Welcome! Today I have one of my very own Brand Creator members, Thai Linda, on the show! She’s going to share how she was able to increase traffic and sales for her business and show that no matter where you are in business, you’ll want to see where the low hanging fruit is.
She started building out an email list when she started Brand Creators, and it took off! It wasn’t always easy, but she never gave up. Let’s get right to it!
PSA: We’re opening up Brand Creators on July 6th, for five days! If you want to join, now is the time. We talk a lot about being stuck and how to overcome that. We show you how to get unstuck and to take action to see real results, and we’d love to have you. Head over to brandcreators.com/join to sign up.
I got my degree in speech pathology, and on the side, my husband and I had a boat dealership and were making tornado shelters. We were getting by until the economy took a downturn, and we had someone embezzle from us, and we lost everything.
There was a factory near us that made custom picture frames. After talking to a few people that worked in the factory, we discovered they were in need of wood. So we made the decision to move to the rustic wood business, especially because we had plenty of land to make it happen.
We were recycling reclaimed wood by working with contractors in the area. I would pick up the wood they wouldn’t use or were planning to dump. We improved the services that our competitors offered. I started to get a lot of business.
Our primary customer at the time was a large chain store that built custom wood frames. We reached out to tell them we wanted to sell wood. They had specific requirements but said they would buy as much wood as we could get them as long as we met those criteria.
It was going well until a couple of years ago. They decided to buy picture frames from China. We had no warning, so we had to think fast about how we could make money moving forward.
We decided to pivot to selling online about three years ago. I had already done research about selling wood online but hadn’t taken any action yet. Once we lost our big client, we got to selling on Amazon. It took a long time to figure out how to ship everything, and it took a few months for me to send in inventory without any problems.
Most of our inventory was reclaimed wood for projects. We weren’t making anything with it yet just selling the wood. Most of our competitors were selling processed products that looked like new wood, so we took the direction of going with the really rustic authentic barn style wood to stand out.
We just put it out there, and it took a couple of weeks to get the first sale. It was a sample box, but it was still exciting. It started to sell, and it just kept growing, and we sold more and more every week. The best part was that we were able to keep all of our original employees, and we ended up hiring a couple of other people in the process.
I was a rehab director overseeing six rehab centers and then coming home at night to help with the business. We couldn’t survive on the business alone at the time, and I didn’t want to give up the income I was making.
Thai-Linda’s Next Pivot
We decided that we were ready to take the business to the next level so I wouldn’t have to work full-time anymore. I started adding more handmade projects, and soon enough, business started to pick up.
We got to the point where it was busy enough where I felt like I could finally quit my job, which was such a great feeling. In March of 2019, I finally quit and decided to work on the business full time. Because I was just working in the shop all day, so I didn’t have much time to build the business.
Fortunately, I made the decision to join Brand Creators. I was actually one of the first groups to join. I just decided that I was going to do it, and once I got in the group and felt the motivation, that’s when everything started to pick up, and we’ve made huge progress since then. It really was life-changing.
How She Took Action With Brand Creators
When I started with the group, I had a good foundation. We had a website and sold on Amazon, Etsy, and Wayfair. But it was all organic, and I hadn’t done a lot to grow it. The first thing after starting with Brand Creators was completing the checklist and working alongside the group.
We ended up getting over 10,000 email subscribers and extra sales, and it’s continued to grow since then. The essential push really helped us get a better presence on social media.
Note From Scott: It’s a big thing to be willing to go all-in and never give up even when things get tough. It really does pay off as you’ve shown us.
We almost quit right before we started Brand Creators. We had been to the same shop for a long time and had just expanded to the shop next store. It had cost a lot of money to make it happen.
Unfortunately last July our landlord let us know he wasn’t renewing our lease. It was hard because we had 6,500 square feet with an acre lot full of equipment that was full of supplies and equipment. We had no idea what we would do next and how we could afford to move the shop.
It’s important to remember that when difficult things happen and you think it’s the worst thing possible, it can sometimes turn out to be the best possible thing.
Our new shop is much better than our old one, and it actually costs about the same. It was an example of something that turned out much better than we could have ever imagined. The new location has allowed us to expand our product line, hire more people, and up to our production. So it was a huge blessing.
Note From Scott: When you’re going through hard things, you’re asking ourselves why. However, once you’ve done it, you realize it’s actually a good thing. Always look at the lessons learned from the tough times. You gotta ask for help in order to give help, or you won’t get anywhere.
It’s a huge accomplishment to have a lot of families work for us that we can take care of, and we all count on each other. The transition from the little business to where we are now has been so tremendous and happened in such a short time. When we took the leap and started growing our email list and focused on our marketing, it took off like wildlife.
The big payoff is being able to enjoy some freedom as I’m sure that’s what we’re all working for. We all want that time with our kids and family, so it’s rewarding that we’ve finally been able to make it happen.
For people who are in a business like ours and you’re doing the daily grind, it can be hard to turn that off. You need to work on your business, not in your business. Make sure you take the time to build your business so it can eventually work for you. I recommend setting regular goals for yourself to get things done.
How Thai-Linda’s Email List Has Helped Grow Her Business
I’m still learning, but I’m getting more comfortable with sending out emails. The first giveaway we got 10,000 subscribers, and at first, I didn’t send anything because I didn’t know what to say. I would honestly just send them a coupon to say thanks.
The group helped me come up with some ideas to include in an email, and I actually had a few people reply, which was really rewarding. It was exciting to see that it was really working and that people actually cared about what I was sending. My open rates and click-through rates are getting better, too, as we get a more engaged audience.
Why It’s Worth Pushing Through The Tough Times
If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort, it really is! We started Brand Creators in October, and below are a few stats to see our growth.
- Grew 3800 Facebook followers to 6800.
- New DIY Facebook Group – 1300 members
- Grew 300 Instagram followers to 1700
- 4,000 Pinterest clicks a month to our website
- 100 website visitors a month to 2,500 – 3,000
- 1,000 YouTube Subscribers
- 12,000 Email Subscribers
- Sells Have gone up 400% increase on Etsy, Wayfair and our Website
Just go out and take action. It’s never going to be perfect, just go for it! There is always room to improve later on.
