Finding New Sales Avenues And Offers For Our Shirt Sleeve Solution Business [Update]
This is a follow up story for FLXCUF. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I am Rob Kessler—inventor of Million Dollar Collar and Co-founder of goTIELESS. We loved FLXCUF so much that we bought the company a few months ago. FLXCUF is a piece of elastic with a button and a hole that attaches to the sleeve of your dress shirt.
We haven’t started with FLXCUF other than restocking. That will happen this year.
So, when you wear a dress shirt with a contrast cuff, you can roll it once and keep it at your elbow. This gives a much cleaner casual appearance. We are looking forward to expanding the options and reach of FLXCUF in 2023.
We’ve worked with Jay for years and had a great relationship. Through our connections, we were able to significantly reduce his production costs so we were able to bring down the retail price of a pair of FLXCUF from $19.99 to just $9.99.
We think it is such a great accessory and we know if you like to fold your sleeves and keep them under control, you’re going to love FLXCUF.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
We’ve been going through a lot of changes with new ownership, manufacturing, and strategy, things were pretty flat in 2022, but that is going to change this year.
We’re talking to some big box retailers to make FLXCUF available in a much broader arena. This will go from a side hustle to a full-time gig this year. Although we aren’t overly tech-savvy, we’ve been exploring what ChatGPT can do and utilizing it to maximize our potential.
Solve a problem, make people’s life easier, and give them a reason to tell their friends.
We recently signed up a firm that will be getting us some national magazine attention so we can further let people know we exist. Next year we will be able to track our updates for you much better.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Messaging is always tough, especially with a new brand. Jay did a great job with laying the foundation, and now it is up to us to expand it. Our customers of goTIELESS and Million Dollar Collar are already deeply interested in the details that make the outfit, this is just a great extension of that.
We were so busy with our new shirts, we didn’t spend much time on FLXCUF but this year is off to a great start and we look to double down on what is working.
I recently hired a business coach to help make sense of everything I have on my plate, keep me organized, and push toward accountability and growth.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I’ve learned that I actually can have too much on my plate, but with a little organization and some discipline, I can handle anything that comes my way. Life is about solving problems and success in business is no different.
Being willing to say I need help is very empowering. It is also important to surround yourself with people that will support you. We’ve got an amazingly supportive family, but even more important are our friends.
I don’t spend too much time with people who aren’t genuinely excited about my victories as I am for theirs. Success is not a zero-sum game as most people act.
I’ve gotten used to making a list to keep me on track for my daily activities. Even blocking off time to ensure I don’t spend too much time on any one task. I have to get in, get it done, and move on. Having 3 businesses plus a side hustle and a wife, 2 dogs and a horse means there is always something to do.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
This year is all about setting the foundation for growth. We have a pretty clean slate with FLXCUF and just want to get as many people to try it as possible. Finding new sales avenues and offers will accomplish this.
We are always looking for new colors to add to the mix. The goal this year is to hit $10K/month by December. That would be a 5X expansion over last year.
5 years from now we will be the top-selling accessory up there with cuff links and pocket squares. A go-to item that every man should have at their disposal. If I’m not wearing a jacket I prefer to have my sleeves rolled, and this product was exactly what I was looking for to keep them from flopping all over the place.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
Going into these pitch meetings with massive big-box retailers means your pitch better be on point. There is no better book than the 3-Minute Rule which narrows down a pitch to be precise and informative.
Enough to get them to ask questions and want more information. WHAC - What is it, How does it work, Are you sure, Can you prove it?
It’s a pretty quick read but it is so helpful. It is easy to ramble on and talk about stuff that doesn’t matter. Stay on point, keep it to the WHAC Method and you’ll be much more successful in your pitches.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?
Keep going! If it was easy everyone would do it. If you are passionate about it this will be easier. If you do this for the right reasons, you’ll be fine. Focus on making people happy, and over providing value. Solve a problem, make their life easier, and give them a reason to tell their friends.
Find ways to make mundane processes easier. I am a big believer in automation. $1000/month in automation is a cheap employee. There are things you do day in and day out that are the same over and over. Whether is data entry, sales follow-up, or ordering, there are ways to make that process happen without much input from you.
This will save a lot of tie and allow you to work ON your business, instead of IN your business.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Not at the moment, but when we get the big order, it will all happen pretty quickly. Hopefully, our 3 companies will have a warehouse space later this year to house all of the inventory and manage sales/marketing/accounting duties.
I have been working from home for far too long, I need to be around people and get creative with other minds.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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