Mike Grillo, the creator of the Gravity Blanket shares what you have to take your idea and to turn it into a multi-million dollar company, how to crowdfund, how to test products to see what sells, and more.
Mike G Money Grillo
On today’s show we interview the creator of one of Time Magazine’s 2018 products of the year, the Gravity Blanket, Mike Grillo as he shares:
Website – GravityBlankets.com
What are the minimal elements needed to launch dummy/testing landing pages?
MOQ? – Minimum Order Quantity
Do you have an idea for a product but you’re unsure of how to go from the idea to creating an actual prototype or do you already have a working prototype that people like what you’re struggling to get? That product turned into a profitable company. On today’s show, we interviewed the founder of a product that Time magazine has named as one of the best inventions of 2018 this man is the founder and the creator of the gravity plane and on today’s show he explains how to go for a product idea to an actual product for killing the 19th largest Kickstarter campaign of all time. Why you should attempt to test the viability of your product by attempting to sell it before you can actually make it. We also discussed our shared love for Toni Braxton’s music, Justin Timberlake’s music and what it’s like to be what a period Bader Chuck’s employees for three years. Ladies and gentlemen, on today’s show, we interviewed Mike Grillo. How before we queue up the intro and get started on today’s show, I just want to play a small excerpt from this interview so you can grasp the power of what my main man is sad.
Why would you advise everybody out there to start test marketing something to quote unquote dummy landing pages before you even have a viable product that works yet
because that allows you to see demand. I mean you could have the best in the world and if no one in your mind and if no one’s interested in buying it or they’re not reacting to the opposite, it’s actually not that great. Yeah.
What is a gentleman would like to welcome of our rapid rewards members and all of our customers, board thrive time show airlines flight number nine oh two one oh was service to rich. The flight attendant serving you today will be the recovering Dj and former US SBA entrepreneur of the year, clay type areas, Clark, Jason Beasley and Mike g money and I’ll be serving you up front shortly after take off. We’ll be serving complimentary glasses of shut the heck up for all of you who don’t want to embrace the way that entrepreneurship works, alcoholic beverages and premium nonalcoholic beverages. Maybe you purchase with a credit card or with a gold watch. We also accept that would coupons for alcoholic beverages and Diner’s club credit cards. Just to keep that name relevant, puts your part of the meeting you in the seat back pocket for catalog speak. Drink many products that I can’t believe that people would actually buy whoever because many people actually do at the products featured in our catalogs.
Make sure you put those catalogs back. We also have magazines featuring obscure destinations that we can fly you to. Also, those magazines feature obscure recipes for things that you can make it home that seem almost interesting enough to pretend like you’re not trying to avoid the person next to you who is literally sharing too much information with their newly found airplane friend so that we may want today’s podcast. Please make sure to grab a pen and a pad as we get ready to enter into the Dojo of Mojo and the laboratory of entrepreneurialship. Should you not want to become successful. It makes sure you don’t take notes and don’t implement anything you learn on today’s show and event of an emergency. Make sure you don’t look at the person next to you and yell, not and I got out.
I’m shows don’t need a celebrity and a writer to introduce the show, but this show dies to man. Eight kids co created by two different women, 13 mode time dollar businesses.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the thrive time show.
Yes, yes, yes, yes. On today’s show, we are interviewing the founder, the inventor,
creator of the gravity blanket to Mister Mike Grillo, his weighted blanket, his his gravity blanket was actually named by Time magazine as one of the best product inventions of 2018 today, Mike Grillo currently oversees the global media brand gravity products that specialize in creating both sleep and wellness products that have been featured in business insider entrepreneur in other leading publications. Over the years. Mike and his company, gravity products have also been featured in an entrepreneur and most major media outlets. Mister Mike, welcome onto the show. How are you sir? I’m really good. Oh brother, I’m excited to have you on the show. Uh, your product has been taken off all over this great country. I want to start off at the bottom, my friend. When you first had the idea to start this product and this company, walk us through when you had the epiphany.
Well, I mean, so the story’s super interesting and gravity started from a media publication. So, uh, two years ago I took a job as COO of futurism and it’s a media company that writes about science and task and obviously anyone that knows media knows that a media sort of a challenge getting to see right now. So getting, you know, traditional ad dollar is, um, what was a bit of a struggle. So we thought, let’s create products that we think our readers would like. We write a ton about the science of sleep, uh, the signs of meditation. And so we were looking for products in that world and came across sort of weighted blankets as something that had been around for some time, a lot of great science around their effectiveness, but they looked really, you know, sort of dated and not something that you really want in your house. So we thought, all right, we can contemporize this product, give it a really sexy brand and market it to our readers. And that’s exactly what we did. And then it sort of just took off from there.
How many iterations of the prototype did you go through before you create a, a gravity blanket that was actually helpful and not gross to look at?
Yeah, we uh, we were letting go on the garment district for some time here in New York City. We had ordered a bunch of samples, um, stuff that was already on the market demand is on and tried to take the best of everything that we saw and then sort of add our own style to it. So, um, we had like certain file, a bunch of folks in the garbage, just six sample samples, some patterns that you liked to materials that we liked until we finally got the right way. Um, which is obviously important from the efficacy standpoint, but then more importantly or as important the right look to make sure it looks really fabulous.
Are you, this is New York City or your home now?
Yeah, I’ve been in, um, I live in Brooklyn specifically. I’ve been here for 10 years now.
Well, you know, we uh, we have inventors on the show all the time and founders, we have the founder, the founder of WIRED magazine, Kevin Kelly on the show that the other day. And uh, we have the founders of Warby Parker who are gonna be on the show soon. And their story was very interesting how they started. How did you go about making the prototypes? Did you have a guy you knew? Did you reach out to companies that could make prototypes? Did, are you a master of making prototypes yourself or how did you go about making the first prototypes?
Yeah. We ended up working with a sort of sourcing agent that we had sort of met along the way. He was working with his team in uh, in Asia. We’re going back and forth and samples, sending them certain styles of um, you know, on way to products. You know, we’re looking at really high end like betting companies like our station hardware, sending samples by listening for sending them overseas and trying to get like the best of, um, stuff on the market with this odyssey. That’s added technology of, of the way.
