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Subscription Box Answers BattlBox's Rollercoaster Ride: Behind the Scenes with CEO John Roman

Subscription Box Answers BattlBox's Rollercoaster Ride: Behind the Scenes with CEO John Roman

by Liam Brennan

6 months ago


 

In a world where subscription boxes come and go, BattlBox has proven to be a resounding success. On today's episode, Liam has the privilege of sitting down with John Roman, the CEO behind BattlBox. Launched in 2015, BattlBox's journey from inception to the limelight is a rollercoaster tale of innovation, perseverance, and strategic thinking.

Transcript from audio:

Speaker 1: 

Welcome to Subscription Box Answers with your host, Liam Brennan. You're no rubbish, no crap. Straight to the point podcast with real, actionable tips, real strategies and insights from the industry which will help you start and grow your own successful subscription box business. You ask the question, you ask the questions, liam gives the answers. It's as simple as that.

Speaker 3: 

Hi everybody, and welcome to another episode of Subscription Box Answers. I hope you're having a really good day. On today's episode, we have the pleasure of speaking to John Roman, who's the co-founder and CEO of Battlbox. How are you, john Good? Good to see you again. Yeah, great to catch up with you. Thanks very much for agreeing to jump onto the show. You've been in this space for a long time, so I'm sure there's a lot of valuable information you can share with the listeners.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah, I hope so. That's the goal, right? Try to give everybody some tangible takeaways.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, definitely. I'm going to be a bit selfish on this episode because I've actually looked at your business for a long time and I've loved some of the stuff that you've been doing. I actually have a few questions I want to ask myself, and I hope the listeners get some value from it as well. First of all, Battlbox it's a monthly box packed with survival gear and outdoor gear. When did you start this business and what took you into this niche?

Speaker 2: 

Sure, we started in February 2015. Originally there were four of us, four partners. It wasn't my idea, it was actually just an investment I made. I still had a full-time job and I was going to give a little bit of time as a side hustle. Then it just, when it blew up quickly, had to just jump in the seat.

Speaker 3: 

You started around the same time. We started maybe a bit more. I think the landscape around subscription boxes back then was very different.

Speaker 2: 

Oh gosh, yeah. It was a totally different world. Subscription boxes were like the hot, sexy new thing. You combo that with Facebook where you could acquire customers for four or five bucks. It was a dream. It was. You can't time markets. If you launched in 2014, 2015, or 2016, you pretty much timed the subscription box market.

Speaker 3: 

Definitely. What would you do if you could go back in time with the information that you know? Now, going back then, what do you do? I always say I would have literally re-margaged the house. I would have done everything to pump as much money as I possibly could into marketing, especially during COVID. During those few months or that period around COVID, I would have just pumped everything in. Would you be the same?

Speaker 2: 

Exactly the same. I would have leveraged the home. Every credit card, every dollar I could get ahold of I would have dumped into advertising because in hindsight we just didn't know how good we had it back then, how easy it was and inexpensive it was to acquire customers. Anybody that would take my phone call I would have tried to borrow money from to put in this because it was a lot easier.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, that's the exact same with us. I always think about that too. We were reserved. We spent a lot more on advertising, but we could have spent a lot more. Pretty much we could have really pushed the ball there. We didn't spend a year enough. Same, yeah, I don't know. Hopefully the market switches back around again. I'm sure it will. I'm sure it will change back around again and there's still a lot of opportunity out there. Question for you, right? I was always interested in this. On your website you have four different options, four different subscription options. They range from 3499 plus shipping all the way up to 169 plus shipping. That's way more than we charge for our box. We're literally capping out at a upgrade. That's the extra toy around 30, around 30 a month. How does that work for you? That made a gigantic difference to your average revenue per user.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, it's changed the game for us. When we launched we were 100% certain that the Uber majority of our customers are going to be in that basic box. It's 35 now. It used to be 25. When we launched eight years ago we figured there'd be a couple in the higher tiers there might be a small amount that wanted to spend now 170, originally 150 for the Pro Plus.

Speaker 3: 

Complete opposite 45% of our base is in that 170 a month box almost half of our base Interesting the average user or the average revenue per user must be absolutely true to the roof.

Speaker 2: 

I think 142 was the AOV for our subscriptions last month.

