angel investing, business, character, confidence, connection, consumer product, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fear, finances, growth, learn, success
Adriaan thought he had it all—money, sweet bachelor pad, the “perfect” life. But something was missing in his life. After having a panic attack in front of 75 of his employees, he took a two-year sojourn to determine what he wanted to do with his life.
Ret had always been drawn to wild spaces. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, she wanted to pursue natural remedies instead of radiation. After learning about CBD and becoming frustrated with the lack of connection he felt to the brands selling it, he hit the open road and spoke with hemp farmers directly.
These two friends have different stories but purpose entwined them: they wanted to create a natural brand that helped people—that people could feel connected to.
Together, they created Ned, a natural remedies, direct-to-consumer company.
Discover the power of purpose, the benefit of focusing on one thing and doing it well, why the direct-to-consumer route was an unexpected but natural way forward for the company. Listen now.Read More →
That connection with nature is incredibly important to me. And I put myself in a place where I would be connected every day.
What is the message we want to put into the world?And what are the values that we want to stand for, you know, doing that before we even started the business and spent out first dollar. It made things so much easier because all of a sudden we had an Northstar.
Chris Graebe 0:21
Welcome to the startup camp Podcast where each week we’re going to bring you inspirational founders and angel investors. They’re going to give you the inside tips and tricks on how to build your business and become a successful angel investor. I’m talking about founders like Brendan Synott, a co creator and founder of bear naked granola, Eli Crane featured on Shark Tank for his company bottle breachers Rachael Cruz, the creator of the Rachael Cruz show, and founder and author Simon Sinek, who wrote the book Start With Why we bring you interviews from inside the world of angel investing, interviewing Scott Belsky Paul Foley, and Jeff Clavier. Just to name a few. It’s a fresh season. I’m your host, Chris Graebe and the startup camp podcast starts right now.
On today’s episode, you have a special treat. We have two founders. And these guys stories are different, but very similar. They talk about how they jumped into the world of business and entrepreneurship. And ultimately, both had massive breakdowns. I think we’ve all heard these stories, or maybe even walk through it ourselves. And so today you’re going to be hearing from the founders of Ned. It’s a natural remedies company, and it was all birthed out of the pain and experience of what they walk through. I’m talking about Adriaan Zimmerman and Ret Taylor. You’re also going to hear a pretty cool story of how Ret’s Mother actually got cancer and they fought it off with natural remedies. It’s a great story. These are great guys. You’re gonna love their company and they talk about also how podcasting, podcasting helped their company when they were in the red no money, the bank account, start to see massive success and explode. So here is Adrian and read the co founders of Ned.
Well, Hey guys, welcome to the show. We’re glad you’re here today.
Hey, likewise, thank you so much for having us.
Yeah, super honored to be here, Chris. You have a great show and amazing listeners. And it’s an honor for us to to to get in front of both of you.
Chris Graebe 2:52
Thanks. Well, I cannot wait to unpack the story of Ned and this amazing company that you guys are building something that I think is Very much needed and even just the messaging and the purpose behind what you’re doing is so, so important. I think it’s really important for our audience and the entrepreneurs to hear you guys have come together to build this. But before we get into Ned, your stories, both of your stories individually and collectively together are powerful. Just give us a quick understanding of who you guys are and how you got to where you are today. And I’ll let you guys figure out who wants to go first. Cool.
Well, I’m Adrian. I’m one half of Ned and, you know, I’m a, I’m an entrepreneur who’s failed his way to a moderate level of success. I started my career in venture capital, and then quickly jumped to the other side of the table and, you know, really, you know, have gone through a lot of experiences and a lot of that experience has come through failure and out of the ashes comes wisdom and comes learning come, you know, just better ideas for the next ones. So that’s, that’s me in a nutshell.
No, that’s the smallest nutshell I’ve ever heard you get.
Chris Graebe 4:04
Yeah, Adrian’s actually got an amazing journey which has really led to the his side of Ned. From my side. This is Ret Taylor. I’m the other part of Ned. I’ve lived and worked all over the world, Middle East, South America, New York, Miami, Boston, a lot of other places, but born in a tiny little town in the mountains of Wyoming, with 11 people in it. And living in these major cities around the world. I always gravitated toward the most natural places in them whether they were Central Park, or an abandoned lots where some, some crazy old weeds grow. I was always drawn to those wild spaces and about 15 years ago, I started wondering why and wondering why it was that When I went to those spaces, I just felt so much better while I was able to concentrate better and be happier and, and be more creative. So I’ve spent the last 10 plus years digging into that question and really trying to understand the science behind it and experimenting with it myself. And through that process, I really found my purpose which has led us to, to Ned and to what we do on a daily basis.