Now how did you, once you got the, you know, once you’ve sourced to the creation of this, of these prototypes and you had one that you thought was good, I’ll, when did you start testing it outside of the building, you know, when did you start giving out samples or letting customers try it or when did you start trying to sell the minimally viable product and get that feedback?
Yeah, I would say that we started, before we even really went by or when even with physical samples, we were testing the concept online. So we have made a bunch of, you know, sort of dummy landing pages wherein we would send traffic to and see how efficiently we can acquire the customer. So if we did that a bunch of, for a variety of different permutations of the brand, a variety of different looks until we found something that was driving a really good efficiency from an acquisition standpoint. And then once you have that, then you went into the physical sampling.
Jason, did you hear what he said about the dummy landing pages? Cause that was, did you, did you just hear what he just said? Yes. What did you think? He just said I think that he’s a marketing genius. So he explained why youth, while you think he’s a marketing genius because I think somebody out there might’ve just, if we’re not careful, somebody out there may have just missed a massive early edition of an Algebra. Oh yeah. And I think it’s amazing because I’ve heard you, like I mentioned this before and I’ve tried to like coach people in to the idea, but I didn’t have any, I didn’t have like a testimonial. And then without even asking him about it, he goes into it and just go, how did we market? It will be tried out some samples. We created dummy landing pages to see the hype it would generate and then we just made some products and send them out and got some honest feedback. So what he did is he created digital landing pages with pictures of a product that did not yet exist to see how many people would actually want to buy it. Oh yeah. Then once he got enough traffic and enough viability, enough interest in a specific make and model, then he decided to create physical samples, but he didn’t create physical samples until he had tested it digitally online. I’m going to play that clip back one more time.
Yeah, I would say that we started before we even really went by when even with physical samples, we’re testing the concept online should be paid a bunch of, you know, sort of dummy landing pages and we’d go play that back at some six. Yeah, I would say that we started before we even open, even with physical samples. Oh yeah. I would say that we started before we even really went by, but even with physical samples, oh, with physical samples. Bottom line is we have paid a bunch of, you know, sort of dummy landing pages, right? Yeah.
mccombs.wine should be a bunch of sort of dummy landing pages, send traffic to she how efficiently we can acquire the customer. Um, so, you know, and we did that a bunch of, for a variety of different permutations of the brand, a variety of different looks until we found something that was driving a really good efficiency, some, uh, uh, acquisition standpoint. And then once he had that, then he went into the physical sampling sentence, you know, had friends and family around, you would have office happy hours for futurism where we would bring the blanket out and let people test it out. Cause it sounds Super Wacky, right? Like here’s this 20-pound blanket. And everyone was super skeptical at first, but the minute they tried it, it was almost like an instantaneous thing. Web Rooms. Like, wow, I feel really grounded. And that’s sort of the immediate reaction. But give us all the, all the confidence we needed to sort of push forward with the lodge.
And did you, uh, did, did you read the lean startup along the way or where you, are you a big fan of that particular methodology of, of starting a business or what? We were there any books that were very formative and the creation of the gravity blanket?
Yeah, we’ll be leaving. We started definitely, um, sort of that methodology of sort of like rapid prototyping and rapid testing, especially from that like those like dummy landing page things like really using the data to drive the decision making definitely was something that the team had read previously. Although, and on top of that all, I come from like a very deep advertising background. I’d look to ad agencies my whole life. So I think between that just general like brand building after them that I sort of had. And then my team is sort of, um, you know, knowledge of that rigorous testing process. We felt we were in a really good place to move forward.
Do you have any particular books that you feel like have impacted your entrepreneurial mindset up to this point in your career? The most?
I actually, I notoriously, I’m not a reader. I do read a lot of like news for sure. Yeah. Um, I did, I worked for a Debbie Downer chuck for three years and sort of um, really saw that there was just fine set look like and then working with him that, and definitely he has his own style and sort of inspired me to, you know, I really relate to that sort of hustle mentality. But of course I have my own style. So have you worked for him? I definitely like adapted my own your old style from that and sort of that sort of informed how I think about work now.
I’m sure the listeners out there, I wanted to know what, what was your role with, with Gary v where you were Gary V’s height man, or what was your, what was your job? Because I know, what do I want to achieve on my death bed? You should do the same, but you need to reconcile that truth instead of being romantic that you’re going to be the one person that changes the education system.
Now, Gary, he doesn’t need me. Hi, it was the 50th employee at being a media, which is I believe now a thousand people, um, played a ton of different roles. Uh, let accounts ultimately last as sort of like a running the business development side of things, which is where I got to meet a lot of cool people in the industry and set me up for this, this current Gig.
Okay. You’ve shut me down on my book related questions. So let, let me, let me go in a different way. Your ongoing mentorship, do you have like a podcast that you listened to? Do you have a, a daily routine? How do you keep yourself motivated, stimulated, educated? Where do you get your ongoing education? How do you go about doing that?
Yeah, I listened to today. They had a great episode with the co-founders of I’m soul cycle and I’m sort of, those types of stories are really more than anything. We’re just getting the confidence to feel like you can go out and actually do something. Everyone has really great idea as a million great ideas, but the biggest hurdle of course it’s just saying like, Stuart, I’m going to go do this. So I definitely was not that a lot. I re I kind of hung around the New York startup scene as much as possible of gravity’s pretty friendly with the folks at counselor, the folks at quest. Um, so staying in touch with them and, and other real like admirable players. This direct to consumer space has been super inspiring for sure.
So you now have achieved quote-unquote success. Um, do you ever look back and go, how in the world did we grow so fast? Because from what I have read, you guys became the 19th, uh, biggest quick start or Kickstarter campaign of all time earning what, 44 point $7 million and selling more than $20 million of gravitational blankets on November of 2018. I mean, do you ever look back and go, wow.
Yeah, it’s just a crazy me. We were taking bets when we launched the Kickstarter about like how much we were going to do and I think the top bat was that we were going to do a hundred grand and we blew that out in like the first half hour. I think on day one we had sold almost a million dollars. Um, and so yeah, the groceries and crazy and really up until I would say 10 months ago that the brand all throughout 2017 for the most part, it was just myself and a few other members of the, of the futures and team until we decided to really blow it out of the water and make it into its own company. So yeah, it’s, it’s crazy to see how fast we’ve grabbed me as of today. I just closed the books for um, for last year we’ve sold $26 million in, in uh, blankets since April, 2017 which is crazy to think about
$26 million of blankets so far.