Speaker 3: 

Wow, that's crazy. The average is across everything, so 28 Euro. We can go on slowly with add-ons and stuff, but we have never tried to end tonight that and doing like coming up with a really expensive product. We've talked about it incorporating like a mega chair subscription and stuff like that. I'm sure we will try something soon, but that's so interesting. In regards to churn, what's like the churn? Obviously you don't need to get into the exact figures right On the more expensive plans. Is the churn higher or lower?

Speaker 2: 

No, the more expensive plans, the churn is less. Those are the customers that have the discretionary income where they can go into that big box and they see the value in it. Those customers last longer. Obviously. Churn with them last longer. Churn is less. It's wild. Those are the ideal customers. We want Our churn average. I think last month we churned 12% of our base, which is it's not anything to hang your hat on, but it's also not horrible. I think it's probably down the fairway of of what you typically see. Do you agree? Do you see about?

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, no, 100%. And the term right for direct to like people if you're speaking to investors and sometimes we can't get their head around it and they're like can't they compare SaaS numbers? And so it's like it's a completely different. A totally different model yeah, Different, get customers quicker and cheaper, but we turn them quicker. But yeah, that's.

Speaker 2: 

So for the pro plus though, 8% 8%.

Speaker 3: 

So you're keeping them for 12 months on average with the pro plus. That is some lifetime value you're earning off those customers and I think you're in a very good spot and you're in a very good niche, especially with ad prices and stuff, because you're not really as exposed to them, because if you're actually generating that much lifetime value, you can afford to pay a bit more. You might actually get somebody signed up.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah. So I mean we're still reserve a little conservative with our advertising, but right now, when we can acquire a customer for $80 or less, we're scaling that campaign Definitely.

Speaker 3: 

And do you look deeply into your subscription cohorts? Because what we've been doing recently, what we've been doing for a long time, but really digging into it over the last few months in Busterbox, into our subscription cohorts, because obviously you can look at your lifetime value and you can look at your average revenue per user and all this information. But if you actually break it down in the cohorts you can really see what's happening with customers coming in a certain month. So if you're saying like, oh, you have a subscription payback period of three months but you've a lot of churning between, like month zero and month three, that's pushing back that payback period and it reads havoc with your cash flow pretty much, do you dig into a lot of that information as well?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, so we're really looking at cohorts. We even currently what we've been doing for the past. So we'll look at the monthly cohorts and we know your example was a really good one because typically we see a little bit larger fall off in after the third month, going into the fourth. So I think that's pretty I don't want to say pretty standard, but a lot of brands see that right. So, using that, we were able to identify that and we have a little surprise and delight that customers get after that third renewal just to entice them to continue the journey. But what we've had to do is because the advertising world has really changed in the last couple of years. We typically have to have it stinks. For years we didn't need this. We typically have to have an attractive introductory offer now to really get anything that we can really scale and we're trying all types of different introductory offers and what we're really doing now is we're tracking that coupon code cohort to really better understand what type of offers attract the most bad actors, that people that are just buying just to cancel and you're not profitable on them. They have no intent of sticking around. So just basically tracking the coupon code cohorts so we can better understand the types of offers that are profitable for us.

Speaker 3: 

I can definitely shed a bit of information on that. So I don't know if it would be relevant to your niche. But we've tested so many different offers probably about 50 different subscription offers and what we found is double the first box and really good. Sure, on double the first box because they actually have to pay full price for it too, they get double the amount of things. They're really excited around it. They stick Free gift we do like a free tap out camera and the first box where, like, we position it for a free camera to talk to your dog when you're at work. That works really well. Free splash pad works really well. The deeper you go into the discount route, probably the same for you. You're bringing in them by characters. You are just basically going to come in, rub the box, pretty much, come up with all of these excuses as to why you want the kinds of.

Speaker 2: 

