Transcription Episode 29 Ledge Lounger
Greg Villafana: 1.00 Hey, what's up everybody? Thank you so much for joining us today on the Pool Chaser's Podcast. Our mission is to help educate and inspire in the form of a podcast. Today we have a very, very special guest. Founder and CEO of Ledge Lounger, Christopher Anderson. Thank you so much for joining us today, Chris.
Chris Anderson: Hey, guys. Thank you all for having me. I think what you all are doing is amazing and it's a pleasure to be here.
Greg Villafana: Awesome. Thank you so much. We know you're a really busy guy so we're just going to jump right into this. Can you explain to us, and to our listeners what Ledge Lounger is exactly?
Chris Anderson: Absolutely. Thanks for the question. You know, what Ledge Lounger is today and what it might have been three years ago is two different things so I'd just like to kind of make that parallel. We originally, when the company was founded, we were certainly the Ledge Lounger, we were the [impulchaise 00:00:51] made to go in the pool in the shallow area, in the tanning ledge. Today, what Ledge Lounger is more or less an outdoor furniture company specializing in all things outdoors around the pool, the patio. You're going to continue to see our line diversify for the backyard, front yard, patio furniture not just for the residential market but also for the commercial market, hospitality, multi-family. That's our path forward.
Greg Villafana: 2:05 Is most of your furniture in more the commercial poolside places?
Chris Anderson: You know, we have a pretty even split when it comes to our wholesale sales or our dealer sales. About 25% goes out to the pool market, another 25% goes out to, or shall I say 50/50. 50% goes out to the pool industry directly, another 50% goes out to the commercial industry. When I say pool industry directly, of course at times there could be somebody designing and building a commercial pool, we track that as a pool industry sale. We do a good bit of e-commerce direct as well, people coming straight to our website and buying because they might already have a swimming pool in their backyard and they're not interacting with a pool builder at that point in time so they will come direct to our website and buy it. Great thing there is, either the pool builder's going to sell it and get that opportunity to make some money off of it, or they're going to potentially come to us after the fact and buy it. We like, however, to set up the relationships first with the pool builders and allow them to make money off of our product.
Greg Villafana: Nice. Thank you.
Tyler Rasmussen: 3:18 Very cool. Well, we can't wait to hear more about the product and what it takes to build a business to your scale. We usually like to start a little bit about your early years, how you got into it and become an entrepreneur and started [inaudible 00:02:44]. Can you just tell us a little bit more about yourself starting with where you grew up?
Chris Anderson: Sure, let me try not to bore you here. Going back, I grew up in a family, you know a lot of people would say unfortunately, but I might disagree. My parents got divorced when I was six years old. I had two older brothers and my mom had to work really, really hard to support us. I've kind of been an entrepreneur at heart just because I had, if I wanted an allowance for the weekend I had to go out and find a way to make that. I didn't have mom and dad handing me cash to go hang out at the movie theater, or anything along those lines. I think that's kind of where for me entrepreneurism started is I would ... I actually, one of my top people here, one of my partners in Ledge Lounger, he and I used to drag a wagon around the neighborhood and wash cars for four bucks, five bucks a pop.
Chris Anderson: 4:25 As a, let's say 12 years old to knock on somebody's door and ask them if you can wash their car, I didn't really realize until now the impact that had on me as a salesperson and all the experience that I just gained doing that and not even realizing that I learned how to talk to people, I learned how to convince them to give me $4 to wash their car, I learned how to assure them that we weren't going to damage the car in the process. We tend to do it at apartment complexes because we realized that we could go into an apartment complex and hit 100 cars versus going in a neighborhood and hitting a lot less. When you even look at that and how you apply the marketing approach to more of a mass market, it's really easy to look at that stuff in hindsight and say, man, look at all these critical things I learned and I didn't even realize I was learning.
Chris Anderson: 5:11 My father, getting back to your question, my father owned a swimming pool company growing up so, yes, having that experience, doing these little things to make money on the side such as washing cars, cleaning up sticks after storms in people's yards, just finding any way to make a buck. Then of course, once I was old enough and I could help my dad out I was on a job site digging ditches, plumbing trenches because my dad had us every other weekend and he might have to go out and work on a Saturday because that's how the pool industry is. All of a sudden on Saturday I'm digging ditches and my dads paying us 10 bucks an hour.
Chris Anderson: 5:50 Ultimately, he's doing it just to keep us busy because he had to be on the job site during the day. My two older brothers and I, right? We learned that digging ditches is not fun, had a lot of respect for the guys that do it after trying to experience it, but really what it did was it turned me off. I did not want to get into the pool industry whatsoever. Why? I didn't see the fun side of it, I saw the hard side of it. I saw my dad working on Saturdays when he could've been spending time with us not on a job site. I saw him doing designs in the evening time, and going out and busting his butt during the day, which is what 80%, 90% of the pool industry does. I said, no, I'm going to go to college.
Chris Anderson: 6:30 I ran off to LSU, graduated from LSU in 2005 with a construction management degree just because I liked building. Then ultimately, with taking that degree I didn't have anything to do with it. When I was in college I got highly involved in the student media. I was the student director of the online, excuse not the online, the school newspaper, television station, radio station. It happened to be the year that LSU won the National Championship, go Tigers. All of a sudden, our school got a lot of media attention during that time and when we did, obviously our school newspaper blew up. It was the first year the school media had sold a million dollars worth of advertising and I just happened to be leading it at that time, I like to say right place at the right time, but it got a lot of recognition from that and I ended up going to work for the Dallas Morning News.
Chris Anderson: 7:20 That was in the beginning of online media, really the beginning of websites and businesses having websites, and trying to figure out what platforms online we could sell and make money off of. It was a lot of the newspapers were struggling, actually they weren't struggling yet but they saw the writing on the wall, they saw that people were starting to shift their budgets to online media versus newspaper ads and they saw how we could target people much more direct. I fell in love with that because I was able to be creative and I was working T Accounts trying to convince them to move their spend over to online versus spending it in the newspaper. To be honest, I kind of got caught up in the Dallas lifestyle, kind of got in over my head I guess you could say. Of course, right out of college it's easy just to go party and forget about all of the responsibility that you have.
Chris Anderson: 8:27 At that same time, I got a job offer from a guy up in Nebraska. It was a web development company, they had built the publishing platform for all the student newspapers so that's how I was aware of them and they were aware of me. We used the media platform at LSU. His whole concept was, if I have 50 colleges or 100 colleges that are using my advertising platform then he could go get an ad from MTV or Proctor & Gamble, or something like that, and place it across all 100 of his media outlets, all 100 of these school newspapers. He actually got the rights to some of the advertising space and in return he provided this platform to the colleges. Going up there I was Director of Business Development. At the time, he was on the campaign trail so I was pretty much running the company. I learned a lot about building websites, building platforms, trying to understand what the consumer's looking for before they even knew. Basically, what we did ... he sold the platform right when I got there and then we started a new platform called [Motortopia which eventually went on to sell to Beckett. If you all remember the old baseball cards.
Chris Anderson: The baseball cards.
Greg: Heck yeah.
Chris Anderson: Directory where you'd price your baseball cards, right?
Greg: They still have that?
Chris Anderson: Yeah, they still exist.
Chris Anderson: I don't know if they still have the Beckett perse, but the company still exists.
Chris Anderson: 9:47 That company actually bought this website we developed over the course of the year while I was up in Nebraska. Virtually what it was is it was a social media platform and instead of ... well, you did have a profile but you also had a garage. In each different one of your garages you would a different car. All the classic car collectors out there would put their cars in their garage. It was a way that other auto enthusiasts could come online and read about other people's cars, and see pictures, and do all these things. I had a pretty diverse background from a commercial perspective, or excuse me, yeah commercial business perspective. Then I came back to Houston. When I did it was a great opportunity for me to ... this was back in 2007. My dad's pool business was just going nuts, he had more business than he could handle. I came in and literally was in the truck with him for six months, driving around from job to job, getting to know the business, getting to know the industry. You know, I knew a little bit about it obviously, because he had been in it basically since the day I was born.
Chris Anderson: 10:50 Right in about 2008, 2009 was really when I started doing a lot of sales and design work. You know, we were like number ... custom designed pools is number four on Pool Studio. We still, I mean we got into them so long ago. As soon as I started I was immediately, I mean my dad told me, he said, "You're going to use Pool Studio to do this, this is what we use." Immediately I just found the way to utilize Pool Studio to design the entire space, obviously, and not just the pool. For my dad having to work hard during the day, to put in a 10 hour day out in the field, to coming home, being tired, and then having to design a project. What I was able to do once I learned the field I would stay back at the house during the day and I would focus on the designs. When he got home from work he didn't have to do the design work anymore and I could put a lot more time and energy into those designs. Now just instead of designing the pool, I would design the landscape, I would design the arbors, I would design some kitchens, and then I would task him of course, to go out and build all this stuff.
Chris Anderson: 12:00 That’s where a big shift change came in custom design pools was again, this is where I think a lot of pool builders get stuck is they're afraid to hire a designer. They try and do it all on their own and what they don't realize is how much more beneficial it can be when they hire a designer, bring them in house the business can just blossom. The success of their design work does not tie back to how tired they are that day after they get home from a busy day out in the field.
Greg: Yeah, and you probably slack on it quite a bit. You know what I mean?
Chris Anderson: Yeah.
Greg: 12:30 You have a long day in the field, and you have to get back, and you have to design a new pool or something like that. Yeah. The product's not going to be as good.
Chris Anderson: Absolutely, it's truly not because you're exhausted. Right? We all know when we're exhausted and we're doing something we're not going to do it near as great. The other thing to be said there is, if I'm the builder and the designer, in some cases it might be better for me to design something that's easier to go build.
Tyler: Yeah, true. Right.
Chris Anderson: I could take the pressure off myself. If I'm a designer and I don't have to be the one out in the field building it then I can challenge, I'm more willing to challenge the people that are out there building it because I don't have to be the one out there doing it. It's a catch 22 but at the same time, it's overall going to benefit the pool company. It did, it benefited us dramatically. We went from an average $70 thousand project to an average $240 thousand project.
Tyler: Oh wow.
Chris Anderson: My dad, before I started was building 11 or 12 projects a year. When I was there, we were building about four projects a year at 240, again versus 11 at 70.
Chris Anderson: We really, really increased the overall price per job and we found a lot of good revenue streams with all the up-sells, with all the added value stuff. Not just the swimming pool.
Greg: Yeah. Going back just a little bit.
Chris Anderson: Sure.
Greg: 13:50 When you were growing up as a young adult, was there anything special or unique that really kind of helped shape who you were going to be in future? I mean, you talk about spending the weekends with your dad, and different things like that. Was there a time digging ditches or going through some other things that just kind of made you work a little bit harder or just got into a different mindset? It sounds like you had a little bit more of an entrepreneur spirit with dragging the wagon here and there. You didn't know what you were doing at the time, but you were really being an entrepreneur. Was there other things that really helped shape the person you are today?
Chris Anderson: 14:35 Sure. You know, I think it's ... I mean, that's a great question. I think there's a ton of things that shape us. I mean, when I look back I wasn't too interested in high school or college sports. I was a small guy, right? When it came to playing football it just wasn't going to happen because I'd get the crap knocked out of me on the field.
Tyler: Yeah, some big boys in Texas.
Chris Anderson: 14:55 Exactly. Instead of just being on the team just to be on the team, I realized that it wasn't something I was going to be great at. I quickly realized that what I really enjoyed was the sports where I could control my own destiny. I got into shotgun shooting, we shot sporting clays and skeet competitively. In doing that, I found an enjoyment working at a shooting range so I worked at a skeet and sporting clay shooting range where we made just a tremendous amount of money because everybody out there was very wealthy and we worked for tips. We might bring home $100, $200 a day out at the shooting range. I found a lot of enjoyment in that but I also just found joy in it's not necessarily about the dollar, it's not about the money. It's about the challenge to make it. Right? I think a lot of people judge success on how much you make. I think how much you make is a byproduct of success, right?
Chris Anderson: 15:50 If I go out there and do something really, really, really well or maybe I start at and I suck at it, but I figure out how to be better at it and I figure out how to be better than anybody else at it. Virtually, the best people in any industry are going to make the most money. Again, I think that's a byproduct. You know, I love Mark Cuban. He inspires me a lot because he's a no bullshit kind of guy that's going to get down to the nitty gritty. He says if you want to be successful you go out and you bust your butt and you make it happen, you work harder than all your competitors. I believe that, I live that. I'm not asking anybody here at the company to do anything that I'm not willing to go out and do myself. I want to understand their job while I want to make sure I get the right people on the bus in the right seat that are great at their job, but I want to understand what they're doing. I want to let them do a great job at it, but I want to have a good understanding.
Chris Anderson: 16:48 To get back to your question, what stands out? I think it was just a diversity of involvement. You know, a lot of people, and no discredit to anybody that is the football player, the baseball player and that's what they focus on as long as they're focusing on being the absolute best at it. Now, some of those things are just innate, some of those things are just natural. You can either pitch a ball 99 miles per hour or you can't. Yes, you can make yourself stronger and yes, you can go to the gym but there's going to be a pinnacle. There's going to be something you reach when you just really can't do much better. How much natural ability do you have? With business, you can always learn. You can just continue to learn, and learn, and learn. Even in that pool video that you saw you don't just go out and upsell products when you're selling pools just because. You have to be willing to go out and learn about other types of products in order to be able to sell them because you have to have the confidence in selling them.
