This is a follow up story for Million Dollar Collar. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 5 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I’m Rob Kessler, Inventor of Million Dollar Collar and Co-Founder of goTIELESS. Million Dollar Collar is the world’s first and only sewn-in placket stay to give much-needed structure to the front of any dress shirt. goTIELESS is our sister company featuring shirts that can be digitally printed with your logo built into the shirt, inside the collar band, cuff, and plackets. They are truly unique.
We are quickly approaching 500,000 units of Million Dollar Collar sold worldwide and are about to launch 2 additional products. Since the last time we spoke, we’ve sold just over 100,000 sets of MDC.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
We finally have found a great advertising guy and are seeing incredible month-over-month growth.
We have struggled for years to find the right ad sets to connect our product with the right people at the right time. Now we are seeing an amazing response to our efforts. I think people are excited to get out of isolation and back into society, so they are spending time and money on their appearance.
For men, dress shirts are the go-to item that makes them look “put together,” and we are seeing that in our sales. The options available for our clients to experience MDC is increasing, and we’re very excited about it. From our growing selection of branded shirts with MDC already installed to our VIP mail-in pack to our custom shirts.
We have recently been in talks to acquire one of the accessories we sell called FLXCUF, which makes it possible to roll your cuff once, so you can see the contrast and still keep it up by your elbow. They attach to any shirt and are amazing. We have 4 great colors and are working on some fun new options.
If you treat every customer like they are your mom/dad and you want to give them the best product, the best service, the best price you can, you will find an abundance of success.
We are also working on what I’m calling the “Ultimate Service Industry Shirt.” It has Million Dollar Collar already built-in from the factory, along with non-iron/stain-resistant fabric, and it comes in a few standard solid colors to start. I’m very excited about this option.
We have a big appearance coming out soon and will be followed by a pretty good PR blitz. As always, I am very active on Podcasts and have now done close to 80. It’s a great way for me to be me and share the product more informally. You can find most of them on the blog page of our website.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I like my plate FULL. I have been hesitant in recent years, and now I am just going full speed ahead with a lot of ideas. And, instead of relying on my partner, or anyone else, I have fully taken the reins again. I take full responsibility for the direction and success of the company, and it has proven to be a great decision so far.
Last year, we moved to Georgia. My wife is a badass stunt woman in the movies, and it turns out Atlanta is the Movie Making Capital of the World. We decided to move, and just 2 weeks later, we were out of California. What a great decision that has been. I love the change of pace and the 5 acres we have. The dogs get to dog all day and I enjoy the peace and quiet.
I recently tore my Achilles tendon, not recommended. That recovery has allowed me to work on my discipline. It is amazing what an injury can do to your psyche. I am back to walking, but I still have no strength in the leg, so I work on it daily. Looking forward to playing a little volleyball this summer and soccer again in the fall.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
I am excited to launch the new products and work with more companies like Citgo, Ramsey's Jewelers, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and the dozens of others we have already made amazing branded shirts for. I think my service industry shirt will be a game-changer which is exciting as well.
The plan is to continue to grow the brand and company channels. I have been listing MDC everywhere I can, and it is starting to pay off. One of these days, a big brand will pick up our technology because I am making so much noise in the industry it is going to be impossible for them to ignore. I love being a disruptor.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I have re-read a few of my favorites. 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic, 10X Rule by Grant Cardone, and The Richest Many in Babylon by George Samuel Clason, to name a few. These books have had the most impact on me personally and professionally, then you get into your day-to-day grind. It’s good to go back and get re-inspired. This gets back to the discipline.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Put the customer’s needs first. If you treat every customer like they are your mom/dad and you want to give them the best product, the best service, and the best price you can, you will find an abundance of success.
I do everything I can to make sure every client feels special and appreciated, all the way down to signing the packing slips and writing their name on them. Personal touches in a digital world go a long way.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are not hiring at the moment, but I will need an assistant sometime this year. I have so much on my plate, and I know I could be much more effective if I had a great personal assistant. I would want this person to be pretty close to full-time, I think. I don't know, I’ve never had an assistant before. But I am very excited about the prospect. I am nervous about the learning curve, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.
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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