California Beach Company was founded by Austin Wright and David Shoham. If you look up their names or the company now, you’ll see the pretty. You’ll see the Kickstarter success story, the millions of dollars in revenue, the advice they give to other entrepreneurs, the exit (with help from WebsiteClosers.com). But what you might not see is how they got here, the struggle they went through and the failures throughout their path to success.
David Shoham:You know, I was scared. I was really, really scared to quit that job. But I did it and I never looked back and I’m very thankful and blessed. And you know, I believe though, um, I believed in us, I believed in myself, and I had faith for the entire time that we would eventually get over the hump, you know, because I felt like that’s what it was. We were kind of just climbing this wall and it was just this rollercoaster, but we got there and it’s been amazing.
Jason Gillikin: You’re listening to Deal Closers, brought to you by WebsiteClosers.com, a show about how to build your ecommerce business to be profitable, scalable, and one day, even sellable.
I’m Jason Gillikin, and on the show today, we talk to two founders who did it. They successfully built their company to the point where they could make a living, then a good living, and then…they had a successful exit.
California Beach Company was founded by Austin Wright and David Shoham. If you look up their names or the company now, you’ll see the pretty. You’ll see the Kickstarter success story, the millions of dollars in revenue, the advice they give to other entrepreneurs, the exit with the help from WebsiteClosers – and you’ll hear from Jason Guerrattaz and Izach Porter from WebsiteClosers on this episode as well…But what you might not see is how they got here, the struggle they went through and the failures throughout their path to success.
Austin and David grew up in Georgia, and after high school, it was time for them to get away. Here’s David…
David: I don’t know what would’ve happened. You know, maybe good things. Cause I’ve always been a passionate person, but again, I could have been had some lengthy jail history by now if I lived where I grew up, you know, so I think it was good. And I mean, I think we, we left at the right time. It was like, I think I was just turned 21. Austin, I forget if you were 19 or 20.
Austin Wright: I moved to LA with basically two trash bags full of clothes, and That was it. I didn’t have a car, me and my, my high school buddy at the time, just packed up with shared a car. We moved to, to LA first, and I think we had like maybe three grand to our name, like that was our net worth.
So we go out there and of course everyone’s like, you guys are not going to make it. Like, we’ll see you in a couple of weeks, you’ll be back. And so we get out there and I think we landed in like Manhattan beach and booked one of those like extended stay hotels. And I think we spent almost our entire three grand in the first, like two and a half weeks.
So we were like, oh shit, we’re not going to make it.
Jason Gillikin: So they didn’t make it in LA, but they found a place to stay in San Diego, where they eventually figured out a way to make a living. David in the hospitality industry, where he ended up working for some of the best restaurants in the world…but he was making money for someone else. Austin started in hospitality as well, but then found gyms, and found out that he was actually pretty great at it, but he had the same problem as David…
Austin Wright: And eventually got to the point where I was like, you know, I’m building this empire for somebody else. Like, I know what I’m doing now. I can do this myself. So I decided to make that leap around 2017 ish and branched out, opened my own gym in LA. That was really the moment for me that allowed me the freedom to do whatever else I wanted.
Jason Gillikin: That freedom allowed Austin and David to dream big. They started some ecommerce businesses together – some worked ok. And eventually, they landed on the idea that would change their lives. It all started with a trip to the beach, where they bring a big sheet to sit on.
Austin Wright: And so we go out there and, you know, we put the bags on the corners and shoes and that kind of stuff. We got this big sheet, we’re all hanging out and we like, look at each other. We were like, you know, why don’t we just buy like a beach sheet? Like something for this exact time, that’s like a picnic blanket, but for the beach. So we go online and we start like looking for it and it didn’t really even exist. There was no, there was no product like that on the market, which you would think someone would have invented by, by that point, right. Something specifically for that.
So that’s when it kind of dawned on us and we were like, let’s just make it, let’s just make this product and see if we can actually create a, you know, sell it and create a business out of it. So that’s what we did. We, we basically went to like Craigslist and hired like a local seamstress in LA and paid her like a hundred bucks to like sew together this product that we wanted. We decided that obviously you don’t want to pick up a sheet and like bunch it up and carry it around. So you needed some way to transport it. So we attached one of those little, you know, Nike drawstring backpacks to it. So you can just fold it up and throw it on your back. And it would come out and fallback in.
