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- Hi, guys, I'm Amanda Martin
from Lindsey's Suite Deals Furniture.
I came to VaynerMedia because I wanted to
see how they could help my business.
We did a few initial rounds of questions,
and we felt that we were
a good fit for each other.

And what you guys are gonna
watch is our first meeting

about our brand, and just discussing
what we were doing and
getting into a deep dive

of how we operate day-to-day business,
and what we do to try
to promote our business,

and our marketing, and
just everyday operations.

And it was so exciting
to be in that meeting

and go through with all the Vayner mentors
and really dig deep into our business.
I can't wait for you guys to watch this,
and hopefully somebody will
learn something from it.

I had a really good
time doing this meeting,

and I learned a lot,
and we are implementing

some of our tactics, and I
cannot even begin to tell you

how much it has helped,
and the results that we've

been getting, and I
can't wait for the future

and to implement some more
of our ideas and tactics.

Hope you guys enjoy it.
Bye!
(intense music)
- You've got your perspective.
I just wanna be happy,
don't you wanna be happy?

It's such a pleasure,
how are you?
- Nice to meet you.

- Hi!
- Hi, good to see you.

- Me too.
- So glad to see you.

For two and a half
years, my family business

was known as Shopper's Discount Liquors.
There was a sign printed on an eight by 10
on the front sliding door
that said "Wine Library,"
and that's how I,

two and a half years, I
traded as winelibrary.com

and then made the shift to Wine Library
from Shopper's Discount Liquors.
So, one of the things you
may want to debate, here,

is if you're trading
differently on dot-com,

building up that brand equity,
and then, if you decide
that brand is something

that you can put on the
front of the building,

it might be a worthwhile debate.
- [Male] Yep.
- So have, like, a different website name?
- Yes.
- Okay.

- It's the easiest way for you to, like,
solve this potential
issue, I'm coming in cold,

I'm listening, but it's being done a lot.
Like, there's a lot of
opportunity to play both fronts,

and then you'll have the
options to be able to absorb it,

and with 85 fucking thousand square feet
even if 20,000 or 30,000,
how much is retail?

No, no, some of it's warehouse.
- [Male] I'd say we're probably
right at 50,000 retail.

- Right, it's unlimited space
AKA picking one of the corners

and doing something just like cool
with like coffee and computers
and calling it furniture,
whatever you call it,

let's just call it, Orsini's House,
let's say that's the brand you went with,
calling that corner like Orsini's Cafe,
there's a couple tables,
little fresh coffee
and you've got laptops there
and it's all to Orsini's,
now you've injected that in your,
it's an organ within your body
that eventually could become the body.
Something to think about.
- So like on the computers

they'd be able to shop the website or?
- Yes.
It's just establishing
the brand strategically.

Like I would argue one of the things
that may come up here today
is literally looking at 5,000 square feet
to do something completely
left fucking field,

like a coworking space.
If you're selling B to B merch,
are you selling to B to B's at all?
- [Amanda] Not really.
- It's kind of an interesting conversation
as start up craze takes over the world.
I know this is super left field
but what if you did have three
to five thousand square feet

of coworking space
and had entrepreneurs sitting there
the same way Starbucks
has them sitting there

and then that started
giving you a B to B flavor

'cause you have people there
and all of a sudden
even the area they're in

has B to B thinking around,
it's more like do you need
a couch for your office?

That could just change the dynamics
of different usage for you.
Look, I think both ways can work.
To me, the bigger question
is what are you trying to accomplish?
So let me ask a different question,
what's your lease situation?
- [Amanda] We're buying the building.
- That's great.
So I assume that's a
big capital expenditure?

- [Amanda] Mmhmm.
- So I think you've got
to really be smart here

because if you're making that cog move,
I do not believe it's a good buy
no matter how good of
a deal you're getting

unless you turn the
location into something

more than what you actually do.
I couldn't say this enough.
You're so young.
I'm so worried about what
your business looks like

between a dot-com and a physical location
a decade from today, not this year,
that I think what this is all about,
the reason we even built mentors
is I knew that in these meetings,
there's gonna be one to three
things that we could bring

that are disproportionately impactful
for what it costs in return.
The number one thing I would tell you
is the two things that
you need to care about,

I literally don't care
about anything else in
your business right now

other than two things.
One, the hell are you gonna do
inside your 85,000 square
feet that's different

that has nothing to do or is
complementary to what you do

for the sake of the business?
Even marketing, back to B to B,
real estate, what if you're the stage
for all real estate events in your,
you have to figure that out.
And number two, you have
to figure out dot-com.

Every day that you wake up,
find good deals, taking
care of your staff,

taking care of your customers, amazing,
guess what?
Number three, four and five.
Number one and two is what other capital
are we gonna pour into
this 85,000 square feet

that are gonna,
like you know what comes with renovations,
you may have to have a separate entrance,
you may have to, who the hell knows right?
I couldn't stress enough
of that importance,

in parallel, you're pulling
from opposite directions.

You're making a double
investment into your physical

and you're trying to
almost eliminate people

from coming in to build up your dot-com,
that religion.
It's what I did.
I love giving advice I took.
We built a seven million dollar building
while we poured every asset
into building winelibrary.com

into one of the biggest leaders.
And if my dad was sitting here right now,
his biggest concern is
like foot traffic is down.

The end.
- Yeah

and I think sometimes my long term sight
that's what I get worried about
but I know that E-com
is important as well.

- There is no as well.
- [Male] Everything's equally important.
We have to build today,
no, we've got to think about tomorrow
and me being on the front end of all this,
that's what I deal with every single day.
Everybody walks through that door
no matter how I price, what
floor structure I have,

they've got their phone in front of them.
- I want this.
- I can get it here

for this price.
- Are you willing to match it?
And I apologize, what are
you doing in that scenario?

