How Tim Case founded BakerStone and scaled the business internationally, but then lost ownership control and what he learned – EP15

What you’ll learn:

Today we hear an inspiring, yet cautionary, tale from a startup founder who lost his company from equity dilution. Tim Case shares his story and gives early-stage entrepreneurs invaluable advice on how to create an innovative product and scale a business with little starting capital.

About our guest:

Tim Case is a serial entrepreneur who has been cooking and inventing since he was twelve years old. Through the combination of his inquisitive nature, engineering mindset and passion for gourmet experiences, he was able to develop, patent and launch—via Kickstarter—the award-winning Pizza Oven Box under the company BakerStone (all while working as a business banker).

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • The BakerStone Background Story — 3:38
  • Conceptualization and innovation behind Pizza Oven Box —6:16
  • Using Kickstarter for proof of concept and lead for industry contacts — 7:38
  • Product to market timeline — 8:45
  • Growth of founders and equity stake investors — 11:32
  • Founder relationships and what each person brought to the table — 12:54
  • Peak growth point and sales percentages as an early stage startup — 16:23
  • Key marketing angle when launching a product — 20:30
  • Diluted equity stake and change in partnership — 21:28
  • Founder Advice: What would Tim do differently in hindsight — 22:31
  • Determining startup profitability — 26:06
  • Selling in-store: challenges and lessons — 28:17
  • Arbitration and a change in ownership and upper management — 30:33
  • Invaluable advice from a serial entrepreneur — 31:53

Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1: Welcome to The Page 1 Podcast, a weekly podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from channel strategies to tariffs, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate your e-commerce sales with the big box retailers or what we call our rCommerce. Now here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on The Page 1 Podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters. This is the podcast where I bring you the best and brightest leaders to share consumer product sales and marketing strategies that will help you grow your business. I’m the CEO and founder of NewAir Appliances. Where for the last 17 years have been selling both direct to consumer and B2B sales and using influencer marketing along the way and other marketing strategies that we’re now offering with a new company called Retail Band, which we’ll talk more about that at the end. And today, thrilled to have Tim Case with me in studio actually, and today you’re going to learn a cautionary tale about entrepreneur Tim Case and his former company, BakerStone, how Tim grew BakerStone and scaled to 15 countries in in-store business in America and how he then lost the company after giving away a little too much equity during a growth phase of the company. And Tim, thanks for being in studio.

Tim Case: Thanks for having me here.

Luke Peters: Awesome. And a little quick introduction for Tim. He has been cooking and inventing since he was a kid, wrote his first business plan and secured an investor when he was 18, had childhood inspiration from his father. And then prior to founding BakerStone was a business banker at Chase and Wells Fargo, I think. So kind of learned, I guess he saw a lot of what businesses were going up against during that time. Right?

Tim Case: Yeah, I saw the businesses from the inside and heard a lot of the pain points and the stories that they had before I’d even forayed into larger scale business.

Luke Peters: Awesome. And then you founded BakerStone and ramped up sales really quickly, which we’ll get into. And along the way in 2017 you were listed as Oprah’s, one of Oprah’s favorite things, so that’s a awesome milestone to have achieved. So why don’t we kind of like, before we get into the business, why don’t we just quickly talk about your childhood actually, just how did you drive your inspiration to become an entrepreneur and kind of what drove and pushed you as a kid?

Tim Case: Oh, well, I really have been inventing and cooking since I was 12 years old. Just really something sparked the drive to cook and then that led to ideas for inventing, for food-based things and actually invented a guitar that teaches you how to play the guitar by showing you the chords lighting up on the neck. My stepdad, who’s an engineer, had taught me about LEDs and I thought, “Oh that’s great. I could use those to light up the cords instead of looking at the book and figuring it out.” And then never did anything with it. But when I was 16 someone actually came out with that same idea. And I thought, “Okay, there’s something that I saw, didn’t have the means at 12 obviously to do anything with it, but there’s something, there’s some inspiration that grew into something, even though it’s for someone else.” And so that really kind of hooked me and kept me engaged in figuring out how things work.

Luke Peters: That’s awesome. Yeah, there’s always a childhood story behind everything, so it’s great to hear that and good for the audience as well. So on the BakerStone, let’s talk about, just give the audience kind of an idea for what the product and brand was about.