So we created this product and we were, we were like, let’s just call it beach sheets. And, and so we did that and we decided to launch it on Kickstarter. So that was kind of how we got our start. Because again, we, up to this point, we still didn’t have much money. You know, we weren’t rolling, we didn’t know how to go raise capital and do all this stuff. So we’re like, let’s just throw it on Kickstarter and see if it works. So I heavily researched, you know, how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.
And we ultimately connected with a videographer in LA that specialized in that they that’s what they did. They wrote storyboards and did videos for crowdfunding campaigns. And it was this really, really amazing couple named Valerie and Mitchell. And I’ll never forget when we connected with them.
We basically, you know, put this campaign together and launched, and we did everything wrong that we could possibly do, but the product and the video were so good we raised like $150,000 in the first 30 days. So we were like, holy shit, this, you know, we can actually do something with this there’s people that want our product.
This is wild. We learned very quickly that, you know, we actually didn’t make $150,000. I think we lost about $150,000. Yeah, when we had to ship all these things out to 60 different countries across the world and you know, everything else, but, that’s what kind of really sparked it for us and got us to go.
All right, let’s we can create something from scratch that people want that helps them in some situation or helps them improve their lives in some way, and then they will buy. And so if we just stick with it and we can figure out all the other details as we go, we can make this work.
Jason Guerrettaz: But you, you guys decided to be partners, which for a lot of entrepreneurs, they’re not always comfortable with that. And so I just wondered how that idea started. Were you guys just sitting there having a beer on the beach and said, hey, we can do this together.
David: I think both of us always had big expectations, big dreams. We knew that we had something, and I remember where there was a point where Austin was doing his thing. He was running multiple gyms for someone else. And I was running multiple locations for restaurants, for someone else. And man, I know I, we were all kind of on the same page and I, I remember being over his house.
I’m like, you know, we have got to do something we have got to do. I don’t, you know, we’re basically making other people rich, like we have got to do something. You know, we, we we’re both leaders in our own world. We were both doing our thing. We knew that we could handle, other duties and, you know, we could step up to the plate when needed. So, that was kind of like my thing. We, we had to.
Austin: And over the years, I mean, we had other partners. It wasn’t just me and Dave. You know, we had people that came and went to, you know, throughout this process and, you know, ultimately I think what we learned, you know, specifically working together is that, you know, when you have a business, you, you really have to be all in, right.
That business is not making money. You have to capitalize it somehow, right? You have to put in your own money or go find money to raise money, you know, or, you know, put up collateral for debt, that kind of stuff. And those were really tough lessons to learn, especially in the beginning, because you know, we, we don’t have MBAs. We didn’t go to business school to learn all this stuff up front, we had to go through it and learn it the hard way. And overtime, you know, people had to step away from the business, walk away, dropouts, you know, because they either didn’t have the resources or it just didn’t work out in terms of that partnership.
But me and Dave just kept our heads down and, and kept, kept trying and kept iterating and kept putting in our own money and our own time and our own effort. And ultimately, you know, after years of really struggling and not making it, but continuing to, to move the business forward, it finally turned that corner and, and started making money. And then we were able to eventually step away from our other jobs and other businesses and focus on this full-time.
Jason Guerrettaz: And do you think that you guys were always in agreement or were there times where one of you wanted to go one way? One of you wanted to go to the other. You know, you read and listen to partnerships. Some of them go south really, really bad. others, you know, are, are, you know, they become best friends and, you know, I think of, you know, the ice cream company, Ben and Jerry, as I listened to their story the other day, and those guys, you know, they sold their company and they still to this day are best friends. And I just wonder, you know, what, what that’s like for you and what your interactions were like and how you learn to, to work together under a highly stressful scenario.
