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This Ecommerce Company Has A Netflix Show! (w/ BattlBox)

This Ecommerce Company Has A Netflix Show! (w/ BattlBox)

by Josh Coffy

4 weeks ago

Dive into the captivating journey of John Roman, CEO of BattlBox, as he reveals the intricacies of creating an engaged community for a booming subscription box. Discover how passion combined with savvy marketing can lead to exclusive Netflix deals and audacious challenges. Learn firsthand why fostering an exclusive, tight-knit community can be the key differentiator for subscription box businesses.

Transcript from video:

you did a hundred thousand dollar tank
challenge could you describe to
everybody like what it was like how did
that idea even what it was how'd the
idea spawn and what the experience was
like we put you in a tank you aimed you
got out you fired it at a Target
downrange and uh the goal was if you hit
the target
we were gonna give you a hundred
thousand dollars
three two one
everybody I have John Roman with
battlbox here he's the CEO of battlbox
which you know what's interesting is
John was a CEO of battlbox group that
consisted of battlbox carnivore club
and was it won low win low and and which
was a 30 million dollar e-commerce
subscription portfolio but it was
acquired in
2021 but then like Arnold Schwarzenegger
John's over here and he's like I'll be
back and John goes on to buy back battle
box in April of 2023 wow that's pretty
that's pretty recent here took it
private and he's now the CEO of battle
Brands which owns battle box battlbox
has its own TV show I had a TV show on
Netflix called Southern survival I
believe it was 2020 that you guys had
that out and today he is our guest of
honor so John thanks for the time man
thanks for being here yeah Josh thanks
so much for having me I'm excited to uh
to be on here yeah so so I have and I
told you this earlier but like I um I
was introduced to you by Nathan with
pipsticks with Pip sticks if anyone
hasn't listened to that episode it's a
great episode with NASA with Nathan from
pipsticks go listen it's like episode
59. just don't quote me it's like 50
something uh go listen to it really
really good and so Nathan's like if you
haven't had John you have to have John
on and then we finally got you on I know
you're a really busy guy and so we got
you on here and uh and then I started
telling people in our community that we
were gonna I was gonna have you on I was
very excited about it because I'm an
outdoorsy guy I love survival stuff I
love we're we're about to go on a
two-week trip out to uh out west here in
a month and I started telling everyone
and then everyone that I talked to was
like John BattlBots great guy John
great guy John Gray guy and so now now
we're here and we're gonna see by the
end of this I'll give you the I'll give
you the the coffee stamp of approval man
yeah am I am I really a good guy or not
phone everybody yeah this whole time
well so I want to know let's kind of I'd
love to pull back to the beginning a
little bit like the the original day
like so what kind of prompted you to
start battle box and what kind of LED it
to where it is today and I know there's
a lot of things in that but what kind of
started it like what was that first
starting moment for you
sure so
um so they were originally there were
four of us that that were the original
Partners Founders co-founders
um one of them uh Daniel business
partner that is no longer involved um in
any capacity he uh was watching it's
kind of cool he was watching is at the
time fiancee get a Birchbox
um every every month in the mail and he
saw that you know that unboxing
experience that genuine experience of
excitement and emotion as you're going
through you know this Christmas every
month experience and
he wanted it he wanted to meet clarify
he wanted that feeling himself and also
an Outdoorsman and he went online
couldn't find anything and
um was like okay well if I can't find
one to buy maybe I should start one and
um that was that was really the moment
that that this all came together and it
came together quickly he um had a site
launched within a week
um within a couple weeks but early
February site launched um
I I bought into it uh to just to be
originally in a very hands-off advisory
um and uh
it just it just quickly quickly
exponentially rocket shipped to the moon
and um
time was was needed and things changed
and it was as simple as that we were
using at the time a platform called
crate Joy
um which was like super super easy just
to get started right like it
everything's there it gives you the
template you could have
um it can be a novice when it comes to
Ecom or website building or honestly
business and uh you can be up and
running and have a site live in in a
very short order so you know we we
outgrew them a while back but they were
Paramount to us you know getting to
Market immediately and so when was this
that that battlbox officially launched
so we launched in February 2015. okay
2015 and then was there a moment that it
just like like took off or was it just
um it was it was it was quick so in uh
in in the month of February we we ended
up selling about 200 subscriptions
and um in 2015 in in February 2015 the
first one so we were we were probably
launched for that month at about three
weeks of the month uh you know Feb uh in
February and and we picked up 200
um the First full month or month two
um we did a thousand new subscriptions
whoa and then yeah and then the third
third month I think we popped 12 1200
um so it was it was success
fairly quickly
you know not to discredit
um any of it but it was a very good idea
a very strong brand but it was also uh
you know timing's always part of it too
right so there was subscription box
craze that's probably one of the you
can't time the market like everybody
wanted a subscription box in in 2015.
