Entrepreneurship: Not Get Rich Quick
The Inventive Journey
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Entrepreneurship: Not Get Rich Quick
"Don't think that you are getting into this to get rich quick. It doesn't usually work like that. You can be deceived by some of the TV shows you see on there where people say 'Ah, I went viral overnight...' and 'this cost me $1000 to set it up...' Sometimes you can get lucky like that, I'm not saying you can't, but 90-99% of the time you're not gonna."
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
ai generated transcription
you know don't think you're getting into this to get rich quick and it doesn't usually work like that you can be deceived by some of the TV shows you see on there where people say oh I went viral overnight and this cost me a thousand dollars to set it up and you know you know sometimes you can't get lucky like that I'm not saying you can't but 90% of the time 99% of the time quite honestly you're not gonna Devon Miller here with another episode of the inventive journey so I'm your host Evan Miller founder Miller IP law where we help startups and small businesses with patents for their inventions trademarks for their brands and copyrights for their creatives I'm also a serial entrepreneur and love to help startups and small businesses so today we have a great guest on that will tell about his journey he gets to do Larry do the fun things every day of working with sand castles and so he's now created a business around the the fun fun time of doing sand castles so welcome Kevin how great to have you on Thank You Debbie thank you so much for having me really appreciate it Oh always fun to have you on so tell us a little bit you know always I have a little jealous in the sense that you know I work patents and trademarks and I love my work but I think you you beat that you take the cake or beat me out as far as the funnest job of getting to a to work with sand castles on a regular basis so tell us a little bit about what you're doing and how you got started yeah don't be deceived though sometimes it gets really hot out there and I mean I've become a babysitter - so don't be deceived so long story short you know this was this idea was born out career - Kastle that's our business name I was born up on the beaches of lukannon Beach California back in 2016 I married a Greek girl many years ago over 20 years ago and we have family all over the country I mean decided the qualification out to California to visit some family and you know I've been sculpting with my kids for you know 10 15 years at that point and I saw dad and his son using whether traditional footholds and everybody a grandma has and they flipped it over poorly manufactured the plastic broke they lifted it the whole top half still broke off because of the vacuum issue and they just got frustrated and quickly ended up running into the water boogie-boarding like most people do and you know that's when the light bulb went off and I said oh my gosh and holding all these tools that is don't know how to do everything that I know how to do from the years of experience wonder if there's a way I could help that so quickly went home did some research did a patent search start to talk to an engineering team and they've got different type of products at Amazon and Walmart calm and realize there's nothing out there so quickly brought it to life and the cool thing about the story is is it actually it tread it really goes back all the way to my youth so I'm a twin and as a twin my mom and dad you know they divorced early on so my mom moved us in with her grandmother and then he started up a whole bakery and it was called Heidi's cake and cookie shop and basically you know we would be running around her tables there making these elaborate wedding cakes hoping that they didn't fall from was running around so my mom instantly saw my passion for drawing and doing all these different artistic things as a kid so she realized geez what am I trying to calm him down a little bit got me some books called draw 50 books and while I was drawing castles out of this book the book basically taught you step by step out of both castles and buildings I really focused on castles and would watch them bake their cakes but they're split pants lo and behold forward beers plus later the creative Castle was born and it's like making a cake in the sand or in a snow now it's unbelievable well I both attempts I would probably fail buy cakes never turned out well and I'm always that dad that just like you had had the bucket though he's like I don't know I've had a bucket break but usually I you see they're not wet enough or it's too wet I'll flip it over and it falls apart so that's an interesting so there's ya know there's still that science there's still that consistency but I do have a lot of videos that takes a lot of the guesswork out of it and every single bijnor is greatly so you know one beach in California the sand texture and pack you know the way it packs could be completely different from what the East Coast offers so it's a lot of guests and sometimes you can stack sometimes you can't but it doesn't matter it's a whole lot of fun either way so we'll get into a little bit more of your business in a minute but this is kind of as an aside and goes along with this he you you've been you said you've been building sand castles now for 15 years that was to you closer to 20 years now yeah so