Tim Case: Well, BakerStone was really about bringing people together through food. It was trying to take a gourmet level experience and make it accessible to everybody just by throwing a pizza oven on top of your grill, which most people already had, and amplifying the heat and the efficiency with which you’re able to cook. And so we were able to cook pizzas in two to four minutes. Some of our gas appliances were actually able to cook pizzas in as little as 90 seconds.

Tim Case: And it really amplified that experience. Anybody can get a Tombstone pizza and throw it in the oven or some other frozen pizza and you’ve got food. But this was fun because people could actually take their pizzas, customize their pizzas, and create a party around, you know, just that fun and that excitement and that engagement while still turning out pizzas in two to four minutes. So that kept the party moving.

Luke Peters: So the product actually sat on top of a grill that was already open and it, so it didn’t use electricity or anything.

Tim Case: No fuel, nothing to plug in. You just sit it right on top of a gas grill, not an infrared because that blocked convective airflow. But by sitting on top of a normal gas grill or charcoal grill or wood pellet grill, it allowed the heat up and into the baking chamber. And so that amplified the heat in by trapping it into the stone. And then there was a metal housing that was insulated with ceramic fiber, that trap that heat from escaping. And so you had convective conductive and radiant heat at six to 800 degrees.

Luke Peters: Oh wow. So it actually would get hotter-

Tim Case: Yes.

Luke Peters: … than even the grill.

Tim Case: Yeah, because the grill, the flame is obviously burning much hotter than that. But the flames usually, the heat’s going right up into the air. So we were trapping that heat.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Oh wow. That’s awesome. So that’s an easy buy for a customer I guess because they’re not having to really, they’re not having to hook anything up, plug anything in, they’re just … it’s like an extra accessory that they can have and put on the grill.

Tim Case: Yeah. And it started out with just pizza, but it was able to amplify cooking steaks and vegetables and fish and anything else you would get in a high end steakhouse. It allowed you to do that in the baking chamber of it on a cast iron skillet. So that gave you the infrared heat that you get from like a high end steakhouse with salamander broiler cooking top-down and it gives you that infrared heat that would penetrate and so you had a steak, even if it’s an inch and a half thick, it was cooked perfectly all the way through.

Luke Peters: Wow. Tell me about the product idea. What’s the conception of the idea and how involved were you in that?

Tim Case: So the conception of the idea was becoming obsessed with a wood fired oven because I had tried to start a franchised pizza concept based around wood-fired ovens. Didn’t get the funding for that, but spent several years working through that and my wife one day when I said, “Okay, we’re not going to get the franchise stuff going. We’re not going to get one restaurant going, but we want some pizza.” And I said, “All right, let’s get a wood-fired oven.” And she said, “No, you’re not getting a wood-fired oven. We live in a town home with an eight foot patio. Like you’re not putting a wood-fired oven out there.” That’s really what kind of inspired, I said, “All right, well I’ve got a gas grill, I’ve got a pizza stone, I’ve got aluminum foil, fire bricks. How can I put this together and concentrate that heat and actually make it work?”

Luke Peters: Oh wow. So did you, you actually then kind of developed a prototype or something like that, that you brought to a factory?

Tim Case: So I actually, I developed a very crude prototype of a firebreaks aluminum foil and pizza stones that was just sitting on top of my grill. And then that worked. And so then I took a tile saw my father-in-law had gotten me for Christmas and some kiln shelves and started sawing things apart and drilling things together with masonry bits and bolted this whole contraption together. And then took that and did a Kickstarter project with that.

Luke Peters: And I was going to ask you about that Kickstarter. So you actually kind of created a prototype, launched it on Kickstarter, and then tell us about the results here.

Tim Case: Yeah, so I’d launched it on Kickstarter as a proof of concept just to see, did other people who were obsessed with pizza or even not obsessed with pizza, like the concept? And so I took to that and looked at how would I refine this, how would I develop this further from this thing that I cobbled together on my patio. And found that commercializing it required an industrial designer, required people helping you make sure that the engineering was sound, required so much testing to make sure that it didn’t invalidate warranties on your grills or cause issues are cause fire hazards.

Tim Case: And so that whole Kickstarter concept allowed me to get exposure to other people that already had experience in the industry plus kind of act as my proof of concept so people could say they do like it too. And then that gave me validation that it was worth pursuing.

