040- How To Get Your Product Into Big Box Retailers With Luke Peters




CEO at retailband.com



Show Notes

Josh Tapp 0:00
What's up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. So today we have Luke Peters on the mic. Luke is the host of the podcast retail band. He is also the founder and CEO of new air compact appliances, a manufacturing and wholesaling company that has scaled to multiple eight figures and is well on its way to nine figures. this coming year. Luke is here with us today to share how to get your product into the big box retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's or what have you. So Luke, we're so excited to have you here and let's hop right in. All right, Luke. So tell us one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
Luke Peters 0:38
Yeah, so and and I talked to so many people. So scratching my mind, I would say that what you know, as an entrepreneur, you kind of try to protect this, but I would say Well, most people don't know is that maybe I you know, worry and think about things too much more than I need to. Yeah, yeah. It's not something I talk with a lot of people about but definitely you know, when you have a business and a lot of time balls in the air that that can sometimes consume unit has for me.
Josh Tapp 1:04
Yeah, I know that's a huge struggle for a lot of people and overcoming that the stress and the anxiety that comes from from business. Yep. So we actually just recently interviewed a guy talking about that you know how to deal with that anxiety because entrepreneurship is very anxiety inducing, but it also is very rewarding when you're, you know, you're able to make it succeed. So, I love that. Well, look, let's, let's get a bit of background on you. Can you give us kind of your, your 30,000 foot view of your life?
Luke Peters 1:31
Yeah, sure. Thanks. Thanks, Josh. Yeah, wow. 30,000 foot view. So right now, you know, own new air appliances and my wife and myself 100%. owners of the company is now 17 or 18 years old, I guess now coming up on that. And it's just a great brand of appliances. So we sell a lot of fun beer coolers and wine coolers ice makers, cooling and heating products and other products for the kitchen. So just in compact appliances. With some fun innovations, and some creative marketing, and we just have an amazing team over here. So that's what we're doing now and started the business ourselves from scratch. And now you know, about 50 employees and 150,000 square feet here in Southern California, and just living the dream, I guess, right along with, along with the worries and anxieties of dealing with tariffs and all of those types of things. But yeah, that's what I'm doing now. Married kids and, you know, started another business as well doing some podcasting and, you know, coaching the kids sports teams, so just all those types of things.
Josh Tapp 2:38
That is the American Dream right there.
Especially living in California, I think everybody's everybody outside of the US just thinks the US is California.
Luke Peters 2:48
Yeah, you got the It's crazy, because today, it's literally 85 degrees out, you know, we're in middle of November, so Wow.
Josh Tapp 2:55
Yeah, we could use some of that out here. It's 50 degrees out here today. So yeah. And cloudy.
Luke Peters 3:01
I will trade.
Josh Tapp 3:02
Yeah, I love it well, so I did want to bring you on today though because of your take on, on really getting a product business out there a lot of the entrepreneurs that listen to our podcast are doing more you know, information product or, or direct to customer selling and you've actually had an interesting take because you've done both sides, you know, you've done direct to consumer, but you've also worked with a lot of these big box retailers. So let's I like to learn a bit a little bit about your, your how you started doing direct to consumer selling. Yeah,
Luke Peters 3:34
yeah, I mean that so so I graduated college and became a hazardous waste scientist. I we were doing good stuff, you know, saving the world saving the groundwater, which specifically what I was working on Erin Brockovich type case is what I was doing. But you know, there's not a, you're not going to any movement. I mean, I probably would still be there today in that project, I wouldn't have moved and I and I have friends so I kind of I know it's okay. You know how things are going in, it's good, it's all stuff that has to happen but it just wasn't for me. And then along the way I saw my my little brother doing so well selling computer electronics. So that just kind of sparked my interest and, you know, lots of stuff in between but between that and basically just burn the midnight oil created at the time it was called the Yahoo store and started selling products out of Granger catalogs, essentially, that's how we got started. So but you know, yeah, like he said, even if it's an information product or anybody else, the thing is, it's all it's still the same. You still having the same goal, which is converting people like getting people into the funnel, understanding how to get them in the funnel, you know, now is different was back then, and in that and that's how we did it.
Josh Tapp 4:48
That's interesting. Now, did you invent these products yourself? Or were they were you a wholesaler?
Luke Peters 4:53
Yeah, when we started just a wholesaler, so when we started it was so now we have our own brand, you know, and we're working directly with factories and Creating designs and have some IP and, and all that stuff. But when we started, it was just reselling other people's products.