Austin: We are very lucky. You know, me and Dave were very Ying and Yang. We both have our own specialties and we’d be, you know, that kind of compliment the other one. And so we give each other a lot of discretion to just run with it and do their thing. We almost never disagree on things either. And if we do, we talk it out, like we don’t really bicker and fight and that kind of stuff, but I know what you’re saying.
That is not normal. I think most partnerships, you know, typically end with a lot of fights or with disagreements that probably could have been resolved if they had been talked about upfront. I think one thing that’s super important, if you’re creating a partnership that’s 50/50 is you have to have a third party to resolve disputes and you have to establish who that third party is going to be up front, because it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to get to a point in time where you disagree on something.
And one of you has got to give, you know, so if it, and if it comes to something major like taking on debt or selling the company or, you know, going in a different direction or things like that. And you disagree with your partner and you guys are 50/50, and not one of you has more control than the other. You’re in a really tough spot if you hadn’t, if you hadn’t hashed that out, up front.
If entrepreneurs are out there and listening and thinking about a startup or just getting into a startup with a partner or family member or anything else. And it’s 50/50, I would say probably best piece of advice would be start now, get a third party involved or get a, get an agreement in place that if there is ever a dispute, you know, regarding the business, anything material that you have a way to, to resolve it.
David: Yeah. And we kind of learned that early you know, we, we ran into you know, partner’s not, not putting in the sweat, you know, not putting in the funds. And that came to a head, unfortunately. And Austin and I pretty much always had a good synergy. I mean, we, we always kind of we respect each other and I think that’s huge.
if Austin felt strongly about something, I respect him. And I respect his thoughts to where I really take the time to listen to him. And if I’m having any reservations in any kind of way, I’ll, you know, lay it out there and we’ll hear each other out. There’s never a time where him and I are arguing about something and saying, no, I’m right.
Or I’m right. We’ve had many times where we’re talking and it’s a good conversation because he might be looking at something and I look at something differently, and at least we’re pointing it out. So we’re really kind of thinking everything through. And at the end of the day, we listened to each other’s guts.
Like Austin’s, I often, and many times Austin’s like, man, I have a gut feeling about this or vice versa. And we’re like, all right, cool. I respect that. Let’s do it or let’s not do it or whatever it may be. We’ve made many decisions like that. And there’s always logic behind it. You know, if somebody was making a decision that has no logic behind it, then that is a huge problem. And luckily we haven’t had that issue.
Jason Guerrettaz: Yeah, just my last, my last note on that, you know, w with partnerships and, and personally, you know, I think they’re extremely important, for, for a lot of different reasons. I mean, you have somebody to fall back on when necessary. It allows you to take some time off. If you need to, you might have something personal come up.
But also just, you know, two great minds together thinking about things as you’re describing here can help you lead to success, can help get you over that edge, whereas by yourself, It’s tough out there sometimes. And I know Ron and I are great partners and friends, and it’s been really important for our success in this firm to work together on things.
And we’re the same, you know, we don’t, we don’t necessarily disagree on them on much, you know, we’ve certainly talked through things and those kinds of things, but honestly, if Ron disagrees with me on something, I usually just say, you’re right and nod my head and, and, and, and agree because I have that kind of respect for him too.
So I totally understand that. And there are entrepreneurs listening to this, highly recommend to consider when you’re starting out at the beginning to, you know, think about a partner in the process, not just from the monetary side, but just the entire operation can be so much easier when you’ve got someone on your, on your back to run through.
Austin: And I, and I think one thing to add to that, you know, we learned through the process of actually selling our company and talking to all of these different, you know, institutional groups, private equity groups, you know, they want to see strong management teams.
They want to see people in those roles that, that they can look at and go, okay, we can buy this business and we can plug in our own resources and replace and improve this process. You know, if it’s just one guy, one entrepreneur, and he’s running the whole show, you know, it’s harder to create more enterprise value for your company, because if you walk away what happens to the business?
So that’s, that’s definitely something to think about as you’re thinking long-term you know, get partners up front, hash out the agreements, make sure everything’s on the table right up front. And then it’s just going to make that process of building the company out so much easier.
Jason Gillikin: So who’s your third party, you mentioned you needed a third-party mediator, almost like who’s that for you?