Luke Peters: Okay, great. And then from that point, how long until you actually had, you were selling the product in the market and then kind of what were the top two or three things that had to happen between Kickstarter and then actually getting the product to market?

Tim Case: So Kickstarter was in December of 2012. We had our first presentations with, I want to say Bed Bath & Beyond in July of 2013, and so my first partner, July or August I believe. So my first partner who came from Kickstarter and seeing my Kickstarter project, getting me on the phone on a Sunday at my house on a Thursday in February of 2013, we quickly ramped up, he had industrial designers. He had experienced sourcing from Chinese factories. He had experience in going through the different testings, CSA, BV, all the different testing entities that are out there. And so they quickly helped source a factory, get the prototypes and then we pitched off of prototypes for our first big pitch.

Luke Peters: Wow. That’s so fast. So the first pitch, it was like less than a year after Kickstarter you’re pitching Bed Bath.

Tim Case: Yeah.

Luke Peters: Awesome. And did you get in store at Bed Bath?

Tim Case: Yeah, they ended up being our first major customer. We got in almost all stores with a full rollout. Had a video player in store at end cap. It was quite a good campaign that we had with them.

Luke Peters: That’s amazing. How heavy is the product? How big, like inches, both sides?

Tim Case: So, it’s three burner or larger grills. And so it’s about, racking my brain for a memory here. I want to say it’s 20 it’s just under 17 deep and around 22 wide.

Luke Peters: Got it.

Tim Case: And then the baking chamber is 15 by just under 14 deep. And then there’s a vent in the back that allows heat up and through, it’s about 34 pounds.

Luke Peters: Okay. Wow. So it’s a substantial product basically.

Tim Case: Yeah. Because of the refractory stone that’s in there. So it’s like a cordierite ceramic. And so you basically have pizza stone material on all sides, top, bottom, back and sides. And then that has a metal housing surrounding it. So it’s definitely quality, well-built product and very substantial.

Luke Peters: And what was it retailing for?

Tim Case: 129.99 for the original pizza oven. And then we had a $99 price point for what we called our basics. And that is something for two burner grills or small Weber kettle grills. And then we had a stove top unit that we launched.

Luke Peters: Oh wow.

Tim Case: So that sits over a single gas burner.

Luke Peters: So a total of three products.

Tim Case: We had a pro series as well. That was a higher end version at $179 and that was more like Costco, Williams-Sonoma, Touch of Modern higher end retailers.

Luke Peters: You got in some amazing retailers there.

Tim Case: Yeah, it was definitely well-received.

Luke Peters: Yeah. So at the beginning you brought on a partner. Are you able to share? Did you have to give up a substantial amount of equity at that point?

Tim Case: So at that point it was, we were working through how we would partner. I had already talked with a few people about licensing, talk to other people who had money that they were going to give me money, but just a chunk of equity. And you know, at the time I didn’t have the factory sourcing experience. I didn’t have an industrial designer on staff nor know the difference between a good or a bad industrial designer. And so the first partner came up and said, “Okay, here’s what I’ve got. I don’t necessarily have all the funding you’re going to need, but I can help us bridge that.” And so we had contemplated that it would be some kind of a split, but we weren’t quite sure until the money was there.

Tim Case: And so once that got underway, it ended up being a third and a third and a third, with the first person who came on to help us on a CEO capacity level, like advisory level and also bring some cash into the company.

Luke Peters: Gotcha. Okay. So, it’s kind of like having, at that point there was three founders essentially kind of split up evenly.

Tim Case: Yeah.

Luke Peters: Okay, cool. And that was in 2012-2013.

Tim Case: 2013, yeah.

Luke Peters: And who actually got you in store? Was that, one of the founders had those in store connections?

Tim Case: It was, yeah. My first partner had the connections to-

Luke Peters: Partner, yeah.

Tim Case: … to sales reps, manufacturers reps who then had the connections to the retailers and then, he was able to use those relationships to then get us the meetings and presentations where we went out and we actually cooked pizzas for their whole teams and got them to drink the Kool-Aid so to speak or eat the pizza to see that it was really a great product.

Luke Peters: Okay, great. Tim, so you had the one founder was really great to get you in store or the one partner was really great to get you in store and the other partner was the kind of acted as the CEO it sounds like. What was the main role of that partner?

