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Stories of the entrepreneurial journey with Brandon Snower

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Brandon Snower left a cushy job on Wall Street and decided to reinvent men’s fashion. In this podcast, we discuss his early journey, and watch as Brandon just gets started.

TAMAR:
Hey, everybody, I am super excited. I have Brandon Snow here. He is a jet setter. Came, flew in just for this podcast. Right? Thanks so much for joining.

Brandon Snower:
Only for you. Only for you.

TAMAR:
Yeah. So you’re in New York City, right?

Brandon Snower:
I am.

TAMAR:
OK, so we’re we’re local, but we’re not really local. But he did take a red eye to kind of get here on time and was on time in a different time zone. So. Yeah, yeah. So so tell me a little bit; first of all, where in the city are you?

Brandon Snower:
I live in Chelsea. I have been out here for two years.

TAMAR:
Nice. Nice.

Brandon Snower:
What about you?

TAMAR:
I’m actually in Westchester County. I was in Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side for a while and then I made my way slowly up as I moved. I guess it’s it actually coincides with the different milestones in life, the marriage and then the having kids. And it was Riverdale first and then it was Westchester. So.

Brandon Snower:
Awesome.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Cool. So Brandon’s here and he has an entrepreneurial journey that I definitely wanted to share because he did I guess the unlikely and he did something especially like that is extremely gutsy and pretty fab. So I, I don’t even know how to introduce it. I’m going to let you do that all. Go ahead. Tell me a little bit about your story.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, well, thanks for having me on. It’s always great to speak with other entrepreneurs and just discuss kind of the facets, the obstacles and kind of the journey, you know, just to help others. And so essentially, starting out, I’m twenty four right now. I graduated from Northwestern University a few years ago in twenty nineteen. And like every person in college, you know, you don’t really know what you want to do.

Brandon Snower:
You know, very rarely, like people are like set as, like if you’re an engineer, you’re a doctor. You know, you’re those are kind of like set courses that you take, then you know where you want to be. But like most I didn’t know, I studied learning and learning and organizational change, which, you know, it’s very like a broad not very niche kind of path in terms of you can go to X if you study organizational change. Right. It’s like understanding human behavior. And I didn’t want to be a psychologist, but I liked understanding people and leading and seeing what what works and what doesn’t in terms of like the human psyche within organizations and just interactions with people. And but with that I’ve always had this like business mind and kind of business acumen. My dad always had small businesses here and there. He’d start one, quit, and then started back up again and and then just move all over the place. But from there, I, I knew I wanted to either build something at some point or I knew I had a business savviness from just watching him work hard and get up at 5:00 and do all these things that you don’t really get to see growing up that much. And from there that kind of just took me to the spot where, OK, what’s the what is it going to lead me to a path that will give me a lot of opportunity down the road. And I thought, well, you know, finance, banking, they make a lot of money. It is a challenging environment. They’re smart people and they work super hard. But that’s the trajectory I want to go to. So I went for it. And I didn’t have any finance background. I didn’t know what an income statement was. Yeah, I was really underqualified. But that kind of shaped me to, like, really grind and really learn about, OK, I have to learn all of this, all this information in order to get a career that I want. And so ultimately, I ended up with a job. Someone took a shot at shot on me on working on Wall Street, a pretty large bank. And from there, I started working as an investment banking analyst. You know, I was the happiest person in the world. And I had my career that I wanted. But there is a massive learning curve, right, like I started learning organizational change and and everyone else was studying finance, math, accounting, but that just meant that I had to wake up at 5:00 a.m., go to the office, study, you know, learn as much as possible, be a sponge and literally be the last one and turn the lights off. And I did that every single day because I knew I wanted to progress. I wanted to learn and take on this challenge. And so, you know, six months and seven months and I’m still happy. I’m still absorbing and learning. And then it kind of just hits me kind of randomly that I know that this isn’t the path for me. You know, I wanted something that embraced everything about business, not just one aspect of it. You know, I like the creativity. I like the design. I like thinking in different creative ways that might not necessarily be the case and an investment banking or corporate world. So. I left and that was March of 2020, and that’s when covid was creeping up in the US, but it wasn’t as significant around the world. There was Italy and and China and Asia. And obviously it was—

TAMAR:
You weren’t in Westchester. You had no idea.

Brandon Snower:
I had no idea. Yeah, no one really did, you know, like we would hear on the news and I’d remember like making reports to our clients, about the impact of covid to the markets. And, you know, like everyone was saying, oh, it’s not going to be that bad. And then this was early, early March, maybe late February.

TAMAR:
And we just you know, I’m connected to the patient, our index case here. I was part of an outbreak where I started having symptoms the beginning of March also. Wow. Yeah. So we were in the quarantine as of March 3rd.

Brandon Snower:
Oh, yeah, I mean, my dad had covid, I think, without knowing that he had it, you know, [TAMAR: it’s crazy] in February but yeah and I didn’t really think anything of it. I just knew that I didn’t like where I was. Where I was and what I was doing and what that was going to lead me towards, so I quit, didn’t give two weeks notice, quit that day. People were not happy, but they were supportive. They were very supportive, actually.

TAMAR:
They should have seen the writing on the wall. It wasn’t even about you. It was just the nature of the the world. And, you know, if that is the biggest disruption they had, if they got lucky, I don’t know.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. And I never I’m not the person to show that I don’t like something like I’m going to work as hard as I did the first day to my last day. And people were shocked that I quit. It took me two hours to quit. Yeah, everyone wanted to talk to me. Yeah. Yeah. There was something wrong.

TAMAR:
You had a plan in place or you just decided you were going to quit and you were going to figure it out later?