Austin: We actually didn’t have that in, in Cali beach co. We were 50 50, but I have had experience with, experiences with other businesses, with other companies, where that mistake was made. And I wish now that I had, I had something in place upfront to help resolve those kinds of issues.
We built out a pretty good management team with, with the California beach code. We had a really incredible CMO chief marketing officer. We outsourced a fractional CFO. So we basically got accounting and CFO services for a fraction of what it would normally cost. and then we just outsourced a lot of different positions.
So we had people in roles that, were dedicated to their role that were specialists in their roles. And that really took the pressure off of me and Dave to have to do those jobs. So it was more just working with those people and letting them kind of run and do what they were good at. And compensating them the correct way, which is aligning that with the interest of everybody and, and of the whole company. And I think that ultimately led everybody to, to be really motivated and engaged and wanting to grow the business versus feeling like they had a job that makes sense.
Jason Gillikin: So take me back to the Kickstarter campaign. I’ve got a friend right now who wrote a book or wrote a children’s book and she did a Kickstarter campaign for $10,000 and she’s got 20 hours left and she’s going to make it, but she’s like $500 short. And the joy that she’s about to have for reaching that $10,000 and being able to publish this book, like she’s going to be dancing on tables.
Right. And you guys asked for $20,000 and ultimately, you know, got close to $400,000. I mean, what was that like? Like what’s going through your head as you’re seeing this money roll in through Kickstarter?
Austin: Kickstarter can be done many different ways. If you go to Kickstarter and you look at the top hundred campaigns ever, you’re going to see a lot of similarities in those campaigns. A lot of the big ones are things like board games or video games or, you know, electronics, that kind of stuff.
These are typically either established companies already, meaning they already have these products and they’re making them, and they’re acting like it’s a new thing that they’re launching on Kickstarter, or they have a lot of capital behind them and they’ve basically got the whole business lined up and ready to go and ready to launch.
And they’re putting it out there on Kickstarter and, you know, dumping a ton of ad spend in into it to, to boost it. So it’s very, very rare that somebody just comes up with an idea, makes a video about that idea and doesn’t really even have prototyping or any, any of the other things you need to launch and throws it on Kickstarter and raises hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars that almost never happens.
And so we understood that going in and we were, we were at that very early stage. We have prototype, but that was pretty much it. We had no social media following. We had no email list. We had no manufacturing at scale, you know? we barely had 3PL lined up for logistics. So it was very, very early stage. So coming into that process, we understood that the chances of us just throwing a video out there and being months away from being able to launch our actual company was pretty. So, what we did is we hired a firm that actually specializes in Kickstarter campaigns and launching brands, really, really amazing group they’re called Funded Today. So if anybody’s interested in checking them out, I think their website is funded.today. I, I don’t know how much they’ve raised for brands now it’s in the hundreds of millions.
But basically what they do is they, they pool resources. So they have their teams who are specialist in doing an email lead gen campaign prior to your launch and doing cross promotions with other brands and other Kickstarter campaigns, while you’re going through the process, and upselling and getting referrals from your backers and, you know, they, everything that you wouldn’t even know to think of, they have a team or a specialist in place for.
And so what they do is they actually, if you, if you apply to work with them, they’ll take your product or they’ll take your video and they’ll run a test. They’ll do AB testing before they commit to your project. So they’ll spend their own money. The run, some Facebook ads, they’ll look at conversion ratios and grow as in that kind of stuff.
And they’ll see if they, if they think they can scale it with significant ad spend. And if they think they can, they’ll take on your project, they spend the money for the marketing, but then they take a, you know, a nice chunk of your, of your profits or whatever you raise. You kind of have to weigh that and go, is it worth it? Everybody who’s ever reached out to me about this, I give the same advice to, and I say it’s a hundred percent worth it because., You know, even if you don’t make money, I mean, we raised almost half a million dollars, and we didn’t actually make money. There was no profit there, but what we got was massive exposure and massive momentum right out of the gate.
So now we were able to say on our website, the Kickstarter smash, hit, Pop and Go play pen. So we use that in all of our marketing to really kind of give us legitimacy around our business and our product. And I think that was, that was really valuable for getting to scale and getting to that launch in a short period of time.
