Marlies and Jai have done a great job of getting their business to where it is. They started, like many other people, with trying to find a solution to a personal problem. The issue was that their son Troy had a lactose intolerance and he was in constant discomfort and they wanted a solution. They discovered Paleo diets and it worked for not only Troy but, Marlies who had a terrible skin condition and once again, by changing her diet, improved her health dramatically. This idea lead to a successful Café called the Paleo Cafe, and to a group of Cafes through franchising.
Marlies and Jai have learnt many lessons that comes with running a business and like every business there are ups and downs of which they have had both.
They were honest and candid during the pitch regarding all the wins that they have had and some of their challenges. Getting Pete Evans as the brand ambassador was a great idea as he has really become the king of Paleo. Their take-home packs are another opportunity to create a alternative revenue stream. These are now launched in all of their stores.
We share the same beliefs on food, which is about eating as close to the source of nature as possible and the belief of the long-term damage that processed food does to people and society as a whole. Both of us are trying to make a difference by making it easier for people to choose healthier options, so it was a great mix.
I enjoy working with Marlies and Jai and cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Tip: It is not uncommon in growing businesses, for the wheels to fall off, for whatever reason. Business sometimes can be like you are in a battle. You are always looking at ways of attacking yourself to make sure you are as good as you can be. There is no businesses that are successful, that have not gone through hard times, read any business person’s bio and you will read the challengers that we all face.. – There are always ups and downs and it’s the downs and how you recover from them that makes businesses great.
Pads for stopping sweaty underarms
When we sat down, all we knew was what we saw, which was Pitztop. We thought it was some sort of car/tyre changing business, or as Steve said “something to pee on”, so you can imagine our surprise when their business was actually a solution to combating sweaty underarms.
They came out and they were delightful- clearly two people in love having a ball. They handed us a package, which I have to say looked very familiar and when they started to talk about the product, I had to ask whether they were simply sanitary pads, and the answer was yes! I loved that they saw a problem and came up with a solution that actually worked. They were soft and you can imagine that this product would actually work. That is, if you do not mind wearing a pad under your arms.
Steve’s face was priceless as with most men when you talk about the subject of ‘the monthly’, they screw up their nose and start talking about their favourite beer. Steve was never going to invest.
Often when we think we have a good idea the real test is whether or not the customers actually wants it and after 4 years and only $8K in profit, this told me that there was a market for the product but a small one.
Great people, clearly in love and having a ball.
Tip: Listen to your customers, you may think it is a good idea, but there may not be a market for the product. Do your research, and ask the customers and not your friends.
Anna was a mixed bag. She has a great product but did not know all her numbers, nor did she know what to do with the investment dollars. We were all thinking, that this pitch was not going to fly, she was unorganised and did not really seem to understand her business. Then, she started to discuss how many stores her product is in and the sales figures that she knew, and what we discovered was Anna had a great little business, with sales of $1.7million, an increase of 83% each year and $150K in profit was impressive.
I have a lot of bamboo clothing in my wardrobe, it is beautiful and soft to wear, so I knew the advantages of the product, and was very popular in sports like Yoga.
Both Steve and I wanted to invest, so it was up to us to pitch to Anna, who would be the better partner. My comment during the show where I said that “I am more valuable as a partner”, is true for this business as it was a retail business. If it was an app or a tech product then Steve could say the same thing, when you are in the industry as I am in retail, then you have different skills and contacts to bring to the partnership, which makes that partner more valuable. I also wanted to make it clear that going with me, may not be the easiest road, as I believe in business you need to create a solid foundation to grow, and this is often all the boring stuff like systems and processors, and this did not seem from Anna’s pitch was her strong point.
Anna is doing really well and has a beautiful heart.
Tip: When looking for a partner in your business, look for what they can bring above and beyond money. In fact you may find that the person is more valuable than money.
Beers delivered on Friday
Now if this is not a deal for Steve then I don’t know what is?! These guys were having a ball with their business. As they say, find your passion and then it’s not work, and these guys did not feel like they were working. Friday drinks are an Australian institution, so it makes sense. I agree with Steve though the model is flawed with only delivery one day a week.
Tip: Find your passion, and then what you do is not work. These guys are building a business and having an absolute ball along the way.