How Bartesian retained IP, built a lean team and outsourced sales & distribution – Ryan Close- EP 54

How to Leverage Opportunities and Build an Authentic Brand

Authenticity is something every new business should be striving for when branding. In the era of social media, your followers should translate to engagement and sales at the end of the day which is a good marketing strategy.

In this episode of the Page One Podcast, Luke Peters speaks with Ryan Close, the founder, and CEO of award-winning intelligent hardware and consumer package good startup Bartesian. He is a former bartender, life-long entrepreneur, and passionate collaborator who has taken an idea from the garage to global. 

Ryan shares how his product Bartesian increased sales tremendously during the Coronavirus period and the marketing strategy they used. Listen in to learn the investor and partnership strategies that Bartesian leveraged to get funding and grow to what it is today.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to be authentic and engage customers to grow your business online.
  • How to approach the strategy of looking for a partner.
  • The masterful art of creating a product that sells itself.
  • The benefits of doing something uncomfortable to become stronger and independent in what you’re doing.
  • The qualities of a good leader that leads to team success.
  • How to delegate tasks only to people who are aligned with your business mission and goals.

Episode Timeline:

  • [0:29] Intro
  • [1:51] He explains in detail what is Bartesian and how it functions.
  • [4:21] How the Coronavirus has impacted Bartesian positively seeing their sales increase up to 450%.
  • [6:33] How Bartesian got free publicity from a viral TikTok video which was a huge booster for their brand and sales.
  • [7:58] He explains how authenticity leads to customer engagement.
  • [10:34] How they leverage the strategy of a small team that is productive.
  • [11:41] He shares his investor story which took years of looking for funding and forming strategic partnerships.
  • [18:01] How he perfected the design of the product by leveraging their partner.
  • [21:40] How he launched Bartesian with Quickstarter.
  • [23:54] Studying in Singapore and what that taught Ryan businesswise.
  • [27:17] How he learned to be a good leader by joining the team rather than telling them what to do.
  • [30:128] Learning to balance the fire inside of you as an entrepreneur and allowing things to take the course.
  • [33:22] How to be candid with how you’re marketing your business and providing authenticity.
  • [35:12] How he initially made the mistake of trusting the wrong person with his business.

Relevant Links:

Website: https://bartesian.com/ LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanclose/

Speaker 1 : Welcome to the Page One Podcast, a podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best in class product launches and all the details about how to accelerate sales. Now here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Page One podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters, CEO of Newer Appliances and Retail Band Digital Strategy Agency. We’re now in a coronavirus world and I know that’s on everyone’s mind, so I’m going to adapt all of the interviews to ensure that you listeners are getting the most out of this podcast. This episode is sponsored by Retail Band, where we can give your business owners a blueprint on how to grow their digital sales, either direct to consumer or via channels like Home Depot, Wayfair, and Walmart. To learn more, find me on LinkedIn or email me at luke@retailband.com.

Luke Peters: In this episode, you’re going to learn from entrepreneur, Ryan Close, on product launches, brand development, startup structure, and fundraising, and how he built an amazing product and business with Bartesian. Ryan Close’s founder and CEO of award-winning intelligent hardware and consumer packaged goods, startup Bartesian. a former bartender, lifelong entrepreneur and passionate collaborator, Ryan has taken an idea from garage to global. His mindful and empathic approach to leadership has allowed him to recruit, retain and build upon top tier talent. Ryan, welcome to the Page One pocket.

Ryan Close: Hey, thanks, Luke. Great to be here.

Luke Peters: Awesome. So before we get going, you have a really exciting product. So why don’t you describe your business and product, so the audience understands you better.

Ryan Close: Absolutely. Maybe we can make this a cocktail hour while we’re chatting it through.

Luke Peters: Oh, we should.

Ryan Close: So as you said, Bartesian is award winning hardware products that create cocktails at the push of a button and not just the cocktail you get at the local watering hole, but premium craft cocktails that you’d expect that the most exclusive lounges across the US. The way it works is it’s similar to a coffee maker on your counter, a small appliance, very sleek and sexy looking. The reservoirs that are glass are labeled, and you put your own spirit in there, with an open source, and it’s clearly marked, whiskey, tequila, vodka, gin and rum. There’s water source at the back. Then there’s an LCD display. Each capsule contains all the bitters, liqueurs juices in real format, real juicers, no artificial colors or flavors, for things like cucumber bitters, muddled cilantro, Apple [inaudible 00:00:02:57], campari, all those ingredients in non-alcoholic form, no powders, the real stuff are put into those capsules, with a barcode on it.

