In Episode 13 of Content with Teeth's The Come Up, meet SWFL Career Coach Jason Teeters

A Career Coach for the Jet Set

The Come Up Episode 13 Video Transcript

Scrappy:

What up, what up, what up? I’m Scrappy. Welcome to The Come Up, a video podcast featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs, business leaders. We’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in southwest Florida. And as you can see with this fathead, they do it big, really big specializing in copywriting, video production. They got content, that’s for sure. And if you’d like to sponsor, come up, or be a guest, hit me up @heyscrappynig or text Mike at 21,000. Today’s guest is Jason Teeters. He’s a fascinating dude. He’s a nurturing lead at Collaboratory, a non-profit organization where he helps people overcome emotional, psychological, and technical problems in collaboration. He’s also owner of JetSetState, where he is a lifestyle designer for creative entrepreneurs. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Teeters:

Wow. Thank you so much, Scrappy. So happy to be in this space with you, my friend. So happy to be a part of this conversation today.

Scrappy:

Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of your videos. You’re an outgoing dude.

Jason Teeters:

My blood type is B positive. I was once told.

Scrappy:

Well, definitely positive, that’s for sure. Collaboratory, and then you have the JetSetState is kind of like two different worlds of technical, psychological communication, emotional consultation, if you will. Can you break it on down for us?

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, yeah. It’s really simple. Now, it’s probably been almost close to 19 years ago, I started, JetSetState, was really focused on creative entrepreneurs. My wife is a wedding planner, and so I found myself in a lot of spaces with content creators, photographers, videographers, hair, makeup, and a lot of them really had this… Most entrepreneurs were able to create something out of nothing almost, right? They had this passion and people wanted to pay them for it. And oftentimes for creative entrepreneurs, they shy away from the business side. And so for my background, one of the things that I started to recognize is, how can I support creative entrepreneurs to keep turning their side hustle into their main hustle, allowing them to keep moving in this space and create a life for them. And so that really got me in this space of helping design a organization or a business that works for them, which along the way really got me involved in helping larger organizations and communities figure out, how do you design a system that allows you to compete or to participate at all levels?

Scrappy:

So, that’s a pretty cool niche. Creative entrepreneurs, helping them out. What’s been the biggest struggle other than financial for them?

Jason Teeters:

I think for a lot of creative entrepreneurs it’s really that motivation, right? ‘Cause oftentimes, it takes a lot to move forward and say you’re going to be a creative entrepreneur. But once you take that first step, you hope that it’s… You’re going to land in this really beautiful space where you’re traveling and you’re just getting business all the time. And I think you know it as well as anybody that often it doesn’t just happen that way. And so really helping take their big ideas and focus them so they can really design a life that works for them, whether it be the timing, whether it be the financial, and so they’re not overworked and overwhelmed, but really focus on moving forward. And so a lot of times clarity and motivation is the biggest piece that then allows for the rest of everything else the true business work to happen.

Scrappy:

Sure, sure, sure. So the creative disposition, what’s the baseline for them?

Jason Teeters:

That’s a really good question. I think oftentimes, we’ve been sold that most creative entrepreneurs are this hustle, 24/7, grind, grind, grind, and they’re just ready to take over the world. But one of the things that I find is they’re really big problem solvers. A lot of times the disposition’s that, “I don’t like the way this is working, I think I could do it better.” And in that process of doing it better, they start to find all these other constraints around either the industry or the environment or the clients or the product or service that really gets them off track. And so they start into problem solving and coming up with ideas. But you know and I know too many ideas makes it really difficult to actually progress anywhere.

Scrappy:

For sure. And you give tips all the time, every day, all day. What’s the best tip you ever gave?

Jason Teeters:

I think the best tip that I ever gave was to get out of your head and get in your heart.

Scrappy:

Interesting.

Jason Teeters:

And I think oftentimes we get so caught up in this perception of what we’re doing and how we’re doing and how we compare to other people, that we have to recognize that this is a long game. This is an infinite game. The idea of building a business, the idea of living life is 80, 90 for a lot of us. I don’t want to be a hundred years old still doing this work. And for me to do that, I think oftentimes I need to just quit getting that in my head and start focusing on and moving towards the things that matter to me, the things that I care about. Because all this stuff is going to be hard, at least find joy in it. Sure. Every step of the way.

Scrappy:

So you’re a big believer in intuition.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah. I am. I think that oftentimes we’ve been told that the only way to know things is between our ears. And I think for a lot of us, we’ve had opportunities and moments throughout our life where we’ve either felt something, intuitively known, had that gut feeling that we ignore because that’s obviously not correct. But oftentimes we find that it is. And I think the more we tap into that, the easier it will be for us to navigate a lot of these spaces.

Scrappy:

JetSetState, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re helping creative entrepreneurs doing that, but you’re also the nurturing lead at The Collaboratory. What the hell does that mean?

Jason Teeters:

Yeah. Collaboratory has this bold vision of bringing the community together to solve every social problem in Southwest Florida in the next 18 years. Every single one of them.

Scrappy:

What are the problems? What are the biggest problems?

Jason Teeters:

I mean, if we just talk about housing, we talk about education, we talk about workforce development. These are really clear. But one of the things that we recognize is that at Collaboratory, we’re not the solver of those problems, we’re the coordinator. And so our idea is, how do we bring people together from all aspects, from a right brain, left brain, from a creative industry to a structural financial industry. We all need us to be able to solve some of these really pressing problems. And my role is how do we bring people into a space to be able to have those conversations, to be able to not only listen, but be heard and operate in a way that we often say we move at the speed of trust. And so how can we start to build that together to be able to make change in our community?

Scrappy:

Are they buying into what you have to say?

Jason Teeters:

I think it’s interesting. I think it’s hard to believe that this is a new way to thin, oftentimes for so many of us, even for myself as an entrepreneur. “I’m going to be the best,” and, “Nobody’s ever going to be better than me.” And we move in that space that we often try to take on more than we really need to. Or we often compete in areas that we don’t need to be competing in. And so I think as a community, we’re having really good conversations about, “Why am I doing this many things when there’s other organizations that are doing this? Why don’t I focus on the thing that I care about and let them focus on the thing they care about?”

And being in a space where you start to hear individuals come together in ways to say, “Oh man, this is a real struggle for me. Oh, we love doing that.” You start to build these bridges that allow people to collaborate. And so long story short, this is 18 years, so we believe by 2040 we want to solve all these challenges. So we’re on the long road. And so we have individuals that have raised their hand. But I imagine along this route, we’re going to start picking up individuals along the way.

Scrappy:

So you have a little Elon Musk in you?

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, I try. I try.

Scrappy:

Okay. We’re talking with Jason Teeters, fascinating guy. Really enjoying this conversation. And we’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in Southwest Florida. As you can see, when we talk about the fat head behind me, they do it really big specializing in copywriting, video production. They got content. And if you want to sponsor, to come up, or be my guest, hit me up @heyscrappynig or text Mike at 21,000. Now Jason, why 18 years? It sounds kind of arbitrary.

Jason Teeters:

Well, I think for us, one of the things that we think about is, what does Southwest Florida look like in 2040? What does the school system look like? What does our water quality look like? What is our workforce development, our housing? It really helps us start to think about who are we speaking for and who are we speaking to, right? Because we know very well that a lot of the youth in this community in 18 years are going to be the parents, they’re going to be the CEOs, they’re going to be the entrepreneurs in this community. And the goal is, how do we carry forward a community that supports and works with everybody to create an environment that attracts the people to come down here, that helps businesses grow, that educates our youth and helps us build something sustainable.

Scrappy:

I think that’s awesome. You’re great facilitators. Is this going on in other communities throughout the United States?

Jason Teeters:

Well, as of right now, we are the first to try this. We call this, we often say, “Welcome to the greatest community problem solving initiative in American history,” because we want to make really clear that across the country, no foundation as of right now has really leaned into this idea of bringing the whole community together to try to solve some of their biggest social challenges.

Scrappy:

Interesting. Very interesting. Jason, I want to do something kind of fun. I want to do some big questions and they’re big questions, but I only want a few sentences for the answers. Okay?

Jason Teeters:

Sounds good. I’ll see what I can do.

Scrappy:

Okay. Dealing with talent, how do you collab with the diva?

Jason Teeters:

I think you let them speak and share their ideas, and then you support that.

Scrappy:

Okay. And raw talent, how do you nurture it?

Jason Teeters:

By letting it breathe.

Scrappy:

Okay. Building trust in a team.

Jason Teeters:

Authenticity.

Scrappy:

Okay. Creative entrepreneurs, not you, you’re an entrepreneur, but your clients. How do they pitch?

Jason Teeters:

They pitch around the outcome that they’re solving for.

Scrappy:

Okay. How do you tell somebody their project is wack? I know you’re not going to say that directly, but how do you break it on down?

Jason Teeters:

Is this what you really imagined for your organization?

Scrappy:

Okay. It’s of nebulous.

Jason Teeters:

Well, they’re always…

Scrappy:

Working away around it.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah. Yeah. They’re like, “Oh, we could do this and this.” And I’m like, “Well, you talked about this. Is that what you really,” “Oh well no, it’s this.” “Okay, well then maybe let’s get back over here.”

Scrappy:

Indirect approach.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

What’s the worst advice you ever gave somebody?

Jason Teeters:

Oh, don’t worry. It’ll work out.

Scrappy:

Come on. I’m sure you gave some worst advice.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, I think, man, probably my son when I told him, “Well, if they push you, push them back.”

Scrappy:

I think that’s good advice. I’m from New York City.

Jason Teeters:

I got called into the office for that. I got called into the office for that. Telling…

Scrappy:

Are you from Chicago or Indiana? ‘Cause I know you went to Ball State in Indiana, but are you from Chi-town?

Jason Teeters:

No, I’m from Indiana.

Scrappy:

Okay. Very cool. Very cool. And I think your degree is fascinating, industrial psychologist. Now, if one of your clients has a lot of anxiety, how do you talk them down?

Jason Teeters:

I think for me, I often try to figure out what is the fulcrum, what the thing that they’re trying to really solve for. Because oftentimes there’s a lot of things with anxiety, there’s a lot of things that are playing into that, what others think, how they think, what it looks like. But try to get really clear on what is the key thing that you’re trying to accomplish for this moment right now.

Scrappy:

Okay. My boss is a son of a b. I can’t stand him. He’s mean to me. How do I cope?

Jason Teeters:

That’s a challenging question to answer, but I think for me, one of the things that I would say is I always talk about this “me to we.” So what are you doing? Or what is the individual doing to take care of their own wellbeing so that they don’t get wrapped up in thinking that, “This company I work for is me, or this boss is me.” If I don’t have another outlet, then all of my energy goes into this organization or this business or this boss that feels like it’s the same as me. Instead of me recognizing that I have options, I have choices.

Scrappy:

That’s a great one. I appreciate that one for sure. So many of us are mired in multiple jobs, just getting by, just paying the bills, that’s about it. No discretionary income. We feel stuck. What do you tell them?

Jason Teeters:

I think often that feeling stuck is, for my own personal experience, I think the feeling of being stuck typically comes around aspirations for myself. And so oftentimes, it’s really getting back to this. Is that intuitive? Really getting back to what are the things that really move you and how are you doing those on a daily basis? If it’s meditation, if it’s yoga, if it’s reading, if it’s playing video games, whatever it is. Oftentimes when we’re stuck, it feels like the things that really bring us joy are missing from our day to day, which doesn’t allow us the opportunity to get out of our own head.

Scrappy:

I think that’s a fascinating answer, an intellectual answer. But if I’m working two jobs, just no, it’s just frustrating. It’s very frustrating to leverage your way out of that situation.

Jason Teeters:

It really is. And it is a vanilla answer, right? So much of our stuckness has to do with so much of our, has to do with so much of our history. ‘Cause it could be the stuckness around the work, it could be the stuckness around what I like to say, “organizational trauma.” You work in a company, you’re like, “Oh man, I’m just going to try to ride this out.” And then we stay in that space for far too long. And some of it is just a natural fear of breaking the mode. And I think that’s tough for a lot of people to figure out which one of those is making them feel that way, and which one of those do they want to work on first? ‘Cause you can’t do them all at the same time.

Scrappy:

Got you. Collaboratory, it’s a real challenge. You get a bunch of business leaders together, different races and ages and religions, personalities, opinions. How do you get them all on the same page?

Jason Teeters:

I think we focus on the things that we do have in common. I think all of us love living here in Southwest Florida. All of us want clean water, all of us know that every student in every high school across the region will eventually be working in our companies, our organizations, at our grocery stores, at our movie theaters, our gas stations. And so it’s really focusing first and foremost on the individuals that live here and how can we make their life better in some sort of way that allows to give them the agency to quit being stuck, start a business, be involved after school in an education program. And so we try to start with what we have in common.

Scrappy:

Okay. I think that’s awesome. That’s an awesome answer. I really appreciate that. I think too, that in business sometimes, there’s different agendas that are really hard to arbitrate, but for sure, I totally agree with that. How about haters, back stabbers, and gossip queens? How do you deal with them?

Jason Teeters:

It’s so interesting. If you go to the website Collaboratory and you look up nurturing department, that’s what it says right at the beginning, right?

Scrappy:

Okay. Okay.

Jason Teeters:

And that’s where that idea of moving at the speed of trust, because oftentimes you and I both know that to develop a relationship takes time. And we always say, “I don’t want you to leave your ego at the door. I want it in the room because [inaudible 00:18:13] flipped experience can shed light on a way that I’ve never been thinking because I’m only in my silo.” And so creating space for that to happen with respect and with care that isn’t focused around individual or a single topic, but it’s really focused around the betterment of what we’re all collectively coming together for.

Scrappy:

Okay. I’m a big fan of the Buddhist philosophy, living in the moment. How do you get people there?

Jason Teeters:

Scrap, I think that’s one of the challenges, and I think even for myself. And I would often say it feels like something that you would be better at answering oftentimes, because I think when people hear you and they listen to you, they’re like, “Man, Scrappy’s got it all figured out. He’s just himself.” I think for a lot of people, we box ourself up during the week and we have our representatives show up at places we go to. And so really getting people just to be themselves in the messiness and the history of goofiness of all of us, sometimes that’s what’s needed in a space and that takes time for people to just sort of allow that to come out. Because like I said, oftentimes with Instagrams, and Facebooks, and social media, I’m giving you the best that I have to offer. Not knowing that it took probably 30 minutes to take this one shot because the music and the video and all these.

Scrappy:

Absolutely.

Jason Teeters:

Which is why they need Content With Teeth, so they don’t have to worry about that and they can just be themselves.

Scrappy:

Jason, you’re awesome, man. I appreciate your energy and I think that you’re… I’m sure you’re doing big things with JetSetState as an entrepreneur with creative entrepreneurs, and also with Collaboratory as a nurturing lead. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth doing really big things, content agency. If you want to be part of it, hit up Mike, 21,000 texts or me @igheyscrappy. Jason, awesome man. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time, bro.

Jason Teeters:

Thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this, such a pleasure to be able to see you and connect with you again after so long. And I love what you’re doing because this needs to be out there for individuals that are going through that process to know it’s okay to stumble and you have somebody to lean on to learn from and to hear sources of information.

Scrappy:

You want to bust out your socials, maybe get a client out of this.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, I love it. So you can follow me [email protected], Instagram, uh, Teeters Jason is my personal, and then JetSetStatesetstate.com. And then if you’re in the community trying to really make change happen, follow collaboratory.org. You could jump on there and see what we’re doing in the community and be a part of helping us solve some of the largest social challenges in our community in the next 18 years.

Scrappy:

My man, Jason Teeters, thanks for your time, man. I really, really appreciate it and I learned a few things and I… That’s awesome. Really awesome.

Jason Teeters:

Thank you my brother. Thank you so much.

Bid It, Bill It

A Financial App for Hard Hats

The Come Up Episode 12 Transcript

Scrappy:

What up, what up, what up, what up, what up? I’m Scrappy and welcome to The Come Up, a video podcast, featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs and business leaders. We’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in Southwest Florida.

As you can see from this fathead behind me, they do it really big, specializing in copywriting and video production. And if you’d like to sponsor The Come Up or be a guest, hit me up @heyscrappy on IG or text MIKE at 21000.

Today is awesome. Very fascinated with these two guys. Our guests are entrepreneurs Randal Kendrix, and FSW’s Dr. Roger Webster. With Randal’s driving spirit and his vision, they’ve created an innovative app called Bid It, Bill It. Randall, this is your baby. So go ahead. Let’s start with you. Tell us about yourself.

Randal Kendrix:

That a heck of an introduction. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. So I have spent a long time and still am in the technology world with Canon USA out of New York. But in one of my trips, one day in my typical fashion, I’m sitting in the airport, bored out of my mind, waiting for the next airplane. And I’m wondering what the heck I’m going to do when I grow up. I was thinking back about a conversation I had with my brother and I realized he still works in a very antiquated, in my opinion, antiquated world of creating bills in either hand or with word docs. He writes things down and there’s a typical structure that a contractor goes through as probably in the middle of their busiest part of their day. Someone will call on a bid or estimate on something. They’ll get the crew running, take off, hair on fire, run by the job site, write down some notes, run home. Friday night, Saturday morning early, they start working on these bids.

Short story long is that they end up losing a lot of money because they forget a lot of details along the way. And I’m thinking, all right, how can I figure that out? I did quite a bit of research, but didn’t find anything other than accounting style or just full on construction apps, which are real expensive. And I thought, well, geez, I got to figure this out. So I asked my brother and a couple other contractors around the country said, “How do you do this?” And all of them are kind of the same way, just a real antiquated way. So I thought, well, how hard is it to learn swift code? There’s another guy down at the bottom down here, laughing right now. I got this. I whip out the laptop, and I turn on YouTube. And I realized a month into this. I thought, man, I could be 95 before I figure this whole process out. Considering I could make little stuff, no big deal, but there’s no way I’m going to make this intense app that I want.

So I’ll fast forward a little bit. I go through Fiverr. I find a really great, what I thought was a really great developer, happens to be in India. A lot of exchange of both culture. He doesn’t know how the US culture works, business works. I’m trying to explain it to him in my west Texas vernacular. And he has no clue about the things I’m saying. So literally I don’t have them behind me right now, but I have those big, giant sticky notes that look a lot like these pads, but they’re literally wall size. So I end up literally writing stuff out and making pictures and they were all over this entire living room that I have here. That was the way I got my points across.

So I mean great experience, nothing wrong with it, but even longer stories. We got the app where I thought it would work, launched it. It started getting some users. And then I thought, well, I’m ready to go to phase two. And I thought, okay, that’s great. So I connect with him, start telling him what I want. And then all of a sudden, just AWOL, just gone. So I don’t know if he got another job. I don’t know if his village fell apart. I don’t know what happened to him. Just gone. And then the code kind of crashed. So here I am out quite a bit of money and with no workable apps. I’m thinking, man, I’m done. I’m lost. And honestly, months later, and really I wrote that note actually in another area. And I said, look, I was kind at my wits end and it was almost seriously like a hail Mary pass. I thought I’m going to call literally right outside my door, less than a mile for Southwest.

I said, there’s got to be somebody who knows something about computers over there. And I called Roger, please tell me what was the gentleman’s name? I forgot what was the gentleman’s name that I called?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Albert Nolt.

Randal Kendrix:

Okay. Mr. Nolt. That’s right. I call, I left a message and it was one of those, Scrappy you know. You’ve made millions of calls in your life. You’re not expecting anything to come back and he was on it like the next day. He just popped me right back and said, yeah, you got to talk to this guy. And I’m like, all right, that’s great. So it is a little bit of hope I connect with Roger. And I mean, I can’t tell you, you talk about relationships, just kind of meshing from the moment on. From the moment we met, funny thing is Roger’s literally a mile, not even a mile outside my front doorstep, he’s already created two apps, pretty darn similar to what I’ve done. And he’s just an awesome guy. So I literally feel like I went from little league coach all the way to Joe Tori. I mean, Roger honestly is the saving grace of Bid It, Bill It at this point in time. So I got to give him a lot of credit.

Scrappy:

With many teams, there’s a driver, and there’s a creative or a scientist. And you need kind of those different core competencies to compliment each other, in order to be successful. Roger, so you get this phone call from Randal, crazy Randall. He’s got this great idea, but you’re kind of like the app expert. You’ve done a handful of these in the past. What were you thinking? What’s going through your mind when you heard from Randall for the first time?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, I gave him a call and I said, yeah, I can do it. That’s what I do. I have a PhD in computer science from Temple University, School of Engineering in Philadelphia. Two master’s degrees in computer science, a bachelor of science degree in computer science. And I’ve been teaching computer science for 40 years before I came to Florida Southwest, I was in the Pennsylvania state university system, teaching computer science and teaching app development up there. So I came down to FSW and I retired from there. But instead of retiring, I decided, yeah, I’d like to do a little bit more teaching. So that’s what I do. And I told him, yeah, I can do that for you. So we met it off and I started writing the code and the app is really, really nice. We’re in beta test right now. It’s up on the app store, beta test. Another couple of weeks, it’ll be in full version and looks great.

Scrappy:

Randal, roadblocks and road bumps happen all the time. You go through Fiverr, you go through this guy in India, you get frustrated, but where you are now, are you better off with Roger than if you had been successful previously?

Randal Kendrix:

Oh, I mean, it just fills my face with just excitement. I can’t believe it. Looking back, I mean, I was really in a moment of despair when I got to that point where just everything just kind of fell apart and I’m thinking, ah, money, time, effort, created all these channels and all this. And then you look back at it now where I thought probably was a complete wash out of a road. It appears now that it’s more of just like a bump in the road. And I know a lot of business people around, not only around Florida Southwest, I travel around the world and I’ve heard some horror stories and it felt like one at the time. And then when somebody gets on the other side of that little bump, they look back at it and yeah, it wasn’t that big a deal so far.