Chris Anderson: 17:48 I think my diverse background growing up and to different businesses, different jobs that I had when I got out of college, in college my desire to just be involved in a lot of different things whether it was fraternity or extracurricular activities or groups, while I did graduate with a construction management degree I had a very open mind as to what was going to come next. I didn't pigeon hole myself at any point in time. Had I pigeon holed myself into a certain type of career, I don't think I would've ended up with Ledge Lounger, with the business because I would've had a very closed mind. I think just always being open minded and always wanting to hustle, those were probably two of the things that happened at an early age that got me where I am today.
Greg: 18:35 Yeah, that's awesome and we think that has definitely, probably been the biggest thing to help shape who you are. This is a little bit personal, you don't have to answer it if you don't want to. Do you think seeing your parents get divorced at an early age made you want to strive to maybe have something better in the future and have a family one day where you just kind of stayed together? I know me personally, my parents went through a lot when I was really young and that has been my prime focus since I was very young was to make my own money, and have a family, and stay with my family, and never break us apart. You know?
Chris Anderson: 19:17 Yeah. You know, that's a great question. I appreciate you asking that. Things happen over generations that are out of our control. I think being able to open up your eyes and see what's happened in the past, and realize that it's happened, and know that you're going to attempt to change the future, that's critical. Identifying that and seeing that. Certainly, my parents divorce had a major impact on my life. A lot of people would say, man that sucks that my parents got divorced and man, I wish my parents were together so I could go to one house come Christmas day and not have to go drive to this house and drive to that house. When we look at the things we overcome in life and how they made us who we are today, I think that's a really big reason why I'm at where I'm at. I would've not had to been nearly as Independent as I was had my parents stayed together, which I have no doubt that I wouldn't be where I am at today.
Chris Anderson: 20:14 Now, in the same life, where would I end up if my parents were together? Who knows? I don't want to say that I know the answer to that, but without a doubt I think things that happened. It's also like you just said, it's the way we look at them. Am I going to see this as a positive and focus on the positive that's going to come out from this or am I going to see it as a negative? That's every single day in business, that's not just as a youth growing up and parents getting divorced. It's every single day, dealing with the challenges, overcoming them, learning from them, and becoming a better person because of them.
Greg: 20:47 Definitely, and I think we all come from different walks of life. Just because you had that version of your life somebody could've done nothing with it but it takes a special kind of person to just rise above it. If you decide to rise above it makes you much better and stronger, you get thick skin from it because there's not much that can phase you. You're not solely just thinking about money, you love to hustle and you love to be in the business. That's the coolest thing. You know? If you're not thinking about money, you're just doing it because you love it, it's almost like the fortune will come because you're just doing what you love. Money being the sole driver, it's just not going to get you where you want to go. It just doesn't do it. It doesn't do it for us, it doesn't do it for me to just focus on that one thing and worship the dollar every single day. You know?
Chris Anderson: 21:40 Absolutely. In fact, it could potentially hurt you if that's your focus because if you're only focused on the dollar and you're not willing to admit when you're wrong to a client because there might be a financial impact to that, then that referral that you could've had if you would've done the right thing can hurt business a whole hell of a lot more than just doing the right thing that one point in time, losing a little bit of money and moving on. You know, with the pools there's a lot of liability when you're out there building them. Even with this business, there's a lot of liability in every decision I make. Making sure you're doing the right thing is going to have a much more longterm success than again, just not doing the right thing even at the expense of what it would take to correct it.
Greg: Did you grow up with a pool? Growing up did you guys have one?
Chris Anderson: 22:29 You know, one of my earliest memories is my dad digging a hole in the ground and putting a spa in the ground. It was a fiberglass spa way back when. Unfortunately, no. I didn't grow up with a pool other than that. Once my parents got divorced we pretty much lived in apartments and my mom simply did not have the income. Obviously, you're not going to build a pool in your backyard in an apartment complex. No, I can't say that I did. However, I was able to build a pool personally for myself after three or four years selling pools for my father. Obviously, he was able to build it for me at a discounted price and utilize the resources we had to get it done. I'd say about seven years ago was the first time I was ever a pool owner. It was a great experience because it really helped me to sell the product better, sell some pools better after experiencing them at a deeper level for myself.
Greg: Got to know this. Do you take care of your own pool or did have a pool guy when you had it built?
Chris Anderson: 23:33 Man, that's a great question. I did not take care of my own pool. There's a few reasons why. One, you could certainly say that I'm going against my own word when I say that I should've taken the time to learn more about chemicals, how to maintain a swimming pool but you know, my focus was always how to build the pools. I felt like the more I was focused on maintaining my swimming pool in my backyard the less time and commitment I could give to designing the next pool or focusing on the next project. Honestly, I know where my skills are, and my skills are not in the every week task of doing something every week that I don't look forward to do. That's here at the business too, I mean I've got to delegate certain things that I realize that I'm not a task master on to make sure that they get done and get done right, and not delegating those things could pretty much hamper the business pretty quickly because it's just not something I great at.
Tyler: 24:36 You kind of talked about growing up in the pool industry with your dad and stuff, obviously, your first job there would be digging ditches. You mentioned the custom design pools a little bit. How long did you do the custom design pools? Are you still designed pools? Do you still do that side of the business?
Chris Anderson: 24:53 I think probably over the last six months has been my true phasing out of custom designed pools. My father has ultimately retired at this point, he's still doing a few projects here and there. My dad was an original member, if you will, of Ledge Lounger. He's had some financial success through that, which has allowed him to retire a little bit earlier than he wanted to. He still loves the industry, he still loves getting out there. He's a hands-on kind of guy, but he's also getting a little bit older and he wants to spend some time with his grandkids and his wife. Just not have things that he has to do every day and kind of just enjoy a life a little bit, which I have a lot of respect for.
Tyler: For sure.
Chris Anderson: 25:33 I still ask him to come around Ledge Lounger office and participate as much as he can. For myself, you know I can't say that I'll never take on another design here or there. We certainly get phone calls asking for designs every now and again. We get phone calls asking if we can build their pool. Right now, I'm passing those leads on to a few other builders in the area that I know and I like really well. It's critical for me to keep up to date on it. I still utilize Pool Studio quite a bit because we offer a service for a lot of clients where if they have a commercial property, even a residential property, and they want us to put Ledge Lounger furniture in it, we'll create a 3D rendering and show them what it's going to be. I still have a lot of ... I help out with APSP every now and again here locally in the marketplace. I still teach at some of the pool shows and different things. I still have a big passion for the pool industry and I don't see myself getting out of it, even from a builder perspective. I want to state up to date on what's going on and what the industry trends are, and that sort of thing.
Greg: 26:36 Nice. Do you remember the day that you had the idea and vision for Ledge Lounger? Anybody, I'm kind of an idea person myself and some days I just get so excited like, oh man, this is a game changer. I have this really cool idea. Do you remember the day that you had the idea for even the first piece of furniture you were going to build?
Chris Anderson: 26:55 I do, actually. I designed a project for a gentleman here in Houston and it was a very, very, very large project. I think the total price tag on the project was a little over a million dollars. The pool was around $425 thousand, if I can recall right. The landscape was the majority of the rest of the million. I mean front yard, backyard, it was a 10 acre property. A lot of space, a lot of stuff. I think the project had $200 thousand in palm trees. It was crazy, it was an awesome project. Great, great customer. He challenged me quite a bit because when I designed the furniture in on the job, I showed up and I installed a couple regular chaise lounge chairs, actually from Restoration Hardware, and I put them in the pool. The homeowner challenged me. He said, "Look, Chris, how's the water going to damage those chairs?" I said, "Well, you're right, it's probably going to damage those chairs but there are alternatives." He challenged me, he said, "Well, why don't you find one for me." This is one of those guys that has so much money, he's going to end up getting whatever he wants. It's just going to be who he's going to challenge or task to go out and do it.
Chris Anderson: 28:10 Well, I had seen something kind of similar at a few resorts I'd been to. They weren't necessarily used in the pool, a few times they were. At one of the resorts I saw them in was a resort out in Las Vegas. I called the resort over, and over, and over trying to find out who provided that product because I wanted to be able to purchase that for my client. Literally, after 45 days of calling that resort every single day, and I figured if I call them every day, eventually they're going to take my call and eventually they're going to give me an answer. They finally told me who supplied the product. I did some research on the company, I called them up and it turned out that the lady selling it was selling it for $34 hundred per one chaise.
Chris Anderson: 28:57 You know, I thought well maybe this one client could afford that but 99% of my other clients there's no way they will ever be able to afford anything like it. I took that and I said, I'm going to try and talk to this woman and see if she's interested in developing something that is not so expensive. She had no interest whatsoever, none. She actually turned me down four or five times after I talked to her about the opportunity, and the fact that I was highly involved in the pool industry, and I could make something work. I'd never manufactured anything in my life before so I didn't know what to do, or how to do it. I think that's where the idea really stuck is in getting turned down so many times it was, wow, this must be something that's really hard to create and develop because nobody else has. How would I go about doing this?
Chris Anderson: 29:51 Literally, it took me about two and a half years of just researching a lot of different manufacturing facilities and different manufacturing techniques, and trying to find the right way. Again, the other ... the product that I'm talking about or I'm referring to, it was not made to go inside the swimming pool. We had to figure out something that could go in the pool and work. I think that for us was the challenge. Identifying the right materials to make it out, what was going to last in the pool, in the water, and what was going to be durable and still somewhat comfortable. Those were all major challenges that we faced in developing it. Yeah, I think the original idea, I remember when it was. It was fulfilling a need for a client that wanted the right product for the right environment.
Greg: 30:38 That’s really cool, and it's cool that you took into account that you needed to make something that would be a little bit cheaper because this is the case. This guy might need it but he's definitely got a much bigger budget than 99% of people that are going to have a pool built, or even the backyard landscape. Even that project on a regular residential home is still very expensive. It was really cool to take that into account. Do you have any idea why the other lady's chair was so expensive? What'd you say, it was $34, $36 hundred?
Chris Anderson: 31:12 Yeah, it was $36 hundred. They still sell them today. You see them in some Architectural Digest type environments, but they're certainly in the $5 plus million homes. They're typically indoors, they're not really used outside, occasionally you'll see them used outside. I think the big thing, and to your point is you've got to be reasonable to yourself. You've already said it in this podcast is, we sell a $659 chaise, which still can be seen as high. You look at any chaise lounger that's made to go on a patio and they're $12 or $14 hundred. If you go to Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Frontgate, anything like that, anything that's going to last more than a year is certainly going to be a little bit more money. Up to $12, a thousand dollars, $12 hundred. I think being in tune to my clients and what they could afford but also being in tune to the fact that it not only is something to lay in, and sit in, and be comfortable in but it's also something that can allow you to use your pool more. A lot of the times we don't really want to get in our pool and go swim laps, we want to just relax. Also, understanding the marketplace, understanding that what price point can we ... at first I was concerned bringing this thing to market at $659. The fact of the matter is it takes us almost two hours to make one product.
Greg/Tyler: Wow, wow.
Chris Anderson: 32:44 A lot of people think well man, you probably just stamp these out, and print these out, and you can just go on and sell these things and you're making a killing. Well, that's not necessarily the reality of it. We have to have a retail price that allows a pool builder to make money, that allows a distributor to make money, we can still make enough money to operate our business and carry our overhead and our costs. That's one of the things I think we did successful is we came to market with a price that allowed us to build everybody else in, allowed the pool builder to be successful with it, the distributor to be successful with it, us to be successful with it and allow it to give us a revenue to continue to expand and grow our business.
Chris Anderson: 33:25 Getting back to the question, ultimately of yes, we had to be very aware of what percentage of pools are built are $100 thousand pools. There's a lot of them out there, but it's not a majority of them. The majority of them are the $50 to $60 thousand. That's something that we think about all the time and how can we develop a lower price point product that can focus on that lower, I don't want to say lower income because they certainly are still a good income market, it's just that they're not looking to build a $100 thousand pool. They're building $60 thousand pools. We're close, we're hoping to be able to announce something in the next year and a half, but for right now we're still focused on the original Ledge Lounger and providing that. Again, it is quality, it is long lasting. We actually have 30 units over in the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles. If you can imagine how much use those get during the summer season, they've been in that pool now for over three years and they have not had to replace them.
Tyler: Very cool.
Chris Anderson: 34:29 I would challenge any residential environment that these chaises should last at least 10 years especially after what we've seen over there at the Golden Nugget.
Greg: Right. You have to have kind of a specific design of a pool, like a baja step or something like that in order for one of these units to actually be in the pool. Your kind of markets a little bit smaller, am I correct on that?