Chris Graebe 5:33
I love the word purpose. You know, we talked about it before we jumped on here that you guys went on this big, long journey in and out of the corporate world, doing startups traveling the world to really discover this passion of building company focus on natural remedies, really helping people win when it comes to their health when it comes and definitely it comes to the side of being on the natural side of things. And so, before we get there, I want to talk about your journey says you know, as well people listening who are entrepreneurs and you know, maybe some of them are even thinking I need to find a partner in this business. Both of you your paths are fairly similar. Talk a little bit of that about that the startup world, you’re in the corporate world you’re in where you kind of got came together said, All right, we’re done with that. We want to start building something different.
Yeah, well, it’s very fortunate that red Knight had, you know, similar but different journeys, and there was this convergence back in 2017. But for me, personally, I you know, I had cut my teeth really, in New York City, I was a founding partner of fairly popular men’s lifestyle media company out there called bro Bible. And, you know, we had started that as young guys just really focused on things we understood which is music, sports, party culture, and kind of creating a lifestyle brand that was very relatable and through that really learned a lot of lessons in entrepreneurship and had grown that business to about 15 million readers a month before we were acquired back in 2012. And, you know, that’s where I started to, you know, started to check off all these boxes I’d set out for myself in my 20s which is you know, make money and get reputation and you know, status if you will, and you know, a couple years into my earn out you know, I was making even more money and very much living the life I thought I wanted, which was my bachelor pad and it was, you know, my weekend getaways and it was, you know, shiny toys and hockey tickets and, and it was just like, you know, all this stuff that I had worked for thinking that this is what’s going to make me happy and I get here and I’m going to be good. But really came out the back end of it with this like deep feeling of discontent, and it was an emptiness, it was a loneliness it was this feeling of being stuck. And you know, all of a sudden realizing that like, you know, maybe this life isn’t actually what I want, but confronting that was pretty much impossible. I mean, it was like, I was so connected and attached to this identity that I didn’t have the tools to start unpacking that. So all I knew how to do is just suppress it. And I ended up making move out to the UK thinking like, okay, it’s the place, it’s not the person, I’ll just get out to the UK and I’ll start crushing it again. And quite the opposite happened. I got out there and after a quick honeymoon period there I started waking up with that same feeling of like, my life is not my own and time is just slipping away and, you know, again, continue to suppress it and about six months into that gig. It really was. There was just this erruption that happened to his breaking point. It was this moment where presenting in front of our entire company that I was in charge of about 75 employees. And, you know, pretty much as soon as I started this presentation, I just had a full on panic attack and my hands are shaking and my voice went and, you know, the next day I broke out in shingles, and I was all of a sudden, like broken as a as a human as an entrepreneur as a, you know, this, this person that I tried to create, and yeah, so really, there were two paths at that point, it was go see a shrink and get some Xanax and keep going. Or it was take a step away and actually figure out what’s behind this. And you know, I was very fortunate where I was in a position to do the ladder. And frankly, I got fired from that job. So it was really
good for you
in some, getting some some momentum to do so. But You know what, what transpired was what I thought might be two months of just getting away to turn into a two year sojourn just really getting altitude on my life and spending that time living out of the backpack and, you know, investing in parts of my life that I had left unexplored and, you know, traveling as writing and as taking photos and you know, getting back into the outdoors and engaging in these really awesome skills that I never understood it like chopping wood and gutting fish and you know, so the kind of short of it is I came out the back end of that trip with just a very clear understanding that of the everything I’d done in my time away. I could really kind of condense my ‘rehab’ for lack of a better term two to three things. One was just understanding how important the outdoors are to human spirit and Getting out into nature just really made me feel like a human again. Second, was really just gaining a deeper appreciation for simplicity, whether it’s literally just flipping out of a backpack with 10 belongings or doing things like chopping wood and in re engaging those very simple skills, and probably the most meaningful one to me was was understanding what human connection really was. And that really started with a much greater sense of self honesty, really being able to listen to what is what is it that this like, person inside wants, not what I think I want or should be trying to do. And that sense of self honesty led to honesty with other people. And honesty with other people led to moments of vulnerability and and connection and, and that was really the, you know, foundational understanding. I just gained weight in my life that real human connection is so powerful and it is like almost like what we’re all after it’s like love and connection and there was this very clear understanding that there was no other way to do my life and my business from from that point on,