Ryan Close: You select your Sex on the Beach or Margarita, Manhattan, Lemon Drop and put it in the machine, it’s going to read that barcode and know what you put in and then it’s going to tell you what glass to use. It’s then going to allow you to select your strength. So if you’re driving at night, you can have a mocktail, light, regular, strong. You customize it, hit go and in about 20 seconds, it’s going to pull those spirits, it’s going to take the water and reconstitute the ingredients inside the capsule. Everything’s being mixed inside that capsule, and then coming right into your glass. It’s about a 20 second process and it self-cleans afterwards, so it’s ready for the next drink and you’re tasting the remnants of the glass drink in your cocktail. So it’s a lot of the fun, the drinks tastes amazing and yeah, we’re really excited about getting it in the market.

Luke Peters: Yeah. What an amazing product. It looks beautiful. So check out the website, bartseian.com. I guess if you’re listening, tune in, I guess, during happy hour, and then can go through, you can learn about business and have a drink at the same time. But right now we’re in a coronavirus world, Ryan and I don’t know, it’s going either way, I think for some alcohol and beverage companies, just depending on their distribution, how has it impacted your company?

Ryan Close: It’s pretty unbelievable how it impacted us. We started seeing in mid-March growth, that we had expected anyway, because folks who’ve received our product over the holidays and we’re using it, loving it, we were getting great reviews. So we’re starting to get that momentum. We were growing at 60 to 80%, week over week.

Luke Peters: Oh wow!

Ryan Close: Then something happened obviously mid-March and things went completely bananas. People started hearing about us as the perfect solutions to not being able to go to their favorite restaurant or bar. People started coming to buy us and buy Bartesian and we saw 240% growth and that continued throughout April. Then in early May, we had a viral moment which paired with being obviously a great solution during this current environment, blew us even further up.

Ryan Close: We were growing at 450%. We completely sold out of our Bartesian cocktail makers. Obviously luckily, we had planned and prepared for significant growth and we had tons of capsules and still do, so we don’t have any issues there. We’ve got some great production here right in America. But the machines, obviously were 10 X growth, so they were gone. So we’re waiting on more to come in and luckily we’ve got tons coming in, so we should fine in the near future. But it’s exciting because of our sales growth, then also frustrating that we don’t have all the machines that we wish we could have on hand to sell.

Luke Peters: Yeah. I mean, what a great position to be in though, as the founder and owner of the business. I’m impressed that you lasted that long in the inventory with your sales being that high. So like you said, you planned for it. Is that supply chain pretty long, you guys 60 or 90 days out from time of placing an order? Or was the supply chain able to react pretty quickly?

Ryan Close: Yeah. In terms of the capsules, very quickly. So the machine side. We’re about six weeks behind right now, but luckily we’re able to turn on the engine-based on current demand and we won’t be in this position again, but we just couldn’t foresee that meteoric grow that quickly. The TikTok video went to 10 million views [crosstalk 00:07:02] and almost a couple million likes, which is exciting for us because we had really great press before and soft sales obviously from the press, but it’s not always that huge, the sales increase, it’s like, “Okay, great. I’m going to go check out Bartesian. I’m going to see it, I don’t know if I want to spend $350 on this right now.” But what we saw then with this video was it really proved out that the product is a great solution. It solves a problem for people in this moment and really forever, any moment, so it’s just generating awareness, which we didn’t really have a huge budget to do. It’s great to get free publicity.

Luke Peters: What’s the story behind that? So I quickly went on Instagram, it looks like you guys have some really high engagement on some of those videos as well. Any particular thing that you see working well for you on social media?

Ryan Close: It’s funny, I’m going to say authenticity is our number one pillar for social media. I got to be honest, I don’t even have my own Instagram page.

Luke Peters: That’s funny.

Ryan Close: I actually right now in the last few months, am the one making the post on Instagram, responding to the customers, which is crazy. We have some investors going, “Ryan, you need to bring on someone to do this yesterday.” And I say, “I agree, but I’m learning so much from these early adopters and what they feel about the product, how they want to relate, what they like about it, what they don’t.” It’s incredible. So I almost like this drug I can’t stop doing, even though I know I need to, it’s really educational for me.