Chris Anderson: 34:49 You are, you're absolutely correct. The market is growing certainly. More and more people are building [inaudible 00:34:09]. Number one because they're just becoming a trend but number two obviously because we try and market ahead of when somebody builds pool, so they make sure they build the pool appropriately to accommodate our products. But you are, it is a limited market. It's not something that a lot of people are going to want to take on because they're not going to sell millions of units, or hundreds of thousands of units per se and that's another reason for the price being what it is. If we sold 100,000 chases every year then certainly they could be at a lower price point. But we're just not moving a ton and ton of volume for it to make sense. So as people question the price, these are all things that they obviously, certainly most likely don't consider.
Greg: Right and if they can't afford that you do sell a beautiful swan that I saw on the website, it's very affordable.
Chris Anderson: Yeah, yep you know we do sell a swan, a blow up swan. We're surprised at how many we sold last year. A lot of it is... that's a great piece for social media. That's a great piece to when we're doing a photo shoot put some models on it, take a picture of it. We're constantly wanting to make sure we're staying up to trend in our branding and our awareness. So while it's not a focus for us, you won't see us do a ton of floats. But we do want to do things that keep us hip and keep us fresh and up front from a market perspective.
Greg: 36:23 Most definitely. Can't wait to talk about that 'cause that is a huge piece of what you guys do.
Greg: 36:25 So wanted to talk about this real quick because I know that this is going to be really important for anybody listening that might have a really good idea and they don't know where to start. We'd love to hear whatever you can about the process of developing this product because there's so much to it. Some people draw it on a napkin and then they bring it to the computer and it's the RND part of the process. What did that look like in a bird's eye view in the process of getting this manufactured?
Chris Anderson: Yeah I certainly appreciate it. Obviously I don't want to give up all my secrets here.
Greg: Come on Chris.
Chris Anderson: 37:06 Look, I think first and foremost is do something. We use this term back in college when I was leading a sales team, make it happen. Make it happen. I mean those three simple words. Let's make that even simpler, do something. Everyday do one thing that moves your idea forward. Pick up one, pick up the phone one time and make one phone call to ask somebody one question that's going to make you more knowledgeable and more experienced than you were in the past. I forgot who said it and I want to say it was once again Mark Cuban, but how many times have you ever called somebody and asked for help and they've said no? People don't really say no when you're asking them for help.
Greg: That is very true.
Chris Anderson: 37:55 Certainly if my competitor calls me and asks me for help I'm going to be pretty reluctant, right? It's going to be yeah, maybe I don't want to give the guy help because I'm going to help him me out. Certainly I don't mean that. But if you know... let's just say you're questioning what kind of material your product is going to be made out of. Do you sit there and let it stump you as to everyday oh, I can't figure it out I don't know, I don't know. Or do you pick up the phone and call somebody who sells aluminum and you say hey, here's my idea this is what I want to make is aluminum a good material for this? Now if they say yes, don't just stop there and go to them, right? Then you need to call somebody up that makes something out of carbon steel and say hey is this a good product to be made out of carbon steel? Or then you call somebody up and say is this a good product to be made out of plastic? Call four or five people that make four or five different types of materials and ask that question four or five times and get your answers back. Do some research on google and see what is carbon fiber good for? What is plastic good for? What is this good for? Or type in plastic manufacturing. I think too many times, my point here is too many times people get stuck on the end result and they get overwhelmed by the end result. Could you imagine and I hate to use such an analogy, but could you imagine if the slave that was putting the blocks on the pyramids was responsible for the end result? They would have been extremely overwhelmed and they never would have wanted to put the first block down because they wouldn't be thinking about laying this block, they'd be thinking about the finished result and they would just be too overwhelmed to ever accomplish it.
Greg: A lot of complaining I can imagine.
Chris Anderson: 39:45 Yeah look I have a four year old son and last night he dropped a bag of Nerf bullets for his Nerf guns, right? And of course my father being the grandfather that he is, he bought him like 1,000 Nerf bullets. What four year old needs 1,000 Nerf bullets? Well he's got a bag of Nerf bullets and he's walking around the house with them and he drops this bag and the Nerf bullets scatter all over the place. I said Levi you need to pick those up. He looks up at me and he was totally overwhelmed because he sees a room full of Nerf bullets. I said Levi why don't you pick up one there's only going to be 999 left and once you pick up two there's only going to be 998 left. So just keep picking them up and you're going to get there. Because he's never experienced that kind of things before he was so overwhelmed by it. But once he finished that task and he got them all picked up, then the next task that he's going to have like that he's going to realize, well it's not such a big deal, until 10,000 fall then he's going to be like man that's overwhelming. But let me get it done.
Chris Anderson: 40:59 Well each task that you do sets your stage for the next task and can be bigger and bigger and better and harder than you're willing to accomplish it. So I know I ran off on a tangent there but my point ultimately comes down to don't be overwhelmed by the end result. Focus on today's task. Focus on one thing you need to do to move your idea forward versus the end of idea. If you do that eventually one day you're going to pick up your head and you're going to realize man I'm about to launch this product and then one day you're going to pick up your head and you're going to go wow I never would have imagined that I would have sold so many of these things. Look if I knew what I knew now back then certainly I could have done it differently. But I also could look back and say man I would be so overwhelmed with the amount of work that's had to go into this. It's amazing because if you think it's going to be hard, it's not, it's going to be really freaking hard.
Chris Anderson: 42:00 It’s always going to be harder than what you think or else everybody would be doing it. If it was easy everybody would own a business and everybody... if it was easy to be successful everybody could do it and that's why not everybody is doing it. So don't get stuck on the end result. Focus on today's task. Now that doesn't mean don't strategize. That doesn't mean don't look to the future and imagine what it could be 'cause that's where you get your inspiration from, right? That's where you get your excitement to keep driving forward. So you got to stay in tune to that but don't let that slow you down.
Greg: 42:35 Thank you, thank you very much Chris. So I'm just curious even when you had the idea and you're like you know what I think I can make a business out of this, did you structure it out? Did you have some time of game plan. Did you have a business plan where you're like you know what I'm going to hit up these people, I'm going to do this 'cause you said it took about what? 2 1/2 years or so. Nothing is perfect and you don't know where this is all going but you still had another job at the time I'm assuming and having to afford the R and D and all the different things that you did.
Greg: But was it just do something, even if I'm putting ten minutes in it to this day and I can't do anything the rest of the week. I'm going to do what I can when I can and that's just what it is. 'Cause I think a lot of people sometimes they're just like man if I can't go all in and just sit and focus on it for 15 hours every single day then I don't want nothing to do with it. So was that your mindset on it whereas I'm going to do what I can and make the best of my time and prioritize 'cause if you don't prioritize properly you're going to be doing a million other things when you don't even have A, B, and C done.
Chris Anderson: 43:46 Sure, sure. No look I think it's a challenge everybody faces. So with my situation I was building and selling swimming pools and fortunately I had a schedule where if I got a lead I need to go on that call but I could rearrange my day how I saw fit as long as I got my clients the designs and the bids back in time that they required them in. So I had a pretty lack schedule that allowed me to focus on Ledge Lounger while still working on custom designed pools. In fact up until like I said a year ago I was still selling and designing swimming pools. A year ago Ledge Lounger probably 14 employees. Today we have 35 employees just putting it into perspective. So I was running a company I had 14 employees while I was still out designing and selling. I didn't actually slow down in custom designed pools it was probably later than I should have. But, I didn't want to be dependent on Ledge Lounger's income, I wanted Ledge Lounger's income to go back into the business. So instead of working 60 hours a week on Ledge Lounger I worked 75 hours a week and I put 15 hours into custom designed pools.
Chris Anderson: 45:08 Look to beat the other guy, to invent a business, to start a business you're going to have to be willing to work harder than the other people. If you think you're going to maintain your current job at 40 hours and sometime in that 40 hours going to also go start a business then once again everybody would be starting businesses.
Chris Anderson: 45:28 It’s the people who are willing to put in the extra time, the extra effort, out hustle everybody around them that are going to have a fair chance and even then they're only going to have a ten percent chance or a two percent chance at being successful starting their own business because hustle is only one fraction of the recipe for successfully starting your business but it is a critical one. So for me no I didn't stop selling pools. Now you got to ask yourself what kind of job you had. Had I had an eight to five job working for somebody else it certainly would have been a lot harder to start Ledge Lounger 'cause then at five o'clock businesses are closed I can't pick up the phone and go get advice from manufacturers and marketing companies and all this other stuff, right? I'd have to do it after hours which presents a problem.
Chris Anderson: 46:15 But if you have an idea and you want to start a business the first thing I say is position yourself in your current job so that you can do so. So I'm not saying quit your job and go start your business because personally I think that's a mistake unless you've got an idea that has a crazy amount of intellectual property that you can go out and raise with angel investors a million dollars to help kick your business off. But those ideas are few and few and far between. It's harder and harder today, it's harder and harder everyday to come up with a unique idea like that that's going to have solid IP, intellectual property that people are going to invest in before it's making any money.
Chris Anderson: 46:58 So what I would say is position yourself in the best possible job to be able to work on a future project. But again that's going to require hustle, why? Because any jobs that you're not being accounted for from eight to five are going to probably be something more like a sales job, right which is never easy. The pressure on sales people is always high. So I can go do an eight to five job and not have time to start something or I can go do a job where I don't have an eight to five schedule, again now my income is more tied to what it is I do everyday, how hard I work everyday and then I can utilize that daytime to go out and hustle and potentially start my own business. So look at the job you're currently in and think about is there a better job I can do which will allow me a little bit more freedom and flexibility to go out and start my business that I want to start. That's my advice for anybody that's currently in a job and they want to start a job and they don't know how to take the first step.
Chris Anderson: The first step is evaluate your current situation.
Greg: 48:03 Right thanks Chris. So I personally really want to know just because I've sat in your guys' chairs before and they're just so freaking comfortable, how much time did you spend just on the ergonomics of the chair because you can tell when you sit in it, I don't know if that was something that just progressed with time and us making these questions, I started thinking about that and I'm like man it would be really difficult to make a piece and some people might not ever be able to get a product out because they're like ah, you know it's not quite there we need to shave a little bit off this, you know what I mean? Somebody making a surfboard or something so how important was that piece in this whole puzzle?
Chris Anderson: 48:46 So it's something we talk about on a regular basis around the office, especially with my product wellness staff or team. When is something shippable? When is it good enough to ship? By the time it's good enough to ship it's too late and what I mean by that is if you sit back and you perfect and perfect and perfect and you never release then you can pretty much never finish a product or never take a product to market. I mean could you imagine the iPhone when is it good enough to ship?
Chris Anderson: 49:15 If you have this mentality that it had to be absolutely perfect before you shipped it you would never ship it because technology is changing everyday and you would never bring a product to market. So first point is you have to at some point in time you have to say hey this is version one and I'm comfortable letting this go to market. For us in the beginning we did some basic research on ergonomics the average sized individual because to you the chase might be extremely comfortable, but look I'm not afraid to say it live on a podcast that to some people it's not comfortable at all. Most certainly we have to develop and design the chase to fit the average individual, the average person out there. So we had to say what's our range? Is it going to be a person that's 5'8" to six foot or is going to be a person that's 5'4" to 5'8" well there is information and stats and data and ergonomics. You can simply do an online survey or excuse me an online search and find that information.
Chris Anderson: 50:17 So we took that into consideration. We also made some quick type prototype things and labeled them. But what was more important was the way that you interact with the water, making sure it was going to be low enough to the ground where you're actually when you're in the water you're actually laying in the water. You have water on your butt, on your body. Some of those things were more a little bit more important. I don't picture a Ledge Lounger as something anybody is going to go lay in for two hours, right? Lay in it for 30 minutes I'm going to go out and swim in the pool. I'm going to come back and lay in it for 10 to 15 minutes, I'm going to get up I'm going to do that I'm going to do this.
Chris Anderson: 50:57 The fact of the matter of it doesn't have a cushion on it, right? Any kind of cushion that's soft is going to grow algae in the water because anything for it to be soft it has to be open cell and if it's open cell then water and mildew is going to build up in it. So we had to accept the reality of this is going to be a hard plastic that's in the pool. So it was really important for it to have a contour that related to the average body style and type. We also had to sacrifice because we did have some people sit in our original prototypes and say hey this doesn't fit me well. Well, I'm sorry that it doesn't fit you well but we have to hit the average market here because there's only so many people outside of the average and the more and more you go outside of the average the less people it's going to be comfortable for.
Chris Anderson: 51:44 So we did do our ergonomic research. We actually are everyday trying to figure out, we're not trying to figure out but are figuring out how to make it more comfortable, how to make it better and we're excited for the time that's going to come when we can release version two and see how much more it is, it's more comfortable for people of multiple different shapes and sizes.
Greg: Very exciting stuff Chris thank you.
Tyler: Yeah, super cool. I'm just curious do you have the original drawing still or how did you draw it, what did you draw them on? Do you have those?
Chris Anderson: 52:14 I did, I do. I drew it in Pulse Studio actually. It was the very first program that I drew in. Pulse Studio at the time I needed to take it fro Pulse Studio into AutoCAD. So I worked with some of our manufacturers we brought into AutoCAD at the time. I actually still have the original prototype. It's made out of metal tubing with a sheet metal on top of it and then we went to a rhino lining facility because we actually thought that's how we were going to produce it. We went to a rhino lining facility that rhino lined the back of trucks. We had them spray the whole thing and again that's what goes back to that whole thing. Do one thing first.