There are other products in the, under the brand as well, but most of it is Lincoln’s. Yes.
Now let’s split. I want to talk to you about you and, and your, your life outside of the business. Do you, are you a married guide? Have kids walk us through the world of Mike Grillo.
Yeah. No, I’m, I’m a single here living in Brooklyn.
Did you feel that lady? He has a few us out there right now when he was looking for a super six, the entrepreneurial, just call Mike Grillo today just to call my rhythm. Check out the website [email protected] just go to the contact box there and just bought some kind of complaint or something. Just say that you was upset because you bought yourself a gravity blanket, but it didn’t come with Mike Grillo in it and you just want some mock Grillo to be with you in your pillow or next to your pillow accident if that’s what you do.
Um, I’ve been into the startup scene for awhile. I loved like, Brooklyn is a neighborhood and super passionate about, um, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re living, you meet a lot of food. There are a lot of bars. I love music. I listen to, I was gonna say, when you asked me about what I listen to actually what I looked like, music, podcasts, New York Times podcast is, uh, one of my most recommended podcasts. If you guys, if anyone out there who’s listening to music and wants to learn more about without the right now. But yeah, just sort of try to keep those knees, I don’t know, work super busy traveling while my friends getting married this year. So a lot of weddings.
What kind of music are you into the most? Are you, are you a hip hop guy or what are you into?
Yeah, I’m listening to a lot of IMB right now. Um, this woman Lma, she’s a, a, an amazing artist. She has a eps slash album out right now and maybe for about like three, four months ago. That’s really good. Um, uh, Miguel record from last year was really amazing as well. Yeah. It wasn’t a lot of hip hop, a lot of RNB. Um, yeah, all that sort of stuff.
Okay. I am a huge rnb guy, so I’m glad you mentioned McGill. There we go. All right, well I have my playlist. If you ever get a chance to go to e I t R lounge.com. That is the website for our men’s grooming lounge. It’s like a, so Ho urban minimalism, kind of a rustic decor meets a country club and haircuts, like a high end men’s grooming lounge and we have four locations and I put my playlist up there on our website and so there’s, you’re going to find a lot of me in there. I, they think it’s RNB. You’re going to find a lot of like it just, anything that’s going to uh, uh, from even from Luther Vandross through Miguel, you get there. It just kind of that, that, that variety pack there of anything that’s RNB, anything within that vein. I’m, I’m very comfortable there.
No, but I’m a, I’m, I’m a, I’m a bad person and I think we should stop everything and listen to it right now. Jason, have you heard Toni Braxton’s new album? I haven’t heard the name. Toni Braxton and quite some time. Do you like rnb music? I do. Uh, you know the elephant room play list is pretty much all R and B and hip hop. Oh yeah. It’s my vibes. I haven’t heard this album, man. So let me go ahead and cue it up here real quick. Let me just, uh, okay. Here we go. I’m queuing it up. We’re going to do about 40 seconds here.
The to no, you know him still give Whoa,
Whoa, whoa. Toni Braxton. Unbelief. This is it. This is a family friendly show that we got to watch it Tony’s mouth and watch Tony’s mouth to get back to this interview, Mike, I did not listen to that, but I, but I, I, but I will tell you this. I am now 38 and when I was 16, I was determined I was going to marry Toni Braxton and I have interviewed Dion Phillips. Her name is Deon Phillips and she’s a celebrity makeup artists and eyelash extensions of Toni Braxton. So I have, I’m getting closer to interviewing Tony Braxton.
Super close to her. Yeah, for sure.
Do you know, do you know Toni Braxton? Can you get me to Toni Braxton?
No, I don’t. I unfortunately can’t. Maybe Tamar I can help you out with,
but you like, but you like Toni Braxton’s newest, newest album.
Yeah, the new album is your other day. It’s called sex and cigarettes. Um, uh, super awesome.
Okay. I’m putting that on the show notes here. Toni Braxton sex and cigarettes on the show notes. Okay. Boom. Put It on there. Do you like, do you like the 2020 2020 a Justin Timberlake album?
Uh, it was better than the last album for sure.
Do you have was always negative with voted is like one of the worst pop albums at this past year that I don’t disagree.
Do do you think that you and Toni Braxton could team up and do some kind of a cross promotion thing? I think it’s, you know, the black that the gravity blanket and then the title sex and cigarettes. I think there’s something there.
There’s definitely something there. We actually do, do we have a lot of celebrity fans? We do that paper influencers south part of the brand strategy a because it’s super expensive and we can’t afford it. B, just because we believe in like more like micro influencers, not celebrities, but we do have a lot of celebrity fans. Uh, Kendall Jenner has posted about blankets. We bushes posted about the blanket. Jimmy Fallon’s a big fan. Um, so we’re, we’re super down with the collaborations. Um, we would love to do something like that. Maybe a Tony call me.
Okay. There it is. This tribe nation. If you’re out there and you know Toni Braxton Have Toni Braxton, call Mike today only you can help unbreak are our hearts prednisone. You are keeping us separated from Toni Braxton. We must reach Toni Braxton and she can help us sell more gravity blankets. Make the connection. You know that you know Toni Braxton hit her up on Twitter, hit her up on Instagram, get her to call us now, Mike Online, the the gravity blanket is described for anybody out there, hasn’t tried it out yet as a premium grade therapeutic weighted blanket that harnesses the power of deep touch stimulation to gently distribute deep pressure across your body. It’s engineered to be around 10% of your body weight. Thus the gravity blanket helps relax the nervous system by a stimulating. It’s maybe this is simulating the feeling of being held or hugged a for somebody out there who goes to bed a little bit. What? What does it mean?
Yeah, imagine that’s sort of the best way to describe it. Getting a really big hug and feeling really grounded under the comfort of someone hugging you. That’s the best way to decide this sensation.
I know this seems like a ridiculous question, but do you feel like it really works? You have science behind this?
