The blueprint for winning partnership collabs with Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, founder of Maxbone
Updated: Feb 2
Welcome back to the show - it’s Doone here, your host and hype girl. On the show today we’re talking with Parisa Fowles-Pazdro - the founder of Maxbone.
Parisa spent a vibrant childhood growing up in Iran until the war forced her parents to leave for Sweden to start over with nothing. It was during this time she got the drive to succeed and started her journey to give her parents back everything that they lost. First by working 3 jobs to save enough money for a condo and using that to climb the property ladder and then by tapping into her unique design sensibility to start a business. Parisa recognized that the lack of high-quality products and elevated shopping experience were gaps in the pet market she could fill. Parisa built Maxbone to become a community-driven pet and lifestyle company, and continues to grow a successful team to build upon that vision, culminating in a strong market experience that creates a cultured, current, and loved brand.
This is such an inspiring and open conversation especially around the topic of raising investment and what it truly means to go down that pathway in the VC world with plenty of advice you can take for yourself. You’ll also love the part where we break down partnerships and how you can replicate this blueprint in your own business.
But just quickly before we jump into this episode, I’m wondering if you’ve joined our new tool and private community for small business owners called Majic? It’s launched just this week and we’re accepting founding members on the founding members rates. You’ll be able to meet women like Parisa in intimate workshops as well as like minded founders building the future of DTC brands. Once you sign up you’ll be able to book your 1-1 call with me so I can get up to speed with where you are in the journey. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to meet you and hear about what you’re up to! If you’ve got any questions just shoot me over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Parisa, Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited. I love your podcast. Thank you so much. I'm excited too. I feel like this has been a year in the making since I probably first reached out to you. So I'm so excited to be finally here and sitting in front of you. I know I thought it would be perfect. End of the year having this conversation Yes. End of the year. I cannot believe that we are at the end of the year, it's gone by so quickly. How are you feeling about the year now? Looking back and going through this reflection that I feel like everyone's posting reflection posts about 20, My reflection will be disaster to be honest, because there's so much that has happened. But I have to be honest, I'm absolutely exhausted. It's just been the most challenging year of my life and I'm not just talking about business but personal and everything that's happening in the world. I mean, you have to be insensitive if you don't see what's happening in Ukraine and what's happening in Iran and kind of have that affecting you. But I'm a bit emotional about what's happening in Iran because I was born there. So, but I'm happy to see the back end of this year. So it's been a challenging year, Gosh, and on the business side of things, What are the kinds of challenges that you've been going through? It has been a crazy year and I agree it's so sad to have been watching what's happening in Iran and what's happening in Ukraine and and dealing with that, that personal side of things and then also having a business which is lots of ups and lots of downs it. Yeah, it's a lot of ups and downs, but to be honest there's a lot of things that's happened this year, I think as well with the economy changing and investors approach changing facebook not working as well, so there's there's been so many challenges from the beginning of this year two now, so I will tell you all about it, okay we'll get into it. I let's go back to the beginning then and start at the beginning of your story where do you like to start your entrepreneurial journey and kind of this story with Maxbone? So the reason why I started max bone was because of my english bulldog, I never had an experience about the petrol before him, so it was shocking to see you know anything from the experience to products and you know he is a family member, I wanted the best products for him, so I got really intrigued about the industry, it's the $260 billion industry and no one is making products for the new generation masses, you know products that has quality, good design and experience, so that's kind of where the idea of max phone came to place and you know it's an emotional customer base and people are adopting more dogs and having kids, so it's been great and you know those three kind of design experience and quality has been our three pillars and my goal was to kind of humanize the pet world which I you know I started five years ago and no one was using that word humanization and it's becoming a buzzword where people are using that for everything now in the dog industry crazy and at that time, you know five years ago had you started a business before, did you know that you always wanted to be an entrepreneur or did you kind of just have the lightbulb moment one day after getting your dog and then you're like okay this is it into this. No of course everything sometimes fall into place, you fail in something else and then something comes in your way. And I actually always loved fashion which is not a great industry to be in but you know it's always good if you like something always follow it and you learn from your mistakes. So I love the fashion industry and I got into the