Jason Hartman hosts Chris Stoikos, a serial entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Dollar Beard Club. They go through his journey as an entrepreneur discussing creative marketing and commercialization of products. Chris gives us insight into how to build and maintain teams to run the businesses you set up.
Jason Hartman 0:00
Welcome to this week’s edition of flashback Friday, your opportunity to get some good review by listening to episodes from the past that Jason has hand picked to help you today in the present and propel you into the future. Enjoy.
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Jason Hartman 0:59
It’s my pleasure one I’m Chris Stokes. He is the founder and CEO of dollar beard club, a tremendously successful fast growth company with viral videos. And really funny stuff very entertaining. Chris, welcome. How are you?
Chris Stoikos 1:14
Good. I’m doing well. Jason, thanks for having me on here. I appreciate it.
Jason Hartman 1:18
It’s great to have you. So the inspiration for dollar beard club did it come from a company of a similar name that was fast growth company that’s just sold for like a billion dollars or more? Where do you get it? I mean, I love your videos, by the way. They’re awesome.
Chris Stoikos 1:33
Yeah, for sure. It’s a famous question. Long story short, we had started using a crew that I was working with, we were working on a bunch of different startups living in a house together and we were all growing out our beards and then we heard of beard oil, we started to use it and the prices of the stuff that was on the market were ridiculously high. It was like $20 for a half ounce bottle. And the ingredients that were in there, a lot of them had chemical ingredients and you’re putting this stuff like right on your beard and under your nose and you’re smelling it all day long. So it was kind of the combination of those two things that made us think hey, why the hell Can’t we sell beard oil for a cheap price and we took a look at the market and there wasn’t any predominant someone taking over the market out there because beards were always like these mom and pop little shop type of things. So we we jumped on it and obviously saw Dollar Shave Club success and we were always the kind of guys that made fun of them and people who shaved so we said why not do the antithesis of the Dollar Shave Club and dollar beard club was born and we just tried to, you know, have our own personality exude through our videos in a kind of funny cool way and give the bearded guys out there a reason to jump on our bandwagon?
Jason Hartman 2:44
Sure. Just tell the non bearded listeners. What is beard oil, what is it conditioner basically,
Chris Stoikos 2:51
basically it’s a bunch of different essential oils. So we use pine oil, orange essential oil, sandalwood oil and it The Balm has like beeswax, it has shea butter, there are a bunch of different ingredients that go into why should not jump into wax or balm. Yep, yeah. So the the oil is basically poured on your hand, you rub it in between your palms and you wipe it on your beard and you rub it in there and it makes it give it a very subtle shine, makes it smell amazing. Keeps it looking very sharp in terms of the way that it runs kind of vertically down your face. So it can be used kind of in any sort of that process and and then yeah, I touched a bit upon bomb and wax bomb is great for a tiny bit of a stickier hold and oil. And it’s more of like attacking your texture. And then wax is a super stronghold. It’s great for waxing your moustache out of the way. And we do other cool products too like beard cream and beard shampoo. And we sell combs and brushes. Growth oil.
Jason Hartman 3:49
Yeah, yeah. So maybe you got to speculate here a little bit, Chris. But before we get into the company and the elements of doing a viral video, I just want to ask you generally Where do you think the whole beard trend came from? I mean, it just seems like it came out of nowhere a few years ago. I remember ZZ Top the band of course with their long, funny shirts. You hear about the different sexual orientations. There’s, of course metrosexual. But now there’s something called lumbersexual. And I gotta say the beard thing seems to be affiliated with a lumbersexual. Look. Yeah, sure to comment on that one. I think that’s kind of funny. With the whole beard thing come from
Chris Stoikos 4:29
Yeah, man. You know what I’m very opinionated stance on that question. Wherever it gets asked. I don’t believe that the beard era call it is a trend. We’ve been growing beards out of our face since man was born. And you have to do something to not have a beard. You don’t have to do anything to have a beard. So I think as we see more people being able to kind of practice their individuality and people to be able to be unique to themselves and not conform to society’s rules that are They’re just doing what they’re comfortable with, they’re able to express themselves in a way that means them and I believe that it’s just normal for a man to express himself by having a beard on his face. It’s not like a woman can just go and grow a beard like we have them inside of our face with the hair ready to come out for a reason. So to me it’s just been one of those things where sometimes there’s been a few people in society rocking a beard, sometimes the entire thing has but if you do look back and call it a trend a wave or how people have grown it not grown it I believe that we’re heading in a direction now where nothing is ever going to go back to the way of super strict rules of society in a lot of different ways in terms of how you look and you know tattoos are mainstream now beards crazy haircuts are on the market. People are wearing different outfits to work and to school. These days. It’s not so cookie cutter and boxy how it was so think the beards are here to stay man.