Final Thoughts From Scott
I want you to go back and read each step that Thai-Linda took. She started by building an email list. Now that is taking off, she is focusing on her content. She now has a great foundation, which is great.
Figure out what you need to focus on. If you’re looking for help, make sure that you go over to brandcreators.com/join to get more information if you’re reading this the week of July 6th so you can sign up and be a part of our awesome community.
Thanks For Tuning in!
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“Remember, I'm here for you, I believe in you, and I'm rooting for you! Now it's time for you to take action and go rock your brand”!
Take-Aways From Today’s Episode
- Thai-Linda’s Backstory (6:06)
- Thai-Linda’s Next Pivot (20:46)
- How She Took Action With Brand Creators (25:05)
- How Thai-Linda’s Email List Has Helped Her Business (37:30)
- “When things happen and you think it’s the worst possible outcome it can actually turn out to be the best possible thing that could have happened to you”.
- “Just go out and take action. It’s never going to be perfect, just go for it! There is always room to improve later on”.
00:00 We actually had just expanded into another unit and because we were growing, so we spent a lot of money getting that, getting that shot ready and going. And then, um, June last year or July our landlord, let us know that he wasn't renewing our lease.
00:19 Hey, Hey, Hey, what's up, everyone. Welcome to the rock, your brand podcast. I'm your host, Scott. Bowker a serial entrepreneur on a mission to help you. This show is designed to teach you to inspire you, to motivate you, to take massive action and build a future proof business. So whether you're just starting out or taking your existing business to the next level, this is your home. Now, if you're ready, I'm ready. Let's rock your brand. Yo, what's up guys. Welcome back to the Rakhi brand podcast. This is episode number eight 51. And today I am fired up because I'm bringing on one of our very own brand creators Academy members, Thai, Linda, and she is going to share exactly what she did immediately after joining, but also how she was able to increase traffic and increase sales. Super excited to share this with you. The other thing that I think you're going to love about this interview, not just that you're going to be able to model what she's done and really look at your business through her eyes, because no matter where you are in business, you are pretty much going to want to look at what is the low hanging fruit.
01:38 And for her, it was building an email list and then starting to drive traffic. And that's what she did immediately. Uh, but the other thing that I want you to pay attention here, and this is what I love about all of our guests really is that it wasn't always easy. And there were numerous times that she felt like giving up. And, uh, I mean, she actually started back in 2013 and then from there went in a completely new direction. And then from there, uh, had one of her main clients, one of the ones that was supplying her with a lot of the business, kind of like being dependent on Amazon and it went away and they had to think to themselves, her and her husband, by the way, uh, which they're a team, which I love that. And they had to, they had to figure out what was going to be that next step for them.
02:26 And that was back in 2018. And then they started to sell on Amazon and they were like, yes, this is cool, but I need to diversify just like we talked, right? Because Amazon can be that one channel that we're all depending on and we don't want to do that. So again, you're going to take a lot away from this episode. And again, that's why I wanted to highlight Thai Linda, one of our members, but also depending on when you're listening to this, this is airing on July 6th on a Monday. And the reason why I wanted to air it on this day is because right now, if you're listening to this, you know, when we air this on July 6th or the week of July 6th, we are opening brand creators Academy for five days, starting on July 6th. And the reason why we are opening now is because, well, we only open a few times a year and this is the time.
03:17 And I've been really letting you guys know probably about maybe two months ago, I've been kind of letting you know that we're going to be opening well now is the time. And I figured, you know what, let's highlight one of our members last week, we highlighted another member Octavio and he talked all about how he got unstuck. That's a common thread within our Academy is that people generally will come in, either overwhelmed, confused, not sure what direction to go in or where to start even. And they get stuck. And what we do is we get them unstuck and you, you're going to hear just with this interview alone with Tai Linda, how she was kind of at that place too. And now she's developing the skillset to take with her on, in the future. And you're going to also hear how she has future plans and how this is going to help her get there.
04:04 All right, so guys, the show notes can be email@example.com forward slash eight 51. I do recommend going and grabbing them. You'll hear all of the, or you'll get all of the links to everything that we mentioned there. But again, I wanted to remind you if you're interested in joining brand creators Academy now is the time. If I was you, I would go to brand creators.com forward slash join, and you'll be able to join brand creators Academy. All right, guys. So I'm going to stop talking so you can listen to this awesome interview that I did with Tai Linda. Enjoy, Hey Thailand, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for hanging out with us here today. How are you doing?
04:48 Yeah, we're kicking off the summer and I know you've been doing a little bit of traveling a little bit just in your, in your new art, which is kind of fun. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You got to get the family time in. That's awesome. But I'm so glad that you're able to take some time out of your busy day. I know you're running a business and you're running a a hundred pretty good size business, I would say. And starting from not, you know, like having well we'll, we'll let everyone, and I hear the backstory, but man, you're, you're really cranking along over there and I wanted to get you on because like you said, even before we actually hit record it, hasn't all been easy to get to where you are. And uh, and you are one of our members inside a BCA brand creators Academy. And I just, I wanted to bring you on and just have you kind of tell us, like, what was it like, you know, I think the business and then what, even, you know, what, what had you thinking that you needed some additional help, but I think you even didn't you and I, at one point go back and forth a little bit about you possibly coming to the Lake house we were going to, we were going to yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought so. It just timing didn't work
05:58 Out for you. Yeah. Yeah. So, okay. Give us a little bit of a backstory. Who is Thailand or where does she come from?
06:06 Um, well, uh, I live in Oklahoma city now, um, actually was born in California, but I moved out here like 20 something years ago and, uh, my husband out here, so I ended up staying, but, um, I went to school to be a speech pathologist. So, uh, finished my master's degree when I was 23 and started practicing speech therapy. Um, and so I assumed that was going to be my, my life, you know, um, in the meantime, my husband and I had some other business ventures. Um, we had, uh, a boat, the boat dealership and we were making a tornado shelters and both of those were surviving, but they weren't driving. You know, we were just barely getting by. And, uh, and then a lot of things happened. We had, uh, kind of the economy took a downturn. Um, and we had, um, uh, somebody that was embezzling money from us.