Chris Anderson: 52:57 I didn't know how to do it but I knew what I could do and so I did that and then that led me to the next thing which led me to the next thing and then I felt confident I had a product I could take to market.
Tyler: That's really cool.
Greg: 53:08 What do you think in that whole process was probably I hate to say the word failure, but something that you really was one of the biggest things that you learned from in that whole R and D process?
Chris Anderson: 53:19 Failure is such a, I'm glad you said that 'cause it brings up a good point. Why do we frown so much upon the word failure? Why is everybody so afraid of failing? Because a lot of times they're afraid the way other people are going to see them.
Tyler: Yep, 100 percent.
Chris Anderson: They're are no successful entrepreneurs out there that haven't failed. It's just that you didn't get to see them fail.
Chris Anderson 53:46 They weren't as popular as they are today. It made them who they are. In fact, anybody that has a hard time with failure, watch the Elon Musk video where everybody is telling him what he is trying to do is never going to be accomplished and there are some of the smartest engineers in the world telling him that there's no way he's going to be able to do the things that he's already done and overcome. So if anything, to me what failure does is it makes success that much more sweet.
Chris Anderson: 54:23 If you succeed the first time you do it, how much pleasure are you going to get in succeeding? But if you succeed after you've failed five times, number one you've learned a lot more then number two the success is going to be that much better.
Greg: Well you probably really only fail if you just stop.
Chris Anderson: That's it. That's it.
Greg: That's really it.
Chris Anderson: 54:44 Now at the same time don't be close minded that when you do see the need, like hey this idea is not going to be successful or hey I've done my market research I've given it my all, hey I need to stop moving forward with this idea. Some people just their so, so, so confident in what they're doing that they don't listen to any outside sources or they don't look at their sales and say man I've tried so hard and I haven't sold a single one of these. It's not that you failed on that one, it's just time to take what you've learned and move onto your next idea.
Chris Anderson: Don't get so caught up in making something a success that might never be a success.
Greg: 55:24 Now you have your blinders on and I see that quite a bit and what I notice is they get so stuck on their product because they want to see it come to life and it's something that they could use, but they haven't done the market research and they don't understand that there's not really a big calling for it. I think that me personally or we think that you really got to pay attention to the times. You got to pay attention to what people actually want and need because if you're making something for you, then you should have just made one or two for you. You know what I mean? It's not a great business model. Nothing can be a business if nobody else wants anything to do with it and we're so lucky to have the internet and you can hop on your phone right now and google just about anything. For the last what, five, ten years that's what we've been able to do. Oh, you got a question? You can get corrected by somebody that's not very smart by oh, no I just looked that up that's wrong. It was actually 1897 or you know whatever.
Chris Anderson: 56:24 Yeah and case studies are so easy now. You put up a little survey on Facebook or you message 100 of your friends on Facebook and you ask them what they think or what they're thoughts are. Now it's important to filter through their answers and don't just take it all so literal, but you got to be innovative and you got to think about how their answers can modify your concept or your idea. There's plenty of people that started businesses with one product thinking they were going to be really successful and that led them to develop something totally different. In that product is 90 percent of what their business is today. So it's all about keeping an open mind and like you said, just don't put your blinders on. Be very open. Be very open to what people are telling you and don't just listen to them. Watch them, right? Go out and watch people interact with your product.
Chris Anderson: 57:25 That typically will tell you more than if you ask somebody. Usually when we ask questions so we were talking about this today. We're pushing a lot of patio furniture now. We've developed it in house, manufacturing it in house and we're selling it. But we want to do some market research because we want to understand when people buy patio furniture. So one thing we want to know is are people willing to buy patio furniture online versus going to a store and sitting in it and laying in it and touching it and feeling it. Well certainly our strategy is going to be different based on what we hear. If people say I don't want to buy it online then we're going to refocus on getting furniture stores, [inaudible to put our products in the showrooms. Excuse me. So that people can sit in it, feel it and touch it.
Chris Anderson: 58:08 Whereas if people say hey I'm willing to buy it online then we might focus a little bit more towards online advertising, that sort of thing. So what's critical here is the way we ask the question. I don't want to say to the consumer are you afraid to buy patio furniture online because you can't touch and feel it? They're natural answer to that is going to be yes I am afraid, right? But if you simply say would you buy patio furniture online? That's so much of a better question because you're not alluding to the fact that now you won't be able to touch it, feel it and sit in it.
Chris Anderson: 58:47 So you got to think about the way your questions are asked when you are doing surveys that you're not guiding somebody to an answer. Whereas in when you watch somebody with your product you're not guiding them to an answer. When you go out and you ask close ended questions so if I'm at a resort and I'm watching the way people are interacting with our chase, one thing we learned quickly is you can't turn over and lay on your stomach on our chase. If you did you might drown yourself right?
Greg: Have you seen people actually trying to do that?
Chris Anderson: 59:22 We have, we have. We quickly learned that they turn around and their legs go where their head was and their head goes where the bottom of your knees are and so in our marketing we need to make sure that we apply some of those images to our marketing because just watching them in it whereas if we would have asked that question nobody would have ever told us that.
Tyler: How many prototypes did you end up doing before you got your one that was ready to go to market?
Chris Anderson: 59:48 So I would say we were probably on prototype three, so not too many. But look a chair is a chair is a chair. A chase is a chase I mean, the human body has been similar to the same for the last 40 years. Certainly people have bigger butts or smaller butts or skinnier or bigger whatever it might be, but the data is just there. So if you're doing the right research and asking yourself the right questions you shouldn't have to make 100 of them. Just as we're making patio furniture right. There's a reason why tables are the same height they are all the time. Now that doesn't mean you don't question the height of a table, but you certainly do your research and you look at what is the average height of a table in the marketplace because you don't want to develop a chase lounge chair that's eight foot long when it only needs to be six foot long because humans aren't eight feet unless you're Yao Ming or something like that.
Chris Anderson: That just aged me, Yao Ming that's rockets. That's rockets.
Greg: 1:01:02 Well I have you know just want to get one question out and then we'll move on from this topic, but is there one story you can share with us because they're so valuable on something that happened. Every, especially manufacturer some kind of product has had some time of hardships where funds dried up or there was something wrong with the vehicles where they can't transport material anymore. Their partner decides to go another way. Is there a story you can share with us, something that happened and you pushed through it and made the best of the situation.
Chris Anderson: 1:01:35 Yeah. One thing that sticks out is in our early days we were growing faster than we could possibly keep up with and we couldn't hire people fast enough. We couldn't create our product fast enough so our lead time started increasing and as our lead time started increasing we had to figure out how we were going to produce product fast enough. One is you certainly have to diversify the locations that are making your product, the facilities because if you have all your eggs in one basket and something happens to that basket then you're going to suffer your whole business. So one thing I wanted to do is go out and make some more molds so we could produce more products. Just from my lack of experience we hadn't really made a whole lot of molds, especially this type of mold and these molds are 40 to 80,000 dollars a piece and I made two of them off of some of our very original drawings and unfortunately it didn't match my existing product that was in the marketplace and I had a decision. I could either continue making products on those molds but then I'd have the possibility of having different products in the market or consumer getting two different products that look slightly different.
Chris Anderson: 1:02:55 Some people might have never even noticed the difference. Or I could scrap those which was an 80,000 dollar expense at a very early stage in our business to make sure that our quality and the products matching and our message to consumers. So virtually we had to extent our lead times, wait until we sold a lot more products so that we could capture more revenue so that we would have enough money to go but and build those molds again. But do them right the first time around. Those molds still sit in the back of my warehouse. I see them everyday. It was a really, really expensive 80,000 dollar education but learning from that now I have a very watchful eye over any time that we're going to go out and make a mold making sure that we're doing our due diligence and we're taking it serious before that big spend.
Chris Anderson: 1:03:50 But I also have some ideas of how we can use those molds in the future and that's a little bit of our strategy. So when those situations come up you've got to keep an open mind and I like to say you got to work your angles, right? At that point in time by the time we got it all done it was late in the season and we had some time before... we weren't able to shorten our lead times that year but we were certainly able to do it going into the next year. That's a good example of everybody is going to make mistakes. Some of them are going to be real expensive it's just a matter of reacting to those mistakes and learning from them and making sure you don't make the same mistakes over and over.
Chris Anderson: 1:04:41 Sometimes losing valuable members of your staff is probably one where you wonder man, how are we going to get through this. This person knows our business in and out. But what you realize is again the person that you hired back then compared to the person you need now, now you can go back to the job opening and you can list all the things that you didn't realize you needed to list before and make sure you hire somebody this time around with more experience, better experience and probably you can afford somebody and pay somebody a little bit more today than I could two years ago. That can help drive our business forward. So I don't think there's anything that could happen to us that we wouldn't learn from and figure out a better way to move forward.
Tyler: 1:05:29 For sure. So when at that point after you got through the design and getting a product that was actually marketable, when did Ledge Lounger officially become a business and what steps did you take to make it become a business instead of an idea.
Chris Anderson: When does it become a business? I mean it becomes a business when you register it with whatever tax authority I guess.
Tyler: That's true.
Chris Anderson: 1:05:55 In the terms of what is the definition of a business. It becomes a business when in your mind you want to call it a business. What I mean by that is the first year Ledge Lounger made 368,000 dollars in revenue. Actually the first year Ledge Lounger made like 30,000 dollars in revenue. Now of course we didn't make any money because our expenses were more than 30,000 dollars. The second year we made 363,000, or 368,000 dollars in revenue. We grew and we grew and we grew and we doubled and we doubled and we doubled and every time I was impressed with where we were going but I still wasn't satisfied. Still not satisfied today because I look at the opportunity and it is so great. So big business, small business, medium business all these terms in the industry right?
Chris Anderson: 1:06:42 What’s more important I guess than anything else is are you doing what it is you've set out to achieve to do? Because nonprofit organizations or business they don't necessarily make money, but they serve a purpose. So really how do we jump to define a business and how do we even find it being a successful business? Well we accomplished what it was our goal to do. We are evaluating our mission and our goal every year because as we grow we're serving more and more clients and ultimately we want to make sure we're providing products to the clients that they need, that our clients need.
Chris Anderson: 1:07:18 Now as our client basic standards... continues to expand then our services need to continue to expand. But you obviously got to stay hyper focused. So I'm kind of getting away from your answer here, but the a business is a business as soon as you want to decide it's a business and the sooner you decide it's a business the more successful you're going to be. The sooner you treat your employees like people who are going to help you grow your business and be successful with your business the sooner you're going to be successful.
Chris Anderson: 1:07:47 So a business to me is a business the first day that you take one step forward to making it generate revenue. Or making it generate the result of which that you set out to create. I don't think it's fair to say that you have to sell any certain number to be successful or to call yourself a business.
Chris Anderson: I mean let's face it when I was pulling wagons around the neighborhood washing cars I had a business.
Tyler: Right, yep.
Chris Anderson: Did I have a business card and did I have a title? At the time was I registered with the state or the city? No I wasn't.
Chris Anderson: But at 11, 12 years old I had a business because I was providing a service to a client that needed my service and that's ultimately what made it a business.
Greg: 1:10:09 Was your dad your first employee?
Chris Anderson: Well yeah-
Speaker 6: Employee, the first one at Ledge.
Chris Anderson: 1:10:17 I guess that's an interesting way to look at it. I wouldn't necessarily say that. He certainly was a partner, but he never per se worked for Ledge Lounger. My first employee was a high school, excuse me, a college intern that helped me get our product on social media, right. I mean, one of the very first things you do after you develop your product, is you have to create a demand for your product. Don't assume that demand is just going to be there, right. So fortunately I was able to put some chaises on pools that I built, take pictures of them, and then because I was still building and selling pools, I would utilize some of my money that I made off of selling and building pools, and pay this individual to go post it on social media website, mostly Facebook then, right. I mean, that's the beauty of it is, in the old days if you want to start a business you'd have to have a good amount of money to get in front of anybody with any kind of advertising. In today's world, you can spend $20 on a Facebook ad, then all of a sudden have your business or your idea in front of a thousand people.
Chris Anderson: It's pretty powerful.
Tyler: So what kind of products are available today? Maybe just which ones are the most popular. Do you guys have anything brewing for 2019?
Chris Anderson: 1:11:33 Yeah, absolutely. So when it comes to most popular today, it's obviously still our in water chaise. We intend for that to be a core product for a very long time to come. However we are obviously focused on diversifying. We'll be releasing a daybed, I believe we all saw it at the International Pool and Spa show. I'm really excited about it. It's more or less like a vanna bed that can go in the water or on the patio. Imagine a big bed with walls around three different sides, with a shade up on top so you can move the shade up and down, you can get yourself some blockage from the sun, or some relief from the sun if you need to. I feel like that's a big thing for the residential pool market, is shade.
Chris Anderson: Traditionally we've done it with umbrellas, that's fine, but what's the next thing, you know, how come-
Tyler: Yeah, can you stop putting big trees around pools now.
Chris Anderson: Yeah.
Tyler: That was the biggest thing, like, "Oh I want these trees 'cause I like the shade." I'm like, "No it makes your life so much harder with that."