Luke Peters: Wow. That was really good nuance there that you’re doing it because you’re learning so much from the customers and you’re right. You get that immediate feedback, which I’m sure it can help with R&D and probably flavors and things like that. But yeah, I’ve seen some of them. I mean, what stood out was even if you only, you may have a 100, 200 likes, but you’re getting like 20, 30 questions. Of course, more when you get 1,000s of likes. So you’re definitely doing good on that end. I might have to hire you actually, Ryan, so you can help me out a little bit.

Ryan Close: I’m about to fire myself from the role. So yeah, again, the goal hasn’t been likes, although a lot of people say that a determination of success on social media, followers and likes. We’ve taken the approach of engagement is more critical and similar to our strategy on launching the product, it wasn’t to throw it on the shelves of Walmart day one, and nothing wrong with Walmart, but just that wasn’t the strategy. It was, just like confine it, let’s do a small, let’s roll it out carefully and that’s the same approach that I’ve taken with the social media. It’s just like, “Let’s target our current users and let’s not just try to get a million followers.” A lot of people pay people for posts and we haven’t done any of that, not once.

Luke Peters: Yeah, its authentic. Listen, we got a lot of great questions and want to get more into the story. But before we do, just to give the audience a little bit of a say, context on the business, can you talk about maybe the size or number of employees or warehouse, or just something to give us a scale on the company so everybody can understand?

Ryan Close: We’re very small. I’m going to tell you that right now. We’re lean, very lean business. We have a 100 people on the team full time, employees. We leverage strong partnerships and that’s been the very early strategy of the business. Now, when you’re building a hardware and a CPG business from scratch, the costs are mighty. We always had to take that approach is just how do we leverage people who can help, basically foot the bill? So I think we’ve done a really good job of that and that’s ingrained in our culture. So we have a very small team. We have multiple warehouses, we have great Coleman partnership and it’s worked for us very well.

Luke Peters: I want to get more into that down the road here in a couple of questions, but earlier, you talked about you have investors. Did you have those investors from the very beginning, or did you launch the product and they saw the excitement around it, and then the investors came in later on?

Ryan Close: Yeah, we could spend probably three hours, I could tell you the investment story. I won’t bore you with it all, although I find it very intriguing. But we took it an unorthodox approach to that, similar to a lot of the things we do, unorthodox. But it was like a pay as you go model for cell phones, we raised as you go model with fund raising. All the textbooks will tell you, get everyone ready and let them all know, here’s when it’s going to close and create that FOMO. Again, we just were extremely authentic. We always were communicating very candid and clear, and here’s what we need to do. Here’s what we’d like, how much money we need to get, let’s go get it. Then let’s focus on the business.

Ryan Close: I didn’t have the luxury of just taking three months off for road shows to go fundraise. We didn’t have a product that functioned properly. So we had to get the product developed. We’ve got to make sure these capsules have specific shelf life, so that’s driven our strategy there. So, no, we really did it over several years, fundraise and it was from getting letters of intent from retailers before we even had the product and then taking those LOIs to angel investors saying, “Hey, listen, even though this product doesn’t work, we don’t have it, we haven’t made it yet. We have got retailers who are willing to buy it, once we make it. Give us a little money, so we can go and push this further.” So that’s how we made it work.

Luke Peters: Wow. And let’s take that and talk about the next steps. I mean, with strategic partnerships, talk about how you then worked on the development of the product, and along the way you had limited resources, but you still got amazing results.

Ryan Close: Right. We’ve tried it a few different ways. So we had looked at bringing it in-house and we hired a couple engineers and essentially folks who can work with China manufacturers there and buy the parts. Then we set up an assembly in Canada and started making… the plan was to make our own machine. That was your initial strategy. The issue we found was that the resources required for that were so significant that we weren’t able to focus on the capsule development. So whenever we were putting resources into one area, the other area suffered. I recognized that that wasn’t a sustainable methodology, the whole business is going to suffer. So we needed to make a decision, either raise a significant amount of money and really dilute the business down to very little, get a partner in and do that and manufacturer and chug through. Or find a partner on either side, the capsules or the machine side to incur those final thoughts.