fashion industry um this was 10 years ago and uh we created a brand a collection but it's such a saturated market and we were very high end so it was very difficult to break in and I decided just to kinda not continue with it because it was a money burning business and and that's from me learning production, learning business, learning wholesale was another thing that kind of led me to start max phone. So I always say it's you learn from your mistakes and it could lead to something else in the future. You got the, you got the kind of quick course in how to build a business a certain way and then you're able to take the good learnings and build max bone. Exactly. And I learned the hard way. You learned the hard way. Yes. I mean, I feel like it's that classic 10 years to overnight success where people have to go through such a big journey and then they fall into the kind of new chapter, new phase when you were getting started. What kind of investment did you need to put into the business to get to launch? And what was that launch like in terms of? Did you have a lot of skews and a lot of products or was it a small capsule collection? What was the kind of like picture of max bone in the beginning? Yeah, it was a small capsule collection because I really didn't know what the kind of market wanted. It was something that I needed. It was a gap in my life. I didn't know that, you know, the market wanted new modern products. So I did a small collection, which was very exciting to see that just that small correction got a really great feedback. We had Disney approaching us six months into the company. So that just I I know, so it just shows that we equated something unique. And again, I used my max, you know, the brand that we had previously, the fashion brand. I used my experience from that in the context that I had regard to press and I use that for max phone. So we got a small press straight away in the beginning. And the interesting thing is because we created something that was unique in the market. It was, it was funny that we had influencers that was actually dog influences, which are more fun than human influences. Um, they were actually wearing my explode without charging us without, you know, and they were doing it with pleasure and they were sharing. So this is how they kind of business group. But it was, it was a small collection. I didn't go, you know, I wanted to make sure because I was self funded, I wanted to make sure that there was a demand before continuing growing the business, wow. And if you had to kind of put a general, you know, amount on what you needed to put into the business to buy your first inventory to get a website up and running and like get you to launch, what was that kind of ballpark pricing investment rather? Yeah, I um, I mean, the investment for me was, I think it was 25,000. I started with creating a small collection. I had to do patterns and I had to do, you know, there was some samples that were not great and there's some samples. So you of course have some mistakes on the way that will cost you. But I was very frugal because it was my own money and I did it in a very kind of um, in a smart way again, use my contacts and some of them made samples for me for free. Um, and then I went ahead and started my own online Shopify and I did it all by myself. There was no one who kind of did it for me. I didn't, I didn't go hire a web designer. And I remember the logo. My husband, my husband always like going big and making everything perfect. But I just, you know, I just jump into it and I think that's very important to do, even if it's not perfect, it's better to just jump in and let it perfect itself rather than overthinking and creating the most amazing brand or amazing logo and then just like not doing and and missing missing the market. So yeah, it was, I did the label just say it's called max phone max is my husband's name. And it was just like an organism, like a lot of dogs called max. I know they call it max phone and everybody thinks it's his business, but it's not. Um, and yeah, so, so from there, you know, did the logo did the website myself. So, you know, you can do it in a very small way. You don't have to always go big and pay a huge fortune to web designers. And it's, you know, so yeah, started very small and uh, and grow it from there and had, as I said, I was lucky to have influences was sharing it. And six months into the business, we had Disney approaching us and I remember this Disney business email, I actually thought it was fake email because I thought, why are they reaching up to me? How did they hear about me? So they kept emailing me in the end, they actually reached out to me through linkedin, um and I realized it's not fake. So I went to business headquarters and it was so exciting. There was like this whole kind of like conference table. So yeah, so that was like the start of the business, which was, you know, it was very organic and it just grew because there was nothing out there like it. And we had actually celebrities buying max phone um, kylie wearing max phone a few months into the company. So the company grew in a very organic way, which is always amazing to have as a base. What what did Disney want to do? Do they want to do a collaboration capsule collection or what was the vision and what happened there? Did it, did it come to life? Yes, it did, Yes. So, Disney wanted to do a collaboration and the interesting thing is, you know, for me, brand building was the most important things. I always play saxophone as being this affordable luxury. So we are very different to any other past brand. We don't see ourselves as any other brand. We see ourselves as an aspirational brand. and it was interesting that Disney six months into the company said exactly what