Breaking into Product-Based Business
With Jimmy Gould
Today’s podcast guest is proof that one great idea can change everything.
Jimmy Gould is an entrepreneur and inventor who left behind a lucrative career in finance to develop a simple solution with a profound impact. His patented product, SoapStandle, is a tool that attaches to bar soap and elevates it to allow better airflow and extends its life by up to 30% – all while preventing slippery messes in the shower.
Since founding his company in 2018, Jimmy has now sold nearly one million SoapStandles. In this episode, he shares his experience with product development and the ins and outs of running a successful product-based business.
Landing on a great product idea
Jimmy was enjoying a successful career in finance when he stumbled – literally – onto the idea for SoapStandle. After dropping his soap in the shower one too many times, he decided to invent a solution himself.
The first SoapStandle prototype was built from modeling clay. Jimmy was amazed to discover that his invention not only prevented the soap from becoming slippery but also extended the lifetime of each bar by 20-30%. Soon he was 3D printing duplicate products for his friends.
The first batch of products got great feedback, and when Jimmy couldn’t find any companies doing something similar, he decided to patent his idea.
What began as a side business – with Jimmy 3D printing products out of his garage and sanding each SoapStandle by hand – soon became a legitimate company. With over 100K SoapStandles purchased to date, the brand has had great success marketing directly to consumers on Amazon and their website. They’re now looking to expand into retail and partner with more businesses that have bars to sell.
Traits of a successful entrepreneur
Although Jimmy’s prior experience in commission-based sales prepared him for the risks of starting a company, there was still a fair amount of learning on the job. As any founder knows, you need to wear many different hats – from marketing to manufacturing, legal, operations, and more.
Now that the business has grown to the multi-six-figure mark in annual revenue, Jimmy is refocusing his attention on what he does best: sales. At this stage, that’s what will keep the company growing, and Jimmy intends to devote more of his time to selling while he considers the possibility of hiring a full-time salesperson. He reminds us that without an effective sales engine, the rest of your business will fall apart.
While sales is an essential skill for all entrepreneurs, there are also several personality traits that Jimmy credits for his success. Optimism is essential – especially when you get tired of hearing “no” over and over again. Jimmy is quick to point out that every no gets you one step closer to a yes. Curiosity is equally as important, especially for anyone in product development.
Choosing your growth channel
When starting a product-based business (or any business), you need to consider which channels will be most effective for reaching customers. SoapStandle has been very successful selling direct-to-consumer – other products may do better in wholesale or retail. One method that’s worked well for SoapStandle is partnering with other soap bar providers like Dr. Squatch Soaps. If you’re looking for new avenues to sell your product, consider partnering with businesses that serve a similar market.
As the business continues to grow, SoapStandle is now looking to expand into new markets – at home in the US and around the world. Tune into this conversation with Jimmy Gould to hear the full story…
“Even as a little kid, I tried to figure stuff out. If I was supposed to cut the grass every week, I thought there must be an easier way to do this. I would look for patterns to save myself 10 minutes.”
“Because it’s a patented product, I can exercise on pricing a bit more. That’s worked over the past few years as far as scaling into producing more and selling more. If those margins weren’t as good, it would have been much more difficult to do.”
“If we don’t manage the sales process correctly, then all this other stuff doesn’t matter.”
“Soap is used all over the world. There’s nothing national or regional about using our product. People in South America will find it just as useful as people here do.”
“We’re trying to be flexible. I don’t want to spread myself too thin, but I think it can succeed on each of those levels. There’s no reason why we can’t sell direct-to-consumer and also be in Target and also have partnerships.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Visit the website for SoapStandle: https://www.soapstandle.com/
Check out SoapStandle on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/SoapStandle/page/0704B651-94C8-41F8-BF6B-A281DB006935?ref_=ast_bln
Connect with Jimmy Gould on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/soapstandle/about/
More industry articles and facts about bar soap: barsoapinfo.com
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