In this episode, Jason talks with Patrick Coddou co-founder and CEO of Supply Razors about what it was like to have a great idea for a product in an already crowded space, how he found the room for inventing something new and identified his customers needs, and why interpersonal relationships transformed the way he thinks about his business.
Before Patrick and his wife launched Supply Razors and took their product onto Shark Tank, he cut his teeth selling fighter jets to foreign governments. An obsession with the precise shave he found in a vintage single blade razor was the start of the story, but when Supply came into the world, it shared the stage with many large, already successful men’s grooming companies. Jason discovers Patrick’s singular focus on engineering and tinkering with his hero product to deliver something truly unique, and delves into the copywriting that Supply uses to target their market and to constantly deliver relevant solutions to the problems their customers are trying to solve. Finally, Jason and Patrick share from each of their experiences why building rapport with colleagues, potential mentors, and even competitors in the space helps to create an environment where business can thrive and people help one another to achieve their goals.
Patrick’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/coddou
➡️ Building Blocks website: bbclass.co
🍍Jason’s twitter: https://twitter.com/EggrolI
Patrick used to sell fighter jets. Now, he sells razors.
[00:00:00] Patrick Couddou: Founders and, you know, entrepreneurs, nobody like tells them they're successful or like they've made it. We're always like trying to prove to ourselves that we're successful. Sometimes we need to just tell ourselves that. One of the things that has been most successful for me is making connections with really smart people.
[00:00:16] Jason Wong: You really could transform your business by calling the right people or having those relationships.
[00:00:32] Jason Wong: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the building blocks podcast. Today I'm joined by Patrick Couddou is the founder and CEO of The Supply. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:44] Patrick Couddou: Thank you, Jason.
[00:00:44] Patrick Couddou: Happy to be here.
[00:00:46] Jason Wong: I was just talking to you Patrick before we started recording that, I thought he had a moustache this whole time.
[00:00:51] Jason Wong: For, for reference, I met him on Twitter year and a half ago. When I say met, we traded a couple of DMs. I've been watching his brand from [00:01:00] far, been respecting a lot of stuff that he put out and his profile picture has always had a mustache like a Fu Manchu mustache. And it was a screen cap of when he was on Shark Tank.
[00:01:09] Jason Wong: And you know, like we don't go out on go, go to people's profile and expand and zoom in on their pictures. I didn't know it was fake until like literally five minutes ago. I thought you had a mustache.
[00:01:22] Patrick Couddou: I wish I could grow with mustache like that. Cause it's like below my chin in the picture.
[00:01:26] Jason Wong: Yeah. And, and for those of you listening without the video, Patrick is cleanly shaved, I mean, he should be, he has a razorblade company and you were on Shark Tank, right? How long ago was that?
[00:01:38] Patrick Couddou: That was fall of 2019. So I guess it's been a few years now.
[00:01:41] Jason Wong: What was that like the start of your business, wer you pitching an idea or were you already in revenue?
[00:01:47] Jason Wong: No, we
[00:01:47] Patrick Couddou: started, we launched in 2015, on Kickstarter, August of 2015. I ran the brand for about two years as kind of a side hustle.
[00:01:57] Patrick Couddou: I was working full-time in a different job. [00:02:00] And then I left my job and then eventually my wife left her job and slowly we've built up until today, seven years later, there's a, as of, as of tomorrow or next week, there'll be 15 of us. So it was just kind of slowly, slowly but surely over time.
[00:02:15] Jason Wong: Did you ever take the deal from Shark Tank?
[00:02:17] Patrick Couddou: We did not close the deal. So we got an offer and we got a deal, you know, air quotes on air, but we did not close the deal after the show.
[00:02:25] Jason Wong: I've heard so much about Shark Tank deals, where they close in on the TV and at the end, it's 60 pages of paperwork, bunch of terms that aren't favorable. I'm not sure how much you can talk about that, but like was it just, you didn't think it was the right fit or it just didn't, it didn't go through?
[00:02:42] Patrick Couddou: Yeah, the short, you know, again at the, so it's nothing specific I can say but a couple of data points. One is I read a report, I forget who it was by, but it was a pretty in-depth report. And this was probably three, four years old by now. But, these people went and found like everybody who had been on Shark [00:03:00] Tank and basically they found that only roughly 50% of the deals close after air.