Chris Graebe 12:20
Man What a powerful story. I think a couple pieces that I pulled from that is one you know you were just doing what you had seen done and what everyone was telling you was winning the the nice place the trips, you know, the money in the bank account, because that’s the thing that you had the panic attack it plenty of money in your bank account. That was not the thing that was sustaining you. And I think the thing that can be really tough and there’s probably some people listening that probably I know there are people listening right now going like, I feel crazy, like I look around, everyone’s going like, yeah, you’re doing it. You’re so successful way to go. Ignore that panic attack, you’ll be fine. You’re winning. And I think it sounds You know, your identity was obviously, like you talked about this discovery process was rafted all those things. And it’s so sad because that is what’s celebrated in our society when people are always looking at it as a marker for success and for winning. And one of the things I like to say is, I just don’t want to build a house that I don’t want to live in. And we find ourselves brick by brick board by board building this thing that everyone else tells us we’re supposed to build. And then we we end up with this house and go like, Oh my god, I do not want to live here. And then the deconstruction process is not an easy one. Thank goodness, you had two years where you got to kind of breathe and figure all that out. But some people do pop the Xanax because they just don’t have another way out. And I love that you are a shining example of that. Like it’s possible. You can come on either side still be successful, and aka having the life that you were born to live, which I think is super, super awesome. So thank you so much for sharing that Ret Let’s talk about your story, man. Do you have Xanax moment?
You know, I probably got pretty close. You know, my family were really good at just putting our heads down and grinding and, and persevering and you know, being Irish and tough and not talking about our feelings. Yeah, I really, really suppressed that I got damn good at it. And I think that that’s not something that anybody ought to be good at. So yeah, I did have a moment. I was in Saudi Arabia. I had brought my business there, lifelong, well, yeah, longtime dream of mine. I was doing extremely well. I was I brought my my furniture business there which had led into several other businesses where I was working with the royal family. I was also for some time, the largest supplier of military tents to the Middle East. That was random But…
Chris Graebe 15:00
A lot of those out there. So
there are a lot of military Arabia, I’m proud to say that a lot of them are mined and a lot of them since 2015 are American, which is a good thing. But my wife used to tell me that I used to wake wake her up at least once a month laughing in my sleep. And then, in 2014, after spending almost two years in Saudi Arabia, away from my wife and daughter, for the most part, I started waking up crying. And for the when it happened to me for the third time in about a month. I knew that that was Yeah, that was my Xanax moment. And I knew that I had to do something about it. It’s it didn’t it wasn’t like a sharp, alright, tomorrow, or I didn’t just snap out of it.
Chris Graebe 15:56
But if you had a wife and kid,you know it. Yeah. That’s it. adds a whole nother layer, like, Okay, I’m kind of freaking out. But I see these beautiful people that I’ve been trusted to like love and lead and give them food and shelter. So that’s a that’s a real thing, you know, for people. So I mean, obviously that’s, I mean, I’m sure that probably played partially into your decision as well.
Oh, absolutely. And like I said, I’m very good at suppressing things. But it was bubbling up and it was coming to the forefront. And it took about four months, but four months later, my family and I, we were together and we were living in Boulder, Colorado, which was, without a doubt the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, moving back to the mountains, moving back to a place with spirituality. To a place that’s embracing of Yeah, that’s nature connection, that spiritual connection has again been the best thing. I’ve ever done for myself. For one, it brought my family and I back together. But for another, it enabled me to truly find my purpose. Like I said at the beginning of the show, that connection with nature is incredibly important to me. And I put myself in a place where I would be connected every day. And that led to again, my discovery of my purpose, which I found at the bottom of canyon in the summer of 2015. To summer of 2016. After spending, doing an experiment for myself, spending seven weeks entirely outdoors, my wife and daughter they were back home and in my wife’s family’s place in the Netherlands for two months and I spent seven weeks just living out the back of my truck and I had a workstation that I could set up and connect anywhere from mountaintops to riverbeds and spend just all of that seven weeks outdoors and At the end of it, I was just firing on so many cylinders. I was living my best life. And I realized that my purpose is to help others do the same. And to do so through that connection with the natural world. So it was then that the sort of spark for Ned began and it took another two years to to ignite. But yeah, just so thrilled and grateful that it did. But it was all that journey that led to it.