Ryan Close: So that’s the route we decided to go on, was the machine side. We found a strong manufacturing partner, and that helped alleviate issues like working capital, we were getting orders for 3000 machines and just the working capital needs, trying to get loans against that was a huge amount of effort and time and time suck, to get a terribly termed loan from a bank.

Ryan Close: We looked at the margins on the appliance as well and the industry average. And we said, “Let’s focus and nail down these capsules and cocktails and get these just perfect.” We took the machine, we had to, call it 85% completion. And we said, “This is how we want it. This would be the final tweaks.” We found a partner that would be able to do that. So it was the perfect solution for us.

Luke Peters: It sounds like that helps in the cashflow side, was that the benefit, because otherwise you’d have to go prepay or partial pay, factory, but then this partner somehow is helping you guys on the cashflow side, if you do have a PO, and obviously on that PO you’re going to have retailer terms you have to deal with?

Ryan Close: Well, you nailed it. I mean, so helped us huge on obviously cashflow. We could take that cash and put it into development of our own line with the capsules, so we have custom fillers, because our capsules are so custom, because there’s a lot engineering inside that capsule to make it mix properly and work within that machine.

Ryan Close: So we focused our resources there and obviously on curating the best possible ingredients around the globe. We’re bringing in certain liqueur beverages from Italy, so we’re getting all things, it takes a ton of effort. So that’s one thing. Then the other way it’s obviously helped us was with not having to bring in all the resources, the expertise, in terms of managing manufacturers for the appliance in China. I mean, we did that and tried it, I mean, I, myself was going to China, working with factories and boy oh boy, as you know, it’s complicated and it’s going to take a lot of resource and a lot of time and energy to get it right. We were having issues with the bottles, our glass bottles would come and they’d have issues, some of them wouldn’t look proper, so that’s a huge amount of work for us just to get it right. So finding a company that that’s what they do and they do it well, and they’ve done it for 100 years is important for us.

Luke Peters: Wow! A little more details on this, because I find it really interesting. So this company that you partnered with, and obviously it sounds like you bring an IP the table and they then actually took that design and they had to scope out all that work and come back with the finished product and solve all those engineering problems, that was their value add?

Ryan Close: Not really, no. We had done that ourselves. So we had done all the [inaudible 00:18:08], we paid for tooling, we built it, we had it very close to the end. Now they definitely brought some final element to it, where we were going [inaudible 00:18:19] prepared to introduce something that was, let’s call it, like a B item into the consumer’s home and that never sat well with me. It’s like, “Man, if put something on someone’s kitchen counter, it has to be an A plus.” Word of mouth, especially things that you’re ingesting, I mean, you can’t cut corners. All the startup books we’re reading at the time, it was just like, “You just got to get it out to market as soon as possible. Get out to market.” It just didn’t sit well with me, I disagreed, I wanted to get it right.

Ryan Close: So working with a manufacturing partner, so we had a couple options. One was, work with a manufacturing partner that they just help with manufacturing. And then we buy the unit from them and they do that. Or find a manufacturing partner that also distributes, and that was the aha moment where it’s like, not only can we leverage this partner to get a perfect product on the consumer’s counter and handle warranty issues and any sort of service requirements, but we can also leverage their sales channel where they’re already selling hundreds of millions of dollars to all the sales channels across the US.

Luke Peters: Wow. I didn’t realize that part. Yeah. That’s a huge bonus.

Ryan Close: Yeah. So, right away, we don’t need to hire 10 sales people and we don’t need to go figure out how to do cross docking at [inaudible 00:19:59] and set up as a new vendor. That as you know, is a comprehensive path and I’ve lived that in previous roles in my career and it’s a lot of work. We try to find ways to be as efficient as we can, and so this partner was just turnkey.

Luke Peters: That’s awesome. And that’s how you keep the team lean. It sounds like with that being said, you’re able to focus on probably product development and marketing, I’m guessing is your main focus. Anything else?

Ryan Close: You nailed it, marketing, not yet. I mean, honestly, I’d love to say as the person who’s ultimately responsible that we’ve done an amazing job marketing, but to be honest, the product has done the job for us. It’s such a easy to market product, we’ve been fortunate, but yeah, that is going to be the focus, definitely marketing and creating incredible cocktails for folks to enjoy.