Greg: You saw the picture this summer, I put a 10 by 10 canopy in my pool.
Tyler: Oh yeah.
Greg: 1:12:45 ’Cause there's literally no shade, and if you know anything about Arizona, it gets like 110, 115 degrees out here. And my kids don't care for whatever reason, they're like, "No, we just wanna be swimming." I'm like, "It is hot as hell out here, and I've been outside enough."
Greg: So I just wheel this thing out, and have this huge 10 by 10 canopy and have extended one legs in, one over here's in, the other two are short, and they're on the cool deck. And I looked hideous but man, the sun was out of my face for a minute. So, yeah.
Chris Anderson: 1:13:14 But you know what, everything we just talked about, I mean, that's how it starts, right. Is there was some pain. You felt pain because you had a need for something, and it was causing you stress, if you will, because you couldn't go relax in your swimming pool and not get burnt.
Chris Anderson: You know, not get the worst suntan in the world. So you figured out, "Hey, I can build this." So the next trick, the next step of that, is trying to figure out how to do it efficiently and effectively, so that it's easy for a home owner.
Chris Anderson: 1:13:47 And if you can master that, and then you can figure out how to take it to market, market it, and sell it, I feel like Ledge Lounger, we've now gained the experience on how to do that. Now it's a matter time of finding other products that are causing pain points for our customers, and being able to deliver them the market the same way we delivered the Ledge Lounger to market. Now fortunately, we already have an established brand, we already have an established consumer base, so hopefully it's going to be a little bit easier. But I never like to use the word easy, because no matter what it's always hard to convince somebody that a product is going to work well for them, and that they're gonna have success with our products, no matter what it is.
Chris Anderson: Yeah, still have to get them to spend their money on it.
Tyler: Absolutely. And you know, it's a lot harder to get somebody to spend their money than their company's money.
Chris Anderson: 1:14:38 So when you talk about a B to C product versus a B to B product, it's really easy to spend my company's money on new products or new things that we need here at the company, but it's a lot tougher to get people, to convince them to spend their own personal money on things for their back yard. I think that's one thing we discussed is marketing, and the brand and the lifestyle imagery that we do pitch. It's critical that whatever product we do have, we don't just sell a plastic lounge chair. We sell an experience. We sell the idea of having a resort in your own back yard. And the pool industry used to do that really, really, really well. The RV industry, we always compare the pool industry to the RV industry when we're looking at consumer spend and that sort of thing. It's not necessarily about the chair, it's not about the chaise, it's not about the pool, it's about the experience. It's about getting in a pool with your family, and spending time with your family, or getting away from the sun, cooling off, that sort of thing. And I think that's one thing we've done well here at Ledge Loungers, we've really, really shown people how to have a resort in their back yard. Just a little bit more money to add to the overall expense of your swimming pool, and get that much more of experience out of it.
Tyler: 1:15:52 I think that's a really cool shift in the pool industry in general. I mean with all the TV shows and different stuff trying to preach, I think you're right. Going after that back yard experience, the whole idea of you don't have to leave home, you can do this, just spend a little bit more money, but then you're saving money int he long run by not going to Disney World and stay at these huge resorts. Your time with your family is more of on an every day basis, rather than one week out of the year where you go party at a resort. So it's cool to kind of pitch that idea, and I think getting people to really see the industry, and see what we're doing as that, needs to come more to light. And I think everybody's doing a pretty good job at pushing that, so it's a cool idea to say, "Hey, enjoy this in your back yard year round as opposed to one week or two weeks out of the year."
Chris Anderson: 1:16:40 That’s right, without a doubt. I think we're all, everybody in the pool industry is challenging each other. I think we have been an industry that's been pretty behind in times, as far as marketing, and kind of being on the leading edge. And I think we're really starting to see that change as you look at people developing their brand, and their imaging. And you know, a lot of the people that you wouldn't expect to start, get on Facebook and Instagram, and start moving those forward, even though a lot of people might have a small amount of followers still, but they're all really making an effort to get out in front of the curve.
Greg: Wow. And you know, just back to your products, I mean, I think it's really cool how much you guys pay attention to things, 'cause we saw your guys's booth, that huge booth in Orlando of 2017?
Tyler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Greg: 1:17:30 Yeah, 2017, and you guys I think had a new extension for the chaise, and it was where you could put your iPad in, or a book or something like that, and it folds over and you slid it inside, and I'm like, "Dude, I want one of those in my office." I wouldn't mind just lounging back and looking at YouTube video, or a Kindle, or you know, something like that. And that's really smart, 'cause you think about, "Okay, what do you do if you're by the pool?" Even if you're tanning by the pool, it's fricking boring, you're just sitting there. Okay, well what would people like to do? Oh, be on their iPad, it's hot as shit out here, maybe we should put it in this little slot, you can watch it, read it, whatever, and I'm getting tan. This is a great day, you know what I mean?
Chris Anderson: 1:18:12 Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting that you say that, 'cause you know, if you're at a resort, you're trying to look at your iPhone, or look at your book, and you're trying to lay out. You're typically laying on your back, and you're looking straight up. You don't necessarily have a pillow underneath your head. So you're kind of holding your phone in front of the sun, to block the sun from hitting your face, so you can read your phone, or listen to your phone, or watch a movie, or do this, or do that. With our products, the challenge is now you're laying in the water, so when we developed the products, iPhones weren't waterproof, electronics aren't waterproof, obviously your books not waterproof. So we wanted to create a way that you had a place to put your stuff while laying in the water. And a lot of that stems back to, don't just bring a product to market, but understand how people are gonna utilize the product. Imagine yourself in the environment they're gonna then use it on, use it, and then apply those things to it.
Chris Anderson: 1:19:07 So we have in our head rest pillow, we have a little pocket in the back of our headrest pillow, I can't tell you how many times people put that headrest pillow on and they put the pocket in the front. It's meant to go in the back of the headrest pillow, where you can slide your hotel keycard, or your keys, or your phone, you wanna listen to your headphones, you wanna slide your iPhone back there and put your headphones in. The whole idea is if you don't have- course when we developed that product, we didn't have a side table, so we didn't have anything that you could put your iPhone on, or anything on.
Chris Anderson: 1:19:36 And then with the shade, yeah, we wanted to create something that blocked the sun out of your face, so you didn't have to necessarily have an umbrella, but at the same time you could lay back and relax, and look up into this, we call it a media window, and read your book, or watch your iPhone, or watch your iPad, watch a movie, listen to a song, whatever it might be. And those are the features and benefits that obviously help define us differently than any competition that we might have out there. And that's stuff that we're always focusing on. We're trying to always innovate our product one step forward, and not just accepting it that this is the way it's always been done, we're just gonna do it this way.
Greg: 1:20:12 Sure, and can you talk to us a little bit about maybe the fabric? So I asked one of the builders here in Scottsdale that we actually had on a episode, his name's Trevor Tipton with Artisan Elements, and built some really cool pools, and we went to his facility probably about six months ago. And he had a really cool display with Ledge Lounger, kind of just the booklet with all the different chairs and stuff like that on there. But I was talking to him, letting him know that you were gonna be on the show, and he said, "Don't forget to talk about the marine grade fabric versus the regular Sunbrella material," so it'd be kind of cool to maybe talk about what can your product withstand. It can really sit in the water every single day, should you pull it out, are you gonna get any kind of residue or anything like that on the equipment, or if you do, how do you get it off?
Chris Anderson: 1:21:05 Sure. So I mean, one of the biggest issues in the pool is calcium, right, I mean you all know that. You all are service companies. When it comes to water line, when it comes to anywhere on the water line, above the waterline, you're getting a calcium build up. You certainly have to make any products that are made to go in the water durable to the calcium, durable to any of the chemicals. Fortunately, we utilize a material that is where a lot of ... it's the same material they store acid in, they store a lot of different really harsh chemicals in, so we knew the material was gonna withstand the pool environment. The color pigments, and what colors we use are pretty critical. We had some specialized batches of color pigments that can withstand the UV resistance, all of our stuff is UV 16, all of our resin material UV 16, which means it's gonna last a good nine years before it even really starts to begin to fade. If it does fade, it's gonna fade ever so lightly, you're really not gonna notice it in any short period of time. But again, that's gonna be a ways out.
Chris Anderson: 1:22:10 What the UV rating defines is 16,000 hours of 90 degree, overhead sunlight. So in other words, in the testing facility, they're testing as if the sun was straight above, shining directly down on it, 90 degrees, that's where it's tested at 16,000 hours. Now, the sun is rarely ever at 90 degrees in the sky. You know, in the summer, in the winter, it's off to the side. Middle of the day, it's probably not even at 90 degrees in the middle of the sky. So that's the rating on our actual resins. You have to watch out for calcium build up, just like anything else, the more often you clean it, the easier it's gonna be to get off. The longer you wait to clean it, the harder it's gonna be to clean. Calcium can stick to virtually anything, even frost proof waterline tile. Right, we've all seen that. So we encourage people to clean it. Now certainly, you can pick certain colors that the calcium is less likely to show up on, and that's pretty much what we recommend, especially in commercial environments.
Chris Anderson: 1:23:09 When it comes to fabrics and cushions, I feel like that's one area that we probably have a lot of opportunity to be very successful in the market. A lot of people- material for cushions is very expensive. When people see furniture, and they wonder why furniture is so expensive, a lot of the times it's because of the cushions. So when you look at our pillows, or our sectionals, or patio furniture, first you've gotta think about what is the fabric, what type of fabric is being used. Well first of all, we use Sunbrella for fabric, which is one of the best outdoor fabrics on the market. They make a couple different types of fabric, they make a furniture grade fabric which is typically softer, a little bit softer to the touch and feel, but more porous and a little bit less durable than what they call their marine grade fabrics.
Chris Anderson: 1:24:01 Now marine grade fabrics are the same fabrics that are on canopies, boat Biminis, canopies, awnings, that sort of thing. So they're made to truly repel water. So because our products are in and around water so much, we've chosen to only use marine grade Sunbrella, which is pretty much one of the most expensive fabrics on the market. But what's so critical there is the cushion itself is not going to absorb water, it's going to repel water. Now I say that, if you were to take a garden hose and hold it on a cushion, over time it is gonna saturate the fabric, and then therefore it is going to soak in some water. That's where we take the extra step of using a open cell foam inside of our cushions.
Chris Anderson: 1:24:50 Everybody always complains about patio furniture cushions after a heavy rain storm, two days later I go to sit on my patio and my chaise or my cushion, and then my butt gets wet, right? And nobody wants to go sit on the furniture, or they think there's a hassle of bringing the cushions in. So even when we do patio furniture, we manufacture patio furniture now, we still utilize the marine grade Sunbrella. And the idea here is that the water's gonna bead on top of the cushion, then will eventually dry out versus penetrate the cushion and go through. But if it does over saturate and penetrate and go through, we use an open cell foam that allows the water to go straight through that foam, and then we use a mesh net on the bottom of the cushion, which allows that water to go straight out the bottom. So at no point in time is it sitting in, or is it holding water.
Chris Anderson: 1:25:38 Now, this all sounds great, but now our cushion is $300, let's just say, for a sectional piece versus $120 or $150 that you might buy at your local cheaper furniture store, or your Costco, or your Sam's. But look, when we developed the Chaise Lounger, we have a tiny, tiny, tiny percent of a return rate. And usually it's just because they wanna exchange it for a different color, or maybe that they bought does not work properly on their tanning ledge 'cause of the depth of the water. So what we said was, "Why do we wanna start offering a cheaper product as we move into patio furniture, and increase our return rate, versus why not just use the best materials that exist in the market, and offer the best possible patio furniture that we're gonna get the least possible returns on," and that's what we did. Knowing we're not interested in starting to become an outdoor furniture manufacturer more than just in water furniture, unless we can do it the best way it can be done, and continue our brand and our reputation based on that versus trying to go out and find a cheaper way to do it. In other words, I'd rather sell less to people that expect quality, than sell a whole bunch more to people that don't care, and then just really dilute my brand.
Greg: 1:26:59 Couldn’t agree with you more, Chris. Alright Chris, so we just wanna talk about the Ledge Lounger brand, because you know to us, it just looks so iconic. Can you talk to us, from the beginning of even just choosing what the logo was gonna be?
Chris Anderson: 1:27:15 Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know ... I've had a good deal of experience. When I was involved in student media at LSU, it's adversely what I did, I mean we went around to small mom and pop businesses around campus, and we helped them build their brand, build their brand awareness and build their business. You know so when I came on board with my father and his company, Custom Design Pools, I redid the logo, started the social media pages, started getting pictures, and started to create a following. I realized how important that following was. I had some pretty good marketing, advertising background just from the Dallas Morning News.
Chris Anderson: 1:27:58 So it was really neat to be able to start Ledge Lounger and have this project that I could start from the absolute ground up. And I realize the importance of everything we were doing, and how important that brand image was gonna be. So I didn't just have a logo created, and then just start using it. I spent the time to reach out to a few different designers that had done some logos and different things I liked, that I'd seen in the past, and one of the designers I worked with early on, she was awesome. I mean, she really understood the product, she understood what we were trying to do, and she nailed it, I think. She created the logo, it's the first logo that we ever made, it's the same logo we use today.