Jason Hartman 5:54
Interesting, interesting stuff. So what’s the secret to your success with the dollar beard club? The company is what about a year old? A little over a year maybe. And he did, I think 13 million year first year, he probably would have done more. But you had a few hiccups as every business does. is it all about the viral video, I mean, give us some of those fundamental keys. We actually
Chris Stoikos 6:15
did 10 and a half million in our first 12 months. And now we think we’re at around 12 and a half million as of less than 14 months. We definitely attribute our success to our viral videos, because like you said, definitely wasn’t attributed to a working website. We didn’t have the ability to do cross sells or upsells down cells, email marketing, affiliate traffic, any of those things. So we just kind of had to rely on a funnel that didn’t so convert so well and crashed all the time. But we got the traffic there from our videos. And I believe that when it’s clean shaven guy pass a clean shaven guy in the street, they don’t look at each other and say, Hey, brother, nice, clean shave, but when a bearded guy passes a bearded guy in the street, you know there’s a underlying brotherhood there. There’s a camaraderie. It takes place. So when you look at that guy, and you attribute that kind of stickiness to use a term in the subscription world, it made it a great spot for all these different guys to see what we were doing and give them something to belong to that was bigger than they were. dollar beard club is way bigger than I am as a person or my team or any one of you know, the people in my network. But as a whole, it was this very common ground for all these different bearded men that get to see these comical ways of describing what their life is like on a daily basis and the things that bearded guys do combine with some great products and a subscription service and it just went nuts man, it was kind of one of those untapped markets where I talked a bit in the beginning about beards just being mom and pop shops, and no one had really come out on top there was one company called beard brand and they had done like, I don’t know their exact numbers but something like a couple million dollars over the course of a handful of years. They were the biggest beard company out there. And we soared above them within two months of being live. And again, that’s all attributed to me because of the videos.
Jason Hartman 8:10
So how many videos did you make? in total? Are there just a few sort of fundamental core videos? Or do you have just a whole bunch of them? Are you constantly making new videos to promote the company?
Chris Stoikos 8:20
Yeah, now we’re constantly making new videos, we have about four flagship videos, which are our long ones. We had our original one in the warehouse, we had one called up north, where we launched to Canada, we had one called beer depression, which launched for No Shave November last year, and we have one called growing wild where we travel the world in the video. And we have two more coming out right now that are also going to be two more kind of flagship ones. And we have a ton of little videos in between 15 seconds and 30 seconds. Yeah, how
Jason Hartman 8:51
long are the long ones when you say the long videos,
Chris Stoikos 8:53
they’re 90 seconds? Oh, you get lost? Yeah, it’s a little bit different in the Internet marketing world in terms of like VSL, and long copy and things like that. But a lot of the little commercials even if you see someone on TV, right majority of places buy a 32nd spot. So anything more than 30 seconds, let alone a triple that being 90 seconds is a little bit longer of a presentation you’re going to need to hook your audience for and that’s the biggest thing that I think it’s all about on Facebook when you’re scrolling, a very crowded newsfeed and people are just, you know, desperately trying to gain some of your digital real estate and capture your attention for a short period of time is you need to really hook your audience in the first seven seconds of the video to get them watching the rest of it.
Jason Hartman 9:35
Absolutely. Tell us how you make a viral video. You’ve got an event coming up where you are charging some big bucks to teach this, but share a few tips with our listeners if he would and got to just also ask you, Kevin Harrington is speaking at the event. I’ve had him on the show before. Are you going to require him to grow a beard before he gets up on stage? I think I think you should
Chris Stoikos 9:57
like where your head’s
Chris Stoikos 9:59
at. But I was meeting with him last week. And I said to him, I said, Kevin, just it’s gotta be sad, man, we got to talk about the elephant in the room when the hell are you gonna grow up and grow out your beard?