07:12 And so basically everything, we pretty much lost everything. We had shut down the businesses, um, and basically start over. So, um, we decided to work on the rustic wood business. It kind of fell in our lap and we had all this land. We had room to, to grow, you know, something there, but we didn't know what. And so, um, so we started this business where we were recycling, you know, reclaimed wood and our primary, uh, customer was a big chain store that built, um, the Barnwood picture frames. And so that was our whole business. We had a few guys working, we made, um, we got the wood ready for them and sold it to them and they made picture frames out of it. And that was 99% of our business. Um, so that was going fine. You know, it was paying some bills and my husband was working there.
08:12 I was doing speech therapy. Um, but then a couple of years ago, the store decided they're not going to make the picture frames anymore. They're going to, you know, buy them from China. And they basically stopped being the nature frame. So that, that was our, our, you know, our main customer, all of us. And it happened within like a couple of months. And initially they were buying as much wood as we could get them in every, you know, there was no limit on how much we can sell them. So if we, if we brought them, you know, 3000 boards, they bought 3000 boards that we bought that brought them 10,000 boards. They bought 10,000 boards. So it was like unlimited, unlimited sales. Right. Um, and then one day they said, okay, we're only going to buy 500 boards a week from me now. And that was when we had, you know, we had five guys working there and basically selling them 500 boards, wouldn't be enough that they will in person to work there.
09:17 So, um, we kind of got that thrown in our lap with no warning. So we had talked about selling online, but you know, you kind of get in your comfort zone. We wanted to sell online, but it's like, why go to all the trouble of doing that? We have a customer that will buy as much as we can make for them. There's no reason for us to complicate things, you know? So, um, whenever they told us and we're going to be buying any equipment from us anymore, that was like, Oh, shoot. You know, well, we're either going to shut the business down or we're going to, um, you know, make our pivot our change. So that's what that's when we decided to try and sell, start selling online.
10:05 How long ago was that Thailand?
10:08 Uh, about three. About three years ago.
10:11 Years ago. Okay. Okay. Let me, let me back you up though, real quick. Cause I'm curious, how did you, how did, okay. You had some land and you're like, you know what we could do reclaim, like where does that even fall into your lap? Like where does that like aha or where does that, you know, we could probably cut down some stuff or we take some old stuff and recycle it. Like there's a show out there now too. I was watching it and you probably know about it. It's the one where they, they tear down old barns and then they use all the timber and stuff to re uh, you know, they, they create new structures from them, which it's a whole business in itself, but I'm curious, like, how did you, how did you see that there was a place in the market that could, that could potentially want
10:52 Yes, well, the factory was here in Oklahoma city where they made the picture frames. And so, um, a lot of people knew about knew that they were building in there. Um, and then a couple of people, you know, just talking to people, uh, we had people that we knew that had worked in the warehouse there and they're like, Hey, you know, these people are buying wood as fast as they can get it and they can't get enough of it. And, um, and so it was just kind of one of those things like, okay, here, there's a customer here that can't get enough product and we're over here with enough room to do this. And we already have trucks and trailers and you know, all the things that we need, so let's give it a shot. Um,
11:41 And so where do you get the supply though at that point? Like, how are you? Like, are you, are you doing that? Are you, are you getting old, like wood and then just re are you like planning it and like lead me to a little bit of that. Like where do you then say, Oh, okay. We have a need.
11:54 Right. So we work with a lot of, uh, we, we started calling all the contractors in the area, just finding out what they did with their old wood. What do they do? Um, you know, did they have somebody that picked up their will that they didn't use or that the wood that they were going to dump and we get wood from buildings, fences, you know, a lot of different structures. So basically, you know, I figured if we can get in with a few of the contractors and offer them a service, you know, that would be beneficial to them and we could get, and so we just, we just started calling, you know, and, um, because that factories in our city, we already had like several competitors, several people that were trying to get the wood. Um, but we kinda got into talking with contractors. We had to figure out what's going on with these, um, people that you're working with, how's it working. And we found out that our competitors weren't providing very good service, you know, they weren't picking it up fast enough. They were leaving a mess when they left, you know, things like that. So we just started trying to improve on what they were doing and slowly but surely we started getting calls from a lot of new contractors saying, Hey, we hear you're doing this and you're better than the last I used. And so it just, it picked up pretty quick.
13:22 Cool. So, so I'm a contractor, I'm tearing down an old fence and I'm like, I gotta get rid of this stuff. I got to pay to get rid of this stuff. Cause it's just, you know, it's lumber. I got to get a dumpster and do all that. You're you basically were saying like, we'll come in and clean it all up for your brick. Just put it in a pile, we'll grab it, we'll throw it in our truck and we'll take it away and you don't have to worry about it. Yeah. That's a pretty sweet deal. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. Um, and so at that point now, um, you got to figure out like what they need. So is that like your husband and you kind of figuring out, okay, how do we, how do we decide what they need, uh, sizes? Or do you go to them and say, what are the dimensions that you need? What's the quality that you need? And some of those, some of those things,
14:02 Yeah. We went to them and we went to them and said, we would like to start selling that to you and what are your requirements? And they had a very specific list for us. It needs to be, you know, have all of these qualities. And, um, as long as it meets these qualifications, we'll buy as much of it as you can bring us. And so, and so that's kind of how that started at first. It started off a little bit slow, but as luck would have it, I don't know if you want to say luck, but short, as soon as we got all that set up, we had some major coordinators in Oklahoma city. Um, it actually in more so, uh, suddenly there was wood on every corner, on every street, you know, that was just, just there. So we, that's kind of what got us jumped started as we had it. It was perfect timing as far as when we started, the tornadoes came through and then of course, like an entire city was getting rebuilt and we were there to help, you know, with a lot of that cleanup process. So, um, so yeah, I mean, it, it kind of worked out and, um, that was back in 2013 is when we started, this has been seven years. Okay.