Josh Tapp 5:06
Wow. And so you were able to take those and start selling them direct to consumer through your own store. That's really interesting. And not many people were able to do that.
Luke Peters 5:15
Yeah, back then, you know, this is like 2002 it on it, you know, admittedly was a little easier because it was less than that online. But it was a lot. There wasn't a Shopify back then it was, it was a lot harder to kind of get going as well, writing, you had to kind of learn HTML yourself and just basic things like that you have to do yourself.
Josh Tapp 5:33
Now did you learn that yourself? Or did you guys outsource a lot of that?
Luke Peters 5:36
Now at the beginning, I just did everything. Wow, you would use? Yeah, cuz I mean, you know, basic things like creating a website, you just did it, you know, you just did it yourself. And you figured out, you know, the basic HTML tags and how to edit images and I think we're using back then it was Microsoft front page, you know, along with Dreamweaver, those, those were kind of like the wizzy wigs but you still have to do some editing on them. So Yeah, it was a different world back then compared to now,
Josh Tapp 6:02
say now it's like five clicks and you've got a website live. You're right. Yeah,
Luke Peters 6:06
exactly. It's it's totally and then back then you could kind of, you know, everybody went to Google Now, you know, 50% of the people go to Amazon, right product purchase. So it was just different.
Josh Tapp 6:17
Yeah. Which is so interesting that we've seen that huge transition over into that. So I do have to ask you, though, I mean, you've got a lot of usage over over 150 skews, and you're selling those. And these big box retailers, right.
Luke Peters 6:31
Yeah. Mostly online to the big box retailer. So through their online platforms.
Josh Tapp 6:36
Interesting. Let's talk a little bit about that. I mean, a lot of our listeners do want to know about that. So I mean, how did you get your products into those big box retailers?
Luke Peters 6:45
Well, yeah, so we mostly Okay, so how I did it was actually around 2012. I kind of saw the writing on the wall that if you're selling a product, it's going to get a heck of a lot harder to win in SEO because all of the big box retailers started competing for that. Seo landscape, right? And, or real estate. And at the time, we were really good at SEO. And Amazon was kind of the only player that now all of a sudden, everybody else's, you know, competing for those spots. So what I did is I created another company called Luma comfort and the idea of that company was to sell to the big box guys and try this wholesale business and, and I was thinking the margins would be worse and you know, but that's actually not the case if you structure it properly, because you got to remember that, you know, Home Depot and wayfair and walmart.com and target calm like they're all acquiring those customers for you. Right and, and you're not having to pay those acquisition costs, you're not having to service to customers on the same level, you're not having a there's a lot of expenses you don't have, and then you have some additional ones because it's a totally different type of business. And when we went out and pitched them, you know, the brand was already established because we had been selling so that the newer brand was established because we had been selling for, you know, a number of years prior to that. It was not that difficult to get in there. So I would say, for any of your listeners, if they've already got traction online, they, they should be able to get into these retailers, but you know, you just have to find the buyer. And then, you know, some, some accounts will take more work than others, some of them you don't have to actually even talk to the buyer, you can set up behind the scenes, others, you kind of have to get some approvals in place to kind of get your products listed. And majority of them you kind of have to do it that way. Besides, you know, Amazon and walmart.com. And, and then, you know, you're ready to go. So it's so you just got to find the right people and and move the contracts along and get the contract signed, and you know, make sure the terms are good, and then you're ready to sell on those platforms.
Josh Tapp 8:46
Yeah, well, I mean, sometimes they'll try and make you their proprietary brand that kind of locks you into a contract, doesn't it where they can be your only seller.
Luke Peters 8:54
Yeah, but not most of them. Don't do that. There's some of them some of the but see that if they need You their brand, usually what they're doing is they're white labeling a brand that they already have. So it's not that it's not such a bad thing. So there are some companies like say a wayfair, they've got, you know, a lot of their own brands, but you still, you know, they might lump you into one of their brands. And that can be a great thing, a great way to partner with them.
Josh Tapp 9:17
Right? Because then, I mean, they're already getting that huge amount of volume. And you're, yeah, you're not really stuck with them, but they're going to be producing a really scalable business for you.
Luke Peters 9:27
Yeah, exactly. You can still go work on your brand. So they're, they're doing you a favor, let's put it that way. They're they're finding all the customers for you.
Josh Tapp 9:36
Which I love that a lot of people are really struggling with that saying, oh, should I just, you know, go on to Amazon, but you and I were talking about that before the interview, you know, I mean, is Amazon really the place you want to go when you have a product?