Jason Hartman 10:10
Well, you know, it’s like an actor in a movie role. They got to change their weight, grow their hair, cut their hair, whatever, you know, grow beard, get rid of their beard, whatever it is, but yeah,
Chris Stoikos 10:20
yeah, we’re gonna be convincing him. But yeah, like you said, He’s speaking at the event one of the guys it’s cool, we’re calling it unconscious content. You can check out the event unconscious content calm, we’re going to be throwing a lot of these events, and just trying to keep them giving out the content that you just alluded to in terms of how to create a viral video because we were having so much success with all of our different videos never kept saying, hey, how do you do it and it’s a tough process. Hence the name unconscious content. I believe that a lot of the inspiration comes from your unconscious mind. I think that when we wake up in the morning, our unconscious mind begins running our day from going to the bathroom to brushing your teeth, have your breakfast drive to work and we kind of become the series of algorithms. Make events where we don’t even think of what we’re doing. But something that’s been programmed in us from childhood or a couple years ago or the day before, can influence our actions the next day. So when you can kind of get into the bios of your human computer, then you can go in and you can edit things and make changes. And you can draw inspiration from cool spots. And a lot of people do this through different places. Some guys do it through substances, some guys do it through lack of sleep, too much sleep, thinking of it in the middle of the night. And we’ve all had those ways of inspiration where like, our big idea hits us but being able to manually put yourself into that zone is
Jason Hartman 11:35
into the zone where you can create these videos
Chris Stoikos 11:37
Exactly. Where you can script them. Okay, so yeah, I do through something called dry fasting, where you don’t have any water or any food for a period of time as little as 16 hours to get you in the zone. I’ve been in for as long as 72 hours. And I don’t know how
Jason Hartman 11:53
that can. I’ve heard about dry fasting and I don’t know how that can be healthy not to have water, but okay. Thank you. See fast food but water.
Chris Stoikos 12:03
It’s a whole other conversation. But the very quick download on it is that all biological life needs water to survive. We all have parasites, bacteria, metals, different things in our body that needs water to survive. So when you remove the water and the food, it becomes a survival of the fittest, your good cells go to war with your bad cells. And the good cells will get the water that’s stored inside of your fat cells, your body right now 100 grams of fat into about 60 to 70 grams of water, and all the weak stuff dies off. So it’s kind of like shedding your skin. It’s like an animal hibernating. And then you go into mass production of HGH and stem cells you can put on crazy amounts of muscle and it’s very cool But back to what its effect on your brain because there’s nothing in you like we’re all very creative at birth. society makes us not creative education makes us not creative. We’re forced to learn somebody else’s path. But if you just think of when you were a young kid, we all go back to our memories and the things that we enjoy doing and we are passionate about. There are so many different things that We no longer do and when you can get into the zone of flow where you’re doing something that you’re passionate about that you did when you were a kid and you compare that with something like dry fasting, man, the the ideas that come off they’re they’re very cool. It’s fun. It’s a fun spot to be in you have a it’s almost like this somewhat creative spiritual awakening, and it becomes a healthy addiction again, that space whenever as often as you can. So yeah, that’s how I find my personal inspiration for writing the scripts for the dollar beard club videos and other stuff that we’ve done along the way. Hey, we’ll take
Jason Hartman 13:30
us through some of the elements of those scripts. Like what makes a video viral. I mean, you know, this is the big secret. Everybody wants to know, we’ve all seen viral videos, but I don’t know that we can dissect them.
Chris Stoikos 13:41
You said it really well. There were you don’t know if you can dissect them because there is no exact formula for a viral video if there was, people would buy it for 5 million people buy for $50 million. They don’t make video after video. So there are a lot of different factors that go into it. And this can include the day that you launch the video. The actors haircuts in the video, the premise of the story, how it actually walks through it, the length of it. So there are a lot of different factors in it. But what we found best is the biggest thing to something going viral is you need to appeal to a mass market, you need to say something or display something or both whether you’re saying and then visually displaying it, that the audience can relate to and that it’s shareable. The definition of something going viral is somebody you know, getting X amount of shares and everyone constantly putting it on their friends, Facebook walls and on YouTube and everyone’s sending each other links. we’ve all gotten video links in our email. That’s how you can tell something’s going viral. So to get there, and to create something that’s shareable, you need to tap into the unconscious mind of your audience and you need to find something that they don’t necessarily talk about every single day, but it’s something that they feel like go into the primal instincts, and you can take tangents off of each of these but you know, you just think of things that are funny like taking a shower is a pretty funny one that when I say that, I a podcast people are like, what’s this guy talking about, but if you look at for big videos squatty potty, Dollar Shave Club second video in one for kaymar my pants, we don’t walk around talking about needing to go use the restroom, but it’s something we all need to do on a daily basis. So when you can put that in a funny way on a video, it gives it shareability it gives the the audience that you’re looking at to be like, Hey, you know what, yeah, I feel this. This is hilarious, you got to see this. There are other ones just to do with going into the deep spots in terms of taking your market looking at exactly what you have. And if you look at ours, like beard club, for example, not every bearded guy exactly eats shaving cream for breakfast. But we made it seem like that was like a thing that we all did. So when we were able to tap into a shaving cream for breakfast and walk through and put a bunch of the stereotypes in there. That was the common sharing ground amongst the bearded community. And then it also had the element of making fun of shaving guys and that’s another thing that bearded guys do. So that really worked for us. To kind of catapult off of when we thought of it. So when it comes to scripting it out, you definitely want a very heavy hook in the first seven to 10 seconds of the video, you want something to give them a reason not to turn the video off no matter what, by giving them something very funny a punch line, leaving them hanging with information, a great vision. And we definitely hammer on that hard and all of our videos and we make sure that there’s something there because then I don’t want to it doesn’t matter what happens in the rest of the video, but you have their attention. Once you have their attention, you can kind of roll in any direction that you want. You want to give them something to belong to that’s bigger than they are majority of people in the internet marketing space especially they don’t build brands, they build sales that would die if the sales died, I should say a brand would die if the sales died because they’re just they don’t have any serious loyalty. And you can do that again through proper branding and you can embed it into a video so when you get someone to belong, give your audience something to belong to and something to belong to. It’s awesome. You You feel like people go around they become your market. They’re taught There.