15:20 Yeah. So now the picture frame, let's kind of go back to that part now. So you're, you're supplying wood to the picture frame companies and everything's going great. And then all of a sudden, you find out again, dependent on that one, that one supplier, that, that one company, right. That one channel, as we always say, it doesn't matter if it's Amazon or eBay, it's one channel and you guys were kind of comfortable with it. And I mean, it's, it's normal. And then you're like, Oh crap, we've got to do something else. Do we just sell to other picture frame places? Or do we start doing more with the reclaimed wood? Yeah. So how does that all happen? How does that take?
15:52 So we had that big company and we had one other little customer and we sat well with this other little customer, we can basically pay our bills for about a month and then we're pretty much going to be out of money now. So that was when it was time to, you know, get, get in gear. So I had already been doing the research about selling the wood online. I just hadn't, you know, followed through with it. I was just in that, you know, analysis phase where you can just analyze everything forever. And so that's pretty much where I was. And then, um, then of course, when the fire was lit under me, we got it going and we got signed up with Amazon, um, and kind of started our, started our adventure into learning how to be an Amazon seller, which was a nightmare. Nothing was right. You know, the packaging had to be a certain way, just learning, just figuring out how to ship the product into Amazon was a nightmare because everything we sold was oversized. Um, they had so many different requirements, you know, and basically it took, took us a few months to finally get it down to where I could send in inventory and it was okay. So, so we did that. Um,
17:17 Now was that inventory, was it specific to picture frames or was it more of like reclaimed wood on the back of a wall and stuff? Yeah.
17:26 Yeah. Reclaimed wood, uh, for projects, you know, home improvement and we weren't actually making anything with it yet. We were just selling the wood. Um, and that's kind of where we started with our, with our sales online.
17:42 And so I guess that was probably a little bit of a trial and error. Was anyone else already doing it that you could kind of model that you were like, Oh, they're proving to us that people
17:50 Are buying it?
17:51 Yeah. There were a few people selling it online. Um, actually our main competitors are just like in the same city as us too. So, um, but there were a few people selling it, but nobody was really selling it. Nobody was really selling the way we were selling it. We're all selling like this, uh, this really processed product, you know, that it was, it didn't really even look like reclaimed wood. You know, they were selling stuff that was really clean or like really, you know, it looked almost like new wood and we, so the way that we, the direction that we took was going with a really like really rustic, authentic Barnwood style wood, that, that you can see all the blemishes and the dents and the dings. And, um, and you could really see a difference if you put our wooded up next to something you would buy at like Lowe's or home Depot, you can see where the difference was. And so we just kind of put it out there, here it is it's for sale online. And, uh, it took, um, it took a couple of weeks to get the first sale. Um, it was like a sample box, you know, it was like, Oh my gosh, somebody actually bought it,
19:11 Not in my hometown.
19:15 And, um, so then it, it started selling and it just started growing, you know, every week we sold a little bit more and a little bit more. And, um, so we got to the point where we had to hire, you know, we got to keep all of our original guys that were with us. Um, and then we hired a couple more people and we were staying pretty busy and it went on like that for about a year. Um, in the meantime I'm still working at my full time job and I was, um, a rehab director. So I'm overseeing six different rehab facilities and, and then coming home at night and doing all this stuff for the business, you know, so putting in a lot of long days and, um, this thinking like, I don't know how much longer I can do this, but we can't survive on this business alone. You know, my, my salary was safe and secure and I didn't really want to give that up.
20:18 Right, right. Yeah. That's, it's scary. It's scary for sure. Uh, so, okay, so you move into the online space, you start getting, um, some traction, where is the next kind of move because you're doing that, but then you're probably like, well, again, you're dependent on Amazon. You're only selling, you know, on that one platform, where do you start to see that next shift for the business? Right.
20:48 Well, I am, in the meantime, I decided I would go back to school.
20:57 It might move up in the corporate world and get a better paying job, or I'm going to make this business big enough that I don't have to be in the corporate world anymore. So in the process of doing my MBA is kind of when all of the online stuff was going on, you know, it was all happening at once. I was like, either, we're gonna, you know, this is like the come to Jesus meeting with my husband. Okay. We're either going to make this business work where it's supporting us a hundred percent or I'm going to, you know, try to get a better paying job and just kind of focus more on that, which I didn't want to do that because Scotland, you have family. You want to spend time with them. And I was tired of working all day. They're coming home and working all night on the computer.
21:57 And my dog was my full time job was really demanding too. I got calls all night. I got calls on the weekends. You know, there was always some kind of problem that really I was, I was even when I was with my family, I wasn't like present with them. I was on my phone all the time, answering questions and things like that. So, so that was at that time was when I said, this is what we've got to, we've got to make this work. So, um, I started adding some more products, things that I had made, like I used to make in my garage and take them to craft shows. And so we started adding some more signs and just things like that. And it started picking up. Um, and then it finally got to the point where it was busy enough. I thought, okay, I'm going to quit my job, you know?
22:45 And then I still worried about it for another three months because I just did not want to let go of that paycheck. Um, so finally we just said, okay, we're setting a date and you're doing it. So, uh, in March of 2018, um, they're 2019, sorry, merchant's playing 19. I quit my dog and I decided to work on the business full time. So I got really busy with orders and everything. And I was just basically in the shop, working in the shop all day, I'm sanding wood, cutting wood, you know, doing all of that stuff, but I wasn't building the business. Um, I was doing a little bit as I could. Whenever you came out with the brand creators Academy, I was one of the first, you know, the very first group to start. So, um, I just decided like I'm going to do this. And then once I got in with the group and I felt all of that motivation drive to get things done and actually build the business, that's when everything started, you know, really picking up and we've just made huge progress since then.
23:56 I want to, I want to dive in into that because again, people listening, you know, they may think also, you know, you've gotten to this point, you've grown an email list now you've, uh, you know, you've, you've, uh, you know, did Facebook aheads now, like all of this stuff that you never could have imagined doing and you're doing it and you're learning, and yet it's still a, you know, a struggle here and there with maybe tech or something. Right. But you figure it out. It's like you said, if you've got to stay in the woods, you're going to stay in the woods, someone's gotta do it. So lead lead us through that, like you joined and you're just like, I know what I'm going to join, but I have to, I got to take action here. And I got to actually put this stuff to work.
