Cory Stout, the founder of Woodies, shared an insightful journey of starting and growing his wood sunglasses brand. Here’s a breakdown of his story and key takeaways:
Background and Idea Generation: Cory’s entrepreneurial journey started with scalping football tickets while studying Economics at the University of Florida. He learned important lessons about dealing with people and persistence during this time.
He then had the opportunity to visit China, where he observed how products were made and got the idea for an interchangeable watch brand called TIKKR.
Prototyping and Manufacturing: Cory found suppliers on Alibaba in China for his wood sunglasses. He emphasized the importance of choosing suppliers based on trust and their overall presentation, not just price. He also recommended checking the condition of the factory’s facilities as an indicator of their professionalism.
Launching the Business: Cory initially launched his wood sunglasses on Groupon and later transitioned to selling on Amazon. He adapted his product by switching to wood temple glasses with a plastic frame to reduce returns. This decision also allowed his customer service to provide better support.
Marketing and Growth: Cory focused on Amazon as his primary sales platform and emphasized its effectiveness in bringing in new customers. He mentioned that while he had basic knowledge of various marketing methods like Facebook ads, email marketing, and SEO, Amazon’s built-in customer base was highly valuable.
Challenges and Future Plans: Cory revealed that despite the impressive revenue figures, the profit margins in his business were lower than expected. He mentioned getting sued by Luxottica for trademark infringement, which posed a significant threat to his business.
He also started a new venture involving classic cars. Cory emphasized the importance of believing in oneself and staying committed to the business, as many of his peers who started businesses around the same time also succeeded.
Tools and Resources: Cory shared a Reddit post detailing the tools and platforms he used in his business. He mentioned listening to the EcomCrew podcast for valuable insights into running an Amazon-based business.
Advice for Entrepreneurs: Cory’s key advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to choose a product or business that they are passionate about and willing to talk about nonstop. He emphasized the importance of personal branding and being the face of your company, especially in the early stages.
Cory Stout’s journey with Woodies demonstrates the importance of persistence, adaptability, and focusing on platforms that work best for your business. It also underscores the significance of believing in your vision and being prepared to overcome challenges along the way.