Are you matching pricing?
- [Male] Oh yeah.
- 100% of the time, if it's legit?
- [Male] There's some things that we see--
- [Amanda] 98% of the time.
- [Male] I had an instance the other day
where we was gonna make seven bucks.
- I think you're making
a huge mistake then

and you have a huge opportunity.
Let me tell you a story.
My dad,
in the liquor business they
have something called the ABC.

ABC came in one day and they're like,
"You can't do case discounts."
My dad's reaction was to
put everything at 15% off

from bottle one.
So it wasn't even a case discount anymore,
in essence, everything was on sale.
- The store was on sale.
- The store was on sale.
So some things were on sale sale
like it was 15, it's 9.99
but if it wasn't, if it was
just a regular item, it was 15,

by default it rung up
at the register 15% off.

The problem was he never told anyone.
We did no marketing.
So overnight one day,
we became the best
priced store in the state

yet nobody knew
and people didn't even know
'cause we didn't do internal signage.
I'm just telling you the truth.
People would be like, alright,
I'm gonna buy this for 15,

you get to the register and it's 13.40,
ahh, okay.
- Price mistake.
- I am telling you right now,
I'm telling you right now,
the number one thing I would do right now,
temporary banner sign,
not sign on the building,

is have as big of a sign as
the town will let you say

that we match all internet prices,
little asterisk, as you get
closer to the building it says,

two percent, like, I
would just arbitrarily,

and you've got to find out the like,
but I think it's two percent of times
there are some restrictions
or private labels

that we're unable to match.
Nobody driving by your building
and coming to your store thinks that.
Here's my question,
if the truth is,
if five out of 10 people
are actually doing what you just said,
I would tell you that you should go there.
If it's three out of 10
but it feels like every person,
then you've got to debate
because you'd be giving
up a lot of margin.

If it's seven out of 10,
you might want to make it a
permanent sign in your building.

Now my question is, what is it really?
What's your gut tell you?
- [Male] I would say
that actually approaches

me or a sales person on the floor
probably three out of 10.
- But you know it's
in their minds.
- But when I'm

walking around that store,
they don't know I'm--
- Everyone's on the phone.

Watching.
- 20 feet away and I
see a husband and wife

over there with their telephone out,
I don't think they're
texting their grandkids.

- Do you believe they're
looking at the couch

testing, touching and
then ordering online?

'Cause I think that's what's happening.
- [Male] From somebody else?
- Yes 'cause that's what's happening
at Best Buy and Target
and many other places.

- [Male] And I do realize even with,
you can take not just internet wise,
I know we're losing some sales there
but even say the Ashley
Home Store across town,

we sell Ashley furniture as well.
There's certain things that there are
over there in that show
room they can't find,

maybe if they like their
experience better over there

and they think they're
getting a better price,

they're in Lindsey's sitting on that sofa,
walk out the door and go
back over there and buy it.

- Who's the better price, you or them?
- [Male] I beat them up and
down the road every day.

- [Amanda] When we go to our Ashley reps,
they say that they
brag about us all the time.
- They bring it in display,

I don't care if--
- [Male] I'll tell you
what I came to find.

I didn't realize that
Ashley is two things,

corporate owned Ashley
where I got great prices

and franchise Ashley where
I can't get great prices.

- [Male] And then--
- And then retailers.
- [Male] And then you've got walmart.com--
- Have you guys built a private label?
- [Male] We've worked toward
it with some Ashley furniture

about turning a section called Our Rooms.
Ashley will actually provide these tags,
we're the only ones that can have it
I think within 300 miles,
something like that.

We've been working toward that goal
of just snatching the
Ashley tags altogether,

putting the Our Rooms tag--
- I'm listening, keep going.
- [Male] And more or less creating that--
- Brand.
- [Male] Yeah that hey, this is us,
this isn't Ashley.
And I realize somebody
could lift a cushion

and they could figure it out
but most people shopping furniture,
in my eyes, they don't know the difference
between coaster Ashley or Jim Bob's.
- Yeah.
- [Male] They sit on it, they like it,
they feel it, they touch it.
- It looks good, let's go.
- It's all about the profit to me.
If we're not making profit--
- 'Cause Mr. Lindsey grew
up in the day of discount

the way my dad did.
It's what my dad did too.
- He'd buy a coach for $400,
he sell it for 125 bucks
and it was all about this big
number at the end of the day

but if he didn't make any damn money--
- He was trying to make
as much sales as possible.

- [Amanda] Sales yeah.
- Yep, listen I know it.
I'm actually a believer in it.
VaynerMedia doesn't make any money either.
I believe in it,
you just have to get
the biggest value for it

and then to your point,
it also depends on what you're trying,
10% profit at the end of the year
feels different than four and 40.
- Gary, what made you pivot?
'Cause there may be
some similarities here.

They came in with an expansion plan
and didn't you originally think
you were gonna have 10 Wine Libraries?
- Yes.
- And then moved in a different direction,
where one giant one--
- Because the dot-com had
way more potential in it

than I anticipated at the time.
- But you still expanded
the one that you had?

- Dramatically.
- They still have

32,000 square feet, they're now at 80,000.
- Yeah, but moments in time.
If I could eliminate the second floor
of my dad's store right now, I would.
- And I think categories as well.
- I just think that making the buying,
why are you buying the building?
Just 'cause you're young and fuck it,
let me just buy an asset?
- [Amanda] Yeah because down the road,
it could be anything.
- It's an asset.

I think that's right.
And why 'cause the landlord's selling?
Landlord's selling?
Did Mr. Lindsey never own it?
- [Amanda] No.
It was a different guy.
He's out of Birmingham
but it was actually an RV center
and he doesn't live in Panama City,
it sat there empty for sale
for a really, really long time

and we were in the same
plaza and our lease was up

and so we started debating and we're like,
well it just at the time made
sense to go in and purchase.