Jason Hartman 17:01
And he definitely did that. Well, I would almost give that a different name. I would call it the polarization and identifying the common enemy in your videos. You make it Yeah, like, you know, having a beard is manly. And, you know, this is you got to be part of the club. And, you know, if you’re not you’re a whiskey, you know, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s kind of like you You really polarize and I thought they were hilarious even though I don’t have a beard. And I’m not growing on either. But you can get on my case later about that. But you polarize. You know, you’re not afraid to go out on a limb. Are you insane? This is the cool way to be and if you’re not, you’re not cool, right?
Chris Stoikos 17:41
Very well said, man. I like how you wrap that up and I’m still working on my patches. This is all new when given out the instructions on how to give a make a viral video but you’re right, we are very polarizing and we aren’t scared to say speak our minds and people like that people look for leaders to follow. That’s what makes follower so I’m with you on that completely. Okay, what else? I think that telling a story during your video is very important people like to see stuff progressing. You mean if you think of like the favorite favorite movies that we’ve ever watched, there’s a great story involved. And doing that with a video is not much different. You need to tell your audience through a creative way what they’re going to be getting. So if you look at our video, for example, after we slapped the guy and said, We eat shaving cream for breakfast, it was for only $1 a month you’ll receive the most legendary beard oil known to mankind and then you kind of bait them with Whoa, Okay, tell me more for $1 month that’s good and then give them a couple perks about the lifestyle and what they could be looking at if they were to join the club and that’s that you’re probably busy riding your motorcycle or swimming in a box full of women. Then we touched on thinking about giving something that they’re gonna feel like they’re gonna miss out on if they don’t join and that was our line about a buyer beard oil and you’re not going to smell like the beard of Zeus right if you
Jason Hartman 18:54
take away kind of a takeaway there. Okay, yep.
Chris Stoikos 18:58
Take away Then you just explain the service blatantly, that’s one of the most important parts in any video, where to buy it, how to actually get the product that you’re selling, how to join. And to make that very clear. So we said for only $1 a month, straight to your door, we ship starting at $1 a month, we ship shampoo, wax, balm conditioner, and we named all the different products that we actually shipped to people’s doors. So being able to tell your customers this in a funny way in a short, concise manner, having great visual gags the whole time throwing some music throwing a good script, and you edit it properly. You can come out with great content, you can do this time and time again. You know, some you’ll knock out of the park and they’ll go viral, some might not. But the whole point is about creating consistent content. If you just think of your favorite TV show, and there’s a season of 16 episodes. Not all 16 are your favorite episode. You have some that were fillers. You have other ones phenomenal. But yeah, I think if you come out of the gates with a bang and you come out with something that people are going to enjoy and you follow that format and you You take away what you can from other artists that you’ve seen do this, then you’re gonna write yourself a recipe for success. Of
Jason Hartman 20:08
course you teach this now because you’re you’ve obviously proven yourself. But how did you learn it? Where did you go to learn this? Did you read a certain book, attend a certain conference, you know, follow another guru that was teaching this subject.