and uh you take that you take a great
idea great brand you take a a product
that wasn't out there right which was
the reason it was created and then you
being able to acquire customers for five
dollars a piece on Facebook
wow five dollars what in the world yeah
that's fit for world yeah yeah that is
um so a lot of it is you know there's
you know you can argue do you create
your own lock
um there was definitely some some luck
luck in that it was definitely a
perfectly timed execution wow so so you
started this in 2015 it sounds like it
just started getting traction really
really fast
um and just for everyone can you
describe what battlbox is and what are
the boxes that you offer sure so so
battle box is an adventure and outdoor
outdoor brand
um and it's at its core and um we're a
little bit non-traditional in the sense
um we we really lead with two
um important factors and all of our
decisions all of our business decisions
all decisions
um take these two things in new
um account when making those decisions
and and one is community
and the other one is content
um which is a very non-traditional
approach you'll notice that
just when I describe battle box I didn't
say we're a subscription box
90 of our revenue is from the
subscription box we you you could
classify us with certainty as a
subscription box we do not position
um necessarily as a subscription box
we're we're a membership we're an
um and and I think that's part of part
of the the secret sauce is that that we
we we take Community
um very seriously and it's of the utmost
importance and by Leading with that by
putting out really cool content
it helps just with with the brand with
retention with experience it just
changes the dynamic and it it makes it
very very very less transactional
you know that reminds me of uh I don't
know if you've ever seen you've ever
seen founder uh about McDonald's and Ray
Kroc but it kind of reminds me great
movie yeah by the end you kind of it's
kind of like the social network with
Mark Zuckerberg it's like you kind of
get it but you also have this little
part you're like I kind of don't like
you a little bit it's kind of like
sleazy but I get it you know it's
logical so one thing that um McDonald's
or Ray Kroc always said was he's like
we're not in the burger business we're
in the real estate business and that's
part of the play that they had when they
franchise so you're like Hey we're on
the subscription box business we're in
the the community the content-driven
business the experience in that is
obviously funded and it's all together
but you're positioning and messaging of
that is is community and content I like
that that's really good uh hopefully I
hopefully if there's ever a movie about
me people don't view me that uneasy
feeling you come back you buy it you
take it over like that was never I'm
sure we'll get to that but that was
never part of the plan yeah okay so so
why don't we talk about that because
like you start in 2015 you got pretty
good traction five dollar CPAs I mean I
think anyone here would just fall over
in the seat if they were able to get
that today
um I don't even pay I pay more than that
for a lead so the fact that yeah don't
don't get me wrong we can't we don't get
that as a cap now yeah now I would
if that was possible
um yeah so really the so we saw that
immediate success
um we did have a little bit
I would say it was bleeding edge on
thought process back in 2015 I would say
it should be part of everyone's standard
go to market strategy in in 2023 but um
we off the Jump in February we we had
2015 we we had 30
um YouTubers
um that that we had
talk to identified had their mailing
address and we started off the Jump
sending them boxes
um you know I I think it works
um well for battlbox some Brands you
know it might not maybe 100 YouTube off
the Jump isn't the right answer maybe
it's a mix of reviewers and influencers
um but that's got to be part of your
initial initial go to market strategy
you have to get people talking about
about your brand in an organic genuine
like how important do you believe that
is because I will say most subscription
boxes that we work with and that I know
don't do that or they don't do it very
oh they don't do a much they don't
prioritize it like how important is that
skill 110. to me I'm I'm putting it up
there it's a nine really okay
um yeah it's you you want you want the
buzz and if
um you know you might not have when you
truly you know Define product Market fit
yeah you're still probably trying to
figure it out you might have to make
tweaks to your offering to make it work
um you're gonna get that feedback right
you're gonna get and it's double
feedback when when you're giving it to
influencers and reviewers because one if
if you're building any sort of
relationship with that individual
they're gonna give you feedback but but
more importantly when they drop their
content Their audience is going to give
feedback too so you're getting it from
both sides and and and to me that's just
very valuable and I think that should be
valuable listening to customers and
potential customers is is kind of key to
making sure your offering is what they
want I think I think Founders
um and maybe maybe it's honestly
cyclical where sometimes they do
sometimes they don't but I think
Founders a lot of times have a very bad
habit of thinking that they know exactly
what the consumer wants
um and that's a problem because you
don't you can think you do but but the
reality is the Line in the Sand is
constantly shifting based on a million
variables outside of your control like
right now with the economic climate
we're in you have you have to keep your
ear on the ground you have to be
speaking to to customers and getting
um and and that accomplishes that I
think I I'm I'm all on board with that
um I think that like you said as
Founders we we know everything about our
product we we think one thing about it
but a lot of times what people say and
truly believe it is different and then
we try to live in this bubble of like
perfect well why aren't we getting the
conversions that we want or why aren't
we getting getting uh why aren't we
getting the results we wanted the the
reviews that we want and you didn't you
have to look at it like sometimes you
just got an ugly baby and all you have
to it's okay I don't know if you can do
anything about ugly baby but sometimes
it's just ugly and you just you can't
see it for what it is but other people
outside are like dude your kid's not
that cute maybe like change his clothes
or something you know and then you got
to work a little bit maybe that's a bad
analogy no I I don't think it's a bad
energy I think it's a great analogy
um so we so so to finish that the
thought on that it was an interesting
um so in in month three month three we
saw it a little bit a month too but then
we saw it a lot in month three
um again a day to ourselves on 2015 we
kind of cringy to say we had a uh
pre-purchase survey
um you know arguably not great for for
conversion rate optimization but you
know we were naive in 2015 was a
different time and it was how did you
hear about us right and had The Usual
Suspects Facebook Twitter Instagram
Etc and um there was an other and you
could click other and you could type
something in and right away in the
second month we saw it but then we saw
it like actually game momentum and be
like like 20 of what people were filling
in and they were clicking either and
they were writing current
1776 and we're like what is that we
don't know what this is and we um
we end up doing a quick search we find
them on YouTube he's doing battle Box
reviews oh okay perfect one of the 30
boxes we're sending out is working
really well we look on our Google sheet
and um he's not in the list
so we do some additional research find
out his real name look him up
he's a paid customer in our top tier and
he is driving
traffic and equally or more important
conversions and um
we we reach out to him he is a full-time
career long for two decades HVAC guy and
at night time he shoots some video
content it's kind of his his passion
right it's his hobby it's his it's his
unwind from from a hard day at work and
uh we reach out to Brandon we're like
hey ma'am keep doing what you're doing
you don't have to pay for the Box
anymore we're just we're just gonna keep
setting it to you please please don't
stop and then a few months go by and
it's continuing we're getting we're
putting up a 2 000 new sub
um month and he's easily responsible for
a a few hundred and we're like wow
um yeah Brandon uh box is still free
we're also going to give you 500 a month
um and you know make sure you post it on
this day and this time and let us know
if you have any problems with the
products and uh the next conversation
was hey do you want to
um quit your career your job do this
full time we're gonna take it it's not
just going to be a monthly review like
we're gonna dive into content hard and
you know we'd love for you to be the
face of our brand and lead the way do
you want to move your uh wife and three
kids to Georgia and
he he obviously consulted with his wife
but then came back and said yes and and
that was that was a really Paramount
point because it was a very it's there's
in no Playbook does it say hey if you
have a really strong influencer creator
that is you know collabing with your
brand to like flip the script and bring
them on board as the face of the brand
that doesn't make any sense yeah
especially back back in 2016.