I always wanted to say. We see max bone as a halo brand and we love what you're doing, we love the pet industry and would love to do a collaboration with you. So we went ahead and made a collection with them hoodies with mickey mouse on it. We did leashes and colors were like mickey's head on it and it was for mickey's 90th birthday. So yeah, we went ahead and created this amazing collection and they were so kind to us, they were sharing it on their instagram where they have you know, millions of followers and for me that was our first actually collaboration that has been kind of part of our business structure now, because what happens is that you get in front of a whole new audience in a much cheaper way than doing paid media, you're getting this brand recognition and brand brand placement by doing a collaboration with a very, you know, well known brand. So after that we actually done a lot of collaborations and luckily we've been approached by all of them. So very, very happy. That is so cool. Just one final kind of question on the money piece before we move in and dig further into your marketing and the collaborations and partnerships and things like that at the beginning, Were you approaching this business in the mindset of bootstrapping bootstrapping always or did you always know you were going to look to raise capital or what was your kind of mindset around the money piece? So, you know, I saw the business growing quite quickly and I thought, you know there is this momentum we're having and we want to take market share and this is the reason why I actually raise money to kind of grow the business a bit quicker and when you organic growth is amazing and I'm realizing that now more actually after raising money, I would love to go more details about raising money and how it is to have investors. But I really wanted to just grow quicker and take market share because I notice we have something unique and and when you have something you need, people are going to try to copy you, people are gonna try to do what you're doing. So you just need to make sure that you're ahead of it always. So that's the reason why we raise money. And so when you look back now, you know, if you were to do it again the same way, would you have gone down that pathway to grow quicker and raise money or do you think you would have focused on organic growth and growing slower. So, you know, I have so much to say about this and I'm going to try to be diplomatic to not insult investors generally as a breed, but you know what it is, is this this stigma? The more money you raise, that kind of more successful you are. And it's not the truth really when you build your business being built for longevity, built for sustainable growth. And I've learned that now the hard way, it's very important to do that because you want to build a heritage brand, you don't want to build a bubble, that bird because when you start raising money and if you grow very quickly, you need to grow even quicker next year and you will be burning money and you will need to constantly raise money and the day you can't raise that money, you will fail. So when you do it in a very sustainable, organic way, you will not fail. You will always be able to go back and kind of work around things and make it work again. Um, so, you know, finding the right investor was very important to me when I started looking at fundraising and I was lucky to find victoria Grace. She's a fantastic investor. This was 2019 when we raised money with her. And then when we tried to raise our series a this was 2020 March where everything went on shutdown and everybody was pulling back. Everybody was very scared. So after that, we've had this turbulent years, every time we tried to raise money through, you know, Covid happening and everything else that has happened with recession is coming and everybody's being very scared. So we had really bad experience with investors and you know, and I say you should always be true to your mission because it's very easy to get lost when you speak to different investors because they all have their opinions and not to be rude, but they think they're smarter than they are. Uh, and there's this kind of, there's this power trip sometimes as well. Unfortunately that, you know, they want to pull data every time. You know, they need something, they want to speak to you all the time. And you know, it takes a lot of your time and effort to do this. Um, and you have to make sure you sniff out the time wasters and the ones that constantly kind of, they watching every brand and they kind of, they want to learn about different brands and they're not true investors and you know, they just, and they don't have a track record, they never pull the trigger. So you have to really be kind of cautious with those type of investors and make sure that, you know, you're not wasting your time because the more your time you put away towards that, you get removed from your business and actually growing the business. So yeah, that is to me, super important to having the kind of right investor. Um, and you know, we've turned investors down because we just thought that they are too slow there too. You know, they are looking at the wrong things that are not important. So I give an example how investors are like two years ago when I was speaking to a guy and he was a senior guy and he told me, um, I don't understand why you guys are DTC wholesale and you have pop up stores, you must be very lost as a brand. And I said to him in a very kind way, I said, whole set is very important for strategic reason. It's a cheaper way to acquire customers. You get in front of a whole new audience brand building for us. So we see it in a very different way than the way you sing it sir. And then, and then two years in now