Greg: Oh, wow.
Chris Anderson: 1:28:47 Same color scheme, you know, here we are seven or eight years later. So we're very, very proud of that, and I feel like look, every now and again you get lucky in business, and I feel like that's one area that I think we nailed it right off the bat. And fortunately, we haven't had to change it. I wanna go to say that we've got an exciting product. So certainly, it's easier to advertise a chaise lounge chair, and to market a chaise lounge chair that goes in the water that you can lay out in the pool, because it's such a cool thing to do, right, than it is to market another piece of I don't know ... obviously there are certain things that are more fun to look at. You know, whether it's selling a washer machine, or a dryer, or a dishwasher, or certain things that you just can't really get too, too excited about. So our product is easy to get excited about, number one, which certainly makes it a little bit easier.
Chris Anderson: 1:29:48 But number two is, you know, in the furniture industry, even in the pool industry, a lot of people don't put people in their ads, which blows my mind, because I can see it, and it could look really cool, but if I can't see somebody using it and enjoying it, that's a whole other element. Well, a couple furniture companies that we've talked to since we concepted and created our brand, they were very, very ... they were asking a lot of questions to us, how do you do this, how have you done this, so forth and so on because they seen the success that we've had, and a lot of them say, "Well, we were always afraid to put people in our ads for so many different reasons." I say, "Well you've never done it before, so why don't you do it and see what the result is of doing it?" Don't get stuck in your old legacy ways of how you've always did something, try something new.
Chris Anderson: 1:30:40 What we found, and it actually goes back to when I was Custom Design Pools, you know, instead of doing pictures 'cause everybody was doing pictures of pools, I actually hired a video company, and we made videos about our pools. And you can go to Custom Design Pools' website still exists, it's cdphouston.com, as in Custom Design Pools, the city Houston dot com. And you can see five or six videos that we've made of pools. Well there's one particular video, where the first 30 seconds of it is the pool, the beautiful scenery, then the second half of it is the kids playing in the pool, going down the slide, going on the rope swing, there was a rock climbing wall on this pool, just a huge pool. And I noticed that when I showed that video to consumers and clients, I got better feedback. They became more interested because they saw how it was being used.
Chris Anderson: 1:31:30 And so I took that concept over to Ledge Lounger and said, "Look, we're not just gonna place an ad with just a lounge chair sitting in a pool, that does look cool, but let's show it being used." And I think we've kind of carried that concept all the way through. I challenge people, look at other furniture stores that exist, look at other furniture companies that exist, and you'll see that a lot of their furniture does not have, they simply don't have people in it. And is it because they're afraid of choosing the wrong person with the wrong ethnicity, or because they're afraid if they put a woman in the ad that a man's not gonna buy it, or are they afraid to put a man in the ad, the woman's not gonna buy it. I mean, that's why we try things, right. And I think that's where AB testing can hold true, I'm sure you all have heard of AB testing, but sometimes when we send out an email marketing campaign, we might send to 50% of our audience we're gonna send this email, to another 50% we're gonna send this email, and then we're gonna test which email was more successful. That way moving forward, we can try and identify what we're doing to be more successful.
Chris Anderson: 1:32:36 So always challenging yourself, always challenging what you're doing, and not just doing it the way that everybody else is doing it. Look at the way everybody else is doing it, try and figure out how to do it better. And for us, again, it's putting pictures in our ads, it's not just accepting. One of our best images we've ever done, we actually spend the money, before we were making good money, we spent the money to go down to Puerto Vallarta, and take a picture in a ... I think it was a four or five million dollar house, and we hired this beautiful model, and we put her in this chaise and you know, it's one of our leading images. And it has been. And it's probably that one image has resulted in selling a whole lot of products, just because we were willing to go big to get big results. And I think too many times, people don't try and go big, or they're afraid if I spend too much money on this photo shoot, or maybe I'm gonna try and hire a $100 photographer as opposed to a $500 photographer. You know, I get it. You're trying to strap things together to get a result. But maybe you should save up for a few more months, or a few more weeks, and do it right, go big.
Chris Anderson: 1:33:46 And in fact, that's one thing that I've challenged our company recently on is over time, you kind of get complacent, and you start doing photo shoots in areas that might be more convenient versus areas that are gonna produce better results. So you have to continue to challenge that. And we realize yeah, we have to continue to put fresh images out there, fresh pictures out there, keep everybody excited about our brand. And we should try to better than what we've done in the past, not just accept a photo shoot at a local apartment complex is good enough. You know, why not go down to Arizona and do something out in the desert at a really cool, unique apartment complex, 'cause after all, nowadays it's not just a matter of the product in the picture, it's a matter of how awesome the picture looks. Because we only have so much time, you're looking at so many pictures, and why when you're flipping through your Instagram feed do you slide past a picture, and why do you stop on a picture? What is it about the picture that makes you stop and look at it? If I see the every day environment, I'm more likely to move past it. But if I see something that stands out and is exciting, then I'm more than likely to stop on it, like it, look at it, forward it, share it, all these kind of things.
Chris Anderson: 1:34:56 So just understanding that how every detail that you're putting into it, even again, how good of a photographer you're using, understanding how all those things impact it makes you typically take the time to do it as best as you can possibly do it versus just throw something together. I guess the advice there is don't take anything lightly, even if it's just a simple photo shoot, even if it's anything. Really sit down and brainstorm, how can we do this better than anybody else has done in the past?
Greg: 1:35:24 That’s awesome, I think that's huge just being resourceful. You might not have the money to afford the best photographer, but you could sure learn to use a camera phone, or a $500 DSLR camera, or something and just make the veery best of it, and always kind of have that drive to wanna maybe hire this photographer one day like Jimmy ... I think you've worked with Jimmy before?
Chris Anderson: Yeah, absolutely.
Greg: He's phenomenal with the drone videos, and all the different things that he does. He's just definitely one of my favorite photographers for sure, for sure.
Chris Anderson: 1:36:00 Well and let me touch on that real quick 'cause you know, there's a fine line, right? Do I wanna buy a camera and go be a photographer? So how much is the camera gonna cost me, what do I need to learn? Like Brett Abbott with a marketing company out of Austin, he does a lot of pool builder stuff, right. And you know, I went out and bought a drone when I was a pool builder, and I started taking pictures of my pools with the drone, right. Well you know, that 30,000 feet elevation looking down at a pool, straight down, that picture's really not that interesting. But where the drone is really great, is when we get over 13, 14 foot up and we shoot it from an angle looking down, that's a really good picture, and it looks great.
Chris Anderson: 1:36:43 I can go spend $3,000 on a drone, or $2,000 on a drone and maybe today, $500 on a drone, and I can go spend five or six hours in the field trying to learn how to use the drone and take the image, or I can pay a guy with a drone that knows how to fly it, knows how to take a picture, $500 and have them go over there and do it, and get a much, much, much better result. So I challenge people, yeah you think you're a photographer, you think you can grab your iPhone and take a picture. I do, I congratulate the resourcefulness, and of course that's better than not doing anything at all. But there comes a point where you have to realize you're good at doing what you're doing, let other people be good at what they're doing, and pay them what it takes.
Chris Anderson: 1:37:27 And I can guarantee you, if you pick up the phone and you call a local photographer, and you say, "I've just created this business idea, I need your help, I can't afford your $500 fee, I can afford you for $200, and here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna come pick you up, I'm going to ..." do whatever you have to do to work with individuals to get a better price, to get the professional to participate, and even if you tell them, "Hey look, just let me know in the next month or two when you get an opening, I'm not gonna block your schedule, let me know when you get an opening and I will make myself and my product available. I'll bring it to you, and you can shoot." Make it as convenient as possible for the other person, and tell them, "Hey if this goes really well, then of course I'm gonna be able to give you more business, and more business, and more business." And it's gonna lead to a greater thing. Again, you might not get the very best photographer out there, but you're probably gonna get a photographer that knows how to do it better than how you do it.
Greg: 1:38:19 100%, I love that. Do you think you guys have just ... did you make your mind up in the beginning, that it was just gonna have this aesthetic, and it would just stay, because I feel like you guys have a very distinctive look, even if the chaise wasn't in the picture, I feel like the way the picture is aligned, and the edits of the photos, and just everything kind of has a very Ledge Lounger look to it. Was it really important to just keep everything kind of uniform, and you know what I mean? 'Cause you might be next to a really luxurious, crazy looking pool, but there's still a sense of minimalism in it, I guess. It's kind of simple, yet complex, I guess a little bit.
Chris Anderson: 1:39:04 Yeah you now what, that's a real tricky thing. So first and foremost, what's important is you understand that you've gotta have a brand identity, right. And you say, "I'm only going to accept things that fall into this criteria," whatever that criteria is, and that's how we're gonna represent our brand. You know, often times some of my sales people wanna just, because it's convenient and easy, share a photo that they received from a client with other people. I'm very cautious to allow sales people to just go send out any photo they want. Our marketing team now in house, we have four people on our marketing team, JC our marketing director, I've been working with Chelsea, she's done a great job on social media and PR.
Greg: Yes, Chelsea's awesome.
Chris Anderson: 1:39:49 We have a graphic designer in house now, and we have our own web developer in house now. These are critical things. A lot of people say, "Oh man, you're not necessarily a big enough business to have an in house marketing staff." Brand for us, because we're a lifestyle brand, brand for us is so critical, that if I rely on anybody outside of our business to do it, they're not gonna be fully aware of what it is we're doing and pay 100% attention to it. So if I go hire a media agency that's worked with 15 other companies, and we're just another company, then how in tune to what we're doing, and our brand, are they ever gonna be, right?
Chris Anderson: 1:40:26 Right so that's where, it was one of my first, actually, one of my first five hires. I hired JC, our marketing director, and she owned it. I mean, she owned it, and she acted like she was the owner of the business, and this is her brand, and she's going to make sure that it's her baby, and every day she's gonna focus on it and make sure that it's on track, you know. So by hiring in house, we've been able to keep our brand tight, and focus on doing it the right way. When you outsource it, commonly you'll just do things just to get them done. You'll make decisions to we just need to get this done, let's just get it done, so we're gonna use this picture as opposed to this picture. Or we're willing to sacrifice, we don't wanna sacrifice here at Ledge Lounger. We want to make sure that everything we're doing is quality, and it's held to the highest standard. So we can do that when we have more control over it, 'cause it's in house versus out house.
Greg: 1:41:17 That’s awesome. Is it difficult to choose what photos you're gonna share? 'Cause I feel like you see Ledge pieces all over the place, you know. There's some really amazing hotels with great views and different things like that. Is it difficult sometimes to pick and choose what pictures you're gonna use for social posts?
Chris Anderson: 1:41:38 You know, sure it is. We always ask ourselves, are we using the same photo too often? Fortunately with the resources that we have, we get access to a lot of photos, whether it's our photo shoots, or whether it's some of our higher end pool builders that are sharing their pictures with us that we buy the rights to, in some cases. I think what you have to be real cautious of, too, though is you can't just show 100% really, really, really high end photos, right? Because sometimes the average consumer can't relate to that. So if you've got a guy building a $60,000 pool, and they see Ledge Loungers in $200,000 pools and they never seen them with $60,000 pool, they might think that that product is out of their reach.
Chris Anderson: 1:42:23 So that's where social media helps. Social media is nice because I'm not spending $6,000 on a newspaper ad, or excuse me, a magazine ad, where I wanna have the absolute best photo I can, but I'm actually just posting one on social media. So if a high end consumer is following us, and they see an average picture come across the site, it's okay because the next one they might see is gonna be a higher end one, or they go view our profile and they can see a mix of everything. So you just have to make sure that you're looking at the market, and what that ad is going to. Because we have multichannel sales, in other words, we sell to interior designers, we sell to multifamily, we sell to hospitality, we sell to resorts, we sell to pool builders, we sell to consumers, so every time we're putting an ad in a different publication, or we're sending an email to those different markets, we're considering what market it's going to.
Chris Anderson: 1:43:22 Let’s face it, if you can hire an interior designer to design your back yard space after a pool is built, you probably have a good bit of money, therefore we're gonna make sure that the ads going to that market have a great, great, great appeal. Whereas in other markets, if we're going to the multifamily market, we wanna make sure that yeah, we don't wanna use just the absolute, highest end apartment complex, because a majority of apartment complexes are not absolute, highest end. So we wanna reach a consumer base, a multifamily market, with a good picture. So in other words, we're not gonna ... another thing you've gotta consider is, we're not gonna market to the multifamily segment with a pool with two Ledge Loungers in it, a residential pool with two Ledge Loungers in it. We're gonna choose a commercial pool, with 30 Ledge Loungers on the-
Chris Anderson: We're going to choose a commercial pool with 30 Ledge Loungers on the tanning ledge and a lot of patio furniture in the background. We're going to have to make sure that we tailor the ads, tailor the content in the ad to the individual market. I think that's one thing we've done very well since the start.
Greg Villafana: Very good.
Tyler Rasmussen: Agreed.