Tim Case: Yeah, so he came in, my title was the founder. His title, he had experience in major, major level companies as CEO, CFO, we’re talking 400 million to $4 billion a year revenue companies. And he basically was interested in seeing how the small business startup world worked and not necessarily like the tech startup world but in the bringing something from nothing or creating something from nothing world. So he brought in his expertise in finding additional funding and helping make sure that we’re on track from a CEO and CFO level. And then the other partner helped really from the factory sourcing and industrial design level and he had a really good eye for products that were innovative or products that were going to do something and had a good track record with that.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Okay, great. So, you’ve got the different partners on, you guys sounds like great team because they got you in store at these amazing stores. You came up with a great design and then you had the leader who worked with larger companies and kind of had that CFO and fundraising background. Were you guys S corp at that time or do you have to go to a C Corp to kind of-

Tim Case: We were actually out of Canada-

Luke Peters: Were you?

Tim Case: … so, they were out of Toronto and so I ran the US operations under my, it was an an LLC at the time, and then we ran all the IP and all of the major business was done through the Canadian corporation.

Luke Peters: Oh, so there’s two different companies actually?

Tim Case: Yeah. Well, yes there have been, there have been even more. So after that first round, which was in October of 2013, we went out and we’ve got two other major players in brands that are beyond household name brands that came in on the money aspect of it. And then that was one of them. And another came in based upon actual logistics and sourcing operations wise. So they funded the purchase orders, they funded the shipping, they funded all of the things that it took to actually fulfill the products.

Luke Peters: Wow. That’s awesome. Okay. And so now I think that gives the audience a great idea of how the company started, how you guys got into store, the dynamics behind it, the people involved, which is really helpful. And also just the ingenuity that you had to kind of create the product, which is really interesting, more than I knew before we talked today. So that’s kind of cool to hear. Tell us about, just give us everybody a scale of the company. So if you could talk about total employees or percent of sales in store and online and kind of the size of the company at your largest point.

Tim Case: Yeah, so, at the largest point we had 14 employees on track for more. We had 70% of our sales were in store or to major retailers. And then the rest was drop shipping for other customers or owning e-Commerce, which we hadn’t really put a huge focus on originally because we didn’t have much domestic stock that we kept on hand. And so we were looking to ramp up keeping more domestic stock so we could ramp up our e-Commerce because obviously we have much better margins and much more profit at that point.

Tim Case: So, from there we were selling in the $5 million range plus or minus depending on the year in the first few years. And with introduction of new products, we were on track to go up significantly from there. 10 to $20 million just depending on how everything shook out with orders that were pending.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And then the other really incredible things you guys got into 15 countries when you’re in those countries, or more maybe. Right? But when you’re in them, does that mean in store or is that online or just a mix between the countries?

Tim Case: Primarily. So we used distributors for European markets, UK. Then we had direct sales in Australia, we had distributor in New Zealand and then we had some South American customers where we went direct and/or through a distributor. So with those, it was a good mix of how they sold. Some people would put it on some Amazon level sites, some people did, you know, they would drop ship for their customers, like the distributor would or they would sell into the brick and mortar.

Luke Peters: And what was the key role you were playing along at this time? So now you have those other partners in the business and how were you driving and like where were you plugging yourself into the business?

Tim Case: So, I mean, I pretty much ran everything with the company. I was in charge of all of the forecasting, accounting, new product development, overseeing the marketing. I oversaw everybody from the HR employees to logistics employees, sales, all of it. I was on most sales calls, almost every trade show. So while I had these partners, I primarily ran the business. It became … Well, so I had that group of partners, that group of partners ultimately sold to one new partner. We wanted to develop and grow gas appliances, which were more costly, more funding requirements and more risk. The partners that I had were closer to the end of their careers wanting to wind down the amount of investments they had and actually spend more time enjoying their successes. And so they said, “You know, we’ll happily sell to someone else if you want to continue to push that envelope and don’t want to stick with accessories. We get it, but we don’t want to fund that.”

Tim Case: And so they sold to another investor and that’s when we were going to be pushing into the appliance market. And so gas appliances were really where the growth was. But at that point I ran absolutely everything with the company.