he only invests in wholesale and DTC is dead. So this is kind of how investors are, it's like a herd mentality. You know, I always say like just like one says one thing and then they jump on it. They don't really experience it, they don't even know what really works and doesn't work. And and now, you know, people are wanting to invest in wholesale or retail and DTC is not working anymore. So I truly find a true investor is victoria grace from cold capital invested in us because she invested into max iphone five years ago when no one else was believing in the path industry, it was kind of boring, it was archaic. It wasn't sexy And now because you know, covid, everybody's adopting dogs, my investors suddenly or like pets is our, you know, pet is what we invest in. So you know, find that investor like victoria grace, who is very smart, who understands an industry that you know that it's, it's you know, there is a good business besides that, everybody's talking about it. It's a billion dollar industry. She knew about it five years ago like I did. So you know, finding that kind of investor is the key. Or to be honest, I personally now with my own experience of speaking to so many investors, I would say grow your business organic as much as you can own, as much as, you know, percentage of the business as you can. And you know, it just takes so much of your time an effort to constantly speaking to investors that you actually lose yourself a little bit, you lose your mission, you lose what you really started the business for in the beginning and especially we are small team. So every time I get pulled it affects our business. So now I am definitely not raising money anymore. And the only money we would accept is if someone acquires max phone and we go under an umbrella and it's an amazing umbrella that we know max phone is gonna even kinda, you know, amplify quicker. So yeah, that's what we're gonna do next phone. You know, I'm so glad that you bring this up because we've heard on the show numerous times? Nightmare stories about, you know, the VC process and what can happen, especially for women going through this. And I think the big problem is in the media, you know, we are seeing glorified overvalued companies that, you know, it makes it seem like the raises is the goal when actually the goal is, you know, profitability or revenue in general or whatever it might be. And so you can get caught up in the, in that cycle of thinking like I need to raise, you know, however many millions of dollars so I can be on Forbes or whatever it might be. And, and, and it's a vicious cycle. But yeah, I'm glad you brought it up. And, and actually my other question for you is, you know, you're talking about how you need to sniff out someone who's not legitimately looking to invest, How do you actually figure out who's truly interested in? Not like what's the actual blueprint to knowing it's actually just look into what investments they have done if they'd done anything recently. And there was one investor actually really wasted my time for a long time. I was looking at the most minutia stupid things of like, oh, the google ads or like the business is not run by google ads, there's so much more that goes into it. So, uh, make sure that you look at if they have invested anything recently or what is their track record? Are they active or are they looking at other brands, pet brands or do they have another pet brand or they're just trying to fish for information, you know, So just do your background search, which I didn't do for a while. I was just so excited, you know, when you knew in the beginning you're just so excited that this makes, you know, big companies want to speak to you. So I think doing your research is important. Yeah, absolutely. And as you said, as a, as a founder, you constantly got compared with the big guys who, you know, raised 100 million and then you see them falling as quickly as well while you're still alive because you didn't go that road. So, you know, the more money you kind of, The harder you fall. And and I think as well, it's just, as I said, it's a herd mentality and investor raise money something. And then it just like they don't even do research about the brand. Is it really real? Is there really a demand or is it just like they paid 20 million for paid ads to get the 20 million revenue that they have. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I think you're so spot on, you really need to do your due diligence in return before you kind of dive into any, you know, big investor conversations, I'd love to kind of go back to those first, you know, that 1st 12 months in business, those first few years, the early years of your marketing and getting the word out there, obviously that Disney collaboration came along and that catapulted you forward. That was a big pivotal moment, I'm sure what else were you doing to get the word out there in those early years to be outside that it was self funded the first two years. So, you know, I was very careful, but we actually did pop ups, which really what it did, it kind of, I think the customer when they see when they see you on a celebrity, when they see let's say billboard or paid media ad and then they see you in the pop up store, you get that longevity with that customer because now they trust the brand, they lie of the brand, the scene at the touch the scene in many places. So that is the key for actually kind of keeping a customer for a long time. And so it's, as I said, it was just remarkable to see in the beginning that we got a reaction straightaway most of the time you have to work very hard to until you know, you get the following that we had. So we were lucky to have that because it was something that was different in the market, but mostly to be