Greg Villafana: 1:44:26 Know that it's a big piece now and probably has been for a little bit for the ledge pieces to be used for a lot of builders in their main photo shoots because I see a lot of high-end builders now and there's something about seeing that piece in the pool. There might not be somebody in the pool but you take it a little bit more seriously and in your mind you think it's a luxury pool by just seeing that piece and just a beautiful people.
Greg Villafana: One of our favorite builders out here and good friend, Jeromey Naugle with Premier Paradise, a lot of his very unique pool builds have ledge loungers in them and we just, man, we frickin love seeing them every single time.
Chris Anderson: 1:45:11 We certainly do too of course and we appreciate Jeremy's support in our brand. He builds some absolute fabulous work and it is exciting to see it. In fact, I still get excited when I see him post some stuff and it's got three or four, or four or five of our products in it.
Chris Anderson: 1:45:27 You’re absolutely right. Look, anything fresh, any new, innovative ideas are always going to catch people's attention because we've been looking at pools for probably 80 years now. I think 1920s, 1940s and they've been the same thing for a really long time. We're breaking the surface of the water. We're introducing something fresh that some people still haven't seen even though our brand's been around now for seven years or so. There's still a lot of people out there that don't know that Ledge Lounger's exist and we're excited to continue to grow in that market. We appreciate all the builders that post pictures with our product in it.
Greg Villafana: 1:46:08 It’s pretty genius if you think about it that almost a big, marketing piece of your business is other people doing it where they buy your furniture and they can't wait to take photos of it to share and that's pretty much really good brand awareness because seeing one of Jeremy's pools with the Ledge Lounger on it. It's only doing good things for your company. Obviously for his as well because obviously you have a picture of this amazing pool and design but having that piece in it. It's really cool because it might be a picture that doesn't really have your aesthetic but the word is getting out. Sometimes we think that way where we're like "You know, I wouldn't have posted that but that's going to do us good because they're talking about it and it's positive." It's nothing negative about it. It's just not something that ties in with our color scheme and aesthetic. It just doesn't have all the things that we need. It must be really cool to develop something that other people can almost market for you.
Chris Anderson: 1:47:18 Absolutely, it's kind of like do you all have the Yeti brand, the coolers?
Greg Villafana: Can't afford it yet, but.
Tyler Rasmussen: Yeah, we don't-
Chris Anderson: Can't afford it yet. I don't mean personally but in the market the Yeti's out there and it's amazing that what makes people wear a hat that has the word Yeti on it. What inspires them to do that? It was an ice chest, right?
Greg Villafana: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chris Anderson: People have Yeti stickers on the back of their cars and it ultimately is their branding. They're associating themselves to a rugged, wild life. You look at Yeti's ads now and they are pictures of a rock climber climbing a wall with a Yeti backpack on, or pictures of a hunter, or a video of a hunter with a Yeti ice chest in the back with his game or his catch in the ice chest. That's where this brand awareness is so strong.
Chris Anderson: 1:48:07 It’s just like how many people put Apple stickers on the back of their car when Apple was a cult but the hard part is how do you keep that going. You don't see nearly as many Apple stickers on the back of vehicles today than you did when Apple first started because everybody thought "Man, I'm a part of unique brand here and there's not everybody doing it."
Chris Anderson: 1:48:30 The challenge is always how do we keep all this stuff going. How do we continue to innovative and continue to strive? A lot of times what happens is businesses are bought out and all of a sudden it becomes all about generating revenue or generating profit versus really taking the time to keep people inspired, and keep innovating and keep the brand going. That's one thing we're always aware of here and we want to make sure we approach very cautiously but we are focused on continuing to develop our brand. We certainly want, just like you are today, we certainly want more people wearing hats with our log on them. We want to continue to inspire them.
Tyler Rasmussen: Thanks Chelsea.
Chris Anderson: That starts all the way back at the innovation.
Greg Villafana: 1:49:14 Most definitely, well congrats on all the social media success. It's been a really cool movement. There's not too many brands that have that lifestyle vibe to them but you've done a really good job at keeping that up.
Chris Anderson: Thank you.
Tyler Rasmussen: 1:49:31 have one question. You came from the Dallas news. How did you, because a lot of people I don't think can do this, is go from print to a whole entire mind change, a mind shift, into this whole social media challenge because a lot of people that are still doing print still want to do print. They don't understand the value or they're not willing to change or adapt like you guys have been or you have been personally? It sounds like you've taken every experience and then brought it to where it is now but how come you are so open to making those changes and going along with the movement as opposed to staying stuck in that old way of thinking?
Greg Villafana: You went to the internet back then. It wasn't necessarily probably from social media.
Chris Anderson: 1:50:20 At LSU we had 27,000 copies of a newspaper, excuse me 12,000 copies ownership a newspaper that went out every single day and we sold print media there. Now, in a college environment I think newspapers will continue to be successful because you have such a captive audience. In a big world media environment will newspaper, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, where these other papers continue to be successful, no, not as much because you really have to go out of your way to grab it and people just simply aren't ... In a class, in a college environment you're sitting at a desk trying to kill time before your teacher walks in. I'd love to see what that environment looks like today with social media because I'm sure they'd rather look through their Instagram feed or their Facebook feed well before they're going to read a newspaper.
Chris Anderson: 1:51:08 I think to answer your question more broadly it's more a matter of just being open to education and growth. I think a lot of people that, to your point, sell media still today, sell newspaper media or print media, versus trying to go catch the Times of the virtual world or shall I say the digital world, it's because they're afraid of change and they're afraid of learning new things. They're afraid of failure.
Chris Anderson: 1:51:37 Now, it's ultimately their fear of failing that is going to result in their failure because they're not willing to learn what the next coolest thing is or educate themselves so they can diversify their product. I think too many times people are afraid because they think that if I change I'm going to have to always be different. The fact of the matter is is if I'm really good at selling print media and I go start selling digital media I can still sell print media. Why don't you just offer a solution to your client that is both? Eventually you'll become so confident and so comfortable in print and digital that you'll start forgetting about print.
Chris Anderson: 1:52:19 Too many times people think "I've got to wake up one day and make a change." No, that's not the case. Again, every day make 1%. Over 100 days you'll realize that you just made a huge and you didn't even realize it was a huge change because you did it over such a period of time that you're comfortable with it. Hopefully we can talk about this at a later date. I'd love to be on the podcast to talk about it but it's the same thing with charging for designs for pool builders. This is obviously a much bigger conversation than this but people are so fearful in charging for designs because they think "Once I start saying I'm going to charge for designs that means I have to charge for a design every time I walk through the door." That's not the case. The first time as a designer I ever charged somebody for a design was because the guy was pretty much a ... Excuse me but he was an asshole and I didn't want to do his project anyway so if I lost the job I didn't care. I had the confidence to try and charge him.
Chris Anderson: 1:53:19 I charged him and unfortunately he accepted. Then I had to be paid by an asshole to design a job for an asshole. Again, I was willing to take the chance on that one because I wasn't afraid of losing the job because I really didn't want it anyway. I think it's being open minded and it's applying the new ideas and the new concepts at a point in time at which you're comfortable doing it. Giving things a chance to be successful versus just ruling it out altogether.
Tyler: 1:53:50 That’s really a good point and I think that can go towards our industry too. That's what we're up against with a lot of the older mentalities in the industry not wanting to move forward with new innovative ways or move forward with new ideas and not share knowledge, an advanced knowledge. That goes all over the whole industry where we're still seeing all this old stuff which, like what I've said before on here, we respect so much for the way, the path that they've put out there for all of us to grow on but if we can have that idea that, yeah, get one step better, 1% better every day or change 1% every day and learn both ways. That way we're elevating everybody at the same time. That helps each part of this and it is really far behind in a lot of ways. A lot of our industry is behind so it would be a cool idea of people could just take that mindset and say "I'm going to try one new thing a day and see what happens." Try and do a little bit more today than yesterday and maybe there is something to this whole new movement.
Chris Anderson: 1:55:05 Sure and what I think everybody needs to realize is if you've gone out into corporate America and then you come back into the pool industry, and not that the pool industry isn't corporate America. Certainly there's some big pool companies out there but we're in an environment where 99% of the people around us are not so excited about innovating and growing. They're happy doing the same thing they do every day. When we say "You only have to become 1% better every day or a tenth of a percent better every day to be successful" it's because the people around us aren't. Now let's compare that to going into the technology industry. They don't get the luxury of being a tenth of a percent better every day. They have to be 100% every day or else they're going to get run over. How lazy, in a way, are people in our industry that they're not willing to grow 1% or day or for the sake of the conversation just a little bit every day.
Chris Anderson: I challenge anybody in our industry that says it's hard to stand out or it's hard to do things better than anybody else. That's just simply not true.
Tyler Rasmussen: We do too.
Chris Anderson: 1:56:20 All you have to do is try and want to get better. If you simply have that mentality and you actually do it you're going to end up better than a large percentage of your competitors.
Tyler Rasmussen: 1:56:30 Absolutely. That's really cool. I think one of the biggest examples of that is the Auto Trader. My dad worked there for 15 years but it's no longer an actual magazine. They took that idea and somebody said "Hey, let's try this internet thing." Now it's 100% internet and Blockbuster did the opposite. Blockbuster had the idea ... Blockbuster could've been Netflix and they didn't. Both those are really big, good examples of that.
Greg Villafana: Whoops.
Tyler Rasmussen: Auto Trader is 100% online and they used to have these huge facilities I used to go to as a little kid. My dad would bring me to these huge manufacturing plants where I'd see all these magazines being put together and now that doesn't even exist. They're just 100% online.
Greg Villafana: 1:57:14 The concept has to stay the same. It's just the way that people digested changes. Just because if your thing is education it doesn't have to print. It doesn't have to be podcast. You just have to change with the times and it's usually a soft transition. You know what I mean?
Chris Anderson: Absolutely.
Greg Villafana: You just have to be paying attention.
Chris Anderson: 1:57:34 Yeah, look at Uber. Look at how disruptive Uber was. Look at Amazon. Look at how disruptive Amazon was but I think what's so critical to realize this and this is a lot to talk about. What we have been talking about is Amazon was not created overnight. Uber was not created overnight. Now, everybody looks at Amazon as this overnight success or they look at Uber as this overnight success, this guy who started this company and made millions and billions of dollars. It's because one day you learned about him and the day you learned about him you didn't know about him the previous day and now you know about him. He's really successful but the fact of the matter is every success story starts with somebody who had a concept. They probably got their balls busted a million times trying to take this concept to become a reality. Years, and years and years of hard effort, hard work went into it and it wasn't until 10 years later that you're reading this story about how they're this huge success.
Chris Anderson: 1:58:35 It’s this overnight success story that a lot of people buy into that one day this guy started this business and, man, look at him today. Well, what happened in the meantime? Mark Cuban, he always talks about how he ate macaroni and cheese every night for a year and slept on his friend's couch or whatever it was. Now, nobody talks about that. They talk about how he's the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and he's this. He's got that and he's so wealthy, and this and that. He owns this company and that company. Look at anybody that's done it, that's been successful, and look at the amount of effort and work that they've had to put into it. I think that just speaks true to what we're talking about here is nothing's overnight success.
Chris Anderson: 1:59:21 You’re not going to come up with an idea today and it's going to be a hit tomorrow. You're going to have to put time into it. You're going to have to put effort into it and, again, just a little bit at a time.
Tyler Rasmussen: For sure.
Greg Villafana: 1:59:33 Right, so you guys were on the Inc. top 5,000 list which represents the most successful independent companies in our economy. This was, I'm sure, a huge honor for you guys and I remember when we even saw it way before we started Pool Chasers. We are just really excited that somebody in our industry had been a part of this and we read Inc. on digital and follow them on the social platforms and just to see Ledge Lounger be a part of that was just really cool.
Greg Villafana: How did that feel and what does it take to get to that level of success? I list some things over in the questions. Just because we think it's ... We have our tactics on what wakes us up in the morning and what gets us pumped up. It changes for everybody, whether it be just yoga, or patience, or maybe you got to listen to some crazy rap music at 4:00 in the morning or go for a 4:00 AM run. How did you get to where you are?
Chris Anderson: 2:00:39 Man, that's a big question. I think it's pretty hard to sum up but I'll try. I'm kind of the guy who likes to put a carrot in front of my face and then work really, really, really, really hard to get it. One thing I've done recently is I love spending time on the water. I'm an avid wake surfer. In fact, sometimes I wish I could move to a climate that's hotter all year long so that I could be able to go out on the boat every weekend because that's really what energizes me is getting in the boat. I just forget about work.
Chris Anderson: 2:01:20 I went out and bought a Nautique. I'm not recommending people do this but it was probably really before I could actually afford it. Of course today anybody can get loans for anything it seems like but I knew that if I wanted to make sure that I kept this thing I was going to have to go bust it because now I had a monthly payment that I had to make. Again, that's an example of put that carrot in front of my face and making sure that I'm working hard to be able to achieve this lifestyle or this thing that I put in front of me. A similar deal, I bought a piece of property at some point where I could and my goal is to be able to build a house on it. Didn't build a house on it. I ended up building out a barn and I have kind of a barn house but I certainly reached my goal and now I get to live on this piece of property that my wife, and I and my kids love dearly.