[00:03:05] Patrick Couddou: Like if they got a deal on air, then only 50% close. And like Mark Cuban had the highest close rate at like 80%. And most of the other sharks were at like the 30 to 40% range. So, my deal didn't close. I tried hard actually to close it. I negotiated it for roughly five months. And at the end we just got to an impasse.
[00:03:24] Patrick Couddou: There were certain terms I was not willing to agree to and they were not willing to give up on. So we hit an impasse and we walked away. And actually I'm really glad we didn't close it. My wife and I still own the business a hundred percent between the two of us. And we love, you know, being masters of our own, of our own fortune.
[00:03:42] Jason Wong: Yeah. Congratulations. I mean, looking back, you're always got to look at the things that were, seemed so worse at the time and be like, actually that was the door that should've closed because it opens so many more. Right?
[00:03:55] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. Yep. And you thought you wanted something at one point in your business, but then you realize when you look [00:04:00] back, you're like, that's definitely not what we needed.
[00:04:02] Jason Wong: I'm glad you guys are building this incredible business. I want to spend most of our time on our show today to dive a little bit deeper into the business itself. You guys are in the men's grooming business. I'm in the woman's lashes business. We're in very, very, very competitive categories. So we could probably like we came in, you came in at 2015.
[00:04:24] Jason Wong: I came in in 2018. Like, like what? We're we're not early, early bloomers. We, didn't create the category. So I did want to ask you, like when you first came in, what was it that made you think okay, I need to change something about it?
[00:04:39] Patrick Couddou: Probably, and I've seen some of your posts about your product and, you know, you have an obsession about product that I also have, it seems like.
[00:04:46] Patrick Couddou: And so like for me, it was just an obsession with the idea of, so our we're a shaving men's primarily men's but we're, we're broadening to, to encompass both women and men. But we started as a men's [00:05:00] shaving company. And our hero product was a razor that I invented. Now it was a reinvention of an old product. I can't take full credit for it. But you know, the obsession came from this idea of perfecting this product that I had found that I loved. So I found this old vintage style, single blade razor that I love that I felt like I had to bring back to life because it was so good. And so like, it's been a real, real, real challenge.
[00:05:29] Patrick Couddou: Like the first two years were really tough and like, you know, it's not easy, you know, it's, it's, it's hard building a brand and like all the things that go along with that. But I think what's kind of sustained me, is this sometimes unhealthy obsession with perfecting this product. So like we'll probably get into it, but we just released like version three of our product and it's still, you know, I still have things I want to perfect about it seven years in.
[00:05:52] Jason Wong: You guys came into a place, obviously a very innovative product, but there are already other products in the space already. You [00:06:00] know, without naming them, there are some big players. How, how did you really come in and differentiate your product to your consumers.
[00:06:07] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. We, we had a lot of competitors when we started and there's even more now.
[00:06:12] Patrick Couddou: So like, one of the things is like, if you, if you go to our website and get re-targeted with our ads, you're going to get re-targeted with like five other competitors that have like similar claims. And so this is actually a very interesting question because the, the thing I'm hammering on my marketing team is how are we standing out from all the other ads that are getting from our competitors?
[00:06:33] Patrick Couddou: And, one of the ways we're doing that is, I mean, there's, there's really fundamental ways, like just the copywriting and the way you talk about your product, that's different from the way the other guys, you know? So for example, we have one competitor that likes to talk about super like, you know, obsessed about quality and engineering and aerospace grade, this and everything.
[00:06:55] Patrick Couddou: And frankly, we used to talk that way, but, when they started talking that way, we started [00:07:00] talking about ourselves a different way. And, so number one, it's like, just like in the copy of how you talk about yourself, but then number two, it's about identifying, for us, identifying the features of your product, the unique selling propositions that nobody else can claim.