Chris Graebe 18:32
I love it. I picture a dog with you out there in the woods. Tell me that you had like,
I’m really sorry to disappoint me.
Chris Graebe 18:44
Well, you know, you know, Adriaan’s over gutting fish… That’s cool, man. Well, I love both of your stories. And so let’s talk about the convergence. You found your purpose and here’s the thing that I want people to hear We all I think are on that journey to discovering our purpose, the thing that we were born and put on this planet to do. And then when we have flashes of it or moments of it, it’s very rare the individual that finally finds it and is able to step into it. So just for context for everybody, how old were you when you had that moment in your life?
Sure. I was 36. And, and it took quite a bit of time and and searching. And you’re, you’re right. It’s it is a rare thing for people to find their purpose. Not everyone does.
Chris Graebe 19:38
Yeah. It’s sad. Actually, that’s extremely sad. Because it is that’s a life I believe not well lived. And it breaks my heart when that happens.
I agree. And then what’s even just as sad if not sadder is people who do find their purpose, but don’t have the courage to pursue it. When you find your purpose. That’s a gift. And it’s something that you need to grasp and take, and you have a responsibility to all the other people who don’t have that gift to pursue your purpose. And it’s why in that two years from the time that I found it to the time that we began Ned together, I was living a very unhappy existence out of alignment. It was a very difficult time for me.
Chris Graebe 20:29
Yeah, I hope for everyone listening here. Look, look, it is a journey is a process to find that thing that you love and that you’re born to do. And so, if you’re in the midst of the journey, take heart because there is an opportunity for you to discover it. And when you do, generally speaking the world around you will not be pointing you to step out and take that risk and step into that purpose because they’re afraid and they’re actually not stepping into theirs. And so I love Ret that you did that. And I hope for everyone listening that that the journey is a part of the process and do not quit keep going. So speaking of the journey, it was talking about the convergence the meeting of the minds and when you two decided to come together in the world just there’s that cloud we all saw the smoke came and Ned was born.
Yeah, well, you know, one thing you know, that I was doing on my journey was was writing I was opening up very honestly about what I had gone through with burnout with panic attacks with this, these existential questions that had arisen and you know, Ret was one of the buddies who really took an interest you know, I got a lot of messages and notes and social media comments and you know, people acknowledging like you know, the honesty but but Ret really took a took a different level of interest and anytime I would pass back to the US sitive we pass through Colorado, and we would link up and we would go on hikes and it was at that point while I was still traveling that we kind of acknowledged that we should probably do something together at some point and, you know, read had no shortage of ideas. I was kind of like, back off like I’m still traveling, like I’m just trying to chill.
Oh, man, we’re just dating. We’re not all the way there. Yeah.
And, you know, it was it was in 2017 when you know, I kind of landed back in New York and read was kind of campaigning for me to move back to Colorado and and that’s where things picked up steam and I did eventually move out here after a road trip to the mountains. And yeah, and then Ret can fill in, fill in a gap between what happened from that moment to when I got in frantic phone call one afternoon? Ah,
yeah, yeah. Well, and I’m just so fortunate that, that Adriaan did decide to move back to Colorado and that he had found sort of the end of that chapter. And it ended in Colorado, because at the same time, you know, the reason I was like, I had all those ideas is I was it was at right after that moment where I had found my purpose, and I was wanting to figure a way into making that purpose to fulfilling it. And so, I was connecting with Adriaan and I had these ideas and, and he would walk me through them and, and give me homework and it was just brilliant. So, one of the, what I basically did was, I paired it down to wanting to have a product line, line of natural products that would help people reconnect with nature. Make them feel better and live better. And you know, we’re we’re here in Colorado, and we’re surrounded by amazing hemp farms and hemp farmers. And I had been buying CBD for my mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2014. And they caught it early and she was very fortunate in that regard. They wanted her to do chemo, and she decided against it, she decided, instead she would battle her cancer through nutrition, which was cool and all but it scared the shit out of me because she knew very little about that. And so I took it upon myself to go out and learn all I could about natural remedies and nutrition and how they intersect with cancer and and, and then my own desire to utilize them to just thrive and feel better in my own life. And CBD was one of the things that kept coming up over and over. And I bought product for her from the various companies at the time, and really just wasn’t able to find any sort of affinity for any of the brands. I didn’t know why they were in business. I didn’t understand what their purpose was, how they’re growing their hemp where they were farming. There were just so many questions. And I thought it would be interesting to answer those questions. And in the back of my mind, perhaps do so with the an eye towards starting a business that would address each of the questions that I as a consumer had. So again, my wife and daughter were in the Netherlands for a month and I spent a lot of that I spent the weekends, traveling country roads and meeting hemp farmers to the things I like doing most is it’s getting on open roads and and talking with people. So that was just a fun project for me. And I was I was pretty unimpressed with the farmers that were out. They’re they were all growing for quantity instead of quality. And it took an entire summer to finally find one who was the opposite who was all about quality and, and intention and, and providing medicine for people. And so once I finally did, I got super excited he told me about the best extraction facility in Colorado. I drove there almost directly and met with them and my excitement grew and that frantic phone call Adriaan mentioned that was me calling him the moment I walked out of their office. And I said, buddy, let’s I got an idea. Let’s do this. Let’s start a natural remedies company start with CBD, actually was Adriaan’s idea to to go beyond CBD and and push it outside of into natural remedies company. So that was that intersection of moments right there.