so go ahead I was gonna say so so he's
the big beard guy right yeah okay okay I
didn't know the name okay I didn't know
the name I've Just Seen Him in all of
your stuff okay he's a manly dude yeah

like like you see him in a video you you
can't help but but like him like he's
such a likable God and genuine yeah I
think I just watched the video of the
the tank and he had uh like Captain
America stuff on or something like that
which by the way we have to talk about
that once we get through you're leaving
the company we're going to come back to
that that's really cool uh yeah he was
not happy about
um uh middle of Texas uh a couple weeks
ago because it was hot was it uh was it
drive tanks was it domination oh it was
Drive tanks okay gotcha yeah I'm
um that's cool so and for anyone
listening um we're just gonna sneak peek
they did a hundred thousand dollars it
was it was a tank challenge where they
had to shoot a Target is that it yeah
for a hundred thousand if they hit it
yeah so we're gonna see we're gonna
tease all of you let's come back and
talk about that but let's keep on the
story here so as you're you're you're
you're kind of getting into this things
are taking off you bring this influencer
in 2021 you decided to sell like that's
a huge that's a huge decision
um I'd be scared to do it because I feel
like I would just I would regret it I
don't know like what was that experience
like for you and what prompted you to
sell so so we um
so I'll I'll try to Breeze through the
next couple of years to be cognizant of
time so 2016 I stepped away I was
actually had a had a career in in Sales
Management a B2B technology sales and I
would build sales teams not d2c
marketing by any means but once we saw
the momentum of of the business and you
know where we go into year two and our
our our projection our our run rate is
we're gonna do we're gonna do eight
figures if we if we stay on track
um so I I came in full time in in early
one of my first things to do was there
were four of us
um that were the four Partners one of
the the partners wasn't bringing any
value or doing really anything
um and I I won the uh the Short Straw
where I had to figure out how we were
gonna structure some kind of buyout to
to remove him so did that now there's
three of us myself Daniel who came up
with the idea in Patrick
um so the three of us fast forward bring
Brandon on full time Brandon parlay's
um success of our content and the face
and it's the it's the reason we got the
Netflix show
and and fast forwarding wait to a point
where where Daniel is
ready to be done ready ready to you know
I at our age I don't know if I guess you
technically could say retire he he's
just he's over it and and he's also not
really putting in the same amount of
effort that that maybe he did at one
point and we're we're just an
interesting spot at that point
um how do we do this do we do we buy him
out well that's not gonna really work
if we agreed internally that we wanted
at minimum 6X ebitda and that's tough
pill to swallow for Patrick and myself
to justify paying that if if we don't
have a a huge plan a double even if we
double in size we're likely looking at a
three-year payback which is risky and
how are we gonna get the money personal
guarantees like it's scary yeah and um
the alternative was find find a buyer
that we would view as a partner that
would allow us to continue to run the
ship that would
more more importantly just just be be
really a partner and and maybe bring
some value to us and we don't want to be
the smartest people in the room let's be
be surrounded by smarter people and
that's what we started to look for and
we we went down the whole Rabbit Hole of
we had some private Equity offers and
they couldn't give us one of which was a
better deal but they couldn't give us
the assurances that we were looking for
um that our team was going to stay
intact that they weren't just going to
treat us like a spreadsheet and uh we
ultimately found what we thought was
going to be a great partner and emerge
and um they were kind of
they said everything we we wanted to
hear and I think at the time it was it
was probably genuine they were they had
just gone public they were via SPAC and
they were stacking up Ecom Brands
um that were
direct to consumer in in in high growth
mode and they had this vision of all
these synergies they could bring
together and we were all being ran as
Independent Business units which checked
a box for us we were still in in control
of our destiny in theory
um so you sold and still worked at the
company then
correct okay gotcha okay okay so yeah so
so fast forward we sold and um Daniel
was able to immediately day one uh
retire and be done
um and Patrick and myself and um
Patrick's our CEO and then uh Richard
Thomas our CFO he stayed on two the
three of us stayed on and um Richard we
had brought on a few years prior in 2018
and he was also Paramount to our
business we we needed a a a a a smart
person in that cfoc and we did we didn't
we we just were in desperate need of it
for a bunch of reasons so yeah the three
of us stayed on and you know I think in
the in the deal it was 60 up front cash
which was great and the other 40 of the
deal was tied to uh three-year earn out
so myself Patrick and Richard were we
were going to be there be with battlbox
for for three years because of the uh
the the potential monetary uh reason to
stick around
and then in 20 so then just literally a
few months ago
you bought it back yeah
um it was never part of the plan
um okay no I want to kind of be a little
a little careful here with with with my
um I think it's public knowledge you you
look at what happened in the stock
market from
end of 2021 up up up through all of 2022

in the beginning of 2023. it's tough
it's tough to probably traded companies
um more importantly you look at specs
and to no fault of their own they could
have great you know business economics
you you look at the story of all specs
and they all lost 90 95 of their value
on the market and there's just there's
ramifications when when that happens
um and it created an opportunity
um for us that was that was truly
mutually beneficial where we could
Supply some cash
um that was that was you know needed
cash is always needed for for businesses
and and we were able to take our baby
so um that's a I love hearing really
unique like yours is a really unique
story because like the whole cell the
stay the buyback That's Unique you hire
an influencer like who does that the
timing of your of the start I mean
timing plays a role for sure but also
there are others that started in 2015
that didn't make it so there there is
intelligence at the table and smart
hard-working people don't want to
Discount that
um yeah you look at some of the you know
at times they were
who we looked up to and wanted to
replicate the the Birch boxes of of the
world and I mean Birchbox I guess is