So I’d definitely recommend Kickstarter for anybody thinking about it, but there’s a process. Definitely do your research and consider, consider consulting or partnering with a group that specializes in that to really kick off.
David: Yeah, the two things that I think that were the most, you know, crucial headache for us was just the fulfillment and, it’s just kind of deceiving, you know we don’t and sorry, one more thing. I wouldn’t recommend doing international. I would do just domestic
Austin: unless you have it figured out upfront, which we did not.
David: We didn’t
Austin: you know, we didn’t realize that, you know, we, we ran this campaign with playpens, which are not small products, right? They’re pretty, they’re pretty large. Even though ours was the lightest on the market, we, we basically came out with the lightest playpen ever made, but the product still weighs 10, 12 pounds, and it takes up three feet of space.
So if you want to ship this thing from China to Saudi Arabia, it costs 300 bucks, but you just, you need to get in charge the person shipping. So we didn’t think about all the, all of this stuff up front. If you have that worked out, then it makes sense because you get worldwide exposure from the gate. But if you don’t, it can certainly bankrupt you. And it was, it was pretty close. I mean, we was tight.
David: It was definitely stressful, but that was it. I mean, everything else that Austin said about a Kickstarter and even funded today is all true. I mean, it’s definitely worth it. It was a good kickstart to our business. It really was, but the fulfillment was a nightmare. And that was the, the tough lesson that we had to learn.
Austin: We ended up dealing with Kickstarter issues for, well over a year after the campaign ended, just trying to get things shipped all across the world. And I mean, imagine trying to do refunds or exchanges from, you know, 60 different countries when you don’t have that kind of, you know, operational logistics set up. It was just, it was a lot.
David: I would work on getting that set up first and I’m sure there’s companies that, it could either drop ship or they can help set up. I’m pretty sure there might be some better solutions now than there was back then.
Jason Gillikin: So this could have been a total disaster for you all. I figured you’d be jumping up and down so excited, but you know, it sounds like you’re like, oh crap. Now we’ve got, now we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Austin: We were certainly celebrating after the campaign. It was a, it was a massive success. We, we were expecting to raise somewhere between 20 and $50,000 and we got well over 400. So it was certainly a celebration afterwards, but I think that’s when the work started. And that’s when that’s when it got real.
That’s when we say, okay, we’ve got, you know, we’re 30 days into business and we’ve now got 3000 orders to fulfill in 62 countries. How do we do this? And so that’s, that’s when you have that wake-up call and you go, okay, this is, this is harder than I thought. And so you really have to start pooling resources.
You really have to do research and figure out. You know, good partners to work with that can help you with this. Because if you’re, again, it goes back to, if you’re on your own, trying to figure this thing out and you know, you just have $400,000, but now it’s going to cost you 700,000 to ship all these things. Well, that’s it. That’s the end of your business, you know? So you just, you was a smash hit and then crash and burn immediately.
Izach: So guys, question that I’ve had. You’ve been tremendously successful, built a great, great business, but you mentioned things that were harder than you had anticipated. What were, what were some of the other things where maybe lessons learned mistakes made. Projects that ended up just being a lot harder than you anticipated?
Austin: I would say customer service is really top of mind when I think about mistakes and things that are important to establish upfront. You know, we started off me and Dave were the customer service. So literally answering every email, you know, text, calls, DMs, you name it. We were, we were, we were everything.
So, and that was extremely taxing, especially when you come out of the gate, if you get a lot of momentum right away and you have a lot of customers, right away. Yeah, that’s, that’s successful on paper, but there’s a lot of it behind the scenes that can be very stressful and very taxing on you as an entrepreneur.
And ultimately it took us two and a half years before we figured how to outsource customer service the right way. And ultimately, I mean, I look back now and I’m like, Jesus, we could have made, we could have made probably close to a million dollars or more profit had we figured this out early. And so, you know, we got to the point where obviously it was overwhelming for us.