[00:07:17] Patrick Couddou: So for us, there are specific features of our product. For example, we have one razor and the whole point of our razor is a single blade gives a close, comfortable shave, but without the added risk of irritation and ingrown hairs, that a lot of those five, six blade razors have. The problem though, shaving with a single blade is often dangerous, hard to pick up, it's like there's a learning curve. And so one of our unique selling propositions is that we've got these fins on our razor. And without going into all the details, it makes it an extremely easy way to begin shaving with, with our product, without risk of cutting yourself or without, you know, having to take on this [00:08:00] big learning curve.
[00:08:00] Patrick Couddou: So we spend a lot of time talking, educating the customer about why our product is better. Instead of just like making flashy, like sexy kind of graphics, like our best ads are always educating our customer about why we're better and why they should buy from us as opposed to the five other guys that they're seeing in their feed.
[00:08:21] Jason Wong: I love that. And your product is definitely a lot more technical than mine. You can, you can look to specific features and say, I invented this, or this is how we're different. Do you find that talking about the actual features matters more or talking about what the feature does for the consumer matters more?
[00:08:38] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. What it does. I mean, the features are important, but those are, those are table stakes, you know? And especially in my industry, you know, where guys have been hammered with like the latest and greatest, like shiny object syndrome in like, you know, first it was three blades, then it was five blades, and it was six, and it was vibrating, and then it was this lube strip.
[00:08:58] Patrick Couddou: And so like, my customer is [00:09:00] really like in a stage where they're tired of all the claims in terms of what we've added to the product and more about like, how's it going to solve my problems? And the problem we're solving for our customers is a very specific one. It's irritation, it's ingrown hairs.
[00:09:14] Patrick Couddou: And there's another one, which is cost, when it comes to shaving with multi-blade razors. So we know who we're marketing to, and we know the problem that we're solving. And so it's just a matter of telling that story in an engaging way.
[00:09:30] Jason Wong: I've talked to the beardbrand.
[00:09:34] Patrick Couddou: Yeah, Eric's a good buddy of mine.
[00:09:36] Jason Wong: Yeah, I've talked to Eric, you know, obviously same category and he he's been building for over 10 years now and you're at seven and I'm quite curious to hear over the past seven years, there's obviously very much ups and downs. Are there any points that you're like, man, maybe I should, shouldn't try this idea. Cause I, I honestly I can tell you, I go through that four times a day.[00:10:00]
[00:10:02] Patrick Couddou: Somebody tweeted, this was probably two weeks ago. It was like How often do you ride the emotional rollercoaster and somebody responded like do you mean like how many times a day?
[00:10:13] Patrick Couddou: And I like, you know, it's like how many times can I press like on that? So yeah, I mean, you know, I won't waste any time, you know, talking about that rollercoaster, but I'm always on it. One of the biggest challenges I think of being an entrepreneur is a learning how to manage that and not let it manage you.
[00:10:31] Patrick Couddou: Like, if you can figure that out, like you can conquer the world. I don't know a single founder that doesn't deal with imposter syndrome, you know, rolling, you know, taking the roller coaster. I just got off a call with a friend of mine who like we were talking about how founders and, you know, entrepreneurs, nobody like tells them that they're successful or like they've made it or like they've won or anything. So like, we're always like trying to prove to ourselves that we're successful or that [00:11:00] we've accomplished something. And so sometimes we need to just tell ourselves that.
[00:11:04] Patrick Couddou: But, Yeah, there have been specific points in our many, many times where it's like, you know, is this worth it? You know, are we going to give up? And so like in the early days it was always around like product and supply chains. So we had a lot of challenges in the early days with making the product to very technical high precision product. Excuse me. And, so like we lost a lot of money in the early days and thought about giving up quite a few times.
[00:11:34] Patrick Couddou: More recently, especially last year, I've not been shy about talking about this. Like, we were hit pretty hard by these iOS changes. And so we had a pretty rough summer last summer. And so that was one of the times that it was like, you know, is this gonna work out or is this all going down in flames?
[00:11:50] Patrick Couddou: So, yeah, we definitely go through that for sure. Just like anybody else.
[00:11:55] Jason Wong: Four times a day. Yeah, no, I get you. [00:12:00] It's always product in the beginning. It's always in the beginning of most people's journeys, it was always like, am I creating something that's actually working? Or am I being crazy?