I love hearing that cause it's spot on with us. So our best performing order right now was a BOGO offer, basically very, very similar. So we double the order. Whatever they're getting their first box, they get two of them. And then we were doing we've also had a lot of success with a free item. We were doing a free tent with a subscription and then and I think a lot of people see success with that with a lower cost but high perceived value, first item is definitely one that works. We did and this is a little unique to us because we do have four tiers but we did a introductory offer called level up, where for your first box, whatever tier you signed up for, we give you the higher tier, the tier above it, and we saw some success with that. But by far the buy one get one or the double it those that perform best for us.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, same with us and the cat can. For us anyway it's a bit higher on that, but well, like, the quality of customer that you get in is absolutely crazy. We're running something at the minute with a slight discount and a free gift, but not like a free box or any like really like 80% discount or anything, and that's pretty decent too. It's kind of like trying to walk a tightrope where you're like you have to get the cat not too high but the turn needs to be okay behind the tail. The funny thing is I actually spent the morning looking into sports illustrator, all the offers they were running like in the 80s and stuff. They were helping to attract them people and they're really, really clever Some of the offers they were doing and they were positioning them. And same with I think it was Columbia House where they had like the 12.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, 12 CDs or 12 cassettes? Yeah, 12 DVDs.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, absolutely. The mechanics behind it in the back end, how they made it work. I actually spent literally it's half or 10 to four, and now most of my day today looking into them. I woke up this morning and it was like we need to come up with some new offers. What the hell were them companies doing? Because they got to the drug companies? They were crushing it. Yeah, killing it, absolutely killing it. So it's right that we can learn from that. Well, yeah, interesting, looking back. One more question around this Do you have any upsells or add to box going on in the background?

Speaker 2: 

We do so. There's three times. We position an upsell or add on and we're working and we're gonna roll out. We're rolling out a fourth in the month of August, which we're excited about. So the first is, when they do that initial add to cart, we position them some products that we think they're gonna like One time capacity, but it gets added to the order. I'll jump fast forward to the third one, because the second one is could be a takeaway for some people. The third one, nothing special. It's a post-purchase upsell position and we test different items, but it's typically a popular item and it's 50% off what the normal price is and we already have their token. So when they add it it's just an additional charge on their card. They don't have to enter their information again. Jumping back to the second one, though, so we have on the second page of our checkout, where you're putting your billing information, shipping information, we have an add on there where they can add in a mystery box for $50 to their first order.

Speaker 3: 

I love that. That's a big ego idea, especially to clear stock and Sophia Exactly.

Speaker 2: 

Now here's the wild thing for that and to the listeners, we have other brands and we didn't see this good of a take rate, but for BattlBox we have a 39% take rate on that $50 upsell, which is just absolutely mind-blowing. It was something Chris George back when he had Gentleman's box, told me. He's like you gotta try this and I was like, wow. So those are the three. Obviously the in-cart on the second page of checkout is our most successful. We're going to add so we're working on a new customer dashboard and what we're going to, we're gonna have another premium item in a small quantity that when they're in their dashboard they're gonna be able to add that item to their upcoming box. Okay, so that'll be a pre-renewal, so that'll be a fourth way to kind of get that AOV up even further.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, I think add to box is going to be very important for this business model going forward. Back in the day, like a few years ago, I don't think many brands were really focusing on it that much, but now, yeah, it's pretty much essential to have some sort of process and price to sell more products. Did you ever think of doing a post purchase? Upsell to seller. 12 months prepaid subscription.

Speaker 2: 

No, but it's funny. Yeah, a couple people have mentioned that. Right, I think people are seeing success with that.

Speaker 3: 

Because, if you put it on the front end, obviously it's very expensive to acquire somebody on a 12-month pre-pay because not many people will make it in post-week to tell you they won't do it, but a small percentage will, and what we've seen is if you offer it to them in the post purchase, if you're like, hey, you've signed up, would you like to upgrade to 12 months and save 10% plus get a free toy in your first box, they do take it and it doesn't take a lot of people taking it for it to make a big impact on your cash flow.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, I mean to your point. I mean they're at the high point of the decision-making. They've made their purchase, they've joined your subscription, like they're in, so it is probably the most optimal time to offer it to them. I've also heard some people where they find the sweet spot after that for us, the post-third month, before the fourth month depth. They go right after that and it's the people that are still sticking around. In our case it would be people that have already renewed for the fourth month and they're going to them at that point and offering them a year.

Speaker 3: 

That's really, I haven't heard that now.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, it's interesting because those people, in theory, if your average, so our average across the board lifespan is right in between closer to seven months, but between six and seven months, average across all tiers, and with that example you're taking someone after the fourth renewal, positioning to them they haven't at the point where they're typically going to churn. So you could be extending your life on average Like you can move the needle with that. You could move it even if not only a small percentage takes to your point. Going 12 months extra doesn't take a lot to move the needle and you could move your average life from six months to seven quite easily.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, that's very clever. Definitely try to implement that, because we're always looking at all these hacks and tricks that you can do behind the scenes trying to share that. And you had a Netflix show as well. This is absolutely crazy, so they're incredible. This is mental. How did this come about?