- And you did that already?
- [Amanda] I mean we're
still paying obviously but--

- Of course but you
did buy it, you got it?

Oh great, awesome.
- And so then the same owner
actually has a piece
of property next door,

still wooded
but my long term goal is buy that,
tear all the woods down
and make that the warehouse.
- Interesting.
- So then I can take the wall back down.
- If you do not build a private brand,
you will lose.
If you don't make a massive
commitment to building a brand,

you will lose.
I genuinely believe that.
You're making such an investment
in a decreasing asset
to where the future's going.
You have to at all costs,
and whether you start light
with using Ashley to do it for you
and you graduate one day
'cause there's a third senior partner here
and her or his job is to go to China
'cause she used to work at Ashley
and now she's your creator of product,
she comes back with a bubble
wrap based fabric this,

five people couches instead of one
or foldable or I saw that one company
you can make a couch in a box, expandable.
So whatever it is,
I'm gonna tell you right
now, one man's point of view,

what I think you paid for,
you have to figure out what
to do with some of your space

that does not do what you do now,
that has to be so left field thinking,
coworking space, a cafe,
number two, you have to figure out dot-com
and I mean like.
- [Male] Yesterday.
- Yesterday.
I apologize and yes of course,
and then number three,
you have to create a private label.
Name it after some kids,
grandkids, uncle, Lindsey himself,

maybe when you rebrand the company
maybe that's the private label itself,
who the hell knows?
It will be your only asset.
You're so young.
It's going to be your asset in 30 years.
Your private label business
will be more valuable
than your real estate.

Are you able to offer something
above and beyond the actual product?
So to me the next logical place
to have a conversation
is the service of room design.
The thing that makes somebody
actually buy from you

and pay $35 more
is that they value the $100
room design fee from Sarah

that you built up on YouTube and Facebook
and Sarah is your Sarah.
So one of the things I'm thin,
this is a very comfortable zone
for me to strategize around

'cause I lived it,
service layered on top of retail
is a very big deal for you
because if you go far
out with the shipping,

me in my 20s single guy and
I want to put furniture in,

I don't know where the
fuck to put it, whatever.

If I knew that I could
spend an extra 100 bucks

because the website showed
a video and she's like,

"I'm Karen, I'll literally
come to your house

"for an extra 100 bucks on
top of your $1,000 order

"and it's super worth it
because I'll Feng shui this

"and I'll shmay this," and
whatever the hell it is.

I think you need to start debating that.
Everything that I'm
hearing from your business

is what I love
because you've got the
foundational aspect of it down

but you guys are smart
and realize that's a rat race.
If you keep doing the business
the way you're exactly doing it,
they'll be good years,
they'll be bad years,
but it all is getting trickled
away every single day.

It's kind of why I had to
do a wine club for my dad.

He needed an injection this last summer
because he needed more
cash to do more marketing

and I created a wine club that
generated $2 million for him.

Every single month, he's getting that
and we're able to use
those dollars to market

and now we're starting, got it?
You need those injections.
To me, dot-com is not an injection.
Dot-com's a fucking artery,
back to a body, dot-com's like a heart,
what else can't you live?
- Lung.
- But you can live with one right?
- With one, yes.
- Yeah, so I'm thinking about only one,
what else can't you live without?
- [Female] Your brain.
- Fair.
So to me, no that's perfect,
the retail store is the
heart and the brain,

the heart and the brain.
And the heart can be the store
and the brain can be the dot-com,
I like the analogy of that
and that's not being creative,
that's just table stakes.
Adding a service on top of,
with videos, with YouTube
'cause you never go away
and a new interior designer,
adding a private label,
taking 5,000 square feet in your store
and literally going rogue as fuck,
like I don't know, put a fitness thing in,
could you imagine if you put,
you know how many influencers in fitness
there are on Instagram now?
Could you imagine if you just
put a fitness area in there

and literally it was in essence
a free workout club?
- [Male] Or Ikea who put
that child setup area

where kids play.
- Or you start--
- [Amanda] 'Cause I've seen
some who have IMAX theaters.

I think in Connecticut there's one.
- [Male] There's one in Connecticut
that's got climbing walls in it.
- A furniture store?
- [Male] Yeah.
- Makes fucking sense, makes sense.
- Swedish meatballs at IKEA.
Well known, people go there
just to have the Swedish meatballs.
- You've got to give them
another reason to come.

- I've been saying that
the last six, eight months.

We need to become a destination store
that's something cool.
- You're too big,

85,000 square feet.
- Well and another--
- I apologize real quick
because I don't want to lose the thought,
and if you reverse engineer
who your clients are,

then you can really make it good
meaning, that's why I like classes,
we're starting to play with it
a little bit at Wine Library,

if you're doing business classes,
think about who you want
because if you do,
so I did something for the last
year at Wine Library as well

where I'm running Facebook ads
to give away $10 worth of
free food, straight up.

Just walk in, get some
sausage, get some cheese,

get some pickles and 9.09
and walk up to the register,

scan a barcode and you're out.
And it's driving my dad crazy because
and you'll love this Dennis, he goes,
"The fucking Russians are coming in here
"and they're sending their
aunt and their uncle."

And I'm like, "Dad, the whites
and the African Americans

"and the Latinos, they're also doing it
"but the Russians rub you the wrong way."
He goes, "I know because
they're speaking Russian,

"he doesn't know that
he can understand them

"and they're like, "These,""
and they're saying things like,
"These fucking idiots,
"they don't realize we're
getting $50 worth of free food."