Yeah, you could go, you go to gravity blankets.com. They have a whole section dedicated to the research that’s been done around weighted blankets. So a lot of great stuff about them using specifics, uh, patient population. So they’ve been used for actually for many, many years, um, for kids on the autism spectrum, um, for adults suffering from PTSD. Um, and so the, the concept was that if, if they were working in these smaller patient populations, there’s obviously some applicability towards the general population. And then gravity actually is running its own study on Gestalt, on the effects of where the blankets I’m asleep. Um, for general, the general population. So those study results will be coming out in March.
So when these studies come out, they’re going to provide validation. But if you go on youtube, as soon as someone goes on youtube right now and types in gravity blanket feedback, it seems as though you only have bipolar reviews. You got two people that love it, right. And one guy that hates it too, that love it. And I mean it seems like there’s extremes there. There’s a lot of people that just love the blanket and it seems like online reviews are so polarized now. Why do you think reviews just to not just your product, but any product, why do people just get everything a five star or a one? Cause it seems like if I’m looking at it objectively, you’re probably getting three to four really positive, you know, reviews on Youtube for me, one negative, maybe even more and more positive. But it seems like they hate it or they love it. What, what do you think’s going on with the bipolar, social media reviews of products,
consumer expectations of what a product can do for you or sometimes it will go out of whack, right? Like we love the blanket and believe in it wholeheartedly. But is it going to be like a silver bullet for all of your stress, sleeplessness and anxiety needs? No, it’s gotta be part of a much broader approach to like managing your wellness. And I think anyone who thinks like a weighted blanket or buying any product for that matter is going to sort of solve all of your needs. That expectation is so out of whack and then they react accordingly. Um, and you know, give it a one star. So yeah, I think that’s the biggest problem with consumers about large is that we’re always looking for one solution as opposed to like thinking about things is like, you know, a product can solve all your problems, if that makes sense.
Do you feel like that when you bought the, or listen to streamed you, Justin Timberlake, man, a man of the woods album, you thought it would be a 10 and ended up being like a one? Is that what happened?
Yes, exactly. I have really unrealistic expectations of what Jason was going to give us. And uh, yeah, maybe I was a little bit too critical on it, but it was pretty, it was pretty tough for me to be honest. And I do a lot of gt,
didn’t we give that like a 10 it’s a double disk. Would you not give it a 10
yeah. So the, I think the first desk is pretty close for me.
Let me go to up this album. This album by Justin Timberlake is awesome. Have you heard this album Jason? I’ve heard bits and pieces. So you love your country? I do. Do you love America? What’s going on? Come on behind the Times. What are you doing? This song strawberry bubblegum is incredible. You have to bow down to me. You will listen to on the way to work today. Oh absolutely. What’s an incredible sauce? Okay, we’ll go back to our interview that I’d lost hope and America’s future back to you Mike.
A lot of this stuff on the second desk was, I believe the story was that we had to fulfill a contractual obligation to put out another album and I think that’s what the second guess was like, although it was still pretty good. Um, but yeah, I quite enjoyed that. Um, and the videos that went along, right, we’re really optimum as well. So generally a big fan of the album.
Okay. Okay. We’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll move away from JT reviews here now. Now you have a very busy schedule. My understanding is that you, you’re, you have a busy schedule. Um, the listeners have a busy schedule, people who are buying your product. We all have busy schedules, you know, constant notifications, alarming world news, growing stressors. People now are saying, according to psychology today, the average American is being interrupted 85 times a day right now and their smartphone, according to psychology today, 85 times per day. And therefore people are sleeping with their phone. They’re, they’re keeping the notifications on. People are not even turning it on airplane mode while they sleep. How does the gravity blanket help combat this constant anxiety, constant interruptions, sleepless, whoo. You know, disorder that we’re all dealing with.
Well, I’m actually gonna use this as an opportunity to plug a new product that we have coming out that’s sort of is meant to solve just that. Yeah. So we’re coming up, we’re coming out with what we’re calling it, the mindful alarm clock. So what it lets you do, I think most people understand that like having a phone by their batter in their bed is really bad for them. Be It, you know, obviously been notifications that are coming through just before going to sleep and, or the blue light that’s a phone is a mating was really bad for your circadian rhythm. And so getting the phone out of the bedroom is super important, but most people also use their phones as an alarm clock and don’t want to miss I, God forbid something happens to your bom and love to it in the middle of the night. They don’t want to miss that notification.
So what we did is we’re developing an alarm clock that lets you leave your phone outside. The bad. I can actually, the Bluetooth, it allows up to like five emergency context is the reach you, but for every other, every other sin is blocked. Every other notification is blocked out. So all you’re really getting rid those emergency notifications and then decided to be a lot. And so that’s something that we’re working on it, we’ll call him the mind for one class. But then of course in general, the blanket, um, again provides background and experience and definitely helps to sort of quell the nerves before bed. But obviously if you’re continuing to like, you know, blast yourself edifications again, it’s quite of a holistic approach and you can take some behavioral nightmares as well as you get the full effect.
It sounds like you’re spending a lot of time getting to know your customers because you’re coming up with more solutions that are going to solve problems for your current customer base. How do you get that feedback? Do you call your customers up the interview them, do you survey and what, what do you do to get that feedback to stay close to the, to the buyers?
Yeah, we took a really tight feedback loop. So we’re, anytime we have a concept of product concepts, we go through like a pretty rigorous validation process first and foremost of all like, you know, do an internal survey of all the teams, see what they think about it. Ben Survey are Super Consumers, so folks that have opted into a like review program with us. Um, and then of course in exchange for their thoughts, we send them either just sounds I’m teacher products or if we do end up developing the product that they’ve helped us step up blocks and then my free version of that. Um, and then once we feel good about the concept, we’ll move into the sort of like validation phase that I was talking to you through before. I will create some landing pages and drive traffic to it and see what the purchase intent looks like. Um, so yeah, we’re constantly, you know, we’re, we’re gonna roll out maybe six new products this year and the first half with hopes that maybe two of them land really well and we can stay. Although those
Jason, he just did it again. Did you hear what he just said? That he’s going to make prototype products and hope that one sticks. He’s gonna roll out 60 hired 16 1661 that’s far more impressive is he? Did it get 16 or 60 as broadly 60 with everything that he’s got going on? Let’s go back and listen to do it again. Okay.