Speaker 2: 

Man, you couldn't. It was a process, it was an experience. So we let's see 2020, I have to play this back in my head. So 2020, we had it launched, which means it was filmed in 2019, 2018. Okay, yeah. So at the end of 2017, a production studio reached out to us High noon entertainment. They had done a couple shows that had done really well Fixer Upper and Cake Boss so they had some shows that had gone global and they said, hey, we really like you guys, we wanna film Sizzle Real, which back in the day, you'd shoot the Sizzle Real and then you'd shop that to get money for a pilot, to then get money for a full season. And they shot a Sizzle Real. They took it to the History Channel. The History Channel sat on it for six months, finally said no. Then they took it to Discovery Channel. Discovery Channel sat on it for six months, finally said no. And then in the beginning of 2019, so we're probably at this point, almost a year and a half into it and we're just rejected. They pitched us this idea and just didn't pan out. They're like we're going to pitch it to Netflix and they pitched it to Netflix in early 2019, and Netflix says, yeah, but we don't do pilots, we'll go ahead, we'll do one season and we want the right to the next seven.

Speaker 3: 

That's insane.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, so.

Speaker 3: 

Are they the Holocies?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, we'll do the whole thing, we'll give you the budget for it, et cetera. Within a couple of weeks, they had a 130-page legal document to us. We're like what do we do? We went to an entertainment lawyer, spent an embarrassing amount of money to try to get him to go through with us. We redline it all. We send it back to Netflix immediately, like within five minutes of us sending it back, after we had spent days and hours working on this. They replied back and said we're sorry if we didn't set proper expectations. There's no edits, Take it or leave it. And we were like oh, okay, glad we just went through that fire drill hiring an expensive entertainment lawyer. So we accepted it at the beginning of a second half of 2019, they filmed. They came back in the beginning of 2020, filmed some missing pieces. Then they went completely radio silent on us, didn't know what was going on when it was gonna air. They weren't the best to work with from a business perspective Because they're so big. The people we're talking to are not the people that understand business, right? They're just looking at us as talent. Finally, I think in April, we got the heads up. It's gonna premiere July 4th weekend.

Speaker 3: 

And was this right in the middle of COVID?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah, so this is right during the pandemic, like the height of COVID.

Speaker 3: 

Perfect storm for you.

Speaker 2: 

Perfect storm, yeah, perfect, yeah, it was right. After the George Floyd incident, though, and because of that, Netflix had some concerns, because it was very patriotic show and they weren't 100% sure that was the proper tone for the current climate our country was in, so there was some concern there. They changed some of the I don't know what the word is, just I would call it like headers or banners, but like the art, I guess. For the show. They changed some of the art and brought it down a little bit, removed some American flags to fight that, but then they launched it and it was wild. We were getting about 150,000, 125,000 unique visitors in a month. In the month of July in 2020, we had 1.2 million unique visitors.

Speaker 3: 

So for the people listening, if I'm correct, the show was basically completely based around testing products from your box. Was that correct?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, it was literally testing items to determine if they're going to go in a battle box.

Speaker 3: 

That is insane, like the exposure that you get through, and like right in the middle of Calvary as well, when people are sitting at home, they're buying things, people are buying their money, they're buying things and they're watching it on the Netflix. It couldn't have actually worked out better.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, it was ideal. The only way it could have worked out better is if they gave us a season two, but they didn't.

Speaker 3: 

Now, what did they say at the end? That was just so.

Speaker 2: 

So it's interesting. So they have we talk about tracking, cohorts and analytics and data. They have a very cool North Star data point for them and it's Netflix original series, which is what ours was. They look at something called completion rate and they define completion rate as watching more than 90% of a season. So, with us having only eight episodes, in order to hit 90%, you would have had to start that eighth episode and got into it, which means you would have had to watch all eight episodes. You're not going to make it that far and not finish it. So that's the completion rate. Is this metric? And anything over 25% completion rate? So one out of four people that started finish it. Anything above 25% completion rate. Go, go, go. Second season, start filming. We're going. Anything below 20%. See you later. Thanks for playing. And then in between 20 and 25%, you're in this weird Netflix purgatory where they're not telling you no and they're definitely not telling you yes. You're just kind of there hanging out waiting for the chance, right, like they might say they might have a meeting tomorrow and say let's do another survival, outdoor adventure gear show. Let's look at what we have. Okay, well, we have that Battlbox show. Let's do a second season of that. So we're in this weird purgatory. I think we ended up at 23.8% completion rate, so we're right in the middle of it where they might give us, they might tap us and put us, put us in coach. But it's weird, it's like this they haven't broken up with us, but they definitely haven't scheduled a second date.

