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.
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
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