honest, we were lucky to have celebrities that we're burying it and then we social media was very important to me. So I worked on a very kind of strong social media presence and then, you know, having this organic growth and that's really how the company kind of started and I was very hands on, I was, you know, customer service was very, very important, I responded to everyone, I was, you know, I made sure that you know, that was 100%, you know, because that is the most important thing. Your current customers are your most valuable bonds, not the ones that you constantly can acquire and you need to look after them. So that was that was very important to me to make sure you look after your customers, especially the ones that already joined, not just new ones. Mhm Yeah, nurturing your existing customers absolutely. Key point, let's talk about the christian cohen partnerships and the expectations of the campaign versus the reality of how popular wildly popular that collaboration has become, you know this this is kind of, it's so funny that when we started the collaboration because we've done collaboration with away suitcase, we've done collaborations, a lot of different brands and christian cove and I love him as a person, he's a lovely, lovely guy um and I was like this is very extravagant for max bone Scandinavian kinda so I was a little bit forced against that. I mean, how am I gonna think that this kind of fits in but now it totally fits in because I say our mission is always to make dogs and humans happy and what this jumper does. It really makes people happy. It really has that effect? Like people wear it and then like people stopped them on the streets. Like one of our employees, she's like obsessed with dogs and she said Priest at first, I didn't know about this question and I wasn't sure when I didn't, I wasn't working for me, and she said, oh my God, I love this jumper, She said it's such a showstopper, she said when I put it on my dog, everybody stopped. So it has this element of being really great quality, so it's not gimmicky, it has this, you know, humanized feel to it and it's you know, it's extravagant and people just love it because it makes them happy. And you know, that is that is kind of one of the key elements and we love this kind of connection with almost making the bond between humans and dogs even stronger. So he has that element of it. And I always say I didn't start my expanded dress dogs out. That's one thing, like I always sound like I'm, you know, making clothes for practical reasons if they go to aspen off to new york and it's cold, I want them to kind of be warm and dogs do actually freeze chihuahuas and even big dogs when they're in aspen, they should put jackets on them. But then we do products and collaborations that actually kind of put a smile on people's face, Is this your best selling product? It is actually oh my gosh, that's how I actually became to know who you were because I have a chihuahua and she's extremely small and I remember seeing this on instagram being like, oh my God, like, I hope, I don't know, I think it's too big actually for my dog, but like I was browsing dog related things, saw this and was like, oh my God, it's amazing. Um and it's it's one of those hook, you know, collaborations that just, you can just see why it does so well, you can see why it does so well on social media. Yeah, exactly, it has this viral effect, it has the viral effect. Absolutely. I'd love to just stay on this collaboration partnerships talk just a little bit longer to understand like the framework for a collaboration, like how are you, like how does it start, do you be? Like, here's a list of our dream retailers, we reach out, What do we say? Are you cold emailing? What's like how does a partnership actually happen when you have a new idea in your mind? So luckily the ones that we have actually collaborate when they reached out to us and then we, you know, we turned down of course a lot of collaborations, but it needs to be right fit and it's to either be that we are very kind of the same synergy and we're very, you know, dtc or we have the same aesthetic or it's someone that we feel like this is a fun collaboration. So they have all different elements. One can be for kind of maybe revenue generating one is for we love their audience or one is for, we kind of love the brand itself, we don't even care, it's a heritage brand. We don't care if it doesn't quite a buzz, We just love the brand itself. So we want to kind of be with this heritage brand. Um and the process is, you know, it's like we don't like putting too much time and effort towards that because we have so much else in the business, the processes we discussed, we designed together and it takes almost three months to kind of get to the launch date and and I think people understand that this emotional aspect pets have and that's why they want to do collaboration with max phone because they know maximum customer is a very passionate customer. So this is why those guys want to do a collaboration with us because they want to have more followers. So, you know, it's it's it's a passionate customer base. They are very, you know, they love their pets, they love kind of spending on their pets and with good quality products. So uh yeah, they want that customer base to follow them as well. So, if a brand is coming to you for a collaboration request, are they investing money as well in terms of product, in terms of marketing spend or is that still falling on you as a brand and like what's the so how does that side of things work? So we have different type of kind of collaboration. We have, for example, a way they bought our products, they bought it wholesale, We are doing email marketing list together and they're sending to their customers