Chris Graebe 27:00
Love it I think two things two fun takeaways is every time your wife and daughter leave was out things are going down they got another one like I don’t know what’s gonna happen the world’s gonna change and then I also picture you like driving around and walking up to him farmers like hey can I talk to you know where the guys like I know I know guys like you I know but I love love that it all kind of came around and you found your found your farmer you found the right partner that you guys could could hook up with and begin this amazing journey. So give me the high the high level here you started you launched when your direct to consumer what are some things you’ve learned together because I know you had your business Ret and you know, you know Adriaan you were doing more of the online kind of fulfillment world so this was kind of a somewhat of a in your realm especially when it comes to like the tents and the furniture and some of that but But this is a very different world for both you guys. So I think you were dipping your toes in some water that neither one of you ever walk through before. So what were some things you learn kind of right off the bat?
Yeah, well, you know, I referenced failure before and failure was, you know, a good foundation to to starting this business because we had learned so many lessons through our respective failures and probably more on my end. But there are a few things that, you know, I really promote from a business perspective, really new, which is one, we need to focus on one thing that we can do really well. The second was, let’s start with that one thing, and then let’s just see how it goes. And let’s focus our energies on what’s working, rather than trying to fix what isn’t and try to drain resources and brainpower into fixing what isn’t working. And then the third was really just understanding that like, we really Need to surround ourselves with extraordinary people in order to make this successful, you know, we, you know can only do so much ourselves and, you know, our success is really you know, fully dependent on on the types of people that we surround ourselves with. You know that and then you know, Ret and I also really started with why, you know, we we climbed a mountain out to there tried to get stuck in a blizzard and had to turn around but you know, is this
Chris Graebe 29:33
Was your wife out of town Ret?
Now she’s in town for that one.
Chris Graebe 29:41
Yeah. See, there you go. That’s why
we didn’t make it. Yeah. So,
you know, so is on that little mountaineering adventure that we really set out to talk about all these things about why are we actually starting this business and what is it that we What is the message We want to put into the world and what are the values that we want to stand for? And, you know, doing that before we even started the business and spent our first dollar. It was it made things so much easier because all of a sudden, we had a Northstar. And at any Crossroads wherever there was a choice like, Okay, do we do it? The cheap, business efficient? And kind of, you know, let’s call it like the more business oriented decision, or traditional business oriented decision, or is it the right way to do it? All of a sudden, it’s like, we know our answer before we even have to ask the question. It’s like we always do it the right way. And a lot of the times it takes more time. It might cost more it does cost more. And, you know, but but setting those foundations out early. Has it allowed us To catch momentum very quickly, and also just have the humility to sit back and be like, okay, like we don’t know everything. So let’s start with a seed, let it sprout and then see if it’s growing this way or that way, and then, you know, kind of lean into that.
Chris Graebe 31:18
Hey there, we hope you’re enjoying this episode, we want to take a second and talk to you about what’s happening over at startupcamp.com. Guys, we are in the world of angel investing, we are helping the everyday man step past their fears and step into the world of angel investing. Once you had to have millions upon millions of dollars to be able to even think about the idea of being angel investor. Well, good news, the JOBS Act, open that all up. You can literally invest in a company and own a piece of that company. I’m not talking to shares I’m talking angel investing, where your returns could be exponential. And you can do it for as little as $100 we want to tell you all about it, head over to startupcamp.com/Angel, startupcamp.com/Angel and you can learn how you can get started angel investing today for as little as 100 bucks. Guys, we can’t wait. We’ll see you over startup camp. Let’s jump back into today’s episode.