Oh, maybe I can get up the wrong sound clip. We’ll just let it happen. All right, we got to get back to the interview.
All right, now here is the right clip.
We feel good about the concept. We’ll move into the sort of like validation phase that I was talking you through before. I will create some lighting and drive traffic to it and see what the purchasing tab looks like. Um, so yeah, we’re constantly, you know, we’re, we’re going to roll out maybe six new products this year and the first house with hopes that maybe two of them land really well and we can stay all those,
I think you just said 60 do you agree? He said 60 oh yeah. In my face it was totally 60 no, think about that for a second. He’s going roll out 60 products. That’s a lot. And then run those dummy landing pages to see what sort of market validation there is. Ak, if someone wants to buy it or not. Right. What kind of buyer intent there is? And then if there’s, you know, some interest from the actual market, then they’re going to scale it. Right. That’s the opposite. Almost. People think, I know. It’s so smart and you think, wow, that’s, that’s a no brainer. It is a no brainer. It’s so good. Unbelievable. Jason, have you ever pulled an all nighter in in the last couple of years? Oh yeah. And when you pull an all nighter you didn’t like, it’s like you’re on the verge of crying and laughing at all times the next day.
Yeah. Everything becomes hilarious. But also equal parts like soul crushing. Right. So it’s like you go down to Taco Bueno and they don’t have their, they’re out of your favorite kind of salsa, right? I mean, your friend will say a mildly funny joke. Like your friend will tell you a pirate joke, like, right, what’s a pirates favorite and that tire? And you’re like, ah, I don’t know. Arby’s. And you just can’t stop laughing. That’s how it fueled in this interview. There’s just, it’s so good. It’s so good. It’s amazing. This, this, this interview right here. Somebody, she listened to this thing at least three times. Put this thing on repeat baby back to the interview,
sort of like validation phase and I was talking you through before we will create some landing pages and drive traffic to it and to eat what the purchase intent looks like. Um, so yeah, we’re constantly, you know, we’re, we’re going to roll out maybe six new products this year and the first half with hopes that maybe two of them land really well and we can scale those really heavily in the second half of the year.
You have a really tight feedback loop with customers. Do you, do you have any fellow entrepreneurs and or peers in the New York startup scene that you spend a lot of time with that you feel like have been great mentors for you to give you feedback just on entrepreneurship overall?
Yeah, my, my partner in gravity products is a gentleman named a Justin Simon’s island. He has a company called doors to have, they are a um, product development as a service company. So Justin was the chief of staff at Quirky, which was the invention started off to be recalls for can you from back in the day. And then also was a worked at buzzfeed products and so he just sort of been in the product in a while. So he’s a joint gravity, a joint venture between us and his company. So, uh, he’s my partner and is very plugged into the product development team. He’s been an amazing asset. So if anyone’s looking for a product development guy, you should call Justin.
Could you repeat the name of his company one more time?
It’s called our Doris [inaudible], d o r I s d e v The doorstep.
Got It. And I’ll put that on the show notes so that listeners can come check it out there. Now you call it Brooklyn, Brooklyn home there. Um, do you hear a lot of a alarms at night? They’re like, when you sleep in Brooklyn, is your water of Wu, do you hear a lot of cars, a lot of stuff at night or is it pretty quiet where you live? Again, if you sound proofed your room, what does it look like?
Yeah, I mean I’m a, I’ve had chronic insomnia for bouts of insomnia for my whole life. So early on, um, in college actually I started wearing ear plugs and really have never shaken that hottest. So I used to where they were plugs every night. And so, um, fruit to the best of my daughter, you’ve tried to drown out the noise of, of New York City. But yeah, earplugs or of my friends for sure.
Mike on your website, it reads it, studies have shown that lack of quality sleep during the night leads to concentration and memory problems during the day. Sleep deprivation can hinder the process of memory consolidation as well as the development of new brain tissue. Uh, my friend. Why are you so passionate about helping America and other people all over the world to get a great night’s sleep?
Yeah, I mean, like I said before, I’d sort of had my like lifelong struggle with like anxiety and this was an opportunity when it, when it came along that self worth like a really great commercial opportunity but also sort of is that really unique intersection of purpose and commercial viability. So I don’t know, it seems like the perfect storm for me, it’s something I’m really passionate about because I’m dealing with it myself. But then also there’s obviously like a, uh, a nice, you know, there’s commercial upside as well, so it’s sort of the perfect storm.
Do you have a favorite local bar in Brooklyn? You go to their local club to see live music,
uh, for live music. Brooklyn steals and Asian was a lot of great shows coming through there. From a bio standpoint, I’m, I’m very like, um, centric. So I’m not even sure how many listeners would even know where I’m talking about, but I started late. Diner is really cool. Yeah, I know. Yeah. I would highly recommend you swing by to start. Like I did are very local.
And then do you have like a local idea? Do you ever see this to do artists like d Angelo ever come through and play at these local local venues?
Quite a bit. I haven’t seen him alive. Um, I did go see JC food who, and this is not a small venue but JC through charity concert for prison reform under a title at the Barclay Center this past, uh, maybe it was November and I saw a bunch of great old hip hop and R and B names. So Miss Lauren, hello was there, had a ball and the full, although all the great like you know R and B hip hop players from like the late nineties were there as well as budget new apps as well. But yeah, it’s like the latest in that sort of de Angelo ask realm.
Have you run into Carl Thomas performing anywhere in Brooklyn?
I haven’t, no.