Chris Anderson: I think constantly setting goals for yourself but putting things in front of your face. The idea is that I want to achieve this or I want to achieve that. Now, certainly you have to have business goals but you have to have personal goals too to drive the business goals.
Chris Anderson: 2:02:28 It was explained to me really, really well and I certainly want to share this because it had a great impact on my life. I was at an entrepreneur forum one time that Morgan Stanley was putting on and a gentleman explained it this way. He said "What's the definition of being a success as an entrepreneur?" That was the question that was posed to him. He said "I can sum up that a lot like this. You're climbing a mountain and from the ground, from zero elevation, you look up. You see the peak of this mountain at 8,000 feet and it's pretty steep. You climb, and you climb and you climb. You are exhausted. By the time you get to 7,500 feet you are just dead tired but you're getting a whole lot of inspiration because you only have 500 feet to go. You get up the other 500 feet and now you're at what you thought was the top of the mountain, 8,000 feet. Then you turn around and you realize that from zero elevation you couldn't see the other peak on the other side of the mountain. The mountain's not 8,000 feet. It's 10,000 feet. You are absolutely exhausted and you're dead tired but now you realize you've got 2,000 more feet to go. Then you get to that 10,000 foot peak and all of a sudden there's another peak that you didn't see. It is just a never ending mountain."
Chris Anderson: 2:03:52 That is business. That is entrepreneurism. That is starting your own business because if you're ever going to settle for a peak your business is going to fall apart. You're business is going to die. If you're ever going to stop innovating, if you're ever going to stop pushing, if you're ever going to stop inventing, if you're ever going to stop growing, you have to keep going. You have to keep climbing. You have to keep looking for that next peak because if you don't, again, you're going to be gone. Then what are you going to do next?
Chris Anderson: I think a lot of people have this idea in mind that they're going to build a business one day and they're just going to sell it. If you build a business thinking you're going to sell it it's never going to be as great as what it would be if you built a business wanting to stick with it long-term and growing. I'm not saying that you don't sell when the time's right but certainly you don't have that in the back of your mind all the time. It'll hamper your growth.
Chris Anderson: 2:04:47 You’ve got to want it. You've got to be willing to drive it. You've got to be willing to work hard for it and if you're not, that's why not everybody owns a business. That's why not everybody starts a business. I think when we're looking at the Shark Tank and we're looking at all this stuff out there in today's society and media everybody wants to own their own business but the fact of the matter is there's some people out there that just will never own their own business because they're just not willing to put in the hustle. They're not willing to overcome the challenges, you know?
Tyler Rasmussen: Yeah, it's really good advice, thank you.
Greg Villafana: Do you workout or anything Chris?
Chris Anderson: 2:05:22 It comes and goes. I get in a two or three month spurt and then I get just overwhelming busy. I have a four year old at home and I have an 11 month old at home. My wife likes to wake up early in the morning and workout and I get the kids ready for school and take my four year old to school. Excuse me, get one of the kids ready for school and take him to school. Then a lot of times I'll end up being at the office until 7:00. Then by the time I get home and spend some time with the kids it's just exhausting. Hopefully as my 11 month old gets a little bit older and I can spend a little bit more time out of the house I can get back to it.
Chris Anderson: I love the idea of it. I certainly want to be doing it. I need to be doing it. I definitely get a lot of stress relief out of working out but it's just not a reality for me at this point in time. I try and schedule lunchtime to go work out and then I end up getting sucked into a meeting.
Chris Anderson: Look here, I'm the one telling people you don't have to make excuses and now I'm the one making excuses. I damn sure better have a New Year's goal of getting back into it.
Greg: Us too.
Tyler: 2:06:30 Can you share with us maybe some of your favorite books and why, some of the things that motivate you and guide you through your process?
Chris Anderson: 2:06:39 Yeah, I'm one of those guys that I love business books, don't get me wrong, but I'm inspired by a lot of movies. I'm inspired by a lot of real stories. Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor, that inspired me. Even though it wasn't necessarily tied to business but it was tied to overcoming a challenge, worked really hard getting to an end result. It's sounds silly but even the Facebook movie, the social network movie, I love watching that movie because it inspires me on the regular so finding inspiration whether it's through a book or something else I think is certainly critical.
Chris Anderson: 2:07:17 When it comes to books there are some business books I love, Good to Great by Jim Collins. That's a critical book because it truly helps you identify that you're not going to be able to do it all yourself. You're going to have to get the right people on the bus in the right seats. Virtually he follows some of the greatest businesses that have sustained the test of time and he talks about what makes them different than the other businesses that have fallen apart over the years. It's a very powerful book.
Chris Anderson: 2:07:44 There’s another one by Jim called Built to Last. There's How To Be A Great Boss. There's a number of books out there. I think if anything I'd love the audience to hear about something I've gotten on recently. It's called Blinkest or Blink List. It's an app. Look, business books are hard to read especially in today's world because you have to dedicate a lot of time to it and that's why podcasts are so great because it's an hour here, an hour there, potentially two hours here or there. Podcasts have been tremendous for me but this Blink List book and I'll share the actual name of it because I'm tearing up the name of it here. It's an app where it's basically cliff notes of books. They're called blinks. You pay $70.00. You subscribe to Blink List app on any of the app stores and then you pick a category and you can get the cliff notes, audio version cliff notes, of any book. Then whether it's health books, or it's history books or business books.
Chris Anderson: 2:08:55 Then if you like the cliff notes of the book and they were really intriguing to you then of course you can go out, pick up that book and read it or you can just stick to the cliff notes and instead of spending the time to read a 300 page business book for a lot of us business owners that can't stay focused for that long you get the 10 most important topics. You might have a minute and a half 10 times of the most important topics of the book. It's a way of getting the information out of the book very quickly in a timely manner and the whole blink might be 15 minutes. Listen to one of those every night before I go to bed kind of deal. Listen to them in your car on the way to work. Those are pretty powerful but I think you've got to constantly change it up. You've got to do podcasts, sometimes books, sometimes blinks, sometimes just inspirational movies sometimes. You find it everywhere you can get it.
Greg Villafana: That's pretty genius. I can't wait to check that out.
Tyler Rasmussen: That's really awesome. I never heard of it.
Greg Villafana: Especially you get 20, 50, 100 pages deep in a book and then it's just like "I don't have time for this."
Chris Anderson: 2:09:57 Yeah, certainly you can't stay with it and I've probably started 10 business books that they just lost me through the middle of the book. I think it's just that's why fiction exists is because a fiction can keep your attention. Whereas, in a business book it's a lot harder to keep your attention. I think that's one thing this app has done really well. I'm pulling to app up now so I can-
Tyler Rasmussen: Just bring up Blinkest.
Chris Anderson: Blinkest.
Tyler Rasmussen: Yeah, B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T.
Chris Anderson: Yeah, that's it. Man, it is awesome, a lot of great topics, just about every book on there.
Tyler Rasmussen: I'm downloading it now.
Chris Anderson: 1:10:34 Especially if somebody at the office says "Well, I read this book and it's really great." You go home and you listen to a 15 minute blink and then you come back and have a conversation with that guy about the book.
Greg Villafana: I read it too.
Chris Anderson: Yeah, exactly, you'll blow people out of the water.
Tyler Rasmussen: That's really cool.
Greg Villafana: That's like watching Sports Center. I didn't have to watch football all day Sunday, or basketball or baseball all during the week. I just watch an hour of Sports Center and I know everything that's going on.
Chris Anderson: 2:11:00That is a perfect example. It's kind of like in junior high. We had a book assignment. We'd go buy the cliff notes and read the cliff notes. Then all of a sudden you're up to speed. Of course teachers are smarter than that.
Tyler Rasmussen: Yeah, they got smarter.
Chris Anderson: With this I think there's a lot you can take away from these quick blinks for sure.
Greg Villafana: 2:11:21 What are just a couple podcasts that you said you were listening to some podcasts? What podcasts are you listening to right now?
Chris Anderson: 2:11:29 One of them that I've really, really enjoyed that is not so business oriented is Serial. It's a podcast of a journalist who follows a couple different stories. They're all real things that are going on in the world today. I don't know if you all are familiar, military definitely gets me excited just not necessarily war per se but just the military, and special forces and things like that. Actually he'll follow the whole story about Bowe Birddog, Bergdahl excuse me. He's the Taliban, the guy who basically walked off his post in Afghanistan and then he was captured by the Taliban. We ended up trading four Taliban soldiers for him. It was just a big thing in the media. I like keeping up to speed with the news and that was a really interesting story.
Chris Anderson: 2:12:17 The girl who gives this podcast, or performs or is the voice in it, she just keeps your attention. She does such a good job. I like some of that stuff. There's certainly some ... I'm always constantly searching for other podcasts that are inspirational or are business. There's a couple of entrepreneur podcasts that I follow. I can't recall any of the names of them but commonly I'll hear from entrepreneurs who started this, or did this or did that. Again, what's more important to me is that, yes, you can learn a lot from them but finding the inspiration that just keeps you driving forward.
Tyler Rasmussen: Yeah, put little pieces out of everything.
Chris Anderson: 2:12:58 Yeah, look guys, since we recently learned about you all I'm just so excited about what you all are doing for the industry and since we've talked I've actually mentioned you all to a whole lot of people. It's amazing how many people actually do know what you all are doing and are listening in so we're excited about that.
Greg Villafana: That's really cool. Thanks for talking about us.
Tyler Rasmussen: Yeah, thanks for sharing.
Greg Villafana: Don't stop.
Chris Anderson: Yeah, we'll keep it up.
Greg Villafana: 2:13:24 Thank you so we're going to wrap things up here a little bit but at the end of the day you had an idea for a product and you went through all the hardships of developing the product, and getting it out on market, and hiring and the marketing side of it. What kind of advice would you give for somebody just developing a brand, spanking new product? I know you've talked about a lot of this but if there's just one good tip on what you should do our listeners would definitely appreciate it, the ones developing a product anyway.
Chris Anderson: 2:13:58 Let me try and ... I've been long winded on a lot of these answers but let me try and summarize a few things here. Number one, don't be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people are afraid to tell other people about their ideas because they're afraid of people stealing it. A large majority of people don't have the desire to rip you off or take your idea and go build something because they simply don't have the effort, the time or the desire to do it. Talk to people, ask people for help. You're going to get more valuable information by sharing your idea with a few people you can trust and getting feedback from them. Keep an open mind about the feedback. Don't be closed minded. Always listen to what they're saying and research their answers and their thoughts. Put yourself in their shoes. Consider what it's like form their perspective.
Chris Anderson: Again, 1% every day, it's not 100% win today. It's 1% every day. What's one thing I can do tomorrow to make this project move a little bit further?
Chris Anderson: 2:15:00 Hustle, I mean hustle, kick ass, just every day put something to it. Even when you think "Man, I'm so exhausted. I'm so tired." Even if it's just 5, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. It's like where I'm so stuck here on working out. They say even if you just put 15 minutes in your office every day you're going to get somewhere. You're going to have better results. Same thing with starting a business, it's the exact same thing. Just push hard, do it. Again, ask for help. Call me. Reach out to me. Send me an email. I'm happy to give you any advice I can or any input I can that's going to help you be successful.
Chris Anderson: 2:15:42 I guess the other thing is never assume you know exactly what you're doing. Even if you think you know exactly how to do something ask some other people what they're thoughts are. Get some other opinions. I'm a member of a CEO group. I want to make sure I mention this. Every month I meet with 18 CEOs of other businesses. We sit around a table. There's a lot to be said about working in your business. Sometimes you have to step back and work on your business. By meeting with 18 other CEOs once a month, the same guys in a room, processing issues, listening to their feedback, listening to their problems, I have saved myself a lot of money and I've grown my business a lot faster than what I would have otherwise.
Chris Anderson: Stay hungry and stay curious.
Greg Villafana: That's gold right there.
Tyler Rasmussen: For sure.
Greg Villafana: 2:16:34 All right, we'd just like to let you guys, a little plug for Ledge at the end here so can you tell our listeners where to find the products?
Chris Anderson: 2:16:44 Absolutely, I think what's important to know is last year we had probably maybe a handful of 20 products. We just released probably about 60 new products. It was a major feat. They're all available in our new catalog. We're happy to mail it to you if you want to hard copy. If not go to our website, download our catalog. It's www.ledgeloungers, with an S, dot com. Take a look at all of our new products. We have everything from corn hole boards, outdoor ping pong tables, daybeds, patio furniture. Obviously we've expanded our in pool furniture collection, got a lot of new great things coming in development for 2020, really excited about that stuff. Obviously you can catch us on Instagram just at Ledge Lounger. Facebook is Facebook.com/ledgelounzers. Not real big on Twitter or YouTube but follow us, join our emails, marketing campaigns. We'll certainly get something out to you and keep you posted on our brand and what we're doing.
Greg Villafana: 2:17:44 That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Chris. We know you've got a lot of stuff going on so we really, really appreciate your time. This was a huge honor for both me and Tyler and we really look forward to doing more episodes with you on some different topics.
Chris Anderson: Thank you all so much, keep up the awesome work.
Greg Villafana: Thank you.
Tyler Rasmussen: 2:18:02 Thanks, Chris.