[00:12:10] Jason Wong: And I think in your sense it's definitely a lot different than mine, because mine is, I tweak like good components of it, but I didn't have to redesign a mold. I didn't have to recreate a component. You had to really create parts of your razors that no one else had. And I'm sure like you have a lot thoughts on like, this doesn't work.
[00:12:30] Jason Wong: Like why, if it, if it hasn't been existing, why hasn't someone else done it already? Like, like, am I crazy for thinking that this could work? Everyone goes through that and then eventually go to like cash. I was like, okay, I'm running out of money. And then you go into, okay I am, I'm definitely seeing a lot lower sales than before, and my overhead's really high.
[00:12:50] Jason Wong: Maybe I should sell or close down shop. Everyone goes through that. And I, and I want to talk more about that too like lateron. I'm on Twitter and I love that you were very transparent about that [00:13:00] too, because I feel like a lot of people just don't talk about the shitty side of being a founder.
[00:13:04] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's not, it's not an easy business we're in. And like, you know, I have a, I have a buddy Chris Powers on Twitter, you know, he, he said something the other day, he was like, making money is hard, you know, it's like, I feel like we're in a hard industry, but you know, probably, you know, just in general, running businesses is hard to do. But, I think it's easy, you know, there's a lot of like, people that make it look like it's easy.
[00:13:34] Patrick Couddou: And so it's easy to, it's easy to think that you're doing something wrong if you're not winning. And like, sometimes people are, are winning, but like you're winning, you know, you know, you're kind of ups and downs, maybe like counter to somebody else's. So like Beardbrand's a great example. Eric and I, and I told him this recently. You know, like he had a, he had a good, he had a better last year than we did. And like, [00:14:00] he's a really good friend of mine. I consider him a very close friend, a confidant and like, I'm very genuinely happy for him when he does well. He's not a direct competitor, but like, I would also struggle, like when he was telling me he was having great sales days or months or quarters, you know, that'd be like, man, like, I'm happy for you, but also like, I'm not doing so great right now.
[00:14:19] Patrick Couddou: So just kinda keep it to yourself a little bit and like, anyways, so hopefully that doesn't come off the wrong way. I think, you know.
[00:14:28] Jason Wong: No, no, no. I think he gets it and like, I have the same thing too. Like I'm actually friends with a lot of my indirect or direct competitor in the same lash space. I think the market's big enough for a lot of people to thrive.
[00:14:39] Jason Wong: I, I don't look at my company and be like, yeah doe will be a billion dollar company. Like I like, I'm very realistic. I just want a small piece of the pie. It pays my bills. You know, pad my savings account, you know, why don't we grow together? And you know what, within the same category, there's so many different markets that you guys are going after.
[00:14:57] Jason Wong: So even if you're selling razors, you can be selling razors [00:15:00] for older men, for kids who are just coming in just so many more. There there's so much in this world that we can all share. And I think founders helping each other, even if they're in the same business, actually helps the ecosystem overall then trying to eat each other.
[00:15:21] Jason Wong: Looking back in this past seven years what was that thing that really clicked for you that transformed the way that you thought about your business as a founder? Was it. There, there has to be like one thing that is very, very memorable when you look back on.
[00:15:36] Patrick Couddou: I mean, there's, there's a lot of things. I think I was sharing this with somebody on my team.
[00:15:43] Patrick Couddou: I think one of the, and this has been a compounding effect over time, but one of the things that has been most successful for me is making connections with really smart people. And so when you ask, like, what are some inflection points? Like I can [00:16:00] point to multiple decisions or things in my business that almost all of them were influenced by somebody recommendations.
[00:16:08] Patrick Couddou: Somebody's advice, somebody who like responded to a cold email that I didn't even think would respond. So great example is, my manufacturer that I use currently for my hero product, you know, like four years ago I was looking for a new manufacturer, like one of the hardest things, you know this, is like finding reliable people to make your products.
