the world to me and and so I think that was also kind of funny to them to be totally honest and TechStars boulder has more flexibility with who had taken the program that we we went right on demo day we went right after Atomos which is a spaceship company they make nuclear reactors to bring things from lower Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit. Unbelievable smart people I know in tech stars class. I went on right after them and I told that he to me at TechStars boulder I talked and told him I was like do not put me on. And he thought it was the funniest thing in the goddamn world to put the bedsheets company on after the space company.

Andrew Warner 1:16:39
For anyone who feel like well, this is a little unattainable and hard to wrap your head around. This comes in and helps. Alright. Thank you so much for being here. It’s sheets I want to thank my two sponsors who made this interview happen the first if you’re loving this and you want to go get in on this, go to slash mixergy and start your website. Of course if you hate your hosting company or you’re spending too much Good time to cut back and get really good service slash mixergy. And finally, if you’re hiring a developer, we’ve talked so much about this. Go get a good price. Great developers from top towel comm slash mixergy. Thank you so much for being here.

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