my son is 18 so I really started the second you know that he was born we started going to the beach and I started doing it with him pretty much since then so he's coming up on 19 or so it's been you know probably more than that because I even did a little bit before then so a little over 20 years I'd say all right so what is out of all for 20 years of sandcastle building what's the coolest cat what's it I'll ask you what's the biggest castle we ever built and what's the coolest castle you've ever built sure so I would definitely say one of the the biggest and coolest castle combined would probably have to be down in Siesta Key Florida or Fort Myers Beach Florida where I do a bunch of events I'll go to sand sculpting events and sell their product under you know out of a 10 I'm a blender and before the event we'll do you know super elaborate structures so no you know showing how far you could take the system so we did about probably an 8 foot tower out of sand down at siesta key and Fort Myers and you know people were coming over thinking it was part of the event in reality not realizing that they could do this stuff that we did after probably a you know year or two of practice really ok cool well man that beats everything caslava were built all the way could buy it so that's pretty cool yeah and the really cool thing about her practice it's the snow factor too so the tallest snow castle is in the snow to snow you can go a lot taller because it weighs less and sand if the consistency if you know it's a real packable snow it weighs next to nothing mines beautifully so I went with a wider base I went almost 18 feet in the snow at st. Paul Minnesota that's a cool idea and I know I don't know if I've ever built a snow I built snow Fords and I use did we use you usually will check snowballs at each other for that but I build smoke or snowman I think highest I built I did one one year I did like and I he was a ten-foot snowman that I had to have like two other people helped me to get the big balls on top but I've never tried a snow castle so I'm out here in Utah we do we get a good amount of snow so I'll have to try that next year yeah if it's dry snow as you do is you add a little bit of water with the water and kid on the way up and I said that's it all right cool so now that we've taken a good rabbit hole at the aside we'll go back to your story so started out as a bakery and I think you mentioned you had a twin he was more the analytic type you're more the artistic type you like that it got your book figured out how to build castles watched your you know your family as they were baking cakes and said okay now I can do that now what castles all the way up to fast forward to you know I think he said 2016 or you're watching a father and son bucket falls apart and said okay now I can do that so you've got all that you know how to build castles how do you build a business around that or how did you take that from okay I know how to make a kid or I know how to do this how did you start to build that business yes so that that's always a tricky part you know coming up with the idea is the easy part if it hit you now the difficult part becomes do I want to make that next big leap do I want to make the investments in everly capital but also time and energy and everything so like I took that leap really you know I started out with 3d printing you know when I got home we did some prototypes I had access because I'm I'm also in the the internet space and have a lot of access to tech you know tech background so I knew some people that MakerBot and I you know was working with an engineer or did this for any candidates and files and some ideas brought it to a 3d printer down in Brooklyn New York and MakerBot is sort of ripping 3d prints almost overnight for me and I would basically I would start experimenting in my house as it was then you still the middle of the winter when I first got my prototype what comes playing I would bring my prototypes and I did have a couple of machine prototypes at that point two CNC machine prototypes bring up to the beach and I would basically set up in the busiest area that I could find so I'd like to attribute that you know some saws been go door-to-door I would go Beach to Beach find a busiest area with the most doors around me being balls and start building and seeing what I could lure you know how many people I could lure in how many people have interests and at one point I looked up there was probably 50 60 maybe even 70 people in a circle around me watching saying oh my gosh how did you just build that thing I quit and what did so I knew at that point I had was onto something and once we went to the t1 phase for the trial one phase of the actual product that's what it was a you know became a real product and I actually had random people coming up to me offering to invest in the business then I knew I had to really kind of put the pedal to the metal because it's not everyday you you know you come up with a product where random strangers are going to invest that is cool I I'll jump back because there's a lot of cool things in there but I think the one is is that you know how you went about this for you first of all building a market building an audience I think it's greatly this hate where am I gonna sell this it's at the beach I'll just go build really cool sandcastles everybody okay they're so cool they want to know how to build on themselves I think that first of