Okay, well let’s that I love the approach on the start. I think it’s very strategic I think is very important. I think it’s some of the things that people don’t they go, alright, what can I do to make money? I want to do this I want to make money and it’s just like, oh man, you’re in trouble. So I love the approach. Let’s talk about some practical you wanted to be direct to consumer from the very beginning. You know, I imagine you didn’t show up with like a million followers on some social media channel somewhere and you just unleash the beast there. So what are some practical like early stage early step things you guys did to get the word out?
Yeah, well, honestly, we, we didn’t know that. We wanted to be direct to consumer, the beginning. We You know, I’m My salesman, and I envisioned walking into all these cool locations and selling them our products and but we pretty quickly realized that our efforts were far better spent on our direct consumer model. And we once we realized that it was a very quick pivot to focus entirely there. And that has made a massive difference, like Adriaan said, is it’s to focus. And if we were out trying to sell both online and into wholesale accounts, equally, it would not be a smart decision for us. So, again, you know, the, the practical elements here that, that we’re working with are again, just creating great products, doing so with the, you know, absolutely founded on and rooted in the principles that that we’ve established, and honestly that we’re still establishing But really, you know, just trying to focus on having a good solid foundation at this point.
Yeah, and you know, a little more speaking to kind of how we took our first steps, it was their baby steps. You know, we did our, quote unquote, soft launch back in April of 2018. And it was just a sense of like, okay, like, we created this product, let’s put it out into the world and see how it’s responded to. And, you know, of course, you put out to friends and family and literal email lists, and it was just a very slow burn, we’re, you know, doing a few thousand dollars a month, it wasn’t anything significant. And, you know, but what we started to learn is, is, you know, what matters to our customers. And, you know, there’s always that moment where you get your first order that’s like, I don’t recognize that name. And, you know, we’re literally looking at every single order because it’s like, everyone’s like, Whoa, God.
Chris Graebe 35:01
Time, right? It’s somebody else. Yeah. Your mom, your mom, his mom. stepmom.
Yeah, exactly. So, you know, and then that’s when we started having conversations like we started, you know, hearing from people and, you know, it might be a military veterans suffering from PTSD. Or it might be a girl who bought some CBD for her aunt who has Parkinson’s. And it was all of a sudden, when we started to understand like, how valuable those interactions were, that we were, really focus on, like, okay, we’re gonna have these two options like direct to consumer where we have that dialogue we, you know, are able to, you know, tell our story and be able to provide transparency and to be able to educate to these things or you put it into every single national roaster and coffee shop, you can where it’s like The educator might be someone who’s not necessarily qualified.
Yeah. And in, in, in this industry CBD.The difference between poor good and really good is vast. It’s an unregulated industry, which enables players to do the wrong thing at every turn, without consequence. So it’s difficult for us to sit on a shelf next to those some of those players and have somebody in that store say, you know, here’s a good product, here’s another good one. And here’s another good one. we’d much rather control that message. And really, that’s what, what it’s been all about. And, you know, but telling that message is so crucial to us. We go to some extreme expense, time and energy to create the absolute highest quality product we can. And it’s why I called Adriaan as soon as I put the farm and the extraction together because there needed to be a storytelling component, a brand building component, because we otherwise that great quality product would get lost among all the others. So it’s also when we hit our hockey stick, and started seeing real traction was when we started advertising on podcasts. And podcasts are such a wonderful platform because you guys tell stories, and you tell them with passion and with credibility, and you do so to an audience that is is, you know, on the edge of their seats, and so we have a really, truly a beautiful story of quality of people have passion and so that was a big thing. driver for us back. It was on month five, when we began to do so. And, and that first check that we wrote. It was basically everything we had. And it was a, you know, all chips on you
Chris Graebe 38:14
talking about for the podcast interview or the podcasts advertising?
Yeah. For advertisements. Yeah. Okay. And one it was everything for us one advertisement spot
just so it was a six week run of basically a pilot. But it was a big check for it was the biggest check we had written to date.