Okay. No, no, I’m just cause you live right? I live in Oklahoma at Camp Clark and chicken palace. Okay. So I’m living on 17 acres behind a wall. I’ve got chickens, turkeys, tons of, of room to grow. We have a 20,000 square foot office, you know, and I’ve got a family with five kids and you are a single guy in New York’s. I just want to tap into your geniusness about this, this incredible product and r and the R and B scene in New York. So I’m just going to continue interrogating. I hit these two ideas now the first four hours of your day. I want to get your take on this. And then Paul Hood, one of our show sponsors has a question for you as well. But Mike, you’ve created a product, the gravity blanket that is doing really well. You’re selling tons products. How do you organize the first four hours of a typical day of your typical day
thoughts at night? Uh, as uh, someone that likes does struggle to sleep myself. Like my mind is really racing at night, so I do a big brain dump like right before I sort of get it all my to do’s out cause like random to do is we’ll just sort of like popped into my head super late at night. You their ideas or to do is I’m just like dump all that out on a on a notebook and then I spent really the first like hour of my day he posts like shower coffee and whatnot. Running through that to do list to make sure I’m ticking off all those like really emergency or like one off to do it. Then I sent him most of the rest of the morning where like most of them fresh before a lot of meetings set in like thinking about like brand partnerships, how we can sort of expand the footprint. So I do a lot of kind of outreach to like other startups or retailers and try to schedule meetings with retailers because retail is a big part of the game. So tried to do a lot of relationship building in those early hours. Did you catch people before they sort of get into they can give their dad and your email inbox before too much clutter is in there
now we have, our podcast is sponsored by a lot of great businesses, one of which is called Hood Cpas. Their accounting. They’re an accounting firm that has a clients all over the country and a Paul Hood CPA’s on the show here. Paul, what question you have for Mister Mike Grillo?
Hey Mike. Hey, this was my question is like clay said, we have clients all over the country and one of the biggest things that we see is we see a lot of successful people that don’t measure, that don’t quantify what they are, identify what success looks like and uh, they don’t capture their costs. And, and start with the end in mind. Do you have processes or have you always had processes to, to kind of measure your results? You had to see where you’ve gone to so that you can adjust and go forward as far as the accounting or numbers and all that?
Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting because we’re not, we’re, we’re not a traditional like venture back startup. There is less financial pressure for us to grow, you know, triple high, double digits, triple digits every year over year. But, um, we of course have our own like internal aggressive goals. The goal of course is to build a company that’s super viable, potentially exit over like a five year horizon. So as long as we’re building a brand that hires, you know, steady, manageable growth, but it’s still not sacrificing the bottom line, where would that without one of those companies, that’s just like top line, top line, top line and we’re all sort of eating to the bottom line at any cost. I’m really kind of balanced brand top line growth and then maintaining a sustainable profit is sort of like how we think about success. And as long as those three are working in concert, we’re feeling like we’ve done our job.
Mike, I have some super rude questions. Three in a row. And if you don’t, if you don’t like the questions and you hang up, I’ll know they were too intense.
No, it was good.
Question number one, I sit down with a lot of entrepreneurs all the time that come to our workshop and they say, I have this product. And I said, it’s great. And I say, do you have the prototype done? They said, not yet, but I’m working on it. And I say, okay, what have you started running ads? And they said, you haven’t heard what I just said. I don’t have a prototype. And I said, I know, have you started running advertisements? And they say, like I said, again, I don’t have a prototype. Why would you advise everybody out there to start test marketing something to quote unquote dummy landing pages before you even have a viable product that works yet?
And if no one in your mind, and if no one’s interested in buying it or they’re not reacting to the opposite, it’s actually not that we actually had before, before it was just like recovery lounge wear line and that we were trying to launch that we were like really in love with and we hired a, um, like there’s amazing designing to design this line. It was really cool. We thought it was really good idea. And then we launched it without really running that validation. And it was the biggest failure of my professional career. Absolutely bombed. And so it goes to show you that despite all the best intentions and a really strong idea without the actual but actually seen the customer and giving you their money, the idea is not really there yet.
So what are the minimal elements needed to launch these testing landing pages or dummy landing pages like walks the listeners through who have a product idea. They don’t have a bunch of prototype yet. If somebody called today to buy a product, they would not be able to fulfill it yet. Maybe they have one prototype in their hand. Um, walk the listeners through this, what elements we need to have. Do you need to have it and like an adwords ad and then a retargeting ad or walk us through them.
We do most of it on social. That’s just where we’re most comfortable with in terms of like our buying. Um, but yeah, like a very soft brand so it doesn’t need to be the final bread. We don’t get too precious about it. Like even the name. Some extent. Of course I get tested later on in the process, but as long as it looks and is representative of what you’re trying to build, is there an actual physical product standpoint? There’s some type of a brand and it doesn’t look like a fake website so that people don’t think they’re getting scammed. And then you have like, you know, some basic retargeting running at an a big funnel set up so that you could see like how effective your or how cheaply or extensively you’re acquiring a customer. There’s this sort of the basic, what we do is we don’t, we don’t actually process the credit cards. We had a a custom page, you know, once they enter their credit card information they get a bounce back saying like that. So I’m stock into your email to learn more. But we always trying to get that as far down from Lacey.
So you’re going to have like an out of stock notification and you don’t charge the client. Good knowledge bomb somebody great knowledge bombs per capita. This guys dropping you coach with clients. How is what he’s saying right now counter intuitive to what everybody else thinks by default. How has what he’s teaching right now completely opposite of the mindset of most staunch starting entrepreneurs or the opposite in the sense that with a lot of the people that I’ve worked with or have just like watched their companies grow or their product grow, they get the idea and then they just hit the ground running and they’re like, we need to make x amount of units, then we need to put it on Amazon and we need to put it on the site and then try to sell, sell, sell, not knowing if it’s even a product that people want.
So you saw with the elephant in the room, some of the products that we’ve been testing in the stores here in recent months and we tested a product line of new hair product and when we tested the formulation to see if our clients would like it, right. And they did, they did. And so now we have an elephant in the room. Product align. There’ll be coming out soon. But the reason why we didn’t go out there and invest $200,000 in products before we knew if people wanted it was why we wanted to make sure that it would be something that’s sold and it was something that people enjoy it and they’d buy it again. But what if they didn’t like it? What would we have done? Well, if we had already spent a huge budget on it, then we kind of would have been up a creek, right?
And I’m, they know why people get stuck in that doom loop where they’re committed to something that just couldn’t work. It shouldn’t work. It’s not going to work and nobody cares about it. Right? So that, this is just, I hope somebody wrote that down. You need to, you need to figure out whether the market wants your product by marketing your product. You got to figure it out. Whether somebody, once the PR, whether consumers actually want what you’re making. You can’t tell the world that they should want to. If they’re going to tell you if they want it with their dollars, the consumer votes with their dollars. If there’s a big election going on, the consumer is voting with their dollars. They don’t vote with their mouths. Your friends or family might tell you that they love the product, but until people are buying the product, it does not matter. Right? That’s it’s a big idea and I hope somebody can, except today,
getting them to enter that into the field is important so that we can capture like the actual intent, if that makes sense.