24:32 So take us through, and I know you got some numbers and stuff to share with us, but like, what is, what does it look like? I mean, you can take me with any direction you want. I just know that there's been growth. Tell me about the growth. Tell me about what it's been like, and you just told me before we got on you're like, I finally feel like I can take a breath because we've been so darn busy and I'm like, well, it's a catch 22. Right. We could have been hoping and praying we get some work. Right,
24:56 Exactly. I'm definitely not complaining about being too busy, but we haven't slowed down a little since April and may. Um, so when I started in the group, I had a pretty good foundation. I mean, I had my website, we had, uh, we were selling on Etsy and Wayfair. Um, and then some website sales and I had a, uh, you know, my Facebook page had like 3000 followers on it. Um, and so we, we had that foundation there, but it was all just basically organic, you know, I hadn't really done a lot to grow it. And when we started in the group, the first thing I kind of did was, you know, went through the checklist. And then we started to just growing things together, you know, with the rest of the group. So I already had those things in place. I had the Instagram page, I had the Facebook page, my website, um, and, but there wasn't, you know, a ton of activity on there.
26:01 So, um, we started just, uh, we started with one of the giveaways and that was, that was really, our first giveaway was really successful. You know, we got like 10,000 email subscribers and, um, a ton of extra sales and people following the page. And, you know, that just gave us a lot of exposure and kind of started growing everything, our Instagram and Facebook and all of that. So, so since then it's continuing to grow, but I know that that initial push was what kind of like got us in there. We were just kind of nobody's on social media before that. And then that initial exposure, you know, got us out there and then people sharing our posts and just really exposing us to the other parts of the world before that our RF followers were almost all from Oklahoma and now our followers are like all over the country.
27:02 Yeah. That's, that's awesome. And you know, I know that you're, you're, you're an action taker. I mean, let's just face it. I mean, you're actually doing it and it just, I mean, when you're explaining what you're doing, as you're growing your business, forget about all of that stuff, but like you're willing to get in there and get your hands dirty and do it. So I think that's a big thing. And for people to listen to this, just to understand, like, you know, if you looked at Thailand, uh, you know, through the entire journey, there's been ups and downs, and there's been times that you could have given up, but you did, you know, right. Did you maybe want to, of course, like, we all are like, is this worth it? Right. But you actually, you actually gave us a tour inside of your shop with all of the people working for you. And it was pretty awesome to see like a lot of your family is in there working, like you were pointing out that song called, I don't know, John Gus, whatever, you know, your uncle, you know what I mean? Like, and you've got everybody threaded throughout the entire company. And I just thought it was really awesome to see that, and it's gotta feel good.
28:02 It does. It does. And we have both, uh, people from my side of the family and my husband's side of the family, both, both, you know, both sides are involved and we help, uh, we have, you know, a bunch of family members here. Um, and then just our staff, you know, is growing we're up to 15 full time employees now. Um, and then some part-timers. So it has gone on really big, but like you said, Scott, it hasn't been an easy road, um, in the midst of all of the chaos. And actually right before we started with BCA, um, we almost quit again because we had a huge, uh, we had been in the same job for a long time. And, um, we actually had just expanded into another unit and because we were growing, so we spent a lot of money getting that, getting that shot ready and going.
28:58 And then, um, the month, I think it was in June last year or July our landlord let us know that he wasn't renewing our lease. And it was like devastating because we had a 6,500 square foot shop that was completely full of stuff. And we had an acre lot that was completely full of wood and equipment and all that. And at the time we were like, there's no way we can do this. You know, like there's no way we have money to move this shop. Plus come up with the money to find a new shop on deposit. You know, all of those things that add up so much, it's like, we just were just thinking that it was impossible. And at that time, like I already quit my job, you know, I'm like, this is what I was afraid of. You know, something's going to happen and it's not gonna work out.
29:57 But, um, we just, you know, when things happen and you think it's the worst possible thing that can happen a lot of times, it's the best thing that happens. You know, you, you come up against these obstacles and you think there's no way I'm getting over this. I just can't. And then somehow you make it over and you realize that on the other side, it's even better than you, you know, audit could be. So we somehow scraped it together and, you know, did everything we had to, you know, to get our shot moved. And it was, it was a lot, you know, it was really tough, but we got in the new place and which is the shop that I did in the tour. It's a hundred times better than our old shop. You know, it was such a huge upgrade for us. And it actually costs us about the same as the old shop.
30:50 So in our mind, we would have never moved if we didn't have to, because it was just too big of a project. The fact that we had to move was the best thing that happened. And that was just another example of, you know, those obstacles that you face when you're an entrepreneur. Uh, sometimes they seem like they're, they're really, you know, you can't believe something that horrible has happened, but it's one of those samples of something that turned out much better. So we couldn't do the stuff that we're doing. Now, if we were still at the old shop, we didn't have the room to like have a painting room and have a room for our inventory and our boxes. You know, so being at the new location really allowed us to expand our, um, our products, our expand our product line, and also have room to hire more people and able to up our production. So that was just another step, you know, another kind of thing that helped us.
31:49 And, you know, it's, it's funny that you say that because when you're going through it, it's like, why is this happening? And then now you look back and you're like, man, imagine if that never happened, we wouldn't have done this. And we, and this wouldn't be in place, but it's tough going through it, you know, and, you know, it's, it's happened to all of us and I think it it'll happen again, you know, it's like something else will happen. Um, but I always try to look at the lesson in that, or the thing that happened that wouldn't have happened. And, uh, I think it's just meant to happen. So, um, so thanks for, thanks for sharing that. And it was a great tour, by the way, we all enjoyed it inside a BCA. We're just like, this is so awesome. Um, and then even you posting, uh, you know, a picture of an RV that you and your husband were looking at getting and sharing that. And you're like, you know, I know it's not a Lamborghini, but this is our Lamborghini, you know, and it's like, honestly, in, in our tribe, really that is our Lamborghini because we want the freedom. We want the flexibility. And I think the RV is kind of, you know, it's, it's that experience and that's what we all want. So, um,
32:52 And that was, that was a huge day for us because, you know, I gave you a kind of a long timeline, but if you look at the real, like the real meat of everything that has happened, it's like we were in business from 2013 and between 2013 and 2018 things were just cruising along, just, just whatever, you know. Um, and then it was just two years ago that we said, but we had figured out we had to do something different. And so it's been since 2018 until now that things went from just, uh, just a little tiny, you know, family business that was just making enough to like get by and pay some of our bills to now our shop that we have, where we have, you know, 15 to 18 people here every day. And, you know, this job is feeding a lot of families, which is really such, such a huge feeling of accomplishment for me is that we have all these families that are working for us that are, that have good jobs, you know, and that have that worked for people who are good to them and, and appreciate them.