technically or still around and it's
maybe going to make a rebound but it's
with its third owner right
um it's it wasn't a a fun fun Journey we
watched them go from a billion dollar
evaluation of bankruptcy wow so yeah so
we we've done some things right and I
think it's it's honestly just being a
little bit conservative with with our
small steady calculated just slow and
steady up to the right as opposed to
rocket ship we had rocket ship in the
beginning but
um it's tough to manage yeah so
um I'd love to talk about
um the Netflix experience so if you
could just break down what led to it and
what was the result of doing that
sure so so what led to it um we had
gotten pinged in
2018 so so shortly after Brandon came on
we just really doubled down with content
and all of a sudden we were doing
product reviews and funny videos and and
you know we probably five back star
content overnight with Brandon Brandon
in a full-time capacity so we um we had
been reached out to uh someone had seen
the brand in videos seen the battle box
videos uh Production Studio called High
Noon entertainment
um feathers in their cap are uh Cake
Boss and Fixer-Upper okay so two small
shows yeah two two small shows but but
both shows
um involved businesses which was which
was very interesting and appealing and
we had we had seen what Fixer-Upper you
know they they shot up into they're in
retail they're it's insane the growth
growth that they saw
um and Cake Boss's relevance right
there's a a I saw a vending machine last
time I was in Vegas where you could buy
slices of of of cake that that his team
has made which is weird vending machine
cake but I'm not yeah that's pretty
interesting I'd be scared
um so so they reached out and and they
said hey
um we want to shoot a Sizzle reel
um with you guys and and we of course
said what is a Sizzle reel
um because we don't know Hollywood terms
and talk and I from from my
understanding you you get a Sizzle reel
and from that you shop that to get money
for a pilot you then shoot the pilot and
then you get money for a full season and
that's typically the the the the way it
goes and sometimes that pilot will
actually air first
um before them before the the network
pulling the trigger and giving money for
the rest
we we we we said okay we'll we'll shoot
the sizzle reel and um it instantly went
to History Channel History Channel sat
on it for six months with very little
um communication and then eventually
after six seven months said hey
appreciate it but no we don't want it we
don't want to shoot we don't want to pay
for a pilot we don't we don't see see a
reason to do this so you know at that at
this point it's probably a total of 10
months of the journey and we're just
deflated it didn't work out like what a
shame and uh they're like no we're gonna
pitch it a Discovery Channel
okay so same thing Discovery Channel sat
on it for six months
didn't tell us yes or no finally said no
we're just gonna pass so we're like you
know getting close to a year and a half
into it rejection rejection we're
already kind of like tuning it out it's
not gonna happen and they're like we're
in in uh early 2019 they're like in
January they say hey we're gonna pitch
it to
to non-standard uh companies we're gonna
pitch it to Walmart which had a
streaming service I don't know if it's
around anymore
um I can't even think of what what it
was called but Walmart streaming service
and we're gonna pitch it in Netflix and
um they they pitch it in Netflix first
and Netflix says yes
um to clarify they they don't do pilots
they don't pay for Pilots they said no
we'll we'll do a season
and we want the right to Seven Seasons
you know we'll we'll cut a check and
we'll pay this much we'll pay the this
multi-millions of dollars towards budget
and we'll do it right and we'll do the
Netflix way but it's ours like we own it
it's it becomes a Netflix original
um so we're like sure and they send us a
uh 120 530 page agreement

um we look at it and it's it's in a
foreign language and we're like wow so
like we can't even take this to the the
normal lawyer we take stuff too so we
have to find an entertainment lawyer
find an entertainment lawyer
um spend hours and an embarrassing
amount of money and we Redline it all
exactly how it needs to be we feel
really good about this red line we send
it back to Netflix after uh after you
know about a week and a half and
um they reply back 10 minutes later and
apologies if we didn't set clear
expectations there's there's no
redlining this this is a Netflix
agreement if you want it sign it
and um
you know we we ended up signing it we
made we made some changes in in tweaks
in kind of our view
initially I was going to be a part of
the show
um I was not comfortable with with the
character that they that I was going to
be because it's reality TV at the end of
the day
um but also with with the commitment
like it was very clear it's a one
one-way agreement
um and some of this stuff just didn't
feel that warm and fuzzy 24-hour notice
to go anywhere domestically to promote
um with no choice like it just it was it
100 wasn't for me but we saw the value
in it so we so we did it
um fast forward filmed in 2019 came back
and and did uh some touch-ups in January
of 2020
and then radio Silence from Netflix we
don't hear anything at all
um we're trying to reach out because one
we want to know when is this going to
drop is it gonna drop
um do you have any guidance like what
kind of lift is this gonna give
um they would provide zero guidance we
were just viewed as um as Talent uh
which is a little disappointing but I
get it but also disappointing because at
the end of the day we're a business
first and the reality is there was no
case study on
um a business having a a show drop in in
the binge era where people watch entire
Seasons there was
um there was Duck Dynasty which was a
business and their duck calls blew up
and it became this Empire but it wasn't
Apples to Apples because it was on
traditional TV where there was a new
episode every week so the traffic and
the the the data from that is a little
flawed and you can't really extrapolate
easily because it was a very slow build
in their website traffic and success and
conversion rate and and all the stuff
that applies to Ecom so
we're just throwing Dart to the board
and we hoped that we had that we put
some new process in place so that we
didn't necessarily get
um you know death by death by inventory
and um
we we were ready we got word in April so
we're midst of the pandemic now perfect
timing lockdown for April for a show
um we had just gone through the uh the
Tiger King phenomenon so we're like oh
this is this is perfect maybe this will
be the next then you know the next Tiger
King which you know I don't know if you
want that but you do when if you're
talking about getting eyeballs in
traffic on the brand and um we premiered
July 4th weekend 2020.