Scrappy:

I’m sorry. Many entrepreneurs go through that. Many entrepreneurs have those bumps, those frustrations. They’ve got freelancers that flake out on them and so forth. And I think that’s kind of cool that you’re both rooted in Southwest Florida because that’s been kind of a come together as well. Now both of you have incredible resumes, have done incredible things. Why Southwest Florida? Roger, you first.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, my parents moved from Massachusetts down here to Estero, Florida, and they bought a nice little place here about 15 years ago. And I would visit them in the winter of course, and absolutely love it because in Pennsylvania, there’s six feet of snow and down here, it’s 80 degrees in the winter. So I visited them quite a bit in the winter. And I decided when I retired in 2018 that I would buy a place in Florida. And I bought a place in the same community as them, four doors down, actually. And I still have the place in Pennsylvania. I’m down here nine months, a year and up there three months in the summer and it’s been quite nice.

Scrappy:

And Randal, you’re a Texas New York guy, all of a sudden you’re in Southwest Florida. What brought you here?

Randal Kendrix:

Born and raised in Texas and this gorgeous blonde girl I met in New York of all places. So Texas, New York and we meet up in Fort Myers. Actually her folks lived here and right after we got married, she moved to Texas for a couple years. And then I had a chance to come back and man, I’ve never looked back. This is my hometown. I’m a Texan by birth, but boy, I love Florida.

Scrappy:

It’s pretty amazing that here in Southwest Florida, we can do global things. Your company Bid It, Bill It, what’s your niche and differential advantage versus the competition?

Randal Kendrix:

Well, thanks for that. I searched long, like I said, I searched a long time. And what I found is if you know anything about contractors, I’m sure you’ve used people either where you are now, where you lived, they’re craftsman. I mean, if you bring a carpenter in, he’s not an accountant, that’s not what he likes to do. And he doesn’t want to go home and mess with a computer. So I thought, how on earth? And honestly, most of the guys I dealt with early on with Fiverr really wanted to create a very detailed, difficult program. And I just kept rejecting it going, if there’s not a way I’m just going to not do it at all. But there has to be a way, because I look at my iPhone, which I absolutely love. And while it’s a really complex computer, nobody makes it simpler. And so that was the whole thought process.

So what we do differently now, and we will add more as we go, but we want to make that experience one really, really quick and simple to learn. I just did a video last night and I uploaded it to YouTube, which I got to redo. But the whole thing, I think I did five or six minutes. And that’s with an intro. That’s start to finish to opening up the app and creating your first invoice to email to a customer. That’s the whole idea. So no more scribbled notes than waiting two or three days, four, five days to create all your invoices or quotes, you can do it on the fly. So the idea is have it in your hand, it’s local. Don’t need wifi necessarily. It’s on local. I can create a bid in a bill, immediately send it to a customer before I leave their house. Or if I just want to use it for notes, fine. We’ve got pictures in it, but simplicity, which is my whole idea. Simplify your business. That’s the whole mantra of Bid It, Bill It. If I can’t make it simple, I probably won’t make it.

Scrappy:

So how do you differentiate yourself from Get Jobber, Velocity, Procore, Buildertrend?

Randal Kendrix:

Super detailed on the Procore’s, ours is a simplistic bid and/or invoice. So while we may add functionality like that someday, I think that when you look at the department of labor statistics, there’s somewhere between 800 and 1.2 million services folks on the planet. And if you look around at what they use the usage on Quicken by folks in that realm is minimal. They’ll pay someone else to do it. So the thought is to get… Let’s say you have a half million of those. If you get 1% of those huge, huge marketplace, and it’s so simple for them to use the folks that we’ve introduced, it took so far said, well, how much are you going to charge for this? Well right now, nothing. It’s free. We want you to use it and understand it and go from there.

At some point, I think we’ll have a next version, Roger, that will have a charge to it, but it’ll have more information, but the thought is to always have the free, just for those who just want something super simple, boom, and it looks professional. You can upload your own logo. A lot of folks, you can’t do that.

Scrappy:

So from a functionality standpoint, whether it’s organization, speed, manpower, having less of it, saving time, being organized, you really fit to bill, right?

Randal Kendrix:

I think so. Go ahead, Roger.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Fast, easy and powerful. It’s very powerful behind the scenes, but the GUI, the graphic user interface is very simple and easy to use. We use SQL databases on the back end. So we have a database for customers, a database for invoices and a database for how it looks and feels. And it’s very easy to use and it’s customizable. You can make it be an invoicing app for any business you want. You can change all the different categories, the invoice items, the prices, the description, and it’s completely customizable. And you can use your phone to take pictures of the site. We attach that to the invoice and you can print it, send it by text or send it by email.

Scrappy:

Does that translate to the customer? Because here I am doing something for my house and I’ve got credibility issues. I’ve got trustworthy issues with contractors. I’m just going to keep it real. That’s how I feel. So with your invention, can you help me out? The customer out as well, your second customer, so to speak?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Absolutely because the contractor can send you a text, an email or print it right there as he’s doing the quote and you’ll see exactly detailed items of what it’s going to cost. And it’s a quote. And then if you say, yes, I’d like to do it. Then the contractor has a contract between you and the contractor.

Scrappy:

I understand that you guys are in your second year. Randal, how have you progressed?

Randal Kendrix:

The first year and a half, it’s essentially wasted. Not wasted, but wasted time so to speak. Cause I had to start everything over and we’ve been about six ish months Roger, into the new version?

Dr. Roger Webster:

About six months.

Randal Kendrix:

So we’re just in our beta. And as of this week, or probably next week, we will launch the full on polished version of it. And then we’ll be able to hit it worldwide or countrywide, whatever we want to do on that side, which now is the big job now of making sure I get exposure. Which also thank you very much for doing this for us. Just getting the word out and getting in people’s, in their mindset.

Scrappy:

Do you have downloads now or are you just anticipating a huge amount in six months?

Randal Kendrix:

Obviously the drive is six months from now, but we have some downloads now. I’ve tried to minimize just because we’re still very much in a beta site and I don’t want to have people have a bad experience with even the smallest of feature sets. So I’ve kind of kept it quiet, but we’re literally about a week or two weeks out from just doing a massive blast media style blast.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Very, very close, very close. As you know, software is beta testing before it actually goes worldwide on the market to work out some of the initial user bugs, but we’ve got almost all of them done.

Scrappy:

Both of you guys are fascinating to me because you’re grinding really hard on another job. And here you are doing something special for lack of a better term, on the side. So Randal, how many hours are you putting into your real gig, so to speak or your first gig Canon, and then how much time can you put into this?

Randal Kendrix:

I am thankfully an early riser. So I’m up around between four and five, so that’s when I get most of my stuff done. I will spend two to three hours daily or as much as possible, but on average, two, three hours a day on Bid It. And then of course my other job, Canon, is a full-time. So, and that depends on travel. Now I will say if I’m in the middle of an airplane or if I’m driving and I can make calls, obviously if I’m not doing stuff for work, I’ll jump on it, do it at lunch, all that kind of stuff.

Scrappy:

Roger, as a doctor, Roger, at FSW, you had certainly educational responsibilities, but you too, you’ve created a bunch of apps. You’ve been on the cutting edge of app creation. How do you balance the two?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, I’m an early riser, just like Randal. And in fact, when we first hit it off, I said, what time do you want to meet? And I said, because I get up at 5:00 AM. If you want to meet by Zoom at 6:00 AM. That’s okay with me. So by nine o’clock I’ve got four hours in before people even wake up and weekends of course, things like that. Number of apps and another consulting clients as well doing app work.

Scrappy:

How about, you mentioned that you’re getting some exposure, but from a marketing perspective, looking out from a timeline, one, two years, how are you penetrating?

Randal Kendrix:

Honestly, not just to toot your own horn, but I want services from folks like yourself. I’m going to need that. I can only go so far. Even with that background from Canon and the advertising and business development, all that, I can only go so far and the bandwidth runs out. I’m going to need some serious help once we get to a certain point. And I think we kind of have a number in mind, but we’ll see how that works out, but definitely want a full on nationwide push at this. I hope within this first half of next year is the thought,

Scrappy:

Okay. Okay. And entrepreneurs, you take risks. You have no fear of failure. Tell us about your entrepreneurial spirit Randal.

Randal Kendrix:

Oh, I have plenty of fear.

I’m just too stupid to stop, I guess. From a young age, I actually owned my own paint contracting business when I was 18. And I’ve never fully given that up. I do more consulting than anything now. And then I do my own projects as well, but I have always had a desire of some level to keep my hands moving and legs and just keep moving and keep asking about this. And even when I’m in my other job, I like to ask a lot of questions and I’m probably too curious at times. I love learning stuff. Especially in this day and age, there’s so much emphasis on the college degree and push and push and push and that’s all great. But boy, there’s also a massive shortage in this world that I’m working on with the app right now with the blue collar guys, the tradesmen. And always had a heart for those guys cause they work hard and they just kind of get the crap of the world. They get beat up a lot.

Scrappy:

Given their blue collars, is there an opportunity for grassroots movement?

Randal Kendrix:

Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m thrilled. One of my heroes right now is, I’m sure you know who he is, Mike Rowe, who’s got his foundation to give scholarships. And as a local guy, I’m pushing as many people as I can without an affiliation Mike, to his scholarships because man, there’s a lot, there’s good money to be made in it. And I can tell you of all the things that I do for a living, the most satisfying stuff is when I’m creating something in my garage or in the house, you can put something together and go, I did that. So it’s a really great feeling.

Scrappy:

Roger, I’ve been here for 18 years and I have a relationship with FSW. I am blown away by the growth over the last 18 years. Can you tell us about your university?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Oh, FSW is a wonderful, I say little college. It’s not really very little. I mean there’s three campuses, Lee County and Collier County and Henry Glades. And I think there’s 25, 30,000 students. I mean at FSW, among the three campuses and in computer science, we’re growing so big that they’re blowing away the inside of the building we’re in right now and putting a $7 million renovation for the school of business and technology and computer science and our cyber security. We offer computer programming and cyber security and of course cyber security and programming, both are really big business. And we’re expanding, we’re hiring faculty, we’re hired two new people. We’re going to hire probably two or three new, more people next year. And it’s really growing leaps and bounds.

Scrappy:

It seems like in this age, everybody has an entrepreneurial spirit. When you look in the eyes of the juniors and the seniors that you teach, do you see that?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Oh yeah, absolutely. And I always tell them, Hey, if you have a great idea for an app, tell me so I can write it for you. But they’ll be able to write it themselves after next semester. And this coming January, spring semester, I’ll be teaching COMP 3655, which is mobile development for a mobile application development for devices. And we’ll be doing iPhone development and Android development. And they will have the first time in FSWs history, a class being taught on how to develop iPhone and Android.

Scrappy:

Wow. Wow. You’re going to give your students a little equity position though, right?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, I always tell ’em. I say just because you have a good idea. It doesn’t mean you can make it happen so you know, have great ideas. It’s wonderful, but you’re going to need people like myself and my students to actually develop the code.

Scrappy:

When you see the seniors graduating from FSU right now, what’s their outlook?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Oh, they’re very excited about it. There’s a lot of opportunity in cyber security, all over the country and in computer programming as well. And I tell them all the time you complete your degree at FSW, a four year degree, even a two year degree, you will be instantly employable.

Scrappy:

That’s true. Absolutely.

Dr. Roger Webster:

It is.

Scrappy:

Randal, I was looking at your resume and says board member of Edison Pageant Of Light. That’s impressive. Can you tell us about it?

Randal Kendrix:

Oh, I absolutely love it. So when I first moved here, you’ve been in Florida long enough, you know the typical conversation is, Hey, where are you from? That’s how you start it off. And I had a tough time cause in Texas, everybody’s from Texas. So it’s more like, Hey, what town are you from? Kind of thing. So when I get here, there’s so many transplants, including myself, that finding local was very tough. And my wife who’s been here her entire life had so much and so many connections. There is a wonderful lady in town. Her name is Sue Grime. She’s an institution. If you’ve never met her, you need to, as my wife said, she roped us in.

So if you don’t know, Edison Pageant Of Lights is 80 something years old. It was in honor of Thomas Edison and he actually was there in the early days, giving out the diplomas. Actually her mother got her high school diploma from Thomas Edison and it’s a really beautiful homage to the Edison family. And then all the families in Florida for over 80 years, it’s in my opinion, one of the best local true long-term local things that you can learn and get to participate in Southwest Florida.

Scrappy:

Very nice, very nice. Any parting thoughts as far as selling Bid It, Bill It?

Randal Kendrix:

Well, there’s a lot of ways I’ve thought about going with it, but just me showing my heart out loud. I would love to build a large scale company and pull talent from people like Roger’s students. I would love to feed that college with just job, job, job. That would be a dream. That’s a dream of mine, I’d love to do that.

Scrappy:

That’s awesome. That’s really awesome. We’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in Southwest Florida. And as you can see by the Fathead, we do it really big, specializing in copywriting video production. If you want to sponsor The Come Up or be a guest, hit me up @heyscrappy on IG or text MIKE at 21000. I want to give a shout out to Mary Myers because Mary Myers put us all together today.

Dr. Roger Webster:

She’s the Dean of business and technology.

Scrappy:

Yeah. So Mary, thank you very much. We really appreciate that. And Randal, Roger it’s really, really awesome to talk to you guys today. I love what you’re doing. I appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit and I really love the fact that you’re doing it in Southwest Florida.

Randal Kendrix:

Thanks a lot Scrap. We appreciate your time.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Thanks Scrappy.

Christina Amandis is a Florida hair stylist who is Scrappy's guest on Episode 11 of The Come Up

The SWFL Hair Edgelord

Looking for a haircut in Southwest Florida?

How about the Wolf Cut or another “animal” style?

If you’re a man, are you feeling the perm with a curly mullet?

If you’re a Lady Who Lunches after tennis at the club, do you need a Florida hair stylist whose studio culture is edgy but classy like Vogue?

You need the SWFL Hair Edgelord.

You need Christina Amandis who is Scrappy’s guest in Episode 11 of The Come Up, Content with Teeth’s video podcast profiling dynamic entrepreneurs in Southwest Florida and beyond.

Christina owns Hello Beautiful Hair studio in Bonita Springs and brings a funky, zen vibe to the hair experience.

The Come Up Episode 11 Highlights

Scrappy Goes Rasta: Christina delivers the hilarious verdict on whether Scrappy having dreadlock hair extensions is advisable.

Studio 55: She might not be in The Big Apple but Christina details her journey in opening her own studio after 16 years of experience in the hair game.

Hair Salon vs. Studio: The terms are not interchangeable. Learn why studios are for entrepreneurs and salons are for employees.

Claws: It might be September but words can’t describe Christina’s vibrant summer nails. Watch to see her reveal true nail flair!

Catch other key insights in Episode 11 of The Come Up like Christina’s edgy strategy in keeping golf and country club ladies formidable in the style game.

About Christina Amandis & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Christina and her Hello Beautiful Hair studio HERE.

The Come Up Episode 11 Video Transcript

Scrappy:

What up? Welcome to The Come Up. It’s a video podcast featuring entrepreneurs doing really big things on their own, right here in Southwest Florida. I’m Scrappy. We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth. It’s a content marketing agency that generates leads, conversions, and brand awareness. Now, today it’s pretty cool. We are going to spotlight Christina Amandis of Hello, Beautiful Hair, established hair studio and Bonita Beach. Christina, we’ve known each other for a while and I’m kind of concerned. My hair’s getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Can you help me out? I want dreadlock extensions.

Christina Amandis:

Well, we got to get you scheduled, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Can you do extensions in dreadlocks for me?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely. Whatever you want.

Scrappy:

All right. As a studio owner, please differentiate for us, what’s studio versus salon?

Christina Amandis:

Studio is where you’re independent, you are your own boss. So with the salon setting, you have a team usually, your receptionist and other stylists that you work around. In a studio setting, you are by yourself, you do everything on your own.

Scrappy:

How long have you been doing it?

Christina Amandis:

I’ve been in hair for 16 years, but I just got into my own studio this past month.

Scrappy:

So you’ve been part of a salon and now you’re saying “I’m want to be an entrepreneur?”

Christina Amandis:

Correct.

Scrappy:

How scary is that?

Christina Amandis:

It was a big leap. It was a really big leap, but long overdue. Like I said, I’ve been in the industry for 16 years and I was comfortable where I was at in the salon setting, but I was ready for a change.

Scrappy:

You must have had a lot of regulars. Did you steal them all and take them to your studio?

Christina Amandis:

I sure did.

Scrappy:

Are you still friends with the salon?

Christina Amandis:

I have some insiders on the salon.

Scrappy:

Got you. So these people that have been with you for such a long period of time, they must be thrilled for you.

Christina Amandis:

Oh, absolutely. Everybody loves the change and they pretty much have said, “What took you so long? Why did you wait so long to make this move?” But I think I’m a firm believer that timing is everything.

Scrappy:

What’s the toughest thing about making a leap like this?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, doing everything on your own. I was a little spoiled at the old salon with having employees that pretty much do all my dirt work. They do my shampooing, they handle all of my checkouts, they handle my phone calls and my appointments. I am my own team right now. So it is definitely a big change for me.

Scrappy:

From marketing perspective, I think it’s all about personification. I mean, you are a walking, talking billboard for your business. How do you market yourself?

Christina Amandis:

Social media. Social media is key, that is definitely where the world’s at right now. So definitely letting everybody in this world know where I’m at, what I’m doing, what I’m capable of, and just keeping that ball rolling.

Scrappy:

Magazines. I don’t know if it’s uncool from a guy perspective, but I actually brought in a picture of a dude from a magazine to get my haircut. Does that happen often to you?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. As a stylist, pictures are worth a thousand words because that gives us a better understanding of what they’re looking for and if it’s doable.

Scrappy:

Culture-wise, I look at your studio looks really funky and cool and hip in the background. Can you describe the culture of your studio?

Christina Amandis:

Wow.

Scrappy:

Zen, funky.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

Cool, fun.

Christina Amandis:

Edgy, but a little bit of class, a little bit of a little bit of pop. Just have fun, but be clean and classy at the same time.

Scrappy:

Kind of Vogue.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

I see your nails. Can you share with us your nails? Very cool.

Christina Amandis:

It’s summertime.

Scrappy:

What’s the biggest hair trend that we need to be thinking about?

Christina Amandis:

Oh my goodness.

Scrappy:

Men and women.

Christina Amandis:

Back to social media, all these animal haircuts. We went through the wolf cut. Now we’re doing, there’s another kind of animal cut. And I don’t understand it, I mean, they’re at home haircuts, but I end up fixing a lot of them where they just put the hair up on their head in a ponytail and they chop it off and it’s just not cute. I can’t wait for this part to get out. Men right now we’re doing the perms with the curly mullets.

Scrappy:

I’m not really feeling that.

Christina Amandis:

No, me either.

Scrappy:

Maybe it’s maybe it’s my age, but my nephew has it, all the basketball players have it, but it looks gnarly to me.

Christina Amandis:

It is. It’s definitely not my favorite. I can’t wait for that trend to go away.

Scrappy:

Yeah. It’s not fresh and fresh and crisp and clean.

Christina Amandis:

No, not at all. And some can’t pull it off. So it’s hard. It’s just like, “Eh.”

Scrappy:

Absolutely.

Christina Amandis:

“Can we pick something else?”

Scrappy:

Well, you’re very trend setting yourself. Do you have any recommendations on where things are going?

Christina Amandis:

It’s a constant revolving door. It’s hard to say. Right now, highlights, the chunky zebra highlights, are starting to come back in and it’s just like, “Oh, why? Please, no.” It almost looks like a zebra. So that’s the trend coming this summer. So I’m holding on.

Scrappy:

But as a studio owner, what else is very important?

Christina Amandis:

Staying on top of your business, you have to be prompt, you have to be responsive. You have to be on your A game, one little step to the right and you could lose it. So you definitely have to stay focused, stay involved with your clients. I had a client last week that went in for knee surgery. I took the time out of my day to follow up with her just to make sure her procedure went well.

Scrappy:

Good for you. That’s awesome.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah. Staying in contact, staying on top of everything and following up is definitely-

Scrappy:

It’s a relationship business.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

When Mindy had a child, I brought her a toy elephant and I’m the client. So it’s definitely about getting together. But Christina, there’s a lot of salons out there, a lot, and not everybody’s making a lot of cake and a lot of money. How do you stay on top of your clientele? Not just from a customer service standpoint, but growing it from social media standpoint and sustaining it longterm?

Christina Amandis:

Again, that connection, creating those relationships with your clients. And I care, it’s not just I do this because it’s great money, it’s I care about my clients. You form these relationships where you know about their grandkids, you know about their house up north that they go to seasonally. It’s that connection that keeps that going. Then that connection creates more connections with their friends. And they’re like, “Oh, you have to go see Christina. She’s awesome.” It just keeps trickling that way.

Scrappy:

Interesting,. From a target demographic standpoint, who are you trying to attract?

Christina Amandis:

Well, my demographics right now are more of those golf and country club ladies.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

Those are my bread and butter. They are die hard. They will kill somebody to get their hair appointments. So they are my demographics. I am in the center of Bonita Springs. So I’m surrounded by all these country clubs and all it takes is one member of that country club to find me. And then it’s just-

Scrappy:

Awesome.

Christina Amandis:

It spreads like wildfire.

Scrappy:

It’s polarized because you’re this really cool, hip chick and you’re cutting senior citizen’s hair. They probably get a big kick out of you, right?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, they love it. They look forward to coming in. Every time, every visit, I have a different look or a different hairstyle and they just love it. It’s fun for them and I think it makes them feel a little bit more younger and hip because they go to somebody that’s a little bit more on the edgier side.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

That can give them that little pizazz to their hair. It makes them feel a little [inaudible 00:08:06].

Scrappy:

Well, that’s my next question. This pizazz, but do you push their limits? Do you push them to be more progressive?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Okay. Give us an example. That’s very interesting to me.

Christina Amandis:

Yes. Because hair should be fun. Hair is a staple. Hair is, it’s who you are. It’s what everybody sees first, I feel like. So giving them that little edge or that little funk to make them feel young and hip is a big deal for them.

Scrappy:

How about color? Do you tell them to get really funky that way as well?

Christina Amandis:

I try to push a little bit of the color, but a lot of them I can get the cuts in and give them a little bit of an edge, but as far as color is concerned, that’s a different story. They like their blondes and their browns. And as they get a little older, the dark, harsher colors need to go away and bring in some lighter tones to complement them. So as far as color is concerned, I try to keep it edgy, but the haircut’s where that comes in.