all you know it's free marketing and since you don't have to pay anybody for it and it is probably does a whole lot more in a lot cooler and gets a lot more people wanting to buy your product than even you know whether it's a Facebook ad or a YouTube video I think that getting out there and showing people I think that's an awesome way to start to get both feedback as well as start to build an audience or following so and that's a that's a great great insight as to not all marketing you have to go pay a lot of money or you have to go and do a whole bunch of focus groups just get it out there and see what people think of it yeah it's a real grassroots way of doing it and it was cost effective and you know all out I think I had to probably spend $1,500 in the CNC machining and the 3d printing and I was out there you know putting in front of eyeballs on a new matter know that notice that is pretty cool so and that the other one that you touched on to is you have people coming up and saying hey I want to investor and that's usually the opposite right usually most companies are hey I've got a great idea now I got to go figure out how to you know get people to pay or you know fund it or how I'm going to build it and everything else and you're going best your pitch a whole bunch investors or a whole bunch of people or you'll go to friends and family and you get you've got the opposite problem not problem the opposite experience of you got people who are coming up saying that's such a cool product or such a fun business that I want to DES so I think kudos to you on both of those both that you're able to find out ways to promote it as well as to get people to are coming to you they're wanting to invest yeah you know a lot of it is just is putting it out there you know that that's part of inventing something mmm you know no matter what you invent you gotta find your target audience might happen to be on a beach and you continually put it out there you know I've got to the point where I actually got sick of the beaches and sick of building sandcastles as I was doing it almost every day mm-hm but I realized that if I didn't do that I'm missing a potential opportunity what a would happened on a random beach and the right person happened to walk by and the next thing I knew I ended up on I hurt radio doing a podcast just like this one at wo wor am I think it is mmm we're Rush Limbaugh and all these famous people talk or walking down the hallways and I was like how do they end up here and I always think that because I put my product out there yeah and great person happened walked by at the right time that's what I said and before we started recording we're talking about how we're both wearing hats about our business and you know it's a great it's a free easy way to promote of hey I've just wearing around a hat if somebody happens to see it and ask about it then no harm no foul it's a you know without having to do any additional work other than walking around same type of idea so I always think that it's great for businesses you always be selling and always be looking for those opportunities and if you're going to the beach you might as well take your kit and show air show it off type of a thing so you did hit on switching gears slightly you did hit on one of the other keywords I always like to hit they are headed on and as because I personally biased he said he did a patent search you know I'm kind of looked at it initially getting into it so how did that go did you do it on your own did you have an attorney do it good experience bad experience you know how did you know kind of what was that process for you yeah you know I gotten really frustrated at first because I was like oh my gosh this is like digging through the USPTO was it's not the easiest thing to do in the world and then I started searching all that no you would think that the technology where they worked a whole bunch of Technology and that's basically the whole part of the government that it would be an easy cider it'd be great and yet it's a worse setup and I well I always tell people go to Google patents or I think it's google.com slash patents or whatever that is so much easier to work on that said that's where I was heading so basically I had you know I was doing a search for patents on Google and Google patents popped up and I'm like oh my god this is so much easier didn't USB do so it was just like instant keyword you could do all the search felt sperm you needed to write inside of Google and that's ultimately where I started looking for you know similar type products similar patents that I realized you know after doing thousands of searches I was coming back with nothing literally nothing like what I was dreaming up so that combined with knowing that the marketplace had avoided being Amazon and Walmart on the bigger chain stores I realized that you know there's a real possibility that I could actually get this as a you know a patented product we're gonna get you'll have a utility patent five design patents we have IP in China Australia Canada looking at Mexico so it's you know it's one of those things you just do due diligence upfront and figure out if it's worthwhile well kudos because yeah I think that even when I in it and I'm always buy I always tell people to come to an attorney but with that I always think that it's great to do your homework beforehand because you know you can come to an attorney we can do it but you might