I did what you’re saying makes a ton of sense. Now there’s somebody out there listening today and they have a product, right? But they’re trying to get it made in China. You know what I’m saying? They’re trying to get this thing made in China and uh, they’re having a hard time going back and forth with their Chinese, uh, factory with the company that’s going to do the fulfillment for them. Um, you know, and they’re going, gosh, it’s, I mean, what’s the, what’s the process? If somebody has a product and they’ve tested it and they’ve got maybe 150 to 200 and people that have validated it, who said, hey, I want to buy it. Or they’ve been running a social media ads with a landing page and they got the out of stock notification. They know there’s a demand there, but they’re having a hard time making the prototypes. What is the best solution that you would recommend for them?
Well, I wouldn’t try it first and then you don’t even have to take any inventory risks if you have samples, which is really all we had. So gravity, uh, we didn’t even have any inventory on hand until after the Kickstarter close. So especially if you have the demonstrated demand, then you could go back to Asia, you know, perhaps a higher MOQ or more leverage saying, hey, listen, I just read this crowd funding campaign. There’s this demonstrated demand. I can place this order today. I know they’re going to run through it and I’ll be able to place a replant order. Um, you know, another 45 days that gives you the library to meet. So I would say proud funded presale. I don’t have the inventory risk of fraud.
Can you explain what the phrase Moq means for anybody out there? Does is not familiar with the terminology.
Yes. The minimum order quantity, it’s a number of units at the factory will produce for you at one time.
There’s so much, uh, Charlotte and Hoo, Hoo, Hoo Ha, and a, a bs about crowdfunding out there. You know what I mean? There’s a lot of bs and there’s real stuff. I mean, there you’re a real thing, real business, real viable entity. But there’s a lot of them that are just, it’s a bit too bogus. It’s some guy, you know, he’s doing a pitch at the, it’s like a holiday inn select. No, no, it’s not. It’s, it’s a, it’s a form or a holiday inn select now it’s like a Ramada and he’s teaching you the 18 ways to build a click funnel and to outsource your life and how to, you know, crowdfund your way to millions, um, to walk us through the real steps to crowdfund. What are the real, I mean I know I’m not asking you to give us a specific checklist with every box checked, but what, what are the things you have to have in place to crowdfund?
Yeah, definitely need to be able to see your point. Like people that are skeptical on the campaigns specifically, you know, kick started this odyssey, very reputable. There were a few other ones out there that have perhaps a leaser documentation. And so making sure that you give your as transparent as humanly possible about who the team is behind the product and any credibility that you have, um, and make sure that you’re only giving the bio’s and all that sort of stuff. Um, definitely a video is super important. It needs to be sort of, it’s sort of counterintuitive to what I was sort of taught in digital marketing that really people I see at like a two or three minute video, it makes it feel more real and get some in depth into the product and the team. But I would definitely say like making sure you have all your creative assets that the team showing who’s behind it is really important. Cause that’s the, that’s what these people are backing their backs and the creator. Um, and so having that visibility into who the creator is in their stories, obviously super critical.
Where else do you see people get it wrong? Where you, I’m not asking you to name a company, but you’ve got on crowd, you’ve gone on Kickstarter before, you know, just because you’re curious, you know, you got back from one of your fancy restaurants, you went out to your favorite restaurant in Brooklyn. It’s what, but probably two in the morning. You’re just winding down. You just finished working out your, you know what I mean? This is your, you’re halfway through the night here. You’re about ready to call it quits here in four hours. So you go on Kickstarter just to see who’s up there. What are some mistakes, common mistakes people make when trying to crowd fund where you go? No, no, that’s not a move.
Obviously people were looking at, you know, what the top Kickstarter where, uh, you know, that previous year of all tonight and then try to essentially just like doop soft nose. Like, you know, we’ll make the, grab it and run air with no real substantial changes to it or no real innovation behind it. I think any like rapey or me to crowd funds are just never going to do well. That community is, is tiny enough where even though it is, it is large, 600 backwards are a real community and follow the pop up very closely. So if they’ve seen something before that I was going to be super skeptical of backing something similar that might be like the same, perhaps even a lesser quality. Um, so no, me too, I would say without a real substantial, um, you know, innovative feature to it, if that makes sense.
Absolutely. I want to ask you this here. I’ll back to music. The real important stuff here. The Fujis, do you have a favorite song?
Um, no, actually that’s a shame. I need,
I put my painting into a corner.
Okay. Well for me, I would say ready or not. It’s probably my favorite. I love that song. You know, love that song. Just, just curious. Do you do like tribe called quest?
Everyone knows about that.
See this, you are a great American. Not that you need that validation for me, but, uh, I do validate you. Now another question I have, we have a thriver who wants to know? This is a tough question for Ya. If you and Mike Lindell, the founder of my pillow, got into a pillow fight, who would win and why?
I feel like I would probably just smother him with a gravity blanket.
First of all, your answers is totally on point. Anything bad like features, most Nora and all her vocal prowess is to me, she’s been running a ton. I have a lot of downtime open over Christmas. They shut down to, is watching, right? A daytime TV. And he definitely hits the day time to be segments pretty hard to have been thinking about him. Top of mind.
Do you like Sam Smith, the R and B singer? Do you find his vocals to be whiny?
Uh, no, I love sense and I thought I’m really excited about his knee gets a new single out with Normani who was also an amazing like rnb copy a book or some spray out about that
final a music question I have for you John Legend. Do you like his stuff? Are you buying John Legend’s stock or not so much?
John, I love, John was super, super cool. Obviously I don’t buy, I don’t like Chris like the Christmas album south. There’s just a lot for me with some times like, I dunno am I speaking without a Christmas song and we just don’t need any more like contemporary Christmas songs. Like I think we’ve talked to up to Mariah has like be the most recent contemporary crystal song and let her have that for the end of time. So that’s how I feel about it.