So we started putting it on our social media team, that hindered their ability to create content and grow through social media because they were dealing with customer service all the time. So then we moved that to our internal 3PL, which was a company that’s based out of California. So talk about doing things the wrong way.
Pick the most expensive place, basically in the world for labor and hire customer service there, that’s the worst thing you can do. And so we did that and we had a team of like 10 to 12 people, agents that are making $20, $25 an hour answering email tickets. And our customer service is costing us $40,000 a month, you know, so.
Yeah, I would say that’s one of those things, there’s really great companies out there. The one that we ended up working with in the end is called Talent Pop. Really cool company, they use an incredible software. They’re plugged into Shopify, they’re plugged into Amazon and they hire, they train, they outsource all of the agents and it literally brought down our cost by a factor of 10X when we hired them and it improved the service, of the business as well. So I wish we had it earlier.
David: You definitely want to drop a line for Gorgeous when it comes to that as well. Gorgeous is that there’s a software that integrates all your, your, your channels into one platform. Literally you could get it, you get a notification that somebody, you know said something on Facebook, Instagram, DM, anything, it all puts it into one platform. So that was huge.
Austin: Yeah, the challenge, there was a lot of, I think a lot of startups have is, you know, having so many different channels now that you have to manage, you know, you’ve, you’ve got to be on Instagram. You’ve got to be on Facebook. You got to be on YouTube. You got to have email. You got to have a contact form on your website.
We were on Pinterest, snap, Twitter, you know, all of these different platforms. So, if you, if you don’t have the same people or the same software managing all of this, you may get different messages. And that was happening to us. We would have people reach out to us on the contact form on our website and be like, Hey, what’s up with my order?
And they would get a response from an agent. And then four days later they would DM us on Instagram and somebody else’s responding to that person. Something. So now the customer is pissed, you know, so Gorgeous was really cool. Cause it’s like a similar to like a Zendesk where it basically just pulls everything into one place and it’s a ticketing system.
So nothing gets lost, nothing gets dropped and you have the same team of agents working, saying the same things and providing that same message. So it creates a nice consistency across the board in terms of customer service.
Jason Guerrettaz: I do want us to talk a little bit about the actual sale and, and getting to, you know, this process, this idea that you, you wanted to, you know, potentially sell or sell a piece of the business and, what your thought processes were to that? But just, you know, kind of at the beginning, when, when you said, hey, we’ve got something here. Did you think we need some help and maybe we sell to get help or was it just, I want out, you know, there we get people from, from all different walks, so just wondering your thoughts.
Austin: Yeah. it started; I think it started around the beginning of 2020. And our first conversations were not around selling. There was actually around raising capital or, you know, partnering with a VC or an angel. And so we started exploring those, those options. And ultimately our CMO connected us with Nate Lind with, with Website Closers. And so we started talking to Nate and Nate tells us, he said, hey guys, you know, we’ve got a lot of different ways that you can, you know, take some chips off the table and basically cash in, but also stay with the business if you want to continue to grow it. And so we had never even thought of that idea before, but he presented that to us and basically said, you guys can sell 50% of the company, 70%, 80%, whatever you want.
Get a nice, you know, a nice cash pile to de-risk and obviously reward yourself for what you’ve built, but then stay on and work with a firm who has experts and has capital, and has all these resources behind the scenes to continue to grow your business, you know, over time. And so that was very attractive to us.
You know, because again, we, we don’t have those kind of Ivy league MBA backgrounds where we have the confidence to basically ride this out for the next three to five years. Now, don’t get me wrong. We were confident in our business. We were crushing it. And we had every, every intention of growing this thing to 5 X or 10 X more than, than what we did, but anything could happen.
You know, there, there could have been, who knows, there could, there could have been lawsuits or compliance stuff or stuff with China in the US I mean a million different things could go wrong. And ultimately, you know, that, that rollercoaster that seemed to keep going up could ultimately come back down.
So I think it was, it was part de-risking. It was part, you know, taking some, some chips off the table and cashing in, that really got us excited about the process of selling. But you asked about kind of the, I guess the emotions of it, I would, I’ve never been skydiving, but I would imagine it’s similar where it’s equal parts, terrifying and exciting.