Brandon Snower:
I had a plan, I wanted to move into marketing, and I was interviewing at different places and technically I thought I was going to start at a new marketing agency in April, but it was like more of my optimism that I was going to get it rather than it was going to happen. And and so. You know, when I quit, I was under the assumption I had it and hen everyone was taken back about covid, all the offers were rescinded, everything was going away, and especially digital marketing was severely impacted, and so they took away the potential offer that I had. So I didn’t have a job and I was 23, had a pretty good degree at Northwestern. You know, if you told me I wasn’t going to have a job a year out of college, I would have laughed because that’s just I just never expected it.

Brandon Snower:
And but at that point, I kind of, I don’t really know what hit me, but I always wanted to start and be an entrepreneur, and at that moment I just felt like it was the best opportunity to do it. Like, I didn’t have a job and I just kind of went for it and I had no idea what to do, like what to build and what to start. And I just kind of thought about it. I’m the type of person I know a ton of people are they just write ideas in their, you know, iPad or your iPhone, like in your notes. And I just had a list. And I just went through the list and then just one day, you know, I saw, like I remembered having this contrives collar shirt from, like high school. It was like a very casual, very elegant, like untopped Oxford buttoned down. And it was blue with a white collar. And I was like, OK, like, I, I lost this shirt. Let me let me try to find it online and it didn’t exist. I spent a week looking for it and. And just genuinely didn’t exist, and this was my favorite shirt, favorite style of all time. And so as I was looking at all these online menswear brands, Instagrams like trying to find a shirt for a week. It was like a light bulb hit me where indirectly I was seeing how all these menswear brands were targeting 40 year olds and up, like they were very traditional, very outdated in their marketing, their branding and as a 23 year old, I looked at every single one. I was like, “they’re not talking to me, you know, like they’re not resonating with me at all.” I’m a 23 year old. I like to, you know, look at things and enjoy and connect with the brand that is more than just selling a product. [TAMAR: right.] And and then I looked at like the competitors and the most popular DTC apparel brands and they were so cool, like they were so fun, they spoke to this millennial, young, fun, creative, personal audience in their own respective niches and I was like, why can’t this happen in classic menswear? Why can’t there be a really young, fun, cool, sophisticated style and brand that connects with all of these guys from 20 to like 35 and not even that, but it will resonate with people that are older than that because they want to be a part of like the young fun hip culture. And so I started. And from there I was kind of just building every single day, let’s make the coolest, most unconventional. Young fun brand possible while still having this high quality elegance and sophistication that all these luxury menswear brands have. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since for about a year.

TAMAR:
That’s great, that’s so cool, so I guess I’m going to have to ask you that journey, because, I mean, you you found an opportunity, but the next part was the supply chain and the logistics and I mean, growing the team. I’m not even sure if it’s just you still. And assume it’s probably more. So what’s the process to build a company from?

Brandon Snower:
It’s tough. It was really hard.

TAMAR:
This is adversity, and we’re going to hear this.

Brandon Snower:
No, this is adversity. It’s resilience, and it’s failing a million times. And you don’t understand, like, you know, people like aspiring entrepreneurs, like I was an aspiring entrepreneur and I would always see these articles and and read these I read these articles and hear these stories of, you know, these entrepreneurs just failing and failing and going through so much adversity. I was like, oh, yeah, it’s not going to be that hard. It is. It’s very difficult. But you have to have a certain mindset and it builds your character every single day and you just have to push through it. So to answer your question, I mean, it is still just me, but to start, the first thing I did was Google like, how do you start a clothing brand like Google? What’s what’s that like?

TAMAR:
That’s very millennial. I’m not even sure the reaction is for that one. It’s awesome.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, yeah. No, but it was I was so unprepared and had a lack of knowledge for anything in the space. I liked fashion in terms of I’m conscious of what I wear, I see what other people wear and I have a good eye. I think, you know, that was it. I never read magazines. I never kept up with the trends. I didn’t know what was popular. Like, I didn’t know really any of these menswear brands, except except for like the basic big ones, like Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers or Tommy Hilfiger And it started out with, yeah, what how do you start a clothing company or what is a supplier? What’s a manufacturer? I had no clue. Wow. Absolutely no. And then it just built on OK, what a supplier actually does, who are the people involved and supplier. And then it just builds from that. Right. Like you learn more and then you read, you read and research, you learn a bit more about a different aspect of starting a company. Right. Like incorporate, like it got to like so many things where it was just going all over the place because I wanted to learn everything right. And a lot was most of it was common sense in terms of like what to research. Right. Like, I know I want to be selling online. So like, how do I build a website? What platform do I use? What’s like this sales funnel from like like the customer seeing my content for like keeping them engaged and having them through this funnel of like email marketing and social media presence. Like all of this was just things that I kind of knew had to happen in a company just based off of just my common sense. But I had to actually know how to do it. And research. And there are obviously things I had no clue. Right. Like I had no idea that, like what Klayvio is. I had no idea what, you know, like a 3PL was .

TAMAR:
You need to explain it to the people who are listening.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah exactly. So like a 3PL, like third party logistics, was basically, the transportation from you know like where your manufacturer is to a warehouse that distributes your shipping when a customer buys it, or Klayvio is an online software service that makes you build your email templates and creates a sales funnel for your email marketing campaigns. So like when you purchase a product or when you get an email, like we build it in Klayvio and send it to you, there’s so many things. There’s millions of things that you have to think about and research and learn. And luckily this was my full time job, but I, I needed income. So I was doing, you know, things here and there, you know, selling, flipping TVs, flipping furniture, trying to keep you know, I also I had a lot saved up just through banking because, you know, a benefit about working in finance is you don’t spend the money because you’re just too busy working. [TAMAR: Right.] So I had some saved up, but it wasn’t much. I only had a year of experience of work. [TAMAR: Right.] But yeah, I mean, it just progressed and progressed, but in terms of the failures and adversity, right. Like finding that manufacturer, there were so many times where I had no clue what I like, how to build the shirt. Like, how do you make this idea that you have in your head a physical product without any experience?