Luke Peters: Well, I think you got to give yourself a little more credit than that, I know you’re being humble, but you really do have a beautiful website and tastefully created videos and everything is aligned. The brand is really strong. I think you guys really have done a great job. I wanted to tie that into a question here, where it looks like you guys launched this on Kickstarter. I know Kickstarter actually… I mean, a requirement to be successful there, is you got to have an amazing marketing set with a ton of beautiful videos, you really got to tell a story. Would you do it that way again? And what can you tell us are the benefits and challenges of launching that way?

Ryan Close: Yeah. I mean, Kickstarter helps you get noticed, that for sure. I mean, I don’t know how that’s changed now from the years ago that we did it. I mean, I really haven’t kept in line with that platform. I would assume that it’s probably a little bit diluted, versus what it was back in the day where you were… I would definitely suggest that back then. Again, I just don’t know enough now how it is. But any Gogo’s, Kickstarter’s, I mean, they were really a way to get on the radar of a lot of the major publications free.

Ryan Close: So by being in that machine, the Tech Crunches, the Yahoos, the CNNs would pick the business up very quickly and it’d be great news. I mean, I would not say we had a very successful Kickstarter campaign. I mean, we could argue we were, were top 1% in the history. So it’s hard to say we weren’t, we beat our goal. Goal was 100,000, we did 115,000, but really when you saw some of the products going on there and raising a million dollars, 115 was a sale in my eyes.

Luke Peters: Yeah. I’d say it’s more of, I guess, a marketing and a media play, like you talk about. But it kind of forces you to get your marketing assets together and all of those things, but at the same time, because we’ve looked at it and never done it. At the same time, you can be launching with retailers as well. And then you’re postponing that when folks do a Kickstarter. I mean, unless they truly are back in R&D and they just time it that way, which doesn’t work for every single product. But yeah, it’s just really interesting.

Ryan Close: Totally.

Luke Peters: Interesting you did that. By the way I noticed on your profile, it looks like you went to school in Singapore, I think, studied finance. How did that factor into your career and obviously you’re in Canada right now, I think Ontario area. Going to school in Singapore, did you have a family connection over there or how did that story work out and how did that impact your entrepreneurial journey?

Ryan Close: Yeah, I mean, again, I was always an outsider. I didn’t like to follow the grain, I mean, in pretty much in every everything I did. So I was in my third year of college in Canada, I was on a Western, taking a four year business degree there in Ontario and I was just like, “I got to get out of here. I can’t.” Like I talked about in the corporate world, like a cubicle, I mean, two years of doing the college, I was like, “I need to change in scenery.” Been there, done that kind of thing at the college stage.

Ryan Close: So third year, I applied and fortunately, it was pretty rigorous application process, but I was successfully accepted into it, spent a year at Nanyang Tech studying finance, other business elements. It was a great learning experience, obviously. I mean, I’m going to encourage my kids to try that, anything that could make you uncomfortable is going to make you better. There’s no question about it.

Luke Peters: That’s a great quote by the way. Yeah. That’s a good way to look at it. [crosstalk 00:25:05].

Ryan Close: It is. And tell you, I was uncomfortable. I mean, I was in a dorm there. I had no air conditioning. I mean, I’m on the equator. I mean, it was incredibly uncomfortable, but you find the best in it, I’m definitely not going to complain. It was world class education there. I was able to [inaudible 00:25:24] for the weekend and head to Thailand and my brother came down and we got motorcycles, rode through Vietnam. I mean, it was an epic trip, no complaints, but it was definitely a grind.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Well, probably memories you’ll never forget and trip of a lifetime, I guess, riding motorcycles through Southeast Asia and getting to see all those different countries. Then all these years later you’re back in China looking, at least partially, looking for some sourcing partners over there. So it’s funny how the world comes around.

Ryan Close: Yeah. I mean, one thing I learned from it too, is just how to be isolated and siloed. I was definitely when I was going to school there, as the foreign student and they had a foreign community there for foreign students, but I didn’t want to jive into that, I did my own thing. Previous to that, I traveled quite a bit. So straight out of high school, I went and managed youth hostel in Rome for a year and backpacked and did that and grinded out and learned independence and it was a lot of fun. So I think that all attributed to being an entrepreneur and leading Bartesian.