what did it look like
um so leading up to that we were getting
about 125 000 unique visitors a month on
our site
um in the month of July we hit 1.2
million unique visitors
wow did your website crash at all or
anything like that no so saved it it
sustained it um so we use Shopify plus
we we spoke to them and
kind of told them hey this is coming on
the pipeline we're we're concerned about
about this and they um
assured us that we were in a cluster
that was similar to the ones that um uh

like Kylie Jenner are in were because
because that traffic is is normal
traffic for for some of those some of
these big big Brands like like Kylie
Jenner's um
I'm gonna
lip not Lip lip gloss whatever whatever
it is uh but so so we were fine we never
saw an issue with traffic
the traffic was interesting it obviously
is very hard to track because it's it's
not like there's a UTM parameter
um in the Netflix show in this
particular two years yeah we put our
triple whale North beam or high Rose uh
attribution UTM strip on all of these
with the links
yeah so exactly it's a little bit tough
because you saw you obviously saw a
increase in direct you saw a very large
increase in in Google unfortunately
Google organic and Google paid because
we were bidding on branded so of course
people don't understand that's an ad
still and click that those whoever was
managing your ads looked like a hero
that month I bet they're just guys were
running like 82 row as this month like
I'm great yeah Unstoppable yeah um that
entire year was was was
uh a fun year for for agencies because
especially for us because you had that
pandemic so you couldn't you weren't
losing anyway you were renting and
putting up those numbers when it comes
to you know CPA or return on ads Ben but
then we gave them in the midst of the
Ecom in the midst of the pandemic which
was giving the Ecom boom we then threw a
TV show in the mix so to your point like
I think
um I could teach my chihuahua how to how
to do do some ads yeah 2020 plus Netflix
yeah yeah that's great um yeah so they
didn't all behave exactly the same way
um but but it did behave well so we we
did it was very more one-time purchase
Centric but we did see we did see our
subscriber base
um double double win in the in the three
months following
the uh the show drop and still to this
um you look at our our post purchase
survey of where did you first hear about
us we still get
um On Any Given month today this year
between 12 and 15
of of traffic of new new customer
signups say they first heard about us on
the TV show so it's very long in the
tooth when it comes to
um we're still we're still feeling it
we're two years past that and you're
still feeling that's pretty so that
that's a
oh yeah 2020 not 2021. that's pretty
impressive that's that's neat so so 2020
had to have been a really good year for
you guys
2020 wise and that was you know you
um you can't time the market
um but but you know we were having the
the internal
figuring out Daniel wanted to retire
what do we do
um we're coming off of the pandemic we
were then had the Netflix show it was at
the end of it was right after that
around November 2020 when we decided
okay well
let's go through the process right let's
let's see what what it looks like to
sell this
um and hopefully to a partner that makes
sense and and that's what and it was
right then we we had um
I think we we had our first
conversations with emerge in January
2021 and by by March we had an Loi
signed and it just took from March to
October to close
um we we weren't doing audited
financials we we thought we were doing
and we were doing a great job with
financials but at the end of the day
um the whole publicly traded company
piece financials have to be very very
very specific in certain ways and
um the audit that we did while it didn't
hurt us or or change anything the amount
of time it took pushed the deal out as
long as it did
so one thing I mean one one thing that I
I just see I do see this trend and I
love that it comes back to those two
things you said you you always look at
and that's community and content and so
much of what we talked about has been
around heavily on that like especially
the content side of it so Netflix played
a role but then recently and I think you
just wrapped this up in July right you
did a hundred thousand dollar tank
challenge could you describe to
everybody like what it was like how did
that idea even what it was how'd the
idea spawn and what the experience was
like yeah so so because I watched the
video it's pretty cool yeah thank you
it's um so what it was is it was a
Golden Ticket
um model Willy Wonka style where there
were five golden tickets placed in
um the the July battle boxes that all
that all went out so our boxes go out in
a set window each month it's a drop
style surprise so everybody gets it
around the same time and if you had a
golden ticket we flew to uh San Antonio
um on a Wednesday that evening we had a
reception that Thursday morning you went
on a bus with us drove two hours out
into rural Texas to drive tanks and uh
we put you in a tank you aimed you got
out you fired it at a Target downrange
and the the goal was if you hit the
we were going to give you a hundred
thousand dollars
um unfortunately nobody won which is
kind of disappointing um we we genuinely
we wanted them someone to win right that
that checked so many boxes
um which in it also is though kind of
like a
next one we do like there just has to be
a winner like we can't yeah
chance yeah that kind of puts you in a
in an uncomfortable spot too because
like everyone's there you're like we
want to do this but you guys aren't
fluent in aiming and shooting tanks at
Targets so you all suck
yeah it's rough but it was okay like we
got to we got to see the you know five
battle box customers and you know so we
took um we had we had six sponsors for
the event they were all brands that had
been featured in battlbox previously so
again it was It was kind of cool because
you were seeing the the full full
ecosystem farm and table you were seeing
the vendors that make the products that
go in the Box us and then the end the
end user the consumer and everybody
interacting which was which was cool
um that part was was was really neat and

yeah so how it happened in January of
this year we went to a uh a show and our
CFO went past this drive tanks had a
booth at this show okay he grabbed the
shot it over to me in slack and was oh
was it was it the event in Vegas yeah
Shot Show Shot Show okay Shot Show yeah
yeah I know a lot of people that went to
that so yeah he sent it to me he's like
hey potential content idea and uh well
