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Fired from 3 Jobs, this Entrepreneur Built a $4.8 M Company!

Colin Mcintosh had a rough start in his career. He was fired from his first job at the world's largest hedge fund after just 5 months, then laid off from his next two jobs all in the span of 2 years. He was consistently told by his managers that he was “too empathetic to work here.” and “failed to adjust his behavior.”


Eventually, Colin had a friend who got him a full-time role working as a founder at a Techstars-backed startup for a summer. This was Colin’s introduction to startups which was the spark in his future bedsheet startup, Sheets and Giggles.


Here are the steps Colin took to build his $4.8 M company:


1. Build the Model First

  • This was the model Colin was searching for:

  • Huge commodities market with room to differentiate

  • No clear market leader

  • No brand loyalty or affinity

  • Traditionally physical retail, which could work online as DTC

  • Low-complexity supply chain (no electronics or software)


2. Identify the Differentiators

  • The bed sheet industry was boring.

  • Cotton is hard on the environment.

  • There’s no innovation in the industry

  • Very few companies doing great DTC marketing


Colin started looking to capitalize on this old “tired” industry. While researching sustainable bedding alternatives, Colin discovered that eucalyptus:

  • uses 96% less water to produce than cotton

  • requires no pesticides to grow and harvest

  • can be sourced from reclaimed wood, not living trees


3. Validate the Idea (Market) First

  • Colin launched an Indiegogo campaign raising $284,000 in 2018 and nearly $2M in venture capital.

  • They collected over 11,000 emails from potential customers in just 8 weeks AND 46% of people shared their emails.

  • Most DTC brands are lucky to get a 46% open rate.


4. Pre-sales

  • Colin started advertising on FaceBook 10 weeks before the launch.

  • He also implemented a social sharing competition to build his email list and asked customers to fill out surveys so he could predict the most wanted colors and sizes.

  • Result: $45,000 on Day 1 from 400 backers.


5. Fanatical Customer Care

  • S&G answers all Facebook comments and messages within minutes. The single best action that drives conversion.

  • Colin's cell used to be on the Contact page! Got ~10 calls/day.

  • Social media followers can win Amazon gift cards + free pizza + free sheets


Key Takeaways:

  • Model (validate) before you build

  • Be contrary if it makes sense

  • Choose a niche with low competition

  • Choose a niche with lots of growth potential

  • Put customers first, last, and always

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