Luke Peters: And Ryan, the next thing I want to talk about is your mindful and empathic approach to leadership. We talked earlier, you’re a family guy, you got three kids, you’re married and obviously having to balance work and a startup, and you guys are probably pass that stage now, but there’s just so much time and energy that goes into that. How is your mindful and empathic approach to leadership, how has that allowed you to say, recruit or retain and build upon top tier talent?

Ryan Close: Yeah, I mean, that’s just from making a lot of mistakes. When I came out of college, I started at Cintas Corporation, which was almost like a pair of military corps. They do uniforms and facility services and I was in a management trainee program there. I thought I was the smartest person to walk the face of the earth, had a chip on my shoulder, came in there just wanting to prove all my years of education and I’m going to do it all. I just fell straight on my face. I mean, in terms of leadership, I fell completely on my face. I wear that as a cross to bear. I feel like that was the greatest lesson ever, because I went in there with tons of [inaudible 00:28:08] people were looking at me, “Are you kidding me? Listen, I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve been flipping mats, 7/11’s and flipping math and you’re going to come in here and tell me that I’m not doing a good job and then here’s how to improve? And you just came out of college with your polo, give your head a shake.” So, wow, what a lesson.

Ryan Close: So fortunately, I make mistakes, but I adjust quickly and I have obviously great parents that were advisors and leaders for me. So they instilled obviously a lot of kindness in me. And so I learned quickly that that’s not going to work. Soon after, instead of that approach of I’m going to tell these people how to be better, instead, I came to work in their uniform, jumped on this rock at 5:00 in the morning and flipped mats with them and that’s what I did for months. Obviously, results spoke for themselves afterwards, I get a lot more out of the team and obviously more importantly out of myself, and had better relationship from it.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Well, and that’s great. And so you mentioned that your approach is maybe from your parents and your background and earlier, we’re talking pre-show and you shared that you have been working literally, since eight or nine years old, you’ve been making money one way or another, so you’ve always been a hustler. It sounds like that’s continued through and I share some of that, because we had family businesses as well, and I was telling you this, and it’s like when you’re working for yourself and making things happen yourself, you have that entrepreneurial chip on your shoulder where you always think you know a better way.

Luke Peters: Oftentimes we don’t, especially when we’re younger, but I definitely can relate to your story and upbringing and where you develop this approach. And I guess with that, I mean, I think in some of the notes you had written, do you have the right time to be patient and also a time when maybe that’s not the right idea and it’s time to move fast? Is that built into your philosophy or strategy?

Ryan Close: Yeah, exactly. The lesson I learned obviously early in my career was how to be patient with people and measure your expectations accordingly and understand where they come from and what kind of day they had and what things they’re dealing with in their life, that maybe what’s important to me is the 12th thing that’s important to them and there’s a good reason why. But definitely learning how to be patient and compassionate to others’ challenges in life and it’s almost cliche these days, but rightfully so, you got to be patient with others and it’s going to help you get the results, ultimate result. Don’t do it just to get the results, do it because it’s the right thing to do. That’s it.

Ryan Close: Obviously early on, worked since I was seven, eight years old, trying to find ways to make money, whether it was mowing the lawns, or delivering papers, building pizza boxes, whatever it took and then instilled that in for sure. But yeah, back to the question about the patience, sometimes in terms of… as a an entrepreneur, I’m sure you know this, fundraising and hiring and you’re waiting for deals to happen, partnerships. You’ve got term sheets out there and it’s tough and I’m not a patient person by nature. I would probably guess that maybe you’re not as well.

Luke Peters: Yep, Correct.

Ryan Close: I think most entrepreneur just aren’t, most entrepreneur knows this, I think that helps that fire burn. So I think the toughest thing for me was the balance of, not putting that fire out, because you can’t put it out, you can’t just say, okay, “I’m just going to be patient, I’m going to sit on my hands and let things happen.” But still allow things to take the course and realize that things aren’t going to happen on your timeline.

Luke Peters: I know you’re saying it’s hard to describe it, but we want everything done yesterday, we want everything done yesterday and we want it perfect. But as long as we know that about ourselves, then we can calibrate it, I guess, is another way of what you’re getting at, I think.

Ryan Close: Exactly.