Um, that was it for me. I mean, going through this process of selling was. It was, it was stressful. It was a lot of anxiety, but that was backed by excitement, you know? Cause as you’re having this anxiety of like; will this get done or will we get through this process? There’s that hope, and that excitement of yes we will.
And my life was going to be better on the other side of this. And it was a long process. As you guys know, we had a couple of failed LOI’s. the, the first guy basically didn’t put together all the capital and the whole process kept dragging out longer and longer. And ultimately we walked away from that deal because you know, four to five months into it, the valuation of the company was higher than it was when he first submitted the LOI.
And so we, we walked away from that partnership, got locked up with a second group and you know, got towards the end of the year. And the second group pulled out because they had sold their company to a larger aggregator. And so it was like one thing after another, and ultimately we got, we just kept pushing through and we got to this last group.
And as you said, this is a, is a very, very large company. I believe it’s one of the largest in the space. And so, you know, we really deferred to you guys as our brokers and as our advisors on this deal, you know, we deferred to you to kind of help us continue through this process and make sure we pick the right partner.
And ultimately we did, these were the guys that got it done. They got it done in like 45 days, nonetheless and closed. And now we’re in that process of transitioning everything over to them. And it’s been a, it’s been a really cool and really smooth ride ever since, finally getting to that close.
Jason Guerrettaz: And as you think about, you know, one day you’ll, you’ll remove yourself from California beach co and, and potentially do something else. Any thoughts on what that might look like?
Austin: Yeah. we’re already working on it. Actually. We didn’t take much.
Jason Guerrettaz: I’m not surprised.
David: we’re good, man. We’re starting over and hitting the reset button.
Jason Guerrettaz: I like it. I’m assuming there’s a few things you’ve learned through this process, not to do,
David: Oh a hundred percent. And just going back and you guys have been, I mean, website closers was very helpful. They helped you know, fortify the business. You guys really opened your Rolodex to us. You guys connected us with some many great firms and great people, attorneys, whatever you name it, you guys have been great.
Austin: You learn a lot during the sales process. You know, just having high level private equity firms or institutional firms come in and go through the due diligence process and dissect your business. You learn what they’re looking at, you learn what they’re looking for. You learn what they want, you learn what they expect.
And once you’ve gone through that, it’s like, it’s like the blinders come off. You now know, like now when we start a new company, we know exactly what to do. We know what to avoid, and when it comes time to wanting to, to sell, we’re going to walk into that thing super prepared, you know, with everything upfront, versus scrambling and trying to have to put together inventory systems and a CFO and you know, all of these things during the due diligence process.
So it was very, very enlightening. And, you know, again, people are out there that you’re thinking about selling, you’re thinking about raising capital partner up with a brokerage, like Website Closers and go through this process because it really just, it not only helps you in the business you’re in and with the exit that you’re trying to accomplish now, but anything you want to do moving forward, it’s just going to make that, that whole thing easy, easier in the future.
David: 100% agree.
Jason Gillikin: So, David, I, I read that you and your wife were so invested in this company and Austin, I know that you are so invested in this company as well, and you guys are living paycheck to paycheck for the longest time. What’s it like now? Like what would go through your emotional state now that you’ve gone through the, the exit.
David: Yeah, I mean that, there was definitely some scary moments towards the end to where we really started paying ourselves. I think that there was a point where, you know, me and my wife and I, you know, I think Austin, we all kind of, it wasn’t like a group conversation, but it was a wife and then Austin, we knew that we were all in.
We knew we had something and we believed in it. So all the savings I had, I, you know, I had to liquidate certain things and I had to put in to, to the, to the very end and you know, it couldn’t have, worked out any better because if it, if it would’ve got worse at the, at the end, when I was just running dry, I don’t know if I would be sitting here right now, but. You know, I was able to able to pull together and then you just, like Austin said, early 2020 things just, it just took off. And, you know, a few months we were just loving where the business was going. and then we were able to take some distributions from the company. And at some point that was when I had another conversation with Austin and he was just like, do it.