[00:16:30] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. And switching to and firing back, like I'm on my third supplier for my main product, you know? And like the first one was a nightmare. The second one was good, but not great. Now I'm finally with a great one. But I just DM cold emailed this guy I've never met that I just kind of admired his brand and I don't know why I picked him, but I was just like, Hey man, like I, I need a manufacturer. Do you think like yours would be? And he was like, yeah, man, call this guy. And I called him and you know, now I've got this great manufacturer. [00:17:00]
[00:17:00] Patrick Couddou: Same goes for like, the guy who. Mizzen and Main, Kevin Lavelle. He's moved on, but like we had a phone conversation. I can still remember to this day. It was probably five years ago where he just gave me some advice about margins and cost of goods sold, and like what kind of targets you need to hit in terms of, to be a successful company. I think he gave me, he wouldn't mind me saying this he gave me some advice somewhere along the lines of like, I think he said like, if you're not at 75% or greater landed margin you're dead in the water. Like he said something like that, that stuck with me, you know?
[00:17:34] Patrick Couddou: And like at that point I was like at 66 or something like that. And like we were struggling. So I took that to heart and I spent the next year trying to build better margins into my business. And now, you know, we're reaping the rewards of that, you know, five years later. So anyways, the answer to your question is like every single kind of, not every single, but many of the good things in my business that have happened have been due to good people that I've connected with that have helped me along the way. And [00:18:00] so I always recommend people just don't, don't be an island don't like build by yourself. Reach out. People want to help.
[00:18:05] Jason Wong: That's so true. You know, they say like it's cliche now. It's like, your network is your net worth. And it's so true.
[00:18:13] Jason Wong: And I, I feel like some people just might have taken on a wrong way and they try and make it too transactional, but it's like, no, it's not, it's not give and take. You know, you give a lot. You know, you, you post a lot of free content and then maybe one day you get, you get noticed. Like you reach out to someone it's like, oh yeah, I've seen your tweet before. You know, like give, give, give and it always come back to you.
[00:18:35] Jason Wong: And then when you meet the right people, really treasure them and, you know, try to foster those relationships properly. Because that's, it's really one advice can change like your entire trajectory of your business.
[00:18:48] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. For sure.
[00:18:50] Jason Wong: Which is kind of scary and knowing how much, how much your business is depending on just what that one advice is. What's that thing from ClickFunnels, like you're one funnel away?[00:19:00]
[00:19:00] Patrick Couddou: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:19:02] Patrick Couddou: You're always one foot , you're always one thing away, you know, that's a good thing and a bad thing.
[00:19:08] Jason Wong: Yeah. It is scary in that business, but it's the fun part. It's like, once you find it, it's something that unlocks. For me, it was Tik Tok. Three weeks ago, I started, I kept hearing about Tik Tok ads from like, obviously Cody, like all these people around. I'm like, why has Tik Tok not work for me? And I was one of the first five beauty brands on Tik Tok on self-serve ads two years ago, like we were in their beta. So like, by any means I should be the one having the absolute best days of Tik Tok and I didn't. I spent so much and lost so much.
[00:19:42] Jason Wong: So I was like, okay, I'm sick and tired of it. I went around Twitter and I built a list of three, four people that are really good at Tik Tok. And I was just like, Hey, I'm going to, and I'm gonna pay you for your time. I'm not just gonna ask to pick your brain. I'm going to Venmo you $300 to get [00:20:00] like a 30 minute call with me and tell me exactly what you think I should be doing.
[00:20:04] Jason Wong: I did that. I went back, launched my account. We're doing two, we're spending $2K a day now on Tik Tok on our, on our second week. And it's because I caleld up those people. Like I literally reached out and look for people who are smarter than me, people that I respect and just ask them how they do it.
[00:20:21] Jason Wong: And I did the exact same thing when I was running into cash problems. When I was raising money, alternatively, you really could really transform your business by calling the right people or having relationships. So, you know, like I know some listeners who haven't really been in business for too long, listen to, and be like, oh, let's just meet new people, whatever. Oh my God, if you meet the right people and ask the right question, you will literally transform your business.
[00:20:48] Jason Wong: We have seen unprecedented growth because of some of the advice where we got. Unreal.
[00:20:54] Patrick Couddou: Yeah.