TAMAR:
That’s a lot.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. And it’s and I’m not saying that’s not I mean, it’s very much possible. I think every person or most people who start a product or, you know, a brand, like they don’t have experience in it. Like much like yourself. Right. With like your perfume. You went from idea to concept and had the vision of I’m going to build this and I need X steps to get there.

TAMAR:
Right. Yeah. I knew I wanted to do it. I spoke to a guy who created it for me because I wasn’t going to sit down in a lab and lose ten years of my life to just figuring out if. You know, this peppermint goes with like vanilla like that was in I think. I did outsource that, just like you have to kind of get at the supplier and to to to focus on the creation of the product and then from then, I mean, the hardest part right now, and I’m still trying to figure it out, is to make this more global because at least you get shipped your stuff. I can’t because flammable. Flammable. I can’t speak. Flammable fluids is dangerous goods. And that challenge is everything. It really does.

Brandon Snower:
No, I’m sure I haven’t even thought about going international yet. I want to just one step at a time.

TAMAR:
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s not even that. It’s like I had a crowdfunding campaign for that part and I have a personal buyer in Ireland and I keep trying to do it. It’s been returned to sender a few times and. Yeah, Canada was hard enough, it was an argument is, in fact, I lost a couple couple of bucks a couple of times, in fact, shipping it out, even though they promised me that they weren’t going to incur any charges if it doesn’t lead to state but they reneged because it’s covid and you can.

Brandon Snower:
Right now, right now, it’s things that you just have to have to fail to actually learn. Yeah, that’s a lot of that’s how I learn and that’s honestly how I built my company is I’ve failed. Over one hundred times and I learned from it, and that’s the thing is you can’t make the same mistake twice or else you’re not going to progress. Yeah. Like, if you keep making, you know, like, for example, like one of I spent, you know, maybe I lost like a few thousand dollars because I jumped the gun on what I needed. Right. Like, I thought I was going to have this manufacturer forever. And it turns out that the communication and just the partnership wasn’t there in terms of scaling this business. So I bought thousands of boxes from him. I bought rolls of fabric that I’m not using today like it’s and those are thousands of dollars of just me making mistakes and and looking back and saying, OK, let me slow down, actually assess what I need. I know how to speak to manufacturers. This is how I mess up. And how do I change what I did in order to, you know, like progress and actually execute and a better and more effective way.

TAMAR:
It’s iterative. Now, I remember like having my first conversations with people who are going to supply the bottles. And I mean, it was very embarrassing. I think I know how to have that conversation, but I’m not doing it on an ongoing basis like you really are now. Right.

TAMAR:
Talk about your SKUs. How many how many items do you have right now? What is what is what is the inventory look like?

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. So I had 6 SKUs when I launched and then it turns out two of them didn’t sell well. So now I have four. But like so they’re their contract colors. They’re, you know, the best Portuguese Oxford fabric that you can find. And they’re in four styles, all with a white collar, like very casual, very sophisticated. And, you know, I learned right. Like in the beginning, I wanted 12 SKUs. I had, like, this vision on so many shirts and everyone’s going to love every shirt and then, after talking with people, they’re like, no, 12 is way too much. And I’m like, oh yeah, small, medium, large. XL, XXL times twelve is crazy. I don’t have enough money for that. So I mean the less SKUs you have, the more you know, the better chance that you can have limited inventory and really you sell more units because there’s less options.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. That is complicated. And I hear that, you know that I am also one of those people who prefers a lot of options. But you hear that when you watch a Shark Tank and you also don’t believe it. But it’s true.

Brandon Snower:
It’s true. It’s true. And I watch Shark Tank every day, almost every day. I’m going to be on that one.

TAMAR:
But you should. You should. I have like twenty five still on my TiVO that I have to get through.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. No I applied.

TAMAR:
Oh really?

Brandon Snower:
But I’m still waiting. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It’s, I told a funny story when I one of the last weeks I was working in banking, they was Shark Tank on the desk floor and I was just telling all my associates and I was like, I’m going to be on Shark Tank one day and I just was like motivating know, yeah.

TAMAR:
People have told me that I should be on Shark Tank. They say my story is very apropos for Shark Tank, but I don’t know if I can subject myself to that. And I’ve I’ve heard, you know, that My First Million podcast, they did Everywell, they did an interview with the from the girl from the chick who was the CEO of that founder and CEO of that. And I think she was talking about how she was on Shark Tank. And like you said, she got out or she didn’t. But the prep is crazy. It’s not just like, you know, you show up. You’re obviously besides the presentation, the their team psych’s you up for, like, four months to prepare you. It’s like it’s a very rigorous program. [Brandon Snower: Oh, sure.] Yeah, it’s just I just mentally cannot I don’t think I could put myself under the microscope in that way, although it’s such great PR and right for me, I might actually sell out and that’s hard.