Scrappy:

Southwest Florida is our focus here with this podcast. Do you see anything different between Southwest Florida haircuts and the rest of the nation?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Dish. Tell us.

Christina Amandis:

Southwest Florida, we’re definitely a little bit more reserved in this area. You don’t find the funky fashion colors as much as you would going down to the other coast or up into the city. We’re a lot more reserved here. So walking that fine line of having that fresh, edgy, but not too crazy to make people feel like they’re not in the right-

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

… Comfort zone, I guess.

Scrappy:

This podcast is featuring Christina Amandis, superstar hairstylist with a studio. Go ahead and make your pitch to everybody. Why they should visit you? Hey, come on, bring it.

Christina Amandis:

Oh my God, you just made me sweat.

Scrappy:

Why you?

Christina Amandis:

Why you? Why me? I’m always open for a new adventure. I love change, I love taking care of my clients, they become family to me. So I definitely love growing my family in the hair world and making everyone in Southwest Florida feel beautiful in their skin with their beautiful hair.

Scrappy:

And your hair is so unique. I’m sure you’re capable of giving unique haircuts, as well.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Awesome. Advice to other entrepreneurs? You’re budding entrepreneur, you haven’t been in the game too long as an entrepreneur, but what advice would you give others? Especially those starting a studio?

Christina Amandis:

Grind, grind, grind. You cannot sleep on running your own business. You have to stay on top of everything. Just when you think that you have a break, you got something else that you could be working on, whether if it’s following up with clients you haven’t seen in a few months or just reaching out and letting them know that you’re here for them whenever they need something. You just have to stay on it.

Scrappy:

Finally, Christina, what advice would you give to your 12 year old self?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, knowing what I know now, keep pushing, don’t give up. Sky’s the limit. There’s [inaudible 00:11:38]-

Scrappy:

That’s that’s too generic. That’s way too generic. Okay? 12 year old self. I’m not talking about the salon or the studio or hair cutting or hair styling or coloring or perm. I’m talking about you, Christina.

Christina Amandis:

Me? Oh boy, me, 12 years old. What would I tell myself? You got me, you’re getting me these hard questions, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Any advice that you’d impart based on what you’ve learned over the years?

Christina Amandis:

I’m stronger than what I thought I am. I definitely found myself second guessing myself as I was growing and maturing and just would, “Oh, should I?” And it’s always about taking that leap and just going for it and just doing it.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

Life is too short to hold back and there’s so much out there to do and explore. And I’ve definitely learned that, not to hold back, just to do it.

Scrappy:

Nice.

Christina Amandis:

Why be scared?

Scrappy:

Very nice. You have a lot of social handles. You want to give them out to everybody so we can find you?

Christina Amandis:

I have my email at [email protected]. And you can find my website at HelloBeautifulHairByChristina.com.

Scrappy:

Hello, Beautiful Hair. An awesome studio, it’s on the corner of 41 and Bonita Beach Road, right?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. [inaudible 00:13:07]

Scrappy:

Which side, how can we find it?

Christina Amandis:

It’s right on the corner of where Komoon is and Crunch Gym.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

So I’m right in between. Yep.

Scrappy:

Very cool. Well, it’s awesome to have you here, Christina. You’re doing really cool things. You’re serving a lot of wonderful people. I’m not going to say you’re doing God’s work, but it’s really important for a lot of people.

Christina Amandis:

Yes, absolutely.

Scrappy:

We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth, a great marketing agency. If you want to be our next guest, you can text Mike at 21000 or myself on Instagram at @HeyScrappy. Once again, Hello, Beautiful Hair. Christina Amandis. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you.

Christina Amandis:

Thank you. Thank you, Scrap.

Scrappy:

What up? Welcome to The Come Up. It’s a video podcast featuring entrepreneurs doing really big things on their own, right here in Southwest Florida. I’m Scrappy. We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth. It’s a content marketing agency that generates leads, conversions, and brand awareness. Now, today it’s pretty cool. We are going to spotlight Christina Amandis of Hello, Beautiful Hair, established hair studio and Bonita Beach. Christina, we’ve known each other for a while and I’m kind of concerned. My hair’s getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Can you help me out? I want dreadlock extensions.

Christina Amandis:

Well, we got to get you scheduled, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Can you do extensions in dreadlocks for me?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely. Whatever you want.

Scrappy:

All right. As a studio owner, please differentiate for us, what’s studio versus salon?

Christina Amandis:

Studio is where you’re independent, you are your own boss. So with the salon setting, you have a team usually, your receptionist and other stylists that you work around. In a studio setting, you are by yourself, you do everything on your own.

Scrappy:

How long have you been doing it?

Christina Amandis:

I’ve been in hair for 16 years, but I just got into my own studio this past month.

Scrappy:

So you’ve been part of a salon and now you’re saying “I’m want to be an entrepreneur?”

Christina Amandis:

Correct.

Scrappy:

How scary is that?

Christina Amandis:

It was a big leap. It was a really big leap, but long overdue. Like I said, I’ve been in the industry for 16 years and I was comfortable where I was at in the salon setting, but I was ready for a change.

Scrappy:

You must have had a lot of regulars. Did you steal them all and take them to your studio?

Christina Amandis:

I sure did.

Scrappy:

Are you still friends with the salon?

Christina Amandis:

I have some insiders on the salon.

Scrappy:

Got you. So these people that have been with you for such a long period of time, they must be thrilled for you.

Christina Amandis:

Oh, absolutely. Everybody loves the change and they pretty much have said, “What took you so long? Why did you wait so long to make this move?” But I think I’m a firm believer that timing is everything.

Scrappy:

What’s the toughest thing about making a leap like this?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, doing everything on your own. I was a little spoiled at the old salon with having employees that pretty much do all my dirt work. They do my shampooing, they handle all of my checkouts, they handle my phone calls and my appointments. I am my own team right now. So it is definitely a big change for me.

Scrappy:

From marketing perspective, I think it’s all about personification. I mean, you are a walking, talking billboard for your business. How do you market yourself?

Christina Amandis:

Social media. Social media is key, that is definitely where the world’s at right now. So definitely letting everybody in this world know where I’m at, what I’m doing, what I’m capable of, and just keeping that ball rolling.

Scrappy:

Magazines. I don’t know if it’s uncool from a guy perspective, but I actually brought in a picture of a dude from a magazine to get my haircut. Does that happen often to you?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. As a stylist, pictures are worth a thousand words because that gives us a better understanding of what they’re looking for and if it’s doable.

Scrappy:

Culture-wise, I look at your studio looks really funky and cool and hip in the background. Can you describe the culture of your studio?

Christina Amandis:

Wow.

Scrappy:

Zen, funky.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

Cool, fun.

Christina Amandis:

Edgy, but a little bit of class, a little bit of a little bit of pop. Just have fun, but be clean and classy at the same time.

Scrappy:

Kind of Vogue.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

I see your nails. Can you share with us your nails? Very cool.

Christina Amandis:

It’s summertime.

Scrappy:

What’s the biggest hair trend that we need to be thinking about?

Christina Amandis:

Oh my goodness.

Scrappy:

Men and women.

Christina Amandis:

Back to social media, all these animal haircuts. We went through the wolf cut. Now we’re doing, there’s another kind of animal cut. And I don’t understand it, I mean, they’re at home haircuts, but I end up fixing a lot of them where they just put the hair up on their head in a ponytail and they chop it off and it’s just not cute. I can’t wait for this part to get out. Men right now we’re doing the perms with the curly mullets.

Scrappy:

I’m not really feeling that.

Christina Amandis:

No, me either.

Scrappy:

Maybe it’s maybe it’s my age, but my nephew has it, all the basketball players have it, but it looks gnarly to me.

Christina Amandis:

It is. It’s definitely not my favorite. I can’t wait for that trend to go away.

Scrappy:

Yeah. It’s not fresh and fresh and crisp and clean.

Christina Amandis:

No, not at all. And some can’t pull it off. So it’s hard. It’s just like, “Eh.”

Scrappy:

Absolutely.

Christina Amandis:

“Can we pick something else?”

Scrappy:

Well, you’re very trend setting yourself. Do you have any recommendations on where things are going?

Christina Amandis:

It’s a constant revolving door. It’s hard to say. Right now, highlights, the chunky zebra highlights, are starting to come back in and it’s just like, “Oh, why? Please, no.” It almost looks like a zebra. So that’s the trend coming this summer. So I’m holding on.

Scrappy:

But as a studio owner, what else is very important?

Christina Amandis:

Staying on top of your business, you have to be prompt, you have to be responsive. You have to be on your A game, one little step to the right and you could lose it. So you definitely have to stay focused, stay involved with your clients. I had a client last week that went in for knee surgery. I took the time out of my day to follow up with her just to make sure her procedure went well.

Scrappy:

Good for you. That’s awesome.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah. Staying in contact, staying on top of everything and following up is definitely-

Scrappy:

It’s a relationship business.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

When Mindy had a child, I brought her a toy elephant and I’m the client. So it’s definitely about getting together. But Christina, there’s a lot of salons out there, a lot, and not everybody’s making a lot of cake and a lot of money. How do you stay on top of your clientele? Not just from a customer service standpoint, but growing it from social media standpoint and sustaining it longterm?

Christina Amandis:

Again, that connection, creating those relationships with your clients. And I care, it’s not just I do this because it’s great money, it’s I care about my clients. You form these relationships where you know about their grandkids, you know about their house up north that they go to seasonally. It’s that connection that keeps that going. Then that connection creates more connections with their friends. And they’re like, “Oh, you have to go see Christina. She’s awesome.” It just keeps trickling that way.

Scrappy:

Interesting,. From a target demographic standpoint, who are you trying to attract?

Christina Amandis:

Well, my demographics right now are more of those golf and country club ladies.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

Those are my bread and butter. They are die hard. They will kill somebody to get their hair appointments. So they are my demographics. I am in the center of Bonita Springs. So I’m surrounded by all these country clubs and all it takes is one member of that country club to find me. And then it’s just-

Scrappy:

Awesome.

Christina Amandis:

It spreads like wildfire.

Scrappy:

It’s polarized because you’re this really cool, hip chick and you’re cutting senior citizen’s hair. They probably get a big kick out of you, right?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, they love it. They look forward to coming in. Every time, every visit, I have a different look or a different hairstyle and they just love it. It’s fun for them and I think it makes them feel a little bit more younger and hip because they go to somebody that’s a little bit more on the edgier side.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

That can give them that little pizazz to their hair. It makes them feel a little [inaudible 00:08:06].

Scrappy:

Well, that’s my next question. This pizazz, but do you push their limits? Do you push them to be more progressive?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Okay. Give us an example. That’s very interesting to me.

Christina Amandis:

Yes. Because hair should be fun. Hair is a staple. Hair is, it’s who you are. It’s what everybody sees first, I feel like. So giving them that little edge or that little funk to make them feel young and hip is a big deal for them.

Scrappy:

How about color? Do you tell them to get really funky that way as well?

Christina Amandis:

I try to push a little bit of the color, but a lot of them I can get the cuts in and give them a little bit of an edge, but as far as color is concerned, that’s a different story. They like their blondes and their browns. And as they get a little older, the dark, harsher colors need to go away and bring in some lighter tones to complement them. So as far as color is concerned, I try to keep it edgy, but the haircut’s where that comes in.

Scrappy:

Southwest Florida is our focus here with this podcast. Do you see anything different between Southwest Florida haircuts and the rest of the nation?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Dish. Tell us.

Christina Amandis:

Southwest Florida, we’re definitely a little bit more reserved in this area. You don’t find the funky fashion colors as much as you would going down to the other coast or up into the city. We’re a lot more reserved here. So walking that fine line of having that fresh, edgy, but not too crazy to make people feel like they’re not in the right-

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

… Comfort zone, I guess.

Scrappy:

This podcast is featuring Christina Amandis, superstar hairstylist with a studio. Go ahead and make your pitch to everybody. Why they should visit you? Hey, come on, bring it.

Christina Amandis:

Oh my God, you just made me sweat.

Scrappy:

Why you?

Christina Amandis:

Why you? Why me? I’m always open for a new adventure. I love change, I love taking care of my clients, they become family to me. So I definitely love growing my family in the hair world and making everyone in Southwest Florida feel beautiful in their skin with their beautiful hair.

Scrappy:

And your hair is so unique. I’m sure you’re capable of giving unique haircuts, as well.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Awesome. Advice to other entrepreneurs? You’re budding entrepreneur, you haven’t been in the game too long as an entrepreneur, but what advice would you give others? Especially those starting a studio?

Christina Amandis:

Grind, grind, grind. You cannot sleep on running your own business. You have to stay on top of everything. Just when you think that you have a break, you got something else that you could be working on, whether if it’s following up with clients you haven’t seen in a few months or just reaching out and letting them know that you’re here for them whenever they need something. You just have to stay on it.

Scrappy:

Finally, Christina, what advice would you give to your 12 year old self?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, knowing what I know now, keep pushing, don’t give up. Sky’s the limit. There’s [inaudible 00:11:38]-

Scrappy:

That’s that’s too generic. That’s way too generic. Okay? 12 year old self. I’m not talking about the salon or the studio or hair cutting or hair styling or coloring or perm. I’m talking about you, Christina.

Christina Amandis:

Me? Oh boy, me, 12 years old. What would I tell myself? You got me, you’re getting me these hard questions, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Any advice that you’d impart based on what you’ve learned over the years?

Christina Amandis:

I’m stronger than what I thought I am. I definitely found myself second guessing myself as I was growing and maturing and just would, “Oh, should I?” And it’s always about taking that leap and just going for it and just doing it.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

Life is too short to hold back and there’s so much out there to do and explore. And I’ve definitely learned that, not to hold back, just to do it.

Scrappy:

Nice.

Christina Amandis:

Why be scared?

Scrappy:

Very nice. You have a lot of social handles. You want to give them out to everybody so we can find you?

Christina Amandis:

I have my email at [email protected]. And you can find my website at HelloBeautifulHairByChristina.com.

Scrappy:

Hello, Beautiful Hair. An awesome studio, it’s on the corner of 41 and Bonita Beach Road, right?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. [inaudible 00:13:07]

Scrappy:

Which side, how can we find it?

Christina Amandis:

It’s right on the corner of where Komoon is and Crunch Gym.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

So I’m right in between. Yep.

Scrappy:

Very cool. Well, it’s awesome to have you here, Christina. You’re doing really cool things. You’re serving a lot of wonderful people. I’m not going to say you’re doing God’s work, but it’s really important for a lot of people.

Christina Amandis:

Yes, absolutely.

Scrappy:

We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth, a great marketing agency. If you want to be our next guest, you can text Mike at 21000 or myself on Instagram at @HeyScrappy. Once again, Hello, Beautiful Hair. Christina Amandis. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you.

Christina Amandis:

Thank you. Thank you, Scrap.

 

In Episode 10 of Content with Teeth's The Come Up, meet a guest who creates WOW among kids at his sports card store

Find Awe in the Latest Episode of The Come Up

Kids, be prepared for WOW.

Be prepared to be amazed.

Why?

florida sports cards

Because Jonathan Stone, Owner of Blue Breaks LLC, a new sports card collecting and memorabilia store in Venice, Florida, makes an appearance on Episode 10 of The Come Up.

Jonathan is a card collector and former big league sports referee and is Scrappy’s guest on Content with Teeth’s video podcast chronicling dynamic entrepreneurs in Southwest Florida and beyond.

The Come Up Episode 10 Highlights

Sorry eBay: Learn why Jonathan thinks there is no such thing as competition in the sports card world and discover the Blue Breaks niche. It involves thousands of sports cards at a kid-friendly price of a penny a piece.

sports cards store venice florida

The Big Racket: Jonathan details his fascinating background, including umpiring at Wimbledon to the likes of Nadal, Federer and other legends.

sports collectibles

Retail Therapy: If you’re a card-collecting maniac, learn why you should visit a store and not just slum it out on eBay or a trade show for the best selection.

Uh, Teacher, Why Does My Mint Pete Rose Have a C? If you’ve got some old baseball cards stashed away or are a big-time collector, learn the details of sports card grading. Jonathan sheds light on a sometimes arcane process. Don’t miss this section if you’re interested in the value of your collection whether it’s hockey cards or non sports cards.

Catch other key nuggets in Episode 10 of The Come Up like how his wife thinks he’s crazy and how Jonathan’s inspiration is his 9-month newborn and any smiling kid hunting for a deal.

About Jonathan Stone & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Blue Breaks LLC HERE.

The Come Up Episode 10 Video Transcript

Scrappy:

What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? I’m Scrappy. This is The Come Up, featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. They’re innovators, risk takers and big picture thinkers.

Today, our guest is really cool, really cool. I’m looking forward to this, ’cause I’m a baseball collector myself.

It is Jonathan from Blue Breaks in Venice Beach. He’s got a great store over there. If you want to be our next guest, make sure to check us out at Hey Scrappy on Instagram.

Blue Breaks, tell us about your store. How long you’ve been in business, Jonathan?

Jonathan Stone:

Hey, Scrappy. Well, we’ve been in business three weeks now. We opened the doors three weeks ago. We’ve been primarily online until then. But yeah, no, me, the wife and the nine month old baby decided it was time to take some risks.

We sold our home, moved to the area we’re in now. We’re actually staying with friends at the moment yet. We sold our home and put all of our money into opening a store because we just felt that there’s a space in the market for what we do.

Scrappy:

Okay. So in Venice specifically, do you have competition?

Jonathan Stone:

There’s some other stores in Venice, but I don’t think there’s competition in the sports cards well, because it’s not like McDonald’s, Wendy that all have a burger. They have the same burger.

You can go into every sports card store in the country. Every single store has different cards, has a different product. Not only that, even if they have the same product, when you open a box of sports cards, the cards inside are different in every single box.

So, no, I don’t think there is such a thing as competition in the sports card world. There’s other people that sell sports cards. There’s other people that do similar things.

It’s funny. I was talking to a customer a little while ago. As a collector, you should never only buy what you collect from one store or one person, because every person has a different card, has different types of cards, has different items that you want to collect. This is no different.

Scrappy:

You say you’re different from everybody else. What’s your niche?

Jonathan Stone:

In the store, as well as obviously selling sports cards, we have single sports cards from one penny. So, you can come in the store right now, and we have 30,000 cards that are a penny each, for sale in store right now.

As well as that, we have trade nights. We also do birthday parties for the kids as well.

Scrappy:

Oh, that’s fun. That’s fun. So you’ve been in business for only three weeks. Where do you get all your inventory?

Jonathan Stone:

We do a lot of shopping online. We have distributors. We have contacts within Panini and Topps and things like that as well, that we utilize.

We get as much as we can, from as many different sources, so that our customers come in and have a great weekend.

Scrappy:

Interesting. Interesting. As an entrepreneur, you’re staying at your friend’s house, you’ve put all your money into this. It’s a leap of faith.

Is it something you’re really passionate about or something you see as a business opportunity or both?

Jonathan Stone:

I’ve worked in sport my entire life. I spent 10 years as a tennis umpire. I worked tennis matches at the very top level. I’ve worked Wimbledon. I’ve worked tournaments all over the world. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal.

I’ve also worked soccer professionally, in multiple countries. And I’ve actually spent two years in baseball. I worked in Independent Professional Baseball league last year. I also do call-up games for the minor leagues.

So as well as that, to me as a collector of sports cards, it’s about filling a gap in the market, where other collectors can actually get their hands on the products they want from somebody who cares.

Scrappy:

Okay. Does your wife think you’re crazy for doing this?

Jonathan Stone:

My wife thought I was crazy before this. This just puts the nail in the coffin. I was crazy long before this.

Scrappy:

Jonathan, I’ve bought cards on eBay. I’ve gone to trade shows. I’ve been to shops. Why should I go to a shop versus eBay or a trade show?

Jonathan Stone:

Because you can come in store. You can handle our cards. You can look at it. You can get the advice you need.

We do products where you can clean your cards in store. We also do products where you can store your cards in the best condition.

Not only that, we submit to graders. We submit cards to PSA. You can actually have a good time in here.

We’ve had a lot of people in here at the weekend. We had people watching the England versus Germany European Soccer final game.

We had people in here buying supplies. We had kids in here. We had a David Becker autographed card come out of a box. We had a Steph Curry card come out of the box.

Scrappy:

Oh, wow. Wow.

Jonathan Stone:

We had a Juan DeFranco card come out of a box yesterday as well. So, we’ve had lots of cards come out over the last few days. You don’t get those experiences anywhere else because at home, you’re on your own. You’re opening cards.

If you go to a show, you’re probably buying the cards. You don’t want to open them at the show ’cause you want them to be protected.

But here you can come in, grab the cards, and we’ll give you the protection you need, so that your cards go home in the same condition they come out of that box in.

Scrappy:

The experience, for sure. That’s really interesting. That’s definitely a differential advantage.

Now, you mentioned kids. What percentage of your customers, at least in the first three weeks, are children versus some avid hardcore collector?

Jonathan Stone:

We have, obviously adults that are regaining their childhood through this. We also have collectors that come in with their kids as well.

It’s funny. A little while ago I had the gentleman come in. Him and his daughter actually collect. They’ve been a great inspiration for me and my wife, because to see them bonding over collecting cards, a guy who did this when he was a child and now his almost teenage daughter, getting into it, coming in and raiding up any boxes for her is just, it’s just an amazing thing, watching them bond.

So I think you’re probably looking at a 50/50 split because most of the kids bring their parents with them.

We do mimosas on a Sunday for the baseball moms, just to keep them happy as well. So, we have a few adults come in, but we do have a lot of kids.

Scrappy:

Are you a sucker for a kid with a smile, that wants a good deal?

Jonathan Stone:

When you have a nine month old baby, you’re a sucker for any kid with a smile. Sucker for any kid with a smile.

Scrappy:

How do you make the transition from being an umpire and a referee and being a sports advocate in that regard, to actually selling your wares, from a baseball card perspective?

Jonathan Stone:

It’s been an interesting transition. This time of year, I’m used to… Normally, I’m away in the summer on a baseball field. It’s been hard this year, being at home. But I think life has changed for me.

