This is a follow up story for Elliot Havok. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi! I’m Steven and I founded/co-founded several e-commerce companies. Elliot Havok and Dash Wallets, my first two companies, were started in 2012 during my undergraduate years at UCLA. It started as a side hustle that quickly grew into 7-figure businesses.
These companies were founded to merge quality craftsmanship and industrial design- all while having the parallel goal of bringing these products to market at an affordable price, eliminating middlemen. Over the years, I’ve partnered with other entrepreneurial creatives to create new companies and products to disrupt the market. The products range from men’s fashion accessories to outdoor gear and more recently in the booming industry of women’s beauty with Lash Galore. Lash Galore provides B2B supplies for eyelash extension artists and has reached 7-figure annual sales in only 18 months.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
It’s been a rather crazy year with some huge ups and downs. Dash Wallets was able to start 2020 with a quarter-million-dollar bang. We launched our 9th Dash Kickstarter project with our best-seller to date - BANDO 2.0
Luckily, the e-com business hasn’t taken a huge hit like some other industries like restaurants or travel. Though we saw a slight downtick during shutdowns as our products were mostly consumer discretionary, they were able to pick back up in Q4 with Black Friday as a huge sales event.
Spend your time polishing your skills or learning new skills that can be leveraged.
Interestingly enough, Lash Galore was able to continue growing through the pandemic. Julie, Lash Galore’s Co-Founder, is something of a social media God. Through super-targeted creative content, we were able to expand our reach/market from just the San Francisco Bay Area to international markets for beauty estheticians all over the world. The basis of the creative content, like my other companies, was to provide value where customers could not find it. This came in the form of educational and informative posts as well as improving the products that are used in a day-to-day professional setting.
The goal was not just to get more “followers” like other brands. It was to create a community that empowers young women through education with social media, our online academy, in-person training, and ultimately our ambassador program. This fosters a recurring brand loyalty that customers actually believe in and want to promote organically. With Lash Galore, we truly believe knowledge is power for our community.
As a result, we’ve seen an increase for most metrics- nearly a 50% increase in sessions YoY as well as a 27% boost in recurring customers.
That means more customers are resonating with the brand, spending more time with us, as well us coming back a second time to purchase again.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
With all the sh-t hitting the fan, I’m sure I’m not alone when saying this is the year of Murphy’s Law - anything that can happen, will happen. Logistics, transport, & manufacturing were all pretty much f-cked across the board. Even Apple had Foxconn delays/issues considering they have a production vertical. But, our timelines weren’t actually late because I was taught to always account for 3x more time and 3x more money when launching/fulfilling products.
However, not everything is in your control and it was a tough pill to swallow when a majority of recent investments in the real estate and financial markets were crushed once the pandemic hit. Personally, this year taught me that cash is still always king. Making investments of time or money into things that aren’t your expertise is always a risk. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. There’s no easy way for your “money” to make money. Spend your time polishing your skills or learning new skills that can be leveraged. And there’s always a new wave, don’t chase old ones.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
For most of the brands, the plan for 2021 is to come back harder than hell. Launch new products quarterly and reinvest into beating out the competition through a value proposition.
For Lash Galore, the newest baby, it is to establish a stronghold in the international markets. I can’t disclose actual plans for this, but we hope to be more readily available to beauty artists in the EU, AU, and CA markets by mid-2021.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Do/Disrupt by Mark Shayler - my bedside read for quick reminders and mental exercises to do disruptive things.
The One Thing by Gary Keller - A longer read for those struggling to focus everything into one thing to get extraordinary results. For the “jack of all trades” and those who have too many interests to choose from.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
As mentioned earlier - There’s no easy way for your “money” to make money.
- Spend your time polishing your skills or learning new skills that can be leveraged.
- There’s always a new wave, don’t chase old ones.
Falling for get-rich-quick courses on YouTube ads are some of the most annoying things I see. Sure, that person did it one way, but you’re now following a herd of sheep to do the same thing. Odds are, it won’t work the same or you’re probably already late to the party. Do it DIFFERENT. Don’t be another white-labeler on Amazon FBA or another drop shipper. Create and build brands for your product or service. Offer a real value proposition. Innovate through problem-solving to skip the competition.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Elliot Havok, @elliothavok
- Dash Wallets, @dashwallets
- Slughaus, @slughausco
- Lash Galore, @lashgaloresf
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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