TAMAR:
We were talking before we started and you were saying that sometimes you do feel the struggle of like motivation. I want to talk about that also because I think you and I as entrepreneurs and first time entrepreneurs and we basically you launched this last year, I also pretty much launched last year, made the official announcement last year that my product was finally available. So, you know, I was like pretty much in the same boat. And, you know, it’s it’s very, very difficult. You found a need. I found the product that I think has this need, but it’s not quite… People understand it once they get there, but they don’t like they don’t realize it. And I think it’s partially my challenge, is partially because there’s no real science validation and there’s a lot of education specific to this particular type of product, like people do not see perfume, cologne, this is unisex for mental health. And everyone’s like, oh, yeah, “the perfume audience is very cutthroat and it’s very competitive.” But I don’t see myself as a perfume product. And it’s so hard because right now I’m still like I go it’s like going back to the same conversation that I have earlier. Who’s my target audience? Is it right, mindfulness people or people who like I need to bring into this mental health fray of like who burn candles and incense and sniff essential oils all day. Or is the people who like perfume and would buy it anyway? And I honestly, I’m going at the former audience, and that requires a lot more a lot more effort, a lot more education. So I struggle a lot with that. Like you saw something and you saw that people already are buying. So I want to hear from you, first of all, you talked about like building out your supply chain and building out the 3PL doing all of that, but, what for you, your next step was obviously making people, making your audience aware of who you are and that you exist. So a little bit about like how you educated the world that you are around.

Brandon Snower:
Word of mouth, me going out with my sandwich board on the weekends when people are drinking at bars and having fun and have a sandwich board with a funny quote or a funny sign that they can follow me on Instagram and I’m launching on. But going to these bars with this sign and and showing them the shirt, showing them the product, telling them a story of, hey, I’m just a regular guy like you. I worked in banking, I worked in the corporate world, you know, like, let’s do something amazing. Let’s do something in fashion for us. And I still do it. I have pictures. I’m still just starting. Right. It’s not like everyone knows about me and it’s still like the hustle of, you know, me getting my name out there beyond my friends and family. But, you know, in that regard, like, I am not embarrassed at all to text as many people as possible, people that I haven’t spoke to in 15 years or ten years since grade school or high school, just showing my vulnerability on LinkedIn, showing my vulnerability on Instagram of, hey, I can’t go out, I’m working and I’m doing all these things, I think. A lot of people would just feel uncomfortable doing just exposing yourself or just feeling judged that you’re doing things that are a little out there.

TAMAR:
Yeah. You’re doing something that’s one hundred percent outside your comfort zone; really, really it comes down to that. And going back to this whole thing about like that, I don’t know if the word is negative self talk, but for me, it is it’s something that I struggle with on my with the perfume still kind of figuring out the right audience. And I always go back to reading the books by Robin Sharma. He is a fantastic author. He wrote a book about the Monk who sold his Ferrari. It was basically like a guy giving up fame and fortune and the prestige of his working at a really prestigious company. I don’t even remember, maybe a lawyer or whatever it was. And then I’m reading the leader who has no title of The Leader Without a Title right now or a variation of that title.

TAMAR:
But it’s all about like even even though it’s about like how you can work as a housekeeper at a hotel and still be the best, best in your own class, like every single person and every organization can be the best at what they do, but like they reinforce things. And he says so many good quotes that I dropped them down as I’m reading them in Google Keep. And then I tend to like like to to either write a social media post because I wrote my my whole philosophy of the brand is like that. You can overcome all odds and you can be positive and embrace your who you are kind of thing. So it really aligns with my mission and the values. But truthfully, it’s not just about the mission, it is about me as the entrepreneur in my personal life. So like for that purpose, I would say you should follow my brand. But that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to say for you personally, like, you know, that is it’s about it’s about the hustle. It’s about really pushing yourself and getting yourself, making yourself aware that you can just be awesome and just chugging, chugging along. I’m not really sure, spinning the wheels, moving forward, I’m not really sure where I’m going with that, but.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, I mean, you’re right there. I mean, there are so many times you’re going to self doubt yourself like every day. I mean, especially. Especially when things don’t go right, right, there’s, that’s obviously, you know, maybe common sense, but when when you’re actually going through it, you realize how impactful that self-doubt is to your competence, your decision making. And just the quality of the work that you put out there, right there. There are times when like I just you know, I posted something that I think so many people are going to resonate with and so many people are going to like and it gets like three or four likes. Right? And then I’m like, what did I just do? I thought I spent an hour, two hours maybe on this email or on this, like designing this poster, drawing this shirt from scratch. And, you know, people see it for a second and they don’t care about it.

TAMAR:
No one wants to know the detail that you put like four hours into it.

Brandon Snower:
They don’t, they don’t. They have no clue. But like they shouldn’t. Right. Like I, I learned that it’s not expected of them. Right. Like, they’re just we’re just another brand that’s trying to make an impact. And if we can get through you, that’s great. And that’s what we want. But there’s thousands of other things that people are scrolling through every second, like, we can’t really blame them for scrolling, right, but it’s tough, it’s mentally exhausting to just see how maybe insignificant, your work may be to some people, and that’s really hard because you’re dedicating your life, your time, you’re literal blood, sweat, and tears to this and you see this vision and then someone just shrug it off is like, you know, it hurts a lot.

TAMAR:
Yeah. So last Friday, my social post was that you don’t have to necessarily vote with your wallet. You should support your fellow entrepreneurs with a like or with some sort of sharing it or telling your friends like it’s so minimally friction. That’s minimally frictionable, for the friction there in terms of that kind of engagement versus, you know, you can’t afford the product, you don’t want to buy the products, at least do that. And, you know, I might have gotten one like and I went out of my way to, like, thank her for doing that.

TAMAR:
I mean, she knows the struggle because she’s also an entrepreneur. And I think entrepreneurs identify with the entrepreneurial journey, but others do not. And unfortunately, we’re the minority here now.