Now having our Kalimar baby, it’s giving him something that when he’s two, three, four, five, his interest will pique. He can help out in the shop. It keeps him busy.

But not only that. It’s a family business, that hopefully he’ll carry on in years to come.

Scrappy:

That’s awesome. I can tell just by your personality that you’re breeding something special over there, Jonathan. I can totally feel that.

You mentioned graded. Now, it’s really frustrating to me as a baseball card collector, that I got to send out graded cards. Can you explain the process to our audience?

Jonathan Stone:

Cards are worth different value, depending on their condition. In a sense, in the grading world, you’re grading your card from one to 10, 10 being the best, one being the worst.

Each of those grades, depending on the company and the grade you get, are worth a different value.

So just because it comes fresh out of the box does not mean it’s a 10 out 10 perfect condition card. Errors happen in printing, so it might be slightly off center.

We’ve all had those days where we’re fed up with that little bit of black ink crossing through a couple of letters on the printer. That happens in the card world. So, all of those sort of things affect it.

You can come to us. We’ll clean the card for you. We will send it off to PSA, and then that card comes back with a grade on it.

A grade is no better than a referee or an umpire. It’s just one person you’re, paying to give you an independent opinion on that card.

Scrappy:

How much does it cost?

Jonathan Stone:

It varies from $18 into the hundreds, depending on the value of your card. The annoying thing with grading and it annoys me as a store and as a collector, is the grading cost is dependent upon the value of the card.

So if you turn around and bring in a card that’s worth 30, $40, you might get away with an 18 to $23 charge to have that graded.

But if it’s worth 50, 60, $70,000, then we’re going to start talking thousands of dollars for the exact same process. That’s where it’s frustrating as a collector.

But we have to remember, when all these cards are being handed around and they do have these high values, there’s things like, insurance has to be taken into consideration, because that company is assuming the risk and liability of damaging that card that’s worth thousands of dollars.

Scrappy:

For sure. For sure. I have a 1980 Topps baseball card set. Ricky Henderson’s in there as a rookie. What are the chances that if I get it graded, it’s going to come out spectacular and make me a couple dollars?

Jonathan Stone:

I think there’s a chance with any card, it comes out spectacular. It’s going to depend on how you’ve kept it over the years, making sure it’s in as good a condition as possible.

Not only that, the value of cards changes all the time. David Ortiz got entered into the Hall of Fame this week. The value of his cards will change, based on that.

Players that get called up from the minor leagues into the majors, their card value will change on that.

Touch wood it never happens, when players pass away, their value changes on those cards again. To get the maximum revenue out of your card, if you’re wanting to sell it, is about doing it at the right time.

Scrappy:

Jonathan, it’s so frustrating, because I have probably a hundred cards that I look at, that have so much potential. A nice Pete Rose, a Yaz. I got a 1961 Yaz rookie card. I have all these different cards, but it would cost a fortune for me to be grading them.

Jonathan Stone:

Oh, a hundred percent. I feel your pain. We have about 65,000 cards on the shop floor right now, that if I could only afford to do that, I would.

A lot of collectors want their card in the original condition. They don’t necessarily want it graded.

We talk about when you’re watching again, the baseball purist. There is still plenty of baseball purists out in the card collector world that want it in that original condition.

So, there is pluses and minuses with grading. It’s not always the best idea to throw your money at grading. Sometimes, you know what? It’s best you just love what we have.

Scrappy:

Okay. I have my 1961 Yaz rookie card. It’s in plastic. I’ve kept really good care of it. My dad gave it to me as a gift a long time ago. I still have it. Is it better for me to go on eBay and try to sell it or bring it to your store?

Jonathan Stone:

As a generalization, going on eBay, you’re probably going to get the market value for that card. But don’t forget, you’re going to have a 13% fee, which will be a charge from eBay for selling with them.

So let’s say a card sells for a thousand dollars. You’re going to lose 130 straight away. So, now we’re down to 870. All right?

So you come to me. I’m probably going to offer you 750, $800 for that card. So you’re going to say, “Well, why would I sell to you instead of eBay?”

Remember, when that person gets that card, if they don’t like it, they can return it, and you’ve got to return that money.

When it comes to me, that’s money in your hand. You’re good to go. Let me deal with the problem. Let me deal with the customers because just like anything else, if you mail it out and it gets damaged in the mail, you’ve got to deal with USPS, when it comes to insurance and things like that. I can deal with all of those problems for you.

Scrappy:

I think it’s fascinating that you can just reel off 750, 800, off the top of your head, based on a year and a player and a team. That’s amazing to me.

So in that regard too, then you know how much you can get out of it, selling it to somebody else. So that’s all in your head?

Jonathan Stone:

A hundred percent. So when customers come in to sell to us, one of the things that we believe makes us different from some of the competition is, we will give you a price that we believe is fair.

But not only that, I’m going to tell you the price sticker that I’m going to put on that product on my shelf.

So if I come in and think that card’s worth a hundred dollars, I’m going to tell you straight up, “I’m going to sell this card in store for a hundred dollars.” I will offer you $70 in cash and $85 in store credit, which you can use in the store.

But by being transparent, you know that when you come in, in two, three, four weeks time, you see the price. Oh, you know what? He’s done exactly what he said he’s going to do. So, perhaps this is the guy we can trust.

Rather than you look at the stores all over the country. If you go and sell a card to a store and they give you 50 bucks, and you go in three weeks later and you see your card for $400, is that a store you’re going to keep going back to?

Scrappy:

Right. Right. That’s so smart. That’s really smart. If I get that transparency from a company or a card shop, it’s going to definitely make me want to go there on a regular basis.

That’s really, really smart because we have an attitude as baseball card collectors and avid fans, that we’re going to get screwed over, unfortunately.

Jonathan Stone:

Yeah. I think for me, a lot of stores, all up and down the country, when they go from being… They’re run by collectors. Everybody that opens a card store is generally a collector. We have an interest in this.

But when they start transitioning from that to just a store owner that wants to make money, then we lose the concept of why we opened.

But no, I’m a collector. I know what my card is worth. If I know my card sells on eBay for a hundred dollars or $200, and this person in front of me is offering me 30 or 40, why would I carry on doing business?

I know that the card I’m buying from them, they’re making way too much money on. So look, let’s be transparent. I’ll tell you what I’m going to price it out for in store. I’ll tell you what I think it’s worth, but I’m going to also offer you what I think is a fair price.

If you think it’s fair, you take it. If you don’t and you want to go to eBay, there’s zero hard feelings about that. I think we need to be aware of that, as dealers.

Scrappy:

You mentioned earlier, boxes. Is it better to keep a box intact or to cherry pick out six cards that are valuable?

Jonathan Stone:

No. I think, let’s look at 1986 Fleer basketball, the Michael Jordan rookie cards. The individual packs out of those, I think I saw on eBay, some were selling for $1,500 a pack.

Scrappy:

Wow.

Jonathan Stone:

There’s 40 packs in a box. So, we’re talking $60,000 in a box. That doesn’t happen with every product. The product value’s dependent on the rookie class or the class that’s in that product, each and every year.

But generally, do you know what? Buying some boxes and keeping a hold of them, it’s rare a box will ever go down in value.

Scrappy:

Everybody wants the rookie card. That’s for sure.

Jonathan Stone:

Oh, yeah.

Scrappy:

Kyle Trask, the football player, the quarterback for the Florida Gators, I’m a Florida Gator, I bought a bunch of his cards on speculation.

Of course, I bought Kyle Pitts. I bought a bunch of Kyle Pitts. I bought like 20 rookie cards from him. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I buy these cards randomly. And then all of a sudden, my friend who knows baseball cards better than me says, “Well, these are still not worth anything because they’re not autographed. They’re not the high end brand.”

When we want to get a rookie card on speculation, somebody in college, that’s going into the pros the following year, how do we buy?

Jonathan Stone:

Let’s all remember one thing. Tom Brady was picked in what, the seventh round? Those were cards at the time, that me and you could’ve probably bought on the equivalent of eBay back then, for 99 cents.

That’s not now. You’ve got to collect who you want to collect, who you enjoy and who you love.

For me every year, I’ll look at a product Bowman draft in baseball. I’ll pick some two or three random names that went maybe in the fifth, sixth, seventh round. I’ll pick two or three. I’ll invest heavily in those cards at 25 cents, 50 cents, a dollar and buy as many of those as I can. The cheaper you buy a card, the less money you are going to lose. It’s like shares.

Scrappy:

Sure. Sure.

Jonathan Stone:

So if I buy a hundred of these cards for 25 cents a piece, the most I’m ever going to lose is $25. But if that player makes it makes his debut in major leagues, the moment he’s called up, that’s when you start to sell.

They’re probably going to be 50, 60, $70 at the time, and then you’ve invested. Then you’re looking at that return of money that you can use to grow and enhance your own personal collection, where you want that one holy grail card that we’re all chasing.

Scrappy:

Have you ever experienced the holy grail card?

Jonathan Stone:

No. No. There’s definitely a few cards in the store, that I wished were… that are on… I’m looking at a couple right now, that are in the cabinets, that I’m wishing was sitting at home and not here.

I think I had a kid come in the other day, who wanted a Mac Jones autograph. We have a Mac Jones card on sale in the store. It’s 500 bucks. He’s like, “I just can’t afford it.”

He was 10, 11 years old. “I have $109 in my savings account,” but this is a lower level product, Leaf. There was a Mac Jones autograph on my shelf for $125.

He was 11 years old. He came back the next day. He gave me the $109. 38 cents that he had. He took his card.

I lost money on that deal. All ends up going back to the kid with the smile. I lost money. But the smile on that kid when he ran across my store and showed his mom, it’s every penny of losing $10.

Scrappy:

You got a customer for life.

Jonathan Stone:

Oh, but isn’t that the thing? Isn’t that thing that we’re all forgetting? Today’s low level customers are tomorrow’s medium level customers and the next day’s big level customers.

Making an impression on kids today… We have a penny section. I don’t charge kids for cards out of the penny section. You come in. You spend an hour. You find 50 cards. You’re 12 years old. I’m not taking 50 cents from you. Do you know what? Have a great day.

But when they come back the next year and buy some 25-cent cards, when they get their collection better, just seeing them grow with their collection, isn’t that what this is about?

I’m here to pay my bills. Look, Let’s look at the business aspect of this. I’m here to pay my bills, but I’m not here to buy a Ferrari. I’m here to give my nine month old baby a future.

By watching other kids slightly older than him, grow up and build their future, and isn’t that aiding my baby’s future as well?

Scrappy:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Jonathan Stone:

The baby comes in store. It’s me and the wife and the baby. I have customers that pick him up. I have kids that interact with him. My nine month old baby’s making memories for other people. Do you know what? That’s it for me. That’s worth more than anything else.

Scrappy:

Your biggest regret, you must have one that you looked at and you said maybe. And then all of a sudden, it blew up and you said, “Damn it, I should’ve bought that.”

Jonathan Stone:

Oh yeah, easy. Don’t even know why I thought about it. Anything with Luka Doncic’s signature on, anything.

I’m a Maverick’s fan. I didn’t understand the hype at the time. I thought, no, this is crazy. There’s going to be thousands of them. The hype in Luka and where those cards have gone, I think that for me, is the biggest train I never jumped onto.

Scrappy:

Okay. For those kids that are watching, any parting advice?

Jonathan Stone:

Do what you enjoy. Don’t worry about what anybody else around you enjoys. Do what you enjoy. Invest in what you want, because no matter what eBay says your card is worth, what it’s worth to you is more important than any number on eBay.

Scrappy:

Oh, that’s great. I love that. I love that. I’m going to visit you, for sure.

Jonathan Stone:

Hey, it’ll be great. Let’s get those cameras on. Well, we’ve got a trade night coming up this Saturday. Just, we’re going to fill the store out with kids. I just can’t wait to see all these kids interact.

Scrappy:

That’s great. That’s really great. You’re doing good stuff, Jonathan. Thank you so much. We really enjoy your time.

It’s The Come Up. We’re featuring entrepreneurs. You’re just on the cusp of it. I’m excited for you. I’m really excited for you.

You’re a risk taker. You’re an innovator. You’re doing it. Southwest Florida, just up the road in Venice, Blue Breaks. Awesome.Scrappy:

What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? I’m Scrappy. This is The Come Up, featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. They’re innovators, risk takers and big picture thinkers.

Today, our guest is really cool, really cool. I’m looking forward to this, ’cause I’m a baseball collector myself.

It is Jonathan from Blue Breaks in Venice Beach. He’s got a great store over there. If you want to be our next guest, make sure to check us out at Hey Scrappy on Instagram.

Blue Breaks, tell us about your store. How long you’ve been in business, Jonathan?

Jonathan Stone:

Hey, Scrappy. Well, we’ve been in business three weeks now. We opened the doors three weeks ago. We’ve been primarily online until then. But yeah, no, me, the wife and the nine month old baby decided it was time to take some risks.

We sold our home, moved to the area we’re in now. We’re actually staying with friends at the moment yet. We sold our home and put all of our money into opening a store because we just felt that there’s a space in the market for what we do.

Scrappy:

Okay. So in Venice specifically, do you have competition?

Jonathan Stone:

There’s some other stores in Venice, but I don’t think there’s competition in the sports cards well, because it’s not like McDonald’s, Wendy that all have a burger. They have the same burger.

You can go into every sports card store in the country. Every single store has different cards, has a different product. Not only that, even if they have the same product, when you open a box of sports cards, the cards inside are different in every single box.

So, no, I don’t think there is such a thing as competition in the sports card world. There’s other people that sell sports cards. There’s other people that do similar things.

It’s funny. I was talking to a customer a little while ago. As a collector, you should never only buy what you collect from one store or one person, because every person has a different card, has different types of cards, has different items that you want to collect. This is no different.

Scrappy:

You say you’re different from everybody else. What’s your niche?

Jonathan Stone:

In the store, as well as obviously selling sports cards, we have single sports cards from one penny. So, you can come in the store right now, and we have 30,000 cards that are a penny each, for sale in store right now.

As well as that, we have trade nights. We also do birthday parties for the kids as well.

Scrappy:

Oh, that’s fun. That’s fun. So you’ve been in business for only three weeks. Where do you get all your inventory?

Jonathan Stone:

We do a lot of shopping online. We have distributors. We have contacts within Panini and Topps and things like that as well, that we utilize.

We get as much as we can, from as many different sources, so that our customers come in and have a great weekend.

Scrappy:

Interesting. Interesting. As an entrepreneur, you’re staying at your friend’s house, you’ve put all your money into this. It’s a leap of faith.

Is it something you’re really passionate about or something you see as a business opportunity or both?

Jonathan Stone:

I’ve worked in sport my entire life. I spent 10 years as a tennis umpire. I worked tennis matches at the very top level. I’ve worked Wimbledon. I’ve worked tournaments all over the world. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal.

I’ve also worked soccer professionally, in multiple countries. And I’ve actually spent two years in baseball. I worked in Independent Professional Baseball league last year. I also do call-up games for the minor leagues.

So as well as that, to me as a collector of sports cards, it’s about filling a gap in the market, where other collectors can actually get their hands on the products they want from somebody who cares.

Scrappy:

Okay. Does your wife think you’re crazy for doing this?

Jonathan Stone:

My wife thought I was crazy before this. This just puts the nail in the coffin. I was crazy long before this.

Scrappy:

Jonathan, I’ve bought cards on eBay. I’ve gone to trade shows. I’ve been to shops. Why should I go to a shop versus eBay or a trade show?

Jonathan Stone:

Because you can come in store. You can handle our cards. You can look at it. You can get the advice you need.

We do products where you can clean your cards in store. We also do products where you can store your cards in the best condition.

Not only that, we submit to graders. We submit cards to PSA. You can actually have a good time in here.

We’ve had a lot of people in here at the weekend. We had people watching the England versus Germany European Soccer final game.

We had people in here buying supplies. We had kids in here. We had a David Becker autographed card come out of a box. We had a Steph Curry card come out of the box.

Scrappy:

Oh, wow. Wow.

Jonathan Stone:

We had a Juan DeFranco card come out of a box yesterday as well. So, we’ve had lots of cards come out over the last few days. You don’t get those experiences anywhere else because at home, you’re on your own. You’re opening cards.

If you go to a show, you’re probably buying the cards. You don’t want to open them at the show ’cause you want them to be protected.

But here you can come in, grab the cards, and we’ll give you the protection you need, so that your cards go home in the same condition they come out of that box in.

Scrappy:

The experience, for sure. That’s really interesting. That’s definitely a differential advantage.

Now, you mentioned kids. What percentage of your customers, at least in the first three weeks, are children versus some avid hardcore collector?

Jonathan Stone:

We have, obviously adults that are regaining their childhood through this. We also have collectors that come in with their kids as well.

It’s funny. A little while ago I had the gentleman come in. Him and his daughter actually collect. They’ve been a great inspiration for me and my wife, because to see them bonding over collecting cards, a guy who did this when he was a child and now his almost teenage daughter, getting into it, coming in and raiding up any boxes for her is just, it’s just an amazing thing, watching them bond.

So I think you’re probably looking at a 50/50 split because most of the kids bring their parents with them.

We do mimosas on a Sunday for the baseball moms, just to keep them happy as well. So, we have a few adults come in, but we do have a lot of kids.

Scrappy:

Are you a sucker for a kid with a smile, that wants a good deal?

Jonathan Stone:

When you have a nine month old baby, you’re a sucker for any kid with a smile. Sucker for any kid with a smile.

Scrappy:

How do you make the transition from being an umpire and a referee and being a sports advocate in that regard, to actually selling your wares, from a baseball card perspective?

Jonathan Stone:

It’s been an interesting transition. This time of year, I’m used to… Normally, I’m away in the summer on a baseball field. It’s been hard this year, being at home. But I think life has changed for me.

Now having our Kalimar baby, it’s giving him something that when he’s two, three, four, five, his interest will pique. He can help out in the shop. It keeps him busy.

But not only that. It’s a family business, that hopefully he’ll carry on in years to come.

Scrappy:

That’s awesome. I can tell just by your personality that you’re breeding something special over there, Jonathan. I can totally feel that.

You mentioned graded. Now, it’s really frustrating to me as a baseball card collector, that I got to send out graded cards. Can you explain the process to our audience?

Jonathan Stone:

Cards are worth different value, depending on their condition. In a sense, in the grading world, you’re grading your card from one to 10, 10 being the best, one being the worst.

Each of those grades, depending on the company and the grade you get, are worth a different value.

So just because it comes fresh out of the box does not mean it’s a 10 out 10 perfect condition card. Errors happen in printing, so it might be slightly off center.

We’ve all had those days where we’re fed up with that little bit of black ink crossing through a couple of letters on the printer. That happens in the card world. So, all of those sort of things affect it.

You can come to us. We’ll clean the card for you. We will send it off to PSA, and then that card comes back with a grade on it.

A grade is no better than a referee or an umpire. It’s just one person you’re, paying to give you an independent opinion on that card.

Scrappy:

How much does it cost?

Jonathan Stone:

It varies from $18 into the hundreds, depending on the value of your card. The annoying thing with grading and it annoys me as a store and as a collector, is the grading cost is dependent upon the value of the card.

So if you turn around and bring in a card that’s worth 30, $40, you might get away with an 18 to $23 charge to have that graded.

But if it’s worth 50, 60, $70,000, then we’re going to start talking thousands of dollars for the exact same process. That’s where it’s frustrating as a collector.

But we have to remember, when all these cards are being handed around and they do have these high values, there’s things like, insurance has to be taken into consideration, because that company is assuming the risk and liability of damaging that card that’s worth thousands of dollars.

Scrappy:

For sure. For sure. I have a 1980 Topps baseball card set. Ricky Henderson’s in there as a rookie. What are the chances that if I get it graded, it’s going to come out spectacular and make me a couple dollars?

Jonathan Stone:

I think there’s a chance with any card, it comes out spectacular. It’s going to depend on how you’ve kept it over the years, making sure it’s in as good a condition as possible.

Not only that, the value of cards changes all the time. David Ortiz got entered into the Hall of Fame this week. The value of his cards will change, based on that.

Players that get called up from the minor leagues into the majors, their card value will change on that.

Touch wood it never happens, when players pass away, their value changes on those cards again. To get the maximum revenue out of your card, if you’re wanting to sell it, is about doing it at the right time.

Scrappy:

Jonathan, it’s so frustrating, because I have probably a hundred cards that I look at, that have so much potential. A nice Pete Rose, a Yaz. I got a 1961 Yaz rookie card. I have all these different cards, but it would cost a fortune for me to be grading them.

Jonathan Stone:

Oh, a hundred percent. I feel your pain. We have about 65,000 cards on the shop floor right now, that if I could only afford to do that, I would.

A lot of collectors want their card in the original condition. They don’t necessarily want it graded.

We talk about when you’re watching again, the baseball purist. There is still plenty of baseball purists out in the card collector world that want it in that original condition.

So, there is pluses and minuses with grading. It’s not always the best idea to throw your money at grading. Sometimes, you know what? It’s best you just love what we have.

Scrappy:

Okay. I have my 1961 Yaz rookie card. It’s in plastic. I’ve kept really good care of it. My dad gave it to me as a gift a long time ago. I still have it. Is it better for me to go on eBay and try to sell it or bring it to your store?

Jonathan Stone:

As a generalization, going on eBay, you’re probably going to get the market value for that card. But don’t forget, you’re going to have a 13% fee, which will be a charge from eBay for selling with them.

So let’s say a card sells for a thousand dollars. You’re going to lose 130 straight away. So, now we’re down to 870. All right?

So you come to me. I’m probably going to offer you 750, $800 for that card. So you’re going to say, “Well, why would I sell to you instead of eBay?”

Remember, when that person gets that card, if they don’t like it, they can return it, and you’ve got to return that money.

When it comes to me, that’s money in your hand. You’re good to go. Let me deal with the problem. Let me deal with the customers because just like anything else, if you mail it out and it gets damaged in the mail, you’ve got to deal with USPS, when it comes to insurance and things like that. I can deal with all of those problems for you.