And I'm saying to my dad,
I go, "Dad, you don't get it.
"If you run the numbers,
"if you look at the receipts,
"we're making enough on the added sales
"for the people that
aren't breaking the system

"and are buying $280 worth
of stuff on top of it

"and we're running it in hours
"where we don't have people coming in
"and it's great for all the
people driving by our highway

"seeing a full parking lot at 10 AM."
Got it?
Brand.
I think about brand.
You live in Springfield,
you've now started shopping at King's too,
supermarket started having
wine, hurt our business,

makes sense, right, convenience.
They're four, five, six,
seven dollars a bottle more.

But it's an affluent area
and I don't want to go to
Wine Library for 10 minutes

and pay seven dollars less
on this $17 item, I'm rich.

And so
a person driving to King's
to their food market

at 9:35 in the morning
and seeing a full Wine Library
parking lot, that works.

- [Male] Their wife.
- Uh huh, they're like,
just everybody, a human,
oh, they're busy.
- What's going on there?

- [Amanda] Yeah, what's going on?
- So food trucks is another thing
that's really worked for me.
I don't know what your parking,
you own the building,
it's a shopping center

or free standing store?
- [Amanda] Shopping center.
- So you don't own the shopping center?
- [Amanda] Well that part we own.
- [Male] Seven and a half acres total.
- You have a lot of parking?
Can I make a huge, huge random idea?
You should do food truck
events in your parking lot

on weekends.
There's so many food truck
businesses in Florida.

Go on Twitter, find them,
go on Instagram, find them,
invite them, offer them free space.
Be like, hey, come,
and then market it,
do you have an email
newsletter for your customers?

- [Amanda] No.
- Okay, we have to do that ASAP.
Highly, highly, do you have
a card, a membership card?

You have no data on your customers?
- [Male] No.
- This is great.
This is so fun for me.
How bad is your POS system, old school?
- [Amanda] Old school.
- You should have every
single customer's information,

every single customer.
You have a high ticket item.
What's the average sale?
- 1,500.
- Fuck me, this is great.
- 3,000 purchases a year roughly.
- [Amanda] Roughly.
- Right.
Can you sell something less expensive?
Can we come up with a signature product,
what happens when it snows?
It doesn't snow in Florida.
I'm sorry, that's not where I'm going.
(crosstalk)
- What happens when it snow?
- Sweat at the grave.
- Fans and air conditioning,
do you go that route?

You don't go hard weary that way, right?
- Do you have universities around?
- Community college.
Oh actually Florida
State has a branch there.

- What do you mean has a, oh has a...
- Target buses, students
before they move into dorms every year.
- God, there's so much you could be doing.
It's cool.
- There are no dorms.

- There are no dorms?
- It's a commuter FSU.
- Rentals.
- [Amanda] Rentals.
- Exactly.
- And then we have

a lot of new developments going up.
- Back to school drives
when you send buses, bring
hundreds of students,

they shop, you drive them back.
- Gary, what do you think about this?
The new brand, it's an
E-com or digital company

that happens to have a retail location?
It's completely different thinking.
Not that you have a retail
store that has a website.

It's an E-com company
that happens to have a retail location.
- That's what Wine Library became.
- I like it.
Just the dynamic of what we do every day
and what I live every
day on the front lines,

I just feel like we've got to get there.
- So here's what I would say,
a couple things you have
to wrap your head around.

You're gonna have to hire
somebody to run your dot-com.

You're gonna have to have too
much expertise to compete.

It's not 1997 anymore
where everybody was
kind of figuring it out.

You're gonna need something.
And the good news is
there's a lot of young bucks out there
who will love the autonomy
and will flat out think,
I'll take this job 'cause I'll
be able to learn everything

and I'll leave in three years
and honestly, that's a good trade,
good for you, good for them.
I do believe in parts of the country
you can get somebody
that's very knowledgeable

for 40 to 60,000
which we would laugh here,
it would cost us 250 for those skills
but I do think it's out
there, I do, I really do.

You've got to find the right kid
or the right retiree
or there's a million different things.
- 'Cause that's my biggest thing,
the website we have now,
we only have seven to 10
of our companies on there

'cause that's all the catalogs
that the website company has built
but 10 is all they allow me on there.
So there's so many more brands
and products--
- What do you use?

What do you use for that?
'Cause I couldn't figure
out what platform.

- [Amanda] The company?
It's a renaissance group
out of Jersey.
- Are there a reason

why you use that and not Shopify?
- Because they're more catered
to the furniture industry.

- Really?
- So they already had the catalogs built.
So all I had to say was
okay, add these companies

and then here's my mark
up and then it was done.

I didn't have to send
them a bunch of pictures,

I didn't have to send them
my lead sales.
- When we rethink it,

we can think Shopify gives
you tremendous platform

and then on top of that,
building that catalog,
I have built catalogs
that have 25,000 items

and it's an investment.
Once you make that investment,
you could be the platform.
'Cause right now, you're getting boxed in
to no solutions, right?
- No Solutions yet,
exactly except from Gary.

Let's quickly shift gears to brand, right?
What kind of brand are you
envisioning you can build?

What do you have in your guts?
What is it that you have
that differentiates yourself from others?
Whether it's in real life or online?
Give us your thinking
and as you're thinking,
then we'll start writing.

- [Amanda] I didn't really
think about the brand.

- What do you want to stand for?
- [Amanda] I would
personally like to stand

for being there for the customer.
I hate to say this
but I don't always think
the customer's right

but I want them to have a
good shopping experience.

This is a lot of money, 200, 500 dollars
could mean the world to somebody
and I want them to know
that we appreciate them

spending their hard earned
money at our store on us.

We want to give them a great experience,
we want them to not
leave and be pissed off.

Some people are just unreasonable
so you can't help everybody
but helping a majority of our customers
get what they need
and not have to go to Amazon to buy sheets
and not having to go to
Walmart to get pillows.

I want to be the all in one.
- So what I'm hearing is customer care,
being there for customer was
the first thing that you said.

It seems like it's in your heart.
So care.
Then, value for money
but this is a shopping
experience was another one.