Brandon Snower:
And that’s true. And like you learn that very quickly, that people who aren’t entrepreneurs don’t or maybe haven’t seen or been a part of a startup like a very early stage startup. They don’t know the work, the effort, the things like the straps that goes into it. And it’s it’s every day, it’s not it’s not just like, oh, it’s three times a week. It’s I’m working Saturdays, Sundays, I can’t see my friends like it’s something they exhumed it.

Brandon Snower:
So that’s the right word. But it consumes, consumes your life.

TAMAR:
It could it probably would exhume if you do it, yeah, it’s not healthy, but yeah, you know what I think the struggle is, is just trying to get that massive break where everything is just a snowball effect from there, because right now you and I are climbing a mountain. And I it’s this is something that was I drafted a social post on this last night, and it’s like climbing that mountain and you’ll hit sometimes you’ll hit like a slippery part of the side of the mountain and sometimes a little bit of the rock under your foot will fall off and you’re going to be stumbling and you’re going to be falling and then you’re going to fall back on and really tired.

TAMAR:
And you’re not going to want to you’re going to want to sit on the other side of that mountain for a little while. And people don’t realize that because they get a job, they get stability, they deal with the toxic workforce, and then they deal with their colleagues that throw them off the bus and, you know, steal promotions instead of them. And they’re not realizing that, you know, that company that they’re working on, maybe 15, 10, 15 years ago, 30 years ago, there was somebody on the other end like you and I who are really trying to push this and to make that company big and some of them do. But other ones, you know, and you just don’t want to be is really what it comes down to. And for me, like, I was just I had just stumbled a little bit and for a while I kind of had to take a breather. And that’s that’s negative self talk, like, you know, saying it’s very identifiable because it’s like I still like I just I’m like paralyzed by what fork in the road do I traverse?

TAMAR:
Do I traverse this mindfulness perfume thing where people will find my perfume and think about mental health? Or do I just want to be another perfume bottle on the on the wall where I know that you all get buyers, but it’s just a lot more competition? And every single day I wake up with this and now I it’s like it’s now I’m at the point where, like, I have to set a daily goal that I actually work on the brands and try to tackle this problem.

TAMAR:
But it’s literally like this has been like maybe nine months of no sleep kind of things where I’m still still in the same position. Everyone’s like I took a class on defining my target audience probably about a year ago during a time really covid times. And I’m no further today than I was like a year ago because everyone’s like it’s so competitive, but it’s not because of the way I want it, but nobody wants to buy it. The hell do you do, you know?

TAMAR:
Yeah. These are the struggles that we all have. Just visibility is the biggest thing. And the best way to do that is, is honestly you got to get an infusion of some sort of venture capital and put like all that money in marketing. That’s why Shark Tank is very appealing for me, because I could potentially sell that story right then and there. But I don’t know if I want to do that. And I think I think for you to be perfect still for you, but like, everybody wants to take a different path and that journey has to be very different and very personal.

Brandon Snower:
So now, yeah, I yeah, that’s one hundred percent. And like I had a conversation with someone that I was networking on LinkedIn and he’s like a brand strategist. And I started his own beauty brands and he said, your target audience is different than the people who are going to who might buy your product. And with that being said, like in terms of your your perfume, maybe it’s the people that care about mental health that want to support that, buy it, rather than the people who actually are going through it.

Brandon Snower:
Right. Or they’re buying it for the people, a loved one or someone that they know that has gone through something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most extreme case. But maybe something has happened in their life, like a death or or something that is uncomfortable. [TAMAR: Right.] And maybe they give that to them. Right. And there’s so many ways to think about it, but like who you’re trying to sell to might not actually be the people that buy it, right?

TAMAR:
Yeah, but I’m in the same boat with you as like friends and family. It’s like, you know, so yesterday, like I said, I had been really kind of facing that self-doubt really head on. And I had this todo item to post about my launch on Reddit. There’s an indie group, but not for not for this. I would say that I wonder if you can post on the entrepreneurs subreddit, but I announced that I’m an indie brand in the indie perfume makeup IMAM r/indiemakeupandandmore yesterday. And I pushed myself to do it like it was something that was on my to do list for literally like eight months. I kept pushing, postponing it, postponing it because I was terrified, because I don’t know, like I want to be more mainstream. I don’t want to be an indies and still figuring that part of that audience that was like a struggle. And then literally like maybe like three minutes after I hit the post button, I get this email from somebody who said, I wanted to let you know I bought your perfume back in the day.

TAMAR:
I hope you remember me. Well, she even said, I hope you remember me. She didn’t think I remember her. And she said I put it on and I put on right before I take a shower and I love it. And I was like, wow. Like, this is like it’s sort of like meant to happen. But like, I honestly, I’ve had like weeks of, like, dry spells where, like, things aren’t like moving because of the struggle of these target audience challenge and getting beyond that.

TAMAR:
But that was like that was to me, it was like a little bit of a cue to like keep going and keep pushing this because it’s still about figuring that out. But the perseverance is what happens. And now to push away. And I’m going with I’m going to put the microphone back in front of your face in a second. But one of the struggles just in figuring that out, I, I, I just bought a haven’t gotten yet. It’s being prepared, but I bought a wall decal for my office that now is going to like remind me again, like I had a story and I was really kind of reeling through, like the trauma of like losing something and it was really precipitated the launch of this brand. But like this is that’s sort of becoming more numb and it’s obviously more pronounced. And like you lose sight of like where it’s coming from, or at least I was for a while, so I had to remember where I was going.

TAMAR:
And so I bought this decal that says “how badly do you want it?” And I’m going to put it on my wall and hopefully it will remind me [Brandon Snower: that’s awesome.]

TAMAR:
So, like, when you have negative self talk you gotta figure out how to negate that. And there we go.