Chris Stoikos 20:21
I don’t have any formal training and how to do this. I was been in kind of an entrepreneur since I was a kid. I used to make crossword puzzles for 25 cents in the second grade, and I’d sell them at recess for 50 cents, kind of taking that entrepreneurial endeavor. Throughout my life, I always thought I would see things that I didn’t know how to do. And I would just jump in and I’d learn them. I’d research it online, read a book, talk to friends and just start hammering at it and making mistakes until I got better. So I had a buddy four years ago that was making videos and they were just killing it. He was making so much money off of the products, the videos tailored, and I made a video with a buddy and I said hey, just grab your camera. Let’s go outside and start shooting some scenes. first couple were awful, they didn’t make sense. And then we reshot them, and it kind of came together. And it was just a lot of trial and error and getting out there. And I haven’t been able to find a really good spot that teaches how to create video, which is why we’re coming out with the event because a lot of the networking stuff focuses on traffic and conversion and content creation in the form of blogs and long copy, but there’s a whole different beast. So that’s why we’re kind of jumping in. But
Jason Hartman 21:25
give us an idea if you would. And I know we got to wrap it up here. But give us some idea, Chris is how much time you spend to say write the script. And you just write a script to use a storyboard to use a piece of software that helps you you know, a lot of people use like what is it Scrivener or something, you know, screenplay software’s. I mean this, a little short video like that really is, you know, it’s like a little mini movie, isn’t it?
Chris Stoikos 21:51
Yeah, it completely is a Mini Movie. In fact, I use final draft when I’m writing the scripts, which is the famous movie software that people write for feature films. So when you’re concepting, it usually hits you in the form of a wave of inspiration. And you get it down on a piece of paper, wherever, whether that’s a napkin or a note on your phone as quick as you can. And then when you’re actually scripting it, you want to follow all of those different points in terms of hook your customer, give a perk of the lifestyle, educate, heavily polarize and then create scarcity and leave, leave the scene with a call to action. So you kind of put those seven things out and you combine them into your concept. But I’ve written a script and as short as two hours, and as long as a couple weeks of hammering at it here and there where you kind of you need these waves of inspiration, you go back and revisit it. But final draft is a great program. It’s very cheap to buy. And it’s fun when you just see the script font being punched in on your screen and you’re able to type through your ideas and as they start to formally take shape then creates an awesome template to be able to go shoe from
Jason Hartman 22:53
Yeah, exactly. You spend a ton of money on these videos like how much did it cost to create your flagship videos, did you have a whole like crew there? Or did you have a couple of guys with iPhones or, you know, give us an idea as to the scale of the production.
Chris Stoikos 23:08
The first video we shot actually only cost us $800. And we had, we didn’t like a knife and it was in a buddy’s warehouse where we were all the actors. The second video up north in Canada cost us around 25,000, we had to rent out a hockey arena for three days, and we had a line in there. The third video was in the neighborhood of 75 grand. And in that one, we also had animals and a lot of different locations. And then the fourth one growing wild, we actually spent $100,000 on it. And it’s fun because our first video of the $800 one was the most successful. So price doesn’t have a correlation to creating a successful video, you can do something with a low budget to have a high ROI. That’s what our two new videos that are getting ready to come out were 1500 bucks and like four grand. So we went back to our roots and we really applied our own process that we’ve created that I’m going to be teaching that’s how to create a logo A low budget video with high ROI and be creative and all that sort of thing.
Jason Hartman 24:04
Fantastic. Well Chris good stuff any resources you want to share a Twitter account you know, of course, dollar beard club anybody can find that but you know, whatever you want to give out,
Chris Stoikos 24:15
check out my personal website Chris. stilettos calm, gonna be launching some cool content through the blog stuff. There are some great tools that I use a book actually, that is huge and very, I’ve read many times. It’s called the mastery of self. And it’s by a guy named Don Miguel Ruiz and it’s a phenomenal phenomenal read.
Jason Hartman 24:35
Yeah, I read the I think the Four Agreements or some Four Agreements yeah,
Chris Stoikos 24:40
check out the master yourself. It’s it’s even better. It goes deeper into things. And then another great tool that I use for writing when I’m on the go is a website called Johnson j. o t. So me Johnson when it’s a free writing blog with no distractions, you can like choose your music and your mood so I can get in the zone there when I’m working on things on the go. And then yeah, my Instagram is kind of where most of my followers Follow me. It’s my handle is at C sonicos. CST o ik iOS, and you can check out usually have some pretty funny stuff going on there and then yeah dollar beard club.com growing out your beard jump on there.
Jason Hartman 25:20
Absolutely. Chris Stojko, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today and I wish you continued success, and it was really an awesome interview. Thank you so much.
Chris Stoikos 25:28
Awesome. Thank you Jason.
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