as well go out and do a bit of searching looking around yourself and seeing hey before I go to pay an attorney you know money to do the same thing I might as well do the due diligence let's go you know sometimes I'll sit down with an inventor I say well did even Google this to see if you know some you know I never looked it up I'm like well at least google it like you know see if that product is out there cuz sometimes it is and if not then you get a better idea and then you know you can do a little bit of searching yourself well before you engage in terney and it can save you both time effort as well as you know educate yourself on it so I think that's that's cool so now jumping back so now we we went down the slight rabbit hole just because you mentioned patents and I'm always you know a little bias on that so you've now been on QVC a few times you've been I think you've been toy of the Year so how do you you know what's that experience well I guess I'll start with QVC just because I always watch our take and Laurie always tells or tells everybody how great QVC I don't know if I've ever watched QVC but I hear it's great so what was it like to be at QVC now QVC was amazing and again I I got that from again being on a beach right place at the right time the girl who got me on I Heart Radio introduced me to someone else I had to do a pitch off it was her name is Lisa a Scalise she's this adventurous woman she's invented like over 100 different products and she runs his group so she does a whole pitch off thing in the you know spring and summer and she invited me when she found out about my product that I had to go up against each other seven other inventors and I was pitching off in front of a shark tank recruited the lead shark tank recruiter thinker the East Coast was there so I ended up winning that pitch off I was blown away I won the services of this foam and next thing I know you know within four or five months she's like alright we're going to key BC I got you in and you got a pitch in front of a buyer of QVC and did the pitch went super smooth other than a bunch of baking soda that I simulates no with what to wipe my nose and it was got baking so but other than that everything went great we got on QVC and QVC is is incredible I mean it's it's a lot of work to get there I'm not gonna lie there's a lot of things that you got to do you know that looks on the surface like an iceberg you see the beautiful tip and that's it but all the stuff underneath is all the legwork so it's a lot of work to get on QVC but I mean where else what Beach can I possibly go to where I can move almost a hundred minutes a minute like that's that's the power of the networking that they have you know it's just the right audience and I wasn't even on our peak sale season they put us on I think it was the middle of July so it was probably a little bit slower they put us up in June or May well I think we would have gone done probably three to four hundred units and I easily that's awesome so pretty good amount of sales so I must have been a people like the product so that's awesome so they did do that and then not only do you go to QVC now I think recently I was this year right you did toy of the year yep so we just we were a finalist for 2020 toy of the year and I had to self-promote get a ton of votes from you know all the users that I built up over the past two plus years and it was also a weighted I judged internal judge panel some of my people that voted for me external and then whole slew of different you know things that they judge and base upon and we had to go to the Tony Awards they're called the podium or it's almost like the Oscars toy industry the biggest of the biggest names are there so literally there was three people there who were abducted into the Hall of Fame at night one was the inventor of Colorforms the other was the inventor of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines and the last one was the founder of Little Tikes and my category happened to be immediately after Little Tikes and now I'm you know we're two plus year old company I'm like there's no we're gonna win this we're going up against razor has for all these major corporations I was like you know what I'm happy being a finalist and they called our name and I had made notes on my phone just in case I did have to go up so I had a whole speech written and everything my wife yelled got so excited she hands both phones to everybody at the table to hit record as we're up there and we're up like taking photos and I looked at my wife and I said where's the phone so I need my speech she's like there on the table you got away now I gotta wing it in front of all the most powerful people in the world in core industry you know following up immediately after the founder of Little Tikes which was a totally emotional it most I don't think it's but it was you know well and you know it was just sometimes you're better off working and I think rather than you know being completely scripted let's that's awesome that's that's a awesome award to win and lots of lots of kudos to you so it sounds like things are going great so always add in the podcast of two questions but before that what's next so what's next for creative Castle whether it's new audiences new products building the company promoting it more kind of what do you see you guys is doing in the next six years two or six months to a year yeah so you know when in a tour