[00:20:54] Patrick Couddou: And, but, but the next piece of that is like, it's taken time. Like you've, you've [00:21:00] built social capital and amongst your network to where you can reach out to those people and say, Hey, I'll give you 300 bucks for your time and they'd probably do it for free, but, you know, I'm like you I'd rather pay. So you're going to get a call from me, Jason, and I'm gonna offer you 300 bucks to do the same on Tik Tok because we can't get it to work.
[00:21:16] Patrick Couddou: The other part is like, it takes time and it's like, it's one day after another kind of building rapport and social capital with people and just, you know, I hear a lot of people. I don't hear a lot, but I hear every now and then, you know, people complaining, like it feels, it can feel like the industry is like kind of closed and like hard to kind of break into.
[00:21:36] Patrick Couddou: I certainly felt that way. Before I started to meet people, but like, it's just kinda one relationship at a time and just one step at a time. And like, I remember, so I'm on Ecommerce Fuel, which is a fantastic organization, but I remember back in the days when, you know, they wouldn't even let me in, you know, cause I was on the waiting list and I was like, come on guys.
[00:21:54] Patrick Couddou: And now, you know, now I'm buddies with all so anyways it takes time and you gotta put in the [00:22:00] work and. So, but, so that's like kind of a one thing that people don't talk about is like, it's not just something that happens overnight.
[00:22:07] Jason Wong: Absolutely. It does. I mean, I spent years trying to make it in the circle and you're right.
[00:22:12] Jason Wong: It's kind of like groups, but also like in this space, especially on Twitter, there's so much opportunities for you to get in. Just by providing value, replying to people. Just be nice. Don't be an asshole on Twitter. Just reply to people's threads. Let your name show up enough times to be memorable. That helps a lot.
[00:22:32] Jason Wong: Literally go and reply. Like I can go out and see some names. I'm like, oh, I I've definitely seen a couple of times reply to me. And then when they DM I'm I'm replying. I'm opening itcause I've seen them so many times. Just do that. It's free.
[00:22:44] Patrick Couddou: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I love it. Yes,
[00:22:46] Patrick Couddou: exactly.
[00:22:47] Jason Wong: And Patrick, I know we're at time now and you're super busy.
[00:22:50] Jason Wong: So I do want to ask if our listeners are like, let me go bother you. Where can they find you?
[00:22:55] Patrick Couddou: Twitter? My handle is @soundslikecanoe because my [00:23:00] last name is Couddou. It rhymes with canoes
[00:23:07] Jason Wong: this whole time. I was like, why what's with canoe? Do you like,
[00:23:13] Patrick Couddou: obviously it didn't work. My, the reason behind that. So here's the philosophy. I've never, I don't think I've ever said this publicly, but the philosophy behind that was like people, if they can't pronounce your name, they're not going to remember you.
[00:23:25] Patrick Couddou: And so I was like, how can I help people learn how to pronounce? Cause, cause like what they're going to be is they're going to be like on the showthat Patrick u know who that is? Patrick Guy, like, who are you talking about? But if they're like, oh, Patrick Couddou the guy who runs Supply. You know, it's like, cause my name is spelled really funny.
[00:23:41] Patrick Couddou: So I thought, oh, if my handle kind of helps them know how to say my name, but then I realized that it should have been like rhymes with canoe instead of sounds like canoe. And when I realized that it was too late, so yeah, it sounds like canoe is my handle.
[00:23:55] Jason Wong: I'll be honest with you. And, and ending off with like hones confession.
[00:23:59] Jason Wong: [00:24:00] I remember you as Patrick mustache guy.
[00:24:05] Patrick Couddou: So. Yeah, no, it sounds like canoe didn't work. So that's a fantastic way to put a bow on this conversation.
[00:24:12] Jason Wong: Thank you. Thank you, Patrick. Appreciate you coming on.
[00:24:15] Patrick Couddou: Thanks, Jason.
[00:24:17] Jason Wong: You just heard an episode of the building blocks podcast. If you like what you heard subscribe below to keep hearing conversations that I have with brilliant marketers, founders and innovators on how they built their best ideas.
[00:24:27] Jason Wong: Now, if you want to learn how you can turn your best ideas and build something massive out of it. Visit my website bbclass.co or follow my Twitter @eggroli.
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