Selection, so good.
Excellent.
Talk to us about your
current customer experience

because that's what we've
been hearing a lot about.

- [Amanda] It's pretty good right now.
My assistant, she's chatty Kathy--
- Let's pause.
Take us through a customer experience
when she walks into your store.
What happens?
- [Amanda] They get greeted at the door.
- You have a person standing there?
- [Amanda] We try to.
- [Male] Gotta always make sure
somebody is right there--
- How many people do
you have on the floor?

- Try and have four to five.
One just quit so...
- Well and this is sort of a part
that I've been waiting on
because this is the
shittiest thing we have.

Panama City being too small,
there's a lot of drug addicts.
Educated people down there,
they're very minimal.
To find somebody who even wants
to get off their ass and--
- Hustle.
- And show up to work is hard to find
much less somebody who's
gonna come in there

and be what we want them to be,
that's gonna put forth the effort
or have the visions or the wants
and the growth that we want to have.
I'm to a place where we have to hire
warm bodies in a lot of ways.
I wouldn't hire these
people in a million years.

- Five or 10 years ago.
- But just to what you said,
where somebody's greeting people--
- We had a very similar
situation with Wine Library.

We did something that
came unnatural to us.

We went to the sphere
a little bit further.

Paid a little bit more,
we recruited a little bit different,
we went to some colleges
further out of our realm.

We now have more employees,
we used to have our employees
travel within 15 minutes.
We now have plenty of
people commuting 40 minutes.

We're paying a little bit more
to subsidize that travel cost
but it really worked for us.
I would really look at,
whether it's community
colleges or other things,

it's gonna cost you more money
but the delta's better,
how much would that kind of person,
what would you pay them, minimum wage?
What's that entry level?
- We're more $10, $12 but
and then what you've said,
I mean Amanda and I talked about it
and we've stepped that game up.
- I would highly recommend
going further out
and going 14, you're just gonna win.
- [Male] And there's no
commission tied to their salary,

just salary?
- Well, they get mattress
spiffs and warranty spiffs

and different things like that.
They can make up to $100 on one mattress.
- Really?
I want to go sell a mattress.
I'm like, really, 100 bucks?
- We should do it on a weekend.
- Yeah, we should.
- Where that disconnect comes
because you've got the quality
of a 10 or 12 dollar an hour person here
even though you're
dangling that $100 carrot,

they can't attain
that $100 carrot.
- Makes sense, makes sense.

I think it's about kissing more frogs.
It worked for us.
I was like, "Brandon, we
just need to hire way more."

Brandon like you, he's been
in our business for 20 years.

I don't know how long you've been in it,
but you get caught in your old habits.
It's very hard at retail
not to think about what you
used to get for 8.50 an hour.

I know what you're going through.
This is why this works for me.
This is why I can give this advice.
It worked.
We went to 14, we went
further out of our circle,

ton of people suck shit still
but we got over the course of a year,
71 people in, 70 people in
and four were phenomenal
and now they're a foundation
and we're gonna get two,
three, four years out of them.

- Yeah.
And I think coming out
of the Mr. Lindsey era,

that was a lot of what it was.
Jim, that old school way, my God,
I'm giving people $10 an hour.
- Fuck you.
- Dedicate your life to me.
- [Amanda] Yeah basically.
- They're not gonna do it.
- My dad literally paid
people 5.50 an hour

back in the day when I started
and thought they should treat it
like it was their own store.
- Including you.
- Two for me.
I was under the table.
- He was feeding you two.
- I was two bucks.
I was supposed to pay him.
Dude, honestly, I swear to
God that's a great idea.

I think everything,
I would basically look at the area
and try to figure out what's underserved.
Is there one coffee shop too little?
Is there one gym too little?
Is there one soul cycle type of bicycle?
Is there no coworking space?
To me, all of it's interesting.
I just know for a fact
that when you have that kind of an asset
of 85,000 square feet,
there's more you can do,
what we're not talking about yet
is our ability to help you
once you hire somebody
to run Facebook ads.

They're the best local ads
you could ever imagine.

All the things that Mr. Lindsey did
with direct mail and coupons
or whatever the fuck he did

to build up the business 30, 40 years ago,
that I did as well, it
works, it just works.

But when you have something
to say, it's better.

Targeting people that live
within a 20 mile radius

that are into
cross fit that you now have a free gym
in the middle of your
store is a conversation.

So I think that's right, Sabir.
I think to me, what I try
to get out of my time here

is the most macro
and we're gonna be together again
but to me, between now and the
time we get to see you again,

I want the framework that I
see you guys taking notes,

I want to know what
we're doing with dot-com.

It's the brain.
Can't be a person without a brain.
I want to know how you're thinking
about the physical location
to do something else with it.

I want to know how you're thinking
about the private label
and I want to know,
those to me are the three
and then the next tier gets in
to making sure we get data from everybody,
the strategy around hiring
a little bit further out.

That's your business.
But the food truck thing
would fucking work.

- [Amanda] Right.
We have one guy, prime rib,
and we asked him and he's like, "I can't."
I don't know why he can't
put it in his schedule.

He must have too many spots or something.
- I respect that.
- So I want to keep--
- Is your parking lot
busy on the weekends?

- Yeah.
- Like for the center?
- I think that's really gonna improve.
It's an older shopping center.
They're putting in some kind
of electric go cart track

and actually in our old building,
we're still in the same shopping center
that the old location
that the lease was in.

There's a Dollar General there.
The only problem is
we're on the far end of
that shopping center.

- Like what I was telling you,
people are like, "Where are you?
"We're in the parking lot."
- You'll never believe this.
My dad's liquor store, his first one
was in Clark, New Jersey.
The whole shopping center was over here.
You'd come from the road here
and all the stores are here
and my dad's liquor store
was here free standing.