year tour the Year award actually gave me incredible leverage now so now it's put me at this crossroad where I need to make now I need to put my business hat on and I need to make literalized decisions as to which path or paths to take so we're in talks with major companies where they may potentially take over manufacturing do all the marketing all the heavy lifting and then I get a kickback or royalties based on all the sales that they do globally and or I could find an investor and kind of dried this amount and keep board my pocket but you know put a lot more work in so this is really you know and I'm super passionate about this hmm and it's almost like you know anybody who's gonna invent something it's really your baby you know it's like you've had your kids in life and then this becomes another kid that sense where you're nurturing a foster you're trying to do everything you can to make it either healthiest that it could possibly be and it's it's hard to think about me letting go of the grip that I have on my baby to some giant corporation that would be mass producing it but I need to look at all the avenues and say what's gonna be best for the business that kind of way other way all the options and see where we go from there but I mean we're in talks with big big chain stores now to on my own if I go that route so one option you may you may do the I'll keep doing building myself maybe investor dollars maybe he bootstrap or bootstrap it the other option is is maybe I'll go with the big one of the big names or the big four producers and let them sell or let them promote it push it and get a license or royalty woohoo sounds like both good options to have and it'll be a fun to see how it plays out for you in 2020 yeah no I mean I you know at this point with koban I'm really looking more towards 2021 we didn't see this this gigantic speed bump that we all hit but you know it's see what's the old saying a skilled seller was never made at a calm sea so like I look at this as an opportunity to make myself better and wiser businessman through troubling times no I I think that's I always look at you know when anytime there's a disruption of chaos or change in the marketplace it always presents opportunities if you can figure out how to utilize that and I'm not at all saying you take advantage of coalbed but if you're saying everybody's having to adjust business models and figure out new ways of doing it it always present let's see see how we can utilize that or make sure our business is stronger because of that so I can give Lee yes some shots of pivot you have to pivot yep okay well now I did mention I have two last questions for the podcast so they always asked so the first one is so what is the worst business decision you ever made worst business decision I've ever made would probably be early on when we get this we want to save a little bit of capital upfront mmm then when we form the molds we did what's called a multi canopy mold and the multi cavity mold basically means that the steel is formed so it's shooting out two parts of shooting on multiple parts out of our product at once that's probably one of the biggest mistakes I made because now we sell the parts because you don't have to stack a pro kit all the time so you can use the six-inch solar cell that independently we sell each part independently so now looking backwards I'm like you know man every single time I shoot a six-inch mold I have to shoot out a five-inch horrible with it and I don't always need that so that was a pretty critical mistake you know I mean it's mistake it's a costly one because I'm gonna probably have to do a new mold now independent 16-cylinder they'll be independent on that and also really factoring in shipping less air you know you want to really pack as much product as you can into a container and these are things they didn't really think through that clearly in France so we're making some some changes in retooling right now to fix a couple of those problems hmm I don't think a lot of people understand you know and let until you've got through a moulding can be expensive it's not a you know it's not a cheap 3d printing is great in the sense that you can you know that can be pretty cost-effective you get into molding can be 50 thousand a hundred thousand plus per mold and you know it adds up and yeah you can you know once you have the mold it's nice but anytime you have to do retooling or you read or do a new mold it can be pricey ya know I mean you know initially I think our tooling initial tooling cost was close to 60 K yeah and now we're gonna our dental retool already wants to make the product better no I'm going on a third retool to make the product even better and what it is I'm probably all out gonna be 80 90 thousand even close to a hundred thousand dollars in just for the tooling so you were pretty much of a spot-on you get it you know you know that there's a happy person sociated yeah unfortunately I mean that's that but that's the night one nice driver with with 3d printing is at least sometime you can work out a lot of those buddy used to be even worse because you'd have to be more iterations and now that doesn't I just wasted you know fifty thousand not a molt that I can't even use at least now you can work out a lot of those bugs with 3d printing so at least it's getting better it would be nice when you know nice when you can just do 3d for you on everything or otherwise I'm old although