Austin: Quit your job, man. What are
David: Quit your job. Quit your job. I was scared. I was really, really scared to quit that job. You know, even though I’d already paid myself enough money to probably survive for two years or three years even. I was still scared though, and, but I did it and I never looked back and I’m very thankful and blessed. And you know, I believe though I believed in us, I believed in myself, and I had faith for the entire time that we would eventually get over the hump, you know, because I felt like that’s what it was.
We were kind of just climbing this wall and it was just this rollercoaster, but we got there and it’s been amazing, you know, and I’m excited because this is just the beginning. a lot of people might think it’s the end once you sell a business or no, that that’s not the case at all.
Austin and I are still young. even though I feel like I’m getting older and having to go to chiropractors and doctor visits and things of that nature, but you know, we’re still young and. We’re going to hit it hard again and try to try to do this multiple times. And then, then I don’t know, maybe just sit back and invest.
Austin: I think there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of milestones. You hit, you hit these milestones as you’re building your company. And then obviously a big milestone is if you have a successful exit. For me, you know, I think back our, our first we had a lot of successful moments and milestones, but I think ours. first, really big one where we were like, oh shit, we, I think we made it was when we did our first million-dollar month.
And you know, when we had that, you know, if you’re, if you’re, if you have a business on Shopify, obviously you’ve never seen the M until you do a million dollars. And I remember, you know, we were, we were up one night, like right at the end of the month, it happened on like the 30th. At like midnight, we’re all sitting there staring at our Shopify app and it changed from 999K to one M.
And we were like, oh my God, there’s an M you know, so it was you know, those are, those are those, those kinds of moments where you got to take a moment and stop and reflect on what you’ve done and what you’ve built. And then, you know, any entrepreneurs just going to put their head down and just keep going and keep them on
David: get right back to it. I mean, you, you, you literally celebrate for like one night and then you’re the next day. It’s something else and all right, let’s go. And yeah, I mean, at some point we were doing one mil a week for a little while and. That’s when we really knew were like, all right, let’s rock
Austin: but now we’re kind of at that point now where we’ve, you know, we’ve had a successful exit. We’ve, we’ve got some cash that we can turn into, you know, strong, safe, passive investments to have income and you know, grow our wealth and that kind of stuff. And now we can focus on other things without having that stress, you know, how without having the need to make money or make income from your business.
So we can take our time where we need to, we can put allocate the right resources, where we need to, and we can really focus on making sure that we repeat our success, but this time you know, do it even bigger and do it with less stress. So that’s really, what’s exciting for me.
Jason Gillikin: That’s fantastic. Well guys, you have shared this amazing story and congratulations. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter is. I mean, you could go out to Hawaii and I lived there for a while, but that’s not you guys. You’re entrepreneurs at heart. But I want to end on this. How did you, you mentioned you celebrate for a night. Like, how did you celebrate, did you buy any toys? Like you’ve got to celebrate the wins at least to some degree. So how did you to celebrate?
Austin: You know, I didn’t, I didn’t really want to go out and buy a bunch of material toys I’ve I was already kind of doing all right before, so I’ve got a nice car and a few watches and things like that. So that wasn’t really my, what I was most excited about doing. But one thing that was always a dream for me growing up was being able to retire my parents and, and buy them a beach house. So I bought them a house in, in Jacksonville, Florida, and paid cash for it. And they’re, they’re actually moving there as we speak. So that was, that was a life goal for me.
Jason Guerrettaz: That’s awesome. What a great story. Love it.
David: I haven’t done that yet, but my parents, they don’t need it. they’re not saying Austin’s parents needed it either, but yeah, my dad has like two houses. he’s good. but other than that, yeah, I’m going to take this money and make it last and make it work and invest and, you know, continue to grow.
Jason Gillikin: Alright, that was David Shoham and Austin Wright from California Beach Company, what an amazing story.
Thanks everyone for listening to this episode of the Deal Closers Podcast, brought to you by WebsiteClosers.com. If you like this show, be sure to rate us, write a review, press the follow button, or share with your network.
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This episode was edited and produced by Earfluence.
I’m Jason Gillikin, and we’ll see you next on the Deal Closers Podcast!
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