Brandon Snower:
A hundred percent, I have the exact same kind of thing that I do. I always have like inspirational either image or quote that I make on my phone and I wake up every day or even like reading it, if I’m on my phone right now and I try to open my phone or unlock it like I read this quote or it’s there, right? Like I know it’s there. Maybe I don’t read it, but it says, make a million.

Brandon Snower:
Am I allowed to curse?

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah. Go for it, it’s funny, like everybody apologizes. It’s like I don’t care anymore.

Brandon Snower:
I mean, I’ll curse all day. I don’t know if it was – it says “make a million fucking mistakes, but don’t waste your time making the same mistake twice. Successful people know how to get back up after shit happens. How are you going to respond? Move forward. It’s done.” [TAMAR: Yeah.] And like I have this with, like my logo underneath and like my colors and everything. But like I’ve made this quote because, like, I started from nothing in terms of like knowing anything about what I was doing and I made so many mistakes and mistake after mistake after mistake, it literally was just deterring me from continuing.

TAMAR:
That’s right. It’s really, really, really hard to pull that out. I love how you tackle, like, so many different things of that in that quote, you’re just like, you know, like make mistakes, not don’t look back. Just look to the future.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, it’s done. Like who gives a shit? You made a mistake. Like, move forward. Like it already happened. You can’t do anything about it.

TAMAR:
Yeah. And I think I think most of us spend our lives looking back at our behind our shoulders versus moving to the present and everything. I find that suggestive quotes are really, really helpful. And they say, like, I used to think that was cheesy stuff, like I would read Noah St. John or Napoléon Hill, not so much Napoleon Hill, but Rhonda Byrne of The Secret. Napoleon Hill, I mean, he’s the guy kind of like pioneered this movement of like mindset is everything. [Brandon Snower: It is.] It one hundred percent is, but they also like this whole Noah St. John thing is all about like writing affirmations. And I always I always was reading I had read his books in the past in this moment where I I wasn’t believing myself. So I wasn’t going to believe in the affirmations. And nowadays I just have like up in my bathroom, I have another one that says “be awesome today.” And even if I if I walk in my bathroom, I don’t even pay attention to it. It doesn’t make the impact. But I do believe that if I actually just take a quick glance and recognize that it’s there, it really does have that suggestive nature and it turns things on for me. So I thought [Brandon Snower: a hundred percent.] I think that I think that these things are so important. And you just it’s not even about, the Noah St. John thing, I guess that’s why no one knows who the heck he is. He’s just one of those other guys who just like in that book and that’s in that space.

TAMAR:
But it really is about not necessarily like, just just having it there to suggest without doing anything else, and, yeah, it pushes it pushes its way into your psyche and you figure it out and you make yourself look, as most of these guys say, you make yourself get to that point because your mind wants to convince yourself that you should.

Brandon Snower:
Right, people, I believe that everyone’s smart enough to do something to to start a company, to do like to build what they want to create. Obviously, you have to do the research, you have to work super hard, you got to, like, learn everything, but if you don’t have the mental toughness to do it, then you’re not like that’s what differentiates like a successful entrepreneur to from a non successful entrepreneur, like in hindsight and like in the natural, like if you have the same idea.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. Because it is all mental when it comes down to like after the fact of like actually executing it. And like that’s also another thing that I mean, it’s also lonely. It’s super lonely. Right. Like I’ve done this all on my own and you know, I’m sure I had I’m sure you’ve done a lot on your own. If not, you’re still doing it. You know, it’s. There’s a lot of, like, self doubt and it’s hard to, like, lean on people that aren’t necessarily like trying to do this with you.

TAMAR:
Yeah, I mean, there’s so many quotes that I can read out loud to you that I’m just saying you should read Robin Sharma’s books. I think you would relate so much to this stuff. And they’re easy reads. They really are.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, no, well, I mean, I’m also the type of person that, like these mental things, like, yes, it’s embarrassing maybe, but like who gives a shit because it’s like helping you, right? Like, I had it was I was at a point I was it this was at a point in investment banking, like I had a really tough time in investment banking because I had to learn everything the same way. I had to learn fashion and supply chain and building a website and all this stuff, like I had a ringtone or like a alarm that was like an inspirational quote from just like a random YouTube link.

Brandon Snower:
But like, I had it for like a moment because, like, I needed it. To get me through, I’m just like, wait to back up, you know, like I can do this, but like, it doesn’t like, you know, it doesn’t matter if you have these things right. Like, if it helps you, if it benefits you, do it. Like people are scared or embarrassed or had this thought in their head, like, oh, this is super cheesy like who gives a shit?

TAMAR:
Yeah. So I’m going I’m going to actually read to two quotes from him. So I have: “no one’s unimportant. There are no extra people alive today. Every person and every job matters.”” So that kind of like talks to just the roles that we have. But some people make our roles, gets better, but everybody needs to feel that they’re significant. And the other thing tied to the excellence of leadership is: “no excellent leader ever got to the lofty platform they reached by feebly clinging to a fear filled excuses.” So that to me is like a way of making sure we just have to persevere and carry on.

Brandon Snower:
Right, that’s true, and and so to the first quote, you know, I’m maybe not like thinking I’ve never heard of that quote, but like, you know, it’s a great quote. And I think of it in terms of I’m not trying to hire, you know, people right now and like, I’m just envisioning and want to create an environment that is worthwhile for everyone who’s who’s in it, right? Like, yes, I’m the founder, but it doesn’t matter if you’re the founder or you’re not the founder.

Brandon Snower:
You’re part of the team. You have just as much creativity, say. You know, autonomy as me, in a sense, right, because like I want you to perform and be so comfortable and have the greatest time while obviously executing and progressing, but like there are so many times where people and they’re all over the world are just felt like they’re insignificant or their opinions or thoughts don’t matter because they’re an analyst or an associate or a lower level than someone else.