Scrappy:

I think it’s fascinating that you can just reel off 750, 800, off the top of your head, based on a year and a player and a team. That’s amazing to me.

So in that regard too, then you know how much you can get out of it, selling it to somebody else. So that’s all in your head?

Jonathan Stone:

A hundred percent. So when customers come in to sell to us, one of the things that we believe makes us different from some of the competition is, we will give you a price that we believe is fair.

But not only that, I’m going to tell you the price sticker that I’m going to put on that product on my shelf.

So if I come in and think that card’s worth a hundred dollars, I’m going to tell you straight up, “I’m going to sell this card in store for a hundred dollars.” I will offer you $70 in cash and $85 in store credit, which you can use in the store.

But by being transparent, you know that when you come in, in two, three, four weeks time, you see the price. Oh, you know what? He’s done exactly what he said he’s going to do. So, perhaps this is the guy we can trust.

Rather than you look at the stores all over the country. If you go and sell a card to a store and they give you 50 bucks, and you go in three weeks later and you see your card for $400, is that a store you’re going to keep going back to?

Scrappy:

Right. Right. That’s so smart. That’s really smart. If I get that transparency from a company or a card shop, it’s going to definitely make me want to go there on a regular basis.

That’s really, really smart because we have an attitude as baseball card collectors and avid fans, that we’re going to get screwed over, unfortunately.

Jonathan Stone:

Yeah. I think for me, a lot of stores, all up and down the country, when they go from being… They’re run by collectors. Everybody that opens a card store is generally a collector. We have an interest in this.

But when they start transitioning from that to just a store owner that wants to make money, then we lose the concept of why we opened.

But no, I’m a collector. I know what my card is worth. If I know my card sells on eBay for a hundred dollars or $200, and this person in front of me is offering me 30 or 40, why would I carry on doing business?

I know that the card I’m buying from them, they’re making way too much money on. So look, let’s be transparent. I’ll tell you what I’m going to price it out for in store. I’ll tell you what I think it’s worth, but I’m going to also offer you what I think is a fair price.

If you think it’s fair, you take it. If you don’t and you want to go to eBay, there’s zero hard feelings about that. I think we need to be aware of that, as dealers.

Scrappy:

You mentioned earlier, boxes. Is it better to keep a box intact or to cherry pick out six cards that are valuable?

Jonathan Stone:

No. I think, let’s look at 1986 Fleer basketball, the Michael Jordan rookie cards. The individual packs out of those, I think I saw on eBay, some were selling for $1,500 a pack.

Scrappy:

Wow.

Jonathan Stone:

There’s 40 packs in a box. So, we’re talking $60,000 in a box. That doesn’t happen with every product. The product value’s dependent on the rookie class or the class that’s in that product, each and every year.

But generally, do you know what? Buying some boxes and keeping a hold of them, it’s rare a box will ever go down in value.

Scrappy:

Everybody wants the rookie card. That’s for sure.

Jonathan Stone:

Oh, yeah.

Scrappy:

Kyle Trask, the football player, the quarterback for the Florida Gators, I’m a Florida Gator, I bought a bunch of his cards on speculation.

Of course, I bought Kyle Pitts. I bought a bunch of Kyle Pitts. I bought like 20 rookie cards from him. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I buy these cards randomly. And then all of a sudden, my friend who knows baseball cards better than me says, “Well, these are still not worth anything because they’re not autographed. They’re not the high end brand.”

When we want to get a rookie card on speculation, somebody in college, that’s going into the pros the following year, how do we buy?

Jonathan Stone:

Let’s all remember one thing. Tom Brady was picked in what, the seventh round? Those were cards at the time, that me and you could’ve probably bought on the equivalent of eBay back then, for 99 cents.

That’s not now. You’ve got to collect who you want to collect, who you enjoy and who you love.

For me every year, I’ll look at a product Bowman draft in baseball. I’ll pick some two or three random names that went maybe in the fifth, sixth, seventh round. I’ll pick two or three. I’ll invest heavily in those cards at 25 cents, 50 cents, a dollar and buy as many of those as I can. The cheaper you buy a card, the less money you are going to lose. It’s like shares.

Scrappy:

Sure. Sure.

Jonathan Stone:

So if I buy a hundred of these cards for 25 cents a piece, the most I’m ever going to lose is $25. But if that player makes it makes his debut in major leagues, the moment he’s called up, that’s when you start to sell.

They’re probably going to be 50, 60, $70 at the time, and then you’ve invested. Then you’re looking at that return of money that you can use to grow and enhance your own personal collection, where you want that one holy grail card that we’re all chasing.

Scrappy:

Have you ever experienced the holy grail card?

Jonathan Stone:

No. No. There’s definitely a few cards in the store, that I wished were… that are on… I’m looking at a couple right now, that are in the cabinets, that I’m wishing was sitting at home and not here.

I think I had a kid come in the other day, who wanted a Mac Jones autograph. We have a Mac Jones card on sale in the store. It’s 500 bucks. He’s like, “I just can’t afford it.”

He was 10, 11 years old. “I have $109 in my savings account,” but this is a lower level product, Leaf. There was a Mac Jones autograph on my shelf for $125.

He was 11 years old. He came back the next day. He gave me the $109. 38 cents that he had. He took his card.

I lost money on that deal. All ends up going back to the kid with the smile. I lost money. But the smile on that kid when he ran across my store and showed his mom, it’s every penny of losing $10.

Scrappy:

You got a customer for life.

Jonathan Stone:

Oh, but isn’t that the thing? Isn’t that thing that we’re all forgetting? Today’s low level customers are tomorrow’s medium level customers and the next day’s big level customers.

Making an impression on kids today… We have a penny section. I don’t charge kids for cards out of the penny section. You come in. You spend an hour. You find 50 cards. You’re 12 years old. I’m not taking 50 cents from you. Do you know what? Have a great day.

But when they come back the next year and buy some 25-cent cards, when they get their collection better, just seeing them grow with their collection, isn’t that what this is about?

I’m here to pay my bills. Look, Let’s look at the business aspect of this. I’m here to pay my bills, but I’m not here to buy a Ferrari. I’m here to give my nine month old baby a future.

By watching other kids slightly older than him, grow up and build their future, and isn’t that aiding my baby’s future as well?

Scrappy:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Jonathan Stone:

The baby comes in store. It’s me and the wife and the baby. I have customers that pick him up. I have kids that interact with him. My nine month old baby’s making memories for other people. Do you know what? That’s it for me. That’s worth more than anything else.

Scrappy:

Your biggest regret, you must have one that you looked at and you said maybe. And then all of a sudden, it blew up and you said, “Damn it, I should’ve bought that.”

Jonathan Stone:

Oh yeah, easy. Don’t even know why I thought about it. Anything with Luka Doncic’s signature on, anything.

I’m a Maverick’s fan. I didn’t understand the hype at the time. I thought, no, this is crazy. There’s going to be thousands of them. The hype in Luka and where those cards have gone, I think that for me, is the biggest train I never jumped onto.

Scrappy:

Okay. For those kids that are watching, any parting advice?

Jonathan Stone:

Do what you enjoy. Don’t worry about what anybody else around you enjoys. Do what you enjoy. Invest in what you want, because no matter what eBay says your card is worth, what it’s worth to you is more important than any number on eBay.

Scrappy:

Oh, that’s great. I love that. I love that. I’m going to visit you, for sure.

Jonathan Stone:

Hey, it’ll be great. Let’s get those cameras on. Well, we’ve got a trade night coming up this Saturday. Just, we’re going to fill the store out with kids. I just can’t wait to see all these kids interact.

Scrappy:

That’s great. That’s really great. You’re doing good stuff, Jonathan. Thank you so much. We really enjoy your time.

It’s The Come Up. We’re featuring entrepreneurs. You’re just on the cusp of it. I’m excited for you. I’m really excited for you.

You’re a risk taker. You’re an innovator. You’re doing it. Southwest Florida, just up the road in Venice, Blue Breaks. Awesome.

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In Episode 9 of The Come Up, meet Florida Pet Adoption Specialist Gary Willoughby who answers all your pet questions

Florida Pet Adoption Does The Come Up

Should cats have claws?

Should men have cats?

Why do we hoomans bond so much with our four-legged friends?

lee county animal services

These questions and all things pets are answered by Pet Adoption Specialist Gary Willoughby, Executive Director of the Gulfcoast Humane Society, a non-profit no-kill Fort Myers animal shelter funded only by donations. The facility takes in 3,000 homeless pets a year and provides veterinary services, transitioning homeless pets into happy, loving homes.

lee county veterinary services

Gary is Scrappy’s guest on Episode 9 of The Come Up, Content with Teeth’s video podcast chronicling dynamic entrepreneurs in SWFL from Naples to Sarasota.

Episode 9: SWFL Pet Adoption Highlights

fort myers animal services and pet adoption

Da’ Big Snip: Gary mentions a whopping percentage of SWFL dogs that are not spayed or neutered. The number will blow your mind. Gary’s animal services shelter performs almost 9000 operations on adoptable dogs annually to remedy this problem.

The Big Chill: Scrappy describes what is the best spot to de-stress in Lee County, one that is open some nights and weekends too. Learn what it is and why it’s better than a yoga studio or bar.

florida animal rescue

Pre-Historic Pets: Find out more about early humanity’s spiritual connection with their pets. Gary describes how early humans bonded with and domesticated wild animals nearly 12,000 years ago. This bond continues and is fostered by animal shelters where SWFL residents can adopt dogs and other animals.

florida animal shelter

Get Your Animal Questions Answered: Is it cruel to de-claw a cat? How do you train a puppy? Gary answers all your pressing animal questions. His answers on homeless pets might surprise you.

Florida cat rescue

Catch other key nuggets in Episode 9 of The Come Up like how dogs help autistic children and how distinctive personalities emerge in a litter of lovable puppies. This episode is so much more than divulging a rescue spot to adopt dogs and cats.

About Gary Willoughby & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Gary Willoughby and the Gulfcoast Humane Society HERE.

The Come Up Episode 9 Video Transcript

Scrappy:

What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? I’m Scrap Jackson. Welcome to The Come Up. It’s a video podcast, celebrating Southwest Florida’s most interesting entrepreneurs and executives. We’re brought to you by Content with Teeth, a creative content marketing agency right here in Southwest Florida. They do it really big like this Fathead behind me. If you want to be a guest, reach out to me at @HeyScrappy on Instagram, or text Content with Teeth at 21000. That’s Content with Teeth.

Our guest today is Gary Willoughby, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Humane Society. It’s a non-profit organization in Fort Myers, which is a no-kill animal shelter funded only by donations. They take in 3,000 homeless animals a year, provide veterinarian care, and transition rescued animals into happy, loving homes. Gary, welcome.

Gary Willoughby:

Thank you so much for inviting me.

Scrappy:

Yeah, it’s great to have you here. Let’s start with the hard facts. 80% of dogs in Southwest Florida are not spayed or neutered.

Gary Willoughby:

That sounds about right and we’re doing our best to try to remedy. We do almost 9,000 spay/neuter surgeries every year in our clinic.

Scrappy:

What do you profess to people out there that are being irresponsible with this?

Gary Willoughby:

Well, again, if they only have one pet, they may think it’s not necessary because their dog or cat’s not going to get out, or their cat’s not going to get pregnant, but animals get loose all the time. It’s something that we strongly recommend. There’s too many pets ending up in shelters in one of the best remedies is spay and neuter.

Scrappy:

I have interesting story for you. I worked on Palm Beach Boulevard and my work was stressed. I love what I did, but on a stressful moment, I’d say, “You know what, I’m going to go by your facility and I’m going to pet the dogs, talk to the cats, and just relax for 15 or 20 minutes.” It always did the trick always. Now, that afternoon, I went back happy and healthy and ready to go. Is everybody allowed just to come by and browse?

Gary Willoughby:

Oh, absolutely. You don’t have to have an appointment to come see our animals. We’re open seven days a week here, so we fit about any schedule, again, including one night, Thursday night, today, we’re open until 7:00, and then open again Saturday and Sunday, so come by. You don’t have to be even ready to adopt. You may just want to come and ask them questions. If you already have a dog at home, you want to bring your dog out to meet one of our other dogs, we also have folks that help you make sure it’s a good fit for your family.

Scrappy:

Okay. I went through this process for weeks, checking out your cats and your dogs and having a nice time with them. I finally adopted and I got Zoe, my cat. It’s very cathartic. Pets are very cathartic. Can you elaborate on that?

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah, it’s something called the human/animal bond that we’re big believers in you. Again, we think of animals as part of our family. There’s a lot of studies showing how they help with your blood pressure, giving you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes if people are fighting depression, or they’re not feeling well in general, knowing that animal’s counting on you for care, for feeding, to take your dog for a walk, all that, it’s good for you, and obviously, it’s good for that animal that needs you.

Scrappy:

I call it a spiritual connection. I feel like that emotional bond between an owner and a pet is so profound that it’s hard to put to words.

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah, they’re 100% reliant on us. We’ve domesticated animals many thousands of years ago because they were important to us. Our ancestors knew that and we first domesticated dogs, but way back in 16,000 BC, so it’s been part of our lives for many, many, many generations, and we know that importance. That’s what we’re always advocating to keep animals in loving homes if they already are there and they need help with pet food or affordable veterinary care, or whatever, the last thing we want to do is see somebody’s family broken up by bringing their animals to us when we can help them keep it in the home.

Scrappy:

Absolutely, absolutely. Speaking about cathartic, I’ll give you a quick story. There was this kid with autism and his mom was actually going to see some dogs and check them out. She was actually going there shopping, if you will, for her nephew, but her child with autism had three dogs approach him, one, after he screamed, he screamed really loud, threw his hands up in the air. He was out of control. One dog ran, one dog approached him, and the other dog just sat there and looked at him, and it was so calm and so wonderful that he actually was trained to be a service dog. That dog to this day is helping this child with autism. I really feel like it’s something to promote is not just the camaraderie and the companion that we get from a cat or a dog, but also the wonderful effects they have on us.

Gary Willoughby:

Absolutely. There are many people that are taking advantage of emotional support animals to help them add value to their daily lives and animals like in the situation you just described often can read our body language and they pick us as adopters as often as we pick them. We may come in thinking we want one dog, and then another dog you may see really knows, “You’re my human and I want you,” and they send that signal to us and we end up adopting that dog or that cat. Again, especially folks with special needs. Not every animal’s perfect for every family, and so that’s great that you have that experience. Again, we see that. We have folks from Lark and other community organizations that come out here and spend time here and work here one day a week and the way they are around the animals is really incredible to see them come out of their shells.

Scrappy:

Is it true they take on the personality of their owner, or are they innate, and they stick that way?

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah, I think they probably stick that way. They learn habits from us. Again, if we’re couch potato, they might end up being that way as well, if we’re very active, but a lot of it is in innate in their personalities already, and that may be why we’re drawn to somebody. Usually, we see that couch potato dog with a couch potato type person, and that person that likes to jog three or four miles a day, they’re going to pick an animal that’s equally able to do that jogging alongside with them.

Scrappy:

How soon can you tell a puppy’s personality? How many weeks old?

Gary Willoughby:

I mean, I guess we see them at all ages. Oftentimes, they’re with a mom and sometimes that can be harder how big the litter is, so they’re forming their… You can tell the differences in a litter. We just recently had a momma dog of nine puppies that came here when the puppies were pretty young and it didn’t take long at all to see they were nine different personalities. Sometimes they’re also even, they look very different, lots of different colors and shapes. You don’t always know who the father is. We just saw the mama dog here, but nine distinctive personalities in these puppies.

Scrappy:

Do you have any hints as far as adopters coming to facility and looking for a puppy as far as how to pick?

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah. Shelters generally don’t get a lot of puppies. When we do, they tend to get adopted quickly. That’s where I would encourage you, like you’ve done in the past, is come and visit, talk to some of our staff that work with them every day. They can start starting off with asking new questions about what you’re looking for, your living arrangements, other people and other animals in your house, how active you want to be. Are you looking for somebody to go on car rides with you, or on your boat, or just to play around the backyard? Learning more about you and your family helps identify the type of puppy, the breed, the characteristics, the sizes, and all that would be best suited for your house.

Scrappy:

Gary, as an executive director, how did you get in this game? What motivated you to become where you are today?

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah. It wasn’t a direct path. I started off this shelter actually as a kid, I moved to Florida when I was young, and I actually adopted my first kitten from this shelter in 1979.

Scrappy:

Wow.

Gary Willoughby:

So, I go back to the organization quite a ways. Right after I graduated college, I adopted a dog from another group in St. Pete and I started volunteering for them and then I fostered and I helped at special events. Later on, I was a board member of a different shelter here in North Fort Myers at the Animal Refuge Center. After I finished grad school, I decided that I wanted to make this my not just something I did on the side, or as my hobby, or my volunteerism, I wanted to do this full-time, and so that’s what I’ve done for about the last 15 or 16 years is worked in animal welfare organizations in several different states, and was super lucky that this opportunity back in my hometown became available last year.

Scrappy:

How rewarding is it?

Gary Willoughby:

It’s an emotional rollercoaster some days because when you love animals as much as we do, you see abuse and neglect, but when you see those animals overcome that and find that great home afterwards, it recharges you. It’s really, when you see animals that come in scared and leave happy as could be and getting those updates from people who’ve adopted, it makes all the difference in the world for us.

Scrappy:

One of the biggest problems with cats is they scratch. They scratch the furniture, they scratch a very various things, so do we declaw them? Because I’ve heard a lot of bad things about declawing.

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah, I was most recently was up in New York state and we had it banned at the state level, so it’s against a law to declaw cats up there. It’s not something we would do or recommend. We understand, again, why people are concerned about nobody wants to be scratched, and especially if they have thin skin and they’re worried about bleeding or things, but at home I have lots of little scratching pads and scratching posts and you train. My cat was five when I adopted him and it took no time at all to get him used to scratching on those. My furniture’s all safe, I’m safe, I don’t have any, so they can be trained out of it in most cases. Again, our staff is happy to offer some advice to folks, because again, the veterinarian share with us how troubling of a procedure it is for the cat’s health to do that, so we strongly discourage that.

Scrappy:

Sure, sure, sure. How smart are cats?

Gary Willoughby:

I guess like people, I mean, they vary. Mine seems to be a very bright guy and they like the routine. He’s friendly. He’s very, very affectionate for 30 seconds and then he runs off and does something else. My cat’s pretty smart and I think most of them are. They’re more trainable than I think people know, too. Some people leash-walk their cats, some train them to walk through a cat door to go to the porch. Again, they’re usually pretty bright creatures. Again, they’re very different personalities than dogs, but again, I have both at home, and love them both equally.

Scrappy:

Okay. You have a dog and a cat. Are you inclined to take all of them home at the end of the day?

Gary Willoughby:

I’ve been guilty of that in the past where I’ve had four dogs and three cats, plus fostering animals, and I wasn’t even the worst example in my place of work. I’m better at it now. My little dog is old and diabetic and visually impaired, and so right now he’s not looking for a new buddy, so I try to be sensitive to… I do take animals on the news all the time and I fall in love with a different dog just about every day, so I really just try to celebrate when I find that right family for them and they get adopted because I know as much as I love one dog tomorrow, there’s going to be another one in this place I like just as much.

Scrappy:

Sure, sure, sure. You have a cat, I have a cat, so we’re guys that have cats, but in some respects, I still hear that it’s not cool for a guy to have a cat. Sometimes I mention to people at work, “Yeah, I’ve got a cat and I’m proud of it,” and they look at me sideways. How do you respond to that?

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah. Again, to each his own, I guess. I’ve always loved cats and loved all animals. I’ve had rabbits in the past. Yeah, I don’t know why it is that guys think it’s not cool to have cats. Although again, we are fortunate. We’re around a lot of our volunteers and our staff. The guys here have cats and like them as well. Doesn’t mean you’re less of a guy because you have a cat. I think I have a really cool cat. His name is Emmett. I think he’s awesome. Even when I took him on the news, the guy interviewing me there wasn’t a big cat fan, I could tell, and that’s okay. Again, maybe that’s peer pressure, or how they’re brought up, maybe their dads didn’t like cats as well. I love them. More for me, I guess. If they don’t, I want them.

Scrappy:

Okay, okay. I have a couple of feral cats in my neighborhood. Is it dangerous to touch them?

Gary Willoughby:

Not dangerous to touch them? I mean, they’re usually more likely to run away from you, so you’re probably not going to be able to. We do a lot of TNR surgeries here at our clinic and work with a lot of groups who trap them in the communities to make sure they’re spayed or neutered. But again, they’re happy just to have some food left out for them. They don’t want to bother you. They want you far away from them. Our goal is just to make sure there’s not a lot of unplanned litters of kittens coming from those feral cats, because again, when they’re born outside, that’s a tough environment for them. Those also, if they’re not socialized at a young age, by the time they’re seven or eight weeks old, they may not be able to be socialized.

Scrappy:

Interesting, interesting.

Gary Willoughby:

So, the sooner we can get them in, and the feral cat groups we work with, when they catch them, we try to take the kittens in and foster them and socialize them so they can also be adopted inside houses, not outside.

Scrappy:

Okay. Huge general question for you. Tips on how to train your dog.

Gary Willoughby:

Hmm. Probably I would consult the professionals in that. There are a large amount of… You can do general dog training classes or puppy classes at your local PetSmart or things like that. I’ve done that in the past with animals. There are a lot of specialists depending on what your dogs, what it needs training on, so if it’s jumping a lot, if it’s training on housebreaking, on how to get along with other dogs, there’s a lot of different things. There are experts who make this profession just studying dog psychology and behavioral tendencies, because again, all dogs, just like people, are all individuals, and so their care plan needs to be tailored to their specific issues and their home environment. Sometimes the trainers will tell us as well part of it’s also training us as the dog owners that sometimes we’re part of the reason why their behavior, we may not always be reading the body language, and we might need training ourselves just as much as the dog does.