- That's kind of like how our building.
- In the same shopping center.
So I get it man, fuck, I get it
and my store Wine
Library was free standing

and all the stores I competed against
would have a Whole Foods in the shopping,
I'd always be pissed,
I'd be like, "Fuck, those suckers suck.
"They get all this by accident business.
"Every customer I have, I'm earning."
- Well then they built the Hathaway Bridge
that comes like say the store sets here,
the bridge comes up and goes this way.
So it's even worse
'cause we're down here in this corner.
So if you're heading west--
- You don't even see it.
- There's really no way to turn in there
unless you turn at the light up here,
that'll get you in the shopping center.
Otherwise, you have to
go down, turn around,

come back up to it.
- We have signage,

people steal, yeah, they just steal.
- Are you advertising?
- [Amanda] Mmhmm.
- Where and how?
- [Amanda] Facebook and then
in that goes to Instagram.

Texting program, commercials on TV,
commercials on the radio.
- 19 billboards.
- You do something

with Yelp too?
- [Amanda] Yeah I was.
I stopped that.
- Stopped what?
- Yelp.
- [Amanda] Yeah so I wanted
to try different things.

So I quit Yelp.
- 19 billboards, that's great
like old deals, you got
some good locked in deals?

- I like outdoor when it's priced right.
- Well, and the little jingle
and the whole nine yards

that's been around these six years,
little kids sing this stuff.
- You have a jingle?
- We hear people say that--
- What's the jingle, can I hear it?
You guys heard it?
- They'll say,

"I don't know about Lindsey's furniture."
The next guy beside him'll be like,
"You're an idiot.
"You must not watch
TV, listen to the radio

"or drive down the road.
"So how can you not know
about Lindsey's furniture?"

- You might not be in the
consideration set of buying,

I don't know any furniture store.
I don't even know a name
of a furniture store.

- Bob's Discount Furniture
is the only one I know.

- Bob's Discount.
Like I have never bought furniture.
- Raymour and Flanigan.
- I know that one.
- How about Ashley?
- I've never heard of Ashley's.
I have no idea what the
fuck you're talking about.

- [Male] IKEA.
- IKEA I know,
I've heard of it.
- Used to be Levitz.

- Those I know, I remember those.
- And I think a lot of these
players are also good regional.

Now you're getting newer furniture stores
like Wayfair that does--
- Yeah, Wayfair's a problem
'cause they're the, of course.

- I made a lot of money on the stock.
It has gone up like this.
- Great, you're winning, they're losing.
Way to--
- [Male] Any sort of attribution modeling
to be people who are looking at your media
being able to figure out the
effectiveness of that media?

- Absolutely not.
No way because they don't
have the data on their part.

They're not collecting that data.
Even when you can, it gets hard.
- With Facebook, can
they come with a Groupon

or something to the store
and you give them $10 off of this sofa
or $100 off a sofa?
- What do you got

running right now, 20% off?
- Is it a coupon or is it a verbal?
- [Male] Text 7979--
- But again, you're not collecting
the data at the register

so you're not sure.
You're getting the transactional benefit
but not the--
- Right.

- But your thing was you're
giving them that 10% discount.

So if you look back at
that handwritten invoice,

you would see that it was 10% discounted.
- [Amanda] Right, right.
And in March, we did a scratch off
for Saint Patrick's Day.
- I love you.

I love that shit.
I'm telling you, that's the shit I do.
I believe in that shit.
- [Amanda] So there's just one weekend
where the files have all those in 'em
and pretty much everybody used it.
I saw a couple in the trash
but I think most people
use them right there.

- How did they get the scratch off?
- [Amanda] When they walked in the door.
- You gave a scratch off
and they scratched off and
it would say 10, 15, 20% off?

- [Amanda] Yeah, 10% off,
20% off, free delivery

and then we had a $1,500 shopping spree.
- Somebody won it?
- [Amanda] Yeah.
- Did they lose their shit?
- [Amanda] Yeah.
- We kind of gave it to somebody
we wanted to give it too.
(laughing)
There was actually four or
five of 'em in there but we--

- We only gave out one.
- It was not Teresa, right?
- [Amanda] Not Teresa.
- Once again, I think they
own five condos down there.

I just called Jill and said, "Jill--"
- I would send Teresa to fucking,
I would send her to Napa.
- I can't send Teresa anywhere,
she's my assistant.
So we built a second office
within the store just
for a checkout window

and he goes, "Are you
putting her in there?"

I said, "Hell no."
I said, "When I need somebody to yell at,
"I need her right there."
She's like my Google Assistant.
- I get it.
- I'm like, "Teresa, remember this."
- Your new name is Alexa.
- Okay, couple of other questions.
So growth might be limited
by our geographic location.

So we need to understand what's happening
with demographics.
- Is that 100% true?

- No, no, I didn't say that this is,
I didn't say that this is,
I'm saying that this is an
avenue that we have to explore

to understand what is our
geographic limitation,

who's our competition and your ambition?
How far do you want to go?
10, 15 years down the road.
- That's exactly right, Dennis.
- Who do you want to be?
- [Male] The biggest baddest
furniture store known.
- A top 100.

- Top 100 in the country?
Okay good.
Because that will calibrate our approach.
- I think that that needs
to be debated for a second

'cause I think it's the right
answer from entrepreneurs

but I think we actually should
talk about it for a second

'cause this is where I think I can help.
That's super arbitrary.
100's a good number, I get it.
I actually think you need to ask yourself,
here is why VaynerMedia and
Wine Library really, really won,

'cause I didn't need any money.
And I don't mean it's
because I already had money.