Speaker 3: 

Well, my fingers crossed that you get the second date, because, wow, like that is just mind blown, like that they'd actually pick you up and it's basically like an advertisement around your box for eight, eight, eight, eight, eight, it 100% is?

Speaker 2: 

I don't know. It's been three years. I think there might not be a second date coming.

Speaker 3: 

Maybe somebody else can pick it up.

Speaker 2: 

Who knows? So the cool thing is we pitched another show very similar, but it has to be different because Netflix has the rights to Southern survival, because it's their show technically. We pitched one to Amazon and we're waiting to hear back from them on it.

Speaker 3: 

I hope you get some good news. Definitely yeah, me too. Like you're obviously told you're going to be appearing on Netflix, how much notice would they actually give you again to say like the first or the seasons going up on this date?

Speaker 2: 

So they told us in it was in April. They gave us the heads up that it was likely going to be the July 4th weekend, July 4th weekend and then they didn't. We don't know what. We don't know and there was no case study of this. Like, there were some shows that sold products Duck Dynasty was one. They had these duck calls and the business blew up because of it. But it was traditional TV where there was a new episode every week. This was the first time like there was a business with a product that they sold that went into this. You know this binging, which was at a peak during the pandemic too, where, like, people were going to watch all the episodes at once if they liked it. So we knew the traffic we saw was going to be fast and right away and not a slow trial and all process. But, like forecasting was a nightmare. What, like? What are we, are they? How are these people going to behave? Are they going to convert at the same rate? Are they going to convert it half the rate? Are they going to stay on as long? Is their AOV going to be similar? Because we know that they're not targeted advertised customers, so they're not going to behave in the same way or in theory. So that was probably the biggest challenge was trying to make those decisions, and we needed and wanted some data from Netflix, just some high level data kind of help us on expectations, because this was launched global, it was on all Netflix, Every country had it, and you know, we just we needed some data to make the decision and they wouldn't give us any data.

Speaker 3: 

So how did you cope with that? How did you know, from a product standpoint, what kind of stuff to get in? Like you said, forecasting into the future. Will they churn, will they be great customers? What did you do? Like? Was it all on the fly?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, so it was. It was it was throwing some darts, but we put some, some new guard rolls in place to ensure we didn't get sideways. So the first thing we did was, because we didn't know how big the uptick was going to be, we implemented two things. The first one was your first box was was a set box and then we quickly built additional tech in where, as soon as we hit that point and we still use this process now is post purchase on your on the confirmation page. Thank you, you know, for joining Battlbox. Please choose your first box. And we have three options and we in real time. Those are dynamic. We can make them what they are based on inventory that we're trying to move or we have access, or that we want to send out. So with those two, we, we, we sided on the caution of overordering just so that we. But we knew we had a path and we went. We, you know we didn't, we knew we couldn't under order, so we overordered and then built those initial welcome box but then post purchase, pick your box to ensure we didn't get stuck on and have steel inventory. That way we had a path to get rid of all of it If, if we didn't hit the number we we thought we were going to.

Speaker 3: 

That's very clever. Now, obviously you don't need to share the exact numbers, but subscriber wise. If you got that much traffic, what was the conversion rate like? Was it like your normal conversion rate? Was there a lot of people spying and not buying, or did it just go up completely?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, so it. It was a lot, a lot different. We got a lot of subscribers for it. We doubled. We doubled our subscriber base in three weeks. Three weeks span, but they did not behave the same way. So conversion rate overall conversion rate was about half of our normal conversion rate and, instead of being about 90, 10, 90% subscription purchases, 10% one time it was about flip flopped. 90% of our purchases were one time products from that they saw on the show and 10% were subscriptions. But there was so much traffic, 10% subscriptions was still was still huge for us and doubled our base.

Speaker 3: 

That's amazing, that's really amazing.