34:06 And, um, and you know, we all kind of count on each other, but just the transition from that little, that little business in the field, basically to where we are now has been, has been so tremendous and just happened in such a short time, you know, these two years. Um, and especially just in the last six to eight months, you know, when we started growing our, our list and doing our marketing and everything, it's, it's taken off like wildfire. And then with everything was COVID, you know, that that really helped us too, because now people were at home, they, they had time to do projects. They had, um, know they weren't getting out of the house. So they were able to stay home and work on their home improvement.
34:57 And then we had already kind of laid that foundation. So when everybody, the first, you know, news came out of people being at home, I mean, we were immediately able to send out an email to everybody saying, Hey, are you guys stuck at home? Well, now's the time to get your projects done? And here's a coupon to get you started. And I mean, it just, you know, it just took off. And so we've been going working lot, you know, a lot of hours and everything trying to keep up since the middle of March, but being able to go and, and, you know, buy the RV that we wanted and take a couple of days off and go out with the family. You know, that's been the big pay off at the end is like all this hard work that we've done, all the struggles, all the trials that we've been through there, they're all paying off now. And we're able to enjoy some of that freedom, which is what we're all working. You know, we all want that time with our kids and our family. And it's like, okay, it's finally here.
35:56 Yay. Here it is. Uh, no, that was really cool, uh, for you sharing that. And, uh, I, I just, again, I want to just even publicly say here in, I mean, inside BCI, I mean, you're just, you're always there, uh, chiming in whether it's just encouraging people or even just asking for help yourself. I mean, I think it goes both ways. You got to ask for help in order to get help. And I think you're, uh, you're, you know, you're okay with that, but you're also there to not just take, you're also there to give and just you even sharing, like, you had a breakdown of like everything in your one giveaway, like all of the costs per, you know, cost per acquisition and how many emails and what it ended up costing you and the prize and all of that stuff. And then what did it look like afterwards?
36:40 And then the uptick in sales and like just that detailed stuff to give each other is so helpful. Um, just as people being able to see it versus me just saying a hypothetical thing about, Oh, bass fishing, what if you did this, you can do that. So I just want to thank you again for being awesome in the group. Um, so let, let me ask you this though. So building that email list, like that was probably one of the things that you're like, we're going to do that because if we do that, then we have direct communication with people that potentially would want to buy from us. Um, how has that helped you? Um, since like doing the giveaway? Cause a lot of people are like, yeah, you do a giveaway and giveaway emails, probably aren't as qualified as maybe getting a lead magnet or something like that. What has been your experience with you building the email list and then sending emails?
37:30 Um, I'm honestly still learning and I'm not, uh, I'm getting more comfortable with it now, but, um, at first we did that giveaway and I got the 10,000 email subscribers and then I just didn't send them anything like 10,000 people waiting for me to say something and I don't know what to say, you know? So, um, so I was just send them a coupon, like here's 10% off. Thanks for subscribing. And then I think you were like this talk to them, you know, they're just people, they just want to talk to you. And so, um, we came up with a couple ideas in the group. Guys helped me figure out some like blog, some blog articles to do some projects, project ideas. And so that was, I think the first thing that I sent out and actually got some people that replied and I was thinking, wow, there's somebody actually reading these. Um, so they would reply and say like, Oh, I liked how you, you know, number three is, did you, you know, what kind of paint brush did they use for that? And I thought, Oh my gosh, they're actually reading it too.
38:47 And they're doing it. They want to do the project.
38:49 This is really working. So, and I started feeling a little more comfortable and I, and um, and I've been, I still, haven't been sending out as regularly as I should, but I'm getting better getting some more articles written and that's getting better, but it has helped, you know, for, um, being able to send out special deals, you know, or we, we have like a new product. Here's our new product and you get, you know, 10% off of that. So I've been doing some of those too, but like you said, you don't want to be selling everything, selling to them every time you send them something. So that's why we've been working on building some more content to send out information to we're giving them something instead of kind of sell them. And that's been, that's been going well, I can tell more people are opening the emails. Now my open rates have gotten higher. The click through rates are, are getting better. So I think we're kind of whittling out, you know, we're getting rid of some of those people that were interested that just want free stuff. And then now getting more active, more engaged audience. So, um, yeah,
40:02 I think a big thing for you. And I think we talked about it too. It was like, yeah, you can sell, you know, reclaim wood and do the back of a wall, right? Like that's one thing, but you could do endless projects with that type of stuff. And it's like every single. And I think that's what I was kind of trying to kind of have you do is like come up with projects that people can do out of reclaimed wood. It could be for while my daughter just got a, we just had a baby shower, right. It could be something for the baby. I'd make a, make a frame or maybe it's a little stand. And if you do that stuff on a regular basis, it's like, here's how you do it. Whether you buy our wood or not. But if you want to buy the woodpecker here it is.
40:40 It's kind of like giving the deep, the DIY, but you're also, you sell product that helps me to DIY. So to me, it's a natural fit. So I would just figure out how do I come up with starting with 12 projects that would be one a month, right? And then every single time that would get dropped in an autoresponder. And then all of a sudden you got two years worth of maybe projects. And then that will start to build on itself. So that's what I'm going to be pushing you on in the future, by the way. Um, cause I want to get that. I want to get that dialed in for you because I also think too and correct me if I'm wrong, this happens. It's like you do all this stuff, then all of a sudden business starts coming in. You start backing off on the marketing. Cause you're like, well, I gotta keep up with orders. I didn't get time to do that stuff.