Luke Peters: And are you able to share how much they sold their component of the business with?

Tim Case: Do you mean what percentage or?

Luke Peters: What dollar value, like what the company was valued at that point? Are you able to share or is that kind of a private transaction?

Tim Case: Yeah, it’s definitely a closed transaction. There are some other things surrounding that, but it was again around 5 million plus or minus for total transaction.

Luke Peters: Cool. That’s helpful to have scale for that. And you said that you talked about the product launches and you’re involved in marketing and sales and everything, but just like you explained. What was maybe the most special thing or something that you felt was really sets you guys apart on a product launch? I’m just curious on the marketing side, you know, what did you feel worked really good for you?

Tim Case: We tried to sell experience. Anything that we did, we pushed, why does it make your life better? Why do you want to have this product? What does it do for you? If I give you a pen, it’s nothing unless you know what that’s going to do, this pen will help you write your story. And so it’s, this pizza oven will help you entertain your family and produce better food and enjoy yourself more. And then, Oh yeah, it’s also going to make you pizza. So, that’s kind of what we really focused on.

Luke Peters: Focusing on the experience, the visuals, how it’s going to help people.

Tim Case: Yeah.

Luke Peters: Cool. That’s awesome. We talked about the percentages that you gave up and we also kind of talked about in return what you got. It sounds like your initial investors, it sounded like they were a great team. Did you have of legal counsel during that time kind of advising you on how you guys decided to split it up, a third, a third, a third or was that just something you guys did internally?

Tim Case: Well, no, I mean that, well, yes I always had advisers in some way, but that initial breakup was the third, third, and third. And then that quickly went to, you know, I ended up with 22% of the company by the end of 2013 when we brought the other investors in.

Luke Peters: Gotcha.

Tim Case: And so, I had 23.75% and went through another round of funding where I didn’t have the funds to put in. And so there was dilution. And so I ended up with 22% of the company and did pretty much 100% of the work, but 22% of something was better than 100% of nothing.

Luke Peters: What do you think, I mean, it sounds like you really needed them because they did bring key elements to the company. So, I’m speaking for you, but it sounds like it would be hard to get there without them, but in hindsight if you could do it again, what might you do different?

Tim Case: Well, that is a question that I ask myself regularly. The experience in the industry, I mean we’re talking between them decades of experience. That’s not something you can necessarily buy. It’s not something I can go out and secure funding on my own and it suddenly gives me that information, perhaps finding partners that were more of advisory role type partners with some kind of a short term cost basis versus a longterm equity basis would’ve been a better way to go. Or finding, it’s just hard because the magic part of what helped us grow so quickly was that experience and the ability to ramp up production within months of launching my Kickstarter campaign.

Tim Case: But doing it differently now or, personally, I would do it differently now in that I would find somebody who could advise, I would find access to capital, which now is actually more available than it was at the time. At the time it was go to a bank, it was a business banker. So you go to a bank, you try to get an SBA loan, you leverage your house, you borrow from the bank of your family, your friends, your parents. And there’s just different ways to bootstrap and start a company that way. You’re not going to launch into, selling into over a thousand Bed Bath & Beyond stores unless they know you have solid financial backing and you’re not going to really be able to fulfill without the right capital.

Tim Case: So now there’s access to capital that’s more expensive, but you know there’s Kabbage and OnDeck and those types of companies that are out there that will give you non traditional business financing. And so if you were able to then say, “Okay, I know my plan, I know my margins, I know I’m giving up 20 something percent a year on this money or I’m giving even the crazier short term, I’ve given up 20% over the next six months on this money,” you’re able to make a business decision that says, “Okay, I can launch and then I can reinvest.”

Tim Case: And then now you’re doing it without having given up as much of that equity. But back to that experience and that knowledge that the other partners had, that would’ve been such a steep learning curve for me to try to tackle on my own.

Luke Peters: Yeah, it doesn’t sound like an obvious easy answer to me, because it sounds like together you guys were the team, you had the idea right and perfected it and then they brought all these other elements and it wasn’t easy.