Brandon Snower:
And I’m constantly thinking, OK, I want to create an environment because I understand that people want a voice. People should have a voice. And people don’t realize that when they’re starting companies because there’s so many things to do. And you have all this experience as a founder, but you’re like the person below you doesn’t. But your job is to have them up to speed and contribute as much as they can. And that’s not going to happen unless you commit your time and create this working environment that builds this community.

TAMAR:
Yeah. So another book and it’s early for you to read, but at the same time, it’s interesting, I connect, I sync up every Thursday morning with a group of entrepreneurs that we met in the same group. By the way, we kind of forge this group back in the day and we and one of them really kind of, he mentioned that he tries to dictate his organization based on this EOS, which stands for the Entrepreneurs Operating System. And it comes from a book called Traction written by Gino Wickman. Now, I’ve heard about Wickman’s book because I’ve read the other Traction first by what’s his name, Gabriel Weinberg, the DuckDuckGo guy. And I was like, oh, yeah. well, that sounds like the more corporatized version because Gabriel is a startup guy as far as I’m concerned. And I read it and I will say that it’s really a really a fantastic read about, like setting aside really having like this like cheat sheet for, like, everything about your organization.

TAMAR:
Now, you and I like I said, it’s kind of early for us to kind of think about. But at the same time, it’s sort of it’s really relevant because it talks about how when your company has enough people, you’re going to want to have people who align with your specific company values but also are in the right seat, so like, for example, some people might align with your company values, but like there aren’t in the right so like maybe you have somebody who’s like an operations person and the CFO role or you have somebody who doesn’t align with your company values but who is great at the CFO role that they’re sitting in, but they don’t really care about the company. So you really want to find someone who really kind of checks out both of those boxes and you might have to shift your company. So the idea is like, you know, you have like 17 people at your company already. Are they all in the right place, are the perfect for your company? And if you have this alignment of of all these goals, all of a sudden, you know, the people have seen year over year growth in the percentages like massive, massive growth.

TAMAR:
And it’s pretty, pretty cool the way the way you do it, especially if you’re in the moment of growth and you’re looking to bring on people. You want to kind of think about this philosophy and embody that right then and there. I think it might simplify things later. You know, he talks about how he’s hit the clients that he’s had. It’s like companies the size of like three all the way to like seventeen hundred. And I’m like, I’m I still consider myself a company of one, even though I have like a couple people helping me here and there, but yet it’s given me a foundation upon which I could potentially build this thing and especially think that at least you don’t necessarily need to implement it today, but you can especially understand it and get to that point. So my thought was that for you is just to say, go ahead, take a read. I know I’m not I never used to be much of a reader until this entrepreneur thing bug hit me. Yeah, there there’s so much value that comes from these these pieces of paper.

Brandon Snower:
No I will, no thank you. No, I think building the right team is one of the most important things. It’s not the most important factor like actually conveying your brand and making that good product, because that’s what’s going to get you from where you are now to where you want to go. You can’t do it on your own, right. It’s impossible. And you need to surround yourself with people that are better than you.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room.

Brandon Snower:
No. And I don’t I don’t. I want to be the dumbest person at my company. Right. That’s my goal. Because there are so many people that know marketing and supply chain and like design, product development that like, yes, I, I started this, I have the vision, but if I can facilitate and be the conductor which I think that’s one of my greatest abilities to actually understand and create this environment team and people around this like an idea but that’s like my goal, right? And that’s how I’m going to get from now, like a one person selling out and 50 units to like thousands of units down the road.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. So I’m still figuring that out, too, because I’ve had people come and go and kind of get there, don’t completely align with the values and the hustle culture, because especially now you think about that. It’s it’s also the millennials versus the older, if you will.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, I know it’s hard too because what I’m seeing and it’s very apparent, I think just above the broader audience by. I mean, it’s hard to find people that are going to work like no one’s going to work harder than you, right? You’re the founder, but you can’t expect them to do that. Right? Right. Like, you have to, like, take a back, put your feet in their shoes. And say, OK, I’m like, imagine me expecting to work all these hours have like all these commitments and I’m not like really starting this company.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, right. Like I mean, that’s one reason why I couldn’t do investment banking or frankly, I can’t really, it’s hard to do another job because I don’t know if I can. You know, like work for someone or do something that wasn’t mine. And it’s difficult and it’s a hard challenge to face.

TAMAR:
And the passion isn’t there for a lot of people like you hope that they align with the values. That’s why it’s like I try to really the first thing I do when I talk to people is get in touch with my values like, you know, but not everybody likes that. I’ve had people who really like buy it, but then they don’t work for like three weeks because I don’t necessarily need them. And all of a sudden, the night before this project is due I have outstanding questions about something that, you know, they had worked on and all of a sudden they freak out. That’s not a lot of cultural alignment. But then again, I have to respect the people who do have like have to go out in due time. But like when you have nothing to do for a while, you know, like there’s a question because that’s the thing that’s that’s their culture, their culture. You really have to understand, as someone who works for a startup, that not everything is your standard nine to five.

Brandon Snower:
Oh, it’s not.

TAMAR:
And I think that especially the elders, if you will, don’t really get that. They don’t really embrace that. And they don’t understand, you know, the things that they’re going to be ebbs and flows based on what’s required at certain times. So they’re very they prefer that they want stability of those normal times, but yet they want to live in the startup culture and that they’re not ready to mentally. I guess conceptualize what that really looks like.