I hate to correct you, but let me tell you this. This is my lifeline. I had gotten ready to hear. I said I was gonna tell the thrivers, hey, what better way to say I love you this time of the year than by buying a gravity blanket and by buying a copy of a John Legend Christmas album, that was going to be my read and you really ruined the whole, now I have to restart the whole thing. Now I got to say, what’s your favorite album, by the way? What’s your,
I know. I just feel like John Legend and I have a kinship. Um, he might be my brother from another mother and we’ve never discussed it. I think it’s, I’m Caucasian, he’s not, but I think there’s enough similarities that I believe we’ve, at some point our family trees aligns.
Hey, know what, what is your favorite musician right now? Favorite artists? Maybe if you have favorite albums. Is it Toni Braxton?
I think Frank Ocean.
What’s something to come out with? A new, a new album.
Okay. So how about this? What better way to say I love you this time of the year. Then by listening to Frank Ocean, romantically cuddling it canoodling underneath the gravity blanket. What about that? Is it a good read? It’s a good commercial.
All Right nice. Nice. Now gravity blankets.com. It’s a website. It’s where we can find your products, your hot special going on. You have a hot promo going on, something hot going on right now.
Now December. Um, because we sold out so soon, but we’re back in stock across all those two years as of I think a couple days ago.
Final question I have for you as it relates to crowdfunding, how much money should somebody be planned, not planned on spending on that great marketing video, that great website, the great collateral, uh, the great prototype. What a great of greats. Excellent. How much do they plan on spending on all of those things before they go on to crowdfund potential on Kickstarter or something like that?
You don’t really need to send a whole lot, but I think you can be really thrifty with it. Um, call in favors from friends, all that sort of stuff.
Did you have like an in house video guy that helped you do videos and websites or did you do as internally have the ability to do those things?
Yeah, I will say like as a media company that word gravity started, we didn’t have a lot of like of that talent in house designers in house. So that definitely helped a lot. But I’m also like just having been in advertising for some time, like I have a bunch of friends in the space that we were sort of tapping for things here and there. Um, so yeah, it definitely is a big plus for sure.
But even if you, you know, if he didn’t, I mean I guess you get a proper professional marketing video for what, three to 4,000 bucks a nice website, all those things. So I mean you could really do some damage for what, 10 to 15 grand even if you don’t have your kinds of connections. Right. I do do, I think,
yeah, I always, if you have 10, 10 to 15, I think you’re in a really healthy side.
Do you have a rap name?
My first screen and I was g money
Mike G Money Grill. I was going to be Mike Grillo or something. But Mike G Money Grillo. That’s great. I’m going to put that on the show notes there. Uh, all right, well g money. I appreciate you so much for being on the show. Uh, just a quick, a shameless invite for you. We have a huge, I say huge. The thrive nation. We have about 2,500 people a year that make the trek to Tulsa to come to our in person thrive time show workshops and we have a 20,000 square foot facility on the left coast, the west coast of the Arkansas River where we host our in person workshops. And a lot of times we have a guest entrepreneurs that come and speak. We had uh, the former head of Harley Davidson. They are kin Schmidt, his spoken, we’ve had Michael Levine, the PR guy for Michael Jackson and Nike and prints. And if you’re ever in Oklahoma, and I know you are tourism this time of year, you know the, the, the sod farm tours are amazing. Mike g money. If you’re ever in the area, you should come by and visit.
I’ll be there.
Okay. Well I appreciate you and a thank you for again, let, allowing us to harass you. And uh, we like to end each and every show with a boom, which around here stands for big, overwhelming, optimistic momentum. So I’ll do the countdown. And Are you prepared to bring a boom for Brooklyn?
Yeah. What does that mean?
Oh, you just have to say boom. When I say boom, it’s like a synchronized, booming. But because of I, because you’re Caucasian, we have to kind of role play. So three, two, what do we do again? All right. So are you ready? It’s a struggle for us. Yeah, for sure. I’m ready. Okay, here we go. So now that you’ve heard a show with this much meat on the bones, what are you going to do with it? What do you, what are you gonna do with this knowledge? You know when we talk about this a lot on the show, but we won’t. We always said that knowledge without application is meaningless. I always say that to mark, to our team, to our clients, to you, knowledge without application is meaningless. So what can you do as a result of today’s show? What are the action steps that you need to take?
What have two action steps? I would encourage everybody out there to take one, stop tweaking, measuring, adjusting the logo and launch those ads. Launch those ads, launch those advertisements and see if the market will buy your product before you’re ready. Just see if the market will buy your product. If the market wants your product, the market believes in your product, they’re going to buy from you because the market votes with their dollars. People vote with their dollars. They can say to you verbally, Oh, I love that product, but unless they’re buying that product, it truly does not matter. And action step number two, I would encourage you to believe in yourself and to believe that you can make the next big product. There’s never been a better time in American history. If there had been a better time in world history, there’s never been a better time for you to begin living the life that you’ve always dreamed of.
I know you can do it. I believe in you. I know you have the capacity and the tenacity to do it, but I cannot help you if I do not get a chance to know you. So I would encourage you today, not tomorrow, but today, go to thrive time, show.com and book your tickets for our next in person workshop. Um, if if you, if you go to thrive time show.com and you click on the conferences button, you can buy your tickets there, but let’s just say you’re in a tough spot financially and you can’t afford the $250 ticket, that’s fine. Oh, you have to do is leave us an objective review on iTunes or on our Google map and then boom, we’re going to give you a ticket for $37. All you gotta do is to leave us a review on iTunes or Google map.
And as soon as a screenshot of it to info at thrive time, show.com and we’re going to send you a ticket for $37 so whether you have the tutor and $50 to buy a ticket or not be here, they’re just, there are a so many reasons that you need to attend. Our next in-person thrive time show workshop, but I want to do is I want to play an audio, a testimonial from an unbelievable thriver out there by the name of Jennifer and she started a company. It’s a physical therapy company that’s based in Tucson, Arizona, and I want you to hear her story. Her company’s called body’s central, and her name is Jennifer. I want you to hear her testimonial. I want you to hear her story and hear how she’s been able to grow her company into a multimillion-dollar business simply as a result of not just being a hearer of the word, but a doer of the word. She’s an implementer. She’s somebody who’s executing, you know, vision without execution is hallucination. According to Thomas Edison. Vision without execution is a hallucination. This is your year to thrive, you can do it, but you have to take that action. Just like Jennifer and Tucson did.