Speaker 2: 

They also did not stick around at the same, at the same same rate, right, they just didn't didn't behave that. That 10% didn't behave the same way as a normal customer. They didn't stick around as long about half the half the lane.

Speaker 3: 

It's crazy when you get something like that in your business, we like nothing there. That's a great, but we're on Dragon's Den Sure Now we're near the scale that was but the jump that we got off that, where you don't actually have to pay Mark Zuckerberg to get these people signed up. It's really good, really really good. You'd love to be able to replicate it once a year or something. The difference up and make. But yeah, it's just one of them things. When opportunity comes like that, you just have to really make them out, do everything you can 100%. We were chatting before you jumped on and you're running a new initiative for your current subscribers for mission 100, a 100K tank event. The promotion video for this now is insane Really good production. Do you want to talk a bit about that, what the concept is behind it and why you're doing it?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, it's a perfect segue because this is our first go again at some high production content similar to the Netflix show. What we did is we call our monthly boxes missions. The first box we ever sent out was mission one. The second box was mission two. We were hitting our 100th mission and we knew we wanted to do something special. We put five golden tickets in the monthly boxes that month If you got a golden ticket. It was truly Willy Wonka style. We actually did this. We completed it last week. We flew those five golden ticket recipients to Texas. They met us in San Antonio, Texas. We also invited six of our vendors partners that we put in feature their items in the box, yeah and invited a bunch of other partners and vendors about 45 of us in total Met in San Antonio last week. We put everybody on a bus, drove about two hours in a rural Texas to this place called DriveTank. They have 22,000 acres, so just a massive, massive compound they have. And we took the five contestants, we put them all in. They got to literally take a World War II tank, shoot it at a target, downrange and if they hit the target we gave them $100,000.

Speaker 3: 

Wow, did they even hit the target?

Speaker 2: 

So the content drops. We're dropping it on Monday, Next Monday, July 31st.

Speaker 3: 

OK, I'll be tuned into that.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah.

Speaker 3: 

If anybody listening to the podcast, where can they find that YouTube?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah, so we'll drop the full length on YouTube. But to your point, we were interesting with how we announced this. We announced this the day a few hours after, on the day of our renewal.

Speaker 3: 

We saw that so it wasn't used as bait to get new people in which I immediately thought, when you shared it with me before I saw that it was like kind of a way you could run a whole promotion around that probably bring down the cat. What was the thought process around that?

Speaker 2: 

So, yeah, I think that the path of least resistance would have been using it as a new onboarding tool. We wanted to use it as a combination between surprise and delight, but it's churn reduction, it's a retention tool. We've been very clear that we're going to keep doing stuff like this. We're already planning the next event like this and it's going to be a thing where you've got to be an active subscriber to participate. I think next time we'll do. We likely won't do tanks, tank shooting again, but we'll do something cool, something that has production value, something where people were flying people somewhere and they can win a lot of cash. So it's purely retention. We wanted to thank our customers and by announcing it, the day of renewal, where new customers couldn't even participate, I think was the ultimate hey. When you take that line, it's really clear. Right, you're saying hey, we want to thank our existing.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, I love it. It's a really, really good strategy to keep people on board and say your members with the nature in, and so went absolutely crazy. I was looking at the comments on the YouTube video to promote it and people just seemed to be so excited with the prospect of this and so thankful that a company was actually thinking of their customers and doing something like this, so I'm sure you'll see some sort of drop in your turn.

Speaker 2: 

And that's the hope and our goal is. I don't think we'll get there immediately, but the goal would be to do three, four of these events every year. And it's interesting. We took what the budget for this event was going to be and we divided it up into one main sponsorship and five standard sponsorships and we sold those sponsorships to partners.

Speaker 3: 

Ragey Kever. So you never even came out with your bottom line that was.

Speaker 2: 

We weren't supposed to. We definitely went over budget, but this was our first time doing it.