Scrappy:

Interesting. Very interesting. More specifically, how do we train a puppy to pee and poop outside

Gary Willoughby:

Crate training is what I’ve done. I haven’t had puppies often, but crate tanning, getting them into a routine. Again, if you’re were somebody who’s gone 12 hours a day, that puppy’s not going to hold it that long, so puppy pads in your crate. Even my older dogs now, every time they drink, or every time he eats, he’s going outside right afterwards, so getting him out, trying to read that body language. When the puppy’s done playing, when he is done eating, or drinking, or wakes up from a nap, he’s got to go, so getting him outside quickly and teaching him that routine and then celebrating when he does it good outside and then bringing him back inside and giving him a treat and all that, so rewarding that good behavior. They want to please us.

Scrappy:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ve heard mixed opinions about crating. You believe in it?

Gary Willoughby:

Yeah, I have for years and years. Again, making sure it’s a large enough crate. You don’t get one when they’re a puppy and then they can barely squeeze in there later on. You want to make sure they have room for their treats and their water and their bed. I have a dog bed in mine for my little dog. Especially if you have other pets in the home, again, some people may have a spare bedroom, or something that they use. The dogs often… I look at it, I have music on at home as well, I make sure the blinds are drawn, so it’s not too bright. Just try to have a nice… Just like we want to sleep in a comfortable environment, you want to make sure it’s comfortable for your dog.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Meet John Garuti III, the master of Babcock real estate and Scrappy's guest on Episode 8 of The Come Up

Babcock Real Estate Does The Come Up

How do you get into a sun-kissed mecca that simultaneously promotes environmental sustainability while not breaking the bank?

Call John Garuti III, the kingpin of Babcock Ranch real estate and the latest guest on Content with Teeth’s video podcast The Come Up, charting mover-and-shaker entrepreneurs in SWFL from Naples to Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Babcock is the first solar-powered town in the United States residing in sunny Southwest Florida, a low-tax state friendly to both retirees looking to ride out their golden years and Millennials looking to become homeowners without paying a fortune to The Man Uncle Sam.

John has sold more than 100 homes in Babcock and talks to The Come Up Host Scrappy Jackson in our latest episode.

The Come Up Episode 8: Babcock Ranch Real Estate Highlights

Da’ Big Apple: The Come Up Host Scrappy is from Manhattan; John is from Queens. Who’s going to win the Battle of the Boroughs for those who relocate to the Sunshine State?

Welcome to the Ranch: John tells Scrappy how he discovered Babcock Ranch and went from having no job or prospects to being the biggest realtor in one of the hottest master-planned communities in the entire United States.

Video Marketing Master: John details how he used YouTube to build his real estate empire. Entrepreneurs should take note of John’s recipe for success when it comes to video.

Power of the Sun: Yes, Babcock is solar-powered. John details how that is just the tip of the scales when it comes to the community’s environmental sustainability. People who care about the Earth, watch and learn!

Catch other key nuggets on Episode 8 of The Come Up like how to pocket some serious coin by flipping a Babcock mansion to a cool $1.3 million.

About John Garuti III & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Babcock Ranch Realtor John Garuti III HERE.

The Come Up Episode 8 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson:

What up, what up, what up? Welcome to The Come Up, a business video podcast featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy and today our guest is John Garuti III. He’s an expert in prolific at Babcock Ranch Realty, having sold over 50 pre-construction homes in the ranch. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth. My man, Mike, a dynamic local content marketing agency aimed at helping you generate qualified leads, conversions, and brand awareness. They do it really big, just like this fathead behind me. So if you want to be our next guest, we’d love to have you on this podcast. Go ahead and hit me up on Instagram at Hey Scrappy or Mike at 21,000. Just text him. John, how are you?

John Garuti III:

I’m doing great, man. How are you?

Scrappy Jackson:

It’s great to see you. In preparing for this I watched a tremendous amount of your videos. You’re prolific when it comes to marketing.

John Garuti III:

Thank you. It’s how I started my real estate business.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool. When did you start?

John Garuti III:

Well, I actually got my first sale here in August of 2020. So been doing real estate just under two years now.

Scrappy Jackson:

Oh, wow. So you’re a total opportunist because this is a great time to get into the game.

John Garuti III:

Yeah. Well I moved to Babcock Ranch at the end of 2019 and I was the 347 homeowner here according to my garbage man. And I just said, “Man, they’re building 20,000 front doors here. So maybe if I get into real estate right about now it may work out,” and it sure has so far.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very smart. Very smart. I understand you’re from New York.

John Garuti III:

Originally from Queens. Yep. Born and raised.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. I’m from money making Manhattan.

John Garuti III:

I’m from across the East river.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m 58th and second. So I kind of know it pretty well.

John Garuti III:

Nice.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. Yeah. So in New York, what were you doing previous to realty?

John Garuti III:

Well, in New York, my father had a big manufacturing business in Queens. So I kind of grew up in that business. He started it with his father back in 1978. It was a pretty big business, did a little over $10 million a year in revenue and we actually manufactured right there in Queens and we delivered to all the mom and pop tile shops right there all throughout the city. So yeah. I kind of had a good business up upbringing, just being involved in that from summers in high schools and college and then after college I worked there full-time until we sold the business at the end of 2017.

Scrappy Jackson:

So your crazy busy in New York City, what brought you to Babcock Ranch? It’s a huge departure.

John Garuti III:

Yeah. My wife and I, we had just had our second kid there at the end of 2017 and I worked for the people that bought our business for a year and they’re a big French multinational company, huge like billion dollar company, and I wasn’t really feeling that corporate culture. It wasn’t me. And my wife, we had wanted to get out of New York for a while just to have more. We had young kids and we were looking for greener pastures and my wife wanted to move warm and my family, we had been coming down to Naples since like 2006 my parents bought their first condo. So I was always coming down here two, three times a year to hang out and we said, “Hell, why not? Why not move to Florida? Let’s try it out.”

Scrappy Jackson:

How did you discover Babcock Ranch?

John Garuti III:

Just I was living in Naples and we didn’t know where we wanted to move, what we wanted to do, and then we kept hearing about Babcock and lo and behold, we came up here I think the first time in January of 2019 and at the time it was barely anything here still, but we just kind of fell in love with the concept and everything that the town stood for with the sustainability and environmentalism and we just said, “This is the place for us to raise our family.”

Scrappy Jackson:

So have this great job in New York, you move to Florida, but somewhat of a risk in sacrifice in becoming an entrepreneur. I mean, there’s a lot of competition in real estate, a lot of realtors out there.

John Garuti III:

Oh yeah. Yeah. It was the biggest risk I ever took in my life and we moved here to Florida with no idea what we were going to do, man. It was definitely a big risk. We had no jobs, my wife and I, we had two kids. I mean, I had enough money saved up to make that move, but yeah. It was definitely scary at first.

Scrappy Jackson:

So do you have a niche in Babcock Ranch?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I think I rarely have done well with the new construction and helping relocation buyers and my YouTube channels really I think what’s helped me connect with that audience because as you know, this is a huge relocation market, not only Florida, but Southwest Florida and people, they’ve been hearing about Babcock Ranch from all over the country and they do their research now, like everybody does online today and I’ve just been able to connect with a lot of people from all the helpful and useful videos I’ve put out there. So I think if there’s one niche that I’ve like really nailed down it’s those relocation, new construction buyers.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Yeah. Well you’re definitely ahead of the curve when it comes to social media and video marketing and one of the things I got from you and watching your videos is you seem really credible. You seem like a nice warm guy. Is that true or is it just a big front?

John Garuti III:

No. I’m crazy. I’m mean. I don’t like people at all. No, just kidding. You know, with my videos, that’s me. What you see in those videos, that’s me as a person. I’m very upfront about everything. I don’t sugarcoat anything. I also don’t hide anything. One thing I think people connect with is that I’m putting it all out there and if you like it, well let’s talk. If not, hey, no worries. I’d rather-

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s great.

John Garuti III:

You find out everything you need to know about this neighborhood to make an informed decision, whether it’s to move here or not to move here.

Scrappy Jackson:

Got you. Got you. Tell us about Babcock Ranch.

John Garuti III:

So they’re building 19,500 front doors here. Eventually everything you’ll ever need will be right here in town. So it’s pretty exciting. They just passed about 2000 home sales. So a lot more to come. Probably another 20 years I think at least of building more houses here and I heard some big things that are coming. Like we just finally got Publix. We’re starting to get restaurants. I heard of like some hardware stores, some home good style stores coming, and the town just continues to develop. Like I think the one thing right now is the builders can’t build the homes here fast enough.

Scrappy Jackson:

Wow.

John Garuti III:

There’s a lot of supply chain issues getting materials and whatnot. It’s taking builders longer to build, but this place is going to be a full town one day. What’s nice is we’re surrounded by 73,000 acres of nature preserve. The master plan’s going to have like 50 miles of hiking trails and-

Scrappy Jackson:

Oh, nice.

John Garuti III:

We have an awesome HOA that I think’s very friendly. We get high speed gigabyte internet with our homes here. So it’s really-

Scrappy Jackson:

And you’re solar power too, right?

John Garuti III:

Yes. That’s the other big pitch, right? We’ve got this huge solar array just North of the town and all the energy during the day is powered by that solar array. And then at night we switch to that big gas plant there on the Caloosahatchee River.

Scrappy Jackson:

Tell us about the demographics. Is it usually retirees, families, single people? Who’s the majority of people moving to Babcock Ranch?

John Garuti III:

You got the whole spectrum of people here. That’s what I love. Like I mean, I’m married with young kids. So tons of families, tons of kids here, and then you’ve got everything, the empty nesters. You’ve got the seasonal folks. When you look at like the golf course, that’s a more seasonal neighborhood, but when you look at the rest of the neighborhoods in Babcock Ranch, for the most part, it’s people that are living here year round working in Southwest Florida. We’re still such a young town. So that’s the exciting thing. Like even getting in here now you’re still getting in at those mason stages.

Scrappy Jackson:

John, you’re a pioneer. Speaking about different cities, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, from a Punta Garda perspective, you must be infusing their life tremendously from an economic standpoint.

John Garuti III:

Yes. Well Punta Garda, believe it or not, is now the seventh fastest growing city in the United States and I think part of that is from the growth here in Babcock Ranch because technically our address is Punta Garda.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure. Sure. What does 300 grand get me in Babcock Ranch today?

John Garuti III:

Nothing. Yeah. The prices have gone up. You could still get a condo on the golf course, but that comes with higher HOA fees. So unless you love golf, I don’t recommend buying there per se.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure.

John Garuti III:

But yeah. Right now like the minimum price points are going to be like the low to mid threes. So you get up to 330, 350, now we could look at some villas and then low fours and up really and I’ve just sold a house here for 1.6 million. So you can go custom with builders on the big lake. So there’s every quality level, every price point here, which is nice.

Scrappy Jackson:

I saw your video maybe 18 months ago and you said, “We’re approaching the million dollar mark.” And now you sold one for 1.6. Is that true? Like 18 months ago I could have bought for under million and sell that same house and flip it for 1.6 already?

John Garuti III:

Yes. That house, maybe not a million dollar house. I mean, those couple bought for 1.3 and the million dollar homes didn’t accelerate in value as fast as the smaller priced home. So for example, the first house I bought here, I paid 325 for, I just sold it for 560. So-

Scrappy Jackson:

Wow.

John Garuti III:

My timing, I got very lucky and I saw a lot of the homes in that 300, like high twos, low threes, low fours even, a lot of those homes since the start of 2021, they’ve gotten over 80% appreciation, which is just a sign of like this crazy real estate market we’ve been living through here the last two years.

Scrappy Jackson:

It has been crazy and with increased demand and less supply, the rates are going up so high, the prices are going up. Do you recommend to people that have an opportunity to sell now, strike where the kettle is hot. You did over $560,000, but then maybe you have multiple properties, but the average person, if they sell, they’re going to be stuck with paying high rental rates given inflation. What are your thoughts on that?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. Well I think you kind of hit it there. Everybody’s situation is unique, right? So one big injection right now is, “Oh, I’d love to sell, but if I sell, where do I go?” If you’re selling right now high you’re buying high.

Scrappy Jackson:

Right.

John Garuti III:

So it really comes down to your situation. That’s like the one thing I’m very keen on doing with all the clients I’m working with. Like even if they’re leaving town, like let’s talk about all these things because the more I know about you, the more I can help you. Yeah. I think one of the best things right now for people is like that move up, right? So if you bought and you want a more expensive house or you want a bigger house, because you have so much equity or you’ve gained so much equity with the increase in prices, probably the best thing you could be doing right now is moving up if you want to stay locally.

Scrappy Jackson:

You sound like a realtor. Because I’m thinking to myself, “It’s going to peak at some point.” Is this really the best time to buy?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I think the prices did peak already, but real estate, it takes six months for a real estate market to change. So I think we’re starting to just see that shift.

Scrappy Jackson:

You’re a chill dude from my perspective, but the thing is, I can feel your passion. I really respect and appreciate that about you.

John Garuti III:

Thank you. I am passionate. I tell people this is the first thing I’ve done in my life that I actually really, really enjoy. So it’s easy for me to get up every day and work on marketing, work on videos, and-

Scrappy Jackson:

Nice.

John Garuti III:

And helping people just makes it all that sweeter.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Finally, you’re growing up in Queens. You’re 12 years old. If you could give advice to that 12 year old self, what would it be?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I would’ve told myself don’t be such a hard ass. Get yourself some good mentors early on. Some people that can teach you. People who are doing what you want to do, right? You need to go to the people who have already been there to get that advice, get that mentorship, and don’t ever stop learning. When I was younger, I was just, man, no lie, growing up in that family business I think it was like a detriment in many ways because I had it too easy. I never had to like struggle. And I think looking at how I want to raise my kids, like even though we have nice things now and stuff, I don’t want them growing up like I did. I want them to struggle for the things that they want to have and make it a priority for them that they got to earn the things they want. So-

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure. Sure.

John Garuti III:

If I could go back in time and tell myself these things, like I would’ve started real estate 10 years ago.

Scrappy Jackson:

True. True.

John Garuti III:

But I was stuck in the family business. So it was kind of hard to get out of that for many reasons. Mainly emotional ties to the family and you know-

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure. Of course. Of course. And that’s what makes it so much sweeter today because you appreciate it more.

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I know. And that’s the thing. I was very blessed and fortunate to grow up the way I did because all that growing up in the business, it did give me an amazing business background. I mean, I know how to do a lot of things. I know accounting, I know finance, and for a lot of people starting a business, they got to learn all these other things on top of like the sales and marketing. I did definitely get a good up raising in business, being born into that family business. So-

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool.

John Garuti III:

Has been very beneficial now that I’m succeeding here in real estate.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. You’re JG III, John Garuti III. Do you want to give a shout out to EXP Realty?

John Garuti III:

I’ve got to give a shout to EXP because it’s definitely the best platform for any real estate entrepreneur in the world. There’s nothing like it. The founder, Glenn Sanford, he’s amazing. He built the company the way real estate agents always wanted to build the company. So I’m going to be with this company for all my life. I ain’t changing. Other real estate agents, don’t call me up trying to recruit me because I’m in EXP forever. And any other real estate entrepreneurs, I promise you, this is the company for you.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool. Very cool. This is The Come Up. It’s a podcast, a video podcast, featuring entrepreneurs throughout Southwest Florida. It’s brought to you by Content With Teeth, a very dynamic happening content marketing agency. Check them out. They’re really, really good at what they do and you can see this by this big fathead behind me. They’re very, very big at what they do. John Garuti, it’s a pleasure to talk to. I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot today. Thank you so much.

John Garuti III:

All right. Thanks Scrappy.

SWFL Teen Summer Kates was recently recognized for her Florida philanthropy efforts

Local Teen Does Florida Philanthropy & The Come Up

Looking for a ray of sunshine in the sea of negativity surrounding us?

Summer Kates and her project are a ray of sunshine

Looking for chocolate chip cookies falling from the sky, all courtesy of a young woman destined to be a force in Florida and nonprofits in the future?

Start with Summer Kates, a Southwest Florida young person who just graduated from high school and turned an early childhood accident into Youth Philanthropist of the Year awarded a couple years ago by the Lee/Collier chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Check out our latest episode of Content with Teeth’s video podcast The Come Up where host Scrappy Jackson interviews Summer who started selling cookies to benefit the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, a community foundation in the Florida philanthropic network.

The Come Up Episode 7: SWFL Youth Philanthropy Highlights

Summer's Project and Florida philant

Terrible Accident: Learn how local teen Summer turned a tragic episode early in her life into a positive one benefitting the community and local nonprofits.

Move over Double Tree Suites: Summer reveals how selling chocolate chip cookies in her community blossomed into an award-winning philanthropic collaboration.

Florida teen philanthropic services

Hail to the…: Summer reveals her college plans to Scrappy who is reeling as a Florida Gator. Florida football rivalries are discussed. The Florida nonprofits community will never be the same after virtual high fives are exchanged!

Never Give Up: Summer details the keys to her success and what drives her forward into the next chapter in her life. Old and young alike can benefit from this wise teen’s vibrant soul.

Watch the episode and learn how to appreciate life and Summer’s plans to take her chocolate chip cookie nonprofits empire global!

About Summer Kates & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Summer Kates and her project HERE.

The Come Up Episode 7 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson:

The Come Up, a podcast featuring in Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy. And if you’d like to be a guest, text Mike at 21000 or me at IG, Hey Scrappy. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth, a highly energetic creative content marketing agency. Doing it really big, like this big logo behind me.

Scrappy Jackson:

And today we celebrate Summer Kates, a young woman who certainly has an entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe not a traditional entrepreneur, but doing it really big. A victim of a car accident as a child, she flipped the script, taking her traumatic experience and turning into something amazing. A charity we call Summer’s Project. Welcome Summer.

Summer Kates:

Hi.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool to have you here.

Summer Kates:

Thank you for having me. It means a lot.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate it. I know you’ve done a lot of interviews and you’re famous in Southwest Florida, but humble Content With Teeth Come Up podcast is thrilled to have you.

Summer Kates:

I’m excited to be here.

Scrappy Jackson:

So first off, congratulations. You just graduated from high school?

Summer Kates:

I did, yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

What was graduation like?

Summer Kates:

It was a mixture of emotions. I’m excited, but it’s just sad leaving the past.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to do next?

Summer Kates:

I’m off to Florida State University. As of right now taking-

Scrappy Jackson:

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We have to stop this interview. I’m a University of Florida Gator.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. I was a University of Florida Gator, but paths have brought me to FSU.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Have you learned to do [inaudible 00:01:42]?

Summer Kates:

Not yet. Not yet. It’ll come.

Scrappy Jackson:

Have you been to a game yet?

Summer Kates:

I have been doing the null sign, yes. That’s something I have to.

Scrappy Jackson:

You probably could get any college you want. You had a 5.5 GPA. That’s pretty amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. It was between FSU and University of Georgia for me.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay.

Summer Kates:

Tuition, it’s crazy nowadays.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you have this accident when you’re 10 years old?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

This terrible car accident and you were in the hospital, Golisano Hospital. And you’re in pain. You’re recovering. It’s a difficult recovery. It’s a long recovery. And what’s going through your mind right after the accident?

Summer Kates:

You know, me being a 10 year old, I was also a very competitive soccer player. So my main idea in my head was, am I going to play soccer again? ‘Cause I had shattered my femur, which is one of your main bones that you need to walk and do basic functions of life. So not only was I scared, ’cause I had a fear of the hospital at that time. So not only was I petrified of being in the hospital, I was worried I was never going to do what I love most again. So it was just in my mind, just a scary experience.

Scrappy Jackson:

You were thinking about yourself at that moment, right?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Are you okay now? Is your femur okay now?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, I’m perfectly good now. I’ve been playing soccer for a few years.

Scrappy Jackson:

Awesome. Awesome.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. It only took about a year to get back on the field.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. So you’re thinking about yourself. You’re worried about soccer. But somewhere you flipped the script and said, “You know what? I can turn this into a positive.” So you’re at the hospital. You’re seeing fellow kids, fellow children, going through a lot. What made you compassionate?

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Being scared at the hospital, it took me about a day I want to say, and I started to notice how comforting the staff was. And I was just blown away about how comfortable they made me feel during my stay. They had, especially at Golisano, they had this big game room. And me being fresh out of surgery, they encouraged me to walk with my walker to the game room. So they not only motivated me through the steps of my recovery, but they were just always there for me to talk. I remember specifically, they brought a dog in one day to-

Scrappy Jackson:

I love that. I love that.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Yeah. So I’ll always remember that. So once I saw the level of comfort that they provide the kids, I was just, wow. I want other kids to see this so that they’re not scared to go to the hospital like I once was.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice, very nice. Very caring, sensitive. But some of the kids over there were in a lot worse shape than you.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Did that lead to maybe thinking about a charity?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, it did. It really did, because there’s just so many circumstances that go behind it. Because there’s kids that are there for long term, and you have to think if a kid is living there, they want it to feel like home. They want it to be comfortable and have toys and games. And they just want to have a fun experience in a bad time.

Scrappy Jackson:

Do you go back there often?

Summer Kates:

I try, but with COVID it’s kind of iffy.

Scrappy Jackson:

True.

Summer Kates:

I’ve always wanted to go and just walk around and see the kids. Kind of be a support system. But with COVID, it’s just ruined any of those chances.

Scrappy Jackson:

You’re in a very unique situation at age 10. And you acted like an adult. You’re very mature for your age. And when you think about it, I compare it… I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, Buddhism. Buddhism is about being mindful in the moment and appreciating life and not taking it for granted. And this moment with you is a moment. I’m having a moment with Summer Kates right now. So what did you learn from your experience as far as appreciating life?

Summer Kates:

You know, it was really to just take the good out of the bad, because I feel like everybody, especially nowadays, is just so negative on any sort of experience. So it’s really there is always at least one positive outcome in a bad experience. You just have to be optimistic about how you’re looking at it. And for me, I just saw, well, I can motivate other kids and just show the good in the hospital rather than all the bad in the hospital.

Summer Kates:

‘Cause I feel like, especially for kids, their minds aren’t fully developed on the fact that the hospital is to help fix you. It’s more of just this scary place with a bunch of hurt people.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure.

Summer Kates:

So I feel trying to get the message out to these kids that like, “Oh, it’s a fun place. They’re they’re help you.” And I just feel like that just motivates that message.