Brandon Snower:
No, no, not at all. I mean, I worked for a startup just as I need money, and I thought it was a great opportunity to show I worked at a startup from January to and then I quit about a month ago and it was like an Amazon ecommerce FBA the start up. And like, I knew I should be working a lot, you know, and there were people at the company that thought it was going to be a nine to five.

Brandon Snower:
And it’s it’s not the case at all, it’s it could be eight to nine, it could be eight to eight, it could be nine seven, but it’s definitely not nine to five. It could be nine sometimes work until midnight.

TAMAR:
Yeah, it’s hard, you know.

Brandon Snower:
And you’re not getting paid that much either.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. It’s the nature of the beast. And hopefully people understand that’s what that’s required to get the company off the ground. You know, you’ve got to do things in a very, very different systematic way. And that’s a systematic way, if you will. But it makes it makes everything it makes everything better, I guess. Yeah. So I realized we were over an hour now, I think. And I want to kind of I would have asked you other questions, but I guess really the big question is at this point, you know, I want to make sure people support you and you get that visibility.

TAMAR:
So first, before I do that, or I’m going to ask you one question. And especially now, because I think you have the experience, but if you can ask an earlier version, if you can tell, give advice to an earlier version of Brandon, what would you tell him?

Brandon Snower:
I would say start start something and actually do it. Like find something in your life and it doesn’t matter if it’s it’s not making money. Right. Like start a hobby if you like. Watching sports then start a blog, right, or like start making like a funny, cool Twitter account and just like tweet what you like doing because so many people are just in this position of: I don’t like my job or like I don’t like what I’m doing and they’re trying to find things that they like and building off of that, but like start a side hustle or like start something that you genuinely enjoy that takes your mind off of it.

Brandon Snower:
And it will build. It will grow like people will start saying. And don’t be afraid to tell people about it. Like that’s a thing people are so scared of telling someone that they’re starting something because they don’t want to be judged that, you know, if they won’t like it or it’s cheesy or dumb or stupid, like, who cares, right? It’s like your life. You’re going to regret it if you don’t do it right. Why are you going to let other people dictate that like it’s your life?

Brandon Snower:
And I am like, very passionate about this. Yeah. Because I see so many people like this.

TAMAR:
Yeah, there’s the there’s another quote about how people who mind don’t matter and people who matter don’t mind. I don’t know who actually said that, but it’s not Dr. Seuss, that’s what I know. Yeah, so that’s that’s really important. And it’s funny because right now I’m in this moment of like this perfume thing. I really want to make big, but I have all these little, like, ideas that I think will eventually come back to the perfume and support the perfume.

TAMAR:
And I feel like very serial entrepreneurial right now. Serially. I don’t have to say it, but I’ll try to use it as a descriptor here where, like, I feel like I could do this. And like I’ve been talking to people with advice I like for advice and they keep going back to me. What about the perfume? I’m like, well, honestly, this would supplement the perfume. This is an aggressive, this will promote the perfume but like because the perfume is like I’m going to say, it’s like there’s so much more I can put life into but all of this together. I don’t think there’s anything like deviating from it. I think it’s just pushing propelling things in a different direction. So who knows? But yeah, don’t hesitate and don’t worry about how people judge you, because if the only person who matters is basically yourself.

Brandon Snower:
So, yeah, and it extends beyond like what you’re doing. Right. It’s like what you wear, what you say, you know, obviously be conscious of what you say saying like your situations. But, you know, just people are so conscious of what other people think about them.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, cool, so how do people find you?

Brandon Snower:
Yeah, so my company is LeCollier, it’s French for the collar, hence all the shirts are contrast collar. And so I have a website lecollierclothing.com, and then Instagram, the same @lecollierclothing. I’m working on building a TikTok. I’m not TikTok savvy, so that’s what I’m looking for, someone for it. But but yeah. I mean those are really it. And then I’m on LinkedIn if you want to follow the journey I guess and just understand like what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, I’m starting to post some some things that I’ve been through just on my personal LinkedIn. Yeah. That’s that’s really it, keep it simple.

TAMAR:
Yeah. I love it. I love it. I’m looking at your socials right now. I like I like your little fancy you really. You make it like very, very sophisticated looking into the backgrounds.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah.

TAMAR:
I don’t know, I don’t know the descriptor if they are looking for but uh traditional, contemporary, whatever.

Brandon Snower:
It’s not, it’s not a traditional brand. I said it’s like a very cool version of a menswear brand that you’ve never really seen before. And that’s how we like to do things like because I’m a banker. Right. I’m not a fashion guy. But like we’re creating a really sophisticated fashion brand in New York. So, you know, we want to play to our strengths.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah, and you will, and you will, and you’ll get there and I have faith in you and I know I mean, listen, as entrepreneurs and a similar journey, we should definitely keep in touch and keep each other apprised and support each other in whatever way we can, because I think that’s that’s the most important thing for this journey that everybody like we build upon each other.

TAMAR:
So, oh, I’m here for you. Whenever.

Brandon Snower:
As well as me.

TAMAR:
Yeah, thank you so much. Awesome. Cool.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for having me. It was great speaking with you and always happy to chat and get back on your way when we’re both successful.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah. We’ll get there. We’ll get there. We got slow and steady wins the race. I realized in the beginning it’s going to be a lot more of a marathon, not a sprint, but it’s like the slowest marathon you’re ever going on, because if you’re doing it literally from your life savings, you don’t have the foundation to kind of do things in the way that you maybe otherwise expect. And and I’m ready. I’m ready to move. I’m prepared for that, you know.

Brandon Snower:
Yeah. Keep reading those quotes and we’ll get there. Yeah. Well now we have now we have each other so we’ll talk.

 

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TAMAR.