Luke Peters: But it’s that self-awareness, but it’s good to have folks on the team that think the same way, at least a couple of that are really fast drivers and then others that are maybe slower, because they bring a different strategic approach or whatever it may be. But yeah, that’s the diversity of thinking on a great team.

Luke Peters: I know you’re being humble about marketing, but still you guys have done some really great things. Is there anything specific that’s has really stood out that’s really been amazing in the marketing side, maybe that TikTok video or anything else, just that the audience can think about implementing with their own product?

Ryan Close: It’s tough to put a finger on it. I would say, we’ve said it, we say it over and over again, internally, is our North star is authenticity in everything we do. In the taste of our cocktails, in the marketing material we provide, but I think just being completely candid and having my finger on the trigger, essentially, like I talked about earlier. Making sure that I’m in touch with what’s going out there, the message boards. I think, I don’t think, I strongly believe that that is almost… It should be number one, chapter one of any startup guide, is you have to be involved in that, otherwise you’re not really creating the culture of the business, you’re not the voice of the company. You hire another firm to do it. You hire someone junior, an intern to come in and manage your social pages, you’re not driving the car anymore.

Luke Peters: Yeah. I think also what’s cool about the authenticity is that translates into trust, which is really important, obviously a higher ticket product that you’re selling and people are consuming it. So they really got to believe and trust in the brand and that it’s going to taste good. So I think that’s probably a lot of what you’re seeing with that authenticity too. Also, probably I think it helps with your story, because people, they like to buy from other people that they like or companies they like and companies that have a story. So really good feedback there. And I think, we’ve talked about so many different things in this interview, but wrapping it up on what is often a difficult question, but it can be a really useful one to the listeners, Ryan I’d ask is, what’s been your biggest mistake in business? And what have you learned from that?

Ryan Close: Fortunately, at this stage of the game, the team that we have and that have come on board, we’ve got a small team and I’m just so happy to work with the team and they’re rock stars and they bleed Bartesian, they’re identifying problems before they happen. So a lot of the success that we’re seeing right now is due to their hard work. I mean that sincerely.

Ryan Close: So the error that I made in the past, the big issue, the big problems has arose in the past where I brought someone early, as an entrepreneur you got a million balls that you’re juggling and you assign it and take your eye off that ball to someone knew. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. We’ve learned from it and got A players on the team, but definitely learned that mistake the hard way, you can’t take our eye off the ball if you’re not full aligned with the folks that are executing.

Luke Peters: Yeah, when you start, everybody tells you, “Hey, need to learn how to delegate.” Abdication is not the same as delegation.

Ryan Close: Right on.

Luke Peters: It can be a tough lesson and there’s a lot of cliches, trust, but verify. You know when you have the right people doing it, and then you can really back off the pedal, but definitely a good lesson and probably one that a lot of us have also been involved in. So really cool story, great product.

Ryan Close: Absolutely. Luke Peters: How can listeners find more about you? Is maybe LinkedIn or what’s another resource maybe that they can learn about you and the business?

Ryan Close: Yeah, Bartesian.com is our website, sign up for our newsletters we send out, we aim to do only once a week. We don’t drive your inbox with jargon and we send something it’s a value and pertinent, so we encourage people to sign up for that. We talk about the company, the team, the cocktails we’re introducing, why we’re doing it. Any things we’re doing in the community. So that’s probably the best way, obviously I also have LinkedIn account as well, but I would encourage people to go on Bartesian.com.

Luke Peters: Cool. Well, thanks again, Ryan, for being on this interview and part of the Page One podcast. It’s been great talking about the product. It’s great how you built this company and the different strategic partnerships that you found along the way, and all the ins and outs of building a product from design up. Also, I’d encourage listeners to check out on Instagram. Honestly, you have some really cool stuff and you talk about the authenticity, but they can get some inspiration, especially around happy hour. We’ll have that in the show notes for everybody to see. I want to thank all of you listeners for listening to this episode of the Page One Podcast. Truly appreciate your reviews on iTunes and hope you guys join us for the next interview.

Speaker 1 : Thanks for listening to the Page One Podcast with Luke Peters. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to double your online sales? Check out www.retailband.com. Don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guest.

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Episode References:

Contact Ryan Close: LinkedIn

Contact Luke: luke@retailband.comLinkedIn 

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