Speaker 3: 

So, above and beyond, for the first time, make it.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, but not a lot above and beyond, but we definitely went a little bit over. But it is what it is it learnings for next time on how we budget.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, well, look, I wish you the best. I'll look with it. I'll definitely be tuned into that content and definitely let me know what kind of reduction you saw on your tour. I imagine it will. Like you said, it'll probably take a period of time to have your customers kind of trained that these things are coming, that these things happen. Right, we're going to cancel, but this is coming up in a couple of months and we're not going to cancel. But, yeah, very, very clever. Another thing and we're not going to jump into it into too much detail because you probably can't talk and enter in specifically your bell there or anything in much detail but a couple of years ago, I believe, I saw a press release on LinkedIn and it said you basically sold Battlbox. And I remember reading it and I was like fair play, that's really impressive, really, really happy to hear that, to see somebody basically sell after putting in a lot of work and scaring up the company. And then, I don't know, maybe a few months ago, six months ago it might have been, or maybe even a shorter period I saw it. You bought it back, you bought the company back. So do you want to talk a bit about that? Nothing too specific. It's probably signed NDAs or whatever, but what actually happened on a high level?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, that was not the plan to buy it back. So, yeah, so we sold in October 2021. It was that's when we closed it. It actually the process began at the end of 2020. So we sold right coming off of the Netflix show.

Speaker 3: 

Perfect time to say Very exciting. I remember you did a podcast on Eric's show, and for anybody who was the subscription box show, eric Muir was a granddad bringing the podcast Definitely chilling. Yeah, doing it anymore. 250 episodes there, though, and I remember listening to your episode and I was like that's so detailed about the whole process of actually selling. The e-commerce company was taking out some, so we have to be prepared when it comes to the time that we're looking to sell. And had you sold at that point, or were you in the middle?

Speaker 2: 

So we nobody's sold since then. We, we saw we, so we we started the process at the end of 2020. So the show had already launched. I think we had an L O I in place in February 2021, but we didn't actually close until October 2021. It was a process. They were publicly traded, so we had to go through a very intense audit and you know, we we brought a learnings on having audited financials and what that looks like, and it was. It took some time.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah. So I think it's really challenging to kind of get your books. Obviously, companies have their books, which are acceptable level to them, but when you're going out to get investment, we've obviously we've raised investments, we haven't sold the company, but yeah, it's a whole different ballgame, different.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, so, yeah. So we we had, we were acquired and that was supposed to be it. We were going to stick around for three years. There was a bonus and an earn out that we could, that we could achieve by sticking around for three years and making sure it transitioned correctly. You know, publicly traded companies, especially SPACs, in the last couple years with with the stock market, have really just had a tough time. You know the market's been been rough and that, and you know the price of price of cash right now has has gone up. Interest rates have gone really, really high. And it was a. It was a, it was a perfect storm. Where it was, it was just mutually beneficial for them them to sell the asset, get some, get some, get some cash and us to get the asset back. Who better, who better to run the company than the people that were already running it? So it was. It was not planned, but I was definitely, you know, thinking what's what's the next thing I'm going to do? And it was just. It was just a really good opportunity. We were able to buy it, you know, for significantly less than we had sold it for. So it was just, it was. It was an opportunity. We couldn't, we couldn't pass by.

Speaker 3: 

I think it's brilliant. I really, really think it's a brilliant story and I say for you I know you're working in the company anyway because you're trying to hit that earn-out period. You probably felt rejuvenated, did you, when you bought a back. It was like I have a back, it's mine now I full control over it. What's next? How can we get it bigger and better than ever? Yeah, so, your right-hand position will be 100% or than everything.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, 100% it was. It was definitely re-energizing, and you know, at the end of the day, when it when it's your baby, you and it's really your baby, and we had it back, like at that point, you know you get excited again. Right, You've got your kid back. I do know, though, that you know when we do, when we we we end up exiting again, and that could be, you know, five, six, seven years from now, right, I think, if we do, I think at that point, whatever the deal is, they've got to remove me pretty quickly, because now I've shown that I'm, like, emotionally attached to it. Yes, so I think, I think, like, whatever the deal is and you know, five, six, seven years, whatever I think they've they've got to remove me to to ensure I don't do this again, Because, clearly, clearly, I have an attachment.

Speaker 3: 

You can always come back. You're being a right-wing at home and the opportunity will come back to come back, and I have to. I have to go back when you it was first floated to you that you may be able to acquire it and bring it back. What was the first thing that went through your head, Was it? Oh, I don't know about that now. We've done it, or was it?

Speaker 2: 

So we, we, so I floated the idea to them, Okay, okay. So just, yeah, just going off of public knowledge, just stuff in the press releases and just tracking, you know, tracking the stock. Yeah, without even any, without any inside information, just public information. I I felt that it was an opportunity. So, you know, through TOS, it out there as an idea. It was immediately dismissed and a few days later they came back and said, hey, you know, is that, were you serious about that? And I said, absolutely, just because what I, what I floated, was a really good opportunity.