And at that point, we had taken a lot of feedback and all just like the learnings and invested quite a bit into the customer experience at that point and really felt like we were ready for primetime. And, you know, it was August 2018, that all of a sudden our bank account was in the red for the first time. And it was September it was right after Labor Day that those ad spots started to run and It was, it was one show, it was like, it was everything in and all of a sudden we we hit this hockey stick and really started to see how that impact and customer experience started to land. And from there it just turned into this kind of like blooming flower. And the hockey stick took shape and has continued for what is it over a year now?
Chris Graebe 39:30
Well, congratulations. I mean, you know, I think a lot of it, you know, obviously good job. You pick the right podcasts. Good job, you put some pieces in place, you did some heavy lifting and some work to get to that place where you were ready. I love It’s funny. Like, we feel like we’re ready for primetime because our bank account was red. It was time for primetime, baby. Usually when it’s time, right, you know, but I love your story because yeah, I mean, you guys are successful entrepreneurs, you, you know, you’ve, you’ve sold companies and all those sorts of things, but you weren’t immune to that risk and those big checks and those nervous feelings and all the things and you took your time to build, which you did. I mean, you ran around the world for a couple years. And so, there comes a point, you’re like, I gotta start making some money. Like, that’d be nice to do that again. And so, I love that your story is not just like, you know, we’re just everything we touch, just Midas gold, boom, here we go. So all that to say is you guys are still on the adventure. You’re in the throes of growing a company. What’s the next stage for you guys? What is it from like leadership perspective, a team around you? What are some of the maybe some of the shaky things are happening as you’re as you’re building this plane while you’re flying in the air?
Yeah, well, you’re catching us at a really good time. We’re on day three in our new office, which marks a pretty big transition for us. It’s also we’ve got a lot of newness coming, we’ve got new people, we’ve got a new website coming a new year, and perhaps a new operating system within our business at some point soon. So yeah, again, you’re catching us at a really good time.
Yeah, no, and I think, you know, our primary focus in this next phase, you know, on a, on a business level, it’s really been about culture, it’s been about instilling a culture within this business that you know, is is just naturally you know, kind of passed from person to person and so, so really building the the foundational pieces to that has been essential. You know, and it’s, it’s, it’s taken a lot of thought and reflection of what is the company we started, how has that evolved in What is the company now that we want to build moving forward. And what’s great is that North Stars are still the same, you know, but it’s now just a matter of building in the systems that allow everybody who walks in our doors, whether it’s our teammates, or vendors, all of a sudden can buy in to everything we’re building. And then on a on, you know, the commercial side of things like we’ve taken a lot of lessons in terms of, you know, what we’ve been able to deliver to our customers in terms of customer experience. You know, what we’ve been able to provide our teammates in terms of incentives and benefits and flexibility and, you know, a lot of the impact we’ve had with various initiatives we’ve undertaken with contributions we’ve made, portions of sales, you know, and then really supporting local independent You know, growers, farmers botanists to really kind of fulfill this quadruple bottom line that we really hope to, you know, it will be the way we run our business but hopefully can be a beacon for for others as well.
Chris Graebe 43:18
Yeah, I mean, there’s always that that moment in every company where you go, okay, sales are coming in the the, the crazy beginning, messy, like let’s try this. Let’s try that. And then the systems come in. You talk about building systems, you go, Okay, this is gonna choke out the Northstar. And so when you get to navigate those correctly, where culture stays in place, but systems help you operate the right people who are very gifted with the details can come in and make the ship moves smoothly. It’s a really neat thing when when you’re able to get through that little bit of that shake and come out on the other side. So I know you guys are right in the middle of all of it sounds like you got a good, good perspective on all of it, and so on. I just wanna say thank you guys for sharing your story. I mean, obviously, you shared more than just the company showed your personal journey. And I think it’s gonna help a ton of people who are listening to the show today. And so before we wrap up, I want to ask these three questions we asked in all the shows, and there’s two of us, so we got twice the goodness come at you. So goes like this, what’s a book that’s impacted your journey? If you’re gonna start a company today, knowing all you know what company would you start? And then lastly, entrepreneur hero and why so what’s a book for both you guys?
For me, it’s the nature fix by Florence Williams, who’s actually become a friend of mine. And it talks a lot about the connection that we have between really the power that we’re able to achieve once we reconnect with nature in a meaningful way. With again,
Chris Graebe 44:51
that was a podcast right? Without a pilot with a podcast.