Scrappy Jackson:

I would love to bring a pot belly pig to Golisano Hospital and have the kids hang out with it for a day. They’re pretty tame. They’re pretty mature. They’re trained pretty well. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Summer Kates:

It would. It would.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you decide to make these cookies, these wonderful chocolate cookies. Tell us about them.

Summer Kates:

My mom and I, we’ve always been in the kitchen baking. The whole reason Summer’s Project started was I was with my best friend and I was like, “Let’s do a bake sale and just give whatever money we make.” So we had just a bunch of just store bought stuff, and then some of our homemade chocolate chip cookies out on our backyard. And we were just selling stuff. We donated maybe $90, but it was just the thought that counted. And we just got such amazing feedback from our chocolate chip cookies. And we just came up to the idea. Yeah, people want to give back to a reason, but it’s just an extra nice little treat to have a cookie on the side too. And so it just circled around this idea of these giant chocolate chip cookies. And they’re just amazing.

Scrappy Jackson:

They’re huge.

Summer Kates:

They’re ginormous.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve seen a picture of them.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

I don’t need three cookies. I only need one of yours.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. They’re giant. And if you pop them in the microwave, it’s just perfection.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you put some sprinkles on them too?

Summer Kates:

Sometimes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. I saw the one with the sprinkles. Very nice. Very nice.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah.

Summer Kates:

We have a few different flavors going on now, but our chocolate chips are our OG originals.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you go from the front lawn, making these wonderful cookies, and what was the next step?

Summer Kates:

Next step was it just started baked sales, annually. And then we started to get some recognition from the community and we started getting events. So there was a few breweries that accepted us to just set up a table, and just have posters out. And people could come up and I could explain the story, and then people could choose to donate. And there’s been a few farmer’s markets. And then as word kept spreading, there’s just more opportunities opening up. News segments started reaching out, some radios. So it just all slowly grew because of the community.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you’ve raised how much to date?

Summer Kates:

To date, it’s about roughly over $21,000.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m giving you a high five, Summer. A high five through the podcast. You go, girl. That’s awesome. So you’re off to Florida State. How are we going to keep this cookie thing alive? How are we going to keep it cooking?

Summer Kates:

So my little brother is hoping to follow in my footsteps and we’re taking a different approach. Because we’re so focused on kids are our future, and instead of circling around the hospital, we’re hoping to bring it around the environment and bettering our environment around. And in general, just helping the future.

Summer Kates:

And so not only is he hoping to follow in my footsteps, but I also don’t plan on stopping this.

Scrappy Jackson:

Good.

Summer Kates:

I plan on helping hospitals around Florida State University, and obviously still helping Golisano because I just love them. So it won’t be as big of a thing as it has been, but I definitely don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Scrappy Jackson:

Why can’t we take it global?

Summer Kates:

I mean, why not? Got to work our way there.

Scrappy Jackson:

It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing. So your mom, very strong. She’s empowered you. In many respects you probably empowered her, one way or another. And your dad. So tell us about your mom.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. When I was hit by the car, she was pregnant with my little brother. So it was just hard for her because there’s times where she couldn’t be in the room with me just because she was pregnant. So I do think it impacted her a lot. Just not being able to be there every single step of the way almost. But I feel once we started up with the cookies, it was not only was it a moment for us to work together and just have that bonding moment. But it also brought us together with doing something that we both love to do,

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Very nice. Youth philanthropist of the year, 2021. How special is that?

Summer Kates:

I can’t even have words to describe it. It was just such a surreal feeling, getting that award.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And Summer, what advice would you give to yourself when you were a freshman? Looking back on the four years?

Summer Kates:

I just want to say just never give up, because I would’ve never imagined I’d come this far. And once I received that award, I was just like, wow. If I gave up, I would never have received this.

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s your advice to yourself. Now at graduation, if you had a chance to make a speech, what kind of knowledge would you give your classmates?

Summer Kates:

That’s tough. And I want to take inspiration behind another speech that a kid had talked about. It was mainly about choosing your own path, because we could all be told that there’s only one direction to go in life. But realistically, every direction you choose has many pitchfork-like paths to it. So I just feel there’s just so many opportunities and you just have to choose what fits you best.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to study at Florida State?

Summer Kates:

Right now, I’m in advertising. That’s what I’m going into.

Scrappy Jackson:

You should consider communications and broadcasting because you’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Thank you. Communications did cross my mind and I know majors always change. But right now advertising is where my head is at.

Scrappy Jackson:

Go to the football games. They’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh, I will.

Scrappy Jackson:

Amazing experience. Definitely. Definitely. Any shout outs, your friends of yours? Because I know this wasn’t a solo effort. You and your mom did big things, but I know you had some help.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. If I were to give a big shout out, it’d be to my best friend Kylie, because she was there for me for my very first bake sale that started Summer’s Project. So she’s just been a shadow throughout this whole process of Summer’s Project. And so I just want to say thank you for that.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And you want to share any of your handles, your social media handles?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, sure. I mean everything should just be Summer’s Project. So Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Just type in Summer’s Project and it should all just pop up right there.

Scrappy Jackson:

On the radio, I give big hugs through the telephone. In the podcast, I’m giving you hugs, Summer. You did amazing things. You’re going to continue to do amazing things. We got nothing but love for you.

Summer Kates:

Thank you so much.

Scrappy Jackson:

The Come Up, a podcast featuring in Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy. And if you’d like to be a guest, text Mike at 21000 or me at IG, Hey Scrappy. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth, a highly energetic creative content marketing agency. Doing it really big, like this big logo behind me.

Scrappy Jackson:

And today we celebrate Summer Kates, a young woman who certainly has an entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe not a traditional entrepreneur, but doing it really big. A victim of a car accident as a child, she flipped the script, taking her traumatic experience and turning into something amazing. A charity we call Summer’s Project. Welcome Summer.

Summer Kates:

Hi.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool to have you here.

Summer Kates:

Thank you for having me. It means a lot.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate it. I know you’ve done a lot of interviews and you’re famous in Southwest Florida, but humble Content With Teeth Come Up podcast is thrilled to have you.

Summer Kates:

I’m excited to be here.

Scrappy Jackson:

So first off, congratulations. You just graduated from high school?

Summer Kates:

I did, yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

What was graduation like?

Summer Kates:

It was a mixture of emotions. I’m excited, but it’s just sad leaving the past.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to do next?

Summer Kates:

I’m off to Florida State University. As of right now taking-

Scrappy Jackson:

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We have to stop this interview. I’m a University of Florida Gator.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. I was a University of Florida Gator, but paths have brought me to FSU.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Have you learned to do [inaudible 00:01:42]?

Summer Kates:

Not yet. Not yet. It’ll come.

Scrappy Jackson:

Have you been to a game yet?

Summer Kates:

I have been doing the null sign, yes. That’s something I have to.

Scrappy Jackson:

You probably could get any college you want. You had a 5.5 GPA. That’s pretty amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. It was between FSU and University of Georgia for me.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay.

Summer Kates:

Tuition, it’s crazy nowadays.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you have this accident when you’re 10 years old?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

This terrible car accident and you were in the hospital, Golisano Hospital. And you’re in pain. You’re recovering. It’s a difficult recovery. It’s a long recovery. And what’s going through your mind right after the accident?

Summer Kates:

You know, me being a 10 year old, I was also a very competitive soccer player. So my main idea in my head was, am I going to play soccer again? ‘Cause I had shattered my femur, which is one of your main bones that you need to walk and do basic functions of life. So not only was I scared, ’cause I had a fear of the hospital at that time. So not only was I petrified of being in the hospital, I was worried I was never going to do what I love most again. So it was just in my mind, just a scary experience.

Scrappy Jackson:

You were thinking about yourself at that moment, right?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Are you okay now? Is your femur okay now?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, I’m perfectly good now. I’ve been playing soccer for a few years.

Scrappy Jackson:

Awesome. Awesome.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. It only took about a year to get back on the field.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. So you’re thinking about yourself. You’re worried about soccer. But somewhere you flipped the script and said, “You know what? I can turn this into a positive.” So you’re at the hospital. You’re seeing fellow kids, fellow children, going through a lot. What made you compassionate?

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Being scared at the hospital, it took me about a day I want to say, and I started to notice how comforting the staff was. And I was just blown away about how comfortable they made me feel during my stay. They had, especially at Golisano, they had this big game room. And me being fresh out of surgery, they encouraged me to walk with my walker to the game room. So they not only motivated me through the steps of my recovery, but they were just always there for me to talk. I remember specifically, they brought a dog in one day to-

Scrappy Jackson:

I love that. I love that.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Yeah. So I’ll always remember that. So once I saw the level of comfort that they provide the kids, I was just, wow. I want other kids to see this so that they’re not scared to go to the hospital like I once was.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice, very nice. Very caring, sensitive. But some of the kids over there were in a lot worse shape than you.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Did that lead to maybe thinking about a charity?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, it did. It really did, because there’s just so many circumstances that go behind it. Because there’s kids that are there for long term, and you have to think if a kid is living there, they want it to feel like home. They want it to be comfortable and have toys and games. And they just want to have a fun experience in a bad time.

Scrappy Jackson:

Do you go back there often?

Summer Kates:

I try, but with COVID it’s kind of iffy.

Scrappy Jackson:

True.

Summer Kates:

I’ve always wanted to go and just walk around and see the kids. Kind of be a support system. But with COVID, it’s just ruined any of those chances.

Scrappy Jackson:

You’re in a very unique situation at age 10. And you acted like an adult. You’re very mature for your age. And when you think about it, I compare it… I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, Buddhism. Buddhism is about being mindful in the moment and appreciating life and not taking it for granted. And this moment with you is a moment. I’m having a moment with Summer Kates right now. So what did you learn from your experience as far as appreciating life?

Summer Kates:

You know, it was really to just take the good out of the bad, because I feel like everybody, especially nowadays, is just so negative on any sort of experience. So it’s really there is always at least one positive outcome in a bad experience. You just have to be optimistic about how you’re looking at it. And for me, I just saw, well, I can motivate other kids and just show the good in the hospital rather than all the bad in the hospital.

Summer Kates:

‘Cause I feel like, especially for kids, their minds aren’t fully developed on the fact that the hospital is to help fix you. It’s more of just this scary place with a bunch of hurt people.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure.

Summer Kates:

So I feel trying to get the message out to these kids that like, “Oh, it’s a fun place. They’re they’re help you.” And I just feel like that just motivates that message.

Scrappy Jackson:

I would love to bring a pot belly pig to Golisano Hospital and have the kids hang out with it for a day. They’re pretty tame. They’re pretty mature. They’re trained pretty well. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Summer Kates:

It would. It would.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you decide to make these cookies, these wonderful chocolate cookies. Tell us about them.

Summer Kates:

My mom and I, we’ve always been in the kitchen baking. The whole reason Summer’s Project started was I was with my best friend and I was like, “Let’s do a bake sale and just give whatever money we make.” So we had just a bunch of just store bought stuff, and then some of our homemade chocolate chip cookies out on our backyard. And we were just selling stuff. We donated maybe $90, but it was just the thought that counted. And we just got such amazing feedback from our chocolate chip cookies. And we just came up to the idea. Yeah, people want to give back to a reason, but it’s just an extra nice little treat to have a cookie on the side too. And so it just circled around this idea of these giant chocolate chip cookies. And they’re just amazing.

Scrappy Jackson:

They’re huge.

Summer Kates:

They’re ginormous.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve seen a picture of them.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

I don’t need three cookies. I only need one of yours.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. They’re giant. And if you pop them in the microwave, it’s just perfection.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you put some sprinkles on them too?

Summer Kates:

Sometimes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. I saw the one with the sprinkles. Very nice. Very nice.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah.

Summer Kates:

We have a few different flavors going on now, but our chocolate chips are our OG originals.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you go from the front lawn, making these wonderful cookies, and what was the next step?

Summer Kates:

Next step was it just started baked sales, annually. And then we started to get some recognition from the community and we started getting events. So there was a few breweries that accepted us to just set up a table, and just have posters out. And people could come up and I could explain the story, and then people could choose to donate. And there’s been a few farmer’s markets. And then as word kept spreading, there’s just more opportunities opening up. News segments started reaching out, some radios. So it just all slowly grew because of the community.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you’ve raised how much to date?

Summer Kates:

To date, it’s about roughly over $21,000.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m giving you a high five, Summer. A high five through the podcast. You go, girl. That’s awesome. So you’re off to Florida State. How are we going to keep this cookie thing alive? How are we going to keep it cooking?

Summer Kates:

So my little brother is hoping to follow in my footsteps and we’re taking a different approach. Because we’re so focused on kids are our future, and instead of circling around the hospital, we’re hoping to bring it around the environment and bettering our environment around. And in general, just helping the future.

Summer Kates:

And so not only is he hoping to follow in my footsteps, but I also don’t plan on stopping this.

Scrappy Jackson:

Good.

Summer Kates:

I plan on helping hospitals around Florida State University, and obviously still helping Golisano because I just love them. So it won’t be as big of a thing as it has been, but I definitely don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Scrappy Jackson:

Why can’t we take it global?

Summer Kates:

I mean, why not? Got to work our way there.

Scrappy Jackson:

It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing. So your mom, very strong. She’s empowered you. In many respects you probably empowered her, one way or another. And your dad. So tell us about your mom.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. When I was hit by the car, she was pregnant with my little brother. So it was just hard for her because there’s times where she couldn’t be in the room with me just because she was pregnant. So I do think it impacted her a lot. Just not being able to be there every single step of the way almost. But I feel once we started up with the cookies, it was not only was it a moment for us to work together and just have that bonding moment. But it also brought us together with doing something that we both love to do,

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Very nice. Youth philanthropist of the year, 2021. How special is that?

Summer Kates:

I can’t even have words to describe it. It was just such a surreal feeling, getting that award.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And Summer, what advice would you give to yourself when you were a freshman? Looking back on the four years?

Summer Kates:

I just want to say just never give up, because I would’ve never imagined I’d come this far. And once I received that award, I was just like, wow. If I gave up, I would never have received this.

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s your advice to yourself. Now at graduation, if you had a chance to make a speech, what kind of knowledge would you give your classmates?

Summer Kates:

That’s tough. And I want to take inspiration behind another speech that a kid had talked about. It was mainly about choosing your own path, because we could all be told that there’s only one direction to go in life. But realistically, every direction you choose has many pitchfork-like paths to it. So I just feel there’s just so many opportunities and you just have to choose what fits you best.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to study at Florida State?

Summer Kates:

Right now, I’m in advertising. That’s what I’m going into.

Scrappy Jackson:

You should consider communications and broadcasting because you’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Thank you. Communications did cross my mind and I know majors always change. But right now advertising is where my head is at.

Scrappy Jackson:

Go to the football games. They’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh, I will.

Scrappy Jackson:

Amazing experience. Definitely. Definitely. Any shout outs, your friends of yours? Because I know this wasn’t a solo effort. You and your mom did big things, but I know you had some help.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. If I were to give a big shout out, it’d be to my best friend Kylie, because she was there for me for my very first bake sale that started Summer’s Project. So she’s just been a shadow throughout this whole process of Summer’s Project. And so I just want to say thank you for that.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And you want to share any of your handles, your social media handles?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, sure. I mean everything should just be Summer’s Project. So Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Just type in Summer’s Project and it should all just pop up right there.

Scrappy Jackson:

On the radio, I give big hugs through the telephone. In the podcast, I’m giving you hugs, Summer. You did amazing things. You’re going to continue to do amazing things. We got nothing but love for you.

Summer Kates:

Thank you so much.

 

 

 

Learn 3 tools that are idiot-proof to create content that converts

3 Stupidly Easy Tools to Create Content that Converts

Need content that converts?

Need prospects who engage with your written, video and/or audio media to take an action like responding to a CTA?

In other words, smash a button on your landing page, reply back to that sales email or hit subscribe on your podcast?

Outside of the dry (and boring) parameters of marketingspeak, what you really need when discussing content that converts is that you need …

HOT CONTENT

content with teeth is from FluriDUH

You need fetching and amorous content that gets hot and steamy with a prospect’s twitchy finger.

Why You Should Care?

In this post, you’ll learn how to raw dog a search engine with three easy digital tools, so Google et al. will serve you up prospects who can embrace all you have to offer digitally. Reach your content ideas, check off your content marketing goals and consummate a value proposition that cures your audience’s aching pain point.

Is Pepé Le Pew Content That Converts?

content that converts is amour fou

Let’s change the arc here to non-problematic subject matter. Let’s discuss engineering. Let’s discuss digital tools you should be using to get content marketing that converts!

You are starting out or pivoting in your career in the drive to create content. You have heard or tried using fancy digital tools like Google Analytics or Semrush and, well, uh …

… things are way too complicated! You want to create content and improve your conversion rate, not nerd out as a pinch-hitting software engineer. You need effective and easy-to-use. Even better if it’s free or doesn’t cost a fortune.

Before we discuss three digital tools that an idiot or Dostoevsky could use, we would like to present the clickbait …

Content Marketing Case Study: How We Improved 40 Ranking Positions in 1 Week

Realtor John Garuti III wanted to target a new community called Verandah in Southwest Florida. He hired Content for Teeth for content marketing work in order to rank organically for keywords related to the community.

The Content with Teeth team improved a blog post titled Learn All About the Verandah Community in Fort Myers by 40 ranking positions for JG3 Homes in just ONE week.

Follow this step-by-step case study with us to find out how we hit that goal. Copy and paste the content strategy to ultimately boost conversions, increase engagement and, overall, boost your content marketing efforts.

Stupidly Easy Tool Content That Converts #1: Ubersuggest

How do you find things? You use certain words or phrases to indicate what you are looking for. In onlandia, these are called keywords. Finding the right keywords can help people find your content. Ubersuggest is a keyword research tool that isn’t overly complicated and overpriced. Here’s how to use it.

Step #1

Neophyte content marketers, head to Ubersuggest and find the Keyword tab from the panel on your left. Insert the keyword into the “Get a detailed keyword overview” box and hit SEARCH.

Type a relevant keyword or keyphrase into Ubersuggest for maximum content marketing results

Step #2

Check the search volume, SEO difficulty, and CPC (cost per click of your keyword).

Ubersuggest's Keyword Overview will boost your keyword research and content marketing results.

Step #3

Scroll down to examine other keyword ideas.

In Ubersuggest, find keyword ideas to optimize your content

Step #4

We chose “the verandah fort Myers”. At first, we’ll look at the “SUGGESTIONS” tab.

A content marketer can use Uberuggest as an easy-to-use and affordable keyword research tool

Next, valient content marketers should click on the orange arrow next to your chosen keyword.

Ubersuggest allows you to find keywords to write content that converts

Click on “Search Results”.

Scroll down to see the websites that rank top for your keyword. You can see how many backlinks they have, the paid difficulty and the SEO difficulty.

Ubersuggest provides keyword metrics like volume and domain authority to aid your content marketing

In this case, examine the blog content of your competitors that you want to rank against.

If you move to the “RELATED” tab, you can see similar results for keywords that are related to the one you chose.

Before you write content, find keyword ideas to guide your content and allow you to increase conversions

Under the “QUESTIONS” tab you can notice the questions that are being asked around that keyword.

Investigate different keywords and choose the keyword that matches the level of difficulty you can handle when creating content.

Regarding cost, Ubersuggest is great because it is useful and not overpriced. You can find a subscription level to match your budget or pay a one-time lifetime access cost to jettison annoying monthly charges.

Stupidly Easy Tool for Content That Converts #2: Surfer SEO

When creating content, Surfer SEO is a tool where you can optimize your content and get it to rank faster. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Step #1

Head to Surfer SEO and log into your account. Under tools, click on “Create” next to Content Editor.

Surfer SEO can optimize your content in order to boost conversions and generate leads

Step #2

Whether it’s a blog post, landing pages or a web page, write down your title and keyword that you got from Ubersuggest. Next, examine the tools that you have.

The Surfer SEO interface gives you a "roadmap" to optimize content and increase conversions

On the panel to your right, you will see 3 different tabs:

  • GUIDELINES: Shows content score (and details), content structure (number of words, headings, paragraphs, images), and terms you need to be using.
  • OUTLINE: Contains the Outline Builder (Surfer AI-generated Titles (H1), Headings (H2), and Subheadings (H3-H6)) and Topics & Questions section.
  • BRIEF: Contains Notes and links to Competitors.

Step #3

Hit the gear icon on the top left of the right panel to start customizing.

The guidelines in Surfer SEO give you a valuable resource for more conversions and overall lead generation

Now, you need to examine the top 10 competitor links and turn on the link that has a high content score and domain authority with a reasonable number of words that you are willing to write.

In Surfer SEO, turn on competitors' content that you want to outrank

Little hint 1: Make sure the form of content you are creating and ranking against are compatible. In other words, if you are writing a blog post, you want to turn on blog posts too instead of web pages. Similarly, if you are creating a sales page, you need to avoid trying to rank against a blog post and choose web pages instead.

Little hint 2: You want to avoid ranking against industry behemoths such as Zillow and Airbnb, in our case. Remember to always make your goals attainable, this is not to say that you cannot surpass their ranking one day!

In our case study, we have chosen to proceed with ranks 1, 7, and 10 and clicked “Let’s go”.

 

Study your organic competitors in Surfer SEO, a content optimization toolToggle competitors that are "within reach" in your effort to boost conversions and lead generationIn Surfer SEO, target competitors with a high domain authority for "best in show" results

Step #4

According to your selection of competitor sites, Surfer SEO will reveal the content guidelines or the ideal range of words, headings, paragraphs and images you need to target in order to compete against and even surpass the rank of competitor sites.

 

Surfer SEO allows you to optimize your content structure to rank faster on a search engine

Step #5

You initially did keyword rsearch in Ubersuggest. Now check out the keywords (and their corresponding frequency) in the right panel under “Terms”. Make sure to include them when writing content and to respect the suggested range.

Check keyword frequency in Surfer SEO to keep content relevant and increase conversions

Surfer SEO also presents some headline suggestions in “Topic & Questions” in that “HEADINGS” tab that can improve your content score.