Luke Peters 9:49
Well, you kind of have to that's that's one way to look at it. Yeah. You kind of have to I mean, depending how, what type of brand you have, I know a lot of higher end brands or bigger brands. You know, you know, just like the big news, you know, a week ago was Nike pulling out of Amazon. So there's definitely a conversation around that. But there's so many variables too. It's too big of a conversation. But like if your product is small, and margins are good enough, then you you can be on Amazon but you can control your fate with a seller central account. So most people are already doing that. Most people when they have a product, the first thing they do is go on Amazon now. It's the first thing I mean, they're, they're not even, you know, even trying to sell some people aren't even trying to sell on their own website. That's how big the shift has been. And right and then the question is, you know, can they even is it even worth building out your, in marketing your own product on your own website when it's when Amazon's got all the eyeballs? So it's just it's gonna depend on the product category?
Josh Tapp 10:48
Yeah, I mean, they're, they're producing, you know, millions of views every like hour basically.
Luke Peters 10:54
I mean, they're monsters monster.
Josh Tapp 10:56
So, you know, what are some of the pitfalls of going into play? There's like Amazon.
Luke Peters 11:02
And then taking all your margin.
Yeah, there's there's a lot of I mean, like there's, it just depends on the product. A lot of people get a lot of copycats. Yeah. And so the thing is Amazon has made it where you kind of have to go there. So I would say everybody still should go there. You want to get your Brand Registry. And you want to own your trademarks on Amazon. That's the thing. So when people don't do that, when they let other people sell on Amazon, then they're, they're potentially damaging their brand and not having full control over it. Yeah, you want to do that? It's just it's just how much do you want to compete on price on Amazon and versus your other channels? So those are channel decisions that people have to think about?
Josh Tapp 11:46
Yeah, really knowing kind of what who your customer is and where they're at? Yeah, it's really interesting. Well, so when you've gone into these big box retailers, because you know, we're kind of branching away from Amazon, you're saying you're a lot of these people are great. Places to sell your product long run. But you've also talked about building your own brand. So what's the benefit of building your own brand? If you're already putting out your products and other people's companies?
Luke Peters 12:12
And that's a great question, Josh. So that's actually what everybody's think about is. So if you're on let's say, you're on five different platforms all and you're doing good, all of those platforms are the retailers, they're probably going to be bidding on your terms and your brand. Okay, so you go do a Google search for one of your products, your brand, it's now showing up all over Google with multiple companies competing, not not yourself, right, they're doing a lot of the branding for you is, I guess, the first point, you know, you want to show up there because you're going to get in front of the most people versus if you do it all yourself. Now you've got to go you know, do it all yourself, which, you know, if you have a lot of clients that are you know, even even in the info world, if that's some of your your listeners, you know, they still go on platforms often to distribute, you know, an infant product or even to create market and info products. So there's there's benefits to the scale of it and and even on the branding because you know then then then now your product has legitimacy because it's seen on home depot.com and so on and so forth and in reviews, you know, across the internet.
Josh Tapp 13:17
Yeah. Well and that just gives you that legitimacy, like you're talking about the brand legitimacy. Yeah, so what what are some of the practices you guys do to to build out your own personal brand?
Luke Peters 13:29
Yeah, I mean, so many Um, so the first thing starts with having amazing content. So controlling that, and then with that, we redid our website for Newark, calm and our goal was best in class, best in our industry, visuals and just website experience for for the consumer. And you know, every couple years, it changes so fast, we'll probably have to keep going. But we've done right. You can just check it out at new air but we were we're proud of what we've done there at the product level because when you sell these other retailers, you do have some control but you don't have total control and Can't put everything up there to really, you know, express everything about your product that you want to to the consumer. So that that's that's how we've focused on building the brand and you know, we've done okay on things like Pinterest and Instagram as well. And then of course, you know, delivering on the brand promise and trying to come out with innovative and fun products that the customers want.
Josh Tapp 14:23
Yeah, well and so you've been able to hire other people to do those those other sections for you being able to grow your social media and do your marketing and everything or do you do it yourself? Still? No,
Luke Peters 14:34
yeah, no way. I find out real quick as you grow that, you know, having you gotta have people better than you in all of those areas. And there just be no way I could do it myself. So yeah, we have a great team, you know, over 50 people here, and really good marketing team and creative team so they do a great job and all those things.
Josh Tapp 14:54
That's awesome. So I'd be surprised if you did, I was just curious if you did set because you have the you have the The talents already in it, but
Luke Peters 15:01
well in day one, how about that? And yeah, trust me, like, what I was making then was wasn't, you know what we're doing now. So it's definitely the level has gone up. But from day one, you know, back in the old school days when it was everything was blocky web ugly websites that that that's what I was doing
Josh Tapp 15:19
the better basic text, right, the white white text black or white background black text.