Tim Case: The industrial designer they brought in is I think pivotal in bringing that product to market. Any industrial designer could have rendered designs and helped us figure out how to manufacture it. But his background, going back to being a kid and his dad owning a metal shop and fabricating sheet metal at 15 years old, he was able to build our first here factory, here’s how we want you to build it prototypes. And so he gave them drawings, he gave them the actual design, the product, the way we wanted it. And then they did the first hand samples for us. And we had those prototypes that he did sitting in our office next to the production samples. And it’s just amazing seeing how similar they really are and how he was able to do that in just his dad’s metal shop. So, those things are invaluable.

Luke Peters: It takes a team. So you’re getting in store, I mean, it sounds like again you had really good guidance. How did you guys know you were profitable in store? Did you already know what all the back ends were and was that pretty easy to figure out when you’re selling pieces? What the back ends are going to be, what the risk is going to be? And at the end of the day you’re still covered, you’re still profitable? Or did you kind of run into some situations where not every retailer ended up that way because these back ends come into play and all of a sudden you’re not profitable?

Tim Case: We always looked at program costs ahead. We had a very I think 20 year veteran of the barbecue industry at the time as our director of sales. And he knew to go and plug in, “Okay, this retailer is going to want this kind of back end support. They’re going to want these marketing dollars. Their return rates are average this.” Now, it’s a little different because we’re talking about an accessory that’s unknown and it has breakage opportunity so the stones can break in shipping. We took a lot of precautions to make sure that didn’t happen. Our return rates were 1 to 2% globally max.

Tim Case: So, it was really good. We didn’t really end up with a lot of breakage. Costco, those kinds of retailers are usually the retailers that have maybe the weekend rental programs where-

Luke Peters: Totally.

Tim Case: … “Hey, I used it for my party and it didn’t work.”

Luke Peters: Yeah, exactly.

Tim Case: Really? Because your Instagram feed show-

Luke Peters: You’re footing the bill.

Tim Case: Yeah, exactly. So, those kinds of things. But, we built that in on the front end. We use the margin analysis and said, “Okay, they want this kind of invoice. They want this kind of return. They’re going to take this kind of ask for their trade shows support.” And we really tried to factor all that in ahead of the time.

Luke Peters: What was the key trade shows that you guys went to?

Tim Case: We did the National Hardware Show in Vegas. We actually won the Vesta, no Vesta award was at the HPBA Show.

Luke Peters: Cool.

Tim Case: So we won the Vesta award there, we won the Retailers Choice Awards at National Hardware Show. We did the International Houseware Show where it was one of the GIA finalists. So, we got a lot of acclaim and recognition from those. And that really helped us in that marketing effort too, that the DIY Network did a show on us at the national hardware show two or three years now. It was really [inaudible 00:28:14] on the I want that show.

Luke Peters: That’s awesome. Yeah. And now looking back at kind of your in store programs and how you’re selling, what is something you would do differently from what you’ve learned or is there one bit of insight that you’ve kind of gained from being in store?

Tim Case: That is an animal in and of itself. You take a product that people know and you put it on a shelf, you’re competing based on price and features and which shelf you got put on. You take a product to people don’t know and you put it on a shelf and it’s put on a shelf sideways and the side of your box looks like just what does that say? It says make pizza and three steps. Okay, what am I going to do with that thing?

Luke Peters: What does it mean?

Tim Case: And we definitely found that it was hard to educate the consumer on an in store basis. So much so that we were looking at launching our own type of app marketing type tool to allow people to go in stores and actually understand the products better. Never really got there. But it’s something that’s educating the consumer’s key. If you can have your product built or displayed instead of just in a box on a shelf and then for us we would have them build the product and put it on top of an existing grill to show, here’s what it is.

Luke Peters: For sure, that visual I could see being a big win. It’d take up a lot of space I guess though.

Tim Case: Yes and no. That was where having the box that’s 24 by 19 by 11, having that sit out on the floor is hard enough so they could push that back to a rack and then have it sitting on a grill and people walk by that grill and they look at it and they go, “Oh wow. What is that thing?” And then there’s a POP label on it so it explains what it is right away and it tells him to go to aisle this and there you go pick it up. And that was one of our absolute best retailers was Home Depot in Canada and they did that and then Bunnings in Australia. And they did that as well.

Tim Case: And they, per stores, had just numbers that were light years ahead of any other retailers because they assembled it, their employees knew about it and they sold through tons and tons of units per store.