there's a giant bee right in front of my
face right now
um be very still I've been in this
situation three times nothing
I didn't even know what to do
um okay so he sent over don't show Fear
John they smell fear
um but he was like uh maybe this is a
Content idea like we could shoot some
tanks that'd be some cool content and um
around the same time he sent that we
were hearing Rumblings of battle boxes
hundredth boxes coming in July and our
customers in in our members only
Facebook group are all speculating
what's going to be in the box and it was
all unrealistic things things we'd love
to put in the box but like if we put
these things in the Box we would lose
money and go out of business like we
can't we can't spend 500 on a box that
we're selling for for 170 it's just
the the economics aren't there like even
if we could get that 500 item for 300
like we still can't put that item in a
170 box like we would lose too much
money so we knew we want to do something
special and just chatting through the
tank thing
um next thing we knew what if what if we
do a golden ticket and what if
um there's a Target and you know this
probably would fall under um
the equivalent of an insurance policy
like like a hole in one or half court
shock when the car and uh yeah it
quickly just came together and uh it was
cool my my favorite part was that
it's such a unique idea that everybody
especially marketers were like
what a great sales tool you are just
going to get all the customers from it
and the reality is we had been we had
set this up it was it was happening we
didn't announce it until the day
at the hours after on the day of our
customer renewal which meant
only our active customers uh yeah
announcing could qualify if you had if
you bought a box that day and sign up
for a subscription
you you weren't going to qualify and we
wanted we we were very strategic about
that because we wanted this to be a
surprise and Delight we wanted this to
be a of our attention to it we wanted
this to be a thank you to our customers
and we didn't want it to be a sales tool
because if it was a sales tool
um the message gets lost hmm
it's it's tough these these customers
that have been with us for years they
see it as a sales tool they
you know it's
it's probably just not as exciting
um still exciting so it was it was an
interesting move to do it as as not a
sales tool
see that's uh the marketer in me is just
like oh the amount of sales and new cuts
new cusses and uh renew people that
would have re-upped for that would have
gone up but I I have a that's a respect
like I have a matter of respect for that
the fact that you didn't do it when you
knew I can pull this lever and we can
make a lot more money but at the cost of
maybe lowering the perception of us and
and why we're doing it with our existing
reliable loyal customers that takes a
lot of uh guts like you had just a bag
of cash sitting on a table that you
could have taken but you're like I'm not
gonna take this I'm actually going to
kind of take this and give this to our
people that that deserves a lot of
admiration but the the reality is we're
and we're communicating this now like
this event now you know I think we we
literally dropped the video on Monday so
if this is super Super Fresh we're
already communicating explaining like
yes that's the first one we did
but there's more coming and there's more
coming soon
um so now people are gonna see that they
they missed it and if they want to
sign up now sure you know there's
there's a strong possibility that we're
going to do something
um bigger uh less game of chance more
ensuring somebody wins some money
and uh you know it I think it'll be
it'll it'll serve its purpose the the
customers I think were cognizant that we
didn't make it a sales tool and I think
they can appreciate that
um but I think it'll it'll end up
serving as a post sales tool because
people will see wow this this membership
this community is doing some really cool
stuff and I want to want to be a part of
it which is which which was the goal
so like speaking of community I know
that um what are some things that you do
to just Foster even more Community like
what are ways you're really bringing
people together I think this is
something that
um anyone listening should should really
pay attention because you guys have done
a great job of this from me and I'm on
the sidelines like I'm not in it and
there are probably so many things you're
doing but Community I believe is so
important and it's funny you say
community and content because for us in
our business we have we so we say
community content there's one other
thing we add coaching in there because
in our business we coach business owners
so so we're Community content coaching
and so we have ways we do but like what
are ways that you really get the
engagement maintain it like what is that
what does that look like to you when
you're building that and sustaining it
sure so
so something that we're just getting
into is is trying to be more cognizant
of of in person
um so what we're doing is you know in
SHOT show in January to
um to when we were in Texas a couple
weeks ago we're we're having
um events and I'll use the word event
very Loosely we know we're going to be
in a city on this on this date so we're
gonna share with with our our community
our email list our Facebook groups hey
this place this time if you're in the
city come hang out with us we'll buy you
a beer we'll buy you a soda
um and and that's
where we're really trying to put effort
previously and I think where we shine
the most is is on our our Facebook group
so when we launched in 2015 it was
called and it was a
Reddit style bulletin board
um it was very hard to manage and it
pained me but we we we converted it to a
Facebook group
um just because it's a lot easier to
can use some Automation in it and you
have to be an active subscriber to to be
to be in that group and um
you you know not everybody joins it we
through customer onboarding emails and
and texts and just app push automations
like and YouTube videos we're educating
that the group exists but not everybody
joins I think in the group right now we
have around maybe
82 8300 active active subscribers in
there so not not everybody's in there
but in that group
um we're we're interacting daily
um there there's not a day that goes by
where I don't I personally am not in
where I'm not interacting with someone
in that group I would say
on average in a week we probably have
six to eight team members battle box
employees that are in the group
um so you know random customer that just
signed up post something in this group
you're having multiple battle box