were sending to our customers. So that is kind of money making for us. It's great. We're getting in front of a new audience and then we have Disney and Disney of course, is kind of royalty. So it's based on we're making the products, we are kind of up fronting a lot. But we are seeing Disney as a heritage brand, respecting Disney and we don't mind doing that. And that always kind of generates uh to kind of new customers and customers who love Disney come to max phone. And yeah, we are, we have to we have to produce the items, We have to, you know, make the products and we are giving Disney royalty. But that is very unique. We don't do that normally with any other brands. We don't pay royalties were against that. Um mostly it's just, you know, kind of connecting the brands and they buy for example cule we did a collaboration with you which I actually really loved as well. And we made the products. They bought some for their website in a wholesale and they sold it on their website and we sold it on our website. So ah, interesting, amazing, very cool, thank you for sharing that. What are the kinds of initiatives now this year that are shifting the needle for you, you know, as I mentioned before, kind of brand building was a key element for me and when you create a brand and you create this loyal following and a trust in the brand, you having a customer with a higher lifetime value and uh higher retention and the customer keeps coming back instead of being an amazon brand. So that was the first key element for me is to create a brand um and strategic, I did that for a strategic placement as I said before and collaborations and we've done it through pop up stores where customers, you know, seeing maximo in different places and making sure that max bone is kind of accessible for everyone and not just online, but what's kind of moving the needle for us right now is actually wholesale wholesale is a very important part of our business. And we saw that when we did our first trade show which was in super Zoo, which the exciting thing is we always stick out when we do something that is amongst other pet brands. Um and we had this amazing kind of booth which was, you know, it's very 2022 then you have the rest of the booth, which is very 19 eighties. So max bone was really sticking out and everyone was coming past our booth and like taking photos like, oh my God, who are you guys? Why haven't we never seen you? So, you know, that strategy is very important to us now and that is kind of our focus and we had, you know, targets going target, going past our store and loved the brand and you know, this big major retailers that we actually never approached before, but we think that they are going to be important for our future. And so we are very excited about the kind of the demand we're seeing in terms of our whole because we always kind of have our whole silvery sides and strategic and very small and controlled. You know, we're in Selfridges and Harrods markets and stacks and you know, it's been great for brand building, but now we're seeing the kind of big growth coming from these major retailers that are, we are we think they're fantastic. I think Target is great. I think I love the Target stores and I think it's very accessible and that's the kind of goal with my moving forward and that's what kind of moves the needle for us. That's so exciting. So targets targets on the hit list targets, your target Targets, our target, we're actually just discussion, we're in discussion with target now and yeah, we think we're going to be in target for 2023, which is our year, that's your year. Oh my gosh, I'm excited for you. I'm definitely over here cheering for you to get into target. Love that. I'm gonna be gonna be waiting for that update at the beginning of this call, you mentioned that, you know, this year has been a bit of a roller coaster. You've had a few different challenges, Things haven't been necessarily like all the highs that everyone's been showing on the highlights reels on linkedin. What's been going on for you? What are the kind of challenges that you're facing that people don't see on social media? I think to be honest, as I said, my pit beef has been that I wasted a lot of my time on investors and that was very challenging both, you know, mentally and you know, you, you meet all these different personalities with all these different kind of backgrounds who never kind of been running a business and you get lost sometimes when you listen to them too much. That was a challenge for me. But besides that as well, a lot of personal challenges I've gone through IVF and people don't realize that we're here as well. We have things that we go through which sometimes affect us. And I always say, I think it's easier to have a baby and run a company than actually going through IVF and running a company because so challenging both mentally and physically of like what you put your body through to go through that process, especially with what if what if you don't, you know, especially if you want to have a child and so I do recommend ladies that are listening to this podcast, that building a business is very important, but if you want to have a child think about it sooner than later and we always kind of put our health aside and we think about you know, business first, let me succeed first, let me do this first. But then when it comes to actually that's what is important, you will regret it. So I think it's important to think about that sooner than later and then having housing construction while doing it as well. You can probably see my scaffolding in the background uh, and you know going through as I said, economical changes as well, which is affecting everyone's mindset of like recession is coming and you know how people are around