Unknown Speaker 15:24
It's like, yeah, 1990 web style website.
Josh Tapp 15:27
And what's funny is some people still have those websites. It's kind of funny to run across. Like, you should probably update that. Yeah. Well, that's funny stuff. Well, so for you guys. Um, you know, what have you done for yourselves to build out a quality team? It's like you said, you get to find people who are better than you at at their area. So what do you personally prescribe to when it comes to to hiring people?
Luke Peters 15:50
Well, well, we try to follow I mean, there's things you'll learn over time. I mean, the first thing is you want to, if possible, you got to hire the best person you could pay for That you record, which is really hard with small teams, but I think when teams get bigger, they kind of stay in the rut of not doing that. And when they're actually able to, you know, hire in the best folks. So, people, I think what I've seen is they take too long to kind of make that jump. I mean, we did. And so that's the first thing is hire the best. And then the next thing is that, you know, during the hiring process, by the way, one of the things that we've had a lot of success with is giving people a test, like a cool one, like one where they, you know, a good applicant would want that challenge. But, you know, instead of just interviewing you put you pose a problem and then they have to kind of come back with the solution and present the solution. Present the, you know, the solution to the question, and that is yielded great results. Because if you do that and it's like an A B test on your website, if but a B tests with applicants and you see how people present you can find somebody that's going to work for you and for your team and and it's good for for them to you know, because they get a chance to kind of see you know what types of problems you might have at work and, and that's gone a long way into building out a great team. I really appreciate that because some people, I feel like we're looking for a list of qualifications and you can pretty much make yourself look on paper like you can, you know, you can fill that fit the bill for any of those things. But if you want to find the best person, like you're saying, you give them you give them a real world problem, right? Hey, solve this. This is the exact thing you're going to be dealing with every day in our company. Yeah, it makes a big difference. So it's it's been a big help.
Josh Tapp 17:35
Well, so running a company as large as yours and you said you're upside 50 employees. It starts to become you know, a juggle of like managing people but also growing the business. So for you, have you been able to do that all virtual or do you have like an in house team that you? You do all your people in house? Yeah, we're in house.
Luke Peters 17:57
Yeah, I guess I guess that's just how it started. We're In house, but you know, we're acting more like a big company. So a little bit meaning, meaning just like the way that, you know, you hire people to do a job and they figure their own way out how to how to do the job. I mean, that's always the goal. That's always your dream, right is to find is hopefully for the company to run that way. But yeah, I pretty much everybody's here, we actually have a call center in the Billy's. So that's, that's, that's been pretty cool is to have that team remote. And then we have some other marketing folks that are remote. So we have a couple, I guess, that are remote. I got a virtual assistant. But for the most part, the teams here,
Josh Tapp 18:35
which is awesome, because then you can see look in their eyes while you're working with them. I
Luke Peters 18:40
mean, you're building culture, you know, and so we just want to a best place to work at award can't name that, who it's from, because it doesn't, they kind of want to wait until it's announced. But like, those are the things that we're striving for. So we're building like a really strong and fun culture and people feel appreciated. And then, you know, when you have that team, there's hopefully some extra value. oversee if it was just 100% virtual?
Josh Tapp 19:03
Absolutely. One what I really appreciate what you're talking about you know is is that culture that you build when you when you are there because I really like having virtual assistants and paying people virtually but it makes sense financially but sometimes it doesn't make sense culturally. I think that's what a lot of people right now are sacrificing because they're worried about the cost of it. So I really appreciate that people like you You're okay let's let's build an in house team there will be space for people in the in the virtual space, but you also have a good core team that you work with. You're not you're not being their solopreneur
Luke Peters 19:37
Yeah, no, I mean, after sir I find it really difficult for someone to be by themselves and build a substantial team, but people have done it. You know, maybe people smarter than me, but they've done it. So I know it's possible, but I'm just saying that. It depends on the kind of company like my kind of company where it's like a distribution, wholesale brand. It's hard to do. But you know what I mean, I interviewed on one of my podcasts. I interviewed our A patent attorney and she has grown her team. There. Every one of them is virtual attorneys. Wow. 50 different attorneys all over the country. It's crazy. It's one of the biggest female owned firms in the country that she's built. And they're 100% virtual. So it can be done for sure. But I think it's going to depend on the on the type of business.