Write you post, then optimize for keyword frequency in Surfer SEO, a content optimization tool

Step #6

Make use of  the”OUTLINE” tab to generate ideas and to make sure you talk about topics that will significantly improve your content score. This tab makes writing content less of a burden. Remember to not copy-paste content, but to recreate it by adding your own unique touch.

The outline builder in Surfer SEO can give you ideas on content structure in your drive to solve your customer pain points

Step #7

Check out what your competitors are all about in the “BRIEF” tab under “Competitors”.

That’s it! You now have a “blueprint” to seduce Google.

Actionable Tricks

  • Aim for a minimum content score of 65.
  • Always start by writing content as a draft. Afterward, start adding/replacing with the keywords.
  • Try to hit the target number of the top half of the keywords in the NLP section. You can also include the lower half of the keywords, but that won’t increase your score as much. Steer clear of keyword stuffing as Google seriously penalizes websites that do so.
  • Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Stupidly Easy Tool for Content That Converts#3: Tweak Your Headline With Biz Title Generator

A great deal of effort spent creating content should be dedicated to crafting your headline. According to research cited by Neil Patel, 80% of the people who come across your post will never read beyond the headline. Only 20% will read the thing.

Why Should You Care?

Your headlines are responsible for your traffic. If your headlines suck, so will your traffic. If it summarizes everything the user is wishing to see right away, you won the battle. No one wants to waste their most valuable asset: their time. If your headline is worth it, they’ll go for it. Remember, it doesn’t end at the headline. Attractive headlines bring guests to your door. You have to make sure the welcome is warm afterward for them to stay and spend time in your digital home.

Step #1

Head to Tweak Your Biz.

Most people don't get beyond your headline, so get a catchy one with Tweak Your Biz.

Step #2

Type your topic in the box and pick whether it is a noun or a verb. Click SUBMIT

Tweak Your Biz is a simple tool to generate content headline ideas with easy-to-use inputs

Step #3

Go over the results. They are categorized into Lists, Best, How To, Questions etc…

 

Tweak Your Biz presents headline ideas as listsTweak Your Biz presents headlines in a "Best of" format

Pick one that is most relevant to your content and tweak it. Make sure to not lose your authenticity by copy-pasting the title as is. Now you can proceed to create content that ties back to your attention-grabbing headline.

Headlining 101: The 3C’s

  • Clarity: Make sure the reader can understand all that your content is about by just reading the few words in the headline.
  • Conciseness: Remember that there is a character length for headlines for different forms of copies (an email, a blog post, a landing page, etc…). Make sure you don’t exceed that length as you risk cutting off your headline.
  • Credibility: You can sugarcoat your headline to make it as clickable as possible, but it is never okay to swindle people into clicking your headline. Avoid clickbaity titles like: “How to Gain 90000 Followers in 1 Hour” or the even more cringey “3 Stupidly Easy Tools to Create Content that Converts“.

BONUS: Tool #4: Yoast SEO Plugin

We’re not done! We have another low-cost and totally useful digital tool.

What is the Yoast SEO Plugin All About? How Is That Relevant to My Content Marketing?

We have previously mentioned how the headline can make or break your work.

The Yoast SEO plugin ensures your headline is optimal and that the character count is well in the required range.

You can start with a basic version of Yoast SEO for free! Now that you are done creating content, it’s time to optimize. Scroll down your draft where your plugin resides.

Just insert the keyphrase you formulated in Ubersuggest into the focus keyphrase box as shown below.

Optimize your headline in Yoast SEO, a tool that offers so much more

Go for green lights in Yoast SEO's analysis results

If you are creating content, this plugin offers you a range of different suggestions to make your page rank better. However, in this blog post we’ll focus on the headline improvement function. Yoast tells you whether:

  • You have the exact match of the focus keyphrase that appears in the SEO title.
  • Your focus keyphrase is at the beginning of your SEO title.
  • SEO title width is optimal.

Ok… But Umm …?

You’ve read this far and I sense a disturbance in the force …

If you want to increase conversions, hire a pro like Content with Teeth

If you want attention-grabbing headlines and a shot at higher conversions and generating leads with your target audience, BUT you don’t want to cook AND do the dishes …

Find Someone Else to Do It

We at Content with Teeth create content and have oodles of experience as an agency specializing in copywriting and video production. Let us get your content marketing strategy over the goal line.

Call us at +1(888) 552-9235 or schedule a free consultation to get content that converts and gets down and dirty with Google.

Creating Better Days produces CBD products, even canine ones!

Creating Better Days Owner Does The Come Up

Don’t let sleeping dogs lie; let them get high!

creating better days

Creating Better Days, a Fort Myers-based company that specializes in CBD gummies, recently dropped 75 pounds of pet edibles for the dogs at a Southwest Florida human society in a philanthropic mission to soothe animals’ separation anxiety and other issues.

Creating Better Days CBD

Apparently, the pet CBD market is big business. You’ll learn why in our interview with Creating Better Days Owner Kai Pfretzschner in Content with Teeth’s The Come Up video podcast of notable Southwest Florida entrepreneurs.

 

Creating Better Days in Southwest Florida

CBD Kingpin

Creating Better Days industrial hemp CBD

You’ll meet the Creating Better Days leader and learn how the German-born Kai went from studying to be a Mercedes mechanic to running the fifth largest producer of gummy edibles in the United States and manufacturer of 350k gummies a day right here in Fort Myers.

Creating Better Podcasts Highlights

Cretting Better Day CBD pet market

Here are the highlights of The Come Up Episode 6:

No Scrappy, You Won’t Get High from Drinking 33 Bottles of CBD: Kai explains how Creating Better Days CBD rich hemp oil is non-psychoactive and won’t make you an extra in a Hollywood reboot of Cheech and Chong.

Creating Better Days CBD

What Is Cannabidiol: Kai explains what creates a healthy endocannabinoid system, how CBD made from mature industrial hemp can safely replace some prescription medications and fight a serious medical condition while serving as naturally occurring antioxidants . Kai is not a doctor offering medical advice, but he drops serious CBD knowledge!

CBD products

Nano amplified CBD: Kai explains what this type of CBD product is and why it might be helpful for people who don’t absorb CBD products well.

Scrappy’s Parole Officer Would Like a Word: The Come Up host Scrappy Jackson jokes if ingesting CBD products will trigger a call from his P.O. Watch the episode to learn Kai’s response. It will totally surprise you!

Creating Better Days won't trigger your parole officer

Learn to delegate: Creating Better Days Chief Development Officer Kai gives advice to budding entrepreneurs who think they have to do it all. Watch the episode to learn how to make your organization more productive by empowering the people around you.

Creating Better Days management philosophy

About Kai Pfretzschner & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Kai Pfretzschner’s Creating Better Days CBD products HERE.

The Come Up Episode 6 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson:

What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? Welcome to The Come Up, a podcast featuring Southwest Florida’s ambitious, innovating, forward thinking entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy, and we’re brought to you by Content with Teeth. They’re an amazing content marketing agency for real, right here in Southwest Florida. 20 years experience. They do it big, real big, just like this fat head behind me. Content with Teeth. Check them out. Today’s guest is fascinating to me. Kai Pfretzschner, owner of Creating Better Days, a CBD manufacturer in Fort Myers. What’s going on Kai?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Not too much. How are you doing?

Scrappy Jackson:

Good. Real good. When we think of CBD, I’m like, well, it’s kind of cool, but I’m not really sure what it is. Does it give me a buzz? Does it help me with pain? Does it relieve anxiety? There’s still a little confusion about it. Can you break it down for us?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Right. So CBD is one of 140 cannabinoids that occur in a cannabis plant and it’s non-psychoactive. So it does not get you high, but it helps with certain ailments. So it calms you down and relieves anxiety. It’s an anti-inflammatory, so it helps with recovery after certain sports injuries and all kind of stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Very nice. I understand that THC is there a little bit, like 3%. So can I drink 33 bottles and get high like weed?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, full spectrum CBD by law is allowed to have 0.3% THC. So some products, if you take a little bit more, you can definitely feel it. We have a line of gummies that’s called Spectrum Plus. They do have about 10 milligrams of THC, legally, in a gummy. So you definitely feel it.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve never taken CBD before. What’s the sensation like?

Kai Pfretzschner:

It’s more like a calming feeling. It kind of takes the edge off a little bit. So if you worry too much, it calms you down a little bit. But like I said, you don’t really get a head high or anything.

Scrappy Jackson:

And the government, they seem to be supportive of it. But not to the point where they’re like… They’re still saying May, probably. Well, sometimes, potential… How come the government hasn’t put the rubber stamp on this?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah, it just seems like the FDA, as every government agency, is moving fairly slow. So we’ve been doing this for eight years now. So ever since we started in this business… And the beginning was a total gray area. Then legislation came down a little bit through the FDA. The FDA didn’t want to deal with it. And especially in Florida, so they gave the Department of Agriculture the authority to regulate us. So businesses like mine are now regulated by the Department of Agriculture for labeling, product standards, manufacturing practices, and all that good stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve been on your website. I know you tried to educate your customers there, but on a daily basis, how do you sensitize your customers to what you have, this great product that you have?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, I mean, the customer educates themselves usually through online searches. So people gotten very knowledgeable with CBD. We do have a quiz on our website and kind of ask a couple of questions and then suggest you a product. But grand scheme of things, people gotten pretty knowledgeable about CBD. And now there’s many other cannabinoids out there, Delta-8, D9, all kind of different ones. CBN for more calming, relaxing, and nighttime relief. So there’s a bunch of things to choose from.

Scrappy Jackson:

My brother takes it, but he says his gastrointestinal tract doesn’t absorb it fast enough. Is that why nano is available?

Kai Pfretzschner:

That’s why nano is available. It just downsizes the molecule size a little bit. Usually you kind of need a medium chain triglyceride oil, a fatty acid, with any cannabinoid. So your stomach can absorb it faster. If you nanofy, you break down the size, the absorption rate goes up, and you feel the effects a little bit faster.

Scrappy Jackson:

Kai, you have anti-depressants and also anti-psychotics in your CBD. That’s pretty cool. I mean, that’s really awesome. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Kai Pfretzschner:

I’m not sure about anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. There is a couple of things that we offer. So there’s an entourage effect between CBD, CBN, and melatonin. So we sometimes use an over the counter, like melatonin, a sleep aid, and couple it together with CBD and CBN, to give you a better effect. So there’s some people that can’t sleep sort of take melatonin. They get used to melatonin. Well, it turns out if you throw together a CBD and melatonin in one edible… in a gummy, for example, it really helps.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sleep, anxiety, pain. You’re doing really good stuff here, but the public really is still not sensitized to completely. So what will you say to the public, to all Southwest Florida, when it comes to buy my CBDs, damn it?

Kai Pfretzschner:

All I can tell them, give it a try. There’s really no side effects to CBD. Like I said, not psychoactive. So don’t be afraid that you are not going to be able to drive a car. The label state, if you use something new in your diet, like you add something like CBD, ask you physician first, “Hey, is this good for me? Hey, I’m taking X, Y, Z prescriptions. Is that going to affect it?” So you should always ask you physician. That’s something. But other than that, give it a try. Start with a low dosage. A lot of people just go way too high in the beginning and then… Start low.

Scrappy Jackson:

My parole officer’s always asking me, “Scrappy, you got to take a test.” Will I pass a test if I take CBD?

Kai Pfretzschner:

If you do an isolated CBD, CBD isolate meaning it’s just CBD, there’s Delta-9 THC in it, then you are not going to have any issues with the drug test. If you use a full spectrum product, there’s trace amounts of THC in it, then that might show up. So you got to be careful which product you choose. We got several different ones, so.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m just kidding about the parole thing.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Hey man, I don’t know. Judgment-free zone.

Scrappy Jackson:

You mentioned gummies. What other products do you have?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Right now, our main product is gummies. So we produce about 350,000 gummies a day.

Scrappy Jackson:

Wow.

Kai Pfretzschner:

And yeah, that’s our main business right now, but we offer anything from oils to topicals. We got pet-related products, pet treats. There’s a lot of products to choose from. But we dialed it down a little bit since gummies is now our main road.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Well, I’m curious about the gummies, but pets? You’re giving this stuff to pets?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. The pet CBD market has been highly successful maybe for the last five years. So obviously, pets, dogs, cats deal with things like separation anxiety. They get nervous during storm and CBD helps calm them down. So we have several dog treats and tinctures for cats and docs available too.

Scrappy Jackson:

I noticed on your website, you have Better Days, Better Nights, Better Defense, Better Delights, and you have Better Pets. But you need Better Babies, man. Babies on an airplane. They’re getting a little unruly, just give them a gummy and they’ll sleep for hours.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. This 18 years and older is a thing in Florida, so.

Scrappy Jackson:

So 350,000 gummies a day. That’s amazing, man. You’re right here in Fort Myers. Where does that put you industry wise, nationwide, globally?

Kai Pfretzschner:

In the US, right now, we’re one of the fifth largest producers of gummy edibles in the US. So yeah, we’re up there. We’re pretty busy.

Scrappy Jackson:

One of the things that’s really, really cool about you guys is the fact that you do nonprofit work. You have your quarterly donations, is it? Quarterly… What is it called?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah, we choose a charity every quarter and we help them either out with donations or we help them funding-wise or we advertise for them. We do cross collaborations with all kind of charities that in our area specifically, and that target a couple things that we feel that we can help and contribute a little bit to give back.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. I noticed you’re helping out the veterans, breast cancer, humane society, man. I commend you on that. That’s really awesome.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Thank you. Thank you. I mean, giving back is one of the things that I think are important I mean a business is designed to make money, but giving back is important, especially to things that you feel are close to your… you know?

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you dropped off, what, 75 pounds of gummies to the dogs at the Ford Myers Humane Society. They must have been sleeping for days.

Kai Pfretzschner:

No. No, no. We helped them out with treats. We donated bulk treats. We had our team. We currently have about 85 people working for us. So they made dog toys. So we helped them out with adoption drives, treats, we built toys for them. So everybody chips in their time a little bit.

Scrappy Jackson:

You mentioned you’ve been in business for eight years, but you’ve really skyrocketed under your leadership. How have you evolved so quickly?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Oh, good question. I mean, it’s a combination. So you are in a business. You’re trying to figure out what drives your business a little bit quicker. You hone in, there’s a thing called the power law. 20% of anything you do usually gives you about 80% of your return. So in our case, we honed into the gummies. So two and a half years ago, we decided to manufacture our own gummies. Not a lot of people did. It took about six months to get the machinery up and going, to get the R&D work together, get all the licenses together. And producing our own gummy edibles really made a difference. So that’s propelled our business.

Scrappy Jackson:

You have a fascinating background. You’re from Germany and you were studying Mercedes-Benz. You were going to be a mechanic for Mercedes-Benz. So in coming over here, you’re somewhat of a scientist, aren’t you? You’re kind of like an engineer that tinkers a lot, right?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well yeah, that’s how I started. I was an engineer for Mercedes and, yeah. Then I moved here about 20 years ago, went through a couple different businesses, anything from construction, real estate, and then ended up in the cannabis industry. And in the beginning it was all self taught. Right? So a lot of reading. How do I come up with a formula for a gummy? What’s picked and what’s glucose and what’s everything that’s in there, right? So in the beginning it was all that. Now, we have chemists employed that check all their formulas. I’m the chief development officer so I’ll come up with new ideas, new gummies. And then I go to them and say, “Here, this is my idea. Can we do it or not?” And then we work together on the formulation and SOPs and all that good stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

As entrepreneur, we highlight entrepreneurs here locally in Southwest Florida, courtesy of Content with Teeth. I think it’s fascinating that you have two incredible skills. You’re not just a scientist/engineer, but you’re also a driver. You really drive a business. You’re very ambitious. How do you go about complimenting your team so that all the parts around you work properly?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, that was actually one of the things that I see a lot when entrepreneurs start their business. They underestimate how important it is to have a good team, right? So when you start a business, you think this was my idea, I can do it better, and I also do it by myself because nobody else can do this, but myself. Not true. Without a team, you can’t grow a business. So our team is amazing. They do a lot of work with us. We do a lot of stuff for them. Every month, we do a employee appreciation dinner. We take them out to dinner and we cater stuff. We do fun activities at least once a month. And it’s important that everybody’s comfortable. It doesn’t have to be all work, right? So it’s good to socialize and make everybody feel they belong to that company.

Scrappy Jackson:

You create a culture.

Kai Pfretzschner:

You have to.

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. From a business perspective, you mentioned that you’re fifth in the United States with the gummy business. What about competition otherwise? What are you doing to stave them off and differentiate yourself moving forward?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, a company our size is obviously all for regulation. In our industry, it’s always been like that, that a lot of people started it out of their garage and their homes and stuff. We adhere to every regulation there is. We got [inaudible 00:13:00], which is the agricultural in the state, in Florida right now, working close together with us. So we adhere to label guidelines. We do third party testing. So we spend large amounts of money every month to make sure that all of our product that’s produced and goes out is tested and approved before it hits the market. Right? So there’s a lot that goes into it. You have to do it right, otherwise you can’t sustain a business.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure, sure. I find your company to be very creative as well, from the packaging to the website. What goes into that?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. We have a team of designers. So they’re the creative people. It’s definitely not me. Yeah. We design logos. We have a whole marketing team. So they do photo shoots. They plan out all the promotions, all the holidays they’re coming up three to six months ahead. They take pictures, they do videos for online, social media, ads, all kinds of stuff, so.

Scrappy Jackson:

So when you were kicking in Germany as a teenager, did you ever think in your wildest dreams you’d be selling gummies in Southwest Florida for a living?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Definitely not, really. I always was interested in the cannabis industry, like every 16-year-old is, I guess. But to make a business out of it was definitely something amazing. And yeah, it’s going great. I like it.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Well, I want you to give a shout out to three groups. First of all, I want you to talk to the people that are potential consumers. What’s your pitch to them?

Kai Pfretzschner:

My pitch would be that the cannabis plant can be a perfect substitute for any kind of pharmaceuticals. You don’t have to take Vicodin and painkillers. There is a natural alternative with less to non side effects. So for one, you got a lot of customers that tell us… Oh, feedback is crazy. Older ladies and gentlemen come to us like, “Wow. I started taking CBD and Delta-8, Delta-9 THC instead of my painkillers. I feel much better.” So in my opinion, that’s one of the biggest drivers. Veterans, we sponsor them because of PTSD, right? So CBD, Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC helps a lot to calm them down and take the edge of a little bit. So there’s a lot of pros.

Scrappy Jackson:

Oxycodine, fentanyl. Are people actually getting off of it because of CBD?

Kai Pfretzschner:

I can’t say for sure, but I sure hope they would substitute a little bit and get off all the hard stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Well, another group I want you to talk to are budding entrepreneurs right here in Southwest Florida. I mean, you’re doing it. You’re doing it really big. What do you suggest for them? As far as, let’s say they’re getting out of FGCU next week, what do you tell them?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, if they have the entrepreneurial spirit, they most likely have an idea, right? So they think X, Y, Z, I’m interested in this. Maybe I want to start a business. You got to do your research first. What’s your competition look like? In my opinion, it helps to find a niche. Little bit something that’s right in the middle that not everybody’s doing. If you get out of FGCU and say, “Hey, I want come out with an energy drink,” well, good luck. Your competition is going to be high. They’re probably going to squish you like a bug, as they say, right?

Scrappy Jackson:

Right.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Then do your homework, right? Make sure you’re solid. Get legal representation. You need to have a legal backup. And then it’s going to be much more work than you ever thought it would be. If you don’t put in your time… Extraordinary access comes through extreme sacrifices. So you got to sacrifice your time.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah, definitely.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Don’t be in it for the money. Okay? The money will come later on, but hard work and just don’t give up.

Scrappy Jackson:

And Kai, what kind of advice would you give yourself when you were 12 years old?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Nothing. Everything is great. Just do exactly what you’re doing. It’s all going to be great.

Scrappy Jackson:

Really?

Kai Pfretzschner:

I wouldn’t do anything. So I could have moved a little bit earlier. Okay? So I waited until I was 20, 21 years old before I moved over here. Other than that, the only thing that I could have learned a little bit faster is delegating. We talked about it earlier, the mindset that only you can do it the right way. You need a good team of people that you can trust. You got to learn how to delegate stuff to them. That way you can get 10 times the workload done with three people in a day that would’ve taken yourself two weeks and then the customer’s already gone. So yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

So what’s next for you, man?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, we’re trying to expand in a couple of different states. We’re trying to get into the regulated THC market in Michigan and a couple other projects that we have going on. So traveling a lot back and forward, just trying to make things happen.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m kind of curious, if there’s recreational states where they allow marijuana, no problem, no medical card, can you actually up your CBD percentage, just for those states?

Kai Pfretzschner:

They’re doing it. If you blend CBD and THC together, it takes the potency of the THC away a little bit. So there’s certain products that are doing it. But usually in those states, it’s state regulated manufacturers. So you have to have a state license to operate in that state.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Finally, Kai, in your success, you’ve afforded yourself the opportunity to travel. You’ve traveled extensively. And what lessons have you learned?

Kai Pfretzschner:

So traveling, I love to travel because I love to experience different cultures, different food. In my opinion, if you stay in one spot for too long, you’re in a little bubble, in a little box, right? And your mind is not as broad as it should be. So traveling, I experience other people how they do things. And then I realize that the way I’m doing it is probably not the only right way. That there’s more than one right way of doing it.

Scrappy Jackson:

True.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. I’ve been to Asia a lot, China, to our manufacturers for machinery over there. We’ve been several, four or five times to Shanghai. Those are all great people. Not so lucky right now, but those are awesome people. They hustle hard. Their work mentality is something I admire. They never give up. And, yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

There’s… I’m sorry. There’s cannaboid oil. Okay? CBD. And Creating Better Days, I finally figured it out, man, CBD.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Ah, CBD. Create Better Days. There you go.

Scrappy Jackson:

My man, Kai Pfretzschner. Creating Better Days, a CBD manufacturer right here in Southwest Florida, doing it really big, courtesy of Content with Teeth. We’re doing this podcast. Content with Teeth, a marketing agency, doing incredible content. I’m Scrappy. Kai, peace out.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Thank you so much.

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