employees jump in
um it's a little
so it's super cool it really like
screams come in here it's definitely a
double-edged sword because I get tagged
in a lot of stuff in my personal account
that yeah that is not good right yeah
you made a mistake whether we did or not
perceptions reality a customer is
calling me out on on something so it's
it's it is rough and you have to have a
a really thick shell to do it
um but then we have a lot of like
regular cadences so Megan who uh she's
our marketing coordinator once a week
every week she posts a members only
giveaway where we're sending out some
actual gear some T-shirts maybe some
swag something
and and the ask to enter is is always
very you know low effort
um drop a comment below about this or
you know send us a picture of the last
time you used your battle box gear which
obviously serves ugc purposes as well
but it's a it's a very easy ask and you
know we're giving away and providing
additional value to to the customers and
then I would say myself once or twice a
month Brandon once or twice a month
Walter who leads marketing with us once
or twice a month we're also jumping in
on our own accounts and saying uh I'd
actually did it on on Tuesday I said hey
have some extra t-shirts
um I forget what the ask was but it was
drop a comment oh drop a comment below
of when you started when you joined
um and we had you know a few hundred
people come and pick six of them but
like little things like that the the
genuine interaction we um
you know we we procure a box each month
with six to eight products in the Box
we have and we communicate it very very
frequently if you want if you don't like
the box or if you want a certain item or
you think certain item should be in the
box we have a Google form sheet
um where active customers can submit
product ideas and when it makes it
through his procurement process if it
ends up in the Box in our our monthly
book that comes in the Box we call it
out this came from from from Charlie in
in Sioux Falls
um so it really is you know this
upcoming box I believe we have
I think we have two possibly three
almost half of the box was the ideas
came from our customers so it it it's
cool because it they can actually really
see the impact they're making and that
they are a part of it and it you know
it's not Ivory Tower decisions it's hey

we're not perfect we're humans just like
you like if you if you have an idea for
a better item in the box like
share with us so we all can have the
item and it's just a very different
um that I think Brands kind of get away
from but it also it plays into the the
the community piece yeah wow
um would you like would you would you
um because I'm gonna go talk to the
subscription box people later today and
um would you recommend doing that from
the beginning if you like did you do
that from day one have a private
Community Day one okay um and so we have
you know through through this
eight-year journey of battlebox we've
stood up a couple other brands we've
acquired a few Brands we've sold some
brands that we didn't buy back
um and we've also
we've had brands that we started and
sold and then we had brands that we
started that that failed we we had to
shut down and it's because especially
with some of the brands we acquired
trying to add this into the mix
it's tough it doesn't feel natural
um I feel when you launch with it you
can still do it right but it's like um
being able to start with it just truly
ensures Us in the DNA
and when you try to add it after you
know you're trying to clone at that
point and and separate DNA from RNA and
it's like you know it's not doesn't
sound that easy I think you can execute
it but it's probably you know 10x work
to execute it how how it can be executed
if you were to just
start it from inception
you know I think the uh I'm sure
somebody listening is going to have the
thought of like well but I'm only going
to have at the beginning 22 people in
there or it's gonna be like 112 people
in there and it's gonna be a small
amount and there's like maybe this ego
in the back of their mind that's like
telling them like oh that's too small
that's not insignificant
um what would you say to someone that's
thinking that if you can have if you can
have 22 people that are genuinely fans
of the brand and want to be a part of
the community they're the infrastructure
right like they're they're gonna if you
if you cultivate that relationship
correctly they're all gonna find five
people each right and then they're gonna
be pillars in the community of that that
are looked looked upon and they'll be
your moderators when you need them and
like like those are the seats like the
22 is perfect like I'd love to start
with 22 because if all 22 are like
into the brand and want to be a part of
this and help you build it like that's
that's good I would uh I'll just briefly
share our journey so we have a Facebook
group we have like I don't know like 42
4300 people in there now when we started
it was slow and now it's it's just picks
up and uh you have those people that are
the die hards that they will answer the
questions and everybody's asking for you
and they will defend you so like if you
I don't know if you guys ever use the
everyone tag in your Facebook group but
if you use we use it once a week we're
very we use it very rare we haven't used
it before wear a window so we use a once
ours is a free group so we love you one
for free so they're not if there was
customers maybe it'll be a little
different but they're not I'm like
you're here for free I go live so I'm
gonna live stream in the studio later
today you get a lot of free stuff I can
tag you once a week so we'll do it and
we'll tag everyone when we drop the
podcast so when this podcast releases
everybody's gonna get tagged in the
group and we say hey we take your your
stuff seriously we will only tag you on
good stuff one time per week and uh
you'll have something like occasionally
you'll have one or two people every week
just comment like
at everyone tag is the fastest way to uh
to make me leave a group and then you'll
have like 15 other people hop in there
and be like don't let the door hit you
on your way out or they'll hop in there
like I'm so glad you tagged me or I
wouldn't have seen that like you'll see
people come and defend you they're the
die hards
um so I those are your people yeah those
are your people those are so
um last question here what is what are
you focusing on next because I know you
just well you've been in the business
the whole time but like what's the next
big push you wrapped up this hundred
thousand dollar tank challenge like
what's the next big push for battle box