It's 'cause I don't need any money.
How much profit is the business making?
And obviously you're running
your lifestyle through it,

you're paying yourself to be able to,
the profit that it makes
at the end of the year,

you're kind of rolling
back in the business

or are you taking that out for whatever's?
- Back in the business.
- Right.
So your lifestyle's
predicated on the salaries

you guys have created right?
- Right.
- But you're also paying off,
you've also purchased a really good asset.
- Right.
- Right, you're paying off
that mortgage through that,

that's dragging into your profit, right?
- From her end, it's paid for.
- 165 a year, that's what you get?
- This is literally my
fucking dad's business.

- 165K a year?
- Literally.
- It's sort of like 140's the ballpark,
it's not in the bank but
it's in the warehouse.

- By geography because of physical limits.
- No ABC but like the world
coming down Earth road

on dot-com.
That's one good thing
about the liquor business

is it's regulated.
So there is no Wayfair,
there's no liquor leader
'cause it's fucking fragmentation at scale
protected by laws.
I think one thing that I think
you should really think about

with each other since you're
really partners in crime,

I would highly recommend mapping out
how much money you want to take home
over the next 20 years.
I'm not kidding.
Number by number.
By the way, I don't care if it goes down.
I know nothing about you.
I'm making less money than I have
because I have a vision
and everyone's allowed
to do whatever they want.

It would really, really, really help
because the number one
thing that you have to do

to win, in my opinion,
is to invest every dollar properly
to maximize your growth.
The more dollars you have,
the more you can invest.
It's the scrutiny of your expenses
and what you're doing
on the advertising front

and then into what, to
me it's very simple,

create containers,
that's back to dot-com,
something in store, private label,
those are the containers
and then what do you spend money on
to make those containers successful.
Got it?
And so what's a very unique thing
and I'm saying this more for the team
get them in the right place,
VaynerMedia was built very uniquely.
There haven't been many people
that have come into the advertising space
that really saw an opportunity
to leverage their personal brand
as a gateway branding mechanism
to a large fortune 500 consumer set
and then converted.
So when we look at our PNL,
my team is an expensive line item.
It's not the kind of thing
that other companies have
but they have a new
business team that has.

But I knew what containers I had,
what I was trying to accomplish
and then I started spending
against those containers.

Building a dot-com,
right now with that little of margin
and me assuming back
to the family business,

I understand the size here,
it's not like you guys are rolling in it
and buying mansions and Porsches.
Well, guess what?
A new POS system,
hiring a full time dot-com person,
the capital expenses
of doing something new

inside the store
that might cost renovations.
I'm not so sold that
you have the cash flow

for all of that.
And so then I'd say to myself,
okay, what are they spending
money on for advertising?

I believe some of it is way
less valuable than you think

because you can't measure it right now.
So you might feel 19
billboards are awesome

and they might not be or they might be.
Maybe it's actually 29 and no commercials.
Maybe it's just commercials.
How much are you spending on marketing?
- 350.
- A year?
- Yeah.

So it's roughly 34,000 I
think it was, 35,000 a month.

- And what's that broken down to?
- It's 25% digital,
25% TV and out of home I
think it was 16%, yeah.

- What do you think's working the best
and what do you think is working the worst
out of your advertising
if you just had to guess?
- [Dennis] Radio, Pandora, 14,
television, 24, digital, 24,

billboards, 32.
- Why are we doing Pandora?

- [Amanda] I did it at the
end of '16, beginning of '17.

- Is it targeted local?
- [Amanda] It was, yeah.
- And was it working?
- [Amanda] No, so I stopped.
- Okay.
- [Male] And I sort of--
- I love that you test shit,
it's so smart, 100%, forever.
- [Amanda] And I get a little scared
because we do so much, that I'm like,
shit, I don't want to drop this
'cause what if that was working
and it takes three more
months to get it back?

- Here's what I would tell you.
I'm convinced that your 34 can be 15,
do exactly what it's doing,
I just don't know how yet.

And then all of a sudden,
that 20 becomes 240

and that 240 pays for a POS,
it pays for 49 year old young Sabir
who can actually be
there day in and day out.

He's growing hair back,
I'm pretty impressed.

- I need to shave it
off once it gets warmer.

I look like Dr. Evil
when I shave my head off.

- I think that's where you
have to look at a little bit.

I think it's gonna cost you
a little bit more for staff

if you go down my route
and go 14, 15 outside

but I think you'll get that back.
15, 14 guys and gals
do a care a little bit more
about that 100 to your point

which means you're
selling an extra mattress.

You're not giving them
100 for kicks and giggles,

it matters for your business.
- I think still going back to the ambition
because even financing might be an option.
If there vision is there,
if the mechanics are there too.
So it's not necessarily
financing tomorrow,

it might be three years down the road
when we have the brand,
when we have all of those
private label running,

then all of a sudden, you're ready.
- Look, I think that's probably right.
I think what we need to do here as a team
is figure out if that's
truly three years from now,

let's say, arbitrarily.
I don't have a whole lot of energy
to get too overly worried
about that right now

'cause it's further away.
To me it's just,
the 34K a month in marketing
is awfully interesting

because when you have a legendary business
that's been in the same general location
for how many years?
- [Amanda] Six.
- But you've been in the
same shopping center for?

- Six.
We were like, it was in the
middle of the shopping center

and then up until '16,
we were down at the end.

- But you're still in
that same shopping center.

And how long, six you said?
- Yeah, six years.
- And before that, where was it?
- We started six years ago.
- [Male] That was when--
- The Legacy brand was for 25 years
in a few locations.
- I totally understand.
To me, okay, got it, that
is a little bit different.

It would be interesting to see,
the advertising, that's
your biggest expense.

Your mortgage, you've
got your advertising,

you've got your payroll, inventory.
Actually, that's a good one,
and I know I've got to run in a second
but that one helped us
quite a bit at Wine Library.

Old school thinking is
you said it the same way
that I think about it

and my dad thinks about
it, inventory, paid for,

it's an asset.
- [Male] It evolves.
- My next question, inventory on hand
and why do you have it?
- Yeah.