Josh Tapp 20:23
Yeah, for sure. When I think, you know, there's some people who've been able to resolve that I'd be really curious to see how she was able to do that. Because I know it's hard to grow culture when you're not with people. But she's figured it out.
Luke Peters 20:36
Yeah, they did. They do some fun events, and they get together, you know, I forget how often it was, but, but yeah, you're, but then again, sometimes it can be some of those sometimes, some companies can be siloed. Like, that's the nature of the business if they're a service business. Yeah. You know, I mean, like, each person's kind of has their own clients and it's okay to have some silos in a way. Yeah, versus a company that's has like a big office. operations team that has to make sure everything functions and like over here. So it's it's tough if they're silos, you don't want that.
Josh Tapp 21:07
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for sharing that with us. I mean, honestly, it's really, really cool to see larger companies like yours who were able to build out these amazing teams and, and market in a way that a lot of us, you know, would like to be able to do with our businesses. So thank you for sharing that with us. Yeah, absolutely. But let's change gears here a little bit. So you've just like you've mentioned before, you just started a podcast recently and what what's that podcast about? And kind of where what's the direction you're heading with it?
Luke Peters 21:33
Yeah, thanks for asking Josh. So it's a page one podcast with the number one and and what we're doing is, well, what I'm doing is I started another company where I'm helping people who have products and they are they don't really know how to sell successfully into Home Depot wayfair. Or they don't really understand influencer marketing, which we're pretty good at or how to launch products or they want to audit of their Amazon practices if they want some consulting in that area. All of those areas, we can turn a company, if they're like on a trajectory where they're kind of in the red, they're not doing things, right. And they want to get into the green, where, you know, things are running as they should. And they're getting the most value out of their products and their teams, we can take them from the red to the green. And so the podcast talks about and that company's called retail band in the podcast, is where I interview entrepreneurs who are doing those things, so they can, but it's really focused, mainly, you know, on the consumer product space. So it's like a tight niche of talking about talking to brand owners and how they're doing it and how they've been successful. And it's, it's like, it's a ton of fun, I'm sure. You know, it's like the same. I'm sure you enjoy, you know, meeting all these new people. And that's unfortunate. I am fortunate enough to do that with the podcast as well. So it's just fun interviewing people and getting to know all these stories. And I'm like, interviewing them and taking my own notes in practice in the new air, so it's pretty cool.
Josh Tapp 22:55
I know we're not on camera, but I've got a whole page of notes from you. So
That same way,
that's cool. There's a lot of value in building out those relationships that you get through podcasting. So I love that. Well, that's really awesome. And honestly, I think that's a great direction to send our listeners, because there's some people in here who are saying, okay, like, I'm not an infopreneur, you know, I have a tangible product that I'd like to grow. So I'd like to send people over there. So it's a page one podcast, right? So is that the website for it as well?
Luke Peters 23:24
Yeah. Also, you'll find it on Apple podcasts, in the episodes or on our retail band website. So just retail band Comm. And yeah, if anybody finds me on LinkedIn or on retail band, you can email me from there. Be happy to do a free assessment of your product sales and show you where you know some areas of opportunity for you.
Josh Tapp 23:45
That's awesome. Well, I'll send our listeners over that direction. But you know, Luke, before we sign off, what's one last parting piece of guidance that you have?
Unknown Speaker 23:54
Yeah, I would say
Luke Peters 23:56
create before you consume I heard I heard that from someone else. But I love that quote, and what it means is, you know, I mean, I can, I'll tell you what if I can just run on a tangent quickly, you know, I just started out for a company, retail ban. And I'll tell you what, like, you know, I've been doing my other one for 17 years. And after a while, you know, you get, you build your infrastructure, and you're still working really hard, but it's a different kind of hard, then you start a business and you have to go from zero customers to one customer, it is so hard to start that thing, you know, and yeah, and you're, you're like, I mean, you're drawing everything, all the templates from the beginning, you're creating a website, which is probably what a lot a lot of your listeners are doing. And just back to my advice, you know, create before you consume what what I meant by that is just that, you just have to grind and you've got to make sure you're moving forward every day because it's easy to just read all these things and think too much, but not actually, you know, do the things that are going to make a difference. So that's that would be my advice. You know, you just got to grind and make sure you're literally moving your business forward instead of just learning new information.
Josh Tapp 24:59
I love that create before you consume. That's honestly I think that should be the way of life for most people. Yeah, it's great. Well awesome, Luke, thanks so much for coming on the show today. up You got it. Thanks for having me. It's been
Luke Peters 25:11
a pleasure.
Josh Tapp 25:13
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