Luke Peters: Wow, that’s awesome. So this, it’s an amazing story. And then are you able to share, I know you can’t share all of the details, but are you able to kind of talk about what happened at the end?

Tim Case: So we talk about it as if BakerStone doesn’t exist anymore, but it does, it just doesn’t exist with me involved anymore other than consulting during a transition period. And unfortunately there were issues that resulted in arbitration between supply chain, manufacturing, partnerships. Just a kind of a myriad of issues that arose after the previous round of partners sold. And it’s kind of a crazy, crazy ride ending up eight years later sitting here talking about not being part of the company that I launched. That was one of Oprah’s favorite things, that was on such a good trajectory. But at the same time it’s a great product. It is still going to provide those experiences for people. And so it does still exist and it’s going on with new management and new ownership.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And I’m sure it’s a tough story to tell, but at the same time you’ve probably learned so much through that process and you’re still there along all those years of bringing it from creating literally from nothing to the brand that it is now. So you got to feel good about that.

Tim Case: Oh yeah. I mean, I literally call it my MBA from an unaccredited university. I mean, I spent eight years building this company from building the website myself to hiring the people and handling all the forecasting and handling all of the financial packages, everything we did, retail agreements, buyers meetings. It’s a experience that I wouldn’t have had any other way. The same way I say, I wouldn’t have had the experience that those guys brought to the table had I not gone that path. At this point, I have experienced that is invaluable. There’s just no way that I can look back at that and say it’s a bad experience.

Luke Peters: What’s something you’d like to leave the listeners with? Maybe a learning that you have or some advice or just out of this whole experience, if you could sum up some sort of learning that you want to share with the listeners.

Tim Case: Ultimately, I mean, I think the key is to keep innovating, keep pushing it forward regardless of what resources are available to you. There’s always a path that you can take. And even when it comes to the position I’m in now, eight years later, and that door has closed, there’s multiple other doors that are open as long as you don’t stay kicking and screaming at that door that’s closed. Take the experience and take the connections and go move on, go do the next thing. I have a Rolodex of 50 plus other ideas that I want to go do and now is the time to do that. It’s just a matter of figuring out which is the correct path.

Luke Peters: Yeah, well, you certainly have the right attitude. So it’s been great having you here in person and learning about your story and it’s an amazing story and just being so authentic and being open to kind of telling the story I think is, it’s a great way to kind of engage with when people hear this story. So why don’t you go ahead and just share with listeners how they can find more about you. Where can they connect with you?

Tim Case: Yeah, I mean I would say the best way to reach me is through LinkedIn. Just look for Tim Case on LinkedIn and definitely feel free to reach out to me. I’ve been trying to pay it forward, if you will, and help other inventors and other small businesses that don’t necessarily know Facebook marketing or don’t know how to launch a product or how to design a product. I’ve been working to help them not go down the path that I went and yet still take the good learnings from the path that I went and be able to bring their products to light and kind of make the best of it.

Luke Peters: Awesome. So there you have it from Tim. If you guys, any inventors out there, early stage entrepreneurs, Tim would be a great guy to contact and can kind of help you along that journey. Thanks again, Tim.

Tim Case: Thanks for having me.

Luke Peters: You’re right down the street so I’m sure we’ll stay in contact and it’s been great having you here. And I and I want to thank all the listeners for joining us today on The Page 1 Podcast. Thanks again. And if you guys have your own businesses and you’re selling into, say, your focus is on Amazon but your products could be doing better on Home Depot or Wayfair, that’s where we can help you at Retail Band instead of waiting around for months for a new product to launch, let us help you with our influencer marketing and we can bring your product to market faster and get sales faster, get reviews for your products and we call that speed to sale.

Luke Peters: And literally we can take a product from launch, no reviews, and within 30 to 60 days have you lined up with great reviews, dominating YouTube content search, Google search, and even helping you on your e-comm site or syndicating those reviews out to the rest of the retailers online to help you with your investment in that product. And that’s exactly what we do for customers at Retail Band. And thanks again everybody for listening. You can find me on LinkedIn and please leave a review on iTunes if you enjoyed the podcast today. Take care.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to The Page 1 Podcast with Luke Peters. If you like our show and want to know more, check out our other segments. Also, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to learn more about rCommerce? Check out to get more great tips and tricks on how to accelerate your e-Commerce sales with the big box retailers.

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