you. So yeah, there's been just constant, constant battles with investors are like very pulling back, but you know, we are very fast as well. We don't, we, you know, we have investors that we turned down, so we, you know, just been challenging in many ways. But the good thing is is that we have such a great demand, we have such a great loyal customer base. So all those kind of aspects are great and funny every time I feel like I'm breaking down, which everyone does no matter how well the business does, I always go back and read our reviews and read customer emails or you know, think about you know, a really respected industry, the same industry person saying to me that maximum is the North star and those are the things again that kind of gives me, fuels me again and gets me back to get the energy of continuing. It's like almost like a Duracell Rabbit, you know, remember the advert, like you put the battery in and it continues. So yeah, it's the same things like I love reading our reviews and it just makes me kind of go back to why I'm doing this, thank you so much for sharing all of that. I think you know, anyone listening is probably sitting there especially, you know, even myself thinking like, thank you so much for just being like honest and real and vulnerable to share the things that you're going through because you know, everyone's going through something and we're often like having to put on a brave face and be like our business is amazing and everything is amazing. But you know when you peel back the layers, like it's, it's tough out there and it's hard navigating Building a business and managing your life and managing your family and managing all the other things that come with the day to day of you know, staying hydrated and all those kinds of things, so I really appreciate the honesty and I'm excited for 2023 for you. I feel like this is gonna be your, your big year. Yeah, exactly. I can't, I actually can't wait for 2022. A lot of exciting things will happen. Yeah. Time to switch off, take a break, like enjoy some soul care and then dive into 2023. What piece of advice do you want to leave our audience with? I would say be vulnerable and ask questions. There's no things such things down questions and can I define your first hires? They're the most important hires and if they're not the right hire, please fire fire quicker. Don't don't be scared of firing and uh you know, set achievable goals. Don't, if you have investors just be careful, students, set goals that are not achievable, it would just hurt you. So setting achievable goals. I love that. Thank you.
So question number one is, what's your, why? Why are you getting up every single day and focusing on building max bone to be honest, is to make dogs life better and creating a better experience for humans and you know, and as I said before connecting the bond between dogs and humans and making both of them happy and I feel like we have that effect and you know, raising the bar in the pet industry, that's really is the kind of makes me want to really do it and gives me the energy, especially as I said, seeing our customer reviews, seeing their feedback, seeing how much they love maximum. And it just gives me the energy to continue. Amazing question Number two is what has been your favorite marketing moment so far? So our favorite marketing moment, I have to say was our aspen store. We had a pop up in aspen, which was kind of opposite. Oh my God, cool! And I was so cool. We had it next to and I remember we had our opening event the same day and we created this winter destination. It was like chalet was fantastic and Mariana and my team, she's so creative. We came up with, I even actually have the cup, I have to show you how to ski club like coffee cups with like hot chocolate for the customers. It was just so fun. And when we had our opening event, our store was packed and group and she was coming in, they're like, what are you guys doing? What are you having here? And I was like, this is dogs, it's you know, it's an emotional customer base, we're creating something that is very unique and no one else has done this before. So customers were coming into the store and they were just literally hanging out. So it was really fun and it had a great momentum the entire two months that we were there. So that was a great actually marketing moment for us and I always remembered and always when we want to be happy, we look at our aspen photos, oh my gosh! And you know what, this just makes me think is like have fun with building a business, do the fun things create activations that make you light up and be happy and feel joy in what you're doing with your brand and other people will feel it too. People enjoy a great branded experience, that's exactly what we're saying, we love that, that is kind of our forte of creating those kind of moments. Those experiences which I think sets us apart from any other pet brands and we have so much fun and we see, I mean I always say, I wish I had a camera actually facing towards customers reaction when they come into a maximum store. They're really just like lit up, it's like, is this a pet store and those moments of like creating these activations of, you know, we have so many fun ideas that we want to do for next year as well of creating a food truck and having like, you know, people wearing chef hats and they think it's food human, but it's food for dogs. So you know, there's so many fun things you can do and you're so right about that when you create, create that moment of fun and we feel it, we love it. We like enjoyed, I think more than the customers, it just, you know, gets the brand spirit out there. Oh my gosh, I love that. I can't wait to see that happen. Question # three is what's your go to business resource at