41:20 Right. Yeah, definitely. Yeah,
41:23 No. So we, we, yes, I get it. But that's where then maybe you need to be more of the marketing director or whatever, right. You're like, Hey, I'm going to bring in a lot of orders. We gotta get that stuff done. And then maybe you need to hire someone to basically fill your shoes on things that you're doing. So you can focus on just bringing in more business. You know what I mean?
41:44 That's what we just recently did. Um, a couple of weeks ago, we, we finally hired a, like a shop supervisor, um, because well, for one thing I wanted to be able to leave and go to the Lake in the middle of the day.
42:00 That's good.
42:01 Uh, for, you know, also I didn't want to have to be out there all day, keeping up with everybody, making sure it's getting done. Um, I need to be in the office, you know, working on building the company. And so just since we started that, I've had a lot more time even now to start getting back into the marketing side of things and working on my ads. Um, but yeah, it is hard. And I know as a business owner, a small business owner, especially for people who are in a business like ours, where you're doing the daily grind, it is so hard to be able to turn that side off and, and work on building the business. You know, a few, you have to try to work on your business, not in your business, especially if you're like a one man show or Chino. It's just you and your husband or wife doing it.
42:50 It's really hard, but you have to, my, my big, you know, advice is that you have to take time to build the business. And that is what BCA helped me tremendously with that because I felt the pressure to get it done because other people were getting it done. Right. You know? And it's like, I'm competitive by nature. So I'm like, well, you know, I'm telling you, I'm telling you it was posted three blogs already in this week. And I haven't even posted one to like get, get my butt in gear that, you know, having the support of that group was really good. But if you don't have that kind of support, you just have to make, you know, take it upon yourself to put yourself some goals for the week and just make sure that you get, try to get those done and try not to get sucked into the day to day operations as much.
43:43 Right. And, and I also think for you, and I know we've talked about this again, it's one of those things it's like, yeah, but things are coasting along. Okay. Right now. But your side of it is to you, your side also lends itself to bringing in revenue from other sources, not just your selling of the wood. So I would love to see you get there by the content creation of DIY projects with reclaimed wood, for whatever. And then from there you're getting traffic coming to the website, which yes, will in turn sell product. But it will also bring in maybe add money or maybe it'll bring in affiliate sales stuff that you don't sell. You don't sell stuff maybe in that, but you sell maybe the wood that goes on it or whatever. Um, because then that's next level because now you're getting revenue without you having any of your employees have to do that work. It's a whole revenue stream. Um, exactly. That's where I want to see you go
44:36 Well, and I wanted, I do, I want to start another brand. You know, once I get my head above water, that is more, um, more digital and I just haven't narrowed it down, you know, but I do want, I want to have, I want to do both. So I do want to have something that doesn't involve us having to like manufacture a physical product, you know, just something that we can work on digitally, but that's down the line, you know, but it is on my to do list.
45:07 The cool, the cool thing is though, and you know this right. Everything you're doing to build this business, you'll just, you'll just use it on the next business, right? Like this, I believe this business is just to prepare you for your next move. Right. It could be in 10 years, who knows where maybe you have this and someone takes over it and you're just, you know, you know, you're just a partner in it now. Right. Whatever, who knows. But all of these things that you're doing for the marketing side, as, I mean, even hiring though, that's a great skillset to have how to hire the right people and how to, you know, make sure that you can let go of certain things. Like all that stuff is good, but the marketing side, like you creating emails, you creating content, you setting up an email list, like all of that stuff, if you're going to take it with you. So you've done so much in such a short period of time.
45:49 Yeah. Um, it's, it's amazing. Just the transition since, I mean, if you, if anybody that's listening is on the fence, like you're wondering if it's, if it's worth it to put forth the effort to do these things. I mean, it is. And I, I did, um, I do have like my numbers just from the last six months, because I want people to, to see the significant growth you can have, you know, when you put forth the effort. So, um, when we started, so we started at VCA in October in November and I had already started doing some marketing and things like that. Um, these are just the numbers from November until now, which is right about six months. No. Well, however many months it is seven, seven months seven. Okay. So, um, when we started, we had, uh, 3,800 Facebook followers and now we're up to 6,500.
46:51 Um, so we've gained quite a bit there. We started a Facebook group, which is a DIY group and we just started that in February and we've grown to 1300 members in that group and actually getting that's a really fun group and the numbers are really active. You know, they're all posting, they're all posting projects and it's not just our wood, you know, it's just all kinds of projects. But, um, there were a lot of people posting stuff they made with our words too, which is great advertisement for us. Um, our Instagram, uh, we started out with just 300 followers and we're almost to 1700. Um, and then our Pinterest page, which we started in January, um, we are up to getting about a little over 4,000 link clicks a month on our Pinterest. Um, so that's growing and that all feeds into that, you know, getting your blogs and doing your, uh, getting that out there because especially the how to articles, they really like those.
47:55 So, um, so that's been good. We're getting a lot of visits to our website from Pinterest, um, and our monthly website traffic in November. And I couldn't believe this was true, but in November we were only getting about a hundred visitors a month on our website. So we had a website, but you know, nobody ever saw it where we're up to right now between 20 503,000 visits a month on our website. Um, and that's just since November. So our YouTube subscribers, we have almost a thousand YouTube subscribers now, but I haven't really started putting a lot of content on there. That's another thing, another goal that we have our email list, we have almost 12,000 email subscribers now. Um, and then our sales. Uh, so originally we were, we were on a teen Wayfair and our website and Amazon, but we weren't selling much, you know, on any place except for Amazon.
48:58 But, um, now our sales on Etsy has gone up 450% from this time last year, Wayfair's almost 400% increase and our website's almost a 400% increase. So just those three platforms, um, you know, increasing like that has been a good confidence booster for us too, because we're not just dependent on Amazon. Although Amazon is still our main, our main source of income and our sales from Amazon this year before the quarantine started, we were up 70% from the year before, which was really good. So the Florentine happened we've, we're actually up is last couple months, we've been, our numbers are like 150% over what we did last year, but I can't attribute that all to migrate marketing. Um, but you know, you can see that all those numbers are going up and they just keep going up every month. It's like, they're going up again, you know? And, um, every Avenue is growing. So
50:10 Let me ask you this before, we're going to wrap up here soon, but like on the, um, on your articles that you've created so far, how many have you created approximately say?