I you know as another flight aside I have we do on one of my other businesses we do some product development and things or a few companies and with you so we do it we have a few different 3d printers I've always wanted to get the metal 3d printers and I always wondered if you could ever do a mold using the metal 3d printers in the reduced cost that way so that's always that that's just an aside of a wonder I've always have you know I wouldn't be surprised in the next few years if it gets there but honestly I think you're gonna start seeing you know 3d printing is really changing our world behind your scenes a lot of people don't even know it so John the only no I was even talking with the medical company that they're doing you know plastics and it's for a completely different company for medical devices and they're now all doing they looked at it and they could do molding but they can do couldn't hurt they can do all of their product or final Friday now a 3d printing and it's significantly cheaper and they can hit the same benchmark as far as product you know I'm an amount of product they can make but 3d printing as they can of molding so they opted to go the cheaper route at least initially to do that so I think it's a it's a very evolving and they're you know I think for on the business application has a lot of avenues well the last question and then I'll let you go so the other the second question that I always ask is so if you're getting somebody that wants to get into a start-up you know start their own startup or small business and either just started or wanting to get into what would be your one piece of advice you'd give them biggest piece of advice is you know don't think you're getting into this to get rich quick and it doesn't usually work like that you can be deceived by some of the TV shows you see on there or people say oh I went viral overnight and this cost me a thousand dollars to set it up and you know you know sometimes you can't get lucky like that I'm not saying you can't but 90% of the time 99% of the time but honestly you're not gonna this has been a two-year journey to your Plus journey for me now that has been intense I mean like a lot of work a lot of thought process a lot of money a lot of time a lot of sleepless nights highs and lows like it is Lenny you know entrepreneur and you just have to go into it with a clear mind knowing that this isn't gonna generally be something that happens overnight it's putting yourself out there a lot sweat tears blood and all of it the whole the whole kitchen sink and everything it's you know you gotta put it all on it and if you don't you're gonna get back what you do put it so that's really what what I would the biggest advice that I would give is put it all out there if you're gonna do this and put the pedal to the metal and don't look back no I agree there's a lot of great ideas out there that never go anywhere and it's not because they weren't good ideas it's because people didn't go all in or they didn't they didn't actually take that next step rather than just keep thinking about it or keep you know daydreaming you actually do it so I think going all-in is great you know I always like you know the old saying goes you know business you know and over you're an overnight success ten years in the making yeah very holes very true that you always see the the overnight succession you think wow if I could just go viral if I could just have that one you know one shot and yet it's putting yourself out there continually making you're making the opportunities so that when that one shot comes along that you're ready for it so great advice also thank you well thank you for coming on it's been it's been a pleasure it's fun to hear all of your journey or success and look forward to seeing how 2020 goes for you for anybody else the listeners or people that are wanting to get involved we'll give you his contact information how to reach out in a minute if you're looking to need help for patents or trademarks or copyrights feel free to reach out to us we always are here to make sure that we help startups and small businesses to make sure they protect and grow their business so if you need us feel free to reach out to us Ken if people want to Eric's I can Kevin if you people want to reach out to us to reach out to you and get involved whether it's by a by a castle and by the kit or if they want to if you're an investor and want to help you grow or what what's the best way to reach out to you sure that's easiest way to start that create a castle calm nice easy name to remember and to direct you know contact me directly just you would email Kay lane KL ane at create a castle calm and you know all of our social media and handles and all that our all our website it's all creative castle handles awesome well I certainly wish you the best will directed everybody your way that it's looking to create your gift getting into the you know koban may be a little bit different but everybody else otherwise hopefully they're able to hit the beaches and use your products and I think that'll be that's an awesome product and I I look forward to next time I'm planning to go to the beach to get a kit and to do with my kids so thank you again for coming on appreciate your time and it's been fun to have you on and look I look forward to seeing how your journey continues also thanks similar step and we appreciate it [Music] [Music] English (auto-generated)