Speaker 3: 

There's so much opportunity out there at the minute and we were talking briefly about it before we actually jumped into this podcast. The stock market, particularly for direct to consumer companies, has taken a bit of a beatdown, especially like in the last couple of years, but especially in 2023 so far and but it won't always be like this. That's the thing. There's ups and downs, and if you can sustain yourself and actually survive and set up the business with proper structures and stuff when we're on the up again, which hopefully isn't too far away, you'll have such a better company 100% an, I agree.

Speaker 2: 

And you know what, even a merge that bought us that's probably their mindset too right Like this probably gave them getting rid of us as an asset and getting some cash, probably gave them what they needed to get through to the other side, because if you, if you, make it through to the other side, you're going to be in a really, really great spot.

Speaker 3: 

Oh you will, and you'll be a much better business operator too. That you're actually that, because when everything's going great, you that it doesn't really test you as much.

Speaker 2: 

Right, yeah, it's easy when everything's going great.

Speaker 3: 

It is you, really. You find out what you're made of when you're in a challenging situation. And so one more question before we finish up If you could give a new subscription box on, or even existing subscription box on, or one piece of advice, what would it be?

Speaker 2: 

I'd give two. So one is just go launch. I see so many times paralysis by analysis. You want everything to be perfect initially and the reality is just launch. Go know that. You know you might have missed the mark a little bit on on that initial launch and you can tweak it. Listen, listen to these prospecting, prospects and customers. Right, they're going to give you the feedback, they're going to give you the answers you need to adjust and make it the, you know, the better version of itself. But just just go ahead and launch, stop like holding off on it. The second piece of advice is purely from a jealousy standpoint and that's if, if I launched a subscription this is people that haven't launched yet. If I launched a subscription box today, it would be episodic in the sense that you know everybody would get box number one and your second box would, everybody would get box number two, and so on. Because I think, from a forecasting perspective, it's a lot easier to manage because you know you need to have and maybe it's episodic, maybe there's 12 boxes and that's your one or season one, and it's just easier, easier to manage at that point where you just everybody's going to get it, so you don't have to like. You know how much. How many are we going to get for the July box? How many do we need Right or the December box? This way it's, you know, box two, everybody's easy. We're getting box two. So inventory is less of an issue because you know if you, if you miss forecasts, inventory can creep up really, really, really quickly.

Speaker 3: 

It really is. And when you're getting bigger it can become a real problem. Because when you're getting, when you're smaller, like it might be a case, you might have a few suppliers and you're ringing them and you're like, oh, can we get whatever and look for 500 or the 1000 boxes. But when you're bigger and you have to order in containers of stuff, there can be problems if you miss forecast.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, you mean it's. It sucks all your cash.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, and it's just left sitting there. It's really not good. But, yeah, great, great piece of advice. So you're saying somewhere to maybe hunt a killer the way they have it set up, spot on. Yeah, yeah, okay. Yeah, that's never really thought about it like that, but definitely clever and much easier to forecast. So thanks very much for jumping on Always great catching up with you and I think our listeners will love this episode. So many gems that you dropped there. Thanks a lot. If somebody wants to reach out to you about anything, where can they find it?

Speaker 2: 

So I'm on all, all social media channels. I would say I'm most active on LinkedIn and and then online casecom is is my blog and it's an e-commerce blog. So we have we have guest. Guest writers are all the time. Liam is actually you're going to be the next guest article.

Speaker 3: 

Yeah, thanks for having me on. I can't wait to see that and I'll drop a link to that website in the shell notes and definitely check it out, and I've spent a good amount of time going through it. Really valuable information share them that some people will get a lot of value from it.

Speaker 2: 

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. I really, I really did enjoy this. The time flew by on this.

Speaker 3: 

It really did. Normally these episodes, I think, are a good bit shorter, but I actually I had some selfish questions I actually wanted to ask you. I can't wait until he comes on. I can't ask him some of this information, but definitely some things we're going to implement in Busterbox as well. So we'll be back next week at the exact same time and if you have a question, as always, join the free Facebook group subscriptionboxresourcescom, post it there and your question will be answered in the future episode. Thanks very much, have a great day. Bye, bye.