the moment if you're having to think about a book or a podcast or a newsletter that you're learning from. I have to say I highly recommend the book by scott Belsky, the messy middle. I really kind of resonated with that book. You really enjoyed it. I do actually love your podcast. I'm not saying that just because I'm here now, but I do like that the people that you're interviewing the founders are very honest, honest about investors are honest about generally a lot of things and I hate listening to podcasts where they're like 200% year over year and we did that through growth. Hacking. It's like there's no growth hacking. There's so many things that goes into a business, uh just growth hacker um another book that I really love is the hard thing about hard things with Ben Horowitz. I have it here. It's really good. So yeah, those are the two and if I'm gonna recommend another postcard, I mean everybody knows probably about this one is how I built it with Guy Roz. Yes, a classic, we love it. Such a fan question number four, how do you win the day? What are your am and PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated. So kind of honest truth about, I'm not very good with self care and I've never actually been, I've never been this kind of person who maybe I'm in pain and I just continue with it. I don't even go to the doctors Which I am noticing now with getting older that I, you know, I get up 4:00 AM and the first thing I do is grabbing my phone, which is the worst thing you can do, but I don't stop. I just continue doing it even if it's hurting me. But I'm realizing now getting older, I'm starting to get things and middles and I'm starting to get very anxious. So I highly recommend self care and I recently just downloaded the app come. So it just shows how late I am to the game and it is important because it's going to catch up with you sooner or later. The only thing that I do that actually makes me happy and I kind of like to get over and done with is barry's bootcamp, sorry's out there, you know, get good exercise and it always makes me happier when I'm done. So exercise does really work even if it sounds cliche. But yeah, I think self care is important and I am so happy that the new generation are realizing it more than my generation. So yeah, absolutely. You know, I have this real problem with my phone as well that the addiction is real and I've tried so many different things to try and beat that, but I'm still it's still a process. It's still a journey. I mean my husband wakes up, it's like how do you even your eyes? No wonder why you're going blind? I'm like in the dark and looking at my phone, it's like it's an addiction, it's so weird and it's not exactly and and then I read bad emails and I get even more anxious four o'clock in the morning, it's not away your day, it's not the day. I agree, I agree. I think seriously we should everybody follow that whole meditation exercising and you know, doing things that makes us happy because it's not you're not going to be more effective just because you take your phone at 4:00 AM, it's the opposite. Mhm Amen Question # five, What's been your worst money mistake in business and how much did it cost you. So one thing actually with our company were kind of very frugal and we're very careful when we have photo shoots, you know were very creative. We spend $1000 instead of spending 100,000 like some people do, we don't go and hire kind of marketing team to come up with some catchy phrase. We normally always do it ourselves. We're very creative when it comes to that. So luckily I haven't had any big money mistakes, but I do feel like my money mistakes is like again spending too much time with investors that is taking me away from my business and we lost revenue because of that 900% believe that and then other things as well of like what's happening with logistic issues of me not ordering enough inventory because of cash flow. We're too scared not getting it on time. Like christian cove and the green one, it's sold in one day and I was like why didn't I order so that jump and it takes us three months to make it and then kind of, we missed the missed the window. It's you know, that kind of lets you to have lots of revenue. So that is, that's the way I'm seeing it. But I haven't had big money. Mr, luckily touch with love that for you and question number six, last question, what is just a crazy story, good, bad or ugly that you can share from this journey of building max bone. So the, I mean there's a lot of crazy things, but the most fun and lovely things that I did get that I find is crazy is a letter from Camilla and Charles like you did saying, I know I have, I'm gonna frame it, I'm gonna hang it above my bed saying that they adore the brand and they love what we're doing and they were saying that they have rescues and things like that. So that letter means the world to me. So that was a crazy, Oh my gosh, that's so cool. You could have got lost. So, I mean, I was like, this is so nice and how can they had written notes from Camilla and Charles and I could have lost that mail because it came a little envelope stamped. That is so cool. Oh my gosh, you need to send them all the products have their dogs in a christian cohen sweater. Oh my gosh, question. Yeah, I love that. All the, all the queen's corgis, that would be so cute. I know all of them in pink. Oh my gosh, we need to make that happen next year, 2020 three, that's gonna be my big marketing thing next year. Love it! Having all the dogs paris. A thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show and share your journey and all the, you know, all the stuff that comes with building a business and how hard it can really be. Um I really appreciate your honesty and your vulnerability. Thank you so much.