How much inventory are you holding?
- [Amanda] A lot.
- I know.
Let's talk about it.
- And that goes back,
that comes back from Mr. Lindsey.
Amanda and I's big part in this
has all really happened
over the past year.

- I believe it.
- The changes and everything--
- 'Cause Mr. Lindsey opened
that place six years ago,

was still in the game pretty seriously.
- Yeah.
- Understood.
And why is he out of the game?
Just got older, is he sick, is he okay?
- [Amanda] No, he's fine.
- He's just fucking tired?
He's like fuck it?
He's like, I believe you can do it?
- [Amanda] Yeah I think so.
- Either that or she was gonna kill him,
one or the other.
- What do you think,
finally I found somebody
who can do something?

And how long have you
been in the business?

- I've only been in the
furniture business three years.

- Oh, very interesting.
- 21 in beer but furniture's
new but I love it.

- I get it.
- But like we was in High Point
last week buying furniture.

All the new stuff, you
see it, then you get it

probably August, September.
Jim would go to those markets
and he didn't give a damn if
he spent $800,000 on oak shit

from 1970 that nobody even wants.
He just would just go buy, buy, buy, buy.
- [Amanda] 'Cause he
could buy it for 50 bucks

instead of 100.
- He loved closeouts
and I don't think he ever understood
that it was a closeout for a reason.
- Well, he believed in his salesmanship.
I mean I bought closeouts,
I love closeouts

because I knew I could sell
'em when nobody else could.

He didn't go out of business,
he just knew that he would be able,
somebody'd come in and
want to buy something,

he would be like, "Don't buy
that, buy this for 55 bucks."

- Right.
And we're stuck with a ton of that.
- Still?
- Still.
- Still.

- Still?
- [Amanda] Still.
- No, that's great, let's
talk about it, how much?

No this is, you have to understand,
how much, when you come back here,
I want to see how much inventory you have
that you deem fucked?
- Retail or cost?
- Cost and retail.
- Okay.
- How much you think, gut?
I know you could be way off.
- Honestly 500 to a million.
- Old inventory?
- Yes.
- And it's probably worth--

- No, I'm thinking you're building--
- Almost 500 retail, probably 15.
- Old in the past six years
or old in the 25 years?
- There's probably shit
in there from 2015.

If I had to go back and find a price
'cause it's discontinued or a closeout,
I would have to go to 2015
invoices to get a price.
- And Jim would run tent sale

after tent sale after tent sale
but he would put the same shit in there
every single time.
So it wasn't effective.
- And so the tent sale
brand got killed, right?

- Well, we changed it last year.
- To what?
- [Amanda] Our annual sale,
we actually put good shit out there
that we were able to
get at a discount.
- Stuff we had bought that--

- [Amanda] And it sold
and we heard a lot of comments,
people would say, "This is
the best one you've had."

(crosstalk)
- [Amanda] Can I talk about
something really fast?

- Yeah.
- [Amanda] Okay so we're talking
about serendipity before.

So there's this company
that I write checks to,

a repair company
and their address is I don't know,
1202 Gary Avenue, Suite 5.
- Suite 5?
That is good karma.
- [Amanda] I thought about that
like two months ago.
- You may have to buy that.

- Go find that company for
me, James, MNA, VaynerX.

I'm super pumped right now.
You've given me a real light.
I'm telling you right now
that half a million to a million,
and you think that's cost?
You're guessing, it's fine.
And would it be appropriate to think
that you're gonna have to sell that
for like 50 cents on the dollar
less than the cost?
- Some of it.

- This is a real opportunity guys.
This is where a lot of retail stores lose.
They put their head in the sand
'cause they don't want to think about it
'cause they know it's a fucking mess.
Meanwhile, it's the place where,
you could give it away
and change your business.

You have to understand,
you've given me ammo.

- Yeah, there's a bunch of
bullets sitting back there

ready to be shot.
- You can fuel the other three points.
- You know how much better
your radio campaign will work

that says, "We're giving away
$10,000 worth of furniture

"in the first hour this Saturday."?
You've got ammo.
You've got two things that I need,
this is how I built my dad's business.
He had the same fucking problem,
this is fucking deja vu.
He had ammo and he had
advertising or not advertising,

it was either advertising
that wasn't effective

or he had no advertising.
Again, you've already
probably made a commitment
to the radio thing.

All you have to do is just
change the fucking copy.

So you pay another 50, 500 bucks,
whatever the fuck the
price is for a new read

and the read is, "August 7th,
"giving away $10,000 worth of sofas,"
the next week, "August 14th is Couch Day."
- Then we clean up?
- Clean up, clean up
and you could do a very simple thing.
You could price it
appropriately and be like,

we are doing the buy
one, get one free sale.

We will have all the get one
free products in the front.

You buy any product
that matches that price,

you get an equal value of
the free section product.

You buy $1,500 couch,
you get a $1,500 couch for
free 'cause you price it.

You know that that couch is really 350
but if it was 1,500 at one point,
and they're gonna say shit,
well that's not 15
but still, it's fucking free,
still you got already good prices.
And all you're doing is you're inducing it
to sell more of something else.
You have ammo.
That is huge.
- And that could be the 250K
that you can fund everything.
- Almost like a scratch off,

20% off, you're getting--
- People respond to free, boy.
Free gets people going.
- Especially where we are.
- I get it.
- But I'm willing to bet
that part of that 500K to a million,
not everything is shit.
There are pieces in there
that you can probably,
could be unique.
- I'll see you guys soon.

- [Amanda] Thank you.
- Such a pleasure.
How's it going so far, good?
- Yeah.
- Great, thank you guys.
- [Male] Thank you.
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Creative Ways to Build a Brand - Gary Vaynerchuk Client Consultation

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YU Xiang published on December 18, 2018
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