50:24 Um, I think we have about 10 and some of them are just,
50:30 You've been doing a couple of months then.
50:33 Yeah. I didn't really start doing the blogs until the last, I think three months. I think we posted our first one, three months ago, and then we didn't post another one for a month.
50:45 I think you, you jumped in and started just doing the, doing the email list, build right away. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yup. And that's fine. You know what I mean? Like I think everyone has to figure out what is going to be the best thing for their business, where they are, if you're coming in with a business, the first thing that you guys would want to do is because it's going to give you an initial push is the giveaway, because then you're going to draw attention to your products and your business. And it ultimately works, right? Like just by doing the giveaway, your sales also went up just from doing the giveaway,
51:13 Right? Yeah. Our sales jumped up like 70%, uh, after the giveaway. And, um, just from that post being shared over and over again, I think our, I don't remember how many thousand views that post had. The first one, it was, it was like 30 or 40 or 50,000 views. I think we had a ton of sales during the candlelight and then after they gave away what was over, we send out the email saying, uh, you know, we've announced the winner. And I think we gave like a 15% off discount to everybody on the list. Everybody who entered and just the sales that we bought off of that discount code alone was enough to pay for all the costs associated with the giveaway. So it turned out to, yeah.
52:05 Yeah. That's, that's awesome. So like, again, you jumped in with the email cause you're like, what's the quickest thing for our business to get more traction, more sales, is that right? Um, the other side, the content creation side is really how can I get traffic, but it's going to take some time to do it. Um, but I, I would say, I mean, even you getting 2,500 is great, but wait until you start getting some more content, that number will go way up. Um, but again, it's priorities. And, um, I respect that, you know, it's like, there's only so much time in the day, but I would, I think you have a lot of room to move with the project world of DIY and then just creating content that people are looking for or just projects types that they're looking for or shelving or, you know what I mean? Like there's all a bunch of different areas, but again, focus is right now. You've got to obviously, you know, do what you can to drive sales and you're, you're doing that, but, um, yeah, really excited for you though. You guys have a bright future, super excited that you're part of BCA and you're just always adding value. And that's, I think what I really, really love about having you part of the community and it's really just grown into something way beyond what I could have imagined and it just keeps getting stronger.
53:18 It has, it, it has been a blessing, you know, the group has been more than I could've ever imagined. I've gotten, you know, just gotten close to so many people in that group that I've never met, but everybody's so supportive and like really cheering each other on and helping each other. And it's just, it's unlike any kind of group, but any kind of group like that I've ever been involved with. Um, so I do, I'm just thankful to have been a part of that and I'm ready to keep growing with the group. But, um, I do have one thing to show you because I know that I am following a tough act without my costume. I didn't, I didn't have a costume, but I got, I didn't make this for you.
54:07 Oh, wow. Look at that. Nice. How is that? Is that in, is that painted or engraved? Oh, wow.
54:17 Engraved. So it's on the reclaimed wood and it's engraved, which this is going to be one of my next ventures. We're going to start doing custom products, but so anyway, I'm going to send that to you so you can add it to your display.
54:30 Definitely added to my collection. That is awesome. That's a big piece of work. That's a good chunky piece of wood too. I like that. That's awesome. Awesome. Well, Thailand to thank you so much again, and we'll probably have to do an update with you cause I know you're going to be taken action just like that sign says. Um, and it's just a, it's just part of your DNA now, which I'm glad. Um, but thank you so much for coming on. Is there any last little bits of, I don't know, tips, recommendations for anyone that's just, you know, whether they join or not just wherever they're at in their journey.
55:05 Definitely. Um, you know, whether you're at the very beginning or, or in the middle, you know, the most important thing and I had to make myself do this is go for it. I mean, just take action. It sounds cliche, but it's the truth for me. I can spend so many hours analyzing everything and not put out anything because it wasn't perfect enough, you know? And I just had to learn to just go for it like that first blog, you know, I kinda, I had it written for, for over a month before I posted it because it wasn't just right for me. But, um, you guys helped me to just, you know, take action and do it and that's, that's what you need to do. Don't wait for everything to be perfect. Just go.
55:51 I love that. I love it. And that's, it's funny. Cause Octavia was saying the same thing. He was, he was just going back and forth, back and forth. And then all of a sudden he's like, I just got to do this. So he did. And now he's a machine, as you know, he's just, he's got such a rhythm going and it's just awesome. Awesome to see. So awesome Thailand, thank you so much again for hanging out with us here on the podcast. I appreciate you and I'll see you on the inside of BCA.
56:18 All right. Thanks Scott.
56:20 All right. Well there you have it, a great interview with Ty Linda and I'm so glad that she was able to come on and, and do this interview. I just love hearing people's stories in general, um, because it's inspirational, it's motivational and you know what? There's action steps that are packed in there as well. So I want you to maybe even go back and listen to this one again, and I want you to listen to what she did and that is, and I'll just kind of refresh your memory if you, if you don't remember, she built that email list right now. Not everyone is going to come into brand creators Academy needing to build the email list right away. She did. And that's exactly what she focused on. Now. She's building out the content side and she's already, um, really taking her traffic to the next level.
57:06 Uh, and she's going to be building on that over time. She's got a great foundation now. And so what I want you to do really here is think about where you are right now in your brand building journey. And what do you need to focus on next? If you need help with that, then I encourage you to join us inside of brand creators Academy. If you're listening to this on July 6th or the week of July 6th, make sure that you go over to brand creators.com forward slash join, and you'll get more information there and you'll see if it's a good fit for you. If you're listening to this after the fact, well, you might just want to go to brand creators.com forward slash checklist, and that will give you a free resource where you can kind of do a self audit on your own business or the niche that you're considering going into. So definitely make sure that you do that. All right, guys. So that's it. That's going to wrap it up as always remember, I'm here for you. I believe in you and I am rooting for you. You have to, you have to come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it. Proud. Take action. Have an awesome, amazing day. I'll see you right back here. The next episode now let's rock your brand.
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