She has been she’s been on some podcasts. But she’s a wonderful writer who originally wrote a piece for National Geographic. They want her to write about the connection with nature. And in writing that piece, she learned a lot about herself. But it’s a wonderful book that really shows in a very candid and kind of humorous way, what happens when we be what happens when we’re as disconnected as we are as a society, and then what we can do to fix that.
Cool. And for me, I would say it was 10%. happier by Dan Harris. It’s a It has nothing to do with business. It’s about meditation, and namely vipassana, but I was recommended that book by somebody I’d met up in the out in the Himalayas, and it was the thing that motivated me to actually kind of apply and dive into spirituality and And kind of a sense of, of self exploration and really motivated me to do a Vipassana in India which is a 10 day silent meditation. And it was that time all the time in my travels that it really you know, things started to take shape and compartmentalize and I really truly gained an understanding of the way I had been living my life and the way I would like to be living my life and so it was it was a life changing book and moment and think aloud. It kind of like first the doors open to this new way of thinking
Chris Graebe 46:39
nice all right company kind of in the middle of it, but what would ya on a percent
you like Bitcoin, I would do Bitcoin.
a pharmaceutical company that rapes the earth.
Chris Graebe 46:54
There you go. Yeah, you own both shares.
See you guys diversify right.
Chris Graebe 47:00
Unknown Speaker 47:01
No, it would be Ned 100%. I’m so happy when I walked in the door this morning, I let out of Whoo hoo. And I said, Let’s, let’s effin’ do this.
Unknown Speaker 47:12
Yeah. And it sounds like a cop out. But I have to say Ned too just because we’re, you know, we’re two years in, things are looking very good. And we’re in a great place, but there’s, you know, miles to go before we sleep as they say. And yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s where we’re all the focuses right now.
Chris Graebe 47:32
Love it. All right, entrepreneur hero and why?
I’m afraid I might steal Adriaan’s again but Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia just does it with so much integrity, purpose, mission and just authenticity to him. Really appreciate that about him and all that he succeeded in.
Yeah, so that’s one of them for sure. Another one for me would be Richard Branson, not for necessarily anything he’s done or kind of who he is. But I read one of his books is like losing my virginity or something like that way back in early days in my entrepreneurial journey, and he said something incredibly impactful in that book, which is basically just fessing up to the fact that he has no idea what the fuck he’s doing most days. And, you know, to that point in my life, it was like, I’d look up at people and be like, everybody knows what they’re doing except me. And, you know, just getting that sense of, yeah, nobody else knows what they’re doing either, is it was it just took the pressure off and just made, you know, operating entrepreneur that much easier, just knowing like, you know, as much as there is still a sense of like, you try to build some sort of, you know, sense of self like, just acknowledging the fact that Yeah, most days you You don’t know where you’re going to be doing. You don’t know what you’re doing.
Chris Graebe 49:05
Oh, I have zero clue. But it’s fine. I should show up every day and you walk through the door and say, whoo hoo, let’s go back. So I’m gonna take that play at the playbook. Well appreciate you guys. Where can people find you follow you buy a ton of your stuff. Give us all that good stuff.
Unknown Speaker 49:23
Yeah, so our website for Ned is helloned.com. That’s where you can shop. That’s where you can read, educate, learn. See everything that’s coming. If you want to follow us on Instagram, we’re @meetNed. And yeah, I mean, we’re we’re constantly evolving. So it’s, it’s an exciting journey and one that we invite everyone to join us on.
Chris Graebe 49:52
Love it. Well, thank you guys for jumping in here today. Everybody, go show some love to Ned. Get your natural remedies and start changing your life. Appreciate you guys. Thanks.
Appreciate you, Chris. Thank you.
Chris Graebe 50:12
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this episode. As always, we’re cheering you on over at startupcamp.com if you have not come to our website, you’ve got to come check it out. There’s so many exciting things happening there. And hey, look, if you’re ready to get started in the world of angel investing, or even just learn about it, all you have to do is go to startupcamp.com/angel startupcamp.com/Angel. We’ve got a ton of great resources and some free tools for you to learn more about it and know how you can get started today. You can get started for as little as $100. Guys, this is an opportunity The door is wide open. I’m inviting you to come join this journey with me and thousands of others who have stepped in the world of angel investing and who are changing their life. Don’t forget the website is startupcamp.com/Angel startupcamp.com/Angel Well that’s a wrap for this episode guys. We will catch you next time on the StartupCamp.com Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
This login is for those who have purchased any of the following courses:TAKE ME THERE!