um so
ironically we had uh we had our
quarterly board meeting yesterday
um all day
um new first board meeting of this you
know technically new entity
um and you know some of the people on
the board you know we didn't know prior
um and we were we were chatting about it
and for me what what's I there's a

couple easy answers
um we're gonna you know try to get into
um a lot of like
um next steps for growth but then I
think about
you know
if we were going to be a a a a
trendsetter or Blazer like we have to
look a little bit at things differently
so right now and and I could talk to you
a year from now and and it might not be
the right answer but but I I like it and
I want to try it is we're going to do
another event as quickly as we can
um and we're gonna we're gonna one-up
the tank thing we I don't know if it'll
be as cool as the tank thing because
that's like that's pretty sweet pretty
sweet right but like we're gonna do
something that's going to involve more
customers and we're going to give we're
going to ensure guarantee that money's
being given away and
um we're gonna also make sure we include
the the full Farm to Table where it's
going to be our vendors sponsors us
customers we might try to figure out a
way to bring maybe additional customers
that are necessary participating for the
the whatever the contest is and and I
think that's that's that's the play like
we are we ever going to get our our
Blended CPA
um down to zero right are we ever going
to not have to advertise no but if we
can really Time After Time double down
and double it down again on content and
and really just put cool cool stuff out
it's just gonna slowly over time bring
that Blended CPA down
um it's funny you know when when I
this journey in in the mid 20 teens we
were looking at and I even referenced it
earlier today we were looking at the
Birch boxes right like that's who we
want to emulate
um and in other businesses right
semi-com some just smart business people
some subscription and you know eight
years ago that was what we were trying
to say how do we you know we like that
they're doing this how do we take that
at this point I'm watching Mr Beast
videos I'm watching content creators
I'm trying for us at this point to
emulate and do the cool things that we
like from each of them which which is
wild to say
um that a business is looking at at
creators in that in that lens but you
look at what
they're doing the the Creator Community
versus businesses yes we're a business
yes we did a good job executing content
and community and and building it on top
of a business right
um but you look at them you look at the
I'll say his name again just because
it's the best example any listener is
going to know with Mr Beastie he built
this amazing content he figured out the
algorithms and you know he has all this
ridiculous growth and then he got into
businesses then he starts Mr Beast
Burger which didn't have a brick and
mortar at first and they had just
basically insured all these other brick
and mortars had these key ingredients
and you can open up Uber Eats or
doordash and you can order a Mr Beast
burger or he launched feastables and on
day of launch they're in every Walmart
Nationwide like crazy it that's right
you you tell me that I can get battlbox
product in every Walmart Nation why like
that's a that's a game changer even if
the margins aren't great like we could
want to figure it out if cash flow
allowed but it's like a dream and
he's launched both of those now and
there's some smaller versions
um uh milk boys with their full send
podcast where they've they have a
Seltzer line happy Dad that all of a
sudden is getting in all these places
all these content creators they built
the content they had the Fanatics right
the people that are jumping in on posts
you know protecting them and then they
drop the businesses and they were
instantly successful so it's almost like
a reverse engineered version of what we
did obviously they've all done it you
know exponentially better than we did
but it makes me think that that's the
play like I don't
I don't know if our our next acquisition
will be
will it will be a a brand or if we'll

um try to stand another brand up on on
top of a Creator I think we're just
we're looking at this all in a much
different lens now that it all started
we were always focused on content but
you know the rise of short form video
content I think really changed the
um quickly
so we're looking at everything in a in a
much different lens now
and it aligns it aligns with everything
that you guys believe community and then
heavy on the content
um I want to close with five so five
takeaways I have from this I'm gonna
read these off and I want you to add
anything to these after five takeaways I
have so anyone listening here's what
Josh Josh Coffee thinks uh number one
leverage influencers and reviewers uh
number two content creates brand we just
really dove into that with Mr Beast
number three
um be intentional about your community
they use a Facebook group consider what
that looks like for you I think a
Facebook group is free and easy number
four create a feedback loop with your
customers you even have your customers
help select products and you give them
props when they do and then number five
uh get a Netflix show it helps
which number five was like some kind of
knew how to replicate that one yeah yeah
just keep building the brand the content
the community the brand man you keep
doing that and you'll and I'll I'll also
give you one here's an idea
um oh and then you would add to that
anything you'd add to that no I think I
think you you nailed it and articulated
it better than I could have
um if you want an idea the next
challenge I would just have everyone go
to drive tanks and then have 15 people
put their hand on the tank and then the
last one to take their hand off is the
one that gets the hundred thousand
dollars see that's the Mr Beast way of
doing it yeah like very simplistic like
we over engineered it people are going
to be there they're gonna have fatigue
36 hours in and it's the most boring
thing to watch ever everyone just goes
home yeah but they edit it and make it
look make it look amazing and it gets
millions of views yeah well hey John
thank you for being on here
um everybody on behalf of John Roman
myself and Dylan counts our producer we
want to thank you for listening to the
e-commerce alley podcast if you're not
part of our free Facebook group go to group join it it's free
it's awesome tons of great stuff and
we'll see you in the next episode John's
gonna be in there heck yeah all right
we'll see you in the next episode